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Another Bite of the Big Apple: NYC Century!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This ride was NOT supposed to happen. My cycling buddy and I had spoken about doing the NYC Century quite a while back when someone in our cycling club mentioned it. www.nyccentury.org

But life went on and there was no further mention of it so I figured it was a no-go.

However on Thurs., only 3 days beforehand, she brought up the idea of the ride again. First reaction? Annoyance! We coulda shoulda woulda made GREAT plans for this...but NOW at THIS late point?!?

But then I thought...you know, I'm too much of a stick-in-the-mud...spontaneity does NOT come to me readily.

So YES! Let's GO FOR IT!

We scheme all sorts of ways to find a place to crash Sat. night before the Sun. ride. Everything is either "no vacancy" or $300 / night...ugh!

Going with the theme of spontaneity I suggest we just sleep over in the car. Not ideal, but for one night? Why not? You only live once! I did manage to e-mail someone through Warm Showers ( www.warmshowers.org/ ) and left my phone # just in case they could put us up at the last minute.

Turned out my cycling friend at the last minute (a few hours before departure on Sat.) found a wonderful fellow not too far out on Long Island (her friend's father) who agreed to host us for the night! He was a delightful man who took us out to a Chinese restaurant and we enjoyed much conversation before a short but restful sleep.

Neither of us are in least bit familiar with anything but the largest of landmarks in NYC. We were due at the start of the ride at the northern edge of Central Park for registration by 5:30 a.m. Paranoia over making the journey in sufficient time we woke up at 3:30 and made it with 15 mins. to spare. Whew! Garmin was our lifesaver!

Registered, we were OFF and cycling by around 6 a.m. and made it through Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge to soak up the sunrise:



Another view from the bridge:



Here's the tune from my internal radio that was playing:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xapGxL09-I

This was a very different ride from the 5 Borough Ride I completed earlier this year in May: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4205481
That ride was very unnatural in that they closed down streets / expressways and had police or volunteers directing bikes / traffic at nearly every intersection. The good part of that was the ride was more sheltered and protected and in many ways a great introduction to cycling in NYC. The bad part of that was the interminable waiting and HIGH need for patience.

The NYC Century made us feel like we were "locals" and in the know on all the great riding venues. Highly enjoyable. But not without anxieties.

Like when we got lost.

Gulp! NYC map dunces. No GPS.

Around the 40 mile rest stop we departed by following other cyclists. Yes we had cue sheets, but with the ZILLIONS of turns, who was going to stop at every intersection and look at THOSE!

We forgot that there were totally different routes for those doing the 75 mile, 55 mile and under routes. We soon discovered that we were whizzing along with a group of 55 milers! We weren't here to do only 55 miles! So we began to ask other riders for help. Two were very helpful, even gave us a cycling map of NYC and gave us some ideas how to route ourselves back to the century route. We STILL got lost again, but were blessed by the kindness of locals who helped us to get re-routed. Our ride was supposed to be 105 miles total. But we were so befuddled we'll never know precisely how far we went. Could have even gone FURTHER than 105 miles! Yes it was scary to go through this, but edgy and a bit exciting at the same time. Here we were tooling around NYC down streets that weren't at ALL part of the planned routes...wow!

Other anxieties? Wobbling, weaving and squeezing our queue of bikes in between parked and double-parked vehicles on our right and moving vehicles on our left! I managed to clip a side-view mirror on a vehicle and lived to tell about it! Another time I wove too much, leaning into the side of a van and had to step down off my bike: with a line of cyclists bearing down on me from behind! I quickly walked my bike without dismounting to the front of this double parked van so that I'd get out of everyone's way...WHEW! No "protection" here...no police directing traffic or streets closed to traffic...we had to negotiate our way just like anyone else in NYC!

We had to fjord our bikes up and down stairs to the various bridges (Brooklyn, Tri-Borough/RFK and other smaller ones) and then ride along VERY narrow walkways on the bridges. I made sure my hands were positioned on the straight, inside part of my handlebars so that I wouldn't scrape my knuckles along the walls or posts alongside me.

Here's a song that got stuck in my head BIGTIME throughout the day...great beat to it that helped to propel me along and I think the minor tone gave it an Asiatic-ethnic feel that seemed to fit as we cycled through an incredible number of neighborhoods which felt like a microcosm of the world.

youtu.be/GUe94GSN_ag



Cycling around the bay nearby LaGuardia with planes arcing overhead. Bridges all had beautiful parks around either or both sides. The sun gained strength as the day wore on, pumping me up even more!



The parks were great also and had their own surprises. Like the pathway that corkscrewed itself down and down and we were riding 'neath the path down which we rode!

