Biking, Pemberton, Racing, weekend

Nimby Fifty: It was all about the socks.

Not only did I achieve my goals (in particular, #1) but I had a blast doing so.  I’m convinced that the Nimby Fifty is one of those events that every mountain biker in the corridor ought to try at least once.  And if you aren’t in it to win it, then you can be like me and wear stupid socks.

Rare is the event where I don’t at least once think “Ugh, this sucks.  I am so done”.  Oddly, I didn’t experience that during this race, even when I was cramping, when I was staring at yet another uphill or I was quaking in my spotty socks at the top of the Red Bull Downhill section.  Incidentally, I placed 3rd to last in that race-within-a-race;  I was trying to DFL but couldn’t quite make it happen.

The atmosphere at the start was relaxed yet buzzing.  The race itself unfurled at a totally manageable pace and for the most part, I was surrounded by really nice riders.  The cheering sections were fun (thanks for the sips of beer, Seb) and there were lots of unexpected conversations.  Particularly the lovely German gentleman who asked me – at the bottom of Happy Trail (the beginning of a 45-60m climb) – if we were “almost done wiss ze climbing”.  Schiesse, no.

Lots of miscellaneous thoughts run through your brain when you are on your bike in the forest for about 4 hours.  A mere sampling:

“Wow.  That guy is really hammering.  Too bad the race started 6 minutes ago.”

“Eeep! Hold on tight!  Why am I closing my eyes, DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES, YOU DUMMY!”

“I’m hungry.”

“Hmm. Some of these boy mountain bikers don’t like getting passed by a girl any more than boy triathletes.”

“How the f#$% do people ride down this?”

“I’m so glad I wore these socks.”

“Why am I all alone?  Where is everyone?”

“Oh hey!  Hi!”

Those burgers at the finish, the friendly faces everywhere and the family BBQ to top off the day really made it a perfect, Pemberton spring day.  Thanks to the organizers, sponsors and the riders for making it so.

I promised some before and after pics.  Behold, the spotted socks:

Nimby 1

Photo credit: Jon Anthony

Before!  The jersey on the left may offend some, but I whole-heartedly agree.C_UsersMainAppDataLocalTempDSC_0031 Alex, Baby Finn (not nursing, despite popular belief) and me – all done. C_UsersMainAppDataLocalTempDSC_0086

At the finish with Bren and Rich.  Bren broke a derailleur and finished on a borrowed bike; Rich and duked it out for a while out there – oh yeah, he got me at the end.  Note my styly hair. C_UsersMainAppDataLocalTempDSC_0077The only time Brett Tippie, aka The Mouth of the South, will ever interview me.  I think he’s grimacing because I told him my favourite part was the uphill.C_UsersMainAppDataLocalTempDSC_0062

Next up, the Whistler Half Marathon, family-style: 21K for me, 10K for Jay and Little Rippers for the kids.  Come out and cheer!

Biking, Family, Kids, Pemberton, QOTD, Racing, weekend

QOTD and weekend foreboding

Tomorrow, I’ll be throwing a leg over my mountain bike and doing my first “real” mountain bike race in probably 8 years.  The Nimby 50 is tomorrow morning and seeing as it’s about 50ft from the backdoor, I’ll be giving it a go.  My goals are simple:

1. Don’t die.

2. Don’t break any bones (except, maybe, for the one that’s still broken. That’ll give me reason to go ahead with the surgery I don’t want).

3. Finish before they start pulling down the Finish Chute and still be capable to eat the burgers/drink the beer!

4. Reinforce my race mantra that there’s no shame and walking and that chatting to volunteers is the best part of the day.

5. Ride faster than the mosquitos on the uphills.

I asked the boys if they’d come and cheer for me.  Will replied:

“Yeah, maybe.  We’ll have to see what the weather does”.


I hope to have a full & fun report up soon, as well as some good before/after pics.  The big decision I’m wrestling with right now is whether or not to bring a camera.  Sigh, first world problems.

