Step up ! Mileage Challenge for 2017 !

It’s now 2017. After reviewing all the end of the year” bests” lists and the sun ever so slowly extending itself into the far northeast corner of the USA , I’m ready and hopeful about what’s to come.

For one, I’m still able to embrace health and happiness. My body weight has remained around 200 pounds since I lost 27 pounds on my 2013 CDT thru hike. On prior hikes, I’ve gained it all back , but this time, I’ve been able to remain 15 pounds lighter.

Setting goals is my personal  life raft. Without them, I would be a diminished individual. My spanking new goal for 2017 is to hike, walk, backpack, or bike a cumulative 2017 miles.  It will be a figure that is easy to remember!  With that number in place, I am generally out the door every day to put in at least an hour to an hour and a half on moderate to more activity.
I dumped my decades old gym membership in 2013 after I came back from the CDT.  I went back to working out indoors but it didn’t feel right to drive a vehicle a half hour to change clothes and spend an hour inside a sweat factory where I did more talking than walking.

With this plan, I sometimes play catch-up.  I had a work week last week that cut into my recreational daylight hours. Saturday morning brought me to a three hour hike in nearby Camden Hills State Park.  We have not had much snow here.  The ground is practically bare, however,  there are ample stretches of compressed, hard, grey ice covering some of the hiking trails and single track that I travel on.  Half of Saturdays hike was done on Stabilicers.
Fitbit helps.

Strava  helps more.

2017 so far. Its a start!

2017 so far. Its a start!

If you are considering getting in ready shape for the upcoming hiking season then I’d suggest you also make your own grand plan with a mileage goal thrown in to keep you honest.  I’d like to thank Carey Kish for getting me started on upping my Maine-based mileage.  His 2015 Maineac Outdoors column inspired me.  I’d recommend that you review my own blog post that conveys my start.

I  boosted the whole shabang up a notch for 2016, aiming for 1,000 miles of walking as well as also a separate 1,000 mile biking. I was in for a nasty surprise this past Thanksgiving when I realized that I still had over 250 miles to cover on the bike before Dec. 31.  Early snowfalls and some brutal single digit temps led me to sufferer through a few  slushy bone chilling rides, but I made it.

Road rode yesterday

Road rode yesterday

I plan to amassing at least 100 bike miles a month from now until my birthday on March 27.

What about you?   Ready for a mileage goal of 1,000 miles to invite you outside more?      Who is in for a belated New year’s revolution or two?

You might not have to ride ice to get there.

Rollins Trails/ Ragged/Snow Bowl

Rollins Trails/ Ragged/Snow Bowl

Riding ON Hosmer Pond !

Riding ON Hosmer Pond !

Posted in Backpacking, Bicycling, Continental Divide Trail, Fitness, hiking, Outdoors, winter biking | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Wisdom: 6 Long-Trail Legends Share Hard-Won Advice

Reblogging this 1/4/17 article from The Hiking Project!

Welcome to the low pay lives of some of the best hikers in the world!

Not A Chance,

Not A Chance, Billy Goat, Wyoming, 20 Pack, Freebird, Wired

I have hiked and sometimes camped with 5 of these 6 folks, on my 2010 PCT and 2013 CDT thru-hikes. They are all truly genuine individuals.  Freebird told me that his goal every year that he thru hikes is to be the first person on and the last person off the trail.

Here is a pic of me and Billy Goat on Sept. 8, 2014 at the Millinocket Hannaford’s in when Billygoat was resupplying while he was providing car support for a buddy who was hiking the International AT from Katahdin to Quebec.

Uncle Tom and Billygoat

Uncle Tom and Billygoat

Read the whole article here–>>>The New Wisdom: 6 Long-Trail Legends Share Hard-Won Advice

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Canada, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Massachusetts hiker, 26, found dead after Christmas Eve hike in White Mountains, from the The Boston Globe

Hypothermia grants no special deals for previous experience.  Very difficult for me to read, understand, and consider.  

“Jack Holden had been at home in the forest since he was a Cub Scout. On Saturday, he had a pack full of gear, including a locator he could activate if he got in trouble.”

Read full story here:  Boston Globe article

Posted in Backpacking, Imported Posts | 5 Comments

Riding Inside vs. Outside

I’ve biked indoors on rollers when that was all we had, back in the 1970’s.  Since then turbo trainers came out.  I haven’t used mine for at least a decade. I  don’t want any part of riding indoors.  The sweat dripping off one’s body rusts the painted surfaces of a bike frame, and collects on the floor.  When I rode indoors, I was in the habit of draping absorbent towels over the surfaces of the bike that caught the stream of sweat running down my chin and brows. It’s also boring to bike indoors. That’s why people watch TV,  read, or watch their computer screens while they crank the pedals round and round.

