Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Darkest Month

December.  The darkest month.  A reminder of the darkness inside all of us.  Everyone around me putting up all these decorative shining lights.  Trying to brighten things up I guess.  So much hustle and bustle.  So much rushing around.  So much planning and getting ready.  This year-end sprint.  Society’s remedy to this dark season.  I just find it all so very noisy and loud.  If I’m completely honest, I don’t really care for the Christmas holiday season.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, but so much of it just seems forced and insincere.  All meaning lost.  Ruined by consumerism.  Another capitalist casualty.  Disconnected.  Nature isn’t really bothered by it all.  Forests.  Laying low.  Animals.  Cuddled up in their comfortable nests.  Understanding that the dark season is really meant for rest.  For slowing down.  For recovery and healing.  Sunday morning.  Steady north wind blowing.  Temps hovering around minus six Celsius.  The wet and muddy ground from a few days ago now frozen solid.  I roll down my driveway shortly after nine.  And slowly work my way over to the other side of the river.  Abandoning myself into this crisp tranquility.  A mid-ride snack.  Some warm forestea.  Life is good.  Really good actually.  In so many ways, I feel better this time this year than I have past years.  Maybe it’s the daily 8000 IU of Vitamin D that I’ve been supplementing with.  Or all these years of therapy and working on myself that are finally bearing fruit.  It isn’t about my life finally being perfect.  I guess it’s simply about being less scared of the dark.  Out here.  In nature.  Reconnected.  Comfortably sitting in the silence of my own darkness.


Thursday, November 10, 2022


Timekeepers.  Last weekend was the end of daylight savings.  Clocks turned back one hour.  The one and only 25 hour day of the year.  Before clocks and calendars, foregone human civilizations used the position of the sun to measure days, the lunar cycle to measure months and the seasons to measure years.  When we were babies, time as we now know it didn’t exist.  We slept when tired.  Ate when hungry.  And cried when physically uncomfortable.  Animals also have no concept of time.  Unconcerned by how old they are.  Simply always in the now.  Humans are the only beings on this planet who measure and worry about time.  By the time we’re young adults, teenagers even, we’ve pretty much become slaves to it.  Constantly looking at our clocks and calendars.  Rushing around to meetings and appointments.  Setting alarms to make sure we stay on track.  Deadlines.  Expiry dates.  Such a crazy way to live.  No wonder so many are exhausted and unhappy.  If only I had more time.  It always seems to be the answer to so many questions.  I’m not sure what time I left the house.  Nothing to be done.  Nowhere to be.  My route decided as I was pedaling.  A temporary taste of timelessness.  One of the things that I cherish most as I get older are days without timekeeping.  Even if we need clocks in order to be able to function in this world, happiness is definitely enhanced whenever we give ourselves even mini vacations from being timekeepers.


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Two Decades

There are moments in life when time literally stops.  Pivotal points in our timeline where there’s a distinct before and a distinct after.  Unable to go back.  Life as we once knew it forever changed.  Twenty years ago today, our family clock paused for what seemed like an eternity.  The words that came out of our pediatrician’s mouth forever etched in my distraught brain.  Crystal clear and so very blurry all at the same time.  Not unlike a very bad dream.  Type 1 Diabetes.  Insulin therapy for life.  Or until a cure is found.  I didn’t take the news very well.  Even if on the outside it looked like I did.  I didn’t cry.  So many emotions.  Frozen solid.  Overwhelmed by this groundless feeling.  Intense anger over infinite sadness.  In this surreal standstill, my fight instinct immediately kicked in.  Flight wasn’t an option.  The father in me desperately trying to rescue my beloved two year old baby daughter from this imminent aggressor.  The bike racer in me literally sprinting against this uninvited chronic life-threatening condition.  I didn’t sleep.  For years.  I just kept stomping on these pedals and attacking relentlessly.  Truly believing that I could beat it.  My entire existence consumed by these numbers.  My sole mission to fix this.  During my first breakdown in 2015, my doctor told me that I’d lasted longer than she thought I would.  The endurance athlete in me at the time taking it as a compliment.  Not realizing that all I had accomplished was bury myself in a much deeper hole.  I did some damage.  To my body.  To my psyche.  No doubt about it.  Maybe twenty years is long enough to be holding my breath in denial.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Sit up.  Soft pedal.  And enjoy the rest of the ride.  This will all be over soon.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Perfectly Imperfect