Here's one of the bike repair tents:



Us? No flats, no mishaps other than my minor collision with another cyclist at a sudden stop.

Cyclists at a rest stop:





We had an AWESOME time on the NYC Century...felt like we were treated to every nook & cranny the Big Apple had to offer to folks on two wheels!

Two big thumbs up for throwing caution to the wind and BLITHELY (thank you VALERIEMAHA!) jumping forward with our lives!

Don

ps...my apologies to ALL those blogs out there that I've been too crazy / busy to catch up with just yet OR to even thank folks for your comments on my blogs...love, appreciate and value ALL of 'em! And I WILL catch up! :-)

pps...just discovered another EXCELLENT blog which provides much better detail that I!
www.howwedrive.com/2011/09/19/new-yo
rk-city-century-ride-a-few-quick-thoug
hts/


ppps...Here's another pleasant snapshot of cycling along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway:
www.nytimes.com/2011/05/06/arts/cycl
ing-the-manhattan-waterfront-greenway.
html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 9/28/2011 11:38AM

    Hi Don!! Didn't you just do a Big long Bike Ride.
Don't be so hard on yourself.
One of my therapy clients biggest complaints is that exercise is so repetitious and that gets boring it's the rep's that cause improvement and increased muscle mass. It's when we put a load on our muscles and bones that we benefit.
I have fallen off the wagon too. I need to start up my upper extremity exercises. I use to do them 2-3 x's a day when I worked.
I'm with you on the dancing. It's great exercise and fun!
I'm into exercise for the fun of it. If I have to time my minutes per mile it becomes "unfun".
Thanks for Sharing!!

Comment edited on: 9/28/2011 11:40:17 AM

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/23/2011 9:16PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 9/23/2011 10:51AM

    emoticon
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KINSBAILE 9/22/2011 4:14PM

    Wow that's AWESOME!

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ZELLAZM 9/22/2011 6:10AM

    Not to worry, Don, post when you can...I know you're in this for the long haul!

What a great blog and what great photos - and what a great event! I think that the fact you made the decision on short notice is kind of a metaphor for being LIGHTER - sometimes when we lose weight, we also lose some of the heaviness of our hearts and spirits.

Have a good rest of the week...


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DARK_CINDERELLA 9/21/2011 9:59PM

    What an adventure! So fun! And way to be spontaneous...... :)

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HEARTOLOVE 9/21/2011 9:53AM

    Wow!! and you did 105 miles!!
in a strange city.
You are an adventurous spirit!
What an accomplishment!


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JLITT62 9/21/2011 5:57AM

    I just jump back in without catching up after a trip!

I don't think I would have enjoyed that - biking in traffic in NYC sounds REALLY scary - but glad YOU did & you enjoyed it.

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CINNAMONJOY 9/20/2011 10:07PM

    Excellent! It sounds like a fantastic adventure for the end of summer!

(That globe was practically in my backyard once upon a time, btw!)

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TSANC01 9/20/2011 6:01PM

  Thanks for sharing you trip with us. I've never been on a century, I don't have a road bike...yet..maybe someday.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 9/20/2011 12:13PM

    Isn't flying by the seat of pants fun? Sometimes life's best adventures are unplanned. Good for you in stepping out of the box and having a great time. I always enjoy hearing your stories, I'm living the life of a cyclist thru your eyes and more and more I'm craving to give it a try, who knows maybe someday.

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TOOTHFUL99 9/20/2011 8:43AM

    This sounds like so much fun, even the getting lost and surviving part!
I look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

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WATERMELLEN 9/20/2011 8:21AM

    What an incredible adventure! Your blog is a terrific endorsement for the value of spontaneity.


"The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence never can retract
By this and this only we have lived."

(From-memory more or less accurate quotation from TS Elliott's epic poem, "The Waste Land" . . . maybe in or around the "Burnt Norton" section . . . I've lost that particular map at the moment as well!!)

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GROEDER 9/20/2011 7:43AM

    Sounds like a great time - and some adventure too!!!! I really enjoy reading about your cycling trips.
Thanks for sharing them.

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DAISYBELL6 9/20/2011 7:42AM

    You rock! I am very impressed!

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BILL60 9/20/2011 7:40AM

    Don, just SUPER!! Way to go and way to be spontaneous!! You're DA MAN!!!!

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BD3269PM 9/20/2011 6:50AM

    Yea for spontaneity!! What a great experience you had and thanks for sharing it. Keep on Sparking emoticon

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DDOORN 9/20/2011 6:42AM

    There is something to love about BOTH types of cycling, city & country...for the most part I'm a fan of the quiet, open roads of the country...but this was certainly a unique, exciting and at times wonderful experience!

For a couple of seasoned, country cyclists I think we held our own pretty nicely down in NYC!

