Sunday, July 30, 2006

11.8 miles to Fairway

Returned from the Poconos with time for a ride before dinner. Biked along the Hudson river, past folks who don't pay attention when they cross the road, and returned before dusk.

Wish I had time to stay in the Poconos a bit longer as it was gorgeous there - a perfect day.

Tonight Bearette is making rotini with ricotta for dinner.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

10 miles to Orchard Drive in the Pocono mountains

Took the Shortline bus up to the Poconos to visit the folks. Got a bit carsick - buses are not my thing. Helped them prepare for a get together, then escaped for a hilly ride: uphill, downhill, lots of hills, surrounded by trees. The hills are great and they build leg muscles fast. Greeted a family of deer that wandered by.

I rode my father's hybrid because Shortline wouldn't let me bring my bicycle unless I took it apart or boxed it. Bad Shortline. Actually had had fantasies about riding up to the Poconos, but didn't have time for a 120 mile trip. Time, time, time. I need Adam Sandler's remote from Click.

Came back from the ride and ran some errands in my folks' car. Headed down one road and a squirrel ran in front of the car. Swerved to try to avoid it but I couldn't tell if did. Turned around and slowly headed back, looking for a crushed squirrel in the middle of the road. Thankfully there was none - I'm pretty sure s/he escaped!

I hate reading about all the sad news from the Middle East. But somehow I can't break my addiction to the NY Times. Their website is checked throughout the day. Some time back, after 9/11, I wrote a little Web software program for myself called "Good News", that filtered out all the depressing articles! It was keyword-based, so every so often an article would slip through and I'd have to adjust the filters.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

26 sets with Allen

I was just out of energy today! Didn't really interfere with the workout, though no super efforts happened.

Afterward, K and I saw Clerks II. The eight other people in the audience were having a great time. Clerks II is a rude, throwaway movie, but it's pretty funny! (Very stupid humor.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

65 miles to Long Beach

Met J there, and had a burrito on the beach, took in the sun, and jumped the powerful waves.

My trip there was super fast -- 2 hours 3 minutes (a good portion of that over boardwalk planks). I don't know how much was due to:
  • My new wheels
  • Greater effort or performance
  • Wind? (Didn't feel any)
  • Less traffic going down 7th Avenue (I think this saved three minutes)
Coming back, however, I didn't have much energy. Guesses:
  • Sunstroke from 4 hours in the sun
  • Much more time between lunch and the return trip - less food energy
  • Dehydration
  • Some weird music on the iPod (shuffle). I seriously wondered whether someone had been messing with my iPod, because I've never heard those songs before.
Yesterday, a mind-altering revelation! When I was at the bike shop, he replaced my bell, as the spring on the old one had broke. This new bell has a nifty globe attached, with a ball inside that seems to be floating in water - it's a compass. Headed west and the compass registered northwest; headed south and it registered southwest.

Gradually it all came together: Manhattan's on a diagonal! "West" isn't really west! "South" isn't really south!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

25.1 miles around Manhattan

Got new wheels today - Xero Lite XR4's, they seem to say. They look sleek and powerful :-). Spokes kept breaking on the old wheels, and the folks at Chelsea Bicycle told me my rim was cracked. They warned of dire consequences if I kept riding on it, even just a bit.

Bought the new wheels at Imbert's Master Bike. He felt the little cracks in the rim weren't a big deal as the wheel felt fine, and that it wouldn't be a problem to keep riding on them, though he suggested that the spokes would keep falling out and that the new wheels would be nicer. Does his comfort with the cracked rim sound reasonable?

Tonight, Bearette had a birthday party! We had pizza with friends and then headed over to QT for drinks and swimming, though their beautiful pool was closed - the boiler was broken. She received many nice books as gifts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

27 sets with Allen

We had a good workout at the gym. Forgot to do curls but hey, 9 machines is good enough. Thanks, Allen, for the good workout and good company.

I used to belong to NYSC, but barely went last year because it was too depressing to work out indoors (aerobically). So I cancelled my membership. I'd much rather be biking, even in 10 degree weather (bundled up of course), than indoors on that exercise bike.

