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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Berkshires to Boston Bicycle Tour

I think the theme for this summer and fall for me will be biking. As in two wheels. Motor free. Pedal power. I'm not really sure how this reinvigorated interest in the bicycle came to be, but I will freely admit the last few months have really sucked. Lots of taking on more than I can chew; my personal life faltering; and a need for an escape. What better way for freedom than with my own two feet? Running? Eh, makes my knees hurt. Driving? My can can be a gas guzzler. And then there's my bike.
And my other two bikes.

Yes, I have three bikes. Overboard? Maybe. But one I got for free, and the ten speed I've delegated as my training bike. The hybrid is the star and chill as much as he or she wants. I haven't decided if it's a he or a she. No name, just bike. But maybe it will get one this summer.

Anyways, I'm on this biking kick and researching all the bike paths/rail trail in the area. I forget what exactly I was looking for, but I came across the Berkshires to Boston bike tour. Still relatively new (it only started back in 2013), participants bike roughly 240 miles over four days from Western Massachusetts to Boston, just in time for that city's bicycle celebration "Hub on Wheels." Riders can choose to stay at the campgrounds each night or stay at a participating hotel if they don't really feel like roughing it. There are meal options where they supply you with most of your meals, or just breakfast or dinner. There's even a pre-tour bike ride to Mt. Graylock, the state's highest peak! If you can't get away for the four days, there's a weekend option. For an additional feel they bus the riders (and their gear) from Boston back to the starting point.

I am foregoing the warm up ride (have to work), but I will do the tour in its entirely. My plan as of now is go to work, get in a workout before heading over to Hancock, MA to meet up with group. As part of the registration fee Wednesday night's dinner is included. I chose not to get the meal plan for two reasons... okay, three:

  1. I'm not really a breakfast person, so I can't see shelling out $60 for a bunch of stuff I won't be interested in. I'll just grab a coffee on the route.
  2. I going through towns in Massachusetts I never think twice about. I'm going to explore and enjoy what's out there. Eating included.
  3. Registration fee plus the ride back to Hancock was over $400.00. Even though I'll be buying stuff along the way, I want to try to save as much as I can.
Even though I'm biking with a group, I'm doing this by myself. Which doesn't make it so scary since there are other people doing this too. Strangers, yes... but doing the same thing. Who knows, maybe some readers out there are signed up or interested in signing up. If so, woohoo! Always good to see a familiar face. Or maybe not familiar face but whatever. You know what I'm saying.

The prices, sadly, have gone up. To register for this tour is now $398 (full)/$235 (weekend). The ride back may still be $65, you'd have to check the website for that. And if it seems pricey, know this is what you get for it (full registration, C&P job from the website):

  • Marked route each day
  • Camping accommodations on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Shower and sanitary facilities in each campground
  • Baggage transportation each day
  • Sag support each day
  • Mechanical support on route and in camp
  • Seven rest stops
  • Wednesday night dinner at Hancock Shaker Village and opening night entertainment
  • Hub On Wheels registration
  • Rider Guide
  • High-quality printed route map and guide
  • Rider registration bag with useful tour and take-home items.
Freebies! And I think you get stuff from the Hub On Wheels as well. 

Anyways, check out the Berkshires to Boston website. If you are doing this, post in the comments. If you're not but have done something similar (supported or unsupported), leave a comment as well. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Two Wheel Adventures: Mohawk Hudson Hike - Bike Trail

So after my workout yesterday I decided to go for a ride. The weather hasn't helped much - it rained during my workout and a few raindrops hit my windshield as I drove over to Watervliet. But if I want to be ready for my upcoming bike adventures (which I'll write about tomorrow), I need to get in as many miles as I can.

I run on this trail quite often, and once in a while I bike it. It's easy, relatively flat. Depending on what time you go, it can be desolate or packed. The rain scared most people off, so I didn't have to worry about sharing the path. But I did stay as far right as possible.

