Saturday, December 29, 2007

3K



Topped the 3,000 mile mark for the year yesterday with a loop downtown, Myrtle Edwards Park to the Locks, and then back home via BGT. Tres mil doce. 3012.



This is the view across the Sound at about 2999 miles. Turned the 3K as I departed from Myrtle Edwards and turned up Interbay toward the Locks. To get some perspective, it is about 2850 miles from Seattle to NYC, and about 3070 miles from Seattle to Boston!

New gear for Xmas worked well. Sugoi booties to keep the toes warm and dry, and new Cannondale gloves for the fingers as well.

Looking at the weather report, I may get one more ride in before New Year's, as cold rain and wind is in the forecast for the weekend.

Tough news this week. Tony has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer most frequently associated with asbestos poisoning. He's returning home today, and we'll see how the situation progresses. Tough stuff for him, his beautiful family, and all of the rest of us.




Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scatching the itch

Here's the weather for today:

















Yuk. It's wet, cold, windy, and dark. The days don't get much shorter than this one. Glad that I got in another ride on Monday. Looped down through Myrtle Edwards Park, past the OSP, stopped in Pioneer Square at Zeitgeist Coffee for a quick espresso before climbing the hill, going through the Tunnel, and then returning via Leschi and the Arboretum.

Stopped at Montlake Bicycle Shop, ostensibly to look at a Cannondale commuter. While it's still an idea, what caught my eye was a 2007 Bianchi Volpe that was retrofitted as a commuter, with bullet shifters mounted on a standard upright handlebar. Right size, and everything! I test rode it, and while the ride was smooth, and it was interesting to ride upright after so long on a road bike, I was able to come to some conclusions, at least for now. And, the ride back home on the Lemond provided the contrast and frame of reference for that decision.

First, the Lemond does not need to be replaced. It's light, handles well, fits me just fine. Good to go for at least the 2008 season. For now, no need for a commuter. If I want a beater, I'll get one for $150 from Recycled Cycles, who have an ample supply. Those can be loaded with fenders and racks and would suit the purpose well.

If I'm going to get a new ride, I'm going to buy exactly what I want, which means the steel-frame Davidson with the custom-sized frame from EBB. That means I can specify the size, components, features and even the color. I'd rather save the $$$ for that purchase when the time comes, perhaps as a double-nickel birthday present for myself.

Consider the itch to be scratched!

50 miles to go to clear the 3K mark for the year. Let's hope it dries out enough in the next two weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cupholders and Safety

Courtesy of Kent's Bike Blog....

Malcolm Gladwell wrote about SUVs and safety for the New Yorker.

Big difference between perceived safety and the real thing....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December ride

35 miles today, down on Leschi, I-90 bike tunnel, stadiums, up the waterfront, around Magnolia, across the Locks and then up to North Ballard, Green Lake and home. Typical December weather, showers, wet pavement and with a 25+ kt wind from the south that blew me around on the Magnolia Bluff, a little hairy with the downhill run and the breeze causing that front wheel to move on its own accord!

2935 miles to date this year, with a goal of 3000 by December 31 well in sight. 2 or 3 more rides in the next two weeks should do it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Randy Pausch Video

Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, diagnosed with terminal cancer, has some words to live by that ring particularly true.

Here's the intro from Business Week...

And, here's the 2-hour You Tube link...

This is so worth it...
..

Friday, November 23, 2007

New bike? The internal conflict....


So, it's the day after Thanksgiving, crisp, cold, clear, and time to burn off some of the calories. Haven't been to the gym in almost a week, given my schedule and the time off, and don't want to totally neglect the Cycle U regimen, but it's a good morning for a spin.

So, down the BGT, and around Magnolia, to waterfront, and my half-way break at Uptown Espresso. Then, the thought crystalizes....why not stop by Elliott Bay Bicycles, and just do a 'look-see?'

Danger! Peligro! Aposna!

Yes, there's Bill D, and Bob F, and I talk with Bob, and the words pop out, "What would it take to get me on a new steel Davidson?" Answer......a lot more $$$ than I can afford! But, I'm going to investigate this, see how practical it is, as well as how much I really want the new ride....so, the question now is more complicated....no new bike for the coming year? Bianchi Volpe? or?????

To be continued......

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Veterans' Day in Nashville



















Walked out of the League Conference to grab some lunch, across the street from the Ryman Auditorium, the Birth of Bluegrass, and worked down to Broadway, where the country music is piped onto the street 24/7, just to remind you where you are and why Nashville is what it is..



