Archive for September, 2007

Hills ‘R Us

| September 27, 2007 8:52 am

One of my favorites rides over the years is the Hills R Us ride put on each Wednesday by the Western Wheeler bicycle club. The ride starts in Los Altos and most always goes up over the mountain range between Silicon Valley and the ocean, sometimes going out to the coast before returning.

I had always wanted to take Ann on the ride and since we needed to take the tandem in to get the new drum brake installed, we decided to do the ride on the tandem.

We headed first up Page Mill Road. It is quite a climb.

Page Mill Road

After reaching Skyline Blvd, we headed down Alpine West, then over to Highway 84 for a climb back up. We took Old Lahonda back up to Skyline. I noticed it when Ann started to take some pictures. Must be because she was breathing down my neck again. We even passed Roger on the way up.

After reaching Skyline, we decided to go off the official route and head back up to Highway 84 and take it down to the valley. We meet the rest of the riders for lunch in Los Altos. It was a very fun day.

Hills ‘R Us

| 8:52 am

One of my favorites rides over the years is the Hills R Us ride put on each Wednesday by the Western Wheeler bicycle club. The ride starts in Los Altos and most always goes up over the mountain range between Silicon Valley and the ocean, sometimes going out to the coast before returning.

I had always wanted to take Ann on the ride and since we needed to take the tandem in to get the new drum brake installed, we decided to do the ride on the tandem.

We headed first up Page Mill Road. It is quite a climb.

Page Mill Road

After reaching Skyline Blvd, we headed down Alpine West, then over to Highway 84 for a climb back up. We took Old Lahonda back up to Skyline. I noticed it when Ann started to take some pictures. Must be because she was breathing down my neck again. We even passed Roger on the way up.

After reaching Skyline, we decided to go off the official route and head back up to Highway 84 and take it down to the valley. We meet the rest of the riders for lunch in Los Altos. It was a very fun day.

Quick Spin to Bailey

| September 25, 2007 4:07 am

We went for a quick spin on the tandem, up past Uvas Reservoir then all the way along Uvas to Bailey. I am feeling more confident steering the tandem, even enough to grab this shot of Ann while we were riding.

Then Ann took the camera and took my picture!

From there we headed back south on Santa Teresa. We were going to climb up Willow Springs, but they were putting a chip seal coat on it, so we headed down further to Llagas and climbed that hill. After stopping for a quick bite to each at Erik’s Deli in Morgan Hill, we headed back home. I guess it was not too quick of a spin because we clocked over 50 miles.

Adobe Contribute

| September 22, 2007 6:07 pm

I am creating this blog using Adobe Contribute 3, which was included in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Wed Premium edition that I recently installed. It allows me to create blog entries off line, then upload them to the server.  Previously the entries were all made through a WordPress provided webpage on my server.

Cotribute 3 can also be used to edit webpages directly, but I will most likely continue to use Dreamweaver for that since I prefer to keep the original on my local computer and publish to the website.  Here is what the screen looks like as I am creating this blog.

iPhone Limitations

| September 19, 2007 9:03 am

I am glad I bought the 8 Gb version of the iPhone since I have nearly filled up that space now.

iPhone Capacity

The video includes two movies and several video podcasts. The audio includes my 4 and 5 star rated music and many audio only podcasts. The photos include all my photos I have in iPhoto for 2007. I am sure they will have a 16 Gb version of the iPhone soon since they are now offering that in the new iPod Touch. I don’t think I need a hard disk based iPhone like some want with 80 Gb. That would defeat the function of being slim enough and long enough battery to use as a phone.

Another limitation that I am finding is Apple’s approach of not allowing the installation of programs by 3rd party developers, except what they can do with Safari. I just think there would be a lot of neat little programs like were developed for Windows Mobile, that would be useful. On the top of my list would be a real version of Skype and a version of Slingbox player. They have a version of the Slingbox player for Windows mobile, Windows smart phones and Palm phones. But all of those allow the installation of a program.   Currently with the iPhone the only thing a developer can do is host something on a website you browse to with Safari.  Considering that Apple claims the iPhone is running OSX, it should not be difficult for them to open it up. Their claim about security is most likely a cover for what they really want, and that is to control everything, typical of Apple.

