Taken from Paul’s office window today.ImageThe Monongahala and Allegheny Rivers, frozen, not really flowing into the frozen Ohio River. My sister, Jen, commented that it reminded her of winter sailing at Ryton.

Let me explain. When we (my sis, Paul and I) were younger, i.e. in our teens, we used to sail, during the winter, on a tidal river 12 miles from the sea. The river at this point wasn’t very wide so the race course was always just up and down the river; or down and up the river, depending on the wind direction. Either way, on one leg of the course the current was always with you, and conversely, on the other leg, the current was against you. Which was fine so long as there was wind. But quite often, the winter wind just conked out and only made zephyr-like appearances. So, in order to prevent the boat from drifting back down stream, we would ghost our way to the river bank and then stand in the water, anywhere from knee to waist high, holding onto the boat until the next puff of wind made its way down to us. Then we would jump back in, sopping wet, sail a bit and then do it all over again.

We sailed at that time in training shoes, fleecy undergarments made from PolarTec material and outer spray garments which most of the time, weren’t water resistant, never mind water proof. It was not a dry pastime and as the winter reached its depths, there were occasions when ice would form around the boats and we would have to lean over the bow (front) of the boat to break up the ice in order to progress. Also, because the ropes were wet, they froze stiff and we would have to physically push the ropes away to trim the sails. (Try pushing a piece of wet string. Now freeze it and try pushing it.)

But we must have enjoyed it because we kept going back for more.

A couple of other things about Ryton. To get to it, you had to drive down an extraordinarily steep hill (the river valley/bank) which bottomed out over two railway lines, no warning lights or bells. You had to stop, look and listen, open the gates on both sides of the crossing, walk back over the crossing to your transport, hope that there was still no train coming, drive across, close the gates and then you were there. The ‘club house’ was a tiny old house/cottage with one little propane heater and gas (propane) lighting and an outside netty (toilet) that froze in the cold too.

I actually sailed there with my older sister and we rode our motor bikes every week, regardless of the weather. It was a little scary going down the hill when it was icy. Actually it was scary going down the hill whatever the weather. Oh, and the emergency pull off ‘lane’ in case of brake failure was a cutting in between the trees with a dirty great big oak tree at the end of it. On odd occasions, we actually had to push cars up the first part of the hill, past the mud, until they could get traction.

Oh happy memories. Gosh, we were young and stupid. And immortal!!

Have a great weekend. Going to be cold and snowy so take care.

ImageDavid and his running buddy registered for the 2014 Keys 100, 17/18 May. (The pic is the finisher’s medal I think from last year). I wish them the best of luck. Stay safe, train smart, and great things will happen.

ImageAnna is competing tomorrow so will be cheering for her too.

Paul and I were supposed to be going to work on the boat but decided that discretion is the better part of valor, so will be WOD’ing tomorrow instead (given the forecast).


Never doubt yourself.