All posts by arfenarf

They gave me a choice: lose 45 pounds or get used to life with adult-onset diabetes. So I'm an adult-onset athlete instead.

Vic2Cow (ow, ow, ow)

The Victoria Wheelers hosted a 175 km ride from Victoria to Cowichan Lake… by way of Port Renfrew. I’m used to thinking of Port Renfrew as The End of Everything, but the province paved some logging roads over the spine of the island a few years ago and now it’s passable even by nutbars on road bikes. We had a perfect warm (but not too hot) day to steal a late summer weekend and enjoy some of the island’s most scenic clearcuts.

Unfortunately, I can’t really go on and on and on about how epic this ride was, because there were more than a few really serious nutbars who stopped with the rest of us who were weeping, gnashing our teeth, pulling cramps out of our legs, and eating cheeseburgers… and then waved goodbye and kept going all the way back to Victoria, almost 300 km.. I firmly insist that the majority of us who chose to stop got the better end of the deal. The Wheelers packed our bikes lovingly into a truck and packed us lovingly into a school bus equipped with a genial driver and coolers of tasty adult beverages and then propelled us all down the island. By the time we got back, the bikes were neatly racked and ready to take home. Very carefully.

But I digress, possibly because one of the very best things about this ride was stopping. I might have handled it better, except I spent last week playing very hard on the shores of Lake Superior, kayaking, cycling long empty roads, and crashing a rented MTB through sand pits and into trees with abandon. Those chickens came home to roost right around Jordan River when the whole girdle of insulted core muscles announced they’d had enough and seized up shockingly quickly, shockingly painfully. I stopped, snivelling, waved the little group I was with onward – and waited for the sag wagon. But after about a minute of self-pity and stretching, I felt kind of OK again and discovered I’d bought myself another 45 minutes or so. So I soldiered onward like this for the next 100 kilometres. Start, seize, stop, stretch, lather, rinse, repeat.

Sadly, one of the most painful things to do was holding a stable position while descending, which robbed the screaming, rip-roaring plummet into Port Renfrew of much of its joy. Rolf and Marcus managed to cover their dismay as I limped into the Port Renfrew fuel stop but agreed to let me tail along the rest of the way. I mean, how hard could a mountain pass with 110 km in the bag possibly be? And 30 of that on rollicking riverside?

So, up we went, Rolf, Marcus, and I, knowing the group of Wheelers who were sweeping were tactfully staying back about two turns in the road so we couldn’t see them. But I knew they were there. The road is spectacular as it winds up and over into the Cowichan Valley. There were a surprising number of cars and trucks sharing the road with us but every last person was understanding and patient.

Which also goes for my companions. They each helped so in their own ways. Marcus is an unstoppable diesel. He manages pace perfectly and got stronger the whole way. Rolf opted for head-games, alternating teasing, cajoling, outright lying about the upcoming terrain, and feigning tiredness of his own. That, and he shared the very best can of lukewarm Coca-Cola ever bottled.

It all came to a head for me with only seven kilometres to go. Even riding downhill, I couldn’t pull any more and I just hurt everywhere. Even my right shoulder (?!) was screaming. When the sweep started to smell the barn, they rode up and over us, encouraging us – even (thank you so much) giving me a push on the saddle back toward the wheel slipping away from me – but that last burst of effort broke me and I started bawling there in the middle of nowhere. I waved the pack on, snivelling, and they vanished from sight. But when I looked back: there was Rolf, still pretending he was Very Tired. He stuck it out with me to the very end and I’m so grateful. I’m chalking it up to the Tripleshot spirit of “no-one left behind” and will make sure to pay it forward.

If I ever get on my bike again.


That beautiful Pank bike of mine was stolen from a locked rack on the back of my car last night.

I am so bitterly disappointed.  It’s probably in parts and sold for drugs by now, but my dear son has gone all Avenging Angel and is combing the city for a flash of Hot Pink Bike.


It’s the only one in town like it – a 2006 Specialised Epic FSR Marathon. DT Swiss Wheels, Juicy brakes, SRAM bits, Rox Shox suspension. drop me a line if you happen to see it go by…


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One Hundred Miles of Beacon Hill Park

101-bottles-strava“I have this great idea,” said my friend Simon on a ride a couple of weeks ago. “I’m going to celebrate the summer solstice by doing a century ride…”

“That sounds cool,” I said.

“…around Beacon Hill Park‘s 1-mile loop 100 times.”

“I take it back,” I said. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m in.”

Continue reading One Hundred Miles of Beacon Hill Park

Tempus Fugit

First Day of School
First Day of School, 2000

It has been a week for watching time pass.  I had a blast racing the clock at the time trial.  I’m taking a remote course this week that means I’m effectively living on Eastern Daylight Time (dang, 8:00 EDT is early).  And my son graduated from high school a week ago and is launching himself into a grand new adventure.  So, of course, I think about time.

I think about the eighteen years since I landed in Victoria, carrying this baby.  I think about the time that has passed from this boy’s start in school.  Now, he’s teaching me.  He spent another evening at Hartland with me last night, helping me get my mojo back after a really tough series of crashes on Sunday.  (“Dude, are you dead?!”  –the mountain biker who rolled up behind me and wouldn’t leave until I demonstrated that my brakes and my brain were all still working).   Continue reading Tempus Fugit

Rumble Dallas Road Time Trial

It’s been a bit of a hiatus, thanks to travel and Life Stuff. But I have an actual race to report!

(My anxiety-driven-perfectionist decision to skip the Shawnigan Lake Tri because I am in less-than-peak condition turned out to be a bonehead move. It would have been a great race anyway, but oh, well)

I raced the 5 km Rumble* Dallas Road Time Trial, the first event of three (TT, Road race, and the Bastion Square Criterium) running this weekend. I’ve been experimenting way, way outside my comfort zone this spring (see also: Biking, Mountain; Road Race, Latoria; Roubaix, Barry’s), and it felt really good to be back in my sweet spot where I sort of know what I’m doing, the Time Trial. No tactics, no sudden pickups, (relatively few) crazy corners. Just put your head down and ride as hard as you can over the distance. I mean, really. I didn’t even have to save anything for the run.

Continue reading Rumble Dallas Road Time Trial