Living Through Smoke

What a difference one week makes. Last weekend was a picture perfect post card weekend (although I didn’t take advantage of it, due to some bike mechanical issues). As you probably know, California (specifically Wine Country area), has been under record brush fires. Lots of homes destroyed, and yes, there were a number of deaths. This meant the clean air we are normally used to, is now smoke filled.

Each morning, I look on the news, just to see what the air quality is. It is not good … in the North Bay, it is very unhealthy, while down here in Silicon Valley, it’s not as bad, but still, unhealthy. It’s so bad that I had to drive in the last 3 days.

Yesterday, as I walked outside of my building, I could smell the smoke. It smelled like a crowd of a 100 folks, all smoking cigars, in a small confined area. It’s similar to being in a smoking room.

I normally would be out riding, and I normally don’t let anything get in my way of my bike ride. Rain won’t stop me, severe cold won’t stop me … however, I think I found the following items can stop me from my ride:

  1. Severe thunder/lightning storm
  2. Errands immediately after work … or a hot date!
  3. Mechanical Issue
  4. Smoke from a local out of control fire

Now what will this mean for the weekend? The air seemed okay today, but I hear the wind will shift some time tonight/tomorrow. Maybe I’ll stop by Lowe’s and see if they have any masks.

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Changing a Flat Can Be Such a B***ch

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I love my Williams wheels, but changing a flat on this can be such a b**ch.  Normally, when changing a flat, you should be able to get any tire iron in, to pry off the tire, so you can get the tube out.  However, not with this one.  I figure I have to get all the air out of the tube, as much as I can, and then I have to wiggle the tire, so that I can get enough space to insert the tire iron under the tire.  Tire makes it really tough when changing a flat, out on the road.  So if you think about how long it takes to normally change a flat … double, or in some cases, triple that time.

Maybe it’s a combination of the wheels and the Continental tires?  Or maybe it’s because I’ve got 700×25’s on them.  I might try putting on 700×23’s sometime, and see what the difference is.

What’s also annoying is knowing you put a good tube on, and you inspected the tire, free of any wires, or nails in the tire, and after you pump it up, it gets another flat … a pinch flat.  Arghh ….  Yes, this is how I spent part of my weekend.  Originally was going to fleet week, but not this time.  I decided to watch football instead.

Posted in cycling, maintenance | 3 Comments

Mt. Umunhum to the Top

Finally, Mt. Umunhum is open to the public … no longer do I have to do this partial hill climb … no more “No Trespassing” signs … and we can climb all the way to the top. The road was officially opened to the public Monday. I was itching to get up to the top, but unfortunately, a co-worker already has Monday off for PTO. So I went ahead and schedule to take Tuesday off.

Plan was all set, but then I caught some cold/flu bug at work, and that put me under the covers, in bed, from Saturday all the way through the weekend. Ugh … this is putting my plans for climbing Umunhum on Tuesday in jeopardy. If I didn’t go Tuesday, I would have to wait two further weekends, as I’m on call this coming weekend.

I woke up on Tuesday, and just decided to tough it out. See how far I can make it, and if I can only do partial, well at least I tried. I definitely am not climbing in the best shape (being off the bike for the past 4 days). Getting to Hicks is a good 10-15 miles, so at least I could get a nice warmup.

I was probably going at 80%, and surprisingly, I was making good time, and legs strength is still in good shape.  One thing I noticed is there is a lot more traffic on Hicks, than I’m used to.  I guess this is expected, if people are going up to the top of Umunhum.  In the past, I’d be lucky to see 3 cars on my Hicks climb, but there have probably been about 20 cars in my stretch.

Whoa, that is one smooth road.  This is going to be fun!  No potholes?  No cracks in the road?  This is awesome.  And that box on the top of that hill … that is my destination!

There were several people who had the same idea that I had.  About 5 other people decided to ride up, on a Tuesday morning … although a couple of them may be retired, but at least it’s good to have some company.

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Well, whaddayaknow … no gate here.  And the road continues to be smooth.  One thing I noticed I didn’t run into … cattle grates!  Wow, it’s worth doing this, knowing you won’t even have any cow grates.

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I remember the no trespassing point, and as I climbed further, it just seemed to level off a little bit, so it turns out the toughest part of the climb was before the white line of death, something I already climbed on LKHC before anyways.  The rest of the climb was nice … it flattened, with some descents, before kicking up again at the end.

