A big dream of mine is owning a domicile with a garage. In my dream, I'll have a two-bay garage; one side for a vehicle and one side for my bikes a work area.
Will I ever realize this dream? Who can say with any certainty. One thing is sure, though. My new apartment, overlooking the triangle in Emmaus, is pretty close to an ideal solution for this time in my life, in which I'm living in a medium-sized apartment building. My apartment is described as a "one-and-a-half bedroom" apartment.
That is to say, there's a normal-sized bedroom, and a much smaller bedroom that probably isn't even really big enough for a bed. BUT, it is large enough for my bike tree, my work stand, tools, helmets, shoes, drying rack for used clothes -- AND my desk.
As far as I'm concerned, this is the next-best solution to bike storage. The bikes are right in my apartment, where they're secure and easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning, but, in the event that I have company, I can simply swing the door shut, and presto, I'm not a wierdo with a bunch of bikes in the living room, as I have been for the past several years. The last time I didn't have bicycles in the living room was when I had a gigantic bathroom, back in 2008. That was an OK solution, but we'll never know how much corrosion was caused by steam from the shower...
I still have a few boxes left in the living room, which I'm hoping to have sorted out later this week, once I move into my office at Rodale (I'm currently a vagabond as I wait for the office to be ready). At that point, I'll have some serious decorating decision to make.
For example, I'll need to decide if I want to clutter up my living room with furniture, or is I prefer to leave it open, bright and spacious. Photos will be forthcoming, so that readers can chime in with their design thoughts and tastes!
In other news, it was a rainy day here in Emmaus today, so no lunch ride for me. Instead, I hit the rollers, again. Although I'd rather be riding outside, I've been happy to be back on the rollers with a solid focus on next season's races. To be honest, it's been a while since I've felt as good on the bike as I have the past few days.
Here's to a wonderful season of winter training, and here's hoping that my indoor rides will end before too long.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
A big dream of mine is owning a domicile with a garage. In my dream, I'll have a two-bay garage; one side for a vehicle and one side for my bikes a work area.
Monday, November 29, 2010
The U-Haul hauled all the furniture
The car was loaded with the important stuff...
Unlike last time, this post is coming from Pennsylvania, but not from a hotel -- I live here now!
Well readers, it's been quite a week since I signed off last week. In the eight days since, I packed a U-Haul, with help from my brother, with all of my worldly possession, drove to my new home in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and unloaded the truck with help from my new boss.
Eric and I spent a day unpacking and arranging furniture, shopping and driving around Allentown.
From left-to-right: Hugh, cousin Ali, cousin Emilie, brother Eric
By comparison, I am terrible at nose-spoon hanging
Then it was down to DC for a family Thanksgiving gathering with all of my cousins on my Mom's side -- pretty much the best way that I can think to spend the holiday. The two-day stint in DC featured my second (and final) 5K of the year -- completed in 20:13. I guess I didn't quite make my 20-minute goal (which brother Eric was quick to point out), but it was pretty close, and it was a lot of fun to participate in the race with two of my cousins, my brother, uncle and various other members of our clan. Hopefully, we'll get to do it again at future Turkey Day gatherings.
Also, I ran faster than my brother, so that was good.
The adults found this contraption more fun than the kids did
Note, cousin Zack in a green sweatshirt in the background
The week culminated with a trip back to Brooklyn, where I spent the weekend misbehaving with friends from high school and college. There were no photos taken, save one very blurry image of me at the unparalleled Zombie Hut, which is a good thing.
I need a few new pieces for my new apartment
Ikea proved to be slightly disappointing with its lack of stock
I started training for my 2011 campaign today, so, you know, I had to get all the misbehavior in before that started. I did find the time to squeeze in one ride while I was in Brooklyn -- a 4.5 hour slog through the wind and traffic up to Nyack, NY, with one of my teammates. I don't know any of the roads here in PA yet, but I will say that I'm glad not to have to do the same ride every day.
My return to PA yesterday was marked by my attending an 80th birthday for my grandmother's first cousin. Apparently, I have a whole bunch of wonderful relatives here in the Lehigh Valley, and it was great to meet everyone yesterday.
Viewed from Skylight, shot by Brett in March 2007
Hung prominently in my living room to remind me of home
As of this moment, I do not yet have internet at home. There was a time in my life when I was too cheap to pay for internet. Those days are long gone, and I would much rather be holed up on the couch at home than at the coffee shop. I'm hoping to back on the interwebs at home next week. Until then, I'm going to do my best to maintain daily posts, but forgive me if I don't manage to brave the cold on some nights.
With that, I'm going to end tonight's post. There's lots more to tell, but the coffee shop is closing! See you tomorrow with more tales!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Even though I got rid of a lot of stuff,
it feels like a bigger move this time around
The last time I moved, I thought I'd stay put for a while. Like, several years at a minimum.
Instead, scarcely more than six months later, I'm moving again. This time, it's not the kind of move for which I can call up friends and load all my crap onto a cross-town caravan.
Nope. This time I had to spend an entire day culling and sorting and tossing out. Tomorrow, my brother will help me load a U-Haul, tow the Nissan, and drive to Pennsylvania. Where I'll be starting a new job at Bicycling Magazine.
