Welcome to my garden

I don’t know if Dutch heritage is enough to create a zest for growing things in a person but I have that desire.  So do some of my other Dutch friends so there could be some truth to Dutch people being mad gardeners.  I think my gardening passion is starting to border on obsession.  That said, what don’t I get obsessed with if I am passionate or excited about it, really?  Who am I kidding?

There is so much in life that just starts with what amounts to a seed.  An idea might sprout an invention.  A chance encounter could sprout a relationship.  A dream could create a champion.  There is so much hope, vitality and potential packed into a seed.  I just love them.  Especially special, rare and difficult ones.

This year, my challenge was to grow nothing that didn’t start as a seed.  I wasn’t going to buy little plants and nurture them to adulthood… I was starting from scratch.  I couldn’t have chosen a worse year to do so.  However, like inventions, relationships and competitions sometimes you have success and sometimes you fail.  Certainly, this was a year for me of both success and failure.   

I started my garden early this year.  I had planned well in advance what I wanted to do, prepared my greenhouse, compost, pots, seeds and you name it, I was ready.  However, there was no sun.  I lost some prized watermelon seeds given to me by my friend Thomas last year because the soil, even in the greenhouse, was too cold.  It was a bummer.

Two months after that first planting, I started again. There were a few seedlings that survived the dark spring but the watermelons did not.  The cucumbers were not happy.  Some of the flowers were okay but not great.  Restart in May.  When there was still no sun, really, but it was warmer.

Fast forward to August and I have discovered that my cucumbers are just not going to yield what I had hoped for pickles this year.  This jar is going to be VALUABLE Laughing

cukes

Yep that is pretty much it.  There are some gherkins out there but I am not sure it is ever going to be worth it.  Same goes for the corn and perhaps my red onions.  Very average year especially for hot weather plants such as these.

But it wasn’t all failure this year.  I did get some wins.

garden

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Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3, Lake Stevens, Washington

This was a race of first times.  First time I have flatted in a road triathlon.  First time I have been the lucky recipient of a penalty from a referee (to be fair that is in an Ironman event as I did get a penalty at the ITU Worlds in March this year for having my shoe fall off my bike in transition).  First time I had too much time before the start of the race by being EARLY.  First time I forgot the adaptor for my disc wheel.  And lastly, the first time I completely kept my head together when all was going sideways around me.  I am so happy with second place in Lake Stevens this weekend.  I raced four races in seven days as part of my plan to train hard for the Las Vegas World Championships and all four days were totally solid so my form is really, really great right now.  Although I won this race last year and of course, TRY to win whenever I start, who am I kidding?  Racing a 3 day UCI stage race against some of Canada’s best at Transrockies did not leave me 100% and over a week without proper run training is a tough ask at a half.  Tyler Stewart ran FANTASTIC at this race and it would have been tough for me to run as well as she did no matter what I was up to this week… she was fast.   My cycling ego is counting the minutes lost on the side of the road fixing flats and waiting out penalties but really, unless I throw down in Vegas is just doesn’t effing matter.   However, it would have been nice to have my bike split to run with her at least for awhile and make the show a bit more exciting.  Que sera, sera.  Read more for the story….

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TR3: Transrockies 3-Day UCI Mountain Bike Stage Race, Fernie, BC

It has been almost two years since I have raced a UCI mountain bike race and longer since I raced the mountain bike circuit.  Racing in Fernie at the TR3 the past few days was an absolutely wonderful reunion with mountain biking in an absolutely stunning venue.  I was lucky to stay with Martin Vale’s family (1996 Canadian National Mtb Champion) along with Carter Hovey and his wife Tina (1995, 2001 and 2003 Test of Metal winner and her a former pro triathlete superstar), Roddi Lega (2004 Canada Cup champion badass) and Specialized teammate Max Plaxton (2011 Canadian National Mountain Bike Champion).   Needless to say the bar was set VERY high with that cast of superstars.  Max won every stage and the race overall while at time of publication Marty and Carter are within seconds of the Open Men TR7 lead after a 12 km detour on day 2 with a broken bike.  There were such incredible athletes and people all around me and I really enjoyed time with Tina and Marty’s wife Marlene.  It felt like a summer vacation at their beautiful ski-cabin style home.

I was excited to finish in third overall after the three days.  I was consistently strong and I felt I got stronger as the race went on.  In particular, my descending improved significantly by the end of the race.  I was working hard to climb well on all stages and ride all of the singletrack.  I was not surprised that Mical Dyck took the overall as she is an incredibly strong athlete who has destroyed this race twice in the mixed team event.  Catherine Vipond took second overall showing her form for the upcoming UCI World Championships is right on track and Jean Ann took the spot right behind me.

stage2_2_3__600

Photo credit @ Transrockies

I have Aaron McConnel and Dan Savage to thank for bringing me to Fernie to compete in the event.  I am sure my form for the upcoming XTERRA National Championships is going to be all the convincing the XTERRA crowd will need to see that this event should be on everyone’s training cycle for the race in Whistler September 4th.  I wasn’t the only XTERRA regular on the startline as Cal Zaryski finished 3rd overall in the 40+ men’s event and was very impressive on all three stages.  He is going fast!

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