Saturday "ride"

Thursday roles around and I was left with a decision. Ride a 14-15 mph pace ride with the people I’m doing the STP with, do the Cascade ride, do both or do the 107 mi, 5500 ft of climbing RAMROD training series ride? Am I even vaguely fit enough to do the RAMROD training series ride? Last time I tried it, the ride went to North Bend, was 69 mi with 3,400 feet of elevation gain, and I failed. I fell further and further behind until I had to walk the SE 164th St hill from Uplands Way SE. I always caught up with the group at the rest stop, but I never let myself recover, choosing instead  to try to stay up with the group. I made the same mistake one last time after the lunch stop in order to ride with a group that planned on going slow. As it turned out, they wanted to catch up with someone, so they took off at a pace my exhausted legs couldn’t begin to replicate and after falling slightly off the group the headwind finished me off. Demotivated, alone and feeling sick, I turned off the route in the last 15 miles skipping the Fall City-Issaquah road climb up to the Sammamish plateau in order to climb Snoqualmie Parkway to crawl up and die at home. Since then, I’ve done a number of CTS rides and have always been comfortable with the blue group’s pace, distance and elevation gain. The most I’ve done this season was the 80 mi ride to Black Diamond and that was no where near the hills of a RAMROD training series ride. In the end the decision was made when Per asked me at dinner on Thursday night if I was coming. What the hell, I’m stronger now and it sounded like Per hasn’t ridden that distance yet this season. Two weeks ago on Saturday the rain took out both the CTS ride and his training series ride.

7:30 AM Saturday and my legs are cold. I’m at the top of Lakemont Blvd getting ready to do this. There is a lady that I’ve seen many times at the CTS ride and I had told her about the Tuesday/Thursday rides and now through that she has decided to come to this one. I don’t think she’s expecting the amount of hills ahead, but last week she did ride the flying wheels century ride and the bonus 60 miles CTS ride the next day. The fact that we are at the top of a hill that at the end of this 100+ mile ride I’m going to have to climb back up is not lost on me. Coming down off of Lakemont using 164th I quickly fall to the back of the pack, since I’m overly cautious coming down hills that have curves. Riding down hill on Newport Ave I seem to fall further behind. What’s going on with my legs? Thursday my legs were tight and only after a bunch of riding did they stop feeling weird, but even then I still felt off. Here I was going steady downhill and was already slow. It wasn’t the stiffness of Thursday, it was just a pure lack of strength. I start to consol myself that it must be a headwind until I pass the hangliding landing field on Issaquah Hobart Rd and the wind sock is lying dead flat. Maybe it’s strapped down right now? Maybe the slight climb is doing it? Maybe my legs are cold? The excuses tumble out. The lady from the CTS ride is way ahead of me now but still visible, I’m riding with another lady in a white wind jacket. She keeps doing out of saddle work to maintain her speed. Perhaps it’s not just me. We take a left on to Tiger Mountain Rd from the north side, the steeper side. On a previous CTS ride I had skipped coming up Tiger Mountain from the south side when I thought that the group had left already, it turned out to be the “fast” group leaving early.

I manage to catch up to Per and about half the pack on the turn to SE 200th St, but as I climb the hill next to the golf course we once had a moral event on, I get a nasty cramp in the back right part of my right knee. I stop at the intersection and give up on staying with the group in order to message the muscles, have some electrolyte gel and some water. I catch up again to the group in Ravensdale at the rest stop. Per gives me the rest of his gallon of water and I get a quick stop in the bathroom. The next miles are uneventful, I stay in a nice pace of small climbs and rollers doing the group pace. We climb our the Green river Gorge area on Enumclaw-Franklin Rd, but turn onto a small side road, SE 384th before getting to 169. In front of me is a wall. I hear per saying something about this being the worse between two special “rollers” on the ride. This is not a roller, this is a long straight shot up. I already see some people towards the top walking their bikes. Muttering to myself “Per, What did I do to you?” I take it on. There is one thing I know for sure, there is no restarting on this hill. If I stop, I’ll have to walk. Per amazingly enough stops and restarts. At the top I catch my breath and then get moving to not lose the group.

