Cycling Review

2018 was a pretty fun year in cycling. I took it easy not having the BCBR as a goal, but still had some training goals. Sue and I did the Chafe 150 Gran Fondo, but I also trained for, and raced in, the Island Cup series of Enduro races.

This post though is about my 2018 cycling year in review.

2016 was a build year for BCBR. At the end of the year I started my long rides, and was doing two spin classes a week. 2017 was a big year for me. Lots of cycling, running, and other forms of training all culminating in BCBR. After that race I took a while off riding.

2018 had me on my road bike quite a bit getting ready for the Gran Fondo. Oddly I was also racing enduro events in amongst my road bike training. I’m not sure if that helped my enduro races or not. I didn’t get many long mountain bike rides in, so I wasn’t as comfortable on my Covert as I would have liked. The fun part about some of those races is that I raced them ‘blind’ either not having any practice on the trails, or never having ridden them at all!

The Gran Fondo itself was an excellent getaway with Sue. We rode together the entire way, though near the end of our 80 mile event my back was starting to act up. I wondered if that was due to me not riding at my natural pace?

In the fall we did the annual guys road trip, and this time we stayed on Vancouver Island riding in Duncan, Cumberland, Parksville, and Nanaimo.

What do I see in store for 2019? Well, I can answer that easily since I am late to the game with this 2018 review. So far Sue and I have signed up for the 5 Boro ride in NYC. I would also like to race the Island Cup enduro series again. The final big ride is the Cycle of Life Tour in July. A 2 day 200km ride to raise money for hospice care on Vancouver Island. That is enough to keep me busy I think

Spotify Review

I listen to a lot of music. My collection in iTunes was always growing, then I discovered Spotify. I loved the ease of listening to new things, the discovery algorithms, the suggestions, and the constant influx of new music. I subscribed pretty quickly in 2016.

At the end of 2016 Spotify then delighted me with my Year in Review playlist. It was a great way to look back at my year, and was a great playlist to throw on at any time.

In 2017 Sue, and the kids started listening to Spotify more. We have a Sonos speaker and I set it up with my account. Nearing the end of 2017 I was looking forward to the year end playlist. Once it arrived though, I was very disappointed. The playlist was mainly pop songs that were a result of the kids’ listening. It was so bad, I deleted it from my account.

There started to be more conflicts over Spotify use where multiple people were wanting to play music at the same time. We fixed this by signing up for the family plan, which has made me very happy. No more music interruptions at work, or random texts from the kids asking if they could have a turn on Spotify. The only pain was transferring the playlists I had created for their music to their account.

When 2018 was drawing to a close I was once again looking forward to the ‘Your Top Songs’ playlist. I figured the accounts had been separated long enough that there wouldn’t be any overlap. I was mostly right. The playlist is really good, full of lots of songs that bring me back to certain parts of the year. There are still a few pop songs that I end up skipping (and really should just remove).

We’re barely into 2019 and I’m looking forward to next years playlist already 🙂

Side Note:

Every Friday I check the new releases for bands I know and enjoy. Quite often there is nothing except pop and rap. Spotify really has a chance to make this area more customized to the account. The vast majority of the band I follow, and the albums I’ve saved are rock/hard rock/metal. Why the New Releases section shows 95% content that I don’t listen to is beyond me. Further is the fact that a lot of the music I listen to is by artists that are not mainstream. They release new albums, but those do not show up in the New Releases area. Spotify has a vast amount of data on my listening habits, they should make use of that.

Happy Upsetting

2018 was a quite a year, and I am somewhat happy that it is over. I left my job at the end of January, but located another fairly quickly. It was good, but there were a few indicators that it was unstable. Sure enough, in August, the company went under, and I was again on the hunt for work. Unfortunately, the company was behind on paying us, so cash was a bit of an issue. This eventually resolved itself though.

Other things of note that happened, were several large vehicle repair bills (the car was regular maintenance, but the truck ended up in the shop on a tow truck as well as some other fixes that were sudden), a great RV trip, and the passing of our cat Aphro. Losing Aphro was really a low point for the whole family and very upsetting (I still miss her). Sue and I did the Chafe 150 (80 mile length) in Sand Point Idaho, and I raced several of the Island Cup Enduro races.

Things turned around near the end of the year though. I got a new contract to fill my time, the family is happy and healthy, and we are looking forward to 2019. I’m looking forward to more riding and racing, and getting some more runs into my legs (without hurting my knees).

2017 Shape


2017 is done and it was quite a year. Some big events for me and my family.