One the eve of my move, I'm really sad to be saying good bye -- at least for now -- to Saratoga Springs, my R.A., my friends here, the wonderful cycling community that took me in a couple years ago, and everything else. It's been a lot of fun. It's been too short.
I had a great going-away party on Friday, and it was wonderful to see so many of my friends in one place. It really illustrated for me how special this place has become to me -- in relatively short order. I'm sad to be leaving and I'm going to miss everyone.
In light of moving and the holiday, I'm going to take a break from blogging this week. I will return a week from today with an update from my new quarters in Emmaus. Hopefully, by then, my sadness will be, at least partially, replaced with excitement for my new job.
Until then, happy holidays, and wish me a safe U-Haulage.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Unlike my previous moves, this time around I'm taking the opportunity to throw things away.
Yesterday I brought a garbage bag full of clothes I'm never going to wear to to the drop-off on Weibel Avenue. Earlier today I threw away a couple pairs of worn-out shoes. Last week I finally parted with the pile of punctured inner tubes that I know I'm never going to patch.
A few minutes ago, the dumpster swallowed up some old tires that are so far gone they couldn't even be used as spares. And yet, they were still taking up space in my storage locker.
I dropped a pallet load of paper into the recycling bin (the product of working at a daily newspaper), and paired down my paper holdings to things that I really need, like proof of insurance, etc...
There's something cathartic about throwing stuff away, but mostly it's nice to think that I won't have to continue to drag around a whole bunch of stuff I don't need, want, and won't use.
A little earlier this evening I moved my cleaning to the fiscal realm, by finally tackling the ever-growing pile of pennies that I've been schlepping around for an embarrassing long time. In fact, the pennies have been weighing me down (literally) for so long that there were two ziplock bags full of them in my desk, tucked away after the last move. Then there was the fresher pile on my dresser.
I'd rolled $11 in pennies before I ran out of roles. Clearly, I'll be continuing that project tomorrow before laughing my way to the bank. Then I'll be shuffling my way to Price Chopper to blow my riches on lunch. Still, I'll be happy not to be moving the baggies full of pennies. Fortunately, I'm better about cycling other types of coins.
Tomorrow, after finishing the penny project I may try to pare down my cycling wardrobe a little -- it's been a long time since I wore anything that came in Skidmore green or BVF yellow and black. But, then again, maybe I'm not quite ready to get that crazy...
Monday, November 15, 2010
and a little crowded by the fridge,
I love my kitchen and it's light
One downside of breaking your lease (among many) is the constant parade of strangers walking through the apartment.
In the past week, I've had about seven showings, plus a couple that my landlord did while I was in PA at the end of last week. Of course, this is a necessary part of renting any apartment, both for the prospective tenant and the landlord. The outgoing tenant, on the other hand, is in the unfortunate position of having his or her life on display at all times.
For instance, when I had my last showing late this afternoon I was in the middle of making humus and folding laundry. As such, the kitchen was in a state of controlled mess and there was clean but unfolded laundry all over the unmade bed.
Does this kind of thing have any bearing in the eyes of a perspective tenant? I don't know, but I certainly would have preferred to have less of my life on display when I opened the door this afternoon.
Similarly, posting photos of the apartment, still full of my possessions, felt like a big intrusion. The number of "are the bikes included" comments I got from friends only illustrated the point.
On the upside, my hardwood floors look great in the photos. Next time, I'll clean up a little more before the photo shoot. Of course, all this feeling of being imposed upon is only intensified by my sadness for leaving an apartment that I'd only just begun to know, and which I'm sad to be leaving. So it goes.
Anyhow, I have a good feeling that one of the four people who saw the apartment in the past 24 hours will take a lease and I can be done with this kind of intrusion, until next time.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Lest I be accused of being an illegitimate 'cross promoter, I figured I should do at least on 'cross race in 2010. I had a lot of fun at the Bethlehem Cup back in 2008 (when I was apparently faster than I am now, or maybe I was just better at 'cross back then), so I figured that would be a good one to hit.
Plus, with my move now imminent, I figured it would be a good chance to say good bye to folks I probably won't otherwise see before leaving. And if that wasn't enough, promoter Chuck Q comes to the table with a chili cook off and keg. So, a good time was ensured for all.
Struggling for traction on the run up
I found it was all I could do not to fall over while running
Since this was my first race of the year, I figured I'd take things easy and race the 3/4 race. Jamie graciously let me borrow his bike for the occasion. Given where my 'cross skills are at these days, I think this was probably a good idea. However, it turned out that only six racers lined up for the elite men's race, which paid 10-deep, so perhaps I should have raced that as well. So it goes. The decision to not race came when it became apparent that there would be no chili or beer left at the end of the elite race. Clearly, those things were more important than a second race on the day. I'm sure you'll agree.
Somewhere on the upper section of the course
By the last lap clipping in was a real challenge, as the pedals became clogged with mud
Anyhow, the race was pretty muddy, as a result of the Delmar town park's somewhat wet topography.
