Thursday, August 30, 2012

3 Days Later

Picton Cola

3 days, 300 kilometers.

One train ride, three ferries, three days of riding; 300 kilometers later. Still going strong (well strong-ish). Riding so much gives you two things: a sore ass and an inflated sense you can eat as much crap as you want and drink as much beer as you like without gaining any weight. It may be true. Only time will tell. We've reached Watertown, New York and now we're heading onward and upward towards the Adirondacks.

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To the Mountains

Sarnac Lake

From Oshawa to Brighton to Kingston to Watertown to Cranberry Lake, and now to Lake Placid. It was nice to say we're doing The Adirondacks but finally, actually doing it is both better and harder. At some point we had climbed almost an elevation of 1900 feet. Certainly other people seem impressed.

The only hiccup so far happened just past the Mountain Mist Ice Cream Stand in Saranac, NY. A common paper staple gave me a flat. After a manly and commanding tube change we set off with only 15 km to go before reaching Lake Placid. Six kilometers later and I was again showing just how good I was at fixing flats. Another flat fixed and a few kilometers more and we were in Lake Placid. It had been a 90 km day through valleys and up some gut-wrenching climbs. We felt we deserved a supper of champions.

Treat ourselves to steak? Oh yes we did (I'll give Glenn the award for finishing a 24 oz piece of prime rib which looked sort of like a roast of beef or a VW Bug). We finished the night with laundry and bad TV in a nearby Comfort Inn.

What, you may ask is hurting after 500 km of riding? Thighs? Butt? Nope. My sunburnt lips. Driving me nuts. Not enough Advil in New York to stop the hurt.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Let's Go to New York 

image via Flickr

Since planning a get-away/escape/vacation a few weeks ago, this is all I can think about. Escaping to New York. Not the shiny, glowing, sparkling, dirty, glassy, grimy, heavily populated city of New York but the green, brown, rivered, open road, heavily treed upper New York bit. The bit that goes through towns with names like Watertown (is it underwater or just near water?) or Syracuse (excuse the Syracuse, as the saying goes, right?) or Potsdam (damn the pots, and their holders!) and winds beyond Lake Placid (young men aren't so fond of Lake Flaccid; even less so young ladies) to Lake Champlain and Burlington until finally you sneak up on Montreal like a marauding army sulking in the underbrush waiting to pounce.

View Bicycling Directions, Generally in a larger map

This is the general plan and route as expressed by one Glenn Gobuyan, who, by dares and taunts has concocted his idea of jolly easy-as-she-goes route. Pish-posh. It's not quite 800 KM, averaging only about 100 KM per day.

"It's not really that much. Should be easy." said Mr. Gobuyan via video chat last Saturday. "I might change my bearings in my touring bike before I head out." he added casually while looking around for his tent like it was a misplaced pillow.

Meanwhile, I've been madly buying all the stock of energy bars, sleeping bags, tents, tarps and inner tubes the city has to offer in a frantic rush of fear. "You're really going to do this?" said my legs to my brain. "You don't go out on Saturday night for fear of being too far from the toilet!" said my stomach. "Not to mention your fondness for the couch, television and heating pads." my back chimed in. Screw all of you, I say. Shut up, Legs. Shut up, Stomach. Shut up, Back. We're going and you had better get used to the idea before you find yourself heading Eastward with only a bit of fabric and chamois cream between you and an aerodynamically shaped bicycle seat.

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times 

A weekend in which, a young triathlete named Paula Findlay finished dead last in her Olympic debut and taught me something.

The extraordinary photo finish of the Women's Olympic Triathlon

On Saturday, I experienced a personal triumph. I rode over a 100 km in under 5 hours in some punishing heat (30°C, though the "Feels like…" number was more like 38°C).

one hundred and eleven Kilometres
4:48:50 hr
2750 calories
3 bottles of water
1 bottle of Gatorade
1 can of Coke
1 can of Red Bull
2 cream cheese and jam sandwiches
1 energy bar
2 Hostess chocolate cup cakes
2 Advil
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Friday, August 03, 2012

Seen in July

Generally, I tend to see a lot of summer movies, if only to hide in the darkened air conditioned theatre from the heat, and those are the most crucial letters of the alphabet. A/C. No 3D please, just give me the A/C from DC, thank you very much. This season hasn't been as busy as usual, maybe just because I've been busier than usual. In any event, summer viewing is always a mixed bag of good, bad, popular or banal.

Maj-Britt Nilsson as Marie in Bergman's 1951 film, Summer Interlude, via

Summer Interlude
Ingmar Bergman film from 1951 of a woman's remembrances of a beautiful teen-age summer affair that ends tragically. The woman is 28-year-old Marie, and her memory of that idyllic summer is contrasted with her bleak (of course), loveless existence in a theatre to which she has devoted her life. She's an aging principle dancer with nothing to look forward to and only bittersweet memories behind her. It's a Bergman film so the sound of wind is the primary score and there are lines like "…build a wall around your heart to protect yourself from the misery" and "I built the wall but instead of protecting me, I became a prisoner" which is kind of the whole point. The tragedy of that summer spent in Stockholm's nearby archipelagos have kept her from allowing herself to love anyone else as fully as her teen-age love, Henrik. It's funny, but the summer flashbacks really reminded me of the recent Moonrise Kingdom where two star-crossed kids romantically run away together to Maine's rocky shores - so similar to the Swedish islands Bergman filmed in 1951. Coincidence? Given Wes Anderson's homage within homage nostalgia, I doubt it.
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