SPORTS • FITNESS • TRAVEL • ADVENTURE • WELLNESS • AUG 2017
hiking in the
get out on the
Bob & Heidi
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 1
The path to
KEENE LAKE PLACID SARANAC LAKE TUPPER LAKE
KEENE KEENE LAKE LAKE
LAKE PLACID PLACID SARANAC SARANAC LAKE LAKE
LAKE TUPPER TUPPER LAKE LAKE
When When you’re in in in the
Adirondacks, it’s it’s it’s reassuring to
know know know that that that you you you have have have great great great care
right right right here. here. here. We We We make make make it it it our
mission to to
to get get
get you you
you in in
in fast fast
deliver the the
services and and support to to keep
services and support to keep
you you and and your your family healthy
you and your family healthy
so so you you can can focus focus on on enjoying
so you can focus on enjoying
the the outdoors.
A look back in
time at cycling,
track and field, &
18 Cover Story:
Get on Board
with SUP Yoga
to personal trainer
26 Active Life
Bob & Heidi
Taking a shared past in
through a lifetime of
A rocky start gives way
to an amazing hike
IN EVERY ISSUE
5 Editor’s Letter
8 Active Life
ON OUR COVER:
Tobey (Durga Om) Gifford,
Yoga instructor and owner of
Lemon Tree Healing & Arts
Studio, demonstrating the yoga
posture Firefly (Tittibhasana) on
her SUP board on Lake George.
2 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 3
Below: Our photographer wanted a
photo of our model Tobey walking
out of the water with her board.
The resulting photo is at bottom.
Behind the Scenes
at our Cover Photo Shoot
normally believe that luck is the result of hard work and proper
I planning, but on the morning of our photo shoot in early June, I
believe we experienced pure luck, plain and simple.
While planning for the shoot, a couple of locations were suggested
to me, but I had my heart set on a location on the west side of
Lake George. After spending many happy family get-togethers there,
I knew exactly how perfect the setting would be. Our photographer,
who was working in the area, stopped by one afternoon to take a
look and agreed it was a good location.
It is hard enough to get three busy people together for an hour,
but the bigger problem was the seemingly incessant rain we’d been
experiencing for weeks. It had rained almost non-stop daily up until
that very morning. What would I do if it didn’t stop? Not only did
neither one of us have time to reschedule, but I had no backup plan
or backup cover story to go with.
When I started the drive up to our location with my son, who’d
been recruited to help out, I still did not know which way it would
go. However, I have learned that whatever weather we are experiencing
in Glens Falls, the complete opposite could be occurring in Lake
George, so I was game.
It wasn’t long into our drive that the clouds began to fade and the
sun came out. Our drive up Lake Shore Drive further revealed the
glorious morning that was to be.
Shortly after we arrived, our model, Tobey (Durga Om) Gifford, arrived
as did our photographer. We all agreed that we couldn’t have
had a more beautiful morning. The only setback was that the water
was still quite cold. This was not a problem for our photographer
who had a wetsuit. Nor was it a problem for Tobey, whose skill at
SUP yoga kept her from falling in. However, my son had to stand
still in the cold water for over an hour, while I guiltily stayed on the
warm, sunny dock.
It’s great to see you again!
Thank you for joining us for our 2nd issue of Dacks and Toga ® Active Life. Once again, we’ve worked very
hard to bring you interesting, motivating stories with great photos to illustrate the active lifestyle we all enjoy.
In the editors’ letter from our first issue we likened the launch of our magazine to the planning and goalsetting
involved in undertaking a new training regimen. For the second issue we learned that planning and
goal-setting are still involved, but there will be some curve balls thrown at you and the necessity to duck.
Once again the issue was rain, but unlike the day of our cover shoot, we were not so lucky. While we were
deep into the production phase of this issue, the heavy rains during the weekend prior to July 4th caused
half the ceiling in our office to cave in, just missing our computers. We lost two, much needed days of work in
the process and had to move our computers to our dining room table. We thought that might be it for us and
were about to hang up the towel (well some of us were and some of us weren’t), but in the end we all kept our
focus and persevered.
We think the stories in our Flashback Retrospective, our story on Andrea Henkel Burke, and our travel story
to the Scottish Highlands illustrate the same theme: going forward on the journey no matter what mishaps or
transitions life and events force us to navigate. And for dedication and perseverance, look no further than the
example set by our two Active Life Profile subjects, Bob & Heidi Underwood.
Finally, we hope you enjoy our SUP Yoga story and photos, which remind us once again why we are so lucky
to live in such a beautiful region.
Active Life Magazine
Hear from You!
Nominate Someone for an
Active Life Profile:
Do you know someone who
epitomizes the active lifestyle, has
overcome a setback, challenges
themselves, pursues their goals or
is always on the go? Send us an
email at email@example.com with
the subject line “Active Life Profile”
and a few words about the person
who inspires you.
Let Us Know What Keeps
What keeps you going, keeps you
jogging in the rain, heading out to
the gym at the end of the day,
setting new goals, or travelling to
your next adventure? Send us an
email at firstname.lastname@example.org with
the subject line “What keeps me
going” and a few words about
what you do and why you do it.
Enjoy the rest of your Summer,
The Active Life Team
Discover the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway...
...as we share our story of the waterway west,
the Erie Canal, and the role our communities
played in the westward expansion of the
country and the Industrial Revolution.
Job # 000 - Mohawk Towpath - Sales Rep/Artist
Have Year-Round Fun!
Biathlon • XC Skiing • Running • Mtn Biking
Swimming • And More!
P.O. Box 90
Clifton Park, NY 12065
4 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 5
Job # 000 - Saratoga Biathlon Club - Sales Rep/Artist
SPORTS • FITNESS • TRAVEL • ADVENTURE • WELLNESS • MAY - JUNE 2017
LIFE • STYLE • ARTS • TRAVEL • FROM SARATOGA TO
Bill Parks skis
Advertise in Dacks and Toga ®
Active Life Magazine
and Become a Part of our
Active Life Community!
or email email@example.com
Current issues are available online with live links to advertisers’ websites.
LIFE • STYLE • ARTS • TRAVEL • FROM SARATOGA TO
festivals, great venues,
free concerts and more
LIFE • STYLE • ARTS • TRAVEL • FROM SARATOGA TO
LIFE • STYLE • ARTS • TRAVEL • FROM SARATOGA TO
to tie the knot!
Coming in December 2017
Dacks and Toga ®
Life & Style Magazine
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Current issues are available online with live links to advertisers’ websites.
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Dacks & Toga ® Active Life magazine is owned and operated by
87 North Publishing, Ltd.
P.O. Box 495, Glens Falls, NY 12801
© 2017 by 87 North Publishing, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in any form, by any means in any form, mechanical or
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Ads created by 87 North Publishing, Ltd. for this magazine
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When backpacking or
camping, it’s easy to fall
into a cooking routine
dictated solely by practicality
with little thought
given to taste. If you find yourself in a
rut, eating the same easy but uninspiring
freeze-dried camp meals, it might
be time for a change. Though you can’t
beat the simplicity of pre-packaged
meals, with just a little more effort and
some preparation and creativity, you
might be surprised with the high-quality
cooking that’s possible!
If you want good taste, though,
you will have to do some prep at
home. There’s no getting around it.
Whether it’s pre-cooking, organizing
and packaging, or dehydrating (more
on that later), this is what makes
these types of meals feasible in the
middle of the woods. That being said,
we’re sure you will find your efforts
well worth it.
When looking for recipes to adapt
to the backcountry, start with recipes
with fewer ingredients that have
more flavor. For instance, sun-dried
tomatoes, dried mushrooms, garlic,
nuts, bacon bits and a savory poultry
seasoning are all easily packable ingredients
that add tons of flavor. And,
speaking of “packability,” it’s important
to creatively substitute ingredients
for ones you can easily bring with
you. For example, say a recipe calls
for half an onion. Instead of trying to
keep half an onion fresh, or carrying
around half an onion in your pack after
cooking the other, try bringing a
comparable amount of shallots and
use them all. Another factor to keep
in mind is what is easiest to cook in
camp. Quick-cooking pastas (angel
hair, ditalini), couscous and even instant
mashed potatoes will provide
better results than rice.
You may even try purchasing a food
dehydrator. It is incredible the amount
of ingredients that you can find freezedried
versions of—but you won’t find
everything. What if you are really in
the mood for shrimp? Food dehydrators
are a cheap kitchen appliance
that exponentially increases the variety
of dishes you can make. You might
even find yourself using it throughout
the work week—they can be incredibly
handy. But don’t stop at drying ingredients!
Try drying entire homemade
meals and packaging them in Ziploc
bags, or better yet, re-purposed freezedried
meal bags, so all you need to add
is boiling water for a delicious taste
of home cooking in a beautiful backwoods
Run, Walk, Bike, Ski...Enjoy!
The Trails of Cole’s Woods, Glens Falls
The First Lighted Ski Trails in North America
Maintained by the Friends of Cole’s Woods
For information: coleswoods.weebly.com
A little bit of
bacon bits, will
add a ton of flavor
and take up little
space in your
A food dehydrator has one
purpose—to remove most of the water
from food. There are two basic types
of food dehydrator: stacking dehydrators
that have several trays that stack
snugly on top one each other and shelf
dehydrator, which will have shelves that
slide in and out of a main unit.
Each style has it’s advantages.
Shelf dehydrators are more accessible—
the food in any of the trays is accessible
while only the food in a top tray on a
stacking one is quickly accessible. On
stacking units you have to separate the
trays in the tower to get to food in those
below the top tray.
When looking for a dehydrator
look for one with a fan and a heating element.
Good ones will be have a design
that promotes even airflow though the
trays or in the shelves. Better units will
have dual fans and have higher wattage
outputs. Look for one with an adjustable
thermostat so you can control and
maintain an even temperature setting.
Food dehydrators can be purchased
at department stores and
prices will range based on features and
build quality (plastic vs. metal). Expect
to pay about $30-$50 for lower end
models and well over $100 for higher
6 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
Job # 000 - Friends of Cole’s Woods - Sales Rep/Artist
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 7
n Keep your burden light
when you’re out trekking with a set of these
Fizan Compact 3 trekking poles. These 3-section,
aluminum poles are adjustable and collapsible,
and at only 158 grams per pole, they are the
world’s lightest trekking poles. Great for both
hikers and backpackers! Put them on
your wish list or gift a set to a hiker
close to your heart.