One of the ways that my trauma has molded me is that I am somewhat of a control freak.  Ok, let’s be honest, the word “somewhat” should have been omitted.  My relationship with control is better described as an obsession.  An extreme unconscious belief that if I’m careful enough, vigilant enough and go over all possible scenarios enough that I can prevent future hurtful events or trauma from occurring.  My analytical brain’s best attempt at keeping me safe.  All-consuming.  Utterly exhausting.  And simply impossible.  My control obsession also presents itself as perfectionism.  A learned behavior fueled by my anxiety.  An egoic endeavor.  A disease of the mind maybe.  A type of neurosis even.  Constantly looking for faults.  Incessantly terrified of making mistakes.  An all-consuming, never ending, impossible effort. And such a hindrance to happiness.  Being alive means being imperfect.  Only dead things can be perfect.  Only when I am no longer breathing will I no longer make mistakes.  Living happily can only happen when I allow and expect imperfection.  All in my head.  In this undisciplined brain.  This problem-solving organ.  Its mission to look for problems and find solutions.  My heart on the other hand isn’t as logical.  This feeling organ.  Its eyes able to see beauty hidden in the flaws.  Maybe that’s what true love is all about.  In our ability to cherish the imperfections.  The blemishes actually making us love even more.  My traumas certainly run deep.  Understanding them is how I heal them.  And in case you needed to be reminded.  I am and you are already perfectly imperfect.

Monday, September 12, 2022


Nothing’s the same.  Everything’s the same.  Outside versus inside.  Another lap around the sun.  One year older.  I can feel it.  But only on the outside.  That’s what makes aging so weird.  The body is constantly changing.  Slowly falling apart once we reach a certain age.  But the part within us that moves through each of these body versions stays the same.  My outer form.  It definitely has a middle aged feel to it.  Even though I’m not quite sure what this age should feel like.  Sitting still.  Eyes closed.  I’m still the young boy in all of my childhood memories.  It’s almost like this is all just a dream.  Maybe that’s really all it is.  Feeling very grateful to still be breathing and able to feel it all.  So very fortunate to be able to witness me actually becoming more me.  Contemplating my existence on my birthday, I can’t really explain it any other way.  This is simply my truth.  My 54 year old truth.


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

It's time

Once you drop beyond the edge of darkness, even after you pull yourself back up, it leaves a trench.
  And because of this, it’s so much easier to slip back down.  Even if I felt great on the bike last month, I had been riding too much.  Unconsciously caught up in the numbers.  Fueled by a certain sense of desperation.  My pedaling out of balance with being.  When riding is your medicine, the dosage is of the essence.  Not enough surely isn’t good.  But too much isn’t good either.  Deep down I knew that I wasn’t well.  Whenever I hyper focus on bikes it usually means that my riding has become but a distraction to avoid feeling something else.  During my last session with my psychologist, the term depression comes up numerous times.  The label doesn’t offend or frighten me.  In so many ways, I find it rather comforting.  What I feel is not “I no longer want to live” depressed.  But rather “I really need a deep rest” depressed.  Living in denial for such a long time can be so very exhausting like that.  The thing with breakdowns is that they’re invitations that can eventually lead to breakthroughs.  If we’re paying attention.  And if we’re willing to take a deep look at that which is.  Their purpose to slow everything down enough to enable us to get even a tiny glimpse of the truth hidden behind the darkness.  In this silent standstill.  As this fuzzy dimension slowly starts to lift.  As this new school year begins.  My own personal emotional homework right in front of me.  It’s time.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Speak Up

