Friday, 31 January 2014

A time to turn turn turn these wheels round n'round...

Oh dear.  I caught a glimpse of myself today, and it wasn't a pretty sight.  Thanks, DrunkCyclist.  Thanks a lot.

OMG!  How did they KNOW gluten is my nemesis?
Jeez. I was doing a great job maintaining a pleasant state of denial about how much of a weenie I am, but that's toast.  Still, I quit quitting.  It's time to own it, to wear it, to be the best weenie I can be, to love and embrace my dorktastic self, flaws n'all.  An important aspect of this bestpossibleme quest involves as many stooopid o'clock rides as I can muster.  It seems apt, somehow, that I should ride in circles in the dark before dawn seeking enlightenment and illumination,

and telling that I am so easily distracted by the city's lights all around.

I love seeing the sun's reflection in the moon and the moon's in the water below.  I can almost imagine what the planet must look like from up there, with the sun just about to peek over the horizon...  
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That's all ye know in life, and all ye need to know." (Keats)
Beauty comforts me, and this city is brimming with it.  You'd be hard pressed not to appreciate the real value behind the  price of Vancouver property, if only the prices weren't so absolutely, over-the-top outrageous.

One of the biggest selling features this city has on offer is it's temperate climate. As the rest of the continent has suffered the grip of what people used to call winter, we have seen very much the same dry conditions which are affecting California, in the midst of this nasty drought.  While the rest of North America has suffered blizzard upon blizzard we've spent an unusual number of days under the influence of a  inversion. 

Photo a la Trip Advisor
That's when the temperature climbs as you climb, so that the ski hills are warmer than the beaches, if you can imagine.  An inversion is also a dry event, exacerbating an already awful year for the local ski slopes. In most places a January without monsoon-like rains is a good thing, but this particular biome is a temperate rainforest and dry winters are not the norm. This winter has definitely been all upside down and backwards here on the west coast, but still, it works for me.  

Inverted, bass ackward winter or not, I like nothing more than to ride through the quiet city streets in the early hours of the morning, up by UBC, and through Stanley Park, too, where it's simple enough to enjoy the view of the anchored ships in English Bay.

I love watching the moon set and the sun rise,

because it always dawns on me how wonderful it is to be alive, blessed be.  It's hard not to appreciate the miracle in a new day when the city is still shaken from the sudden death of our search and rescue hero, Tim Jones, and while the whole world suffers the loss of Pete Seeger, bless his beautiful, wise old soul. 


BUT. Isn't it marvelous that Pete Seeger lived so long to touch so many people, and isn't it fabulous that he had fun doing it?  He was an honest to goodness hero, too, and he left a legacy to humanity.  I aspire to live a life as meaningful as his. He was so right. It's true, to everything there is a season.  Now I am just so happy to discover I have a little more time, another day, another turn turn turn of the planet in its arc around the sun, echoed in my legs spinning these wheels round and round.  

Oh ho!  I nearly forgot!  It's Taboo season, too, right now, this weekend! That means it's definitely time to pull out the seven inch, thigh-high snakeskin-ish boots, don't you think?

Time to pedal my 

self over to the convention center to see what's new and exciting in the Taboo world of fun and sex. Now, I don't know about you, but there aren't many things I like more than making love.  That's why the word sex is front and center at the top of this blog, right next to happiness.  It's part of the whole bestpossibleme thing, and an important aspect of the healthy human experience which most people simply don't engage in enough of.

Aaaaaaand, it's just like riding a bike: once you learn, you never forget how to do it.  Also, it's sure to put a smile on your face. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Confessions of a true dope.

 Hello, my name is Babble On and I'm a Stravaddict.

Snob scorns me, but it's no use.  I can't quit.

I am a full-on QOM junkie in need of her daily points fix.  I'll happily get up at a ridiculous hour, put on silly looking clingy clothes, and launch myself into the dark before dawn every time I can, just because I can.  And when I win one of those little crown thingies on Strava I get the best little happy buzz on TOP of a good ride high. That's whatcha call win/win.

