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There was a rally about climate change in Providence today, outside the convention center, where there was a Governor's meeting going on. It was small, only about 150-200 by my quick estimate. There were some speakers, and some chanting ("No more pipelines! No more fracking! Send the oil barons packing!"); the whole thing lasted about an hour.

Valerie and I went down on the train (seems wrong to drive to a rally about climate change...), and I brought my bicycle! I had printed a set of maps and directions, plus I had my phone. It was hard to get settled onto the route, though, the roads never seem to match the map and directions. So there was a lot of stopping and pushing the "find me" button on the phone. Plus a stop at dunkin' donuts for lunch. All in all it took about 3 hours elapsed (I didn't look exactly when I left the rally). I picked up some speed at the end, when I'd gotten back into familiar territory and there wasn't so much stopping.

26.45 in 2:23 for an average of 11.0, which isn't too bad. Not much in the way of hills except at the very beginning, and even those were mild. And don't forget the 2.2 mile jaunt to the train station at the start!

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Nothing was on the calendar for today! So, Ken and I went bicycling. We went up Blue Hill. 10 miles to get there, one mile straight up, one mile back down, 10 miles back home. Before the ascent my average was 12.6. After it was 10.5. Strangely, it was 10.6 when I returned home. I thought the base of the hill was the same elevation as home, so my average should have improved a little, I'd think. But, the down is not really very fast because it is littered with potholes, parents, kids, dogs, horses, horse poop, other bicycles... And there was some dorking around because we stopped at the hardware store on the way home and the parking lot is large and slow. So, that's my excuse.

Turns out we actually had plans, because some of our many guests from last weekend are stopping back here after a camping expedition and before their airplane tomorrow, so we need to feed them. So I made vast food for dinner (which now just needs to bake for an hour), and also plan to make vast food for dessert because tomorrow there's a square dance and I want to bring some snacks. So I need to have decoy snacks by making a double batch or there won't be any for tomorrow.

Food and bicycling, my default hobbies :-)
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Sunday: 9.2
Monday: 25.73
Tuesday: 25.66
Wednesday: 9.4
Thursday: 6.8
Friday: 6.8
Saturday: 15.97

Total: 99.5

People more anal than I would have ridden down the street for 1/4 mile and back...

1000 miles

Jun. 30th, 2017 06:03 pm
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So, I wasn't going to bother to post this, but while messing with the photos on my phone I was interested to compare to last year, so I scrolled back through LJ, and learned that in 2016, I rode my 1000th mile on Wednesday June 15. THIS year I rode my 1000th mile on Wednesday June 14, exactly 52 weeks later!

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Actually it didn't rain very much, just a little splatter. Monday I drove to work and abandoned my car, Tuesday I rode back in. I had thought that there wouldn't be any specific reason for me to be at work Tuesday morning, but then there was a problem at work overnight and so I wanted to get there before noon, and, having a morning phone meeting, didn't get to leave at the crack of dawn. So, I had incentive to move. Apparently incentive works:

Monday: 25.73 in 2:31 for a lame average of 10.1. Maybe a little headwind.
Tuesday: 25.66 in 2:14 for an AWESOME average of 11.4
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So I rode my bicycle from work to the movie theater, 15.5ish miles, of which slightly less than 15 was recorded because the odometer is flaky. It took just about what Google had estimated (Google apparently rides about the same speed as I do). I met people with a bike rack there, and we saw the movie. I liked it. Lots of nice FX.

Friday I went to work even though I mostly WFH Fridays, because Jocelyn is taking classes at Esh and needs a lift home. Mostly Ken's been doing it, but I thought I'd do it this time, especially since I got a bike ride out of it.

Took yet another new route involving the new road. This one's problem was a one-way street going the wrong way. I could have ridden on a right-way street but it involved a slight downhill to get there, and a corresponding uphill to get back on the route, and it was mile 23 and I was tired. The route ended up slightly shorter than I expected.