Speak up.  A trivial slip and fall on my backside two weeks ago.  A sudden collision with a small deer as we were driving home from the beach a few days later.  Minor bumps that the old me would have brushed off without thinking twice.  But with this delicate brain, my concussion symptoms reawakened.  This old familiar fuzzy dimension.  Dizzy.  Disconnected.  Undone.  This body and mind that don’t feel like mine.  Are these sensations post-concussion syndrome or depression?  I’m not sure.  The nuances between the two are just too damn close.  I do recognize this dark gloomy place though.  I’ve lived here before.  I don’t really feel like staying.  But I don’t get to decide when I can leave.  Invisible injuries and illnesses are bitches like that.  No one wants to talk about them.  But that’s how they lose their power.  Dismantling associated stigmas by speaking up.  I can’t just suck it up.   I can’t fake it.  I can’t keep telling myself those lies.  All I can do is listen to my body.  Follow my own rules.  Be patient.  And I can also speak up.  Its  manifestations are physical.  It’s not just in my head even if it really is.  If I seem indecisive these days.  If I cancel plans last minute.  If I seem withdrawn.  If I isolate myself.  It’s not you.  It’s me.  I’m not apologizing.  I’m not looking for pity or sympathy.  I’m simply speaking up.  If you’re going through something similar, please know that you’re not alone.  If you want to talk about it, I’m here.  Speak up.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Reason for suffering

I remember a conversation way back when.  A discussion about how the strongest rider doesn’t always win.  That the victor is more often the endurance athlete who can suffer the most.  Mediocre competitors out suffering much more talented racers.  It happens all the time.  So very much of it is in the head.  In our willingness to turn ourselves inside out on the race course.  But maybe it isn’t just in our ABILITY to suffer.  Maybe it’s mostly in our REASON to suffer.  A while back I remember reading a story about Greg Lemond.  Shortly after almost losing his life in a hunting accident, he made the winning break in an early season race even if he obviously had much less fitness and training compared to the rest of the peloton.  Lemond felt like he belonged in that break.  It was his reason for suffering.  In Tyler Hamilton’s book, he explains how for Lance Armstrong that losing was like dying.  And we now all know the extent that he went to in order to win.  For him, it was a matter of life or death.  It was his reason for suffering.  A few days ago in the Tour de France, Canadian Israel-Premier Tech racer Hugo Houle won stage 16 in honor of his late brother Pierrik who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012.  For 10 years he promised he’d win a Tour stage for his brother.  It was his reason for suffering.  I raced bikes for close to 30 years, It’s pretty much what I had assumed that I’d keep doing.  I felt like it was who I was, what I was meant to do.  During that time, I just couldn’t see myself not racing.  But then things changed.  I changed.  How I now see myself.  My identity.  My relationship with these bikes.  How do I know that I am done with racing?  It’s quite simple actually.  I know today that my racing days are over because I have since lost my reason for suffering.


Thursday, July 7, 2022


The impact was fatal.  Annihilating a huge part of me when my head hit the ground on that day six years ago.  The bike racer.  This false persona.  My ego completely dismantled.  My truth revealed.  Face to face with the real me.  This new fuzzy reality.  Desperately waiting for my senses to settle.  This brand new everchanging brain chemistry.  Nowhere to hide.  Impossible to keep riding away.  Just me and these demons.  Desperately trying to find a way to tame them.  This past Tuesday, July 5th, was my concussaversary.  The last time that I pinned on a race number.  The day that the previous version of me died.  It hit me hard for some reason this year.  Partly because of how traumatic this seemingly minor injury has affected me.  And mostly because of how far I’ve come since then.  Without this accident, I am absolutely certain that I would have never undertaken the difficult work of healing my trauma as a sexual abuse victim.  So much internalized shame released.  I truly believe that was the main purpose of this whole ordeal.  The universe’s way of showing someone stubborn and hard headed like me the way to the truth.  I got out for a solo celebratory ride that evening.  Meeting myself by spinning these pedals.  A short gravel jaunt before the rain.  Even if I feel like I’m still healing from this injury, I can’t help but also feel forever grateful for all that it has taught me.  Sometimes the parts of you that once seemed all important need to die in order to make room for much better parts of you to emerge.  It’s never “just a concussion”.  Love your brain.  And always wear a helmet.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Pedaling Longevity Project

