Spinning, all sorts

Ah, long weekends, and this one was longer than most. I started in on Friday, Canada Day here, and got in the first half of my back-to-backs. Back-to-backs are a training benchmark on the Rally, at some point before (technically last weekend but I am running a little late) all riders have to ride 90km (that’s 56 miles) two days in a row. The fact that I hadn’t done them was weighing heavily on me, I’m usually pretty much a rule follower, and if there’s anything the few years I’ve been doing this has taught me, it’s that the benchmarks are there for a really great reason. I also have some strong feelings about leading by example, and I thought it would be pretty hard to start sending out “Hey, why haven’t you met this benchmark” emails to my team if I myself hadn’t done it. (Cameron did his two weeks ago while I was hacking up a lung and pulling off a wedding, so there was pressure there too.) Only problem was that there wasn’t a training ride scheduled for that day, so I invented my own. Blog, it was terrible. It was so windy, and I got a late start because I didn’t have the emotional fortitude to ride in the rain, but in the end I got it done, in a weak and limping sort of way. (Full disclosure, I didn’t do the full 90km, but wait for the rationale.)

Saturday morning I’d made a commitment to sweep a ride with Ken, since his team lead wasn’t able to be there.  I got up and went to meet him and the 20+ riders who showed up for a Pride weekend ride, and we set out. Saturday rides start early. 7:30, to be clear, and our job for the day is to ride behind the slowest rider, making sure that nobody is left behind.  We “sweep” up after the ride. (There’s also a “car sweep” and they drive up and down the cohort of riders, helping, re-directing people who get lost, handing out water to anyone who runs out, and giving a lift to anyone who’s unable to complete.) We had, it turns out, no trouble staying behind the last rider.  While we were cruising along, our friend Amanda (not my daughter) noticed that my rear tire looked a little soft. “I know, I know” I told her, and said I’d pump it up at the lunch break.  Unfortunately, right before the lunch break, I rode over a set of train tracks, and boom. That tire went flat. Instantly and completely… likely a pinch flat.  We changed the tire, Ken and I there by the side of the road in the blazing heat, and I reflected (while I changed the flat- with Ken’s help) that this ride was sort of crappy.  It was so hot, and the wind! Riding into it was like riding through pudding. Way more work that it should have been, by a lot.  We made it into lunch a half kilometre later (maybe less) scarfed down and unreasonable amount of food, refilled our empty water bottles, and waited for the last rider to leave so we could be after them. No point in rushing.

mekne 2016-07-06

That turns out to have been misguided, because a few metres after the lunch break, I had ANOTHER FLAT. (My rage was complete, but I directed it towards the effective use of tire levers – which felt sort of good, because a few years ago I didn’t even know what a tire lever was. There was a bike shop nearby so I ran over and bought two more tubes in case it happened AGAIN, and then we were underway again, but by now, we were sweeping ourselves.  Any chance that we would have caught up with the riders was blown a few kilometres later when we were held up by the world’s longest and slowest moving train. We rode the second half after that, hustling at a great speed, and still came in 40 minutes after the last rider.  On the subway on the way home, Ken said his legs were tired and it was all I could do not to kiss him on the mouth. There had been so many hills, and it was into the wind, and he’s such a good egg you’d never know he was suffering at all, and so I thought I was the only one having a hard time. When he said his thighs were sore I exclaimed “REALLY I’M SO GLAD” which in retrospect wasn’t the most empathetic thing to say, but I was just so happy that I wasn’t in such rough shape and he’d breezed through it while I suffered.  118km (73 miles) in the bag, done and dusted.  (That’s why It was okay that I came in short the day before. My total for the two days was still 180km, and in my books, that’s a damn back-to-back.)

jenparade 2016-07-06

Sunday, Jen and I marched in the Pride Parade, holding the banner for the Bike Rally, as all the cyclists walked and rode behind us, and the Prime Minister walked somewhere in front of us, and then after that…there was some dancing and a very late bedtime after we all celebrated the fantastic diversity and acceptance that is Toronto.  It was fabulous. Throw in a little sailing – a little more bike riding, and and then, somehow, magically, I found the time to spin* this roving,

rovingcappucino 2016-07-06

Into these singles,

singles 2016-07-06

which were then chain-plied** into this pretty fabulous yarn.

plied 2016-07-06

pliedoverdone 2016-07-06

All the kinds of spinning.  Bikes, wheels… the lot.  How was your weekend? American friends, did you have a Happy 4th?

* a few of you have asked if I’m doing the Tour de Fleece this year, and the answer is an official NO, and perhaps an unofficial yes. It’s a lower case yes because frankly, I’m struggling a little bit to keep up with all that I’ve got going on, but I do like this time of year when we think a bit more about spinning, and that’s what I’m going to do. Think a little more about it.

** Because one of you will ask what chain plying is, I put a video on Instagram.

40 thoughts on “Spinning, all sorts

  1. YH, you’re a glutton for punishment! Most MOB’s would have been content helping the newlyweds figure out where to put that ugly atrocity from Great
    Aunt Hepizbah, but not you! Instead, you’re doing monster bike rides, and a parade, and dancing all over Toronto, and spinning some gorgeous yarn, and (presumably) cuddling Joe and Millie, and. . .;-)!

