Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bricks and Eagles

First and most important, my husband found this site. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a 24-hr live video stream from the nest of 2 bald eagles with 3 new chicks. It is mesmerizing, and we've had it running all day here. Apparently I was in the shower during the best part of the day, when both parents left and the chicks started beating the crap out of each other. There was pecking of eyes, and then one chick defecated in the face of another. Which made me feel a whole lot better about my own kids' incessant bickering, because we have not yet sunk to scatological attacks. (Did I just jinx myself?)

I did, however, get to see the part where the male (I think) returned to the nest after a long absence with. . . a huge stick. If there were subtitles, the mate would have been saying, "What the hell is that?" It was really unclear what the plan was for the big stick, and as far as I can see, it's still just lying there. Sort of like a really ugly recliner your partner brings home from a yard sale, I guess.

Today I did my first brick of the season where I actually biked outside. My plan called for an hour ride, HR not to go over Zone 3, so I cheated only a little and did about 1:15. I decided I wanted to do the big climb near my house, which locals know as "the S curves." My goal is to do this climb a lot this year, so I figured I might as well start now, and as long as I kept the HR Z3 on the way up, it seemed kosher. So up I went. And up some more. I like to count inflection points on the S part of the S curves, and by my count there are 12 of them. The dirty secret of the S curves is that there's plenty of uphill before you hit them, and plenty afterwards. I cut out a little early to do a loop back through Shutesbury (W. Pelham Rd for the locals), and I  got to enjoy my first long descent of the season as well, though tragically it was into a headwind. One of my favorite parts about this ride was that, since the leaves aren't out yet, you can see a lot of houses that are normally hidden in the woods. There are some beautiful, some quirky, and some downright funky abodes up there in the hilltowns. There's some kind of ashram that is painted in bright horizontal stripes of all colors, plus a house that my husband describes as "Kodak yellow." (He grew up in Rochester.)

The other nice thing about biking up in the hilltowns is that, even as the temps soared near 60 degrees today, they still have some serious snow up there in the woods. This is good because it makes me feel better about the persistence of our own little glacier:

Patrick took it upon himself last weekend to spread the snow around a bit, and this worked quite well--I predict this part of the glacier will be gone by the end of tomorrow. And yes, he's wearing his stormtrooper costume there. (Only apparently it's not a stormtrooper, but some soldier in one of the very confusing and not that interesting armies that populate the new episodes in the Star Wars franchise, which I refuse to follow because I find them excruciating.)

Eventually Charlotte tired of her supervisory role in this snow relocation program:

What is it about kids and non-ergonomic reading positions, anyway? Didn't we all do this kind of thing? And yet it makes my neck hurt just to look at her.

Right, back the to the brick: the run this time was my longest brick run yet, and what do you know--my legs definitely felt the big climb they had just done. But I plugged away, got my HR up to Z4 for the last two miles (which also happened to have a lot of uphills--I knew this ahead of time, but really, I figured it was just good for me), and staggered back inside to check on the eagles.

Which brings me to my main point: can someone explain to me why it's called a brick? I have assumed, ever since I started doing triathlon training, that it's called that because your legs feel like bricks when you get off the bike. But no one has ever verified this for me, and it's seriously bothering me. I came close to posting this question on Slowtwitch, but then I got hold of myself and refrained, so I'm hoping a real triathlete here can set me straight without humiliating me in the process, telling me my position needs to be more aero, or making me look at pictures of "triathlon hotties."


  1. ah the eagles! we've been shamelessly watching at work ;)

    the "brick" actually refers to the pink floyd song "another brick in the wall", or so i read in some triathlon magazine!

  2. Wow--does anything seem LESS Pink Floyd-y than triathlon training?! Thanks for sharing, Shannon! Now, back to the eagles, I mean work. . . .