Available at Inside Edge
and Reliable Racing.
n Give your feet a
chance to recover
after a race or practice with
OOFOS ® footwear, engineered to help
your feet recover in ways typical footwear
can’t. They absorb more shock,
have great arch support, enable a
more natural motion, and reduce
stress on feet, knees and back. Not
only will you want to slip into them
after a pounding workout, they’ll be
the first thing you grab after a long
day on your feet.
Enhance your outdoor
activities and fitness
training with these ideas
from our current wish list.
The Adirondack Mountain
Club (ADK) has recently
released the fifth edition of its
Adirondack Mountain Club
Northville-Placid Trail in time
for the Nothville-Placid Trail’s
(NPT) 95th Anniversary.
Edited by Jeff and Donna
Case of Mattydale, NY, the
volume has been extensively
revised and redesigned.
The text includes a detailed
description of the reroute
of the NPT’s southern
approach, which leads
hikers from the south through
forest and around a lake,
avoiding the approx. 10 miles
of punishing road walking on
the previous route.
The NPT passes through
what many consider the
wildest and most remote
parts of the Adirondack Park.
The guide is available at
outdoor supply stores, both
ADK stores in Lake George
and Lake Placid, online and
through mail order.
For info: 800-395-8080 or
n Improve your visibility and
peace of mind while cycling.
The world’s first cycling radar,
Varia Rearview Radar from Gamin helps create a safer
cycling environment by warning cyclists of vehicles
approaching from behind up to 153 yards. The radar tail
light also warns approaching vehicles of a cyclist ahead.
It can show multiple approaching vehicles and indicates
the relative speed of approach and threat level.
Nowadays we have every type of sports innovation,
equipment and clothing available, but back in the day,
things were a little different.
Join us for this three-part retrospective where we
revisit the way it used to be for a young athlete and recount
the evolution of two popular sports.
8 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 9
How Modern Road Cycling
Came To Glens Falls
The time a teenager’s wish, a businessman’s decision, and serendipity
all combined to bring a new kind of bicycle to the North Country.
The year was 1967, and young Jeffrey
Jacobs at age 16 was off to
a two week summer ski racing
camp in Aspen, Colorado. One afternoon,
he recognized a well-known ski
racer coasting on a 10-speed bike, doing
60 miles-per-hour coming down
the road from Independence Pass.
Jeff later realized that Jean-Claude
Killy, the triple Olympic gold medalist
in alpine ski racing, was training in
Aspen that summer. He was the guy
on the bike! Jeff made a mental note:
“I have to get one of those bikes when
I get home!”
While in Aspen, Jeff was training
for a ski race along with some of the
best junior and collegiate racers in
the country. He found out that many
of the elite European and American
ski racers rode lightweight, French
10-speed bicycles called Peugeot to increase
leg strength and stamina. Upon
10 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
By John Jacobs
his return to Glens Falls, Jeff asked
his dad to find him a Peugeot bike. At
the time, none of the area shops offered
anything of the sort. You could
get a Schwinn Varsity from Skelly’s
on Bay Street, but they weighed 45
pounds! Or possibly a Western Flyer
10-speed from Montgomery Ward,
which was even worse! The road bikes
coming out of Europe used high-carbon
frames and lightweight components.
The bikes weighed less than 25
pounds, and were great for going long
distances and climbing mountains
and hills. These were the bikes that
were ridden in the Tour de France, but
very few people in the North Country
at the time knew about that.
The story really starts with Jeff’s
parents, Tom and Marilyn Jacobs, the
founders of the Inside Edge ski shop.
In 1957 Tom had been the director of
the Steamboat Springs Chamber of
Commerce and managed Howelsen
You could get a Schwinn Varsity from Skelly’s on
Bay Street, but they weighed 45 pounds!
Hill, the local ski area and ski jumping
facility. He and Marilyn, now with
three young babies, decided he needed
a “real job.” He asked his father,
a paper machinery engineer who had
done some work for Lyman Beeman
(the CEO of the Finch & Pruyn paper
company) to see if he could land him
a job. Tom was offered a position selling
paper in New York City for Finch
& Pruyn, thus the decision to move
the family to Glens Falls in 1958. Tom
would travel every week to New York
City to open new accounts for the paper
But that didn’t stop Tom from moonlighting
in the ski business. Upon the
family’s arrival, he soon took on the
ski school directorship at Hickory Hill,
and later, in 1961 when the Brandt
brothers opened West Mountain, they
offered Tom the ski school and rental
shop concessions. This was the beginning
of what would eventually become
the Inside Edge and Reliable Racing
In the mid-60’s, Tom and Marilyn
had moved their retail enterprise from
West Mountain to a location on Bay
Street. There was a bike shop at that
location that didn’t operate in the winter,
so the shop owner rented the space
for the Jacobs’ ski shop, which became
the Inside Edge. Soon after, the
bike shop owner decided to close his
business, creating the opportunity for
year-round operations for the Inside
Edge. Problem was, no one wanted
to buy skis in the summer! That fall,
faced with the knowledge that another
summer was around the corner with
rent and payroll having to be covered,
Tom knew something had to be done.
Jeff’s request for a Peugeot bike intrigued
Tom. So he decided that on his
next business trip to New York City in
July, he would try to locate the Peugeot
importer in Manhattan. He started
with the Peugeot car dealership in
Manhattan, and they informed him
that they didn’t sell the bikes. Fortunately
for Tom, the manager of the car
dealership knew the bicycle importer,
Franklin Imports, and gave Tom his
address in Manhattan. He entered the
lower level of the brownstone and met
the gentleman from France, who barely
spoke English. Tom asked him if he
could buy a bike, and the man said,
“No, you have to become a dealer.”
Tom’s reply was “Well, what do I have
to do to become a dealer?” To which
the man answered, “You have to buy
three bikes.” Tom returned home with
three brand new Peugeot bikes. Still in
their boxes were the UO-8, UO-18 and
their best and lightest road bike, the
Jeff and Tom managed to assemble
the bikes as best they could, and started
riding them. Jeff rode the PX-10,
The rumor had spread locally as well, and coming
out of the woodwork were a couple of local guys
who actually had knowledge about cycling.
and Tom the less expensive UO-8 while
the rest of the Jacobs family shared
the UO-18 “mixte bike” (a smaller
frame with reclining top tubes that
Marilyn and the younger, shorter kids
could actually straddle and ride). Later
that fall, knowing that spring would
soon come and summer income would
need to be generated, Tom called the
importer in New York and placed his
order for “20” to be delivered in May
the following spring. Word started to
get out that the Inside Edge had ordered
these lightweight road bikes,
and folks started to express interest in
them through the winter.
Tom was sure the importer had taken
his order for 20 bikes, but showing
up in May was not 20 bikes. It was a
20-foot container of bikes! In disbelief,
he and his manager Steve Dew
off-loaded the bikes from the container
and contemplated just how they were
going to sell over 200 bikes in one season
so that he could pay the invoice!
Tom quickly got the word out through
his ski racing connections throughout
New York and New England that the
Peugeot bikes had arrived at his Glens
The rumor had spread locally as
well, and coming out of the woodwork
were a couple of local guys who actually
had knowledge about cycling.
Jack Sturgeon was a plastics engineer
who helped develop the first extruded
catheter. Jack was a bike racer and
knew just about everything there was
to know about cycling. Joining him
was Mick Hinnoff, an insurance executive
at Continental and former collegiate
cycling national champion at
Yale. Mick was as equally expert as
was Jack. That summer, in their spare
time, Tom hired Jack and Mick to help
assemble the Peugeot bikes and do
bike repairs. He even convinced them
to teach a few local teens, Tom’s sons
Jeff and John, Steve Kvinlaug, Wes
Bishop and Tom Eletto how to properly
ride a road bike. The teens were also
quickly mentored by Jack and Mick on
bike repairs and assembly. The boys
learned how to build and true wheels,
adjust a derailleur and perform general
bike repairs and maintenance. Soon
after, Tom hired Huck Davies to manage
the bicycle effort, even expanding
into a Schenectady location the following
year! Somehow, the Inside Edge
managed to sell just about every Peugeot
delivered that spring. The invoice
got paid and the Inside Edge became
a true bicycle specialty shop, a perfect
complement to being a purveyor of alpine
and Nordic equipment.
In November of 1969, Tom was
scheduled to board Mohawk flight
411, a flight from LaGuardia Airport to
Warren County Airport with a stopover
at Albany. For some reason he missed
his flight. Flight 411 crashed near the
top of Pilot Knob Mountain, killing all
14 remaining passengers and crew.
For Tom it was an epiphany. He soon
after resigned from Finch & Pruyn, after
which he and Marilyn put their full
time effort into their growing ski and
Much excitement was generated by
Tom in those early years of road cycling
in the Glens Falls area. In the 70’s the
Inside Edge sponsored a weekly time
trial series on West Mountain Road,
and the shop became known by some
of the most elite riders in the US. US
road racing champions like Stan Swain
of Manchester, VT, John Howard and
Bob Allis would occasionally attend
the time trials, and ultimately in 1976
the US Olympic road trials were held
in Lake Luzerne where the team for
the Montreal Olympics was named.
Many people in today’s local cycling
community got their start at the Inside
Edge, including Rick Chiasson of
Rick’s Bike Shop, Steve Fairchild of
The boys learned how to build and true wheels,
adjust a derailleur and perform general bike
repairs and maintenance.
Grey Ghost Bike Shop, Andrew Cappabianca
of The Hub in Brandt Lake and
Fred Patton of Trexlertown, PA (Fred
would go on to become an internationally
respected timekeeper and cycling
official). Ben Serotta would spend a lot
of time at Inside Edge looking at frame
designs. He would go on to establish
Serotta Bicycles and become an internationally
acclaimed custom frame
builder and bike manufacturer.
So, somewhat by accident - along
with purposeful intention - the first
lightweight road bikes came to Glens
Falls, and as they say, the rest is
Photo of vintage Peugeot PX10 by John
Paul, Courtesy of Victor Miller, Vic’s
Classic Bikes, Louisville, Kentucky. Photo
manipulation by Active Life magazine.
