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

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.

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.


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…