Work out totals for the month

Posted by bernicky - July 31st, 2006

Keeping in mind I haven’t been able to cycle for more than a week 🙂

Bike: 29h 14m 54s – 888.3 KM
Run: 25h 21m 30s – 281.55 KM

Photos online

Posted by bernicky - July 31st, 2006

If you want to see some photos I have created a gallery with the pics I have taken of our vacation. I plan to add some more later. I’m not much of a shutterbug bug though so don’t be expecting too much. To see them go here

Thursday another great day.

Posted by bernicky - July 31st, 2006

The day started out in Lunenburg at about five fifteen in the morning with the sound of a foghorn in the distance and the sound of the dozens of songbirds around the camp singing fitfully in the thick morning fog. There is no mistaking fog for rain but you can get just as wet in fog as you do in the rain. It was 16 degrees and the fog was so thick you really couldn’t see more than ten meters before you. I got in a quick 10 K enjoying the relatively barren back harbour walking trail and the narrow beautifully adorned streets of Lunenburg.

Back at the camp it was time to unpack the van, fire up the Coleman and get breakfast started. We had packed practically the entire camp up the previous night in anticipation of thunder storms which mercifully did not materialize. Once the stove noises were being made my son made his presence felt long enough to order up some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. We had a fairly relaxed morning packing up the entire camp tents and all as we prepared for the next leg of our journey. We planned to visit Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove and camp at Glen Margaret. Surprisingly this is exactly what we managed to accomplish today.

The road to Mahone Bay ended up being somewhat confused. We no sooner followed one sign out of town pointing us in the direction of Mahone Bay when we found ourselves looking at another sign telling us to return the way we came to get to Mahone Bay. Several abortive starts later we pulled into a little store called the Kissing Bridge store and asked the owner for directions. He explained that both signs were right in their own way but that over the winter there had been a spate of sign thefts of the intervening signs which would have pointed out the correct turn offs in both cases. He explained the right way to go. When I told him that at one point we found ourselves on the road to Blue Rocks he suggested that we might want to take the time to visit there. It was a great suggestion.

It is kind of weird to tell you about Blue Rocks because I want to tell you how beautiful it is and I don’t want to tell you for fear that too many people will find out what a special little town it is. Blue Rocks is a working fishing village. It looks like a working village, the people, houses and businesses are those of a working village. It is not Lunenburg or Mahone Bay by any stretch of the imagination. It is not a place to bring kids because they will be bored to tears but it is the kind of place someone who paints or takes pictures would love to visit. It is the kind of place cyclists would love because it is a nice ride along a well paved by little traveled road and the end of the road is a beautiful site. The rocks are indeed bluish in the area and next to Peggy’s Cove the scenery was some of the most beautiful I have seen down here.

We made it to Mahone Bay by lunch time and had a nice little walk about the town taking the time to visit the three churchs for which the town is famous. We also too the time to eat lunch at the Saltspray Cafe and Chowder House on Main Street. Of course we had chowder which was superb but we also indulged in pan fried haddock with freshly steamed vegetables and home fries. My son had a tuna salad sandwich and my home fries and our daughter true to form stuck with hotdogs. The bill came to fifty dollars for lunch which included three soft drinks and a chocolate milk tip was extra. There was of course a candy store that received a compulsory visit and an equally compulsory pig out. This was followed by a visit to a bakery and a tea shop with similar results though the tea was more of a purchase than a consumption pig out. I dread the idea of stepping on a scale when I get back to Montreal.

My only regret is that Mahone Bay has changed so much over the last thirty years. It is a Provincetown in the making with little else to recommend it but the character it once had and the few specs of scenery which have not been replaced with something to empty the wallets of passing tourists. Personally I’m not likely to visit it again it has become far to gaudy even if they do have a great tea shop.

Having done Mahone Bay we hit the road again and headed for Glen Margaret where we set up our campsite and then headed out to Peggy’s Cove. The kids absolutely adored Peggy’s Cove and took off by themselves clambering over the granite hills and perched boulders as if they were born to them. My wife and I were a little more sedate in our explorations but enjoyed walking around the park immensely. I took the time to send a postcard from the lighthouse to my Mother since the last time I was in Peggy’s Cove it was with her.

That was pretty much our day. When we got back to camp I made some smoked meat sandwiches, started a campfire and ate three (yes three) scones. The kids roasted marshmallows delighting more in setting them on fire than in eating them and finally trundled off to bed without being asked.

Some days go better than you could have asked.