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 11
When I was young, I could run
like the wind. I’m not kidding. I
was fast—the fastest kid in my
Elementary and Junior High School
gym classes. I was the fastest boy in
my group growing up in the Marlboro
Projects in Brooklyn (of French Connection
Movie fame) and the fastest boy
in my summer camp that my parents
saved for all year so our family could
spend a summer in the Catskills.
That said, there was no doubt that
when I went to High School, I’d try out
for the track team. Why not? I was the
famous “6-G” (a nickname my friends
gave me—it was my apartment number).
I’d surely be the fastest kid on the
team. What I did not know was that
Lafayette HS was known for its athletes.
It boasted a long list of famous
athlete alumni including: Sandy Koufax,
Bob and Ken Aspromonte, Pete
Falcone, John Franco, and Fred Wilpon.
I had only heard of Sandy Koufax
from that group when I entered
the school, which drew athletes from
that Italian part of Brooklyn (Bensonhurst)
and Jewish and black athletes
from the projects that were a short distance
away. I quickly found out at the
tryouts that I’d have to work hard to
distinguish myself on a team with so
many fast runners.
Growing up I was the only one in my
family who was athletic so I got little
A Teenager’s Quest For
Getting outfitted for the track team was a challenge in itself for this
determined high school student in the early 1970’s.
By Jody Katz
support when I needed a new glove, a
basketball or football, or when I needed
gear for the Lafayette HS Track Team.
After days of constant pleading and
arguing with my parents, they finally
agreed to give me $100 for all the track
gear I needed, even though that amount
was almost a month and a half’s rent
for our 3-bedroom apartment. I was
warned to use the money wisely since
there would be no more coming.
After days of constant pleading and arguing
with my parents, they finally agreed to give me
$100 for all the track gear I needed.
12 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
So here I was with this mission—buy
running gear and not overspend. I
made a list that included: a duffle bag,
trainers, running spikes, and a set of
team sweats. First off the list was the
sweats: two-pieces, bright red with
white graphics emblazoned with a running
foot with wings that looked suspiciously
like the Goodyear Tire logo.
They cost $15.00 through the coach.
Next was the duffle bag. It could not
be any bag; it had to be an adidas bag.
The running world in the late 1960’s
an early 1970’s was adidas and basically
no one else. Just about everyone
on the team had that huge, beautiful,
white adidas duffle bag, but there
was only one place locally I could get
it-- Thom McCann shoe stores. It was
expensive too—$20—but I had to have
it. So I went there for my first piece of
“luggage”. There were no Dick’s stores,
no running shoe stores, and Modells
and Herman’s (the only sporting good
stores I knew of when growing up) were
either in downtown Brooklyn, Manhattan,
or Long island—all places a naïve,
boy from Brooklyn was not allowed to
go to, at least not by himself.
Next to be purchased were running
shoes. Thom McCann only had one
pair of running shoes—a blue suede
shoe with a gray sponge like rubber
sole called “Teppa Sport”. The store rep
claimed they were great shoes, would
last a long time, and he pitched the allure
of them being made in Italy, which
was attractive to me even though I did
not know of any famous Italian runners,
but they did make fiendishly fast
cars. They too were $20.00.
Next up were the “game changers”—
the track spikes. Virtually all
the tracks we were going to race on
were outdoors and that meant tarmac,
cinder, and dirt. A racing shoe and
two sets of different height removable
spikes were mandatory. No local store
in Brooklyn (that I was allowed to walk
Virtually all the tracks we were going to race
on were outdoors and that meant tarmac, cinder,
and dirt. A racing shoe and two sets of different
height removable spikes were mandatory.
to) sold such race specific running
gear. I heard from teammates about
an adidas factory outlet in downtown
Manhattan. I had never been to Manhattan
by myself and that was understandable—I
was only 15.
To my surprise, my mother gave me
directions on how to get to the outlet
even though everyone in my family
knew I was awful with directions and
navigationally challenged. My first
thoughts were that she was insane to
let me go on this “trip” and that by
sending me there alone she was hoping
to “thin the herd” and reduce the
kid count to two. But, I still needed
the spikes—we had a race in three
days. So, the next day, after school, I
took the subway to some now forgotten
stop, transferred to a train line
I can’t remember, and ended up at
what I thought was the correct train
station in NYC. After going upstairs
I realized I had no clue where I was
and also realized I had forgotten the
address that I had carefully written
on a piece of paper. Was it East
14th Street or West 14th Street? Was
It 17th instead of 14th? What was
the store number? Too many questions
for a kid who could get lost if
you spun him around in his own
bedroom. So I came up with a plan
and walked up two blocks in one direction
looking at all the stores. No
adidas outlet. I tried the same for the
opposite direction, again with no outlet
found. I tried the remaining two
directions, and no street level store
had anything with the adidas name.
In fact I saw no shoe or sneaker
stores at all. It was now late and even
though I was in Manhattan it might
as well have been France. I was that
confused and no closer to finding the
outlet than I was an hour earlier. So
I went down to the subway station
and asked directions back home and
got there with nothing but a wasted
afternoon and a pounding headache
to show for my effort. The next day I
asked a friend of mine if he wanted to
accompany me to NYC to buy track
spikes and he said yes. Good for me
since I thought even if we got lost, at
least I would not be alone.
We arrived at the same station,
around the same exact time, and I had
a growing fear of a repeat performance
of the previous day. But Jeff brought
one thing to the table—the idea of
looking up. We walked halfway up
the first block that I walked the previous
day and sure enough, the adidas
outlet was on the second floor of this
old row of connected buildings. There
were huge, full-sized window posters
of adidas shoes, runners at the Olympics,
and the glorious adidas logo. It
was an adidas mecca and I could not
wait to go upstairs. But something was
I told him that I needed running spikes for a
race in a few days and to my amazement he came
down and opened up the outlet just for me.
wrong, the door would not open and I
then saw the sign with the store hours.
The store had just closed. I panicked
and could not think what to do but to
head back home. I then heard a faint
voice from above saying, “Hey, can I
help you?” Though far from religious,
I assumed the voice was an inner voice
and that the “man upstairs” was talking
to me to help me right my wrongs
and become a better person. Jeff, however,
responded differently and turned
me around to show me that there was
a man upstairs talking, and he was
standing behind an open window asking
us what we wanted. I told him that
I needed running spikes for a race in
a few days and to my amazement he
came down and opened up the outlet
just for me. 20 minutes later I walked
out grinning like a cat that just ate
a canary and holding a bag with my
brand new pair of adidas Meteor running
spikes. They were the coolest,
raciest shoes I’d ever owned. Cross another
$25.00 off the total.
The next day I tried my training
Teppas at track practice and learned
quickly that the experience did not
match the sales pitch. The Teppas
were no more comfortable than running
on pieces of steel strapped to my
feet: they gave me world-class blisters
but not world-class speed. After
three days of running, the soles did
not break in and if possible became
harder. My feet were in such pain with
blisters that were protected by double
layers of bandages. I spoke with the
coach about it after he saw me limping
(which wasn’t hard to miss), and
he told me that he had just put in an
order for multiple pairs of Onitsuka Tiger
training shoes and they would be
in in a week or so. If you’ve never seen
Tigers, they were the shoes made famous
by Bruce Lee. When they came
in I was amazed—they were incredibly
light, super comfortable and great for
indoor races like the Armory in NYC.
They cost $18.00.
So, with train fare I came in about
20 cents under the $100 budget and
learned a few things. Italy—great for
food and fast cars, not so good for running
shoes. Always remember to look
up. And, just because you are the fastest
guy in several groups (with people
of mixed skill levels) does not mean
you will be the fastest guy on a team.
So, always work harder.
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 13
How Len Johnson Changed
the Face of Roller Skiing in the US
Early advances in roller skiing were developed in Europe,
but when Bill Koch surprised everyone with his skating technique
in 1982, it was the U.S. company Jenex that met the challenge.
Roller skiing is unquestionably the
best way for Nordic skiers to get in
shape for the snow season. Sure
Nordic skiers will run or ride bicycles
in the off-season but if they could only
do one sport to prepare for the ski season
it would be roller skiing.
Travel back in time to the 1950’s
and 1960’s: roller skis were huge monstrosities
with three baby carriage like
wheels (one in the front, two in the
rear) and a hinged rear half of the shaft
to aid in the kick phase of classic skiing.
They weighed a ton, were not very
nimble or responsive, and all had one
similarity—they were designed only for
diagonal striding (skating hadn’t been
invented yet). By the 70’s, roller skis
had gotten smaller. Some were actual
snow skis cut down with wheels installed
in the hope they would generate
the same on-snow feel as the skis
gave before being modified. Most still
had three wheels and all were made for
Then something remarkable happened.
In the early 1980’s, the Nordic
ski world was turned upside down by
Bill Koch’s skating in the 1982 Nordic
World Ski Championship. The new,
radically different technique boasted
grace and speed, and quickly became
popular. But there was a problem—
how to skate on roller skis. Threewheeled
roller skis were not suitable
They weighed a ton, were not very nimble or
responsive, and all had one similarity–they were
designed only for diagonal striding.
Kris Freeman roller skiing
on Jenex roller skis.
Photo by Len Johnson
A few years later in 1987, Len Johnson,
a Dartmouth engineering graduate,
was in Sweden watching the Polar
Cup races. The Swedish National
Team XC coaches informed him that
current Nordic skiers were training
more hours, but the physiological
test results indicated their training
was not as effective as the training
programs from the 70’s. The junior’s
dry land training program consisted
of about 50% roller skiing and the
data indicated that the metabolic demand
of using roller skis was about
30% less than when skiing on snow.
There was simply insufficient training
stimulus for optimal fitness. With
this information Len returned to the
US with a mission—to design a roller
ski that would be as close to simulating
on-snow training as possible. Experimenting
with different designs,
Len sent a few prototypes to elite skiers
in the United States and Sweden
for testing. They were so well received
that when he retired from his job at an
electronics company, he began making
V2 roller skis full-time. This was
the beginning of Jenex, the Milford,
AL: Where does the Jenex name
LJ: When I co-founded an electronics
company the name was Genex. It
became a successful company and
was acquired by Teradyne Inc. and
the name changed to Teradyne Connection
Systems. Twenty-five years
after founding Genex I started making
roller skis and since my last name is
Johnson decided to call it Jenex.
