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Wonderful Weekend Outdoors!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The weather this weekend was just PERFECT! Both yesterday and today were so sunny and pleasantly warm!

Yesterday my biking partner (who'll be doing the MS City to Shore ride with me in September) and I headed south into Pennsylvania to Montrose. It was the 2nd time for me, first time for her. We biked down the way that I had previously biked north from Montrose. For some reason the hills REALLY knocked our socks off and by the time we got to Montrose we were shaky about the ride back.

Some cyclists thrive on the challenge of hills.

Maybe in my next lifetime...lol!

Not that I avoid them altogether, and not that I can't become enthralled with the SWOOPING downhill payoff for climbing some hills. But Pennsylvania just threw one too many hills at us on this ride!

But we made it! I had an inspiration along the way which helped tremendously. Southbound we came up to a "Road Closed" detour. On our way home I thought, I wonder if we could shave off some of those terrible hills by NOT taking this detour? If the road is closed, we could always walk the bikes across a little rough road.

So we took a chance and went for it!

As I approached the road work I got nervous: what if it was a bridge that was out and there was no way across...? The road crew had done their level best to block the way with their heavy machinery so you couldn't see whether or not the way was passable. The road was totally removed with just a bed of very coarse gravel. As we began to walk our bikes over the gravel a car pulled up to the edge behind us and a couple got out. I was expecting them to say: "you can't cross that, the bridge is out!"

But, HOORAY! They said, "Hey, should be no problem!"

Either side of the road dropped off sharply into forested canyons and at a few points the machinery stuck right out into the very edge. We stepped through the claws & clutches of these gigantic road machines, hoisting our bikes along. However this only lasted a few hundred feet and we were in the clear.

We couldn't BELIEVE the point to which this road brought us! It was like we stepped through a time warp! Kicked our heels together and had Scottie beam us through! Bypassed the KILLER HILLS! Woo HOO! It's an awesome feeling when taking a risk pays off! :-)

It was a terrific ride home from there! However the miles did wear us down some...totaled 62 miles on this ride! We took in mile after mile of beautiful sights of nature: red-tailed hawks circling overhead, a little hog-nosed snake creeping out onto the shoulder of the road during a water stop. He listened to me and thought better of crossing the road and did an about face, scurrying off into the grassy ditch. Here and there among the high hills and mountains you could see the beginning of fall colors coming to the trees.

Today was a light day...had too much to do at home...big cookathon to get ready for the week ahead!

But I had fun biking to our local MAJOR cycling / running event:



I visited with some fellow bike club members as they had a tent set up at the event and also met up with one of our local SparkPeople members FRECKS96 who had just finished her FASTEST 5K run YET! Unfortunately I was too late to have seen the race.

Then I joined with others as we saw the men's final bike race. Funny thing, in all the years I've lived here I've NEVER seen the Thater bike races!

It is an AMAZING thing to behold, a thicket of 50 or so cyclists whizzing down the street at an incredible speed with only inches between them and the other cyclists around and THEN banking around tight corners and somehow managing not to bump into another cyclist and bringing the whole lot of them down like so many dominoes...!

It's certainly more of a challenge than *I* would ever want to tackle! I'm not into speed records when I cycle...just looking to pack away the miles!

At one point today I pulled up next to a fellow on a motorcycle at an intersection. He said: "Wanna race?"

I said, "Not yet. How about next year?"

He chuckled, gave a hearty thumbs up:

"That's the spirit!"

Have a great week everybody!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALERIEMAHA 9/8/2010 10:30PM

    DAMN! You're doing some SERIOUS cycling!!!!!! SIXTY TWO miles is awesome. You must be feeling so strong and content and confident! BTW, what is the wallpaper river?


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WILDCATBUCKEYE 8/31/2010 12:05PM

    That sounds like a great weekend..

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JCORYCMA 8/30/2010 11:14PM

    I came to the right spot for a dose of motivation! Thanks for sharing!