The final limitation is the use of the AT&T Edge network. When I am at home it uses WiFi which is fast. But Edge is slow. But I had that on my old Windows Smartphone so I guess I am not sure what I am missing.

Even with those limitations, the iPhone is by far the best phone I have ever purchased and I continue to be amazed by is capabilities. The user interface is outstanding.

Bought an iPhone – Update

| September 13, 2007 11:27 pm

Hre is an update to the post about buying a new iPhone, after I have had a chance to use it for a few days.  On Saturday, I broke down and finally bought a new iPhone. After Apple reduced the price of the 8Gb model by $200, it seemed like a good deal. My existing phone with AT&T cost me $20 a month for the data plan (with no text messaging) and the new iPhone data plan is the same cost, so on a monthly basis there was no increase in costs, plus I get 200 text messages included. There is just no comparision between my old Windows Mobile phone and the new iPhone. I can actually use the iPhone for email and web browsing while that old phone was almost worthless for that. I actually don’t use my phone as much for voice calls as for data, so it made a lot of sense to go with the iPhone.

I have now had a chance to use the phone for a few days and clearly state that this is by far the best phone I have ever used, even exceeding the Blackberry phone that I had while I was working.  I would even go as far as to say it is the best user interface on any device I have ever used.

My previous phone was a Cingular 3125.  It had Microsoft Mobile 5.0 on it but had a regular cell phone keypad. It was very hard to read email messages on it and for me to send a message meant only a few words.  I did like the slim design.  However it got poor reception. When I complained about that initially, the Cingular store said it was just our local town and since I was new to Cingular, I was not sure.  But with the iPhone, now on the same network, gets 4 bars of reception in the exact same place my old phone barely could get one.

The iPhone is the first phone I have ever seen that browsing the web is at all practical.  Sure it is not as useful as a regular computer, but you can’t put a computer in your pocket either.  The fact that it uses WiFi is a big plus since the Edgne network can be slow (as I already knew from my old Windows Mobile phone).  It would have been nice to have the iPhone use the new 3G network, but for me I rarely would be in a place to take advantage of that at this point in time.

There are tons of reports on the workings of the iPhone so I will stop here and just say I am very pleased with the phone.  I just need to learn to type on the touch sensitive screen that has no tactile feedback. I am improving but have some ways to go.   Apple has once again taking a mature market and turned it upside down.

Tandem up Metcalf

| September 7, 2007 4:45 pm

I am not sure how many times I have climbed Metcalf on a bike, maybe close to a 100 times by now. Ann has heard me talk a lot about those rides, including the time when I was challenged by some guy in the bike club (but I beat him up by a few minutes). I have kept my time climbing that hill many times. I figured Ann was ready to tackle the hill because she is climbing so well, but figured it would be best to go up together on the tandem the first time. I was also curious how fast we could climb since tandems seem to have a big disadvantage when it comes to climbing.

We drove up to the bike trail head in Morgan Hill this morning and started from there. When we made it to Metcalf I started my stop watch at the marked line and we started up the hill faster than I expected. I was working hard but Ann must have also really kicked it into gear. Hers is our split times.

Metcalf Climb Split on 9-7-07

So we ended up with a time of 17:05, which I feel is a fast time. Many of the people that do the weekly Metcalf Mauler club ride don’t do it in as fast a time as that. My average heart rate was 161. As a comparision, here is the split for my climb this week on Tuesday on a single bike.

Metcalf Climb Split on single bike

Although this was not a PR for the year, it was much faster than I usually do. To get the 13:35 time, I had to take my average heart rate up to 167. So the climb today on the tandem was at a lower average heart rate, making the time of 17:05 very good. We could probably have done it under 17 minutes if I had taken my average heart rate to the same as I did last Tuesday.

Here is the profile during the Metcalf climb portion of the ride.

Heart Rate Curve for Metcalf Climb

Since the x-axis is time, instead of distance, the straight line for the elevation shows we were holding a constant climb rate in feet/minute. You can see my heart rate went into the red zone during most all of the climb. We don’t have the curve for Ann, but I am sure she was pushing her heart rate also.