Finally I make it to Enumclaw for lunch and I’m getting pretty sore. The group’s about half the mileage and about 2/5’s the climbing.  Once again the group is leaving and I’ve just taken the last bite of the tuna sandwich I bought from Safeway. I think about the possibility that I’ll need to call Pamela to bail as we start out.

In my usual pattern I’ve fallen way behind the group coming down 218th Ave SE to Green Valley. I pass a number of people as we slowly climb out of Green Valley passing Flaming Geyser State Park. This climb I take slow enough that my heart rate doesn’t go over 180 too often. At the top, some 50+ motorcycles roar by. Cheaters. I lose the group at Black Diamond bakery, but my head is acting up enough that I take an Excedrin. I head north along the route on Lake Sawyer to Witte’s Rd. along which is the next rest stop. Here I don’t really get a chance to rest, I just get some water, down another electrolyte gel and move on. We do Sweeny Rd which turns into 196th Ave SE. It’s much more pleasant to climb it from this side then from the north end. Per is providing the few of us who hasn’t flown off with a good pace on the climbs. Jones rd goes by without much issue, but I know I have to climb the other wall of maple valley soon.

The other fun “roller” was on 160th Ave SE. It’s a tougher grade, but it is very short. We fly though may valley and I’m getting really weak and headachy. We do some climbing and extra miles next to coal creek pkwy before rolling into Lake Boren Park. Finally I sit down and just rest. The sun is out and I actually start to believe that I’ll finish the route. We hop down to Lake Washington Blvd and then climb back over the ridge to Coal Creek again before we hit Newport Way. I know the rest of the route at this point. It’s a straight shot (up) to 164th and I’m not looking forward to the final climb. Even worse I’m starting to fall behind the small pack again. Ironically I catch them on the hill. The road straighten’s out and I say to myself “False Top”, however I forgot that the rest of the climbing was nothing compared to the first section. Mercifully I quickly reach Lewis Creek Park and relax. That was a hard ride.

Of course the real question is, Can I do the next one in the series?

A weekend of riding

With STP coming up and my intention to ride it two days with a friend and some of his coworkers, I felt that I really needed to do at least one two-day ride before the actual event. This weekend was cascade’s dedicated chance to do just that with Flying Wheels one day and a “lighter” CTS ride the next.

I did the 70 mile route on flying wheels and eventually caught up with some of the folks that I ride with on Per’s Tuesday and Thursday Night rides from Marymoor. The hills hit me hard that day, perhaps because of the Thursday night ride? Either way it was a pleasant day and I had a very tasty pastrami on a garlic bagel sandwich afterwards :). The next day I braved possible rain to do the CTS ride. While parts of it were at 16 mph because of a nasty headwind whenever we headed south, the overall ride was at the level or above of a normal CTS blue ride. Our group even added two bonus hills in Magnolia. The best part was flying north up airport road. I made up my mind late to try to join the fast group and ended up not catching them in spite of a 25-26 mph pace for a couple miles. I gained for a while but eventually just fell further behind. I caught up to two women, of whom I tried to keep on my tail but fell off, and the later who did stay with me, but my pace had fallen to 22-23 mph at that point. I found that for a good number of the hills I tried to keep up with the top of the group. I even had a shout up from lady behind me “oh Ari! Don’t use you grannie gear on this hill!” which quickly shamed me in to switching back up one in the front. I’m actually at the point now where for many hills I don’t need the grannie gear and also for the first time on Sunday it felt that muscle soreness was a bigger factor then cardio condition (of course this was on the second day of riding). If my heart monitor is at all accurate then I burned some 9000 calories in biking this weekend (meaning that I have some series cardio training left ahead of me).

That afternoon I attended a very pleasant housewarming at Tim’s place. Pamela and I got alot of playing time with Simeon there. Also after a month or two of holding the same movies from netflix, Pam and I finally watched them and we are returning it. If we do that again then netflix may not be the service for us. Oh, I did buy myself a father’s day gift, the HD-DVD version of BBC’s Planet Earth series. It is just plain awesome, too bad Simeon isn’t as fascinated as Pamela and I are.