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MPONTERIO 8/30/2010 10:17PM

    Yay for you!! This is so inspiring. I am seriously considering biking...but I am leaning towards the off road kind...like through the trails and state land that surround my home. I am surrounded by scads and scads of state land waiting for me to explore.

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    We have bike races here each year, too. "Thicket" is an apt description. So glad you enjoyed the day and was nourished with humor!

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ZELLAZM 8/30/2010 5:15PM

    I wish you would be a little more enthusiastic, Don.

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JESPAH 8/30/2010 8:47AM

    Wonderful! Maybe next year. ;)

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FRECKS96 8/30/2010 8:26AM

    Thanks for the shout-out!! I really was a lovely weekend and I'm glad you got to take some time to enjoy it. You should definitely consider the recreational ride next year, it's slower paced and no pressure. I'm looking forward to next year's races!

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CARRIE1948 8/30/2010 8:02AM

    Sounds like a lot of fun

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'Millin' the Drearies Away...!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I have an unfortunate knack for turning good things into bad.

Take cycling. Love it! Can't get enough of it! But: for a variety of reasons, weather, timing, etc. I cannot guarantee myself time on my bike every day of the week.

As a result there are often 3-4 days a week I just don't get on my bike. So what do I do for cardio on those days...?

Earlier in the summer I had been doing well to get out for walks, jogs and Nordic walking. But gradually I'd been letting my cardio go on days when I couldn't bike. Bad news!

And all the while my trusty treadmill has been there right along as my solution for those busy and / or rainy days! All the outdoor outlets, however, have me spoiled and I grew to dread the idea on getting on the treadmill.

Today I decided my 'mill truly HADN'T grown fangs and claws over the summer and got back on it for a nice hour long session of walk / jogging at 4-5 mph on a 10 incline. Worked up a good old sweat and loved re-connecting with my tunes as they take on a whole new life of their own when I hear them while working out.

With the big cycling event coming up in Sept. and my son's wedding in Oct. I have EVERY reason to be psyched up to work out my best abilities...yet I have to admit to having allowed myself to slide this past summer. I'm planning to make the most of the time between now and these oh-SO-important events that lie ahead!

Have a GREAT week ahead everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ACTIVE_AT_60 8/23/2010 8:05PM

    Like Bobby, I will do anything to avoid my treadmonster. I hate it. I will run outside in all sorts of weather - except when there is ice on the road and pavement. Safety first. In 2007 the baseball home opener was cancelled here - who ran in a foot of snow? No excuse for the cardio - besides - we are hoping to see you in Pittsburgh in March ...

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    You're so insightful to notice those tendencies that I think many of us feel. Still, you're my hero for both honesty and persistence! I'm with you, turn on those tunes and my body almost comes alive despite itself (body memory from easier times?). Congratulations on your son's wedding! That is just the best.


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FERRETLOVER1 8/23/2010 7:06AM

    I cannot accept your comment that you have been slacking off. You are amazing, Don!

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CARRIE1948 8/23/2010 7:02AM

    Keep up the good work

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GRACEFULIFE 8/23/2010 6:43AM

    Slacking? You? Say it isn't so! Anyway, you know what's going on. You know how to fix it. So no problem! It's handled!

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ZELLAZM 8/23/2010 5:54AM

    Summer is good time to change things up...but it's good that you recognized the slight slack-off and have identified some goals to work toward.

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_VALEO_ 8/23/2010 5:13AM

    You're doing great, Don. You have a plan B, and even C here.
You have two big and important landmarks to keep you focus!

Wish you optimimal weather conditions, and good timing to get on your bike!

Biking won't be for me this summer. Yet I have hope to rejoin my Nordic Walking group in September. My physical therapist told me this morning, I should be able to restart slowly mid-september.

