• Category Archives the sporting life
  • Biking, running, weights, yoga…

  • The View From Musikfest

    Pretty good night last night: we went with some of Anne’s orchestra friends and saw a trio (violin, piano, clarinet) doing Mozart and a few more modern classical pieces at the Moravian Church, then grabbed a beer at the Sun Inn, which was amazingly quiet compared to the street just outside. Left there, went home for some quick food, then caught Scythian — or the first half of their show anyway, thunder and lightning clearing the metal-pole tent. Doug & Lori joined us, as well as John & Donna who stopped by their place to grab some Scotch they got in Scotland. Much fun ensued, studying the relative merits of different Scotches… (This morning started a bit more slowly than we’d planned.)

    We caught another chamber music trio earlier this week, as well as a Faroese folk singer one evening; both of these were at the Moravian Chapel behind the church — these both were firsts for me, being inside these buildings. We also saw the Skatalites at Volksplatz, but other than that, and last night’s rained-out adventure, we’ve been avoiding Musikfest after dark. With age comes wisdom?

    Speaking of wisdom, I realized that my use of categories here (“the sporting life,” “cultural ramblings,” etc) has caused me to fragment my writing, trying to keep myself to one subject per post. I usually don’t have enough to say about any one thing to sustain a full post though, not on any regular basis at least, so my posting has dropped off and I’ve ended up not writing about anything. Therefore, I think I’ll make a conscious effort, to go back to my previous diary-like mishmash of whatever pops into my head, or into my life. Thus…

    Reading: The other book I read in Canada was A Gentleman In Moscow, by Amor Towles. This is the story of a Russian aristocrat who is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest for life in a luxury Moscow hotel. The novel has som many surprising twists that anything else I reveal would be a spoiler, so I’ll just say that this was a great book, and well worth reading.

    What else has been going on? I was back volunteering at the Canal Museum on Wednesday, but while there I heard that they had so many bike rentals last weekend that they needed to get some of the spares out of storage, and their tires were low on air, etc. So, I went in yesterday and went through all the bikes, making sure that they would be ready for use if needed this weekend. I also did some volunteering at CAT on Tuesday, building up a bike with Anne. In terms of actually riding bikes, Anne and I did a road ride, with lunch in Riegelsville, and Doug and I rode Jacobsburg on Thursday. Yesterday was rainy, and tonight threatens more, so if I ride tomorrow it’ll probably be a road ride.


  • Huckleberry Hounds

    Posted on by Don

    We just got back from a trip to Brady’s Lake to pick blueberries, the high-bush kind that may or may not actually be huckleberries rather than blueberries — these are big berries, and huckleberries are supposedly smaller (and grow on evergreens), so I’d still go with blueberries. Two hours of picking, and I think we got more than three quarts — and it looks like there’s a lot more to be had as the season progresses. No bear sightings, though…

    Yessssssss! Successsssss! The keyboard crapped out on my laptop a few weeks ago, with the “S” key sticking more and more — very frustrating. I finally brought it in to a repair shop yesterday, where I had the keyboard replaced, as well as the insides cleaned (like, the fan/air vents) and the heat sink refurbished. I thought it would be days, but he called in about an hour saying it was done, and I picked up my cool-running, feels-like-new laptop that afternoon. Sweet!

    No Bearings On The Case We rode to Anne’s orchestras summer picnic yesterday, along with Shari, an orchestra-mate who lives in our neighborhood. It was a reasonable distance, maybe 14 miles one way, but we were going slow and I wanted to be wearing normal clothes/shows when we arrived. So, I took the Iguana, for its first big ride since I re-worked the headset last Tuesday at the CAT office. That was a bit of a disaster: I took off the stem, lock nut and spacers, then as I was taking the upper race off all the ball bearings fell out of the bottom bearing and scattered bouncing across the floor. Turns out the seal was gone, and the bearing cage was mostly gone, so once I loosened the fork there was nothing holding them in. I managed to retrieve most of them and replace the missing ones, put them into what was left of the cage with a whole lot of grease to act as “glue,” and put it all back together. This is a temporary fix until I can get a new bearing/cage assembly, but despite everything, the bike’s steering feels better now than it has in years.


