Category Archives: Life in General

Happily Ever After…


Hello one and all. Some of you may realize that this post has been a couple years in the making. For those of you not aware, I took that ‘leap of faith’, proposed to Deanna in May of 2012, and have now carried through with the grand plan. I am now officially hitched. I’ve even got a fancy cobalt ring to prove it. The official date was October 5th, 2013, but things have been pretty busy since then, what with a fabulous honeymoon and a ramped-up work schedule which has had me traveling to Toronto a fair bit. I also really wasn’t sure how to summarize such an amazing, life-changing day in my normal fashion. Suffice to say, there were cameras rolling for the event, and plenty of pictures taken, but they can’t possibly capture all that I felt that day. The emotion was on a level I dare say I have rarely ever experienced before, but all in a good way! Read on for a bit more insight into ‘the greatest day of my life’! While the final, edited pictures are not completed yet, we have nonetheless collected quite a few from friends and family, which are now on flickr.

I think I need to get one thing out of the way up front. Yes. I cried. It was impossible not to. It was only once and it was during the ceremony, but I know some of you picked up on it. As soon as my beautiful bride stepped out of the Ark and began descending the stairs, I welled up. It was the culmination of an amazing courtship and friendship started many years back, and I was just overcome with the moment. Yup, I can be a softie, and I DO have feelings after all, for those who were in doubt. But of course, I have gotten ahead of myself, haven’t I? Let’s reverse this tale just a little bit and review how we got here, and how the day shaped up.

I will avoid the long-winded story, but for the record, Deanna and I met in 2006. It was at an adventure race. I was racing, she was volunteering. I had a camera with me (what else is new) on the race, and snapped her picture at a checkpoint, later labeling it “A Friendly Volunteer”. We talked later that night at the post-race party, and got along well. From that time, I saw her at a few more races, and we always chatted a bit and joked around with each other (some may even say ‘innocent flirting’). Regardless, both of us had different lives, in different cities, and didn’t really make any efforts to get to know each other on any deeper level then racer / race staff friendships.

Fast forward to May 2010. We happened to both be in a different phase of our lives. Both single. Some might call it fate. Either way, the flirting was a little deeper after that particular race, and we lingered with each other just a little later into the evening at the post-race party, even taking a stroll by the waterfront of the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. We went separate ways the next morning, but my curiosity was piqued. So, on the long drive home, while stopped in Dixie Lee Chicken in Barry’s Bay, I sent out a text that would change my life course. I invited Deanna to come visit me in Ottawa, from Toronto. Failing to come up with a decent reason why she shouldn’t, she agreed later in the week. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the following months, what started as a pretty innocent and adventuresome friendship / romance, grew in ways neither of us had foreseen. The weekdays spent apart felt agonizing to both of us, and I was soon setting up week-long trips to Toronto where I’d work in a local office. Of course, even with that, Deanna decided to make the big move, and in December 2010, we packed her up, and she started a new life in Ottawa! It was heady and exciting times to see where this would go.

The next year and a half were filled with endless fun and adventures, lots of talking and learning about each other, and a realization that we were both completely happy and couldn’t imagine not being together. So what was I to do? It was obvious to me. Propose to Deanna exactly 2 years after we got together, at the same race, in the same location, with her as a volunteer, and me as a racer. I didn’t win the race that day, but I won the greatest prize I could hope for. A lifetime of happiness, support, and understanding. And I do have to stress understanding. I’m so lucky to have found someone who doesn’t only understand me, but can relate and deal with it!! 🙂

Once the proposal was out of the way, the planning started pretty much right away. We knew immediately where we’d want to get married. At the ARK. This is a place where we’ve done snowshoe races, trail running, and is off the grid and in the middle of the woods. We could think of no better place to commit our lives to each other. Met outdoors, got to know each other outdoors, and now, get wed outdoors. It was perfect. Not to mention Mike, our officiant, was a good friend, and had known us for our ‘formative years’.

Being the slightly controlling / engineering / perfectionist -minded fellow, I had a pretty big hand in the process of planning our wedding. We wanted to make sure that all the little things were planned out, but even though we started a year in advance, I was amazed how many last minute things crept up on us. Through the whole process though, we reminded ourselves that at the end of the day, this was for US, and that if we were happy, our guests would be happy. However, to ensure that, we knew early on it would be open bar all day and night 🙂 To make that extra special, Deanna and I made two special batches of wine ourselves, and sub-contracted the Beer Baron (aka Best Brewmaster, aka Rob) to craft two special ales for the wedding.

