Search Results for 'hodges'

2021 Hoppin’ Hodges 5K

The Hoppin’ Hodges 5K was back after a one year layoff during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Easter Sunday tradition is a family favorite in our household. This year’s edition had a new venue…well sort of.

The race was still held on the Hop River Linear Park (rail trail) but instead of being on the Vernon section, it was on the Andover section farther to the east.

I’m not exactly sure why the venue was moved, but all the normal rules are changed in coronavirus times. The new start/finish did provide for increased parking, and at a private business (Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Andover). The start/finish line was in their parking lot. From the start, the race went up Lake Road for 100 feet and then onto the rail trail. We ran west, through the covered bridge to a halfway turnaround point, and then back.

Once again Plattsys Timing donated their timing services. They do the same on Christmas Day at the Scrooge Scramble, another event race directed by the remarkable duo of Janit Romayko and Mary Lou White. They get help from a dedicated group of volunteers and we love doing their down-home events that benefit local organizations. .

There were 123 finishers in today’s race and there was no cost, other than a recommended donation to benefit the Friends of Valley Falls, a worthy nonprofit. Valley Falls Park is my hometown park (I grew up in Vernon) and is one of our favorite places to visit. Valley Falls also borders the rail trail and in normal years, the race goes from Vernon Depot to Valley Falls and back.

This was my fifth Hoppin’ since 2011. We live on the rail trail, so it is also a tradition to ride to/from the race. Today it was chilly, but we enjoyed the ride and it doubled as our warmup. They literally waited for us to arrive before starting just past 8:30 A.M. Chip timing makes it simple while mass start events are on hold. We lined up, socially distanced, around the building and then started at 10 second intervals.

Dahlia was our family standout. She beat her 5K personal best goal of 26 minutes. Shepard also had a good run and I kept him in site. he finished third overall (19:10) behind a couple of speedsters. The winner was William Sanders (15:45) who may own every Strava segment on the rail trail. Last year I think he laid down a sub-three hour 50K on this same track. Will is very fast. He was followed by Nicholas Migani (16:52).

Among the women, Sybil Sanders (part of the dynamically fast duo) was first (19:30) just a smidge behind Shepard. She was followed by Jaclyn Sullivan (21:41) and then Hunter Ralston (22:32). Debbie five seconds behind Hunter. A special shout out to Art Byram who did his third Hoppin’ Hodges 50K. You read that right. He started at 1:59 A.M. and finished his 31 mile effort with the 3.1 mile race. That’s cool.

One of the best parts of this holiday race is that we saw a lot of other friends too. After a cool down on our feet, we rode back home as the sun was starting to warm up the day. I had some Divine Treasures Chocolates waiting for me, which was a nice treat.

Happy Easter!

Race Results

2019 Hoppin Hodges 5K

We returned to the Hoppin Hodges 5K, which has been an Easter Day tradition for us. Dating back to the inaugural edition in 2012, we have done many of these rail trail runs.

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All of the proceeds (pay what you want) goes to the Friends of Valley Falls, an organization that the late James Hodges, for whom the race is named, was very invested in. The race is organized by Janit Romayko, Jame’s spouse. She said that James’ favorite place to walk/run was the Vernon Depot, which is the start/finish of the race.

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Our family spends a lot of time on the Hop River State Park Trail, so this was a normal day for us. Platt Systems did the timing as a donation, so thank you to them. Also thanks to everyone else who donated to support the event. The farm next to Valley Falls Park is one of my favorite places. I grew up in Vernon and it is an iconic and beautiful location.

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It would have been nice to have some sunshine, but the past few days have been very wet and overcast. It’s looking a bit grim for late-April, but that’s how it goes in New England. We will probably transition straight from winter to summer and skip over spring. It’s been eight days since the Traprock 50K+, and my legs are still a bit stiff. It felt good to stretch them out a bit with a 5K on one of my favorite trails.

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Race Results

2014 Hoppin’ Hodges 5K

It wouldn’t be Easter in these parts without the tradition of running the Hoppin’ Hodges 5K. With Debbie way under the weather and me nursing very sore legs after yesterday’s Traprock 50K, our participation of looking grim. That was until we convinced a representative (in the form of our 7-year old son) to run.

