Couldn't sleep last night Not sure why
An hour inside a doughnut Can't hear the music! Why do they bother?
Not a big deal, just out of alignment
Needs to be tweaked, like a derailleur
Turn a screw, slip it back into place
Couple months and done
Nothing heavy, though
No reason to loose sleep
Moving will be a bitch
Two moves, in fact
And these boxes Piling up everywhere
So much crap Where did it all come from?
Things coming, going
For now, anyway
Maybe the dumpster next?
Crash at lunch
Bells rung, skin scraped
Glad I stayed at my desk It was so nice today
Not quite 50 Nearly twice my age
Racing his bike
It's fun, right?
Dead in a bike race
Glad they didn't cancel the next one, gotta keep going
Couldn't pass up a challenge
Gotta respect that, right?
Dead in a bike race She had a kid
Did Markus have a kid? Maybe two? Three?
"We don't know how long it will take."
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Couldn't sleep last night Not sure why
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Ever since Brett, Zander and I enjoyed some lean-to burritos last weekend, I've been thinking about one of my favorite proverbs: "Hunger is is the best spice."
I'd forgotten to pack the cumin to spice the meat, and our burritos were without beans, lettuce, or tomatoes (though we did have plenty of Cholula). But, the food was twinged with the scent of pine needles that were still stuck in our hair and clung to our clothes, giving our pan-Mexican dinner an exciting olfactory twist. I couldn't get enough -- especially after a day of traipsing around the mountains, and falling in and out of Spruce traps.
Today, I got home from riding the Derby and two training crits at about 3 p.m. The efforts were hard, and took a toll. I was pretty close to bonk stage by the time I rolled back to the triangle. In my house I didn't have enough food for lunch, but the stale carrot cake cupcake I found hiding in the back of my refrigerator was delicious. It was sweet and still held moist carrot shreds. It was, so good -- although, under different circumstances, or to a different, less hungry person it might have been inedible.
Hours later, after I'd slayed an Italian sub from Armetta's, showered, had a little snooze on the couch, took care of some household chores, and settled back onto the couch, I started thinking again about the power of hunger to imbue flavor into otherwise distasteful food. Doubtless, I've had a few really wonderful meals over the years. Some prepared in my own kitchen, or in that of friends or relatives. Some were served at restaurants. But most of those meals fade after a time. In fact, looking back, there are very few meals that I remember.
Here's one that stands out: On a long day in the Wind River Range in June or July of 2002, myself and other students on my NOLS course were traversing rocky terrain interspersed with glaciers and snowfields high in the mountains. After walking all morning under heavy packs we reached a saddle that marked the top of a pass by which we would cross the continental divide. Approaching from the west, we'd walked up moderate grade on a rocky slope. Upon reaching the top, though, we found a steep snowfield dropping away below us to where we were planning to camp that night.
After roping up, donning crampons and settling our ice axes comfortably into a ready position (at your side, adze forward with fingers cradling the pick and shaft), we began down the slope. It was tough going. Progress was slow, and roped up as we were, there were no easy opportunities to stop for a snack or drink. Someone fell and wasn't able arrest their slide before the rope tethering them to other climbers drew tight, stopping them with a jerk that reminded us all how dangerous that kind of terrain can be.
Eventually, we were back down on level ground where about all I could think of was dinner after a long day afoot. Soon, my cook group unpacked our food bags and surveyed our options. It was getting close to a resupply midway through the month-long trip and our stores were lean. It was decided that we'd prepare a bag of dried TVP. For anyone keeping score, that's textured vegetable protein. Sitting around eating dinner, I remember being amazed at how much the brown mush looked, smelled and tasted like chili. Like, the meat kind that I'd make at home, with fresh chillis and onion, and with cayenne pepper. It was so good, maybe the best I'd ever had. And, in that moment, my friends and I were all completely content.
And, as you know if you've tried to get me to eat vegetable protein of any kind in the past 10 years, it was a meal that I know I'll never be able to recreate without the perfect amount of that spice called hunger.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Although he's scared of snow, Brett loves winter camping
Zander, to our relief, survived his first winter trip
I realized this past weekend that Brett and I have observed a tradition of going winter camping nearly every year since 2000. We missed a few years during college, but have otherwise made sure to set aside at least one weekend to turn off our cell phones, ignore our email, and get up into the mountains for a couple days.
Some times we've gone with other friends, some times we've been joined by various girlfriends, sometimes it's just been the two of us. The uniting thread through all the trips has been the Adirondack High Peaks, and a goal of obtaining one or several summits. We both know those mountains well, and, for a long time, they were easily accessible as Saratoga provided a good jumping off point. And, I've been a 46er since 2001, but would like to complete my winter round one of these decades.
Extricating myself was ... challenging
By day's end, I must admit, I was rather frustrated
This year, we were joined by one of Brett's brothers, Zander, and set off with the goal of climbing three trailless peaks: Santinoni, Panther, and Couchscraga. It was the first time that we'd planned to climb trailless mountains, and reports on the conditions of the herd paths varied from, "impassable," to "cake." I was a little concerned that we might not be able to climb all three peaks -- and thus delay my tortoise-like progress toward that 46-W. But, to date, Brett and I had always managed to achieve our objectives.
It snowed a fair amount the day before we got to the woods, and we broke trail on the way to the lean-to. That meant, of course, that the herd path would be snowed in, and we'd have to break trail on the way uphill while navigating the trackless woods. But, it didn't seem like an insurmountable challenge, and besides, I'd climbed the Santinoni range twice in the summer.
As it came to pass, we lost the route fairly early in our climb, while hiding from a driving snow under our hoods. We pressed uphill, figuring that we knew we were on Panther's flank, exactly where we wanted to be. As it turned out, that wasn't quite right. After five hours of pushing through alpine vegetation and deep snow, and becoming ensnared in Spruce traps, we came out onto a promontory north and east of Panther's peak, overlooking the old MacIntye Iron Works and Bradley Pond. We were supposed to be further to the south and had, apparently, climbed the wrong ridge extending down from the mountain. We could also see the summit above us -- the first of day's three objectives.
But, it was already late, and it was going to take a lot more bushwhacking to reach the top. From there, we'd have the option of backtracking back through the brush, or breaking a second trail down. Zander called uncle, and we beat a retreat.
Zander's face said, "Why is this so fucking hard?!"
Brett's face says, "Nothing like my little brother's misery!"
In past years, I think I would have been disappointed not to have fulfilled the weekend's objectives. I might have thought that seven hours is an awfully long time to sit in the car and not reach the top of a single mountain. But I found that I wasn't bothered: We'd had a great walk through the woods. We shared laughs, conquered some adversity, stayed (mostly) warm, coached Zander through his first winter camping experience, and enjoyed meals seasoned with a powerful spice that can only be found deep in the woods on cold nights edged with driving snow and howling wind: hunger and sheer gratitude for a warm meal.
Most importantly, we'd left our cell phones in the car and told our friends and families not to bother trying to reach us. I came home feeling at peace with a lot of things, and I was thankful for having had the time away, brief though it may have been. Maybe we'll reach the summit next time.