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DRASADAF 8/23/2010 4:42AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BOBBYD31 8/22/2010 11:38PM

    i give you credit, rain, heat, snow i avoid the dreadmill at all costs. i would rather deal with the elements, i am good between 10-95 so there are not too many conditions that keep me in. not sure how long i will bike in that weather...... but run/walk i am good. more power to you, now get out there and get ready for these big events

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Pleasant Cross-County Ride / Bike Samaritan Tale

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Even though the sun never really came out and it only rose to around 73 (weather forecast was sunny & mid 80's...!), we enjoyed our ride across Broome County today from Binghamton to Owego and back. Plus I rode my bike into Binghamton with a total of around 54 miles today. They were flatter miles than usual, which I've been told uses different muscles than hilly rides and I'm feeling it a bit more in the quads.

My riding partner had a delightful story to share about a fellow in our community who should be named "Mr. Bicycle"...! He is in his 70's and lives on top of one of our local mountains and cycles every day down into the valley and back home. He is often the emcee for our biking events and a pivotal member of our local bike club. I'm told he possesses a zillion bicycle parts and maybe half as many bicycles...lol!

Children (and adults too!) come to him from far and wide for help with their bicycles, fixing flats, adjusting seats, whathaveyou. This little girl stops by to see him and he says: "Hmmm...I think that bicycle is getting a little small for you. Why don't you come along and let's see what we have back here..."

And he trades her smaller bike for a newly rehabbed larger bike! She rides off beaming with her upgrade and the next day she returns with a plate of home-made cookies and 26 cents.

"What's the 26 cents for?" He asks.

"For my new bicycle!" She replies.

"Funny thing about that" he told her, "that was JUST the price I was going to ask for this bicycle!" She beams, taking off on her bike.

What a delight to hear about such people! This story made me smile and brightened my day and I'm hoping it does the same for you! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 8/23/2010 5:53AM

    How sweet! Stories like this can make your day!

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    You are awesome, and make me wonder how to find a bike club where I can build up to 54 miles! I'm so happy for you and glad for your health. Mr. Bicycle is one life's saints. What a lovely story to share, and an experience that, no doubt, will become part of whom the little girl becomes.

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RUBIEAGLE 8/22/2010 5:59PM

    Nice story - I plan on riding my bike when I'm 70 - wow! Up hill & down - good lungs & heart. I wrote a blog on July 15 about falling in love with a red cruiser bike at Wal-Mart! Do you mind not bragging about the weather you're having where you live?! It's 90s & 100s here in SW MO; so hot that I have to do my laundry late at night/early in the morning. Oh, well, it'll be fall here soon!

Again, what a nice story & what a gentleman!

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BEARDMUSIC 8/22/2010 12:32PM

    What a neat story!

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OUTDOORGIRL70 8/22/2010 11:56AM

That was great and it put a smile on my face reading it also.

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NIKANN7493 8/22/2010 9:35AM

    What a lovely story! Definately brought a smile out this morning!

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LADYGWEN25 8/22/2010 9:10AM

    that is such a nice story... glad you enjoyed your bike ride around the towns. emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 8/22/2010 7:19AM

    What a truly nice story. It's really great to hear that there are still some nice people out there - too often, we hear about the bad. Thank you so much for sharing, Don!

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JCORYCMA 8/21/2010 11:10PM

    What a feel good story! Restores your faith in humanity! You've got to be peddling the weight right off! Keep it up!

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FRECKS96 8/21/2010 9:28PM

    Aw, love the story! It's nice to hear about good people doing good things.

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RAINBOWFALLS 8/21/2010 7:55PM

    emoticon story. It is so nice to know there are still wonderful people out there.

Great job on racking up your fitness minutes too!

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BOBBYD31 8/21/2010 7:53PM

    that is awesome!

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 8/21/2010 7:52PM

    That was a very nice story, Don, and a very welcome, up-beat moment in my day!!


