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Archive: February 9, 2008

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Saturday,  02/09/08  11:11 AM

Upcoming: the Butterfield Double CenturySo today I am going to do a  l o n g  ride, in preparation for next weekend, on which I am planning to do a  r e a l l y  l o n g  ride, my first double, the Butterfield Double Century.  Last weekend I did a 300K, which is "only" 185 miles.  Why do I do these rides?  I'm not sure.  It isn't fun at the time, but it is fun later.  More evidence that "fun" really consists of anything that makes you feel better about yourself.  I think it is part of a hopeless endeavor to prove to myself that I'm not really getting older :)

Wow: WSJ reports Yahoo board to reject Microsoft bid.  And will propose that the company is worth $40/share.  I didn't see that coming, did you?  I guess this is their attempt to bid against themselves...  I doubt it will work, there are probably plenty of shareholders who want the deal at $31/share.

Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?  Thank you for asking.  The answer is yes.

Wisconson traffic jam in snowYes, traffic is bad in California, but nothing like this: A 2,000 car pileup in Wisconsin that lasted 12 hours.  Bad weather, sure, but reading the reports it seems the State Patrol's response was slow and ineffective.  Glad the sun is out here :)

Panda's Thumb: Reconstruction of Ancestral Proteins.  "Yesterday a really cool paper came out in the journal Nature that demonstrates why evolutionary theory is so useful and fruitful in biology. A team of researchers has recreated an ancestral bacterial protein to determine that the ancestral bacteria grew in hot water around 3.5 billion years ago."  This kind of research is happening more and more often, and in addition to the valuable basic research provides a great retort to those who think evolutionary theory "isn't useful".

It had to happen: Polaroid shutters the Polaroid.  What an amazing technology it was!  But "Polaroid failed to embrace the digital technology that has transformed photography, instead sticking to its belief that many photographers who didn't want to wait to get pictures developed would hold onto their old Polaroid cameras.

What's fascinating is that they're still skating to where the puck used to be, here's their new strategy: "As it seeks to gain a foothold in digital photography this year, Polaroid plans to sell an 8-ounce photo printer slightly bigger than a deck of cards that requires no ink and prints business card-sized pictures. It uses thermal printing technology from Zink Imaging, founded by private investors who bought technologies from Polaroid as it was coming out of bankruptcy."  I view printing pictures as a dead-end technology; clearly we're going to end up with display screens on everything.  Who carries around snapshots when you can have an iPhone?  Weird how you can't see the forest for the [dead] trees sometimes...

Dallol crater in EthiopiaPatterns in Nature!  Check out this picture of Dallol crater in Ethiopia.  Looks like something from a video game :)  The rest of the National Geographic photo series is worth checking out, too...




riding up rockstore

Saturday,  02/09/08  08:02 PM

I ended up riding up the [infamous] Rockstore climb.  From my house this is a 30mi loop, about 15 miles to reach the climb, 3 miles up, and then 12 miles back.  This ride also features a couple of smaller climbs and a spiffy descent down Decker Canyon, as well as some nice flat powering, so it has a little of everything.  And it is beautiful!  This is some of the best riding anywhere...

BTW I'm not the only one who thinks so; check out this article from Competitive Cyclist, reporting on Team CSC's training in these very hills: "The general area around Agoura Hills - our understanding is that it basically straddles the Ventura/Los Angeles County line - might possibly hold the best riding in America.  In previous years we've logged big miles around Encinitas, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, and we're fond of all those places.  But none of them matches the mix of savage climbing, spectacular scenery, and lack of traffic we found around Agoura Hills."

I thought you might enjoy some snaps of the ride, so I whipped out my trusty Treo; here ya go...

The start! - the iconic Rock Store itself, with the usual posse of Harleys...

Starting metrics: 630ft, 14.5mi.

It starts "slow"...

Ouch, that first turn, and the road tilts up.

Yes Virginia, this is a climb.  But "only" 7% here.

The road curves around a lot - now we're heading right at the summit.

This is a cool curve, literally, shaded by a big rock.

This straight section is the calm before the storm...

...and now we really start climbing.

On and on it goes, fortunately there is some shade.

Peeking back down into the valley where we started.

Back up we go, again headed at the summit - and the sun.

More shade, whew.  The road winds all around itself.

Cresting the steepest section yet.  11%, baby, and feels like more.

Almost there!  The last curve.
This is popular with motorcycles, who take it at speed.

Another look down - we've come a long way!

A tribute to Lance - way cool.  But we're not quite there yet.

One last straight to the top, with an overlook at the left.

Powered cycles congregate at the overlook.

The top!  Yay!

{One day I rode up here and found a bunch of emergency vehicles, a Ferrari had just hit a motorcycle head-on.  The Ferrari was totalled and the cycle was, well, a ball of metal.  Very sobering.  I think about it every time I reach this spot.}

Final metrics - 1920ft (+1290), 16.9mi (+2.4). Kanan...

...a climb and some rollers later, down Decker!

Google Earth: Rockstore climb
And finally, a Google Earth view of the Rockstore climb.

So that was really fun, guess what I'm doing tomorrow?  The Amgen Breakaway from Cancer charity ride!  Which is a fifty mile loop around Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, featuring - ta da - the famous Rockstore climb.  Stay tuned for a full report :)


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