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The truth is that he didn’t need much convincing. Of course, it didn’t really dawn on him until he finished that he was the only one in the family running. The Silk City Striders were out in force, though we were missing some of our stalwarts who (with this late 2014 Easter) are in Boston for tomorrow’s marathon.

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Oh, and it doesn’t get much better than running (or walking) on the Rail Trail in Vernon, Connecticut on a Sunday morning.

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Race Results

2013 Hoppin’ Hodges Trail 5K

A relatively new Easter tradition continued today at the 2013 Hoppin’ Hodges 5K. My 2012 report has more of the history behind the race, so refer back if you are curious. This year, the whole family joined me at the Church Street depot on the Vernon rail trail (Hop River Linear State Park Trail).

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I rode over to see many of our Silk City Striders friends. Janit Romayko is the race directing force behind this run little “race.” I think the true distance on the out and back course was more like 2.5 miles, but who is counting? I was taking it easy after yesterday’s trail half marathon softened up my legs, so Debbie ran solo and I pushed our little girl in the Chariot CX-1, which brought back a lot of memories. We don’t get that rig out as often anymore. Our son rode along on his bike.

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It was chilly but sunny. Everyone enjoyed an awesome post-race spread with lots of treats. Afterwards, inspired by today’s 96th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I continued my ride through Vernon, Manchester, and Bolton. My route included more of the rail trail, then the Charter Oak Greenway/East Coast Greenway, then up to the top of Case Mountain, and back. I had a lot of switchbacks and steep climbs, but no cobblestones!’

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What a nice day!

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Race Results

2012 Hoppin’ Hodges Trail 5K

I’m a sucker for tradition when it is a good tradition. Members of the Silk City Striders are known for hosting fun holiday runs. The Scrooge Scramble is a good example. In recent years, a small group has gotten together on Easter Sunday for a run on the Hop River Linear Trail in Vernon, Connecticut.

The past few years, I’ve ridden my mountain bike from our home in Bolton to the run, and last year, I changed my clothes and joined them for part of the run. This year, Janit Romayko and her gang formalized things a bit more. In honor of Janit’s late husband, James Hodges, she put together a self-timed informal race, on the same route that the club has used in recent  years.

All of the proceeds ($8 donation requested) went to the Friends of Valley Falls, an organization that James was very invested in. Janit said that James’ favorite place to walk/run was the Vernon Depot. There were some weird connections with the race. I was talking with a friend of mine afterwards. We were discussing our respective solar PV electric power systems. His family businesses and Horst Engineering both have facilities with solar arrays. We were talking about last fall’s power outage and how our grid-tied systems were of no help when the electricity was out. That outage was caused by the epic October snowstorm. The day that crazy storm hit, I rode my bicycle to James Hodges wake. I wrote about the storm in this blog post, which also featured a link to the obituary of this accomplished man.

Another connection: my favorite road is Valley Falls Road. It is a scenic twister that winds past beautiful wooded land and parallels the rail trail. It culminates with one of the steepest hills around. That hill climbs just past the entrance to Valley Falls Park, which is celebrating its 50th year in 2012, and then crests next to the old farm that the Friends of Valley Falls fought to preserve. From there, the road switches back and then the climb continues up Hatch Hill, a vicious grade that I frequently ride. I was on Hatch earlier this week. These friendships, passions, and connections are grounded by tradition that I referenced.

So, today’s out and back 5K was entirely on the old rail bed. I often write about this rail trail because we live on it and it is a big part of our lives. Communities that have trails are healthier in so many ways. To have a rail trail right out the front door is a wonderful thing.

So, this morning, I rode down to the old train depot in the Dobsonville section of Vernon, transitioned to my running gear, and pushed it (a little) in the 5K. There were about 20 people or so. It was lots of fun. I bet it grows next year as word spreads beyond the Silk City Striders. A little Facebook marketing goes a long way nowadays!

After the run, we enjoyed a really nice spread of fruit, nuts, breads, and of course…candy.

My cool-down was extended. On the way back up the trail, I rode past our house in Bolton and continued into Andover, where they put in that awesome new bridge. The installation was last Saturday in nasty wet weather. Today, it was so much nicer. I wanted to see the new addition to the trail. It took a 500 ton crane to lift the bridge into place. This was a missing link until last week. The bridge is in place and I rode across it for the first time. They aren’t finished with some little details, but it is totally functional, and enhances the rail trail even more.

