Saturday, 30 June 2012
I like seeing the bike racing crowd. So many friendly faces. Such a small world.
I'm standing in the line for free sunglasses. The pair in front are talking about how cool it was to see Tour Divide riders go by their town in Colorado; they saw Ollie and Craig go buy. I say "hey, I don't mean to creepy eaves drop, but Craig is my riding buddy and I'm just got so excited about watching all of the race". So we chat, and it gets to they live in Colorado and met a deadgoat named Tim at Breck Epic. I say I'm going to that one with Cindy, Shawn, and Thomas from Belgium. A guy laughs and says "Thomas from Belgium, is that like when people say Mike from Toronto and expect you to know them?" And the girl Sonia says she really does know Thomas from Belgium from Claro Brasil last year; I mentioned I was to be his partner until work got in the way. Chalk that up to a small bike world...
I want to get riding, it's a lot of calm before the storm so far.
Excellent schnitzel and spatzle dinner.
Friday, 29 June 2012
I've trimmed down myself, my gear, and my bike from years prior to hopefully help ease and speed my way along. On the flip side, I've got a wimpy arm that hopefully stays in place post the dislocation. Let's hope it allows me to have fun for 7 days. I'd like to stay ahead of the "bell curve" of the pack just to help the arm ride with less pressure of other riders around, and make more of my own choices over obstacles than being in the masses.
Either way, I'll be well taken care of for massage. Cindy is even going to try to ride the Squamish "guest appearance friendly" day. Will be fun.
Lots of guys down in Fernie this weekend too for Furious3 - good luck!
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
I knew Craig was an excellent rider, and very well prepared. He even whispered once of his goal last winter, which perhaps sounded far fetched for someone to say... but not far fetched for Craig to say. And he accomplished it. Congrats Craig!
One thing I've learned out of all this is that the blue dot is captivating. It's more fun to seek out daily detail than to have it force fed to you the way the world normally works. And it's fun to be fans of your friends... as it turns out, most of my friends find a lot of success riding bikes. I enjoy the collateral excitement!
Monday, 25 June 2012
Shortly after I got my first computer and connected it to the internet (intermittently in those days), I installed the SETI screen saver. Perhaps a foray into geek-dom. But I’d argue not. The SETI screensaver in those days was a program that a) downloaded packs of data from their server, then b) used your computer’s idle time to process the data looking for signal patterns that were of interest in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. This was an ingenious, innovative way of harnessing mass computing power, for free, that was otherwise going unused, for the benefit of mankind. As Jill points out eloquently below, this is a large task, that has merit, and is completely fascinating as well.
Alien Hunter Jill Tarter Puts the Big Search in Perspective
Jill Tarter, one of the world's foremost alien hunters, is packing up her telescope.
SETI's Jill Tarter, the inspiration for the movie "Contact," retired after 30 years as director of research. Ben Worthen discusses on digits. Photo: Getty Images.
The director of research at SETI Institute, the Mountain View nonprofit that searches the cosmos for signs of extraterrestrial life, Ms. Tarter retired from that job last month after more than 30 years. The 68-year-old now focuses on fundraising for the cash-strapped organization.
SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, uses giant radio telescopes to scan space for signals from alien species. Ms. Tarter, who has a Ph.D. in astronomy, hasn't found any signals yet, but says she is more optimistic than ever about the organization's chances.
Max Whittaker/Prime for The Wall Street Journal
Jill Tarter was director of research at SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.
Ms. Tarter was the inspiration for Carl Sagan's novel "Contact," which was made into a film starring Jodie Foster, and her career will be celebrated at a gala on Saturday. She recently discussed false signals, real hope and why Silicon Valley is a good place to raise funds. Edited excerpts:
Ms. Tarter: I had just grown up assuming that many of those stars up there in the sky were somebody else's sun. In the past we asked the priests, the philosophers about life out there. But here, in the middle of the 20th century, there were new tools—the tools of the astronomer—that would allow us to do an experiment, make observations and find the answer to this old question in a scientific manner.
Ms. Tarter: Most SETI projects today are looking for radio signals that show up at only one channel on the radio dial. The reason that we look for that is because nature can't do this. Technology can.
The net result is at least 1,000 hours of telescope time has been spent trying to see whether this signal was real. It has never been reacquired. We don't know what caused that. It could perhaps be a valid extraterrestrial signal. It could be some other terrestrial technology.
Ms. Tarter: If you go into this field, you need to be mindful of how vast this undertaking is. Let's say space is the oceans of the earth. Then in 50 years what we've done is scooped one glass out of that ocean and examined it and we haven't found any fish. But we're not ready to conclude there are no fish in the ocean.
[We also now know about] organisms that live in boiling battery acid, in the cooling waters of nuclear reactors, at the bottom of the ocean where there's no sunlight. So over my career, the potential habitable real estate out there has expanded enormously.
Ms. Tarter: We can't find [life], so we're using technology as a proxy, as a way to infer the existence of intelligent life. If you're talking about looking remotely for technological civilizations, the minimum entry card is 20th century technology. We've had that kind of technology 100 years in a 10 billion-year-old galaxy, in which there are many stars quite a bit older than our sun.
