Sunday, April 27, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

After a couple of days of helping out at a garage sale, and with several rainy days ahead, I needed to get out and do something today. There's still a bunch of spring yard work to be done, but it really is only late April, despite the recent stretch of more summer-like weather. Picked away at a few things in the yard, reseeded some spots before the rain, then went for the usual 5k run on the Rotterdam section of the bike path. Nice day, comfortable temps, good run.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Biking - Local Roads and Bike Path

A sunny but windy day, and I wanted to get in some miles. Details here...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fire Weather Observer Training - Albany Pine Bush Preserve

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is one of fewer than 20 inland pine barrens remaining in the world. To maintain the pine barrens environment, the Preserve is managed using controlled burning, which thins the underbrush and causes the cones of the native pitch pines to open and spill their seeds. Fire was always a natural part of this environment, and fire is now required to correctly maintain it.

For every controlled burn, the team includes a weather observer, who regularly reports various weather readings and smoke behavior to the "burn boss". With my ancient undergrad degree in meteorology, I've volunteered to take on that role this summer, probably for one or two days each month. I had my initial introductory training today, and will now wait for an email to the entire crew that says "This date's a go - are you available?"

I'll post more about this experience when I've actually participated in a burn event. We have a NWS fire watch in effect at present for extremely dry conditions, so no controlled fires will be attempted until things improve.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Biking and Mini-Golf

Or at least that was the plan. Helped Holly with some yard stuff, and then we set off for the mini-golf and ice cream place, about 4 miles away. We were surprised to find it closed, despite signs to the contrary. Biked back to her house via a longer route for about 10 miles total, then drove to a different ice cream place as our reward, as if we needed an excuse. :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Golf - Yet Another Bucket O' Balls

Short on time today, so I decided to see if I could continue my apparent progress at the driving range. Results were mixed. It took a while to find the groove again, and even then, I was spraying shots every which way - hooking, slicing, pulling. At least mostly I was making solid contact. I need to play with grip and stance, and find something consistent that works. I am getting a little bored with the driving range, and may need to just take a chance and try playing a round, somewhere short, wide open and uncrowded.

After the range, I tried the practice green, using 3 balls. The first putt went in from 15 feet. Then so did the second, followed by the third. Unbelievable. I spent another 15-20 minutes putting around, found I had a reasonable touch, and am not too concerned about that part of my game.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bikng - Local Roads

The good weather continues. Biked 12 miles each way to my alma mater to watch a home lacrosse game, which we won. Details here...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Biking - Local Roads

Nice climb to Duanesburg via US20, an ice cream stop, and a leisurely downhill ride home. Details here...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hiking - Mount Greylock, MA

Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts, at 3491 feet. It's only about 90 minutes from home, and today, the Taconic Hiking Club had a hike going there. With early spring temps expected in the mid-70s, I couldn't resist this chance to get out.

We approached from the west, via the Hopper Trail, climbing 2400 feet in about 4 miles, and returning via the same route. Above about 2800 feet, we encountered shaded pockets of deep snow and ice, necessitating instep crampons or Stabilicers. Once we reached the summit, we spent about an hour there enjoying lunch, conversation, the sun, the hawks soaring on thermals, and the outstanding view towards Adams, MA.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Biking - Local Roads

Got in a total of 26 miles today, on a couple of different rides. Details here...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Golf - Another Bucket O' Balls

With half the day gone after doing some other stuff, and prime biking weather the rest of the week, I decided to see if I could improve on the dismal driving range experience of a few days ago. Well, today was MUCH improved. It took a while to find the groove, but once I did, I was smacking the driver well over 200 yards, with a couple in the woods beyond the 250 marker. And the miraculous thing was, they were almost STRAIGHT! Irons were still not so good, but at least now I'm making solid contact, though they're still spraying all over the place. A couple more of these, and I think I can play a round on a short executive sort of course!

Monday, April 14, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

Sunny, but windy and cool today, so after I finished insulating the attic, I hit the bike path for another run. Not ready to stretch it out any further just yet, but 5k is feeling pretty comfortable.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Golf - Bucket O' Balls and a 5k Run

I haven't played an actual round of golf for at least 10-15 years, and have only been to the driving range a few times in the interim. With the Masters all over the news, I felt inspired, so went to the range at Whispering Pines GC to hit some balls. It had to be the worst bucket I ever remember hitting. The days of shooting in the 90s are long gone. Nothing was going well until I pulled out the 5-wood and smacked a few 200 yards down the middle. Not sure what's wrong with the irons, but I need a LOT of work before I set foot on any actual golf course.

With the first spring day over 70 degrees, and unexpectedly so, I wasn't done yet. Next I went to the bike path and dashed off a 5k. Just wasn't in the mood for biking today, and the run felt good. Back to cooler and dreary tomorrow, but it was nice while it lasted, and there's more to come later next week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Biking - Local Roads

Spent the morning finishing yard cleanup, and then another ride for the first 100+ mile week of the season. Details here...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Biking - Local Roads

Today promised sunny, mid-60s, and a gusty wind, a challenging day for a 35-mile ride. Details here...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Biking - Local Roads

A beautiful spring day, the warmest so far. Biked 27 miles around Clifton Park with the Taconic Hiking Club. Details here...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Biking - local roads

After spending yesterday getting started on spring yard cleanup, today it was time to play. Biked from Schenectady to Amsterdam and back, for 32 miles. Details here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Biking - Local Roads, and Some Geocaches

Wimped out of a longer ride this morning, but got in 16 miles anyway. Details...

Later on, we went to The Crossings, a large new urban-like park in Colonie. We had a list of 4 geocaches to hunt for, and found 3 of the 4, while getting in a walk of about a mile or so in the process.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Walk - John Boyd Thacher State Park

Thacher Park sits atop the Helderberg Escarpment, only about a half-hour's drive from home. I tend to make a trip out there every spring, as the snow is melting, just to enjoy a nice view from up high. I parked at the Overlook area, and first walked out to the end of the promontory shown here. It's a picnic area not yet open for the season:

That cliff faces northwest, and the wind was howling up the cliff at 20-30 mph. While I was out there, I snapped this panoramic view back towards the Overlook and much of the rest of the Escarpment. The Overlook where I started is slightly left of center. As always, click on the picture for the bigger version:

Next, I headed back through the Overlook area, and continued north just a bit on the Long Path, which runs through the park. I wanted to see if the waterfalls were running with the snowmelt, and indeed they were:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

Temps over 60 today for the first time in months. Roads still pretty wet, and rain threatening later, so it seemed like a good time for another run. I was certainly right about the soreness from Saturday - finally today I felt more like normal again. Did the usual 5k+ out and back, in shorts this time - ah, spring! Unfortunately, we're back into the mixed freezing crap again later this week, and then MAYBE a nice weekend.