Either Heat or Fitness or Umunhum Did Me In

I’ve done Mt. Umunhum a number of times since the road had been been opened up to the top. However, this summer for some reason, I’ve had issues making it all the way to the top. The last few times was because I waited too long and by the time I started Umunhum, it was 12 noon, and it was already in the mid-90s. Since all these times, I was riding solo, I had the easy option of turning around.

This time, my friend Amanda, from ACTC, was co-leading the ride up Umunhum. So this would give me more motivation to finish it, knowing there is a group, and I didn’t want to let them down, but it was hard.

We first started with some warm up hills, Harwood (as if we didn’t have enough climbing to do). These were steep short pitches … Steep meaning 20+ %. While climbing, my immediate thought was, “I need to upgrade to a 12-30 or 12-32”.

It was cool, we stopped for 3 group pictures. Awesome way to keep everyone together.

This was in the middle of a residential street, so we had to make several attempts, and that was hilarious.

Earlier in the day Amanda made a comment that I looked slimmer. At that point, that seemed like a surprise, and maybe a curse?

I maybe it up Hicks fine (I wasn’t the last one), and yes, another group shot (but hopefully we won’t be baking too much making this shot).

On our climb up, I didn’t realize what little I had in the tank, as I quickly took my place in the back.

I didn’t bother to check what the temperature was, but I know I was suffering. I get past Bald Mountain, and after that, it just felt like the heat just ramped it up. I felt so weak, I couldn’t turn the crank. Since this so wide open, the shade was very few and far between. I ended up stopping 3 times, and each time was not just stopping … I ended up walking for a number of paces. I was so tempted to turn around, but I had to continue, with 10+ people waiting for me, and to take that group shot at the top.

Finally made it to the top, and was grateful for all the times this group re-grouped. It was awesome.

I’ve been in heat many times on other tough climbs, but never suffered like this. Maybe I need to upgrade my gearing? I did notice some others had lower gearing. Maybe I should have brought my triple and my Seven? Oh well, at least I made it once this summer.

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Summer Fitness Competition at Work

In an effort to build morale, companies will organize some friendly competition between different groups of teams.  They count number of steps, and they even included an option to convert cycling miles into steps.  That’s cool … with all the miles that I do, that should be good for us.

Recording miles was a bit of a challenge though.  I have a fitbit, and it is able to calculate steps when I ride, but I have no idea how it calculates this.  The organized competition does have a direct calculation … cycling step = (miles/3)*2000.  When I compare the number of steps on fitbit, to the calculcation, the fitbit step is way off … by about 1000 to 2000 steps.  Damn, so I had to take the graph that fitbit has, and subtract the number of steps based on the time I used for my ride.  Yeah, that was a pain to do.

I eventually was able to get my steps calculated, and I ended up with the highest step count on the team.  However, there were other teams that blew everyone else away.  My largest amount was 51,000 steps, due to a 71 mile ride I did.  However, there were a couple of guys who had 90,000 and 70,000 step day.  I later found out these team had two members who were doing marathon runs every day.  WTH?  That’s just unfair.

Oh well … it did promote camaraderie, and team bonding, which is good.  Hopefully, it also encouraged others to be a little more healthy, or at least physically active.

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How Did I Get That Many Miles In?

It’s end of July, and I decided to look at my Strava stats … Whoa. 782 miles in the month of July? I didn’t ride a really long day … I think the longest was 55 miles, but I guess if you do enough 50+ mile days, they will add up. I didn’t ride every day, but I did keep it consistent, so I think that may have had more of a factory.

I will say that having Tour de France coverage in the morning did prevent me from doing longer morning rides, but I guess as long as you keep doing them, it does count for a lot

Posted in cycling, monthly review | 1 Comment

Heat Advisory and Like a Doofus, I forget To Fill my Water Bottle

The news broadcast a heat advisory warning for the Bay Area.  So I decided to buy a 1.5l bottle of water from 7-11.  I was going to fill it up, when I got to the ride start (I was driving to the ride start).

I arrived around 15 minutes early, so that gave me time to get everything ready, use the bathroom, apply sunscreen everywhere, so I’m all ready.  We’re all ready and eager to start the ride, as we are heading over Old La Honda, then Haskin Hills, to the coast to Pescadero, where the temps should be about 20 degrees cooler.

Oh, what about that 1.5l bottle of water I got from 7-11?  Oh, I kinda forgot all about that. Luckily, my water bottle was a little under half filled up, left over from yesterday’s ride.  I was careful not to drink all of it, so I sipped a little here, a little there … and this was all on the OLH climb.

I guess the one thing that helped me was that most of the way out to Pescadero was descending, and there would be shaded roads, with just a few sections where it would be sunny.  Luckily I made it to Pescadero, without issue.  I made sure I filled up completely while at Pescadero.  But of all the days to forget to fill your water bottle … one of the hottest days of the year.  Definitely a day to escape to the coast, and not inland.

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Making the Best out of being On Call

Ever since a department re-org, my weekends have been pretty crappy. You see, they moved two products that I support away from me, and they laid off 3 of 5 in my staff. That left 2 if us left, so for weekend support, the on call weekend rotation changed from 5 to 2. That means I’m on call every other weekend.

I volunteer of calls for the product I do support is extremely low on the weekend. Most times, there are no calls. However, I still need to be available, just in case something happens. So I need to be within cell phone range.

With that in mind, I can do flat rides, but not many where it’s up in the mountains, like Hamilton, Diablo, or Umunhum.

I was able to knock out a good 50 mile ride today, so that’s something. At least I’m still able to maintain a 150+ mile week

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Certifications … They Only Test that You Can Take a Test

In Tech Support, the big thing is to gain as many certifications as you can … Oh boy.  I’ve been at this for 20 years, and just because you have this fancy CCIE or JNCIE, all that means is you know how to take a test.  It does not mean that you know anything.