Ms. Tarter: That we have a future. And second, I think discovering a signal, or even actually being actively involved in looking for a signal, has the effect of holding a mirror up to the planet, and making us see ourselves as all the same, all earthlings. It might help trivialize the differences among us.
The past few years have been really dismal, as the economy has been in bad shape. We're precarious. If we were in OK shape, I would have put this off longer because fundraising isn't nearly as much fun as observing on the telescope.
Ms. Tarter: That is a community that we have reached out to. When we lost the funding in 1993, [Hewlett-Packard Co. founders] Dave Packard, Bill Hewlett, [Intel Corp. co-founder] Gordon Moore, [Microsoft Corp. co-founder] Paul Allen, those kinds of folks provided a lot of funding that's kept us going for the past couple of decades.
The FirstEnergy “Road Rockets” contributed well financially, and contributed in spirit well beyond that. Many new cyclists have been following Craig’s progress as a reminder that if they’re feeling sore before the first day’s 125km is up, just think about what it’s like to ride so much more. Or look around until you find a yellow flagged cancer survivor riding along with you and realize that riding with one’s health, even in the rain, is a gift.
The ride itself was predominantly dry for the first say half of the group. Those who finished later did get wet. But for the most part Saturday riding was fine, many people really gear up, but if you’re moving along, just cycling clothes were fine. I rode in with Cindy who had a great ride and who’s cycling is really budding – there were say less than 50 bikes in out of nearly 2,000 when we came in. That big smile helped a lot of people feel better this weekend. The skies behind us came and covered the camp site just a half hour after we finished, we had the rain jackets on just for a few dribbles while riding.
Rubberized gear bags and boots were a benefit to those who had them, but it was survivable for those that didn’t. Tents held out most of the water, but everyone had a few drips in by morning. On a multi day trip this would be tougher, but from what I heard everyone woke up warm and with a good rest, and sleeping bags were damp but not soaked through. That’s fine in the grand scheme.
Sunday was overcast but nice riding weather. I slept in, skipped most of breakfast, and had a banana and half a power bar type thing in the tent, then asked for a pancake on the way to starting and just ate it from my gloved hand. After discussing hopping on the “pain train” with a co-worker Saturday night, I was a bit late for the start. He started hammering earlier, in sport of me trying to chase him down. It’s a fun thing we have going. I caught him past Turner Valley, and we finished together with him getting a BikingBakke draft for the last 20k. I haven’t gone hard in two weeks, and with a visible 3 min gap with 10k to go to close, it was an all out effort. But so fun to get the body working hard. All in it was a 2h 45min TT, and we caught the other guys who were up front for fun, then just coasted in together (I haven’t forgotten it’s not a race, but I think it’s fair to get a solid workout in at least one day). Its fun to chase, and it was great in retrospect to get in before a rain cloud blew through, and the bbq’s were just getting fired up. Plus this way we can see everyone else who comes in.
Cindy’s sisters are proud of her too, they’re good supporters, look at all those smiles!
Friday, 22 June 2012
Riding size is all relative, and for some new, intrepid members of the 18 person team, this will be the longest riding they've ever done. More importantly, I feel confident in the preparation people have put in - it's been very fun assisting them in discovering what cycling is, what it does to your body, and how far a human really can move with their power source augmented from basic training plus the magic of a few gears on an efficienct machine. It's fun to see that "light" go on in people's minds about what is possible.
Considering its “June-uary” in Calgary, they may even brave sub-optimal weather conditions.However, as one of the team intrepidly pointed out, riding with the chance of showers is much less a task than dealing with cancer. The Ride, it’s fundraising, and it’s awareness campaign all help the long term goals of better managing cancer in Alberta.
I'm looking forward to a weekend of a) being on the bike, and b) sub threshold pace.
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Monday, 18 June 2012
Friday, 15 June 2012
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Monday, 11 June 2012
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Nice day generally - bit warmer, less wet, but perhaps more peanut butter on trail.
Fun chatting. Good watching and supporting.
Cindy did 1.25 laps and was walking and sliding - made no sense. Still happy, rode well, learned a ton this weekend, riding in the oddest condition hopefully she'll see in years.
Tori did 2 laps, then naturally, rode home from Canmore.
Shawn and Jon did awesome, and for most of the above I was the bike washer. All good.
Driving home I was the only un-podium'd person in our car. I hang out with winners. Shawn, Jon and Cindy you're awesome.
Ted thanks so much for the apres dislocation prompt help and hospitality!
Tori slept in the living room floor, to practice rule number 5 for Tour Divide. She was happy to have a warm place after riding out from Calgary yesterday.
Jon ate breakfast in the closet while working on his bike, to try not to wake up Tori.
Shawn's bike is showroom clean, go figure.
The random banter all night and morning is so good for the soul!
Saturday, 9 June 2012
I felt good off the start, albeit cold. My fingers and feet were frozen from watching Cindy race. But 3/4 into the first lap, they warmed up. Started spinning easy to save energy for a (relative) rocket of a 3rd lap. I was feeling good!
Ended up passing Mike Sarnecki when he had some issue, and was trucking along. Then, the defining moment of the race.
