Now That Was Awe­some(-ish)

No, re­ally. It was great.

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

With the end of the year ap­proach­ing, I’ve found my­self look­ing back at 2018’s rides. There have been some good ones and some nutty ones. I re­mem­ber a par­tic­u­lar zany out­ing in March. I was on my road bike dressed in my warm­est kit. It wasn’t long be­fore I found snow drifts blow­ing across the road. Where a fat bike with 4.5"-wide tires would have been ap­pro­pri­ate, I strug­gled on my slick 25c treads. I’m sure the same thing will hap­pen in the late win­ter/early spring of 2019. Later, the chal­lenge, which is some­thing you might have ex­pe­ri­enced af­ter a ride that was equal parts silly, fun, dif­fi­cult and kind of cool, is con­vey­ing just how silly, fun, dif­fi­cult and kind of cool that ride ac­tu­ally was.

This past year, I have had some stun­ning rides. I was lucky enough to do a bit of rid­ing in Italy and Spain. Of course, the roads were fan­tas­tic in those lo­cales. Ta­ma­rac just twists and turns, and rises and low­ers more in Eu­rope. North Amer­i­can road builders are sim­ply too good at keep­ing things straight and level.

In Oc­to­ber, I went on a ride with many ups and downs, ones geo­graph­i­cal, phys­i­cal and maybe even emo­tional. It was the day af­ter a cy­clocross race. Kate Heck­man (‘Enviliv Ad­vanced Pro 0 Disc re­view,’ p.50), Kate’s friend Ja­nine Gor­man, ccm pod­cast pro­ducer Adam Kil­lick and I headed across the Ot­tawa River on ’cross bikes to Gatineau Park, where we faced trails with wicked in­clines and rocky, bumpy bits. They are trails that Michael Woods (p.30) is fa­mil­iar with.

I, of course, took to the hills, hit­ting ev­ery one hard be­cause, well, I can’t seem to help it when I see hills. Our des­ti­na­tion was the old fire tower. The last time I had been to this tower was as a teenager. A friend of mine climbed up it, which was far from the safe thing to do. The fence that’s now around the base of the tower likely ap­peared be­cause of my friend and oth­ers like him. The hole I found in the fence told me teenagers are still do­ing very silly things.

I did a silly thing on that ride, one that I’ve done many times be­fore. I cracked. Maybe I thought I had more re­serves shored up by a re­cent Thanks­giv­ing din­ner. Maybe I thought the ’cross race the day be­fore hadn’t taken that much out of me. What I do know for sure is that the fi­nal 20 km of that 95 km ride were a slog. The left­over turkey I got my hands on af­ter I climbed off the bike didn’t stand a chance.

It was that ride’s mix­ture of fun and dif­fi­culty that made it so good. Add in a bit of nos­tal­gia and fan­tas­tic com­pany, and you have some­thing mem­o­rable. It’s the type of ride that Bart Eg­nal en­cour­ages you to do in 2019 (p.19), one that makes you say, “Now that was awe­some.” It’s also a ride that had me reread­ing Molly Hur­ford’s guide to rid­ing stronger in the new year (p.34), so I’ll be bet­ter pre­pared for more silly, fun, dif­fi­cult and cool rides in 2019. At least, that’s the goal. Matthew Pioro


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