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Glory Days

GardinHeadonOnce the decision to get fit was made, naturally I thought to myself “Gee I was pretty fit once” and my mind wandered back to the halcyon days of my youth. Back in the day I was what I felt a very good cyclist. I won a number of short and long time trials and did a lot of crits. I jumped on the Triathlon bandwagon. Then something happened.

Something happens to all of us. We don’t always know why and we can’t define the moment it happened but I put my bicycle aside and did something else. I got married, I had kids, I entered the workforce. It took me almost 20 years (and about 50 pounds!) to realize that I had made a mistake. I didn’t need to put the bicycle aside so much but like a lot of people I simply let a good thing slide. And then it was gone. Soon it slips from memory and we stop to even regret their passing. It simply becomes part of something we used to do and don’t anymore. Then they become part of our Glory Days myth.

So how were the glory days. Well, to paraphase Mr. Incredible “They were GREAT!” I had the time of my life. Let’s review.

I started off on a blue Peugeot. I don’t remember where I got it or much about what it had on it but it was my entry drug. It gave me immediate freedom. I can’t find any pictures of the old girl anymore but I knew I did a number of long rides on it. I even had a nice Peugeot shirt and cap. And I don’t think you could get helmets in those days, so the cap was the extent of my head protection.

young shot

Before the invention of Helmets!

I loved that bike, I biked back and forth to school, up to the Gatineaus and my initial foray into time trials with the Ottawa Bicycle Club and a number of long group rides. Eventually however I wanted a serous upgrade. I began to consume the bicycle magazines of the day, watched Greg Lemond take his 1st Tour de France and learned how to spell campagnolo. As described before I then took the leap into getting a serious bike and bought my 1986 Gardin Victory.

My first day with the bike was like a proud papa. The bike was beautiful, and it worked like a dream. It was, and still is, amazing. At the time I also picked up one of the Vetta helmets which were just starting to show up on the scene.

1st day with gardin

Just arrived from the bike shop!

Quickly we became inseparable. When I went, the bike came too.  We started to blitz the time trial scene. We entered crits. We crashed..I bled! And we spend days and days on our favourite ride. I would get up early Saturday morning and ride up to the Gatineaus, which were decent hills, climb up and down and not return until well close to supper. I was in heaven.

Glory Days 1980s Cycling 1

Crit Alert! Me and the Gardin in action!

Then I found Triathlons. This was even better. Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures but we had at least one top ten finish (Deep River). Unfortunately results are no longer kept for most of these events so can’t say for sure what my times were etc.  And the Gardin was with me there too.


Deep River Tri

And then…the music stopped. As I pushed pass 40 I began to remember those Glory days. Could they be found again? I think so and when I was ready to get restarted the Gardin was there. I think there were whole years, even decades where it just sat there, waiting for me to complete it. And when the time came one of us had aged quite a bit better than the other!!


Taking the wrong corner away from biking!!

Categories: bicycling
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