On a similar note, the boys are really into their bikes right now and have set a goal for the summer of riding all the “Blue” trails in Pemberton.  We’re off to a good start!

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

Up Next: Superwoman

Alright.  I had fun interviewing my first candidate, so here’s another one!

Christine Suter is a well known and very speedy Whistler-based triathlete/ultra-runner.  Perhaps you are currently getting whipped into shape by her hands-on coaching.  Maybe she’s drawn blood when making you feel like dying on the bike (seriously.  She pokes your finger with a needle.  It hurts and you swear.  I know this from experience).

You’ve seen her around, I’m sure: always smiley, quick with a friendly word and wave.  Usually wearing unusually large mitts on her bike.  Recently gained semi-fame as the kayaking dog-rescuer of Pinecrest.

I know her as a friend and coach – that is, when I get my act together and need accountability and butt-kicking.  She’s so good at making me push myself but understanding my need for some kind of balance.

An Ironman athlete several times over, she’s become an invaluable resource to many, many athletes in our community.  So without further ado, here she is!

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC back in 1987

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

Squamish Tri in the swim to bike transition and I got stuck trying to get my lycra top on over my bra top-  you know when it all rolls up and I could not get the top down- being a good swimmer I was one of the first female swimmers out- so there were lots of spectators.

(Edited to add: this happens to me all the time.  In the locker room.  Ahem).

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

Greg Sandkuhl

(Edited to add: I sense I need to ask him these questions)

4. Bucket list race?

Ultraman hawaii

Team Lizzie Sandwich!
And some other dudes 😉

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Worst- Snow salt on the roads so a late start to outdoor riding and being cold!

Best-  the hills because I have yet to race anything worse than where I live and the ride up to Callaghan.

6. Fave post race food

Since I usually cannot eat anything after a race-  chicken soup.

7. Race superstition?

Don’t really have one.

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

My husband Paul because he has not been able to do anything for 5 years and I miss being able to go out training with him!

(Edited to add: awwwwww.)

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

I like to sing one phrase of a song to myself over and over again to keep me motivated or I count my foot strikes while running to the count of 8 and keep on repeating it

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one…

Jon Blais

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Rubble Creek Classic

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Constantly seeing how far I can push myself and my body.

When your country is on your chest, you've totally made it.
When your country is on your chest, you’ve totally made it.

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants)

I sleep through my alarm and miss the start.

14. 3 words that describe you as a person

determined, too serious.

15. Dream sponsor?

Visa! Then they can pay for my flights, my hotels and my gear!!

Ok, so normally, I’d end it here but I needed some pics of Christine so I Googled her and feel it only fair to point out that she’s the only person I know to have ever competed nationally in… synchronized swimming.  No photographic evidence available.

Thanks Suter!

Stay tuned for the next one!

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

But enough about me.

You may know her as triathlon age-group slayer Liz Cullen.  2x Ironman finisher.  Or perhaps you remember her from her ski bum days as a long-time Whistler local (let’s face it: she may live in Vancouver but I’m pretty sure her heart’s up here).

Some of you may know her as The Sarcastic Triathlete (if you don’t, it’s a refreshing read: go there).

I know her as a training partner/racing ass-kicker/co-adventure planner and good friend.

She’s currently incubating a human, so we won’t be running any races in matching shirts in the early season, but I have no doubt she’ll be back in action in no time.

She’s the first subject in what I hope to become a regular feature here: interviews with some of my favourite folks.

Herewith, I introduce to you Lizzie.

1.     What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC Sprint tri in July 2003.  Because my mom was doing it so I thought I’d give it a try on her old bike.  I then did a random smattering of tris until 2006 when I actually started training for them.

2.     What was your most embarassing race moment?

Oliver Half Iron 2008.  I got a flat with 4km to go and decided to just ride it back to transition.  There was one final corner 400m before transition and I washed out and hit the curb with most of the town watching.  When I got up to head to transition my wheel wouldn’t turn so I had to jog in bare feet carrying my bike.