But, it's November 12, and the Veterans' Day parade is on.....tanks rumble down the street, firing blanks....the crowd goes wild. This is how the military coup will be greeted in this town...



Following the few remaining soldiers who are not in Iraq, there was a Confederate Contingent that was wildly popular...




Next in the line up was a smaller group of Union soldiers, with Abe Lincoln waving bravely to the crowd. Honest Abe walked briskly, just in case...



Much more warmly received were the babes in the Santa's helper outfits, reminding us that the Holiday Shopping Season was just around the corner...



But, the biggest cheers were for the Nashville Special Weapons and Tactics team.....


I decided that I had enough, and went back into the League Conference for a discussion on virtual reality, seemingly more real than what had been on the street......



Randomness on plane to Nashville - 11/11

Early morning to the airport on trip to Nashville. Alarm goes off at 3:15 a.m. just as C comes to bed……we’ve got the bases covered …….

Don’t know how many more of these conferences I’ll be going to. SC and I work well together, and it will be fun to exchange ideas, check on the publishing game, see about HMCO potential deals, be one of their stable of SMEs, but would rather include…….

Globalization trends ---- D Cordell’s meeting last week had promise, was positive, good ideas all around the table, both in terms of traveling to strange lands as well as bringing folks to EdCC…..need to check on Fulbright, is Russia for real in September, or would I rather do the NYC Century, on new steel-frame Volpe or ???? --- --Tying a 101 or 201 to an EAP class… Work with GVB on class for Fall 2008…

Sustainability – among other things, including carbon footprint reduction, using both sides of paper, turning off lights, biking more and single-occ-vehicle less, that means profit-sustaining orgs and building businesses that are designed for 100 years, not to be sold next week...

Good design….

Teaching with technology – reach more, more convenience, plug & play curriculum

Web 2.0 – We are all content providers distributing through a variety of networks, including the ones from conferences, so I guess that going to Nashville, CIT, TACTYC, is important after all, but to do the above, not to create more CPA corporate drones, but thinking, understanding, creative business improvement types, energetic free-thinkers with org skills who can connect the dots and develop the new combos, glide between opportunities,

Which is why the PodCast/Vodcast/Skype/Jing thing is important. Creating own audio/video content expresses the instructor well. The tools meet the criteria, easy to use, short learning curve, low cost and mesh well with both what the publishers provide and how students use the content. Of course, the notion of leading the horses to water but, still obtains.

Watch out for the Zach re-entry……China’s been great for him. He’s found a voice, but how will he adjust to being back home…..with C, with all of Seattle domestic distractions, but UBC, studies, Gage Towers, social, summer upcoming will he work, go to school?……looking very forward to picking him up in Van BC on 12/22……

The workouts this week have gone well. Surprising jump in the 2nd weight sessions, and it makes good sense to lower weights and increase reps…..as well as alternating days of weights and spins. Want to keep up the biking in winter, weather permitting, but am torn between just maintaining the LeMond, or getting a new bike and then, if adding to the herd, what kind? Clunker MTB with fitting for racks & fenders (like the old Trek), new model of same, or the Volpe. I keep coming back to the Bianchi, but would like to find a pre 2008, with the gang-green color. Although, the $950 option from River City Cycles in Portland is intriguing. Go down for a weekend, no sales tax, have an out-of-town excursion, visit the Saturday market and Powell’s. When does Max do the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Fort Collins I believe it is? Is that a one-day shot or an ovenight?

Nick Hornby’s new read (Dirt vs. Housekeeping) is great, and it’s always refreshing/energizing to pick up his prose and get inside his thoughts…..like, does it matter that you read the good books, or that you just read, and the liberal chatterers…..Dylan’s Chronicles….and other life in the post-modern perspectives.


Stay away from the negatives…….no time for that now. Stay away from the petty internal nonsense, choose life……follow the bliss of what fascinates, which is why the Business of Baseball course makes sense, even thought I’m watching a slow erosion of enthusiasm for pro sports. But the SABR meeting was great in terms of renewing the appropriateness of the baseball metaphor for all that may be left of the good in this country…….that and jazz/pop/some rock…..Dawg and Dead…..Generica still sucks, and is a sad morphing of the distinct, different, fresh and fun into the bland, corporate suck the money out of everyone’s wallet consumerism…..

Wake Up, Little Suzies……out there, there’s someone working twice as hard to develop skills, who is not distracted by the noise of Generica, and who is willing to work for half the pay and over the twice the time with half the quality defects….and you will call them, “Boss.”

