2008-12-23

The Date

I am so excited! Today is the day we set the date for the third degree test. More later when I actually have a date. Also, I did 64 techniques today.

--edit--
OK here's the deal: In January I'm starting a 15 week training program set by Mr. White. That puts the actual test day in May. Nostalgia note: I earned my 1st degree black belt on May 2nd, 1998. This couldn't be more perfect. I'm ready for the test, but this will be much appreciated polishing.

2008-12-21

extensions

Today I worked on my extension techniques, noting the ones that needed the most work.

2008-12-17

What Have You Done Today?

Remarkably, someone asked me this question. "What have you done today [to get yourself to 3rd degree black belt]?" Thank you Melanie, I really needed that.

Today I listed the techniques that need the most attention.

2008-12-14

Techniques, forms

I did all my forms, but I did them on video, at demonstration speed. Then I took a break and did some Christmas shopping.

Now I'm back and I've just finished filling in the gaps in the top half of the list. Tomorrow I'll finish the bottom half. Now I'm going outside to run my forms hard. Woo!

Form 6



Yes, there is some editing. I went completely off screen so I did part of it over.

Homework: TNT

In preperation for 3rd black I've written three letters on top of my technique list: TNT

It stands for TODAY NOT TOMORROW.

Today, I'm running all my forms twice and all my techniques (at least) twice. There isn't a day of the week where I can't put a half-hour down to practice a few techniques. Yes it's hard, but I know I hold everyday routines more strictly than more infrequent ones.

I'd ask for luck, but I don't need luck. I need people to inquire what I've done to reach my goal today.

2008-11-22

The Free Cycle

This is the last five week cycle of the year. For the black belts, it doesn't really integrate into our promotion cycle, so it's 'free.' We won't be tested on the material, so we can do some crazy wild extra stuff, and I'm wicked excited about what Mr. Mackenzie chose for material for this cycle: Mass attack and the Staff set.

I never really picked up the staff set, so having it for five weeks will be the repetition I need to really burn it in and keep it. It's a fun set to have and practice. Everyone likes to swing a big stick!

Mass attack, defense from multiple attackers, is practically my favorite thing ever. You have to stay efficient: block, evade, or roll off attacks and counter effectively, while keeping mind of the other attackers. Use the closest member as a shield from the others while you strike, strangle, break, or maul him. Never stop moving, do not put your back to the other attackers. Throw the last attacker into the next. You must be ferociously efficient with your strikes, footwork, and motion. It feels like being a small black hole where planets are flying at you. If you stay in one place too long, they all converge at the same time and get pulverized.

Woohoo!

2008-11-17

Last Extension Techniques

We finished the list, some were so good they didn't warrant corrections! Yay!

Clutching Feathers - Outward Extended
Locked Wing - BK insert. 1 backnuckle: collar, 2 claws, pin sweep chin, stomp neck
Striking S. Head - step w/elbow
Thrusting Salute - =)
Shielding Hammer - claw
Grip of Death - =)
Scraping Hoof - rear crossover right rear stomp
-- back kick, drop kneel, front kick to chin. (spin version)
5 Swords - index eye slice
Glancing Salute - slices
Lone Kimono - out extended
L. Horns - =)
Gift Destruction - rebound
-skipped Dance of Death
Triggered Salute - =)

also, spar wars was amazing!

2008-11-11

Pass

I passed my step exam! Yay! I was told the test for third degree black belt is "soon." Awesome.

2008-11-10

Step Exam

Tonight I'm practicing for my step exam. The test is tomorrow and I have every confidence that I will pass, given practice.

I practiced on Saturday, also.

2008-10-27

3rd Private

*Obscure Sword - fwbow w/chop, bring outward block up, hammer fist: face-solar, ... elbow, h.fist, STEP, plant, spin hands up!
*Twisted Twig - Knee on collar bone (diagram) 45º hammerfist, punch, kick.
*Thrusting Prongs - Step 90º, bounce knee, heel
*Buckling Branch - ... Backnuckle turns face, turn away with heel
*Reversing Mace - take 45º/keep it. toes down HOP w/stomps
*Obscure Wing - open hand palm down to start, turn while closing...
knee at end.

2008-10-25

The Parker Creed

"I come to you with only karate, empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor, should it be a matter of life or death, right or wrong; then here are my weapons, karate, my empty hands."

~Edmund K. Parker, Grandmaster of Kenpo

2008-10-22

2nd Private

I've just returned home from my second private interview. I was late leaving work, so we had to reschedule to 7pm, but we worked through a good portion of the remaining techniques. Here are my notes.

Snapping Twig - elbow, hammerfist, PALMHEEL (shove head)
No twist w\uppercut.
Twirling Wings - Land close kneel
Evading the Storm - minor/major, TO 90º ... Land forward w/kick
wrist throw w/club to face, kick upwards
Captured Leaves - Lifting kick (end)
Crashing Wings - 2 kick end
Raining Claw - upper-body english (poke) - contact w/head
Repeating Mace - Step to rear 45, raking inverted fist (palm up)
kick leg, then go behind. side kick, cross elbow etc, end w/knee kick, stomp groin!

2008-10-15

Private lesson

I had my first private lesson with Mr. White, a 7th degree black belt, and owner of the studio I love so much. He is a Professor of the art and has my utmost respect. His skill is ten times mine, at least. I could go on, but I think you get the idea: he's awesome.

Here are my notes from our meeting, unedited:
*Circling Wing
-crossing talon + knee.
bend wrist, maintain flat palm
contact. pull together
*Crushing Hammer
short palmheel, no step.
step 12, rt cross knee,
lf round face, rt knee kidney,
rt shovel (toe, heel same
direction) knee as pin, shuffle
kick.
*Leaping Crane
chicken L stomp, step wide,
back rising face, rt ribs
*Crossing Talon
-bring your body
with you w/step.
step farther.


I didn't have time to be writing stuff, but I knew I wouldn't be able to practice the way I needed to right away. I don't have time now to explain what all this means. If you know these techniques, you can see there are huge gaps in the notes I've just made. Those are the parts I don't need help on. These notes are the just corrections.

2008-10-08

Promotion!

OMG! I've been promoted to First Level Instructor! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

2008-09-15

Still Alive

Check out my most recent ride, it was beautiful! I took five minutes off yesterday's time. Wow!

Tonight's techniques:
Reprimanding the Bears, Parting Wings, Menacing Twirl, Repeated Devestation, Circle of Doom, Twist of Fate, Thrusting Wedge, Thrusting Prongs, Reversing Mace, Thrusting Lance.

2008-09-14

Ugh

As you probably know, I had two centuries planned. Well I didn't get to ride the second because of the cold rain. I did ride, but not even a quarter of the planned hundred miles.

As for my 10 techniques a night, I haven't been doing them. I'll just say that I've been tired, and realize this excuse is not good enough.

And thus, my ten:
Thundering Hammers, Scraping Hoof, Snapping Twig, Falling Falcon, Buckling Branch, Crossed Twigs, Encounter with Danger, Flight to Freedom, Gift of Destiny, Unfolding the Dark

2008-09-04

Resting up

As I stated previously, I'm giving my body a bit of a break. I'm still cycling to work, but I'm getting more to eat and (trying to) get to bed sooner.

That being said, I rode my second century yesterday(!), and it was fantastic. I have yet to write a full report, however I do have a hilarious update today. Here's an excerpt:

"... I’m going to drop my handlebars by inverting the stem, then add this swanky new 53 tooth cog to my front sprocket. Hopefully the end result will have me gasping for breath sooner, crying for my mommy louder, and collapsing from exhaustion right off the start line. As you may have guessed, I have high expectations. (Parental guidance is suggested for this next image, which may not be suitable for all ages.)"
Please check it out!

2008-09-01

Healing

My legs still ache from the weekend (and sparring last week. Ow!). It was beautiful, truly, but I need to rest this week to prepare for my NYC century on Sunday. I need carbs, protein, and hugs. And luck.
And more hammergel, cliff bars, and lovin.
Seriously =)

2008-08-27

my ankles



This is a mirrored image. so the ankle on the right is actually my right ankle. That being said:
My right ankle looks terrible in this pic. Bloody, bruised. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm sure touching it or bumping it would hurt, but walking doesn't hurt.
The left, however, still bothers me. I hypothesize it's sprained in a new and interesting way. I can flex the muscle, tap the bone, and nothing hurts. if i put pressure on the muscle, it hurts. Cycling doesn't hurt, Kenpo doesn't hurt (padded floor), walking hurts at the very end of the stride. and it doesn't look bad at all *shrug* I'll just keep from smacking it on stuff =)

check out my bike blog tomorrow for a big surprise!

2008-08-26

Ow

Another bruise, this time on my right leg. Fortunately it's not an injury, it's just a bloody gash and 2" square puffy square. I am less worried about this bruise than my left leg, which still bothers me when I walk.

I noticed my left leg does not hurt while I'm at karate. Probably due to the floor being padded.

2008-08-22

2k miles

I've put a synopsis of 2000 miles on my bike blog. I need to add a bit to it, and link around a little, but mostly it's done.