3.     Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

This tiny little cycling powerhouse named Christine, she sometimes goes by SMO.  Oh wait, that’s you.  Biggest foe and best training buddy all in one.  I have the swim, she has the bike and the run is getting close.  When we both start racing again it could get ugly.

**Editor’s note: I can’t wait.

4.     Bucket list race?

Other than Kona. Wildflower.

5.     Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Best: Kits pool!

Worst: rain.  Lots of rain.


6.     Fave post race food

Salt and vinegar potato chips

7.     Race superstition?

Don’t really have one, but I do have rituals.  I tuck notes of encouragement in my race kit even if they don’t get read and end up a squishy blob.

8.     If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

How ’bout Heather Wurtele.  Because she seems really fun and nice and I like feeling short sometimes.

9.     What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

Not sure I have any (others may say differently)  I do like doing handstands in the water before races, might as well get a laugh in.

10.  Who’s your athletic hero?  If you have one…

Other than the obvious of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Kobe Bryant, top of the list: Chrissie Wellington, Natasha Badmann, Lisa Bentley, and so on.

11.  What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Whistler Half Marathon.  Although only in its 3rd year and overcoming course distance growing pains, it’s super neat to run through your own town with tons of supporters.


12.  Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Late blooming, somewhat competitive age group triathlete that combats laziness with lofty goals.

13.  Desribe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants).

That I miss the race entirely usually because I got the day wrong and show up too late.  I actually did that once to an exam in university so it’s not beyond impossible.

14.  3 words that describe you as a person.

Geez, what is this? A job interview?  I consider myself a perfectionist.  Ha kidding. According to me: humorous, uncomplicated, pregnant (for the next 2.5 months at least).

15.  Dream sponsor?

Ben and Jerry’s. Ok ok, probably Saucony.  You can never have too many bright fun shoes.

Thanks for taking the time, ‘Zard.

So friends: who shall be my next interviewee/victim?

Biking, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton, QOTD, Running, Skiing

Wherein I ramble.


It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly because I’ve been mopey.  Nobody wants to hang around mopey, much less read about mopey.  So I’m trying to move past mopey into more hopeful.  Mopeful, maybe?

My body is nowhere near 100% fixed, as much as I like to pretend it is.  Watching the winter pass me by has been very frustrating – particularly not being able to ski.  I miss skiing and feel like I am missing out on a lot with the kidlets.

I’ve tried a few days of skate skiing without poles which was ok, but otherwise my workouts have been limited to the gym, pool running (ugh) and the wind trainer… endless hours on the wind trainer.  Actually, I’m pretty proud of myself for the workouts I’ve developed: they are based solely on TV characters.  When character A comes on, I spin 100 rpm.  When his enemy comes on, I spin 80 rpm, etc. etc.  It actually makes time fly.  As much as time can fly on a wind trainer at 5:30am.  Maybe I’ll trademark these workouts and become an infomercial superstar!  (Wait… do infomercials still exist?)

I celebrated 1 month post-op with a 1km run on the treadmill in the garage  – which I then had taken away from me by a well-meaning physio who told me to back off again.  I may or may not had shed tears of frustration.  Not having the ability to run daily has had a huge effect on my ability to manage my anxiety,  so for both my physical and mental health I’m hoping to get back at it sooner rather than later.

Baby steps, I suppose.  In the meantime, while I build my body back up, I’ll continue to lurk on race websites, read blogs, try to pick up a hobby,  follow people’s twitter updates and will the snow to melt and my body to heal so I can once again get out and play.

Know thyself

A few weeks ago, I was headed to the city to run some errands and let the boys know I’d be picking them up some tees and hoodies as they’d outgrown/destroyed the ones they had. Rory piped up that he “wanted a pink t-shirt with a skateboarder on it, but if they don’t have that, I’ll just get whatever”.

not a dude
Not a dude.

Will looked at me and said “I don’t want to be a dude”.  I was a little confused by this comment and replied “but you’re a boy, therefore you are a dude.”  He elaborated: “No, no.  I don’t want to be a dude, like who skateboards and wears pink shirts and stuff.  I like Lego and books and calmer stuff.  I just want a plain blue t-shirt”.