Don

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BECKY3774 9/20/2011 6:33AM

    Sounds like you really enjoyed your ride...good for you for doing something outside of your comfort zone! emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/20/2011 3:22AM

    Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the trip report!

I think I like riding out in the stix, though. Did enough crazy city riding while growing up in Oakland, CA. LOL

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2BMYOWN 9/20/2011 12:41AM

    Damn.....between you and Maha, I get my weekly dose of inspiration right when I seem to need it the most. For some reason, the two of you are always joined in my mind...when I think of her, I think of you, and vice versa, isn't that funny? Maybe it's because both of you are exceptional, maybe? Totally AWESOME blog, Don, and YAY for spontaneity, it just sounds like an absolutely wonderful adventure, and isn't that what life is about????? Sometimes the plans that just kinda drop into your lap at the last minute turn out to be the most worthwhile.....and fun!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/19/2011 11:26PM

    OMG! Don, I had NO idea!!! THE BIG APPLE, indeed! When did you finish, after starting at 6am, getting lost, resting, etc.? I find the preparation for 100+ miles so overwhelming at this point. Might have to make a bike trade too, huh.

YAY! for spontaneity!
emoticon
Maha

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L*I*T*A* 9/19/2011 11:11PM

    looks like it turned very well in the end..
blessings and hugs..........lita

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A Few Years Ago...

Monday, September 12, 2011

...if somebody would have told me that when I get back to cycling I would feel best sitting on one of those skinny little seats all bent over those drop down handlebars I would have called them a liar...!

But you know, it dawned on me while working out at a hotel tonight and sitting on a cushy recumbent seat, sitting up nice & straight...my butt was hurting! Couldn't help but smile over that! I remember first getting serious about looking for a good bike for myself thinking: No drop down handlebars for me! I want to sit up nice and straight...and LOSE that skinny seat! Gotta get me a big cushy thing!

And now? I'm all crouched over on my skinny seat, hands mostly in the drop position, just buzzing right along feeling right at home! I notice how much more efficient my pedaling feels when in the "drop" position.

To the uninitiated...as I once was...it seems counterintuitive, but a word to those looking to jump into the world of cycling, or to re-invent your approach to cycling: work with your local bike shop and their suggestions and be open to trying things that may not APPEAR to be what you might THINK you're looking for...you might be pleasantly surprised!

Keep it SPARKING everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINNYPOWELL1 9/19/2011 2:14PM

    Thanks for the advice, I just can't get past the idea of the skinny seat. My old ten-speed seat used to kill my tush. Silly quesion, but how long does the dairyaire hurt before it becomes accustomed to the seat? Inquiry minds really want to know. That's my only drawback.

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VHALKYRIE 9/16/2011 8:10PM

    I know what you mean! I really dislike the recumbent bike. I just cannot get as good a workout as the real thing. I find my padded cycling pants is all the "comfort" I need, but I prefer my real bike seat to be streamlined.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/14/2011 11:33AM

    Now that's my idea of "recycling" emoticon

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2BMYOWN 9/14/2011 3:19AM

    I can't even picture a skinny seat and drop down handlebars.....OMG.....but you're right. Every single person I see who rides all of the time chooses the very same equipment that you speak of, so there's gotta be something to it. Every morning on my way home from work, I see a dedicated cyclist pedaling to work looking like a finely honed machine, and I always say a quick prayer for him because frankly, people drive like freaking maniacs around here and I'm scared to death someone will hit him. But he always looks so relaxed and almost like he's part of that bike that he's riding, and I have often grinned to myself because it always reminds me of you! LOL Keep on kickin' it, sparky bud. Being one of those who has a hard time sticking with something for even two weeks at a time, your dedication and that of so many others here on sparks just literally amazes me.

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TAMIK1964 9/13/2011 11:01PM

    Great tips. I'm learning a few of those as I go too. Now I just smile when people look at my skinny seat and say ouch!!!

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RUNCHOOSE 9/13/2011 10:47PM

    I love the way new habits can just transform your life.

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WATERMELLEN 9/13/2011 5:31PM

    Amazing what a difference getting fit makes in how we feel . . .

I'm always stunned that my butt is bony enough now to notice if I sit for a longish period of time . . . lost pretty much all the cushiness, and don't miss it!

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L*I*T*A* 9/13/2011 10:03AM

    great tips...
who knew the skinny seat was so comfortable!!!
not for me though..
i tried spinning the seats too uncomfortable???!!!
thanks for sharing......
blessings and hugs............lita

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VALERIEMAHA 9/13/2011 9:26AM

    Something to look forward to in my next incarnation (in this life or the next)? We'll see how I make it upright-ish (I'm always trying to adjust into a "spinal slant!") on my skinny little seat through the fall classic this Saturday. I picked the 45-mile tour...will I stop at 28 miles? And Lycra shorts -- ni hablar!