And, keep blogging…..consider it the shitty first draft of what’s going on. But, better to get it down in type than to keep it rattling around in my head…

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

West Seattle Loop

48 miles on the West Seattle Loop today, basically the Spawning Cycle ride without the Seward Park extension. 2695 miles YTD. Yep, the bike fit adjustments have helped, as has the fine fall weather, cool this a.m., but no wind to speak of and a bit of fog.

On the way back through Pioneer Square, I was looking to fill a water bottle, and searched in vain for a fountain near Safeco Field and Qwest Field. Millions of dollars for public sports stadiums, but no free water! Instead I stopped at the Klondike Gold Rush National Park in a little store front on 2nd Ave S. The smallest National Park in the system, or so I've heard, and a little gem! With a water fountain!

Two things on the return that caught my eye....first this classic Cadillac Fleetwood, with an Ichiro license plate, parked in the Montlake neighborhood, and across the street from a new Caddy with an 11Edgar plate....





























On a more serious note, when crossing the Montlake Bridge, I came across a cyclist down in the middle of the bridge. According to another cyclist, the rider fell on the bridge deck, hit his head, and split his helmet in two. Apparently, the rider was conscious and was talking, but the scene was grim, with a fire engine and medics on the scene and traffic backed up in all directions.


Frankly, it's insane to try to ride on the slippery metal mesh bridge deck under any conditions, and this was just more evidence.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

First Frost and Harvest Moon

October 26 - First frost of the year, first scraping of ice from windshield in the morning. Took the Brown Dog to Magnuson before sunrise and watch the mist rise from the lake as well as the sun come up and throw light on the Tailfins, as well as bounce off the setting full moon.



A spectacular fall afternoon reminded me of many years ago, and the Santa Ana winds in Newport, with south swells, offshore breezes, and afternoons riding sidewaves through the Wedge peaks. Nostalgia time, especially as I'm trying out the bike after Coach Tammy's adjustments. Extensions on the pedals and shims on the shoes (to even out the pedal strokes and maybe counter some bow-leggedness!) all seem to make incremental improvements.


The view of Mt. Rainier from the Magnolia Bluff on these clear fall days (with enough strong NW winds to blow the smog away!) is something else. But, in late October, as you round the bend and head north on the east side of the hill, on the way up to the Locks, the shadows are long and once out of the sunshine, it's cold, especially into that wind with origins in the North Pacific. Brrrrr. Crossed the locks and headed east on the BGT.


Once in Fremont, the trail drops down alongside the Ship Canal, and the alder trees are bright golden. With a tailwind, it's not so cold. But after 5:00 p.m., I'm in the evening commute with lots of traffic. Still the bike feels better than before and my legs are less tired.



And, when I get home, it's time for the full moon to rise about the Cascades. Quite a nice view as well as a cosmic full circle experience for the day.

More pictures from the day!



Friday, October 26, 2007

Back in the Saddle, Again


Tuesday, October 23 was outstanding. The Santa Ana winds that drove all the fires in Southern California pushed the clouds and rain away and the temperatures back up to give us one more day of summer. So, it was a good day to hop on the bike again, do the Magnolia loop, and see if I am, as I wrote a week ago, getting old and snarly.

Not yet.

Lance was right. It's not about the bike. It's about mental attitude, being prepared, eating right, getting rest, and doing it. (And, yes, it's also about oiling the chain, cleaning the bike, making sure brakes work, wheels are true and the helmet is on.) But, the Magnolia loop ride was great. Strong all the way through. The sunshine and the warmth helped, as did all the fall colors, but a lot of everything else was in place too.

Came back home via the BGT under the Aurora Bridge for the first time since it reopened. As you clear the bridge, headed east, Lake Union opens up in your field of vision and the views of the city, the boats, houseboats, and yes, even I-5 as it cuts an auto-scar north/south across Capitol Hill and Eastlake, are spectacular. Lots of other bikes out today, including commuters, exercisers, and the normal collection of denizens.

2620 miles, year to date. Can I make 3,000 by year end? With enough dry pavement, yes I can!



So, last night I visited Cycle U for the first time, for a bike fit. Came away impressed. After spending the time to listen about how I rode, what goals (such as they are) I had, and The coach hooked me up to the Compu-Trainer and watched me ride. With lasers, levels and observation, Tammy compiled the information she needed.

