I recently returned from a nine-day training camp in the Okanagan with Ryan and some friends. It was just what I needed to get back on track and refocused, both physically and mentally, after my silly knee injury. After missing a few weeks of solid training, I was feeling a bit unsure of my fitness, but after some consistent long rides, a change of scenery, and a break from the bustle of home, I’m good to go.
We enjoyed the good things in life, sleeping in, drinking multiple Americanos before training, listening to CBC Radio, and the peaceful luxury of nine days without TV, land line, or internet. I did a lot of baking and cooking as well, and I will have to share some of my recipes, especially the one for some yummy quinoa energy bars that actually taste like you’re eating nutritious food on long rides instead of all of those overly sweet sports nutrition products. Although we did discover that Gushers make a good replacement for Sharkies….
Of course, the Okanagan Valley is synonymous with wine and we passed dozens of vineyards and wineries on every ride. On our rest day, Ryan and I went wine tasting to Misconduct in Penticton. I had been there before and had been so impressed with the story behind the wines and the vibrant young couple that started it, that I had to go back. I have to say, I was even more impressed this time around, when “Big Rich” led us through our tasting. Somehow the conversation started with wine and ended with mountain biking. Nice! I bought a delicious bottle of Syrah Malbec that Rich said he would never make again, because it’s not financially viable. It is/was, however, a really amazing once-in-a-lifetime treat.
I’ve also been back on a hardtail after riding a dually for most of the winter. I thought it would be a difficult adjustment, but after so many years rocking a hardtail, it was pretty easy to get used to it again. My new Giant XTC equipped with Shimano XTR is nimble, light, and reliable and I had a blast on the variety of rocky and flowy trails of the Three Blind Mice area. Now I’m looking forward to testing my XTC on the race course!
We had the pleasure of some friendly company while we were training hard in the Okanagan. “Matherine” (Matt and Catherine a.k.a. Viper) made the trip from Canmore and joined us for some fun rides. For them, it was their first taste of spring and they liked it! Rich from Local Ride Racing, along with Jeanine and Melissa also joined us on the weekend for good food, wine, company… and biking, of course!
My birthday was at the end of March. Even though I wanted to keep it low-key, my awesome friends still were able to surprise me and make it special. Jeanine visited me at work with beverages, flowers, and a beautiful cake. Ryan treated me to a fabulous Thai dinner at Chada Thai in Coquitlam. I highly recommend this place if you want an excellent quality Thai dining experience. Everything I have ever eaten there is fantastic. It’s not the easiest on the wallet, but a great choice for a special occasion.
Jeanine and I made another culinary discovery in Coquitlam – Cora. It’s a breakfast/lunch place and we first went there for a huge yummy breakfast after an early Saturday water running session while I was still rehabing my knee. Yes, Jeanine is such an amazing friend, she chose to go water running with me. She’s so supportive! Breakfast at Cora afterwards was SO GOOD. A huge pile of seasonal fresh fruit, French toast… I ended up going there three Saturdays in a row and got Ryan hooked on it too!
Jean Ann took me on a day trip to Squamish on the weekend after my birthday, and Ryan had to stay at home, because he had injured his shoulder. (He’s healing up quickly, though, and is back on the mountain bike.) In Squamish, we met up with Kika and Keith and did a super fun series of trails in the sunshine. It almost felt like summer – the trails were dusty! Jean Ann also made me a delicious birthday cake – it was a combo of cheesecake and flourless chocolate torte and it had coffee in it too. Woah! Yeah, that was good and I had some for breakfast the next day…. Bruno and Stef had me over for dinner as well at their beautiful new house. It was nice to see them (and Simba and Malka) again.
This coming weekend, I’ll be testing my off-road legs in Squamish at the Orecrusher, and then before long, I will be off to Quebec for the first two Canada Cups. Lots to look forward to!