Sep 24, 2021
I tried another 1500 metre time trial this morning, but only managed to go one second faster than on Monday – 5:34. I feel quite ‘body tired’. I think I might need a bit of a rest. I’ve been doing these time trials – usually two each week – for a couple of months now, culminating in last week when I set over 60 PBs at both 10K and 1K. And all while I’m totalling 120 km per week. A bit of freshening up won’t go astray.
The world run offerings for today are from Pennsylvania, including when I played a few songs on stage in a pub one Saturday night, and when I passed through Punxsutawney, the town made famous by Groundhog Day.
Sep 21, 2012
Distance today = 50.89 km; Total distance = 11,969.86 km; Location = New Stanton – 40 13.185′ N, 79 36.788′ W; Start time = 0802, Finish time = 1544
Yet another really hilly day. The constant uphills are hard, but the downhills are jamming my toes against the end of my shoes. My toes are now quite sore.
I see creatures of all sorts throughout every day. The majority are bugs. All the same, I make sure I never injure or kill anything. I take care to step over grasshoppers and crickets, and I even helped a caterpillar across the road the other day before an approaching car squashed it. I do draw the line, however, at mosquitoes that are biting me. They get squashed. Self defence.
Today, though, I had to make a decision. A small pencil-thin snake, about 30 cm in length, was writhing on the road, having just been run over. Half its guts were hanging out. It would have died slowly. I took the decision to bang it on the head with a rock. I didn’t like doing it, but I felt it was the best of a bad set of options.
Tomorrow is the start of the Tour de Bois. For those who are not familiar with this institution, let me tell you about it.
For the past 25 years, I have been organising an annual cycling tour in south-eastern Australia. Each year we ride a different route. We usually have about thirty or so riders, with a range of backgrounds, but we all get on fantastically. You may have heard me previously mention such classic characters as Big Bad Bobby Quin, Klitty, Jimbo, Big Huddo, Dave, Mother (who is a 60 year old bearded man), the VC, Big Andy, Pepe, and the irascible Mr Reefton Humblewood. There are many others who deserve a mention. Sorry to those I’ve missed.
This is the first year in twenty-five that I am not attending. The reason is obvious. I will, however, be keeping in close contact with the bois. In many ways, it’s the sense of adventure I’ve experienced while touring the countryside each year on the Tour de Bois, that has led me to pursue this more ambitious adventure of running around the world.
Sep 22, 2012
Distance today = 49.88 km; Total distance = 12,019.74 km; Location = Ligonier – 40 14.620′ N, 79 14.431′ W; Start time = 0803, Finish time = 1547
Once again, another very hilly day, but one in which I passed the 12,000 km mark for the run so far. I have run the last 1000 km in just 19 days.
I crossed paths this morning with a local runner, Dennis, who then ran with me for the next 9 km. It was good to have a chat with someone else for a change, instead of just having discussions inside my head.
I was pretty much on quiet back roads for most of the day, running through rustic rural countryside.
I have a bad internet connection today, so I will keep today’s report short, in case I lose it all. Good luck to the Tour de Bois, who will be setting out on their first day of cycling in a few hours.
Sep 23, 2012
Distance today = 53.33 km; Total distance = 12,073.07 km; Location = Indiana – 40 35.272′ N, 79 09.629′ W; Start time = 0810, Finish time = 1622
Last night was truly worthy of a Saturday. We were in the town of Ligonier, and visited the Ligonier Tavern for dinner. They had an acoustic duo, Tim and Sam, entertaining the crowd with rock classics. Carmel mentioned to them that I used to play, and the guys invited me up to do a few songs during their break. It was a great change to my standard night on the road.
Today was much cooler – the coolest since at least May. I started on very quiet roads through serene forest. Unknowingly, I decided on a route that took me over a small mountain. The 20% gradient made for very slow going as I crested the climb of more than 1,000 feet. Have a look at the profile on the Garmin link above. The descent was even longer, and my thighs felt like jelly when I reached the bottom.
The rest of the day was reasonably flat. I had 20 km to go after the town of Blairsville, and it was on a divided concrete highway with cars zooming by. These concrete highways have small corrugations for rain run-off, and the corrugations make the cars three times as noisy as normal. It doesn’t make for good running.
However, I stumbled upon a parallel cycle path, the Hoodlebug Trail, which used to be a railway line. It was such a pleasant improvement, and made the rest of the day a relative joy.
I must have seen at least a hundred chipmunks today as I ran through the forests. These creatures are so cute – even more so than their cartoon versions would imply. If they could be tamed, they’d make the best pets.
Sep 24, 2012
Distance today = 48.21 km; Total distance = 12,121.28 km; Location = Punxsutawney – 40 55.683′ N, 78 59.056′ W; Start time = 0809, Finish time = 1535
Today was even cooler than yesterday. I ran in a T-shirt, but could quite as easily have worn a jacket. I’m definitely not complaining – too cool is much better than too hot.
Again, the run consisted of some quiet back roads with lots of forest. However, this is starting to give way to farming land. The soy bean crops are just about ready for harvesting now. I even picked a pod today, opened it, and ate the beans raw. Not recommended, but they would be OK if one was really hungry.
I have now made it to Punxsutawney. This is the town that is famous for the groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil. Since 1887, each February 2, which is known as Groundhog Day, the town officials gather as Phil emerges from his hole. The legend has it that, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his burrow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow and stays above ground, he is predicting an early spring. It is the basis of the movie Groundhog Day, although the movie was filmed elsewhere.
Punxsutawney claims to be the weather prediction capital of the world, which is a bit rich given Phil’s predictions have only enjoyed a success rate of 39% since 1887. There is a similar ritual in the town of Essex in Connecticut (which I’ll be passing through in about a month), although I’m not sure what Essex Ed’s success rate is.