2008-08-19

Ow

No techniques tonight due to injury and it being an hour and a half past my bedtime. Here's hoping my leg is ok.

Hero

Phelps is not just a hero for bringing home gold medals, he's also one of those real heroes.

2008-08-18

Monday's Ten

Locking Horns, Squeezing the Peach, Retreating Pendulum, Glancing Spear, Defensive Cross, Sleeper, Hooking Wings, Raking Mace, Repeating Mace, Marriage of the Rams.

I very nearly just went to bed after the extra 30 miles I put in after work.

2008-08-16

I'll do twenty tomorrow

I have a very good reason for not doing ten techniques tonight.

I rode One Hundred miles today.

2008-08-15

Friday's awesome classes, and ten techniques

First: my arms are numb, and shaking. I'm having trouble typing. Class was that good!

I just washed all my sparing gear (eeeeew) and only now have time to run techniques.

Glancing Wing, Securing the Storm, Parting of the Snakes, Dominating Circles, Squatting Sacrifice, Grasping Eagles, Deceptive Panther, Heavenly Ascent, Circles of Protection, Begging Hands.

Tomorrow I'm planning to do 75 miles on my bike. Wish me luck!

2008-08-14

Thursday Techniques

Capturing the Storm, *Cross of Death, Destructive Twins, Gift in Return, *Cross of Destruction, Twin Kimono, Broken Ram, Bow of Compulsion, Raining Lance, Twist of Fate

*Starred techniques means I had to look up the technique in my notes to confirm which one it is. I get the three 'cross' techniques confused.

2008-08-13

Today's 10

Flashing Wings, Conquering Shield, Charging Ram, Twirling Wings (+extension), Blinding Sacrifice, Obscuring the Storm, Gathering of the Snakes, Clutching Feathers, Brushing the Storm, Wings of Silk.

2008-08-12

Practice routine

I've decided I can do at least 10 techniques a day, no matter how busy the day is.

Today I did:
Triggered Salute, Dance of Death, Entangled Wing, Defying the Storm, Circling the Horizon, Escape from Death, Obscure Claws, Rotating Destruction, Ram and the Eagle, and Desperate Falcons.

2008-08-10

Sad News

My mom's infant goddaughter, Violette, died today.

I really cannot even begin to imagine how tortured Tracy, Violette's mother, must feel right now.

It would mean a lot to me if you could donate $1 so Violette's godmother can be at the funeral. donate here

Thank you.

A memorial for Violette:

Karate Picnic

Yesterday was a perfect day for the picnic. It was bright and sunny and warm but not too hot. There were plenty of activities going on when I arrived: frisbee, vollyball, catch, baseball, swimming, etc.
My event was Noodle Wars. This is one of my favorite games in the world. You fight with noodles, pretending to cut off limbs, eventually vying for a headshot that ends the duel. You can go straight for a headshot, of course, if you're quick =)
My group was a collection of kids around ten and under. I was fortunate enough to have more volunteers than pairs of noodles, so we could swap out when parents got tired. At first this meant I got to manage the line, which is not quite as boring as you might think. Children allow their excitement to show on their face, it was plain to see everyone was having a good time.
When it was my turn to duel with the kids, I decided to make it entertaining for everyone. The kids loved it. I was being loud and all kinds of dramatic... and letting kids win sometimes. Lose the ego, gain everything. We all had so much fun!
We raffled off a bike and a limo ride to Maine for Sushi and 6 months free at the studio and more.
The last big event was dodgeball, and it was a blast. I was ousted pretty early in every game we played, but that didn't keep me from helping the losing team every once in a while =)

After the festivities ended, I had a bite to eat then went to watch Jeff Dunham with some other students. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt.

What a day!

2008-08-05

Candidate for Black Belt

Jacob (see Kōhai) finally got his candidate belt last week*. You should have seen the look on his face when he officially became a candidate for black belt. I could feel the happiness radiating from him. I'm so proud of you, Jacob, good work!

Tonight, before class, Jacob gave me an envelope with a card in it. I'm touched, I can't wait to hang it at my desk at work. Also, in the card, was a gift certificate to my favorite sushi restaurant! yay teaching for the win!

*He passed his test 5 weeks ago, but the head teacher wanted him to train more before getting the belt.

2008-08-02

Moving the bike blog

As you may already know, I'm moving my bike blog to Wordpress. Please check it out and leave comments, I really appreciate it.

Second Degree Black Belt Class

Every week on Friday, at 8pm, is the Second Degree Black Belt Class. It's a difficult time to make because I do not want to cycle home 21 miles in the dark, so I drive. It's my 5th class of the week, and it means some weeks I have to be in Manchester every day.

I have never complained once about going to this class. I love it. Let me tell you why.

But first, I must introduce the studio owner: Mr. White is a 7th degree black belt. He is the Director of the New England Chinese Karate Federation. In addition to all the titles and paper documents, he's a fantastic martial artist who has earned my respect and loyalty. Let me put this in perspective for you. I'm little and fast. He's quite heftier than me and much faster. I like to think I'm good at what I do. Compared to 90% of people, this is true. He's better at what I do by volumes. I respect him for his technical expertise, and because he has always set a good example, instead of just leading with words. He changed my life when he asked me to be a teacher; this put me in a role model position and I benefited profoundly. Thank you, Sir.

That being said, the reasons why I love the class:
Mr. White teaches this class. The head teacher, who teaches the other classes I take, Mr. Mckenzie, also takes this class with me. He is an old friend, and it's an honor to work with him.
The detail is amazing: I improve by how much I work, not by any limit in information.

Last night, we worked on Raining Lance, Thrusting Lance, and Piercing Lance. These are techniques that I teach in the Black Belt Prep. Class, so that should give you an idea of how proficient I am with them. I'm no slouch; but when Mr. White teaches, I am humbled. I learned details I never knew about. I've been a Black Belt for ten years, I've been training for fifteen years. This class makes me so much better.

Time to go practice.

2008-07-31

Step exam

PASSED

3rd black: End of the year! Time to kick the training up a notch.

I cannot wait!

2008-07-30

I bike to work

I started a new blog on wordpress. ibiketowork.wordpress.com. I always felt I was misusing my kenpo blog. Now I can refocus both as they should be. This is my Kenpo training log, wordpress is my personal attempt to help change the world.

excerpt:
"I feel that people are panicking about the oil crisis. My goal is to show everyone that there is no reason to fear, that there are alternatives. If more people cycle to work, more people will notice and follow. Eventually cities will be forced to make more bike paths, to beef up their public transportation, to encourage alternative transportation. When people stop using so much oil they can kick the dependency, they can regain control.

I believe I can change the world with a bicycle.

I’ll meet you on the road, the road to a better world."
Here it is, folks. my quest to get America back in shape, to screw the oil companies, and save the world. Wish me luck.

2008-07-29

Intermission

I'm taking a brief intermission from my bike (my legs thank me) while practicing for my step exam at the karate studio. Mostly this is due to watching Millie in Manchester. So now I'm 20 miles from work and not quite ready to cycle an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I'm certainly not ready to do 25 miles there and back (which would allow me to ride a safer route), that's an hour and a half. While an hour and a half commute doesn't actually sound that bad on a bike, remember I have to be signed in at work, in nice (read: not sweaty) clothes at 7am. Please include 30 min to shower and dress after the ride in you math. That's right, leaving at 5am, pedaling like crazy for 25 miles... morning and night. Do you have time for 3 hours of exercise a DAY?

I would actually try that tomorrow except for the step exam Thursday and Sunday's fifty. Sure I love a challenge, sure I'd love to do that ride, but not this week. One day, I'll do that ride 5 days a week. I'm not trying to be crazy. I'm extending my possible commute distance.

Speaking of crazy, here's an open letter to motorists from Crazy Biker Chick. It's not full of spite as I expected, it's actually a good read. Here's an excerpt:

I ride my bike year-round as my main means of transportation. My bike is not a toy. I don't aspire to be Lance Armstrong*. I'm not too poor to afford a car. I choose a bicycle because its healthier for me, and healthier for the city I live in. I'm not riding in the middle of the lane to slow you down or thwart you. I'm just trying to do the same thing as you - get from point A to point B safely.

Time for bed. I will post some links to other cool cycling blogs tomorrow, if I can find the time.
*she may not want to be Lance, but I do! =)

2008-07-27

I did it.

The hills were preposterous. I nearly made another max speed record on a 3 mile hill. I'm exhausted and so happy! I did it!

3:05:15, 51.8mi
82ºF, Odo 1547mi
avg 16.7mph, max 44.9mph

Here's a map of the route I took. 25 miles out, 25 back.

View Larger Map

First break: 25mi. water
Second break: 41mi pbj + water
Quick stop: 45mi cool off at Glen Lake

I'm glad I took the wrong turn that lead me past Glen Lake (below). Sure it lengthened my ride by nearly 2 miles, but dumping cold water over my head, clearing off all that sweat, was so worth it.

View Larger Map

Here is an elevation map:

Min 253ft, Max 902ft, Ascent: 1512ft

My legs are still killing me from this awesome ride. I might just do the same ride again next week, this was beautiful.

