Failure: What is Your Definition?

Sometimes things do not go as planned.  Sometimes what you set out to do or to accomplish doesn’t happen.  Life brings us many surprises.  Things that we cannot possibly anticipate tend to happen.  Just because you did not do exactly what you set out to, it doesn’t mean you failed.  There was a time that I thought failure meant that you didn’t do it how you had it in your mind.  Now, I believe that if you went out there and gave it what you had, then you have succeeded.

I like to ride my bike.  I like to climb mountains.  On more than one occasion, a mountain has entered my life, only to re-enter years later.  There have been times when I attempted a mountain, and did not make it to the top.  There have also been times when I have been close to or heard about a mountain, but it didn’t enter my life at that time.  These beauties had a way of coming back into my life that could not have been anticipated, and in which offered such a sweet, sweet ending.  If you consider sweat, fear, and tears a road to a sweet ending.


I present to you Croix de Fere, a magnificent mountain the French Alps.  It has made multiple appearances in the Tour de France.  The first time I met this mountain, I was an extremely green, very beginner, ‘cyclist’.  I had really just learned to ride a road bike, if you could call what I was doing ‘riding’.  And there I was, brute forcing my way up this crazy climb.  That day, I simply bit off bite sized pieces and kept on pedaling, one small section at a time.

That day wasn’t the day that I would summit.  However, that day was the day that I realized I can do this!!  If I put my mind to it, I can climb magnificent French mountains!!!  Years later, with much more experience under my belt, I was lucky enough to have another wonderful encounter with this beautiful climb.  There are many details to be told, and which present a story for another day.  The point is, summit or no summit, there I was – doing something that I didn’t even know I could do.  And both times, there was absolutely no denying the absolute beauty of my surroundings.  As challenging as it was, I was lost in the harmonious feeling of being one with the earth.  I felt like a tiny, insignificant dot on this breathtaking road, engulfed in mountainous magnificence.

Thus, as you go forth at the beginning of this New Year…how will you define failure?  And what will you set your heart on doing?

Croix de Fer Info Page

Just Me and My Bike


My story is simple.  I was the MOST unathletic person in the world!!!  When it came to my ‘physical being’, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, and at times very anxious.  I preferred to be a wallflower and to hide from any real adventure.

Shortly after I married my best friend, James, he bought me my first real road bike.  I had no idea that I had just started not one, but two, life long relationships.

Less than six months later I found myself at the base of Alpe d’Huez, a mountain in the French Alps well known for its appearances in the Tour de France.  Completely overwhelmed, and wondering how the hell I was going to make it to the summit where our hotel was, this would be an absolutely life changing day.  It was also the start of a journey, which I am still on.

Continue reading “Just Me and My Bike”

The Essence of the Mountain Pouring Into My Soul

As I took the first pedal stroke, I looked up at the mountain before me.  As I began to roll, I took in a deep breathe of fresh mountain air.  As I began to ascend, my whole being was present.  I was there, just me and my bike, becoming one with the mountain.  I felt so open, so free.  I thought to myself, this is it, this is the true essence of cycling for me.  This is why I fell in love with riding.

The beauty surrounding me was indescribable.  The sky was true blue and the sun shone down warming everything.  My eye caught the occasional chipmunk bouncing about and chirping away.  The trees were an array of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  The mountain opened up before me, grand and snow capped.

My being was in pure heaven.  The purity of the moment filled my heart.

This was it.  This was the true essence of cycling for me.  This was why I fell in love with riding.



There is something so pure about just being out there, me, my bike, and nature.  I see so much, hear so much, and feel so much.

I was only going to be riding in short bursts today.  But, even these short bursts of cycling made me reflect and realize how long my journey has been.  It started with fear and anxiety and evolved into feeling more free than I could ever imagine.  A journey that started with my husband and the road bike that he bought for me shortly after our wedding.  A journey that really got going on a French mountain known as Alpe d’Huez.  A journey that has no end as it has now become a life long path.

So there I was, on the side of this lovely mountain, pedalling away and falling in love all over again.  What timing to be taken back to a place that completely reminded me of why I picked up a bike and started pedaling, why I made my way up that first peak, and why I just keep on pedalling no matter what.

A bike can take you to some amazing places – physically, mentally and spiritually.  A bike can become a friend, and a part of a life long journey.


Just a Girl and a Bike – Book Sneak Peak

{A snippet from the chapter ‘Girl Meets Bike’}

Physical activity seemed more like a form of torture than an enjoyable pastime when I was younger. At the time, I was completely uncomfortable with my physical being, and unaware of its potential power. I was absolutely a bookworm, prone to losing myself in an author’s world instead of getting outside and experiencing my own reality. In addition to my tendency to withdraw into books, my short, chunky stature was also not on my side when it came to physical activities. While my fellow classmates received patches in bronze, silver, and gold for their jackets for their physical achievements, I was lucky to earn paper participation cards. I would have preferred to read a book.

When I graduated from high school and moved on to the world of post-secondary education, it became possible to completely avoid the whole realm of physical activity. I was in heaven. This was fine for a while, until the junk food and lack of activity caught up with my 4 foot 10 inch frame in a big way! Before I knew it, I had blown up like a blowfish.


