Hash tag #42..

New speak or old speak, 42 in the number of miles I rode on my bicycle on Saturday.  The adventure was billed as a four-ish hour tour.  After a few missed turns due to GPS issues, I found myself exhausted, fighting the wind, ten miles from the final objective.  My cell phone was rapidly running out of juice. I was faced with calling it a day or riding on without the ability to contact my DW when I either made it to the end of the ride or just had enough. But I getting ahead of myself..

The adventure was like most grand bar schemes, dreamed up after a few beers or a glass or two of wine.  The idea, which has been brewing for the last three or four years, was to ride my bike for 50 miles. The distance seems unattainable for me. I have tried the ride to conquer that distance twice and have twice come up short.  The starting point is my home in Manahawkin and the planned end point is the Margaritaville Cafe in Atlantic City.

Due to geography and highway planning, there is no direct route to Atlantic City from my house on a bicycle. The trip involves a meandering tour of the Pine Barrens.   This summer’s bicycle riding was supposed to be the big training push for the September or October big ride. The the heart issues and life stepped in the way of my training.  I have avoided the big ride in the summer months since I tried the big ride in the summer and did not make it and ran out of drinks out in the middle of nowwhere.

I was ready Saturday. Food and drinks in my backpack and in the carriers on my bike frame. One cell phone to do the GPS navigation, one cell phone to track the ride via Map My Ride and a Ipod to provide the music.  One ear for music and one ear for directions!  What could go wrong?  Well the phone doing the GPS locked up at the first turn that I did not know. I had to stop and reboot the phone. One hour and forty-five minutes later, at another turn that I did not know, the battery on that phone went belly up.

Out of my pocket came the printed  directions.  I used the paper copy for the next 15 miles. Finally at mile 37, the phone doing the Map MY RIde app was almost dead. That was decision time. There are not any pay phones left in the world.  Maybe there are, but would you want to bet on finding one and having enough change to use it?  That was the point that I called my DW and said “Uncle”. Come and get me. I rode another 5 miles while waiting for my ride home. I did accomplish riding the longest distance for the year.

We stopped at Allan’s Clam Bar for lunch. We were only 10 miles from Margaritaville, but I was not driving there if I could not ride my bike there.  Lunch was good. Clams on the half shell, fried scallops and mussels in white wine and garlic.

I am already planning for next year.

Here are two pictures.  See the captions. Thanks for reading.

Namaste

Can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man..

Sunday, my brother the weatherman and I rode our bicycles in the Ataxia FARA Bike Ride outside of Philadelphia. We choose to ride the 25 mile  route. The cue sheet that was provided before hand seemed to indicate that the total elevation of the ride was 1500 feet over 25 miles. That would be a hilly course. After the ride, the Map My Ride app on my phone recorded something closer to 600 feet of elevation change. I’m not disappointed that the hills were less than we thought.  The ride was fun. The weather was ok, cloudy and cool. Just a bit breezy.

By far, the best part of the ride was the after the ride food and beverages. Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bone Fish Grill provided the food. First class, restaurant quality, all you can, food. You got your bracelet when you signed in for the ride.  The bracelet was you ticket to all the food you could eat. The beverages were provided by Victory Beer and Barefoot Wines.  There also was water and powerade. Also, all you can drink.  We both enjoyed the food and a beer or two after the ride. And, at one of the rest stops there was a tub of home-made chocolate chip cookies. I’ve never seen that before.  We will do this ride again.

My heart handled the ride just fine.  My legs held up there end as well.  I have been pushing myself a little more each week trying to figure out what my new reality is.  I could have pushed harder Sunday. I tried to push here and there and take it easy and enjoy the scenery at other times.  I took two hot yoga classes last week. One was the usual Absolute yoga class with a different teacher. The usual teacher was on vacation. The Thursday night hot yoga was a “fitness flow” class.  This means that you move a lot in the heat. That was a tough class. I survived and will go again this week.

Here are a few pictures from the ride on Sunday.  Enjoy! 

Thanks for reading.

