Thursday, February 25, 2010

2-Wheel Commute

The hardest thing about commuting on two wheels is getting the motor started in the morning.

I have two different two-wheel vehicles that I commute with... one with it's own motor, the other uses my legs for the motor. Either way, sometimes the motor doesn't want to start on cold mornings. I may be able to fix that problem on the scooter by getting a new battery. As for the bicycle, I'm fortunate enough to have the time to eat a decent breakfast and have a warm cup of coffee at home before I need to commute. I rarely need to be on campus before 10am, so I can wait until it warms up a bit outside.

I'm going to try to do only 2-wheel commuting the rest of this semester. Cold doesn't really stop me, but precipitation does, especially snow. The problem is that if I drive a 4-wheel vehicle, I have to park far away and then walk to campus through the rain/snow, so it's not much better. On the other hand, the bus (how many wheels?) takes longer than riding the bicycle because I have to change buses downtown. so I may still end up driving the car on rainy/snowy days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dusting off a Meme

I am way over-committed right now. Too many projects going on at work... so rather than writing a new post today, I found a really old post that never got posted. There was this Meme going around Facebook a year ago asking people to list 20 random things about themselves. I wrote 16 things, then shelved it. Here it is, nicely completed:

  1. I am always the LAST person to jump on the bandwagon.
  2. I became an engineer because I like to make stuff.
  3. I became a teacher because I like working with young people who are so enthusiastic about living.
  4. "Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone."
  5. I can't tell you how many times that song has been sung to me by random people completely out of the blue.
  6. I have never dated anybody named Jack. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met anybody named Jack that I could have dated.
  7. I became a computer scientist because it seemed like my best bet for making some contribution to the world that I'd be proud of.
  8. Computers on my home network are named Besseggen, Kaibab and Kalalau.
  9. Last week, I bought a computer for the first time in my life.
  10. I have a strong aversion to almost every form of liquid sugar: non-diet soda, sweetened coffee, sweet tea, syrup, milkshakes, lowfat salad dressing, etc.
  11. My incurable "sweettooth" should really be called a "fattooth": cheesecake, ice cream, lattes, chocolate, cookies, etc.
  12. Running is the only exercise that I have managed to do regularly, week after week, for the last decade.
  13. I own 5 different helmets, each for a different activity.
  14. I hate sightseeing. There's something about driving for a bit, getting out and looking, then driving a bit more, then getting out and looking, etc... that makes me physically ill.
  15. When travelling, I'd much rather DO stuff than SEE stuff.
  16. The previous statement is true about me generally in life, not just when travelling.
  17. I wrote the previous items almost a year ago, the rest I wrote today.
  18. I can no longer do #12.
  19. Having too much to do is better for me than not having enough to do.
  20. I have too much to do right now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Mount Taylor Quadrathlon happens every President's Day Weekend in Grants, NM. Here's the deal:
  • 13-mile bike, with 1700-foot climb
  • 5-mile run, with 1250-foot climb
  • 2-mile x-country ski, climbing 1200 feet
  • 1-mile snow shoe, climbing 600 feet
  • Now turn around and do it all back to the start
Every year, I say I'll get a team together to do this as a relay... and every year there's some obstacle. This year, I simply forgot about it. Coincidentally, last weekend I biked on Saturday, skied on Sunday and ran on Monday... so I was just one sport shy of doing my own personal quadrathlon over 3 days.

I always thought I'd do any part of this relay other than the bike ride because I didn't have the right equipment. Now I am well equipped for the bike, but no longer equipped for the run... so I'll do any of these sports except the run. Who wants to join me next year?

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Knitters do in Winter

My posts about knitting generate the most comments, but I haven't posted any knitting in nearly a year. Is that because I'm not knitting? No, here's what this winter inspired me to do...

Hey, Eureka is shivering, she needs a sweater.

Hey, my neck is cold while riding the scooter.

Wow, that was fun to make... somebody else's neck might get cold on her motorcycle.

My running buddy might get cold ears, here's something for her.

Hey Hubbers, who else would want one of these? You would? But not as thick?

Now my neck's warm, but my legs are cold on the scooter.

Hmmm... my ears might get cold if I start doing a lot of cycling.

Far more details on each of these can be found on Ravelry. All of these small things have been started and finished during winter, unlike a certain sweater that I started in September and hoped to wear this winter. More on that disastrous project later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bicycling ABQ

For my first solo mid-week training ride, I decided to hit the Bosque bike path for an hour. It seemed the best place to get used to my new bike without worrying about getting hit by a car. I started at Central, setting my timer for 30 minutes, and found myself at Paseo del Norte, 7 miles to the north, when the timer went off. Sharing the path were plenty of bikes of various forms including recumbents, firemen doing PT, rollerbladers, dog walkers, runners, fishermen and a skateboarder. And this was the middle of the day on a Tuesday in February.
A statue on the trail near Central (from a previous winter after a heavy snow).
Albuquerque has been rated one of the best bicycling cities. Whether or not you agree, this trail along with others are probably a big part of why it's rated so high. The city claims 400 miles of paths and bike lanes. Check out the map here. Also, the weather is rather friendly toward bikes with so much sunshine. Even if it snows at night, it may be warm enough during the day for a nice ride. Then in the summer, it's nice and cool early in the morning before the heat cranks up.

I'm not terribly comfortable riding many places from my house. I'd need a better way to cross the river, bike lanes that aren't full of trash, paths that fully connect and the biggest problem is the loose dogs. But I'm going to try a few rides from home since loading the bike on the car gets a bit tiring.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

10 miles

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting my Team in Training cycling team. It's an interesting mix of people who have hardly ridden a bike and others who regularly do distance rides, but all who support the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For me, road biking is a new sport so I was a bit nervous about riding in a big group. As it turned out, the 10-mile ride was very encouraging. It seemed so easy. I'm not too worried about doing 10 times that distance!

Now that I think of it, our marathon training started at 2 miles which also seemed too easy at the time. But doing more than 10 times that (26.2 miles) was quite a challenge!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Racing for a Cure

In Support of All Families Facing Cancer
Five years ago, I was visiting my cousin Carla (pictured above with her family in 2003) after her second bone marrow transplant. While her team of doctors were commiserating about the pain they'd endure that weekend running a cancer fundraising marathon, I marvelled at their dedication to eradicating the disease, both in their professional and personal lives. Carla responded that she'd like to run a marathon when she got out of the hospital. That sentiment stuck with me and I decided that I'd run that marathon with her.

Four years ago, I ran the 26.2 miles of the Austin Freescale Marathon and raised over $3000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Carla was with me every step of the way, if only in spirit. Sadly, Carla was never able to leave that hospital bed to do all of the things that she'd rather do. At the time of her diagnosis, she was given an 80% chance of survival, which was a great number compared to the near death-sentence it would have been a few decades earlier. However there clearly is not a cure until that number is 100%.

This year, I continue my fight against cancer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training by bicycling the Santa Fe Century (that's 100 miles) in May. Along the way, I'll raise another couple of thousand dollars for cancer research and patient support.

Please donate! Go to my Team in Training page, or click the purple badge on the right side bar of this page. Updates on my training and fundraising will appear on this blog frequently, so keep checking back often or subscribe (find the subscription link on the right).