Monday, 28 October 2013

Riding the doomed mile, from post to pope and back again.

I have soooooo much to share with you, and only a small window of time to do it in, so please forgive the barf-it-up stream of consciousness I'm about to let loose on you. Here's a pretty, cycling-specific picture of False Creek as an apology and a peace offering: 

First things first.  The most important thing is thank you.  Thank you for your open-mindedness, your tolerance, your patience and understanding, and also thank you for your (too often necessary!) mental editing  as you wade through these babblelogs.  And most of all, thank you for writing back!  I've long met the most interesting people through the internet, but the last couple of weeks have seen an incredible outpouring of support.  Thank you, one and all, for your very kind, thoughtful messages.

One letter touched me more than any other. I received it yesterday from a wonderful, courageous woman named Deborah, and it left me in floods of tears. She shared part of her story with me, bless her, and she also left me feeling absolutely inspired to ride.  I hope she's ok with me sharing her whole message with you one day, because it's so beautiful, but she also asked one question I've heard time and time again. I'm going to attempt to answer it now - right after I show you another random shot of False Creek, as seen from the seawall:

Deborah wants to know exactly  how I developed the muscles in my legs. Lots of you asked the same question.  Part of it is definitely genetic.  My cousin is an artist, athlete and singer.  She has lifelong fitness habits, and she is also quite well defined and muscular, though she is far more petite than me, and unlike me, she is absolutely, stunningly gorgeous.  We grew up taking dance classes together.  It was a class based in ballet, with some emphasis on modern and jazz.  I skated early and young, too, and spent my summers at horse camps in the foothills of the Rockies where I also learned how to canoe, kayak and climb.  That's where we were based when I took my first four day tour of the Rocky Mountains, including Roger's Pass, at fourteen or maybe fifteen years of age.  Winters saw a lot of the Rockies, too, exploring the various ski hills from a chalet in Canmore.   

Oh!  Also, yoga.  I babblelogged on killer painkillers a while ago, and I forgot to mention the most important thing!  Kundalini yoga strengthens my core, and it does soooooo much more.  There is one exercise designed to clear out the lymphatic system, for example.  Your lymphatic system supports a healthy immune response, so it's very important to support it. And did you know that a natural face-lift involves lymphatic drainage?  Your lymph system mirrors the circulatory system but lacks a pump.  Instead it has shunts, and somehow the yogi's figured out that you need to bounce while circling your arms both forward and backward to move the fluid through the whole body, and particularly through the chest, where a large number of nodes reside.  How did they do that? Amazing.  

Aaaaand another random shot from the seawall, for consistency's sake, this time it's Kits Point:

I was incredibly blessed growing up, because I had the freedom to explore all sorts of sports to find the one I love most.  That's how I know I am a cyclist, through and through.  No. These legs are definitely not a product of weight-lifting.  They are the result of thirty years of solid cycling. Why did I do it? For the love of joy. When I'm in the saddle, I'm happy. I'm doing what I came here for. 

Deborah also asked if anyone had ever measured my thighs and calves. Yes. My naturopath, Dr Hal Brown did when he first took me on, but that was a couple of years ago. At the time I had been favouring my unstable left knee for about a year, and my left thigh was a full inch smaller than my right. The only tape measure I can find right now is in inches, so let's get all imperial for a moment, shall we?

My thighs - left 22"(55.88 cm)  right 22.5"(57.15cm). Calves -  left 14"(35.56cm)  right 14.75 "(37.47cm) (?!)

AH HA! That must be why I'm forever riding in circles!

The sun came out and my helmet came in and finally I rode my favourite go-fast bike again this weekend. It was unbelievably happy-making, even though I got lost on Burnaby Mountain and found myself going round and round in circles with every road somehow leading me back to a rather imposing-looking tower at the end of Tower Road:

 This concrete behemoth seems tied somehow to the very happiness and well-being of the community's  children...  ?!

Ok.  So if you are one of those tolerant, patient, auto-editors who've made it through a few babblelogs already, you've probably noticed by now how unbelievably beautiful this city is.  It's so pretty even photographically challenged people like me can convey the magnitude of the gorgeous-icitude here.  You would never know it at SFU, though, land of all roads lead to The Tower of Childcare.  For the record, here is the best view I could find on the whole mountain.  Coincidently, it's the view looking down the hill from Tower Road.