The first big one to happen was getting my first tattoo. I’d been wanting a tattoo for a very long time, and it was a good friend of mine that started a conversation about tattoos that lead me down the path of finally getting it done. We researched shops together, did the consult together, and when the big day came, she sat in on part of the process. I love this change to my body as it represents a big part of who I am. Mountain biking, and cycling in general, is a core part of me and has truly changed my life. Signifying this on my body is a constant reminder of this.

Another big event was the BC Bike Race. I still think about the race regularly. The first half of the year involved a lot of training. I’d like to say I enjoyed it all, but there were a lot of wet miserable rides that really weren’t a lot of fun. I did enjoy the changes to my riding, and to how strong I felt though. I was in the best shape of my life and felt great. I’d like to hold onto some of that fitness through 2018 and beyond.

After the race was done I shifted gears quite a bit. Life slowed down, and I was able to spend more time with family and friends. Camping trips, supper clubs, whisky tastings, some riding, and more. Life feels full with all of this.

The Instagram pics from above:

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2009 Photography In Review

This is the part where I am supposed to reflect on the past year of photography. Last year I wrote that I intended to try and rekindle my photography in 2009. Honestly, that never happened.

I still took pictures, but I didn’t get out for dedicated photoshoots. I still want to do that more.

I am still proud of the pictures, and still proud of my photography. My skills definitely came in handy when we visited New Zealand for 4 weeks. I came away with many stunning pictures that I will always cherish.

2009 also saw me get a new camera body. Again something that could have stimulated more photography.

What held me back? I was enjoying my young family too much. Weekends became family time and evenings are busy.

What do I want to do for 2010? I honestly don’t know. I’d like to try and get out shooting more. The kids are older and a little easier to take care of. Perhaps there will be more free time.

Barring that I will continue on like I did for 2009 and making the most of what comes my way. That is the great thing about photography, everywhere you go there is potential to make a great picture.


While on a photowalk in Napier, New Zealand I spied this jumble of nets and fishing gear. The colors and randomness attracted me.


Again in Napier I could sense a grand sunset was forming. I jumped in the car and drove to the opposite side of the bay we were on and was treated to something truly spectacular. I desperately wanted to do this sunset justice. I recomposed many times, but I think this shot shows how all encompassing the sunset was.


A walk in the local dog park. The honey bee provided some entertainment for me as I followed it for a bit hoping I could frame it on some of the flowers.


There is a massive cherry tree in our backyard and when we moved in I hoped that the blossoms on it would be worthy. Seeing this tree decked out in blossoms was pretty amazing.


Messy stinky dogs. I love them. Digger, you are such a photogenic dog.


A carnival was in town for the Oak Bay Tea Party. This is a shot of the midway.


Canada Day fireworks. Good fireworks shots are hard to come by. Next year I think I will try some composite shots and see how they turn out.


The house we moved into had the largest lavender bush I had ever seen. In bloom the aroma was almost overpowering. So was the sound of all the bees.


A sunset from my Mom’s house. The trees here frame the sunset nicely and add some depth.


I think this is one of my favorite shots of the year. My kids looking out over the water. They were both hopping off the fence at random times so getting them both like this was challenging. You can’t see what they are looking at which add to the mystique of the shot.


I did a photo shoot at Beacon Hill Park in November. I had just learned I had been laid off and thankfully I had my camera with me that day. Instead of heading home I headed out on a photoshoot. There weren’t many flowers out, but I found thousands of these mushrooms growing in all sorts of flower beds.


This shot is stretching it a little, but I didn’t take many pictures in December.

Bonus Shot

This was taken in October up in Nanaimo at my Mom’s house (similar location to September’s picture). This is a beautiful sunset that feels lighter than the September shot. The lightness of the sunset is tempered with the boldness of the tree.

2008 Photography In Review

Now for one of my more enjoyable posts I make: the annual photography year in review.

I struggled photographically this year. I didn’t realize this until recently as I started looking back through 2008. I didn’t get out with the photo club, and I only made a few purpose photo expeditions. I was very busy this past year with my son, the arrival of my daughter, my return to Ultimate, and moving.

I still took a lot of pictures though, but most of them are of my kids and aren’t what I typically include here.

I think that for 2009 I am going to try and rekindle my photography skills. I am very proud of the work I do when I make time for photography. I need to do that more.

On to the pictures.


I spotted this stand of trees while out for a walk in Beacon Hill park after a friends birthday brunch.


A lonely stark tree.


A self portrait taken during a rest stop on one of my few mountain biking adventures.


