Good day. Day light is increasing; the sun is higher; the temperature is moderating; February is at an end; March is a hare on the hound (okay, I just made that one up).

I’m not mad as a hatter (yet) but I’m looking forward to freedom from COVID-19 and the confines imposed by the authorities. Covid-19 will end and I will end. Let’s hope it’s the former before the latter.

All to say that I’m restive and ready for the road, having spent many hours on the skate skis since January. I can say that I know every corner and curve and rise on the FLP in Gatineau, having climbed that stretch of road on my skate skis four times a week for several weeks. I can say, too, that the FLP is much easier to ascend on a bicycle. Skate skiing is basically an all out sprint for two plus hours; whereas, cycling has moments of rest, however fleeting. But, I learnt something the other day about skate skiing. It was a revelation, not in the biblical sense, though.

If you’ve been put off skate skiing because you don’t skate, think again. Skate skiing is actually akin to hiking more than to skating. Funny, eh. Everyone can hike; not everyone can skate. I’ve been doing it wrong for almost four years and am now trying to unlearn and to step forward in a different way. Progress has been slow but it’s coming. I should be good at by age 75. Haha.

Okay, so all this blather is by way of saying that I’m going to take a pass on the RLCT this year because a) it’s scheduled for August and I’d rather ride the PEI Grandfondo and b) I’m not interested in the RLCT 50 for 50 scheduled for May and c) everything is up in the air anyway because of COVID-19 and the question marks about the vaccination rollout. But, who knows. Maybe, things will change and the RLCT will become a thing of interest in 2021, after all.

It also looks as is air travel will be non-starter for several months. That means no Mallorca in April. That means cold weather cycling in April. I’m thinking we’ll have an early start to the season and would expect to be riding by April 01, maybe sooner. So, if you’ve been neglecting your fitness, it’s not too late to up the ante. Thirty days of concentrated training will see you in good stead for the start of the season.

Regarding your bike, if you haven’t already taken it to the shop for maintenance and mechanical fitness/safety, you might want to book now. If there’s another lock down, as Dr Tam is predicting, it might be difficult to get an appointment. Also bicycle parts are in short supply. Okay, I’m not your mum. Got it.

BTW, don’t you just love our MP, Cheryl Gallant. She never fails to surprise (but not in a good way). What a treasure – NOT.

Here’s to your health and fitness. May you have vigour and vitality in 2021.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (currently open)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.com; formerly arnpriorcycling.blog but no longer available as at March 01.

Life is short, and art long, opportunity fleeting, experimentations perilous, and judgment difficult. Hippocrates

Hello –

As an atheist, the X-mas story has no resonance for me. The birth of Jesus fulfills no prophecy nor offers any hope of salvation nor any prospect of ever meeting my mom and dad. Still, I find joy and pleasure daily, knowing life will end for me in nothingness, and possibly in eternal damnation in the ‘lake of fire’ for acts of denial.

That’s a terrifying prospect; yet, I wish my Christian friends (and those of religious faith and conviction), a Happy X-mas: may god answer your prayers and live up to your high expectations for an everlasting life and a reunion in the hereafter with loved ones.

My xmas wish is that you enjoy the company of family and friends in whatever numbers the authorities allow; may you have food and drink and good cheer in abundance and a belly full of laughter, as you recount the year gone by, and life’s folly and foibles. May your pleasure be great in remembrance and may joy overflow your cup in moments of gladness, while the world halts its scurry, however briefly.

May you have vigour and vitality in 2021.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Oscar Wilde

ArnpriorCycling Nov 29/20: 3 Riders; 62.7 kms; 2 hours; 246 m

Hello –

Now, that was more like it, just a superb morning for a brisk cycle. There was sunshine, dry roads, and cool air with a taste of the glacier in it’s breath. It was a great, lung bursting gasp, as one might attempt on the death bed to flee the grim reaper’s grasp – another moment, however briefly stolen before final extinction. Ah, but, it was glorious. You just should have been there.

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.” (aeh)

ArnpriorCycling Nov 28/20: 3 Riders; 67.6 kms; 2 hours 14; 416 m

Hello –

The bed is cozy, the morning dark; there are other more enticing options to consider. Why put warm toes onto a cold floor; why test resolve against icy winds and wet road spray? Why ride a bicycle? Might as well ask, why does the moon wax and wane. “I exist as I am, that is enough” (ww).

We exist but for a blink, like a day fly on a summer’s day – unaware of the ephemeral. Now, I find myself too late and too obdurate for salvation. That offering was a cold, unappetizing, tainted dish. Damnation awaits, is expected if not welcomed.

