It’s been nearly two weeks since work ended. In that time a lot of transformation has happened, not a lot of blog updates, but a lot of travelling, visiting, and riding. I had to stop for a few days in Jasper as the trail riding was great for this time of year. Thanks to the hikers a lot of the trails were packed down and made for some pretty solid winter riding conditions. The boys at Freewheel Cycle have had there fat tire bikes out all winter and are just loving life out there in the mountains ripping it up. I was jealous I couldn’t stay longer but the warm temps of the coast were calling. Eventually I ended up back in Victoria where my roommate (Cody Canning) and I have created the perfect little base camp out of our condo for the cycling year.
Getting back into a bike training routine after 2.5 months of seismic work was a shocker. Days 1 and 2 I was blessed to not get smoked by a car as my neuron connections were overwhelmed with the speed of traffic. They caught up to speed pretty fast after a couple tight spots. Already 8 days and 30 hrs back into proper training and it looks like the seismic work & cross training routines from the winter are paying off.
Being back on the bike is nice although there are things about the work life I will miss. Like the blue sky days and stunning northern sunrises and sunsets. The days when it is below -30 I won’t miss. I also won’t miss fixing things 24/7. Working seismic is a great gig, good money, good exercise, and most of all good times with a lot of interesting people up there in bush camp. One of the problems with Seismic though is it’s ability to turn upside down in the blink of an eye. One minute you’ll be cutting along in the sunshine just raking in the dough, and then the next minute you’ll be throwing your saw through the air in an effort to get it to run properly. When things don’t work, the money doesn’t come in. This makes a guy learn pretty fast how to jimmy rig things up so they work.
Machines break, when you have more machines, more break, when it gets colder, more machines break, in the end there are usually a lot of broken machines and a lot of fixing to do. The quad has done alright this winter. She is always pissed when we try to wake her up in the mornings after a deep sleep and its below -25, but she always ends up coughing up a cloud of smoke and reluctantly going to work. One blown belt, one broken head light, two broken fends a blown rear shock, and as of yesterday a really f’d up pull cord, but other than that she still roars right along through the deep powder snow.
The truck had been high maintenance this winter but towards the end of the season she was finally running 100%. She lost a lot of points the day she asked for a new fuel pump in – 20 degree weather. She also lost points when she quit offering us 4×4 for 3 weeks and kept getting stuck in staging. The other slashers always thought we put our quad ramps under the rear tires to try and bend them back into shape, little did they know we were just stuck.
The highlight day this work year was slashing through an open muskeg with my partner Jon just raking in the $$ and not having to fall a single tree.
The low day was either putting a fuel pump in the truck in -20 weather or the day we broke three chainsaws, killed the quad battery, pulled the pull cord out of the quad, and then sat there in the snowbank making up new curse words.
The contrast between “real” work and work as in riding a bike is brilliant. It keeps things fresh and is inspiring for both bike riding and work. It’s something I hope I can balance in the years to come as I feel they both play a huge part in creating a sustainable yet enjoyable lifestyle with freedom to boot.
Right now the focus is making the most of the 14 day training period I have before the first race of the year down in the Dominican Republic Feb 20-28. I’ve been lucky enough to jump on board with a crew from Quebec to race in the 8 day Tour of the Dominican Republic Road stage race. I’ll have to put on the poker face for this one as the legs won’t be at full throttle this early in the season. In my mind there’s no better way of getting the feet wet then diving straight in. We also have a couple solid sprinters on the team so I’ll be practicing my domestique skills in an effort to get these boys into position to hit there stride.
For now its another routine day in Victoria of riding, eating, napping, yoga and watching hockey. There’s a fine line to balance training with still trying to recover from work. This routine seems to be heading my mind and body in the right direction for now although it can make a guy a bit restless.