August 23, 2010

July 11, 2010

117 km ride. testing my resolve.

undulating hills and bumpy roads. I'm not going to mince it. The ride was a bitch. we did a pretty low key ride yesterday and wanted to do back-to-back 100km rides as per the requirements for the ride, but man was I in for a treat, and life lesson.

We started around 10am from Kennedy station and we were ready and raring to go. We ate breakfast and I had my magic liquid mix to keep me energized, we rode well and kept pace with the faster teams and were making good time, but somewhere along the Uxbridge route I passed the 7th Concession and kept going. David was riding with another friend and they were ahead of me and I was trying to catch up, but in that rush, I lost sight of the riders. Anyhow, I realized I was lost and back tracked the route to try to keep up with the team. when I finally did reach Uxbridge, I had to look around for my fellow team mates because the break stop was situated in a rather unclear area. Poor David was all upset, because I was missing and not reachable. These rides can really test your resolve and limits. You realize that you are capable of completing almost anything and despite all the shit and negative things you may go through, you have to conquer any self defeating thoughts and triumph. This ride was difficult, but it opened my eyes and made me a better person. I am able to do anything I want. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to and it really is mind over everything. These training rides may condition the body, but I am finding that it's more about the conditioning of the mind and realizing that we are capable of pushing ourselves to the sheer limits. Overcome fear, trepidation, self doubt. You are the master of your own world and you can accomplish anything you set yourself too.

June 27, 2010

Soggy Training Ride: 103km: Finch - Holland Canal

Upon our return from vacation, I was a little anxious and worried that after 3 weeks of no bike training, I would fall short on the training ride. When I left for my vacation, I had already completed several 75+ km rides, but I didn't want to be the cog in the wheel and slow anyone else down due to irregular hiccups in my training. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to ride 100+ km because I was behind on my training. At 11:30pm Friday, I decided to do the 103 km ride the following day from Finch Station to Holland Marsh and am glad I did. It was definitely an experience to test the limits. I tend to be a fair weather rider, but Saturday was not a pretty day. It was wet, inclement and dreary. I had my doubts, but made my choice to do the ride. There was no going back. I must say that riding through rain and the dreary weather really was a great experience. I have found that for me, it is has become more about the conquering of the mind, rather than body. Conditioning the body is important, but conditioning the mind is really the key. You have to keep a good outlook and be optimistic that you can do it. Once you allow that seed of doubt to get in your head, it will grow and create all sorts of problems. I have to thank the other riders like Noah, Melanie and Warren, who kept me at their pace. Their enthusiasm and encouragement really helped me conquer any doubts that may have been in my head. Riding through 5 hours of rain can really defeat a person, but I am glad that I feel that I conquered the rain and did not let the clouds, rains or hard ride diminish the experience.

May 23, 2010

An awesome week of training!

What an awesome week for training!!! I feel so invigorated and proud for having pushed myself further. Wednesday, David and I rode out to Oakville and back. It was a good 75km and it was a stupendous day, so why waste it, right? We had planned on doing the ride from Finch Station to Aurora yesterday, but thought the weather forecast was iffy. We heard it was perfect and regretted missing it, but we are sure we will do that scenic ride another day.

This morning I was up at 4:30 am all stoked about our ride from Kennedy Station to Pickering and back. I tend to get very enthusiastic over these things, maybe a little over enthusiastic, so I was careful not to wake David. We were on the subway for 9am and met several other riders on our way to Kennedy. We were one of the first to arrive and headed out with about 30-50 other riders. I am sure more came on account of the amazing weather forecast. We had an awesome ride and left Kennedy at 10:10am, and got back at 1:55pm. We rode hard and fast, and even Taunton Road didn't slow us down. Pretty good timing and we rode with our Captain Tony Farebrother and co-captain Philip Youngman-Reineck for the majority of the way. It was pretty awesome riding with 2 riders who could push you to ride hard and push your limits. Thank you guys for being great trainers and being so supportive!

Our adrenaline was still running, so we decided to ride back from Kennedy to our place. So our total ride would have been around 80km. :) Have a great long weekend my friends! XO Alex

May 15, 2010

Group Training Ride

The weather was supposed to be sunny and 18, but someone forgot to do their happy, sunny warm dance. We were following the weather reports all week, hoping for good weather as we were still recovering from sickness. I had food poisoning and David had the stomach flu. So out we went to brave the wind and the cool/cold temperatures. It may not have been that cold for others, but for a group of cyclists in Lycra and spandex, it was damn cold! We headed to Kennedy Station for the start time of 8:40am, but arrived at 8:51am, where we joined approximately 80+ cyclists for a training ride to Pickering and back. The total distance is around 63 km, and it was my first group training ride. Our Team lead Tony and co-captain Phil were leading this ride and it was also our last chance to do our mandatory 50km+ ride.

The ride was pretty good, but there was one stretch along Taunton Road that was a long steady ride up a graded slope. It was a bit of a struggle, but riding with other cyclists, really keeps you motivated and everyone is extremely supportive.

