Thursday, January 5, 2012

A brisk walk on the bike path - and a SKIER?!?!?

After several recent outings where I wasn't moving very fast, either because of the terrain or the added activity of geocaching or letterboxing, I wanted to get out today and really stretch my legs at a stiff pace. I wanted to go someplace flat, with smooth footing, and just let 'er rip. The Mohawk River Bike Path in Rotterdam fit the bill nicely, so I parked at Kiwanis Park and set off for the dead end across NY-5S at Scrafford Lane. This would give me a 4.4-mile round trip, just about right.

Shortly after I left Kiwanis Park, I noticed a person standing on the ice of the old canal, between the bike path and the highway. When I got closer, I stopped. This person was putting on XC skis on the relatively new ice, with less than an inch of snow covering it! Intrigued, I stopped to watch. Then we recognized each other - it was Donnie from the Schenectady Wintersports Club, who lives almost across the road. In a recent news article in the Schenectady Gazette, he had noted that he got out skiing 76 days in 2010. And he's apparently off to a good start this year, despite the dearth of local snow. After a brief chat, we went our separate ways, he skiing down the canal, and me walking away shaking my head and smiling.

The wind had come up, and small ground blizzards were blowing down the canal toward me as I crossed NY-5S. Reaching the dead end at the railroad tracks at Scrafford Lane, I turned around and started back, now with a nice tailwind. I met one jogger on this stretch, but otherwise saw nobody else the rest to the way back to the car. Passing the area where I'd met Donnie earlier, I marveled at his ski tracks on the thin snow and ice of the canal. He'd apparently even tried a very short stretch on the bike path itself, with pavement showing through! That's dedication, or is it desperation?

I finished the walk in a little over an hour, at an average pace of 4 mph, and felt satisfied that I'd done what I'd set out to do. Now if we'd just get some more snow...

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