AL: What other companies in the
US were making roller skis at
LJ: No one.
AL: Where did you get your
inspiration for the look of the
LJ: There was really no inspiration for
the “look” of the roller skis. We wanted
a very slow ski that would generate
the same metabolic demand as skiers
training on a tough snow course and
we patented a kinematic damping device
to increase rolling resistance and
also designed a super light frame.
AL: Looking at other roller skis,
what did you try to do better?
LJ: To simulate snow skiing we increased
the rolling resistance and
shortly thereafter introduced our
popular Speed Reducers to make roller
skiing safer and also provide variable
AL: Did others work with you on
the original roller skis?
LJ: No, I developed the roller skis
from input from exercise physiologists
and elite skiers.
AL: Did you rely on other
research that was available or
did you do your own R & D?
LJ: R&D was done in house. But the
data from exercise physiologists and
comments from elite skiers was used
to develop the flex and rolling resistance
of the skis.
AL: Where did you do the work—
garage, basement, etc.?
LJ: I still worked in the electronics
Len sent a few prototypes to elite skiers in the
United States and Sweden for testing.
NH based company that manufactures
some of the best skate and classic
roller skis in the world.
Jenex founder—octogenarian Len
Johnson—took time out of his busy
schedule to give us some insights
about how Jenex changed the face of
roller skiing. Len supplied Active Life
Magazine with the details from a study
conducted by Anders Ek and supervised
by Dr. Karin Piehl-Aulin where
company when we made the first prototypes.
Teradyne was one of the largest
manufacturing companies in NH
so I personally made the prototypes
on equipment there. The first production
units were made in my basement.
I continued making them in the basement
for several months then moved
to a facility in Amherst, NH.
AL: How hard was it to source
parts you could not make yourself,
for the first roller skis?
LJ: We had a large manufacturing
facility where I could build the prototypes.
With the exception of the rubber
tires we could make everything in
house and I located a rubber manufacturer
in Massachusetts who could
make the tires. Standard parts, such
as bearings, bolts, nuts and screws
could readily be purchased from
AL: How long did it take to build
your sales network in the US?
LJ: Because our skis were quite
unique it went extremely quickly.
Olympic and World Champion skiers
immediately began to use our skis
and it took less than two years.
AL: Once you were ready to
produce the first V2 roller skis,
how many people were working
at Jenex? How many are employed
LJ: All custom parts are produced
by local high technology manufacturing
firms so Jenex only designs, tests
and assembles the components. Only
a few people work at Jenex and the
number has been the same for over
twenty-five years. If we produced the
custom parts in house we would need
equipment costing over two million
dollars and about ten more employees.
This is impossible to justify in
such a small market as roller skis.
AL: We understand the “V2”
connection, but what was the
reason for the “Aero” part of the
name and what are the benefits
five skiers were tested on roller skis
and snow skis over the same distance,
and the same course (with snow and
without snow). The Jenex model used
was the V2-910 (Jenex’ slowest classic
ski) and the data proved remarkably
similar, proving that his roller
skis were able to accurately simulate
on-snow skiing. Active Life magazine
asked Len several questions about
Jenex and his early roller skis:
of large, pneumatic wheels?
LJ: The Aero part was not used until
we developed the pneumatic tires in
1999. Skiing on snow is smooth, but
skiing on solid rubber wheel roller skis
can cause substantial vibration and
discomfort. The Aero tires dramatically
reduce vibration. Other companies
had tried pneumatic wheels before
1999 but they were unreliable and
the companies stopped selling them.
The 150 mm tires are extremely reliable
and because they are pneumatic
we dubbed them Aero. They are much
safer since they can roll over debris
that will cause smaller wheel standard
roller skis to come to a sudden stop resulting
in a fall. They are also smoother,
more comfortable and the Patented
Speed Reducers and Brakes are more
effective on the pneumatic tire skis.
AL: If you were given the chance
to do things differently with
Jenex, what would have done
LJ: Would have invested in more
manufacturing equipment for making
prototypes. We have very powerful
CAD programs, but only one CNC
milling machine for building prototypes
in-house. Producing prototypes
on our supplier’s fiber-optic laser machines
that costs over one million dollars
makes the prototypes extremely
AL: Where do you see roller ski
design going in the future?
LJ: We need to develop a very stable
and easy to use roller ski that people
with limited skiing skills can use.
To make the ski safer and smoother
it will utilize the pneumatic “Aero”
wheels and Brakes and Speed Reducers
will be standard. We have been
working on the new design for over a
year and expect to introduce it in the
Active Life Magazine thanks Len
Johnson, Diane Bell and everyone at
Jenex for helping us with this article
during their busiest time of the year. n
14 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 15
health & wellness
Protecting Your Skin
With the arrival of Summer, your skin is under assault.
Get your defense strategy in place before sunburn,
blisters, rashes, and insect bites ruin your Summer fun.
Our skin is one of the most amazing organs in our bodies. It sends signals to our brain with
information about the outside world we encounter, all while being an important barrier to it.
One of our skin’s most important functions is to protect us from infections. Our skin carries a
large part of this burden as it has the most contact with the outside world. Any break in our skin,
whether by sunburn, cuts or bites, can create a pathway for infections. Here are some obvious
solutions to protecting ourselves. As with everything, establishing good habits is the key.
n Create a first aid kit for everyone in your
home. It need not be anything more than a zip loc bag containing
sample sizes of sunscreen, antibiotic, insect repellent, anti-itch
cream, anti-bacterial gel and a few band-aids. Keep it handy so it
can go in your backpack, your swim bag or even your cooler.
If a kit for everyone is too much, make one for the car so it’s
with you at all times.
n Keep some supplies in your front hall
closet or mud room. A child playing outside or running
out the door in a rush can quickly stop to reapply sunscreen or
repellent. Again, always keep some in your car for spur-of-themoment
activities or with your garden supplies. Buy two of every
product so it’s always handy and you never run out.
n Change out of sweaty clothing items as soon as
possible, as lingering in them can promote rashes and fungal
infections. Are you away from home at a 5k or half marathon?
Bring a change of clothing, a large towel and a couple gallon jugs of
water so you can rinse off, towel dry and change.
n Bring two pairs of socks.
Hiking? Prevent blisters and discomfort
by keeping your feet dry. If you are
leery of the chemicals in insect
repellent, wear longer socks and
spray at least those and your boots
to discourage ticks.
n Invest in some UV
protected clothing, at least
one packable brimmed hat, and one
long sleeve shirt per family member.
n Rememeber the basics:
If it’s itchy, don’t scratch it; if it’s cut,
wash it and use antibiotic; and if
you’ve been in the water 2 hours,
reapply your sunscreen.
Can your sport bottle
make you sick? Maybe.
Mold and bacteria can build
up in our water bottles and with
the Summer heat and humidity,
it’s time to improve your sports
bottle hygiene. Rinse your bottle
every day and wash it thoroughly
at least 1x a week. If it can
go in your dishwasher, great.
If not, fill it with a 1 to 5 ratio
of white vinegar to water and
let it sit overnight. Add some
baking soda for extra cleaning
power. Use a bottle brush on the
interior, and don’t forget the cap.
Clean your hydration bladder
and its hose with the same
mixture. Buy a replacement
hose when needed.
down to dry.
You can hang
the hose from
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MEN’S AND WOMEN’S
16 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 17
Job # 000 - Tom Stock - Sales Rep/Artist
Job # 000 - Andrea Burke - Aug. 2017
Job # 000 - Adk. Nautilus - Aug. 2017
Get on Board with
Don’t be intimidated if you are only a beginner
at yoga. If it makes you more comfortable,
you can begin with a lesson in basic
SUP techniques first.
Increase your balance,
strengthen your focus,
and have a lot of fun–
It’s easier than you think!
By Alex Kochon
PHOTOS BY SARATOGAPHOTOGRAPHER.COM
Model: Tobey (Durga Om) Gifford of
The Lemon Tree Yoga & Healing Arts Studio
The first time Patty Pensel saw someone standing upright
on top of the water, moving along at an impressive clip with
just one paddle in hand, she was hooked. “I saw this body
standing on this platform, just gliding across the water and
paddling,” recalled the founder of Patty’s Water Sports on Lake
George. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this looks amazing. What is it?’ ”
She started researching this thing called SUP (stand-up paddleboarding).
Not only did she want to try it herself, but someone had
asked her if she would start selling boards. She signed on with Naish
boards and Patty’s Water Sports was born in 2010.
That spring, she tried it — and to her surprise, didn’t fall in. As
the weather improved, Pensel’s love for SUP grew, almost to a fault.
“I kind of overdid it actually at first because I got on the board and
would go for hours,” she said. “I ended up doing the things that you
shouldn’t do because I didn’t have the proper techniques down. I
got sore elbows and back and shoulders, so I started researching
more about the correct way to paddle.”
That led her to an ocean SUP yoga retreat, which she said was
fun and different than paddling on a lake (due to a different board
style and more buoyancy in the ocean). She decided to learn more
and became a certified SUP instructor with the American Canoe
Association (ACA). Then she brought her newfound teaching skills
back to Lake George.
Today, Pensel offers lessons for private, semi-private and large
groups as well as PaddleFit and SUP yoga classes out of her shop
in Cleverdale on Lake George. A certified yoga and PaddleFit instructor,
Tobey (Durga Om) Gifford, of Lemon Tree Yoga in Lake
George and Glens Falls, teaches both classes. A typical SUP yoga
class might start with some paddling out to a location, and then
some stretching exercises on the board. The exercises are a great
way to loosen up from the paddling, and transition to the yoga postures.
While already knowing some yoga is helpful, don’t worry if you
are a beginner. You can usually find a class to match your level and
most instructors will tailor your experience to your ability. (If you are
still hesitant, you can start with a lesson in SUP basics.)
Already an experienced yoga practitioner? SUP yoga will bring
you to the next level. It is different than practicing in an indoor studio.
The challenge of being on a board on the water will force you
to increase your focus and balance. It will engage your senses and
body core differently as well.
Classes in the Adirondack region typically start in late June and
continue into September. So what level of skills or fitness do you
need to do SUP yoga, and what’s it going to cost to get involved?
