Sunday, June 28, 2015

Slime Boy!

I had worked hard all week at the hospital, saving lives, doing operations, and delivering babies. Today was my one day off, the next one being July 11th. I awoke to a soggy day, with on and off rains showers, always sprinkling a little bit. The roads were a mess, so I got out my orange 2001 Jamis cyclocross bike for a spin in the mud.
Of course, I went to my favorite trail system, Caumsett Park in Lloyd Neck, Long Island. For those 
that think that Long Island is an urbanized asphalt jungle, think again. Caumsett has about 20 miles of cyclocross-perfect trails, flattish to rolling. The overnight storm had created perfect off trail conditions, with lots of mud, ooze, slime, and even some peanut butter.
Even though it is two years since Hurricane Sandy, some of the single track trails have just been repaired so that they are now in good rideable condition. One of my favorites is one that I call the trail of ferns. It is slow, single track, quiet, and 
almost zen like in its solitude.
The park has flats, hills, rolling terrain, and scenic views: just about everything an off trail rider could want in an 1800 acre venue. I saw ospreys, red foxes, raccoons, and of course, lots of white tailed deer. Two hours of perfect cycling pleasure!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Very Wet Day: 108 Miles on My Catrike Expedition. 55 Centuries in the book.

For this year's distance rides, I again went on the Ride to Montauk with about 2,000 of my closest friends. I also chose my Catrike Expedition as my weapon of choice. The trike is about 3-4 miles per hour slower than my LOOK KG 381i carbon framed road bike, but is much more pleasant to ride, and makes me happier at the end of the day. As there was a weather forecast for rain, I fitted the rear fender in order to keep my back dry, and I'm glad that I did! Front fenders would have helped too, a consideration for the future. The heavens opened and it poured rain from mile 22 to mile 52. All involved got decidedly wet. With the weather at about 55F, that made for lots of shivering riders.
The 52 mile rest stop had lots of people becoming hypothermic. I do not understand that with the weather forecast, bikers would set out at 7AM in just shorts and sleeveless tops. I was better protected than most, with waterproof shoe covers, a waterproof and breathable helmet cover, and my Showers Pass waterproof jacket. 
After about 11AM, the weather cleared and was merely cloudy. Later in the day, the sun came out, and made a complete difference in the general mood of the riders. Lots of riders opted out and took the sagg wagon to the finish line. Even though at times I had doubts about myself riding in the pouring rain, I continued onward because I had something to prove. It has been now over two years since my brush with death from two concurrent medical problems. My regular exercise regimen has been very effective, and my lab numbers have been optimal for quite awhile. 
 It is a good feeling that for my 55th century ride, I was able to hang in there despite adversity, and have the feeling of accomplishment in less than optimal conditions. Next ride will be the Nassau to Suffolk Challenge on June 28th, a 100km hilly ride. That I will tackle on my LOOK KG381i. Onward to 6 weeks of hill training!

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Afternoon of Snowshoeing

After our small 9" snowstorm yesterday, I decided to go out snowshoeing this afternoon. Most of the local trails have been previously skied, and I wanted a little different type of adventure. The layers of snow from the various storms have made skiing a crusty affair, with my back country skis sinking into a crusty layered surface frequently. Perfect day for the very flexible art of snowshoeing.
My older snowshoes were made in Vermont by the Tubbs Company. They have since moved their operations to California, and the snowshoe designs have evolved over the years. My old Tubbs' seem just right for our Eastern conditions, so I have had no need to replace them. 
The learning curve on snowshoes is very short, and almost anyone can learn quickly. This is not a fast sport, but is quite enjoyable, while giving a great cardiovascular workout. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We Go to Jackson New Hampshire for Some Cross Country Skiing Fun

Once per Winter season, we usually meet our long time friends from Boston, Ron and Phyllis, for some Cross Country skiing. This year, we decided to go to one of the best places around, Jackson, New Hampshire. The town is the center of a huge cross country network stretching into the surrounding hills and White Mountains. There is a large cross country lodge right in town. The ski touring foundation has made this area a significant destination for skiers of all levels of skill.

It was our luck to arrive when conditions were excellent. Our first day of skiing was blessed with extensive trails full of softly packed powder which was freshly groomed. We took off on the easier Ellis River Trail in the 23F temperature with clear blue skies. After a great sandwich lunch at the J Town Deli, we skied some more in the town environs. Dinner at the Wentworth Hotel was scrumptious.

That night, the snow fell for hours while we slept. We woke up to about 8" of fresh powder, and a beautiful landscape to boot. Our skiing experience at the Eagle Mountain House area, both in the fields and the more difficult trails, was superb. My favorite trail, The Wave, was in great condition for us all to enjoy. Luckily, I wore my gaiters, which protected me from the flying and abundant powder.

The Wave is a blue trail, which involves lots of climbing and then lots of descending. I have to say that Helen did a great job, never complaining about the climbs, and attacking the multiple descents which significant vigor. We all got lots of exercise.

