Photo by Jason DeVarennes



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Knocked the Bastard Off - Indoor Festive 500

Sir Edmund Hillary's first words to lifelong friend George Lowe upon returning from the first successful summit of Mt Everest in the company of Tenzing Norgay were...
Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.

Later he expressed great regret to his mother for the embarrassment she felt as a result of his infamous declaration. Taking inspiration from his epic feat, I have found it a great way to announce the impending completion of some not-so-epic, but still a reasonable challenge. That said, I do try to be sparse with it, saving it for the end of truly hard rides like a 24 hour fleche or a double century on mountainous dirt roads. Usually, just as we are about to start the last leg, I'll suggest we "get on with it and knock the bastard off."

But after my latest challenge, the Rapha Festive 500 on my indoor trainer, I might just have to retire my use of that phrase in the future! But, by George, I knocked the bastard off!

In previous years the Festive 500 challenge has been a fun way for me to finish off the year, continuing to do the same thing I do pretty much year round - riding my bike every day. While I may have had the occasional added bonus of bitter cold or heavy rain, to be honest those last two years didn't truly qualify as a proper challenge, since it's pretty much what I'd be doing anyway. It may have been hard work, but it was a goal I knew that I could achieve.

One of the reasons I tell people that I don't do charity bike rides is I feel that to ask someone to pledge money for me to do something that is well within my comfort range just isn't in the spirit of the making a sacrifice that inspires folks to donate money. Those who truly know me would more likely offer to pledge money for me NOT to ride!

But I took part in the Festive 500 challenge the last two years anyway, trying in my own way to add some measure of excitement, like all the routes having a Redemption theme or doing as much extra mileage as I could fit in on studded snow tires on a fixed gear bike. Of course, I also made an effort to take lots of photos and blog every day, which did cut into my sleep and recovery time.

Well that was all prior to Sept 8, 2013, the day everything changed for me. 

As my regular readers know, I have not been on a (non-stationary) bicycle since that date. Back in November I acquired an indoor trainer and had tried out a few short sessions, but I just couldn't quite muster the motivation to do much more than 10km. Then, a few days before Christmas, my doctor told me I could finally remove my back brace, and that I could start doing some proper strengthening and such in PT, and much to my delight, that I could try to ride my bike. Of course the roads were still quite snowy and icy, and even the sidewalks were a challenge to navigate without yaktrax, so he suggested minimizing any risk by using an indoor trainer. To be honest, I'm still so freaked out about the idea of being hit from behind that I'm not yet ready to share the road with potentially inattentive truck drivers. It is not lost on me how close I came to losing my left leg, or in fact, my ability to move my legs at all.

But despite all this, I do know that I will return to riding outdoors someday. I simply will not let anyone take this away from me.

Given the clearance to cast aside the brace, and to bend and twist and again take part in more active pursuits, I thought a lot about how to commence my new found freedom as I walked the 5 miles home from the hospital. Walking has saved my sanity over the past 4 months. It's really been my only outlet for burning off excess energy. Walking has been my way to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and sights, and I've taken to walking as much as possible, including to and from my doctor visits. As I walked home, I thought about the upcoming Rapha Festive 500, and for a brief period thought I might make it a Festive 50, and do a bit of walking while various friends were out riding. But then I thought that the whole point of the Festive 500 was to give folks a kick in the rump to work off the overindulgence of the season, and to kickstart their riding for the next year.  

And to actually be a proper challenge and get one outside of their comfort zone...

So for me, there was the challenge of actually getting back on a bike after almost 4 months off, and also to spend close to 4 hours a day on my trainer. Aside from the boredom of pedaling away in the garage, and lack of company and interesting destinations, there was also a real physical challenge. While I've been walking almost everyday for the last month, and while I had tried out the trainer a couple of times while still wearing the brace, I haven't really done any proper cardiovascular exercise since the summer. Needless to say, I've lost a lot of fitness. My legs have not been spinning in circles for months, and much of my core strength has atrophied away while I was restricted by and dependent on that brace. Did I really think there was any chance that I could actually do this? Not so much!

Well, there you have it. It would be a proper challenge... because I didn't actually know if I could complete it! And in fact, I was pretty sure that I couldn't. But I'd give it a try anyway and see how far I'd get.