The choice to go with an Oktoberfest theme was also pretty spur of the moment once we settled on a caterer. We looked at menu options, saw the ‘European Feast’ menu, looked at the calendar, and realized it would be perfect. Little did we know how amazing my Swiss cousins would be at playing the part, with some of them wearing traditional oktoberfest attire for the occasion. It was just so fun! We think most guests also agreed, with the first 2 kegs of beer pretty much gone before we even started the meal!! Good thing we had planned on 4 kegs AND lots of spirits as well. Happily, the bar didn’t run dry at all.

Of course, in my mind, music is also pretty critical, and early on, we also decided we should seek out live music. I was torn between live band all night or not, and ended up deciding to go with cocktail jazz for a couple hours, then personal music curation later in the evening (aka I decided to DJ our wedding myself, lol). We found an absolutely stunning 4 piece jazz band to entertain between the ceremony and reception, and they did a great job setting the mood while guests mingled, and we got our wedding photos taken.

This is probably a great time to also mention that we were VERY lucky with the weather. In spite of calls for rain on the day, instead, we were greeted by a perfect sunny day, with only chillier temperatures in the night once the bonfire was already raging in the back part of the property. This allowed everyone to enjoy the fall colours in the setting just as we’d imagined it. I think the smile was planted on my face the entire day, from the morning wake-up to the very very late bedtime.

The actual celebrating also started the day before, where we hosted a family and wedding party get-together at one of our favourite microbreweries, Brasseurs du Temps. It was a very laid-back evening, just giving a chance for everyone to mingle and get to know each other. With family and friends flying in from all over the world, it was a great chance to catch up without the big wedding day anxiety.

Wow, I have so many thoughts tumbling around as I type this. Big shout out also has to go to all the friends we had helping with the event. From the weeks leading up to the event, and through to the actual clean-up at the end of the wedding night, there were always people offering to help and give us tips and things to think of. In fact, now that I look back, I lied up above. I said I only cried once on my wedding day. In fact, I cried twice. The second came with my best man’s speech (Matt). He barely started speaking before he got choked up, which just got me all misty again. However, I’m pretty sure he made quite a few people cry that night with his touching words. Damn you mega-Matt!! 😉

Also, having Troy and Tanya fly up from Vegas was also pretty special. I can’t imagine having gotten married without all those close friends in attendance. We didn’t have a huge wedding by any stretch of the imagination, but every single person there was integral to making it a memorable day, and every one of them share a part in our story of coming together. They all mean the world to us.

I’m feeling a little disjointed in this post, so perhaps I should close it off. And how better than to talk about the end of the night for me. Don’t worry, this blog is generally rated G, so I’m not going to go anywhere crazy. BUT, I would like to send a special shout-out to all the ‘friends’ that helped prep our wedding suite. Rose petals and champagne? NOPE. Try: short-sheeted bed and a stack of 10 lawn chairs on the bed interlocked and stacked as a ‘puzzle’. Thanks guys! Add to that temperatures at freezing, no firewood or kindling, and you can see why it was a late night. We didn’t finish the clean-up till around 3am. THEN I had to somehow start a fire. Luckily, I’m creative. With only a box of wooden matches, a tiny bit of newspaper, and some logs that I pulled from the smouldering bonfire outside, I got things going. Deanna was a little worried when I stumbled in with two smoky logs, ember side up, staggering over to the woodstove to get things going, but I survived my caveman quest to bring fire to our wedding night suite.

3 hours later, when we had to get up, it was oppressively HOT in there. Ha ha. That was a good thing though, as it helped us get mobile, pack everything up into the car, then hurriedly rush off to a family brunch, before doing a really fast packing job and leaving for our European honeymoon!! But of course, that is for another blog post.

So, with all that, I close off with this thought for all of you. I have found love. Love has found me. Life has forever changed, and brought us both on a new course together, and the world is an even richer place than it was to me before. I couldn’t be happier or more fortunate to have all that I do in this life. I vow to never take that for granted, and in tough times, remember exactly what I have, and why it makes all other problems not matter. I love you Deanna. My love, my life, and now my wife!

