Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Left My Phone Out in the Rain

When I ride my commuter bike, I have a mount for my phone.  When I ride, I typically start up my Strava app, and track my ride with that.  The past couple of days, we had a really heavy storm … 3.23 inches of rain in San Jose in one day!  Wow, that’s a lot for San Jose … usually we’d be lucky to get 0.25 inches.  It didn’t dawn on me that I should take my phone off of the mount, and keep it dry.  It’s not like I need to look at it, as the screen dims after a period of time out, so it doesn’t really make sense to leave it on the mount.

Well, this made for a bad combination.  When I woke up, to my surprise, I found my phone was down to 10% battery.  The odd thing was, I had my phone charger plugged in.  I tried different chargers, and same thing happened.  I even tried the same charger on my Niterider light, and it charged up.  Damn, I think I fried my usb charging port on my phone.

When I got into the office, I tried my wireless charger, and luckily, that still worked, and I’m able to charge my phone.  Wow, I guess I learned my lesson … don’t leave your phone out in the rain.  I love my wireless charger even more now.

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Storm of the Decade Tomorrow … So Will I Be Riding?

They really have been hyping up this storm for a whole week.  Biggest storm in nearly 10 years in Northern California.

I just got my bike back from the shop, as I took it in to get all the gunk I collected from plowing through a flooded bike trail (2 feet deep of standing water) from last week’s rain storm.  That was a pretty good soaker, but tomorrow’s storm should be even more massive.

Water collected in the frame, to the point where my seatpost (Aluminum) seized up in the frame (Titanium).  Titanium has great anti-corrosive properties, but the combination of Aluminum, with Titanium, and water …. not a good combination.  It took 2 guys, and a bike stand to free up the seat post from the frame.  Replaced the seatpost with a carbon fiber one … hopefully that won’t corrode as much.

So, with that in mind, ride or drive?  If I do ride, I think I’ll avoid San Tomas Aquino MUT … Or do I wimp out and drive?  Supposed to also be hella windy.

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Riding Through a MUT in a Rainstorm

It has been well documented how severe the drought has been in California, so when we hear weather reports of significant rain, everyone is welcoming it with open arms (yours truly included).  Being the commuter I am, I didn’t want rain to stop me from doing that.  I outfitted my panniers with weatherproof covering, put a rain jacket on, put rain pants on and I’m ready to go.

I decided to go on San Tomas Aquino Multi-Use (MUT) trail, to avoid car traffic.  However, the MUT is right alongside a creek, and when rain levels get high enough, it can get onto the MUT, and even get flooded.  And that’s what happened on this day.

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Here I was chancing and hoping it wouldn’t be too flooded but looking at thus was ominous.

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Rats!  Well, I guess I need to plow through this.

This was just the beginning.  The further I got along the MUT, the deeper the standing water would get.  I it to the point where I would go onto surface street just to get across the underpasses, but eventually I had to go on theunderpass to cross Hwy 237, so I had to plow through the last one, which has to be close to 2 feet.  The water went almost to my waist.  I plowed through, but there was so much water, I had to shift to my granny gear just to get across.  Now that was tough … Tougher than a hill climb.

On the ride home, I didn’t want to go through this again, so I decided to ride over to Stevens Creek MUT, which didn’t have a creek alongside it (ironic, isn’t it?), so my chances of getting flooded would be nil. However, this MUT has a lot of trees, and it was dark too. The trail was full of leaves, branches, some mud, so I has to be really careful, and really lower my speed. So it’s either floods of going through underpasses or dodging leaves and branches on the ground. I think I’ll choose the latter.

So the question I have … Is this typical for PNW? Do I get some badass points for this? One cycling friend says I’m crazy. Others just are sympathetic for my hubs. I think I’ll take it in for a cleaning and tune up at the shop.

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Wow Has It Been 16 Years Already?

A few friends of mine congratulated me on 16 years at Juniper.  My first reaction was really?  But then when Iook back on it … Yes, it has been 16 years.  Damn, I’m old.

Iimaget’s funny to think I thought I was way over my head going into this, thinking I’d be lucky to last 1 month, but here I am 16 years later.  I really consider myself more of a NetScreen guy, and wish we could have made it all on our own without being bought … But oh well.  It is what it is.

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Tearing Myself Inside and Out up Mt. Umunhum to the White Line of Death

Profile for Mt. Umunhum LKHC Week 6, http://lowkeyhillclimbs.com/2014/week6/profile.png

I’ve done Mt. Umunhum many times before, so this LKHC shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. When I read the LKHC web site, it was claiming that this is the highest rated climb of any of the LKHC. Now I know it is tough, but I still think it’s doable … so reading that it is the toughest came as a real surprise to me. It is true that in the past, I usually take a rest after taking the right turn onto Mt. Umunhum, and in this ride there was no stopping … but damn!

Courtesy William von Kaenel

There was roughly 128 riders, and taking a look at all the riders, I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” Plus, when I stepped up to register, I saw this really young looking chap in USA jersey … I wasn’t sure if this was something someone had just bought at a bike shop … and then when he announced his name, Adrien … everyone then said “Oh, that Adrien” … for those that don’t know, this is Adrien Costa. Ok, we all know he will be the first one to finish.

Registration was at Venture Christian Church, which was 4 miles from the start of the climb.  The plan was to ride over to the start, and then start the climb.  But I know this road, and the run up to the start is not flat at all … there are rolling hills, and one section that is a bit steep, and it’s not even part of the LKHC.  So Sandra and I decided to just ride up ahead.  Never before did I ride this stretch of Hicks, just for a warm up ride.