I set up my fluid trainer with my belt-drive fixie with my usual road gearing of 50X19. The resistance on the fluid trainer varies according to the speed of the wheel turning. So if I used the fixed gear, I would actually have a pretty consistent measure of effort throughout my rides. I put the Garmin rear wheel sensor on and measured my distance with my Garmin 500. I found a never-before-used heartrate monitor buried in a box somewhere and even looked at those numbers a few times. I won't ever turn into a HR junkie who looks at the numbers instead of the scenery, but it has been interesting to look at my level of fatigue as it has increased this week!

Now the rides were supposed to be done outside, so I labeled all my rides indoors and have made absolutely no secret of the fact that I did it all indoors. Hopefully the folks at Rapha and Strava won't DQ me and ban me from all future challenges for leaving the stationary trainer box unchecked, so I could track my progress!

I certainly don't want to win the grand prize, because while I absolutely plan to get back outside again, there's simply no way I'd be ready for Rapha Cent Cols Challenge in 2014. So no tempting me with that prize, OK Rapha!

But, without straining my shoulder too much, I am going to pat myself on the back. On the first day of the challenge, Christmas Eve, I rode two hours and watched two videos. I came upstairs exhausted and had lunch and a coffee, just like I would on a proper ride. I then headed back downstairs for two more videos and more trainer torture. That night I was exhausted and I ached and I wasn't sure if I would be able to walk down the stairs on Christmas morning to see if Santa had left me any shiny new bike parts.

But the next day I did haul my carcass down the stairs and I did manage to climb back on the trainer to knock off more kilometers. I continued doing this everyday until I reached the goal. I was certain after the second day that I'd never make it, but by the 5th day, my attitude had changed.

The power of positive thinking. This is my new mantra. I know I can, I know I can. So 2014 brings with it a whole new set of challenges, and I'm ready to take them on, in a large part thanks to the inspiration and motivation of the Festive 500, but also in part due to all the positive thoughts, comments, emails and other correspondence from readers, friends and family. Thanks to all of you for giving me the courage to come back and the encouragement to keep going.

September 8 will always be a significant part of my life, a day I will likely casually acknowledge every year, like a birthday or anniversary, but it will not define me, and I promise to stop referring to it in every post. Because as another famous quotation goes, "After all tomorrow is a another day!"


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mudguards - Indoor Festive 500 2013

Why am I writing about mudguards when I am riding inside?

The last time I did any real exercise indoors was over 20 years ago. After I moved from North Carolina to Boston, I was certain that I would never be able to ride outside in the winter here, so I acquired what at the time was a very expensive indoor trainer, a Schwinn Velodyne. It was outrageously expensive for my income at the time, so I left the price tag hanging on it just to encourage me to use the blasted thing! The velodyne was a magnetic resistance trainer controlled by an on-board computer. It was actually quite a nice trainer and I must say much simpler to set up than the devices I've been looking into recently. I recall it had a few modes, including a target heart rate, intervals and courses. The computer controlled the resistance, and varied it to simulate up and downhills on a route, or to keep a heart rate steady or for intervals. The display wasn't fancy, but it didn't need to be. One could select the mode and get basic feedback. I didn't need to see a video of the route I was riding, or super details of the terrain. None of that really replicates riding outdoors, so I might as well enjoy a nice action movie instead!

Just as now, I had considerable trouble with the prospect of exercising indoors, but I had signed up for a cross-country bike ride in the summer, and hadn't yet taken up cross-country skiing. We had a very snowy winter, and if studded tires existed then, I had not heard of them. Early on, I took a few nasty falls on evening commutes, and had finally come to the conclusion that if I was to survive the winter, I would need to make us of that indoor trainer. The cross country tour I was training for was one designed for folks with very little vacation, so it would involve high daily mileages, an average of 140 miles per day, to get from sea to shining sea in three weeks time. I felt the need to spend many hours in the saddle over the winter, so I might be strong enough to enjoy the long rides in the summer. I'd usually rent a couple of videos, some action flick with lots of car chases and gunfights or some peppy musical to keep me entertained and keep my spirits up. Ah to have had endless streaming video then!

