Summer is almost over…

We’ve had a beautiful summer here in Ottawa.  Lot’s of sun and riding everyday. While I only have one pair of skis I have several bicycles in my quiver.

1) Specialized aluminum fixie.  Weighs about 8 kg

2) Cannondale road bike that goes back a few years but a very reliable ride.

3) Kona “Jake the Snake” cyclocross bike.  The top tube is actually signed by Jake “the snake” Roberts.

4) New addition is a Cannondale mountain bike that replaces the one stolen from the back yard.

5) A Mongoose aluminum BMX bike that draws a lot of attention when I ride around downtown. (Or it could be the sight of a senior citizen tooling around downtown on a styling BMX bike.

Other nice days included taking in the minor league Ottawa Champions. I pack fresh food and enjoy the game just past first base and get a lot of crosswords done.  One night I looked up just in time to bare-hand a line drive foul ball. To large applause.  When Tom joins me he brings a glove.  Me? I go commando.   Didn’t really need another ball so I looked for who I could give it to.

No kids around so I was limited to the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, who was hovering nearby.  Other choice was The Right Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverly McLachlin, who was sitting with her husband about six seats away in the same row.

I went and found 5 year old who was absolutely thrilled to receive game ball from an old guy called The Senator.

The Chief Justice I don’t expect to see in court.  The Mayor – we bump into each other all the time at the grocery store.

Time to look for ski clothes in the basement.

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Jeepers. It’s ski season…..

Just by chance I came across this great presentation.  Wish it was mine but Cam Stephen from Alberta Alpine is the author.

Had my skis tuned already so I guess it is time to pack the car.

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One more shot at triathlon volunteering

Somersault Triathlon on Saturday and I was assigned to man the hard closure at Colonel By Drive and Clegg Avenue.  It was a chilly 7 degrees when I took my position at at 5:30 am.  Chilly till the sun came around.  I was 100 meters past the bike turnaround so not really expecting much action – until it was confirmed that car drivers are stupid.

The first incident was a half-ton that hit the brakes halfway through the intersection and just tapped the barricade with his front bumper.

So figuring out where to put my lawn chair became the main subject on my mind.  I finally settled behind a telephone pole and two light standards.  Good thing.   The lady in the Honda Civic hit the brakes halfway into the intersection and the BMW SUV rear ended the Civic, totaled the rear end and kissed the barricade.

Was dozing in the 25 degree noontime heat when the Ducati rider dropped his bike and took out both barricades while doing a slide dismount.  Skid marks galore. Spare Ducati parts abounded.

Was tough to get back to my napping after that.

All in all a good volunteer experience. Cold, heat, sun, four crosswords and two naps. And got to use that new FIS thermos from the TD update.

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It’s that time of year again…..

Labour Day weekend.  Guess winter has begun.  Kick it off right with the 2016 ICR.

ICR 2016

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Big day last week.

Unveiling of the 2016 Canadian flag bearer for the Olympic Games in Rio took place last Thursday.  Rosie MacLennan is a fireplug trampoline athlete and will do an excellent job representing Canada.

Was biking to the Byward Market for fresh cherry tomatoes, stopped at Parliament Hill to work on my crossword, watch the tourists and plot out my lawn chair positioning for the Fortissimo spectacle that night.  Happened across the flag ceremony and hung around to represent the Canadian sports community.  Honestly it was me, some kids from the Ottawa U summer sports camp and some Jumpstart kids.  Other folks in attendance included the Prime Minister, the President of the COC and the Sports Minister.  But they were on the clock.

I was hanging around after the ceremonies trying to think of the trampoline encouragement equivalent of “ski fast” to wish Rosie luck.  Scott Russell from CBC Sports wandered over to say hi.  Scott has a tremendous faculty for remembering names and even out of context called me by name.  He lamented that he did not get to Lake Louise to call the races anymore.  I offered up remote support from my position on video control.

Curt Harnett, the Chef de Mission, walked over to chat and after I offered support and best success for Canada’s team he suggested that I leave winter sports and move to the “dark side” of summer sports. I had two comments only.  First that there was complementary cross-over from ladies alpine TD to ladies beach volleyball.  Second, seeing that he was wearing long pants he was nicely avoiding a head-to-head “Quad Off”.

I also reminded him that the last time we met was 10 years ago at the Shell station outside Kenora.  I was loading up on Gatorade before heading out for a ride on the Trans-Canada and when I came out of the store there was this guy checking over my bike.  Each of his legs were bigger that my waist.  He told me to have a good ride and 7 days later the ICU nurse told me that was my last ride for a while.

Best I could do for Rosie was to hope for her team the best of successes.  As for Rosie’s endeavours in winter sports I am pretty sure we could bounce her fairly high off a spare air fence.

For her flag duties I suggest she keep a close eye on the last of the Cameroon contingent and not overtake them in the excitement of the ceremonies.

She will do fine.  And so will Canada.

Let’s go.

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My triathlon volunteer experience… (third and last draft)

Canadian Championships.  Two days of heat and sun.  End of the day – you meet some nice people.  All but one.  My work weekend ended abruptly after being reamed a new one during Day 2 tear down by someone on the Race Organizing Committee.   Who knows who he was. I sure don’t.

It might have been in the finish area.  How would I know? I spent 2 days never being within 2 kilometers of the finish. This guy had a loud voice.  It was in front of a lot of people.  In my own neighbourhood. No, he was really loud.

Doesn’t really matter matter who this guy is. I handed in my radio and left as fast as I could.  Not only did this guy ream me verbally, he also was physically intimidating.  Climbed right in my cylinder. And you know how much volunteers like that.

Triathlon volunteering sucks.  I want my two days back.

Hey, but at least they gave me a radio.   Maybe gelato will perk me up.


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People are asking where I’ve been….

In Ottawa mostly.  It’s been a busy summer so far.

My daily bike ride around town keeps me well abreast of the ski world.  Average three winter people a day.  Last week on Monday alone were three Lake Louise folks in the downtown.  Average sightings are between two and three a day.

Not without my share of difficult assignments though.

First it was the sinkhole on Rideau Street less than 1.5 km from home.  It was a close call.  Starbucks is just on skier’s right and almost joined the minivan in the hole.

Then I had to deal with the NCC lemonade stand fiasco.  This was no lemonade stand.  It was a start hut on wheels with a cedar shake roof.  Good thing the father is a litigator specializing in trespass law.  And this was a mere five blocks from home.  Needless to say my letter to the editor was not fit to be published

So I volunteered at the Tour de France and was assigned air bags (or air archways).  And we know how that turned out.

After that I was a marshal responsible for motorcycle cameras with a sub-task of coaching Chris Froome’s sprinting skills.  Oh dear…

Funny to listen to Phil Liggett going over “the three pieces of equipment to finish” rule.  Turns out in cycling you need a bike to finish.  Sounds like a case study except the answer in cycling is to move the finish up to the earlier of a) where the rider loses his bike; or b) where the rider loses his ability to think.

Things can only look up.  Today I am only charged with managing Chris Froome’s upper-body gym work.

I should not be long.

Adela Andrews, 5, (left) and her sister Eliza, 7, (right) received a permit from the National Capital Commission to sell lemonade this Sunday after being shut down last week for failing to have one.

Bikers pass under deflated arch at Tour de France


Okay.  This is the gym.  Let’s go.

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