Thanks to some great help from a friend at the wedding as well, I managed to get a fair bit of footage to help me edit together a few videos to commemorate the day. I’ve split them into 3 easy-to digest videos below. Enjoy :-). I promise you don’t have to sit through the WHOLE thing again!!

Wedding Video 1: Pre-Wedding

Wedding Video 2: Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Video 3: Wedding Reception

Lazy Summer Days, and Changes…

Goofing Around

Good day my dear readers. If you have been a longtime follower of my blog, you may wonder where I’ve been in the past month, and if in fact I’m just eating bon-bons and kicking back through the summer. Well, quite the contrary my friends! Things have been as busy as ever, which is why there has been a marked lack of blog updates. In the past while I’ve had a lovely Canada Day paddling adventure, gone to the States for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race (don’t worry, that’ll be a whole post!), changed jobs, worked on gear reviews, saw my sister and family off on a new adventure to Belgium (for the next 4 years!) AND worked on wedding preparations! Yup, I (and the ever-lovely Deanna) have been quite busy indeed, but this short post should at least serve to bring you up to speed on our latest adventures. As usual, you can find most of my pictures on flickr shortly after events, and also, Deanna is becoming a bit of a shutterbug and has her own flickr account now too! So twice the photos! Read on now for a taste of recent events.

You may have picked up on a couple ‘life events’ in that opening paragraph. Firstly, yes, we had to bid a ‘bon voyage’ to my sister Andrea and the entire family, including cool niece Helena and cool nephew Julien. They are headed over to Brussels to work at NATO for the next 4-5 years. At the moment, it is just Andrea working there, but it looks like Patrick may also get a gig there! Pretty cool to have a nice central European base of operations should we wish to head over for a visit. We’ll miss them alot, but possible Christmas plans for 2014 are already in the works. We wish them all the best and look forward to seeing them back here in October for the BIG WEDDING 🙂

Next up, the new job. Yes, I finally decided to loosen the ‘golden handcuffs’ of public service and head back into the private sector. Ostensibly, and officially, I’m on a ‘leave of absence’, but I highly doubt I’ll return. I’m already having far too much fun getting me feet wet, up to my elbows, and all those other metaphors. What am I doing? Well, I’ve become the Director of Engineering at a small boutique consulting firm, Nordicity Group Limited. We deal in various industries, mainly cultural and telecoms / ICT, and the Ottawa office is all about telecom stuff, and I’m their head technical guy. Pretty cool gig, if not high pressure. But with pressure comes profile, and I have no doubt I’ll be able to carve myself a nice niche there in the coming years!

Canada Day Paddling Adventures

Rewinding the clock just a bit, I did want to chat about an awesome paddling adventure Deanna and I made on Canada Day this year. Our tradition the past few years has been paddling on the Ottawa river and watching the fireworks. However, this year, we opted to head to Trenton to visit and spend time with family. As you all know me, I wasn’t going to be content merely sitting around drinking beers. A couple years back, Deanna mentioned she’d always wanted to paddle the Trent-Severn Waterway, which I filed in my mind. So, for the weekend, I suggested we spend a solid day out on the water. In the end, we paddled 57km in variable conditions, starting from Locks 11/12 and paddling all the way down to Trenton. Deanna’s parents were nice enough to drive us out to the start in the early morning, and even provided late-day moral support, and even ice cream at the take out!

This was a really fun adventure, and one I’ve no doubt Deanna will remember for some time. Making memories like that with the love of your life is truly special, and I’m glad we got some good pictures from the adventure! The only problem with doing something like that is that you’re never sure when or what the next adventure might be. We’ve been toying with cycling across Canada, hiking the Himalayas, etc. etc., time and money are the only real obstacles. All I know is that someday, they will all be crossed off the life adventure bucket list!

Wedding Prep Going Well

As you’ve no doubt read a couple times in this post, wedding planning is going pretty well. Things are already mostly sorted out for the big day, and we’re getting increasingly excited. One of the primary preoccupations we’ve got is ensuring all our guests are well entertained and sufficiently hydrated. To those ends, we recently bottled the two batches of wine that we had specially made for the big day. In fact, we were bottling the very morning we were flying out to Denver for my big race in Leadville! We had the opportunity to sample both the red and the white, and I can assure you that both are quite tasty, and eminently drinkable 🙂 I’ll be surprised if we come back home with too many bottles after the wedding. Now that I have your attention, if any of you are reading this and haven’t yet RSVP’d, please take a moment to do so now 😉

Last but not least, another fun thing we did recently was head out on the kayaks again to witness the spectacle that if Flugtag Ottawa, put on by Red Bull. There are plenty of pictures of that as well, but we haven’t gotten around to posting them yet. Suffice to say, it was a gorgeous day on the water, and quite entertaining to watch all the flying machines try to get airborne, but ultimately end up waterlogged and craned out of the river!

