Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for a wonderful day skiing and wonderful friends to share Thanksgiving Dinner.  Yesterday we had a foot of fresh powder to ski on and today we continued to enjoy the snowy conditions. 

Photos are from similar spots from the Killington Gondola. Amazing the difference one day can make.

From the Gondola on Tuesday 11/22/11

From the Gondola on Wednesday 11/23/11

Wait, my holiday isn't over.  I go home to CT tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving all over again with my Mom and children.  Yes life is good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Back on Snow at Last

Finally after a busy couple of weeks I am finally back doing what I love to do most...  Skiing.  Today was a glorious day.  The sun was shining, temps mid 30's to low 40's, snow hardpack to man-made powder under the guns. 

View from the K1 Gondola on My First Ride Up for the Season

Cruiser Run Down Great Northern

I have to admit, I am always nervous my first day back on the snow.  The first couple of runs I had a little trouble with my skis.  I had had them tuned at the end of last season, and I kept feeling them catch at the tips and tails.  Luckily I was skiing with my friend Jeff, who happens to be an expert ski tuner.  He had his soft Gummy Stone in his pocket and he "detuned" them at the initial contact points - a couple of inches down from the tips and tails.*  It made all the difference.  After that I felt my ski mojo return, and I was gliding and smiling all the way down. 

Ahhh, my winter affair with the Killington begins again.

*11/24/11 Correction:   He didn't use a Gummy Stone, that is what the ski shop sold me when I asked for a pocket stone to detune my skis.  He says a Gummy Stone is good for getting a little rust off the edges of skis.  He used a Carborundum Stone, which is harder and more abrasive.  Much more effective in wearing down the edge of the tip and tail of an overtuned ski.  He suggested buying a pocket stone with a case, since it is abrasive and could wear a hole through my pocket.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wonder: Giving back to the Farmington Valley Greenway

In earlier posts I mentioned the devastation Winter Storm Alfred reeked on Connecticut.  The storm was named for Alfred Hitchcock since it occurred over Halloween Weekend.  Aptly named since by the end of the storm, the state looked like something from one of his movies.

The day after the storm the 42 miles of the Farmington Valley portion of the East Coast Greenway  was closed due to down trees and power lines.  My thanks to the amazing volunteers of the different Rail to Trail organizations and Bike Walk CT who worked hard to reopen them.  An amazing feat.  I am proud to say I was one of those volunteers on Wednesday working in Avon to get the last segment of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail reopened. When we arrived there were at least 3 huge trees blocking the trail, along with miscellaneous large branches.

photo via Bike Walk CT Facebook Page

Pete and Charlie Clearing a tree from the trail
Rick draggin a branch from the trail

In less the two hours we had the trail cleared, and the last segment of the 42 mile trails from New Haven to the Massechusetts border were open.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Namaste Muse

Today at yoga, I found out it was my instructor Maggie's last day at my fitness center.  Maggie is well loved among the class for her kind, gentle classes.

Namaste is traditionally said at the end of the class from the instructor to the class and to each other.  She sent us each home with a slip of paper containing the meaning of Namaste.  It is a wonderful sentiment and I offer it to you.


I honor the place in you which the entire universe dwells.
I honor the place in you of love, of peace, of light and of truth.
I honor the place with you where
If you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Connecticut Bike Walk Summit Post Script

Saturday November 12, 2011 was an inspiring day for Bike Walk advocates around the state of Connecticut. Well over 100 people met at the 2nd Annual Connecticut Bike Walk Summit to share ideas on how to make their communities and Connecticut a healthier-friendlier bike-walk place to live. 

The day included a keynote presentation by Andy Clarke, the President for the League of American Bicyclists to give us a historical to present day perspective of all the achievements made by the league and direction on how we can make our communities and CT more bicycle friendly.  Andy told us their first achievement was in the late 1800's advocating and getting the first paved roads to accommodate the newest form of transportation for the time... bicycles.

