Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Wonderland - a visit from our friendly owl

Winter seems to be one of those LOVE IT or HATE IT things.  Love it for the beauty of fresh snow and the great outdoor activities or Hate it for the bitter cold, dangerous driving, and endless shoveling.  Today I love it; let me tell you why...

I just flew back home again yesterday and I was laying on the couch just looking out the window.  I saw a flash of movement and a huge bird landed on a limb right in front of me.  I recognized it as the Barred Owl that has been visiting our yard all winter.  This time he was in one of the closer trees just scanning the fresh snow on the forest floor for any potential lunch opportunities.

He spent about 30 minutes moving from branch to branch and tree to tree with his head on a swivel.  At one point I got brave enough to open the sliding glass door and shoot a photo of him.  As you can see he was keeping an eye on me too.

I was amazed at what an amazing presence this bird had.  He was so well camoflaged, but it seemed every animal had such respect that they stayed well hidden.  Probably a good idea, he looks hungry.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gym Rules

It's official, I've been working out for half of my life.  That makes me an expert on gym behavior and allows me to make the rules.  Don't believe me... check out a couple of my baby photos.

Pay attention because this is important.

Gym Rules
#1 - This is not social hour, it's ok to say hi to someone but beyond that I don't want to hear you talk.
#2 - Cell phones, (see rule #1)
#3 - If I am 3 feet from the mirror, doing an exercise, and looking at my form, don't walk between me and the mirror it makes me want to punch you.
#4 - If you sweat on a machine, good for you, you are working hard.  Now clean the machine.
#5 - If you are grunting and dropping weights I better be impressed by how hard you are lifting, otherwise you are just being obnoxious.
#6 - If you can do your workout and read a book at the same time, you aren't trying hard enough.
#7 - If you pick up a weight, put it back where it goes. 
#8 - It's not a fashion show and nobody cares how your hair looks.
#9 - Do not have body odor, that means ANY, perfume or stink.  I don't want to smell you.
#10 - Don't bring food in the gym, it's not a bistro.

Locker Room Rules
#1 - Don't let your balls touch anything you don't own, use a towel.
#2 - If you need to pick something up off the floor, don't bend at the waist, use your knees.
#3 - Don't stare at my genitals, it's just wierd if you do.
#4 - I know your kid is an electrical contractor, I don't need another one of his business cards.
#5 - Don't leave your half used soap in the shower tray.
#6 - There are only two acceptable body positions in the steam or sauna room. Sitting and walking in or out. Don't stand in front of me while I'm sitting.
#7 - Shaving, brushing your teeth, combing hair, etc can be done with a towel around your waist. 
#8 - There is a time limit on cleaning your private parts in the shower, it doesn't take 5 minutes, everyone knows what you are doing.
#9 - If you don't use a lock on your locker, you waive your right to complain about stolen items.
#10 - Seriously, stop looking at my genitals.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Couple more miles under my belt

I have never really been any good at arts and crafts.  It's not hard to tell I don't have any skill.  Here is my attempt at an updated map showing my travel.  Since the last update, I've been to Hong Kong twice (once was just an overnight layover), Mainland China, Jakarta Indonesia, through Tokyo Japan, and through Toronto twice. 

In the next month I will be in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, via Dubai, and will have two quick trips to the Carolinas. 

I get asked quite a bit "do you mind doing all this traveling?"  My reply is usually "It all depends on how you look at it".  I choose to look at it as a great opportunity to see many different things I would otherwise never get the chance to see.  Everytime I experience something new it changes my view of the world.

So how do you view the things in your life?  Do you see the bright side of things?  There are good and bad things about almost every situation in life.

 I hope we can all take a minute to see the bright side and appreciate the good things.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Aero Helmet

Nothing in this world personifies a Triathlete like the Aero Helmet. 

There is a moment in every Triathletes journey when they realize that they are ready for this masterpiece of refinement and evolution.  It is a commitment to speed that outweighs the potential for embarrasment that wearing a pointy piece of foam and plastic on your head can create.

