Tuesday, June 27, 2006

9.8 nighttime miles to Awash

and to the office.

Awash is the Ethiopian restaurant that once charged my credit card $8,600 after a $46 dinner. (Eventually refunded.)

This was an after dinner ride - I went up 8th Avenue and Amsterdam, then down Broadway and 9th Avenue; Awash was just a nice turning point because it's past 100th Street.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

32 wet miles to Englewood NJ for fajitas

I was prepared - I wore a bathing suit and MF's running shirt which wicks away water. Haven't figured out the shoes yet.

After crossing the GW bridge, took a different root to Englewood - west into Fort Lee, north up Broad Street; then west onto East Palisade Ave.

Sunday brunch was at Blue Moon Mexican Cafe, which is apparently a franchise. Fajitas, scrambled eggs, a margarita and apple spice tea, all for $9.95, with 80's music and a giddy atmosphere!

On the way back, at a bad intersection near the Intrepid, a twentysomething woman ran her bike into mine. She kept heading straight toward me, and I was boxed in to the left and right, so I slowed to a stop. But she didn't. She was very apologetic. It was the most benign fall ever and nobody was hurt, though she felt she got two flat tires from the collision. They were a bit low on air but how can you get two flats from a bump?

For dinner, K made Lazy Lasagna. Mmm. Then we watched Woody Allen's Celebrity, one of his few disappointing movies.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

7 miles tooling around Lower Manhattan

Today was a great Design Day at work. The quality of a Design Day is completely determined by the outcome. Things were looking iffy till MS found the perfect image to flesh out a design that he, MF, TA and I had worked on.

To celebrate (actually, to get a breather after a long day) I biked up and down the avenues of Lower Manhattan a bit before heading home.

A fellow we may do some work with, who is an avid bicyclist, was recently in Wyoming. He and his friends biked four hours up a mountain, then 40 minutes down it, at a top speed of 67 mph. He held on for dear life. I don't think I've ever reached 40 mph, let alone 67. I figure, if you have to shave your legs so you'll be pre-prepped for surgery in the event of a high-speed crash, you're going too fast!

Tonight K made rotini with gobs of ricotta - Mmm.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

8.9 miles to South Ferry

this evening. It's been hot hot recently -- too hot -- but evening rides are more reasonable.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

10 miles tooling around Manhattan

Made my way to the courtyard of my school days. Mythic characters gain strength by returning to their roots, but I just got sleepier - still have some catch-up from Chicago. Biked along Central Park and Park Avenue when returning.

For dinner, K and I got together with SH for tasty Ethiopian food at Awash (near Columbia) and for dessert at the nearby Hungarian bakery. Jealousy ensued as K and SH admired my chocolate mousse cake. The moral: can't go wrong with chocolate.

Friday, June 16, 2006

21 miles around Chicago's Lake Shore Drive

I've been in Chicago since Tuesday at a conference-type get together; around 4 1/2 hours of sleep each of the past three nights. Usually I'm fine without much sleep but this sleep deficit has been a bit much.

Didn't have any time to go bicycling til today (Friday) before the return flight. Headed north from Millennium Park toward Evanston, then turned around shortly before reaching Evanston to make the return flight back. If you're ever in Chicago it's a great path -- around 25 miles partway around Lake Michigan, I believe -- and supposedly lighted at night.

Highlights from the trip:
- Giordano's pizza - mmm! A different creature from NYC-style pizza, with tasty toppings embedded inside a deep pie-like crust;
- A great talk by recruiting guru John Sullivan who shared lots of crazy and thought provoking stories and ideas. He is lots of fun and IMO the only person worth listening to on the topic;
- And of course the Lake Shore Drive bicycle ride.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

27 miles to Williamsburg Brooklyn, then shopping

Went to Williamsburg for a haircut on this beautiful day. Watched all the hipsters go by while waiting, then returned over the Manhattan Bridge (very fast downhill at the end!) and headed to midtown to pick up clothes.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

69 miles to Long Beach via Coney Island

... with a slight detour due to some Brooklyn exploration. The beach was empty - far more lifeguards than beachgoers - probably because of the slightly-too-cold air. Fine while bicycling since that warms you up, but once you're relaxing on the beach you can feel it.

