Garmin Edge 510 Dead – Upgrade Time

I thought I let my Garmin go without a charge too long … No biggie, I’ve got Strava on my Android phone, and I can you that in the interim. I plug in the charger in to my iMac.  Wake up the next morning, and  damn, it’s still dead.  It wouldn’t even beep when I plugged in the charger.

Check online, and yup, it’s out of warranty.  Time to upgrade to the 520.

Looking back, I’ve only had the 510 some March 2014.  That’s only 2 years.  That’s not very long for a hardware device.  Hope this one will last a little longer.

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I’ve Had it with this Tire

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I hate it when you buy a new tire, and you have to toss it away, after not even riding 500 miles on it.  I’ve always ridden Continental Grand Prix tires, and having to toss this after about 4 weeks is a shame.

This is the same tire that had me shorten the Bonny Doon ride because of multiple flats.  First hazard was a sidewall puncture … I even put a boot on it.

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Then earlier this week, I rode into work, all excited to do the evening ride.  Getting to the bike cage, I found it completely flat.  Another tube gone, so made it home without issues.  Then, drove down to LA, with a stop off at the Rose Bowl, before a nice short climbing ride … no issues there.  Then, the next day, I’m ready to do a climbing ride, and yes .. it’s flat again.  Replace the tube, and no issues for the ride  (had to shorten the ride again), but 3 flats on the same tire … time to replace.

Don’t you hate it, when you buy a new tire, and have to replace it not even a month later?  I even booted it, thinking that should make my tire last … NOPE!!!!  And this was not even the back tire … it’s the front tire.

Oh well … tire’s replaced … looking forward to Karen’s climbfest on 4th of July .. you better not flat on me!!!!

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Bonny Doon Plans Thwarted by Flats

My co-worker Al, and I, had this lofty plans of doing a killer loop, with about 105 miles, and over 10,000 feet of climbing.  This was definitely going to be an epic ride, something Al has wanted, in preparation for his Death Ride training.

Those were good plans, but plans are not set in stone.  It all started fine, getting a nice warm up by climbing Page Mill (including those 12-16% pitches).  I felt ok climbing Page Mill, despite having some lower back “irritations”.  Al was faster up the hill than me, but I wasn’t too far behind.

All good there .. then we descended West Alpine, along with another faster group, which was going in the same direction as us.  However, during the descent, I heard some other noise coming from my bike, other than the freewheel … I had to slow down, and just as I feared, it was a leak.  My front tire got a flat.  Luckily this was just a slow leak, and I was able to hear it on my descent.  This was just before the right turn to continue onto West Alpine.

So we stop to fix the flat, and as I inspect the tire, I notice a sidewall gash.  It’s one of those, where once you pump up the tire, part of the tube will bleed out through a hole in the tire, and pow, there goes your tube.  Al had those tire boots, so we installed that, and we’re ready to go.

I think Al is ready for Death Ride, as every climb, he was definitely much stronger, and he was just flying up Haskins Hill, and didn’t see  him until I got to the corner of Stage and Pescadero Creek.  Good for him, but lot more work for me.  I was lucky enough to catch a few guys in a mini-paceline going to the coast.  One guy even had a DSLR, and was even able to take a few shots, without stopping!  Wow!

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Paceline to the coast!

I re-grouped with Al at Stage Road.  We had to make a decision here .. do we continue on to the original plan of doing Bonny Doon loop, or do we alter it and do the obligatory Tunitas Creek loop.  With the tire situation, I was leaning more towards Tunitas, but Al had his sights on Bonny Doon, so we are continuing on.

We continued down to Hwy 1, with a scenic stop at Pescadero State Beach.  I mean come on, you gotta take a few pictures here (although we would be riding parallel to this anyways).

 

Off we go and the winds were going in a southerly direction, and guess what .. we’re going south.  We have a tailwind, and that means kick it up to high gear, and just spin.  Al wanted to just charge on so he passed me, and he was flying.  However, there’s a lot of crap on Hwy 1, and one of those pieces of crap was a stray wire, that caught my front tire.  It was stuck to the tire, and it kept rolling it with.  I think I rolled with that in there for a good mile before it dislodged itself, and now it’s just a matter of time before it does go flat.  It finally went flat a little after Gazos Creek.