Just to compete in a race you must be ready to cross certain barriers of humility.  You start your day by donning a suit made 100% from spandex.  To make matters worse, you will wear this into public and place yourself into the spotlight.  You will immerse yourself in cold water and then run for everyone to watch.  This is just the beginning. 

Once you have become comfortable with the spandex, the nasty sweaty wetness, the snot rocketteering, and other other unspeakable incidents, you will soon be ready for the pointy helmet.

I turned this corner myself just this past race season.  I woke up one morning and I just knew I was ready.  I announced it to the world (ok maybe just family, friends, and coach).   I went to my favorite bike shop and I announced it as if it were important news that must be heard.  "I am ready for the pointy helmet!"  Matt , the owner, just stared at me for a minute then gave a slow nod like he was witnessing some significant evolutionary moment in my life. 

Soon it had arrived and I was not the only one excited!  Matt had already taken it out of the box and had it waiting for me right on the counter.  I placed it on my head and I think I heard angels sing.  I felt faster than ever before.  So I rushed home and got suited up as quickly as possible.  Not in the normal bike training outfit.... No Way.... this was a day for the race clothing.  I found myself faster than ever that day, I pedaled with the focus of a fully committed athlete. 

I checked the calendar for the next bike club Time Trial event.  I had 3 days to wait.

The day of the event, I once again wore my race outfit, crowned myself with my pointy helmet and arrived ready to compete.  I could feel the eyes of the others staring in envy,  I could hear their wispers about my new found speedy gear.  I gave that day my 100% effort and it felt great. 

I hope some day you too can feel the dedication and commitment that is the Aero Helmet. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Injured Triathlete

The injured triathlete is a difficult thing to be around.  I can say this without fear of hurting the feelings of anyone I know who trains and competes for these races.  We know that we can be a real pain in the butt during normal circumstances.  This is bound to happen when someone trains intensely at three different sports and goes through the rollercoaster of competition.

If a healthy triathlete is a 6 on the difficult-to-put-up-with scale, then a triathlete with an injury is easily an 8.5 on a good day and a 9.5 on a bad one.  At some point, a portion of our happiness relies on training and competing. 

I've been pretty fortunate in that I haven't suffered too badly from all the training, but recently my running has been sidelined by some kind of a muscle strain in my right calf.  The crap thing is, I don't even understand really how I hurt it.  I was just running on the treadmill at a liesurely 9 min/mi pace and all the sudden sharp pain in my calf.  I tried to walk it off, but nope, it was there to stay.

I gave it a day with no running and it felt fine again so I went for an easy run, BINGO, 3 miles in it starts hurting again.  So I stop and shift my training to other things like swimming and biking and weights.  I give it another couple days then test it out, 2 miles this time before I'm limping badly.

So at this point, me and my bike are becoming good friends down in the basement.  The folks at the pool are seeing me more often than ususal.  I'm still grumpy because I want to continue to improve my running, but I guess I'm going to have to give it some serious downtime.

I guess this is the beauty of triathlons, there is alway something else you can do to keep up the training.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Planet Fitness, you suck and I want my money back!

My gym membership at Anytime Fitness ran out last week.  At the same time, I was struck by a feeling that I am spending too much money on gym memberships, gear, etc.  So I decided to give the local Planet Fitness a try.  $10 a month doesn't sound too bad on the wallet and I spend most of my gym time on the treadmill when it is too nasty to run outside.

First lets just say that Planet Fitness has done some unique branding moves.  For instance they market themselves as a "no judgement zone".  Let me clarify this for you...