YOU ARE MY CYCLING (etc.) HERO!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon
Maha

Comment edited on: 9/13/2011 9:26:41 AM

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W5VEOTX 9/13/2011 8:41AM

    Neck and back arthritis keeps me sitting upright but still look forward to riding my touring bike - finished 34 miles in Ride for Children Saturday.

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LADYGWEN25 9/13/2011 7:56AM

    no clipps for me...lol.. And i've really been riding on the drops lately.. gotta say.. it's been a good change and i've been having less hand numbness.

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BILL60 9/13/2011 7:30AM

    The theory on Clip-ons is similar to biking on drops. It makes cycling that much more efficient. When you realize this you'll most likely say, "why did I wait this long??? Hang tough my friend.

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BD3269PM 9/13/2011 6:45AM

    Thanks for sharing the tip on skinny seats. I would never have thought that they would feel comfortable enough to use all the time. Live and learn. Keep on Sparking emoticon

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JLITT62 9/13/2011 6:12AM

    I'll admit those are pretty much my thoughts if I were ever to try biking . . . and certainly no clip-ins, I'd look really dorky falling over! Good thing running & swimming keep me plenty busy. Plus yoga, walkingthe dogs, ST . . .

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DDOORN 9/12/2011 11:45PM

    AND, ya know...I still resist using bicycle shorts as much as possible. We have another older fellow in our cycling club who NEVER wears cycling shorts! AND he's a long-distance cycling dude! I routinely don't bother for rides 20-25 miles and occasionally 30 miles.

I'll grant that they are a necessity for distances over that...but who knows...maybe I'll follow in this fellow's footsteps! :-)

My reason? Lycra and me in public is just a poor idea...so I wear shorts over my shorts...which makes it a hotter ride. PLUS if I ride to work it's one more thing for me to pack and one more step to add to the process of getting to work and READY for work.

I like to keep things as simple as possible.

Don

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/12/2011 11:11PM

    Zing!

LOL

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DDOORN 9/12/2011 10:59PM

    As soon as I posted this I thought: Oh no! Now *SOMEBODY'S* going to ZING me about clipping-in...! :-)

Don

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/12/2011 10:50PM

    Hmm. And there seems to have been a time when someone I know swore he'd never wear the "dorky" padded lycra shorts, either... LOL

emoticon

Perhaps eventually you'll even try the clip-in shoes. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Comment edited on: 9/12/2011 10:52:41 PM

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LMLOPEZ 9/12/2011 10:33PM

    Isn't it great when you "discover" what works or doesn't work for you? Glad your skinny seat makes you comfy-and thanks for the tip!

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On a Dristy Morning...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

...out on the Silver Comet trail with the weather poised between a misty almost drizzly grey day I'm out cruising along on my bike, bidding the occasional walker, jogger and cyclist a cheery "Mornin'" as I see how far along I can get heading westward.

Not too long after I start I see some figures off in the distance which are difficult to make out, especially as I've got my sunglasses on (better wind protection for my eyes which readily dry out and tear with the breeze even more when not well protected).

Soon I can tell these are a pair of dogs. BIG dogs! No owner in sight!

I have been extraordinarily fortunate in my cycling travels with regard to dogs. Nary a snag with one of 'em yet! Was my luck about to take a turn for the worst?

My plan? Breeze by them as quickly and quietly as possible!

Revving up I get closer and can tell they're both German Shepherds. Big & formidable...give Croce's "junkyard dog" a run for the money! One is HUGE and almost BLACK...let's call him Bluto. The other? A little smaller and lighter and darker...Jake will do.

Anyhow as I'm cranking the pedals, these two dogs seem completely oblivious to me, just stepping along in the same direction as I. Where's this keen canine hearing...? I'm really ramped up and go to pass when Bluto, the doofus, saunters right into my path! I hit the brakes, but not quickly enough! We collide! Bluto snarls!

Within a few milliseconds we have this conversation after sharing a few expletives:

Bluto: Looks like dinner just arrived!

Me: Gulp!

Bluto: Which body part would be the best first course?

Me: This isn't exactly the weight loss plan I had in mind...

Well milliseconds come and milliseconds go and the next thing you know the dogs are so startled by me that they take off like a couple of streaks ahead of me! I keep going...I'M chasing the DOGS! What a hoot! I pull out my virtual whip and crack it in the air: HeyAH! Get along little (?!) doggies!