    P.S. Where did they put Great Aunt Hepzibah’s gift?

  2. Bonus points for not caving at the second flat. I’m sending good thoughts your way that the crappy bike weather is now and the actual Rally weather will smile on you all nicely.

  3. saw you marching at Pride and yelled out to my (non-crafty) friend ‘that one’s the knitter!’ Good luck with the training

  4. I was sidelined most of the holiday weekend with a crappy respiratory virus and feeling sorry for myself at all I missed. Thank you, Steph for all you did which surely must be balancing things out somewhere. Sadly, down here, it took a tragedy for us Yanks to realize that gay straight we are all one family.

  5. Amazing work, Stephanie, really. Being tough, sticking to it, and keeping on with your commitments… you’re an amazing example to us all.
    Also, lovely spinning! Alpaca kicks my butt regularly, so I really admire your yarn!

  6. Quiet 4th, lots of spinning long draw, knitting, garden, and that’s about it. Congrats on the chain ply. Maybe one day I will give that a try.

  7. I love that you folks up north have a Prime Minister that marches in your pride parade! 🙂 Good job on the back to backs!

  8. I’ve had so many flats, but never two in one day. You would have had my total sympathy had you caved then. Goodonya for keeping going.

    The cappuccino yarn is so beautiful. I am insanely in love with how it turned out. Great job.

  9. I had to click the sunglasses. Frankly, I’d like a little less sunglasses, and a little more rain here. Enough of the humidity that is like moving through a sauna with your clothes on. So glad The Bike Rally was well represented in the Pride Parade, and the spinning to yarn is lovely.

  10. Congrats and admiration for your stick to it-ivness! Well done! On an unrelated note, I’ve emailed you multiple times with no reply so wonder if you got them. We’d love to have you back in Albuquerque to teach and/or speak. Could you please email me at cnossiter@yahoo.com? Thanks!

    • OK, now THAT’S a totally awesome idea–any way we can seriously get a webcam on you?!? I’m a little kidding, but not entirely…

  11. Your just thinking about spinning for the Tour de Fleece is good enough for me! I’m getting about ten minutes a day done, but that’s ten minutes more than I’ve been doing for months and definitely a challenge.

  12. Not to be mean or negative, but I miss when this blog was about knitting and occasional spinning. I always loved hearing about your family too. I think it’s wonderful the charity work you do, I just wish the blog was the way it used to be. More knitting, less biking.

    • Whenever this thought crosses my mind, I remind myself that it’s Stephanie’s life that she shares with us, and like all of us, her life changes and develops over the years. And as her girls grew up and moved away from home, her family life has also changed. Stay here, the knitting will come back.

      • Thanks for the reply. I think that way too. That nobody’s life is stagnant and we continually evolve. Just a little nostalgic wish.

        • I think the biking dominates for a couple of months. I’m sure the knitting will be back when the ride is over. And, we did recently see that magnificent shawl!

          • It’s true. Winter is coming, the rally is just 2 weeks away. Hang in there. It’s cyclical. (No pun intended.)

  13. Your bike rides are inspiring to me. They help me remember that I can do more than I think I can – so thanks. Your knitting is also inspiring since you manage to get more of that done than I even dream of. Keep up the good work in all that you are doing, Steph. We love hearing from you.

    BTW, thanks for asking, we had a wonderful 4th of July with our son, DDIL and magnificent (IMHO) grandson who is 3 1/2 years old. He loved the fireworks but retreated to Mama’s lap or Nana’s (when Mama had to go in the house) when the fireworks got a little too noisy or bright. Such a joy watching our kids/grandkid as they grow.

  14. Yep, Presbytera beat me by seconds — I came here to observe that I really thought the double asterisks were leading to a footnote reading “Okay, Rams, I finally chain-plied, okay? OKAY?” As Cecil Woodham-Smith used to say, “Good gehl.”

  15. Love the video! Could be marketed as a relaxation video, it’s so soothing!
    I might have to add learning to chain ply to my Tour spinning line-up, although would need to dye the right roving first.

  16. I think the spirit of the back-to-backs is really about doing 2 long rides in a row (more than, say, 70 km) and 180 km total. You totally gave me a pass on that one last year after *that ride*, so I’m giving you one now. You’ve got this.

    (Also, I’m sure Ken took your comment in the spirit it was intended. That’s the kind of person he is.)

  17. You are one committed woman. I like committed folks, yes I do. (I like that beautiful yarn you spun as well.)

  18. Yay Upstream Alpacas! I love their stuff.

    Hugs to both you and Ken for that ride. You’re doing it for a great cause. Hang in there!

  19. I almost had to ask for more hints on finding the video, then AHA! I saw it. Very cool! I’ve never understood how this worked by reading. Now I see you pull the yarn from the bobbin THROUGH the loop, not just make a loop and hold it next to the yarn from the bobbin.

    It sounds like right now, the last thing you need is another commitment that needs more ongoing time and effort than you have. Maybe keep participation to an unofficial level, so it stays fun-to-do, not a have-to-do?

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