That means that when at the gym I am supposed to not grunt or make noises while I work out.  I am not supposed to lift heavy weights that would make other people uncomfortable.  As a matter of fact they don't even have any heavy weights, their dumbbells only go to 50 pounds.  Normal gyms have dumbbells that go up to 130 to 150 pounds. 
Now this particular location is also located in the basement of a building and is not very large at all.  As you can see in the picture above they have crammed about as much crap into this room as possible.  Also please take note of the slouchy caveman dragging his feet, this is exactly who I'm not supposed to judge.

In another twist of marketing genious, Planet Fitness offers the Black Card which they say is to give you "status".  Wait a minute, but if we aren't judging each other then why do I need "status" and is that something you can buy at Planet Fitness.  I thought status in the gym was determined by hard work and sweat and having  a road map of veins on your forearms.
But hang on! The Black Card provides you with unlimited TANNING!  You have got to be $hi++ing me!  We aren't judging each other but now the color of my skin is important? 

So now we get beyond the marketing retardation (can I say that?) and we get into my personal experience.

Day #1 - signing up for a membership
Approach the counter, be greeted by teenage bubblegum chewing ditz #1 and #2 who offer me a tour.  Ok sounds good.  The tour takes 1.5 seconds because the place is the size of my closet.  It includes a briefing on not judging people.  Sign me up!  I promise I won't judge! (fingers crossed)

Day #2 - first workout
Enter the gym to find the windows fogged with humidity and the temperature at 80 degrees.  When I approach the neanderthal at the desk, he tells me it's hot outside and the gym is busy so it got hot and humid inside.  I scratch my head and make a counter argument that it is 35 degrees outside and the gym is supposed to be busy.  35 is warm for December, what is going to happen in July?  This was countered by a stupid look on his face and a odd guppy type jaw motion.

Day#3 - second workout
Enter the gym, it's only 74 degrees inside today.  Same dip$hit at the counter "hey buddy why's it so hot today?  It's 15 degrees outside and the place is empty.  This is greeted by some drool from his mouth and an excuse that the air conditioner is not working properly but someone will fix it.  Great no problem.  How about you give me the # of the owner or manager so I can find out when it will be fixed.   "Ummmmmm I cant give you that info".  Ok, when will they be in?  "8 AM weekdays"

Day #4 - 8AM monday morning
Enter the gym and dip$hit is at the counter again.  He greets me with an Oh Crap What Do I Do Now face.  He tells me the manager already left.  I reply with about 47 second of silence.  Then tell him to give me her phone number, which he can't do.  So I give him mine and tell him to call her and have her call me.  Complicated instructions, but I'm sure he can get it done. 

Phone call from Kim the "Regional Manager" - without going into too much detail, they can't give me a refund and there is nothing wrong with the heat.....  Excellent, I guess I have a couple weeks left to enjoy the gym.  (update: Kim called me back later in the day to say that she had reconsidered the situation and decided to give me a full refund.)

Day #5 - hasn't happened yet but when it does! (day 5 cancelled, thank goodness)
Enter the gym singing "We Will Rock You" by Queen.  Proceed to the front desk to check in with the inept staff member of the day.  Reveal my home made "Planet Fitness Sucks" t-shirt.  Begin to lift and slam every weight in the gym while grunting and posing in the mirrors.  Proceed to do an interval workout on the treatmill while sweating all over everything around me.  I will congratulate myself after every interval because I am a beast!  Then I will do my stretching in the middle of the floor because there is no other place to do it.  When people have to step over me I'll tell them to get the hell out of my way!  Finally I'll do some poses in the mirror while grunting and growling at myself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Welcome to Backwards Town

In case you have been wondering where I have been and why you haven't seen any updated posts... once again I have been censored by the Chinese Government.  Because this blog is run by Google I can't access it while in China.  I can't even check my Google mail account unless I am signing in at one of our corporate servers. 
So now that I am home from my trip and well rested.  I'm ready to unleash some serious blogging activity!

So for today, lets piss off the Belchertown Police again!  No wait, lets piss off the entire local government!