2008-07-26

First ride in a few days

I plan to do another 50 after cello practice, but this morning's 15 was a good refresher. It was hilly to the point of lowest gear (for half a mile. ouch!) Said nightmare hill was not smooth enough nor wide enough nor lit enough to really break out the speed, else I'd have a new record of 50 something mph. I was coasting with intermittent breaking at 33mph.

51:35, 14.6mi
81ºF, 1485mi
avg 17.0mph, max 39.3mph

Now I'm off to cello practice, then maybe a bite to eat before a fifty miler.

[edit]
It didn't happen, but 6am tomorrow I have a date with a long long ride. yes!

2008-07-24

Boston

I'm back.

2008-07-22

Bike Log, day 64

Comedy of errors
This morning was a pain in my bottom. It started when I picked up the fender and it fell apart in my hands. Fortunately, the two pieces snap together at the hinge. After about 5 minutes I got them together again--Backwards. Once I finally managed to wedge them apart I dropped the small piece into the sink, and nearly into the disposal. When I knelt to attach the fender to my bike, I managed to scrape my knee into the top sprocket. At least it's not bleeding. After that I had a dozen or so other negative things happen that I do not care to elaborate on, because I try to stay positive. I will mention this, though: If you're driving in fog, put your headlights on. Not only so you can see, but so other people can see you. Also: SLOW DOWN!

After that I just didn't care about setting any records this morning. I stayed up late reading about bike races and group rides--none of which are anywhere near me--and how 20-25 is the max for group rides. This is the only good news I read last night. Everything else was "on flat rides, big riders fare well in short sprints then draft the rest of the time" (conversely: "Small and lean riders fare well in the hills." That's me, small and lean) and 25 sprinting to 35 and beyond! I'm certain I'll be able to hold a pace of 25mph soon, but I can't imagine sprinting to 35 unless it's downhill or if I'm drafting. Not that this is going to prevent me from competing. I'm no slouch, but I also know I need to improve before I'm going to win any awards. That's fine, I love a challenge. Honestly I'm hoping to get in, get better, then win some money.

22:00, 6.5mi
66ºF, Odo 1453mi
avg 17.7mph, max 28.8mph

Lots of repetition in those numbers... 22, 66, 77, 88. Interesting.

--
The ride home was beautiful. The air was cool, the sun was warm. I felt euphoric on my way out of the office. I tried keeping relaxed early on then powering at the end but it didn't really work:

19:36, 6.5mi
81ºF, Odo 1459mi
avg 20.0mph, max 27.8mph


Last night, walking to the grocery store, I noticed a tree about a block from my house. Now, I've passed this tree more than twice a day for over a year and never even noticed it before. I'm no photographer, but I can definitely see a beautiful photo here. I was quite surprised when I saw it, and how strikingly beautiful it is, because I usually notice such things.

2008-07-21

Bike Log, day 63

The alarm clock failed to go off this morning, so I woke up with only 15 minutes to prepare for the ride in. Fortunately, now that I've reduced my ride time so much, I can actually leave 10 minutes late and still sign in on time. Unfortunately I forgot something I really need: a towel. I had to use my shirt (eew).
I powered into the office in the top sprocket. My legs are still slightly tired from yesterday (and with good reason!) but I still made good time.

19:36, 6.5mi
72ºF, Odo 1440mi
avg 19.9mph, max 29.7mph

FYI, if you cycle in the Nashua area and are looking to do some 50-75 mile weekend rides, let me know!

--
The afternoon ride was unpleasant for two reasons. I do not own waterproof sunglasses, and left my fender at home. Scrunching my eyebrows protected my eyes pretty well but made it difficult to stay positive. And then there's the fender. Having my butt crack sprayed with water for 6.5 miles turns out to be a real downer on my mood.

Other than that I was fine!
19:41, 6.5mi
77ºF, Odo 1446mi
avg 20.0mph, max 28.4mph
*rain

2008-07-20

Epic Sunday

I finally rode a fifty. 50 miles. Like my 18 mile route last Sunday, I started by writing down the street names and drawing a map. Like last Saturday's ride, I got lost. Except today I got lost twice, found and rode on dirt roads (Bumpy!), but ultimately had a great ride. I took two major breaks, at 30 miles and at 40 miles, but stopped for directions and turned around more often than I care to count. I did, however, have the greatest break in the world: soaking in a river. Talk about refreshing! I ran out of water 10 miles from home. When I arrived at my door, I had 49.3 miles. So I rode around the block. yay 50!

2:57:28, 50.0mi
90ºF, Odo 1410mi
avg 16.9mph, max 47.8mph

New max speed!

My legs ached (specifically on stairs) for hours until I practiced Kenpo. There's a strange concept. They hurt *until* I worked them again. Now they feel fine. I have no explanation for this.

Also it seems I've developed an intense tan on my back, which outlines the camelbak I wore. Then I went to see a movie...

Dark Knight

Wow. There really isn't anything else to say but Go See It!

After the movie, sushi, and a nap, I rode home. Gu 2.0 gel, and the nap, helped tremendously.

1:02:34, 20.9mi
75ºF, Odo 1431mi
avg 20.0mph, max 33.1mph

Now I am completely physically exhausted and going to bed early.

2008-07-19

Make up work

For taking 2 days off my [wheels], I needed to do some make up work--with interest. Today is the day, now that I'm feeling better (*more on my doctor's visit below).

1:05:33, 21.1mi
94ºF, Odo 1336mi
avg 19.2mph, max 33.4mph
*carrying 13lbs on my back. It felt like 30. =)


This started slightly after 8:30 this morning (I tried to leave earlier, but I couldn't seem to get out the door). I missed karate, I simply didn't make it up here in time.

After a couple of hours and a good sandwich, I headed out again, this time up rt 13. I'm not impressed with the time or the average speed, but it IS an impressive second 20 miles in a day:

1:06:04, 20.1mi
100ºF, Odo 1356mi
avg 18.2mph, max 39.7mph

I plan to ride more today.

[Next Day]
I did not manage to ride any more yesterday, as much as I wanted to add another 20+ miles to my day, it just didn't fit in with the party. I had to help carry the cake. Best. Cake. Ever. I personally would have done without the coconut, but it wasn't MY birthday =) Also, I watched the end of Avatar, with my aunt and cousin. SO AWESOME!


*My doctor's visit went better than I expected. I went regarding some really slight pains in my chest and the hair loss. There are heart problems on both sides of my family, and chest pain is the single most common medical problem NOT reported to a doctor, so I brought it up. I was also concerned that the spot of missing hair was indicative of a more serious problem, like some nutritional deficiency. The doctor gave me good news: You're healthy. The chest pains are probably from being punched repeatedly at karate. The hair thing will go away in 6 months on it's own and has nothing to do with anything. Regular exercise and eating well keep me at a low Body Mass Index. My heart doesn't have to work as hard, since there's less to carry. Yay!

2008-07-18

No bike Friday

I didn't work yesterday due to being sick. Today I didn't ride because I still didn't feel excellent and also had a doctor's appointment after work. I felt ok for Kenpo, though, and oh was it an eye opener. We learned some amazingly lethal knife disarms.
Tomorrow I'm planning to ride everywhere, hoping to drop a 50 miler in, in between 20 mile trips to Manchester and back. I'll be riding home late though, so I'll have plenty of time to recuperate.

2008-07-16

Bike Log, day 62

This morning's fight was just to get out of bed.

20:57, 6.5mi
59ºF, Odo 1308mi
avg 18.5mph, max 30.8mph

It would seem I'm having another plateau week(start at the bottom). Hopefully next weeks results will follow that trend and I'll start breaking records by 2 full minutes again.

[Ride home]

19:41, 6.5mi
91ºF, Odo 1315mi
avg 19.8mph, max 31.6mph

2008-07-15

Bike Log, day 61

It would have been an uneventful morning but for my crazy headlight, which quite suddenly stopped working: it would not turn on. Without stopping the bike I played with the button and the lens and though it would turn on sometimes briefly, it would not stay on. So after arriving at work I opened it up and removed the batteries. There was rust on the electrical connections, which I scraped off with a fingernail. I replaced the batteries, lens, and now it works fine. Yay!

It was cold enough to warrant wearing a shirt on the ride in, I brought the bigger backpack, and I was feeling tired, so I had little expectation for greatness.

20:49, 6.5mi
63ºF, Odo 1295mi
avg 18.7mph, max 29.0mph

Last night after riding home I thought I'd take a nap. Five hours later, at 10pm, I woke up and made dinner. That shows you what kind of weekend I had =)

[after work]
The ride home was similarly slow:

20:01, 6.4mi
90ºF, 1302mi
avg 19.2mph, max 40.6mph

It's not a bad time, in the grand scheme of things, I just felt I should have done better. I just didn't have any energy. Maybe riding during lunch was a bad idea.