  • Sprinter’s Blues

    Posted on by Don

    I’ve fallen so far behind my normal riding fitness this summer that I decided to take a drastic step:  intervals.

    Yes, I began doing them last week, on a standard towpath ride to Easton and back — I added three 1-minute intervals (with approximately 2 minutes rest between) on the return, and it beat me into the ground. Today I did a harder but more structured workout: 10 minutes warm-up, then the same 1 minute all-out, 2 minutes easy for five intervals (basically, from the Minsi Trail Bridge to the ball-field), then did the rest of the ride at an easy pace. It was totally doable this time, but now my legs have a lot to say about it.

    Tomorrow I’ll be riding in to the Canal Museum, but that (and the later “Ladies’ Ride”) will be fairly easy. Thursday morning will be a run, and then Friday morning will be the next interval workout. Two days a week is pretty hardcore, but I should start seeing results within a month.

    But…. well, ugh. I guess all I can say is that I did it to myself.

    PS I also did a short run this morning. One mile at a really mild pace, no knee issues.

     


  • The Fever Broke

    Posted on by Don

    Pretty cool today, and rainy too. I’m just hanging out, arguing with people who are wrong on the Internet (Facebook specifically), claiming that pedestrians do not have the right of way at every crosswalk, whether marked or not. FYI: unless there are traffic lights to otherwise control the intersection, pedestrians do have the right of way at every crosswalk (which includes the implied continuations of sidewalks, etc. across and through an intersection), not just the ones that are marked. Now you know — and now so do they, but they won’t believe me…

    Meantime, I got in a few good rides this week, including one “hot lap” on the towpath: pushed the pace on the way out, then did intervals on the way back. I was beat up, but still managed to join Anne, John, Dianna and another rider for a more leisurely, evening towpath ride, followed by burgers & beer al fresco at Brew Works. (Anne and I did a nice rode into Easton the other night, and had a nice beer at Two Rivers.)

    I may take a walk over to Southside for some sort of lunch, where I will also be buying tickets for Southside Film Festival for tonight and tomorrow.


  • Getting In The Miles

    Posted on by Don

    We just had a string of nice days this past week, and I finally got in some decent riding: I did a towpath ride on Monday, a decent (if slow) lap at Sals on Wednesday, followed by another towpath ride Wednesday night with Anne and some friends, and I took the towpath to get to and from the Canal Museum yesterday. (I also got in a good ride at Jacobsburg last Friday, as well as that aborted Nox ride on Sunday.) The rides are currently a bit Towpath-centric, but I had a lot of fun at Sals and the ‘Burg so I think I’ll be branching out. I still have yet to get out on the road bike.

    Today is rainy, and tomorrow and Sunday might prove to be the same. Blogging, bike maintenance, listening to the blues…

     


  • What Not To Do

    Today I had plans to ride at Nockamixon, my only worries being that the trails might be closed because of recent rains (though it hadn’t rained in four days so things were probably OK), and if it were open, that it would be so crowded I wouldn’t be able to park at Tower Road. I got a late start, and the Tower Road parking lotwas pretty crowded but there were still a few spots open. So far so good: I got a spot and the trails were open.

    There was a weird vibe there though, something I pick up on sometimes at certain New Jersey trailheads: a sort of laconic cockiness in the conversations, everyone pretending to be the alpha male or something, and trying to sound superior without allowing the effort to show. Hard to describe, but I know it when I see it or hear it, and it always indicatesthe presence of assholes. Uh oh, maybe Sunday isn’t my day to hit Nox.

    I didn’t know anyone there at first, but then Jen S rode up just as I finished getting ready. She was parked right next to me, and we got to talking. She said she’d come out with the intention of doing several laps but had stopped after one — the place was really muddy.  Now I was in a quandary: Nox is fragile and the ground gets really soft when wet, but I was already there after a 40 minute drive, and I really wanted to ride…

    I rode anyway — I figured it couldn’t be all that bad and still be open, but I was seriously mistaken. I got about a mile in on the first loop and hit a long section of inches-deep, churned up mush with standing water on top, and saw moving water, like maybe from a seep, flowing over the ground in another area, and decided that being out was a bad idea. I bailed not long after, taking a grassy doubletrack that led back to Tower Road.