2018 Mohawk Trail/Appalachian Trail Loop Adventure

On a scorching hot and humid day, Debbie returned to the Mohawk Trail/Appalachian Trail Loop to finish the job we couldn’t get done in 2017. The difference this time was that she didn’t have me along to hold her back. She did say that it would have been nice for me to have come to clear the trail of spider webs like I normally do. This time, she was on her own!

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She completed the 36 miles in 9 hours and 38 minutes. The loop has about 8,100 feet of ascent and 8,050 feet of descent depending on which GPS you are wearing. The point is that it is a lot…for Connecticut. The Mohawk Trail is as rugged as it gets. Last year, we saw no one on the trail. She reported that this year was no different. She never saw a person until she reached the Appalachian Trail, which is heavily traveled and in much better shape.

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We did read that our friends at the Connecticut Forest & Park Association sent the summer trail crew to Cornwall Bridge last week. They completed a bridge extension across Furnace Brook on the Mohawk Trail in Cornwall. I’m going to arrange for them to go back and do some “brushing” on the trail.

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The Mohawk Trail is overgrown with lots of blowdowns. The blue blazes can be hard to follow in some spots. It is full of rocks and roots (which won’t change). She had lots of scratches on her legs from the overgrowth.

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I guess you could say this was a successful FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempt, but there was no female entry on the discussion board, so it was a simple attempt to just finish it and get in training miles for the upcoming Vermont 100K.

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I’m sure this loop has been done many times over the years and some folks may not know or care about FKT’s, but it looks like the male entry on the discussion board by Scott Gregor, appeared a month after our failed attempt in 2017. This is his Strava file for the run. We completed a “loop,” but we bailed on the last section of trail  and ran up the road to where our car was parked at Mohawk State Forest. We were running out of time and had to pick up our kids at my in-laws, but chances are I would still be lost in the dark if we continued on.

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Debbie chose to do this primarily to prepare for the upcoming 100K in three weeks, so she didn’t destroy herself. If it was cooler and the trail was less overgrown (maybe she will try again in the fall, or next spring before everything sprouts), then I’m sure she could go quicker. When I fully heal, I would love to go with her again. Of course, then her effort wouldn’t be solo, and not a “true” FKT.

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This time, she parked at Cornwall Bridge, where we originally planned to park in 2017, and it turned out to be a better spot. She started there and did the section we missed first, going in a counter-clockwise loop. She got that rugged section done right away. Just like 2017, yesterday was the warmest day of the year. Once again, she stopped at Mountainside Cafe, which is conveniently located off the trail. It’s nearly at the northern intersection with the AT. Last year, despite the cafe stop, we were short on water at several points during the run. This year, she dropped water at Mohawk State Forest, which was a good decision. She refilled there and then again at the cafe, and had enough to get to the finish. Last year, a water drop or two would have made a big difference for us.

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I worked in the morning at Horst Engineering‘s Burnham Street plant, but when the shift ended at noon, I changed up into my cycling kit. Then I rode my bike from East Hartford to Cornwall Bridge with the idea of meeting her at the trailhead and seeing her finish. She was hoping to do it in nine hours or less, but it turned out to be a bit longer. She messaged me a few times, so I knew of her progress. I took a winding route on some of the most beautiful roads in Connecticut.

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I crossed the Connecticut River in South Windsor. I rode past Penwood State Park, through Simsbury and into New Hartford. I rode around the bottom of Barkhamsted Reservoir and then rode between People’s State Forest and American Legion State Forest on the Farmington River. I cut through Riverton and then rode northwest to Norfolk. From there I cut south and skirted past Dennis Hill State Park and John A. Minetto State Park. I took a beautiful diversion on Hodges Hill Road, University Drive, John Brown Road, and Pothier Road. John Brown was an abolitionist and there is a cool historic marker at the site of his former home. I stopped for a photo. I only snapped a few photos during the ride, but this felt like a good spot for one.

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I hit Route 4, but then took another diversion on Route 63 and then back to Route 4 via West Side Road and Bartholomew Hill. That was a hard finish. From there, it was back to Route 4 for the final (mostly downhill) five miles. That last descent was the last ascent in 2017 when we bailed on the last part of the Mohawk and took the road instead. I traversed it much faster on my bike!

