April 14, 2008

2 Weeks With My Road Bike

I've had my road bike for about 2 weeks now and I have to say that I have enjoyed it thus far. Up to this point I have put about 100 miles on it. Timber and I are getting ourselves into biking shape so that we can make an assault on Mount Hamilton in June. I've shaved my 4.5 mile bike commute to work from 30 minutes on my mountain bike to 22 minutes on my road bike. Our longest bike ride thus far has been 19 miles. This coming week we will bump the distance up to to around 22 - 23 miles or so. I'm also getting used to being on the bike for longer and longer periods of time, which is important as we increase the distance of our rides. Also, one nice thing about where I work is that there are plenty of good routes for me to ride during lunch on the weekdays. This past Wednesday I went on a 19 mile lunch time ride with some of my coworkers. I kept up with them fairly well on the flat areas but they really beat me badly on the uphill parts. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I have also learned a ton about road bikes over the past 2 weeks. I have also gotten a pair of road biking shorts, extra water bottle cage, helmet mounted rear (red) blinking light, and small air pump. The next step will probably be to get a set of pedals and biking shoes. So overall, so far so good.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:40 PM

April 04, 2008

Why I Won't Vote For Hillary

Here are some of the reasons I won't vote for Hillary Clinton. Feel free to contact me if you think I'm being unfair.

1. She says she is ready to lead from day 1, but what elected office has SHE held before becoming a NY Senator? Has she ever answered the Batphone?
2. After Bill's time as president was over (actually during the last bit of his presidency) she shopped around for a place to become a senator. I'm convinced that even back in 2000 she wanted to run for president, so she mapped it all backward from there and then moved to NY so she could run for a senator position which would eventually allow her to make a run for the presidency, which is where we are today.
3. If she wins, we really won't know who is in control of the presidency, her or Bill.
4. She and Bill have made more than $109 M since 2000 (link). I highly doubt she is looking out for the little guy.
5. She has a lot of baggage in the form of Monica Lewinsky, White Water, etc... (mostly Bill's fault).
6. She's divisive, I don't think she can bring the country together.
7. She is against NAFTA, and we don't need to go backwards any more than we already have.
8. Her "Save Our Homes" program is unrealistic and she is pandering to people that got bad mortgages.
9. She panders to Unions which, in my opinion, are hurting themselves (see the auto and airline industries).
10. Doublespeak -> taken from this page on her own webiste.

"She opposes a guest worker program that exploits workers and creates a supply of cheap labor that undermines the wages of U.S. workers. Hillary believes all workers deserve safe conditions and decent wages. She supports an Ag Jobs program, which will keep our agricultural industry vibrant while enabling agricultural workers to receive the fair wages and labor protections they ought to receive."

ok, so she opposes a guest worker program, but supports an Ag Jobs program, which is what, a guest worker program...

So if you support her, I'd like to know why. What great ideas does she have?

Posted by troutm8 at 05:26 PM

April 02, 2008

Weight Loss

For the month of March I set a goal to lose 5 pounds. I knew I could do it, but the key was to find the right motivation. I was inspired by stikk to put some money on my belief that I was going to lose 5 pounds over the month of March. So the next question was how much and where would it go? I decided, unimaginatively, that if I did not lose 5 pounds I would have to give $100 to Timber. And wouldn't you know it, not only did I lose 5 pounds, I lost 6.5 pounds. Now I am setting a goal to lose another 5 pounds for the month of April, but this time I need a bigger incentive. And I found it! My punishment, if I don't lose 5 pounds over the month of April will be to do something with $50 that is worse than flushing it down the toilet or setting it on fire. If I don't lose 5 pounds in the month of April I'll contribute $50 toward Hillary Clinton's campaign. :-) And I really don't like Hillary...