For the longest time now, riding has been my medicine.  For so many years, I used it as an analgesic.  A coping mechanism enabling me to numb the pain from underlying past trauma.  A very effective method.  Riding to forget.  It worked for years.  Even if it was but a masking remedy that only provided temporary relief.  Today, my riding has changed.  I’ve changed.  Less avoiding.  More feeling.  Riding to remember.  To heal what I am struggling to feel.  To help me make a bit of sense of the senseless.  Closer to these emotions.  No longer trying to escape them.  My bikes guiding me back to my true self.  I’ve come to a point where I no longer have any use for competition anymore.  I’ve come to despise it actually.  It just seems to rob me of too much happiness.  There simply is nothing left to prove.  I am already enough.  Fast enough.  Strong enough.  Goal setting and signing up for challenging events are not what motivate me to keep pedaling.  My reasons are intrinsic.  No longer about improving.  Simply about enjoying.  The only intention or goal that I currently have in regards to bikes is to be able to ride as long as physically possible.  Not faster.  Not farther.  Just to keep spinning these pedals.  In this happy medium space at this unhurried pace called sustainability.  I call it my personal ‘Pedaling Longevity Project’.


Friday, May 27, 2022

Changing my mind about change

I don’t remember who said it.  And I don’t remember the exact wording.  But I do remember reading that working on oneself is mainly about learning how to let go of wanting things or people to change.  Change.  We’re most often either impatiently waiting for it or dreading it.  We’ve been blessed with warm beautiful days these last few weeks.  With some wet cool days in between.  I’ve been riding almost daily.  Mostly gravel with some road.  Groad is what I think they call it .  With some BMX in between.  This sunny weather after all the rain earlier this month has left these forests vibrantly buzzing.  So very pregnant.  Birthing fresh leaves.  Reawakening.  These creatures of light.  Constantly changing.  If I’m honest, I must admit that I had been restlessly waiting for these natural changes for a few months now.  The emergence of this spring season sprinkled with glimpses of summer.  Empowered by these changes as they change me.  Energized by this strengthening sun.  Back to life.  Following its lead.  Sleeping when it sets.  Waking when it rises.  My ideal rhythm.  Even if most of my rides are local, around these same roads, they’re still never the same.  Outside is never stagnant.  Constantly changing.  Eloquently evolving.  A brand new ride every single time.  The art of riding these bikes.  Irrelevant path.  Irrelevant goal.  No right or wrong direction.  Just flowing movement.  The faster I hurry, the slower I go.  Everything just keeps changing. 

Friday, May 6, 2022


I may have been in middle school?  Or a freshman in high school?  Maybe?  I’m not sure.  But after all these years, I still remember reading Ray Bradbury’s science fiction short story “All Summer in a Day”.  A futuristic story of nine year old classmates living on Venus, a planet where it rains pretty much constantly, the sun only appearing for a few hours every seven years.  One of the students, Margot, had moved there from Earth five years earlier and was the only one in her class who remembers what the sun looks and feels like.  Different from everyone else, she is constantly bullied and locked into a closet just before the sun comes out of its seven year hiding causing her to miss the whole thing.  The details of this story were very fuzzy in my mind after all these years.  But I clearly remember wondering what it would be like to live in such a wet world.  The intense feeling of euphoria during that brief period of sunshine.  The tragedy of how Margot was treated.  The devastation of missing that sunny interlude.  And the sheer agony of having to wait another seven long years.  Growing up, I remember literally sitting by the window waiting for the rain to stop.  Me and my friends in my dad’s garage, impatiently watching our BMX ramps dry so we could ride.  Even today, I still glance out the window every single morning as soon as I wake up to check the weather.  Rain for five days straight last week evoked memories of life on Venus and Margot’s story.  This week the weather changed.  Sun and clouds.  Drying gravel.  Close to 80k on Wednesday.  My longest ride of this year.  Just getting back home, it starts to rain again.  Not for 5 days this time.  Just a shower.  Poor Margot.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Number Sixty