And here’s the final push

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A finally, getting to the final destination … all I could say is wow!

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Oh and probably the biggest reason to climb this, is to see the views.  Tremendous views up here.

 

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Now descending down the mountain … this is going to be fun.  In the past, the road was full of crater sized potholes, tons of cracks in the road.  This time though, with smoothly paved road, it’ll be a pleasure.  No more stress on the wrist trying to reduce your speed.  Now if we could only get Hicks Rd to be repaved this smooth … but that’s asking for a lot!

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Heatwave to Remind Us It’s Still Summer

All of California is under a massive heatwave. Of course, this is Labor Day weekend, so that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Triple digit temperatures wherever we go!

When I left the Bay Area, it started out fine. At 5:40 am, it was a nice cool 57°, but as I got closer to LA, the temperature kept rising.

Before seeing dad, I thought I’d do a short ride around the Rose Bowl. I know it’s got, so it has to be short.

This is what it was when I left the parking lot. I did some rolling hills, and then fatigue set in, only after 8 miles of riding. Then I looked at the temperature again.

At 112°, I had to throw in the towel … No mas. No legs, so I limped back to my car.

Nice welcome home present, eh? Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Posted in cycling, heat, ride report, SoCal, weather | Tagged | Leave a comment

1000 Mile Month

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Ever since I’ve been logging my cycling miles on Strava, I can never recall actually exceeding 1000 miles in a month .. well I finally did it.  That 31st day really did help, as I had 30 miles left on a Monday, which was quite doable.

I guess having 4 days off during the 4th of July holidays did help, and the 100 miles on Mines and Hamilton did kick start it.  I just kept up the miles during the weekend.  I tried keeping the miles up on the weekend, to near 100 miles if possible,, and then of course, there is the commute miles.  Even when I did all those double centuries, I didn’t exceed it, so it’s strange that I accumulated so much this time around.  I did skip my visit to LA this month, so that may have had something to do with it.

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One Long Day

This was one of those long days, and not one that will never end.  No, this was one busy day.

It started out bad … Two of our guys in the East coast were going to be out, so being the responsible one, I said I can come in a little earlier.  That means a 5 am commute … Yeehaa.  My back tire has a slow leak, and I didn’t feel like switching bikes, or God forbid that I would drive in.  So I just pump it up all the way.

Then, I find out I have to be in a Maintenance Window for troubleshooting for a customer (and I have no history behind this case at all).  Oh, I also had a handover case, as well as a big customer from a case that I own that I needed follow up on.  All this happening from 6-11 am.  

Team Meeting is at 11 am, so I went right into that, after finishing up my Maintenance Window call.

Then, lunch … Well, I ate lunch while working another call.

Then, IT is really cracking down on disk quota abusers, and I’m one of them.  I find out I’m using 65 GB out of a 5 GB disk quota.  After much searching, I finally find out I had an archive folder that was 60 GB in length.  Maybe that will resolve my login access problems, but no …. Remember, this is the long day.

Then, I finally write a handover of my case for follow up after my shift is over.  I do the write up, pack everything up, then suddenly realize I didn’t update the bug.  Turns out no big was filed, so I had to go create that.  Finally, get to leave and by this time it’s 4 pm.
I go retrieve my bike, and remember how I had that slow leak?  Well it’s flat now.  Ok, now to change the tube, and my tire iron breaks.  Oh I just want to be home now.

Luckily I found the culprit that caused the leak … A tiny piece of wire that got lodged in the wheel.

I was not in the mood for an extended after work ride, so just took the quickest way back home.

That was one long day!!!

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Android Pay a Little Too Easy

Android Pay, formerly known as Google Wallet, had been around for awhile.  I first used it about 6 months ago, only because I was out on a ride and I forgot my wallet.  I had previously set up my debit card with Android Pay.  I guess this forced my hand to use it.  

Well, I ran into the same scenario again.  Oh crap forgot my wallet … Hmm, here’s Android Pay on my phone.  But debit, then give my phone over the ATM kiosk, and voila …. Lunch is paid for.

It turns out Lucky Supermarket takes Android Pay, so I guess that’s how I’ll do my shopping.  I wonder if this is any safe than using my debit card directly on the card machine.  Since it doesn’t read the card directly, I wonder if it would be affected if the ATM machine was hacked.

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