Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Trouble with New England

The trouble with New England is that it has six states.

And six is just the right (or wrong) number to motivate obsessive compulsive types who like to create artificial challenges for themselves or others. Things like climbing to the highest point in all six states on the same weekend, or skiing in all six states in the same month, or spending a year researching your favorite beer in each of the the six states.

I think I like the sound of that last one the best.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes, artificial challenges.

The Rhode Island Runners Club likes those. One of their annual awards, the New England Cup, is for any member who completes a race in all six New England states during the year.

And if you happened to be a member of that club you might get attracted to that challenge.

But if you were one of those aforementioned obsessive compulsive types who likes to create artificial challenges for yourself, you might like to make it a little harder and try and do something nutty like run a half marathon (not just any old race like a 5k or 10k) in each New England state during the year.

God knows there are enough half marathons around these days. Here (as just a hypothetical example you understand) is one way you could run a half marathon in each New England state in 2014.

  • April 13 - Moose on the Loose Half Marathon - Nashua, NH
  • May 11 - Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge Half Marathon - Foster, RI
  • June 8 - Lime Rock Park Half Marathon - Lakeville, CT
  • July 6 - Mad Half Marathon, Mad River Valley, VT
  • Sep 7 - Freeport Half Marathon - Freeport, ME
  • Oct 19 - Fall River Half Marathon - Fall River, MA

Doesn't that look easy? Nicely spaced about a month apart. Missing out August because it's hot and that's a good time to go to the beach or go sailing.

Wait. Did he say "sailing"?

What if our hypothetical obsessive-compulsive runner were also a sailor? A Laser sailor, say. Would he also get the strange idea that it would be fun to sail his Laser in a regatta in every New England state in the same year?

God knows there are enough Laser regattas around these days. Here (as just a hypothetical example you understand) is one way you could sail a Laser in a regatta in each New England state in 2014.

  • May 17 - Connecticut River Dinghy Distance Race, CT
  • May 31 - New Hampshire Seacoast Regatta - Dover, NH
  • June 21/22 - John Bentley Regatta, New Bedford YC - South Dartmouth, MA
  • June 29 - Maine State Championship Series #2 -  Portland, ME
  • July 12/13 - Newport Regatta, RI
  • August 16/17 - Chiott Vermont Laser Open - Colchester, VT

Doesn't that look easy? Nicely spaced through the summer. And, purely by coincidence, none of the regattas are on the same weekend as any of the half marathons on the first list.

And the beauty of (or the trouble with) New England is that there are so many half marathons and Laser regattas in a year that even if our hypothetical running sailor didn't complete one of these events because his grandchildren came to visit him one weekend or it was rainy or cold or too windy or not windy enough one weekend (the wimp)…. then he could always substitute another race or regatta later in the year. Or even do a few more running races or regattas not on the above list just for the hell of it (the wild thing.)

Of course, if he had any sense, our hypothetical obsessive compulsive running sailor wouldn't tell anyone that he was thinking of doing any of the above. Still less would he admit that he had set himself anything weird like a "goal" to do any of the above.

That would be totally bizarre.


O Docker said...

I think it was Nietzsche who said life's greatest challenges are those we create for ourselves.

It was either Nietzsche or some fortune cookie I got.

Tillerman said...

I thought Nietzsche said, "All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. All truly half-baked thoughts are conceived by running a half marathon."

It was either Nietzsche or something I ate.

Cliff Clavin said...

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Two Algonquian names, two English names, one French name and one that nobody's sure about; Maine may be named after the French province Maine or from the English word main.

Not many people know that.

Baydog said...

I thought Nitschke said 'winners never quit and quitters never win'. Wait, that was Lombardi.

Tillerman said...

That can't be right. How would a service area on the NJ Turnpike come up with an idea like that?

Anonymous said...

Where does one ski in Rhode Island?

Tillerman said...

Ya'll go to Yawgoo.

Dave in Assonet said...

Yawgoo Valley is where I learnt to ski on hard (frozen) water and on wood Fisher Quick ski's
I was 20 years old and in the Navy stationed at Quanset Point Naval Air Station. I also learnt to skate on frozen water the same year in Narragansett RI on a pond in a friends backyard.

Dave in Assonet said...

Quonset Point

Tillerman said...

Thanks Dave. I've never been to Yawgoo.

But having mentioned that idea of skiing all 6 New England states I might have to have a go at that next winter.

Dave in Assonet said...

Then you must try my favorite of all Mad River Glen (Ski It if You Can) ! Old school NO SNOWBOARDS!! And a great PUB!!

O Docker said...

I see that Yawgoo has a vertical drop of 260 feet. Isn't your driveway more than that?

Tillerman said...


Baydog said...

Tillerman said...

Baydog, thanks for reminding us of that fascinating post about driveway navigation and other stuff.

Actually O Docker's comment got me thinking. I do live on a steep hill but I have no idea of what the vertical drop of my driveway actually is. (I'm pretty sure it's not really 260 feet.) And I don't know what the vertical drop from top to bottom of my property is either. Or how many feet above sea level my house is.

So my question is - and it's probably a dumb question - what's an easy way to measure vertical distances like those? I suspect surveyors have a way but I don't have access to a theodolite or other professional surveying tools. Is there an app for that?

Anonymous said...

GPS tracks on an iPhone provides altitude.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Anonymous. I'll look into that. I wonder if it would be accurate enough for such relatively small differences in elevation.

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