Important Stuff – Tentative Plan:

When/Who: November 29/20: ArnpriorCycling
Start: 09:00 am (SHARP) start from Stinsons
Where: SW
Description: 60 kms
Coffee Stops: None
Weather: A mix sun and cloud 0-3 C
Wind: South West 15 kms/hr

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” kjv

Hello –

Snow, rain, wind, wet roads, dirt, grud, in general messy conditions for cycling but where else would you rather be that riding your bicycle in late November pedalling away the fatty bits. Hey, we all have fatty bits. They’re hard to eradicate because they multiply like rabbits in a warren. Give them an inch of waist and they’ll take two, then three, then four and before you know it there’s an extra notch in your belt. The fatty bits are everywhere – torso, legs, and arms. Some people even have fat heads. Scary!

Here’s a bit of whimsy by way of a poetic statement of gratitude for all that is and for all that came into being for reasons we don’t know or understand; but, as a consequence of their ‘being’, we should marvel and be grateful. I’m an atheist but I, too, marvel and sing, in my fashion, a ‘canticle’ of thanks for my own existence and the wondrous world in which we live. A glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon takes the mind from the atrocious Christian denouement awaiting the damned. Enjoy, and revel in the moment; may the moments be continuous, memorable and many!

So, here’s the Important Stuff – Tentative Plan:

When/Who: November 28/20: ArnpriorCycling
Start: 10:00 am start from Sweet & Sassy
Where: Westward
Description: 50-70 kms
Coffee Stops: None
Weather: Sun and cloud 0-3 C
Wind: West 20 kms/hr

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

AS IF TO DEMONSTRATE AN ECLIPSE

I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude. bc

ArnpriorCycling Nov 21/20 1 Rider; 103.8 kms; 3 hours 55; 481 metres

Well, hello. That was a windy ride into a cold, glacier’s face. I was glad to turn my back on it after a solo 47 kms slog up River Road to the Queensline. The return was mighty fine but I lacked the necessary punch to take full advantage of the tailwind. Mind you, there were moments of great speed and pumping of joy and of dancing on the pedals. In the end though, my body and mind were done; having fought valiantly on the first leg, I was like a prize fighter, windy and wobbly, after throwing too many random punches in the early rounds only to be knocked out. Not pretty. Should have seen it coming. KO’d!

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing / …. at the end.” ms

ArnpriorCycling Nov 14/20 1 Rider; 98 kms; 3 hours 35; 523 metres

Well, the narrative this morning was the wind. There’s really not much else to say, except like a dessert of yoghurt, rhubarb, and ice cream it was a mixed bowl of delight. One could talk about the cold air and the brooding sky but they were minor players in the morning’s drama. It was Jekyll and Hyde wind, friendly and fierce.

But, in the context of fourteen days of quarantine (now history), it was a welcome breeze from the confines of house arrest. Where else would you rather be – under COVID-19 scrutiny or free as a bird buffeted by the wind?

Those 14 days appeared to me like an eternity of deprivation. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But, quarantine was no fun. The COVID-19 Minders hounded me like a Border Collie does sheep, keeping me penned and on edge. But, I’m COVID-19 free (non contagious) and free also from the hassling authorities.

Now, I’m left to muse on the greater threats posed by the inevitability of one’s death and of certain damnation. Eternal themes in the minds of man. To which I now add age and declining performance on the bike and in the bed. I’m not commenting on the latter but I’m doing my damnedest about the former.

Inactivity is not good – being off the bike for two weeks doesn’t help. The body ages quickly when not stressed. Before you know it, there’s a spongy belly and flabby dabby arms and moobs, appearing – like a moth pupa from a cocoon.

That’s not fake news. Getting slower with age is not fake news. It’s a fact, as is Trump’s defeat at the polls. One might rail against it but physical deterioration with age is a reality: VO2 max and cardio decline, muscular strength degenerates, body fat increases, and recovery time between bouts of exercise increases.

All of this is not a welcoming prospect but who’s going to jump off a cliff or hide in bed, shutting out the world with a pillow over one’s head. Not me. I may struggle; I may lag behind; I may get slower but I’m not given in. In time, Zen will come and I’ll reach a higher plane of consciousness and not have to chase my tail. I hope it’s a long way off.

“Do or decline” jb in jhp

So, here’s the Important Stuff – Tentative Plan:

When/Who: November 15/20: ArnpriorCycling
Start: 7:30 am start from Stinsons
Where: South and East
Description: 50-60 kms
Coffee Stops: None
Weather: Cloudy with rain in the forecast
Wind: SE 25+ kms/hr

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“The best way out is always through” RF

Hello –

This in from Hillary Mantel’s The Mirror & the Light. It’s a delightful read. There are many marvellous passages. As an example, the following paragraph and the sentence below, which comes at the end of the paragraph, is set up exquisitely, like a behind- the-back pass at the net in basketball:

“But you cannot make a wife out of bonnets and sleeves; hold all her rings together, and you are not holding her hand.”

You’ll appreciate the artistry/craft when you read the paragraph in it’s entirety.