Namaste

 

The revolving kitchen or front door…

Revolving doors, it seems like this past week we had quite a few visitors at home.  Friday I had two visits from DS1. His job sent him towards LBI first thing and then back again around lunch time. He stopped by for “the best breakfast” in the past week. We had pork roll and eggs. If you have been following along, I work from home on Fridays. He was back for lunch as well. It was nice to see him and share two meals. Half way through lunch he mentioned that he was still full from breakfast. Five minutes later he was up getting some more lunch. The cheese noodles were a hit (along with the leftover Coney Island hot dogs).

Friday night DS3 came home for the weekend. He wanted to visit with some of his high school friends for the weekend. We (DW and I) saw him for part of Friday evening and for a few hours on Saturday. He and his friends came by the house and had a fire in the backyard Saturday night. Sunday morning he  went back to school.  One walks out the door and the next walks in the door. A slightly empty nest last week. This week, no visitors so far.

DS2 and I are going to Chicago on October 26 for a graduate open house at the Columbia College of Chicago. They have a Masters program in music composition for tv, film and theatre. I have never been to Chicago.  Well, that is not true, we once stopped in Chicago flying from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Yep, think about that trip.  I have been doing some research on the school. If anyone reading this knows about the school, drop me line. I am also looking for suggestions for breakfast, dinner and a hotel either near the school (South Loop) or near Midway Airport.

At home, yoga rules the roost. Monday is hot yoga, Tuesday is adult school yoga, Wednesday is gentle yoga and Thursday is restorative yoga. Friday we drink beer.  Weekends we avoid working on the hot tub and watch some football.

Sunday I rode my bike for the first time since the beginning of August. This coming weekend we (the Weatherman and I) are scheduled to ride in Pa. I needed to work out some of the rust (in my legs). The ride went well.  We also picked late season tomatoes from the garden and made four cups of salsa, yum!

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Namaste

DS1's 25 th birthday back in July

DS1’s 25 th birthday back in July

Oh Brother, Where art thou?

This was the title of a movie released in 2000 set in the 1930’s Deep South.   That is according to the IMDb website. I have never seen the movie. The title is also appropriate to the bike ride my brother the weatherman and I did on Sunday, July 28, 2013.  We rode in the Harlem Valley Rail Ride 2013. The ride started and ended in Millerton, NY. Millerton is about 200 miles from where I live down the Jersey Shore.  Sunday morning, at 5 am, I drove to North Jersey and put my bike on the weatherman’s car and threw my gear in the backseat. He drove the other half of the ride to Millerton.

The ride had several choices for bike riders. 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles. Each of these rides had increasing difficulty due to elevation changes on the routes. I looked at the description of each of the rides and decided that I was not in good enough shape for any of the rides. Then listed on the bottom of the webpage, as an almost after thought note, that a 40 mile ride would be available with “no significant elevation changes”  I figured, I should be able to push myself to 40 miles. My longest ride for the summer was 36 miles. What is another 5 or so miles?

We found out what elevation changes are considered “insignificant” over a 41 mile ride. Notice the extra mile that crept in there?  The ride had many insignificant elevation changes that added up to 1040 feet of elevation gain. I was pretty beat by the end of the ride. Between miles 27 and 31 we rode through a torrential downpour. When it rains like that and you are on your bike, you just put your head down and ride. Set a pace and try to avoid the bigger puddles. After the ride they had a festival where you could eat all you want from the county BBQ that was set up. The local VFW had a beer truck set up selling beer to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.  The food was good and the beer was cold. Just what was needed after chasing my brother though the “valley” around Millerton.

I walked a few of the hills, it was all I could do. He rode them all. I got to the top of a few of the hills and he had ridden on ahead. I eventually caught up to him each time. I think he would have finished the ride 30 minutes sooner if he had not peddled slowly waiting for me. Thanks for waiting for me!

He shot some pictures on his cell as we rode. I will add them to the bottom and caption them as necessary.  Thanks for reading!

Namaste

 

 

Triumphant ride into Manahawkin..

Maybe one of the last Tour De France blogs for this year. Today was the final day the Map My Ride (an app for your phone) Tour De France Challenge.  The challenge, if you have been just clicking Like and not reading (just kidding), has been to ride your bike for at least 20 minutes each day the riders in the Tour De France ride their bikes.  I completed the challenge this morning at 8:55 am. That noise you heard was the cheering throngs lining Lime Guy Bouvard cheering me on to the finish. The reality was quite different (as it usually is). I did finish my nearly 25 mile ride this morning around 8:55 am, but there was nobody home except for my DW. The neighbors were hiding behind their air conditioning. A quiet morning in the neighborhood.