I remember a few cases, where someone had a network down, and I could see his email signature showed he has a CCIE.  What was the solution?  Proxy ARP.  That is so simple, probably a CCNA could have solved it.

So when I see a certification on a resume, I look at it like a driver’s license.  It just means you studied, but do you know anything about network security, or network basics?  Not necessarily.  So that’s the main reason why I never went for any certifications … it doesn’t mean you know anything, and it’s a big waste of time.

However, I’ve been forced to take it now.  Damn bureaucracy … What I hate about these certification tests is that they don’t tell you what they want you to answer.  All the questions are damn riddles.  I know the product left and right, and still, I just barely pass … but I guess all that matters is the passing grade, not that you get 100%.  Oh well.  I guess I still have a job, at least.

Juniper Networks Certified Specialist, Security (JNCIS-SEC)

Ok, I guess they encourage me to brag about this, so here it is (after all the kicking and screaming).  Maybe now I can continue what’s more important … cycling!

Posted in rant, work-related | Tagged , | 1 Comment

iTunes LP: Another Reason Why Apple Sucks

Fresh off the announcement that iTunes is going away, I thought I’d review all the songs/titles I have on iTunes.  One that I haven’t played in a long time is the Beatles Box Set.  This included some exclusive videos, as well as all the songs, album covers, liner notes, etc.  So when I go to iTunes app on my Mac, I see the following:

It doesn’t show any tunes.  If I try to play, it takes me to another screen with the album cover, but nothing when I click play.

Then I found out they discontinued iTunes LP.  But I didn’t think that meant they would remove the ability to play.  So they screwed me over … $149 box set, no it’s worth nothing.

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In Between Two Social Bike Clubs

I have to admit, I’m a little spoiled here in the Bay Area.  I live geographically in the middle, between two social bike clubs.  Western Wheelers, usually starts rides in the Palo Alto/Los Altos area, while Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC), usually starts rides in the San Jose/Milpitas area.  However, there are times where rides are cross-listed.

Last week, I did a ride on Saturday with Western Wheelers, a ride we do almost every week .. Old La Honda, to West Alpine.  It’s a nice ride, with good amount of climbing.  However, there is one thing I notice about this particular group .. no picture taking.  It’s not like it’s a rule, but I noticed no one took the initiative to try to take any pictures at all.

On Sunday, I did a ride with ACTC, and it was a good ride, with some climbing, that led from Lexington School (South of Los Gatos), then down to Corallitos, then up Eureka Canyon.  Immediately, at the start, the picture taking begins.  Every stop we made, there was some pictures to be taken.  So immediately, I felt I had more fun on the ACTC ride.

This is not to say that Western Wheelers is anti-social … they are very social.  But doing the whole picture taking thing, kicks up the fun meter to another level.  It could be just the group of people I’m with, but it does make a bit of difference.

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Heatwave … Yeah it does feel like June

This year has been weird weather-wise. Yes, I’m glad we are out of the drought, and we’ve had tons of rain, and snow in the local mountains. It was even raining as recent as a couple of weeks ago (and it was a cold storm).

Now, we got a heatwave, that’s lasted for the past couple of days. This made me glad I have an office job, and not something like construction or roofing… That would suck. I have been riding into work on these hot days … Yeah, I’m insane. There’s just something about being in an air conditioned office, then coming out to a hot blast of air … Makes you feel alive to go for a ride. Just gotta make sure I hydrate myself, that’s all.

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Oh no, It can’t Be Over

… No, I’m not referring to the end of Game of Thrones … although it is kinda sad that it is over.  No, I’m referring to the fun of seeing the Amgen Tour of California, live, and in person, along the route.  I really had a lot of fun this year.  Yes, I did take a week off of work to see this … My reasoning?  I am a cycling racing fan, and when it comes to your backyard, you don’t want to miss out.

I thought this year, I wouldn’t be able to make up the mountain tops, where I could see suffrage of the racers climbing the highest mountains.  However, I amazed myself, and I was able to climb climb and climb.  I made it seeing the pack reach the KOM at Mt. Hamilton on Stage 3, and seeing the big gaps being created because of this.  I think a lot of riders were still recovering from the previous day, where the climbed all the way up to South Lake Tahoe, with 10,000+ feet of climbing … and this day was no slouch either .. I think it had 9,000 feet.

I then drove down to Ventura on Thursday, seeing Stage 1 of the womens race at the finish line, and Stage 5 of the Men’s race.  It was really windy, and it was a fun, carnival-like atmosphere.

Then, the big day, queen’s stage on Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) to Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts.  That was a blast, especially climbing to the Ski Lifts.  The highlight was passing by Phil’s Cookie Corner, and the craziness there.  Then, by good fortune, when we made it to the top, a friend of ours had VIP passes for us, to see at the finish line, under the tents, with food, wine, coffee.  That was a blast.

I didn’t have enough, so I climbed up Hwy 2, and climbed Mt. Wilson, then dropped down to see the racers, as they made the descent down Hwy 2, before they reached Pasadena.

Not only did I have a great time watching the race, I got in 5 good days of riding … Let’s see … Monday, 31 mi/3675 ft, Tuesday, 47 mi/4700 ft, Friday, 54 mi/7900 ft, Saturday, 35 mi/4500 ft.  That’s a lot of climbing.

Oh, and if you want to see the pics I took, here is my flickr link … https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyd4BKf

I guess all good things must come to an end … today was tough, first day back at work … and all the emails … ugh … and I still have a bunch I have to go through.

Posted in Tour of California | 1 Comment