This is Just Plain Nasty

Upon finishing my delicious dinner of Peanut Butter Clif Bars and settling down for the first time today (yes–I was up all day, during day light hours! Unimaginable! And, yes, the Clif bars were tasty, but I’m really craving a large portion of Pomme Frites covered in salt and a beer at the moment), I realized it has been quite a while since I’ve written a post. And after running (not literally–it was more like stumbling) into a friend of mine who exclaimed, “I think the last time I saw you was in early March,” (my response, “Really? Dude, that’s a long time.”) I thought it is about time to resurface from my semi-hermit-nocturnal lifestyle and attempt to do things during daylight hours like the majority of the rest of the world.

So, what do I write about? Thank goodness the heat wave seems to have left the area, and I thought about writing a post on sports nutrition, but then decided I’m probably not the best to give advice on nutrition if I just ate Clifbars for dinner, and the fact my stomach for some odd reason cannot tolerate gels or energy things during races or training (as I found out the hard way yesterday when I scarfed down a package of Gu-bloks right before riding up Platte Clove Road. Less than ten minutes up the hill, I felt the gelliness (is that a word?) creep into my throat and had to stop to puke). However, my knowledge of nutrition is quite extensive due to a career in nursing and juggling an athletic/vegan-vegetarian lifestyle…My enthusiasm towards creating and cooking new dishes has actually increased recently–only a hand full of people who have eaten the food (and survived) would believe that since the juices and beverages are basically the only habitants of my refrigerator, except for the lone jar of pickles. A favorite website of mine is Fat Free Vegan Kitchen which has amazing dishes.

In my defense, I prefer to go food shopping on days I cook and only have enough for me or whomever is joining me to eat so that the chances of anything going rotten is slim. On that note, I also prefer to shop locally instead of large chain stores. Yes, the food might be a bit more expensive when not bought locally (there are farmer’s Markets in most towns where you can get local fruits and veggies as well as local butchers) but you are helping the local economy stay afloat. And, honestly, after my last trip to Wal-Mart I was not only terrified by the condition of the people shopping there, but I just felt gross leaving. In no way am I suggesting people who do shop at Wal-Mart are unconscious of their health. And, Wal-Mart does have some good prices for certain items….But if I can buy locally, I’ll do so. Below is a site that lists of farmers markets in the Dutchess and Ulster counties. I know I’ve spoken about CSAs before–and those are fantastic during the summer months…Although the summer is quickly passing and fruits will be off the vines soon, but it will be apple picking time in no time! Mmmm, I love baking Apple pie. Adams seems to have amazing food, and if you eat fish, it seems to be the best fish I’ve found in the area– so fresh, and you can find fish that were wild caught, not farm raised.

Back to the post about Cycling. I have a couple of friends who will be participating in the Tour of the Catskills this weekend, which is a three stage road race up through the Catskills. It is mountainous with sharp ascents and long descents, winding roads, and on a beautiful day, the views on parts of the ride are breathtaking. It’s intense. Lots of thigh burning.I decided to do one of the stages yesterday because I needed to get my long ride in, and was bored with Dutchess County and thought, “Hey, I’ll do the stage 2 course!” I got lost so my ride wasn’t exactly the same, and my written instructions of where to go were useless when I ran into rain going from Windham to Durham.

I’ve ridden over in Ulster/Greene county before, and the one time I’ve ridden up Platte Clove was at the beginning of my ride. In the tour, the ride up Platte Clove, or “the Devils Kitchen” is after riders have been riding for over 50 miles–and thats the higher category cyclists. The pro’s and cat 1/2 do a longer loop, but still end up going up Platte Clove Road.

I give the people racing this weekend an incredible amount of credit for what they are about to do. The kicker of the race is Platte Clove road, a road only open seasonally (according to the Daily Freeman last week, a hiker fell somehow off the road and was seriously injured) and this road is over 3 miles long with a 7% grade incline. And after riding over 50 miles, having to ride up it is a b*tch. As I was riding along route 32 from Durham towards Mountain Road, I looked over at the Catskills and a horrible thought came over me: I need to get back up there to get to my car…. and it’s up there.

I’m not a fan of hills, or mountains I should say, when biking, especially after riding for over 50 miles (I know, hardcore road cyclists think that is nothing). I’ve only done Platte Clove once, and it is like the hill from hell– it’s just plain nasty. It is never-ending. Once you think you are at the top, you still have a couple of miles of rolling hills to get to Tannersville, or Haines Falls where I parked. If you were to pass me, you’d hear my “ughs” and the swearing started once mosquitos decided to have a feast on my arms. However, I did stop along Platte Clove and wrote in large letters a couple of names of people I know who will be riding up this devilish hill this weekend. However, by that time, most of it will be just one large smear of orange from the cars and if it rains. (Crayolla Sidewalk Chalk is amazing–there is even glow in the dark chalk! But, its washable– who makes washable sidewalk paint?).

HF→Durham→Round TOP→Saugerties→Platte Clove

Once I made it to the top after having a break to speak with someone who was walking their dog (I might be semi-quiet in general, but seem to be able to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger over useless, random topics of conversation.)

Training wise, I went to the lake to swim today  which was wonderful, and actually found a rope swing which I just could not swim past and no try it. It was fun; I haven’t been on a rope swing in years.

Onteora Lake-- complete peace

My next race is the Timberman; I decided to sign up for the sprint, since it is in the middle of my ten day vacation (woohoo!) and I plan on doing lots of mountain bike rides and road rides up in Vermont and New Hampshire so I would prefer if I was able to walk and do activities after the race. However, after my ride yesterday and my swim today, I think I could technically do the full half IM, but since it’s my vacation, I want to be able to do more hiking/road and mountain biking with by babies. My long run is tonight, so depending how that goes, I’ll decide what I’ll do. Then, I should really start planning my trip (insert extremely happy face). I really would love to do the half IM, but am not sure it’s possible now, especially with my insane, nasty night-shift work schedule which make it hard to train because you are so physically exhausted. Ohh the day when I can work during normal hours… Imagine how much easier it would be to train!

Before I end his post, I am going to share some useful info for you regarding cycling, and doing anything outside in the Catskills, even if it is only 0700.

1) Bring sun glasses, or those clear cycling glasses you can wear. They not only help on a bright day, but also keeps rain from pelting your eyes so you can see during sudden rainfall (however, there is nothing like riding in the rain).

2) Reflective cycling jackets are a smart idea to wear when you are riding right when the sun comes out and when you are cycling in fog. It helps drivers know you are there.

3) Not all reflective jackets are waterproof, as evidenced by my drenched, wadded up pathetic paper directions of my route (perhaps the reason I didn’t know where I was a couple of times… thank goodness I kind of had an idea of where I was going).

4)Even when it is overcast, you can still get burnt. I think I have three different shade of color on my upper arm from wearing different sleeve-length jerseys.

5) If you carry a cell phone, put it in a plastic bag so incase you do run into rain, it does not destroy the phone. This I learned the hard way after a mountain bike ride when my phone, along with my whole body and bike, fell into a stream.

Farmers Markets in the Hudson Valley

To end this post (my apologies if it is all over the place), I leave you with a small teaser from a documentary which is coming out on the Catskills.

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