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Month: November 2007 Page 1 of 2

workout log: 24 november 2007

View from (near) the topActivity: alpine skiing
Location: Mount Snow, VT
Vertical Feet skied: 16,000 (approx.)
Weather: sunny, windy and cold, 14-26 degrees
Avg HR: 140 (max 165)
Type: anaerobic

First day on the slopes for the 2007-08 season. I’d brought my boots and poles with me to sprite’s folks’ place for Thanksgiving, hoping that one of the southern Vermont resorts would have semi-decent skiing. Mount Snow, having been bought recently by Peak Resorts, has new snowmaking infrastructure (over $2 million in new pumps and guns), and the result is impressive. While Vermont hasn’t seen a lot of natural snow, and Thanksgiving brought rain and fog, the slopes were covered in a consistently thick, soft coating of man-made snow (see the pictures for proof – they did a bang-up job!).

The one thing that was lacking was a plethora of trails – easily understandable, as it takes a lot of snowmaking to cover a single trail. The resort had about 7 trails running, allowing skiers of abilities to find something that worked for them. And from my first run at 8:15 am until around 11:15 am, it was easy to find open space to let the skis run or pick your own line down the trail. But once the crowds turned out, the lack of available terrain became a liability: too many skiers for too little skiable slope space. So I packed it in by 1:30 pm.

I demoed a pair of Dynastar Contact 11ST skis for the day, courtesy of Alpine Traders, a ski shop on Route 100 in Dover, VT. They were skis from last year’s demo fleet, which were on sale for $300. The shop’s owner rented them to me for $20 (their usual rental rate for a basic set of skis), seeing that I wanted some performance skis. And they were great skis: stable on the ice (and there was some, thanks to the Thanksgiving rain), quick, yet solid at speed. They were a few steps above the Dynastar Contact 9 skis that I used in Austria, as well as 13 cm. longer – and that made a world of difference in terms of my enjoyment.

My big toes aren’t happy with me from the day’s skiing, so I think I’m going to get some new liners and footbeds for my boots in the next few weeks – a Christmas present to myself. My feet will be grateful.

hope you’ve made it past 6th grade…

Junior High Approved?…if you’re reading this blog.

Apparently, the posts on the front page of randomduck.com meet the basic grammar requirements for junior high school. For all I know, the algorithm used is similar to the one in Microsoft Word, which often makes me fearful for the hapless, rudderless students who actually heed its grammatical guidance while writing essays or college applications.

Perhaps I need to delve a little deeper into the land of the Oxford English Dictionary while wielding the digital pen, as I’d rather achieve the mark of elocution reserved for the alumni of the hallowed halls of higher academia.


(Hat tip to James for this bit of random meme fun.)

thank you, saul

I just read that Saul Raisin, a pro cyclist who almost died due to a head injury sustained in a 2006 race yet staged a remarkable comeback this past summer, is being forced into retirement after doctors ruled a full-time resumption of racing too dangerous.

Saul is a great racer, a brave man, and an all-around nice guy. I saw him training in the Utah canyons this past summer, simply enjoying being on the bike again after almost losing his life (or what he knew of it) only 14 months prior. He was really giving it his all to come back to professional cycling, and there were many of us who truly believed that he would be back on the start line for Crédi Agricole in the spring of 2008.

Yet it is not to be.

And Saul is fine with that.

He’s happy with all he has achieved in life, and has many years ahead of him to explore the rest of his journey. His fiancée, Aleeza Zabriskie (sister of Dave Zabriskie, another pro cyclist), has a great man with whom to share the experience.

Bravo, Saul, for showing us that it’s possible to turn a mountain of life’s lemons into a very positive, refreshing and rewarding tankard of lemonade.

Thank you.

giving thanks

It’s been a great Thanksgiving.

Granted, the drive up here was hellish. Traffic in Maryland was very, very slow, and the flow didn’t really clear until after the Delaware toll plaza. From there, it was smooth sailing, though we’d lost a lot of time by then. We arrived in Connecticut after 3 am, and I’d hit a second (or third) wind, so I didn’t fall asleep until after 5 am.

So I slept in ’til 10:30, which meant missing a lot of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But I saw a bit (cheesy as ever – Wynona Judd forgot to lip-sync her part when the NBC cameras trained on her), and enjoyed the late-morning coffee and donuts.

In the afternoon, I did a bit of surgery on my PowerBook, upgrading its internal hard drive from a 40GB unit to a new, quiet 160GB model. I used SuperDuper to clone the 40GB drive to my new drive, which was temporarily housed in an external enclosure. After the cloning, I swapped out the drives, and since then it’s been very nice. I’m especially pleased with the improved power use of the new drive – I was able to squeeze at least 45 minutes more use out of the old ‘Book’s battery, which is saying a lot.

Dinner was really great, too. This year, the prep wasn’t nearly as frenetic as in past years, as a lot of the dishes were cooked ahead of time. So most of the work was in reheating and plating the dishes, all of which turned out great. And we have plenty of leftovers for the next few days – yum!

(And yes, Roly, there was plenty of pie!)

We spent the evening watching the entertaining mockumentary, Pittsburgh, starring Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley, Jr., Illeana Douglas, and many other notables as…. themselves. It was bizarre, but very entertaining. I’m not sure if sprite or her family felt the same way, though.