{A snippet from the chapter ‘Cycling with the Pros’}

I had never been so terrified in my life. My nerves teetered near a breaking point as I maneuvered my way down the mountain inch by inch, gripping the brakes so tightly that my forearms cried out in pain. Each tight turn was gut wrenching, and each stretch between felt to me like walking on a tightrope. In my mind’s eye I could see myself plummeting off of the edge and down the cliff to my doom. I had to stop numerous times to ease the strain in my forearms, to take a few breaths, and to make a vain attempt at calming myself.


Somehow I made it to the bottom. I was so unnerved that I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t control my nerves any longer, and the next thing I knew I began to sob. As soon as the tears started flowing, all of my anxiety came pouring out. I looked at James, and I told him to go ahead without me, that I would meet him at the top. I needed to somehow figure this thing out, and I didn’t want to slow him down while I tried to pull myself together. He knew me better than to argue with me, so he hopped on his bike and off he went.

Now that I was on my own, I took stock of my situation. There was only one way to get back to our hotel room, and that way was up. As I saw it, my choices were to attempt the daunting ascent in front of me, or to lie down in the ditch and give up. After weighing those options, I reluctantly started to climb the long, steep stretch of road in front of me.

Up I went. I grunted, I sweated, and somehow I used brute force to make it up the first long, steep switchback. As I hung my head over the front of the handle bars and gasped for air, all I could think of were the 20 switchbacks that still lay ahead of me. How in the world was I going to get to the top? I couldn’t even picture myself making it.


‘If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.’  – Henry Ford

‘Just a Girl and a Bike’ the book is now available through Print On Demand and as an ebook.

All proceeds of book sales will go to World Bicycle Relief

Buy ‘Just a Girl and a Bike’ Here

Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground

I have been road cycling for 13 years now.  It has been an incredible journey.  My bike has literally changed my life.

Before I met my bike (my beloved Trek 2000), I was the most unathletic person ever!!!  I wouldn’t have believed for a second that I was one day going to be riding a fast bike on highways and up to the tops of mountains.  I was completely uncomfortable with my physical being, and afraid of adventure.

Right after I married my husband, James, he bought us road bikes.  It had been a passion of his in his younger years, and he was keen to re-immerse himself.  I really had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.


Continue reading “Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground”

Facing my Fears on Furkapass

The first time I met up with Furkapass, it was a wet, slippery, terrifying experience.  But this is another story for another day.  You can read this story when you buy my book 🙂  {Just a Girl and a Bike will be available in a couple of months}.

Ever since that first day on Furkapass I was left wondering if I had exaggerated it in my mind.  Had I created a monster much more fierce than it actually was?  Did my fear of sliding off of the slippery road to plummet to my death create much more of a mountain than actually existed?  Did I create something in my mind that had haunted me ever since?

Furkapass is a famous mountain in Switzerland, near the tiny town of Andermatt.  It may be most known for its appearance in Goldfinger.  Yes, Goldfinger.  Of course Mr. Bond was nearly killed by an attractive young woman.  And of course he finds himself in a car chase along the steep, winding switchbacks along the side of a gaping cliff.  Take a few minutes, and watch this very entertaining clip.  You will see what I mean by steep and gaping cliff!

Continue reading “Facing my Fears on Furkapass”

Just a Girl and a Bike: Podcast

As my book (yes, my book!! I still don’t believe it, but it IS happening) begins to take life, I can’t help sharing my excitement.

On one such day as I was talking animatedly about my bike, my book, and the mountains at my favorite yoga studio, I was over heard by the right person.  Spencer jumped right into the conversation and took an immediate interest.  Next thing I knew, Spencer and Josie, two fabulous and free spirits, had invited me to be on one of their podcasts!  I was surprised, but delighted.

They said they had read some of my blog material and were truly inspired.  They felt that my message would fit right in with their admiral quest for sustainable living, health and wellness.  The are so committed to their cause that they have create ‘Eco Not Ego’.  Take a look – it is fascinating!!!  Eco Not Ego’s mission is:

  • To motivate humanity towards viable sustainability through innovative product creation
  • To undertake environmental initiatives
  • And to spread the importance of physical, spiritual and mental health (as they refer to as SMPG)

AND – these two are bee keepers.  Eco Not Ego’s first environment initiative is Project Doublebee.  They absolutely know how critical bees are to all life.  If you want to learn more, Spencer recommends reading ‘Bee Time, Tales from the Hive’.  They are in the process of creating a sterile environment in which to keep their honey bioactive, and they are hand harvesting unique ingredients from deep in the forests.  They plan to produce some fabulous hand crafted Xmas baskets.

Have a listen to the podcast: (E5, Discovery: Just a Girl and a Bike)

On iTunes

On Stitcher Radio App

Would love to know what you think.  And, please, leave a review and a star rating – it will help Spencer and Josie with their future podcasts.



An Island Cycling Adventure

Me on the COAST

Years ago my husband, James, went on a cycling tour of the Sunshine Coast.  He was eager to do it again, this time with me.  Over nine days we cycled a circular loop along the ocean, covering multiple islands on the west coast of Canada.

The cycling tour was not without some challenges, however, it was the kind of cycling that took me back to the days when I was first introduced to this fabulous activity.  Every morning the first clothes we put on were bib shorts and cycling jerseys.  We wore this gear all day until we were at our next location, and checked into the accommodations for the night.  We often enjoyed a café break, and sometimes even a post ride beer in our less than fresh cycling kits.  They became part of our daily routine once again. Continue reading “An Island Cycling Adventure”

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