Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My apartment featured in Budget Traveler

Recently, Budget Travel Magazine named my current residence of Lexington, Virginia as one of "America's Coolest Small Towns".

No, my luxurious 250 square-foot efficiency apartment is not actually featured in the magazine, but my apartment windows can be seen in the photo used for the article (my windows are on the top floor of the third building down the street above the 'Art' sign). The picture was taken before I moved in- the 'Art' sign is no longer there and, of course, do not own an air conditioner unit.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My First Virginia Bear Sighting

Yesterday, I was out riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the climb from the James River to Apple Orchard Mountain. It is a good climb with an average of 5.1% grade for 12.5 miles. I was almost to the top when I saw a bear (artist's rendition to the right). It was small but really fat (probably due to seasonal hyperphagia). When the bear saw me it tore up a steep slope (60%) and dislodged some rocks which came crashing down onto the road right where I was standing (by this time, I had stopped and I actually had to move get out of the way of the falling rocks). After I made it to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain (the highest point on the BRPW in Virginia), I came back past the spot and there was a “Beware of Fallen Rocks” sign right in front of the fallen rock! This is my 6th lifetime bear sighting and, as the title of the post suggests, my first in VA. I have also seen bears in ID, MT, CO, MA, and VT. Oddly, I have seen bears in six different states and I have never seen more than one bear in a single state. This is also my first bear seen while cycling. The others where all encountered while hiking (ID and MT) or running (CO, VT, MA).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Place Name as Metaphor: Suck Mountain

I am fascinated by place names and, as someone who has run many painful miles on Paine Mountain (Northfield, VT), I appreciate a good toponym metaphor. My new favorite place name as a metaphor...

I can across it while producing this map for one of my labs... (Look in the southwest corner of the map to see my new favorite name for an intrusive body)

Suggested usage: example 1- I ran great in my last marathon for the first 22 miles, after that, I was just climbing Suck Mountain; example 2- My original plan of 20*400 meters on the track quickly decayed into hill reps up Suck Mountain.
Author's personal experience: I have not literally been to Suck Mountain (though I have been close enough to see it from an opposing ridge), I have metaphorically been to Suck Mountain many, many times (pretty much anytime that I race).