Cold Steel

I. Love. Winter.

There, I said it. I love winter.

I love the contrast between inside and outside in the winter. Inside – warm, muted light, fuzzy, close to ones you love. Outside – The winter sun lights up everything without heat, and the snow removes contrast and context from the landscape, emphasizing . The imperative is to keep moving, to balance energy in the tank with work that must be done. Focus. Anything above the snow snaps into sharp contrast.

Today’s ride was everything good about that – teens when I left the house, bright blue, high clouds, and shadows that can slice bread. The bike complained. Last week I’d ridden her hard and put her away wet, so there was some rust flaking off the chain, and some creaking as the bike asked why I’d neglected her. But, she moved.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve been getting slower lately. Just barely managed to get 12 MPH on the ride in. Not sure why so slow. I didn’t particularly try to hammer, but remember being really let down that it took so long, since i’d felt good on the bike, and the day was so beautiful.

Good chance to make it up this evening.

Slush / Splash / Chase

Today’s awesomeness began this morning. The overnight light snows left a little bit of a dusting on the shoulder. Not enough to make it slick, but enough to leave tracks. Pretty cool to roll the front tire through it, see it get shiny on the edges, and then watch a steady stream of dirty snow the texture of an Icee keep growing out of the front of the fender. Got to work with the bottom bracket a sloppy mess. Commuter Details

Swam at lunch, and tried out a new Jlab Go waterproof MP3 player. Dug swimming with tunes; wish I’d known how to make the player shuffle.

Ride home was awesome. The days are getting longer, and it was still twilight leaving the office. Warm (For February) during the day, so the snow was pretty much gone. I had an extra half hour before supper, so I took the long way home, cutting down to Bluff Point and across to Haley Farm as the light faded.

There’s a mile-long stretch between Haley Farm and Bluff Point that’s on the ballast for the Acela track. I’m kind of surprised there’s not a Strava segment on it, but also kind of don’t want to make one. It’s flat, flat, and a great stretch for group rides and runs – 5-10 minutes of plenty of room to stretch and talk. By the time I got there, it was actual no-lie dark, and I was enjoying the cold and silence and the tunnel of lights coming off of my handlebars and helmet.

The first part of the trail is an abandoned rail bed. Flew around the corner, and almost biffed – caught the front tire in a frozen rut from the ranger’s pickup – three oscillations, and saved it. The cross bike is awesome, but the drop bars aren’t the greatest for manhandling the front wheel around ruts. Plenty of light, but no contrast on the frozen mud. I was happier than a pig in poop.

The mud trail comes out onto the ballasted shoulder of the track. Cut the corner and managed not to clip the gate, and briefly sat up to enjoy the spin. About a quarter mile ahead, there was a group of three mountain bikers, so I dropped the hammer and chased until they went up the grade to the pedestrian bridge. Almost caught ’em, ‘cept they could make the sharp turn and rough cutoff. I had to continue on about another 100 feet, slow uturn, and crank up the grade.

One little patch of mud on a south facing grade, and I found myself wishing for knobbies instead of the reflective slicks. Kept it upright, cranked over the bridge, and chased the flickering lights through Haley Farm. In hindsight, I think I caught the tail end of the Mystic Cycle Wednesday Ride – bunch of folks with nice bikes putting them up on the cars in the parking lot.

Rest of the ride was uneventful – Thought I was going to die going up Fort Hill, but that’s pretty standard. Flanders headed north is the most awesome false flat for about 30 miles around. Flew down the Gold Star Highway, and kind of freaked out when a driver actually slowed up behind me for about 100 yards ’cause they were turning right behind me. Thanks Driver!

Longsuffering wife had green beans and fish ready when I got home, and it was still warm…

Somedays, I just love my life.


Sure, whatever. Man, that’s a bad title.

Anyway, after an anti-climactic last week, we’re well into February. Think that I’m stuck in an entire February loop, not just Groundhog Day. January wasn’t nearly so bad a month as I’d anticipated – 11.8 K swimming (almost 8 miles? Not bad..), over 58 miles on the bike (In January, in Connecticut, all outside), and 40 miles running. Nothing groundbreaking, but a really solid month. The longest layoff I had was 4 days, and I doubled-up on 3 days.

Weight is coming down – about 184 now, compared to 186 at the beginning of the month. Need to focus on the eating – snacks kill me.

Today? Great freaking day. I dig me some running in the snow. And today was perfect – lots of snowflakes in the air but no accumulation to speak of. Kind of a snow drizzle.

Hardest core ever.
Hardest core ever.

Ran the perimeter road. Only saw two other folks out during lunch, and not a whole lot of other footsteps. Mid 20’s, no wind. Only big gripe is that my Nike+ SportsWatch couldn’t find the GPS satellites through the snow clouds. Strava and the Nexus 4 worked like a champ, though:

Ran Saturday (3.6 miles). Swam Monday (1.2K). So February is 8.4 miles and 1.2K in 5 days. On track for 50+ miles running and 6K in the pool – need to crank it up everywhere.

Short Socks and Spray

Two days into the week, and there have been three zeros busted for the first time in I don’t know when. (Four, when I think that this is the first week in a long while with two posts on the old blog…)

Anyway, this morning was another awesome ride into the office (Haven’t had a day I’ve regretted riding in yet).
January Bike Commute

Post script: After the great start to last week, I choked until running on Saturday. Awesome. Lesson learned is not to brag.

