1/31/2007

January Update

Welp January is in the books. We were greated this AM by yet another snowstorm and a 3 hour delayed start to the work festivities. I shoveled the freeeeeeeking driveway AGAIN. I think this was shovel the drive of 3 inches of more time number 6 this month...

I saddled the bike around 10am and got into work 20minutes later. The ride started with a bit of slip sliding on the new snow over icy paths in a light snow and ended in a blinding snowstorm. I am pretty sure I beat most of the cars to work who left around the same time as me. Wooo, small victories. Everyone thinks you are insane when you ride in the weather. I aim to cultivate that idea.

Anyhoo, the whole point of this post is the first of a monthly series of updates on my riding totals for the year. I usually keep track of this, probably 3 out of every four years. I took the year off of recording last year as I got bored with it. My yearly totals have ranged between 3500-5000 miles riding and something like 200 miles running. I have tried to hit averages of a mile a day running and 10 miles a day riding for the last few years, but have fallen short in the running, oh, since 2001 or so. Usually because I don't hold up so well running more than once a week of late. but the goal remains the same.

So the total for the month was an anemic 106 miles biking, mostly commuting 100% on the studded tire single speed. Sadly we have had so much snow on my commute route, that the fun offroad part has been mostly impassable via bike this month.

12 miles running, 4 of which were on snow shoes. Of course I went xc skiing 8 times or so and ice skating a bunch too, so the fitness is pretty good, but the tyranny of the spreadsheet tells me to get on it. The weather tells me that I am doing pretty damn good commuting thus far and it is xc ski season, so chill out.

I just found the 2003-2005 totals, I think I was optimistic above, my actual totals were:
2003 2880bike 128run
2004 3667bike 252 run
2005 ~3000 ~250, apparently amidst my dissertation I missed recording Nov and Dec 05.

I am guessing last year was in the 4000 bike range and something in the low 100's running. As I commuted almost daily last year after the dissertation and had a pretty solid summer of riding. 2003 and 2005 had 4 month stretches of living 30 miles from work, so I did not ride as much.
.
Stay tuned, I may even geek out and break it down by bike.

1/27/2007

Sandia Crest Snowshoe race report

So before the report a bit of a preamble...

SO no fooling there I was in the hospital last night bleeding away happily when the doctor comes in and looks over the wound. The conversation went something like this:

Me: So, can I do a snowshoe race tomorrow?
Dr: I don't see any reason why not.

The good doc pokes around a bit and then looks up thoughtfully, conversation continues:
Dr: So, where do you go to race horseshoes.
Me: Uh..
Dr: er snowshoes...
Me: Up in the mountains, usually where there are hiking trails covered in snow.

some more poking about:
Dr. What kind of horseshoes do you race in.
me: Uh...

Me: Smaller snowshoes than the backcountry ones, which are lighter...etc.etc.
Dr. Hmm, horseshoe racing..
Me: Uhhhh. So if I go SNOWshoe racing at 10,000 feet tomorrow and my heartrate gets to 200bpm there will be no problem, right?
Dr: no, should be OK.

Doc leaves me, a RN comes in a bit later to clean the wound.
RN: So what kind of race are you going to tomorrow?
Me: Snowshoe
RN: Ah, because the Doc told me that you were horseshoe racing...

So in conclusion I was definitely allowed to race horseshoes at 10,000 feet today, but I am in still unsure whether snowshoeing was OK. Onwards to the longwinded report:

So the race was up there at the very tip of sandia mountain overlooking Albuquerque. Zach and I left Los Alamos at just before 7 and made it up to the top of the peak via 14 (the Turquoise trail) in well under 2 hours, not too shabby and a beautiful drive. I had never been up there before, it was pretty damn cool, but cold as crap. Maybe it hit 20 by racetime, but not too much more. The peak is pretty bare sporting an impressive array of radio towers:


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and a damn good view all over the place, looking SW over the fog enshrouded ABQ:

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Looking east, or north east, or something:

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Me and Zach prerace overlooking ABQ. We should form a band and use this as a cover photo. It turns out we both play Ukelele a bit, so keep an eye out:

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Anyhow, the race. Lets see, cold, maybe 100 people (going by the bib numbers), pretty great turnout. The race consisted of a wide start, and then essentially singletrack snowshoeing in a big loop around the top of the peak. It was beautiful and there was a ton of snow. The race started fast, but I got a good start and ended leading the race briefly when Zach postholed and nearly bit it.

A short time later, two really fast guys blew by us and dissapeared up the trail with zach shortly behind. I was feeling OK in 5th or so for the first kilometer or so. We dropped down a fairly steep offcamber hill and I noted that without heel crampons, I could not go down as fast as the rest as I was sliding off the trail. Then, essentially, I exploded in a big mass of falling down repeatedly. I think what happened was that the trail was off camber and my snowshoes were pivoting on the toe spikes and getting the tail of the uphillside over the nose of the downhill side causing me to fall suddenly and violently often up to my elbow in snow. I was cleverly protecting my wounded hand, by landing on my right forearm and left hand. Getting up was harder than one would expect. Needless to say, I started going backwards. I may have fell 30 times over the next few km. Sheesh.