Hope all is well with everyone. I’m suffering greatly in my quarantine. But, of course, I exaggerate. My table is full, my bed warm, my hand firm, and my heart steady. Comfort and peace are relative. I have no grounds for complaints.

Complaint but querulous to the end. Frustrated, yes, but with aspirations, hopes, ambitions, and desires – impotent to change outcomes, and wishing things might be otherwise.

I will emerge into the light, likely; but, for the frail, in these COVID-19 times, in their retirement homes and nursing homes, for them their outlook is bleak, their prospects narrowing for enjoyment, with few remaining pleasures in life.

Eventually, the light fades and we’re bereft of friends and family, left alone looking out forlornly into an unfeeling world. Soon or late the end comes.

So, breathe deeply and often and exult in your sweat from hard efforts on the bicycle because it won’t always be so! Embrace the climb as well as the thrill of the downhill.

“Seven years back, when Florence was besieged by the Emperor and begging for French aid, the burgesses went to the merchant Borgherini’s house: ‘We want to buy your bedroom.’ There were fine painted panels, rich hangings and other furnishings they thought might make a bribe for King François. But Margherita, the merchant’s wife, stood her ground and threw their offer back in their faces. Not everything in life is for sale, she said. This room is my family’s heart. Away with you! If you want to take away my bedroom, you will have to carry your loot over my corpse.

“He (Cromwell) would not die for his furniture. But he understands Margherita—always supposing the story to be true. Our possessions outlast us, surviving shocks that we cannot; we have to live up to them, as they will be our witnesses when we are gone. In this room are the goods of people who can no longer use them. There are books his master Wolsey gave him. On the bed, the quilt of yellow turkey satin under which he slept with Elizabeth, his wife. In a chest, her carved image of the Virgin is cradled in a quilted cap. Her jet rosary beads are curled inside her old velvet purse. There is a cushion cover on which she was working a design, a deer running through foliage. Whether death interrupted her or just dislike of the work, she had left her needle in the cloth. Later some other hand—her mother’s, or one of her daughters’—drew out the needle; but around the twin holes it left, the cloth had stiffened into brittle peaks, so if you pass your finger over the path of her stitches—the path they would have taken—you can feel the bumps, like snags in the weave. He has had the small Flanders chest moved in here from next door, and her furred russet gown is laid up in spices, along with her sleeves, her gold coif, her kirtles and bonnets, her amethyst ring, and a ring set with a diamond rose. She could stroll in and get dressed. But you cannot make a wife out of bonnets and sleeves; hold all her rings together, and you are not holding her hand.

Christophe says, ‘You are not sad, sir?

No. I am not sad. I am not allowed to be. I am too useful to be sad.’”

September 05/20: Four Riders; 89 kms; 2 hours 51; 474 metres

Well, that was a good ride this morning, albeit a gnarly wind and too few riders but overall most enjoyable. Legs are heavy from the effort and from several consecutive days of cycling. It’s frustrating how the muscles fatigue after repeated efforts, even though one nonetheless feels in great form. I suppose that’s why the fitness triumvirate of Stress, Recovery, and Rest is the trainer’s mantra. Maybe an injection would work just as well? Anyone know a doc or two? Asking for a friend.

Okay, thanks for cycling this morning. It turned out to be a good solid effort and Cathy’s home baking was a welcome treat. Someone once said, “you just s/h been there!”. He/she were right on that count. Thank you to CAM for the culinary surprise.

Happy cycling and safe cycling to those meeting at Stinsons and riding tomorrow and Monday.

Regarding Sunday/Monday, no blog post for those days. It’s possible that KO, or NS, or KK will email. If you’re interested, please contact them. Need coordinates, email me at arnpriorcycling@bell.net.

Regarding next Saturday, stay tuned.

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

“It’s a mercy that time runs in one direction only, that we see the past but darkly and the future not at all.”

‘We Ride to Eat’

Hello –

The forecast for tomorrow is calling for wild wind and cool air under a full sun but rain possible around 11 am. Dress accordingly and be mindful of the expected crosswinds. It’s really a meander rather than ride to anywhere. As in past, there is no scheduled coffee stop, except for those wishing to stop at Neat cafe (52 km mark). The MFB is closed until next week, apparently. FYI.

Important Stuff – Tentative Plan:

When/Who: September 05/20: ArnpriorCycling
Start: 7:00 am start from Stinsons
Where: Heading east then west and north
Description: 89 kms/541 metrers
Coffee Stops: Neat or None
Weather: Sunny; Temp 10-16C
Wind: West 20 kms/hr

Regarding Sunday/Monday, no blog post for those days. It’s possible that KO, or NS, or KK will email. If you’re interested, please contact them. Need coordinates, email me at arnpriorcycling@bell.net.

Okay, stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Contact:
– arnpriorcycling@bell.net
– Twitter a@arnpriorcycling (private)
– IG @arnpriorcycling (private)
– WP arnpriorcycling.blog

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. m a