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Month: April 2006 (Page 1 of 3)

workout log: 29 april 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac, MD
Distance: 37.4 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 2:23
Weather: sunny, 67 degrees
Avg HR: 156 (max: 171)
Type: aerobic

After a morning painting at Shaw Middle School as part of Hands On DC, I went on this nice, meandering ride. The weather was perfect, and I had a blast improvising the route. I did an intense hill on the Great Falls access road, which added some extra challenge to the latter half of the ride. It also put me over 300 miles for April – yay!

preserve internet neutrality


Save the Net Now
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee defeated an amendment to the the Barton-Rush Act, a bill that will affect the broadband telecommunications industry. This particular amendment requires the internet to be “neutral,” and would prevent phone and cable companies from instituting tolls and pay-as-you-go pricing for internet services.

However, after yesterday’s 34-22 vote to defeat the amendment, this neutrality is in jeopardy. GOP House leadership is on the side of the telecommunications giants, who want to squeeze every cent from their customers’ wallets while padding their executives’ bankrolls. It’s unfair to internet users, and it’s yet another seemingly unconstitutional barrier to truly free speech.

The solution? Contact congress and ask them to preserve one of the last havens of open dialogue and discourse. This isn’t merely a liberal cause, as the entire political spectrum – from Daily Kos to Instapundit – stands behind internet neutrality.

Click here to find out more.

workout log: 27 april 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Hains Point, DC
Distance: 17.0 miles (flat)
Duration: 1:05
Weather: partly cloudy, 72 degrees
Avg HR: 131 (max: 148)
Type: aerobic

A recovery ride (“zone 2” in the CTS scale) to take advantage of some postcard weather and get in some more miles. I tried to keep my heart rate under 135 while riding laps at Hains Point, which meant that I was passed many times by riders from NCVC. That’s fair – their ride was a faster-paced training ride, whereas mine was simply a chance to get the legs moving without the high intensity of my other rides this week. The Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials looked great, and the spring softball leagues were playing at the West Potomac Park fields.

it was 20 years ago today…

On April 26, 1986, there was a nuclear accident in Chernobyl, USSR (now Ukraine).

And I remember where I was when I heard the news: I was on a school outing to Mesa Verde National Park. Our group from Rowland Hall – St. Mark’s School was camping in the Morefield Campground, and I happened to hear the news at the little convenience store, where I was buying a bottle of juice. I was there with one of the chaperones of the trip, Court Richards, and we discussed the impact on the way back to our campsite:

  • How many people in the area would die?
  • How much would the fallout affect the USSR and Eastern Europe?
  • Would the fallout make it to the United States?
  • Would it affect us?

It was a lot to fathom for a seventh grader – the confusion of puberty is enough for a kid who wasn’t quite 13 years old, and adding the weight of a nuclear accident was a lot to process. We’d all lived in the era of MAD theory, with Reagan and Gorbachev having their fingers on the nuclear weapons trigger, in a seemingly-endless standoff. The previous year, we’d seen the famine in Ethiopia, with images that haunted our sleep for months.

And now, 350 miles from home, we were hearing about something quite scary.

So we talked, as a group, around the campfire that night. The two adult chaperones, the high school “semi-chaperone” who was a ski racer like me, and 15-or-so seventh and eighth graders who were asking all the questions and sharing their fears – and hopes – with the group.

I guess this is probably my first “JFK moment” – one of those times in history where you’ll remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. And it’s still sad to look at it today: the photos of the abandoned towns and structures still make me get a little choked up, thinking of how many people either died immediately, or were killed by radiation poisoning in subsequent months and years. And I think of those who have moved back, against all suggestions from authorities, defiantly reclaiming their homes and land, regardless of the risk.

“It was 20 years ago today…”

workout log: 25 april 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle, DC > Potomac/Avenel, MD
Distance: 27.6 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 1:39
Weather: mostly cloudy and breezy, 75 degrees
Avg HR: 158 (max: 185)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Downtown Breakaway” ride. Same route as last week, which was fine. There were thunderstorms threatening during the second half, which thankfully held off until later this evening. I felt good, even though I ended up leading the A/BB group about halfway through the ride – I was the only one who knew the route, it seems. The muscles that tightened last time were fine this time ’round (perhaps the banana I ate as a mid-afternoon snack helped with that). I’m also riding with greater intensity (a “zone 3-4,” for those who follow the CTS system), which is a better experience for me.

