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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Drowning My Sorrows?

Today I was nearly "one of those people" you read about. You know, those crazy people who try to cross raging rivers in their cars because it "didn't look that deep." Those people who end up washed out to sea or found at the bottom of a drainage ditch.

It rained like mad today. Definitely the hardest rain we've had here in years. We got nearly five inches in five to six hours here in Westerly.

Joe Cascio had asked me to meet him in Watch Hill for coffee, at 1:30. By 1:15 the lightning had finally let up, so I left. Didn't get very far, though. Less than a half mile from the house, I tried to cross what looked like a very deep puddle. There was a car in the oncoming lane that was just sitting there... and I found, too late, that behind him the water was both much too deep and moving very fast.

I got stuck, and the rain kept falling. Here's a movie of it:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

PMC Day 1: Sturbridge to Bourne, by the Numbers

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This was my sixth year riding the PMC, and my fourth year to include the Huckleberries ride (which makes it a three-day event). Those previous three years, I was totally exhausted on Saturday morning from the hard ride on Friday.

This year was different...

Read the Full Story

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rides #37, #42 and #44: Friends, Hills, and the Slimming Effects of Lightning

Corinne has been hearing about my lack of updates here on [tw] from her friends, who I think mostly just want more pictures of Lauren (I don't blame them!). I've been much too quiet lately.

I'm going to pay for that quietness, soon. The PMC is in less than two months, and I haven't raised a penny yet. What an idiot.

This particular update, however, is not about Lauren, Corinne, her friends, or the PMC. It's about my riding (and weight loss) over the last month. I'll start with:

Ride #37: Birthday Loop with Steve

Steve Davis came down on May 23rd to ride the storied Birthday Loop with me.

Steve is in fantastic shape, much better for mid-Spring than I've ever known him to be, since we started riding together years ago.

I, on the other hand, was still getting over my cold. I'd only ridden three times in the previous two weeks, and was still coughing quite a bit.

The result: Steve was very patient with me. We did the whole ride, of course, but averages only 17.5 mph. He easily could have handled a 19 mph average, which is quite impressive with all the climbing.

My stats are missing a couple of miles because my bike computer mysteriously shut off for a little while. However, Steve had exactly the same average speed as I did when we were done, so I'm just going to stick with what mine said.

Stats: 52.56 miles (84.62 km) in 3h 0' 0" for an average speed of 17.52 mph (28.20 kph).

Ride #42: Cracked 260

This ride is notable only because I finally cracked 260. That is, my weight finally dropped below it.

I thought that was quite an accomplishment, so I checked my stats for last year. EXACTLY THE SAME DATE!! Oy! Still, last year my weight was only below 260 for two days, then it went back up and stayed there for another month. This year, it's continued going down, and I'm hoping to drop below 250 before the end of the month.

How far can I drop before PMC? This will be my sixth PMC, and I've never been below 250.

Stats: 43.91 miles (70.69 km) in 2h 17' 12" for an average speed of 19.20 mph (30.91 kph).

Ride #44: Lightning Has Struck My Brain!

Sorry, the title for this ride was just a hook to get you to read the story. (Ok ok, I'll stop. I'm sure Sean, at least, is moaning by now...)

(Update, 10 months later: that humor was a little too subtle. "Lightning has struck my brain" is a quote from the movie, "Hook". The statement "just a hook to get you to read" was a hint. Nobody got it.)

This ride was on Sunday, the beginning of our current heat wave. I left the house planning to do the birthday loop again, after spending 45 minutes carefully cleaning up my drivetrain. The first 20 miles were quite hot, but I can handle hot. After the first ten miles, I saw the storm coming in but hoped it was going to pass to the North.

No such luck.

I climbed Cossaduck hearing thunder. Second time this year I've managed to climb it "out of the saddle" from bottom to top. Once again, I forgot to set the lap timer on my bike computer, so I have no idea how much I've improved. (My first trip up the hill this year was a pitiful 4:40!!)

Heard a lot more thunder while I was on Gilliver, but they were still five or six seconds after the flash so I figured I was ok. At that point, I was riding away from the storm.

In the last mile of Route 49, just before the turn onto Wyassup, the sprinkling started and I knew the storm was going to catch me, but now I was in farm country. What was I supposed to do? I kept riding.

On Wyassup, with the thunder rolling almost constantly, I crested one of the hills telling myself "think negative thoughts! Think negative!" (Lightning is electrons and have a negative charge. Negative thoughts would therefore repel lightning, right? Keep up with me here, folks.) But, at the top of one of the two hills (I can't remember which, now, but I think it was the second), everything around me went bright purple! I'm not kidding, I thought at first that I'd been struck. There was enough time for me to yell "yi" before my "yikes!" was drowned out in the loudest thunder I've heard in 30 years.

I wasn't hit, obviously, but it must have been cloud-to-cloud right over head. (Or perhaps it hit the ground near me.) That was exciting.

Aside: When I was quite young, I remember standing at my grandparents back door in Berkley, MA, when lightning struck the back yard just a few yards away. That was some kind of loud, and I've had a love for lightning every since.