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Debbie slowed a bit at the end of her run, and I made it to the trailhead about 25 minutes before she did. I spent the time sweating and swatting flies. My ride was just shy of 75 miles and I felt pretty good despite the heat. I had stopped once to refill all my water bottles at a convenience store, but otherwise kept moving and covered the distance in 4 hours and 55 minutes. I used my Seven Axiom SL super-commuter and had my Dill Pickle handlebar bag jammed with a shirt and shorts to change into. I strapped my Crocs to the rear rack.

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She arrived and I shot a short video and snapped a few photos. She was beat, but happy. She didn’t go too deep into he pain cave since she has to recover for Vermont, which will be a different kind of race, with a lot more dirt road running. She ran the full 100 miler in 2012, but opted to do the 100K this year as a change of pace. Also, we think she has the opportunity to be the first person to finish the Vermont 100 Mile, Vermont 50 Mile, Vermont 50K, Vermont 50 Mile (on a mountain bike), and the Vermont 100K. All that would remain is the horse race version of the Vermont 100, and I wouldn’t doubt her if she decides to learn how to ride so that she can do this too.

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After her finish, we refueled and then drove down into the village along the Housatonic River so that we could go for a dip and watch off the grime. After our quick change, we drove back up the hill to Mohawk State Forest to retrieve the empty bottles that she left behind. From there, we drove to Flora Plant Food + Drink in West Hartford Center for a vegan date night meal. I celebrated with a beer and the food was great. Afterwards, we crossed the street to pick up some groceries at Whole Foods and test out our new expanded Amazon Prime discount app bar code. I botched it, but customer service reimbursed us.

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She remarked that it’s amazing how a day can go by so quickly when you fill it with all of this activity. I agreed.

Crazy Storm

I don’t know if this storm has a name or not. I’ll find out when the power comes back on. I’m sitting by the fire at 6:10 A.M. on Sunday morning (ignore the time of this post-I wrote this in Word and just pasted it into the blog). We haven’t had electricity since this storm started, and I can’t sleep.

There are going to be a lot of stories after this crazy October Nor’Easter, and mine isn’t very special, but I won’t be able to get back to sleep until I get this blog post out of my head. I’ve got some life left in my MacBook’s battery, and I figured that I would document this epic for future generations, or at least so my kids can read it when they learn how.

This was supposed to be the GTD weekend. GTD stands for “getting things done.” We pre-arranged to have our 2-year old and 5-year old spend Saturday night with Grandma and Grandpa Schieffer. We were pre-registered for Sunday’s Busa Bushwhack 10-mile trail race in Framingham, Massachusetts, but as you’ll hear later, the race was postponed. The first blog post of the weekend was supposed to be about the legendary Richard Busa, so I’ll be sure to mention him, even if we aren’t going to the race when the sun rises.

Saturday morning started normal in our household. Our kids were irritable, probably because of Friday’s night’s chaotic Bolton Women’s Club Halloween Party at Center School. 300 kids running around is enough to wind you up, and then let you down.

Regardless, we did our morning ritual. Debbie got out for a short lap of Rose Farm, and I fed our little ones. Upon her return, I got dressed and rolled out of the house on my Cannondale road bike. I’ve been working every Saturday this fall, and riding there has been part of my ritual.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a normal commute. I stopped at Tierney Funeral Home in Manchester to attend the wake of a friend. James Hodges was a renaissance man. He was the spouse of Janit Romayko, who has been one of  my lane mates at the East Hartford High School early morning swim. Ever since I started swimming in early 2009, she has anchored lane one, even if it is only for the last five minutes of the session.

In recent months, she hasn’t attended. James’ cancer had worsened and she was swimming more frequently at a different pool in Tolland. Anyway, Janit has been a long time friend through the running community, but since I started triathlon, I have gotten to know her better.

James obituary doesn’t say it all. Several people told me that it was shortened and wasn’t comprehensive, which is amazing. I love that about the man. Since GTD was the theme of the weekend, James Hodges seemed to epitomize the strategy. He got stuff done. From running, to ski patrolling, to dog rescue, to MG restoration, to boat building, to HAM radio, it was quite a list. Even his career, as a professor, engineering department head, and NASA rocket scientist (no kidding!) was full of activity.