Bearette was patient with me even though I was home almost an hour late, and we had tasty Pinch pizza for dinner.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

12 nighttime miles to Fairway

Oooh whee! Summer riding is especially nice at night because of the cool breeze -- and the breath of air after a long though productive day.

I can feel something wrong with my gears though. Imbert had said that I'd probably need to replace the Ultegra groupset within a few months as my gears will start shifting on their own -- they're around 9 years old. I may have misheard the terminology he used.

Monday, June 05, 2006

13 miles to Fairway

and then Cosi to pick up lunch on the way to work. A regular bicycle delivery Capybara.

I wonder whether the folks in my office building get miffed when I bring my bicycle into the office, or come to work in shorts and a t-shirt. They seem friendly and fine with it, and the porter gets psyched when he sees it.

On the home front, the neighbors seem really into it. Two 50+ women on my floor have talked to me about their biking; today one of them went into detail about the Aluminum Alloy composite used in my Specialized bike. (Don't worry, it has a carbon fiber stem.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

64 miles to Long Beach

I had the beach, bike paths, boardwalks mostly to myself because of the intermittent light rain and the gray skies. Even the restaurant and the snack bar at the beach were closed.

Waded into the ocean up to my knees - the waves splashed me higher - for some time. The water was cool but not too cold and I wished I had brought a bathing suit. I could have stayed all day, but the skies promised imminent rain and the timing was tight.

As I got off the Long Beach boardwalk and onto Beech Street, it started to pour. I could have ducked into the thin crust pizza restaurant for lunch and a respite from the rain - but there was a high school reunion to get to and I'd already stayed longer than I should have. Decided to ride back in the downpour and skip lunch.

It was a experiment in shifting perspective - if standing in the ocean felt so nice, why shouldn't biking in the rain through a beachfront area? Especially with the iPod adding to the experience. And indeed, it was a wonderful ride back.

I could have gotten something quick to eat along the way but decided to experiment with that too -- to observe any lunch cravings as if they were apart from myself, in order to keep them from controlling me. So the goal was not to not eat, but rather to see how long this perspective and "detachment" could stave off ravenous hunger.

It worked pretty well. As the time passed I found it occupying my thoughts more - so it did grab focus - but I didn't feel the need to eat. I think we're conditioned to let certain feelings trigger anxiety, whereas the change in perspective keeps one from getting anxious, which really helps.

In fact, I returned home and was doing so well that I figured I'd continue the experiment through the reunion and possibly through dinner. But the experiment came to an end around 6 on the way to the reunion as a pang of dizziness hit me -- I wasn't even particularly hungry then, but figured that dizziness and nausea didn't need to be part of this experiment :-).

Not sure whether "detachment" is the appropriate term of art, but it's such an interesting concept and something I'd love to master. I remember when MF and I would work out with the Human Wall(TM), and I'd be on a machine with crushing weights, I'd try to employ this technique -- to observe the pain with interest, as if it were a distinct entity. It helped, but never worked entirely. Similarly, last week K and I were returning from a neighborhood restaurant and I got an awful stomach ache. There too, I tried observing the pain, and again it helped, but didn't work 100%.

I've heard that some Buddhist monks are pretty good with this sort of thing; it would be neat to know where one could learn this.

Friday evening was also hugely fun. Great company and the most incredible bar ever: we celebrated DG's birthday at Hotel QT, which has a little pool, a steam room and a sauna, and tasty chocolate martinis. Mmm. We met AT's new girlfriend?, E, who is personable and fun. They seem like a great match and we're hoping things go well between them. Go, AT and E!