For starters, Pensel said you don’t have to be able to swim for
her lessons, since all of her students are required to wear a personal
flotation device (PFD). But it’s best to disclose your swimming ability,
or inability, up front. Second, the more balance you have, the better,
but don’t worry about falling in. She’ll make you take the leap
“The biggest fear is falling in, but once I teach them and how to
fall in, it eases their anxiety,” Pensel said. “Once they fall in and realize
it’s not so bad, they’re good to go. Then they soar.”
The falling-in factor is why classes typically pick up in July, when
water temperatures are upwards of 70 degrees.
In terms of cost, classes in this area (spanning from Saratoga
to Saranac Lake) tend to be around $35 for a board rental. If you
have your own board, expect to pay closer to $20. While class
rentals at Kayak Shak on Fish Creek in Saratoga Springs include
a board, paddle, PFD, and instruction, instructor Rhiana Stallard
recommends wearing comfortable clothes you won’t mind getting
wet in and sunscreen/sun protection. She also suggests bringing
This marks the third season of SUP yoga at the Shak, but Stallard
said they’ve been stand-up paddling for probably eight years.
“It’s really growing,” she said of the sport. “Personally, I’ve kayaked
maybe twice since I started paddleboarding.”
“You can really move around on the board, whereas in a kayak,
you’re just in one position,” Stallard added. “Also, I feel like with
paddleboarding, there’s a misconceived notion of it being only for
people who are wicked strong, and that’s just not really the case.
It can be a really great ab workout, but it can also be a really great
At the Shak’s weekly SUP yoga classes, beginners are welcome,
but a little bit of yoga knowledge is beneficial, Stallard said.
18 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 19
Few things are more relaxing
than being on a board, out on the
water, and enjoying nature.
“I always say that doing yoga on a paddleboard
is like doing yoga on a mirror because
your movements are reflected back
at you immediately,” she explained. “The
transition from one posture to the next is
really focused because you can’t move on
a paddleboard without mindfulness, because
you’ll fall, so it kind of forces people
to really stow down and pay attention to
Despite the challenge, she said that a total
of only about eight people fell in during
their yoga classes last year.
“It’s much more doable than people
originally think,” Stallard said. “They see
people standing on water and they think,
‘That’s crazy, I could never do that!’ This is
a great place for beginners because it’s flat
Yoga classes on Fish Creek start with a
roughly 15-minute upriver paddle, followed
by a 1½-hour class in the lily pads, then
15 minutes of paddling back to the launch.
SUP 101 classes teach technique. Keep in
mind that SUP is weather-dependent so on
a questionable day, check to see if classes
are still on. Also, search “SUP” or “paddleboarding”
on meetup.com for paddle-board
get-togethers in your area.
As challenging as SUP yoga may look,
no one can deny the exhilarating experience
of being out on the water, especially
at sunrise or sunset. The upside is that on
days where the water is calm, doing yoga
on a paddleboard will have a calming effect
on you. Since “yoga” means “union”,
what better way to practice it than outside,
on a paddleboard, taking in what nature
has to offer?
As Patty Pensel says of her passion for
SUP, “It’s water therapy for me. You go out,
especially early in the morning or in the afternoon
after you’ve had a stressful day,
and if it’s calm out there, you forget about
everything. It just puts you in this really relaxed
Wear a PFD (always a good idea, and
the U.S. Coast Guard requires that you
have one onboard. Children under 12 are
required by law to wear them in New York
State.) Inflatable belt packs are an option
for experienced paddlers.
Wear a leash, which is attached to the
board, around your ankle for safety.
Start out in a calm bay or stream
with minimal-to-no current. Avoid wind
and boat wakes, and motorboats in general.
Paddle close to shore.
Carry a phone in a waterproof case or
dry pack, which can also include a small
Some local SUP shops
offering rentals & lessons*
• Patty’s Water Sports:
• Lake George Kayak Co.:
• Kayak Shak:
• Sacandaga Outdoor Center:
• High Peaks Cyclery:
• Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters:
*These shops offer SUP lessons, but not all
offer SUP Yoga. Call ahead.
As soon as you stand up, put your
paddle in the water and start paddling.
“That paddle is your third point of contact,
and it helps keep you balanced in
the water,” Pensel says.
The blade of the paddle should angle
forward. The shaft of the paddle should
be straight up and down.
“Look up, stay up.” Pensel explains
that keeping your head up and eyes on
the horizon will help you stay upright.
Place your feet shoulder width
apart, point your toes forward and use
good posture (stand up straight and keep
your knees relaxed/slightly bent).
20 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 21
Clockwise from top left: The testing
begins with the athlete at rest. The
athlete does a few intervals running on
a treadmill, with the speed increasing
at each interval. Andrea monitors the
results. A triumphant Andrea.
The athlete runs a 2-minute
interval without the mouthpiece.
can do, Coach!
How a Great Biathlete Takes on the
Challenge of Retirement
By Jody Katz
andrea Henkel Burke’s athletic
resume is impressive.
It’s the result of many
years of hard work, focus
and a passion to succeed.
While some of our readers know her
race history, fewer may know what
made her dedicate such a large part
of her life to the sport of Nordic Skiing.
Her explanation was simple,
honest, and funny.
It all began with the Nordic Training
Program in Germany at the age of six
because Andrea admired the ski pole
with hanging medals that her sister
Manuela (3 years her senior) had hanging
over her bed. The young Andrea
wanted her own set of medals. Simple
as that. Growing up, Manuela’s no longer
used gear would become Andrea’s
and she was very supportive of Andrea’s
skiing—something that would continue
later on as she became Andrea’s biggest
fan. The two had a great family moment
that Andrea calls “a sister feeling” when
they both came back from the 2002
Olympics with gold medals.
Let’s take a good look at her resume.
It boasts 5 years competing on
Germany’s Junior National Team followed
by 16 on the National Team. It
shows that she was on four Olympic
Teams and won four Olympic medals—2
of them gold. It highlights her
participation in 12 World Championships
where she earned sixteen medals—including
8 gold medals—and
where she has 36 Biathlon World Cup
victories. So, what does an elite athlete
do when it’s time to hang up the
rifle and skies and move on to the next
phase of their life?
Well, for Andrea it was not a hard
transition. Like Forrest Gump deciding
he was tired from all the running,
she knew when it was time to
stop competing. As the senior racer on
the German team, she was over a decade
older than her closest-aged teammate—for
her a sure sign to retire in
2013. She had been Nordic training
for over three decades and it became
time to focus on how she could turn
all that experience, all that knowledge,
into a new career. She chose coaching,
training and metabolic testing, eventually
taking several training courses
for the Aeroscan ® testing system which
consists of several parts including the
Aeroman ® unit and the proprietary
Aeroscan ® software. To keep up to
date she communicates often with the
Aeroscan ® Team and the company’s
founder in Germany.
I had the opportunity to watch and
photograph Andrea while she gave a
Nordic skier an Aeroscan ® test. We
met at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel
in Lake Placid because Andrea’s
She was over a decade
older than her closest-aged
teammate—for her a sure
sign to retire in 2013.
facility was still being constructed and
she was waiting for training equipment
to arrive. The Aeroman ® testing
unit comes in a protective aluminum
briefcase. It is easily portable and is
about the size of a small garden watering
can. Andrea thinks it might be the
only one in the United States. When
compared to the large floor standing
units I have seen in the past, the Aeroman
® is smaller and far less ominous.
22 | DACKS & TOGA activelife PHOTOS: Aeroscan® testing photos by Jody Katz. All other photos provided.
DACKS & TOGA activelife | 23
Andrea competes in the Biathlon. Below: Andrea’s impressive
2006/2007 Biathlon World Cup Total Points trophy.
24 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
It relies on a laptop computer with proprietary
software rather than a builtin
computer and measures respiratory
output and heart rate taken under different
levels of difficulty. The athlete
being tested was quickly instructed
on how the test works and the mouthpiece
was adjusted to fit while a chest
strap heart rate monitor was put on.
The test started with the athlete
breathing into the mouthpiece while
seated and then moved over to the
treadmill where he walked for a couple
of minutes and then breathed into the
mouthpiece/respirator for 30 seconds.
This process (2 minutes running without
the mouthpiece, then 30 seconds
running with the mouthpiece) continued
for several additional intervals
with treadmill speed increasing from
slow trot to fast pace running and
treadmill incline adjustments to add
difficulty. While the test could have
gone to participant exhaustion—like
a threshold test—this was not necessary,
since after about 7 different
treadmill adjustments, there was more
than enough data to plot the curve.
Andrea can also give an Aeroscan®
test on a stationary bicycle but for a
Nordic skier who also trail runs the
treadmill application was more fitting.
Throughout the test, Andrea carefully
marked results for each testing interval
on a sheet with the same level of
focus a polygraph tester gives to marking
points where questions are asked.
So, how did the athlete feel about
the test? He commented: “it was a
bit uncomfortable and awkward, but
manageable…definitely not as intense
as I had expected.” From a spectator’s
standpoint it only took about an hour.
Once done, the athlete’s heart rate and
calories burned per hour were measured,
including the related percentage
of calories burned from fat and
carbs. The athlete’s heart rate was also
monitored to see at what point it left
the aerobic zone. Once these things
were plotted, Andrea was able to tailor
a training regimen to make sure
the athlete was in the correct zone for
training and for faster, more aerobic
events. She also was able to use the
chart to give advice regarding nutrition
and how to be in shape for longer, endurance
After the treadmill test at the hotel,
we followed Andrea back to her impressive
new training facility in Lake
Placid that is nearing completion. The
space is large and expertly designed,
with fantastic mountain views. She
expects it to be finished this summer,
and proudly gave us a tour of the soonto-be-completed
gym. In her office, we
spent about an hour going over the
chart and she pin-pointed the athlete’s
reason for reduced performance during
the second half of races—not enough
carbs left, or better worded—the athlete
used his carbs way too quickly. So
she advised him to start training at a
much lower intensity to build his fatburning
capacity so he would not tap
into his carbs so quickly. The second
test in about 6 weeks will tell if the ath-
Andrea reviews the results of the Aeroscan ® test with the
athlete and discusses a training program.
lete has improved.