25.51 in 2:28 for an average of 10.3. Like I said, I was apparently not inspired to become my own Wonder Woman...
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Had the opportunity to bicycle most of the way to work yesterday. Decent showing, 23.46 in 2:08:27 for an average of 10.9. Of course I skip the final hill this way, so that helps.
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So, it's May in Maine. I forgot about blackflies. I didn't realize how badly they'd bitten my legs Friday evening until sometime on Saturday when the welts made themselves known.

On my bike ride, 23.63 miles, just about what Google predicted, I discovered that blackflies go about 4-5mph. If you're only going 3mph they can do more than just keep up, but also get some nips in. There was one very steep pitch in which I lost my stride because of waving my arms (alternately) to keep the flies from my face. I tried to get back on the bike but the flies were just too thick. So I sprinted a little bit with the bike to get out of the cloud, and then walked up to the top of the hill (only a few hundred feet). I really wasn't going much slower walking than riding.

There were a LOT of uppy-downies. It's all glacial there... I must have gained and lost the same 150 feet five times between Sweden and Waterford. (There's also a Norway, ME, which I saw signs for, but it wasn't on my route. Sweden is, well, let's just say "don't blink on the way through".) Despite my claim that I wasn't going on any roads that I hadn't street-viewed, I did in fact go on such a road, which was paved for the first two miles. The next mile was dirt. It was tolerable.

Lunch at the general store in Harrison, then back to Bridgton to pick up the car. There was a lovely park in Bridgton, and surprisingly there wasn't a blackfly problem there, because there was a stiff breeze coming off a lake which kept them away. So I read my book for an hour there before heading back to the camp to pick up the aerial rig.

Blackflies were a terrible problem there too, trying to tie the mat onto the car, I would do a little tying, then duck inside the car to wait it out (a few flies came in with me but not too many), or, after I'd got it partially on, I drove a few hundred feet and started the next bit of work where there were new flies who perhaps didn't know about me yet and I'd get 30 seconds of respite.

The drive was much calmer. Ducktape does not stick when it's hot, the adhesive melts. I think that was a big problem on Friday, with it so hot. Everything stayed in order the whole drive back, at 65 degrees max. Still, I arrived after 11, pretty exhausted from the entire thing.
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Here I am because Jocelyn has a school trip to Camp Winona, and she wanted to bring the aerial rig. Arrived yesterday after a grueling trip through too much traffic (why aren't those people at work? I left before noon!) in too hot weather (what? More 90+ days in May?) with a too bit item on top of my car (we need to find a better plan for putting the mat on top of the car without me freaking out every time it flaps a bit). Shoulda been 3:15, actually took 4:45. Strangely, despite the giant thing on top of the car, I got decent gas mileage. This tank also had the trip home from Vermont with the mat on top. Probably because I was going slowly, and it was all long trips rather than little short shits where the car doesn't even get warmed up.

There was chaos at the camp about where to put the rig, who was going to set it up, who knew anything, so that took a while. Not that I had anything better to do. Blackfly season! Hopefully Jocelyn won't get too bit up teaching this morning. Her gig starts shortly. I'm not staying at the camp, though. We don't need Mom Cooties...

After checking in to my motel last night I had about 1.5 hours of daylight left, so I bicycled down to the center of Bridgton where I had some traditional diner food at a traditional diner, which was better than pizza at the pizza joint, and cheaper/faster than a "real" restaurant. Bridgton is on a hill, the descent (and later ascent) was about 100 feet according to my GPS. Which always sounds stupidly small, but it's pretty noticeable when you're riding!

Today I plan to bicycle ~25 miles in a loop through some neighboring towns. No idea how much ascent and descent there will be -- it will be an adventure. I am expecting not too much, because the area has a lot of lakes, and that usually means not too hilly. But I was surprised last night, so we'll see! One of the roads I'm riding on is named "Ingalls Hill"... Hopefully about halfway through I'll find some place for lunch that also has a bathroom... It's kind of unfortunate that I have to do all this after I check out of my hotel, so I can't clean up when I'm done. I brought another clean shirt so I can be a little less stinky even if I can't really wash.

