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Church of the Holy Spokes

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Okay, I'm going to edit the title of this blog as I had this inspiration (while cycling of course) but I DO want to preface the title change by saying this is with absolutely ALL respect for ALL faiths and denominations...I just felt that this sums up one of my strongest methods for connecting with a higher power as you'll see later in this blog if you haven't already read it.

Yes, yes, today was another great ride...but you know, they aren't ALL super rides. Last weekend, for instance, I had perfect weather for a 50 mile solo loop through our county...try as I might I just couldn't get into it and "feel" this ride...it just boiled down to grinding out the miles. Like pulling the pump handle up and down endlessly with nary a drop to show for it.

Today was a whole different animal. Let's distract first with a pic from my morning commute after arriving in Binghamton along Cheri Lindsay Park the fog is lifting...heading for the hills:

It was supposed to be a whole different ride from what I originally proposed. I think cyclists getting together always reserve the right to change their minds, even in mid-route! While much of what we traveled I've done many times before, we connected the dots between different points via Route 221 from Marathon to Willet (a tiny speck of a town with little more than 4 corners...I was surprised to find it had a farmer's market once a week. LOTS of climbing which made up for the relatively flat remainder.

My inner radio dialed up an old Blood, Sweat and Tears song written by Laura Nyro (RIP, such a loss!) "And When I Die":


Such a cool song on so many levels but today it got me waxing philosophically as I pedaled along. I am not by nature a readily spiritual person. I envy people who are. It just doesn't "happen" for me. Unless I'm on my bike. The wind, my body pumping away, the flowing line of the horizon demarcating the green hills of earth from the sky, yin and yang, sun beaming down, the thrill of the descent and sense of accomplishment from the climb...brought to my radio another song from Jan Garbarek, "Arietta"...a thoughtful poignant straddle between major and minor keys, conjuring for me a sense of connectedness with the world, with my body and an appreciation of my accomplishments:


I see this person posting the song felt it captured a day in their life as well.

I've been following a meditative practice every morning when I first wake up and I realize it follows similar path, as David Byrne said, "I'm breathing in. I'm breathing out." www.youtube.com/watch?v=

I have a growing respect for the power our breathing can contain.

We discovered an old single lane bridge over the river:

Soon after resuming our ride we saw a fox scurrying across the road while down in the valley following along the creek which flowed into what would become Dorchester Lake:

Here it opens into the lake a bit:

And here is the south end of the lake where it is dammed up. You might be able to see all the cool walking / jogging trails which run along and around the dam:

I had a scare this past week as I had checked my pulse and it was dropping a beat in the mornings again. Got into my primary care doc's office and he ran an EKG and all was (whew!) well! I had feared interference with my big upcoming rides! This added to my appreciation of today's ride as well...!

John, the bike club fellow that rode with me today, I discovered is also heading up to Tibbett's Point for the Labor Day weekend of riding! He's been there before and was able to fill me in a bit by sharing some of the fun stuff he's done in the past. He ALSO expressed a great deal of interest in doing the FANY (Five hundred miles Across New York) ride next year:


I've been wanting to do this also but shared my frustration in considering the logistics of getting myself and my bike to the Niagara Falls area for the start of the ride and then back home from the Saratoga Springs area after the ride was done. I shared Augie's (he's our 80 year old HERO of our bike club) solution: "Simple. You just get on your bike in Binghamton and RIDE up to Niagara Falls and when you're done with the ride in Saratoga Springs you just ride home!" I said to Augie "I want to ride the Five Hundred Miles Across New York...not Five THOUSAND miles across New York...!" :-)

John had a great thought: rent a van to get to Niagara Falls and when done rent a van to get back home. Split the costs between 2-3 folks and it wouldn't be TOO prohibitive. Now THAT would be such a COOL ride to do!

Okay, enough meanderings for a late, late blog...another day to ride coming right up!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What an extraordinary journey with you in text and images and I've always especially loved that BST song. Oh, and BTW, I REALLY think your blog title is outstanding!!!

    2704 days ago
    Hi Don! I enjoyed the blog plus the beautiful pictures! I am also glad that you went to the Dr and you are ok. emoticon
    2705 days ago
    What an absolutely beautiful post! And quite soothing!
    2707 days ago
    Fabulous photos! It looks like heaven.
    I hope you can figure out a good way to do FANY.
    2707 days ago
  • JAMER123
    Love the songs you talked about. I can use them while I meditate. Gets me into a wonderful start of the day!! Great blog!!!
    emoticon emoticon
    2708 days ago
    I love the music choices coming to your head. The Blood Sweat and Tears song has always been a favorite of mine. I too would find my inner self while taking the beautiful rides you do. There is so much country to see right in our back yards. Great photo's - thank you for sharing.
    2709 days ago
  • _VALEO_
    Thought I commented it but got sidetracked with your links! (Thanks for sharing)
    LOVE your pictures! And I'm so glad to read that your GP said it was only a false alarm. Bike on!
    2710 days ago
    emoticon It sounds like a wonderful ride! Beautiful scenery!
    2711 days ago
    Nice! Hope you get to do the 500 miles across ny ride!
    2711 days ago
    Don, I'm glad to hear the heart scare was 'just' a scare and all seems well!
    (Loved the music and the pictures!)
    The FANY ride sounds great; 5 concurrent almost-century rides for an incredible cause. Takes admirable stamina to do that in less than a week! Maybe when you get to Saratoga you can all rest a day or two before heading back. Hmmm .... maybe there would be a good show at SPAC. What a finale that would be, huh?!
    2711 days ago
    Great blog, Don. I can sense the exhilaration in your post, but have to admit your title had me a bit worried- Glad the heart is beating steady.
    2711 days ago
    Such a poet Don. Thanks for being a member of this team and sharing.
    2712 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    great that all worked out well with your heart.......
    way to go..........love the songs and pictures...
    R> emoticon emoticon
    2712 days ago
    Great stuff! I haven't thought about that song in years. I like your taste in music!
    2712 days ago
    As always Don, I love reading your blogs. Love the pictures & remember the good points of living on the East Coast back when.

    Thanks & have fun on your rides.

    2712 days ago
    Love those pics! I love to see the fog lifting, especially. I saw that on my walk this morning - I live across the street from a golf course and could see the fog over the course behind the houses - slowly lifting!
    2712 days ago
    Gorgeous pics -- love that "When I Die" (not that this is happening anytime soon). And it's so true (as I recall from my running days, and still experience XC skiing or even on the elliptical): sometimes I anticipate one of those great euphoric workouts and it's just a slog, and other times I'm just showing up and euphoria happens.
    2712 days ago
    What a wonderful blog!

    As I sit here typing . . your Blood Sweat and Tears are conjuring the memories of yesteryear as are the photos you posted of a land of my childhood!

    Though I have never had the pleasure of riding that area on a bike . . YET . . I see the calendar says . .'Yes . . there is still time'!

    I too drop a beat now and then. I have had all the workups including but not limited to catheterization and Holter monitors for a week at a time! They said at St. Joseph's cardiology unit that my heart is healthier than 98% of the 6+ billion people on the planet with NO suggestion of cardiovascular disease . . even at 53 years of age!

    I say 'Pump on'!

    I hope you can do the ride from the Falls! What an awesome photo journey that would be!

    Keep on Keepin On!
    2712 days ago
    I spent Sunday on a mower. Not terrible, but you definitely had the better ride. Thanks for sharing it.
    2712 days ago
    bike on!
    glad your heart checked out OK
    2712 days ago
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