A day out on the trails

5 Jan

By ALEX MATTHEWS — The Post-Star | Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:10 am |

I spent the evening with a group of friends, experienced snowmobilers and Tug Hill returners who gave me a mini-tour of the trails before returning to a rented house in Constableville for the night. There, we rang in 2010 without cable or satellite TV and were so whipped we struggled to make it to midnight.

While the overnight excursion was brief, I was able to get a taste of the terrain and 600-mile trail system that make the region popular. The plateau is mostly flat and open, with wide trails and an expansive series of connectors to fuel, bars and dining.

For the past 15 years, Bob Buttercase of Troy has spent most of his winter weekends “up on the Hill.” He snowmobiled some 50 miles on New Year’s Day, a distance he said, “isn’t huge, but it was enough,” and provided his take on the trails.

“They really weren’t that busy, that I saw,” he said, adding that the bars and restaurants seemed to have an average amount of business.

So far, Buttercase said the amount of snowfall is also on par for early January. A Web site dedicated to rider-written reports for Tug Hill and Old Forge, Absolutesnowmobile.com, noted 14—22 inches of snow early Saturday.

The report called the conditions “good to fair,” which designates some wear on the trails and the likeliness of rollers, moguls and bumps caused by overuse and undergrooming.

On Friday night, we came among a few bumpy patches that I thought were fun, but experienced riders find them a hindrance to speed. Buttercase said the grooming was much improved Saturday.

“It was excellent,” he said, “but (Sunday) was brutal cold so I came home.”

Closer to home

After receiving several e-mails from the South Warren Snowmobile Club about the trails remaining closed, I spoke with the club’s president, Mike Fazio.

While the trails extending from Glens Falls to Hadley-Luzerne have yet to officially open, Fazio said all of the club’s access gates are, with the exception of the one to West Mountain.

“People can ride if they want,” he said, noting that certain parts could be impassable. As of Sunday, the club groomed three times this season and found C4 and C4A, two of three trails which run toward Lake George, in rough shape. The West Mountain route remains the most bare because of the excavation that created the trail.

Fazio said people should stick to maintained dirt roads, which are free of rocks, and recommended C4B, the third trail to Lake George that passes through Beartown and the Glens Falls Watershed property.

Another 6—10 inches of wet and heavy snow should do the trick, he said. “We’ve probably got a 3- to 5-inch base, which is a mix of frozen ice and snow,” he said. “We’re in good shape if we get a good dumping of snow. We’ll be ready to go here real quick.”

Back on a healthy track

Upon returning from my snowmobile getaway, I was anxious to lose the holiday bloat.

I took my first bootcamp class at the Glens Falls YMCA on Sunday and tried a Cardio Pump kickboxing class at CB’s Fitness Firm in South Glens Falls on Monday. My muscles already feel traumatized. At least the classes were high-energy, entertaining and clearly effective.

Active Advice

My Cardio Pump instructor, Carol Barton, who is also a personal trainer and diet counselor at the Fitness Firm (a female-owned business celebrating its 25th year) gave a few tips for starting the year off on a healthier note.

This column will feature weekly tips, called “Active Advice,” provided by health, fitness and nutrition experts and gurus.

Besides giving a three-pointed health plan, Barton addressed my somewhat silly annual resolution of giving up certain foods. Last year, it was muffins and caffeinated sodas.

“As soon as you tell somebody to give up a food, they want that food,” she said. “I’m big on everything in moderation. So if you want a muffin, pick a day, have one on Wednesday, but don’t have another for the rest of the week.”

She noted that store-bought muffins are a calorie culprit, with around 500 calories each.

I mentioned that I’ll be added something beneficial to my diet this year: an herbal supplement called oil of oregano. Barton recommends Vitamin D as the No. 1 supplement.

And if you’re going to give something up, like I have for the past decade, Barton said to wave off white food products — white bread, white pasta, white flours — for a lifetime.

“Read the ingredients,” she said. “Your first ingredient should be whole wheat, not enriched flour.”

Original story: http://poststar.com/sports/a-day-out-on-the-trails/article_f93a8ed4-f9c0-11de-b242-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1RwbmuVBq

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