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Why are the fun toys so expensive???

>> Sunday, June 27, 2010

I have discovered something.  I do not like to sit at a computer when it's nice out and I could be outside instead.  Consequently, my blogging is suffering.  Sorry folks.  While I love to write and share stories, I'd rather be out there, collecting stories.  I guess that's just the way I am.

A few tidbits from the past couple of weeks when I've been playing instead of blogging:

First, white water rafting is rather fun (although not photographable with my nice, non-waterproof SLR).  My husband and I took a day off work to go on a rafting trip on the Black River with an environmental professionals organization I'm involved with called Central New York Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association.  I called it a "business development" day, since many of the folks on the trip refer me business, or have the capability of referring me business.  Talk about a sweet way to spend a pseudo "work" day!

It was a Friday, it was about 90 degrees and sunny, and it had pretty much rained all week so there was plenty of water on the river.  The company we went with was Adirondack River Outfitters, located in Watertown.  Our river guide was a guy named Alex, with a long gray braid of hair, a smoker's rasp, and a whole lot of tattoos, who has been a white water rafting guide on the Black River for nearly 30 years.  Alex was a one man show.  He's the kind of person I could spend an entire day with, quite enjoyably, and never have to say a word.  Alex has a story about everything, and it's bound to be a good story, too.

Unfortunately for me, he was almost too good a guide.  He navigated the white water so well that I never really got scared.  Bummer.  I was hoping for a titch more adrenaline.  Regardless, I can not think of many better ways to spend a "work" day than alternately drifting and rocketing down a cool, fast moving river between gorgeous wild banks in the hot sun, with good stories and good company.  Completely delicious.

It desperately made me want to get back into white water canoeing.  Too bad I'd need a canoe.  Why does everything outdoorsy have to be so expensive?

Speaking of expensive toys, I am on a quest for a mountain bike.  My husband has been trying to get me interested in mountain biking for years, but I've resisted.  It's hard to observe wildlife and take pictures while focusing on not wrapping oneself around a tree.  Besides, I hate that mountain biking is hard on the trails.

However, it has finally dawned on me that mountain biking combines three things that I love - bicycles, woods, and MUD.  I am inexplicably drawn to mud and puddles like they're magnets, and the idea of being able to intentionally aim for them and spray all that goo up my back and into my hair is somehow awfully appealing.  It's a perfect excuse to act like the grubby kid I am at heart.

Only trouble is, the things are bloody expensive.  I've got several that I'm considering, but I can't actually afford any of them, especially not with the shoes and clipless pedals I'd also need.  I don't want a bike that's so cheap it can't be repaired if I break it because, frankly, I know myself - I'm hard on my gear.  So I need an entry level bike that has at least somewhat respectable components.  I keep hoping that I'm going to stumble on a used women's 15" mountain bike for sale someplace at a reasonable price.  It hasn't happened yet.

So, on my husband's birthday yesterday, I got to stay home and cook while he and a buddy went mountain biking through all that mud without me.  Boo.

I have, however, still been working on that whole running thing, with some success.  To my surprise and delight, I find I'm really enjoying my time out there with just me, my sneakers, my heart beat, and my music.  It's MY time.  Absolutely no one can reach me with any kind of demand, and the endorphins are addictive.

My old Asics finally bit the dust, though, which I had to admit when I started to develop some knee pain.  So, on the advice of several runners I know, I went to Fleet Feet in East Syracuse for a proper sneaker fitting.

My new treads:

They're Mizuno's, which is a brand I'd never even heard of, but they seem pretty awesome.  It was an extremely pleasant experience to work with someone who really knows what she's doing.  The sales person measured and fit, asked a lot of questions, and watched me walk and run to determine just what sort of support I need.  The difference was remarkable when I finally got the right pair on my feet.  I think I'm going to find running a rather different experience with proper stability and support.

Buuuut, the $113 I spent on the sneakers set me back that much further on my mountain bike quest.  Bummer.  My knees, however, are something I happen to value, so the bike shall just have to wait.


swamp4me June 27, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

I run in Mizunos. They are the only shoes I have found that actually fit my feet -- my feet are a B width but I have narrow heels and high arches. The Mizunos don't rub my heels while giving the front of my foot adequate room and my arches good support.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire June 27, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

Whoa - you could not possibly have described my feet more accurately. That's them! You have given me an extra measure of faith that the Mizunos are the right sneakers for me. Glad to hear you like them!

Ellen Rathbone June 28, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

Have I got a bike for you! I bought a mountain bike about 3 years ago and it is just the wrong size for me, so I'm trying to sell it. I don't have the particulars on me, but I know it's a VERY good brand, usually retails for something like $800. I'm looking to get maybe $150 for it. Interested?

Woodswoman Extraordinaire June 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

Oooh, Ellen, really? Yes, I'm interested! It's all about the size, since I really need a 15" (which is pretty small as bikes go). Do you know the size of it, or think you can find anything that states the size?

If not, you can figure it out by measuring from the middle of the bottom bracket (where the bolt goes through the crank arm) to the top of the seat clamp (where the quick release lever is) or the middle of top tube. Or so my bike mechanic spouse says. If you need a diagram, let me know...

Woodswoman Extraordinaire June 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

Ellen, the other thing you can check is just the length of the top tube, since really that's the part of the size that matters to me. That's probably a lot easier, now that I think about it.

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