I finished the challenge having ridden 306 miles in 23 rides. Out of 24,956 participants, I am ranked number 2939!  Not bad to a 53-year-old man who could stand to lose a few pounds.  It was a lot of work. There were lots of mornings at 5:51 am when the alarm went off that I wanted to roll over. Now what? I will ride less frequently, but the health benefits should continue.  And, it has not rained here in Manahawkin in the morning since at least June 29 th!

Children, where are they today? Funny that you should ask. Let’s see, DS1 is in Philadelphia with a childhood friend after spending Saturday in NYC at a concert on Governor’s Island.  He is scheduled to come home after work tomorrow. DS2 is on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his girlfriend and her family. They had a very long drive from the Jersey shore to Cape Hatteras yesterday. I’m glad I was not in the car. DS3 is on the train from New York’s Penn Station to Long Branch, NJ. He spent the day in NYC with his girlfriend. She lives out on Long Island, so the city is a good central place for them to meet.

My DW went to yoga this morning.  I took a short nap after riding while she went to class. Then we went grocery shopping. See, the Lime Guy life is not all glamour and Hollywood parties! I worked in the garden this afternoon harvesting a 5 gal bucket of tomatoes and cucumbers. Most of the tomatoes got ground up for sauce and frozen for the winter. I will probably be bringing cucumbers into work to give away this week.

The boardwalk in Seaside Heights is open! Really. We went there Friday night and there were not many people. Get out while you can, summer is going to pass you by!

Here are a few pictures with captions.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading..  Who needs PRISM? Just read the blog, dude!

Namaste

 

 

Tour De Brooklyn 2013..

Sunday I rode with 1300 of my closest friends in the 9 th annual Tour De Brooklyn. The ride is sponsored by and benefits Transportation Alternatives.  They are an advocacy group for walkers, bike riders and people that use the public transit in New York City.  I first encountered them a few years ago when my brother the weather man and I rode in the Five Boro Bike Tour.  I did not know any of the 1299 (or so) other people that rode in the Tour De Brooklyn. The organizers told us at the beginning of the ride that were riding with 1300 of our closest friends.  That might be a tough sell in NYC. But, we were all there for the same reason, to ride our bikes in a “parade” though Brooklyn.

The ride was about 20 miles long. The pace, a leisurely 7 or 8 miles per hour. When you are used to riding around 14 or 15 miles an hour, that pace is sometime painful. You still have to pedal the same distance, it just takes longer. The demographics of the ride? Funny you should ask. There was every size, shape, color or bikes, helmets, shoes, outfits and people that you can imagine. I took nearly 200 pictures before and at the rest stop of the riders and their bikes. I will post a few of the interesting ones down below. Here is a Drop Box link to the folder with all the pictures.  Enjoy!  Maybe if you or someone you know rode in the tour, you picture might be in that collection.

Thoughts about riding for 3.5 hours with 1300 other bike riders:

  • The start and stops (beginning, water break, restart and finish) are the scariest part of the ride. Everybody wants to go or stop at the same time.
  • Can you imagine riding 20 miles in a skirt, tube top and high heels? More of a question for the women readers (I hope!)  But then it was NYC!
  • How about bringing your dog with you on the ride. The dog rode in a back pack getting out now and then to smell the fire hydrants
  • Maybe riding with your four better than best friends is great way to spend a Sunday morning but riding four across and talking with 1000 bike riders behind you isn’t the best plan. Two at a time is good for an easy conversation, bike ride. That way the rest of us can get by.
  • Being thankful that the person you saw wipe out in the last mile of the ride was not you
  • Wondering what the crowds in some of the “downtown” stretches of Brooklyn thought about the 1300 bikes riding down the middle of their streets, closing off the cross-streets and cross-walks for I’m guessing 15 minutes at a time, or more.
  • It was fun to part of something bigger than just my normal day-to-day
  • Bring sun screen next time

I had fun. So much fun that I signed up for the Tour De Queens. That ride goes off July 7.  Maybe I will meet some of my 1300 Tour De Brooklyn friends over in Queens.

Here are a few pictures from the ride, enjoy!

Namaste