39 years ago.  April 1983.  Before going to the car show at the Moncton Coliseum, we dropped into Eastern Sports.  Me and my cousin Armand.  We both bought Haro Flo Panel BMX plates.  I didn’t know what number to choose.  I remembered a picture in one of my BMX Action magazines of a dude riding a white SE PK Ripper like mine.  I didn’t really know who he was but I really liked his style.  And that white PK!  I’m not 100% sure, but if I remember correctly, his name was Bubba Hayes.  And he was rocking #60 as he was slaying his competition on the BMX track.  I felt inspired.  And decided to also go with #60 for my first full year of BMX racing.  I was 14 years old.  Last year, while cleaning my old bed room, my mom found my old Haro Flo Panel plate.  I cleaned it up.  And Luc provided the stickers including my old #60 bringing it back to life.  39 years ago.  1983.  Eat.  Sleep. BMX.  Repeat.  Yeah, that sure was a great summer… 


Friday, April 22, 2022


The pavilion.  It got a face lift.  Actually, it’s more like a foundation lift.  The roof and legs are still the same.  The old rotten wooden deck floor is now gone.  It has been replaced with a concrete slab.  I like it.  Even if I miss the wooden benches.  Maybe they’ll be added again later this year?  It’s still quite cold, windy and rainy here.  But the snow is pretty much all gone.  Spring has arrived.  Just when winter seemed to linger on forever, it’s suddenly over.  Just like that.  Such an abrupt pivotal seasonal shift.  And even on my 54th trip around the sun, it somehow still catches me by surprise.  Even the songs that the birds are singing have changed.  Waking up to these pleasant springtide melodies flooding me with so many carefree childhood memories.  That feeling of excitement that I would get when the bike came out of winter storage.  Elation.  So much promise.  So many adventures just around the corner.  And a whole new level of aliveness.  I’ve ridden out to the pavilion five times in the last few weeks.  Something leading me here.  Mercifully guiding me.  It’s hard to explain.  Buddha calls it shunyata.  Which translates to emptiness or voidness.  No matter how everything keeps changing, this nothingness always remains the same.  This eternal now.  Maybe that’s the whole point.  Maybe that’s what keeps bringing me and my bike here to the pavilion.  Nothing at all.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Nothing to prove

35 years.  I sold my 1985 Haro Master Freestyler in the spring of 1988 after my first year of university.  Not because I no longer enjoyed riding it.  Simply because everyone kept telling us that it was time to start adulting.  We sold the ramps.  I bought a car.  And eventually got into mountain bikes.  Then road and cyclocross.  “Adult” bicycles.  I have always and will forever be in love with bikes.  All of them.  But there is certainly a very special spot deep in my heart for 20” BMX.  My roots.  Today, with social media, watching so many old school freestylers riding again has rekindled this lifelong passion.  My childhood heroes.  RL Osborn.  Eddie Fiola.  Martin Aparijo.  This newfound inspiration.  My last chance.  So begins the search for a modern old school 20” BMX bike.  They are so rare right now.  Sold out everywhere.  It takes a while.  But I finally find a 2021 GT Pro Performer Heritage 20.  Old school looks.  Modern geometry.  Present-day technology.  Just what I need to tame this mid-life crisis itch.  Of all the types of bike riding that I have done in the last 35 years, flatland freestyle sure is the form that is going to take the most practice.  Just for fun.  And with absolutely nothing to prove…