More of the Great Clif Mojo bar Taste Test

So a while back, when I started the Great Clif Mojo bar Taste Test and we’ve had a very cold spring. What that means is that the results are taking quite some time to accumulate. Sure the folks are riding and doing, but not the sort of long rides where somehow tastes change in odd ways, or where they need to pack energy along in the first place. (Little known secret, unless you’re a skinny sort, working out all the time etc. you don’t need extra calories (generally) for a two hour bike ride. I tell you three times.)

However some more results were written up a while back, and I never got around to posting. SO without further ado I present the always lovely, impossibly snarky, funny, and joyous Jenni on her Mojo bar experience.

The first thing that I’d add before I move along to the next bit of commentary, is that Jenni didn’t even know these existed… which doesn’t say much for Clif marketing. Sure this seems a bit like biting the hand that fed us (we did get the bars from clearly happening and with it Dean Mayer of Clif Bar Inc. afterall) but one so generous and kind will surely understand that I’m merely trying to point out that they are not achieving nearly the market penetration they should out here in the East, at least with Mojo bars.)

Next up was a partial report from David. Besides being the President of the Rockland Bike Club, he’s also an incredibly talented and created soul who authors columns, reviews, and books on photography, software, and stuff. He travels a lot, seems to find more than his fair share of food poisoning, and has done stuff like biked across Alaska. So without further ado, his rejoinder and first comments.

More comments to come soon… I’m sure. Right? Hello? Seth? David? What’s that? I haven’t finished yet either? Yeah, yeah. It’s coming. Soon. Really. No, seriously.

Spring baseline ride…

A quick ride with Gerry this morning. First I had to drop off Noah, then run down to Piermont for our start. Too much stress. Naturally, it was 35 degrees (F) outside as I was getting dressed, but it was warming quickly. Gerry had already been riding already (naturally) so after a couple of minutes of my fumbling around with clothes, off we went. First annoyance, the heart rate monitor wasn’t being read. It connected shortly into the ride though.

This was the first ride on the “Weapon of Choice” with the light wheels installed. I’m not really any lighter, as I recover from the enforced carbs of Passover, but the winter wheels need some attention, and I don’t want to keep riding on them until they get it. Naturally, the beater wheels have an old, not really working cassette on them, so they were not an option. I kept a light thought and prayed that I would not drop into a water system cover hole or something and taco a wheel.

Stats for this sneak a ride before work thing were 15.67 miles in 1:03:39.44, Avg pace 4:03/mi, Avg speed 14.8mph, Max speed 23.8. Avg heart 130bpm, Max heart 158 with just under 500ft of climbing (essentially flat). Not bad numbers for me in spring—better overall for this time period than over the last two years.daniel_gerry_loop.png

I trail the light fantastic

In my never ending quest for more fun with bikes and more time (and fun) with Noah, I finally got a ride in with him in the trailer.

Scene 1: Enter the trailer

Really, I guess this should start with “enter Noah” but I’ve only got a few seconds here before you move on. So I EBay a bunch of stuff I’m not using and purchase a trailer… about a year and half too early it turns out. Ever the eager beaver am I, and in this case, hugely misjudge where Noah’s at as far as this was concerned. So I stored a large box with said trailer over the winter.

Scene 2: Try, try again.
Assembled last spring, Noah stepped in, pronounced it worthy of further study and stepped out. Getting him to wear a helmet for longer than three seconds was out of the question. It was an affront to his dignity that I even tried.

No helmet no trailer, soooo no trailer. I, btw, don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for him to wear it in the trailer, but I’m not going to try and explain why “no” in the trailer and “yes” on the trike, or why when we ride on the trail it’s ok, but not when ride on the road. So there.

Winter sets in and still no trailer ride with Noah. We continued to try but he was never interested. Then it got too cold as far as my wife was concerned, so I folded it up and once again, stored it for the winter. The plan became the just-work-the-trailer-into-conversation-about-going-to-the-park-when-the-weather-warms-up type stuff. Parentally sneaky, but isn’t that what parenthood is all about? I think so. (Plus I just received notice that I’m in the running for longest dashed sentence. Rocks.)