Yesterday, I took an actual 10 mile ride in the middle of a rainy day, when there was a 1 hour break in the precipitation. Normally every ride I take from my house is a loop. We get locked into old patterns.

My Diamondback Apex is my road bike

My Diamondback Apex is my road bike

I live on High Street on the edge of Lincolnville, bordering the town of Hope, Maine., where there are some very large parcels of land held by relatively few folks . The last mile or so of the road toward Hope doesn’t have any telephone poles nor overhead (or underground) wires. There stands one old farmhouse smack dab in the middle of 1,100 acres around Moody Pond. Without any need to trim foliar entanglements, oak and maple limbs reach from both sides of the street to entwine, creating a tunnel effect that is most spectacular in autumn, when the landscape lights up with spectacular waxy hues of red, orange, and yellow.

People enjoy walking High Street.  This year, increasing numbers of people parked at either end of my street to walk for the joy of it. It’s not busy, except for late afternoon.  Most of the time, walkers never encounter us residents. It is also one of the few stretches around where you are not going up or down some 400 plus feet in elevation on a bike ride or walk.

These last two days, I took a short one-hour spin on High Street.  I didn’t travel more than 1.3 miles in any direction from my house, and felt guilty at how much fun I had riding a double route on this recently resurfaced asphalt road.

It took me 32 years of riding right here to take this most simple ride: out the door to the street, then ride right to Levensellar Pond for 1 mile, then head backpast the house in the opposite direction to Moody Pond, where I turned around and headed back 1.3 miles to my house, where I repeated the exact same route, snagging 10 miles in just under an hour.

Levensellar Pond

Levensellar Pond

Moving over the landscape on foot or two wheels is my daily practice.  There is bigger purpose in my 10 mile triumphs.  I’m needing just 48 more miles to reach my goal for 2016- one thousand miles on the bike.  I met two other 2016 goals already: 1,000 miles of walking/backpacking and reading 25 book, one every two weeks.

Posted in Bicycling, Fitness | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

End of Year Mileage Push !

It’s really dark and cold again where I live in Midcoast Maine. Ice and snow coat the fields, forests, and roads.  Grrrrr.
My response is to get outdoors as much as possible.  That will mean hiking, fat tire biking, cutting up/hauling trees into firewood from my woodlot, shoveling snow back and forth across the driveway, digging out lost, buried stuff, etc.
My Oct. 16, 2016 (bike dismount) shoulder injury has finally settled down and healed up as much as it can.  When I last had surgery on it in 2006, a complete shoulder replacement was the only “cure”, predicted to be done in some 5-8 years. I’ve netted 10 years of restricted use since then, with yearly X-rays showing the inevitable progression of bone disease. Major shoulder surgery is inevitable, though.
I truly missed riding in the October and November forests this season, due to my shoulder injury and then deer hunting season.  I don’t go out during the deer hunt, and it’s not just me who stays out of the woods in November. I live in a two acre hay field, surrounded by forest and swamps, where deer are plentiful. High power bullets travel a log distance.

For the past couple of years I have set personal fitness goals.  The first goal I set was due to Carey Kish’s “Maineiac Outdoors” blog post . Check it out: The 1,000 Mile Challenge.
I reached the 1,000 miles of without too much trouble.  I also put 740 miles on my bicycles that year.

Next, my neighbor Matt encouraged me to read Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You’re 80 and Beyond.  The core premise of that book is, “Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.”   Yeah but… I made one critical modifications.  I don’t push  on days when I am tired.  How do I know I am tired?  I now use a technology known as heart rate variability, but that is a longer story for anther time.

SweetbeatHRV

SweetbeatHRV

In the meantime, if you want to check out HRV- go here and here.

A conversation with my oldest son, Lincoln encouraged me to think about ramping up my walking and biking to  a 1 hour-a day-average,  yielding 365 hours of moderate exercise in a calendar year.  I decided to try for 1,000 miles on foot and 1,000 miles on the mountain bikes in 2016.  I should have done more biking when the weather was better.

How am I doing?  Check my treasured  data for 2016. I’ve been much more active in hiking and biking since I gave up my gym membership. I walk out the door of the house and walk or bike rather than drive 20 miles to walk or sit on a stationary bike at the YMCA.

screenshotscreenshot-3As of today, I have logged 2,095 miles: 912 on bikes and 1,177.6 miles on foot.  I am past the finish line for hiking goals this year, but I still have to log 88 more biking miles with 14 days left to log that.
It started snowing early this December.  Rain doesn’t help either. Picture 4 inches of snow piled up before 5 hours of rain saturates the snow to make it stupidly heavy to push around.  Thank God for my plow guy, Sam, who shows up year after year and does the job, unannounced.