Actually what I REALLY do is continue to chase the dogs, it is so WAY better to be behind THEM instead of THEM behind ME! I break into song! Music to soothe the savage beast, right? I'd been channeling Paul Simon's "Myth of Fingerprints (All Around the World)" during my ride and figure, hey, if I'm singing I can't be THAT ill-intentioned, right doggies? :-)

I was thoroughly AMAZED over how far I chased those dogs down the trail! For some reason they never thought to just scoot off to the side. Bluto would look back now & then and I couldn't tell if he was frightened or thinking of making good on that imagined conversation we previously had...lol!

After a piece I figured I'd tuckered them out well enough that they couldn't give chase to me and whizzed by the two of them...OFF to get further down the trail!

The Silver Comet is quite the accomplishment for Georgia...where OFF the trail the roads are about as bicycle UN-friendly as they can be. They have managed to create the longest paved rail-trail in the United States! It extends from a little west of Atlanta right across the state on into Alabama for a piece! Counting the entire trail it looks to run over 100 miles! A HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE FEAT! I'm hopeful more and more communities will take note and follow suit!

www.silvercometga.com/

Although today's ride was relatively quiet, over this past hot weekend (Sat. / Sun.) folks were EVERYWHERE on this trail...runners, walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters...EVERYONE! What an investment into the health and wellness of Georgia citizens and their visitors!

I enjoyed a nice chit-chat with the Silver Comet Depot silvercometdepot.com/ proprietor after today's ride. He was duly impressed with my Tricross, but then he stocks mostly Specialized bikes! :-)

With a little luck, I'm hoping to pull together plans to catch up with other SP members out on the trail over this upcoming weekend.

Keep the SPARK everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 9/12/2011 9:59AM

    You're a great writer!! Loved the story!! Those Dogs can be a problem for exercisers!!

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2BMYOWN 9/11/2011 12:23PM

    LOL! Well, that turned out a whole lot better than it might have, with more aggressive dogs. I used to have shepherds, and for the most part, and with the exception of one that had been abused before I got her, they were mostly big teddy bears that wouldn't hurt a fly and ran from their own shadow. They LOOKED intimidating......the reality was a lot different. LOL Keep up the awesome adventures, Don!

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RUNCHOOSE 9/8/2011 6:09PM

    I'm happy you were safe - what a thrilling event. I know some folks who are afraid of dogs who would not have been very happy to be in that situation. Thanks for sharing also about the trail - I hadn't heard of it.

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CHRIS3215 9/8/2011 12:18PM

    WOW Don, what an exciting ride you had..
Lucky you that you were not LUNCH..lol

Bet them DOGS wish you went the other way..lol
TOO funny!!!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/7/2011 9:41PM

    I enjoyed reading this blog! I'm glad the dogs weren't TOO dangerous emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL69 9/7/2011 8:57PM

    Don.....

Sounds like an interesting ride. Hope you didn't get hurt when you ran into Bluto.

Waiting to hear about your next adventure.

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WATERMELLEN 9/7/2011 7:12PM

    What a fun blog: and you were very brave! Like "dristy"; very evocative!!

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TOOTHFUL99 9/7/2011 5:52PM

    Sounds like you got a nice welcome from the biggest hazard to riding in the south! There are dogs everywhere down here and you never know what's going to happen.

These two must have been on a mission. Maybe they had dates waiting in Rockport...

Glad to hear you survived the crash and tumble. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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ZELLAZM 9/7/2011 3:40PM

    That was scary - but a great work out for all 3 of you, I'm sure!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 9/7/2011 3:11PM

    Glad your encounter with the beasts turned out for the best. I truly love reading your adventures. emoticon

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JLITT62 9/7/2011 3:03PM

    Glad to hear you didn't become a doggy snack. And glad you're not here cause you wouldn't be cycling today!

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GROEDER 9/7/2011 1:51PM

    Great recount of your ride. I'm glad the dogs amused (rather than abused) you.
That trail sounds like a super place to ride. I'm kind of jealous!!! LOL

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TAMIK1964 9/7/2011 1:27PM

    I sure am glad things turned out ok with the dogs and you got in a good ride. That trail sounds awesome!

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LADYGWEN25 9/7/2011 1:06PM

    good job out cycling the dogs! glad you're having a good time..100 miles huh..you gonna do the whole thing?? ;)

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L*I*T*A* 9/7/2011 12:53PM

    what an adventure!!
have a great week...
blessings and hugs.....lita

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KENAZFEHU 9/7/2011 12:45PM

    Whew! Glad you escaped the jaws of death!

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Racing the Sunset...!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

After being teased all day long by this wonderful autumn day and piles of paperwork standing between me and my cycling commute home at long last I'm OFF!

These days when I hop on my bike there is an increasing sense of urgency which borders on desperation: the cycling season will soon come to an end! The days are getting SO short, SO quickly!

