Monday, October 29, 2012


Just one week ago, I found myself too tired to ride, climb my stairs, think or even hold my head up. I did not think that a week of good weather could cause me to get so tired, but, there is much to do, and when the sun shines, pixy goes out to play. Some people use a coach or a training plan but I tend to follow the sunshine. I often find myself at this equation in life: Sun = play, Rain = write. So, here I am at home writing, hunkered down, waiting for Hurricane Sandy.

The weekend Trifecta all started with Marty's Cross on early Saturday morning. I say "early" because early races caused us to get up at 5:00am. As I mentioned earlier, I work by sunshine, and the sun never shines in NJ at 5:00 am, so already I was working against my ways. This race, which is part of the local series, also happened to be the New Jersey State Championship. I put in a solid race on an unusually hilly course, leaving not much left over in my legs for anything else. Then I hung out for the festivities, and chilled with teammates and Linus, a charming little jack russell terrier.

Sunday was up early again and this time I was off to Blue Mountain with my mountain bike to race for a bottle of wine, which I somehow won. My legs were toast, but the wine ended up briefly in my hands, as I drank it the next day. The memories of the ride will be with me for long while. Blue Mountain has some awesome trails!

From The bottle ride, I headed over to the grand opening of the West Milford Family Pump Track. It was an incredible sight to see so many kids on bikes. Little and big kids alike, having a great time. I am very proud of all the hard work of the many Jorba volunteers that made this happen. I made an attempt at a few laps on the pump track, but my legs were screaming. It was home to bed for me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Road to Happiness

Over the past three weeks, I have done five cyclo-cross races and had a super-charged start to my cross race season. As much as I wanted to keep that positive race momentum rolling, I knew a weekend not traveling and racing would be beneficial for my mental health, and give Art and me a chance to catch up with other things. When Art requested the weekend off as well, I quickly agreed. If he was feeling the race bug calling, it would not have taken any arm-twisting to get me out there racing, but that was not the case. We took a weekend at home.

Last week was a bit rainy, which is good now and then, because I can actually let myself not ride a bike, and do something else. I was able to spend fours hours, with camera and clinometer in hand, scouting possible future trail re-routes. This may not seem like an exciting job, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Sure many plans and even dreams do not pan out, but finding another equation is even more satisfying and usually a better one in the long run. When you take the time (years in some cases) to find this perfect route, get all parties involved to approve it, actually watch volunteers build it and then ride it while hundreds of smiling mountain bikers travel along the trail, it is very rewarding.

As the rainy days moved out, I did something that was not in any of my already minimal training plans, but something I just felt like doing: I went for a long hilly road ride. It was probably the last real warm day of the season and the sky was blue, and the woods were wet. I felt the roads of Harriman calling me, so with no heart rate monitor or drills in my head, I left with just a bike, a camera and a sense of exploration. It felt somehow right for me.

Normally, I visit the top of Perkins at Bear Mountain in winter or spring when the road is closed to cars. The only people on the top then are extreme cyclist and hikers, like myself that make the effort to get up there by their own power. That alone is an empowering feeling after making the effort up such a climb. This time, the road was open, and I was just another tourist mingling around the top. Although I shared the view with many, it was just as special as on my winter rides. Once again, I am reminded of the beautiful landscape and roads, so close to my home in the Hudson Valley.

I took some pictures and set my own pace for the day. Although it directly had little to do with racing, it felt good to be out in the sun doing what made me happy. Any day riding a bike is good.