By Ambassador Sandra Beaubien

For those of you who feel like you are in the 2020 time warp, where spring is a weird vortex of time standing still because you are staying at home, you aren’t alone.  It’s been 37 days since I taught a highschool math class at my school with students in front of me, and also 37 days of physical distancing and staying at home.  Teaching math to teenagers online is a huge challenge. Fatbiking came to a screeching halt, gravel races are cancelled, early season MTB races are cancelled. One day it rains, the next day we have flurries. We are over the hump of mud season, but many trail networks are closed for safety reasons over Covid-19.  The international borders are closed and even the provincial borders are closed for non-essential travel.  Living in Ontario but only 15 minutes from the Quebec border which I normally cross multiple times a week to ski, fatbike, mountain bike and gravel ride, it feels so unsettling not being able to do that. It just reminds me how serious this situation is.  Zwift is the closest I will get to mountain biking in the foreseeable future.

So, I’m at home 98% of the time and I’m OK with that.  It took me awhile to accept and there are still some hard days. The messages have been clear – stay at home to take unnecessary pressure off essential workers, especially medical workers. I’m listening and I’m following those instructions, as are the majority of the members in the riding community in Ottawa.  Staying home is my small way to help with the bigger picture. Even City parks are closed so I can’t even take my mountain bike there to practice skills in the grass, it comes with a hefty $880 fine if you are caught.  But wow, do I ever miss my bikes and I know they miss me too. I just keep reminding them we will get through this; the trails will be waiting for us.  The gravel roads will still be there.

I’ve been taking this as an opportunity to do all of the non-bike related things I always want to do, but can never squeeze in.  I ordered a mystery box of books from a local used bookstore.  I stitched up my riding gloves and shorts with holes. I’ve been working on jigsaw puzzles. I’ve been baking and freezing trail snacks.  I started growing my vegetables and flowers indoors, something I always want to do in the spring, but usually April is a frantic month and I never get around to it. I’ve put my bird feeders out which haven’t seen daylight in at least 3 years.  As much as my life has centered around biking for the last 15 years, I’m taking this as a chance to pause, slow down, work on fitness goals and virtually connect with friends. 

Thank goodness for Zwift and indoor trainers, as it is has been a sanity saver for me.  My Tuesday night strength class was quickly transitioned over to a Zoom class and I swear our instructor can see more by staring at all of us on the screen. We can’t get away with anything!  Seeing my friends over Zoom each Tuesday is a lifesaver, and we even had virtual beer and wings after the class this week.  It’s these little pieces of a normal routine that keep me moving along.  If you are struggling with all this time at home and can’t ride outdoors, look for other things to keep you in the moment and try and get a few routines into your week, it really helps.  Your bikes and riding friends will be ready for all sorts of adventures with you when the time comes. Stay patient and stay safe!