When we did start, I made sure I was off the back.  This was a mass start, and eventually, everyone spread out after about 1/4 mile up the climb … and it was a steep climb.  I mean, 20 yards into it, we’re grinding it up a 15% grade.

As long as I had someone in my sights, it still gave me motivation to continue pushing up the hill.  In the 1.2+ mile section of Hicks, I was still in contact with the riders ahead of me.  We make the right turn on Mt. Umunhum, and then it continues on some more.  At this point, I usually stop off at the bathroom, and take a little breather, but not today.  I didn’t feel dead at this point, so I felt confident enough to continue up the hill.

Courtesy Mark King

Photo coutesy Bill Bushnell

Photo coutesy Bill Bushnell

After about a mile of 15%+, this was just the start, and more 15% climbs up ahead.  The fact that we’re able to sustain the steep part of Hicks seems to make the Umunhum part of the climb not so bad.  I figure, if I could make it up Hicks, my body is already used to the pain, so just continue it for another couple more miles! I guess that’s why stating this is the most difficult climb of the LKHC season seemed a little odd. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

As soon as I started thinking about how it’s not the most difficult, I sense others starting to pass me. I was thinking I was alone on the climb, and then I hear someone else’s gear grinding … Damn, I’m losing ground, and then I start ending up in the back.

I start seeing fast riders heading down the hill, and normally that would demoralize any rider, but on this ride, it’s expected. I just have to make sure I stay on my side of the road. Passing the gate at Bald Mountain, people are cheering us on, ringing their cowbells, it’s very motivating. I only wish I had a line of people ringing cowbells all the way to the end.

Courtesy Ryan PC Gibson

Courtesy Ryan PC Gibson

White Line of Death Courtesy Rich Hill

I finally made it to the finish, and I was sure I was the last one … But I forgot there was one other behind, who I saw as I descended down the hill. Major kudos to everyone who finished this epic climb. I can only imagine how epic this will be when it’s officially (and legally) opened to the top of the mountain. It will make other mountain challenges pale in comparison.

Here’s a portion of the climb I recorded on my Shimano Sports Camera

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Time Change Again … Why????

It’s that time of year again, time to change the time again, Sunday. Remember, it’s spring forward, fall back. That means turn the clock back 1 hour, which does mean Sunday is an hour longer. But this time change has multiple impacts, which is for the worse.

First, there is the possibility that we’ll be in the office an hour earlier than before, if we don’t change our clocks. D’oh! When I do go down to visit my dad, looks like the first order of business is changing all his clocks. However, some clocks has a weird DST function, which sometimes work, but most of time doesn’t … it’s more work than it was originally designed!

Then there’s the issue of who actually changes the time. I know that Arizona doesn’t change time, and Hawaii doesn’t change time, so that gets confusing.

One positive is related to work. Currently, when we have to hand over a case to India, for follow up, we sent a handover note at 6 pm PDT, which equates to 6:30 am IST. With the time change, 6 pm PST then becomes 7:30 am IST. This, hopefully, will guarantee that they will take over this handover, thinking that they will more likely already be in the office by 7:30 am than 6:30 am. The one negative, is on the flip side, where India hands something over to us … 6 pm IST equates to 4:30 am PST. I can’t remember, but hopefully, India will stay until 7:30 pm local time … otherwise, there will be a 1.5 hour period where there is no coverage. Yes, time change does cause challenges. Meanwhile, Europe would have more of a business day overlap, where 6 pm GMT is 10 am PST, which means that handover from Europe may give us more opportunities to communicate with EMEA customers live. So there are some pluses and minuses with the time change.

Time zones … I never really observed the difference between PST and PDT … I kind of always just referenced time with PST, EST, CST, etc … but after doing some google searches, I found out PST is Pacific Standard Time, which is the time zone used when it is Daylight Standard Time. The time change for Sunday is for Daylight Standard Time. When the time changes again in March, that is Daylight Savings Time, in which case time zones change to PDT, EDT, CDT …. or Pacific Daylight Time. Oh what would I do without the Internet?

Now, for several weeks, I got used to riding in the dark for my morning commutes, and with enough daylight to start my commute home, and needing lights for the second half of my commute home. With the time change, it’s going to screw me up again … riding in daylight in the morning, and riding in complete darkness at night. I really wish we would just keep at one time. Is there really that much savings in energy by changing time? I’d just like them to for one year, try not changing time, and then the next year, enforce time change, and see what the energy consumption difference is between the two.

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I Can See Now

Last week, for whatever reason, I could not find my glasses. That just spells trouble, because I don’t have any backup glasses, and no contacts either. So I had to pull my monitor close enough for me to see (I’m near sighted).

So I made an emergency appointment with my eye doctor. I decided to only check for new glasses, and not for contacts.

I needed to have the optometrist do a rush order for the glasses, since I am just about blind without them. My eye doctor was able to give me a weeks’is worth of disposable contacts. That helped, as it gave me distance focusing, but I could not see anything close up, with contacts on. At least I could use them for rides.

Finally got the glasses on Thursday. I told the optician I’m pretty active with my cycling, so she suggested the titanium frames, lightweight. How do I look in them?

Now I can see, and no more squinting.  Lesson learned … Keep old glasses in case you lose your good ones.

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