I was also trying to train myself to eat solid food while riding. Prior to the move north, many of my long rides in North Carolina involved extreme heat and humidity. Over the years, I had converted to a mostly liquid diet, since digesting solid food while riding in those conditions didn't always have the best outcome. Puking was not uncommon on a ride in August with 95F temps and 95% humidity!

I knew that I couldn't afford to use a liquid diet for my three week tour, nor did I want to. So I made an effort to eat while riding on my trainer in my less than chilly living room. I started out with simple bike food like PB&Js, but over the winter progressed to pizza and the occasional roasted chicken dinner. While some folks have to clean the sweat off their top tubes after a trainer session, I had to sweep up crumbs from chips and pizza crust! I'm happy to report that this training worked and I have overcome the need to ingest expensive liquid nutrition and can now pretty much eat anything in any temperature... well almost anything...  I scoff at a can of ensure, just as I turn up my nose to a piece of toast covered in Marmite! But I'm quite partial to chocolate croissants, turkey sandwiches and coffee.

Ah, but this post isn't about food...

So in the winter of 1993, I would fire up a movie and ride for a couple of hours. Then I'd take a quick break to change videos and maybe throw a frozen pizza in the oven. The velodyne ride simulation, combined with a bike with a freewheel, allowed for coasting. I don't recall ever gaining speed while coasting down something steep, but if I stopped pedaling, unlike with my fixed gear setup, the rear wheel would actually continue to spin. The problem here is that one day, when hopping off the trainer to retrieve my pizza from the oven, my shin brushed the still moving rear wheel, resulting in an almightly burn to my shin. The next day I mounted a rear fender to my indoor bike - to protect my poor shin from further injury!

I've no such issue this week, as I've been using my fixie all week. When I stop pedaling, the wheel stops moving! No shin burns!

My Fixie with full fenders and extra mudflaps - full-on social mode!

But I have still thought about fenders, when Fear Rothar has come in with splatter on his face and the front of his jacket. While he has mudguards on his own bike, his riding companions haven't all been so courteous. On group rides, unless you banish all the naked tired bikes to the back of the pack, you will still have to deal with rooster tails and other splatter on wet roads.

So here's what I've been missing by doing all my rides alone in the basement this week, rather than heading out on the daily club rides. Conversation and rooster tails.

Well, actually I haven't missed those rooster tails one bit. Over the years, I have mixed luck with convincing my riding companions to mount fenders on their winter bikes. Even when it's not actively raining, there is often snow melt or puddles or grit on the road, and fenders help keep this stuff off you, your bike and your companions. I have had some luck pointing out my clean bike and dry bottom at the end of a messy ride, as evidenced on the next ride when a few more people show up with some sort of fender mounted. But I'm not yet at 100% conversion rate. Admittedly staying ahead of the less than considerate bloke who insists on spraying anyone drafting can have a good training benefit, but since I actually prefer to avoid training, it's not ideal!

I suppose in addition to riding with the garage door open as Fear Rothar suggested earlier, I should also find someway to blow grit and muck into my face while I'm on my trainer! Nah, I'll just assume that I've finally succeeded in getting all my riding companions to mount mudguards!

But I do miss the conversation. Sure, I've enjoyed mainlining my way through 4 seasons of Jeeves and Wooster, and am now looking forward to some Coupling and Father Ted, but I've realized that the hardest part of riding in the garage is lack of conversation.

Yep, I've claimed that I ride for scenery, and while that is definitely a large part of it, what I really enjoy is the whole social interaction of a group ride, with some spirited conversation, especially a good chat about politics or religion. All my good friends know that weather is a forbidden subject, of course. But at this stage, I'm so starved for social interaction on the bike that I might even put up with some riding companion on my first outside ride saying, "At least it's not raining." But then again, standards have to be maintained.

420km done on a 50/19 fixed gear in my garage. 2 days to go!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Screw Loose - Indoor Festive 500 - 2013

Various friends, near and far, have commented on my activity this week as a sign that I must have a screw loose. But I asked the doctors last week about the screws, and they said that all the hardware was firmly in place, no loose screws for me! Check the X-rays!

Admittedly, I have - in the past - gone out in ludicrous conditions for outrageous distances on what some might consider silly bikes. I admit to rarely turning down the opportunity to do something outrageous on a fixed gear bike, including my quest this week. I've made good use of studded tires over the years, and I've considered bad weather to be a great opportunity to make use of all my expensive bad weather clothing. Of course, this year, the studded tires sit unused and all my cycling rain gear and cleated cycling boots and overshoes and such are still packed away from last winter.

