The good ol’ days

I took a little ride down memory lane this morning.

Well, not Memory Lane. More like South First Street.

I decided to try a different route for my morning 14-miler. This one took me through New Brunswick, then over the bridge and into Highland Park.

I lived in Highland Park for a couple of  years in the early 1980s. My apartment was in a large-ish building that, I was told but never confirmed, once served as a hotel.

Anyway, I turned down South First, then headed to the end and soon found myself rolling through Donaldson Park.

Once I had my fill of that, I emerged on South Second, I think, and then took that to Raritan Road, also known as Highland Park’s main street.

But I didn’t want to reverse my route, so I took a detour down River Road, into Piscataway and Johnson Park.

I spent a lot of time in both of those parks in the late 70s and early 80s, when I was in college and the few years following. It’s nice how so early in the morning, with so few other people around, I was able to lose myself for awhile in some calming memories.

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Why I do this.

I’m cycling to raise money for the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides “comfort homes” on  major military base and VA hospital campus to military, retirees, veterans and their families. The homes are used for stays while the hospital’s services are needed.

I’ve set as my goals this season 6 rides from the end of July through September, including up to three “Century Rides” of 100 miles.

I know first-hand what a tremendous service Fisher Houses provide; I stayed in one in West Palm Beach, Fl. while my dad was in his final illness. He any my mom also stayed in that particular home when he needed to visit the VA hospital there for routine things.

When you’re going through the stress of a loved-one’s illness, not having to worry about where you’re going to stay, or getting something to eat, is a great relief. On top of that, at the Fisher Houses are people who understand what you’re going through, and are there to lend a hand or a shoulder.

Please visit my donation page and, if you can, make a pledge. All the money pledged goes directly to the organization, which has been awarded four stars (out of four) by Charity Navigator and an A+ designation by the American Institute of Philanthropy.

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It’s better in the morning.

Exercise, that is.

Let’s focus, shall we?

I’ve always exercised better in the morning than the evening. Don’t know why, maybe it’s the fact that I’m (usually) refreshed, without having endured the stressors of the day. Yet.

When I exercised at night, it was usually after 7:30 p.m., when the dragginess of the day had taken its toll, and I had to amp up just to get the energy to make it through an hour and a half. Not always my best efforts.

But one thing I haven’t been able to do, in terms of training, is cycle in the morning. Well, at least until today.

My mornings are full of taking care of the furballs, getting ready to go to work and dealing with whatever morning fire may be burning. And, when I manage to get up early enough, get about a 45-minute workout in. That usually didn’t leave much time to jump on a bike and ride the way I like to ride. So I contented myself with weekday morning in-house exercises and weekend rides. Maybe an evening ride if I had time.

But last night I decided that I wasn’t getting enough saddle time in, so I would modify my training regimen. I’ll get out on the bike at least two, maybe three days a week, and do the housebound stuff the rest of the week. I’ll still have my long weekend rides, though.

This morning was the first of those sessions. I managed to get out before 6:30, and, as I expected, there weren’t too many cars on the road. Which translated to less stress for me, because I didn’t have to worry about getting honked and yelled at by bicycle-hating motofascistas who seem to forget that cyclists pay taxes, too.

I think I may make a shirt that reads, “I paid for this road, too.”

Anyway, the air was clear and crisp, the sun was still low in the sky, and the joggers and fellow cyclists I encountered were all cheerful.

I did a little more than 14 miles in less than an hour, which is fine. I’ll save the longer rides for the weekends or days off.

Did I start a new routine? We’ll see how often I can roust myself out of sleep. But this was a good start.

**************

Why I do this.

I’m cycling to raise money for the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides “comfort homes” on  major military base and VA hospital campus to military, retirees, veterans and their families. The homes are used for stays while the hospital’s services are needed.

I’ve set as my goals this season 6 rides from the end of July through September, including up to three “Century Rides” of 100 miles.

I know first-hand what a tremendous service Fisher Houses provide; I stayed in one in West Palm Beach, Fl. while my dad was in his final illness. He any my mom also stayed in that particular home when he needed to visit the VA hospital there for routine things.

When you’re going through the stress of a loved-one’s illness, not having to worry about where you’re going to stay, or getting something to eat, is a great relief. On top of that, at the Fisher Houses are people who understand what you’re going through, and are there to lend a hand or a shoulder.

Please visit my donation page and, if you can, make a pledge. All the money pledged goes directly to the organization, which has been awarded four stars (out of four) by Charity Navigator and an A+ designation by the American Institute of Philanthropy.

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First I was bored …

… then I got lost.

But in the end, it turned out to be a pretty decent ride.

I didn’t get out during the day for a variety of reasons, so at about 8:30 p.m. I decided to just ride around my block and the neighboring block.

That plan last about 5 minutes. Way too boring.

So I figured I’d stretch it out for a mile and a half, down by a strip mall and a semi-challenging incline.

I did that, and I thought, well, let’s do that again.

Except when I got back to the strip mall, I thought, let’s just keep going a bit, then turn around and come back.

Did I mention I hate doing out-and-backs? I much prefer to do loops.

So I kept going until I came to a main street, on which I turned.

This is where things get cloudy.

I simply forgot where this street went. (My friend @Keith Brown doesn’t call me “Magellan” for nothing).

When I reached a cross street I was familiar with, I turned. Then came another familiar street. And before I knew it, I was turning onto the street that I thought the first street led to.

And I managed to get 13.5 miles in, at a pretty brisk pace, with some minor hills.

So a pretty good ride, all things considered.

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