But there's a shiny NYC Parks Department facility nearby, and we've been using their weight room. They even have ping pong and foosball, so one day that might be in the cards.

Leg presses happened today ... I need more muscular legs like I need a hole in the head, but it's an easy way to pack on muscle and up that metabolism.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

17.5 miles to South Ferry and Central Park

Took a brief ride downtown before K and I met for lunch. Then headed uptown to the Central Park Zoo for some reading on a park bench. I had planned to visit the penguins for 10 minutes, but the $8 admission deterred me. Washington DC's zoo is better - you can wander in and out whenever you want!

Then did a lap around the park and came home. K cooked a tasty penne a la vodka.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

70.5 miles to Long Beach

with an extra lap around Prospect Park, and some bonus Manhattan miles, to pass the 70 mile mark!

It was a warm, warm day. I reached the beach in record time, and bought a pass for ten visits - more than I'll use this summer. So if anyone wants to join me at the beach, let me know!

On the beach, I munched on a delicious sandwich - muenster cheese on a garlic bagel, with mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion, of course - a sour pickle, a diet caffeine free soda, and an enormous bottle of water.

Then it was into the ocean for a refreshing swim! No swimming took place, but some battles with the waves did. The beach and the water were packed, and fun was had by all.

At home, I consumed giant quantities of Diet Sunkist and water. I think Diet Sunkist is so appealing after a bike ride because the dehydration leaves your mouth tasting salty, triggering the memory of that delicious drink. Diet Sunkist is simultaneously salty and sweet - if that's not special, I'm not sure what is. Before the drink-fest I weighed myself on the new bodyfat scale and found that I had lost about nine pounds of fat since the morning! Of course, an error due to the dehydration.

Then P joined us for a very tasty dinner at Le Zie. I had Macaroni and Cheese but was otherwise good, with salad and later, fruit for dessert. Then K and I played ping pong at Fat Cat, on Christopher, which is a game room cum bar cum jazz club. They have pool, scrabble, foosball, chess and more.

All in all, lots of fun!

Friday, July 14, 2006

11.2 miles of errands

I guess it's the new gearset - I've really been zipping through traffic. Sometimes faster than the cars even when they have the avenue mostly to themselves.

Bolting down Broadway and 7th Avenue in the dark, at around 20mph through traffic, is exhilarating though maybe a tad less safe - I'm on super alert because it's harder to see the road's surface.

That's when the lights are with me. At other times it's weaving between cars or occasionally stopping for a light or two; those reduce the average speed a bunch, though it's still the fastest way to get around. And by far the most fun.

Bearette and I saw You, Me and Dupree tonight on the UWS. The critics butchered it (20% on rottentomatoes.com) but they were wrong - the movie was very funny! Owen Wilson always plays the same entertaining person, but it works. Matt Dillon's character was a pill - he was ostensibly the protagonist but he and Kate Hudson were so ill-matched that I was rooting for them to break up.

Two more spokes have broke. I think it's the heavy duty NYC Kryptonite lock that's killing them. Maybe there's a better way to thread the lock through the back wheel.

Imbert suggests that a new set of wheels would improve the speed and smoothness a bunch - any thoughts about whether that sounds plausible? My current wheels are Mavic SP12's, around 8 years old (with a label that says 622x14 - 6106). The set he suggested would cost $250.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

11.2 miles to Brooklyn and the Ferry, from 2-3am

Why so late (early)?
  1. Insomnia. Up til 5 or 6am each of the past few nights. Melatonin helps Bearette but not me!
  2. It's been two days since my last real ride.
  3. A new scale after 1.5 years without a working one. Not bad, but -
  4. Overkill at dinner.

I had expected to have the streets to myself, but there were lots of taxis and trucks, and some people leaving bars. I guess some folks were getting a very early start to the weekend. (On a Wednesday night!)

All sorts of repairs, delivery and construction were also going on throughout the city. They were even working on the Brooklyn Bridge - some workmen standing on the girders, somehow not falling onto the bridge traffic. I hope they had harnesses.

Strong gusts of wind would occasionally push me to the side, so I was a bit nervous flying across the bridge at 23 mph at night, with the surface still a bit wet from the afternoon's rain. All for an evening's fun!