David and I rode steadily and strongly, catching up with the first 2 groups who had left before us. At around 55 km, David got a flat. It didn't help any, that both of us were so ill-prepared and forgot to bring our flat tire tool kits with tube and pump. A learning lesson. No need to get down yourselves. You just learn and move on from your mistakes with more knowledge. David took the TTC the last 8 km and I rode to the end point to wait for him.

Now, we are off to a get together with my cousins, then have to go to our friend Tim and Yung's Spring House party, which is also doubling as Tim's bike rally fund-raiser. Busy day and both David and I are still feeling remnants of our sickness, but we plan on having a great time.

May 4, 2010

"moving" day

As I go through this exploratory life changing journey, I realize how much it is changing me. I know I have said this more than once, but I feel so blessed and moved by the support. So many friends and family, including my brother and in-laws have donated for this cause and now my parents have also donated. I didn't realize how moving that would be, to have my parents support and to say they were proud of me. I dunno, I suppose deep down all one ever wants is to feel love and have their parents tell you how proud they are. A sign of acknowledgement that you are an adult and living your own life. We haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but the respect and love I have for them is truly great.

Thanks Mom, Dad, Justin and Jenny and all! You mean the world to me and I love you dearly.


May 3, 2010

The bike Rally Expo

After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, David and I headed over to the Sheraton Centre on Sunday for the first ever Bike rally Expo, a day full of seminars intended for rider development and personal training. It was a great idea and the turn out was quite good, with lots of people coming in from noon-5pm. We had already done the fundraising and flat fix seminars, so I spent most of my time helping a few people practicing with flats, and then sitting in on the Nutrition seminar, then getting my bike fitted. All of them were great.

The following seminars were offered:
  • Fundraising
  • Flat Fix Bike
  • Fitting
  • Nutrition
  • Wellness (the RMT group)
  • Rally Readiness
  • the PWA Agency
Thanks so much to the facilitators: Sherri Byer, Robb Walker, Michael Cress, Mike Clark,
Brian Farr, Dan Crystal, PWA.

April 29, 2010

Port Credit Ride

In an effort to catch up with my fellow riders, David and I took the bikes out yesterday along the Lakefront, Westward to Port Credit. It's about a 50 km ride, and very scenic, except for a small stretch along lakefront. It was still pretty chilly, and we were against Head winds both ways, but that is a great way to train! We took a lot of the back side roads once in Etobicoke, and I was pretty amazed at the amount of great trails in the area. The whole ride took us about 2 1/2 hours with a quick 15 minute stop in Port Credit. I likely cannot make Saturday's training ride again as I have my niece's birthday, but will ride my bike to my brothers at Don Mills/Sheppard. I'll see how David feels about a ride tomorrow, as we both have commitments this evening.

Despite missing several training rides, and having the set back of a sprained ankle, I have caught up with the distance that the teams are riding. They will be riding from Kipling to Meadowvale this Saturday (43km). I feel less guilty about missing the rides, but haven't been socializing or participating with my Team "Kiss and Ride". I still feel that I need to go and work as a team with them.

April 28, 2010

First ride tribulations

I took the Monday of this week off to give myself a long weekend, and headed up North with David and 4 others to a friend's family cottage in Muskoka. We left Friday and had a beautiful time opening the cottage. Lots of work, but it was well worth it, as you can tell from the sunset pictures. I don't have a new camera yet, so am relying on my Blackberry Bold, which doesn't do anything justice.

I felt bad for missing yet another Training ride, which took place the Saturday I was away, from Kennedy to the Zoo loop which was 43 km. I've started my training slow, because of my sprained ankle, but decided to do a ride on Monday, since we returned early on the afternoon of Sunday.

So, Monday comes along, and if you all recall it was a spectacular day. David taped up my ankle and we were out the door by 11AM. We decided to do a ride from our place, to and up along the Humber river, then North West to St. Clair and back, which would have been about 37km. When we got to Palace Pier and turned North along the Humber, I noticed a clicking sound as I changed gears. I decided to press on, keeping an eye on it. Sadly, as I crested a hill near St. Clair my chain snapped. I ended up havong to coast and walk back to York Mills station. We jumped on the TTC and and entertained many patrons in our spandex.

At least it happened now, so I could get some experience.

April 20, 2010

Seminars and lots of studying

As my ankle heals, I have been doing a lot of studying. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Reading and following various blogs, discussion boards, and watching endless Youtube videos on how to train, how to ride, and how to adjust your bike. Thank goodness for the Internet. This would have been true agony 20 years ago.

Tonight, I am off to a Hands-On Bike Repair Clinic held by the Bike Rally organizers to teach us how to fix our bike if we have an issue while on the ride. This should be quite fun and is another great learning experience.

As I was preparing some of my tools, I began to reminisce about greeting the 300+ riders in Montreal last year, and remember how emotional I was. I cried like I hadn't cried in a long time. It was worse than the Oprah Ugly cry. I was imagining finishing the ride and entering Montreal with my fellow 300-400 riders this year, and found a tear running down my face. I am turning into a bigger girl than I could have imagined. Funny thing, is I have no problem with that.

April 10, 2010

Overwhelming Response!!!