After that, the rain started in earnest and I just rode home. That took about ten miles off the ride, but it was fun. (Now I need to clean my drive train again!)

Stats: 44.67 miles (71.91 km) in 2h 30' 21" for an average speed of 17.82 mph (28.70 kph).

Oh, and I'm now down to 254. :-D

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ride #25: Gotta Love Those Rest Days!

In the eight days from the 14th to the 21st, I rode seven times. The only day I missed was Friday the 18th. 236 miles (380 km) in eight days (seven rides). That's one of my best weeks ever, not counting the PMC every year.

But, all that riding really doesn't do you much good if you don't take a rest once in a while. Tuesday the 22nd I worked form Rich's house all day (before picking up Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren from the airport that night. It's wonderful to have my girls home!) So, no ride. Then on Wednesday I worked on stuff for Bare Bones in the morning and working on my (LAST) midweek Bible class in the afternoon. Another day off.

By this morning I was feeling fat again. Mark and I drove up to visit Mike (Lauren's dad) at his "home away from home" in Somers, CT, and I had a Big Mac for lunch. Yay nutrition! By the time we got home I felt fat and lazy. Time for a ride!

As of today I've lost eight pounds since the beginning of the month, and twelve pounds since my heaviest weight this year. My weight is now down to the same as it was at this time last year, but I'm trending down. (Last year, I endured a very long plateau. I'm being much smarter this year.)

Today is also a nice little anniversary. It's been four years since my first ride on my wonderful Seven Axiom Steel. I'm still so ridiculously happy with this bike... it's definitely my favorite-major-purchase of all time.

Here are the total and average stats for those four years:

Summary of rides from 4/24/2004 to 4/24/2008
Rides: 495 Miles: 19278.36 miles (31025.51 km) Time: 42day 7h 55m 12s
Avg. Speed: 18.97 mph (30.53 kph) Avg. Miles: 38.94 miles (62.66 km) Avg. Time: 2h 3m 8s

Fastest 22.05 mph (35.48 kph) Miles: 21.12 miles (33.98 km) Date: 9/12/2005
Slowest 15.5 mph (24.94 kph) Miles: 9.0 miles (14.48 km) Date: 4/24/2004

Avg. Weight: 257 lbs Max Weight: 297 lbs Min Weight: 239 lbs

Wow. Almost 20,000 miles in four years! (That table will only look right on the the site, not in email. You've been warned.)

When looking at those weights, please keep in mind that I'm 6' 9". 297 is heavy even for me, but 257 isn't too bad, and I'm quite happy when I'm in the 240's by mid-summer.

One last thing: the weather this April has been unreal. It's been more than two weeks since we had any rain, has been bright and sunny almost all of that time, and it was in the upper 70's today! It feels great now, but what does this say about the upcoming summer? I'm worried we're going to fry, and this is starting to feel like the makings of a drought. Two rainless weeks in April? Uh oh. (This weekend has rain in the forecast. We'll see.)

Tomorrow I'll do the big hill ride again if I can knock off enough time for it.

Stats: 42.59 miles (68.56 km) in 2h 18' 7" for an average speed of 18.50 mph (29.78 kph).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Shannon started working last week at the Staples in New London.

Shannon's mom came up for the week with Shannon's son, Richie. For about half the week Richie was here with us, the other half he was with her mom. She also gave Shannon her manual-transmission Jeep. We're working on teaching Shannon to drive it. Shannon doesn't stall at every intersection, and she doesn't panic every time there's a car approaching on the right.

I have the flu.

The Blazer and Toyota are both on the road again. Knock knock.

Doris Sternberg, an old family friend and my mom's surrogate-mother for the last 20 years, died last night. She was quite old, and was loved by pretty much everybody. (I remember picking Aunt Doris up at her apartment every Wednesday night when I was a teenager in NH, to drive her to Bible class.) She'll be missed, terribly, but we know we'll see her again.

Lauren and Shannon have started to come to an understanding. Shannon's forcing it a little, but babies adapt very quickly. All Shannon really cares about right now is that Lauren start calling her "mommy" ASAP. Sigh.

She's even trying to compete with us for Lauren's attention, though I'm not sure she's aware of it. (And, it's a very one-sided competition.) Example: yesterday Lauren had some toy in her hand, and was holding it out to me. Every time I put out my hand so she could give it to me, she'd snatch it back and smile devilishly. Shannon saw it happen and immediately started asking, "Can I have it? Lauren, can I have it?" Lauren gave it to her, and Shannon showered her with praise and thank-you's. ::shrug::

Corinne is thinking about Shane even more than usual, these days, as we approach the anniversary. It all starts with the Super Bowl (which, in 2004, was when we started seeing a lot of him again). She went through a really bad patch last week when Richie was here and she was feeling overwhelmed, but she's better now.

I plan to start asking for donations for the PMC software auctions this month.

I'm sorry that updates have been so few and far between this year. I barely have time to live this life, never mind write about it.

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