Get out! Capture it! Keep those wheels spinning!

Today I not only raced the sunset but chased some hot air balloons on home! The winds tend to blow them up our valley more times than not. What a view as the sun neared the horizon, blue skies, wispy clouds and a pair of hot air balloons lazing their way up the valley...! Kept looking up and soaking up the sights...it's a wonder I didn't run off the road!

A colleague at work said she saw me cycling through her neighborhood yesterday on my way home...the long way of course...! She said: "Wow were you going FAST!" :-) To myself I'm thinking YES! The season is waning...gotta get ALL the cycling I can possibly get in! It was a nice compliment. I shared with her some of my recent journeys.

During today's ride I was reminded of an old Jerry Garcia song that fellow Sparker and cyclist SCOTTK3000 had as part of his signature here at SP a while back: The Wheel

youtu.be/5ZK8UmvTocQ

Give a listen...has a bit of a country twang and whine with Garcia's trademark and most excellent steel guitar work...but also a bouncy, rhythmic beat and lyrics that stick to your brain and serve as metaphors for life, cycling and so much more! I had this album as vinyl way back in '72 or so...but I had never been into cycling then as I am now.

Fast forward to a recent visit to our local bike shop when my cycling buddy had a spoke repaired on her *WHEEL* and the fellow at the shop, Matt, gave an interesting little talk about the amazing bicycle wheel which is made up of parts which, on their own don't amount to much. You can crumple a bicycle spoke like a clothes hanger.

Yet somehow when properly constructed all those spokes, the rim, hub they all coalesce into a thing of great beauty, strength, utility and can carry us over HUNDREDS of thousands of miles!

Kind of like all of us here at SparkPeople and the supportive friends and family in our lives...no?

Check out the lyrics:

The Wheel
(Garcia/Hunter/Kreutzmann)

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down,
You can't let go and you can't hold on,
You can't go back and you can't stand still,
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will.

Won't you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn't you try just a little bit more?
Won't you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn't you try just a little bit more?

Round, round robin run round, got to get back to where you belong,
Little bit harder, just a little bit more,
A little bit further than you gone before.

Small wheel turn by the fire and rod,
Big wheel turn by the grace of God,
Every time that wheel turn 'round,
Bound to cover just a little more ground.

Won't you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn't you try just a little bit more?
Won't you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn't you try just a little bit more?

Keep on Sparkin' everyone...a little bit harder and a little bit more!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 9/11/2011 12:18PM

    I never heard of that song and didn't know the lyrics, but I'm with everyone else, I love the metaphor! Thanx for posting this!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 8/25/2011 5:28PM

    I haven't heard that song in years! Great that you had an invigorating bike ride emoticon

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KINSBAILE 8/25/2011 4:54PM

    Very cool song!

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CINNAMONJOY 8/24/2011 11:14PM

    Sounds wonderful!
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TAMIK1964 8/24/2011 8:44PM

    What a great ride and a great attitude!

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LADYGWEN25 8/24/2011 12:43PM

    DOn.. i have to say i'm feeling the same sort of urgency..the gotta : RIDE RIDE RIDE before the snow FLIES FLIES FLIES!

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CANBDONE 8/24/2011 11:02AM

    You're a Deadhead, too? Love, Peace, Joy, Brother! I saw them in Wisconsin many years ago...

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L*I*T*A* 8/24/2011 10:13AM

    emoticon emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 8/24/2011 10:04AM

    emoticon

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PHEBESS 8/24/2011 8:38AM

    What a wonderful concept - racing the sunset!!!!!

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WATERMELLEN 8/24/2011 7:57AM

    Love this metaphor . . . keep on pedalling and racing the sunset!

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DAISYBELL6 8/24/2011 7:05AM

    Thank you for sharing the link to The Wheel. It was just what I needed this morning!

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FERRETLOVER1 8/24/2011 6:57AM

    Love that "spoke" metaphor!! Very apropos!!

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JLITT62 8/24/2011 5:48AM

    Ah yes, the days are getting shorter & the trees are even beginning to turn already . . . at least there's the raking & shoveling workouts in our future!

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ZELLAZM 8/24/2011 4:49AM

    Great post, Don...knowing you, you will be out there cycling till the last possible minute!

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CDGOLDILOCKS 8/24/2011 12:41AM

    What a great blog! I am not an avid cycler, but I have taken a few 20 mile rides in my community. Where I live it is very bike friendly. Your blogs inspire me to dust off my bike and take a ride sometime.

And your metaphor about the spoke is so true. It is the support and stability of the group that makes us strong!

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On such a cold winter's day...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

...when I want to pull up the covers and want to stay in bed. A long time.