That’s it for my brief update. I’m really hoping that I’ll get around to writing up the experience that was Leadville in the near future, but I have to make sure I do the event justice. It was amazing! Stay tuned friends…

ActiveSteve Moves into new World Headquarters!

Howdy folks! Have you been missing me of late? There really hasn’t been that much to fill you all in on that would be of great interest. Basically, I’ve been training and packing and working. Boring, right? Also ActiveSteve has been operating out of a temporary location, and that hasn’t been all that conducive to doing much other than the things I’ve listed. However, that is all about to change tomorrow, on April 1st. Why you ask? Because I’m pulling up stakes and heading to a whole other province to my new house! Yup, it’s moving day! Get the keys at noon, and movers should show up at the old place soon after. I imagine you are all now wondering what sort of casa I managed to find in a short period, right? Well, you’re curiosity will be rewarded. For starters, just check out the folder of pictures that I put up on flickr. Afterwards, read on for a few more details.

Now that you’ve checked those out, I would imagine you have some additional questions. Well, first off, you’ll note that there are a lot of construction pictures. That’s because I’m lucky enough to be only the second owner, and the original owner has only been in the house for less than 18 months. That means it is pretty much new, and even comes with a home warranty. Sweet right? Also, the owner upgraded a lot of the fixtures making it a really perfect move-in condition house. My only immediate reno work will be to re-wire the basement and other floors for the sound system. No painting, no repairs, nothing. Just open the door and move in.

Right, so now you want to know where I live right? Let me put it this way. I’m 2 minutes from Gatineau Park. I’m 12-15 minutes from the market. I’m 12-15 minutes from Westboro. I’m 12-15 minutes to downtown. How does that sound? Not too bad right? Not only that, but my work commute has almost been cut in half, and will no longer mean frustration related to buses and bridges. That’s right, I’m moving to Gatineau! I had to give it some long hard thought, but I decided that for me, it truly is a good move. I’m closer to work, closer to my passions (being the park for training), found a new home for a reasonable price (note that prices on this side of the river are almost 20% less over there for comparable homes, probably even better considering my proximity to things. In Ottawa, a similar place would have meant moving to Barrhaven, or Kanata, or Gloucester / Orleans. None of which would have made me particularly happy.

So there you have it. A quick post on what I’m up to. I’ll be without Internet for a week or so I guess, so I figured I’d fire out a post prior to moving. Now just because I’m in another province, it doesn’t mean you can’t all visit me. My contact info hasn’t changed, and I can easily give directions to my place. Planing to hit the park for hiking, swimming, running, or biking (mtb or road)? Drop me a line. I’ve got a great backyard too. Ideal spot for post-training beers 🙂 As you can guess, I’m looking forward to the summer, and making the most of the Park! Hope to see you all out there. Till then, love what you do, and do what you love!

Enjoying Some Beer with Norm from Cheers!

Cracking Wise

Hey folks, just a quick little post to talk about a little fun that I had last weekend, as a break from training and work. Although I did end up working both Saturday and Sunday for a little bit, I did avoid doing too much and losing my brain. Good thing too, since I had a long training run in the works, as well as a trip to an Oktoberfest in Van Kleek Hill, and a bachelor party back in Ottawa later Saturday evening! See, I don’t just do boring things all the time like train and race. I still know how to party. However, I sort of regretted it the next morning, and think I should probably lay off the drinks till after my marathon at the end of the month. Seems like the prudent thing to do. For a collection of the pictures from the Oktoberfest event, click on over to the folder on flickr.

Originally, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go the the event, due to the bachelor party, but at the insistence of Rob, we picked up tickets, and planned to take the bus at 2pm out to the event, and head back on the 9pm bus in order to make it to the bachelor party by 10pm. Well, after seeing the 14 buses, and hordes of people, we got turned off to that idea. Luckily, Anna decided she wanted to drive, so we took advantage of that.

