Eleven extra watts

Birthday trainer ride
I began my 50th year today. I had no big plans. A nice dinner with my partner and our child. Some chores. A few ‘would be goods’ on the old house to-do list. And 20 minutes of terror on the bike trainer.

The FTP test. It’s a sort of stress test. You ride as hard as you can for 20 minutes while measuring your power output in watts. If you’ve been doing a lot of early morning sessions on the bike you want the number to go up. Otherwise it’s a bit of a downer.

But in the off-season it’s easy for your fitness to slip away. That and the queasy feeling you get in your stomach after hammering the pedals for 20 minutes had me more than a touch trepidatious.

But I got my kit on, set up the gadgets and rode. And, if I don’t say so myself, killed it. My coach hasn’t confirmed it but my FTP (stands for functional threshold power) is now 289 watts, up from 275 in August.

A new adventure – self employment

Fall sunrise in Gatineau Park
In early March, I will begin a new chapter in my life. After nearly 25 years of working for trade unions, I’ll be heading out on my own,  to help people, organizations and businesses with their websites, online presence and probably do whatever other sort of communications work needs doing and has budget.

Continue reading A new adventure – self employment

What a great thing we have in Gatineau Park

I love cross country skiing. Gorgeous day for it today.

A photo posted by Chris Lawson (@cmkl) on

Winning form

Mallory Jansen killing it at Coupe Skinouk

Mallory won her age division this afternoon at the Coupe Skinouk today. Of course I love my child no matter what and am pleased with any result so long as she tries her best. But… ah I’m totally giddy.

Congratulations my darling. Irene and I are, as ever, the world’s proudest parents.


My daughter is now ten
I cannot get my head around the idea that my daughter is ten years old

Mallory turns 10 tomorrow. That sentence was written about five minutes before this one. Not because I’ve been called away to help her with Adobe Illustrator, discuss Sims 4 or wax her skis — some of the things we do together lately. Irene’s reading her stories and putting her to bed.

It’s taken me five minutes to process the idea that I’ve been a parent for ten years. And that my baby is now a decade old. What a long time that is.

But I don’t feel tired or worn out or empty. Well, I do but it’s more got to do with shovelling snow and the bike trainer workout.

No. When I think of ten years with Mallory I feel excited and energized. I feel like my life has a massive tailwind and I’m just flying along effortlessly, my feet floating on the pedals.

This child, who skis better than me, who makes her own breakfast and lunch, who plays piano (never could, myself) who cartwheels, writes plays in french along with a myriad of other things that leave me in awe of her and unspeakably proud.

This child is entering her second decade.

Happy birthday darling. I am, as I never tire of telling you, the luckiest dad in the world.

Lobster gloves – the sequel aka why the Cyclery is awesome

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So the Cyclery sorted me out most generously.

A few days ago I wrote about a pair of Sugoi cycling gloves I’d bought hoping to make the late fall, early winter more tolerable and how the velcro cinch tabs had fallen apart on first laundering. Despite the fact that I’d ignored the laundry instructions, the Cyclery – where I’d bought them – took them back and gave me a newer pricier pair.

They could have got all huffy and high and mighty because I’d put the gloves in the dryer. They could have charged me a restocking fee. They could have insisted that I wait for a replacement pair from Sugoi, leaving me gloveless for what’s shaping up to be the last rideable weekend of the year.

But nope. Continue reading Lobster gloves – the sequel aka why the Cyclery is awesome

Getting what you pay for: Sugoi lobster glove construction underwhelms

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Sugoi lobster mitts – Cycling mitts with velcro tabs that ‘delaminated’ after one wash

I’ve been trying to extend my biking season of late by equipping myself appropriately. Because as a wise RACCC trip leader once told me, “there is no bad weather, merely inadequate preparation.”

To that end, I bought a relatively cheap pair of Sugoi lobster gloves at The Cyclery. And I’m underwhelmed. Please also read the sequel wherein The Cyclery proves why they are the best bike shop in Ottawa

Continue reading Getting what you pay for: Sugoi lobster glove construction underwhelms