Keeping Report: Epic ride to Florida paying off

On the eve of Sunday’s Ontario Cup event in Calabogie, Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery rider Stephen Keeping reflected on his year so far — which included riding from Ottawa to Florida in some of the coldest weather of the winter.

Bike racing season is slowly ramping into gear for us Northerners. I’m currently gazing out the window at flurries and thinking about pinning on numbers tomorrow at the Calabogie Classic, just outside of Ottawa. And after enjoying some warm 19 degree-ish temps yesterday, it’s hard to get motivated all of a sudden. To say it’s been a turbulent spring so far would be an understatement. After being treated to light winters the past few years I shouldn’t complain. But I will. I could go skiing right now in Gatineau Park if I wanted. But I don’t want to. I want to go ride my bike. I’ve endured enough bad weather riding for a while.

Stephen Keeping on his way to Florida. Photo courtesy the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Click to link to the story.

Stephen Keeping on his way to Florida. Photo courtesy the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Click to link to the story.

Before leaving for Florida a team mate of mine said “I hear what you’re planning Steve — don’t do it, man.” Which was probably great advice. It really wasn’t a good idea. Much like skydiving isn’t a good idea. But for some reason, there are idiots who voluntarily jump out of planes.  He basically told me “You’re going to be strong as ox or a dishevelled, broken donkey by the time you get to Florida”. But sometimes you just gotta take a leap of faith and see what happens.

Fast forward nearly three months and I’m ready to rip. I’m alive and well. And while at some point I was weaker than a broken donkey, all those kilometres did me good. It may be the old-man strength setting in, but I haven’t felt this prepared to race by April in a long time. I’m hoping the old adage — peaks and valleys — stays true as I’m on my way up out of Death Valley. And while I’m not the fastest cat out there yet, I’m super excited to keep the winning streak rolling with the Stevens crew tomorrow.

— Keeping

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