By Melanie Scott
I’m fond of saying that my two favourites forms of exercise are rolling out of bed and bulking up my upper arms by popping open a 2012 Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet St Aubin 1er Cru. In this week’s edition, we’re celebrating those whose idea of exercise is a tad more vigorous.
The Hills offers a plethora of reasons for the sports enthusiast to don spandex and hop onto a bike or into a boat and pump iron. Despite that one may be taking one’s life into one’s hands when hitting Hwy 105 (see Alain Piché’s Valley Voices piece for some inspiration on what could be done with both the highway and the train corridor to create a safe sports haven), trails for biking and hiking abound. Our waterways beckon with opps for swimming and paddling. Hence, we seem to have produced more than our fair share of award-winning athletes and famous sports-minded types – most of them from Chelsea.
Of note is the Dragon Boat team that flew all the way to Hong Kong in 2012 to strut its stuff, coming home with a mitt full of winning hardware. These broads, remember, were getting together at the Cascades Club to get their ya-yas out on the water. The next thing you know, they’re flying to the other side of the world and getting loaded down with bling.
Becky Mason, visual artist and canoeist extraordinaire, has infused novice boaters with a passion for the paddle through workshops and instructional videos – and many will recall that her pop, Bill Mason, was one of this country’s champions of the canoe who created a breathtaking filmic record of this passionate pastime.
Andrew Stewart-Jones skied his way to silver at the 2010 National Championships. A second sport – rowing – beckoned, and Stewart-Jones is now very likely destined to compete for Canada at the 2016 Olympics.
Perhaps most notable of all is Ray Zahab who decided to run from Mongolia to China in the summer of 2013, crossing the Gobi Desert and covering over 2,000 km in the process. Wish I’d bought stock in Band-Aids that year.
And then there are those who figure our local climate just isn’t quite cold enough: Founder and President of Students on Ice Geoff Green has braved the frigid temps of the world’s two poles to expose youth to the wonders of the frozen lands. Two decades of adventuring have resulted in Green being appointed to the Order of Canada, among many other tributes.
One can get exhausted just thinking about pursuing any task that demands this much effort. We salute those who sweat it out in the name of sportsmanship. It’s time to inflate the tires on the old three-speed and pedal to the village, where a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio and a plate of poutine are just rewards for taking exercise. After which one should call one’s partner for a ride home, because it’s uphill all the way.