Monday, July 10, 2006

17.7 nighttime miles to the GWB

The walkway on the south side was closed, so I didn't cross the bridge. (The north side walkway would have been a pain as it involves several staircases.)

Went home along Riverside Drive, a wide, wavy tree-lined avenue with great downhills and some uphills.

K had some nice news today :-) Then we had rigatoni.

There's a list of the 20 favorite books of men vs women. The men's faves are plot-heavy existential adventures, written by male authors, while the women's faves include relationship oriented novels that take place in another time, mixed with some male choices.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

64.5 miles to Long Beach

I now have a brand new gearset (and a much lighter wallet). You can really feel the difference.

I sped over to Long Beach, as much as one can speed over a wooden boardwalk, and had a tasty muenster cheese bagel with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mustard. Then I had an unplanned adventure:

While locking my bike on the boardwalk, my keys dropped and fell through the boardwalk slats around 8 feet into the sand below. There was a brick wall to one side, and because the boardwalk's super thick, there was no way to get there from the ocean side either.

The police were no help - they said the sanitation folks might be. The sanitation folks were no help, and said the police might be. There was a fair on the boardwalk, so I walked from booth to booth trying to spy some sort of wire or string, and a hook. One fellow had bungee cords, so I borrowed two, tied them together, and went "fishing" for my keys. Got them - carefully lifted them up - mission accomplished!

The satisfaction was tempered by the loss of time - almost two hours - and I had to go home without swimming or relaxing on the beach. No biggie, still a fun trip and a good workout!

PS - I now have snazzy Shimano sunglasses that automatically let in more or less light depending on the sun. I didn't want to dim the sunlight, but figured they'll keep pieces of leaves from getting into my eye. And they're fun to wear - now I know how Bono feels ;-)

Friday, July 07, 2006

6 miles to pick up the bike

from the shop. Had the speedometer fixed too. For dinner we went to delicious Grimaldi's, and walked home across the bridge. Mmm. Remember: garlic and extra cheese.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

6 miles to drop off the bike

It needs a new gearset, and two spokes are broken. This is going to be pricey :-(. But I've had the bike a long time. Borrowed a rental so I could ride back - I'd stress out without any bike to ride :-).

The rental seems like a mountain bike. Fun and bouncy! Less control on the city streets, but exhilarating.

The weather has been perfect!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

16 miles of Central Park loops

and transit there and back ... with Mike.

Upon reaching the park it started to rain. Everyone else cleared out. No matter, I was prepared - bathing suit and t-shirt. We began our laps and pretty soon the rain stopped! We had the park to ourselves.

I now have two broken spokes, plus the gearset needs to be replaced. Aak. Hoping that Caloi-rider's SRAM suggestion will pan out.

If you haven't seen The Devil Wears Prada, head right over. Meryl Streep stole the show. A.O.'s review is a great read, as always, and accurate too.

Happy Fourth!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

64 miles to Long Beach

In the past I'd wondered where all the beachgoers were. Well, they were out today en masse! The weather was beautiful - a hot summer Saturday with a bit of wind.

Picked up a bagel with muenster cheese, a fruit salad, and an enormous bottle of water at a Long Beach deli, then headed onto the beach for an hour. Even went halfway into the water - as long as you go in gradually the water's fine - but had to leave to make it home for dinner.

I always pick up the pace when returning from Long Beach for just this reason, and today I actually made it home 11 minutes early, at 7:49pm. Had a giant glass of Diet Sunkist and a large glass of water, then we headed out to Blossom for dinner with AT.

For dinner I had their amazing Black Eyed Pea Cake as an appetizer. Nothing really appealed to me for the entree, so I had a Chocolate Ganache Torte dessert instead :-).

Tomorrow we're heading back to Long Beach with DG - this time by train. I don't think I'll be up for two 64-milers in a row but there's a small chance.

I need a new book to read. Something fiction. There are a few work-related books that I'm looking forward to reading, but I need a break from the work focus. I may give The Last Battle a try (it's the last Narnia book); the first couple were good, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader was just plain dull. (The prequel was too.) Shows my desperation for something decent to read, that I'm giving the series another chance.