Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Air Force One visits Albany

President Obama came to the Capital Region on Monday to speak at Hudson Valley Community College. The President flew in and out of Albany International Airport. I had a view of both the landing and departure from my office. On its approach, AF1 flew in over the western part of the city before turning to make its approach into the airport from the north.

Here are some shots locals took of the landing:
The departure gave us an even better shot (no pun intended) of AF1. The B747 departed on Runway 19, which means the flight path took it right over the center of the city. I did not have my camera, but I did get this (not so good) picture on with my cell phone.
These people got a better picture:

Said an unamed co-worker upon seeing AF1 overhead: "Paul Tonko is on that plane!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cyclocross skills clinic at Serotta

This past weekend I attended a Cyclocross clinic held on the grounds of the Serotta bicycle factory in Saratoga Springs sponsored by If you have never heard of cyclocross, then allow me to briefly explain: it is like gladiators on bikes.

The clinic was for beginners, and the lessons were taught by real-life cyclocrossers (including this master cyclist). At one station, we were taught how to take corners, at another we were taught how to properly dismount, mount and go over barriers, and at the final (and most entertaining station) we were taught how to load your bike in the 3-point carry to go up a hill. I found it fun and ironic that at a cycling clinic, two of the stations focused on how to get off the bike. Luckily, one of the instructors did teach us that it is never good form to dismount your bike over the handlebars.

The clinic ended with a mock race which included two sets of barriers and one run-up. I had been to a cyclocross race as a spectator before, and I did make some very poignant observations as a participant. First of all, the barriers are a lot higher than they look. Perhaps, this observation could be extended to note that it is a lot easier to watch somebody else carry their bike over a barrier than it is to do it yourself. Second, it is not a good idea to wear baggy shorts when you are going to be mounting and dismounting frequently. This may lead to getting tangled and ending up on your back with the bike on top of you. Just saying.

Here are some shots of the event. Here's a short clip from helmet cam shot this Saturday at the run-up clinic.

And check out for races in the area. They are very entertaining to watch. Last year at the Bethlehem Cup I saw somebody crash into the creek and then get back up on the bike and keep going. So, go!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Annual Colorado pilgrimmage

Diane and I headed to Colorado over the Labor Day weekend. It was her first trip west of the Mississippi River, and with exception to our Andes mountain excursion in Argentina (as retold here by a friend), the highest elevation she has been at in her life.

It was quite the whirlwind trip since we only had five days to do a lot. I also wanted to spend a lot of time with my mom and sister, who still live in Fort Collins. In the end, the trip was quite entertaining. Diane got to see Denver, Boulder, and a lot of landmarks around Fort Collins, including Old Town Square, New Belgium Brewery, Coopersmith's Brewery, and a lovely hike to Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. Below are some highlights of the trip.
For me, one of the perennial highlights on trips is the airplanes I get to fly in. We flew United, which I had not done in a long time. But since American Eagle has left Albany, there is one fewer way to get to Denver than in years past. Our trip both ways connected through Washington Dulles (IAD). Here are some airplanes I have known:

From ALB - IAD we went on this very nice (and new) Embraer 700, which to my surprise had two-abreast seating. It was quite lovely and a great ride. Upon arrival at IAD, we parked next to this B757 with the blended winglets. Look at the height on those things. (Sadly, due to the gate arrangement at IAD, I could not get a shot of the A320 that took us to DEN.)From DEN - IAD, we flew on this B757 - no winglets, sadly, as you can see from the in-flight shot. Upon arrival at IAD, we parked next to this ginormous B777. Look at how the people on the ground measure up to that engine.
I also did some plane spotting at the airport. Here is an SAS A330 that arrived while we waited.

A South African A340 parked across the terminal.
Finally, on our way back to Albany, here is our Embraer 700, which we got close and personal with. And our approach to Runway 1, and landing.