Strength and Spirit: My Warrior Friend

{Welcome to my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  Today’s post is about the strongest warrior I have ever met.  Every time I spend time with her, I walk away wanting to be better.  If you missed My More Aggressive Twin, or Racing and Climbing, Fierce and Strong, be sure to check them out!}

I was sitting at my desk, plugging away, when I overheard a conversation at the desk beside me.  This tiny, Asian girl was telling my co-worker that she had to leave early to get home before her husband completely dug up the backyard with some homemade contraption that he was trying to use to dig a hole.  The passion and energy coming out of this little woman was amazing.  The way she described this preposterous scenario was incredibly entertaining.  Her perspective on it was unbelievable.  I felt like this woman had years of wisdom and experience.  I immediately felt like I needed to know this woman.

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Andrea and me at a wedding celebration

The desks were quite open, and thus, it was easy to join in the discussion without intruding.  From that day forward, this tiny woman, Andrea, has been one of the single most influential forces in my life.  There is nothing tiny about her.

 

Andrea and I shared a geeky IT background, and an aptitude for interfacing between the IT techies and the business side of a corporation.  It turned out that we also shared a love for many things including, but not limited to: goat cheese with honey, sparkly wine, soft and fuzzy clothing and blankets that you can’t stop touching and puppies.

Continue reading “Strength and Spirit: My Warrior Friend”

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The Influence of Cycling – Jonathan Deguzman

My feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey continues and stays strong.  In my last post, I introduced you to an amazing rider who supported me and helped my confidence to grow, Dehnis B Delacruz.  Today’s post is a follow up to share some of the amazing work that Dehnis is doing in the cycling community.

Take a few minutes and watch the documentary that Dehnis created on an amazing cyclist, Jonathan Deguzman.  I have never met Jonathan, but when I watched this I felt like I knew him.  I was so touched by his genuine responses, and how he conveyed that regardless of the level or ability, we all come to cycling for very similar reasons.  Jonathan was so authentic in his responses, and Dehnis’ work in capturing this was absolutely brilliant.

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing his journey, and to Dehnis for seeing this opportunity and putting in the work to capture it!

 

 

This documentary can also be found here: The Influence of Cycling – Jonathan Deguzman

{If you enjoyed reading this, you can read more posts or follow me at Just a Girl and a Bike}

 

 

A Smooth Riding Companion: Dehnis B DelaCruz

{My feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey continues and stays strong.  Today I introduce you to an amazing rider who supported me and helped my confidence to grow.  If you are curious, be sure to check out this Slowburn post.}

The alarm starting beeping way too early, but out of bed I leaped.  I was pumped.  I had been waiting all week for this.  This morning, I would be joining my beloved Slowburn group once again after many years.

The feat would not be easy.  We would be doing the famous Great Western Loop – A.K.A. GWL.  This ride would see us climb almost 1200 metres and cover nearly 70 km.  The climbing starts almost immediately, and most of it is accomplished in the first 2/3 of the ride.  So,  you literally feel like you are climbing, climbing, climbing…

As the group began to gather, a felt a twinge of excitement edged with a bit of nervousness.  No matter how many rides I completed, I just never knew exactly how I would feel until I started pedaling.  So many things can happen in cycling, so you just never really know what a ride is going to be like.  It seemed like it wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t even fathom riding a road bike, never mind take on the ride that I was about to embark on.

SlowBurn
Me, Matt Tabaya to my right, Dennis Caco and James Hiner up front.  Dehnis was behind us, and took this beautiful photo.

 

Continue reading “A Smooth Riding Companion: Dehnis B DelaCruz”

Racing and Climbing, Fierce and Strong: Ania

{Welcome to my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  Today’s post is about a very strong, supportive and encouraging person who loves to climb mountains.  She has been there riding with me and supporting me for years.  If you missed My More Aggressive Twin, or Crazy Wild Infection Positivity, be sure to check them out!}

‘Oh, you are the one that my wife has been following on Strava’.  This is the first thing that Karel said to me upon being introduced at one of the local bike races.  ‘She would like to go riding with you’, he continued.  The rest is history.

The first time I rode with Ania, I was nervous.  I had seen some of her riding data, and in every picture she looked so strong, so athletic.  Was I really in the same realm?

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Continue reading “Racing and Climbing, Fierce and Strong: Ania”

My More Aggressive Twin: Kate

{Welcome to my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  Today’s post is about someone who with intense drive and motivation to overcome real challenges.  If you missed The Dark Horse, Grit and Determination, or a Guide on My Journey, be sure to check them out!}

I met Kate in Belgium.  My husband, James, and I were there for classics week.  We would be attempting amateur versions and watching the real professional versions of several of the hardest one day races in the world.  Little did I realize at the time how fitting it would be to meet Kate in such a setting.