I'm supposed to show back up at the camp around 5, get the stuff loaded back in the car, and go home. I could have stayed another day, but realistically, she's not going to get much more use out of the rig by my being here another day, and while this is fun, I'm going to be done with it.
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As expected, my performance was worse. My route was also worse - though safer. Yesterday's shortcut involved a highway crossing that seemed somewhat dangerous, so maybe I shouldn't be going that way...

26.31 in 2:32:17 for an average of 10.3.

Tomorrow, I ride to yoga. Thursday I'm not sure, probably just dorking around home. Or, maybe, deciding that when it's 90 (yow! in May!) one should go kayaking instead, despite bike week.

Friday, Jocelyn's school has a retreat thing in Maine that lasts all weekend. Naturally, she wants to bring the silks rig. (Can you spot a theme here?) There was some fussing by the school and the camp about liability, but they calmed down and agreed to have it. But, it has to get there, and the camp bus is not going to work out. So, hm, who gets to drive it? Why the person with the experience from last time!

So, I'm bringing my bicycle. I won't stay at the camp, cuz Jocelyn has better things to do than have her mom hanging around, and I'll arrive after they are already settled, so as to reduce chaos, and hopefully get something done for work Friday morning. (I'm sure there will be chaos anyway.) I'll get there around 4pm, it says here (the place is about 3 hours drive, but it'll take me longer cuz I'll drive slow and stop sometimes to check the load). Then we'll set up the rig, and I'll repair to a nearby motel. Saturday I plan to take a bike ride around the area. It's not a particularly mountainous place, so it'll probably be mostly flat. I street-viewed my planned route, just to make sure there weren't going to be any surprise dirt roads. If it's not street-viewable, I won't plan to go on it. I might do a little bicycling on Friday as well, to go get something for dinner.

I pick up the rig on Saturday afternoon, because I didn't want to spend TWO days dorking around in Maine, and they don't have a lot of time Sunday morning before leaving after lunch.

Bike week!

May. 15th, 2017 07:48 pm
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It's Bike Week again with the Commuter Challenge. What with it raining on the weekend, I had kind of a lame start, but I managed to bike home from work today to make up for it. Screwed around with the route, giving me perhaps the shortest distance I've managed so far, 25.19. A tailwind gave me an average of 11.0, which is pretty decent. (Tomorrow won't be so good, I'll have the corresponding headwind.) Riding time was 2:16:25; I forgot to look at my watch to get elapsed.
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I got to bicycle home again. I took the "old route", which was almost exactly the same distance as the "new route", 25.70 miles, but my performance totally stank. 2:42 for an average of 9.5. (Actual personal worst was 9.2, it turns out.)

There was a bit of a headwind at the end, but the wind had shifted and it had been a bit of a tailwind at the beginning. There was a lot of traffic so there were some slow bits creeping past stopped cars. Maybe they added up. But I also got tired early. When I got to the antepenultimate hill, I needed a much lower gear than usual and wondered how in heck I was going to get up the penultimate hill. Barely, is the answer, and then on the final hill it again was in the lowest gear, which I never need there.
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Went to a weekend gaming party in Vermont at the Hulbert Outdoor Center, our third trip there. Jocelyn, despite having something to do Friday evening AND Sunday morning, wanted to (a) go and (b) bring the aerial rig. Somehow, we agreed to this.

So, since there was predicted rain Friday evening, when we put the mat onto the top of the SUV, we also covered it in plastic. This had an additional design goal of preventing air from getting between the mat and the top of the car, causing it to fly (and, worse, fly and stop flying with a ka-thump). We ended up duct-taping the plastic to the top edge of the windshield, putting flaps through the doors and under the mat at the back, using clips to tie the flaps together across the top of the car below the ceiling in front and below the mat itself in back, and then more duct tape at the rear end to "wrap it like a gift". There were, um, issues with the front edge at the beginning of the trip, but I'd brought a huge roll of more duct tape and was able to redo it a couple times along the way when it got loose. It seemed that 55mph was OK, but 60mph gave trouble. Even 55 was a little dicey, so I finished the last 30 miles at 50mph. Including Friday afternoon traffic getting out of Boston (I had to wait til 2:45 when Perry got out of school) it took well over 4 hours to get there -- it should be about 3 hours.