Some pretty flower around Thetis Lake. Gorgeous in real life, yet extremely difficult to photograph.


A trip I took to Kinsmen Gorge park explicitly to take pictures.  This was one of my favorites of my shoot and it was of some kind of over grown weed.


Canada Day fireworks.  This was shot from Macaulay Point Park. There were a lot of people in the park watching the show.


My cat Aphro hiding behind a tomato plant on the deck of our old place.


One night while in Nanaimo visiting my mom I saw a spectacular sunset forming. I grabbed my gear and headed down to the beach to capture the colors.


A paused Snowbird.


My daughter during our pumpkin hunt.


A dreary day at Elk Lake saw myself, Yoshi, and my daughter going for a walk. There wasn’t much to capture that grey day.


A wonderful snow sunrise captured from my backyard.

2007 Photography in Review

Time for the 2007 Photography year review. Choosing the pictures for these reviews is getting more difficult. Do I choose something that represent the month? Maybe I choose something quirky that catches my eye? Do I include family snapshots, or composed shots that took time and creativity? This year I chose to go mainly with creative composed shots, although some of them are snapshot like. I also noticed that this year all the shots were taken with my 20D, which is a workhorse of a camera. I love using it, I love the weight of it, and I love the sound of it. Most of all I love taking pictures with it.


While the weather was cold I was inside taking pictures with a lightbox I had built. Here are some coffee beans that I played with one afternoon.


There was still no good light outside, so I picked some Crocuses and put the in the lightbox, turned on the lights and start making my shots.


This was a fun shoot. We had these Daffodils in a vase on top of our tv. With the camera on a tripod I set the shutter for six seconds, and started popping the flash from behind the flowers. I was trying to get the flowers to look like lanterns.


I looked down and saw the smooth blades of grass, and loved how uniform, yet chaotic they looked. The green tones were very striking to me.


In May I shot my first wedding. The wedding was of two very good friends of mine. The weather was making me nervous, but thankfully it didn’t interfere with anything. It was challenging, and very fun, and we were all rewarded with some excellent pictures.


The tree, the shadows, the window sill in the background, and the orange color of the wall all combined to catch my fancy. I took this while sitting in my car waiting to pick up my wife after work. This is taken downtown Victoria and is the city hall building.


Myself and another gentleman from the photoclub made a visit to the Saanich Historical Artifiacts Society. They have a lot of old equipment scattered about their yard. I had a great time making images there, until I found this old firetruck. I was in heaven shooting this. The wonderful red paint that is chipped and peeling. I couldn’t break free of it lure.


I August my family and I made a trip to Ottawa. While walking over the Rideau Canal I saw this lone kayaker going against the wind. The dark water contrasted nicely against the yellow kayak.


During a trip to Beacon Hill Park I had some time to wander around with my camera. There had been a heavy dew that morning but it had all evaporated. Fortunately I found a couple leaves that still had some heavy droplets on them. I love the clipped grass, and the lovely globes of water on the underside of the leaf. Again, the green tones are stunning.


Walking my dog Yoshi through Oak Bay, I found the lantern plants at the side of the road. It was a gorgeous fall day with blue skies and colorful leaves all around me. The warm sun was pouring down on this plant, and the vivid colors here were more vibrant that anything else in the garden.


I awoke early one morning while in Maui and was fortunate enough to look outside and see this sunrise. I didn’t even have to leave the condo we were renting as I was able to shoot this from our balcony. I was afraid that if I took the time to run downstairs I would miss the light. Five minutes later the light was totally different, and ten minutes after this shot the sunrise was over.


Walking dogs at Elk Lake is always a good time, but for one reason or another, on this day Yoshi was behaving oddly. He and I broke off from the group and went on our own walk. I saw this miniature forest with perfect light, just off the trail we were on. I crouched down, then set the focus on the camera. With the strap around my neck, I then lowered the camera until it was only a few inches off the ground, and the strap was tight. Pressing the shutter I didn’t know what I would end up with, and after three shots were done, this was a result.

2006 Photography in Review

Goodbye 2006, hello 2007. It is time for my annual New Years photography in review. In retrospect I didn’t take as many pictures as previous years. Actually, I did take a lot of pictures, but there were more snapshots and less creative photography, mainly due to the birth of my son which took up a lot of my free time. I am aiming to get back into the creative groove for 2007.

Without further adieu, here are my top shots, month by month, from 2006.

January Favourite
I took this shot out at Sooke Potholes while shooting with the photoclub. This shot was accomplished by having a long exposure and while the aperture was open, zooming in quickly. It looks like there is one shot superimposed over another, but this was done entirely in the camera.

