I had been planning a 3hr ride on my turbo in the living room, but the forecast was so good I had to get outside. Plus its the last weekend of training myself so I get to do what I want.
I joined Alannah (Kiwi), John (Canadian), Alex (mostly British but has been here 13 years) at Burrard bridge for our ride. The plan was for a gentle recovery ride although we didn’t have much of plan. Riding in a group is so social and you can switch the person next to you every 10 minutes or so to speak to everyone. I particularly enjoyed chatting with Alex about all the things we miss and the things that Canadians don’t get, I’m learning they aren’t big on using or understanding metaphors. This group also worked well as while we have slightly different strengths we are all of a similar ability so there wasn’t any waiting around.
We went through Stanley Park, over Lions Gate Bridge and were heading towards Mt Seymour although we weren’t going to climb it, still too snowy despite it being the most gorgeous day. Alannah was in charge of directions and took us through North Van by a new route, the rest of us had no idea where we were going, but it was a much better than my previous attempts.
We eventually cycled along the Indian River road down the back of Mt Seymour and onto a steep decent with switchbacks. Alannah checked we wanted to continue down as we would have to come back up but the view looked good so we did. Despite the rest of us being rather shocked at how much hill there was and the gradient, boy was it worth it getting to the bottom. We came out on this spectacular jetty with stunning views and some pricey, I’m guessing, houses (one was on its own island with a little bridge).
In the summer this would be a great spot to cycle and go for a swim, good triathlon training. It is also far enough away from Vancouver that the water is so clear. I reckon the visibility must have been 5-10m and we could clearly see large starfish on the bottom. It would be an awesome spot for a picnic and swim before cycling home. We also had a seal come and say hi. He sort of woofed at us, I couldn’t work out if he was drowning or telling us to go away but either way he eventually swam off.
Eventually it was time to brave the hill back up. Alannah warned us we would need to be in our lowest ring and we set off cycling along the jetty.
I had just had my bike serviced but I couldn’t get on to the small ring so had to bail out twice but eventually managed and set off. I immediately caught Alannah who had stopped in a really bad place as she had been laughing too much, she had to walk to a lower gradient. The gradients down here must be at least 20% if not more at places. I eventually caught John and Alex zigzagging their way up one steeper part. My heart rate had got way too high but I soldiered on hanging on to John’s wheel, he is known as an excellent climber, and made it to the top. While the gradients are brutal the actually climb isn’t that long luckily.
We then eased back over the Ironmongers Bridge and to East Van for a post ride coffee and snack. While for the first 90% of the ride Alannah’s directions and route had been awesome, here it went a bit wrong. She confidently ploughed ahead but we were definitely going in circles until we eventually found our coffee shop on Commercial.
All in all a great ride and with a great group of people and I will definitely try and go out with them again. The only issue may be on Monday I start a specific program so I may be back on solo training but will have to wait and see.
Once home I had a quick turn around as was meeting Daniel (doing Whistler 70.3) for a run followed by a late lunch and beer. We meet at Burrard and set off on a short gentle run. We cruised along to Jericho and then back to Kits which ended up being about 9k but was nice and easy and we were just making the most of the beautiful weather and scenery.
On days like this its so easy to have no doubts about the decision to move to Vancouver. While I miss family and friends (and dog most of all) I am so much happier here and the quality of life is so much higher. All of the photos from this post are taken within Vancouver, I can’t believe there is another city like it in the world. There is also so much to do. I only do a tiny fraction of the available hobbies I would like but there is plenty of time and I will get round to them.
We returned to Kits and went for beer and burger at Local which is my favourite spot for lunch on a nice day. The woman seating us looked a bit confused by us in our running kit but we didn’t mind so just went and sat at the bar. I bumped in to a colleague, Ashley, and which was nice and had a brief catch up. After an excellent burger and a couple of beers, nutrition plan starts on Monday so had to take the opportunity, I returned home for some much needed R&R as there isn’t going to be much of either R in the next few months.
All in all a spectacular day outdoors and so glad I made the most of it. Its starting to get lighter in the mornings and evenings and this is just the beginning of what hopefully will be an epic spring and summer with lots more adventures.