Once on site, we quickly learned that Beau’s may have bitten off more than they could chew for their first Oktoberfest. Even before the 14 buses showed up, the lines were getting crazy. You had to line up for food tickets, beer tickets, beer pick-up, food pick-up, meeting the guest of honour, and later, even the washrooms. Plus, it was pretty chilly. We made the best of it, and still had a pretty good time, and are pretty sure we’d go back next year, since I’m sure they will work out some of the snafus from this year.

We still managed to get our fill of beer, and I did have a great beef stroganoff and a fresh strudel. Sadly, a lot of food places also ran out of grub, or had huge delays while they made more food. It really was too bad. However, it was definitely need to see George Wendt, Norm of cheers. He looks a bit older, but still has an impressive beer gut and was full of funny stories for us. He was a trooper for sure, wearing shorts, and sitting at a stool at his own personal bar while people got to meet him. It certainly gave the whole event a bit of an air of celebrity status.

Not much more to say on this post. I went, I drank, I conquered. Got all my training and work done to boot. Sort of wish I’d had a bit more time to celebrate Foo’s bachelor party, but I figured I knew how things would end up after the copious beer! At least there’s next weekend at the actual wedding and reception to catch up. Till next time friends, keep the mugs frosted and the smiles big, okay?!

Takin’ Rock n’ Roll Train to get Thunderstruck in Montreal

Well hello there inter-nauts! This is just another short little post to assure you all once again that there is more to ActiveSteve than just training and racing 🙂 Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Montreal with some friends to catch AC/DC in concert at the Olympic Stadium. That’s right, as with most things ActiveSteve, it’s go big or go home. Why go to a little show here when I can catch the venerable rock legends from the land down under? I’ve never been a super-big fan or anything, but I knew that these guys would put on a kick-ass show. After all, any group that can last over 30 years and still be rocking hard well into their 50’s is worth seeing, right? Of course, as with all my blog posts, I invite you all to check out the pictures and videos that I took over the course of the weekend. Once you’ve had your fill, come on back and read the rest of my post.

So, basically, the ticket that I used was never supposed to be for me in the first place. I actually was pretty apprehensive about spending over $100 to see a band that I wasn’t dying to see in the first place. So, I had turned down the initial offer when Rob and Matt mentioned it. They bought a bunch of tickets, and as the date got closer, someone canceled, and I decided that I’d snap it up to make a fun weekend of it. The other part of the weekend was how we would get down there. I’m the one that came up with the brilliant idea that we should take a train to Montreal. VIA (after their brief strike) had a sale with all tickets at 60% off, so it ended up only costing us each about $40 per round trip. I figured it would be far easier if no one had to drive, or deal with parking, etc. Also, we’d be able to party on the way up, and all sleep off the hangovers on the way home 🙂

The Saturday of the show rolled around, and it was party time. Before heading to the train station, I had planned to squeeze in a run, but unfortunately I’d been sick the past few days, so I instead opted to have a little bit of extra rest before the big weekend. Alix drove Matt, Jeff and I to the train station to meet up with the rest of the gang. We boarded the train, and before we knew it, the party was in full (quiet-ish) swing. We were not the only people heading on the train to the show. In fact, at the back of our car, there were about 16 of us all heading there. So as you may imagine, the mood was pretty fun. One person had portable speakers, so we were listening to AC/DC the whole way down. I should also mention that within 1 hour of leaving Ottawa, the train was out of beer.

Of course I hadn’t been drinking any of that. I had instead chosen to enjoy a few whiskeys instead. Yum. By the time we hit Montreal, we knew that it would be a fun night. That’s unfortunately when things went a little south for me. Somehow in the shuffle, I lost my wallet and blackberry on the train. I think it happened when I cleared my tray table (where I had those two things sitting). I set them on the seat with me, then in the excitement of arriving, I must have just gotten up without grabbing them. Sadly, I didn’t notice I was without them till we checked in to the hotel. Crap! Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much for me to do, so I pretty much just rolled with it. I reported them missing to the train station, and went about canceling my cards. Then, I borrowed cash from Rob, and went about my business. I was super-lucky that I’d kept both my train and AC/DC ticket separate from the wallet (probably part of the reason I didn’t realize I’d lost it), so at least I wouldn’t be missing the fun.

