Tag: Wind

“Fat, Drunk & Stupid… No Way to Go Through Life”

IMG_20160311_164042003 (Web)Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m a bit of a cycling nut.  As evidence of my “cycling addiction” I offer the following; In conjunction with the American Diabetes Association’s Tour De Cure, I’ve ridden a half dozen or so “Centuries” in as many years (that’s 100 or more miles in a single day); rode the Adirondack Mountain Club’s “Ididaride”… twice! (a 75  mile ride in the heart of New York State’s Adirondack Park); solo rode the Whiteface mountain Veterans Memorial Highway “just because” (that’s a climb of approximately 3700 ft over a distance of 8.5 miles which is comparable to Alpe d’Huez of Tour de France fame.); rode from the Western NY Veteran’s Medical Center located in Buffalo NY to the Samuel Stratton VA Hospital in Albany and in the process visited four other veterans hospitals in between located at Batavia, Bath, Cananadaigua, and Syracuse NY. (At least this was for a good cause… namely to raise funds for the Honor Flight Network!).  Finally, and if I’m lucky, I’ll typically ride between 1,800 and 2,000 miles on my carbon fiber “go fast” road bike… my beloved 2012 Trek Madone!

Now, please don’t misunderstand my intent in relating the above.  My goal is not to “sing my own praises” or to tout my proficiency as a cyclist (Truth be told and generally speaking, for your typical avid cyclists, my exploits, such as they are, are decidedly unremarkable!  However, that being said for me… a 59 plus year old guy desperately trying to maintain a respectable level of fitness I think I’m doing OK!  So, earlier today I dusted off my bike, donned my early spring cycling kit (that’s “cycle-ese” for spandex leggins, windstopper shell jacket, booties, and full fingered gloves!) and headed out for my first outdoor ride of 2016!

Full of enthusiasm I set out in the cool air and abundant sunshine to ride one of my “standard” mid-distance routes through rural Rensselaer County.  One of the things I really enjoy about living in New York State’s Capital District is that within literally ten minutes ride I can be rolling over lightly traveled, quiet country roads surrounded by fertile farmland and meandering streams.  All this, set against the stunning backdrop of the Rensselaer escarpment… Life is Good!

About 12 or so miles into my planned 17 mile route, and with my legs and “backside” beginning to feel the “BERN” ( just kidding!)… I mean “Burn”, I turn onto Menemsha Lane heading for home!  Now this end of Menemsha is quite exposed as it is situated more or less along the top of a ridge lying between an extended meander in the Poestenkill Creek.  Beginning the gentle climb up to the height of Menemsha Lane a sustained head wind starts to blow!  As I struggle on uphill and into what seems like an ever strengthening gale, the scene from that 1978 classic movie, National Lampoon’s “Animal House” wherein Dean Vernon Wormer “dresses down” the Delta house boys over their mid-term grades comes to mind.   Channeling Dean Wormer’s admonishment to “Mr. Dorfman” (Flounder), I hear “…riding uphill into a headwind while 15 pounds overweight is no way to start a cycling season son!”

Guess I had better start skipping desert!

Windswept

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Stockholm, SW 2011

Walking through Gamla Stan or “Old Town” Stockholm, Sweden my eye was caught by a white haired gentleman sitting alone on a crimson bench in the middle of the day.  He wore a dark full length woolen jacket, dark slacks and polished black shoes.  Perhaps he was a banker or a businessman taking in some fresh air on his lunch break, or a salesman, diplomat or government official waiting on an appointment… As I watched a stiff wind blew in from the harbor and set the gentleman’s fine white hair in motion.  Instinctively, and remaining otherwise motionless he slowly leaned left into the wind as if to push back against the mounting gale.

Perhaps it was the gentleman’s instinctive “reaction” to the “action” of the wind or the man’s wild white hair,  but as I depressed the shutter my thoughts turned to  the German born, physicist Albert Einstein who’s genius contributed so much to our current understanding of the universe around us. And for just a moment I wondered…”Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” – A. Einstein.