Friday, March 07, 2014
Tomorrow is weigh in day. The past couple of weeks I have been facing Saturday mornings with dread. Last week was especially bad--just one of those weeks when I had an overwhelming compulsion to eat, even when I wasn't hungry. It's frustrating when, in retrospect, you can't point to anything during the week that might have contributed to poor behavior. Stuff just happens; deal with it and move on.
And that's what I did this week--I moved on. I ate much less than previous weeks and was more consistent with exercise, averaging 51 minutes a day.
No matter what the scale says tomorrow, I'm satisfied with my efforts. I'm focused on the non-scale victories: fewer calories, more exercise, good runs, and heavier weights. I'm going to bed tonight with a great sense of well-being and contentment and scale be damned.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
This past weekend a friend and I took a 2-day backpacking trip on the West Rim of Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon http://pacanyon.com/ which overlooks the the Pine Creek Gorge. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Creek_Gor
ge . Along the gorge is a rails-to-trails biking/hiking trail stretching along Pine Creek for about 60 miles. There are a few general stores, outfitters, and campgrounds along the trail. Lots of great fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, too.
At the advice of the outfitter, we started our hike at the Refuge Link Trail, leaving our car there for the outfitter to pick up and drop off at the Bradley Wales Picnic Area. This section of the trail was recommended because of the numerous scenic vistas. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/publ
ic/documents/document/dcnr_002045.pdf This section of the trail has spectacular vistas.
These pictures don't do justice to the scenery.
This was our first hike with loaded backpacks, so we decided to hike a very conservative 8 miles over two days. The temperature was in the 60s which was perfect for some strenuous exercise. The trail, which meandered up and down, was not extreme and we found ourselves making much faster progress than planned. In fact, at the rate we were going, we could complete the 8 miles by dinner time.
We passed several groups of hikers and backpackers, all men. We thought it sad that we didn't see other like-minded adventurous women on the trail. The outfitter had told us there was a 100 percent chance of rain in the evening, but it arrived around 2:40 p.m. The rain was light, but heavy enough to begin dampening us and our backpacks. The last thing we needed was wet clothes and sleeping bags, so we stopped to put the rain jackets on and cover our backpacks. The rain didn't dampen our spirits at all, but we did have to find a camping spot quickly before it rained any harder. It is not fun to put up a tent in a downpour.
The campsite we had picked out was occupied when we arrived, which was a shame. It was a beautiful site right along a small stream in a valley. The two men who were there were in the midst of a 2-month backpacking trip. So we had to continue on, which was to our advantage. The next campground we came to was at a vista (pictures above). We set up camp in a light rain and crawled in our tents to read and wait out the rain. We wanted to eat dinner at the overlook. We were quite chilled, so we changed into dry clothes and laid out the damp gear to dry inside our tents. The rain eventually stopped and we had hot tea and chocolate and our dinner. I had cold cheese pizza and my friend had cheese and crackers and some fruit. We are not yet gourmet cooks in the great outdoors.
The rain began again so we went back to our respective tents to read some more. By 8 p.m. we turned off our lanterns and slid into our sleeping bags and listened to the rain fall. I woke several times throughout the night because I was still chilled. I had the urge to pull up the wool blanket, but then remembered I wasn't at home, so I burrowed deeper into my sleeping bag.
At 6:30 I woke and stepped out of the tent to go to the bathroom. Then I looked up and there was a beautiful full moon hanging just above our tents. Then I walked to the overlook and could see the sky just beginning to lighten. I ran back to the tent and woke my friend. She would have been disappointed if she didn't see the moon and the sunrise. We took our sleeping bags over to the bench at the overlook and watched the sun greet the day. Two crows were dipping and soaring on the currents as the air warmed. We made hot chocolate and watched the sky and the birds until 9 a.m. Then we began packing our gear to finish the hike. Watching the clouds turn from dark, to orange and rose and then bright white was the highlight of the weekend.
The trail veered away from the rim and we hiked about 3 miles in the woods. The gold leaves of the ash trees glowed when the sun shined through them. We did high-5s when we arrived at the car.