Wow, the overwhelming response and support has left me absolutely overwhelmed. As of this morning, I reached my $3,500.00 fund-raising goal. At the beginning of this journey, I would never have expected to have reached it, let alone this early in the process. I realize that was my own mind playing tricks on me...a product of my own lack of confidence or fear. But I did it. No actually, we did it. So thank you.

Having said that, I have decided to continue and challenge myself even further. I have decided to increase my fund-raising goal to $6,500.00. I know that is a big number, but it is just a number, just like 660 km (distance from Toronto to Montreal) is just a number. It is all psychological. If we believe we cannot do it, we won't. If we have doubt in our thoughts, we will carry doubt in all our actions. It's a tough thing to conquer as we are human and it is our nature to have fear and trepidation . But Strength, determination and the will-power to conquer those fears is also a trait of being human. All personal challenges can teach you a lot about yourself and your abilities.

This journey has already been a mind-altering and life changing experience, and I still have 3 months to go. I am confident that I can reach my new goal and am honoured to have such supportive friends and family who have supported me and PWA. Thank you.

Sincerely Alex

April 5, 2010

Sprained Ankle won't keep me down!!

Hello Friends,

A few updates on the Bike Rally training and fund-raising. I had a little hitch
last Thursday, which has slightly affected my training. I sprained my ankle walking on a lawn at night. I know that doesn't say much about my coordination or athletic abilities, but I assure you that I am taking care of the ankle and it is a thousand times better than it was Thursday or Friday. It looked like someone had implanted a baseball in my ankle, but with careful attention, icing and elevation of the foot, it is now well on the way to being back to normal. I hope within a weeks time, that I will be able to do a moderate ride.

On the fund-raising front, I am so proud and happy to say that I have reached 84% of my fund-raising goal in only 4 weeks! With your generous and kind support, I have raised $2925.00 and believe that the Support will continue to pour in, and that I will surpass the original $3500.00 goal I had set. I have realized through this process, the amazing kindness of friends, strangers and family. Truly, from my heart, I would like to say Thank you. To have your Support means a great deal to me and you can only imagine what this means for those who will benefit from your donations. You are all stars in my eyes and rock my world!

Thank you with Gratitude!

March 14, 2010

New Old Bike

I have a used road bike that I may purchase off a very good friend. He was kind enough to allow me to take it to test, train, and even ride it for the Summer, before I made my decision. I was worried about training on my heavy Norco hybrid, but now have a LeMond Road bike. It's sized at 54, but looks and feels right. I am going to get the pedals and shoes this week and will give it a go. It doesn't have that crunched compact feeling of a lo of the new bikes. This is longer and fits my 6 foot 1 frame well. I'll post a picture of her when I am ready, but need to get other stuff done now. I'm doing some further research on Century rides and building up and training for that. My friend Ken, who so happens to be the same person who proffered his bike to me, is also a gear head and suggested I look or pick up the magazine "Get Out There". You can go online and find the article for Century training at

Lots to do. Lots to prep. Very excited. I want to go out on the streets to ride but it's still raining. I've also raised $1,630.00 already. I am shocked, flabbergasted and downright glowing happy for all the support and encouragement. I have a few cheques and cash receipts to submit this week to PWA, but may even consider "upping" my Goal to see how much I can raise.

Thank you again everyone!!

March 9, 2010

Gratitude and Thanks!

I am very thankful and appreciative to all those who have helped with my PWA (People Living With AIDS) Bike Rally Fundraiser this Year. I've raised just over $1630.00 and you have all been an inspiration, whether through monetary and/or verbal gifts. All are accepted with gratitude, as I couldn't do this without the both.... All the kind words, encouragement and verbal support have added all that more determination to my cause! I mentioned earlier that anyone over $100.000 donation would be be entered into a raffle draw for a personal painting, but I have been so overwhelmed by the response, that I am donating another painting for donations under $100.00. Those who donate $99 or less will be added to a raffle to also win a painting, as well..

I haven't chosen the piece as yet, but will post soon.

You people ROCK my world!! Kindness and generosity truly do extend further than one can imagine!

See More

March 4, 2010

Some Videos of the Friends for Life Bike Rally: A documentary.

I wanted to provide a little history and the reason why I have chosen to do this ride. The following 3 videos are part of a documentary of the Bike Rally. Some of our riders are skilled cyclists; however, the Bike Rally has men and women of all backgrounds participating, from the ages of 18 to 70, joint in their passion to support their friends and loved ones. In its twelfth year, the Bike Rally is one of the most well-organized, safe, and inclusive events in Canada. There are more than 18,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, approximately one quarter of Canada's HIV-positive population. The need is great and the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA) provides practical information and support services, such as a food bank, health promotion, and treatment programs. The Friends For Life Bike Rally supports PWA and helps to raise over half of its annual operating budget.

Please help pledge and support me Online by clicking HERE and as part of my incentive to you, I will be donating a personal painting to be raffled off to those who contribute $100.00 or more. For each $100 donation you will get one ticket entered for the raffle. The 30 x 40 Gallery style painting is called "Red Rhapsody" and is valued at $880.00. The painting and its specifications can be found at my website