A young girl (racer) is off the side of the trail, and she yells a warning. I look up through my muddy glasses and try to focus, and the moment I see her, my front wheel goes into the obstacle she was attempting to warn me about. Front wheel goes into a hole hub deep, I launch, and dislocate my left shoulder. She gets alarmed. I'm probably sounding rude, but it's more just curt, cause I don't have a lot of words when I'm fighting to maintain consciousness. Sorry.
Asked (or told) her to move my bike off trail, then for her to stand 15ft ahead of the obstacle, not after, to help next riders. She meant well, but that's the issue I'm upset about as in my eyes I'd have a fine shoulder if it weren't for that.
I didn't see many faces helping me, you sort of white out. I started walking back to start/finish as the little truck sounded like it was taking a while. Jon thanks for running back and alerting them, sorry for buggering your race. Devin when you went by I was still feeling relatively fine. I couldn't put my shoulder back in despite trying.
Ted and Cindy, thanks for the parking lot transfer and Robax.
Hospital. Dr. Quin..., Amy, Barb and Ian - thanks. Feel fine now. Probably will hurt later. Thanks for putting it in while I was unconscious. Not sure how it being out an hour will feel later. Dislocations sure hurt though.
Sorry for leaving you guys up there without clothes.
So much for what was going well!
Gotta heal for Ride to Conquer Cancer and BCBR.
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
The Grand Tour of MTB
Banff, Alberta, Canada – Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA
One Stage: 2,745mi/4,418km
Self Supported Racing
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
“Decidedly not for sprinters, this battle royale braves mountain passes and windswept valleys of the Continental Divide from the hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies to badlands of the Mexican Plateau.”
I’ll append that this is approximately 1,000km longer than this year’s Tour de France, however it’s sans team cars, scheduled hotels, mechanical support, team chefs, massages and soigneurs. Just think about that for a second…
Sunday, 3 June 2012
Seemed like a lot of traffic when we went up. I caught my 30 second guy just past where the pavement ended and the gravel started. Got close to the minute man but couldn't catch him.
We had a great dinner, slow pace at Luna Blue. Great pasta. Lounged in room. Just unwound.
Really nice morning today, and I was up first for the TT to accommodate a conference call. Rode a selection of the course from yesterday. I focused on getting up to speed then trying to ride the singletrack clean. Sort of powered out at the top of the first climb and wished breakfast was an hour earlier in me, but not so bad. Liked the "level" singletrack, then thought I could recover and get the heart rate down on the Coal Chutes before the Georgetown climb. Got to the bottom of the 'Chutes with very little heart rate drop; it's funny how super aggressive bouncy descending isn't actually "rest". Ok Georgetown climb then tried to keep power through the remaining singletrack. Ouch. Drew Simpson started 30 seconds behind me and definitely closed the gap a bit.
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Shawn and I had good sleep last night, great breakfast this morning. Nice weather, gray but warm enough. Nice start line vibe. I tried to air up my tires a bit at start as they were tiny bit soft, but no pump would grab the small valves I have that are wrongly installed. Guy helping me says "those valves are too short". Yes, I know, waiting for right ones.
Nice neutral start up to the hill, I fell into a logical position around 6th. Half a lap in on the singletrack once we were at highest elevation point, before any downhill, I had moved to 4th without burning matches. Note me advancing places on hills isn't a very normal event. Downhills were fun and easy - great course they set up.
Front was Graham Torre, then Shawn and Brian Cooke trading places, then Leighton Poidevin and I settled in and traded spots for a few laps. All smiles, and each time up Georgetown climb I'd open up time. So fun! First lap through stadium though Leighton and I lost 45 seconds with no marshall and no signs or arrows for a turn then yelled back to the guys who became oncoming toward us - they turned and it took us 5 minutes to get through the group again.
So then we get to the last lap, and since I started with tires a little low, and I was washing on corners. Leighton was gapping me on the singletrack, which is generally against my policy ; ) but I couldn't do corners and was riding gingerly not to bottom out. I thought I could make it to end of race, but then realized I'd have to air up.
You think a CO2 thing is going to grab those valves? Guess again. Frick. Front one get's a smidge of air in while wasting most. Rear just is a disaster, cracks the presta nipple off in the CO2 valve. I eject it from the inflator valve gizmo with some CO2, but can't get any more in the tire now. Tire is too soft to ride. So I force the valve into the rim to deflate it, pull wheel of bike, and use my tube. In the midst of this I go from 4th to DFL with guys zipping by. Such is life, but let's just say I wasn't the happiest at that point. With Brian Cooke ahead, and Leighton and I just waiting for a final hill sprint hoping to go the way all the other hills have gone thus far (Leighton even made this comment himself at the finish, which should temper me sounding too dumb/offside for saying this), I was just so excited to be on the verge of what was going to be a good ABA result (for me, the ageing desk jockey). Argh.
Graham Torre won, Shawn 2nd, Brian Cooke 3rd, Leighton 4th.
Gotta figure out what to do tomorrow; I've begged Andy Holmwood for first TT start and Last TT start so I can fit a work conference call in the middle.