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Page Mill Again

I rode up Page Mill road again today. This time, I brought my camera and I didn’t lose a spoke at the top. Coming back down was a lot faster, with one scary moment. I was wearing my helmet for the descent. From my house to Gate 4 took me 54 minutes, 35 minutes of which was from the base (I-280 and Page Mill) to Gate 4. I definitely can improve this time a ton — it’s a real grind for me right now — but I’ll have to ride it more than once every two months if I want to get  better.

Studio I to Gate 4 on Page Mill Road

Studio I to Gate 4 on Page Mill Road

UPDATE: Elevation graph, per Jayson’s request!

Elevation

The view from the top as the Sun set was well worth the effort:

View from Above

Bay Area Cycling

Today I went for a nice leisurely 20-ish mile bike ride around Palo Alto.

bikeride_20090912

Leaving my new house, I first visited Facebook’s headquarters, where I’ll be starting on Monday. Then I went by a Big 5 to pick up a bike pump, which I immediately used to get my tired up to 60 psi, before heading out for the rest of the Journey. I headed up University Ave to look at the outside of a condo I have my eye on, and then I continued to the shore, before returning via University Ave once again. It was a nice ride with only one hitch: a crazed bee (or similar) stung me on my right hand in some sort of odd glancing blow that left me hurting and it long gone. My hand is a little bit swollen, but I figure it will be fine in a day or so.

Out at the bay, there were a few cool places, but they all seem to be closed:

IMG_2739

After the ride, Brian came over from Alameda, and we ate Thai and then watched Primer (always an excellent movie).

One day of unabashed freedom left, then it’s time to get to work!

Seafair Triathlon 2009

Below are side-by-side results from this year and last year. Without the same amount of training or the wetsuit, I didn’t do very well on the swim this year — definitely this is the first place for me to improve in the future. However, I did better everywhere else, even with a bike computer that wasn’t working.

The lower bike transition time is due to no wetsuit, but the swim was still clearly a net loss this year by about a minute and a half. I had a few lapses of concentration on the bike, but none too long. Overall I kept my pace up pretty well, passing often, despite not knowing how fast I was going. This year my average speed on the bike was 19.08 mph, compared to 18.40 last year.

The biggest win for me, however, was on the run. I guess the altitude training of Peru paid off, as well as a slightly different strategy. This year, I was able to push through the initial pain better because I knew it would subside. I also walked on the steepest part of the hill (last year I told myself I would not walk, so I continued to run up the hill even though people who were walking were going the same speed as me). This gave myself a little bit of time to recharge while not wasting the spring of my step on the steep part of the hill. I think the strategy paid off overall — the time certainly indicates this.

Overall, I am quite happy with this result. My goal was to beat my old time, which I was able to do, and with some more pool time leading up to next year’s Triathlon, I should be able to improve on this year’s result next year as well.

Year 2008 2009
Place 647 649
Age 25 26
Sex M M
Overall Time 1:31:57 1:28:20
Div Place 56 79
Swim Time 0:16:54 0:18:44
Place 738 1122
Bike Tran Time 2:34 2:01
Bike Time 0:39:08 0:37:41
Place 504 393
Run Tran Time 1:25 1:13
Overall Pl After Bike 515 564
Run Time 0:31:55 0:28:41
Place 1177 945
City & State Bellevue, WA Bellevue, WA

Last Full Weekend as a College Student

Friday, Jon and I played basketball at Greenlake, I got a call from Christine, and Jon and I headed to Kerry Park with Spencer, Christine, and Erik, where I took some pictures (to be posted later).

Saturday, I drove to frisbee with Bobby, Spencer, and Theo. We played until about 1:00, then went to Portage Bay for Brunch. That afternoon, Vince and I got together to work on a final paper for the class we’re taking together. We finished up at 4:00 am.

Sunday, I woke up around 11:30 — missing the CSE canoe trip — but I was double booked with a bike ride anyway, and Theo was flexible, so we rode 35 miles to my parent’s house. I can’t climb hills with Theo’s bike — I have no idea how he goes anywhere on that thing, honestly. He handled Cougar Mountain with relative ease on my bike, though. I clearly need to work on my climbing.

Tomorrow is my last day of class. Wednesday is my last day of school-related duties. Friday is my graduation party (contact me for details). Saturday I graduate. Sunday I leave for Peru.

Whistler-Blackcomb

Thursday through Saturday I volunteered at the Microsoft Seattle Regional of the FIRST Robotics Competition. More on that later, perhaps. First, I must report on my wondrous trip to British Columbia.

As I already posted, I got lost on my way there, but I found my way to my hotel so it was all good. The next morning, I woke early to drive to Whistler, where I purchased a ski ticket and hit the slopes just after 10 am.

The lift infrastructure at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski area is immense, modern, and spectacular. Most of the lifts are enclosed gondolas or express chairs, and they cover a vast skiable area. It was lightly snowing most of the day while I skied, and visibility varied between good and fair. Winds picked up towards the end of the day, but my new ski pants and venerable yellow jacket withstood the weather very well.

I had forgotten a how much fun skiing is, and this was a spectacular reminder. I wasn’t in very good skiing shape, so I tired quickly from terrain like moguls, but I still enjoyed everything I went down and avoided falling — although I had a few close calls as I got more tired in the afternoon.

My knee held up very well, and although it was a little more stiff than usual the next morning, it was not bad at all, and while skiing it felt find the whole day.

One of the highlights for me was the newly completed Peak-to-Peak Gondola, an engineering feat that whisks passengers between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The unsupported span is nearly two miles, and it hangs about 1500 feet over the bottom on the ravine it crosses. A spectacular and awe-inspiring ride, and almost worth the price of admission alone.

Both mountains offer a wide variety of excellent skiing. I didn’t attempt anything too difficult, but I did hit a few black diamonds and had a great time throughout the day. I stopped at a Mongolian grill in the village for lunch, and then when the lifts started closing, I headed back to Vancouver, albeit slowly. On my way back, I stopped at a couple of places to take pictures along the scenic Sea-to-Sky highway that is under heavy construction leading up the the 2010 Olympics.

Tennis

For the first time since I tore my ACL, I played tennis. My roommate Matt and I headed down to the local tennis courts for some court time. It has been a long time since either of us played, and we were both pretty rusty but after a while we got warmed up and it turned into a real game.

Matt ended up winning 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), and I realized that my wrist muscles are not what they used to be. On the other hand, I was playing a lot better in the second game, and if we make a habit out of this we may end up getting significantly better.

My knee felt great throughout and, just as with the frisbee I’ve been playing on Sundays, I’m not noticing any pain or swelling after vigorous activity. The sporting life is good again.

The Case of Bobby’s Missing Shoes

For the first time ever, I have no classes on Friday. This is very exciting, because it essentially makes every weekend a three-day weekend for me. In the event that I don’t take off out of town, I can still spend the day like I did today:

  • Caught up on sleep
  • Finished up homework
  • Helped roommate Spencer with grad-school admission essays
  • Worked with security partner Heather on stack-smashing exploits
  • Planning to go running with roommate Bobby

The last part didn’t work out because Bobby’s shoes have gone missing. Again. If you see them, let us know!