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Keuka Lake Re-Visited

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today I returned to Keuka Lake to do the WHOLE thing (last time I skipped from the tip of this "Y" shaped lake to the other tip) including the "V" in the middle of the "Y", which is known to have a KILLER hill guaranteed to be a "walk"...and it sure WAS!

Unfortunately as it was the last time, we had a rainy, cloud-filled day so Keuka did not exactly put it's best foot forward for us. I neglected to bring a camera, but with the grayness of the day it was probably just as well. There is a nice picture of Keuka Lake at the top of this web page:

www.fingerlakes.org/ You'll see other pictures of our beatiful Finger Lakes as well. The rain stopped fairly soon after only about a 1/4 of our ride was completed. Soon my rain soaked t-shirt would become my SWEAT-soaked t-shirt...lol!

16 of us from the bike club did the ride...3 had flat tires...! I watched one changing his to get a little more familiar with the steps involved.

I mapped our route in my Fitness Maps where you can see how our route traced the entire perimeter of the lake, looking like a skinny, squished letter "Y":


I was so pleased to travel down into the "V" of this "Y" this time around as the first half of the route took us right down near the waterfront where the *old* and *big* money was...BEAUTIFUL lakeside homes, docks and boats along the West Bluff Drive. Elsewhere around Keuka there were many "For Sale" signs. Nary a sign to be found around HERE! It felt like these folks had been here for many generations and would CONTINUE to be here for many generations.

An unexpected treat near the bottom of the "V" at the end of West Bluff Drive as the road began to climb steeply toward Skyline Drive, off the side of the road down a VERY steep embankment with a carefully groomed zig-zag path leading all the way down near the waterfront was what appeared to be an ancient stone church that was SO beautiful! Named "Garrett Chapel" I later researched it and found that while it wasn't "ancient" it had an interesting history which tells you a little more about the area. Here are a couple websites which have great pictures (better than anything *I* would have taken...!):


At the beginning of that KeukaMonga (a cute name I someone had for their home) climb I huffed and puffed and pumped those pedals for all I was worth...but when I turned the corner and saw I was like...HALF-WAY! And saw fellow bikers ahead of me walking...oof! Threw in the towel and walked 'er on up. The odd thing was, after getting to the top and starting out on my way up out of the "V" I found myself whizzing right along on a slope that wasn't obvious to the eye, but sure was obvious to my feet...which FLEW right along! I would have thought that the altitude would be RISING as I went up toward Penn Yan, but WOO HOO! Loved that long sweeping ride down!

After we all finished we got together at the Switzerland Inn, where we started and ended our circuit 'round the lake:

www.theswitz.com/index.htm More pics courtesy of the Switz:


Enjoyed a nice lunch, shared some biking stories...great time had by all!

Between yesterday's 42 mile ride and today's 57 mile ride, close to a total of 100 miles. Certainly FELT it today, but it was a great weekend toward getting ready for my MS City to Shore Ride of 175 miles on Sept. 25-26!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 8/21/2010 6:17AM

    What a great summer tour! inner athlete? not with you anymore - it's outer athlete all the way!

Happy weekend ahead,

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LADYGWEN25 8/19/2010 10:00PM

    great job on the ride! i'm impressed at how much you did! definately an inspiration. emoticon

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DBH222 8/17/2010 8:40PM

  I can tell, you are having the time of your life. Great going. emoticon emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 8/17/2010 11:32AM

    I love Garrett Chapel. Took a bunch of photos there once when they opened it up for a class a friend was taking.

I think Keuka might be my favorite of the lakes. An interesting side note I read somewhere is that it was one of the last Finger Lakes settled by Europeans because everyone moving west went north or south of Canandaigua Lake and never bothered to look "behind" it.

Sounds like you've been doing some good riding!

Saturday I swam 1.2 miles on Cayuga Lake for a Hospice benefit, kayaked some, and tried single-track mountain biking. I was terrified I was going to fall over and hurt myself, thus taking myself out for the rest of the kayaking season.