2008-07-14

Bike Log, day 60

This morning I battled more than just the wind. I had a strong desire to stay in bed, but pushed on. There was a mental roadblock to overcome, also. I thought just because it's Monday I'm out of practice I'll have a slower time.
But that's Not True! I cycled both weekend days!
My time shows I didn't let this slow me down:

19:51, 6.5mi
74ºF, Odo 1282mi
avg 19.6mph, max 29.1mph

I broke 20 again! Yay!
Unfortunately I forgot my bike lock at home, so I took the wheels off and stuck it under my desk. If it was just 6 inches shorter I could make invisible.

Quote of the day: Lao-tzu
Limiting is what results in clarity; minimizing is what results in attainment. Therefore when the external is controlled by the center, nothing is neglected. If you can attain the center, then you can govern the external.

After work I tried not to push too hard at the start, instead really working on the hills, and made excellent time!

18:44, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1288
avg 20.8mph, max 32.4mph

*note: oddly, my cyclometer only tracked 5.8 miles and gave me an average speed of 18.5mph. Hopefully this does not indicate some type of failure in the cyclometer and is just a fluke.

2008-07-13

Sunday Ride

Yesterday I discovered some wonderful hills while getting lost. Today I drew a map and left it at home. Simply drawing the map on paper etched it into my mind. I knew it wouldn't be as long a ride as yesterday, I didn't do all the hills due to time restrictions: I wanted to get home at noon, and I did.

58:16, 18.4mi
91ºF, Odo 1276mi
avg 19.0mph, max 37.7mph

Now for a shower, shave, and sushi!

2008-07-12

Weekend Warrior

I was hoping for 50+ miles, but didn't have the routed mapped out correctly. Oh well

1:23:07, 25.2mi
84ºF, Odo 1257mi
avg 18.2mph, max 40.0mph


the average speed stinks for all the times I slowed down to figure out where I was. There is nothing like not knowing where you're going to take the edge off your climb.

Now, to party!

2008-07-11

See Spot

Karate was good, as usual. However, something is missing.

Can you see what I lost? Here's a picture of me looking for it:


Note: I probably lost this grappling, there was a "grab hair" part. I never even noticed what happened.

Meh

No bike log today due to driving breakfast into the office. I was hoping to make today "day 60" but as I do not have a bike rack, I still cannot carry orientation sensitive foods to work.

2008-07-10

Bike Log, day 59

I had stuff to carry today, cereal and cookies and such, so I knew I wouldn't be breaking any records, but I still tried anyway.

19:18, 6.5mi
70ºF, Odo 1225mi
avg 20.3mph, max 28.0mph

Excellent time, awesome average speed!

Home again: another really good ride:

18:22, 6.5mi
88ºF, Odo 1232mi
avg 21.3mph, max 38.1mph

21.3mph average speed! Nice!

2008-07-09

Bike Log, day 58: No Sweat

My goal this morning was to get into the office without sweating. Success!

23:25, 6.5mi
74ºF, Odo 1208mi
avg 16.7mph, max 28.7mph


Not too long ago I was struggling to get to 17mph in the morning. Now I can do it without sweating, literally! Yay improvement!

The ride home was much warmer and I raced a bit at the beginning, so I did sweat.... a little.

22:15, 6.5mi
88ºF, Odo 1215mi
avg 17.6mph, max 30.5mph

Not bad for -no effort-
well.... I did race a car out of work, and won! His car was obviously at peak torque, the whole body shifted as the car surged forward.... slower than me. (the driver was very impressed)

On the other hand, getting out late today was cool because I saw a lady cyclist on the way out. I shouted "Nice to know I'm not the only one!" and she smiled. Since I wasn't wearing much more than spandex over my nether region, I decided stopping to chat would be .... awkward. Hindsight says "you fool! you should have stopped to talk. duh" Probably I was still in the "race home!" mindset, which I only thought my way out of 5 minutes later.

Hmm, time for the evening thunderstorm. Also, since I didn't work out on the bike, it's PUSHUP TIME, no excuses.

2008-07-08

Bike Log, day 57: Break a twenty?

This morning I was tired and thought I'd take a relaxing, slow ride in. I only had a banana for breakfast; sleep was elusive due to the neighbor's dogs barking at each other all morning; expectations were low.

Once I clipped into the bike, however, everything changed. Suddenly I was keeping to the top sprocket and powering my way up hills to maintain momentum. I was gaining speed on flat sections and even slight uphill sections. When I reached the long gradual uphill section of Rt 3 I knew my time was good.

Heartbreak hill put me in the second sprocket, but I knew that meant defeat unless I kept pushing hard. No relaxing here. No "I'll take this slow." I could feel the desire to rest welling up inside but I did not give in. Nothing but power. I did it, I set a new record! My old time was 20m14s, average speed 19.4mph. Here's the new time:

18:41, 6.5mi
70ºF, Odo 1195mi
avg 21.0mph, max 30.5mph

I saw my time at the end, how close I was, and it drove me on. Phew! What a race!

[After work]
Made excellent time on the way home, too:

18:51, 6.5mi
90ºF, Odo 1202mi
avg 20.8mph, max 31.3mph

I was trying to match 17:59, but instead I matched the morning ride! This slowness was likely due to waiting for traffic. I was only 1mph slower than my record (21.8mph).
1202 miles! Not a bad day at all =)

2008-07-07

Bike Log, day 56: no time

Woops. the cyclometer was not seated correctly so I didn't get any numbers this morning.

I was carrying half a gallon of milk and 24oz of water, among other things. Slowness can be taken for granted. On the other hand, I pushed from the start, even on flat sections. It felt like a good ride.

6.5mi, 70F. probably around 20 minutes

[after work]

Again, I pushed from the start. I also managed to keep the bike in the highest sprocket for 99% of the ride!

19:09, 6.5mi
90ºF, Odo 1184mi
avg 20.5mph, max 31.5mph


not bad -at all-

2008-07-06

Zzzz...

My only goal for this weekend was to do a single 40+ mile route. I managed to do much else, including a 6.6 mile route.... which was only so short due to a flat tire. I managed to ride the bike home, though a new leak surfaced on the way. (Actually there were two flats. the first flat was two holes, and large ones; the second slow leak was also two holes, though tiny. I believe these were all caused by creases when installing the tube. I will not make that mistake again)
I also managed to get emotional at a wedding reception, move a dresser, and watch the men's final at Wimbledon. It was EPIC!

Now, listening to Bocelli and Brightman, I retire.

2008-07-05

Pic

Workout

Weights are measured each hand.

50 pushups, 50 crunches (cycling legs)
20 reps each:
15lbs side
15lbs front
30lbs triceps (both hands together)
5 supinated grip chin-ups (thumbs toward each other), 5 sternum chin-ups (pinkies toward each other)
25lbs biceps (10 reps)
short breather to update blog, now for more pushups, crunches:
10 one handed pushups (each hand)
20 diamond pushups
20 regular pushups (total: 100 pushups)
75 side crunches (each side; I wasn't feeling the workout at 50, so I kept going. ouch)
20lbs biceps (10 reps)
50lbs bent-over row, 10 reps each hand.
15lbs bent over flys. (10 reps; I need work here..... updated blog then added another 10 reps)

now to cycle to the grocery store for food, then out for a cruise. I'd like to put 20 miles in today, but maybe I should conserve for tomorrow's epic ride I'm planning. I'm planning to do at least 50 miles, but I'm hoping for 80 or more.

[The pics show my shoulder work side and front, and the triceps lift]

*just a healthy reminder, I'm not doing this to get buff or become super strong. I'm not expecting visual results. This is just for endurance.

2008-07-03

Bike Log, day 55

I really relaxed this morning and didn't push too hard. These results are excellent for such little effort!

20:49, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1154mi
avg 18.8mph, max 31.3mph


I will finish my storm story later... Does our hero survive?! Find out next time....

[After work]
Again, I took it easy.

20:40, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1161mi
avg 19.0mph, max 37.2mph


There was a time not so long ago when a 19.0mph average speed meant I'd broken a record. I could go on about 37.2mph max speed, too. Sorry for taking so long to finish my storm blog entry. On the other hand, my phone is working again!

2008-07-02

Bike Log, day 54: The Storm

Today's plan is to drop everything at work and cycle 25+ miles to dinner, then cycle 20+ miles home, without a shirt. *Reminder to self: hydrate or die.

20:32, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1123mi
avg 19.0mph, max 32.1mph


First, 20:32 is awesome!
Second, 32.1mph max speed into the office is pretty good too!
Last, my total mileage is the Fibonacci sequence!

[Ride home]
1:15:22, 24.6mi
72ºF, Odo 1147mi
avg 19.6mph, max 33.5mph
*thunder storm!

I beat my previous record, 1h20m13s by 5 minutes! Wow!
As I noted above, there was a bit of bad weather. Now, I've always loved the rain, ever since I was a baby. Today's rain was no different, I loved it! I began to worry about my iPod, but then I tucked it up as far into my armpit as I could and figured it would survive. Really, rain never hurt anybody (floods are different); Lightning, on the other hand, does.
I was about 7 miles from my destination when the storm began throwing lightning down, but I could barely hear it at first. The lightning was far ahead and to the left. Unfortunately the road also kept edging left. Eventually the lightning was coming down on both sides, but still far ahead. Then the rain started, slowly, with sparse, heavy droplets, and actually stayed that way for quite some time. I could smell the ozone, it was cool and refreshing. The rain gradually grew more intense until about 5 miles from home.
Then I entered the heart of the storm and all hell broke loose.