But there seems to be a Conservation of Loose Screws, as some of my Ride Studio Café clubmates have been exhibiting signs not quite consistent with what reasonable people might call sanity. For example, Roger headed off on Christmas Eve with plans to do the whole 500km in one go. This might be reasonable for those in milder climates, but it was well below freezing with considerable snow pack on the ground, and the forecast did not include any positive numbers on the Celsius Scale! I think sanity kicked in after he rode a few hundred km without water as his bottles instantly froze solid.

Today's club ride was to be on one of my summer favorite routes, taking in loads of trails that must still be covered in snow and ice. I wondered if everyone would show up with studded snow tires and spikes on their shoes! Fear Rothar headed out on his fixie in a clear indication of solidarity with me, the fixie pixie, by riding a fixed gear bike on a route where others would surely question his grasp of reality. Although I imagine Father Dougal might not find it odd, saying, "Come on, Ted. Sure it's no more peculiar than all that stuff we learned in the seminary, you know, Heaven and Hell and everlasting life and all that type of thing. You're not meant to take it seriously, Ted!"

Photo courtesy of Fear Rothar

Today as I (happily --- is just not the right word) rode my fixed gear in the garage while enjoying more Jeeves and Wooster, snow began to fall on the Fear Rothar and the other RSC club riders as they headed out onto those trails and dirt roads. After encountering a heavy snow squall and icy roads with cars sliding out of control, they cut their losses and turned back. Still Fear Rothar enticed Neil and Henry to head down along a few more snowy trails to our place for coffee.

Neil is testing out how solid the ice is - Loose Screw? You be the judge!

Neil managed to find an icy pond to ride across, proving that there are plenty of Loose Screws to go around!

I actually showed a few signs of good judgement today. After a couple of hours riding in the garage this morning, I took a break to go to Physical Therapy this afternoon, and then came home and walked right past the bike in the garage and came upstairs to sit down in front of a roaring fire-app on the TV, while drinking some Ommegang Art of Darkness.

My #festive500 is 39% complete, or maybe I have a screw 39% loose.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Indoor Festive 500 - Christmas Day

Broken Pixie's Indoor Festive 500 continues...

I don't know how anyone tolerates riding indoors, and I have to admit that after just two days of long sessions on the trainer, I feel the same way about riding indoors as I do about ingesting anything with Marmite on it. Izzi on the other hand may be asked to star in their next commercial!

After a great breakfast of frothed eggs,  I prepared for another session of watching Jeeves and Wooster with an elevated heart rate, while Fear Rothar headed out to join a few folks meeting at Ride Studio Café for a ride to downtown Boston in search of an open coffee shop. It was bitter cold today, with a high in the low 20s Fahrenheit! Fear Rothar said that with his Lake Winter Boots, chemical toe warmers, heavy socks and embrocation on his toes, his feet just about survived his 2.5 hour ride. He gave me plenty of grief when he returned home -  finding me riding the trainer in short sleeves with a fan to cool me. He later suggested that I should actually leave the garage door open for my Festive 500 rides!

I'll pass on that, but in a show of solidarity, after having lunch, I bundled up and headed outside for a mid-day walk in those 20F temps. Of course, I took John with me - so he got two chances to get chilled to the bone today. I did learn that walking in these temperatures both increases my pace, and decreases the number of times I stop for photos. Today was a zero photo day!

Shortly after returning from the arctic stroll, I headed back down for another trainer session, choosing to watch the Father Ted Christmas special, A Christmassy Ted, in honor of the day. In this episode Ted saves the Catholic Church a major scandal when he helps 7 other lost priests find their way out of Ireland's largest lingerie section, and Mrs. Doyle receives a TeaMaster 3000 to take the drudgery out of making tea. I may have subverted our annual Christmas tradition by re-watching this on my own, but give that Fear Rothar can practically quote every line from the episode, it might be time for him to miss it this year!

The triple workout today may have been a bit too much. I don't think I can get up from my chair now! Hopefully a good night of sleep will help me recover, so I can ride again tomorrow.  Maybe I will switch to the Festive 50, with 50 km of walking instead!