Lunenburg

Posted by bernicky - July 26th, 2006

You could spend a year in Lunenburg and not be able to photograph everything worthy of a photography. There are so many beautiful houses here with so many amazing details that it really is a walk through the architectural history of Nova Scotia. The main attraction of course is the Bluenose II, which we were lucky enough to see as it is currently in port. The 258 metric ton vessel was a gift to the province of Nova Scotia from the Oland family who had, had the ship built as a luxury yacht for entertaining their friends and family. The Bluenose II is an exact duplicate of the original Bluenose from a construction and rigging standpoint, but is better appointed in the creature comforts than the legendary racing schooner was.

When I woke up this morning I went for a run along the back harbour trail in Lunenburg. If you run the trail from one end to the other it is about 4 K (based on time) add to it a run up Lincoln street then a right on Blockhouse Road back to the start of the trail and you have a good 5 K run. The route is not particularly scenic as it is tree lined on either side, but there is a chance of seeing wildlife as I encountered 2 white tail deer this morning on my second loop. The deer were bounding towards me and my first thought was that someone had let their wolfhounds run loose on the path and I was in trouble. When they were about 3 meters away they veered off to my left and disappeared into the woods.

When I returned to our campsite at the visitor information center only $29.00 a night including water and power I set up the Coleman, got out the food and got breakfast started. My son upon hearing the stove start up got out of his tent already fully dressed and sat down at the picnic table. It was a good morning from a cooking standpoint the bacon fried up nice, the scrambled eggs didn’t stick to the iron pan (means I seasoned it right) and I only slightly burned the toast.

After breakfast we headed into Lunenburg which consisted of packing up the van, locking it up and walking to the old town. We spent the entire day walking around the old town visiting the churches, Knaut house museum, the Bluenose II and visiting all the art galleries in town. We also discovered a store on Lincoln street called Ruby’s Sugar Shack that wasn’t big by most confectioner’s standards but was big enough to satisfy the sweet tooth of my children and had enough sugarless candy to satisfy mine. After lecturing the kids on the importance of saving some for later I ate all my chocolate covered raisins and chocolate covered almonds while we were walking back to camp. (Where’s my sign?).

At the end of the day we took the van over to SafeEasy to pick up some ice, bananas and to find some Lunenburg sausage. What I found was Lunenburg pudding which looks like a sausage but I’m not certain it is the same thing. Oddly enough I didn’t think to ask I just bought it. I distinctly remember calling Lunenburg sausage when I was growing up so I am going to check on that tomorrow.

We plan to visit the Boxwood music festival tonight at the St. John’s Anglican Church. It is a festival of traditional music and dancing. I think they called it a Caleigh (sp?)

Woolgathering

Posted by bernicky - July 26th, 2006

The Jolly Breeze
This is the Jolly Breeze which we sailed on to watch whales.

There isn’t much to do when you are driving beyond fighting brain fade and doing a little woolgathering. Do you suppose the expression woolgathering came from staring up at the clouds while you were doing nothing. While driving you are supposed to be engaged in the act of driving. Realistically when you are driving hundreds of kilometers along divide highway it is sometimes all you can do to keep your eyes open.

My parents were relentless drivers and their stamina especially when weighed with the idea of my brother and I in the back seat for hours on end talking about and bickering about god knows what is impressive to me now. The simple stress of noise even when it is amicable noise which is more often than not the case with my son and daughter can wear on you after five or six hours. We drove today from St. John to Lunenburg opting to bypass Halifax and Peggy’s Cove to take advantage of the free camping at the destination I wanted most to visit next to Mahone Bay.

A whole new set of clean highways with smooth pavement and straight lines have taken the place of the circuitous route through small fishing villages that I grew up with. While we did see some things I would never have seen when I was a kid like the bald eagles nesting in the high tension towers that run parallel to the highway I’m not sure the trade off is worth it. There is something to be said for the slower route through small towns with their small tourist attractions, shops and homemade roadside food. I miss eating lobster beside the road and blueberry stands. When we drive back up to Peggy’s cove I think we will take the old route and see if any of those things still exist or if they are only left to me and those who experienced them years ago.

Summers past, summer present

Posted by bernicky - July 25th, 2006

Jimmy had a faded light blue pickup truck that he used for his plumbing business. It was one of the highlights of summer in Western Shore, Nova Scotia to ride in the open bed of the pickup on some errand or another. He was a ruggedly handsome man with jet black hair, happy eyes and tattooed forearms that rippled when he moved his trade stained hands. He smelled of Players cigarettes and Snap hand cleaner and had a shy, sweet baritone when he sang. Jimmy was the kind of man who always wore a collared work or denim shirt and his sleeves were always rolled to the elbows because he was always working on something.