We immediately began talking about our next backpacking trip--maybe this spring and we'll hike the entire trail over 3 or 4 days. We think we'd like to offer to lead the hike and invite 3 or 4 other women who have never backpacked and introduce them to it.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Tomorrow I start a small, mostly solo, adventure--touring 3 state parks over 4 days on my bike. The weather should be perfect--mid-70s, partly sunny, with very cool nights--in the 40s. That means I'll be packing a bit more clothing than I wanted. Uggh--more weight. When every ounce counts, you'd be surprised how heavy an extra set of clothing can be. I wanted to go really, really light, but comfort comes before weight. No sense being on a miserable adventure. Average daily mileage: 40--unless I miss a turn somewhere and that could happen on country roads that don't have a road sign.
Friends will join me on one day--it will be nice to have some company.
The camp stove has been tested, the routes have been mapped, the packing list is complete, and DH is on standby. All that's left to do is pack and get on my way. And quell the butterflies in my stomach and the voice in my head that says terrible things to undermine my confidence. I may have to stealth camp one night and that's freaking me out a bit. I've prepared for it as best I can--did a reconnaissance to find a possible site and the pepper spray and a whistle/horn will be at the ready. Like most things I worry about, the odds are I won't have to stealth camp, and if I do, nothing will happen, except it will probably be a fitful night of sleep.
These small adventures are tools to build my confidence for cross-country cycling in 2015. My preference is to go solo for the most part--to be able to explore the country without being tied down to a strict route or time schedule. But right now, this is way out of my comfort zone, and I’m going to have to ease into it. Like all great accomplishments, it starts with one step at a time.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
He went flying by on his bright blue bicycle without even a glance my way. All of his attention was focused on the road ahead. Who was that man on the beautiful blue bicycle? There was something strange or different about the bike; I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first. It came to me minutes later after he was well out of sight--could it have been a motorized bike?
I finished my snack, brushed the grass off the seat of my shorts and proceeded with my ride. Not too much longer, I spotted the bike and then the man sitting on a rock on the opposite side of the road. I gave him a wave and almost continued on, but I was curious about the bike and about him. He was not a young man by a long shot.
His name was Raymond and he was out for his daily two-hour ride on the mountain ridge with lots of rolling hills and a few really good climbers. He occasionally rode with his two friends--young guys, about my age (that made me smile)--but he rides every day whether his friends can ride or not. How old was he? (I asked much more politely than that.) He had just celebrated his 93rd birthday in June. I was sure that he was kidding me for asking such an impertinent question. He assured me he wasn't kidding. I would have guessed he was in his mid-70s; early 80s at best. He promised that if I kept exercising and taking care of myself I'd be riding a bike at 93 too. I sure hope so.
We talked for quite a while. His bike was motor-assisted, but he pedaled most of the time because it re-charged the batteries and he could ride longer. He has been pedaling for 83 years. When he was in the war, he bought a bike in Alexandria, Egypt, and kept it throughout the war. His family was originally from Italy, so when he was there during the war, he looked up relatives and rode to visit them. His fellow soldiers nicknamed him "Bicycle Man".¯
After a while, we said our good-byes, and I started the last long, gradual climb. A few minutes later he nimbly passed me by. And all I could think was, "I was just passed by a 93-old cyclist!"¯ I hope our paths cross again.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Bike Camp is a 3-day event held at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. It’s organized by Brian and his wife from the Southern Tier Biking Club out of the Binghamton area (I hope I got this right). We arrived early Thursday afternoon eager to get on our bikes and tour the countryside. A janitorial worker helped to track down Brian so we could check in to our dorm. He was just setting out the cue sheets and a case of green bananas for the weekend. He took a break, gave us our keys, and we rushed back out to the car to unload.
Our ride was a 27-mile loop with lots of rolling hills and one huge hill that just kept going and going. We slowly battled the hill, but near the end had to admit defeat and do a little walking. The ride took us through quiet villages and towns and was the perfect warm up for the weekend. When we got back to the dorm, more riders had checked in and it was time to go to dinner at the Colgate cafeteria. The food wasn’t great, but we were hungry and didn’t complain. Then we walked into town to listen to a traveling symphony from Canada at a lovely park in the center of town. The music was wonderful and it looked like the entire town came out to enjoy the evening.
