Sunday Bikes 11/12/2017

Got out with Adam to the Ancarrow’s Landing Trail, better known as The Poop Loop. We parked over by Legend Brewing and made our way to one of the Slave Trail access points. Turns out there was one a lot closer to our spot and we’ll be ready next time. It was also cold.

The last time I was down here was with Stella and when she and I ride we stay at her pace. Since Adam and I didn’t have kids with us yesterday, I opened up the throttle a little bit as we made our way to the Loop. I opened it so much, in fact, that I had a solid crash when my front wheel got just slightly off the track and into some leaves and softer dirt. I was able to use my belly and arms to break my fall and I escaped with some scraped knees. It’s been worse.

I’m not an aggressive enough rider to really shred on the Poop Loop and it’s a track that rewards that kind of riding. It’s still fun (when I can stay upright).

After a lap there we backtracked up The Slave Trail to Belle Isle. There is a great MTB skills park on the island that we goofed around in for a little bit. Then it was a fireroad ride to Riverside Drive and back to the car. It’s been a long, long time since I fired up the cardio machine like that. I had almost forgotten how the cold air dregs up the wet cotton from the bottom of my lungs. Gross. I should do it more.

Unrivaled Classic 10/28/2017

I went to my second weightlifting meet last weekend, the Unrivaled Classic 2017. I kept a running diary.

4:47am Unwelcome alarm clock but I set it so I’d have room for one Snooze.
4:54am I didn’t even make it through the whole Snooze. Disappointing.
5:40am Coffee in-hand, I’m in the car and driving. I’ve got to deliver a forgotten gym bag to another lifter so I need to get to Chesapeake by 7:30 (for my 8M weigh-in).
6:28am Construction cut I64 down to one lane but it only lasted 10 minutes. Still on time.
7:20am Parked at the Chesapeake Conference Center. Easy enough drive. Gym bag delivered. I could use a nap.
7:45am Nap cut short by a vendor who was trying to set up in my nap corner.
8:03am Weighed in. It’s not a stressful occasion when there isn’t a ceiling on your weight class. I declared openers of a 64kg snatch and a 92kg clean and jerk. Those are doable based on training results.
9:08am Potty break. Apologies to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. I had to get that out. Like my old friend Bob used to say, “Better an empty apartment than an angry tenant”.
10:00am Group photo for the session.

 

 

 

 

 

(The timeline gets a little hinky in here because I was either backstage warming up or on the platform competing and I didn’t have my phone.)

10:10am-12pm Getting coached up by Chris. I am still such a newb at these things. I’d be lost without him. Seriously. The gifs below are my best lifts of the day, a 72 kg snatch and a 100kg clean and jerk for 172kg meet total.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had 6 good lifts in 6 attempts and it all felt great. I’m probably a little stronger than my numbers suggest and meet-day adrenaline carried me even further.

12:15pm More friendly faces from my gym got to the venue for their weigh-ins. Even though it’s a solitary sport we definitely share the support you get from being on a team.
1:10pm I stuck around for the award ceremony from my session and got my 2nd place medal. It was easy, since there were only two people in my class.
1:15pm I wished everyone well and hit the road for home.

I’m already signed up for the next local meet, the Old Dominion Classic, in January. It’ll be fun.

Sunday Bikes 10/15/2017

Stella and I got out to Pocahontas State Park with Adam and Kaden for another crack at the Blueberry Hill Trail. Luckily, the rain we had during the week didn’t keep us off of the trail. It probably even helped a little bit since things had gotten sandy in the couple of weeks without rain.

This is the 4th(?) time we’ve been on Blueberry Hill and I think Stella’s getting the hang of it. In fact, she did such a good job there wasn’t a photo break. It is rated as an Easy trail in the park guide so there are very few technical (rocky or rooty) sections and none of the climbs/descents are too steep. It’s a fun ride for me, too, since I’m pretty damn far from cycling fitness.