Breakout Session:  A Bike Friendly Community Should Be Walk Friendly Too.
Francisco Gomes Fitzgerald & Halliday, Phil Miller State Rep, David Marcus Livable Norwalk, Jim Travers New Haven Economic Development

There were 3 different panel discussion workshops to choose from, in 2 breakout sessions.  They were Every Community Can Be Bike Friendly, Bike Friendly America and Economic Development, and A Bike Friendly Community Should be Walk Friendly too.  At lunch we had 2 panel discussions, Advocacy Making the Case and What's going on in CT.

Advocacy: Making the Case
Roland Lemar State Rep, Martin Looney State Senator, Tom Condon Hartford Columnist Hartford Courant

The speakers ranged from the president of the trails council, state senators, state representatives, local business leaders, local and state leaders and advocates, news columnists.  All and all a diverse representation of the efforts going on in the state to make CT more bike walk friendly.

If you would like to stay up to date with Bike Walk CT following them on Facebook.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Connecticut Bike Walk Summit 2011

Last year I attended the first Connecticut Bike Walk Summit.  It inspired me to get more involved with Bike Walk CT and the Farmington Valley Greenway.  I have been helping on the planning committee for this event.  Tomorrow is the second annual CT Bike Walk Summit, and I am really looking forward to a fun filled and inspirational day.

Learn How To Create Bike and Walk Friendly Places At Bike Walk Connecticut’s 2nd Annual Summit

New Haven, CT – October 6, 2011 – In just two years, Connecticut has moved all the way from 44th to 21st place in the Bicycle Friendly State Rankings from the League of American Bicyclists.  By working with state officials to pass important legislation such as the 3-Foot Passing Law and the Complete Streets Bill and increasing the visibility of the cycling community, Bike Walk Connecticut has been a vital contributor to this impressive accomplishment; but much more work is required for conditions on the ground to improve. 

To help make that happen, Bike Walk Connecticut will hold its second annual Bike Walk Summit on Saturday, November 12 from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Kroon Hall, Yale University in New Haven.  The theme of the Summit is “Creating Bike and Walk Friendly Places.” Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, will kick off the summit with a presentation on the League’s Bike Friendly America program. Afterwards, attendees can take part in a variety of breakout sessions including: Every Community Can Be Bike Friendly; Bike Friendly America and Economic Development; and A Bike Friendly Community Should Be Walk Friendly Too. There will be additional panels on Advocacy – Making the Case, and What’s Going on in Connecticut.

Following the Summit, Elm City Cycling will lead guided one hour tours (on bike or on foot) for Summit attendees to see for themselves how New Haven has become more bike and walk friendly. After the tour everyone is invited to gather at a nearby restaurant to socialize and strategize.

The public is cordially invited to attend the Summit, but seating is limited and preregistration is required. Admission is $20 for members of Bike Walk Connecticut, students and Yale faculty. Admission for non-members is $30. Go to to register for the Summit and to become a member of Bike Walk Connecticut. 

Bike Walk Connecticut, a 501(c)(3) organization, changing the culture of transportation through advocacy and education.

Please join me if you live in CT and would  like to know more about how you can advocate for a more biking and walking friendly CT. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Muse: Appreciating the Little Things in Life

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. Arthur Conan Doyle via BrainyQuotes. 

Local side street, notice tree blocking road.

Saturday, October 29, 2011 brought about a record breaking snow storm across the Northeast.  Initially it made me really happy.  I couldn't get up to Killington that morning for opening day of the 2011-12 ski season, and I thought it was great the snow was coming to me.  The happiness the snow  brought me quickly faded as I realized the damage the storm brought to Connecticut. Many beautiful trees came down on power lines, blocked roads and damaged homes.

After 11 days of no power yesterday, Wednesday, November 8,  2011 at 6 AM my power came back on.  It truly helped me appreciate many of the things I take for granted.  Flipping a switch to have lights, or work an appliance, heat, hot water, the ability to drive safely, efficiantly from place to place, and to be finally back online.  Yes it is the little things that are most important.