There was a good bit of rain coming down, the droplets were still huge but there were significantly more of them. Lightning was all around me now, I even saw a bolt in my tiny rear-view mirror(!), but then I saw it: a wall of water.
The rain I was in fell from one side, the left. The rain ahead of me fell in all different directions. I don't mind being wet, as I stated above, and it's a good thing because this was a completely different kind of wet. Uphill became 'upstream' and downhill became a game of trying to remember where the giant potholes are. As I pedaled downhill, my wheel cut a deep path in the water and splashed my feet. I am flying. It should not be possible to be doing 24mph in a flood-warning downpour, but I did. At the bottom, the puddle (read: lake) was so deep my feet were submerged as I pedaled. Slosh Slosh Slosh.
Uphill on the sidewalk around a blind corner, two kids surprised to see me but still young enough to think I'm cool.
I can't see. The rain has long since rendered my sunglasses useless. 2 miles to go--JUST GO.
Up the steepest hill on my route, one block of sheer terror. I didn't even use the smallest gear, I just powered up it. I am propelled by a primal fear, driven to give it my all. The storm makes me crazy and I love it. Me verses nature at top speed, full tilt, in a knock down-drag out thunderstorm. We're having record amounts of rainfall, it's 20 minutes of catastrophe. 1 mile KEEP GOING. I'm cutting across S curve streams in a straight road. I can't turn sharply or the bike will slide out and dump me in a giant puddle, unceremoniously shedding skin from my exposed arms, legs, and ribs. I take it slow at 22mph and round the final block to shelter. I'm up the stairs and in the entry way, fitting my bike on a diagonal so the door will close. I've stripped off the ipod and removed it from the soaking armband. My headlight and cyclometer are unaffected, my rear light is going crazy. The doorbell only makes a dog inside bark more.

I wait and make a bit of a puddle. Maybe nobody is home, maybe I should ride the 5 miles to moms while the storm lightens up? It doesn't seem so bad now. I knocked and my Aunt let me in. Slosh slosh slosh. I don't have much to shed but what I do is WET.

My phone is done, my iPod is fine, my cyclometer is fine. After leaving my rear light out (and pulling the batteries, since it would not turn off) it is fine. I sat wrapped in a beach towel for 20 minutes before I realized I was getting cold. I got a t-shirt and an awesome dinner and a ride home. What a day! =)

2008-07-01

Bike Log, day 53

I knew I wouldn't be breaking any records this morning when I noticed it was 62ºF, which meant I had to wear a shirt. Sure, it was underarmor, but it was still a defeat.

21:04, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1110mi
avg 18.5mph, max 30.1mph


I'm watching that to-work average speed drop slowly.... I was really hoping to cycle in with no shirt today and go for a record. Oh well.

[After work]
Another non-record, but it was still a very good ride home

19:04, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1116mi
avg 20.5mph, max 39.7mph


Notes:
*39.7mph is -awesome- and certainly a track record for unassisted top speed.
*I passed 1111 miles on my bike today. I almost wanted to stop and hold up a big sign. "1111 miles on my bike, 0 gallons of gas"

2008-06-30

Bike Log, day 52

It feels like I slept all weekend, though I managed to fit Kung Fu Panda and an outdoor sculpture show into it. I took long naps both days, went to bed early and woke up late, and I still had trouble getting up this morning. I also practiced cello both days. Regardless, my time into the office today:

20:49, 6.5mi
68ºF, Odo 1096mi
avg 18.8mph, max 28.7mph


I'm expecting thunderstorms at 5pm tonight. In addition to this, I want to ride home without a backpack and see if my time improves. That's the plan, anyway.

[after work]
the plan worked! I shattered my old record! Yippee!

17:59, 6.5mi
82ºF, Odo 1103mi
avg 21.8mph, max 38.4mph

I destroyed my old record of 18m55s, 20.8mph!
I abandoned the bag, my shirt, and water. I rode only with a helmet and a saddle bag. Yippee I did it!!

2008-06-27

Bike Log, day 51

This morning's ride started out quickly, but suddenly became difficult and stayed that way. I pushed through it, though:

20:49, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1083mi
avg 18.8mph, max 30.0mph


I'm still keeping with the ~19mph average, Not Bad!

[Ride home]
not bad. Again, I pushed really hard but couldn't quite reach my record. This may be due to the weight I was carrying.

19:38, 6.5mi
81ºF, Odo 1090mi
avg 19.9mph, max 31.2mph
19:38 is not bad at all!

Also:


Boom de yada, this commercial makes me so so happy =)

2008-06-26

Bike Log, day 50

What a fantastic morning! After a couple of days to get my sleep schedule back in order, I'm back on the bike, and with a good time, too!

20:21, 6.5mi
61ºF, Odo 1070mi
avg 19.2mph, max 27.7mph


I definitely made time on the last uphill stretch.

[after work edit]
I carried the new work laptop home on my back, but was determined to set a record regardless. I did(!) ... kinda. The stopwatch wasn't seated correctly so I missed 2/10ths of a mile from my run. le sigh.

18:07, 6.3mi
73ºF, Odo 1076mi
avg 21.0mph, max 32.5mph


Did I break a record? I doubt it. I also had to stop at the stoplight and wait forever. My cyclometer keeps the clock running whenever the wheel moves, so I would have added some time there.... and math says I would need to add 34seconds to my time for 2/10ths of a mile at 21mph, which would put me at 18:41. ten seconds faster than my best time. Did I break a record? The world will never know. I know this: my average speed would be even better because I was -flying- off the start post, probably 24mph.

2008-06-23

NYC, day 2

2pm, Penn. Station, NYC
Morning was hectic. 'breakfast' was a pitiful joke. The commute took roughly an hour: I started from Brooklyn, stopped in grand central station (42nd street), and continued on uptown to 51st. I walked to 54th and turned West to 535 Madison Ave., Dana's work. There was some gentle rain, not enough to get me wet or uncomfortable. Once I arrived, the rain really started. I got inside just in the nick of time! From the J train, as it crossed the river, I saw many mid sized buildings uptown surrounded by a thick haze. Walking was hot and humid, and since I was carrying 40lbs on my back I was worried about turning into a sweatmonkey. Everything was ok though, once I arrived the building was air conditioned and very comfortable. I waited some time before security was able to locate Dana, as there were two Dana's working there. This did not frustrate me at all; I used the opportunity to unwind a little.

I was a little stressed before I left the apartment, but the stress quickly dissolved away and my commute was mostly relaxed. Once upstairs, I was taken aback when the receptionist offered me a drink. The bottle of water was quite refreshing after the subway ride, and helped alleviate the small amount of tension I felt. The view helped, too. I was looking down on the city streets below; out across Madison and up 54th street.

Dana and I went out for sushi then I took a short ride to Penn. station, where I now sit, waiting for my 3:30 train.

Ethnically, the changeover during my morning commute was remarkable and disappointing. The J train was 98% black people. The 5 train was an even mix, 50/50, and the 6 train was 90% white people. The dichotomy was nauseating. We're all the same inside!

My train is arriving...

3:53pm, The Quiet Cabin, Amtrak train 176. New Rochelle, NY
More train info for Mom.
The bathroom had two sturdy coat hangers, which was not surprising. I was surprised, however, by the power outlets there.

4:23pm, Stanford CT.
Zzzz I've been napping to music since my last post, with my laptop on the seat next to me (and one hand on it) This new naptime playlist is very effective.

4:46pm, Bridgeport to New Haven CT
General comments about NYC.
I've never seen such a collection of long slender legs on display in one place ever. Some time after my train arrived on Saturday, no less than a hundred models got off one train and flooded into the bathroom, then on to wherever they were going. It seemed they were all going to the same place (or arriving), and all knew each other (they stuck mostly in clumps of five or six, but sometimes collecting into much larger groups). Most were in heels, some had the worst fashion sense imaginable (but could pull it off because they were so beautiful/confident/curvaceous). I saw one amazing girl in a skin tight "dress" that was bright red and bright blue camo print. It was hideous, contrasted harshly with everything--but you couldn't look away. This is the part of our program where I tell you all about how I prefer understated style, instead of outrageous.
Shortly after this group exited the general waiting area of Penn. Station, around 50 cyclists walked through. Many with cycles, some with only helmets or jerseys. I asked what the commotion was about.... There was a century ride from Montauk. One thousand riders. Damn. I missed it!

This train suddenly got cold--the lady across from me put on a pink shawl. Not that I'm complaining, all I've had to do is roll my sleeves down.
I should also mention that the seats are quite comfortable. They recline from Business Bolt Upright down to Don't Wake Me I'm Sleeping. I cannot use my laptop easily from the sleeping position, though it does not intrude too much on the person behind me (it's an empty seat). There is always extra room in the quiet car =)

6:20pm, New London CT
I've put my suit coat back on but I'm still too cold to sleep. I spoke with the conductor but she just said to move to another cabin. No thanks, and honestly I don't think we would bake this late in the evening with this much cloud cover... but it's your train.
These seats need footrests. My backpack does not serve this purpose well.