Our stay at the ellis River Lodge was excellent. The accommodations were very comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Our breakfasts were especially yummy before a day outside skiing. All in all, our weekend cross country skiing with our friends was a great success. Where to next year?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lake Minnewaska

 I had been to Lake Minnewaska before on two occasions. Both times in a hiking mode. Once with Helen, and once with both Helen and Nina. I always thought that the carriage roads that ring the lake and surrounding areas would be great for off road cycling. The miles and miles of fine gravel carriage roads provide plenty of opportunity for great views and challenging riding. The opportunity came during my one Wednesday off per month schedule. I drove up to New Paltz, about two hours from my house, and then on to the lake, an additional 15 minute drive.

I took my cyclocross/off road touring bike for the ride. It has 32mm knobby 'cross tires, and plenty of gears with its 26-36-46/11-32 gear range. Even though this bike is designed for on/off road riding, the somewhat rocky nature of the roads made me feel that for the next visit, a mountain bike would have handled the terrain better.
One thing about this area is that there are lots of lookouts. It also means that handling the sharp turns is mandatory, lest one go over the edge, and that it a real danger here. Moderate speed and reasonable caution will suffice for all but the most acrophobic riders. By the way, I myself am moderately acrophobic!
For the first hour of the ride, it rained in a moderate to heavy fashion. After that, the rain moved off, and it was only basically raw, with wind in the 15-20mph range, and temps about 45F. There are a lot of carriageway trails in the area, and I choose a route that would connect both lakes Minnewaska and Awosting. The connector roads were loaded with scenic viewpoints. 
One of the nicest attractions of the area is the Awosting Falls, easily accessible, and a ten minute walk  from the entry parking lot. It is actually a series of smaller falls leading up to Awosting, located in a deep secluded gorge. All in all, this day trip to Minnewaska was a great success. I think that I will return sometime soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Ride the Covered Bridges Ride, and Visit Philadelphia

Last weekend, Helen and I went to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for the Covered Bridges Ride, hosted by the Central Bucks Bike Club. There are a variety of distances available, and we selected the mostly fine gravel towpath and Delaware River path ride. It started in Tinicum Park, Pennsylvania, crossed the Frenchtown Bridge into New Jersey, and continued down the gravel path to Bull's Island, then returned via the same route. 
I chose my Jamis cyclocross bike for this ride, and Helen was riding her new Giant Anyroad with disc brakes. Both of our bikes had 32mm knobby tires, which proved to be the best choice for the fine gravel surface, both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The rest stop at Bull's Island was well stocked with snacks, and we met lots of friendly riders there. 
We also visited close relatives in Warrington, Pennsylvania. Thanks a lot to Ira and Terry for putting us up for two nights! Our tour of Philadelphia included the River Walk, Omega Cheesesteak, and the new Barnes Museum.
One can't say too much about the scenery around New Hope. It is a riders paradise, with good country roads, an excellent gravel path along the Delaware River, and lots of restaurants/galleries/shopping in the towns of New Hope and Lambertville, NJ.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

102.74 Miles on my Trike. Another Sea Gull Century

I had not been down to the DelMarVa peninsula in a couple of years. For my 54th century I decided to return this year for the Sea Gull Century out of Salisbury, Maryland. This is a flat century over good roads in farmland. The traffic volume is very low, and the excellent Maryland State Troopers are at every major intersection, stopping traffic for the about 6,000 riders registered for this event. The weather cooperated brilliantly, with great cloudless skies, lots of sunshine, and a maximum temperature of 80F with low humidity.
There is a choice of two century routes, and a 100km also. I chose the Snow Hill Century, which is more scenic and less crowded than the original Assateague Century. We started off at 7AM, with the sun just rising. The starting temperature was 51F and clear.
Thie was my second recumbent trike century, and I was well trained from a good summer of riding both upright bikes and my trike. Compared with my LOOK KG381i road bike, the Catrike expedition is slower by about 3mph, but much more comfortable during the last 50 miles of the ride. As I was not in a hurry and the weather was fabulous, the trike was the best choice. I met up with several other trike riders on the road and at the rest stops. I met Dirk from the DC area. He had Catrike Expedition #880, while mine is #3385. About six years of production separates the two frames. Fortunately, they are still made in America.
The ride is largely rural, and passes through many small towns of the Eastern shore of Maryland. I would have to say that all of the people and automobile drivers that I came across were quite friendly, in contrast to the drivers of Suffolk County, who can be quite hostile at times. I felt safe.
The last rest stop was at the Nassawango golf club. Of course, they had pie and ice cream for the eager riders to consume. Due to the amount of exercise during the ride, which comes to about 5,000 calories, I felt justified in having a big piece of cherry pie. The power curve of the trike and most recumbents is different than an upright bike. Due to the fact that general body fatigue is low, my average speed actually increased during the last half of the ride. I have found this to be true with my two wheel recumbent also. All in all, this years Sea Gull Century was a great ride.