Our next stop was Brewtopia for beers and supper. From there, we hit the Peel Pub for a gi-normous pitcher of beer while we waited for the right time to hop on a subway to the stadium. We got there around 7:30, and by the time we’d made our way through the crowds to get into the stadium, it was 7:45, and we could already hear the opening band playing! Crazy. Good thing we didn’t wait any later to arrive. We climbed higher and higher in the stadium, till we reached our designated seats in the nosebleed section. I kid you not, I think our sight line was literally 1km from the stage! Luckily, they had a huge sound system as you well may imagine, so we could hear the music just fine. Unfortunately for the opening band, they didn’t have any big projection screens or anything, so we couldn’t see them at all. Furthermore, I wasn’t really blown away by them. I’d say they were a bit Zeppelin-esque, but they didn’t capture my imagination. By the way, the band was “The Answer“, which you can now read about should you choose to.

Once those guys were off the stage, it was time to re-set things for the main attraction. Of course, we took the time to re-lubricate. Sadly, the price of libations in this joint was astronomical. The price was $7.75 for a little glass of beer. Boo. On the plus side, it would mean we’d keep our intake in check, lest we were to spend our last dollars on the mead. After all, we still had high hopes of heading out after the show. Speaking of which, it was time for the big show. AC/DC took to the stage as the sound of a train filled the massive stadium. They started off with Rock n’ Roll train and never looked back for basically the next 2.5 hours.

In the time that they were on stage, the lads burned through a ton of their old as well as new material to the delight of everyone in the audience. Speaking of which, this show was huge. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’m lead to believe that the crowd nubered between 30 and 35 thousand people screaming for more at every song conclusion. It was pretty awesome to be a part of that. Every time it seemed like the show might be slowing down a bit, they would find a way to crank it back up to 11. For a moment, I turned my attention away from the stage, and next time I looked over, there was 50 foot high blow up doll on stage. Rosie! Craziness. Of course, the piece de resistance ironically only came about at the end of the show, when the band was gone. I’m not sure if someone was asleep at the switch or something, but at the very very end of the show, a huge fireworks show went off. It was amazing, as the fireworks arced perfectly in the stadium without any troubles.

As the show wore on, the rest of our group started making our separate ways. Rob and Jared had somehow made their way to a lower level in the stadium. Joe and Sara had actually ducked out a little earlier in the night, leaving Matt, Jeff and I up in our seats in the heavens. Of course, that meant that any plans we had of meeting up later were now in jeopardy. I managed to corral the other two clowns through the crowds until we made our way to the subway and eventually to downtown Montreal. What was up next was the question. Earlier, we’d all talked about bowling after the show at Sharx. I’d never heard of the place, but Rob and Matt had been there before, so Matt hoped we’d find Rob there. Of course, he took us the wrong direction on Ste Catherine to start, leading to a much longer walk than any of us were hoping for.

Luckily, we found a pizza joint in our travels, which helped fuel us once again. Yum. Once back out on the street, Matt, Jeff and I ironically bumped into someone we knew. Rob! He had been at Sharx hoping to find us, and had just about given up and was heading to the hotel. The term needle in a haystack comes to mind as there are about a thousand ways we could have missed each other, but instead, we found him. So, off we went to the bowling alley for a string of bowling. Of course, at this point, my game was crap, but we gave it a whirl anyway, before heading back to the hotel. Well, some of us. Okay, just me :-). Rob decided to meet friends at Hurleys, Matt and Jeff decided to hit another place, but due to my cold, I opted to head back for some sleep. Sucked, but I really didn’t feel good enough to stay out all hours. Plus, I had no ID and was low on ‘borrowed’ cash.

Next morning, Rob and I got up early enough to head to the pool deck for a swim and a soak in the hot tub. Just what we needed to get going again. Once refreshed, we met up with the others at a restaurant for a nice breakfast before ultimately grabbing the train back to Ottawa. No word yet on my wallet or phone, which was a bit of a bummer, but what could I do? The trip back was very uneventful, and we’d actually all been placed in separate rows, so there was definitely no partying on the way home. But that was fine, since I was a bit bagged anyway. I just sat back and enjoyed the lull of the train. In Ottawa, Alix once again drove us home, and so ended the awesome 24 trip to MTL. And as a final good twist, on Monday, I got my wallet and blackberry back. All the cash was gone, but everything else was still in it. Bus tickets, gift card, and even cheques. Sweet. So that’s it that’s all. AC/DC totally rocked, and I wish you could all have been there, but since you weren’t, hopefully my little story and the pictures and videos will help you visualize it :-). Till next week (and next race), take it easy gang!