Broke the Zero

Literally? Maybe. It was, in the technical sense “Freaking Cold”, or about 19F, -something C, so we were below the zero in Canadia.

What is it with drivers in the wintertime? We live in a great town. In the summer I’ll usually see drivers head over to the opposite side to make room for runners and cyclists. But, on the same roads, same lighting conditions, etc, in the winter time it seems like the drivers are much less apt to make room. I think part of it is wanting to stay in the lane to avoid potential black ice. At least that’s what I want to think.

Anyhow, J. and I made it out for another run this morning. By “made it out”, I mean that I went in at least three times to shake the snoozing lad, and was about to leave myself when he showed up next to the door and grunted something that sounded like “Let’s Go.”

SO, about 10 minutes after we ought to be out the door, we were. I let him turn around for about a 2 mile round trip, and I kept on going out to Welles Road, which is becoming my go-to run. About 3.6 miles round trip, decent amount of elevation, but nothing earth shaking, and mostly on residential streets or sidewalks – about .25 miles each way is on the shoulder of a state highway, but it’s a wide shoulder, great sightlines – I think we’re OK.

Weight’s not good. I’m choosing to not believe the scale this morning, since I really don’t think I ate that much over the weekend, and I know I didn’t drink as much beer as it insists.

Slog through the cold

I won’t lie to you. It’s been a bad week running. Which is surprising, since last week was a great week running. But, I’ve got to face facts – I’m not a cold weather runner.

Last week ended well – huge mileage biking and running for a January week. 20 miles on the bike on my way home from work Friday afternoon despite it not being above freezing. Then a Boy Scout campout that I convinced myself I needed to go on ’cause I was making my kid go on it. Cold kids around a fire But even at the scout campout, I ended up squeezing in an almost 6 miler. Life was good.

Then, MLK day came and went, and I didn’t take advantage of the beautiful weather. Then the cold came, work got busy, and I sat on my butt for the week.

This morning, I ran a bunch of errands while my wife re-organized her office. Got the stuff to refinish a coffee table and a couple of other projects, banged them out. Then, looked at the clock, saw it was 3 and the stain was on the coffee table, and headed out the door.

I’m not lying when I say that the first two miles were uphill into the wind, ’cause they were. Absolutely have to love that. Turned around, and it was much, much better. Almost survivable.

But, broke the zero, didn’t have a week with nothing.

Diet’s going better – tipped the scales pretty consistently under 185 this week despite not running.


So, Fat Cyclist is getting back to his roots. Turns out, I’m in the same boat.

I’ve had probably the best mileage running fall that I’ve had in freaking forever – consistently made the Saturday run with the guys from church, averaged at least once bike to work a week, whatever. But, food raised its sweet, sweet head, I started homebrewing again, and beer’s pretty darn tasty. I’ve got a great new office where we’ve got way too many great folks who bring in tasty food. Sigh.

Bleh. Over 185 at New Year. Ouch.

So, I’m back on the wagon. Just finished a trip down south for work – only one night of Chic-Fil-A, no AM biscuits, not so many beers. AND! Hit the 50 meter pool.

Love the 50 meter pool. Love swimming in general – I’ve managed to get in at least 1000 yards three days this week – Monday in the pool up here, and Tuesday and Wednesday down south.

I’d forgotten how much i love to swim. Actually, I’m not completely sure I love to swim, but it felt good to be back in the pool, working a different set of muscles than I’ve been working for most of last year. No phones, no gadgets, no nothing. Made me happy.

Anyway – running with J. in the morning. Still got better legs than the 12 year old.


Good morning run with #1 son. High 30s, overcast, dry. 3-Ish miles, conversational pace.

On one hand, nothing special. Its morning, so we get up, run to rake care of mind and body. Then food and a day of good work.

On the other hand, holy crap, it doesn’t get more special than that. Some mornings, can’t get two words out of the guy. Other mornings, he just won’t shut up. But he’s here, and I’m here, and its just what we do.

Run and talk.

And I sit on the porch rocker watching steam pouring out of my shirt and big clouds rolling away when I breath, and cannot wait for the next normal day.


Jimminy Christmas.

Actually, it’s blowing my mind – hit the 60’s up here today (Coastal Connecticut). Rode home tonight. In December. In shirtsleeves.

There’s another rider I see most evenings – always heading the other way, lit up like nobody’s business. Bundled up warmly. He’s a backpack, though, instead of a rack and panniers. Don’t think he’s got fenders, either, though. But it’s nice knowing there’s someone else out there, outside the cages.

6 AM and The Boy

The big kid is becoming kind of a pain in the rump.

Cross Country season is over, he’s noticed I’m a little portly, and he’s decided that there’s little better in the world than waking up at 0600 and going for a run. Especially if he can make his old man sweat.

Vermont City Marathon 2012 - two miler

In general, I jest – that he’s in middle school and still wants to hang with his old man is a sign that there’s something good going on between he and me. It’s also a chance for me to work out – the snooze button and the couch are my biggest foes, right after “The Daily Show” and having another beer after supper.

It’s also a challenge for me – there aren’t too many months left when I’m going to be faster than he is. If I keep heading out with him, there’s a chance I’ll hold him off for another couple weeks, at least. But, he’s already beaten Missy in a race; my time will come.