 I couldn't quit now, even if I wanted to.

I quit quitting, anyway.  Quitting is for quitters and I'm done with all that.  Besides, I've already quit everything worth quitting, believe you me.  All that's left is the good stuff, and more than a bit of that is gone now, t-oo.  I miss chocolate sometimes, for example, but I know better than to eat it.

My body talks to me, you see.  Sometimes it even shouts a bit.

Last weekend it landed me in Cardiac Care at Vancouver General Hospital when I took an herb which disagreed with me.  My body lets me know what is healing and what is harmful for me. It lays down the law, loud and clear, and though I don't always follow ALL of the rules,  I always feel better when I pay attention to it. I've learned to trust the wisdom in these old bones, because the cost of ignoring the signals is far too high.  

Dope is for dopes.

Move over Mr Armstrong. I am the poster child for better living through chemistry. Doctors introduced me to morphine at four years of age. This body has known more prescriptions than any body has a right to. As a very young child, I was prescribed diazepam  - that's VALIUM!!-because every so often I stopped breathing and turned blue with seizure. Even as a baby I would sometimes cry and cry and even scream until finally I stopped breathing and turned blue.  Poor ol' mum figured I had anger issues, bless her, and you know mums know these things. According to EEG mapping, though, my actual Ictal Bradycardia Asystole seizures are a response to pain, a condition which came about as a result of a catastrophic head injury at nine months of age. (The parental units left the basement door open and I took a flying leap with a baby walker and ba da boom.) And from that time on, I'd scream and scream and scream, knowing that something was very very wrong.

The feeling is always the same.

It never ever happens out of the blue. I am always in some sort of gastro-intestinal distress, and so it often happens when I'm sitting on the toilet.  It's no fun returning to consciousness with a headache and a large lump on your head, so finally I has to admit that mum is right.  I'm "special."

 I make a fantastic walking talking billboard for helmets, though, don't you think?

You may recall when I told you about lovely Deborah, a reader in France who likes my muscles and who wanted to how I developed my legs... ? Her story touched me deeply because she has a serious form of muscular dystrophy and with it a longing for the one thing her body is missing:  muscle mass.  It's deeply ironic that in her search for muscles she should encounter me of all people, though.. My muscles exist in their present condition solely because of the fact that I have the very opposite condition.

I have connective tissue issues, and you'd be surprised how much of the human anatomy consists of connective tissue. 

The only reason I have learned to listen to my body's signals is that ignoring them is too painful.  Long ago I discovered that strong muscles can compensate for weak joints.  Yoga taught me that having strong core muscles supports the lax ligaments and reduces my overall levels of pain and discomfort, too.

I've learned all sorts of interesting things in my journey, so that now I am actually in better shape than ever before.  I must be doing something right, because even my eyesight is way better than it was ten years ago.  In my search for health and wellness I discovered that our bio-chemistry is altered not only through diet, sex and exercise, but also by attitude, emotions and state of mind.  Now I am stronger and fitter than ever before, and am in general exceptionally healthy, happy and well, despite my genetic disadvantage.

There are a few advantages to being a woman "of a certain age," you know.  While it's true, that as a woman you never really see yourself represented on screen nor behind the scenes, specially not once you've hit forty, it's all good.  We are well positioned to push the limits because nobody really expects much of us, anyway.

Take Olga the Magnificent for example. 

The New York Times calls her "the incredible flying nonagenarian...
she is considered one of the world’s greatest athletes, holding 23 world records, 17 in her current age category, 90 to 95." Nobody expects a 93 year old woman to be a world class track star, do they?  Most normal professionals hang up their kit before they hit 40, and no one is going to argue that there's anything much in the way of money when it comes to old lady sporting ventures, either, but the lifestyle is priceless in and of itself. 