As I have said before, I live in a small town, not very sophisticated.  Now they have decided that the best solution to heavy traffic outside a small local bank is to post a police officer there EVERY DAY.  His sole job is to get out of his car everytime someone wants to pull in or out of the bank, he steps in the road and stops traffic.

I know it's a novel idea...... but...... maybe we could install a traffic light! 

Am I missing something here people???

So, may I make a formal request.  Public Works, Town Council, Someone, Anyone, please pull your head out of your ass and install a traffic light!  Then our officers can get back to doing what they do best, racial profiling, donuts, and practicing intimidating looks in the mirror.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jakarta, Indonesia

So I hinted earlier that I had just come back from Jakarta which was actually a pretty interesting place to visit.  Indonesia is surprisingly large and Jakarta is very heavily populated.  There is something like 9.5 million people living in the city.
To get there I went from Hartford to Chicago to Hong Kong to Jakarta, this can be bad enough on it's own but with a tight connection in Hong Kong and mechanical issues in Chicago it is worse.  We missed the connection and did an overnight in HK.  The Hotel is actually connected right to the airport terminal which is very handy.  To put it simply, this place is huge! 

 This is the hotel airport lobby at 3 AM and later in the day.  I had wicked jet lag so I went to the gym which you can see below.  The gym was empty except one other American who was in the same situation.
As you can see it is rated the best airport hotel in the world...  it was pretty handy.... and pretty cool.

So after I got in a serious fight with the airlines the next morning as they tried to delay my flight again, I finally made it to Indonesia.  The airport was pretty crazy and uncoordinated.  It was more of a mob than lines trying to get through security and Customs.
It takes 3.5 seconds to get a Visa in Indonesia, just pay them $25 and they hand you a Visa.  Pretty handy.

We were greeted by a company car because the plan was to head directly to the factory.  A new Toyota van was brought around and I was surprised that it literally didn't have a heater.  It also only has a cassette deck, no CD. 
I guess I just thought all cars had heaters, but, I guess not here.  Maybe because it is always sweltering hot.

This is basically what the skyline looks like.  Overall, it is pretty dirty and nasty and mostly a free-for-all on the roads.

The streets are all lined by these food carts that have anything from soda to fruit and other local foods.   TONS of people on motorcycles.  Now keep in mind, it's like 90+ degrees outside and some of them are wearing winter type coats.  WTF?
Also note that the cars are only inches apart.  That black jeep nearly took off our mirror as he drove past.
Below you can see one of the other modes of transport, the 3-wheeler.  Indonesia has this awesome "lifted" version which I think is pretty awesome.

 Now for my usual shots of the workout facilities.  This is the gym and pool at the hotel.  Overall, not too bad and they agreed to open it early for me.  All workouts as usual resulted in people standing and staring at me.  I'm totally used too this now and try to give them something to do, like get me a towel or water or something.  I'm not very muscular now that I stopped lifting, but anywhere over seas, I'm a giant compared to them.  Good for my ego, bad for privacy. 

So in the end, I won't be going to Jakarta on vacation anytime soon.  But I hear Bali is nice... 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you have what it takes?

No... literally... do you actually have all the stuff necessary to ride your bike in New England in late November?

When I got back from my last trip, which by the way was Jakarta, Indonesia, my first stop was to meet with Coach Martha.  Together we crafted a workout plan that works around my travel plans and still has me improving my fitness.  One issue with traveling the way I do is that I don't have access to a road bike when I'm away.  This means I need to ride when I'm home... even when it's cold and nasty.

Getting ready for a bike ride in 30 - 40 degree weather requires some preparation and lots of "stuff".  So here are the things that I use to get me through a 2 hour ride and not freeze my butt off.