Stella has started Nutcracker rehearsals so I don’t think we’re going to be able to keep riding on days she has to dance. She’s also a bit of a chicken about the cold, so she might not be on too much until the Spring. Luckily Adam got a new bike so there should at least be plenty of dad rides through the winter.

Sunday Bikes Catchall Post!

Stella has been working me to get out on the bike with her for months. I have been out of the bike riding mode for the last couple of years and, honestly, the couple of times she and I have been on the road for rides it has been way too stressful. On a lark, we took our bikes out to Pocahontas State Park to see how riding on some fire road trails would pan out and it ended up being a great time.

PSP Fire Road

This is us on our first ride at the park. Fire road trails are wide open and multi-use so we saw joggers and hikers out there, too. The climbing was never steep and it didn’t go on very long, despite being marked as “moderate” difficulty. We got a little turned around and had to ride on the park road to get back to our car but it was still fun.

PSP Blueberry Hill

Our next time out we went with some friends. This was an “easy” difficulty single track trail called Blueberry Hill at Pocahontas State Park and Stella struggled a little bit. The climbs were short and never steep, but the lack of bailout room had Stella being extra tentative. It also raised the stress level for me because I really didn’t want to watch her take a dip off of the track into a tree. She had just a few slow-speed crashes and, as evidenced in the above photo, finished with a smile. We’ve been out to PSP a couple of times with this group and it’s been a lot of fun.

JRPS Belle Isle

Stella and I took a Labor Day ride down to the James River Park System for some easy loops around Belle Isle. A sunny holiday meant that the place was packed but it was good practice for Stella’s share-the-road skills. That’s a photo of us on the rocks at the river. After a couple of laps around the island, we took off down the Richmond Slave Trail and Kanawha Canal. It was mostly riding on paved multi-use trail. Easy stuff and a good time.

Poop Loop

I had heard of a downtown trail called the “Poop Loop” for it’s proximity to Richmond’s water treatment facility. The Loop is just under 2 miles long and sits at the far end of the Slave Trail. It was described as a good place for new riders to work on mountain bike skills, so we were stoked to get on it. Turns out, Stella needs some more seasoning before she can qualify as a “new rider”. It’s a pretty technical trail (meaning lots of roots and rocks with occasional felled trees) that had her super gun-shy by the end. It was not ideal, but she toughed it out. She’s no quitter.

PSP Box Turtle

Our most recent rise was new-to-us trail at PSP call Box Turtle. It was rated “easy”, but I am starting to think these rating are more about grade and less about trail obstructions. The roots and rocks here weren’t as bad as they were on the Poop Loop, but she was still reeling a bit from that misadventure and so was quick to dismount some rideable sections. She’ll come around, I’m sure.

And that catches us up to date. I’ll be sure and post up after our next ride.

I really do carry it every day

Ain’t she a beaut? I’ve been bringing this Zojirushi 12oz stainless travel mug/thermos to work every day for the last couple of years. It’s the same size as a Tall from Starbucks but I can enjoy it for an hour if I just have a couple of hot ounces at a time.

We’ve had a couple of different Zojirushi products over the years and they’ve been useful and durable. The cute elephant logo is a nice bonus:

Baby Driver (2017)

I went to the movies by myself over the holiday and saw Baby Driver, the new bank heist/car chase movie from Edgar Wright. I loved it and, without any spoilers, these are some the reasons why:

  • The Music – Have Mercy! The soundtrack for this movie is so great. There is a Spotify playlist of the songs that I’ve been listening to non-stop. The way it is used in the movie is smart, too. I stuck around through the credits and saw that Kid Koala made all of Baby’s tape remixes. He’s an excellent DJ you should check out if you haven’t heard of him.
  • The Driving – I’m a big fan of the Ken Block-style Gymkhana stunt driving videos and the car chases in Baby Driver are directly influenced by them. All of that crazy drifting and hand brake skidding is fun to watch.
  • The Edgar Wright Stuff – Edgar Wright makes cool-looking movies that have lots of little treats for attentive viewers. His Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy is stuffed with signature scenes and moments that tie the whole thing together. It’s clever film making and I was ready to see what would be in Baby Driver. I noticed:
    1. the lyrics to the opening song show up as graffiti and on pasted-flyers in the background as Baby is walking to work
    2. the gunshots in the numerous firefights all seemed to be on the beat of the song that was playing at the time (this made a neat effect)
    3. the music in the film is just a little bit louder than you normally hear soundtracks in other movies (which I think is a nod to Baby’s tinnitus)