It’s just starting to creep up from subzero conditions yesterday, accompanied by a killer wind chill during the day. If I can’t ride due to ice and snow at least I can walk.  Here is a pic taken yesterday afternoon from atop Mt. Battie overlooking Penobscot Bay at -4 degrees.

Xmas by the Sea

Xmas by the Sea

Yes, I had mukluks on my feet and chemical hand warmers inside my mittens.

A few more miles……to go before 2017 ticks over and shows up for a while.  It’s snowing lightly right now at 7:41 am and there is talk about squeezing some ride in through the Rockland Bog before the snow pack warm up and gets saturated with tomorrow’s cold rains.   Stay tuned for the finish…   

Posted in Backpacking, Bicycling, winter biking | 3 Comments

Actually, there is a “right way” to backpack

When the Adventurer of the Year from both Outside and National Geographic Adventure magazines speaks, I listen!

“Actually, there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to backpack.In this sense, backpacking is like driving a car, learning to play the violin, baking a cake, or installing a toilet. I suppose you could do it your own way, but you may get hurt, you will not improve as quickly as you should, you may be unsatisfied with the end product, and you may have to mop up sewage that leaked through the wax gasket. What is the right way to backpack?”

Source: Actually, there is a “right way” to backpack

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Stalled Out on Fitness Progress

I’m injured. It’s early November and I’m now at my lowest point in working toward my fitness goals for this year.
October 16 is a bad day for me. Last year, I was off my bike for a month after I had a crash going over a rocky stream bed in the Rockland Bog, an event that occurred on Oct. 16, where I opened up a large gash on my knee as well as bruised the top of my shin bone. A bruised bone is a painful experience. I take so much longer to heal now than when I was a younger man.  It seems to take a month for me to heal.

Would you believe that this past Oct. 16, the exact same day, but one year later, I had another unexpected bike dismount, and in the Rockand Bog- again? This time I rolled onto my decrepid right shoulder when the soft ground crumbled underneath my mountian bike tires as I was skirting the edge of a deep mud pit. Thankfully I landed on a grassy patch of soft earth, but the damage was done.

According to the best shoulder surgeon in Maine, I own a right shoulder that is as worn out as one on an 85 year old man. It is riddled with arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis, with bone to bone contact coming and going.  Among my seven surgeries, I have had two shoulder surgeries, one on each with the last in 2007, where the same Dr. Endrezzi told me that my right shouder would need to be replaced in 5-8 years, so I am overdue.  I see him yearly now, where he takes a fresh x-ray of the joint and compares it to past xrays, where we note the progression of disease. It’s only a matter of time. I just hope it is not that time right now. I am not ready for surgery, particularly the long rehab required for a complete shoulder replacement.
I have tried riding my road bike just once since Oct. 16 and even the act of trying to relax my arm by resting my palm on the soft right grip and occasionally shifting and lightly braking resulted in a spike in the pain, so no more bike right now.
Thankfully, I can walk, so hiking has been my sole fitness choice for almost a month now.

On Jan.1, 2016 I set a yearly goal of hiking 1,000 miles and biking another 1,000 miles. I was making excellent progress at reaching both, until now. I have my 1,000 mile of hiking in the bag already, but I still need 250 miles of biking to happen in the next month and a half.

Here’s my Strava data, reflecting my totals to date:

Strava hourl/day/month 2016

Strava hour/day/month 2016

I feel cushioned by logging 93 hours of combined hiking and biking in Septmber this year, a strong number that reflect  three weeks of extended backpacking.
Another new goal for 2016 is me averaging 75 minutes of moderate to more walking or biking a day.  My research points to that number is the optimum level for me to gain positive mental and physical benefits.  Less than that produces lesser results, and any more appears to not only reduce benefits, but brings about a cascade of fatigue that increases inflammation and requies me to do nothing for a day or two in order to recover.

I learned about heart rate variability from a fellow psychologist this year, and since April, I  have developed the habit of taking a three minute reading while wearing a heart rate chest strap and firing up the Daily Beat HRV app after I wake up each morning.  Based on the reading, I adjust my activity level for the day.  Personal subjective assessment of my mental and bodily fatigue is often out of line with what my heart rate variability numbers indicate.  95% of the time,I feel good and the numbers tell me to push it for the day, but I recently came down with a cold, and before the stuffed head and sneezes started, my HRV readings dropped significantly.  The time variations between my heartbeats leveled out, a signal that suggests compromised metabolic activity that needs to be respected by backing off and resting a day or more.

The outdoor temps are predicted to be up to almost 60 degrees today.  My HRV reading to day was back to favorable.

hrv

SweetbeatHRV

I plan to log some slow miles on easy terrain today, as I hope to be finally back on track to wrapping up a very good year of hiking and biking.

And yes, I have already voted today – that was done a couple of weeks ago by absentee ballot.

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