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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It’s Summer, What Do I do?

It’s officially summer now, atleast I’m pretty sure. Those who go to grad school have a few months to detox from papers and exams. Those with children in school now have their arms full again with speeding gonzaleses running around their houses. Its time for family members to visit, friends to visit, vacations to be taken.

So, what can you do? These are some of the things I have planned on my list. Most cost little to no money, which is good for people who are on money diets like myself ( racing is expensive!).

1) Berry picking! I mentioned this in a post I wrote earlier in the fall, called Welcome Fall which went into details of where you can go to pick apples and pumpkins and what there is to do in the fall. There are loads of farms which will let you pick your own berries. On my ride the other day, I came upon Grieg Farm in Red Hook where you can pick your own strawberries through June, and then blueberries come out in July. Mmmm. I love strawberries and blue berries.

2)Drive in Movies. I’ve never been to a drive in move before, but there are great drive in movies all over the place. Go check out Driveinmovie.com and see what’s playing where. There’s one up in Hyde Park, up in Greene County near Coxsackie called Hi-Way  Drive-in Movie, and you just need to check out that site to see what is playing!

3) Fourth of July

There are numerous festivities that go on for the fourth of july. I remember back when we live in Lake George, we’d bundle up and head out into the boat and watch the fireworks above us. The Dutchess county fair grounds does something special for the fourth of july, with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic which can be found here.

4) Hike. When you hike on Catskill trails, it’s free. But there are places in the Gunks which have amazing trails. On the Mohonk Preserve, which you do need to pay either a daily fee or membership fee for, in June, they have what is called the blueberry patch, where wild blueberries grow. The Hudson Valley Magazine has some great hike ideas.

5) Go watch the Windham World Cup — It’s the UCI’s world cup for mountain biking. I know some people who have worked their asses off, spending hours on the mountain preparing for this event– Mountain Bikers from all over the world will be there. Quite an exciting event, especially so close to where we are!

4) Tubing. Town Tinker Tube located up in Phonecia has a 5mile stretch where you can rent a tube (or kayak) and float or kayak on the Esopus. This may be more of a pricy event, but still fun to do.

5) Waterfalls, lakes, swimming holes– are all over in Greene county. And, some in Ulster county as well. (I haven’t heard of any in Dutchess county–if you know of any, let me know!) In this humidity and heat, there’s nothing better than to cool off in natural water–outside with nature surrounding you, instead of being in a pool outside (haha, this person who used to freak out by being in outdoor water can now no longer stand pools). Swimming holes tell you where there are in your area. If you are a distance swimmer and pass a swimming test, you can swim in Lake Minnewaska! There are also small parks that have little lakes with lifeguards if you have smaller children or prefer to have a lifeguard while you swim, such as Wilcox Park in D.Co, Ulster Landing Park over in Ulster County right on the Hudson (although, I’m not sure who would want to swim in the hudson….), Lake Taghkanic State Park is a state park located in the southern part of Columbia County which has swimming and also waterfalls!, Freedom Park, in the town of LaGrange, also has swimming area. I know some of these because they are the locations of triathlon and duathlons.

6) Race season! If you are into duathlons or triathlons, there are loads of races throughout the summer.Great little events. If you are a more experienced triathlete, they have a lot of half IM’s throughout the state, however those can get pricy. The smaller, local races aren’t too bad.

7) Cheer on the cyclists from the Tour of the Catskills and support the riders as they come up Devil’s Kitchen. ‘

8) County and State fairs. If you enjoy paying to look at animals and proud owners of mini dogs going to catch disks, and inhale the smell of overpriced, greasy food, go for it! (I grew up in the country and had my share of smelling farm animals, so county/state fairs aren’t my ideal events to attend). But, the Dutchess County Fair has really neat old farm equipment.

These are just a few of activities geared towards the more athletic person (sorry, it’s just who I am). But there are a lot of exciting events going on this summer!

I wish you all a wonderful and safe, fun summer! Don’t forget to keep hydrated and sunscreen at hand!

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