Or maybe I'll do both!

#Festive500 30% done!

Big Red Bicycle Christmas - By Nora and One Left

Merry Wednesday - thanks to Nora and One Left

2013 Indoor Festive 500 - Dec 24

For the past two years, the last week of the year has been filled with cycling and blogging, as Fear Rothar and I have taken up the challenge from Rapha to document a week of riding at least 500km, in what can be pretty extreme weather conditions. The challenge in 2011 was subtitled The Ride to Redemption, and we took it quite literally, as we designed routes that included Redemption Rock, Purgatory Chasm, Brimstone, and Mt Grace. We were almost sad to have no snow to make it Rapha-Epic, but for us the bitter cold more than made up for lack of snow - what a shame cold doesn't show as well as snow in photos! In 2012, we had a bit more company on our rides as lots of our fellow Ride Studio Cafe club members took up the Festive 500 challenge. We even had some snow last year to help with our epic-lite photos.

Speaking of epic weather conditions, I've developed quite a reputation for taking on the bad weather, and have to admit that part of what I seek in a good Festive 500 report is some pretty severe weather that might make otherwise hardy souls stay home to iron socks - btw thanks @ffflow for that imagery.

I'm a real believer that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing - and have a 3 part series of posts on the subject (base, outer, extremities).  I've had plenty of experience dressing for bad weather because I simply hate to ride indoors. I always have. Give me 0F and gale force winds over the boredom of a trainer anyday!

I don't ride for exercise. I ride a bike to take in for beautiful scenery and enjoy pleasant company and conversation, and as my local riding companions will attest, for the great coffee shop and bakery stops. But this year, I've been faced will a whole new set of challenges.

Newcomers to the blog may not be aware of my apparent need to have as much titanium in my body as possible. Just as dogs and their owners start to look alike, I seem to be on a quest to be made of the same material as my bike. In June, I was hit by a wrong way cyclist and broke my collarbone. But thanks to a titanium plate and 6 screws, I was back riding within a couple of weeks.

Then three months later, a careless driver in a truck hit me from behind while I was riding, and enabled me to add to my titanium collection. I now also have a few rods and 8 screws in my back as a result of a burst T11 fracture, along with multiple other vertebra and rib fractures.

I've been wearing a fairly restrictive TLSO back brace since September. I've been very limited in what I could do, with no bending or twisting, and no lifting anything heavier than a half gallon of milk. I've been doing more pain relief than exercise at PT, but I have been walking lots. I had considered doing a Festive50, with plans to walk 50 miles, but then I started thinking about what I might be able to do on the indoor bike, and how a big week could really help motivate me and get me back to riding.

Then last Friday, I was finally given the green light to get out of the brace. I am now allowed to do more and can finally start doing some strengthening work in PT. The bones are not fully healed, but the progress is on schedule and good. The hardware is secure and stable and I can now finally bend and twist and ... ride my indoor bike. But I've lost considerable upper body strength, so one of the big challenges now is I have to use my own muscles, rather than the brace, to hold myself up. But I am so happy to be out of that brace, that I am coping with any extra pain.

Now I never thought I would be so excited to be able to ride a trainer, but I am. And while I know that the fine folks at Rapha intend for Festive 500 challenge participants to ride outside, I'm hoping for special dispensation! Besides, it's a hell of a lot harder to ride indoors. It's boring and it's hard work.

I've got my belt drive fixie (still sporting the Mt Washington race number) set up on a fluid trainer. Next to this I have my laptop and a series of DVDs. I've been thoroughly enjoying rewatching episodes of Jeeves and Wooster. Today included an awesome episode where Bertie was forced to ride his bike 9 miles in pouring to and from a servants party to collect a key, when he caused the entire household to get locked out while trying one of his silly matchmaking schemes. So while I rode in the relative comfort of the 50F degree garage, I watched Bertie ride his bike in the rain - close enough, eh?

In keeping with tradition, I stopped for lunch and coffee, and apparently a leg massage from Cocoa...

Then I headed back down for part 2.