I didn't bike the whole trail, just to Jennings Landing and headed back (that rain!), so roughly ten miles. For the most part the ride was bug-free.

I just ordered a bike rack for my car, so I won't have to deal with throwing my bike into the back. The ten speed is slightly heavy, but manageable. My hybrid, totally different story.

Monday and Tuesday Workouts

Monday -

For Time

1000m Row

-Right Into-

KB Swings (53/35)
Over Head Squats (95/65)

Results -


To be honest, I really didn't want to work out Monday. I got home and felt sick. But I forced myself anyways and felt much better afterwards (and exhausted as heck). I signed up for the last class of the day. Smaller group, should consider changing up my work out times.

Even though it was for time, I really didn't want push myself too hard at the beginning. So it was a steady row, until the last 200 meters when I tried to finish quickly. I think I finished at about the four minute mark.

The coach suggested we go straight into the KB swings (American style, which is just about over head) and then take a five second break before starting the OHS. Because I was anticipating muscle fatigue, I went light with the kettle bell - 25 lbs. I had 50 lbs on the bar, so slightly light. KB swings, weren't a problem, but those OHS definitely were. Even with a break before starting, I would be able to get two or three before dropping the bar. Tiiiiiiiiired. But I finished, and wasn't the last one. Second to last, but whatever.

Tuesday -

6 Sets x 1 Rep
@85-90% 1 RM Snatch

EMOM x 10 Min
5 Dead Lifts @ 50-60% of 1 RM
10-15 Double Unders/20-30 Singles

Results -

Thankfully, an easier day. This was day two of snatches, as I used the snatch to get the bar up for the OHS the day before. Nothing too bad here - three sets @ 45 lbs and three sets @ 50 lbs. Used the wrist straps at the gym, need to look around the house for mine.

Honestly, I don't remember what my 1 RM for the dead lift is, but maybe 160 so I threw on what I thought was 80 lbs (turns out it was 95... I don't know the color coding on the bars!). Doable. I ended up doing singles since my double unders are... non-existant. Oh well, let me take that back. They exist... on my forearms. I have welts from where the rope kept hitting me. One of the coaches offered some advice, but I guess I have to keep trying, welts and all. Every now and then I get it - the longest I've gone is ten DUs in a row. Then I hit my ankle. Oh well.

Did I say it was easier earlier? Yeah well, easy yet exhausting.

But I still managed to get a ride in right after this.

Yep. Crazy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paying Respect

I did do the whole Father's Day thing this year, just like many other people. I drove down and saw him, and even brought a snack.

Carrot cake was always his favorite. And if he was nearby, he would buy a slice from Rockland Bakery.

It's going on four months now, and for the most part life has gone back to normal. Except there is a huge void. I try not to think about it too much.

The skies were blue and slightly cloudy for the most part, but by late afternoon the gray clouds moved in and it rained for the rest of the night.

The cake was tasty, as usual. He would have enjoyed it, probably with a cup of coffee.

Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Adventures on Two Wheels: Schenectady to Rotterdam Junction

No pictures yet again.

After my final (which I passed, thankyouverymuch) I drove over to the far side of the school's parking lot and hit up the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway, a trail that runs alongside the Mohawk River. My final took much longer than I thought it would and by the time I got out, it was pretty overcast. Wasn't sure if it would rain, but I was determined to get a ride in.

The trail starts along the river and stays along the river for the most part. Mostly flat, with just small hills. Nothing to worry about though - you see them coming and nothing a couple of quick pedals won't tackle.

I had sunglasses on, but I think one of those neck things would be good to protect from the gnats, which I kept flying into. I did get a bug in the eye... nasty. There might still be some bug in there.

I biked down to about Rotterdam Junction, just before the path is cut by an active railroad line. The path starts up again, maybe a quarter of the mile down, but you have to get onto the road to access it. Hopefully they finish that small part and make it bike accessible. I'm pretty sure this is how they go on the Erie Canal Bicycle Tour, something I've been meaning to do for years.

One of these days.