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Femsport 2015 (Vancouver)

September 11, 2015 in Events, Exercise

Femsport 2013 - Tire Flip; Photo Credit: Rick MacDonald http://flyintheeye.zenfolio.com

Photo Credit: Rick MacDonald http://flyintheeye.zenfolio.com

Here’s a video of Dawn’s Femsport Vancouver 2015 experience. Follow up post coming soon!

 

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5 Things I Learned from My First Fondo

February 5, 2015 in biking, Events, Exercise, Outdoor Activity, Race

Photo by: Sportograf

In September of 2014 I rode in my very first Whistler GranFondo, a 122km bike ride from Vancouver to Whistler, and it was an awesome experience. A Gran Fondo is defined as a big group ride that is usually longer than 100 kilometres or more. Riders of all skill levels and experience can participate and the ride is organized like a race; although it is not meant to be a race there are race elements built into it for more competitive riders. Whether you’re racing or just want the satisfaction of finishing the ride, gran fondos offer a challenging thrill for everyone.

As someone relatively new to road cycling, I learned a lot on the journey to my first gran fondo. Here are five (of many) things I learned from the experience leading up to the big day. Although these are not specifically about the day itself (maybe I’ll save that for another post) these were some valuable lessons learned along the way. If you are thinking about getting into cycling or want to ride in your first fondo too, I hope this provides you with some helpful insight.

1. Get fit. I don’t mean fit in terms of muscularity, endurance, and strength; although that will come with training. I mean ‘fit’ in terms of being properly fitted on your bike. A proper bike fit can help prevent injuries and reduce discomfort associated with a poor bike setup.

BikeFitting

Many specialty bike shops offer bike fitting services that can help fine-tune your bike to your size and riding needs. I had a bike fit done with a professionally certified bike fitter and it was a really valuable learning experience. I only wish that I had done it sooner. The session consisted of a thorough analysis of my riding needs, goals, habits, posture, flexibility, equipment, even down to the type of eye-wear I use when I ride. They hooked up sensors to different parts of my body and measured my movements while I rode my bike on a stationary trainer. The sensors were connected to a computer which projected a stickman-like figure of me on a screen analyzing all my numbers – I felt like cyborg! After getting my bike fit, we made some adjustments to my bike’s set-up to give me a more comfortable and efficient ride.

2. No shame in spandex. Wearing the proper gear can make a huge difference to the riding experience. A good pair of padded cycling shorts and a proper fitting cycling jersey with pockets on the back are incredibly practical, especially on long rides. It’s amazing how much you can cram into those little pockets on the back of those tight little jerseys; I remember stuffing pb&j sandwiches, energy bars, a banana, and energy gels with plenty of room to spare.

Sunny day at Porteau Cove

A beautiful day at Porteau Cove, Photo credit: Chuck

 

3.  Cycling is not cheap. The start up costs add up. At first you think that all you need is a bike but think again. Once you get a bike you realize there’s a whole lot more in store. Here are some additional items for consideration.

– helmet (I had an old one but as I learned with child car seats, they have an expiry date)
– clipless pedals
– cycling cleats/shoes
– accessories; bike bump or CO2 cartridges, water bottles, bottle cages, lights, sunglasses, spare tubes, saddle bag, a multi-tool, tire levers, cleaning supplies
– apparel: shorts, jerseys, gloves, vest or jacket (for those rainy day rides)
– bike computer

Now you don’t have to get all these things at once and instead gradually build up to it. So while it’s not cheap to get started, once you have most of the essential gear, you’re pretty much set to hit the road whenever you like. However, after riding for a while and seeing many other bikes on the road, you may be tempted to get a newer, lighter, flashier bike with better components! I’ve often heard amongst other cyclists that the appropriate number of bikes you should own can be boiled down to a simple formula, n+1. With ‘n’ being the number of bikes you already own.

At the top of Cypress Mountain.

Atop Cypress with the support of ride leaders Kelly and Rob of the JUST GIVER 4PD cycling club.

 

4. Chamois cream is a thing. Once I started going on longer rides, I was thankful this existed. You can apply it to the inside of your shorts or directly to your skin. I always did the latter. Chamois cream improves comfort in the saddle and can help prevent chaffing. TMI.

Taking in the view at Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver.