The trip back was easier, because (a) there wasn't as much traffic, and (b) I'd learned from the first experience how to do the duct tape and it was better to get it right first rather than trying to slap it on at the side of the road, so I stopped a couple times to verify all was well, but mostly we just drove. Still, it was more than 3.5 hours. (Ken managed to duck any of the driving of the mat because he was bringing Jocelyn either to or from VT at night, and all my driving was in the daytime, which is easier to deal with problems.)

Many people enjoyed watching Jocelyn and participating in the easy beginner tricks she can teach on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon we participated in the ropes course. I had a better time than last time -- I think because fewer people were participating so there was less waiting for staff to check that you were clipped in properly, so there was more doing stuff. I don't think Jocelyn played any games. I played some Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning. Perry played all the time, and Ken played some while Jocelyn and I were roping.

I managed to bring my bicycle on top of the rig inside the SUV. The difficult part of putting the bike in was not tangling in the ropes holding the mat cover in place. I did two 8-mile bike rides in the mornings. One of them was up a fairly tall hill. I didn't get to the top because the pavement quit before the hill did, and I don't do dirt, but it was still pretty high. I looked at the GPS readings on my phone, which claimed about 940 feet. USGS claims that the nearby lake's elevation is 417 feet, so it was a little over 500 foot climb, in about a mile. This is equivalent to Blue Hill, though I think Blue Hill has a short stretch that's a lot steeper than anything on Terry Hill Road.
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Finally the stars aligned: it's after daylight savings time starts so it's possible to bike home from work, and I had an opportunity to do so yesterday, when it was nice (70ish, though it cooled off by the time I actually arrived home just around sunset). Bit of a headwind, but not really enough to account for my slothitude.

25.77 in 2:34 for an average of 10.0.

I took the new road home, but it involves a lot of slow lights, so the elapsed time was really long. Also there was stopping to first doff and then don my sweatshirt, and there seems to be something vaguely wrong with my bike so I poked at it a few times. I'm concerned it's metal fatigue in the seat. There's kind of a sway (very slight, but noticeable at speed) and for a while there was a squeak that seemed to come from the seat attachment. Unfortunately the company's been out of business for like 10 years.

Amusingly, I was passed by a friend of mine who was on his way down to Foxboro on his bicycle. We had a short chat, and then he decided to go at a reasonable pace and left me.

Today, I drove to the dentist from work in 1:25 (it's about 3 miles closer than home). If I rode faster it would be reasonable to just bike! Though I usually go in later and so driving in is only 40 minutes. Also, I would have been very wet.

And I have a new "not intended to be temporary" crown. Some of it was warranty work but some of the reconstruction was shared by me and insurance. Still, it was cheaper than the average crown.
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Rode through F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, which is lovely and shaded. Ended with a stretch on route 1 and of course all the regular dorking around to get to and from home.

25.57 miles in 2:14 for an average of 11.4. There were a few hills, but none as steep or long as the ones on my regular route to work, and we managed to do the "start upwind when you're fresh so you'll get a tailwind when you're tired."

509 miles on the odometer for the year.
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Before I got all distressed on Wednesday, Tuesday I had the opportunity to ride to work. Lovely lovely day. Bit of a tail wind. I went the "inside 128" route through Dedham and Newton, because I think that's shortest and flattest, but there was a construction detour that probably cost me 1/2 mile,

26.2 miles in 2:21:32 for an average of 11.0. Off to a good start!

I'm feeling better about the whole airline thing. It's been pointed out that traveling in a group helps not be selected.
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