Thursday, January 3, 2008

Directionally challenged

So far in life it seems that I have been dealt a pretty decent hand when it comes to my genetics (thanks Lizzie & Geo!). Sure, I am so blind I have had to wear coke bottle glasses since I was 4 and my ankles are so wimpy I am a pathetic skater (a big deal growing up in Ottawa with  “the longest skating rink in the world”) but overall I think I have done pretty well (knock on wood I don’t get poked by the fickle finger of fate with some nasty disease). But one thing I never got was that “internal compass” that can be helpful in many situations. I have tried to focus and improve on this but if you know me well you know it’s never going to happen (Norm is the only one in denial). I once did a 3 day adventure race in Panorama and got lost for 3 hours on the first day, 2 hours on the second day and 1 hour on the third day. It was deemed a success in my eyes because I actually got back on track every day. As my nephew Noah would say – yeah me!

So with this acceptance, whenever I am in a new place and trying to get longer rides in it is always a bit stressful. Nobody wants to be lost in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language, where legend has it Ryan Trebon was arrested and thrown in jail for turning right on a red light on his bike. With most of the crew out with injuries, and now gone, I have been doing a lot of my training rides solo. I started with out and backs to get familiar with what Hertsberge looked like from all angles. Oostkamp and back. Brugge and back. Beernem and back. Then I graduated to small loops, always moving in a grid-like pattern. Next up, figure 8’s,: a loop to a known point then another loop from that non-Hertsberge point. Then bigger loops encompassing a few towns on the perimeter of Hertsberge. I know, it seems pathetic but I am seriously a bit of a directional moron.

I was starting to feel more comfortable so today I thought I would expand on yesterdays Beernem loop. I got to Beernem no problem. Easy peezy lemon squeezy. Left. Big move Wendy. Crazy, I know. I started towards a new town, Assebroek. This was supposed to be a big loop so no turns, I kept straight and then realized I was heading towards Brugge. Hmmm I knew Brugge pretty well by now so no biggie. I also knew that my new favourite chocolate store “Neuhaus” was in Brugge so I kept my course. Lucky for me the euro towns are always centered around a giant church that towers above all else so I made my way to the centrum. I was having a wicked ride! Snaking my way to the centrum on some cobbled alleyways and people watching. Ladies in fur coats and heels riding their bikes with style. Guys riding no-hands so they could smoke. Tourists. Shoppers. The smell of fresh waffles. Horse drawn carriages. Brick bridges. I was pretty obvious in my bright orange kit so I got as many stares as I gave out.

I found my way to Neuhaus – no problem, its right near the big church. My chocolate assistant recognized me so she directed me towards some new ones to try (this trip was unplanned so I forgot the chocolate guide that Barb and I had poured over, circling the ones we wanted to try). When I left, it started to snow.

I headed back towards Hertsberge and then got cocky 1-2kms from the Cycling Center. I still had to find a good spot for my workout. There were lots of woodsy areas near our place that I hadn’t explored yet so I popped onto a diagonal bike path (another crazy move as I usually only deal in straight lines). I saw signs for a castle and took some side trails. This was looking like a great spot to check out further. I found the castle. Did my workout and then realized I had no clue where I was. Uh oh. I was cold and tired and needed food (other than chocolate…). Bad combo. But I got all mantracker and started looking for clues. I finally found my tire tracks in the snow and followed them out of the woods and headed home. What a great ride! The only thing that could have made it better was a buddy to share it with….


-if I hear anymore Phil Collins on the radio I might snap

-no races for awhile now, just training, so if you are bored with my idle chit-chat, tune back in after the Lievin World Cup on the 13th

-my FSA spoke arrived today – thanks FSA! Now I can get that wheel up and running

-7 days until Norm gets here!



vicki (from canada) said...

I can understand the direction issues. I suffer as well. When training I focus on the church steeples as well. For a good radio station - check out Stu Bru. Didn't know you grew up in Ottawa. I think you went to high school with my husband's sister (Michelle Boudreau).
Good luck at the World Cup. Probably see you at Mol.

Wendy Simms said...

Michelle Boudreau......she worked in a vet clinic....long straight hair.....Pisces.... ha ha kidding no clue what sign she is but if that is her I remember. Small world. W.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wendy,
It's Norm's tri/cross friend from Seattle, met you at USGP Pdx, Congrats on some excellent results in Europe so far. Saw Norm at our cross finale in Seattle last weekend...surprised me as I thought he'd be w/ you in Belgium already. Best of luck to you and Norm at your respective Worlds races... Cheers and all the best !! Dave

Biker Pete said...

Hi Wendy, Really enjoy following your blog! I've got the whole family following your progress to worlds and we're all rooting for you. When you get back I'd love to here about your travels in Belgium as Peggy and I are thinking about going next year to see some cross, cheer on Canadians and maybe if I do well at Nationals again go to the Masters Worlds. All the best and good luck!


Wendy Simms said...

Thanks for reading my babble.


Wendy Simms said...

Peter. I have your whole tripped mapped out. Including what chocolate you will buy me if i can't make it. Consultant fee.

Dave. How was Kringle Cross?