    It was a bit disconcerting to think that so many people were riding there in these conditions, but of the people I came across on the trail, I was the only one who seemed bothered by the mud, at least in terms of trail damage, and I was the only one who didn’t continue.


  • Where Does The Time Go?

    I’m not sure where it’s gone, but here I am all alone… Anne is at a knitting convention; she should be home tomorrow, but I’ve been on my own the past few days.

    So, what have I been up to, this past week and this past month? Lets see:

    Riding: I got out at Jacobsburg yesterday, and I got in a towpath ride the day before — a fairly hot lap too, for me and for this time of year, which I guess is why the ‘Burg was so tiring. Today I helped out with Bike Smart Easton (kid’s biking education program) at Calypso Elementary, but otherwise took it as a rest day, and tomorrow I may ride either Sals or Nox. I’m supposed to help with a Sals trash cleanup tomorrow, so that may influence my decision, one way or another.

    Travel: We just got back from visiting Emmi and Kyle in Durham, where we participated in the March for Science in Raleigh, among many other things, except riding: we did a run the first day we were there, and it was sunny for the march, but otherwise it was a rainy, rainy visit. Plenty of good but heavy food, some bookstores and coffee shops, and some really cool night spots — our typical Durham visit.

    We also did a short trip to Rehoboth Beach about a month ago, just a few days to do some riding and visit Dogfish Head Brewing.

    Reading: I’ve been obsessing over the “Expanse” series, by James S.A. Corey. More on this later but it’s some seriously good space opera, and I’ve read five of the six published books (out of a total of nine planned).

    I’ve also been doing a bit of volunteering at the Canal Museum, and also quite a bit of playing with the mapping software, but those’ll have to be other stories.


  • A Win Is A Win

    Remember how I said my only New Year’s resolution was to ride more this year? Well, procrastination FTW: I just got out for the first ride of the year today… Out along the towpath, taking pictures of old locks and industrial ruins. Cold but sunny, it was a pretty nice day for a ride, even though the ground was mushy in places and there were headwinds on the way home, and it felt really good to be riding.

    By the way, tomorrow is the big Chili Contest in Easton. I’ll be meeting Eric and his neighbor George there, and maybe Doug and Lori, and I expect to see a whole bunch of the old Easton crowd as well. I just may get up early and do a short run before going over, but as they say, we shall see.


  • Therefore Let It Be Resolved

    Well, the holidays are over, presents unwrapped, toasts drunk and the house guests have all gone home, now it’s time to assess the past year and plan for the coming one…

    I have only one resolution for 2017: I will ride my bike a lot more than I did last year. I mean, last year was kind of pathetic, even after accounting for my July mishap.

    monthly exercise column chart for 2016
    Here we see the ugly truth.

    I have to say though, that this is mileage, and miles don’t tell the whole story: my best and most enjoyable rides (other than June’s long Jim Thorpe solo ride) were those camping trips in Jim Thorpe and Bald Eagle, and the big Fall group MTB rides — and on those rides I mostly held my own, I was nowhere near as out of shape as I feared. (I won’t show it here, but I just looked it up, and my saddle time last year was almost double my 2015 and 2014 times. For what it’s worth…)

    Anyway, my resolution is to ride more.

    These aren’t resolutions, but here are some other things I want to be a part of my life in 2017:

    • Get a better grip on my finances
    • Pick up the cello again
    • Learn a few computer-assisted design things (mapping, 3D CAD, the web)
    • And finally, I want to find a niche in the gig economy, something to bring in some pin money

    I’m already on my way for all but the last, but for that one I’m still not sure what I might want to do or how to make it happen.


  • Winterizing

    I got in a towpath ride this afternoon, and one on Friday as well. Both of them were short versions — now that the day ends earlier, I really have to get myself out earlier in the day — and both of them involved at least a little bit of snow. I felt pretty good on each, not too cold except my face at the very start. It really feels like winter is here, and I think I’m ready.