I'm starving. the snack car is a joke, price wise. A half-sized water bottle costs $1.50
Scoundrels. I will hold out the hour and a half.

We are currently riding through a dense fog. It looks like it should be cold and damp.


7:25pm, Providence RI
The sun is a yellow freckle in the gray sky. The cloud cover is thick enough that you can only tell where the sun is by the yellow orange smudge. I will be in Boston soon.

It is impossible for me to find a bus that leaves for home sooner than the late bus I'm already planing to take, since I cannot connect to the internet. I've already dialed 411 to find Greyhound's phone number but the only train they have from Boston to Nashua leaves at 11:45pm and arrives at 6:45am; now there's a huge fail, I could bike there faster than that. I could dial 411 again to try to reach PeterPan, or I could just go with the layover I currently have scheduled. =( and I'm still hungry. Fortunately we'll be arriving soon.

8:56pm, Dock 15, Bus terminal. South Station, Boston Mass.
The first thing I bought when I got off the train was a cup of hot chocolate. Then a fruit cup. The fruit cup was an impulse buy since I had to wait for the cocoa. After regaining my wits, I looked at my real dining options. I ordered a grilled chicken TBM melt from Così. That's Tomato Basil Mozzarella. I requested whole grain bread, too. It was completely delicious. Compared to the alternatives of greasy Chinese food, greasy pizza, and McD's, this was heaven. The bread was crispy, the mozz was melty, my taste buds are happy. So is my belly.

My bus has arrived, and the driver is taking a break. Several people got up to stand in line. Some people went through the other door and are standing outside the bus, to the chagrin of the people waiting diligently in line. The bus driver arrived and started letting those other people on board first. Time to go.

11:10pm, My desk in front of the window, My Room, Nashua NH.
I've edited the journal entries and now get to sleep on my own bed instead of a couch.

NYC, day 1

Sunday
Last night we played Rock Band (guitars & bass) until 3am on Saturday morning. I woke up early and played Portal for hours until Dana woke up. We had the most delicious brunch at this tiny* Spanish restaurant. I mean -The Most Delicious- I thought my ravioli was amazing until I tasted Dana's dish. I cannot even describe it, except that it was smooth and richly flavored. It came with eggs Benedict and incredible spicy sausage. We had been looking for another place. I'm so, so glad we didn't find it.

Dana had a bit of work to do, so I roamed Madison Ave. for 2 hours. Mostly I was people watching, though I did spend some time in the Apple store talking about 3ps with a Mac Genius. I am excited for the upcoming release of a $200 iPhone.
After all that walking my shins were a little sore. I'm not used to walking the way I'm used to cycling. After all that walking Dana and I rode for 10 miles through Brooklyn. The frequent stops were very annoying, the rain was heavy and wonderful. I loved riding in the rain as I had no need dry off and be presentable. We visited Dana's friend Page, who offered us food and let us play Garage Band (more on this later) but then Dana got a call and we needed to be home -stat- We took a different route and powered home. Gently uphill, 8.5 miles. Red lights aside, I believe we broke the land-speed record for inner city cycling. That was scary, by the way.

Ren arrived, finally. She was lost but only because we weren't able to provide her directions until we got home. I played Portal while we waited. We had dinner at my new favorite restaurant, Moto**. Let me tell you why this is the most wonderful restaurant ever. It's set in the 1930s. Everything from the live band they had, to the music they played while the band took a break, to the food and drink selection to the presentation.... By the time I started desert, I felt like I was in another world. A simpler world where there were no cell phones or digital interruptions or oil shortages or nuclear weapons. I felt right at home. Desert was chilled pudding and it was orgasmic. I enjoyed, thoroughly, every spoonful. It was perfectly rich, not too dark. But oh, it was dark. and good. I savored it slowly while listening to the most wonderful music. The moment was perfect. I cannot accurately describe how much I enjoyed that dinner. Just go. Go and soak it all in. There is no diet soda, they don't do credit cards, they brought a wine bottle with water in it: it refracted and bent the light of the candles so beautifully. Everything was simple and old. I love it and cannot wait to go back. After desert I drifted home like a fluffy cloud.

Regarding Garage Band
I've never played the drums in Garage Band before. At Page's house I experimented with them on two songs; first on easy, then on medium. One thing I noticed about the drums in this game that differs from the guitars, is that as soon as you start (easy) you've got all five buttons in use, and you're already hitting multiple drums at once. I'm happy to find that the progression of difficulty in this instrument is that you must hold multiple rhythms with different hands/foot. This skill can be taken to a real drum set and immediately applied. This is in addition to the coordination that you'd enhance just playing the guitar portions. Certainly, you can improve your range/control with the vocal section.... but I didn't play that section of the game.

*I will find the name of the restaurant and put it here.
**Moto is at 394 Broadway (at Hooper St.), Brooklyn, NY 11211 phone: 718-599-6895, but the year is 1936.

2008-06-22

Traveling

7pm, Boston Express bus, Slightly North of Boston.
"Argh!"
I'm on the bus, sitting next to Kyle, who has informed me that there is a power outlet next to us. awesome! Kyle is going to boston to the symphony, I'm going to catch a train. The fact that I'm on the bus is important, as I missed the first bus.

Here's the story: I packed a bit before karate, but clearly not enough. I ate and practiced cello before my lesson, and Mr. Beiniek offered to let me stay late but I had a bus to catch. Drat!

I raced home, and by raced I mean -the speed limit- I packed quickly, literally throwing stuff into my bag. I grabbed my garment bag and -ran- to the bus station. I have 15 minutes to get there, and it's 1.5 miles. It's 80F, I'm sweating abundantly, I have 2 minutes to spare, and the nice lady behind the counter says the bus already left.

Oops. Without shouting at anyone, I left. My anger showed on my face and my pace out the door. Mom came to the rescue but there was no way we could make the train, it would simply take too long. We ate and I called amtrak, who were angels and simply moved my reservation later. Yes! We picked up some food and water (because I didn't have time to pack them the first time) and Mom dropped me off at the bus station and continued on her day. I owe you Big Time, Thanks Mom.

Neil Gaiman's second(?) book of short stories: Fragile Things will be my primary source of entertainment until my train (Amtrak #169) arrives in NYC at 10:50pm. I have an hour layover in South Station where I hope to buy another book. I brought three but the other two are comic books (flight, volumes 1 and 2).

8:35pm, 'The Quiet Cabin', Amtrak train 169 in Some Part of Conn.
"Things Forgotten"
I ate my dinner in South Station without napkins. One other item I've forgotten: iPod power/connection cable. Hopefully my NYC friend, Dana, will have some way to charge it. If I had a digital camera worth taking, I would have brought it. The sunset alone would have been worth it.

This is The Quiet Cabin, no cell phones please. Please be courteous to those around you. Please keep all conversation hushed and to a minimum. Please turn off all electronic equipment that beeps or makes noise of any kind. I've been listening to my iPod for several hours, now I'm listening to my laptop because it's plugged in. There is a power outlet in plain sight right next to me. Mom, you would also like to know that this cabin is clean, even the windows have recently been washed. The cabin lights and AC are on. There is plenty of room for both of my carry on items, though I had to take my bicycle helmet out of my backpack and put it up overhead wih my garment bag. When I put the bag up there, I was very afraid I would forget it. I was also afraid I'd fall asleep and miss my stop (the train goes to Washington DC), as I was a zombie for the first 2 hours in the train; consequently I have been remixing my naptime playlist with quiet music I can sleep to. Infrequently the power will go out in the cabin, as I'm sure it happens with all cabins and subway cars. I do not see this as a problem. Since the AC and lights go out, the cabin becomes even more peaceful. This never happens for more than a minute or two, but those trying to read probably do not enjoy it as much as I do =)

It's just now getting dark outside. Soon there won't be enough light for me to see out the windows. I should have tried to talk to the girl behind me. I didn't want to interrupt, and this *is* the quiet cabin....

With nearly 2 hours left in this leg of my commute, I'm going to try to take a nap, though I am curious what I could find in the snack car...
*listening to Satie: Gymnopédies - 1. Lent Et Douloureux

2:21am, The Couch, Dana's apartment, NYC
After a seemingly endless subway ride, fried chicken (for Dana), and hours of Rock Band, I'm finally calling it a night.

What a day!

2008-06-20

Bike Log, day 50

On day fifty I took my time, though i still managed a good average speed

22:52, 6.5mi
59F, Odo 1040mi
avg 17.1mph, max 25.6mph


Not bad for such little effort =)

[Ride home. I didn't have time to write this up yesterday, I had to rush to karate. More on that later.]