It’s interesting to me that at 6 years old, he’s pretty self-aware.  And so very, very different from his brother.


I bought Anja a new coat as she’d outgrown her current one (belly coats, anyone?)  She came downstairs, saw it and said “OH MINE GOODNESS!  It’s Beee-ooootiful”!

I like an appreciative kid.

Never undressed.
Never undressed.

Completely unrelated to anything

I was at one of my recent 298374 doctors appointments waiting for the doc when I saw this:  diva

I must have been having a bad day because it infuriated me.  I’m no feminist, but COME ON.  Set your daughter up with some slightly higher standards than “Diva”.  I hate that moniker applied to little girls – never mind newborns.  How about “Astronaut in Training” or “Athlete in Training” or “Average, healthy kid in training”?  Anything is better than Diva.

*steps off soap box*

Don’t ask.

I gave up chocolate for Lent.  I’m not religious, nor have I ever given anything up for Lent.  I wonder what possessed me this year.  So far so good.  But The Chocolate Easter Bunny better watch his back March 31.  And his ears.  And tail.


It was the first warm and sunny day we’d had in a long time.  I spent a lot of it thinking about Mum.  She used to love early Spring days and would bundle up into her coats and blankets, drag an old chair to a sunny spot somewhere outside and read her book till the sun became shade.  I think that early spring days will always remind me of Mum and some of her ingrained habits.  I can’t believe that it’s already been 6 months without her.

I’m back at work!  Bring on the sitting, office snacks and the fluorescent lighting.  And hopefully more positive blog updates.

taking care
They take care of me by taking care of themselves. Sometimes.
Biking, Day-to-day life, Racing, Running, Skiing, Triathlon, Whistler

Greater tuberosity and other fun things.

Greater Tuberosity.

Doesn’t that sound like it should be a name of a roller coaster at a super fun amusement park?  “Step right up people and have a ride on the death defying GREATER TUBEROSITY!  A feat of engineering, a marvel of adventure!” 

The reality is that “greater tuberosity” is just a fancy name for shoulder.  Which I fractured last week.  Oops.

Considering I’m scheduled for knee surgery next week, my timing is spectacular and this has put a damper on the ski season.  Just when I’d managed to rekindle my love/hate relationship with skate skiing…  Plus, I get total FOMO when it comes to skiing with my kids – I don’t want to miss a thing.  It drives me bonkers when they go without me.

I’m front loading the surgery with as much running as I can as I am not sure when I’ll be able to get out there again (super graceful, one-armed running).  I devastated that I can’t swim (total lie).  Garage biking is happening. I tried snowshoeing but almost died of boredom: I would have been a terrible coureur des bois.

Coming soon: road trip recap!  In the meantime, enjoy some random photos.

anja cold
                           Why would anyone want to miss a ski day with this face?
anja jay
                             Sometimes, you do what you gotta do to keep up.
                                                               Dresses herself.
greater TB
               This is the aforementioned roller coaster.
Snowshoeing. This is about 7 minutes after I started. Notice the boredom yet?
                        Did you know that fractured shoulder = no shoveling. Perk.
“Someone” may have told him that spies dress up so that they can fly business class.
                                                           Sunset at home.






Biking, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, QOTD, Racing, Running, Skiing, Triathlon, Whistler

In which I blab on about a variety of topics.

I spent the weekend in Vancouver with the kids, the plan being to take in the Stanley Park Christmas train, city lights and the Santa Claus Parade.  Then, this happened:

anja and rory

Being sick when you are little sucks. It’s hard to communicate what you feel and you can’t help much beyond back rubs and cuddles.  And midnight/2am/4am Tylenol and kleenex doses.  Thankfully, they both seem to be on the mend.

Rory and Will rallied for the parade, Anja fell asleep…



(scene: Rory is having a hissy fit because we’d planned an adult evening without him).

Me, to Will: “What’s going on?”