I sadly paid my respects to Janit, his widow, and spouse of 36 years. She will “be tough,” which is my mantra for all things in life. At the end of an Ironman or an ultra, when I can barely speak, that is what I mutter to motivate myself to the finish line. That’s what I told her yesterday.

It was a thrill to meet her mother, who must be in her early-90’s. My grandmother passed away at 95, earlier this year, so these lovely ladies are dear to my heart. I also had the pleasure to meet Zofia Turosz, who is a local running legend and multi-time Boston Marathon 70-74 age group winner. I asked her if she was running the 75th Manchester Road Race this year, and she said, “Of course.” But, she then, in broken English, she said that she was running the New York City Marathon next weekend. So, she had a “little race” to run before Thanksgiving Day.

I didn’t know when I shook her hand that I wasn’t going to see 84-year old Richard Busa on his birthday (today), so I’m glad I saw one ancient runner for inspiration. After meeting her, it was hard to believe that I had just attended a wake. She was so full of life and it left me feeling pretty positive. However, my thoughts go out to Janit and her family at this time of loss.

The funeral procession headed to Hebron for a service, and I remounted my bike and headed to East Hartford. The plan was to work until 2:00 P.M. I knew that snow was in the forecast, but the forecast said starting in the early afternoon with light precipitation, maybe even rain, and then changing to snow and getting heavier by evening. I planned to be home by 4:00 P.M. so that Debbie and I could start some house projects without the kids around.

I was at work by 10:00 A.M. and immediately started cleaning out my Outlook inbox. I retrieved messages, did some desk cleaning, and sent a bunch of e-mails. The time flew by. I ate some nuts to keep me going and before I knew it, it was after 1:00 P.M. Debbie called me. She had gone to Prospect with the kids, made a trip to Ikea in New Haven with her Mom, and returned to Prospect to have lunch. She said that it was snowing like crazy and the roads were treacherous. Hmmm, I was thinking,  “that happened fast.” Prospect is a suburb of Waterbury and is up at almost 800 feet elevation, so when early storms hit, they get hammered.

It looked like this storm was rolling in faster than forecast and was catching people off guard. She asked if it was snowing in East Hartford. I said I didn’t know. She offered to pick me up, but said that it was going to be an hour or two because the traffic was horrendous. I was focused on riding home, so I declined the offer. I told her I would get going soon. I got up, and looked outside. The roads were wet, but it didn’t look like any flakes were coming down. Maybe they did for a little while, but it seemed to have stopped. Maybe it started as rain, and predicted.

I went back to my desk and finished the list of stuff I was working on. I layered up, locked the building, and went outside. It had started to snow lightly again. I had ridden in conditions like this many times and figured that it would snow and melt for the next couple of hours, which would give me adequate time to ride home on a longer route through Glastonbury. I wanted to avoid East Hartford and Manchester traffic.

I rode along the river and then over to Main Street. I headed for Glastonbury and by the time I got to Pratt & Whitney, it was snowing like crazy. The flakes were falling behind my glasses and getting in my eyes. The flakes were huge. The one adjustment I made was to ride faster, so I put it in the big ring and just kept rolling.

By the Glastonbury town line, I was amazed at how much snow was coming down. This was the proverbial “one inch per hour” kind of snow that causes gridlock on city streets. Before I got to Main Street in Glastonbury, there was ½ inch layer of slush on the road and I had only been riding for 20 minutes. I stopped under a bridge to clean the ice off of my eyeglasses and snap a few photos.

I got rolling again. Cars were driving by and splashing me with the slush. Every soccer Mom in Glastonbury was out. After all, Saturday’s in October are about soccer, pumpkins, and Halloween preparation. Through the whiteout, I could barely make out an SUV pulled off the opposite side of the road. The driver was flashing her lights and had her window down. I was listening to my iPod under a hat with ear flaps and a helmet, so I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but I knew she was yelling. I assumed she was offering a ride, but I waved her off and kept rolling.

 

I got to Main Street and crossed over on the backside of Whole Foods. There was a lot more traffic than I expected. Things were getting hairy. Before I rounded the bend towards Hebron Ave., the same SUV pulled up alongside me. She had her passenger side window down and through the blinding snow, I could see her yelling. I pulled the earphone out of my ear and clearly made out that she was offering me a ride. I thanked her profusely and waved her off again, but doubt was setting in.