She adjusted pedals (knee-savers to move them out from the crank) and shoes (shims to compensate for the angle of my feet), moved the saddle back and lowered it. The result was a more comfortable ride that will be put to the test later today and then again on Sunday.

Importantly for the pocketbook, she confirmed that the Lemond was a good choice for me and my riding.

The next step is to complete the Athlete Profile and to sit down for a training consultation on Halloween. Let's see where that leads.

One more thing. Yesterday at the gym, someone came up to me after my session on the hamstring torture machine and remarked, "You've got big calves for an old guy! Are you a mountain climber?"






Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October in Seattle

The National Weather Service is predicting 50 knot winds and loads of rain for the



next couple of days, so maybe it's a good idea to take a look at some of the photos from the first half of October, when the weather was nice!

http://picasaweb.google.com/awilliams53/October2007

Maybe we'll get some more sunshine before the end of the year.....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Autumn Ride





Rode the loop from BGT to SRT to Marymoor, down to Issaquah, and then back on Newport Way and I-90 bridge on Saturday afternoon. Took a little less than 5 hours to do 50 miles. Not a strong pace, as I stopped for photos, coffee, etc. Had planned to get a sandwich at the Subway at Marymoor, but the place was closed, despite some outdoor religious revival meeting that was going on. I filled the water bottle and headed back on the road, but was low on steam. Maybe it was the layoff from all week, maybe it was having commuted the day before, maybe the lack of food, or who knows what, but my pace was slow and I was tired.




And, the Lemond seems sluggish. Annoying clicks with each turn of the crank. Rough ride with little forgiveness for bumps in the pavement. Am I just getting old and snarly?



As I limped home, another rider pulled up at 25th & Blakely. She was riding a Lemond Sarthe, a steel bike outfitted like my Alpe d'Huez, and she was raving about the ride. "Smooth" she said, and it got me thinking about a Bianchi. Went to Gregg's on Sunday, checked it out, but also went to Recycled and looked at the Surly Bikes. Now I've got some things to compare!

A couple of bike sites have caught my eye this evening, particularly in light of a couple of bike/car collisions that have been in the news recently.....

http://www.bicyclesafe.com/

http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2007/10/avoid-suicide-slot.html

Keep it safe.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Around the Lake

50 miles around the lake today, exactly per the bike computer, from the start to the end when I threw my chain downshifting as I came back up 70th! Cleared the 2400 mile mark YTD. Stops in Kirkland (Starbucks), Gene Coulon Park in Renton, and Seward Park. Uneventful ride, except for encountering a couple of pelotons, notably the Byrne riders who seem to be pretty serious about what they do.

It's getting to be real autumn up here, and it seems early this year. Leaves turning, cool and drizzly on the ride, classes begin tomorrow at SSIT.

Talked to Zach on Friday, who reports all is well in Beijing. He's getting to teach classes again, and Hannah is off to visit him on Wednesday. Looking forward to the reports.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Zach in the NY Times

No kidding...

RHS Jazz Champions 1st Gig of the Year





After 8, count 'em 8 days of rehearsals, Roosevelt HS Jazz Band played Jazz Alley last night.

They opened with Don't Get Around Much Anymore, played a fine first set, including a great Body and Soul. The combo did three tunes and then the band came back on for a couple more. They finished with a Dizzy Gillespie number that is sure to be a show stopper. I'll get the name next time.

The playing was somewhat tentative, but the band is strong and should be in great form by the time Jazz Nutcracker is on the schedule at the beginning of December.





Crazy students

After the VP of Student Success's presentation at our kick-off meeting, I have the following questions:

Is SSIT attracting more crazy students than in the past?

Are there simply more crazy students in general and we are just getting our fair share?

Is the proportion of crazy students to crazy people getting larger?

Are there more crazy people in general?

Monday, September 17, 2007

404

This is the number that they gave me for the Spawning Cycle ride....



In retrospect, it's amazing that I found my way back home.

Accountability at SSIT

GVB writes, "In the coming year, several new teachers will arrive at the factory and illustrate through example that most of our faculty here at the Learnin' Factory are terrible, terrible teachers who only have jobs because there is no real assessment of performance here."

He's right about no real assessment of performance at SSIT, or probably anywhere in higher ed that I've come into contact with. Performance being how effective an instructor is in the classroom. Does the instructor hold students to standards of high performance? Does the instructor then do an effective job of helping students achieve that high level of performance? Do the assessments of that performance measure what the students are expected to achieve? And, is there external assessment of the performance of instructor?