...when I slog through the slop and slush and pull the collar up against the harshest of winds.

...when the sun is mired by gray, mottled skies and barren trees have curled up and tight-fistedly withhold their life deep within.

It is on such a winter's day when I will reach into the deep, wrinkled recesses of my brain, pull out a flask, push the cork up with my thumb, set it aside and allow this summer day to spill into my senses once again:

The indescribably perfect weather! Mid 80's, sunny, blue-skies...sends a thrill down my spine and gets my legs twitching for action!

The knowing exchange of grins with my cycling buddy...UP for a challenge, excitedly venturing out into unknown territory, even if there WERE two HUGE climbs! We were OFF to the Delaware Co. Fair!

The rolling green hills, lush with LIFE!



The serendipitous meeting up with several other bike club members out enjoying a stretch of cycling in common with our path.

The salty upper lip.

The goose-bumpy thrill of savoring what I knew was a beautiful and unique day which could never quite be replicated.

The banana butt break at the convenience store, DOWNING a cold soda on top of yet more water.

The drenching sweat while stopped and the cooling chill as it dries with the breeze once we start up again on our bikes!

The delicious foot-long turkey sub, split between us and devoured...perfectly hitting our mutual cycling appetite's spot and drenched with LOTS of iced tea!

The black-eyed Susans, marigolds and other flowers planted around some homes, breaking up the gorgeous variations of rolling green and random lavender patches.



The struggle of the uphill climbs and even the one walk when I strayed too far into the gravel on the shoulder and could no longer manage to stay upright. Joining my cycling buddy who had already been walking due to the limitations of climbing posed by her steadfast, but old 10-speed bike and enjoying our hike to the peak. Smiling, chatting, not a shred of what I've referred to in the past as "the walk of shame."

A large bumble bee bonking off my sunglasses as I streaked down a hill, surprising us both.

The lazy Susquehanna river winding and twisting along, following us for much of the ride.



Pedaling alongside a doe and her fawn, startling it into a gallop wondering what this two-wheeled behemoth was doing moving almost as fast as she when she LEAPS across my path nearly crossing the entire road in a single bound! My cycling buddy was ever-so-pleased I was in the lead as she is positive she would have freaked and warped us all into one big road-kill accident...lol!

Getting lost and *almost* loving it...! (A street / road sign had been twisted causing us to go straight instead of turn.) With the help of passers-by not straying TOO far off-course and finding our way into Walton.

No flats, falls, mishaps of any kind!

And although this was a trip to the Delaware County Fair, the fair was...meh, an afterthought. It was the stupendous one-way ride TO the fair that made this a day to savor for years to come...!

Yes, bottling this for the coldest, most unpleasant days of winter, when I've hit my nadir. This will be the cure for what ails me...!

Today's ride wasn't the longest of rides, 54 miles, but it was one of the steepest, with over 3,000 feet of climb! AND it was done after a 7-day hiatus from cycling as I had a return of the piriformis syndrome, causing me earlier in the week to hobble my way through my lawn-mowing duties, thinking horrible thoughts and fears that I had developed some crippling arthritis in my hip that was going to limit my cycling journeys!

Then after a day or two it dawned on me: this had happened to me before! Piriformis! Stretches! I needed to double up on and revive some of the old stretches I'd done before to correct the problem. My massage therapist sister would smack me upside the head if she knew: DOH!

So after a week of minimal cardio, MAXIMUM stretching and keeping up with my upper body ST I returned to the road, unsure of my capabilities.

Piriformis? Piri-POOF! I'm baa-aack! :-)

Here's the GPS of today's ride:

ridewithgps.com/routes/655753 bringing my 2011 total up to 1290 miles.

Sending out wishes for everyone to have summer days of your own to savor. Bottle it! Cork it! The days are shortening ever-so-quickly! Make 2011 will a vintage, full-bodied year for yourselves!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYLADY4 9/16/2011 9:24PM

    Oh, I am so jealous. Just got a new road bike and so would love to go on a really long ride like that. Next year. 150 mile trip is my new goal.

When I am in my basement in the middle of winter on my stationary bike, I sometimes close my eyes and image that I am on my bike, riding on the beautiful trail beside the gently flowing river.

When it is -30 degrees out, I will think of your blog and think of things to come.

Thanks

Nicole

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VHALKYRIE 9/16/2011 8:13PM

    You are so making me miss my bike! Thanks for letting me ride along with you!

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2BMYOWN 9/11/2011 12:16PM

    I am so behind on your blogs! This one was absolutely lovely, with the visuals and the descriptions. Keep on kickin' butt, Iron Man!