I’m recommending this movie to everyone who will listen. It’s a near-perfect summer movie.

2017 RVA Open

2017 RVA Open

This was my first weightlifting meet and I’m willing to call it a success. I finished third in my age/weight bracket (earning a swanky bronze medal), I completed all six of my lifts successfully (with two new PRs), and I had a good time doing it. I will break it down GoW-style.

*Highlights*:

  • Singlet fit
  • new PRs (164kg total)
  • Solid hangs with Joe and Cy and Swolenik
  • Getting coached up
  • A bronze medal that looks like it could be on a real podium somewhere

*Lowlights*:

  • 8am session start
  • Nerves
  • Shirtless post-session cryotherapy (don’t ask)

To add a little color, I’ve been way, way overweight the last year or two. I’m mentally chalking it up to wanting mass for powerlifting, but really I just like not paying attention to what I eat and drink. I’m working to fix that now. It is def. work. I’m a big, big fan of “play”, and I *loooove* playing team sports. It was cool to hang with the team in my session and I’m double-especially looking forward to training with them over the next couple of months. Getting active input from a vested coach was really great. I trust Chris Lawyer to put me in a position to succeed. He does good work.

The negatives from the meet were minimal. Since I’m a new lifter with a relatively low projected total in my first meet, I was seeded in the first session. 8am Saturday start time means a 6-8am weigh-in window. I’m not the worst about getting up in the morning, but this was a bit much for a Saturday. Once we got to the lifting, I was more nervous than I expected. Chris was there with a “hey have a seat and lower your heartrate”; (which is just one example of how an experienced coach can make a big difference at a meet), and I chilled out.

My plan, and I realize that naming the plan dooms the plan, is to get on a weightlifting track through the rest of 2017. There should be 2-3 more meets on the calendar and I’d like to get close to 200kg with my total. I think I have room to grow to that number.

Q1 2017 Spotify Playlist!

Holy crow, it’s already June! Seems like a reasonable time to share my 1st Quarter Spotify playlist.

Per usual, it’s a big bucket of songs that I really enjoyed. Some are new, some are old, all of them treated me the right way.

Memorial Day broke my streak!

I had a killer TypeShift Daily Puzzle streak going, like 22 days, and then I lost track of it over the long weekend.

I guess it’s cool that I wasn’t buried in my phone over the holiday?

Still definitely recommend the game. It scratches the crossword puzzle itch just enough.

Stoker.

I hemmed and hawed and overshopped for months before spending a couple of bucks on a refurb Das Keyboard. It is a sturdy keyboard, no doubt, and I was really enjoying it. And then one night I splashed some beer into it while podcast recording. It appeared to kill a couple of the switches and gum up a couple of others. It was a bummer. I took the keyboard apart to clean what I could, but if didn’t make a difference. The non-responsive keys remained non-responsive, even after a couple of days of drying out.

I kept the keycaps I pulled and put the whole thing off to the side to try to figure something out.

The internet suggested that there was no way to bring it back. Any liquid that got to the switched would end up causing corrosion in the underlying board.

Today, after probably six months of looking at the loose keycaps and lamenting the loss, I plugged the old horse in to see if maybe it just needed to dry up completely. And now it works! The left Shift key is still a little sluggish, but I am more than capable of powering through that.

Now I need to unlearn all of the Windows-keyboard habits I had picked up. It’s a little weird having a proper Command key.