I powered home, pushing from the start for a record. It started raining partway home, about 4 minutes from home so I tucked my iPod into the rainproof pocket on my camelback, behind my head while riding (I even managed to zip it mostly closed; it was safe and dry, don't worry). The rain started light, but quickly turned into a deluge. The raindrops were large and pelting me. I suppose I should mention that I was only wearing bike shorts and a helmet. Anyway, I was cruising for a good time, but hit traffic at the end. I spent a minute (my cyclometer stops after 5 seconds) waiting by a the lamp post in the pouring rain. My sunglasses were a total obstruction to my vision. Finally there was a break in traffic and I bolted. I pushed as hard as I could, flew to my front door and retreated from the rain. Did I mention the thunder? Regardless, here are the stats:

19:55, 6.5mi
69F, Odo 1046mi
avg 19.7mph, max 37.4mph


Not bad max speed, this and 19:55 would have been a record once.

2008-06-19

To Read: Kent's Bike Blog

Kent's Bike Blog: Carfree
This is a family of four that lives without a car. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but here's a choice quote:

People who don't ride or walk seem to think our way of getting around must be tiring or draining. The truth is that we need both stress and rest to build strength and stamina. A life of ease, where your only effort is clicking a mouse or pressing a gas pedal, will lead you to a place where every effort is draining, every step a struggle.

Bike Log, day 49

Zzzzzzz....... But I rode anyway.

22:19, 6.5mi
59F, Odo 1026mi
avg 17.5mph, max 28.7mph


No records today, and that's fine. Some days, success means just getting out of bed. On the other hand, 17.5mph average speed isn't bad at all.

[Ride Home]

I pushed and nearly broke my record, but was slowed by traffic.

19.23, 6.5mi
79F, Odo 1033mi
avg 20.3mph, max 37.9mph


Excellent average speed, incredible max speed (without drafting) and overall a great ride. Nothing to be upset about here!

2008-06-18

Bike Log, day 48

I did not realize how sore my legs would be this morning. Not enough to eat, not enough sleep, not enough stretching.... but I still rode in:

22:41, 6.5mi
57F, Odo 1013mi
avg 17.2mph, max 25.0mph


The new seat is a total win: it was instantly more comfortable, and stayed that way. I can't wait to use it on a long ride! Oddly enough, my knees hurt this morning, but that could have been due to the kicking in last night's class. *reminder: bring bo staff to karate tomorrow

[After work]
This was not a bad ride, seems on the slow side, honestly.

20:18, 6.5mi
77F, Odo 1020mi
avg 19.3mph, max 31.9mph


Time for bed! zzz...

2008-06-17

Kōhai

My kōhai (read: student*) Jacob, passed his test! I'm so proud of him! We both worked so hard for this, and Jacob stayed positive through the worst of it, and clearly practiced hard. I lifted him up and gave him a big huge squishing hug today after class. He's a little genius, always thinking. I'm honored to work with him. Yay!

*I'm his mentor. None of the other Japanese relationship stuff applies. I just lead and guide and help. He works hard to succeed.

Get Firefox

This post made from Firefox 3. Go set a world record by downloading it today!

2008-06-14

Recital

Rondeau (Theme from Masterpiece Theatre)


Some favorites:
Moon over the Ruined Castle from Suzuki Cello School Vol. 2
then G Major p.43 and G Minor p.46 from Kummer Violoncello Method

Mileage Cont.

I thought I'd peaked my car last week at 31mpg, but I thought wrong. This week I put 342.2 miles down on 10.32 gallons of gas. That's 33.2mpg, and I'm certain I can do better! Woohoo!
When I bought it (used) the mpg rating was "23 city, 29 highway." I never managed to get more than 28 mpg on the highway, until now.

Stats: 2002 Mazda Protege 5 sportwagon, 180k miles. 4 cylinder 5speed, midnight blue.

2008-06-13

Bike Log, day 47: One Thousand Miles

One Thousand Miles.

22:57, 6.6mi
54F, Odo 1000mi
avg 17.2mph, max 27.5mph


Where did that extra tenth of a mile come from? With an average speed of 17.2mph, I should have a better time than 22:57... Oh well, the mysteries of life =)

Riding with the larger backpack with a couple of liters of water, loose sweatpants and windbreaker must have slowed me down. Extra weight plus extra wind resistance = slow
Still, not a bad ride for 1000 miles!

[After work]
My bag seemed heavier on the way home, despite the water I drank during the day. I had another number irregularity, but all in all, this was not a bad ride.

20:24, 6.6mi
82F, Odo 1007mi
avg 19.3mph, max 31.2mph


Yay good day!

2008-06-12

Bike Log, day 46

This morning I could not seem to get out of bed. This doesn't show on my time, though:

21:06, 6.5mi
64F, Odo 987mi
avg 18.6mph, max 28.7mph


It turns out that 64F is slightly too cold to ride in shirtless.

[After work edit]
I forgot to reset the timer. Woops! Let's see what we can salvage:
40:30, 13.2mi, avg 19.5, max 33.9

19:24, 6.7mi,
80F, Odo 993mi
avg 19.1mph, max 33.9mph


I don't feel this time accurately represents how long it took me to get here, because the clock was running when I walked my bike away from the garage and when I spun the crank to change the gears before I started the ride. That may have added 10 seconds, maybe more. That doesn't break any records, but I just don't feel it's accurate.

2008-06-11

Bike Log, day 45

Last night we had a tremendous thunderstorm. The rain broke the heat, so this morning was a comfortable 70F. I stayed up too late, and woke up during the storm; I wore a shirt while riding in. Clearly, shirtless and well rested is the fast way, I'm certain the smaller bag helps, too. Still, this time would have broken records before Monday.

21:43, 6.5mi
70F, Odo 974mi
avg 18.1mph, max 29.0mph


I'm due to break one thousand miles today. 6 more after work, plus 20 after karate puts me right at 1000mi. Woo!!

[After work]
Not a bad time at all!

19:30, 6.5mi
90F, Odo 980mi
avg 20.1mph, max 38.2mph


Tonight I will remember to wear my sunglasses =)

[After Karate]
I forgot my cycling shorts. No padding for 20 miles would hurt too much so i drove home =(
I'll break 1000 miles tomorrow or Friday

2008-06-10

Bike Log, day 44

I'm staying consistent!

20:33, 6.5mi
72F, Odo 942mi
avg 19.2mph, max 28.7mph


I'm really satisfied with this time and average speed, because I had been worried that yesterday might be a fluke.
My calculations say I'll reach one thousand miles on Thursday.

[After work edit]
This was the most grueling ride I've ever done, it was much harder than the 75 mile ride. I broke another record!!

1:20:13, 24.7mi
102F, Odo 967mi
avg 18.4mph, max 32.1mph


Amazing. In this heat I still took a minute off my long ride time.

2008-06-09

Bike Log, day 43: FAST

AWESOME ride in! I rode in shirtless, with just my small camelbak for water.
Today

20:14(!), 6.5mi
72F, Odo 909mi
avg 19.4mph, max 31.8mph
Previous Best (5/8)

22:44, 6.5mi
57F, Odo 449mi
avg 17.2mph, max 25.9mph







I'm beside myself. Typically I struggle to reach 17mph average speed. This is four minutes faster than last week, and TWO FULL MINUTES faster than when I drafted a dump truck!

It must have been the sushi.

[Ride Home]
I did it: I even beat my ride home time!

18:55, 6.5mi
99F, Odo 915mi
avg 20.8mph, max 35.6mph

WOOHOO!! What a day!

[Last Edit]
After covering at the Karate studio, I left my car at Marie's and rode home. There is much to be said for the amount of bugs I ran into on the way home, but I will only say this: wear eye protection, and keep your mouth closed.
I left my cyclometer here by mistake, however I kept a pretty good eye on the time. I broke another record. and reached my goal

1:00:00, 21.2mi
?F, Odo 936mi
avg 21mph

This beats my previous time by eight minutes! Wow!!

2008-06-08

Heat

My, is it hot out today. I tanned outside while writing up some karate techniques (only 5 left to write up, out of 128!) and though I used plenty of sunscreen, had to come inside to keep from burning.

Even with all the windows open and a fan on full blast, it's still sweltering up in my room. I've decided to see if I can manage this summer without an Air Conditioner for two reasons: the electric bill and freon.

So I took cold showers to keep cool. Refreshing!

Anyway, I'm starving so I used this as motivation to work out:
50 pushups, 50 crunches, short freeweight workout for arms/shoulders
100 side crunches (50 a side), 50 pushups.
Having accomplished that goal, I will now go have sushi!

The plan for next week is 100 miles on the bike, 160 in the car. It may turn out to be more like 130 or 150 though. We'll see.

2008-06-06

Bike Log, day 42: Rain

Today it was pouring on the way into work. I left my towel at home by accident. After wringing out my sweatpants, under-armor long sleeve shirt, gloves, and socks; I have said items hanging up around my cube somewhat inconspicuously. Except for the bright day-glow green jacket, which is probably the most conspicuous garment ever. I had to stop multiple times to make adjustments. It was raining more than I expected, so I threw my iPod into the bag to stay dry. I needed to adjust my right pant leg multiple times, as it kept catching on the top sprocket. In spite of this, I managed a time that was not my worst ever:

24:08, 6.6mi
55F, Odo 897mi
avg 16.3mph, max 25.3mph


The only thing that convinced me to ride today: I knew I'd break 900 miles.