 Olga has confounded scientists who study ageing, and she's taught them something new. According to theTimes, "It appears that exercise may stimulate the production of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains and repairs the little caps on the ends of chromosomes that keep genetic information intact when cells divide. That may explain why older athletes aren’t just more cardiovascularly fit than their sedentary counterparts — they are more free of age-related illness in general."  

It's true.  That's the reason I ride.

Bodies are made to move.  I literally ride for dear life.

In my experience, exercise triggers a whole cascade of positive effects on the body which nothing else achieves.  It's my anti-depressent, and my charger.  It gives me energy and also makes it easier to sleep at night. It boosts my sex drive. It strengthens my immune response and keeps me healthy day by day and it always, always makes me smile.  And that's crucial.  Life is supposed to be fun. The scientists testing her have noted that Olga is in the habit of ensuring her days are fun, and they are convinced that her ability to do so has made her far more resilient than she would be otherwise.

  In my books, fun is when Strava makes me Queen of Belmont Avenue. The title really should come with a palace on the avenue, though, don't you think? When I see those little crown thingies at the end of a ride, I get to ride a whole new kind of high, and that's a real gem of a tool in the war against ageing and disease. 

 I happily confess to being a dopey bike dork with a serious Stravaddiction, but don't bother feeling sorry for me.  I'm having too much fun.  Do yourself a favour instead, and join me!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Raining in an aversion to wet weather rides...

Are you building an ark?  Might be a good idea, cause it looks like it's about to rain for forty days and forty nights. It's an honest to goodness deluge.

I'm tired of wiping black aluminum and brake pad residue off of Ti Baby's shiny gold rims.  I still need to move, so when the floods came this weekend I headed for the woods on the Rocky Mountain Soul instead, complete with dick breaks, which are great for all of those cum-what-may rides. 

Just across from Spanish Banks beach out there in the great grey beyond you'll find a sign...

 and one of many entrances to the trail system in Pacific Spirit regional park.

You'll find a lot of people on these trails on a rainy Sunday morning, though today they're as likely to be fording as running.

I like spending a bit of time in the forest.  It's peaceful. 

 It helps me get to the root of things

and provides some much needed perspective.

Goodness knows what you might discover round the next corner...

but with any luck, it floats, cause today the trails themselves may carry you away.

'Cept where they slow you up in the muck that is.

As much as I like to get down and dirty, it wasn't a great day for spending time out of doors.  Still, as challenging as it was, you know how it goes.
I ride therefore I am.
Veho ergo sum.

Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year's Revolution, 2014: spend more time spinning in the saddle.

Hello from Vancouver!

Happy New Year!
This year I resolved to honour my inner dirty girl, and would you look at that?

So far, so good! You've gotta love success.  I was chasing Fast Fred for a bit that day, and within minutes I was coated in road smegma from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.  Not that I was complaining, or anything.  Dirty suits me to a T, inside and out, front...

and back.

Have you made any resolutions? Last year I swore I'd quit swearing, but damned if I could do it. The swear jar does waaaay too well by me, so that one is still pending, and quite challenging. That's why this year I decided to keep it simple.
  Like me.

You've gotta love the simple things.  You know, like working up a good sweat on a frosty January morning,

or riding a bike every day instead of driving and getting stuck in traffic. It's a decision more and more people are taking, so that now you'll even find bicycles on the front of newspapers...

and used as a selling feature for realtors, of all things!

The sweetest thing about the simple cycle life is how it works on so many levels.

You can line up to shell out twenty clams for parking,

or you can ride your bike to the event instead and treat yourself and a friend to drinks when it's over, and never know where that might lead.

Whether you end up with a cute little pussy or no, though, it's still money well spent!

It's such an easy, graceful solution, the bicycle.
That's why I'm all about this New Year's Revolution.

It's pure and simple.
In 2014
I'm just sitting here making those wheels go round n round...
I really love to make them roll.