I found Andrea to be a very interesting
person to write about. She listens
intently and responds quickly with onpoint
answers that clearly show she
knows what she is talking about and
she has a keen sense of humor. After
having the athlete being tested adjust
the treadmill speed several times I,
(jokingly) suggested she have him turn
Though humble, she is
still proud of her trophies
and the hard work that
it up past 10 mph because he had been
mean to me. She didn’t skip a beat, gave
me a Cheshire Cat smile and quickly
asked—“how mean?” Though humble,
she is still proud of her trophies and
the hard work that earned them. She
let me hold her huge (weighing easily
35 pounds) 2006/2007 Biathlon World
Cup Total Points crystal globe—an impressive
trophy that due to its weight
can only be safely displayed on a wellconstructed,
Andrea has a clear vision in regards
to Aeroscan ® testing. She not only sees
it as a great testing tool for athletes,
but also great for college teams, gyms,
clubs, and even businesses. She cites
the importance of employee health
to the productivity and success of a
business and metabolic testing could
help employees be more productive
by showing how to get them in better
shape. In addition to Aeroscan testing
Andrea is available as a personal
coach and as a trainer where she is
certified using the Life Kinetik Exercise
She has taken her passion for competing
to the next level by helping others
achieve their goals.
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DACKS & TOGA activelife | 25
active life Profile
Bob & Heidi Underwood
A Life Together Training & Competing
Bob and Heidi on their way
out to an evening group ride.
Photo: Jody Katz
By Alex Kochon
From their shared past in
competitive kayaking at the
national and international level,
Bob and Heidi Underwood have
built a life around competitive
sports and personal challenges.
Before Bob and Heidi Underwood were runners, before
they did triathlons, before they were educators, administrators,
coaches, and nonprofit founders, they were paddlers.
Bob was the youngest of four brothers who grew up
on Caroga Creek in Johnstown. Heidi was the youngest of
two sisters and made memories canoeing with her dad near
their home in Stillwater. When Heidi was 11, she and her
father did a five-day cross-state canoe race. She was the
At age 13, Heidi was named to the USA Canoe/Kayak
Junior National Team as a flatwater kayaker. Around the
same time, in 1982, Bob made the Whitewater National
Team as he was finishing up his studies in geology and
environmental science at St. Lawrence University, where he
cross-country skied collegiately as well.
Nine years later, the weekend after returning from 1991
Canoe/Kayak Slalom World Championships in Yugoslavia,
Bob and Heidi were married. They started a life together
in the Queensbury area, where Bob began teaching highschool
earth science in 1985, and bought the house that’s
now their home on the east side of Lake George ten years
later. They had two kids, Will and Emma; Will works in
Colorado and Emma graduated from the University of New
Hampshire in May. Also in May, Bob and Heidi welcomed
a new addition to their home: a golden-retriever puppy
But what happened in that time before kids and dogs,
before they conquered multiple Lake Placid Ironman triathlons
(Heidi did four from 2003 to 2010, and Bob did three,
most recently when he turned 50 in 2010), and before Heidi
won the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in 2000?
Bob, 56, and Heidi, 47, won multiple kayak national
championships and met because of their shared Olympic
aspirations. Bob qualified for 1988 Olympic trials after following
the lead of his oldest brother, Jim Underwood, who
was eight years older and preceded him in making the national
team. Jim and Bob won several whitewater national
titles together as a two-man team.
Today, Bob and Heidi work in the same office at Adirondack
Enrichment in Glens Falls, where Heidi, a speech pathologist
and St. Rose graduate, is the director. Bob, the
school administrator, retired from teaching and coaching
at Queensbury two years ago after
33 years with the district. He
initially coached JV soccer, then
headed up the varsity crosscountry
running, nordic and
alpine skiing, and track teams
for more than 30 years. Bob
also currently owns and operates
Underdog Race Timing, a
race management business. In
August, their nonprofit, Under
The Woods Foundation,
will host its 10th annual summer
camp for children on
the autism spectrum or with
other developmental disabilities,
called Camp Under The
The Underwoods figure
they spend more time together
than most couples,
but as they celebrated their
26th wedding anniversary in
June, they wouldn’t have it
any other way.
How did you meet?
Through Olympic kayaking. I was actually
in high school [laughs] and we were
both on the national team, so you travel in
the same circles. You get on a flight and
you’re like, “Oh, we’re on the same flight!”
AL: How many years were you on
the national team together?
Bob Underwood: I was a whitewater
paddler. I would do flatwater some years
and some years I wouldn’t, so I was kind
of on and off, and Heidi was more of a
flatwater paddler. Then Heidi started
doing whitewater and we were on the
whitewater team together for four or five
years, and that’s when we started dating.
AL: How did you get involved in
kayaking at that level?
HU: I used to do open-boat whitewater
racing, the Hudson River Derby that’s
been around forever, which I did as a kid
— Bob did, too — and then just through
meeting different people, I got into flatwater
kayaking and racing and I did it all of
my high-school career. That was the sport
I did even before I got into high school.
Initially we lived in the Latham/Loudonville
area and we trained on the Hudson
River right down in Albany, but my
parents bought an island in the middle
of the Hudson River when I was going
into 10th grade and I trained right on the
canal there, so I was pretty lucky. A lot
of your training is on your own, but being
on the junior national team, we had a
coach from Poland, so they would send
you your workouts through the mail.
You would go to a camp in Florida
during breaks [and] have training clinics
up in Lake Placid. I spent a lot of time in
Lake Placid and we raced and trained
on Mirror Lake.
BU: I grew up in Johnstown. My father
used to do canoe trips so he had a kayak
and we lived on a little whitewater stream
so we got into whitewater paddling. There
was a guy from the U.S., Jamie McEwan,
in the 1972 Olympics, he got a bronze
medal in whitewater canoe slalom. Then
my brother Jim got into racing and we just
started going to races. Back then, there
was a huge number of whitewater races
all over the Northeast — the Hudson
River, the Sacandaga — there were races
all over the place, and as you start to
race more and more, you train harder and
move your way up.
It’s different than what Heidi experienced
with the flatwater national team.
Since it was an Olympic sport, they had
much more of an organized program with
training camps. With whitewater, it was
an Olympic sport with one Olympics back
Above: Bob Underwood racing at
the 1991 ICF Canoe/Kayak Slalom
World Championships in Tacen,
Yugoslavia. Left: Bob Underwood and
Heidi Becker, now Underwood, at the
opening ceremony for 1991 Canoe/
Kayak Slalom World Championships
in Yugoslavia. Photos provided.
in ’72 in Munich, but then it was gone
and it didn’t come back until [the 1992
Barcelona Olympics]. So it was different,
there weren’t training camps, but we
had a good group of paddlers around us
that did whitewater paddling and whitewater
kayaking. Actually, it’s weird — in
Johnstown, there were a whole group of
guys that were into it and did really well
[Note: Bob eventually switched to flatwater
kayaking and went to 1988 Olympic
trials in that discipline.]
AL: What other sports were you
doing at the time?
HU: The only thing I did in high school
was running. Nobody really knew about
me and kayaking because you don’t see
it. So I was always a little runner.
BU: I ran cross-country and track and
then I skied, and I actually went to college
and skied for St. Lawrence. More in high
school and in college, I was more of a
skier, and then I did a lot of [kayaking]
junior-national races and things like that
in the springtime and summertime, but I
really didn’t start to seriously train until I
got out of college.
[Bob was a Junior National Champion in
26 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 27
slalom, and Heidi won the national twoperson
marathon event at age 13).
AL: How did you decide it was time
to move on from the sport?
HU: For me in high school, it was pretty
intense training and the goal was the ’88
Olympics. It’s competitive, like anything
else. I didn’t make the team trials and I
was done with it. I had been doing
Above: Heidi Underwood, formerly Becker,
racing at 1991 ICF Canoe/Kayak Slalom World Championships
in Tacen, Yugoslavia. Opposite: Bob Underwood navigating
rapids on the Ottawa River in Canada. Photos provided.
it for so long. I was like, ‘Oh man,
I don’t know what I’m going to do.
I’ll go for a run.’ I didn’t want to get
back in a boat and do that anymore,
and then Bob’s like, “Here
try this sport. It’s kayaking, but
whitewater.” And I was like, “OK!”
I was a kayaker by trade and I had
done whitewater canoeing with my
dad as a little kid so I knew it, and that’s
when I started whitewater kayak racing.
BU: I actually got out of my whitewater
boat and trained flatwater, so I made
the trials and went to the trials in 1988. I
didn’t make the [Olympic] team, but we
had a really good team that year [the U.S.
Team won two gold medals that year].
They took eight for the team, and I was
like 10th or 12th. I was a better whitewater
paddler, so I went back and just did
I kept training and I raced all through
the late ’80s, then we started dating in
’89 and I kind of got her into whitewater
and she made the team with us, and then
the last World Championships we went to
were in 1991. And then after that we had
kids. But you know what? I had been racing
competitively for a long time. We got
married, we had other things to do.
HU: The last whitewater race that we did
[at ’91 World Championships] was very
intense. It was a really, really challenging
river and the end of it was really challenging,
and two girls had died on training
runs. And so I was like, ‘Oh my God.’
BU: It kind of emptied into this one huge
rapid at the end when you’re really tired,
and then at the end of the rapid you had
a hundred yards and you had to pull off
the river or else you were going through
The best part of the whole thing
was that I loved training and I
loved racing and going off to
these different places and racing.
this un-runnable gorge. That was really
strange. It’s a pretty safe sport, and usually
when you hear of somebody that’s
died in whitewater kayaking it’s because
they’re doing something crazy that they
shouldn’t have been doing.
AL: What were your career highlights
BU: Making the Olympic trials and making
World Championships and racing the
World Championships. I think the best I
ever finished was 13th in World Championships
and I had a couple World Cup
races where I got top three, but not very
often, and national champion. Heidi was
national champion a bunch of times. …
The best part of the whole thing was that
I loved training and I loved racing and
going off to these different places and
racing. I got to travel all over the world
and paddle on these beautiful rivers and
be with a great group of people.
HU: I think what I get from it now, and
maybe it’s different because I’m older,
but I really like the working hard part of
it and doing well. I remember my mother
was so mad because I didn’t want to
come home for my high school graduation
because I was training up in Lake
Placid. Not every kid can embrace that
kind of lifestyle and it just suited me, and I
think that was the best part of it.
