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How it all began... Circa A.D. 1979 / Canadian Olympic Track & Field Trials Winnipeg Manitoba 10.15 seconds. Personal Best Time - 100m sprint 20.9 seconds. Personal Best Time - 200m sprint 48 seconds. Personal Best Time - 400m sprint 63 seconds. Time taken to get back to a resting heart rate after running 3.5 km Circa A.D. 2008 - Canadian National Shito Ryu Itosi Kai (Japanese) Karate Championships - 2nd Place Back in the Post Ice Age era of 1979, I was 17 years old. Bolstered by a high metabolism and ridiculously low body fat, Track & Field was inherently one of the best ways I legally acquired a true high. In 2008 I chronologically gained 30 years; along with a few squatters of added poundage. In order to evict said squatters from my personal domicile, I decided to take up Shito Ryu Itosu Kai Karate with my then 17 year old daughter. It’s funny, but when I was 17 years old, coordinated, concentrated, physical exertion seemed to come more naturally than when you are in your 40’s. That was proven when my daughter won the National title for her age and rank in her first ever Karate tournament. We had only been training for 12 weeks before our Sensei, in his dry, inimitable matter-of-fact style, informed us that we were to be competing in the Canadian National Karate Championships. This is not something normally told to people who have never even tried Karate before. Especially if you have witnessed the Mini-Me Bruce Lees going at it in your Dojo. I guess it was a testament to the training received that allowed us to comport ourselves well enough to rank well. But not without the requisite bruising, beatings (what happens when you do not block properly), and blood (skin breaks on contact even when pulling your kicks and punches). That was eight years ago. Now it begins again. This time however I will not be competing against an opponent who is shorter than I, has reflexes faster than the speed of light, and who is less than half my age. No Siree. This time I am going to go up against someone even more daunting….Myself. Circa A.D. 2016 - Learning how to beat my own body into submission - hopefully in a good way. This year marks 8 years since I purchased my first motorcycle; the same year I started training in Karate. I did not realize it at the time, but that rigorous training regimen prepared me to handle a type of machine I had never utilized before. I have always half-jokenly stated I am glad I started riding motorcycles after most of my testosterone took an early sabbatical. If I had started riding motorcycles during my muscle-tuned, teen years of Track and Field, I may not have had the opportunity to be publicly upstaged by some pimply-faced Karate Kid wannabe. So what exactly am I beginning again after all these years, that involves competing with myself? A healthy balance of mind and body, for a Road Trip! Specifically a Cross-Canada motorcycle trip, slated for Summer 2017. I am giving myself one year to get my mind, soul and body in the best possible shape; not only to make the trip, but to enjoy it to the fullest extent possible. It is going to involve draft notices being sent out to unused muscles, compelling them to report for active duty; along with Cease & Desist orders served to other itinerant body parts that, well, are just not welcome anymore. Oh, and throughout this whole process, I will be documenting my efforts (or lack thereof) for public consumption on my Personal Blog - http://www.swedwards.com. There will be great potential for whining; feeble excuses; moments of self-recrimination; heck, even flat out states of denial. In short, it is not going to be pretty. The process of physically preparing for this adventure is only one aspect of the plan. One element of incentive will be my research into acquiring a newer and larger motorcycle for the trip. I will be articulating that part of the equation along side my efforts at regaining balance, energy and strength to my mental, musculature and skeletal carbon-based unit. So if you have any tips, or advice pertaining to long distance, trans-continental type motorcycling, (expectations; warnings; planning etc), please feel to share them. Just as in times past, before I had ever ridden a motorcycle or tried Karate, I am very eager to see what the outcome of this Bucket List endeavour will be.
Here is a link to the first video of our recent Manitoulin Long Weekend Adventure. Papa Don, Alex G, JPC, Carole and I met up with members from 028 London - Les and Doug - as well as a good portion of the 049 Sudbury chapter. This video is of our Espanola to Manitoulin ride with Kathy 'Piddles' leading. Henry and Ron from Sudbury also joined in the ride, and we all had a great time. If you have never been, Manitoulin Island is a must ride! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZaMsQDFlR8
I am planning to make a long-weekend camping adventure out of Victoria Day weekend. Leaving Ottawa on Friday, May 16 in the morning and riding to somewhere between here and there, could be Espanola, Manitoulin...not really sure yet. I think I will likely take another rip up the 129 - but the weekend is really just about getting out there and shaking off a long, cold winter. I will definitely spend at least one night camping on Manitoulin Island - and who knows - Old Woman Bay may even see my shadow again... Planning on being home by Sunday evening....however, Monday is a good day to be riding too.... Anyhow - just putting it out there. If anyone wants to tag along or meet up and mark the Victoria Day long weekend in the saddle, drop me a line or hit this post. Not long now brothers and sisters...