Hopped on the bike on Sunday, June 23 for the first really long ride of the season: 46.5 miles in about four hours, a big triangle from Bedford to Wilton to Nashua to Bedford. Nice!
What wasn't nice was the weather. It was HOT: above 90 the whole time, and humid. And the sun was particularly brutal.
I don't mind hot weather so much when I'm on a bike. But on a long ride, it really does take a lot out of a person. When I got back to home base, I almost immediately fell asleep. Now, two days later, my circadian rhythms are still out of whack.
But I'm looking forward to upcoming adventures, both on foot and on bike, to try to move closer to some long-range existential goals I've been pursuing. To wit:
• Climb every mountain: My quest to reach the top of all 48 mountains in New Hampshire higher than 4,000 feet has been stalled at 30 for the past couple of seasons. Hope to return to that adventure, especially as this is the time of year when the days are longest and it's possible to do far peaks such as Owl's Head without an overnight. But it's always a balance between weather and other commitments and general fitness. We'll see.
I'd like to get 10 more done this season, and the good news is that most are fairly undemanding. The only "serious" high summits left are the three northern Presidentials: Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. All three of those can be bagged in one long day, and this is the time of year to do it.
It's an open question whether or not Zahnna, our now 10-year-old German shepard who's been along for all 30 so far, will be able to make all 48, or even any more at all. She's at the age when a German shepard's joints begin to stiffen up, and we're already on a regime of regular anti-inflammatory medication. We'll see. If she's going to have any chance at all of completing this quest, it'll have to be soon: this year or next at the latest.
• Ride the bike: Nothing matches the feeling you get after riding a bike for three hours or more on a hot day. Last summer, I did that a half-dozen times in all directions from home base in Bedford, N.H., and also in a long-awaited epic 74-mile ride across the Kancamaugus Highway and back. So, with this past Sunday's 46-miler under my belt, I'm ramping up to do some more. Here's a list of what I'd like to do:
1. Ride west to Harrisville Pond for a swim. (80 miles round trip, lots of ups and downs.)
2. Ride east to get fried clams at Ceal's on ROute 1A in Seabrook. (95 miles round trip, pretty mild.)
3. Ride west from York, Maine across the new (not yet opened) Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, N.H. to Bedford. (About 60 miles, all back roads!)
4. Ride the White Mountains loop, through Franconia and Crawford notches. (About 90 miles, I think, with serious elevation gain.)
5. Do a west one-way ride all the way to the Miss Bellows Falls diner in Bellows Falls, Vt. (About 65 miles, all back roads, including Pitcher Mountain.)
Well, looking at it logically, I should do the one-way ride from York, Maine first, but that bridge won't be open until late July. Rats! Maybe I should just take it slow and go out to the beach, which is a long ride, but hardly any real serious grades. Maybe this weekend. Then I could do Harrisville next weekend, which would put me in a good place for a sprint triathalon I hope to do on Saturday, July 13. Okay, penciling it in...
• Keep running: I've really been procrastinating in my running pursuits. Not that I haven't been running—I've actually been out quite a bit with the dogs. But organized races and longer distances have taken a back seat, so I haven't made much recent progress on quests to run at least 5K in all cities, towns, or unincorporated places in New Hampshire, or to run a minimum of 10K in all 50 states.
That will change, I hope, but it will need to be up to my own initiative, because there are very few places left in New Hampshire that hold races that I haven't yet run in. So, if I'm to make my self-imposed goal of May 14, 2016, I need to get busy. So I'll have to schedule some early morning jaunts out to places and do some 10K "two-fers" that straddle the border of two towns that I still need to get. I also need to get a new orange highlighter to use to color in my map, now that I think of it.
Also, I need to get running shoes. The pair I've been using are long past their life and that's one reason I've been holding back on longer runs. So I need to add that to the to-do list this week and make it happen.
Then I can make progress on the "50 states" quest. Right here in New England, I've yet to run Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, or Rhode Island, so I could pick up those four states before I head out to Kansas in September, where I hope to bag at least a couple more. And in the next couple of months, I have a few "one-day wonder" trips booked to South Carolina, Virginia, and I forget where else. Also in September, I'm supposed to take a quick two-day business trip to Seattle, so the state of Washington is within reach as well. So the tally could continue to mount as the months roll by.
All this depends on staying injury free. Cross your fingers!