ATOC Week and I’m Taking PTO

Amgen Tour of California was on this week, and as tradition, I took the week off.  I mean why not?

It started out pretty spectacularly.  I put out feelers to see who would be playing hookey, someone I can hang out with to watch the stage.

Lorri gives me a big surprise … She won a VIP pass for stage 2, but couldn’t make it.  She offered it to me.  Wow!

So I go there, not knowing where I’m supposed to go … I guess I’ll throw out the VIP term …  That gets people’s attention really fast.  I eventually get the star treatment and was able to meet Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, in person.  But like an idiot, I didn’t think about getting any autographs, but I did get a picture.

Since I am in the VIP section, I was able to get very close to the finish line.

and I was actually able to get some podium shots too.  That was really cool!

The finish was at the top of Metcalf Road at the motorcycle Park, which meant narrow, twisting switchbackroads leading to the park.  These were also fairly steep roads, so when spectators ride up here, they have to be careful to control their speeds going down.  Well, one of them didn’t, and went down, which meant that narrow road was blocked … Our shuttle couldn’t get to us.  So we ended up waiting for the shuttle till about 6 pm (the race ended at 4 pm).  Everything was being torn down, and be we are here waiting for our shuttle.  Same thing happened last time it was here.  No matter how many times they preach to slow down, take your time, someone gets hurt coming off the mountain.

The next day, the start is at Pismo Beach, which is a long drive.  I originally wanted to go see the start, but I would have needed to get a really early start.  To complicate matters, my dad had some stomach problems, and I felt I should go there, instead of going to the start.  Oh well … Family matters take precedence always.  

Dad is doing well … He’s getting up there in age, and diarrhea can be a common occurrence, so I just had to be on the safe side.

I was next planning to see the Queen’s stage on Thursday, up Mt. Baldy.  That’s an epic stage, that actually does a loop from Baldy Rd to Glendora Ridge Road, to Hwy 39, up Glendora Mountain Road, back to Glendora Mountain Road, before going up Mt. Baldy to the ski lift.  I could actually cat h them coming by twice​.  It was madness, lots of fun, and one big wild party.  

There was a jester, guys in duck suits, superhero outfits (there was a guy dressed up in a Wonder Woman outfit).  Only thing missing was antler man, and the priest.

This was at what we call the Cow Saddle.  When they make the left turn onto Glendora Ridge Road, they have a short 10-13% climb up to this point.  We were yelling, screaming, banging cowbells …

After the pelaton went through, and everybody left, I headed along the course to catch them on the return.  I wanted to be see them coming up the KOM on GMR.  I found a spot by the shack, and there was already a crowd settled there.  While waiting, guys were forming a wave.  Never thought I’d see that.

We can tell the pack was coming when we see choppers above us.

Of course, the big caravan of Vans, CHP, photo cars was another big indication.

I got a little better view this time, because it was not as insane as soon the Cow Saddle, but it was still pretty crazy.

Wow that was fun.  However, spectators who don’t know how these races work, always think the exciting part is over and want to head down, not knowing it is not the end of the convoy …. The race is still going on.  I gotta hand it to the Course Marshall … He kept everyone inline, had everyone behave very well.

I could have made the slog up the ski lift for more madness, but my legs weren’t feeling it today, but at least what I did see be was a blast.

Some people go to Europe, Hawaii, Asia for vacation …. Me, I follow a world class bike race.  It’s my ritual.

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2017 Bike to Work Day

May 11th is Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It also happens to be Global Bike to Work Day, although I don’t know who decided that.  All I know is Strava started promoted this, and it stuck in everyone’s mind.

The problem for me is I start on the road by 6:30, and most Energizer Stations don’t have their tent set up by the time I get there.  I can always count on the station on San To.as Aquino MUT at Agnew.  They usually have a nice spread.  Bagels, M&Ms, coffee, … Mmm, nice way to start BTWD.

It was a pretty good turnout.  Nice to see happy smiling cyclist faces on the trail.  I did see one trike, so that’s the only odd bike I saw out there.  Yes, there were Bromptons, Dahons, and a few recumbents, but strange that I didn’t see any Bike Fridays.

Next station was at Lawrence Expressway and Baylands Park.  More bananas, and Hobee coffee cake … Mmm.  Starting to get full now … LOL

I ride further on and a couple of stations just barely had their table set up, and another had it all laid out but no one there.  Odd … I had enough anyways, so just straight into the office.

I know that National Bike To Work Day is next week, and some cities don’t have it till next month.  

We also had a Bike to Work lunch, but that was the day previous to Bike to Work Day.  This is all very confusing.


Hope everyone had a good Bike to Work Day.  Let’s keep on riding, and not just do it on Bike to Work Day.  Let’s do that everyday!

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Spring is Here and Hopefully Rain Is Gone

It’s April and it looks like the weather is starting to look like it.  After a record rain season this past winter, I’m ready for it to dry up.  Temps got to 80° this past weekend, and that’s good news for cycling.

For the first time, I didn’t have to wear arm or knee warmers for a ride.  It was nice (although I kept a light windbreaker, just in case it got windy or cold).

I went with Al, my co-worker, to do an epic ride, up Morgan Territory (which we normally descent).  This is affectionately known as “the plunge”, but we’re doing it in reverse.  The reason why we do this is the road is not completely passable on the other side in Clayton.  So the plan is go up Morgan Territory, then down, then over to Mt. Diablo.

