I love spending time outdoors. My go-to activities are cycling and running – in that order. I am enthusiastic about playing most sports. Tennis and squash are my latest favorites. Of course, cricket is an all-time favorite.
There are few things as satisfying as a grueling uphill ride followed by a breezy downhill swirl. I picked up cycling in the first year of Ph.D. and it just clicked. I am grateful to Pittsburgh for the excellent cycling infrastructure spanning amazing rolling hills and river trails. Car drivers are friendly here and accomdating of cyclists. I ride a 38 year old cycle — Dave Scott Centurion Ironman 1985. Back in its day, it was the most premier cycle. I continue to ride it today to decide if it’s the rider or the cycle that really matters.
I have recorded over 6500km on my bike (with many more unrecorded miles), since 2019, with a cycling h-index of 40 => 40 rides of > 40km. Out of these, my favorites are:
- Mt. Diablo summit: 1600m elevation gain over 90km on a hot summer Californian afternoon with poorly planned nutrition.
- My fastest 100km in 3:45 hours on a flat Great Allengheny Passage trail.
- Longest bike-camping trip spanning 5 days and 575km with my cycling buddy and colleague, John Miller. We started from Pittsburgh, went up the Appalachian Mountains to reach the Eastern Continental Divide and the pretty town of Frostburg. We then followed the C&O canal trail running parallel to the Potomac river, all the way till Washington DC.
I have spent some of my best moments riding a bike and here are a few pictures to bring them to you.
If cycling is for the heart, I like to think of running as for the mind. I started running with fun runs alongside a beautiful beach in my undergrad. I am not sure how I was handling that heat then, but now, my favorite seasons to run are fall, winter and spring. I especially love running when it is close to or below freezing. The heat generated by the body perfectly complements the bitter cold. I am a free-style runner — without adhering to any fixed training routine — that tries to soak in and run for the pure joy of running. At the same time, I am fascinated by the human will and power to run incredibly long distances. So far, I have ran two Pittsburgh full marathons (2022 and 2023). But, I am genuinely interested in knowing what my limits are.