I think the highlight is being in such
a competitive arena. I felt like I was one
of the best at that time and you don’t
get that feeling often. When I went to the
[Masters] World Championships in Canada
for triathlon, I was nervous because I
looked around and I’m like, ‘These people
are just really good. I’m with the best of
the best.’ That’s a pretty cool thing.
[Last year at the 2016 Ironman 70.3
World Championship in Mont-Tremblant,
Quebec, Heidi placed fourth in her age
AL: Why did you get into
triathlons after that?
HU: I don’t know. We met some people,
and actually a bike that Steve Fairchild
[who now manages Grey Ghost Bicycles
in Glens Falls] let me borrow was one of
the first triathlete bikes. It didn’t have any
aerobars. I was racing with my mountainbike
BU: I think the first three or four triathlons
we did, I borrowed a bike.
AL: What attracted you to the Ironman
(2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and
HU: It was so new in this area. It was the
big thing that had come to Lake Placid.
I had done Tupper Lake [half Ironman]
a whole bunch of times and people who
were doing Tupper Lake were doing Ironman.
It was like, ‘I did a half, I’ll sign up
for a full.’
BU: For me, it was the challenge of doing
it. The training’s really hard, to put all
those hours of training in, especially when
we were doing it because we had kids.
So we would split forces. Heidi would go
and then I would go.
HU: The first Ironman I did, I remember
every Saturday I’d do a long ride, and
there was about four times I’d be out
there for at least six hours and Bob would
be home with the kids all day. I’d feel so
guilty because when I got home, you’re
useless. You couldn’t take care of a
hermit crab or make dinner or do laundry;
you’re just spent.
BU: When I was coaching, I used to
bring my bike sometimes. I’d bring my
bike to the Eddy Meet [in Schenectady]
and I would ride my bike home after the
meet… or the Hudson Falls Invitational, I
would run back from Hudson Falls after
the meet was over. … The Ironman, I
remember the first one I did, that was so
cool. Then you’re done and you’re thinking,
‘Holy cow, I just did 140 miles today.’
AL: What are your main sports now?
HU: I really love to ski. I’ve learned to
love to alpine ski, and I love to train
triathlon. I’m not so gung-ho about
racing as much, but I like the people. I
like that intensity and that wanting-tobe-fit
group. But it’s petering out for me.
I would race every weekend or every
other weekend, and I have one race on
my docket this year [the Ironman 70.3
World Championship in Chattanooga,
Tenn., on Sept. 9]. We’ve gotten
into mountain biking and we
both can do that together. It’s
just something that I really enjoy,
something new and different and
challenging and you can get
better at it.
BU: I love to ski in the wintertime,
and I love to bike and run… I just
went whitewater kayaking [in early
May], but whitewater kayaking
is kind of limited. When I was training
whitewater, I would paddle all year long,
all winter. You’d travel or else you’d wear
HU: That’s really unappealing.
BU: But now, when it’s snowing out, I’m
not gonna go whitewater paddling. I just
love to be outdoors, and like Heidi always
says, it just makes you happy.
AL: What other sports or fitness
goals do you have?
HU: They say you should do yoga, but I
don’t really like it. Bob seems to like it a
little more than I do. I really would like to
do more mountain biking, and I’m going
on my first big hike trip this November
[a five-day hike up Mexico’s 18,000-foot
Pico de Orizaba] so I could be a hiker.
I don’t know how much I’ll like it…. I’m a
little afraid of getting altitude sickness.
I remember my mother was
so mad because I didn’t want to
come home for my high school
graduation because I was
training up in Lake Placid.
BU: My biggest thing at this point it just
to stay in shape … and feeling like I can
still go and do the things I want to do. I
don’t have any big races or goals that
I’m going towards, but I want to be able
to go ski and ski hard, and we’re doing
a mountain-bike trip, and another one, a
hut to hut in Colorado for seven days from
Durango to Moab. It’s 230-something
miles. They bring all your food and water
to the hut, so you just have to make it to
the next hut. It’s like 35 miles a day.
AL: What do you think this area could
use from a recreational standpoint?
BU: I’ve always thought passive recreation.
The hiking trails, the mountain biking
trails, the Rush Pond trail. … I think it’s
great to have hiking trails and mountain
bike trails and once you put them, they
don’t really cost anything. There’s very
little maintenance costs and they’re used.
HU: I just think anything that’s going
to promote kids to be outside playing. I
really love that the Queensbury School
is starting to get the mountain-bike team
BU: We started back up the Bill Koch Ski
League this winter [with Friends of Cole’s
Woods] and we had 40 or 50 kids there.
We didn’t have a great snow year again,
but even when most of the snow had
melted and we could just use the field, we
played games. The kids had so much fun.
HU: Just to be able to pass down some
of the things that we enjoy. A lot of racing
is not in our future, but to be able to give
that opportunity back for kids to experience,
that’s pretty fun. I would love to see
more of that outside stuff.
28 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 29
A Will, a Way,
and Two Munros
Views along the West Highland Way,
headed towards Fort William.
Opposite: Two of the Three Sisters
of Glen Coe, featured in several
movies, one a big draw for tourists.
A late September weekend in the Scottish Highlands
by Ethan Katz
My mind wandered slightly from sleep to a state
of higher awareness. Rolling onto my right
side I paused as the last wisps of my dream
melted away like spindrifts. Wait. I snatched
up my phone; the glowing screen read: Missed
alarm 5:15. It was 6:39. My bus was for 6:50. I now had
Olympic seconds to throw together clothes and supplies
into my little red pack before I was out the door running.
A perfect series of events conspired against me. Nikki,
whom I meant to meet for this hiking trip, had planned
everything—I often do the planning and gladly let someone
take responsibility. Also, she didn’t have a UK phone number,
and I’m me and didn’t turn my alarm off vibrate when I
went to bed, knowing full well my tendency to sleep through
early alarms. So, there I was—6:48—full-tilt running down
Cathedral Street toward Glasgow’s city center. Things were
literally flying out of my pack.
Unbelievably, I made it the five blocks to the station with a
minute to spare, not that it mattered. I hadn’t a clue where
the bus was leaving from, and instead of asking the desk,
I spent 50 seconds hopelessly running around the station
looking for the bus and Wi-Fi to contact Nikki.
The plan was to take the coach from Buchanan Bus Station
to Fort William and hike the West Highland Way to
Kinlochleven, where we’d stay the night at a B & B. Then,
in the morning, take the quick bus ride over to the Glencoe
Visitor’s Centre and get in a little more hiking before our
CityLink bus left from there at 5:30 that evening.
Weighing my options, I decided to buy a bus ticket to the
Glencoe VC and hike the WHW toward Nikki instead of trying
to catch her from Fort William going the same way. I
didn’t know where the trail came through the towns, and I
figured a visitor’s center could help.
It was now 8:00, leaving me thirty minutes to completely
re-do my hasty packing job, try to eat something, and run
back to the station. Bag packed, I slugged a protein shake
and multivitamin (no time to cook my usual feast) and bolted
out the door again.
The coach ride was about two and a half hours, and were
some of the most impressive two-and-a-half hours of landscape
I had ever seen. Indeed, I was constantly hopping
across the aisle to absorb as much scenery as possible, not
containing my excitement in the least. We passed by the
ever amazing Loch Lomond, whose blue waters and low
mountains barricading the far shore reminded me more
than a little of my own Lake George. Rumbling northwest
on the A82, deeper into the highlands, the greens turned
to rich reds and tawny browns, and the low fells grew taller
and rockier, their craggy peaks scraping at the hanging,
gray skies above. Small rivulets turned to burns, and finally
into waterfalls, as these tree-less giants shed their coats
of water. This was the scenery made famous by the movie
“Skyfall”, and it did not disappoint.
left the bus on the side of the highway and began walking
up the drive to the VC. Snooping around looking for
the information desk, but finding none, I poked my head
into a Hamish MacDonald art exhibit where I found a lovely
woman, Nicola, who was in charge. Explaining my situation
and my plans, she told me that I should continue up
the highway along an adjacent footpath toward Fort William
and wished me luck.
Two dubious miles further, I stopped at a gift shop to ask
for further directions. The clerk presented me with a map—
I needed to be in Kinlochleven. “You’re a bit out of your
way,” she said passingly. Kinlochleven was seven miles
from this intersection and it was getting close to noon. It
was no small fact that I didn’t know the distance Nikki was
hiking or her speed (we’d never hiked together). So, with a
shimmer of doubt, I ran.
The heat I had begun my day with shattered away to miserable,
freezing rain. But when the sun did poke through
on occasion, I was granted with spectacular rainbows over
Loch Leven. And it was in a break like this that I ate my
peanut butter sandwich on a guardrail beside the highway—my
only real food so far.
An hour and a half later, I pulled into Kinlochleven, a
quaint but inarguable ghost town. As I entered the streets, I
saw one person smoking outside of the Ice Climbing Center.
He must have been used to hikers and gave me very detailed
instructions on getting to the WHW as well as a pub
that I could warm up in near where the trail cut up the hillside.
Incredible. The only visible person told me everything
I needed to know. Luck was once again running with me.
Squelching into the pub, it immediately struck me how
wet my belongings were as I drenched the oriental lobby
rug and soaked up the disapproving looks of the manager
with the best show of American naiveté I could muster. I
threw on a dry shirt, updated my location to Nikki, and
headed back to the trailhead, marked by a wooden post
with a cryptic symbol embossed in white denoting that this
was, indeed, the Way.
The path rose quickly with frequently placed stone steps
Nikki and I atop the summit of Stob Dubh.
Loch Etive is behind us.
and I was soon above the trees and into the barren mountain
pass. Looking back towards Kinlochleven, I could see
the small town nestled between the high hills and Loch Leven,
framing a perfect postcard image. Looking forward, an
occasionally pebbled dirt path snaked and rolled straight
through a valley until it was obscured by a marching wall
of rain in the distance.
For now, though, it was very warm again, and I picked up
a high-spirited running pace, finding great pleasure in covering
the rolling terrain quickly. On one of the steeper uphill
sections I power-hiked past a large group of backpackers going
the opposite direction. They looked like wearily animated
statues, both surprised at my pace as well as my appearance.
I was wearing running shorts, trail shoes, compression
socks, and a thin windbreaker, and only carrying my
2L hydration pack. Most of their lot had full waterproof suits
on and were weighed down with large packs of 35L or more.