After the top 5 or so, the guys who were passing me (digging myself out of snow) were not faster than me, they just were not crashing to the snow. So I caught and passed a few of them a bit as the race ended with a long gradual up hill. The last hill was relatively level, so I finally went full throttle and only fell once. I think the final position was 10th-15th in a time of 41 minutes, results might be here at some point.
Zach finished at 36 minutes in third a few minutes back of the really fast guys, well done Zach!

I am a little disapointed in the race, I think I would have been easily in the top ten, maybe duking it out for a top five without the repeated falling, but overall it was a good workout at 10,000 feet on a beautiful course and a pretty good morning. They had a nice spread of coffee, hot chocolate, bagels, Odwalla juices and bars and a hilariously frozen cheese platter at the end.

Some more photos from the rest of the day:


The guy in the car next to us was kicking it super old school:

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From just south of Madrid, NM, some good use of boxcars:

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1/26/2007

See mom, I am fine

Look how smiley!



even though I was in the hospital...

Don't click here if photos of bloody thumbs are disturbing to you

7 stitches later, I am a-OK. See:



Be careful when cleaning your knives, OK?

The good news is the new cellphone has a somewhat useful camera. Had I been thinking I would have had some cool photos of the inside of my thumbs, but I just wanted to get to the hospital for some reason.

Frozen Carnivorous Insect

Found in Elena's Dad's backyard when we were stranded in Albuquerque just before new years:

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It probably was styling in the usually mild Albuqerque winter when mother nature decided to drop 14" of snow on it. Lights out, bam.

1/25/2007

Note to self...



though it may look pretty, try not to slam your car door on your phone.

1/23/2007

More new links

Here are a couple of things stolen from blogs I have recently added to the blog list on the right.

Sam is a buddy from when I lived in Knoxville. He is a fast cyclist and crosser. He also makes cool climbing bags if you are monkeylike and for the velocipedially inclined he allegedly makes cycling bags. He has, among others, a blog called Sam in Pocatello that is usually packed with his impressive race adventures, lately his adventures after breaking a vertebrae:

click for source.


Seperately, my pal Laura from my berkeley days now lives in finland has a pretty interesting blog finland laurita with her travails there. Among other things she posts nice bike photos:


click for source.

1/22/2007

Hunkered Cats

The cats are not really into the whole freeking freezing magical ice princess winter thing we have this year, so they have adopted warming strategies.

Osmium minimizes surface area:

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Radium lives in the radiator:

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Might have to actively discourage that.


1/21/2007

Chad and Jill Ride more than me

There are very few dedicated cyclists in Los Alamos. There are a ton of weekend warriors, psuedo racers and fair weather riders (along with a small subset of legitimately fast racers and a couple of former pros). But people who actually use their bikes daily in fair or foul weather are few and far between. Heck, even in summer there are very few commuters.

I ride and commute darn near daily in all weather, but it seems every single time I am in my car, I see Chad and Jill riding by. Dammit.

I immediately recognized Chad and Jill as kindred souls when I met them over a year ago at Chiliworks, our local treasured gutbomb green chili burrito shack. I almost always ride to chiliworks to get burritos and had never seen anyone else ride there, ever, except the day I met them. After promising to get together for dinner for over a year now, we finally got it right. The week before they move from los alamos to the slightly warmer pastures in Albuquerque. Dammit

Chad makes friends with Dee(pleted Uranium):

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Chad and Jill getting ready to ride off into the 7 degree night

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And away they go:

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Last week I got these spy photos in a brown paper parcel with no address, they appear to show a clandestine winter crossing of the largest body of water in downtown los alamos, well done:

1/20/2007

More hauling on bikes

I added a few more blogs to the bloglist on the right. As way of introduction, here are some snaps I stole from a couple of the blogs.

sconnyboy does some impressive hauling on his clot of xtracycle type bikes:

click for source.


cycling Spokane is carfree up there in the eastern washington state. His wife has a styling raleigh folder:

click for source

If you like such blogs, please surf on over to JimG's metablog aggregator which has a bunch of really solid bikey blogs.

1/19/2007

Movie Review: Ong Bak, Thai Warrior

Wow.

This was shockingly good. Simple story of a young man from a small town in thailand traveling to Bankok to recover a stolen budda head. The protagonist, played by Tony Jaa is placed in a bewildering array of fight scenes and chase scenes. Jaa's acrobatics are stunning, jumping over, through and onthings, climbing huge walls, mmmm good. No wire-fu here. The fight scenes are similarly good, in the vein of Kickboxer/Bloodsport, but quite bit more interesting. The whole film was, dare I say it, compelling. Tony Jaa is a very soft spoken and intense actor. His musculature is very understated. He flys through the air with the greatest of ease. This movie beats the pants off of the recent, excellent Heroand Hizzle Flizzle Dizzle, not to mention the bizarrely over the top Kung Fu Hustle. The DVD features are OK, but the movie stands up to repeated watchings in one weekend and is well worth the 10 bucks amazon is charging, I will probably add it next time I buy something from them, just so I can watch the "oh god, mad dog" fight over and over again.