First you need a bike, for obvious reasons.  This one is nothing spectacular, just an aluminum framed road bike, but it gets the job done.  The bag on the back has as spare tube, CO2 to inflate after a flat, a multitool, tire levers, and tire patches
 Next we have the clothing for the lower half of the body.  Bike shorts, windproof leg warmers, cycling shoes, wool socks, and neoprene shoe covers.
 Now for the clothing on the top half.  I wear a long sleeve polypropylene jersey, a fleece designed for cycling, and a bright yellow windbreaker with reflective strips.  Hopefully this means I don't get run over by any cars.
 Next comes the helmet, windstopper gloves, ear muffs, and Ipod.  Yes, I do ride with an Ipod sometimes.  I ride the same if I hear cars coming or not, so screw it, at least I will get hit while enjoying some tunes.
 This is for when I do get hit... it's a Road ID and it has all the necessary emergency contact info.  The string around my wrist was tied on by a buddhist monk and is supposed to keep me safe.
Last we have a Garmin 310XT GPS that tracks my performance and allows me to work using heart rate zones.  The finishing touch is a sweet set of Oakleys that makes me waaaaaaayyyy faster (in my mind).

Monday, November 22, 2010

United Airlines - That's gonna cost extra....

Every airline is different.  Some are very proper and wear fancy uniforms, some just wear a polo shirt and call it good.  Some allow you to pick your own seat as you board, some strictly regulate and charge different prices for different seats.  Some consider a bag of pretzels a suitable meal for an 8 hour flight while others serve two full meals in the same time span. 

I'm pretty sure that United has found every possible way to charge for "options" as you travel with them.  It all starts as you check in.

First, would you like to check a bag?  Ok that will be $25 for the first one and $35 for the second.  Oh, wait you have a third bag.... $100 sounds good.  Now, please wait as we measure and weigh your bags.... oops that will be another $100 because it is too heavy.

Do you want to bring your pet?  Well, we have a strict policy that no short nosed dogs are allowed.  (not kidding)  So please leave your Boston Terrier home.

You don't want to even bring your baggage to the airport?  Well, United will ship it for you at the very reasonable price of $99!  They may not even smash it all to hell like usual.

For $349 you can avoid baggage fees for an entire year!

Did you notice that there was a little red carpet when you checked in?  Did you want to stand on it?  Well, that actually costs $9.  It is called "Premier Line" and it is rumored to make other people envy you, so it's a small price to pay.

For $47 you can make people envy you even longer as you get to use a little red carpet as you board the plane before everyone else.  Then you can sit as all the poor people board after you and fight over carry on bag space in the overhead bins.  You can enter the "Red Carpet Club" an enjoy their lounge for only $39 more.

Have you ever noticed that some seats have a couple extra inches of leg room?  You can buy your way into those seats if you want and it will only cost you $9.  They call it "Economy Plus".

Would you like to have some food?  Well, that will cost you more.... actually anywhere from $3 up to use the "Choice Menu".  Thirsty? $7 will get you a nice cold beer.

The folks at United are obviously really smart, but they have overlooked one very important option.  This one would be a gold mine actually.  You know when you are sitting at the gate before the plane is boarded... you look over and you see someone who is obviously way too big for any airplane seat and clearly hasn't showered recently.  You immediately think, "damn I hope I don't get stuck next to that person". 

Well, I propose that for a reasonable fee you can guarantee that you won't get stuck next to fat smelly people. 

No flight would be complete without a Safety Briefing so please see the card below for details.

Monday, November 15, 2010

McRib Sandwich and how to hate yourself in under 5 minutes

The McRib Sandwich has been rumored to cause riots in the South and is guaranteed to cause a riot in your mouth.
I will confess that just last week, I ate a McRib sandwich.  I did it.  I admit.

It all started with fond rememberance of my college years and my willingness to eat anything highly processed and tasty/nasty.  Well, let's just say I should have left this one in my memories.

The McRib in case you don't know, is a sandwich at McDonalds.  It's comparison to "ribs" I think, has more to do with its stamped shape than it's contents, flavor, or cooking technique.
It is a bit of a Frankenstein creation which is MOLDED, yes Molded, pork meat (assumption), in the form of a miniature rack of ribs.  Covered in very strong BBQ sauce and put on a bun with some pickles and onion type fixin’s on top.

