With all the bike lanes here in Greater Vancouver for all different levels, I saw no reason not to improve my strength and endurance by keeping on biking. For me, every time I made a hill, or rode another mile without stopping or pushing my bike was a success. Often you will look at the road or hill in front of you and think you can’t make it without stopping or pushing your bike but, to your surprise, it turns out not to be a problem at all. Now I don’t worry about this anymore. I tackle the hill and keep on rolling.
Last year, in 2015, my daughter participated in the Coeur d’Arlene IronMan. The whole family came along to support her. Prior to our trip I had heard about the Centennial Bikeway between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, so after lunch in Spokane Valley, my daughter and I followed this bikeway to our destination. It turned out to be a very enjoyable ride. To stay tuned up for her IronMan, my daughter did many 20 min sprints during our ride.
In Post Falls we hit some steep hills. After tackling a few, but with more to come, I needed a break. At this point my daughter told me I had just tackled a 9% hill – not bad. Well, the next hill was only 6%, but either I did not shift in time or I was at the end of my strength, but whatever it was, I had to push my bike up the hill. Folks, I am not kidding when I tell you I still push my bike to make it up to the top of some hills.
During a 15-minute break my brain started to work in a different direction. I was thinking about my implanted defibrillator and all the medication I have to swallow in order to stay fit and live a normal life. The defibrillator was put in after I started biking; it was, and is, more of insurance for the doctors than for me. In one of the defibrillator brochures it suggests you set yourself some goals to accomplish (something I had already done without knowing) otherwise you may get depressed and all kind of stupid ideas may float thru your head. And even though I wasn’t depressed, I had a crazy idea going thru my head at that moment and it continued to float around for the next few days.
After a brief final break we arrived at the house we had rented for the week. All 3 families had settled in and dinner was waiting for us. Over the following days I explored Coeur d’Arlene by bike, rode the running stretch of the IronMan and partially biked the bike route. (No pushing the bike uphill!) But that crazy idea stayed in my head and I started to check things out online.
We watched my daughter swim, bike (49C) and run (60c asphalt heat) on the hottest day that the Coeur d’Alene Ironman had ever taken place. The next day I decided to tell my entire family about this idea that had been running thru my head since I had biked the Centennial Bikeway. My idea was to bike from Vancouver all the way along the Pacific Coast down to San Diego. It got very, very quiet. When? was the question I was asked. Me: “Hopefully this late summer” – then all hell broke loose. I will not go into details, but the whole clan was up in arms. That was our last night, and the next day we all departed in different directions leaving me to deal with my wife.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I had a dental problem that prevented me from going on this biking adventure. But to prove the point that I was fit and able, I biked all the way out to Atkinson Point in West Vancouver and back, a 70 km return trip. I also biked from the Surrey Sky Train Station to Cultus Lake and back to the Aldergrove Border Crossing where I was picked up by my wife and daughter, something I had arranged beforehand.
My next goal now is to bike 70km of different terrain.