After seeing this, I rented Tony Jaa's next movie The Protector, but found the movie severely lacking. I have read that the US release (which I got as disc one from netflix) is 27 minutes shorter than the original. It seems like it as some of the action scenes, especially in the beginning, are without setup. The DVD features on this one are excellent, but it might be worth getting both DVD's of the US release or buying it so you get both the original version (on Disc 2) and the excellent features. Damn you netflix and your crappy disc one/disc two policy.

Bulby Icicles

Icicles have been sprouting like weeds off our house of late. The alpha male of this bunch almost reached to the ground (10 feet?) before breaking off. :

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It had a nice drippy goopy bulby structure:

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Reminiscent of the jellyfish we saw in the Monterey Aquarium:

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1/15/2007

In the Mountains, no?


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Weekly storms make riding tough, but thanks to the studded tires I am batting a thousand on commuting thus far.

The skiing is good and them mountains are purty, and we are banking moisture for the summer.

The cats are a bit perplexed by the constant snow coverage.


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1/13/2007

Terrified Cat Mummy

Check out this astounding, scared cat mummy excavated from the back of a barn in maine:


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Hands folded in front of it and its face screaming with terror, this cats fear of death is all too obvious.


While I love me the boing boing, sometimes their posts are just plain old overhyped. Although in this case the original article is even dumber, the title:
Moment 600 years ago that terror came to Mummies of the Amazon

Huh? How did they scare the mummies 600 years ago?

Anyhow, cat pic from my uncles barn where something like 100 years ago terror came to the mummy cats of Hope, Me.

1/10/2007

Squid meet cat

Ummm,

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Squid is a nice blog that goes from the ridiculous to the scientific and then back to the absurd. Usually good stuff. If you have an abiding interest in the state of the squid, peek in from time to time.

I used to have a road find squid zip tied to the seatstay of my brokded bike beakham:


click for bigger view of the bike, or go here for another photoset of beakham

That was one good bike.

1/09/2007

Feeding my neice




to the big kitties at the philidelphia zoo

1/05/2007

XC ski fun

On new years day and then again today, I spent a few hours traversing the excellent nordic ski trails here in Los Alamos up there on Pajarito Mountain. New years was great as it was sunny, spectacularly groomed and all the Los Alamos XC skiing all stars were out and I was able to sneak some pointers from my pal and MTB arch-nemisis Jessica. Now I am moderately less apelike on classic skis. Thanks jess.

Jessica and trees:

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Me at the bottom of the meadow on new years day. You can see fall biking photos of me riding at roughly this spot here and here.


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Me atop the meadow looking down ready to show the world how NOT to do tele turns on touring skiis. I had to ski along fresh elk track through aspens laced with very fresh elk scat to get there. Elk scat looks like piles of black olives in the snow. Yum! I was afraid of having to wrassle an elk in 4' of powder if I stopped to long, so I did not take a picture, sorry, next time, I will photodocument the "rocky mountain olives".



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Some photos of the trails today, amid mixed squalls and sunshine.

The groomed trails in the woods with 2" or so of fresh snow on them:

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Rare shot of me without any glasses looking pooped with the inherited dark circles under my eyes (thanks dad!) at the top of the meadow with Valle Caldera land behind the fence.

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Me peppered with snow during a squall with a clouded panorama behind:

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It was a pretty good day, I spent a 45 minutes on a pair of used skate skis to see if I could get the hang of it. I couldn't, largely because I probably ruined my ski boots at somepoint on monday (see here for the bored), thus I could not push off my right foot. I figure once I get boots sorted, I will pick it up pretty quick, I am a very adept ice skater after 4 years of intermural hockey and daily between class skating during college and weekly skating here in los alamos in the winter. After playing around on the skate skiis I switched back to my touring skiis and enjoyed sliding around on the fresh loose snow atop the icy groomed trails. The set tracks were still skiable, but the meadow had some impressive drifts and on the way back I biffed a few times pretty suddenly when I went from soft drift to hardpack or the reverse.

Also in this XC ski week, I picked up some used skate skis, aforementioned, for me and touring skis for elena from the local ski club. So I needed to learn a bit about waxing skiis. XC skiing is worse than cycling. Ski waxing is more steeped in lore than tubular tires. Thankfully Los Alamos has many people who practice the dark art of waxing, and the XC ski scene overlaps almost 100% with the cycling scene, so I was able to go bother my pal Paul (Lord Voldemort of Waxing) to get some waxing lessons:



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My inner yoda shouts, "mmmm, it is not wax that makes you fast, no, it is having waxed". What a weird sport, wax on wax off, scrapy scrape...scrapey!. While I love getting new tools and stuff to support my gear intensive hobbies, I think I am going to put some clement tubular cement on my skis and call it good, at least until I give in to the sirens call of racing. Dammit.

1/04/2007

Roadfind of the Day, NJ edition

Found in Holmdel on a walk with my mom.

1/02/2007

I guess I could approximate it as a sphere...

Spherical animals.



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Wink256 compares well with animals from the philidelphia zoo. Previous wink256 fat animal comparison here