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CINNAMONJOY 8/24/2011 11:11PM

    That was lovely! I hope we have a lovely long fall for your rides - It's so gorgeous here in the fall.
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I'll take pictures of the Susquehanna in the winter - I plan to morph my hiking shoes into snowshoes.
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VALERIEMAHA 8/24/2011 10:06AM

    Truly inspired and inspiring Don!


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JOYATLAST 8/23/2011 5:37PM

    Loved it! I like the idea of storing winter heart warmers. It gjves todays sweat purpose. I'm glad you're back in the saddle. Great ride. Thanks for a little summer magic.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 8/22/2011 9:27AM

    Loved your blog - Great descriptive writing, almost felt like I was there - and I would have really liked to have been there. Going to have to make some last minute summer time memories to bottle up for the winter for myself, great idea.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 8/22/2011 9:24AM

    I love these pictures! Thanks for sharing emoticon

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EAGLES_WINGS 8/22/2011 7:36AM

    Very well written with many picturesque visions. I envy you to be able to bike like that. However, thank you for sharing your journey. I love the Walton fair. And good news for me, I got out walking yesterday! Woohoo! Thanks, Don and take care! Happy riding and enjoy the budding of Fall, another beautiful season! Hugs.

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UROPA40 8/22/2011 5:53AM

    Try to think about the best of all the seasons while running but admit that the next 2 months are always my favorite time to run. Glad you had such a great ride. Suzy

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SASSYBLONDE69 8/21/2011 9:14PM

    I can see it in my mind - beautiful! I have a lot of those "vintages" stored away. The first strawberry of the year, first tomato, first ride on my new bike (even after dog and I had a misunderstanding causing a fall)... GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may... indeed!

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THEWINNER33 8/21/2011 8:52PM

    So very, very beautiful. Hugs, Marcia

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MARTY728 8/21/2011 8:39PM

    emoticon

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MS_SWEETHEART 8/21/2011 7:36PM

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! emoticon

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BAM-MA 8/21/2011 6:26PM

    Great Post, as always! Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

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DORIS32 8/21/2011 3:22PM

    beautiful!

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REDSHOES2011 8/21/2011 3:17PM

    great read Don!

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CANBDONE 8/21/2011 3:17PM

    Thanks for the spin!

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MRDPOLING 8/21/2011 3:11PM

    super good blog today! Ride well Rider!

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FRECKS96 8/21/2011 12:31PM

    Love this! Congrats on a wonderful ride!

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ELYMWX 8/21/2011 11:08AM

    Great blog!

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RAINBOWFALLS 8/21/2011 11:05AM

    Fantastic description! I felt like I was there!

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L*I*T*A* 8/21/2011 10:01AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NIKANN7493 8/21/2011 9:48AM

    Wonderful blog! Yesterday was a wonderful day for a ride! Beautiful skies! Bright sun! Perfect temps! Love the pictures and the story! I really like reading your blogs, I feel like i am right there!

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BRTRAINS 8/21/2011 9:45AM

    Great Blog!! Thanks...

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DINGALLSTOO 8/21/2011 9:32AM

    exactly why I love NYS! We do have some of the prettiest days. Great blog Don

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WATERMELLEN 8/21/2011 9:26AM

    What a wonderful blog! So glad that it wasn't arthritis and it's all gone . . .YAY!

And: love the idea of "bottling" summer for slow release over the winter . . . It's something I often consciously remind myself about on the golf course, along the lines of "This is what I daydream about in February!" When you think about burning logs in the fireplace in wintertime from trees which flourished in the summer sun . . . or I suppose buring coal/oil/gas all of which energy sources also came from the sun . . . there is a deep psychological truth here. Yeah!

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LADYGWEN25 8/21/2011 9:22AM

    wow.. I felt i was riding right there with you Don! gonna have to do that before the leaves fall off the trees. :)

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FERRETLOVER1 8/21/2011 7:33AM

    How could you tease me like that with your title? A cold winter's day really sounds good to me right about now - I've had enough of hot summer weather.

Then I read your blog and...aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!! emoticon emoticon

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BECKY3774 8/21/2011 7:21AM

    Your day and your ride sound amazing! Good for you for getting out there and enjoying it emoticon

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BD3269PM 8/21/2011 7:15AM

    Loved your post. Thank you for sharing your summer day. I am not looking forward to the winter months but will try and keep these beautiful summer days in my mind emoticon

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ZELLAZM 8/21/2011 6:51AM

    Super post, Don...it would be nice to be able to bottle up these near-perfect days and uncork them mid-March or so.

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TAMIK1964 8/21/2011 6:30AM

    Love this perspective and your attitude. Glad you were able to get back out there!

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JLITT62 8/21/2011 6:20AM

    Sounds . . .

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SKYFROG 8/21/2011 5:30AM

    emoticon

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