Fall is for Hiking

The cooler weather and changing colors motivates me to get out for a long hike, an overnight trip that can be accomplished in under 24 hours. A sub 24 overnight, s24o.

Working with the NY-NJ Trail Conference book, Hike of the Week, I constructed a variant of hike #35 leaving the Tuxedo Metro North Rail Road station hiking a ten mile loop to Lake Sebago and back.

Plenty of great views.

Harriman State Park is notoriously rocky. Really rocky. Hammock camping is the way to go here, since it gets you up off the ground and away from those rocks. Plenty of trees to choose from.

I left home, camped and was back home in under 24 hours and that included an hour-plus car drive to the trailhead. Water is scarce in the park and, as such, many overnight campers plan routes that pass one of the many lakes. There is bear activity at two of the shelter campsites (Fingerboard and Bald Rocks) so be diligent about protecting your food or chose another location to camp at.

The s24o is super efficient. You get to hike, camp out and enjoy nature and return home in time to attend to your domestic responsibilities. I finished both physically exhausted from the rocky miles and mentally recharged from spending a night alone in the woods.

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Thank Goodness for Bicycles

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They take us places, contribute to fitness and keep us sane in sometimes-insane times.

I’ve been on a roll lately in terms of ┬ábike commuting. My schedule has afforded the flexibility to ride into work in the morning and, in recent weeks, I’ve been able to commute up to 3 times a week. That’s a lot for me, since I often have early morning activities and have to be in a suit.

Then a certain virus emerged and found its way to NY. Our world has been upended to say the least. People are reasonable to be afraid of becoming exposed or sick from an enemy they cannot see. And there’s a fair amount of paranoia and hoarding. There’s not a roll of toilet paper or a tray of chicken to be found, notwithstanding that Covid 19 does not cause diarrhea and you don’t treat it with chicken thighs.

I wish people would calm the heck down and conform to what government officials are advising regarding social distancing. I drove past a coffee shop packed with people sitting next to one another this afternoon, as if completely oblivious to what is going on outside. I’m not optimistic about Americans’ ability to limit their social interactions in a time of crisis.

I’ve been socially distancing myself while getting some riding done. Solo rides, no groups, no stops for sit-down food. Lots of interruptions to do business on the phone instead of in person. I figure one of the best ways to avoid illness in general is to build fitness, build cardiovascular health, reduce stress.

I’m trying to pedal away from Covid and the stress it brings to my life.

Stay safe. Wash your hands!

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Press the Fight

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A coworker used the phrase in the title a couple of weeks ago to describe the mindset needed to work in a tactical environment. As he put it, “if someone is shooting at you, you press the fight, you move forward to eliminate the threat.” I certainly don’t work in a tactical environment, but the phrase stuck in my head and I’ve tried to adapt that mindset to other situations in my life. Maybe I’ve always done it–just a little–but now I have a phrase to mutter to myself while pressing forward.

I used the phrase last weekend while struggling up a long gravel road in Westchester, NY. I’d been up the road from the other direction once or twice. Depending on my fitness level, it is either tough or it outright sucks. I hadn’t been riding too many hills before last weekend’s ride, so it was more toward the “suck” end of the spectrum; luckily there was a cool breeze to prevent overheating. It would have been easy to pull over half way and take a breather but, armed with my new phrase, I pressed the fight to the top of the climb and then flew down the other side at nearly 45 mph. Keep moving forward.

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I’m not a big fan of the rain. I never begin a ride in the rain. If it rains while I’m already out, I’ll don a jacket and keep riding. I’ve bailed on events I paid money to enter based on the threat of rain. Until recently, the thought of purposefully setting out in the rain seemed foolish. Why would I knowingly subject myself to the slop and aggravation associated with a long, wet ride?

And then my mindset slowly began to change. There are a lot of otherwise nice days that just happen to include rain. My main riding opportunities occur on the weekends, and it rains on the weekends. I realized I was limiting myself, retreating if you will, from some good opportunities. Moreover, what’s the point of having a fender bike if it never gets wet?! So a couple of months ago I ordered some rain pants and waterproof gloves from Showers Pass with the goal of extending my riding into days that include rain, serious rain, and not being reluctant to start a ride in the rain.

As luck would have it, today was the first weekend day that would allow me to Press the Fight against rain. The weather was truly crappy with wind driven rain and coastal flooding. The wind was ferocious enough that I waited until after lunch time to suit up. Bib shorts. Wool t-shirt. Rain pants. Rain jacket. Winter boots. Waterproof gloves.

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Out to the garage I went to pump a few pounds of air into the tires. Open garage door. Clip in and exit garage. Rain stops!

Press the Fight. Eliminate the threat.

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