Not in the classroom, and certainly not in distance learning. No one seems to care about this and as long as no one is watching, the instructors take the path of least resistance and the students look for easy classes to earn a degree that has little intrinsic value. That will only change when the risks of this crap are brought in for payment by someone who wants their money back for the worthless pieces of paper that the degrees and certificates that we sell.

My disillusionment with the self-study process grew from the a-ha! moment when it became obvious that the Standards Committee was more interested in having syllabi that matched with other paperwork than in getting in the classrooms and seeing what was actually taking place. That sort of teaching/learning audit has never happened at SSIT, and I doubt it ever will. Classroom performance assessment tools are limited to the number of students who complain to the Deans and the VP, and the BS student evaluations that lack meaning and insight.

Fall at Magnuson Park

Trees starting to turn....

Clouds and rain.......puddles, no crowds......

Dogs......know the owners' by their dog's names......Madison's mom!

Hawks!

great natural resource so close to home......

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spawning Cycle

Grey day, started in the drizzle, ended just before the real rain started. Did CBC Spawning Cycle ride today, and this time did the West Seattle Loop, for a 53 mile jaunt. 2,330 miles, YTD. Almost wimped out before heading out because of the rain, but glad that I got in my first real autumn ride.

Crossing the Fremont Bridge, the cut was filled with sculls doing the Row for the Cure:



The Spawning Cycle route takes you to Myrtle Edwards Park, across the West Seattle Bridge (bikes do the low bridge), across the Duwamish River, past Salty's and the best view of Seattle....















Once past Alki Point, the route hugs the coast and then veers up over the hill at the Fauntleroy Ferry to Vashon Island and then past South Seattle CC and the Duwamish Bike Trail where I stopped to watch the fishing from the pier.





Then, it's through the ID, up the hill to the Mount Baker tunnel, and down to Seward Park for a food stop. Now, you could go up the hill and turn left to head about 190 miles to Portland, but that's the STP for next July!




Lake Washington Blvd is the route home. At Denny Blaine Park, you descend quickly after a short hill up from Madrona. There's a small traffic circle at the bottom of the hill, and it's a tricky curve. I came across a rider who had fallen. Others had stopped and the medics were on the scene, with an ambulance en route.


Bike accidents are particularly nasty, even the near misses, as there's nothing but air between the rider and the pavement. Hope that the injured party recovers quickly.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Headwaters Metric Century

Another great ride on Sunday, 9/9/07, the Headwaters Century, this one courtesy of Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club. The ride starts from Enumclaw High School, and heads across beautiful Enumclaw plateau and dairy farms, plus cornfield at this time of year. Strong northeast winds provided great weather to ride, with temperatures well into the 70's, and needless to say, no rain!





First rest stop is at Flaming Geyser State Park, the entrance to which was guarded by a llama (or an alpaca?).




Then, it's up the hill for about 1.5 miles to Black Diamond, Ravensdale, and Maple Valley, where you cross the Green River.





The way back to the starting point takes you through Hobart, Landsburg, Cumberland, with rollers, a few hills and plenty of scenery until you reach the Enumclaw plateau, more views of Mt. Rainier, and finally the return to Enumclaw High School. My cyclometer read 64.6 miles (or 103.9 km!), so this ride qualifies as a metric century! Your mileage may vary.



TWBC provided strawberry shortcake desert at the finish, but that wasn't enough. So I stopped at the Cave Man Kitchen in Kent on the way home!





Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mariners' Choke

Well, for a while it seemed like this is "next year." Maybe even 1995!

It seems to happen every year. Some years it happens earlier than others. This year, it's later. Pennant fever this year. In contention. Leading in the wild card race over the hated Yankees. And, we get sucked in. It could happen!

So, I ride down to buy tickets for the first game vs. the AL West division leading Angels. Almost a sell-out, and the tickets I get are three rows from the top in the right field corner. Max and I go to Uwajamiya for snacks, and hike up to the third deck. Ten minutes into the game, M's manager McLaren is thrown out for arguing a third strike call against Ichiro. Garret Anderson hits a homer, and then a bases-loaded double. Angels manager Mike Scioscia calls for a squeeze play. The batter lays down a perfect squeeze bunt, another run scores, and the rout is on.

Ultimately, we get swept, now tied for the Yankees for the wild card, and have to go on the road for ten days, including another make-up game in Cleveland, a result of the snow in April.

So, once again, our hopes are crushed, "over, and over, and over and over and over....."

Art Thiel's take on the annual tight collar festival is here.

At least, the view of the sunset from our seats was great....