When we stayed at his place it was always a cool summer. Jimmy and my sister lived in an Oceanside trailer home up a steep hill from the main coastal road on the east coast of Nova Scotia just north of Mahone Bay in the small town of Western Shore. Right out the back door of the house was a large white fence that encircled a hoof trampled yard where the horses were brought up from the barn to train. A short walk past the fence brought us to the stable with three horses and the corral. They had two American Quarter horses and an Appaloosa. The barn was just past the apex of the hill and from the corral you could look down a long, grassy sweep of land that ran steeply down to a small inlet fed with fresh water from a stream that served as a rough dividing line along the neighbours property.

I was reminded of Jimmy as we drove along route 1 from St. John to St. Andrews to go whale watching on the Jolly Breeze (formerly The Cory). The sweep of grass along the road reminded me of a few times I went out with Jim, my niece and my brother and picked up the fresh cut grass and loaded it into the back of the pickup truck as he worked his scythe steadily along the highway his shirts turning going patch dark with his efforts. It was not work for us it was an adventure, it was doing something alien to our life in Quebec.

We had a great time in the picturesque town of St. Andrews by the Sea. It will remind some of Niagra On The Lake and others of Provincetown but it is its own place. The people are friendly and bilingual. It is a tourist town for certain at least the part where we the tourists went was with more whale watching tours than you would have thought possible in a small town. There was a great little organic restaurant/bakery that had great coffee, evil brownies, delicious oatmeal cookies and homemade muffins.

The trip on the Jolly Breeze was an enjoyable way to spend 4 hours. The Jolly Breeze is not a zip out to the whales, look, zip back kind of trip. She is a 49 ton tall ship under motor power and is slow moving in comparison to the other boats heading out to see the whales. It is a different experience from suiting up in a protective suit and heading out in a zodiac and I highly recommend it as the way to go see the whales. The whales themselves were a couple of Finbacks. We watched the whales for about half an hour as they surfaced about every five minutes. All we ever saw were the blowholes and the long grey slide of their backs as they dove back down again: It was enough. Along the way out and back in again we also saw harbour seals, harbour porpoises and cormorants. It was cold and overcast out on the water but that was a bit of a blessing I cannot imagine what a hot sunny day would have been like to endure out in the open on the Bay Of Fundy.

On the way back we stopped and looked at the Reversing Falls which weren’t reversing while we were there. The timing for the falls is very specific about one hour after slack tide is the time to see them. Unfortunately for us that would have been around 11 PM and the falls are not lit at night. When we got back to the hotel my wife and kids took off to find some grub and I went for a run from our hotel across the bridge to the other side of St. John down to the ferry that runs out to Digby and back again. I have to say it again, there are nothing but hills around here. You don’t have to plan a hill workout because every run is a hill workout.

Next stop Halifax.

Go east old man

Posted by bernicky - July 24th, 2006

The legion of memories flooding over me today as we drove from Dorval to St.Johns New Brunswick were relentless once we got off the island and started down highway twenty. They started with memories of growing up in Otterburn Park and paddling canoes on the Richelieu River, hiking on Mont St. Hilaire and cycling all over Otterburn.

The things which come back unbidden are many and varied: Driving go karts at the track just outside of St.Hilaire, shopping for jeans at the outlet in St. Hyacinth, getting a broken wrist set at the hospital in St. Hyacinth, Friday night parties in the orchards of St. Hilaire or at the Halt in Otterburn. Then came the road trip memories a disjointed patch work of remembered cars, campers, campgrounds, camp fire chatter, the sound of a Coleman stove being pumped and lit, the smell of fresh bacon, coffee and slightly burned toast.

The drive down was relatively uneventful. After two hours on the road we stopped for a brief break and to top off the gas and hit the road again. It took about 11 hours to get down to St. Johns including breaks for stretching and gasoline. We finally rolled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express (just 500 meters from the Bay of Fundy and about 3K from the Reversing Falls) around 9 PM local time. My wife and the kids suited up for a swim and parboil in the hotel hot tub and I headed out for a run in the heavy fog.

