Unprofessional Activities

https://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~sws/fun/index.shtml     Last modified: 11/30/15 10:17:47 PM

"Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners." (Timba Dockery)

I've defected to St Thomas. It's a long story, and I can tell you more if you'd like. Short version: I find it a truer expression of the faith. Another short version: my Irish and Quebecois ancestors are probably angry at me joining the church of the bastard British conquerors.

(But I still have fond memories of Aquinas House, where my older dog spent her puppy years)

daily Mass readings

daily meditation



Some recent events I've done:

Older race tales

Places I've run. Places I've biked.


Currently ridable: (I like Lemonds because they fit my body: short legs, long torso, long arms.)

Not in the currently active stable:

I've now spent several years commuting by bike. When the roads are clear, I generally come in on one of the good bikes, then go for a 20-70 mile training ride on the way home. (The direct route from home is about 2 miles each way, with a 10% hill.) In the winter, on days I can't get XC-skiing, I come in on the fixie and try to get a 20-miler in during the day or on the way home.

As part of a program to discourage automobiles on campus, Dartmouth used to pay me $360 a year not to drive.

Surprising issues:


My recreational interests center on doing things the hard way, and on being miles from nowhere.

In the last 15 years, these interests have taken the form of trail running, orienteering, and homebrewing. Along the way, I did a bit of bike racing (road); in summer 2003, I purchased a used mountain bike and am starting to explore the backcountry that way as well. (Vermont has some nicely documented MTB trails; see my maps page.)

(Warning: never purchase a used mountain bike, unless you can verify the previous owner was a little old lady who only road it once a week, and didn't ride over boulders on that day. I've been learning more than I planned about MTB maintenance :)


Trails. Mountains. Mud. Rocks. Predators. These are all good things.

Los Alamos was a great place to live if you love running in the backcountry: the town is at elevation 7500 feet, but 11000 feet is just a few miles away, and nothing in between but National Forest. Nearby Bandelier National Monument had some officially developed and fenced-off pre-Columbian Anasazi ruins, but we in the backcountry community knew of much more interesting sites, sufficiently remote to keep them unvandalized. (One of these days, I'll digitize some photos and link them from here.)

Our arrival in suburban New York was extreme culture shock. All my co-workers at Watson said ``don't live NORTH'' and ``don't live on the other side of the Hudson River.'' So we ended up looking NORTH, on the OTHER SIDE, and it's wonderful... It's a well-kept secret that there is an extensive amount of undeveloped backcountry (open to the public on foot, except for almost within eyesight of the Manhattan skyline. The ``mountains'' here in the Hudson Highlands top out at only 1600 feet above sea level, but the river is just about sea level, so you can get in a lot of climbing very quickly. There's also abandoned Revolution-era iron mines and other history lurking in the woods. Black Rock, Storm King, Bear Mountain/Harriman, or even Schunemunk. (There are stories and photos here, too. One of these days, I'll link those in as well.)

It's only stretching the truth a little bit to say: one of the reasons I moved from IBM to Dartmouth was because I was tired of "work interfering with my lifestyle" (to paraphrase Kris Kern).


When I arrived in New York, I hooked up with the local off-road running community via the Ridgefield Hash House Harriers (no link, sorry---they have a private Web site on the Schlumberger intranet). And these folks quickly introduced me to orienteering. You get a map (1:10000 or 1:15000) with a sequence of marked locations, and you need to go run through the woods and find the flags at those locations. At the more interesting levels of the sport, you need to be precise when you look for the flag: if it says ``North side of the 1-meter boulder,'' you won't see it if you're on the north-east side---or if you're at the wrong boulder. (Folks who were once scouts may be familiar with a watered-down version of this.) Compass and pace-counting play small roles---much more important is how to read the map, how to relate it your surroundings, how to pick good routes, how to navigate accurately along this route, and how to do this quickly.

It's a blast: the next logical step in trailrunning, where you keep running, but eliminate the trail!

Here's another link with some great resources.

Back home Maintained by Sean Smith, sws@cs.dartmouth.edu