It was a gorgeous day out, however it was also very windy.  Morgan Territory had some stretches of 12-15% grades, and some stiff headwinds, as well as some crosswinds.  It made a tough climb even tougher.  I think my fitness is starting to come back as I got to the summit at the same time that Al did.

On the descent, I wanted to be careful of the crosswinds, and make sure I don’t get blown off the cliff.  There were a few times in past DMD events where a rider went off the cliff.  Luckily, the crosswinds didn’t kick up too much while on out descent.

Onto Diablo, and we were heading a little bit into the wind.  I kinda like flat stretches, going into a headwind.  I get down into an aero position, and just power it through.  I may not be fast, but get some steady power, and it feels good.  Al didn’t like the headwind, so he was more than happy to draft behind me.

All that pulling may have had an adverse affect on me, when we made the turn onto Blackhawk and onto Diablo.  My legs were not feeling it, and my knee even felt a twinge.  I didn’t want to push it too hard, and I was way behind.  I decided to just go up to the junction at the ranger’s station, and head back at that point.  It took a lot out of my legs.

At least on the way back it was easier.  There was a nice fast stretch on Collier Canyon on the way back.  However, with the winds, and the vegetation out there, it really attacked my allergies.  Eyes were all red, sneezing left and right … Yeah, spring is here.  My allergies were kicking into high gear, but that’s ok.  I can feel the fitness coming, and it feels good.  This was a much tougher off-season than in years passed.

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Hey Go Pro … Ever Hear of QA?

In this day, where more people are using high tech devices, you would think that manufacturers would be more stringent on QA testing.  Well, maybe my standards are too high, because I work in Customer Support for firewall and router devices?

Recently, Go Pro released new software (version 2.3) for their Quik application on PC and Mac desktops.  Soon after releasing that software, it failed to load any videos.  It would always give you a “Loading Media” message, and it stays there forever.  It still is able to import videos, but after it’s finished, you can’t view it.  You can’t even view videos that had been previously imported.  The prior release, 2.1, was fine.  I had 2.1 on my drive from previous upgrade … I uninstalled 2.3, and installed 2.1 … the result … I’m able to view my videos now.

This problem is not just isolated to me … I’ve seen many other people complain about this on their forum … Mac and Windows platforms of various OS’s.  I posted that downgrading to 2.1 resolved the issue, and others have commented that it works too.

So why do they release software, that is extremely easy to reproduce.  I mean, it happens on all OS’s.  So Go Pro, don’t you QA your software before you release it … like any other vendor out there?

Ok, rant over …

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Weird Go Pro Problem

I recently updated my firmware on my Go Pro, and then weird things started happening.  I was using GoPro Quik, and soon after the update, Quik was not able to load any media.  No matter what I try, it’s stuck on “Loading media”.  Well, I figured there was some application problem on my Mac.

Then, on the camera, I noticed that in some instances, the camera would get stuck in some mode, where I see blinking red led on the camera.  Usually that’s an indication that it’s recording, but when I look at the time recorded, it says 1:01.  Try shutter button, and nothing.  Press mode, and it says “Hilite already tagged”.  Huh?  I know there is a tagging feature when using the mobile app, but I never used it.  Basically, I couldn’t stop recording, change modes, or even turn the damn thing off.  When trying to import via USB, it didn’t detect any files.  Weird.

Finally, I figured by keeping the mode button depressed for about 15 seconds or longer, it would eventually turn off.  Now when I import it did detect some files.  I needed to quickly import them, before my camera got into that weird state again.  Then, from my smartphone app, I decided to see what option there is to format the microSD.  Hmm … no format, just erase all files.  So that I did, and seems like I’m able to record more than 1:01 now.  Well, we’ll see.

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7 Days in to #30daysofbiking

It is April, and that’s the 30 days of biking month.  Every year, all cyclists, who sign up, pledge to ride every day in the month of April (http://www.30daysofbiking.com).

So far, doing pretty good … although I did miss one day (weather forecast was for rain but it was dry, up until the evening commute.  I guess it was a good decision, but man, for the rest of the day, it looked like a missed opportunity).

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 8.21.04 AM

We’ve been lucky, in that when it does rain, it’s typically before or after work, but I do at least prepare with fenders, rainwear, etc.  How’s everyone else doing this month?  I made the pledge (although I already missed one day) .. How about you?

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Finally Updated to Nougat

Finally Android 7.0 was pushed down to my phone.  One reason why I got the Nexus 6 was so that I would get timely security updates.  Well, that was the plan at least.  I was on 6.0.1 for a long time (since probably June).  I know that Nougat was released sometime last fall, so I was patiently waiting.  Yes, I know, I could have manually downloaded and sided the update, by I wanted it to be updated over the air ( OTA).

How I got it was strange.  I didn’t get a Security Update in February, and I know there was one.  I was contemplating sideloading it, but I waited.  Then, Match 16 (half of March went by), and then I get the February update, in the middle of March.  So fine, I’m on 6.0.1 with the February Security Update, then comes another OTA update.  This time it’s Android 7.0 with the March Security Update.  That was strange.

But I know 7.0.1 is out.  I know there was some problem with Android Pay, and that may have caused some of these problems.  Now I read that for Nexus 6 owners, if you want to continue is OTA, you have to be on 7.0.  In fact, some users that were already updated to 7.0.1 had to be downgraded to 7.0, in order to continue to get OTA updates.

So I’ll stay content with 7.0 on my Nexus 6.  I just won’t be able to go to 7.0.1, but I’ll still have Security Updates.  Maybe this will force to get the Pixel?

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