Hello.  The countdown is on for the RLCT – 125 days. Are you ready? I hope not – not to be selfish but if you’re ready now then what’s to become of the rest of us. At the other extreme, I hope you’ve maintained at least a modicum of fitness this winter. I’ve found from personal experience that it’s very hard to start at zero and work one’s way into form in April when so many others have been active walking, swimming, running, skiing, or on indoor trainers. It’s not too late though to take-up the cudgel. You still have seven weeks before we hit the road. Don’t panic; just start your fitness programme now with a goal to ride 100 kms right out of the blocks in April. Gone are the days when we eased into the 100 km rides. So, there you have it – a shot across the bow to alert you to the quickly approaching cycling season.

I expect this year to be one of the best (for personal) reasons. I’m determined that age will not hold me back, yet. I also, expect to see the weekend group rides expand in size, with many of you already signed up for the RLCT. To that end, I’m proposing regular rides in the Gats (twice a month in the lead up to the RLCT and once a month thereafter), with a focus on hill work for that extra training edge. Proposed start at P3 by 7:30 am and riding to Chelsea via Pink Lake and the Corkscrew to the Champlain Lookout, with a return to the junction at Champlain and Gatineau Parkway. At this point, we’ll do a second loop. Total distance 63 kilometres and 1169 metres of climbing. Excited. I am. Can’t wait, but, really living in the now now. That’s the only way, right! Where else would you rather be? I know my Christian friends would answer this question differently as they hunger for the rapture but for me the end is the end, so to speak.

Been thinking of this, of late, as I continue to learn to soak up the entirety of each day and limit fruitless thoughts. Connection with others is paramount; connection with the natural world is essential. Favoured are those who have a boon companion – “We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” Thomas Merton

A few good friends make a difference in one’s life. Our small but dynamic cycling group is a big part of my life, and my enjoyment – especially as I’m increasing alone in off-season fitness pursuits. One day, you may join me in Mallorca? Life is like a funnel – open at the conical mouth and constricted at the end. I’m doing my best to hold off the inevitable entropic spiral to the bottom. I therefore express my gratitude to you all for your gravitational pull upwards.

Okay, Stay fit! Bye-bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling