Some weekdays in Boulder

Posted on Apr 24, 2017 in General, Vacation | 0 comments

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Dating back to before my time at the company, there was a tradition to eat at Ted’s Montana Grill following the departure of a coworker (I was there ten years – long standing tradition). When the final bunch of development was laid off last month including the last of the founders, we were not about to let the tradition die so the planning began in earnest. What was not tradition was that the parting soul attends their own wake, but it has been known to occur and besides, was Brian going to go eat a burger by himself?

Fortunately for us, the Ted’s we used to go to in Arlington had closed. Fortunate because only one of the four who were attending lived in Virginia anymore and that place was awful so we broadened our search. My vote was for Bozeman since “Montana” Grill, but that proved more costly than folks wanted so we settled on Boulder. We’d be traveling from the four sides of the US – Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, and Oregon.

The trip involved a burger that was surprisingly better than expected, beers at Mountain Sun (great place – good beer and outstanding service), beers at Avery, ice cream at Sweet Cow MULTIPLE TIMES over a roughly one day trip, random fried and heavy food, a new board game to add to my collection, shouting matches over a ridiculous mobile party game, and a pretty outstanding hike. A great couple of days.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to see Boulder, the 4th place finisher in my “Where Should I Move?” contest. It was a nice place with lots of outside to offer, but it felt very small town, too white, very ticky tacky suburban, and, well, not a place I’d really want to live. I know there are great jobs there and more are flocking, but that also means housing prices are astronomical. No thanks.

RIP to the company and hurray for the friendships and experience to cherish forever.

Note: Brian still has a job. When he goes, we’re doing Bozeman and we will be renting mountain bikes.

Squeaky floor remediation

Posted on Apr 11, 2017 in House | 2 comments

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These holes are about the diameter of the shaft of a q-tip

My new place has old floors. Some are 70 years old and others look to only be half that, but suffice to say, they’re old and they squeaked like crazy. It was so bad that I was self-conscious about walking around late at night. At times I’d even choose to wet the bed rather than risk waking my neighbor. NO MORE. With about an hour of effort and a $15 investment with the Squeeeek No More (that’s four ‘e’s) kit I have no more major squeaks. I could spend more time to eliminate them all, but some squeaks add character and I’ve only left the most minor of them.

Process:

  1. Locate a squeak.
  2. Locate a joist (my stud finder was broken so technically I spent more on this project to replace that, but it’s something I needed anyway – a deep scan was necessary for this too and my old one couldn’t do that).
  3. Drill a small hole.
  4. Put template/snapper over hole.
  5. Hand thread screw in a touch.
  6. Sink screw with a power tool and the included bit.
  7. If you have hardwoods, the template can self-snap. If you have softwoods, you snap them off manually (I had a mix so it was a bit of trial and error – may have ended up with an extra hole or two).
  8. Fill hole (I’ll get around to putting some wood filler in there, but for now I swept and pressed the drillings back in).

Most of my squeaks took 2-3 screws to fully resolve, but I only used about half the kit anyway. They also sell a kit for carpeted floors. A+ would recommend. Great product, good price, great fix.

Race: Kings Valley Road Race

Posted on Apr 10, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

It’s not often that I preregister for a race many days in advance. It’s never that I preregister for a race given a grim forecast. It’s 100% of the time I do both that a grim forecast turns into some of the most miserable weather a human being can endure. This weekend made me one for one. Sub-40 degree temps, downpours, constant spray from wet roads and no fenders, sleet, etc. Finishing was a moral victory and that’s what I did. As you can see in the results, upwards of half of some fields did not finish.

This was a 56-mile and relatively flat race. Given my talents (diesel engine) it should have been a day for me to excel. I ended the race with the lead group, but when asked to answer the sprint call, the legs did not answer. Following the race and the day afterward my legs felt perfectly strong so I think this was more of a survival mechanism shutting them down rather than a training/muscle/cardio failure. Regardless, I could really stand to do more long riding rather than the daily 1-2 hour sessions I’ve been getting in all winter. Road season will benefit from it and Leadville, the big goal, will too.

I finished 10th of 25 in my category, but we rode with the “faster” category too (I actually beat a larger percentage of them than my “slower” category) so you could say roughly 25th of 60. Nothing to write home about, but I’m pleased for my first road race in a long while (I dehydrated/bonked in my one and only last year so this is a clear improvement).

Following the race a few of us went back to the local watering hole for some drinks and burgers. Sometimes cycling makes you question your sanity, but those questions are answered when you treat yourself to some suds, massive piles of beef and fried potatoes, and don’t feel an inkling of guilt for it.

Nothing cooking this week or weekend so it’ll be a big week for training as long as I can escape the rain  that’s forecast for every damn day. Next week starts the two weekly weekday circuit races and the weekend brings another road race, all of which I’ve penciled into the calendar.

[GPS]

Paso Robles / San Fran wine getaway

Posted on Apr 5, 2017 in Vacation | 0 comments

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I just spent the past few days in warm and sunny Central Coast California and have the tan to prove it. The trip was a collection of a friend’s friends (#mollysfriends) and as seems to be typical of such trips, everyone got along great and had a blast.

For the first few days we stayed in an idyllic doublewide (yes, they exist) just south of Paso Robles in Templeton, CA. Horseshoes, corn hole, a little bit of drinking, a touch of eating, wine tastings at a couple of places (Justin – bleh, Oso Libre – yay!), and some running (I’m exercising 365 days this year so I had to dust the shoes off – the dog pictured, AJ, met me at the end of our driveway and proceeded to do my entire run with me).

Following our stay in wine country we spent a long afternoon in San Luis Obispo. The weather was as perfect as weather gets and the town was quaint as all get out.

From San Luis Obispo we made our way back up the highway to two evenings and a day in San Fran. More running, ferries, Sausalito, even more food and drink, and a night spent dancing. So much fun. Too much fun. I desperately need to be making my way down there more than the once a year I’m currently averaging.

This ends my roughly four weekends in a row away from home. It’s been fun, but I’m looking forward to some laziness, time to myself, loads of biking, perhaps some home/yard modification, getting to know my cat again, and job searching.

Dalles Mountain 60 errrrr 56 or 57ish

Posted on Mar 28, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

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A few weekends ago was this annual unorganized gravel ride on the Columbia an hour and a half east of town. Last year was my first and I had fun so I went and did it again.

Nothing too noteworthy to report. The weather was absolute garbage to start (high 30s and raining), but around 2/3 of the way in the sun poked through, serving to dry and warm. The midway gas station chicken tenders were key. They didn’t have a full order when I got to the register so I got a steep discount to boot. WIN. We had great team turnout, which makes a miserable day all the more palatable. Our reward was beers and burgers at Pfriem in Hood River. Nomnomnom. And no, it’s not 60 miles. [GPS]

Technical notes for my future self:

  • Year 1 I learned to not use road pedals; they don’t handle mud at all.
  • Year 2 I learned that CX race gearing is not great for days of long slippery climbing; was forced into a stronger than desired effort because I had to keep the cadence up.
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Yes, I brought the box of wine again. This time I’ve found a brand I really dig, and it’s French so that keeps with the cycling theme really well.

A weekend with Tilly Jane

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in General | 0 comments

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I spent the past weekend with 18 strangers (friends of a friend who I’d now call friends) at the Tilly Jane A-Frame up on Mount Hood. Built in 1939 and with no modern amenities, the recommendation is to pack for a backpacking trip minus the tent. You’re given a roof, a wood stove, and not much else. This is apparently an annual trip for these folks, but for me and the friend it was kind of spur of the moment as spots opened up last minute. Luckily we both had most of what we needed and REI was able to provide the rest.

We set off early Friday morning from town. The RAV4 was the chariot of choice so I had to take it out of enclosed pickup truck mode by installing seats for passengers. Note to self: Don’t do that the morning of next time… Almost had a serious issue. As expected, the old girl performed flawlessly. Upon arriving at the trailhead we donned our stuffed packs, cold weather clothing, and trekking poles. The snow wasn’t too slick so despite a few concerning spots, we managed to make our way up with only boots (had snowshoes in case). The trip up is 2.6 miles and 2000ft of climbing. With a full pack and the 50mph sideways sleet we faced, it was far from an easy hike. Apparently there are amazing views on the way up, but they’re missed when your head is down in an attempt to shield your eyeballs from ice pebbles.

Tilly Jane A-Frame

Tilly Jane A-Frame

Upon arrival to the cabin, we got to work firing up the wood stove. I believe the temperature inside was 37? We would eventually reach 59 before the weekend was out with some serious stoking efforts despite the outdoor temperature dropping to the low 20s. Keeping the place warm was kind of the main focus of the weekend because fire, and well, people tended to congregate around the only heat source.

Sleeping was in the upstairs loft. Basically, pick a dry section of floor and lay your sleeping bag down. This was tricky because the dry spots weren’t always the same throughout the night. I ended up having to move when I felt a trickle on my toes, but others dealt with worse. Prior to the trip I bought a nice new bag that was rated to 18. It turned out to be overkill and I ended up leaving the feet unzipped all weekend, but I’m glad I’ve got a super cold bag now and it was on a monster clearance.

The Saturday forecast appeared to be pretty rough with the risk of us not getting outside at all. Early in the day I went for a solo snowshoe with no destination in mind to make sure I got out. Well, the toilet (half a mile away) was actually the first goal, but from there anything went. It wasn’t snowing profusely, you eventually run into trail markings wherever you go, and it’s easy enough to retrace your steps so I kind of lost myself in a wander, intersected the main trail, and made my way back to the cabin.

View from Cloud Cap Inn

View from Cloud Cap Inn

Later Saturday the weather broke. Folks got outside for sledding and my friend, Jackie, and I made our way up to the Cloud Cap Inn to take in some amazing views of the mountain. Winds up there were absolutely insane and there was a near vertical section, but it was well worth the trip. After some time we made our way back down to the cabin to get warm again.

Sunday morning we arose fairly early, packed it all up, and made our way back to the car. Whereas the hike up would take nearly two hours, the hike down was barely an hour, but damn if I don’t feel the way down in my calves two days later. With the colder temperatures later in the weekend the snow had iced up a good bit so I ended up snowshoeing all the way down.

We finished things off with an attempted lunch and beers in Hood River, which became lunch and beers at Thunder Island in Cascade Locks because we weren’t interested in hour+ waits at Pfriem.

Overall, an awesome weekend and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Next time I’ll put a bit more planning into my diet (ended up eating entirely freeze-dried camp food, but others made some fresher stuff with light/high calorie foods that made me a bit jelly), but otherwise I’d change nothing. Made a lot of new friends, saw some amazing sights, revived the sinus infection I’ve been battling for a month, and had a blast of a time.

No, I don’t know who Tilly Jane is.

GPS: Up, solo, Cloud Cap, and down.

Race: Jack Frost Time Trial

Posted on Mar 5, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

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Finally, not a loss (although my check engine light came on during the ride home so continue to FML). Not a win either, but third, and bested by second by only .2s over 20km.

I did this race two years ago and while I put in a faster pace (average speed) then, I placed 12 positions worse. I noted then that it was windy that day, but it was clearly even windier today as times were roughly 3:30-4 minutes slower (I was 2:30 slower). There was also an additional .5mi this time around. Cliff’s – slower speed, much better result, I’m faster… I think.

I also borrowed a TT bike this go around, but after a few rides I wasn’t able to get comfortable or feel efficient on it. The night before I even popped it on the trainer and completely overhauled my positioning. No idea if I got it right or even close to right, but it had to be faster than my road bike… right? It had a power meter and my wattage was right around what I would have expected based on previous hard efforts of this length on the trainer, but low considering my FTP – maybe my FTP is off? I mean another 23 watts for another 29 minutes in theory? Something ain’t right.

I don’t think they had awards or anything so just some pride earned. Would have been nice to get 2nd for the additional upgrade points, but I’m hopeful I’ll be reaching 3 before the season gets into full swing.

[GPS]