I think that's the Alex Fraser Bridge you see off in the distance.

Another lovely reader, this one a writer waaaay more talented than I am, contacted me over the weekend with some interesting news.  He told me my legs are now internet famous, and he furnished me with a link.  I found three sets of my photos on a site dedicated to women with muscular legs.

The founder of this website has very kindly posted three sets of my photos!  Strangely enough, he chose not to publish my comment on my own photos!

The very next thing you know, babble on will be a household name. Do you suppose this will do anything to bring me closer to my lifelong dream of Pope-hood?  I sure hope so, but I'm thinking maybe I should start making friends with a few of those guys who wear the red hats in Vatican City, cause so far,  not a single one of them has mentioned his plans to vote for me next time around.

Can you believe it?  And I'm definitely the best candidate for the job. The chief confessor needs to have empathy, right? My election platform is founded on the fact that the pope needs to truly understand the heart and soul of a sinner.  I understand sin inside and out, and would therefore make the best confessor.  Ok, and speaking of confessions, it's time to fess up.  

I am a giant doofus.  I can't help it, it's just too much a part of me to purge from my personality.  It's an inescapable fact I had to face when I realised I love Strava.  Snob will forever scorn me, (why are people obsessed with having electronic devices tell them what they just fucking did?but I can't help it.  Yesterday I got lost at SFU, and I spent quite a bit of time wandering around up there, and you'll never guess what those old softies at Strava did!  They gave me a little crown for my troubles.  

I was LOST!  I was riding in circles and I wasn't even going fast. It's downhill and still I didn't manage to top 20 km/hr, and EVEN SO they gave me a crown, bless em.  You know I love shiny things, and pretty things, and so you've probably already figured out that giving me a great shiny crown for riding in circles speaks directly to the little girl in me who really wanted to grow up to be a princess one day.  

This whole fiasco fills me with an uneasy sense of foreboding, though, because even someone with a teeny tiny, broken brain like mine can't help but figure this one out: 

Pope or nope, I'm forever doomed to Strava-doofusness.

Heaven help me.


  1. I think they gave you a crown because you drew a picture of a rhinoceros.

    Glad you're back on the bike, but take it easy!

    1. LOL!! You're right! I did!

      Don't worry, I can't help but take it easy these days. My legs are stuck in slow mode.

  2. I hope you're seeing just one of everything, Babs, coz you know..."one world is enough".

    Your legs deserve fame. Glad you're feeling better!

    1. Yup, no double vision till the end of the afternoon these days.

      Thank you! These ol' legs definitely feel slower than they used to, but still it's awesome to be back on the bike!

  3. Podium!!!

    Babs, did you ever think of stealing the big white helmet from the lady in pink riding the bike in heels? That monster woyuld protect your noggin..

    dances on pedals

    1. Lol... yeah, we don't want to take her brain bucket away... she definitely needs it.

  4. Awesome post, Babble! I think your brain is working just fine again! And so are your legs!

  5. Hey you kids, get off my lawn! Babs, you were almost in my 'hood! There are some nice hiking trails on the mountain too - as long as you listen for the kamikaze DH riders crash testing their helments.

    1. Can't. Help. Myself.

      Ohboyohboyohboyohboy please let the passage of time underscore my feeble attempts at self-restraint!

      Hellllllooooooooo there!
      What a strange coincidence! As I was riding in circles (I even stopped some poor Fred to ask how to escape the Tower of Childcare) I was thinking to myself that what I really need is a friend to show me where all the kool kids ride.

      Funny how we always have everything we need.

      So. When are we going for a bike ride? Hmmmm?

  6. Strava could be one of the final steps to holiness or enlightenment, but I'm not so sure anymore.
    Does the Pope "do"Strava? I guess it depends how old he Strava is.

  7. Ha...I just caught this post (playing catch-up) least that guy's got good taste! And thanks for the compliment!

    1. Shoot me your email if you want and I'll send you some stuff, if you read digitally. Might have to sleep with the lights on, tho. ;)