While I can occasionally muster bursts of fitness, I don't have the technical prowess needed to be a truly great 'cross racer, and it took me a while to get the hang of the course. The one practice lap I got in was fairly intimidating. Then, as a result of not having done any races at all this year, I was grided on the last row at the start, which was not a great situation.
I did my best to pass a lot of people on the wide, paved section at the start, before we hit the grass, which I think worked out fairly well for me. A steep but short descent proved challenging for some people, but I found that letting bike roll allowed me to carry lots of speed to the first run up. However, I really struggled to find traction on the greasy run up.
The upper section of the course was alternately muddy and fast. On the first lap, I put in a big burst of speed to pass a bunch of people over some roots, but bottomed out my tire hard. Fortunately, it didn't flat, but I figured I should take a it a little easier.
Eventually I settled into a rhythm somewhere in the middle of the pack. Some people who shouldn't have been able to pass me did, and there was lots of heckling. In the middle of the race I started going back and forth with a guy whose name I don't know, but who's a customer at Blue Sky Bicycles. So that was fun.
I was momentarily worried that I was going to have to try to sprint against him for a mid-pack result, but he took himself up on a gentle roller toward the end of the second-to-last lap, and I rode the last lap on my own, cruising in to a 16th-place finish, right in the middle of the 34-rider field.
Next year I'm going to dominate the B race!
In retrospect, I think I would have had fun racing the elite race, but it was also fun to drink beer and eat chili while Cody and Brad were battling in the single speed race (Brad won and Terry snaked Cody for second). Best of all, mere hours before making fun of my over at Spa:Cx, John provided numerous opportunities for heckling. Ah 'cross...
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Here's another post from the hotel in Allentown. Today was a great first day of work (though I won't officially be onboard in a full time capacity until later this month), complete with lots of discussion of Bicycling's Gear section, followed by some after work socializing with my new co-workers.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sorry for the radio silence over the past couple days, there's a lot going on here at GBBM, and blogging, unfortunately, had to take a back seat. First of all, to continue on this week's theme of press release, here's one mentioning yours truly, which was released from my new employer, Bicycling Magazine. The message here is clear: There's a lot of work for me to do, and I'm excited to get started.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Lots and lots of exciting news around here over the past week. First there was the news of my new job. Now, here's news of something equally exciting, but in a totally different way.
US composite team to race Israel’s first-ever UCI road race
A composite team of six elite-amateurs racers from the United States will toe the line and represent their country in Israel’s first-ever UCI road race, Shalosh Kalot, on March 19, 2011. The race, UCI 1.2, is presented by For Galilee Cycles.
The 180 km (112 mile) race starts in picturesque Rosh Pinna, one of the oldest towns in modern Israel, known for relaxing spas and breathtaking views of the Chula Valley.
Joshua Friedman, organizer of the American composite team, remarked that the race will show off Israel’s potential as a cycling destination, “I’m very excited to return to roads that I trained on back in 2006-2007 when I lived nearby. Shalosh Kalot is a great opportunity to showcase Israel’s beauty beyond the usual historic sites. It’s a place that cyclists should be flocking to as a winter training destination with great roads, food, people and culture.”
After the start in Rosh Pinna, the race continues downhill into a valley which attracts migratory birds from throughout the region and agrarians – the valley is home to some of Israel’s earliest modern agricultural villages.
Once in the valley, the race heads 30km north to the Goma Junction and then starts six and a half 15km circuits. At the completion of the circuits the race returns to Rosh Pinna via 2km of Strada Bianca and a 15km climb to the finish line.
The name of the race, Shalosh Kalot, is a tease to competitors versed in the Hebrew language – the phrase can mean “the three easy ones,” referring to a series of three climbs racers will tackle each time around the mid-race circuits. Organizers are hoping that the race name’s second meaning – “three brides” – will entice racers to return to race and train in coming years with its scenery and cultural offerings.
Fifteen to twenty teams will participate in Shalosh Kalot, including teams from Israel, Greece, USA and Cameroon. The director of the event, Ido Syrkin, the first Israeli to win a UCI road race, invited Friedman and his team to compete. In response, Friedman, of Boston, recruited five other cyclists from the northeast to make the trip, where the team will go wheel-to-wheel with Europe’s best, despite the need to train through the long, cold winter.
Since 2004, For Galilee Cycles has been the premier junior development cycling team in Israel. Its races are always favorites on the Israeli national calendar, providing challenging courses in picturesque locations. The club also promoted Israel’s first-ever UCI mountain bike race in 2008. For Galilee Cycles’ mission is to promote cycling as a healthy, life-long activity for the youth of northern Israel. It is a registered non-profit.
For more on Shalosh Kalot and For Galilee Cycles visit: http://www.fgc.org.il/Page.asp?PiD=0.3&id=86
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
In reading yesterday's post, specifically the passage in which I take the self-congratulatory tone in writing "'Their gain is our loss.' True," I realized that I may have come off a bit like an ass.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Exactly three years ago tonight I was a green reporter two days into my new job at The Saratogian and covering a hotly-contested local election for the five seats on the Saratoga Springs city council.