Many down South would call this Feaux Q and I won't disagree.  If hot dogs are bad for you and questionable in content then this sandwich is hot dogs X 100.

There is a moment right before you bite into the sandwich when you consider turning back and putting it back inside the box.  You know that it could possibly cause an immediate heart attack, but, it may also make you feel full and sleepy. In reality it just makes you feel Gross and Guilty.

In the end, I am glad that I did it.  I will never do it again.  I promise.

Cheeseburgers on the other hand.......

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Open Letter to the Belchertown Police Department

Everyone driving in Belchertown is drunk!


It can't be true! you say. 

Well, I say it is true, and I can prove it!

I often run the same 6.2 mile loop in Belchertown, I like it because it has some nice rolling hills that are a good challenge. Along the way I always notice booze bottles and beer cans on the side of the road. 

Today, I brought along my camera and I figured I would do a post about how there is obviously no respect for law enforcement in Btown.

At first I started out and I was going to take a picture of EVERY container.  That lasted about 100 feet. 

This is how it went... I run 3 paces, skid to a halt and take a picture... run 3 paces, skid to a halt and take a picture.  Clearly that plan was screwed.

I settled on taking a couple pictures and just counting the rest to see how many there were total.  Well, the counting was great because I was so focused on looking for bottles that the run flew right by.  I should try that in races from now on.

So I end up in front of the Belchertown Police Station and I need to cross the street so I can take a picture of their sign.  There is a conveniently located crosswalk, a police officer parked 50 feet away looking right at me, and a crossing guard sitting on her ass in her car. 

Keep in mind I am wearing the most obnoxious Day Glo shirt you can imagine.

I step into the crosswalk and stand there as a dozen cars drive past me in each direction, the crossing guard sits in her car, the police officer stares at me.  I feel really great about my tax dollars at work. 

Eventually, one driver goes into full pucker mode and slams on his brakes nearly causing a massive pile-up as all the other cell phone users.... ummm..... I mean "drivers", snap out of their coma.

I cross the street, the crossing guard appologizes to me because she was basically useless.  I walk over, take a picture of the sign, and jog past the police officer who just stares at me as I give him a polite little wave.

I wonder... Just what is it that he is looking for???  Osama Bin Laden??? 

So, when I was only 3 miles in and had already counted 100 bottles, I quit counting.  I mean really.... what's the point?

I looked at the Belchertown Police Department web site where they describe themselves:

"The Belchertown Police Department is a full service, 24 hours per day, public safety operation. The department is responsive to citizens needs and has adopted a community policing philosophy of working in partnership with the community.
In addition to traditional police services such as investigative and reactive patrols, the Department pro-actively works with residents to collectively solve problems via neighborhood planning and strategy meetings."

Responsive to citizens needs???
Well I have some needs... 
First, I want you to look like you are doing something. 
Second, I want you to give me a police escort when I ride and run. 
Third, shoot anyone who almost hits me (note: bring lots of bullets) 
Fourth, pull someone over and arrest them for being drunk.

Ok, I don't really care if they actually ARE drunk.  Just do it so the word gets around about how you guys are a bunch of BAD ASSES and are hard on crime!  The ONE arrest this week was for a "failure to appear", come on guys, step it up!

Thanks guys!  Just one more question...

Who is responsible for putting your police station next door to a Dunkin Donuts?  Good Planning!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Inspiration is what everyone needs to get the job done.  It doesn't matter what the job is or what it accomplishes. We all need inspiration.

Personally, my inspiration is always changing.  Some days it's something big that gets me to accomplish the goal and some days it is something very small.

What got me thinking about the topic was that I did my first indoor bike trainer ride of the season. 
I don't care who you are, these indoor rides are torture and a true mental test.  You have to use every tool available to keep yourself pedaling and hold the cadence and pace.  My tools consist of a TV with cycling movies, medals from prior races, race numbers, swim caps, pictures, and a stereo.

