went to boston today to catch the santa speedo run and then got $20 worth of produce from haymarket before coming home. it was my longest ride on the trek so far, i'm happy to report the mission went off without a hitch. i went to belmont for dinner. my neighbors jen and franz invited me to their christmas party but i decided to skip it. (i'll post some speedo santa photos tomorrow).
unlike the past few days, the temperature this morning was relatively warm at around 40's. that bode well for the participants of the annual santa speedo run down in copley square, for which i was heading into boston to see. after what happened yesterday to the ross bike - how it just basically broke down while i was riding it - i was a little hesitant riding the trek into the city. but the trek is a far more durable (and newer) ride - and it'd been in boston before, when john rode it into downtown last month.
i left the house around 12:10, went down beacon/hampshire, crossed the longfellow bridge, cut through beacon hill, onto commonwealth avenue, and finally down clarendon street to arrive in copley square. i actually got there faster than anticipated, and still had half an hour to kill before the start of the run. i grabbed a copy of the weekly dig and read it on the street corner leaning against a bank of newspaper dispensers.
the santa speedo run always starts on time, 1:00. when you're in your underwear on a cold december day, any kind of delay is not something you want. it's not a big event (although every year more people seem to be running it) so the police don't block off the intersections until the very last minute. i was standing next to a small group of florida tourists who just heard about the event and wanted to check it out, each one armed with a tiny point-and-shoot camera.
the runners came down boylston street, a wave of cheering reds, greens, and flesh.
there was definitely more participants this year, and they were more stretched out too, which is good if you want to see everything, but bad because the the head of the procession was already on the other side of newbury street before the runners on boylston had finished.
there was a glint of sunlight right at the intersection of boylston and dartmouth (right in front of the T station) and that's where i pointed my camera.
on boylston i shot with a medium range, while on newbury i use the telephoto to pick out interesting subjects. it's easy to shoot straight telephoto on newbury because the street is narrower so the runners don't tend to crowd together as much. what i really need is an intermediate zoom, between 50-100mm. i ended up taking about 750 photos with my 70-300mm the whole time.
the whole santa speedo run lasts roughly 10 minutes, which is the amount of time a normal person takes to run the 1 mile course. what gets lost in all the excitement of seeing people running around in their festive holiday underwear is the fact that it's actually pretty cold for these guys and girls. speed is of the essence, and the faster you can run a mile, the faster you can get warmed up indoors. i feel bad for the few out-of-shape runners that end up having to walk in the cold a portion of the course. also lost is that the santa speedo run is actually for charity, and each runner is supposed to raise a certain amount of money. it's not just running in your underwear for the sake of exhibitionism!
when i'm on the bicycle, i never seen to take the same route twice when i cut across boston. i know the city fairly well so it's not like i'm getting lost. but with a bicycle, no road is off limits. i found myself traveling down one way street, made possible by the fact that car traffic in downtown crossing and the financial district is pretty light on the weekends. i got to haymarket, parked in my usual spot right at the end of the jewish holocaust memorial, and did my shopping.
the problem with going to an outdoor produce market in the winter time is that the fruits and vegetables get damaged from the freezing temperature; it's essentially like storing them in a freezer. although it wasn't that cold today, it was bone-chillingly code yesterday, and probably a lot of the products suffered because of that. i ended up buying about $20 worth of produce: a box of clementine oranges ($3), a bunch of basil ($2), pomegranates ($1 each), grapes ($1 bag), cherries ($1 bag), a roll of garlic ($1.25), pineapple ($1), hot peppers ($1/lbs), and ginger ($1/lbs). i didn't bring my canvas shopping bag and ended up with bags of produce hanging from both hands like dumbbells.
when i got back to cambridge, i parked my bike briefly outside my house while i quickly went inside and grabbed my stuff. i then biked to belmont for dinner. passing through the harvard observatory, once again i saw the black squirrel. this time i managed to grab my camera and get a few blurry shots of a grey squirrel chasing the black one.
maybe i was tired from riding into boston and back; maybe my bike was heavy with produce; but i struggled to make it to belmont, felt like my legs didn't have any energy. i still wonder if i'm actually burning any significant calories with all my biking. my weight hasn't gone up since i've been biking, hovering between 130-135 lbs. i feel like i need to do more though. the problem with biking is it's too efficient; as a method to trim the calories, i think running still outranks biking. i haven't gone running in a long time; i want to say more than a year. maybe i'll do a test run one of these days when i'm particularly bored and masochistic.
i came home late in the evening. i made sure it was later, so i'd have a semi-legitimate excuse for missing my neighbor jen and franz's holiday party. i didn't want to spend the rest of my saturday hanging out with strangers and i didn't want to show up without some kind of gift.