Day 1 - 88km, 17% complete. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Howth Head revisited

While I was off galavanting around the countryside on bike with my brother, David (some posts about which will follow!) Pamela had pretty much exhausted the walking possibilities from my childhood home. I knew that Howth Head, to the north of Dublin, was both scenic and relatively accessible. I hadn't walked there in over twenty (!) years, so I thought it might be a good choice for a little variety.

Looking on-line, I found that there was now a series of signposted walks starting and finishing from the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) station in Howth. So, we bought ourselves day-passes, hopped on the commuter rail in Castleknock, changed to the DART in Connolly Station and were ready to walk in Howth about an hour later.

We decided to do the Bog of Frogs walk, listed at 10km in length. This seemed long, but doable, for Pamela. However, it ended up being quite a bit longer, at around 13km in length. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't have been significant, but given that this was by far the toughest walk she had done since her accident, the extra distance made its presence felt.

Distance expectations apart, it is certainly a pleasant and scenic walk though. It is challenging enough to make you feel that you have really been out in the countryside and away from the city. Its accessibility via public transport makes it a convenient choice for visitors to Dublin.

The Baily Lighthouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baily_Lighthouse), the last in Ireland to be automated

Another view of the Baily Lighthouse

Stone wall with aggregate made from sea shells

Monday, December 23, 2013

Life Interruptus

After riding 18,000 miles last year, I made a New Year's resolution to ride less this year. Getting run down by a truck wasn't exactly what I had in mind to help reduce my bike miles, but it certainly has helped me keep that New Year's resolution.

Of course, as Darwin so aptly put it, it's the one who adapts that survives. So, I'm adapting in order to survive.  Given the restraints of no bending or twisting, this has meant lots of walking. It's not exactly how I had planned to spend the autumn. I may not be able control my destiny, but I can control my response to it !

The truth is that I haven't done much walking since we moved back from New Zealand in 2004. I returned to America with pretty bad osteoarthritis in my knee. At the end of every multi-day backpacking trip in NZ, I would have a massively swollen right knee and severely limited range of motion. A surgeon removed a loose bit of cartilage and carved some more off the back of my kneecap that was close to breaking off on its own. This helped, but I still found myself preferring to cycle rather than hike. I used to joke with co-workers that I biked to work to avoid the long walk in from the parking lot!

But this autumn, I found myself pulling out my poles and hiking shoes just to stay sane. I found at first that I would get tired very quickly, but if I stopped to take photos, I could pace myself better and my walks grew a bit longer thanks to the photo-ops. I also found myself taking more time to really look around and enjoy the beauty of trees stripped of their summer-glory leaves, now back-lit, casting long shadows, from the lovely golden sunbeams fanning out low in the sky at this time of year. While I would like to think that I appreciated the amazing, lacy, neuron-like branches of barren trees before, this year I have really found them positively inspiring. I've shared some of these photos on the blog, but I've filled my camera many times over and most will just clutter my cloud storage until I hit some arbitrary limit and I delete them.

Over the autumn, I built up my strength enough to do some longer hikes. I'm still pretty darn slow, and take even longer since I stop so often to take photos, but all that conditioning was rewarded with a wonderful walk around Howth Head in Ireland in mid December.

We had amazing weather for our pre-Christmas visit with friends and family in Ireland, and the day we traveled out to Howth was perfect. It was amazingly mild for December, and the low light and fluffy clouds made for a wonderful backdrop.

 A view of Ireland's Eye

Then the sun popped out long enough to make the eye glow for my camera.

 I must say the Irish can be very creative with their signs warning of the dangers of tumbling over the side of cliffs!

Incidentally, for those who just can't wait for blog updates to see photos from our adventures, check out the_fixie_pixie and fear_rothar on Instagram!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mt. Auburn on Ice

I have again been neglecting the blog! (Do all my posts start this way?) I had hoped to spend my down time on the blog, but that just hasn't happened. My last post here was almost 6 weeks ago, when Mt Auburn Cemetery was on Fire.

Fear Rothar and I do have some backlog to get through. We took a trip to Ireland recently to visit with friends and family there. I did lot of walks while John was able to get out for a few rides. His long suffering brother got to play the part of bike model on this occasion, riding back and forth while John got the perfect shot. Of course now Fear Rothar just has to go through 1000+ photos and select a few for a blog post. I have a post in the works from my walks. In the meantime, I give you the beauty of Mt. Auburn on Ice.