Taking in the view at Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver. Photo credit: K.Jablonski

5. There is a lot beauty to be seen out there and it’s better seen on two wheels. I feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful place but I’m sure wherever you live the beauty is magnified tenfold when you’re on your bike, or maybe it’s just the endorphins talking.

Some of the places I biked to during my training rides (in no particular order)

UBC
Spanish Banks
Queen Elizabeth Park
Stanley Park
Iona Beach
Deep Cove
Seymour demonstration forest
Cypress Mountain
Steveston Village
Porteau Cove
Whytecliff Park
River Road
Pitt Meadows
Westwood Plateau
Burnaby Mountain
Belcarra Regional Park
Anmore
Horseshoe Bay

These are all beautiful places in their own unique ways and sure you can also get there by driving or some other mode of transport but the journey of getting there by bike, the things you see along the way, the neighbourhoods you pass, the struggle, and the sense of accomplishment of getting there (and back) is much much more rewarding.

Happy to cross the finish line in Whistler, BC. Look at that smile!

Happy to cross the finish line in Whistler, BC. Look at that smile! Photo by: Sportograf

Thanks for allowing me to share my experience with you. If you have any questions/comments or if you would like to go for a ride sometime or just talk bikes, please use the comments section below.

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Kinetic Family in the Yukon: Fish On

August 3, 2014 in Events, Exercise, Outdoor Activity

With its awesome natural beauty, the relatively short flight, and the opportunity to visit family, Whitehorse, Yukon has been a choice summer vacation destination for us time and time again.

Our summer trips are often filled with many wonderful activities and over a series of blog posts we will share our experiences and highlight some of our favourite things to do in the area – perhaps a quasi ‘list of things to do’ for future travelers considering a visit to the land of the midnight sun.

Catch of the Day - Lake Trout at Dezadeash

Catch of the Day – Lake Trout at Dezadeash

FISHING DAY

I’ve gone fishing a few times in my life and and I’ve been lucky to catch a few fish here and there but I wouldn’t call myself an angler, not even close. Plus, all the fish that I have ever caught have been nothing to write home about. Well, that all changed on August 1st, 2014 when Dawn and I were guided on a fishing expedition by “Fish On” in the Yukon blogger, YukonTony (Dawn’s brother). An avid and experienced angler, YukonTony taught us the ins and outs of fishing in the Yukon. He also guided us on a fishing trip to one of the most picturesque fishing spots I have been to yet.

About a 2 hour drive outside of Whitehorse, Lake Dezadeash offers some of the best fishing in the region. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Kluane mountains the scenery alone makes this one of the most beautiful places on earth. I would have gone home happy to have just been there. The tranquility and the surrounding scenery is so awe-inspiring that no picture or video can do it justice.

The sun beaming down on Lake Dezadeash.

The sun beaming down on Lake Dezadeash.

As a beginner and first-timer to Dezadeash, I was pleasantly surprised when within just 10 minutes and a few casts of the line I had already hooked a couple of Lake Trout. And big ones, to boot! After releasing my first couple of fish (too big to keep), I went on a bit of a cold streak with my line but Dawn caught fire with hers and landed fish after fish as she caught and released 5 Lake Trout by the end of our 3-hour fishing adventure.

1 of 5. Dawn led the way landing five Lake Trout during our 3-hour trip to Dezadeash.

1 of 5. Dawn led the way landing five Lake Trout during our 3-hour trip to Dezadeash.

This particular expedition did not go without exerting some effort as the trek to the lake itself required a bit of hiking with all our gear in tow (food, equipment, waders, etc.). As we stood wearing waders in the lake the activity required constant core stabilization to prevent falling into the water, especially if the wind picked up and the waves got bigger. The most physically demanding part was reeling in the fish, especially if it was a big one. Apart from that, if a couple of wannabe anglers like us can catch a fish, I’m pretty sure anybody can.

Lake Dezadeash has been the best fishing experience I have had so far and I’m already thinking about the next time we go back. Lake Dezadeash = pure awesomeness.

Read more about The Secrets of Dezadeash (and other great fishing spots in the Yukon), how to get there, and all the gear you’ll need to fish at this lake by visiting YukonTony’s “Fish On” in the Yukon blog.

Watch our fishing video courtesy of YukonTony. Thank you.