One thing that usually gets the job done is the stereo, Ipod attached, with an endless songlist of jams.  Here comes the embarrasing bit....

The song that always makes me move faster.....

On race day it's easy.  You know you are there to compete.  You know who the competition is.  You know you want to win.

In November, in your basement, it's not so easy.  You have to envision your competition in your head.  You ask yourself... Are they working out right now?  Are they working harder than you?  Did they have an extra serving of desert? 

Beyond the music and the pictures, you need strong people around you.  People who believe in you, who support you, who cheer you on even when you are the last one to finish.

It's a fact that when I run by someone cheering my name, my legs feel stronger, my doubts fade, I'm more confident.  These people are my inspiration.

Maybe for you the inspiration comes from someone you lost.  Someone who showed you true strength and courage.  There are so many strong people in my past who showed true courage and strength, sometimes I think about them when the going gets tough.

I once read a quote that said:
"The only person who can tell you YOU CAN'T - is you - and you don't have to listen"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fat and Slow

Everyone has had one of those training days when things just didn't click. 

My first outdoor run in quite a while was supposed to show how much fitness I had retained as I had diversified my training.  I've been working hard damnit!  I just haven't been running outside.  By the end of the run I was wiped out, my form got all sloppy and I was just basically dragging myself home.

As it turns out the best way to improve or retain your running ability is to actually run.  Yes I know it is an odd concept.  Apparently practice does make perfect, go figure.

I once read a book on running that gave the advice of "you need to go slow to go fast" then later in the same book "you need to go fast to go fast".  I'm confused, I think people are just making this $h!t up.  Even some of the better books say things that are just stupid.  They use words like "effortless" to describe their running technique.  I have to call BS on that one.  I've had good runs that felt like I had springs in my legs but I would never describe them as effortless. 

So needless to say I won't be entering any races anytime soon, my ego just can't take it.  Although this is supposed to be the time of year that training isn't serious and you work on your weaknesses. Well I have a lot to work on, that is for sure. 

Maybe there will be a cheeseburger eating competition, I might have a shot.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Today started at 6 AM which I think is great considering I'm still suffering from a moderate case of jet lag.  I usually get up around 5 so that means I actally slept in.  I made a steak and cheese omlette and two cups of coffee for breakfast.  I let the dogs out and stood outside for about 5 minutes breathing the morning air.

I wonder, do you think you could tell the season just from the smell of the air?  I think that I could.  In the fall the air smells woodsy to me.  In the summer you can smell the grass.  In the spring, it smells like mud.  In the winter the air is just so dry and crisp.

I haven't been on my bike in a couple weeks and I really missed it.  There is something really great about riding in the fall.  The weather is cool but the days are still long enough to have enough time.  The rides can be more recreational and not centered on mileage, heart rate, intervals, etc. 

Today, I did one of my favorite shorter rides up to the Quabbin Tower.  It is rolling terrain with about a 2 mile steady climb to the top.  On the way, you pass over a large earth dam that usually has families and couples.  At the top their is a lookout with a tower, typically people drive to the top and sit to take in the sights.  You never know who you will see up there.

Today, there were 3 people at the top.  One park ranger sitting eating lunch in his truck and a middle aged couple who told me all about their daughter who does the Lake Placid race.  They are obviously very proud of her. 

On the way home, an older man riding a titanium road bike pulled up next to me and started a conversation.  It is always interesting the people you meet out on a ride.  This man was about 60, very lean, he was wearing and old school wool jersey and knit wool arm warmers.  He asked me what class I raced in, I told him that I was a triathlete and was too afraid to ride in a bike race.  It was clear that even though he was much older, he was much more fit that me.  Basically I drafted him for the next 4 miles until he turned off.  It was nice to have some company for a couple minutes, especially because of the wind.