Sunday, January 16, 2011

WAITING OUT THE WHITE STUFF…

This past week has been mostly characterized by putting on and taking off winter boots, shoveling snow for exercise, and wearing sunglasses inside to reduce glare! While the main roads to and from town and the interstates have been cleared nicely, the Navigator and I continue to rely upon 4 wheel drive to get up to and down from our home…

Snow lingers 1 week later

(Lingering snow from last week’s storm…)

Yesterday’s temperatures rose into the upper 40’s providing for some nice snow melt and cleared some of the southern facing slopes. The Navigator and I have lots of glass to the east and southeast of our home and that provides us with nice solar gain. With all of the snow remaining on our decks and surrounding areas, we found ourselves donning sunglasses in order to sit and enjoy our morning coffee yesterday.

We were amazed at the amount of air traffic that we could track while enjoying our coffee. The jets were leaving some serious contrails as they crossed the “friendly skies” viewable from our couch. We quit counting after noting 30 jets in the space of 20 minutes or so. For some reason, most of the flights at that time of day yesterday seemed to be heading north and northeast with only one or two headed east. We noted only one flight heading south.

With the main roads now cleared for traffic, we met our close friends mid-afternoon and headed to Asheville for a birthday celebration that was delayed last week due to the snow storm. We enjoyed “True Grit” along with an auditorium full of people. It will be interesting to see if “True Grit” maintains its place among the box office leaders this weekend. In true movie critic fashion, we all gave the remake of “True Grit” a BIG thumb’s up! Jeff Bridges was his usual exceptional self with Matt Damon following suit in his “tongue disabled” role. The surprise of the movie though was the young lady playing “Mattie.” She was outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Golden Globe awards tonight for these folk and some Academy Award nominations in the near future. (Hey, see where my mind goes when I’m not riding and writing about riding…)

In some actual cycling news:

NASA Astronaut Timothy Kopra was injured in a cycling accident yesterday. Kopra has been in training for the oft delayed November launch of the space shuttle. With Mark Kelly’s absence due to being at the side of his wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords, Kopra is the second astronaut in the last week to be derailed from the training program for the next shuttle launch. Details of what happened in the cycling accident were sketchy as I write this note. I found no explanation of what happened other than NASA indications his injuries were not life-threatening…

SPOILER ALERT FOR CANCER CLASSIC: HTC-Columbia got off to a big start in Australia yesterday taking the women’s overall win in the Cancer Council Classic leading up to the start of the Santo’s Tour Down Under. Chloe Hosking, HTC’s Australian rider, took the victory in her home country. HTC-Columbia’s men’s team took 1st and 2nd place in the men’s event. Sprinters Matt Goss and Mark Renshaw avoided a late race crash that slowed down teammate Mark Cavendish leading to their top 2 finish…

BikingInLA’s Ted Rogers witnesses cyclist “brush back”, alerts law enforcement, and provides first aid… No, it wasn’t a baseball “brush back” pitch that drew Rogers’s attention to a downed cyclist. While riding in L.A., Rogers observed a cyclist knocked down by a passing truck…

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says to cyclists, “…participate in the process!”  Following on-going releases of reports that tout the beneficial aspects of cycling on both the economy and health issues, LaHood encouraged advocates to get involved and stay involved in shepherding important cycling infrastructures through the approval processes. (Thanks to BikingInLA for the link…)

Putting things in perspective: When I get to feeling that I’m “whining too much” about the winter weather here, it helps me to check in with Jill “Up In Alaska” Homer. Having read of her riding exploits in the considerably, dare I say, tougher weather extremes of Alaska, I find myself less likely to attribute my lack of riding to the weather conditions and more to my own unwillingness to get out and about on 2 wheels. Needing a Jill “fix” today, I discovered that she no longer lives in Alaska and has now moved to the much more temperate climate of Missoula, Montana… (yes, that was tongue in cheek…) I also discovered that she is currently forced to endure the terrible weather conditions of …. Hawaii! Maybe, just maybe, I really am in a more hostile weather environment than her current circumstances might suggest. You can find Jill’s newest blog at JillOutside. Here’s a brief sample of her work…

Regarding riding in –10 degree weather…

”But the world was drenched in glistening white light and enveloped by a perfect bluebird sky. To the car-bound commuters who watched us pedal through our own billowing vapor clouds probably saw our bicycle riding as excessive — excessive because it was too cold outside, and there were parties to plan, real miles to travel and hours to count.” – Jill Homer

 

So, 3 cups of coffee down, one blueberry bagel topped with whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese consumed, and a need to move brings on this thought… I think it is time to shove some more snow!

Until later,

- Zeke

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