Scene 3: Behold the trailer!
In hopeful preparation, a couple weeks ago I rehydrated the trailer, inflated the tires and trailed it behind my bike round and round my short driveway for a mile (no, really, I measured) to make sure everything was ok. Nothing loose, no strange tipping, nor lack of soundness. Cool.

Today, as we prepare for the last couple of days of Passover (and the sad end to my vacation) Lisa needed some time with Noah out from underfoot, and the weather was calling. Taking one from the Better Daddy(tm) playbook, I whip out the ever so casual, maybe I should try and take Noah for a ride in the trailer? (Thus collecting good husband points, good daddy points, and bike time at once. A triple play!) And so we went. He’s been excited lately because the weather warmed up and we’ve been making excursions to various parks (slides, swings, pirate ships, bikes, trikes, outdoors!) and so with his helmet (just like daddy) on his head, his bear in his hand, he buckled up and off we went. First just around the corner to make sure everything was cool from his perspective and then down the block and back and then around the neighboring streets. Only once did he complain about the wind (he’s not a fan), and it was not generated by us, it was a sudden gust.

He did get a little freaked by a passing car—a nice, polite toot, and plenty of clearance on the pass, but stupidly I didn’t warn Noah. He very quietly said “Daddy” and I looked back at him and something had taken the wind out of his sails. I pulled over and he added, “Something’s behind us, Daddy”. I made sure he was OK, explained it was just a car, and that he had a window where he could see out the back if he wished, and we moved on. It took a few minutes, but he was fine. Hopefully we both learned something.

But mostly he was singing, and shouting out directions (“Go this way Daddy!”) and singing some more and enjoying the experience. And since he never seems to want to go home or inside once he starts, suspect there’ll be some nice long rides in our future. Wheee!

Ride #21: First Up Cossaduck, and One Unlikely Number

Ride #21: First Up Cossaduck, and One Unlikely Number:
Must admit that I seriously considered just sending this picture to a couple cycling-friends (Steve, Daniel, I’m looking at you…) with no comments. :-D

Stats: 39.78 miles (64.04 km) in 2h 20′ 43″ for an average speed of 16.96 mph (27.30 kph).

(Reminder not to make too much of that low average speed. This ride had loads of climbing and the season is still very young.)

[Outliers, outliers. Anyway, there’s no cyclist I know who could resist telling the story behind a true number like that…]
Source: Truer Words – A Journal

Trouble in Capital City

Trouble in Capital City: I suppose the lack of public discourse is because saying you’re opposed to a major public-works housing project being located directly adjacent to the retail hub of the village makes one sound like a bigot—it sounds like you’re saying you’re not in favor of the people who live there.

Personally, I’m not in favor of the criminals that live there, just as I’m not in favor of criminals that live anywhere else. But really I’m not in favor of is a social-political development that fosters the continued dependance on the broken unemployment and social assistance programs in our country. I’m not in favor of any development that makes people of any income class live in small, squalid housing with little to no job training and no connection to the community.

I’m not in favor of treating people like lesser citizens because they make less money on average than most. I’m not in favor of ugly subsidized public housing that ends up fostering crime.

Maybe instead of talking about parking meters and who is going to run the marina and to what end, we should talk about how to develop sustainable housing in Nyack for ALL income classes, without making any look or feel like they are second class citizens, and without creating further blight in Nyack. [Right on David, right effin on.]
Source: Attention Deficit David

Springing forward

I’ve been riding outdoors at least once a week since roughly December 2nd… usually on Sunday. Sometimes more, but not usually. Sometimes on the trainer, sometimes on the rollers in addition, but mostly it’s been once a week on Sunday, and I can’t think of a break in the streak.

Until now.

Passover is going to eat the next two Sundays. It’s that simple. So while I’m going to try and get out in the middle of the next couple of weeks, odds are bad. So despite the slowly improving weather… (I’m down to three layers from five for these early morning rides) The next couple weeks could well be a bust. So it goes.