Kate is about the same height as me, or rather, has the same lack of height as I do!  At four foot ten, we can hardly brag about our stunted stature.  At the time, her hair was nearly the same colour and length as mine was.  The icing on the cake was her punchy attitude that matched my own.  She was very quickly deemed to be my ‘more aggressive twin’.  Everyone in the group that we were staying with agreed with this, despite the fact that we had known each other for less than a week.

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Me on the left, Kate in the middle, our gracious host Holly on the right.

Continue reading “My More Aggressive Twin: Kate”

Crazy, Wild, Infectious Positivity: Dennis Caco

My husband, James, and I had just moved to sunny San Diego to spend a winter.  San Diego has always had my heart, for many reasons.  Of course, one of the biggest being that there was no winter, therefore, no off season for the cyclist.  For a cyclist from the part of Canada that we were from, this would be a dream come true.

It was Thanksgiving, and we were still newbies in town.  James was away for the weekend, thus, I was on my own.  I decided to show up for the Turkey Day ride known as the 5 faces of Soledad.  Mt. Soledad is a mountain in the heart of San Diego, well known to cyclists.  I have heard that there are 12 ways to summit, 5 of which would be covered the morning of Turkey Day.  We would be climbing about 1100 metres over a mere 40 km.

There I was, just a girl with a bike, surrounded by cyclists, none of which I knew.  I simply hung around quietly until it was time to climb.  Off we went.  As we started our first ascent, fellow riders chatted away.  I was on my own, and I focused on getting into a cycling flow.

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It didn’t take long for Dennis to cheerfully say hello and start chatting with me.  Next thing I knew, Dennis and his fellow riding buddies were climbing along side me.  They were strong, fit, fast racers.  They were also considerate, open and always looking out for their fellow cyclist.

From the moment I met Dennis, his energy was infectious.  He is literally a ball of wild, crazy positivity.  It seeps out of his pores.  It infuses everyone around him.  He simply makes you believe that you can do whatever it is you are doing.

At the end of the five climbs, Dennis insisted that I join in for a group picture with him and his riding buddies. Continue reading “Crazy, Wild, Infectious Positivity: Dennis Caco”

Grit and Determination – Marc Enter

As the cyclists whipped by at crazy speeds, we stood on the sidelines eagerly searching the pack each time they sped by.  Our eyes were peeled for our fellow cyclist and friend.  Each time we saw him speeding by with complete determination, we cheered excitedly.  This was the criterium (crit) portion of a three day road race.  Crits are truly crazy events.  Racers whip around many laps of a closed circuit.  The speeds are crazy, and the proximity of the riders insane.  The corners are tight – very tight.
Speeding by
As Marc passed by again, we continued to cheer with excitement.  Then – boom!!  He went down.  He slid at in incredible speed across the pavement, the flesh of his leg ripping open with every bit of contact.  He hit the side hard and his body crumpled into its final resting position.  I felt terror bolt through my entire being.  It had happened so fast. It was absolutely horrifying to watch.

Continue reading “Grit and Determination – Marc Enter”

A Guide on my Journey: Chris Rurka

{Welcome to my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  If you missed the Dark Horse, be sure to take look.  Today’s post is about someone who became a guide on my journey and helped me to open my mind and embark on what I had once thought was impossible.}

wheel poseAs I looked at each of my palms, firmly planted into the earth, I felt elated.  My legs felt strong, my mind was clear, and my being was present and relaxed.  As I felt comfortable and at ease in an execution of full wheel pose, I felt elated.  It has been quite a journey, and it took me a long time to get here.  Yoga has become a fundamental part of my life journey.

Thanks to an amazing and inspiring guide, Chris Rurka, I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the inward journey that truly begins when you are able to be fully present and open.  For someone focused on continuously pushing forward, this was no easy feat.  It was quite some time into my yoga journey that I really started to understand why I was doing it.  As sporadic as my practice has been over the years, I have been gravitating to Chris’ class for many years.  Any time I saw his name on the schedule, I was drawn to class.

Continue reading “A Guide on my Journey: Chris Rurka”

Who is the Dark Horse

{Welcome to my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  If you missed last week’s post Racing with the Dark Horse, be sure to check it out.}

QuoteWhen I first met the Dark Horse, he led me through a ride that had me digging deep to reach speeds that I didn’t know I could ride at.  He was one of the most courteous, professional and talented riders I had ever met.  He supported me and pushed me to reach further and ride harder.

There is so much more to the Dark Horse. Continue reading “Who is the Dark Horse”

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