Monday, July 12, 2004

Choppin' wood

I took my boys up to my father-in-law's Christmas tree farm up in Whitney Point, NY this weekend. Among other things, my brother-in-law and I decided to chop a log in half using an axe. It was probably 12" diameter hardwood (I think Walnut). We spent probably 30 minutes wailing away on that thing. Wow. What a work out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Veggie roadkill

We moved to Virginia last summer. In the craziness of our move, cycling, probably my favorite hobby now and almost my only form of serious exercise, took a back seat. I got out on a few rides, but probably less than 200 miles in the first 6 months in Virginia (granted we have real winters compared to Seattle and cycling is only for the insane from pretty much Nov. to Mar.).

Upon returning to a more regular cycling routine once the weather got nice, I learned that there are three new hazzards in Virginia.

  • Rednecks

  • Rolling hills

  • Road kill

I've been honked at aggressively with the intent of "scaring me", blasted intentionally with tail pipe smoke as I approached a red light, and "buzzed" (as in "Goose, it's time to buzz the tower.") on several occasions. Always by men in big trucks <insert stereotype here>.

As to the hills... Seattle had it's share of hills, but somehow they're easier to stomach when they're long and big, and usually followed by significant downhills or flats. Somehow this area of Virginia has TONS of rolling hills and they're killer. They never end, it's hard to get a rhythm, and they're steep enough that you often need to get out of the saddle (there's one I regularly do that's about 11% the rest run 4-8%).

Finally. Road kill... (takes a while to get to the point ;) Being a more rural area there is actually wildlife living around the people. In Seattle, I don't remember seeing much more than crows and squirrels regularly within the city. However, there are lots of animals around here, and animals and roads don't mix. I've seen dead snapping turtles, beavers, deer, opposums, ground hogs, and birds. But to be fair to our vegetarian bretheren.... Today I saw a dead cucumber. Just lying there in the middle of the road. Lifeless. Waiting to cause a wreck for some poor guy like me.

Speaking of wrecks... Always check your brakes. I had a wreck on a 30-mile ride yesterday with my friend Mark Veerman around the 18th mile. I came down a hill and started entering a corner around 30 mph. I didn't give myself enough time and my brakes weren't helping. I opted for a ditch instead of road rash. Unfortunately, being a corner, there was also a stop-sign. I guess (I say guess because you don't think at moments like this so it can't be so intentional as it sounds) I decided to try to pop off the back of the bike because next thing I know, I slam into the sign, and the back of the seat smashes into my gut and get's bent in half:

(for those not "in the know" that seat is more or less supposed to be flat not bent at 20 degrees). The amazing part is that I didn't suffer anything worse than a sore abdomen (no bruising, just a couple small cuts... I was thinking I could've ruptured my bladder or something) and a tiny cut on my finger. The worst damage to the bike was the seat and a minor pinch in the shifting cable. Anyhow, I say check your brakes because mine needed some serious tightening, and probably would've prevented my crash

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Who'd a thunk it...

A stage race for serious cyclists in Harrisonburg. Too bad I didn't discover this until yesterday. Maybe I'll be fit enough next year. Hah.