I smiled and continued onward, now buffeted by 30 mph
winds and pummeling droplets as I crested the hill. It would
seem I had met the wall of rain. Quite quickly I was becoming
soaked again and was losing zeal, but I forced myself to
continue at a brisk pace. I felt guilty for sleeping in.
Further on, atop another rise, I could see almost a mile
ahead. Scanning the trail like a hawk I searched for
human-shaped irregularities but found none. Just a
muddy stripe cutting through the valley until it receded
into opaque nothingness. I stopped to do this with increasing
frequency, as I was getting wetter and colder by the
minute in the unrelenting rain and my pace and mood were
both suffering. Nearing some ruins I decided it was high
time I put on my New Balance tights I had been guarding in
the dry bag for later.
On the “porch” outside of the ruins and next to the
sign warning hikers to stay out of the unstable building, I
stripped down, being careful to place my feet on my shoes,
though I don’t know why I bothered, my socks were pretty
wet already. With the tights on, I proceeded to struggle with
fumbling cold fingers on the quick release laces of my Salo-
30 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 31
mon Sense Pros. Finding my silk gloves, I slid them over my
icy talons as I looked into the distance and could just make
out a person colored like a highlighter. Slinging on my pack
I began my shuffling jog again, now several degrees warmer.
As I neared, I found a familiar face under the high-vis hood.
It was Nikki. I could turn around now.
She had hiked all the way from Fort William, meaning she
had already done about 14 miles that day. We had three-ish
miles back to Kinlochleven, and I was assured that this was
the prettiest stretch of the path she had seen. I didn’t feel as
bad about missing the rest.
Back at the pub, we tried to dry off and warm up. I ordered
a bowl of “Drunken Pig Soup,” which somehow seemed requisite.
An elderly couple at the table beside us turned out to
be from the states, and incredibly, the woman had taught
at Nikki’s high school!
The bed and breakfast was amazing. Fifty pounds got us
a room with a window overlooking the mountains, a communal
drying room, and a flat screen. The bathroom had a
Jacuzzi and the shower was about four times bigger than
the waterproof cupboard I had in my flat. And a full Scottish
breakfast was only an extra five quid each. We watched
dog herding on TV, I had two full entrees at another pub in
town (“I’ll have the burger and the mac n’ cheese” … “You
want two entrees?” … “Yes.”), and I felt completely spoiled.
The full Scottish breakfast: porridge, eggs, ham, beans,
and black pudding. I am not a picky eater, but breakfast is
my favorite meal of the day, and I just don’t have any desire
to eat beans that early. And the black pudding is pretty
weird. I had it several times and it always looked and tasted
like a charcoal hockey puck.
Boarding the bus that we thought would take us to the
visitor center, we sat down in the upper-deck. The bus
did not, in fact, stop at the visitor’s center. It followed
the route I had run the previous day, stopping two miles
short, near the gift shop where I had asked for directions.
It was an easy walk though, knowing the way. At the VC,
I made sure to stop into the art exhibit but unfortunately
Nicola was not due until later. We found the park ranger
station where there was a map and decided we could likely
hike Buachaille Etive Beag, between Glencoe and Glen
Etive, on the edge of Rannoch Moor. It has two summits
that are both considered Munros—a Scottish peak or summit
above 3,000 ft.—first tabulated by Sir Hugh Munro in
1891. In the lexicon, the two summits would be considered
Munro “tops” because they are not separate mountains, but
hold a requisite prominence between them. Walkhighlands
had this to say about the mountain: “Buachaille Etive Beag
is often overlooked in favour of its more illustrious neighbor
[Buachaille Etive Mor]. It is, however, a magnificent ridge
in its own right, offering superlative views down Loch Etive
and of the surrounding peaks of Glencoe.” Not to mention
it was listed as only “three boots” on the site’s difficulty
scale—just within Nikki’s comfort zone.
We lucked out and successfully hitched a ride before we
even left the VC driveway with an older couple from North
Carolina. We had them drop us off at the Three Sisters of
Glen Coe which was a bit too early. We had almost a mile
of highway walking before we reached the start of the trail
right off the A82.
The trail climbs quickly and pretty soon we were about
halfway to the bealach and feeling the expanse of the moorland
and mountains. Despite its proximity to the highway,
the trail seems far from civilization. Once atop the bealach
we had a choice of which Munro top we wanted to climb
first. Stob Dubh was the furthest away and the taller of the
two, and we were told it had the best views, so we continued
in that direction first.
Once on the ridgeline I was immediately struck by two
thoughts. For one, the view reminded me of the view along
32 | DACKS & TOGA activelife
This is not the trail
to Buachaille, as
we soon realized.
New Hampshire’s Franconia Ridge looking north towards
Mount Lafayette. And also, though not nearly as tall as New
Hampshire’s summits (Stob Dubh is 3,143 ft. while Lafayette
is just shy of a mile), I felt I was many thousands of feet
higher than I actually was. This I attributed to the absence
of trees for size comparison of the land features. The highlands,
bar some scattered forests and woodland, are devoid
of trees. The historic demand for timber was just too great
a pressure on the area and with the constant water erosion
and sheep and deer grazing, it is very hard for the trees
to return. The lack of trees though makes the landscape
extremely unique and unforgettable. We were afforded a
break in the clouds for a vista encompassing Loch Etive,
Bidean nam Bian, the Aonach Eagach ridgeline, and in the
distance to the north, we could just make out Ben Nevis,
the only peak above the clouds.
Nikki’s knee was bothering her on the way down to the
bealach, so she opted to sit and enjoy the views and the
occasional sun while I continued the quick jaunt up to the
slightly shorter summit, Stob Coire Raineach, with captivating
views of the Buachaille’s bigger twin ridgeline, but I
didn’t linger. The descent seemed quick, even despite running,
and it wasn’t long before we’d reached the road.
Walking back west on the A82 we soon caught a
hitch back to the VC with plenty of time before the
café closed, and well before our 5:30 bus. And yet,
when the time came, the bus did not stop. Worse, I didn’t
have cell service to call CityLink.
It was now dark, and completely quiet bar the occasional
speeding car. We had no idea what to do. But then, a man
came rolling down the drive on a bicycle, and, just as he
was passing by us, we heard his phone begin to ring. We
both stared at him, ready to pounce. He pulled over on the
grass fifteen feet away and pulled out a pink, bedazzled
iPhone. We were saved.
Steven was a typical lad, though in his forties. He politely
lent Nikki his phone to call CityLink, while he cracked
wise with me for several minutes. A defining Steve quote:
“Y’know, if this all goes tits up, I’ll be just up the road and
headed for Glasgow in the mornin’. You’d be welcome, I’ve a
camp and waaay too much whisky.” At one point Nikki was
writing down the time for the next bus (19:42) and showed
it to me when Steve scratched his chin and said with nostalgia
“Aye, t’was a good year” and began laughing. CityLink
allowed us on the next bus free of charge—we apparently
were supposed to wait on the other side of the highway
(there was no pull-off or shoulder) and the bus would just
stop. Despite being a bit peeved, I couldn’t believe the good
luck I’d had. Even with the heavy afternoon rains on Saturday,
Sunday’s weather was a rare treat for an autumn
day. And, I managed to find Nikki, despite knowing nothing
about where I was going, and events seemingly going wrong
at every turn. It all worked out in the end. For my first trip
to the Highlands, I couldn’t have asked for more.
of Stob Dubh.
My first Munro
in the bag.
Ruins along the
Way. This is where
I succumbed to
the heavy rains.
Memories last forever..”
Mary Lou Retton
Sat.-Sun., Aug. 5-6*
Gurney Lane Recreation
For info: Facebook Churney Gurney or
Sat., Aug. 5, 8:00am*
15th Annual Race
Train Depot, North Creek
For info: Tracy Watson,
(518) 251-0107 or active.com
Sat., Aug. 5, 8:00am*
10th Annual Tour of
For info: tourofthecatskills.com
Sun., Aug. 6, 8:00am*
15th Annual Christine
Nicole Perry Memorial
The Hub, Brant Lake
For info: chrissysfund.com or 644-3020
Sat., Aug. 12, 8:00am*
9th Annual Camp
Half Marathon & 10K
Kattskill Bay, Lake George
For info: areep.com/events/acc/
Sun., Aug 13, 7:50am*
6th Annual Old Forge
Lakeview Ave, Old Forge
For info: atcendurance.com
Sat., Aug. 19, 10:00am*
Over the Top 10K
Mountain Bike Duathlon
& 5K Trail Run
West Mountain, Queensbury
For info: www.westmtn.net/ or 636-3699
Sun., Aug. 20, 9:00am*
Four Lakes Tour to
Benefit Tour de Force
The Hub, Brant Lake
For info: bikereg.com/34983
or Rachel Harvey, 496-0874
Sun. Aug. 20, 10:00am*
37th Annual Lake George
To Ticonderoga Bike to
For more info: lakegeorgesteamboat.com/
Sat., Aug. 26, 8:00am*
17th Annual Pat Stratton
Memorial Century Ride
Mount Pisgah Lodge,
For info: bikereg.com/pat-stratton-memorialride
or Bob Sheefer, 891-5873
*Check websites first for registration deadlines, start times, information and changes or errors.
Runners in headlamps get ready for the early morning start of last year’s
ADK 80k at Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. PHOTO: Jody Katz
Create new memories as you challenge yourself at these upcoming events.
Sat.-Sun., Aug. 26-27*
ADK 80K Mountain Bike &
Trail Running Races
Sat. 5:30: Trail Run & Relay.
Sun. 8:00: MTB Race.
Mt Van Hoevenberg,
For info: adk80k.com or 523-3764
Sat.-Sun., Sept. 2-3*
12th Annual Lake George
Sat. 7:00am, Sun. 6:45am
For info: adkracemgmt.com
Sat., Sept. 9, 8:00am*
Double H Ranch,
For info: doublehranch.org.
Sat.-Sun, Sept. 9-10, 7:00am*
Tour de Daggett Lake
Daggett Lake Campsite,
For info: visitadirondacks.com/events/tourde-daggett-bicycle-ride
Do you have an event to share? Email us at
email@example.com, subject line: Calendar and
we will list your event, space permitting.
34 | DACKS & TOGA activelife DACKS & TOGA activelife | 35
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