Ever year after the MS150 I take up running. Last year I had the wrong kind of shoes and I stopped after only a few weeks for fear of hurting my achilles tendon. This year I went to my local Fleet Feet who hooked me up with a new pair of Mizuno running shoes that felt great and gave me some extra support for my slight pronation.
So this evening I went for my first run of the season. I went for 5 miles today with 2.5 miles of that actually running. The running portions were at a 10:30 minutes/mile pace. The shoes worked out great!
I’ve been a GPS user since the system was first available and one thing I have always wanted was the ability for navigation software to take additional factors into account when planning a route. Most systems just offer you the ability to build routes based upon road speeds, road types (highways, toll-roads, off-road, etc.), and a choice of speed or distance goals. That’s OK, but any seasoned travel knows there’s more to it than that.
What about avoiding known traffic bottlenecks? Some navigation systems started adding that a few years ago. But one that I’ve been waiting for forever is the ability for a navigation system to route you around bad sections of town. If you are from out of town, you likely have no idea what sections of town to avoid. All the data a navigation system needs for that are already out there – crime rates by ZIP code, for example.
Honda now has a navigation system that does exactly this. Unfortunately, it is available only in Japan at the moment.
I’m sure in the overly PC society that the Western world has become it will never find its way here, which is a damn shame.
My work environment at Zenoss involves working out of my home part of the time, and then spending a week or so a month at our Austin office.
I had originally planned on using my Mac Pro and large monitor as my workstation and then just using the Mac OS X built-in Screen Saver tool to connect to my laptop as needed. After a few days I realized this wasn’t going to work that well, so I set about getting an actual workspace just for Zenoss activities.
Luckily I had an extra small computer cart from Anthro that I could use. I wound up using a spare Dell monitor and some newly purchased wireless input devices and then I was in business.
So far, this is working out well. It is making it easier to not be distracted by non-work computer stuff as well, since I don’t have everything personal on my work laptop.
Today I tried a new bicycle route. A local bike store, Sugar Cycles, has a club ride every Saturday that goes from the store out to Rosharon and back. I followed the same route they use with a few extra legs to get from my house to Riverstone Blvd.
The route is really quite a good one. On Sunday morning traffic is very light and the route is well-designed to avoid most of the traffic issues on TX-6. The small stretch on TX-6 itself has no real retail entrances or side streets to worry about and it has a wide shoulder to ride on.
The longest stretch of the ride is on FM-521. I’ve always seen a lot of cyclists on this stretch of road when I’m out driving in the country and it is a good road for a ride overall. The shoulders are wide through most of it and traffic is light. Unfortunately there is a lot of road debris on the shoulders increasing the likelihood of a flat.
The gas station at the corner of FM-521 and FM-1462 is a great half-way point for the ride. The store has all the goodies you’d need for a rest stop and it is fairly easy to park your bike in plain sight while going inside.
From my house to the store and back is ~57 miles so it makes for a great work-out without having to be stuck with a supported ride.
The Houston Chronicle posted an article (one of several) about this year’s MS150. One of the statements in the article is worth discussing further:
And then there was the simple fact that in spite of all the trials — harsh winds, knotted muscles, flat tires — they still managed to accomplish something most people will never do.
The last part of this statement is certainly true. If I talk to anyone who is not a cyclist about the MS150 they are always amazed at the ability to ride such a long distance on a bicycle and the amount of effort it takes. Indeed, it is a difficult physical achievement: 180 miles split across 2 days in anywhere from 5 to 12 hours each day, depending upon the speed of the rider, and somewhere between 2500 and 6000 calories burned in a single day, depending upon the weight and effort of the rider. These are numbers that astound most people.
At the same time, any cyclist who does this type of thing, or any other athlete, knows that events like this are just the beginning of athletic achievement. The more you achieve athletically, the more likely it is that you will find yourself surrounded by people doing things that seem even more amazing and difficult to reach than the achievements you have already reached.
This is the nature of so many things in life, and in no way does it actually diminish the achievement, but it does help place them in a much more reasonable perspective. Yes, riding in a MS150 is hard. Yes, it takes a lot of effort. And yes, it is something most people will never do. But, it is something than many more people could do if they put their minds and energies to it. Cycling especially has a low barrier to entry and almost anyone can get on a bike and slowly work their way up to the level in which they could ride 100 miles or more in a day.
Get to it!