3 Cakes and Another Year Wiser

Hello friends! I’ll keep the post short, but I did want to say first off, thanks to everyone who sent me a warm birthday wish, be it card, phone call, wall post or email. It’s always great to get a little love on your birthday. This past weekend marked yet another year going by for ActiveSteve. And what better way to spend that occasion then being active? The weather has been particularly uncooperative towards the end of last week, but that didn’t stop me and a group of friends from setting up a nice long bike ride for Saturday. All told, we were out there over 7 hours, 6 of those hours pushing hard on the mountain bikes all over Gatineau park. I’ve set up a nice folder of all the pictures, as well as put together a custom map of the ride for all of you to check out. It was certainly a large and great part of my weekend fun, but there were some other treats in store the rest of the weekend as well. Read on for a little bit more about the festivities.

As you might imagine, I opted to take it pretty easy on Friday. I didn’t leave the office till almost 7pm, so I wasn’t really in the mood to do a whole lot after a long week at work. The idea was to get as much done then so that I wouldn’t have to log in to the office on my birthday. Happily, I was [mostly] successful. Had a nice big pasta meal at home with Jody, then just relaxed. Next day, the weather was plenty awesome for the ride. Although it had rained non-stop all night and into the morning, the 6 of us who headed out from Aylmer were lucky enough to have the rain stop before we took off. There was obviously still some mud, but all in all, conditions were superb. Not too hot, not too windy, and not too many bugs. The ride was outstanding, and I felt pretty strong the whole ride. Certainly stronger than some parts of last year’s 100k ride, where I fell off the pace a few times and struggled up a few of the bigger hills. No such problems this year. Things are looking up for Rideau Lakes cycle tour as well as the mighty BC Bike Race!

What’s that, you haven’t sponsored me yet for BC Bike Race? What are you waiting for? Get on that and sponsor me right now 🙂 If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my BCBR mini-site.

The ride was once again capped off with some awesome home-cooked chili with chips, bread and beer, as well as an amazing chocolate cake that was brought out for my birthday. I’m truly spoiled.

Jody came out to pick me up, and told me that Al and Matt had suggested checking out some live music at the Elmdale Tavern. Sounded good to me, after all, I earned my beers. Long story short, I went a little overboard. We were at the bar till the wee hours, then retreated back to Al and Matt’s to keep on partying. Before I knew it, it was after 4:30am! Oops. When Jody woke me up at 6:30am to head home, I realized that there would likely be no riding that day. Too bad, I had hoped to do another quick 70k loop in the park on my road bike in the morning, but we had a prior engagement for later in the day.

What was the engagement, well a nice little bbq (which just turned into a lunch on account of the rain) at Lydia and Mike’s. There, I finally met their cute baby Mateo, and spent a low-key afternoon with friends. My reward? Another awesome cake, this time a cheese cake. All told, I racked up 3 birthday cakes if you count the ice cream cake my co-workers lavished me with. Thank goodness I have a sweet tooth 🙂 Speaking of which, off to the dentist tomorrow!

Before the visit, I was also lucky enough to connect with my sister in Saudi Arabia, and catch up on all their latest news, as well as get a special birthday song from my favourite niece Helena. She did a bang-up job singing to me, but I was sad that my skype wasn’t working, so I had no video. It’ll be awesome to have them back in town, especially knowing that my 2nd niece or nephew is on the way.

To cap off the weekend fun, Jody took me out for an awesome meal. We tried for Keg Manor, but were too late to make reservations, so we headed off toe Moxie’s in Kanata instead. Good choice though, as I was lovin’ my chicken and ribs combo. Jody laughed at my messy meal, but it was just what I wanted 🙂

That’s enough of a post for now, as I have to go off to bed soon, and start prepping for the big Rideau Lakes tour this weekend. 354km of riding in 2 days. I ordered a video camera for the event, so hopefully I’ll have some cool clips to share. Stay tuned for that stuff 🙂 Till then, stay relaxed everyone, and stay thirsty my friends.