I decided to do the ‘Grouse Grind’ a week last Tuesday and although I had a stinking cold, I thought I would be fine…how wrong could I have been.
I went with another fellow Brit, who had arrived in Canada the same day as me. We went across on the Sea Bus to North Van and took the bus (236 from Lonsdale Quay bus station) to the mountain. The scenery completely changed as the bus travelled from the esplanade to Grouse and it became greener.
After arriving a Grouse, I noticed a lot of tourists, who had paid to use the Gondola (this is quite expensive usually). We asked about the grind and were directed to the start. I saw people stretching and warming up outside and thought that this might be a challenge.
Fast forward two hours later, many breaks, hyper-ventilation, god knows how much gallons of sweat and a real sugar low that made me feel very sick and I made it to the top! This is not for anyone with knee injuries, back issues or recovery from surgery – this is hard-core although many people aged between 40-75 passed me on the way up – they must be here every day!
Here are some statistics on ‘The Grind’
At the top of Grouse (after I had recovered), we explored the mountain and saw that there was a lumberjack show (unfortunately not on when we were there) and a bear sanctuary (the bears were hiding when I was there). I also got to see a map of the different slopes, ready for when the snow hits. My first ‘run’ will be on ‘the cut’
There wasn’t really much else going on at grouse that day, so it was time to take the Gondola back down to the base. This was $10 and you have to pay this because The Grind is so narrow, people are only allowed to go up and not down (although people do). The views from the gondola were amazing!
I decided last Friday to finally bike round Stanley Park ( on a previous trip, I had walked around it). This is a very popular tourist attraction and is known as the seawall route. After hiring my bike – complete with basket, helmet and lock, I put my earphones in and set off.
The day was gorgeous and I throughly enjoyed the trip, however I did get annoyed with a lot of the tourists as they were not as quick as me (I used to bike to school and back for 4 years every day!). I feel next time I should bike along the road through Stanley.
There are some amazing views around the park including North and West Van, Lions Gate Bridge and Second and Third Beach. I had a bit of break at Third beach, which was quieter.
I have realised i would like to do more cycling and a bike is one of things I am looking to get. It will mean I will have cheaper and more accessible transport and it gets me outdoors.
Last Sunday, I met up with a Canadian friend that I met last year in Van, he lives outside of the city and came in for a low key music gig. We started out with some sushi, which was pretty good and then went on for a few beers (Granville Island being one of my favourites). The gig was in a small venue called ‘The Media Club’ down along Cambie and West Georgia Street. The artist that was playing was a guy called Trevor Hall – a reggae and folk acoustic performer. It was great to see people enjoying really mellow and chilled out music. Despite the fact I’m not a massive reggae fan, I really enjoyed listening to Trevor Hall.
Another first this week was that I attended my first pole session. I has previously done this in Northampton for 18 months and was keen to find another studio. I tried out Tantra Fitness
At $35 for a regular one hour lesson, it is not cheap and neither is he membership packages (24 classes a month at $199 a month for 12 months)! However, I had a voucher for $5+tax for my first session. The studio itself is in a Basement and has around 15 poles in the studio. I tried out an intermediate class, called 404 based on what level I believed I was at.
The class itself was not what I was used to, it was one pole per student and there did not seem to be any ‘spotting’ (making sure your partner doesn’t fall of the pole or have an injury). I also found the studio very very hot and I ended up sliding on the pole and did not feel comfortable performing some of the more advanced moves that have previously done. It also didn’t feel very friendly compared to the Northampton studio, where new students are always felt welcomed.
I have decided to do their open pole sessions as these are only $10+tax for an hour. It means no instruction but it will be fine for me to practice my core, strength building and flexibility. At this present time $35 an hour is not really something I can afford.
The final part of the ‘fun stuff’ this week is the fact I finally brought my boarding goggles!!!!
I headed to Kits on a very wet and miserable day with my helmet in hand and looked around the boarding shops along 4th avenue and Burrard.
There are a few shops along there and some with clearance areas (old stock and last season). I originally went into ‘Pacific Boarder’ and tried on some SmithOptics goggles. The pair I liked were still $199 but fitted really well and had a clip strap as well as two lenses for low light and bright days. I then went to ‘The Boardroom’ and their clearance warehouse and found the same googles – much much cheaper and paid $150 (including tax).
For anyone getting their first pair of goggles, I would strongly advise taking your helmet as I was advised that when you try them on there should be no gap between the top of the googles and the edge of helmet.
I am now ready for the slopes!!!!