She had a bike rack on the back. I had 8-10 miles to go, depending on which route I took. I had already decided against going up Hebron Ave. to Birch Mountain. I had settled on Spring Street. She turned around in a parking lot and headed the other way. I waved and thanked her again.

Then, I thought, “What am I thinking.” This is nuts. I turned into the Whole Foods parking lot and considered going in. Then, I went back to Main St. and cut over to Cycling Concepts. I racked my bike in front of the shop and went inside. I cleaned off my glasses and pulled out my Blackberry. My thumbs weren’t working on the touchscreen. I was getting chilled. I was able to dial with the keyboard (mercy!) and called Debbie. She was on the road, but she said she hadn’t even gotten to I-84 yet and had to re-route three times already because of stuck vehicles.

I didn’t want to stand there for another 90 minutes wet and cold, so I told her that I would continue on as far as I could and then call her again. I told the one guy in the bike shop that I was “going for it.” I put my wet gloves back on  and headed up Hebron Ave. My goal was to at least get to Highland Park Market II and then call Debbie. Going up Hebron Ave. was insane. There was so much traffic. By the time I got to Addison Road, my chain was skipping. My cogs had become a block of ice. There were piles of leaves lining the streets that were now covered in snow/ice/slush, so the shoulder was very short. I thought to myself, “idiot.”

I slip-slided my way into the Rockville Bank parking lot and spotted Piatti restaurant. I had never been inside, but it looked welcoming. I went in and asked if I could hang out in the waiting area until my ride came. The two servers in the desolate restaurant, said, “Sure.” I think there were patrons at two tables. I couldn’t get phone reception, so I walked around the parking lot until I got “one bar.”

I got a hold of Debbie and we could barely hear each other. She told me later that all she made out was, “Glastonbury…Rockville…Bank.” I crossed my fingers and went back inside. I read some e-mail on my phone and then the waiter asked if I was a triathlete. His name was Benjamin. We had a nice chat, though for the first five minutes, I was slurring because my jaw had frozen.

The chatting made the time go by quicker. I was shivering, but glad to be inside. After an hour or so, Debbie pulled into the parking lot and spotted my bike leaning against the restaurant wall. She used the restroom and I got the bike into the back of the car. We bid farewell to the Piatti staff after I plugged the Hartford Extended Area Triathletes with Benjamin.

The drive home was slow and slippery. We arrived to a house without power. I used some of the remaining well water for a hot shower (don’t tell Deb!) and put on four layers of fleece and a pair of wool socks. I started our propane fireplace for the first time this year. It took some work to get the gas to flow. In the two hours since I left the shop, more than four inches of heavy, wet, snow had fallen.

After a candlelight dinner, we set to work. We donned our headlamps and cleaned our bedroom closet. This had been on the to-do list for some time. It took nearly three hours to purge the stuff I was going to donate. I filled two bags with race shirts and other items. I reorganized and dusted all of the shelves.

When we were done, we packed up our stuff for the Busha Bushwhack. We planned to leave at 6:30 A.M. this morning. Debbie had very little power left in her iPhone, but enough to check the Framingham Running Club website. The Bushwhack was postponed. Bummer. Then we checked the Hairy Gorilla website. The Albany Running Club posted that the park had cancelled their race. Double bummer. We need two more races to get our minimum six required for the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series. Busa was supposed to be five and Mt. Toby, in two weeks, was supposed to be six. We were already lucky because Toby, was postponed from August because of Hurricane Irene.

Irene may be a saving grace. In August, we only briefly lost power, when others in Bolton were out for nearly a week. Debbie said that we were paying the price now. We went to bed by 9:00 P.M. but dejected about the race. We had child care lined up so we could both run. Triple bummer.

We did some reading and went to sleep. I figured that I would go for 10-12 hours, which I needed. Without kids to get us up at 5:00 A.M., I dreamt that there was a silver lining in all of this storm stuff. At 5:15 A.M., the battery in our CO2 detector died and started beeping every 30 seconds. At first, we thought it was a smoke detector. With our headlamps, we got out our ladder and checked the first smoke detector before realizing our error.

I trudged to the basement for a 9-volt battery and made the change. Since I had the ladder out, I cleaned some cobwebs and dead bugs from the inside of a lamp. We returned to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I started this blog post in my head. I told Debbie I was going downstairs to sit by the fire, and that’s where I am right now.


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