We then went down the backside of Metcalf to San Felipe, then to Farnsworth. I then took Ann over to Hassler for another climb, then back on Heleyer Avenue. We rode through a new housing development, then the bike trail back to the car for a total of 37.4 miles. Our maximum speed on the ride was 37 mph, I think the fastest Ann has been on a bike. It was another fun tandem ride.

Climb like a Hawk – Fremont Peak

| September 6, 2007 11:11 pm

Ann had another inaugural bike ride today. She said she wanted to go biking somewhere where she had not been before. At the same time I am trying to get in some climbing to help prepare for the Everest Challenge on the 22nd and 23rd. I therefore suggested we drive down to San Juan Batistia and climb up Fremont Peak. I am glad she agreed so we loaded up the tandem and headed down there.

Fremont Peak is a rather difficult climb, but Ann is such a good climber that we didn’t have any problems. We did use the lowest gear on our tandem at one point, but probably didn’t need to since we were spinning rather fast. The climb is over 2,500 feet up, in 11 miles.

Fremont Peak Profile

At the top Ann checked out the area.

Ann at Fremont Peak

The sign Ann was looking at showed the history of Fremont Peak. It seems it was called Gavilan Peak in the early Spanish times. I guess Gavilan means “hawk” in Spanish. It was later named after Capt. John Charles Fremont. That is so funny, because my mother once told me that they initially planned to name me John Charles Kelsch.

Fremont Peak Sign

I then had the bright idea of using the self timer on the camera to capture us together riding on the tandem. I only had 10 seconds after pressing the shutter, but that didn’t give me enough time to run over, straddle the tandem, have Ann clip in, and than me to clip my one foot in and start off. I guess we will need to practice that one.

Failed Attempt at timed expousure

After being at the top for a short while we headed back down the hill. The upper part is windy and steep so I had to do a lot of braking, but the lower portion is more straight and the grade such that you can let it rip. We took the speed up to 35 mph on some stretches. I am not sure Ann has gone that fast on a bike before. I have the GPS on the back so she can see how fast we are going. For some reason it turned off for awhile and Ann thought maybe I had made that happen so she could not see our speed!

At the bottom we enjoyed a sandwich at the Windmill Market. I knew from past experience that the sandwiches were so large you want to share one, so that is what we did. I really like their turkey and cranberry sandwich, so that is what we ordered. It was getting a bit cool, so we sat in the sun outside the market to eat out sandwich, then headed back home.

Tonight I added in the few photos I took and created a new event in iPhoto.

iPhoto Events

Labor up Mt. Hamilton

| September 3, 2007 6:39 pm

It was Labor Day today so we initially thought about heading to the ocean to escape the heat wave we have been having. But the thought of going where another million people would be going was not too exciting. So we decided instead to labor our way up Mt. Hamilton and climb out of the heat. We started at 9 am on our tandem, the weather was still nice. This was Ann’s inaugural climb up this mountain, which involves 20 miles of biking and over 4,800 feet of climbing.

It was a beautiful day and we were climbing fast. We zipped by several cyclists on the way up. At one point a 20 year old young man was able to catch up with us and chatted for awhile. He is a student UC Irvine and was working at Apple for the summer. He had not been biking a lot lately, which explains why he did not want to try to go ahead of us. We made it to the top at the Lick Observatory in about 2 hours, a good time for someone on a single bike and a very good time for a tandem.

Ann and Franz on top of Mt. Hamilton

We enjoyed the lunch we had carried up and then Ann tried out the ACTC bench that overlooks the valley.

Ann on ACTC Bench at LIck Observatory

Franz at Lick Observatory

We were at the top about 45 minutes when some other club members made it up and we chatted with them for awhile, then started the 20 mile descent. We don’t have the drag brake installed on our tandem yet (it is on order) so Franz’s hands got a bit sore braking so much on the way down.

Once back home we had ourselves a BBQ, including Potato salad! It was a very enjoyable Labor Day.

Click for more photos