Posted by troutm8 at 11:16 PM

Pinnacles National Monument

On Sunday, to top off doing a 17 mile bike ride on Saturday Timber, Tom J, Dan, and me all went for a roughly 10 mile hike at Pinnacles National Monument, about 70 miles or so south of San Jose. It was one of the last days that the caves were open, so we made sure to do the hike in March. It was a cold and misty day for the most part, but the sun did peak out toward the end. Overall it was a nice hike and I would recommend doing a hike at Pinnacles in the spring or fall but not the summer because it can get really hot there. There are also lots of crags and spires for most rock climbers to enjoy Pinnacles as well. Here's a link to the pictures I took.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:14 AM

New Road Bike

Over the weekend I finally pulled the trigger and got a road bike. I had been looking off and on since last year, but I decided this year was the year to pull the trigger and get on with it. I did a lot of research and pretty much settled on the Trek 1000/1.2. The 1000 is last year's Trek entry level road bike and the 1.2 is this year's Trek entry level road bike. They are basically the same thing. Over the years, the 1000 and now 1.2 has won several awards for being the best entry level road bike for the money. And when it came time for me to get a road bike I wanted something that was entry level but still pretty decent because I can always upgrade later if it is something that I really get into. Some of the reviews I read can be found here, here, and here. The next step was to actually go for a test ride. So after several delays I went to the Trek Bicycle Store of San Jose to do a test ride. The day I went (Thursday), the shop was really busy and it was 10 - 15 minutes before someone asked me if they could help me. By that time I had found the Trek 1.2 and had gotten a chance to check it out. I told them that I was looking for an entry level road bike, and that the 1.2 fit the bill, and I wanted to test ride it. Unfortunately the only trek 1.2 they had in my size had already been sold, so they told me to come back tomorrow and they would have one ready for me then. So the next day (Friday), I went back at the prescribed time (and I brought Timber with me) and did a test ride on two sizes, the 54 cm and 56 cm. The 56 cm fit better, and I took it on a nice ride around the block. It felt really smooth, comfortable, and effortless. I don't know how fast I got it to go, but it felt pretty fast compared to my mountain bike. The shifting was not the smoothest, but from what I read the more you pay for components the smoother your shifting should become. So overall I was pretty happy with the bike. After the test ride I told the guy that I would want to think about it a little bit and would be in touch. After talking to Timber about it for a little bit it pretty much came down to two choices. (1) buy it from the bike shop or (2) buy it online (ebay, craigslist, etc...). I did some research online, and found a few of last year's trek 1000's in my size, and assuming the postings were legit I would save a decent amount of money by buying it online. So here are the pros and cons of each approach:

Buying from a local bike shop -> get properly fitted (pro), knowledgable staff to help guide you to the right bike (pro), warranty (pro), someone you can turn to in case of problems (pro), a couple of free tune ups and inspections (pro), higher price than found online (con), supporting your local bike shop (priceless)

Buying online -> better price than the local bike shop (pro), you may end up getting the wrong size (con)

In the end I decided to buy it from the local bike shop because I wanted to support the local bike shop and build a relationship with them. So on Saturday morning I gave them a call and told them I wanted to buy the 56 cm Trek 1.2 and that I would be there later in the day to pick it up. So after taking care of a few other things first Timber and I went to pick it up in the early afternoon. This time the bike shop was especially busy but we got helped right away. After the guy grabbed my bike I walked around the shop picking out the accessories that I needed to take it for a ride that day. I got a bag to go under my seat, an extra tube, water bottle cage, water bottle, and a bike computer. The bike computer was nothing fancy, just something to tell me the time of day, ride time, distance, speed, average speed, high speed, etc... After I picked everything out paid for it they took my bike in the back and put everything on it for me. After they brought it back out we made a few adjustments and off I went, a happy customer.

After we got home I took a few pictures for insurance purposes and got ready to go on a ride with Timber. We did a 17 mile ride with a decent uphill section. Overall the bike felt effortless compared to my mountain bike on the same ride. I even beat Timber to the top of the hill by a little over a minute, and on the way back down the same hill I hit a top speed of 32 mph. Overall it was a very good first ride. Going forward I think it will take a little while to get used to the difference in handlebars and gears, but it shouldn't be too bad. I'll eventually get some better pedals and riding shoes and a few other accessories. But there is no hurry. I will also ride it to work when my schedule and the weather permit. It will be interesting to see how many miles I put on it up through the fall.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:03 AM