My 28th year has been a great one. This year specifically, travel has picked up a lot, house renovations have greatly progressed, and lastly a few achievements I’m quite proud of.
Travel-wise there’s been several trips for both work and pleasure. In January, I got to visit Costa Rica – a perfect time to visit. I spent most of my time in Tamarindo, one of the more touristy towns on the west side of the country – the locals have nicknamed it “Tamagringo”. Some of the highlights were spending time on the beach, going scuba diving off the Catalina islands, and enjoying such a wide variety of food with great company.
In June, I had the opportunity for one of my teams at work to travel to Berlin! Given half the team was located in Ireland, it was time to pay them back by having us Canadians and Americans cross the Atlantic. Plus, this was my first time over in Europe! Some notable highlights of this trip were bonding with my team over German and Turkish food, a beautiful bike tour of the city, tasting a variety of German beers, and ripping around the city on scooters.
This summer was a fun kind of busy. The majority of the month of August was spent visiting my folks cottage, girlfriend’s folks’ places, and a few weddings, all the while mostly working at the same time – this flexibility is pretty freeing. We rented a car and sped off to spend time in places like Gravenhurst, Collingwood, Toronto, and Prince Edward County to enjoy nature, friends, family, wine, beer, and cycling. I’m sure we’ll do something similar again next summer, with the added benefit of using my own car.
In October, I combined a work trip to New York with a few extra days of pleasure. This trip was spent hitting up more of the niche places across the city, such as doing a tour around Brooklyn breweries, experiencing more of the restaurants and cocktail bars, and seeing one of my all-time favourite electronic artists: Flume.
As with every year, work has significantly changed in great ways. I received a promotion to Senior Development Manager, which cements my path on being a lead of leads. This year also saw a lot of great accomplishments and learnings such as growing my people leads, preparing one of my teams for reaching “feature complete” on a product, and getting even better at growing development teams into being self sufficient. One big growth opportunity I’m targeting now is to focus on strategic thinking to lead my engineering and product area for tackling our next big goals.
At home, I’ve been spending much of my time continuing on with home improvement, specifically a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen reno – most of which I’ve been doing myself and reaching out to the pros when needed! It’s been fulfilling to go from knowing zero about tiling floors and walls to being pretty competent. Nothing like picking up another skill that pays off. Other proud moments were painting my girlfriend’s new place with the wealth of painting techniques and knowledge – it’s a great feeling to cut edges with ease and roll walls to get perfect, smooth coverage. My bias towards taking the time to do things right definitely showed on this and many other projects.
Some of the best cycling adventures this year have been back up at the cottage in Gravenhurst, a botched go up the escarpment in Collingwood, through the wine region of Prince Edward County, and a loop around Amherst Island. Don’t tell the rental car company, but I strapped a $20 secondhand bike rack to the back of this beauty of a rental car to aid with a bunch of these adventures. A very entertaining purchase this year was a bike computer and power meter pedals. This exposed a ton of data I’ve dreamed about having for my outdoor cycling. Now I’m able to more consistently measure my actual wattage and fitness. This purchase made early on in the summer brought a lot of great and nerdy data for the rest of the year.
As always, Gravenhurst was classic – smooth, scenic routes through cottage county. On one occasion I had one of my best buddies up to the cottage with his bike as well. We rode into Gravenhurst and hit up the excellent Clear Lake Brewing Co. We also both got over our fear of riding without holding onto the handlebars 😂
When in Prince Edward County for a May 24 long weekend wine tasting trip with friends, we rented bikes from a local place in Hillier. What ensued for the rest of that day was beautiful bike rides from one winery to another, passing by vineyards and farmland. Over 15 km (if that) we hit up several wineries and one brewery for tastings. I’m not the biggest fan of the reds and whites that this region has to offer, but the last place on our ride, Traynor Family Vineyard, had the best tasting wines. That could have been the tasty pet-nat style, or just us all being blasted – probably both. To finish off that great last tasting, we had the best sunset ride back to our Airbnb. Shoutout to this bike shop for their great service!
Leading up to visiting Collingwood for a week, I knew there was a sizeable community of cyclists of all capabilities and had to scope out what great routes there were. On my first day grabbing coffee in town I started a conversation with a local cyclist and they very helpfully recommended some great routes and suggested avoiding some others. Collingwood has the Georgian Trail, an old railway bed turned gravel path running from its west side to Meaford – 34 kms in total. This was a great way to get some great views of Georgian Bay and stop by Blue Mountain for a coffee. One of the big trips I planned was taking many of the scenic backroads up the Niagara escarpment. This meant epic hills, great views, etc. Probably an hour in and most of the way up the 200m climb, I got a flat. A couple inner tubes later I figured out my tire had been the problem, and I called in for a rescue. I still need to go back and conquer the 70km loop I mapped out.
Amherst Island is a small island east of Prince Edward County. I was lucky enough to be invited out for a weekend by my girlfriend’s mom and her boyfriend who has a place on the island. One of the mornings was spent doing a 2 hour loop of the roads that mostly run the perimeter of the island. Rough gravel was a bit of a pain for my slick road bike tires, but pumping them up even more handled it without a problem. This ride brought beautiful scenery of Lake Ontario and sprawling farmland vistas.
Getting back into reading, and writing for that matter, would be a great throwback! My blog is definitely lacking posts, though I’m still amassing ideas for content, specifically around management.
I’m also looking forward to concluding most of the renovations that have been taking up most of my time to put towards more consistent cycling. I’d love to get into longer distances and more elevation during rides. Maybe that means doing a few loops in Gatineau Park now that it’s becoming quite a routine ride, or combining it with a couple dozen kms along some backroads.
As always, I’m looking forward to more trips. As I write this, I’m on my way to spend 10 days on the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii.