Monday, August 8, 2011

Canoeing on the Peconic River (Long Island, New York)

One advantage of living on Long Island (and for me personally, advantages of living here are rather hard to come by) is the presence of large bodies of water open to kayaking and canoeing. Besides the obvious Long Island Sound and the Great Sound Bay, there are several rivers that can be explored by personal watercraft. One such river, is the Peconic on Eastern Long island. It originates near Brookhaven National Lab and lazily flows east, towards Riverhead and the crotch of Long Island and eventually empties into the Flanders Bay, which is apart of the Peconic Bay. This river has been on my list ever since I moved to Long Island but for variety of reasons (most of them bullshit excuses) never got around to it.
Starting to paddle down the Peconic River
The first few yards were difficult to say the least.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bicycling on Wallkill Valley, Shawangunk and Walden Rail Trails

The Wallkill Valley, Shawangunk and Walden rail trail (or rather rail trails) span from Walden, NY to Rosendale, NY, roughly in the North-South direction. I am not exactly sure on the whole nomenclature issue but it is very easy to ride all three trails together, in one day and at a very leisurely place. The surface of the trails varies as does the marking. The Walden rail trail is pretty much as good as it gets. It is paved in its entirety, very well marked with stop signs and proper road crossings. And if you start in Walden like we did, it is slightly downhill. The second part of the ride is an unmaintained singletrack, followed by riding on roads to the trailhead of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail on Denniston Road. Wallkill Rail Trail is unpaved, mostly packed dirt and crushed stone, with some patches (mostly around New Paltz, NY) of variously degraded asphalt.

Morning at Wooster Groove in Walden, NY. Getting ready to head out.
Morning at Wooster Groove in Walden, NY. Getting ready to head out.

Bicycling from Maine Coast to North Central Massachusetts

This was another one of those plans that hatched this past winter, while the snow lingered outside and I was laying on the floor in front of the TV planning future bike trips on For this particular plan, however, lot of things had to come together - and perfectly at that. First, the weather had to be decent - at least - as I was planning to ride lite (no panniers). Second, the ride had to coincide with out visit to Andi's parents in Lunenburg, MA. And third, because the train was leaving from Boston North Station, there would have to be a good reason for someone to drop me off in Boston with my bike. In this case, Andi's college reunion planned for the weekend worked just fine.

All packed up, waiting for the train at Boston North Station.
All packed up, waiting for the train at Boston North Station.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TD Bank 5Boro Bike Tour 2011

I am not really sure how the envelope with the flyer for this event got mailed to me in the first place. But man, am I glad it did. I shared it with the usual suspects and the decision was made to partake. Even though there were 32000 spots available, I assumed they would go rather quickly. After all, who in their right mind, would want to pass up an opportunity to ride the completely car free streets of New York City, visiting Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and eventually Staten Island? Or to ride your bike on FDR Drive, BQE or Verrazano Bridge? And I was right, after the registration opened, it took only about 30 or so hours (me thinks) to sell out all 32000 spots. Me and Millicent waited at our computers for the registration to open, that's how much we wanted to make sure we will be one of the lucky 32000. After initial system overload (apparently we weren't the only ones ready to pounce), we successfully registered. Shortly after us, Matt, Hyuck, Richard and Laura registered as well.
Getting ready in the ferry parking lot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tough Mudder Bear Creek, PA (Race Report)

After finishing a Rugged Maniac 5K race in Southwick, MA in the Fall of 2010 (which was neither Rugged nor Maniac-al according to my humble opinion) we started looking for a new challenge. Eventually, my attention was caught by an facebook ad for an event called "Tough Mudder". Dissatisfied with the Rugged Maniac and similar-length/difficulaty races such as the Warrior Dash and Spartan Race (partially, because they do offer 8+ mile and 48 hour races), the Tough Mudder looked like a formidable challenge. First, there was the distance of 11 miles, then the elevation changes since the race was held in a ski center with some snow still around, and finally the nature of obstacles. Before I describe my experiences from the race (I know, I know it is not a race, it is a challenge) I will share some of my observations and opinions.

Tough Mudder Pledge.

Tough Mudder Weekend in Pennsylvania

The central event of this weekend was the Tough Mudder race at Bear Creek Ski Center, just south of Allentown/Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. We wanted to take advantage of our presence in this neck of the woods and explore a bit. On our list were:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Slovenský cintorín v meste Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

Adrenalínové preteky Tough Mudder (môj opis preteku a fotky sú tu) nás priviedli začiatkom apríla do Pennsylvánie, konkrétne do okolia miest Bethlehem a Allentown. Z Long Islandu sme vyrazili okolo obeda a tak sme mali do večera trochu času. Zabehli sme do Lost River Caverns v Hellertown (viac čítajte tu) a potom sme navštívili miesto, ktoré som v neočakával v tejto lokalite - "Slovak Cemetery" (Slovenský Cintorín). Objavil som ho úplne náhodne - v očakávaní nejakého voľného času v Pennsylvánii som zašiel na pozrieť či sú v okolí nejaké kešky - rýchlovky a pri skrolovaní mapou som prekvapený zbadal tento cintorín.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bicycling On Long Island: The Great Peconic Loop

Another beautiful Sunday was ahead of us and the weather was just begging for a long ride. It seemed like it was a good time push the boundaries a bit so we opted for a ~110 mile ride, which will henceforth be known as the "The Great Peconic Loop". Matt, my former student accepted the challenge and for both of us, this was going to be the longest single ride ever. Matt's maximum for this year (and ever) has been a 30 miler the week before and mine was ~60 miler just a week ago. My longest single ride ever may have been something on the order of 80 miles but that must have been solid 15 years ago. Regardless, I felt ready for the century distance and Matt claimed he was as well.
On Shelter Island.