[after work edit]
That's it, 902 miles.

18:25, 5.4mi
63F, Odo 902mi
avg 17.7mph, max 30.3mph


Oops, I forgot to check the cyclometer when I started, so it wasn't connected and I missed the first mile.

2008-06-05

Bike Log, day 41

It was cold out this morning, though my cyclometer says it's 59F, the humidity made it feel colder. Honestly, I was only cold at the beginning of the ride; by the end I felt hot and sweaty. Ah humidity, my old nemesis.

23:46, 6.5mi
59F, Odo 883mi
avg 16.5mph, max 27.1mph


As for pedaling, I've been focusing on using both legs at the same time, pulling and pushing. Not just when I need the extra power, but all the time. It makes for a much smoother ride: instead of push coast, push coast, push coast; one leg after the other, we have one long continuous glide. I liken it to a regular 4 cylinder engine vs a rotary engine: continuous power, all along the rotation. Of course, using two legs at once is also going to give me more power. Hopefully I can increase that power output and still maintain my endurance. In theory, this should increase my average speed, unless I burn out.

[after work]

21:21, 6.6mi
64F, Odo 890mi
avg 18.5mph, max 28.7mph


Looks like I'm finally getting back into the groove. I still have no idea how I managed an average speed of 20mph last month.

2008-06-04

Bike Log, day 40

Rainy morning, I didn't go to bed on time, so of course the ride in was slow:

25:14, 6.5mi
61F, Odo 870mi
avg 15.5mph, max 25.2mph
*rain


Hopefully the rain cuts the heat and will bring the temperature down. Yesterday's ride was the sweatiest ever.

After work I rode straight to the bike shop, where they adjusted the new cleats. Turns out they were way forward. I'll have to make a long (25 miles or more) trip to really tell the difference, however it should make a difference all the time.

24:59, 7.0mi
70F, Odo 877mi
avg 16.9mph, max 25.5mph
*light rain, cold
I wonder when I'll break one thousand miles =)

2008-06-03

Bike Log, day 39

Another 24 minute ride in. At least this one seemed comfortable.

24:19, 6.5mi
57F, Odo 838mi
avg 16.1mph, max 27.7mph


I finally bought the new pedals, Shimano R540, and Body Geometry shoes. The shoes actually fit. So far they are more comfortable and more stiff than my old shoes (this is a good thing). Unfortunately the pedal/shoes cleat seems to be loose, compared to my old cant-twist-if-you-tried pedals. Maybe I just need to tighten the new ones.

After work will be 25 miles to Manchester. Woo!

The ride home was unfortunately unspectacular. It was smooth, except for when I had to step back into my new pedals. they -do not- work like the old ones. I cannot just push down on them. Pushing down on the pedal before a connection is made results in slipping off the pedal and getting punched in the groin by the seat. Usually this is while you are trying to cross an intersection in traffic. Ouch.

1:21:20, 24.7mi
90F, Odo 863mi
avg 18.2mph, max 33.3mph
*hot and humid


Miserable time, due to possible factors: hot + humid = death, 75mile ride on Sunday.
Still, 18.2mph average speed for 24.7 miles is not bad at all. I wonder if I could maintain that speed for 50, 75, 100 miles. Of course, the route being mostly flat helps.
[edit: NEW BEST TIME! I knew the ride felt smooth, I don't know why I never checked against the scoreboard first. This is actually 7 seconds better! Yay!]

Also, this was the sweatiest ride I've ever done. Thankfully I could take a (cool) shower afterwards. Cold, refreshing water is my favorite thing in the world.

2008-06-02

Bike Log, day 38

After yesterday's Monster Ride, I'm satisfied with just getting out of bed this morning.

24:28, 6.5mi
54F, Odo 824mi
avg 16.0mph, max 27.5mph


Look at that, 824 miles since March! Wow!

[home again...]

20:43, 6.5mi
80F, Odo 830mi
avg 18.9mph, max 31.9mph
*sweaty ride


The weather was perfect but I've never sweat like this before. Eew!

2008-06-01

Monster Ride details

I rode with my co-worker C___ today. Here's the trail map. The weather was perfect. It was not too hot, and a gentle breeze kept us cool but not cold. Perfect.

After that 56 miles, I rode 20 more miles home.

4:58:42, 75.3mi
80-88F, Odo 817mi
avg 15.0mph, max 46.2mph
*perfect weather


As for the average speed, I let C___ set the pace and we ran into hundreds of red lights. We took breaks every 10 miles, including one large break at 30mi

At top speed, I was in top gear and pedaling as fast as possible. My bike is not geared to go much faster than 40, and that's ok with me. Sure, I could roll down a steeper hill faster, but I have no desire to do that, I'd be out of control.

During this ride, a new corvette convertible pulled out next to me. I shouted "wanna race?" and laid some rubber down. They smiled, seemed like nice people. I let them win, of course.

This was an excellent ride, and I can't wait to do it again.

2008-05-30

Proposed Monster Ride

This weekend one of my co-workers is doing a practice run for the MS150 (it's 150 miles across two days), so he has a 68 mile route planned for Sunday.

I hope to join him. Some part of me wants to ride the 20 miles up to Manchester, then do this 68 mile ride, then ride the 20 miles back home. that's 108miles. I am not sure I'm ready for that.

So here's the plan. Drive up to Manchester. Ride 68 miles. Ride 20 miles home. ride to & from work on Monday, ride to work Tuesday, ride to Manchester after work; karate, drive home.

After a brief checkup, I noticed my back tire is flat.
Again.

I will replace the tube with a new one, patch the old one and buy another new tube tomorrow, along with some energy bars and gels. I will meditate and get enough rest. Wish me luck.

2008-05-29

Mileage

If you have read anything about hypermiling, you know there are techniques to help improve your gas mileage. I have been driving at or below the speed limit consistently, accelerating slowly, decelerating slowly, using cruise control whenever possible, and generally just not driving fast.

This accomplishes two things.
a) Most importantly: Reduced Stress. I have enough things stressing me out on a daily basis. I do tech support. Holy Stress Batman! Driving slower is one of the biggest factors to help me reduce stress.
b) Saving Money on Gas. Who doesn't need that?

I filled my tank today, and was astonished when I noticed I'd driven 312.7 miles on 9.88 gallons of gas. I usually cannot pull more than 300 miles from a full tank, let alone 10 gallons.
That's 31.6mpg! My car has over 130k miles on it. Very impressive!
Biking to work helps, because I'm not using the car for short distances, so it's all highway miles.

Yay!

Bike Log, day 37

My ride in was acceptable, given that I realized I'd forgotten my breakfast cereal 2 miles into my ride...

30:27, 8.5mi
40/48F, Odo 735mi
avg 16.7mph, max 26.4mph


The ride home, however, was epic.

19:51(!), 6.5mi
81F, Odo 742mi
avg 19.8mph, max 43.2mph


That max speed was standalone. No drafting, just hard work. Yay!

2008-05-28

Bike Log, day 36

I set a new record today, that's right, and I worked hard for it. You can tell. Check out these numbers:

25:14, 6.5mi
50F, Odo 720mi
avg 15.5mph, max 25.2mph


Oh yes, that's right, I've never gone this slow on the road bike before. There may be several factors at work here: not enough to eat last night... not stretching this morning... not having a substantial breakfast... or just a general feeling of laziness. It could be anything!
Let's be honest for a second. I didn't push hard at all. I coasted, pushing just enough to keep a moderate pace, though I never stopped peddling Until the end, where I pushed slightly harder but still at a moderate pace.
This isn't a race, but I'm still setting new records every day! =)

[after work edit]
The ride home was slow, too; I wasn't trying to set any records.

21:03, 6.5mi
75F, Odo 727mi
avg 18.6mph, max 35.0mph

The artists out there may enjoy this site: jenwang.net
And now: a bite to eat, some cello practice, and off to Luke's cello recital!

2008-05-27

Zzzz...

No biking today, due to getting home after midnight last night, but the weekend was awesome!

I went to the beach with a good friend yesterday. It was extraordinarily windy. The wind made it cold, even out in the sun. I dove in anyway.
Afterwards was Indiana Jones! We both enjoyed the film very much.

2008-05-25

Bike Log Weekend: Forty Miles

My goal was 40 miles in one day. I reached that goal.

To Manchester:
1:05:18, 19.1mi
79F, Odo 688mi
avg 17.5mph, max 33.4mph

Back Home
1:08:22, 21.1mi
68F, Odo 714mi
avg 18.5mph, max 39.2mph

Total time: 2h13m40s, 40.2miles, average speed 18mph, maximum speed 39.2mph.

Notes:
*That max speed was down a very steep hill, toward an intersection. If it had been better lit without potholes and without traffic, I would have a new top speed of fourty-something un-assisted. As is, I'm satisfied with being in one piece, thankyouverymuch.

*Do not eat half a rack of ribs and two bowls of ice cream directly before a 20 mile ride. I can tell you from experience: eat well in advance of a long ride. I was hurting for 18 miles at least.

Now I think a shower is in order. Ta-ta.