So this is where the day turned sour.  I have no more tubes available, and Al is at least a mile ahead of me.  Hmm … cell phone … no bars … damn, can’t even text him.  I was close enough to a gas station, but they had no tubes to sell .. damn.  A couple guys were fixing a flat by the station, but no extra tubes.  Damn.  Eventually, I flag another rider, who happens to have an extra tube.  A lifesaver!  I’m all excited, replace the tube, pump it up, and as I take the pump out, it strips the valve.

Arghhhh!!!!  It is just not my day.  Another good samaritan comes by, who happened to be a SAG support guy for years.  He doesn’t have any tubes, but he tries to help.  Took part of the tape on my handle bar, and I was wondering what he was trying to do.  He was trying to use the tape as a patch, but I’m thinking that’s not going to hold.  Surprisingly, we pump it up, and it seems to be holding.  He takes off, then I put everything together, then I feel the tire, and it is not holding … damn.  So I pump it up some more, ride as much as I can, and I go maybe 1/4 mile, before it’s deflated again.

I guess I’ll just walk south for a while, until I see Al come back.  I’m not sure how much time we lost, from both the tube change back up on West Alpine, and my adventures on Hwy 1, waiting for Al, but we had to find the quickest way back.  I decided we should just head back up Gazos Creek, then double back up Haskings, then West Alpine.  I figure that should still be an epic climb, but at least it will be more familiar territory.

The wind is still blowing in a southerly direction, and we are going northbound … headwinds!  Oh well, this is kind of expected, but we charged on through it.  I think when Al u-turned back on Hwy 1, it may have taken a bit out of him, because on our way back on Pescadero Creek, we was behind me.  I guess he’s conserving energy for the W. Alpine climb, so that makes sense.  Maybe part of it was I had rested awhile, so I was more refreshed?

There is a warmup climb before West Alpine in this direction, and that is Haskins Hill.  It has some 10-12% grades, so it is no slouch.  At this point, I got my second wind, and I felt good climbing up Haskins, and as it turned out, I got a PR on this segment.

At this point, climbing up W. Alpine was not too bad … my legs were still pretty fresh.  Al and I traded leads up this hill.  By the time we got to Skyline, we had a sense of relief … we are in the home stretch.  Legs are tired, and we just want to get back to the cars.  By the time we got back, I had logged in 82 miles, and 7877 feet climbing.  Al wasn’t sure how far on Hwy 1 he got before he turned back, but I think he was by Davenport … he got in 99.4 miles.  We was too tired to take an extra loop around the block to even it out to 100.

That was a tough ride, even though we skipped on Bonny Doon and Zayante … not sure which way would have been tougher.  We didn’t get the 10,000 feet climb we were shooting for, but it was still one hard ride, so we still had a great workout, and a great day.

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Epic Jamison Ride

Jamison Creek is one hell of a hard ride (not just because it is steep), but the climb comes in after 40 mile and 4000 feet climbing in your legs.  This is my climbfest in the Bay Area.

It started out with Redwood Gulch, which is no slouch either, with some 15-20% grades in a 1.5 Mike stretch.  Then, a long climb up Hwy 9 over Skyline, down into Big Basin.  And oh, there are some rollies when getting to Big Basin.  Believe me, those rollies can wear on you.

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I always going through Big Basin, and in those hot summer days, it’s cool to ride through tree shaded park.  Has some pretty awesome trees too.

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Finally, got to Jamison Creek at Hwy 236.  The house at this corner always has some cute decorations, letting you know where you are.  This time, it’s strawberry theme.  Not sure what the significance is, but it’s pretty cool.

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Having ridden this before, I know what’s awaiting me … some really tough switchback, and one particular that kicks you at 16%.  I was looking out for that … don’t want to get stuck dismounting and struggling just to climb again.  All I know is I had to concentrate on breathing and just push through each stroke.

I was the only one on this climb.  I guess it’s either not that popular, or people are more sane than to try this.  Finally made it to the top, and I had to take about a 10 minute break, just to recover.

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Ugh, now I just realized the second part of this ride is getting back home.  That’s like another 30 and 3000 feet of climbing.

I did make it back, but it was crawling up that hill (I guess as long as you complete it, that’s all that counts).  Total stats … 75.9 miles, 7838 feet of climbing.  Wow, big ride.  So much that I couldn’t even muster up a recovery ride > 20 miles.  But I guess I just gotta get my body back into long distance shape.

