Deck the Halls with Activities

Paul Stevens

Carpe Diem (but in a relaxed sort of way)

“DECK THE HALLS”

What a difference a year makes.  At this time last year, we were into the early stages of a winter that really didn’t want to show up as the temperatures were unseasonably mild and snow was not even a twinkle in Jack Frost’s eyes.  I was able to get out on the bike until winter finally made its obligatory visit but that wasn’t until early January.  This year, reality decided to bite back in a big way as I have had had the snow shovel out more times this past month than I did all of last winter.  That of course means that the bike is in storage, not likely to see the light of day until spring arrives.

On Christmas day last year, we had our traditional large breakfast with another feast to follow later in the day at the house of my sister-in-law.  With several hours in between and mild temperatures outside, it was a perfect opportunity to burn off a few calories and make some room for the next food fest by going for a bike ride.  I wasn’t the only one out there so there was lots of hand waving and extending Christmas greeting to others out on the road who had the same idea and motivation. Maybe even a few were trying out their gifts from Santa. This will not happen this year.  We have generous snow banks piled up just about everywhere which means that even if we get a mild spell, meltwater will cover the roads ensuring a good soaking to anyone who tries to take advantage of the favourable temperatures.

Winding Down the Season

To wind down the cycling season,  the Manditos (the name of our local cycling group) recently hooked up at a local watering hole to warm up for the Christmas season while also putting a close to the 2016 biking season.  This gathering included the core of the group, which numbers about six, along with the ‘extended family’ of riders. These would be guys that come out once every few weeks as opposed to we hard cores that are out at least weekly so that brought the number up to about twenty.

As part of the conversation, we figured that we got ourselves together about 40 times over the past year.  At about 60 kms per outing, we likely covered some 2400 kms.  Not bad for a bunch of greybeards who recognize that we are not Olympians but just like to stay active. 

Related Article: Get Outside and Exercise – Your Immune System Will Thank You

Next Year

We are already planning our adventures for next year and this will including participating again in the ‘Gran Fondo’ ride that will take place in August.  We did this last summer and completed a 100 km ride on what was a beautiful summer day.  It was a well-organized affair that attracted about five hundred riders primarily from southern Ontario.  For this event, participants could choose a 50, 100, or even a 150 km ride. 

I don’t know if it was false bravado or the refreshments talking, but the decision was made to try the 150 km event. None of us have done a 150 km ride on a single day so will this be a case of misery liking company?  It’s not a race as the idea is to complete the ride at a pace with which you are comfortable. 

There are a few pit stops along the way so our initial thoughts are that we would hold a speed of 28-30 km/hr so that should get us off the road in about six hours or less, including time for pit stops.  This will be something to work towards once we can get back out there.

Physical Challenges

The inability to hit the road takes a big bite out of the activity schedule but I do have my weekly hockey game with my fellow Pylons.  I am likely to join up with another group in January so I will be up to two games a week. I’m still doing twice weekly physiotherapy sessions to address a few residual issues from my cycling accident late last summer.  I get to the physio office about an hour ahead of my appointed time as I can ride the stationary bike and do some weights as a warm up to getting my head and neck getting tugged in various directions by the physiotherapist. 

Doing this extra work for me has been extremely helpful as I was able to get my wind capacity up to a level where I was not gassed when I joined my fellow Pylons on the ice.  In all honesty, the pace of our games is such that being gassed is an unlikely event.

Winter activities

Other Winter Activities

With some hockey and physio sessions, I am able to give myself a decent workout four times a week and I am just adding an additional outing by taking our dog for a run of about 3-5 km once a week.  I’ll take her for a walk at least daily and my wife will do the same so the pooch gets her work in there as well.  She’ll soon be 10 years old (the dog, not my wife!) but looks and acts much younger, no doubt a reflection of the activity we give her along with keeping her diet under control. Very much like us in that regard I should think.

In January, we will be taking a ski trip to Mt.Tremblant in Quebec and as I have mentioned previously, we have been there several times in the past and it has always provided a great time.  We’ll be there for five days which will give my legs plenty of time to feel the burn of extended runs.  It’s a hurt but a good hurt. We’ll be joined by a group of long-time friends so there will be plenty of time for dinners together, fireside chats, and maybe even a refreshment or two.

Related Article: Alpine Skiing: A Form of HIIT

Closing Thoughts

It has been an eventful year and for the most part, a very enjoyable one.  The only negative note was the cycling accident and while that was something I most certainly do not wish to repeat, I seem to be over the worst of it and have largely been able to get back to my normal self.  I consider myself very fortunate that I only had superficial injuries with nothing of a lingering nature. It could have been a lot worse.

Let me extend my best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Christmas and holiday season and all the best for a healthy and prosperous New Year!  So hey, let’s ‘Deck the Halls’ and not forget to Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!!!

Your friend, Paul.

And remember – Carpe Diem (but in a relaxed sort of way)!

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