As usual, I had a restless night. I have fits of insomnia even at home, but when I’m away from home, it’s even worse. Not even having my own pillow helped. So, I was feeling a little groggy as we headed back to the cafeteria for breakfast. But after some food and some caffeine, I was back on track and eager to ride a new route. We decided on the 48-mile loop that would take us past the county fair. It had been years since I’ve visited one of those. The route started with an uphill climb. Immediately my friend had to stop—it was too soon after breakfast for her, so I headed out by myself after she assured me she was fine and would start about an hour later after her breakfast digested.
There were some tough hills to climb, some of which I had to ride serpentine-style to make it to the top. The middle of the ride was flat to rolling hills. Entry into the county fair was a whopping $2, except for those over 55. Yay—age has its benefits. There was a group of cyclists sitting at a picnic table, so I stopped there first to meet them. Great people. I was especially happy to meet Ray, who was riding a recumbent. I have been thinking about test riding one to see about using it for my cross-country trip after reading an article in Adventure Cycling Magazine. I spent quite a bit of time picking his brain—he rode cross country in 2012 on a trike. They sound intriguing, but I expect I’ll end up purchasing a traditional bike.
Then I took a short ride through the fair to look at the animals—goats, cows, horses and chickens. I stopped in one barn to talk to a young man about his goats—he was so enthusiastic and did a great job explaining the differences between the two species and what he does to get them ready for show. I hope he won some ribbons. When I got back to the entrance, the other group had already departed, so off I went again on my own.
Several miles later as I was slowly cranking it up another hill, I saw another group of cyclists resting at the top. I was hoping they wouldn’t take off before I got there, and my luck held. They were surprised that I was riding alone and invited me to join them. It was just what I needed; I was getting tired, but having someone to talk with took my mind away from the pedaling and the miles flew by. We stopped at a small diner for lunch and a welcomed rest. Then on to the dorms. It was another great day.
I met my friends and we went out to dinner at Il Iguana, a great Mexican restaurant. We hung out for a while and then went next door to a bar to hear a band. Good music, good beer, and a good way to end the day. Then, another sleepless night.
Saturday we rode to a nearby town to have my friend’s chain replaced at Guy’s in Madison. I was tired and looking forward to a short day of riding, but after listening to Guy talk about the area, we decided to take a county map and just go exploring. We would ride until we were half tired, and then return. That ride turned into more than 40 miles with some of the best scenery. We rode to Oriskany Falls and then headed out Rt. 26 North for our first climb. It was long and gradual with beautiful views once we reached the top. We then headed east to Knoxboro, which took us over 3 steep hills. We stopped once to make sure we were where we thought we were, but the guy we spoke to didn’t know the area—That was the 2nd time we asked someone who knew less than us. But the views again were worth the climb and it didn’t matter if we were lost—we had all day as long as our legs could last.
Then we headed south on Rt. 46 through Munns and into Munnsvillle. That was the most thrilling ride of the entire weekend. It went down and down and down the mountain. If I could have gotten a ride back up, I would have loved to ride back down. We had lunch at a little diner in Munnsville. Then headed back on Pratts Road and Rt. 12B. 12B was the only road that wasn’t great riding—the berms were rough and there was too much traffic.
During the ride, I had been making arrangements to finally meet DDOORN in person! I had just enough time to get showered and put on some street clothes before he arrived. We met at the campus and then took off for a very leisurely ride around Hamilton before going to dinner at an Indian restaurant in Hamilton. This was the highlight of the entire weekend. Had it not been for DDOORN, I would have never known about bike camp. I’ve met many SparkPeople and have never been disappointed—they are always fun and interesting people. That track record continues.
My friend had decided to go to the movies to see The Lone Ranger. I wasn’t enthused as I thought the trailer looked stupid, but wanted to spend some time with her, so I met her at the theatre after riding back to the dorms to see DDOORN off. Instead of showing previews of upcoming movies, the theatre ran a wonderful montage of photos of community events and the town. When it was over, I was ready to move to Hamilton. The movie will probably go down as the all-time worst movie I have ever seen. I really wanted to walk out, but didn’t want to be rude. After the movie, I found out she hated it as much as I and she wanted to walk out, too.
Sunday was our short-day for riding. We wanted to be on the road heading home by noon, so we rode just 26 miles on some of the prettiest roads that we had been on earlier. I was really sorry to see the weekend come to an end. I hope I can go to Bike Camp again next year and explore more of the area.
Get An Email Alert Each Time 2WHEELER Posts