Today I rode with some folks I haven’t seen in ages… they didn’t ride through the winter. They were in typical Spring form, and to my delight, the ride felt slow and relatively easy. It was about half as long as the ride I’ve been doing, and every little rise seemed to stop one person dead in their tracks.

Normally, I wouldn’t even notice… I’m rarely amongst the fastest folks… especially these last two years with all the knee pain (first left, and then right, one year each). Last year was a complete disaster, as somehow I almost never made it out to ride. I got slower and heavier all season, to the point where I couldn’t keep up with folks I could blow away a year earlier. But this year, so far, I’ve been feeling good, and the consistent riding has helped. I still have a lot of weight to lose… but that’ll come along (it’s already started, but I have a lonnnnng way to go to get back to where I was.)

Today I wore a heart rate monitor for the first time. I got inconsistent readings, which serves me right as I spent no time testing before the ride. Other aspects of the new computer will unveiled soon. And I’ll make sure I get the heart rate thing going over the next couple of weeks. Should be fun.

As an aside… I been riding the “weapon of choice” road bike for the last three weeks. Simply amazing. It’s not in full regalia yet, I’ve been riding with the midweight wheels mostly because I’m heavy, and figured if I taco a wheel, it might as well be the less expensive ones, plus they’re all crudded up from the winter, so until the roads are a bit cleaner, and I’m lighter… plus I never bought a new high end gruppo as planned, because, well, I wasn’t feelin’ it. This one will do for this season at least, we’ll see what happens down the road. Even so, the bike is light, stiff, and comfortable. Truly amazing stuff.

Thoughts on Google App Engine

Thoughts on Google App Engine: I’m more than a little concerned, though, by how much vendor lock-in there is with App Engine.  At first glance, it doesn’t look like the apps will be portable at all.  If I want to switch providers, or add in other providers so I’m not relying solely on Google, I’m outta luck.  

I’m hopeful other languages get supported, too.  I think Python is great – don’t get me wrong – but we have a lot more experience with other languages, so there’ll be a learning curve.

Finally, I’m dying to find out what pricing for an application of our scale will look like.  I can see some immediate, obvious things I’d like to try to do on App Engine, but the beta limits aren’t gonna cut it for us.  :(

[snip -ed]

My favorite bit?  In theory, Google has solved the data scaling problem.  I don’t mean raw binary (blob) storage, which S3, SmugFS, MogileFS, and plenty of other things have solved, but the “database” scaling problem.  Every popular web app runs into this problem, and it’s typically solved with a combination of memcached, federation, and replication.  But it’s messy.  In theory, Google has automated that piece for us.  I can’t wait to play with it and see if that’s true.

I also can’t wait to see who else is going to wade into this fray.  Sun?  Microsoft?  Yahoo?  IBM?   [More info from the field…]
Source: SmugBlog: Don MacAskill

Let my People Have Root

Let my People Have Root: App Engine is certainly convenient for Google because it maps exactly to what they have already built for internal use. But does it mean that Google has solved the hard problem of how to manage a cloud computing offering while simultaneously giving developers the freedom of full root control? And is root access important? [Granted they have a self interest, but they still make a good point…]
Source: Joyeur

Generation Squeeb: Barack Obama’s Reverend Wright controversy, and America’s squid-heart

Generation Squeeb: Barack Obama’s Reverend Wright controversy, and America’s squid-heart: We can’t focus for more than ten seconds on anything at all and we’re constantly exercised about stupid media-generated non-scandals, guilt-by-association raps, accidental dumb utterances of various campaign aides and other nonsense — while at the same time we have no energy at all left to wonder about the mass burgling of the national budget for phony military contracts, the war, the billion dollars or so in campaign contributions to be spent this year that will be buying a small mountain of favors for the next four years. And we… shit, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I’m just tired of this tone that’s always out there when these scandals break, like we can’t fucking stand the existence of this Wright fellow for even a minute longer, not a minute longer! — when we all know that come Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, Jeremiah Wright will be forgotten and we’ll be jumping en masse in a panic away from the next media-offered shadow to fall across our bow. What a bunch of turds we all are, seriously. God help us if we ever had to deal with a real problem. [Too much truth here.]