Links:
Yukon Angling Licences (2014-2015)

 

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At One Point In My Life I Played With Deez Nuts

May 22, 2014 in Events, Exercise, Outdoor Activity

Deez Nuts in Action

This is a bit of a throwback post to our ultimate frisbee playing days in the VUL (Vancouver Ultimate League). Oh Ultimate, what a fantastic sport. We played league ultimate for nearly a decade and made a lot of great friends along the way. Compared to all the other sports that we’ve ever been exposed to the thing that made ‘ulti’ so awesome was this underlying principle that ultimate players have come to know as the ‘spirit of the game’. It’s not about the silly games played and songs sung after the games, although those have become tradition, but the respect and sportsmanship amongst players and teams is what supersedes everything else. This is a tip of the hat to all the fellow ulti players out there and a shout-out to all those we’ve ever played with and/or against (however you want to look at it); because at one point in your life you played with Deez Nuts.

Pooped. Deez Nuts - The Next Generation.

Pooped. Deez Nuts – The Next Generation.

We often had friends or players with their kids and newborns on the sidelines cheering us on. We’d always bring Malaya out to the games so she could get some exercise outdoors. Ultimate was a great way to keep in touch with old friends and make new ones too.

Little cheerleader.

Little Malaya crawling and drooling up and down the sideline cheering “Go mom and dad!”

Championship Disc back in the days. Pretty sweet despite it being only in Div.6.

Championship Disc from back in the day.

It was a hard fought championship. We didn’t know much but we worked hard and pulled off winning the division. It was pretty sweet to win a division championship despite it being only Div.6. We worked our way up to Div.2 but never made it far in the playoffs at that level. I am very proud to say that our team has been a past recipient of the team spirit award and it goes to show the kind of people we were lucky enough to play with.

Deez Nuts Summer 2005

Deez Nuts Summer 2005

Often at the end of every game, we’d play a silly game, sing a silly song or offer the other team a cold beverage as a thank you for the game and as a sign of respect for the spirit which the game is founded on. I wonder if the spirit still lives in the VUL today? Sure hope so.

For anyone who might be interested in learning more about the sport of Ultimate and how to play the game, visit the Vancouver Ultimate League website for an introduction. In fact, for those wanting to get into the game, the VUL is putting on a massive skills development clinic on May 31, 2014 for those new to the game.

Up!

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35, Hidden Tribes, Astronauts, and Family

April 17, 2014 in Events

I happily celebrated my birthday today and I am thankful for that. At 35, I am starting a habit of being grateful for things every single day. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be different every day and I am making a conscious effort to do it routinely every morning to appreciate what I may have otherwise taken for granted.

I am extremely lucky to wake up every morning to my wife and our two little ladies. Today I was greeted with these homemade birthday cards from my little artists.

Homemade DIY Birthday Card

DIY_bdaycard_mahal

 

diybdaycard_malaya

I finished reading a great book today: Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall. It was a great read, enlightening me on the Tarahumara people, ultra running, and the potential benefits of minimalist or barefoot running. It is well written, interesting, and inspiring, whether you are a runner or not. I am a year older and entering a new age category in the Vancouver Sun Run this year but this book makes me feel like I can run forever.

BorntoRun_cover

I had the privilege of spending the afternoon hanging out with retired Canadian Astronaut and the first Canadian to ever walk in space, Col. Chris Hadfield, and I asked him questions about how he prepares physically before, during, and after a space walk. He even said ‘hello’ to my daughter 🙂 This man is amazing and to have been able to spend a part of my day with him was a real honour.

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Malaya is also big fan of Col. Chris Hadfield and together we have watched many of his Youtube videos. To her, he is like a real-life Buzz Lightyear and I told him that. I bought her his book which I will one day present to her as a gift when she is old enough to read and appreciate it. Col. Chris Hadfield was very kind to sign it for her.

HadfieldBook_Signed

Finally (wouldn’t want it any other way), I got to cap off my day with the people I love – my big, loud, and party-loving family. A family dinner out at Little Ongpin restaurant. I wasn’t a big fan of Filipino restaurants until I ate here. Best tasting Filipino food next to mom’s cookin’.

Kinetic Family at Little Ongpin Restaurant

There is so much to be grateful for. A birthday to remember.

Thanks for all the love.

J.