Only one post in the past two months, but I’m still not ready to give up on the idea of keeping a “daily” activity journal. It’s interesting this used to be the first thing I did when I got home from a ride. Now I barely think about it more than once a month, and usually only after a big event. Then I play catchup with these summary posts, only to get tired of trying to remember what the hell I did, and writing about it weeks after it happened. Or I run out of time before needing to move on to other things like… sleeping. Or my job. You know, those annoying, trivial things that really screw up a good blog.
That and Facebook.
August blew in quite a bit differently than July blew out… although there was still rain in the forecast more days than not, and we did get showers, they were a lot shorter in duration and lessened in intensity. It was continuously gray and overcast, but for the first time in longer than I can remember we managed to score a pretty damned nice first weekend of August. It wouldn’t last, but for a few days things were more like a normal summer in the North Carolina mountains.
Except for the temperatures.
For some reason I want to think we got a break in the rain somewhere in July, but it can’t have been much. I know we never went more than a single day without some amount of precipitation so maybe the fourth week was a case where I just got lucky with a couple hours of breaks in the clouds a few days in a row.
Or maybe I just stopped thinking about it and accepted it as part of daily life.
When living in Bent Creek Neighborhood, directly adjacent to trails, it becomes very easy to fall into a pattern of simply going out the door every day and hopping on said trails, either by bike or on foot. That’s a great asset to have, but does tend to become rather limiting over time. For the first few weeks in the new place I looked around for alternatives, explored my new surrounding areas, and did a lot more road riding than mountain biking.
Over the first couple weeks of living in East Asheville, I started to get the feel for my new surroundings, ride distances, traffic patterns optimal routes for riding and a little bit for running. In the last week of June I did more of the same. I had feared that I would really hate not being next to Bent Creek, but discovered that my fears were unfounded.
On June 1, Julienne and I got the keys to our new place in East Asheville. Moving in together. Shacking up. Living in sin. Blah blah blah. After two plus years of dating this was a big step we were taking and it was both exciting and stressful. Neither of us had lived with another person for quite some time, and for me it was the first time since I was divorced. Scary stuff indeed. I haven’t gone into too much detail about our new place, but it is vastly different from my old place.
For one thing, it doesn’t have a trail into Bent Creek running right out from the end of the driveway.
Before the trip to San Jose and New York, I wrote about two lengthy mountain bike races in which I endured many hours of mud-soaked trails and torrential rains. Not to mention the resulting damage to both of my mountain bikes, totaling nearly $600 in parts and service. Following the New York trip, I resolved not to enter any more races or organized rides for quite some time. The string of rainy events extends all the way back to last fall at Shenandoah 100 in Virginia, and they’re getting to be a pain in the ass.
What I didn’t anticipate is that following the first ride upon returning from New York, I would endure yet another deluge, albeit of an entirely different sort.
After returning from Floral Park we again hopped the subway and headed downtown, this time to Greenwich Village to meet a friend of Julienne’s for dinner. We had a bit of extra time so we wandered over to Washington Square Park for a little bit.
I guess it’s not as weird as it once was, but we did see some pretty talented street performers and musicians.
On the last day of our NY trip, the weather changed dramatically and for the better. Abundant blue skies and nice warm but not hot temps. The plan for the afternoon was to take the LIRR over to Floral Park, and wander the town where Julienne is originally from. It’s a neat little downtown, especially when viewed from the railroad platform above. We first wandered down the street towards the house where J grew up, and she pointed out where all her friends lived and other landmarks from her childhood. Verdana street is a dead end street, butting up against Belmont Park, and her father dubbed her and her crew the “Dead End Kids”.
I’ve seen photos.. they look like they were serious trouble.
Day three of our New York trip was scheduled to be Julienne and Kevin’s excellent adventure. We didn’t have any concrete plans, but did have a couple destinations in mind. Unfortunately, the weather from the previous day continued, in fact worsened. It was a chilly, wind driven drizzling that didn’t look like it was going to let up all day. First thing in the morning I rode the bike back to the bike shop and then ran back to the hotel, getting covered in rain and city grit the whole way. I reported the conditions to Julienne and asked her what she maybe wanted to do for the day.
One of the great thing about Julienne (and there are many) is that she doesn’t mind getting a little wet any more than I do. So we didn’t let the weather change our plans to wander the city. We grabbed some bagels at a deli along the way and wandered down 32nd street, heading for our first destination, the High Line. The High Line is an elevated green space/park build on an abandoned rail line. About a mile of the park is finished, a unique blend of aluminum, steel, wood and flora, running in between apartment and commercial buildings. The rain made it a challenge to keep my camera lens clear enough to take photos, so I did the best I could.
As soon as the rains came on the second day of my bike tour around New York, they disappeared. The day was still overcast and muggy, but Julienne and I decided to go for an evening stroll in the late afternoon before meeting more of her friends for dinner. We wandered from the hotel over to Bryant Park (which have since noticed is used opening scenes from Mad About You), the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Terminal.
I also stopped along the way and “grabbed a slice”, something I figured had to be part of the New York experience.
Following the SuiteWorld Conference in San Jose, I had to make a flight out of SJC airport to New York (Kennedy) at what some people describe as the butt crack of dawn. I needed to be at the airport so early that public transportation wasn’t even running yet. I took a cab at 4AM. 12 hours later, just before sunset, I arrived in New York, found my way to the AirTran, and headed off towards what what would be my first time in “The City”.
Along the way, I had a terrific sampling of craft beers during a layover in Minneapolis/St. Paul. By the time I got to New York however, nearly every device I had at my disposal for navigation would fail me. Phone battery – dead. Kindle Fire battery – dead. Laptop battery – dead. I knew how to get to Penn Station via the LIRR, and that my hotel was within walking distance of Penn. Fortunately, a nice New York City police officer looked up the Hampton on his (working) cell phone and pointed me in the right direction.