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Climbfest is Back

One of my dearest friends, Karen, is the originator of the Climbfest, but she was in an accident recently.  This weekend is the first Climbfest since her recovery.  As always, she attracts a big crowd on these rides.

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Her favorite climb is GMR to Baldy Village, and round-trip, it’s a respectable 50 mile, 6000 ft climb ride (come to think of it, it’s one of my favorite rides).

As usual, the ride started out with overcast skies.  That’s OK, it was keep the temperatures down, so that it won’t be scorching hot.

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I like when it’s overcast, especially when climbing over the clouds.  Makes for some awesome pictures, that makes amateur photographers like me seem artistic.

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We regrouped at the shack just before GMR-GRR junction (or at least some of us did).  Met up with Rick, who is recovering from his own crash, suffered on a mountain bike ride.  It was good to see him out there.

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Terri is recovering from her own back issues.  She’s back to riding again too.  She’s a strong rider, with 97 double centuries under her belt.  Jeez, what is with everyone going down this year?

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After seeing all my friends, and seeing the difficulties we have this year, I don’t feel so bad for my lack of fitness this year.  I made it to the village being in the middle of the pack (not the last, not the first). 

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The views, as always are great.  You would never think these views are in Southern California.  Who says are in LA is so bad you can’t breathe?

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On the way back, I remember seeing a road sign warning of reckless driving.  Uh, yeah, shouldn’t this be the rule for every road?  I thought this was funny.

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Where’s the sign about don’t drink and drive, or no smoking?

Anyhow, hopes everyone has a safe Memorial Day.  Be safe out there.

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Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area

May is national bike month, and today, May 12th, is Bike to Work Day (in the Bay Area at least).  It’s always exciting to participate in Bike to Work Day.  The volunteers at the Energizer Stations are so energetic, and excited (I don’t know how they get all that energy at 6 am).

So if you are wondering why there are so many bikes on the road today … well this is why.  I kinda wish we had a bike day of the month … that way, this excitement will come not just once a year, but 12 times a year.

I was able to stop by 4 Energizer Stations.

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Kaiser Energizer Station at Homestead/Lawrence

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Energizer Station off of San Tomas Aquino MUT at Agnew

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Energizer Station at the end of bike trail by Baylands Park

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Energizer Station at Yahoo

What type of schwag did we get?

Bright florescent green vest
Rear blinkie
Usual advertisements
Clif bar

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BTWD Goodies Bag

For the ride, I got 1.5 bananas, half a zucchini bread slice, granola rice Krispies, mini cup of trail mix … That’s a healthy breakfast.

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Grass is always greener on the other side

The title of this blog could apply to anything … but in this case, it applies to Cable TV/Internet.  In the Bay Area, the Cable provider is Comcast.  Yes, we all like to punch Comcast in the gut, complain about how bad their customer service is … and I am one of those … but man, I found something even worse.

I went to visit dad in LA, and in LA, the cable provider is Charter Communications … yeah, the same one who just got FCC approval to buy and take over Time Warner Communications.  Well, when I arrived, I found out Cable TV service is out … not only that, but Internet is also down.  Their phone is also down (but we don’t have that service, so at least we didn’t have to worry about that).

I went to their web site, to see if I can find any outage information.  Oy vey … You can’t even get support for a network problem.  How did I find outage information?  Not on the http://www.charter.net web site … no, I had to go to http://downdetector.com/status/charter-communications.  No, it’s not a Charter web site … at least with Comcast, they have a section on their web site, where you could check for status of the connection, and determine if there is an outage … but with Charter, you had to check through third party sites.

They didn’t even publish a phone number to report a problem.  I had to find the local Charter office, then call a 888 number … not a local number, but a 888 number, where I was able to get to support.  Then, they said they detected a service outage in my area.  However, they don’t allow me to speak to a live person.  Eventually, after about 3 subsequent calls, I found there was a fiber cut, which was affecting multiple areas … constituting most of San Gabriel Valley area.

So go ahead, complain if you want to about Comcast, but be careful what you ask for.  With this small sampling, Comcast is not that bad .. Charter … oof.  I wonder how Customer Service is with Cox, or Centurylink.  Why do cable providers strive to have bad customer service?

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