Number 59

November 29, 2018 § 3 Comments

I started this post, probably on my birthday when I turned 59. If not then, it was soon after, but I never developed much beyond the title. I am not even sure what I thought might be the content, but I suppose that with 60 looming only 365 days in the future, perhaps I thought there would be some insight into what 59 would be, and how I thought the lead-in to 60 would play out.

Today, it is late November, and well, 59 as played out a lot like all the years before it. Ha! I may have started 2018 healing from a fall late November 2017, and fairly inactive, which translates to lots of in calories, and not many out calories, but by the end of January I was at least doing spin class again. By the time my birthday rolled around, I finished a 10 class power spin training block of classes, and I spent 10 days in Thailand which included over 400 miles cycling. I don’t usually put that much mileage on the bike in New Jersey over the same time frame. That was special.

I moved from the power spin training to Mega Cycle spin training, and soon found myself on the roads of NJ again. I was still trying to shed weight, but I felt like an anchor, and that maybe, this year would be the year in which I would not be able to keep up with the weekday SFAC rides once they started. Those guys are all 6-10 years younger than me, and how much longer can I reasonably expect to keep hammering on Tuesdays and Thursdays? 

In addition to the SFAC group, there was an even younger group I associated with that was 20 years or more my junior. Some pretty strong youth, that I could hold wheels with, but put me out in front, and it wouldn’t be long before I was longing for the tail of pace line.

Tony was the first SFAC rider to meet me. Tom was busy with work and improving a newly acquired “downsized” in his living arrangements. Mike decided to start running more, and the Mayor wasn’t yet ready for the road, so it was me and the Wolf, and while I expected to be put on the rivet, I found I could hold, and lead. I began a series of Strava posts in which I may have “overly” praised Tony on our rides. They were fun.

I picked up an extra week of vacation this year, and using the tools of working either 10 hour days, or working 80 hours over 8 or 9 days, and taking a few Fridays off, I managed to get in some really nice early season long mileage, high elevation gain rides. I really lucked out on some of these rides as the weather looked dismal most of the week only to clear enough, or simply clear where I was, to make for a great day on the bike. I got to push some routes that I wanted others to do, as well as explore new options to existing routes. For example, I checked out an option to by-pass West Point. West Point is a great site to ride through, but getting there on Rt 9 isn’t my favorite. Another example is merging in roads from the NY Gran Fondo that allow us to get back into Harriman via an alternate route that doesn’t have us simply riding over the same route we have always ridden. That’s a win. On another ride we rode up the Jersey side of the Delaware out of the Water Gap, and returned on the Pennsylvania side. That was a completely awesome route, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Throughout most of the Summer the SFAC crowd was never at full steam. We were lucky enough to pick up a new guy in Adam Jones, a Welshman who lived in Rumson and worked at Goldman. A youngster, but not as young as he looks. I only rode once with Mike B all year, and Tom was out for a handful of rides. As said, he has a house project to go along with business travel, daughter tennis team, and his wife was suffering acute back issues. So it was mostly Tony and I and whoever else we could get to come out.

I made it out for some Saturday or Sunday Pronto rides, more than the previous year, but not as many as I had wished. On the home front I needed to support my own wife as she was diagnosed, yet again, with cancer. Treatment has been administered, and she is another wait and see mode.

In September I took my backpacking buddies on our fourth week long adventure in the wilderness known as The Eagle Cap Wilderness in NE Oregon. The Wallowa Mountains were a real eye opener to majestic beauty. Personally, I felt great the entire trip, though it did take a couple of days to get the legs acclimated, but after that, I could walk and walk. The cycling really shows itself when it comes to lung capacity and the ability to simply keep marching. My only physical issue was dry cracked feet, which I remedied using duct tape. It really is the wonder tape.

As I write this, I have been reasonably idle for some time. Not riding as much; haven’t been hiking in more than a month, and have been occupied with house chores. I did get a weekend backpacking trip in early this month in West Virginia, but that wasn’t enough to get me motivated to get back out there in the wee hours just yet.

As of this writing, I am still 59, and closing in on the last quarter of that cycle. Eventually I will get back on the bike, either riding the rollers, or I will get back to spin class. One way or the other, I plan on putting some miles in for another cycle around the sun.

My Friend Charles Edward Shultz Jr.

October 3, 2018 § 9 Comments

My friend Chuck passed away the other day. I don’t have any real details about it, but Chuck was the same age as me, and though he wasn’t a physically active person, he got plenty of exercise raising and training Labradors. He ran a breeding business on the side called Gullwing Labradors, and has produced and trained many award winning dogs. He was excited about his dogs, and he brought that excitement into other peoples lives.

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Two Beds Become One – A Penn State Story Part III

February 22, 2018 § 2 Comments

Halloween, 1982 was coming, and we had at least two parties to attend to. If you have been reading parts I and II, then you know that we usually partied at Steve’s or Susan’s brother’s place. Steve’s place usually on a Friday or Saturday, and we usually caught the television show “Cheers” over at Marty’s place every Thursday. In 1982 official Halloween was Monday, but no self-respecting college kids are going to wait till then, so Saturday night was the night for Parties, and both Marty, and Steve were hosting that night.

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A Platonic Relationship – A Penn State Story Part II

February 20, 2018 § 1 Comment

To recap, through both procrastination, and stalking, I secured temporary living quarters for the Fall Term 1982, with a young woman, Susan, in a space where the only privacy that could be achieved was in the bathroom.

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Can I Live With You? A Penn State Story – Part I

February 18, 2018 § 2 Comments

It was Summer 1982. In fact it was August, and my second year of Graduate school would begin in a matter of weeks. When I departed State College in May, I was a graduate student in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. They had been kind enough to grant me the privilege of not leaving Penn State when I had finished my undergraduate degree the previous December. “Well, we have money to support you as a grad student and you can teach Engineering Mechanics to a new class of undergraduates while you take time to meet with professors and see what you want to do.” In case you didn’t read that correctly, let me re-phrase it. I went in there and cried like a baby that I didn’t want to leave college yet, and they said “No Problemo”, and not only did they say that, but they also said, “And we will pay your tuition, and give a monthly stipend so you can continue to be a college bum!”. What a deal!

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Most Favored

February 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

After reading Seth’s post that included an old favorite ride, it got me to thinking about favorites in my own life. When you are a kid, you are advised to not pick favorites. Don’t pick your mother over your father, this grandparent over any other, etc. Feelings may get hurt. That gets carried on in life to when you have more than one kid. You don’t want to appear to be favoring one over the other. When you have more than 1 brother-in-law, is it fair to have a favorite? As a youth adviser, trying to build leadership skills in the next generation, playing favorites is counter productive.

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My Life – Bike by Bike

February 7, 2017 § 2 Comments

Other than walking, and maybe sleeping and eating which can be considered activities, cycling is an activity that I have engaged in pretty much, most of my life. When I was young it seemed like all the kids had some kind of bike. I can only assume that I started on a tricycle in nursery school, and later at home, as I do have memories of my youngest sister riding my tricycle. Myself? Not really.

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