February Favourite
Another shot while out with the photoclub. This time at the Esquimalt Roundhouse. I really like the lines in this shot, and how they all converge.

March Favourite
Such a dramatic contrast. Taken after a freak hailstorm blanketed our area under a half inch of ice, the freshly risen tulip looks like it is struggling under the weight. Tulips and ice are an odd combination.

April Favourite
I took this in my dining room. This flower was part of a bouquet. To achieve the spooky petals appearing from the dark, I underexposed at least 2 stops.

May Favourite
I caught this sight at the Highland Games near our house. This gentleman looked so serious and proud. Contrast that with the smiles in the background.

June Favourite
I set out at night to take some images of the midway that was in town for Buccaneer days. I saw several photographers out that night, and it was quite a nice night for shooting. As you can tell from the shot, and from the EXIF data, this was a long exposure.

July Favourite
This is absolutely my most favorite shot of my son to date. The seriousness on his face cracks me up since I remember how much he was splashing just moments before. The water drops on his cheek are evidence of that fun.

August Favourite
The start of Ironman 2006. I had two friends who did this race, so the start was something special. This shot shows a lot of drama. The starting gun has gone off, and some competitors have started their race, yet other have to wait for the crowd before them to get out of the way. A frantic pace, with people standing around.

September Favourite
So well camoflauged, yet this critter stood out so well. I spotted this guy while out walking Yoshi at Island View Beach.

October Favorite
Another planned shot that I loved the result of. This was shot in a pumpkin patch while out with the photoclub. I love the shading, and how well defined the water droplets are. The black and white suits this image perfectly.

November Favourite
I tried to captrue a snowstorm in Victoria. I didn’t get too many shots of the snow, and this one was just as it started falling. This was shot through my front door.

December Favourite
I got this composition at Macaulay Point park. I was walking Yoshi and we made our way to the beach. It was a drab day with high overcast skies. I spotted this vibrant green patch of weed amongst the burnt logs and driftwood.

2005 Photography in Review

Last year I did a year in photography gallery. I chose my best/favorite shot from each month, and made a special gallery containing just those picture. I continue this tradition today.

This is my 2005 Year in Review

snowy scene at thetis lake
Taken at Thetis lake, this was one of the very few snow days in Victoria in 2005.

trees at macaulay point park
A Macaulay Point Park walk with Yoshi. Nice sunny February day. I had looked through these trees many times before, but the light, the sky, and the clouds combined perfectly for this shot.Taken at Thetis lake, this was one of the very few snow days in Victoria in 2005.

cherry blossoms in black and white
This is an unusual shot of cherry blossoms done in black and white. In the camera I bumped up the contrast to achieve this almost infrared effect. Beyond this and the resizing, there are no enhancements.

streaming water effect
This is one of my most favorite pictures of the entire year. I saw this scene in my head as I looked at a slowly dripping fountain. I was able to achieve what I envisioned.

Taken days after I got married. I love the colors, I love the rings, I love the depth of field, I love my wife.

large lily
The was one of the most amazing plants I photographed this year. While on this shoot I neglected to double check my camera’s settings. I was shooting ISO 1600 the entire time. This shot wasn’t ruined too badly though. I corrected the white balance, and bumped the contrast to accentuate the white.

craggy tree
A craggy old tree up at Rathtrevor beach, a wonderful backdrop, and a slight spotlight tokeep the eye interested. For some reason I can stare at this picture for hours.

ferocious lion
At a wedding reception for some very good friends the kids were entertained by clowns who did some face painting. E here was a ferocious lion. I can never get over how lucky I was with this shot. The right location, right timing, the right pose. I love it.

macaulay point sunset
Sunsets can be hard to capture. What you see is hardly what you get. I took many shots this day, but this is one of my favorites. The setting sun, the textured water, the fading colors.

covered bridge
Taken in Ottawa during the fall, the colors were a little more muted that previous years (or so I am told). On the way to a walk we drove through this bridge. After the hike we stopped a few times along the way so I could take some pictures.

rising mist
A smooth lake with a mirror finish, mist rising lazily, people out walking dogs. There definitely is an element of luck in photography.

dreamy fern
This was the highlight shot for December. Tough month photography wise. I didn’t get out very often due to Christmas plans. For this shot I stopped down the aperture, and bumped up the exposure time. With the shutter open I took half the time to zoom in, and the other half to expose the leaf. This creates a somewhat dreamy leaf.