Monday, October 12, 2009

Pondering Pandora's Box

My day started by having a very long conversation with Jon about training strategies. I need to think about my motivators and goals for the coming season. Riding across the country is just the icing on the cake. Training has been tough lately, too much life in the way, not enough motivation to put life aside when I am exhausted. We really hammered out the goals for the next event I have in mind. I plan on skating ice marathons this year. Matter of fact, I am passionate about rekindling this part of my life. The way I see it, skating will hold my leg strength and endurance for the heavy training I have to do in the spring and it will provide the change of pace to keep me going.

The next part of my day was spent at the funeral mass of Roseanne's father. While sitting in this place that used to be so familiar to me I found myself reflecting on the events that caused that door to shut. It was like meeting a long lost love in the street. You still feel something but you are thrust back into that confusion of everything that was wrong. This reflection was eventually reduced to forms and simple emotions. I found the thread for the next concentration of studio work. Ever wonder what the evils were in Pandora's Box?

On my way home from church, I scouted a route that I had planned to take today. It is a difficult route that has a bit of everything, several long and steep climbs, several miles of flats and lots of rolling; 100, Whitehall Corners, Moseman, Pines Bridge, Mahopac Ave, Granite Springs Rd...Of course we will throw in procrastination too.

So I embark on my ride. Why is it that I really look forward to riding, then procrastinate, then rework the root when I finally get underway? I must have argued about my choice of Moseman and Mahopac Aves since the climb on 100. I knew they were going to fry my legs, and after that little stunt yesterday chasing down Jon and sitting on his wheel before blowing by him, my legs were toast already. Today I did manage to convince myself that I needed to stay the course or my goals would be compromised. The ride was of no consequence, the hills hurt, but I expected that so somehow they weren't as bad as I thought they would be. The only real story to tell was that I managed to get scolded by a cop for riding on the road. Yes, you heard me right. I was threatened with a ticket if I didn't comply with his order to ride to the right of the rumble strip in the shoulder. Interestingly enough, there were cones set along the white line to provide a safe lane for pedestrians leaving Muscoot. He was there directing traffic. The pedestrian lane was chock full of people, had I traveled in it I risked hitting someone. So I jumped out of the cut in the rumble strip and rode at the extreme right of the lane of travel. I am still shaking my head about this encounter.

I did some reminiscing while riding. I found myself steeped in nostalgia while riding up Moseman Ave. For some reason I was pulled back to my Freshman year in HS when I spent the fall raking leaves with AFS. Funny, Roseanne's sister-in-law was instrumental in that club fundraiser. I also thought of how much that neighborhood had changed in the past 25 years. Its so built up and it looks like they leveled one whole side of the ridge to make a new development. As I pondered new construction in this market of the mini-mcmansion glut I wondered if that waste continues to be a contributing factor in our economic woes. We can't sell what is available so build new bigger, better, greener? This got me thinking about the recycling of a house. In the next few minutes I passed the homes of my children's friends that used to be the homes of my childhood friends. Then there were the couple of houses that used to be restaurants, then there was the house that used to be a a post-office then a candy store and now is a private home. I found myself drawn, almost too much, to looking for the ghosts of houses in the woods, the hermit caves, the root cellars, the hitching posts that have been repurposed as planters. All in all it was a fantastic day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

in full view of the ridge

Today dawned a lot earlier than I wanted it to, but it was manageable. We started the day in one of our old haunts, The Bakery in New Paltz. A bagel and coffee for the long haul, a pedal along the Shawangunk Wine Trail. I joined Alison, Jon and 18 others as we pedaled in full view of The Ridge (there is definitely some magnetism going on here). Kenny and Jon's wife Samantha patiently drove sag.