Safari on Windows: Seeing the ugly beast

My first reaction to the news was, ah so that’s how they will allow people to develop and test their apps for the iphone. Then we loaded it up on a test box and I had three reactions. First: Why does the window frame look like crap? Second: Why is all their web page text so fuzzy to the point I felt sick? Third: How the heck does one open a new tab? It seems to be the pattern that whenever apple ships software for windows it looks much uglier then a default hello world message box type app. Hopefully they will someday improve upon their porting kit and make something that doesn’t look so awful. I can also understand apple’s hostility to windows, if I had to use/test apps that looked like that all day I would be hostile too. 🙂
Oh and a couple more quick usage notes:

  • The back button on my mouse doesn’t do anything in Safari
  • Not having an edge of the window to use for resizing is pretty annoying
  • I can’t find any way to add wikipedia to the search box
  • If you don’t have any binary legacy support to worry about, why are you going 32bit only? Get the extension market used to 64 bit now before it becomes a legacy hassle.
  • Drag and drop customization of the UI elements is pretty cool
  • CFNetwork.dll? This could be fun to play with…

Overall, this has a serious case of portcitus, when your app looks or acts lame because you are more focused on a compatible source tree and exact rending with the other platforms then taking advantage of the platform you are porting to.

Update: Oh yeah… and do some security testing 🙂

Google decides to be evil

According to a number of articles like this one, Google is the source of an antitrust complaint against Windows Vista because of a change of the default implementation of Desktop file search. In Windows XP, when you searched for files it would do a actual, go scan your harddrive search, and at the end of the search you got an option to turn on indexing to make your search faster. This would search anvista indexingd make notes about your harddrive in advance so that the requested search became much faster. I’m guessing that it was off by default in XP because it wasn’t really optimized for a desktop both in performance, the type of data it indexed about the files and it wasn’t something people did a whole lot so it wasn’t worth the weight on the system. Enter Vista and the world has changed, indexing is the standard approach to search on the desktop as demonstrated by the improved indexers shipped in MacOSX, Google desktop and MSN one. So the good old xp indexer gets a lot of attention, a nice upgrade, some very nice usability improvements and, Oh yeah, the indexer is now on by the default instead of just for power users. Well, that last step is one step too far according to Google.

According to the article they are worried about interactions between their indexer and the vista one. While a lot of people, on digg at least, are calling BS. It is especially weird to me since a number of applications that I’m running these days are busy indexing the harddrive. The photo gallery software and all three music applications are going at it. They manage to coexist in vista, what’s wrong with Google’s indexer? This sounds like a technical limitation in their product they wish to use to harm vista’s indexer.

They have plenty of business reasons for such a desire, they used XP’s deficiencies in this area as a big reason to get people use the Google toolbar (which includes their desktop indexer). This is important to them because it has all sorts of tie backs to Google services where they make money. It was a good gig, the MSN team developed and did the same thing. The Vista indexer doesn’t have any such ties, but now people have lost a huge reason to install the Google toolbar (and the MSN toolbar for that matter). So they have a business problem, and from their complaint a minor technical problem. Business model problems don’t make good complaints to the DOJ, but maybe they could make hay with their technical issue. Unfortunately most techies would predictably call BS if they heard the complaint (I guess that’s why it was a confidential complaint) which leads back to the premise, It appears that Google has unabashedly decided to be evil.

On the other hand, indexers are programs that are not just running all the time, but constantly trying to do work. Smart applications attempt to do more and more stuff when the user wouldn’t notice, such as checking for and downloading updates or pre-creating image thumbnails so they don’t have to be generated at run time. On a logical level there is some theoretical maximum to how much time a computer has for such background tasks. Google seems to be implying that there is not enough room for anyone but them. Even in this worse case, this is something that a years worth of Moore’s law will fix faster then any legal remedy. Oh and I should point out it has been years since the first of this generation of indexers were downloaded and used on computers.

It’s going to be interesting to see the arguments on the other side of this one.

Disclosure: I work in windows networking, I don’t have anything to do with the indexer technologies except complain about how slow the early versions of it in pre-reset longhorn were.