Also, I did a weight check today, and found that I’ve lost 6.5 pounds in the past 5 weeks – so the miles are helping.

mmmm…. cone

Sam knows all about the inherent goodness of cone. If you add ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet to it, it achieves nirvana.

Can you tell that today is Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day?

My cone was topped with strawberry ice cream – positively divine!

late night observations

A few things for the late night:

  1. Today’s definitely a recovery day. I got home from work and reading for class, plopped into the living room chair, and fell asleep for a 30-minute power nap. After that, I cooked turkey and TVP chili – yum!
  2. The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson just had The Wiggles on as the musical guest. That’s right: a group that plays for toddlers was on at 1:25 in the morning – when their target audience is supposed to be asleep. To the show’s credit, the studio audience had many children in attendance.
  3. The Tuesday “Downtown Breakaway” ride might be stymied by predicted thunderstorms, which would be a drag. I’m looking forward to a good ride, but it might have to wait a few more days.
  4. We have company coming this weekend, and The Burrow needs some more cleaning. But the bathroom is mostly done – the worst parts I tackled last night.

workout log: 23 april 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle, DC > Potomac, MD
Distance: 45.9 miles (hilly, then mostly flat)
Duration: 2:08 (first 39.0 miles) & 0:48 (last 6.9 miles)
Weather: sunny, 70 degrees
Avg HR: 158 (max. 183) & 140
Type: aerobic

This was one ride, but in two phases.

The first phase was a hardcore ride: going at a high pace, high-exertion level. This, my heart rate was up quite a bit. But I had an average speed of 17.5 mph. for this part, and I felt good: excellent pace, no muscle cramp, good fluid and electrolyte intake. My prep for metric and English centuries goes quite well.

The second phase was tacked on when sprite called me from her ride, wondering if I’d like to join her for the return leg. She was on the C&O Canal Towpath, so I rode down through Georgetown (I was a mile from home when she called), joined the muddy path, and rode out to meet her at Fletcher’s Boathouse. This ride was a good cool down ride, and also great for working on an even spin and balance (a road bike on a muddy trail is not exactly the most stable of beasts). And we saw geese, ducks, turtles and cormorants, which was simply wonderful.

i’m no maryscott (and that’s a good thing)

This past weekend, the Washington Post ran a profile of frequent Daily Kos author Maryscott O’Connor. In “The Left, Online and Outraged”, O’Connor is painted as a loud, extremist nut. Her response, posted on her My Left Wing blog, doesn’t do much to disagree with the Post’s conclusions: that Maryscott – and the majority of the left-wing blogosphere – is angry and militant.

And frankly, from reading her posts over the past few years, I have a hard time believing she’s anything but, or that quite a bit of the liberal and progressive blogosphere doesn’t fall into the same basic description. And they have every right to do what they do, spreading the word, exposing the theocons for the maniupulative thieves that many in power are, and keep the fires burning.

The problem is: they don’t represent the entirety of the liberal and progressive movement in the United States – they’re just the most overtly vocal. And therein lies the rub: as they’re the ones being covered by the media, they’re seen as the de facto spokespeople for all progressives and liberals. And because they come across as (at least) mildly weird and wild, they’re easy pickings for the conservative politicos and media:

“See those Democrats? They’re loony! They’re a bunch of left-wing nuts – how can we trust them?”

Read More

workout log: 18 april 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle, DC > Potomac/Avenel, MD
Distance: 27.6 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 1:41
Weather: sunny, 70 degrees
Avg HR: 136 (max: 165)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Downtown Breakaway” ride. Each week has a slightly different, slightly longer route, owing to longer daylight hours as summer approaches. Today’s route included the Mountain Gate hill in Avenel: 3/4 mile of steep, unrelenting hill. Basically, you’re stuck in whatever gear you start in at the bottom, so planning is key. It catches new riders by surprise, and the swearing heard among the ranks of fast, new riders as you pass them is quite an experience. But I managed to keep up with the fast BB/slow A riders today, even after their paceline made a break on the ride back along MacArthur Boulevard – my solo spin on moderately flat terrain is getting better. I think they broke away when I developed a tiny cramp in my right calf. It worked its way out as I spun along (higher cadence in a slightly lower gear – about 106 rpm. – allows for the quadriceps to take over for a while). Allergies didn’t do much, with a slightly runny nose that was easily cleared.

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