The temperature when we got into St. Johns was 15 degrees with a wonderful fog bringing the humidity to 97%. It was really cool running in the fog along the waterfront here. There is a cool little red path that runs the length of the waterfront. It is short but well maintained and very well lit. A surprise about St.Johns it is very hilly and the hills are steep. It was a good run on the heels of a run at the dragonboat races on Saturday that was exceptional.

Monday will be a drive out to St. Andrews to go whale watching on a sailboat. Then we plan to return to St. Johns to see the Reversing Falls.

Allergic to stupidity – except my own.

Posted by bernicky - July 20th, 2006

Everyone thinks they are allergic to stupidity. I thought so too until this morning. Last night I went out with Club Phoenix and did some speed work. It felt good, but tiring. I pulled up short on two occasions because I felt twinges in my right quad and wanted to play it safe. I made it through the workout without complaint. Cut to this morning.

It was one of those mornings when you wake up and don’t want to do anything. I really did not want to go for a run this morning. I didn’t feel like going for a run this morning, but when I checked the weather office the morning temp was 21 with the high going up to 31 which meant simply that if I was going to run it had to be in the morning. I hauled my butt out onto the road and started running. Around one K in I felt a sharp twinge in my right adductor and chose to ignore it. When the same pain came around again with more force at 9 K I still ignored reasoning that there was only 3 K of run left. The long and the short of it I am injured again!

If there is a fortunate part to this I know exactly what the injury is and how to treat it. When I got back from my run I iced immediately, stretched and took some grunt candy (ibuprofen). As I write this I am icing again after having cleaned my bike (not riding today). Tomorrow I will ice and ride and avoid running then start back Sunday with an easy 5 and try to keep it relaxed over the next week.

Humour

Posted by bernicky - July 14th, 2006

If you know anything about me it is that I appreciate that the universe has a sense of humour. This week that sense of humour seems to be working overtime. Last week was a banner week with the purchase of the Cadillac bicycle that has been calling out to me since the launch of the line last year. That the price was exceptional for such an exceptional bike didn’t change the fact that the price was still expensive in terms of what I could afford. In addition to the cost of the bike it was clear I had to get the bike fitted professionally as there were some little problems when riding it that I just couldn’t sort out by adjusting it myself. That added another one hundred and thirty six dollars to the cost of the bike. As it turns out I need to get a much shorter stem to fit the bike properly the good folks at Tetreaultville Bicycles et Sports have ordered the part and expect it in next week.

This week brought the taxman into my life again as Quebec finally got around to doing my tax assessment I had to phone them to get it if you can believe that as it turns out the tax assessment was exactly one hundred and thirty two dollars more than the price of the bike. How is that for balance? The bicycle and fitting were only six dollars more than the money the Quebec government billed me. Too funny. I paid the tax bill as soon as I received it of course which tapped me out completely. At least I don’t owe any money at the moment.

The humor continues as my car broke down and is at the garage (probably the fuel pump or fuel filter) and the van had to go in for a tune up as we expect to drive it for the holidays. This week of course is also the start of the Montreal Comedy Festival which means going to comedy shows and posting reviews to theseriouscomedysite.com.

Cadillac RLE 1.8

Posted by bernicky - July 11th, 2006

OK the new Cadillac.

Yesterday was my third ride on the Cadillac RLE 1.8.

2h 34m 35s 83.25 K Average speed 32.31 Kph.

This is the fastest I have ever done that distance and the fastest average speed I have ever maintained. The real effect of this bike isn’t on the flats there is no real advantage to a marginally lighter bike on the flats but on the hills it makes a big difference. The expression I used last night was that the Cadillac has the effect of flattening the hills. It is much easier to maintain a higher speed and a good cadence while climbing with a bike that only weighs 19 lbs.

Yesterday’s ride was the first one on fresh legs. I took Sunday off from running and cycling so I could have reasonably fresh legs for the ride to give the bike a good workout. It was a very good ride though ironically I lost another water bottle. Going down a hill in Senneville (the worst roads on the island of Montreal they make the roads in most 3rd world nations look smooth by comparison) the bottle in the rear cage bounced out of the cage and skidded under the bike and off into the grass somewhere. After about five minutes of looking for it I gave up and decided that I would no longer carry a water bottle in the rear cage. If these new composite fiber cages can’t hang onto a water bottle through the disastrous roads of Senneville (which by the way is the richest neighbourhood on the island of Montreal) then it was only an accident waiting to happen.

So far with 176 kilometers on the bike since buying it I have to say that the smoothness of the ride is exceptional and I look forward to putting some serious kilometers on it over the next few months.

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