Sunday, May 25, 2008

Celebration of Life!

This weekend we remember brave soldiers who fought courageous battles. Not only war battles but, medical ones as well. Today, I had the honor of joining 40-50 other cyclists in a memorial ride for a fallen brother. The local cycling community lost one of it's legends and beloved friends to Brain Cancer. Just over a year ago, John Bocko passed away after a quick hard fought battle. Deb, John's wife, organized the ride and there was an amazing turn out. The ride left Gus' Bike shop and headed to the scenic stretch of coastline through North Hampton, Rye and Portsmouth, NH. It was nice to see some friends I had not seen in a long time and finally I got to ride with Craig Rollins a good friend of mine who taught me a lot in my days working with him and for John at Gus'. Craig lead off the ride on John's new bike that Craig built for him. Unfortunately, Johnny never got a chance to ride it. I forgot my camera so I snapped the picture above with my cell phone.

John pictured on the right, owned Gus' bike shop, a local shop. He died in May 2007 from cancer. He is greatly missed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Fenway Frank-in good time.

Sometimes you have to just splurge! Steph and I bought some tickets for last Saturday's Red Sox game against the Milwaukee Brewers. We bought them from that morning and saved about $20 bucks from the previous nights prices. We found Stubhub's office a couple of blocks from Fenway....with only minor driving frustration. Our seats were excellent! We were in the Outfield Grandstand along the third base line. The last couple of times we have been to a game, we were in the bleachers way back in the outfield. It is worth the extra money for a better seat. We were able to witness Big Pappi's 2nd inning home run into the Green Monster. The ball looked like it was in slow motion... Dice K was pitching and he was on fire! Now after that game, he's 7-0 on the season.

Our Grand View!

Dice K !

The view of the Monster from my seat!

The best part is, I get to go back to Fenway in about two weeks. Steph bought me tickets for my birthday and now she can't make it. So I am going with my sister Kathy who is a faithful member of Red Sox Nation. She has never been to a game, so I am excited to go with her...It's going to be a blast! They will be playing the Seattle Mariners for a night game.

The Closer- Jonathan Papelbon shuts' em down!

Just after the above photo was taken and on this very pitch, Milwaukee Brewer Brian Braun hit a home run. It gave them another run but, Papelbon quickly closed the doors. Steph had a Fenway Frank, breaking her no meat rule....It's Fenway! She said. I went with the greasy cheeseburger, Yum!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quality Time

The time is drawing to a close....The time we have to go back to work....Monday morning. I say we, I mean Steph and I. We are winding down an extra day attached to our weekend! Last week we were planning to go to Acadia but, the weather was looking like rain near the down east coast while staying dry and sunny in the White Mountains. So we brewed some coffee, ate breakfast and drove north. We parked the car at Cathedral Ledge in North Conway and rode our bikes on West Side road to Rt 302. We had planned a nice long bike ride! It's been two years since Steph and I have actually done a road ride together in the mountains...Two years too long! 10 miles in and warmed up for the climbing ahead up Bear Notch road, we stopped quickly for a top off on our water bottles at the appropriately named Bear Notch Deli. Steph is now riding on her fancy new Modolo Venus KX womens carbonfiber handle bars (just thought I'd start work early and get that plug in!) We've climbed this one together before and I have to say I don't think it's that hard. It's a nice steady climb, but not terribly steep. One nice thing about riding this time of year is the lack of vehicle traffic. It was nice to be back in the mountains, warm, not cold, and on the bike.

A nice view of Mt. Washington from the South near the top of Bear Notch.

The descent down Bear Notch to the Kancamagus Highway is always a nice reward for the effort! I think I hit about 39 MPH, with Steph right behind me...We decided to extend the ride since we were both feeling good and just loving the weather and the scenery. We talked about this tonight...This season, for what ever reason, no matter what we do on the bike, road or mountain, it is all quality with less focus on quantity. The last couple of seasons, I have not wanted to do less that 20/30 miles at a time...I selfishly always wanted more miles. This ride was no exception to our focus.....pure quality! Our extension of the ride was to climb up the Kanc to the top of the pass and then we would turn around and fly back down (wide eyes) to North Conway via the Covered Bridge and Passaconaway Road. The climb up the Kanc was incredible. From Bear Notch road it's about 3 or 4 miles of pretty flat terrain, then the road turns up hill steep and steady for about 4 more miles to the top of the pass. We cranked it out in fine style! The smells of spring and the new growth off the side of the road and in the woods was refreshing. The leaves are just popping out of the buds at 2800ft above sea level while here on the coast they trees are nearly full!

We ended up with 58 miles and 3500 feet of climbing in almost 4.5 hours. Our average was a mellow 14 mph! Good times! We were both pretty worked from the ride so we stopped in at Flatbread for Pizza and salad. The perfect nourishment for our souls!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Grinding through, shifting gears.....

Some days I wake up and it's a struggle to go to work...I am sure I'm not alone in thinking that I'd rather play a little more and balance things out a bit....3 Day weekends should be the norm. Today was one of those days...It's Friday, fair weather outside, stuff to get done around the house, bikes to ride, not much desire to go to the paid job. Oh wait, today is pay day...I've got to go in!!!

I am not complaining at all. The time has passed pretty quickly compared to some weeks....Wednesday, James (my employer) and I hit Mt. Aggie for some Mountain Bike riding. We labeled it as "product testing" which is no fairy tale. I mentioned before we are testing some VDO computers that will be released in June. Back to the ride... we met at Mt. A for 9:30 am.
We planned to ride the mountain side to get some good data on our computers to track altitude, mileage, heart rate..etc. This ride kicked my ASS! We went up and down and all around the little peaks of this area. The trails were nice and dry for the most part. I think we rode for about 3.5 hours with a couple of little breaks. The BLACK Flies were horrendous, Buzzing, Biting, Annoying....But the work, most enjoyable!

Today, I finally motivated myself to ride my bike to work. What a good decision to actually follow through with. It took me about 52 minutes and 14.87 miles. It was a glorious way to begin the day. I keep thinking what a perfect way to get my miles up and training progressing in the right direction....Training for what I am not sure just yet. Plus, not to mention, the gas I saved in just this one day....If I can keep it up at least a couple of days a week, it will be great for my legs and wallet. The ride home was great also. I thought it was going to rain but, it did not. My mileage home was a bit less since I took a slightly different route. I ended up with 13.42 miles.
The Weekend is here!