A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Trot

Jen, Aleka and I participated in a 5K Turkey Trot in Virginia. All three of us have completed at least one 1/2 marathon this fall, so a leisurely 3.1 miles to justify a bit of Thanksgiving gluttony was perfect. Also, coming from Denver meant that Aleka and I were packing more red blood cells than most, so our oxygen delivery was enhanced.

We all run at different paces so we decided to each run our own race. I was listening to Wolfmother, music I had just picked up and not yet heard. The starting gun sounded, I hit play with no idea what to expect, and was greeted with a sound that has been described as “a balance between meaty vintage metal and crisp, stoner-rock melodies”. The verdict is out as to whether or not Wolfmother will get heavy rotation within my music collection, but with the opening of “Dimension” I knew leisurely was an afterthought.

Having started in the middle of the pack it was runners, joggers and strollers from curb to curb. I hit the sidewalk, which was instantly crowded too, so I took it one step further, giving runners a bad name, and headed straight into the forbidden…front yards. I hurdled shrubbery, darted across driveways and cut around neatly piled leaves, all at a pace I knew I could not maintain, but that put me into a part of the pack with room to pass.

I crossed mile one at an even 7:00 and knew it would not last. I saw no mile marker for mile two, began to appreciate the hilly nature of Arlington from minutes 12-20 and was elated to rasp and cough by mile marker three. I crossed the line in 22:27, averaging 7:14 per mile, a personal best. With chest still heaving minutes later Jeff, Jake, Morgan and I cheered Jen and Aleka across the finish line, both of whom finished at a sub-9 minutes/mile pace.

The kids want to play on the playground, I desperately want to sit

Parking was scarce so it was a bit of a walk to where we had parked. Luckily, Arlington County picks up leaves if piled at the curb so Jake, Morgan and I had plenty of distraction, and offered plenty too, en route.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Cyclist is Born

My niece, Morgan, told me she had balanced on a bike and wanted to practice with me while I was in Virginia. To hear her tell it she had managed to stay upright while coasting downhill. Not exactly riding a bike, but a huge milestone and a necessary step on the way to full blown pedal crankin’ glory.

So, on Thanksgiving morning, with seven enthusiastic onlookers, Morgan, bedecked in a pink shirt and matching helmet, took a gentle push from her Mom and did not just balance, but also pedaled, used brakes and executed turns with aplomb. In short, she rode. She took a spill, heard an encouraging word and shrugged it off and rode more. For the second time on a bike, she absolutely killed it. She bounced off a curb and brushed some bushes and showed some mountain biking chops that will have me upping my trail game when she is older. 


Cranking uphill on the Bicycle Proving Ground (church parking lot)


Solid left lean, allowing her weight to make the turn


Me and Jake racing while Mom looks on

I was on training wheels for a year before I took my first wobbly ride down Rogers Street, at age 6. Since then I have ridden countless miles for pleasures, for commuting, for adventure and sometime just for the experience of moving. Seeing Morgan’s smile made me appreciate the simple joy of riding a bike and the freedom it entails.  Here is to a lifetime of riding, for Me, Morgan, Jake and anyone else who finds happiness upon two wheels.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Six of one, 1/2 a Dozen of the Other

A lesson in the importance of battening down one’s cargo.


This dozen (duo of sextets?) fell to their demise from my courier bag. Not one survived. As a utilitarian cyclist of 13 years, I cannot recall an incident like this. I now bring a high level of paranoia to my bag packing and check all contents three times prior to departure.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Minimalist Running Shoes

Always a little late to the game, I just got my first pair of minimalist running shoes. I am used to trail runners, which are almost always dark, the better to hide the dust and mud. Now though, the most comfortable shoe I found, is the same color as a tennis ball that has yet to bounce off the court.



It started with Born to Run, by Christopher MacDougall, which examined runners in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, the advent of Vibram Five Fingers and then numerous outlets and individuals extolling the virtues of barefoot running.

Given my belief in evolution and the construction of the human foot a homage to our running past, it is time to give this a shot. “This” being a release from the heel strike method of running and learning to come down on the forefoot, softly. I plna to start slowly, with a a prancing gait, and likely not run more than a mile to start. I have suffered no significant injuries from running, so I doubt this will redefine my relationship with loping along, but hope it is investment to making it a long-lasting relationship.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snowy Commute

Awoke to snow this morning. A light snow, but wind driven and wet, and the perfect penance for multiple margaritas the night before. Thus, scarf clad and listening to a playlist of running favorites, I headed out to a musical pace far faster than conditions allowed. I went out of my way to add a few miles to the ride, seeing only two others on bikes. There is a camaraderie in such conditions. Most riders will not even offer up a head nod, but when squinting into a cold wind while ruing the fact I just shaved my beard, I was greeted with knowing smiles and waves. 

 Hitting up the sledding hill before work.

  Looking south along the South Platte River