Now it’s time to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be laid back. I may shop, may not – the whole “Black Friday” thing isn’t really my thing, as I can find similar deals almost every day through a bit of research, and I don’t like the mindset of rabid shoppers. I was going to go skiing tomorrow, but decided that it would be a good idea to let the resorts make snow tomorrow, as today was a bit warm and hurt the snowpack.

(And one brief bit of political praise – really – for Se. Harry Reid, who refused to put the senate in recess over the holiday break. He did this to prevent Bush from making any recess appointments to open cabinet and other positions. All I can say is kudos, Harry – it’s about time you actually stood up to BushCo!)

to the north we go

Driving north for Thanksgiving.

May the traffic gods be kind.

And may New Jersey drivers be trapped at the Paramus malls.

a quick bike thought

It’s cool to see tech that was developed when you were first in college enter into the world of bicycle design. Too cool.

(Hat tip to Adam.)

a fall ritual

We’re in the midst of a seasonal rationalization (per British English, reorganization and integration), which has resulted in a few key discoveries (or, in many senses, reality checks):

  • We have far too many clothes. I know I’m a pack rat, and that I have a hard time letting go of some of the simplest things. In cleaning the bedroom, I discovered many clothes that I just don’t wear anymore. I’m going to try and adhere to the “if you haven’t worn it for a whole year, it’s not worth keeping” rule and give the local Goodwill a nice donation.
  • Things that were “lost” were really buried underneath layers of hastily-moved stuff. Looking for sheets and pillowcases that match? Check under the blankets that were moved into the bedroom in a rush. Looking for that folk music book? Probably hidden behind a duffel bag or two, filled with ski clothes.
  • Dust adheres to everything, given the opportunity.
  • Whoever invented the Swiffer cloth should be given a medal and a promotion. The things are magical in their ability to capture dust and keep it from spreading during the trip to the dustbin.
  • Nothing makes an upright vacuum seem new like a new belt. Our old Eureka now has great suckitude – in a good way.
  • If you have to do a lot of laundry, be sure you jump whenever the washer and dryer and free – and have adequate quarters at hand. Ah, apartment living!
  • It’s amazing what you can cram into all of the little spaces in an English basement apartment. Sometimes, it’s a bit like the clown cars at a Shriners convention: things just appear as if from nowhere. Perhaps all of the hours playing Tetris in high school and college have worked into my psyche to the point where I subliminally pack things in a geometrically “tight” manner. Or maybe contents settle during shipping.

All this is a precursor to our annual tree trimming extravaganza, so it’s being done for all the right reasons.

workout log: 17 november 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac/Avenel > Dupont Circle
Distance: 32.7 miles
Duration: 1:54
Weather: sunny, calm and chilly, 46-48 degrees
Avg HR: 128 (max 158)
Type: aerobic

My first shake-down of the ZX3, and it was a lot of fun. It climbs well and is very fast on the flats. The bottom bracket area is very, very stiff, yet the ride quality is fairly damp: a nice, balanced ride. Descending is a little odd, but that’s likely due to the fact that the position on the Pedal Force is a little more aggressive than I’ve used to date.

enter the rudi projekt

ZX3 - Side ViewIt’s done!

After a lot of toiling over a (virally induced) long weekend, and a little help from the LBS to cut the steerer tube, my Pedal Force ZX3 is done. It has been deemed “The Rudi Projekt,” a name that was first suggested by my riding buddy, Jonathan.

And so it is.

Here are the specs:

  • Pedal Force ZX3 frame, 2008 model, full monocoque carbon
  • Easton EC70 fork with full carbon steerer
  • Campagnolo 10-speed drivetrain and brakes (mix of Chorus and Centaur groups)
  • SRAM Rival compact crankset
  • Shimano Ultegra 6620 pedals
  • Neuvation R28 SL3 wheels
  • Vredestein Fortezza SE tires
  • Thomson Elite seatpost
  • Specialized Toupe Team saddle
  • Bontrager Race Lite stem
  • Deda Magic handlebar
  • Fi’zi:k Microtex tape

It all adds up to a 16.26 pound speed machine. And it rides incredibly well.

Granted, my riding experience on it totals 11 miles since yesterday, all of them commuting. And I likely won’t ride it again until Saturday, when next I plan on doing a PPTC ride. But for now, I’m pleased that it’s done.

So it joins the Jamis Eclipse (a.k.a. “Son of Rudi Projekt, as it came about after I’d started the quest for the ZX3) in my road bike stable. The Jamis will eventually move north to Connecticut, where it will be my bike for trips north.

workout log: 11 november 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Middleburg, VA > Purcellville > Lovettsville > Purcellville > Middleburg
Distance: 59.9 miles
Duration: 3:18
Weather: sunny, calm and chilly, 40-47 degrees
Avg HR: 130 (max 160)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Something In The Middle” ride, led by me. I was recovering from a nasty head cold, and this was my first real outing since getting sick. The cold was a bit bracing, but I told myself that I wouldn’t push too hard – all worked out great. By the last 10 miles I was hurting, with some mild cramp, but that’s mostly due to the fact that my body was nutritionally spent. Saw some lovely colors on the route – one that I hadn’t done since the summer of 2003.

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