On last week’s solstice overnighter from NJ to Walden, NY, I rode through Harriman State Park. At one point I went by a gorgeous lake. I stopped at at dock and performed Elliott Sharp‘s lovely “Long Division” that he composed for the Sonic Divide. Here it is:
I’m pleased to announce that Sterling Health and Fitness has joined the Sonic Divide team and is one of our sponsors. Karl Sterling is the man behind the company and he is an amazing guy. I first met Karl several years ago when he reached out to me. He had seen some of my blog posts about my endurance sports adventures and how I was beginning to combine that with experimental music.
Before changing his career over to that of a personal trainer and fitness and nutrition expert, Karl spent many years touring and recording as a full-time professional drummer, so we have much in common as percussionists and athletes. Karl is a sensitive, intelligent, and honest person and I’m stoked that he’ll be helping me build some muscle and keep my body balanced before I ride the Divide. If you’re looking for a personal trainer you should definitely reach out to Karl. He’s very good and there’s a wealth of information on his website: www.sterlinghealthandfitness.com. Welcome aboard, Karl!
We opened a few Christmas presents this evening since we’ll be traveling over the holidays. My in laws Ken and Wendy Johnson gave me something very cool:
Yep, a Sonic Divide training shirt. The text at the bottom says “The earth has music for those who listen.” Cool, huh? That is a really thoughtful gift, and one that will get thousands of miles as I prepare for the Sonic Divide through the winter and spring. The support I’ve been getting from family and friends has just been amazing and it really goes a long ways to keeping me moving when the training and practicing get tough. Thanks, Ken and Wendy, that was a really nice gift.
Tomorrow I’m pedaling from my home in West Orange, NJ up to Walden, NY. It’s about 70 miles there and back. I’ll pedal most of the day and then the plan is to arrive at the Shanti Mandir ashram around 7:00 and join the lovely people there for an evening of meditation. I’ll then sleep in the woods on their property and then leave very early the next morning and pedal home. Of course I’ll stop once in a while on both days and sing and play some Sonic Divide music!
It will be cold, but my sleep kit will keep me warm. Here it is:
I put the dollar bill there to give you an idea of the incredibly small size. So the red bag on the far right is my sleeping bag. It’s down and rated to 30F. To the left of that is the bivy sack, which is basically a body bag. It takes the place of the tent. The red bag in the middle is the tarp. On nights where it might rain I attach that to the bike and spread it out to the ground. On the far left by the dollar bill is the air mattress. This is all ultralite gear. Here are the weights:
sleeping bag 24 ounces
bivy sack 7 ounces
tarp 9 ounces
air mattress 10 ounces
Total weight = 50 ounces or 3.2 pounds
Not bad for a room for the night. Here is what it looks like when it’s all laid out:
Actually, in that picture from 2014 is my old air mattress, which was about twice the packed size of my new one and twice the weight. Here is what the new one looks like:
The weird shape is based on the theory of “body mapping” or the idea that you only really need padding where there are pressure points, which is your hips, shoulders, head, and feet area. The other areas are left open, which saves a lot of weight and packed space, and also allows the down in your sleeping bag to loft better.
When I first rolled it out on my cement garage floor I thought “No way is this going to be comfortable.” It only took me three full breaths to blow it up (versus 30 for the old air mattress, which is tough after riding for 12+ hours) and then when I laid down I was shocked to feel that indeed it was just as comfortable as the other one, and quieter too.
But the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding will be the overnighter tomorrow. Temps will be in the low 30s/high 20s, so I’ll know for sure by the middle of the night if this thing works to keep me comfortable and warm. We’ll see!
And yet another ground-breaking piece landed in my inbox a few days ago. Nathaniel Bartlett is an amazing composer, marimba virtuoso, and one of the best digital musicians I know of. Nate’s knowledge of computers and music technology is far, far beyond most mortals. His new piece is titled “Cronometro” and includes an innovative video score that I can play on my phone, which is quite handy for the Sonic Divide. You can see the entire score here:
The use of technology in this way is really exciting. Even though I’ll be pedaling up and down the mountains on my own power, the Sonic Divide is definitely a high-tech adventure what with a carbon bike, GPS, smart phone, dynamo hub, etc, etc. Nate’s creative use of technology is a perfect compliment to this project.