Saturday, October 13, 2012

Two wheel week ...

Heritage Rail Trail near Glen Rock, PA

It's been a week since my last post. I've been down from my usual monthly average of 6 to 8 for a while now, and there is a good reason for that. My schedule has been really packed lately -- not just from work, although this is one of my busiest times of the year. I have been getting up really early every morning to get to the gym before work. And that has shifted the time I go to sleep every night. Typically, most of my posts are written later at night, so I've taken a lot of that time away by going to sleep early. Seems like I'm still working on the whole "balance" thing with all of this stuff.

So what all that means, though, is that I may be packing a whole week worth of riding into a single post for a little while - at least until I can adjust to my new schedule. And the last week has been pretty much packed with two-wheel fun.

Last Saturday, I met up with my buddy Scott at his place in Glen Rock to ride the Heritage Rail Trail from his house to Towson and back. (It was also my inaugural ride on the Hakkalugi!) I've been friends with Scott for more than 25 years. We grew up down the street from one another in NJ, and I rarely get a chance to see him these days so it was really cool to get out there and do the ride. He isn't a cyclist at all, but he's really gotten into shape over the last year and I was probably ore confident than he was that he'd be able to handle the ride. We rode out to the end of the trail, which just happened to be near a great BBQ joint Scott had been telling me about. So we had lunch there before heading back. All in all, a great day (and the Hakkalugi was awesome!)

The train stop in New Freedom

Our turnaround point -- The Corner Stable BBQ joint near Towson. Good stuff!

A waterfall in Maryland's Big Gunpowder State Park. The trail rides right through the park.

Coming back into Glen Rock

I stayed at Scott's place overnight because I'd planned to do Iron Cross on Sunday. But I checked Facebook before going to sleep and saw the warning message about low temps and rain on Sunday, and when I saw that I realized that I'd completely forgotten to bring any kind of cold weather gear beyond a single thin base layer! Now, I've had hypothermia from a race before (it was about 9 or 10 years ago at Ringwood) and I never want to experience that again. So I decided that I would take a "wait and see" approach -- if it rained in the morning, I'd bail. And at 6:30 I was up and in Carlisle, and sure enough, it was raining and I decided to forego my first Iron Cross. Turns out, I jumped the gun -- it was dry all day for those guys at the race! In fact, it rained on me all the way home, and even during the ride I did do when I got my warm rain gear on and took the Hakkalugi out to Wissahickon. But it never rained in Michaux! Dammit! I should have stuck around and waited. Next year, I'm there if I'm still able to pedal a bike, that's for sure!

Actually, I was sick on Monday. Don't know if was allergies or a 24 hour bug, but I was sneezing and achy all day, so maybe it's best that I didn't ride. Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that! Seriously, though, I did have a good week overall. I worked from home on Monday, but still got up early to ride to the gym and back. And then I did a couple other rides during the week (Wednesday night, I did a short ride after a massage -- I actually don't recommend that: after you get a massage, the best thing to do is just sit back and enjoy the way you feel. I may have undone some good stuff getting out for a ride afterward.) But the best ride of the week was probably Thursday night's ride. Just a beautiful night in Philly and I got out for about 30 miles. I actually got down to the last few minutes of battery life on my light, too, which is always the sign of a god ride. I'll let the pictures do the talking on the ride itself:

Started with the sun still up at 6:00

The sun going down across Forbidden Drive

My world became a 30 foot beam of light for a few hours

Popping out of the Spaghetti Bowl on Ridge Ave.

Tired and happy ... best way to end a ride!

On Friday, my only ride was my commute, but something interesting did happen -- I got hit by a car! I was riding along Church Road in Lansdale with traffic backed up. I was passing a bunch of cars, but one of them had apparently told a guy in an SUV to take a left turn in front of him, and I didn't see him and he didn't see me. Next thing I know, I was trying to stop suddenly, which is not that easy to do on a fixie if you aren't expecting it! I bounced off the front of his car and had to lay down my bike. I wasn't hurt, but my bike did hit the ground. I awkwardly avoided going down myself. I can't really blame the guy too much because it was kind of like we were both in one another's blind spot. One lady kind of panicked and told me afterward that seeing the crash about to happen almost made her puke. I actually felt worse for her -- I wasn't hurt at all, and I kind of figured it was an eventuality anyway, so if this is all I have to deal with getting my first crash on the fixie out of the way, I'll take it.

Finally, today was a crazy busy day. I got up early to do a "loosen-up" ride before I race the Wood-to-Wonderful 4 Hour tomorrow at Blue Marsh. I took along the camera and got a few good early autumn shots on the trail:

Mornings always go better with rock gardens

Sun-up in the Wissahickon

A perfect morning to ride, coming ...

... or going

A few more ...

After the ride, I spent the rest of the day doing lawn work -- cleaning up those damn cigar-like see pods which fall all over the lawn and then a long-overdue rake and mow. 

Tomorrow, I race at Blue Marsh, so my two wheel week will continue. I really love this time of year, don't you? 

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