Letter from a Board Member: Tim Smith
By: Tim Smith
As some of you may know I spent A big chunk of August on a bike trip. Or as I like to think of it, on a bike tour - since I was in a French speaking part of the world.
I spent 17 days cycling from the upper valley to Quebec City and then on to the Gaspé peninsular. About a thousand miles, which means a lot of time on the saddle. (I don't think you should describe cycling as being "in" a saddle.)
It is funny how when I now look at my notes what I read is about all the days of rain. And standing in cold, windy downpours and deciding to find a hostel instead of pitching my tent. Many people might not find such an activity attractive.
But my memories say it was all golden. In the first few days I wondered if this aging body could do the miles, but by the time I crossed Riviere St. Laurent that thought had evaporated, like a morning mist. Eventually, every day I was looking forward to pressing toe to peddle; to seeing what was around the next curve, beyond the next hill, and in the next little village. Poutine was good, crepes were better and people are great!
Life is very simple when your only objective is to ride 100 kilometers today. And life is delightful when you live in an endorphin haze!
And so the miles rolled on and on. Nights camping or at hostels. Days on my trusty classic set of wheels, or re-fueling at cafes.
But eventually all departures from reality come to an end and I set aside the bike gloves and helmet, did laundry, dried my tent and returned to normal life. Which meant running again.
I had not run in three weeks, but I had spent four to seven hours every day in a cardiovascular activity. Admittedly, most of that was tame, but there was a lot of it. So I was surprised how awkward and clumsy I felt running. The heart, lung and legs were all as strong as I have been in many years. But I felt like I was running in clodhoppers! My legs could spin for hours, but stretch out and stride? And when I come to a hill, I can not just shift gears.
Running on a straight away is simple. But run trails, run grass, run potholes and all the thousand adjustments we make with every stride.
It made me realize that running is an art related to improvisational dance. It also made me think about cross-training. Cross-training can be an extension to your running, but it is not really a replacement.
However every once in awhile it is still nice to break your routine and peddle off into the sunrise!