Sunday afternoon took some Cornell students up to Watertown for some whitewater surfing on the Route 3 wave up there. It rained on the way up but cleared when we arrived and we had a great time playing in our boats and cooking out on the shore. Didn't get home until 1am!

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JUSTMEJUDY 8/16/2010 12:13PM

  emoticon You're an inspiration

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SABRINAIS30IN09 8/16/2010 12:03PM

    Awesome!!!Thanks for sharing!!! Very inspirational!!!

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RAINBOWFALLS 8/16/2010 9:27AM

    I love the Finger Lakes and what a great way to see Keauka! You are a powerhorse when it comes to that bike! emoticon

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GIANNACIA 8/16/2010 8:21AM

    Great job Don, you are truly an inspiration.

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FRECKS96 8/16/2010 7:14AM

    That's awesome!! So glad you conquered the top part and enjoyed the sights. At this rate you'll surely be ready for the big ride!

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CARRIE1948 8/16/2010 7:08AM

    Good job.

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FERRETLOVER1 8/16/2010 6:57AM

    What a great ride!

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JBINAUSTIN 8/16/2010 2:26AM

    Keuka Lake is so beautiful! I just got back a few weeks ago from visiting a friend on East Bluff Drive. You can really work up a sweat biking up to the view on the bluff. Congratulations.

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GRACEFULIFE 8/15/2010 11:15PM

    Wow, Don, serious biking! Hope you learn how to fix those flats soon, and overall GOOD GOING!!

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JCORYCMA 8/15/2010 11:10PM

    Wow! Could you have ever imagined back in your "heavy days" doing anything like this? You've made an amazing change and thanks for sharing it with us and being such an inspiration!

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Beautiful Three County Loop!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I joined my fellow bike club members for a gorgeous day of weather (low 80's, low humidity) pedaling through some as yet uncharted territory here in beautiful upstate New York. We totaled around 40 miles as we looped up into Chenango County via Smithville Flats past Long Pond State Forest and Park on into Willet, shaving the southern edge of Cortland County and headed back to Broome County where we had lunch at a local family diner and then rode back to Chenango Forks.

There were a few challenging hills...I'm forgetting what somebody's GPS said...I think total elevation climbed was around 2,000 feet...? But such unspoiled expanses of nature...! Breathtaking! Long Pond is an odd name as while it certainly was LONG, it was also BIG...hardly looked like a pond! Some lucky homes were scattered along the shore to enjoy the water throughout the year.

Nice to see new sights out on my bicycle! The world just seems *that* much closer and more real, as opposed to being boxed into a car and driving through.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 8/16/2010 10:05PM

    Woo Hoo!! You ARE Reeeeallly Sparkin' Don!!
It's great that you can do 40 miles!!!
Something I don't think I'd be able to do.....
After all...I live in Florida and everything is slooooow down here!!
You are an inspiration...
If you can go do 40 miles in a day I spose I can jump on my eliptical for 20 to 40 minutes!!

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LADYGWEN25 8/15/2010 10:10AM

    Been to long pond.. and you're right Don.. it IS gorgeous! I'm with Julie.. what's the name of the restaurant?? i love mom and pop shops. emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 8/15/2010 10:06AM

    I've never been to Long Pond. I so love the water and it sounds like a place I should visit. I don't think I'll attempt it on my bike though! Great job!

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JCORYCMA 8/14/2010 11:24PM

    Sounds like a great day! Nice of the weather to cooperate with you this week :)

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FERRETLOVER1 8/14/2010 7:59PM

    Sounds like a wonderful time! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRECKS96 8/14/2010 7:23PM

    Sounds great! What/where was the diner? We love hole in the wall places!

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BEARDMUSIC 8/14/2010 7:17PM

    Sounds wonderful!

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ACIMPEGGY 8/14/2010 6:09PM

    What a great way to exercise, socialize and enjoy nature!

Lucky you! emoticon

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