The weather was perfect, though a bit windy for my taste. You couldn't have asked for clearer skies, which were so important to the ambiance. There were so many photo opportunities, some we stopped for and some were passed over for more important things. At one point we lost our host, Jim and about 5 riders to a wrong turn. After that was settled we pounded out miles heading towards our third and final winery. OK it started as a friendly pace, then I decided to sit on Jon's wheel challenging him to flick me off. He somehow didn't take the hint to well, so I cranked past him and past the next rider. I was finally caught of course and hurled off the back. I felt like one of the people in the SOAP BOX DERBY RACE (Little Rascals). I still managed accolades from Alison who wanted to know just what got into me. The high five was so worth it!

So the day ended with Pizza from Portofino's (yes we drove all the way home before eating). Anchovies and onions. OK this has a story to it too. I thought Kenny said he wanted anchovies, he said anything but... Nothing a bit of Hurricane Kitty couldn't fix. We ate dinner with Mikey, Lilly, and Justin. Chris was skating. Can you believe Mikey's girlfriend Lilly had never had a Sicilian slice (yes, that pie was plain cheese)? In a word, awesome.

Tomorrow? hmmm ride and slide!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

" but that is not why I called" I wanted to say yes it is but...

I'll leave my title at that today as I am betting that the "I don't read your blog" might not be so accurate either. I don't want to dwell on my hurt and disappointment just merely use it as a starting point to my day on the bike. You see, that phone call is what prompted the chain reaction that lead to procrastination that almost cost me my training time and what surprises me is that after I finally got off my butt and out the door and spent 2 hours on the bike I am still just as upset about the exchange.

So where did my adventure take me today? First I ended up at the Harvey School. I wanted to see a bit of Andrew's football game. It was awesome to watch someone you coach on the hamster wheel play an unrelated sport. Even with all that gear on I could still see similar kinetics.

After the game I headed on my way, up through Pound Ridge and back into Cross River eventually ending up on Bogtown Road. I actually left my house with plenty of daylight left, but took the light with me just in case. There was this voice inside of me that was yelling and I knew it could be one of those days like the days when Kenny used to have to fish me out of the pool or I would swim into oblivion. This was a wise decision as I ended my ride in complete darkness. I am amazed at that little headlight, its as if I have a car headlight on my bike, it is that bright. All the time I was riding I was trying to ride out of the hurt I was feeling. There is an importance to friendships, and sometimes taking them for granted eventually burns at both ends.

At one point there was a smell in the air that brought me back to that day, 4 years ago, when I rode CT in memory of Jimmy Arena. This caused my mind to wonder a bit, reminiscing the conditions of that day, and the sound of the birds singing to me when I was at my lowest point in that endeavor. Just then a hawk flew across my path. I am always in awe when this happens. On that note, Roseanne is coming along, though chemo is beating her up pretty badly. The saddest part is that her father, who was diagnosed with cancer a week after her surgery, passed away a few days ago. She didn't get to warn him that the chemo would knock him for a loop. Was this his way of getting her to think about other things than the discomfort? Life has a way of keeping things interesting to say the least. Take this as a segue-way to my choice of pictures today. This area is so steeped in American history. What were the lives of the people that lived in the houses that are nothing more than ghost foundations now? What did those houses look like? Were there kids? Was life hard? There were some pictures I wanted to get, but I was lost in deep thought when I passed those spots, that I simply forgot. On that note, in one shot there is a bit of hidden object going on, can you find them?

My training has taken a bumpy ride lately with teaching, after-school duties, taking care of my mom, and getting ready for a solo exhibition at St Mark's School. I think I'm even nursing a stress fracture. Maybe that is just in my head as I have just changed gears. I am riding less but skating more. I was worried about this until I got on my bike today and felt more fit than I have in a long time. I think the skating is helping the pedaling, though the cycling is not necessarily repaying the favor. Either way, I am enjoying myself and Ryan, if you are reading, Chris has me working out on the slideboard whenever I cannot get out on the road or the ice. Imagine one of your athletes coaching you, its the ultimate honor, especially when its your kid.

Completely unrelated, I did spend part of my ride today trying to figure out how to define my writing. There was no answer there but I guess I can keep that ball up in the air for a bit.