Will: “Oh, Rory’s losing his marbles because you’re leaving”.

Me: “Hmm, well – are you ok with it?”

Will: “Me?  Oh yeah.  You should go, you guys totally need a break”.

(scene: Rory, on the couch, legs in the air)

“I feel a celebration coming on!”

Knee surgery looms in January.  In the meantime, I’ve been running and kind of biking (and by kind of, I mean hanging on for dear life on the rollers while staring at a dot on the floor so as not to lose focus).  I’ve also been trolling the internet and planning 2 types of race schedules.

1) The one I’d do if I were single, rich and responsibility-free (read: Phuket, South Africa, New Orleans, Texas, Mexico, Hawaii… just to name a few destinations).

2) Reality.  I’ll be coming off of surgery, have 3 kids to focus on, don’t have that much race mojo anyway.  Any suggestions?  Oh, I’ve been talked into the Test of Metal after a 9 year hiatus.


The cooking project continues and I’ve been diligent about trying new recipes.  In the process, I’ve learned a few things.  First, don’t try to fool the kids with things like “These quinoa burgers are just like real burgers”!  They’re kids, not idiots.  Truth helps.Next, I’m much more of a 1 dish kind of gal.  If I have to cook a main and 2 side dishes to all be ready at once, something is bound to be over-done, under-done, too hot, too mushy, etc.  Plus HEY LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!  I’m too easily distracted and there are always 3 little people talking to me at the same time between 5-6pm.  Finally, I keep waiting for that love of cooking to spark.  But I’m thinking this is one blind date that’s going nowhere…fast.

On the bright side, I made myself laugh the other day when Will came barreling into the kitchen demanding to know what was for dinner.  I answered “Windowsills.  Now get out of my kitchen”.  Verbatim what my Mum used to say to me…

Aftermath of the gingerbread house building event. I had to wrestle the beer from Rory.

If, like me, you harbour romantic notions of living in Canada’s north, do check out Tandi’s blog.  A healthy and funny dose of reality!

It’s here… another ski season.  Day 1 for me started with these two and it was both painful and awesome.  Anja delights in folding in half and laughing when she hits the ground.  Rory seeks jumps like it’s his job.  The two of them collided more than once and I ended the day with sore legs (snowplowing is evil) and a full body sweat.  Here’s to more days on the hill and less days of plucking them off the ground!

Anja in the gondi
                              Have you ever seen anything cuter? No, you have not.
Wedding weekend coming up! 
Biking, CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, QOTD

Progress report

Yeah, you’re all dying to know. Did I or didn’t I bail on the week 1 cooking challenge do-over?

I attempted a few new recipes and re-jigged a few kid favourites (to their ABSOLUTE HORROR.) Among other things, I “invented” a veggie stir-fry that I really liked, the kids thought it was essentially poison. Have you ever watched a 4-year old pick grains of rice out of a plate one-by-one? Entertainment at its finest. Chocolate pudding? WINNING. I didn’t tell them it was made with avocado.

I’ll continue on with my personal quest this week and see what I manage. True confession, though: it’s a lot easier to learn to like wine than it is to like cooking…

What is it with this time of year that ignites my inner consumer? I’d been doing a pretty good job of purging and keeping my desire to acquire things in check, but lately every time I turn around I see something that I have. To. Have. It’s ridiculous.

I think I need to initiate some kind of reward/earning system for myself to justify some of this desire… (that being said, I can pretty much talk myself out of anything, so maybe that’s what I need to be working on). That elephant ring on Etsy? Must cook 15 original meals. That new cycling kit? Must… um… earn it somehow?

Is this something you do? Tell me more, if so. How do you justify your treats?

Rory, trying the guacamole I made: “I don’t really like it but I kind of love it”.

Will: “Sometimes, when you slow down, things come to you rather than having to chase them”.

CITS is kind of in hiatus these days… it’s just me and my bike. I can’t run comfortably so I’m trying to get re-acquainted with my mountain bike. I wonder why I like riding more in the cold and wet than in the warm sun? Weird.