September 26, 2009

biking mt hamilton

so yesterday i took the day off work to join about 20 sun (and former sun) employees for an annual bike ride up mt hamilton. i started the climb around 9am along with two other folks, and the rest of the group started at around 9:30am. it was way more climbing that i've ever done before on my bike, ~4500 feet worth. but i managed to make it to the top, and i did it all without using the lowest front gear (which i'm actively trying to avoid when riding now). according to my little bike computer, the ride was 19 miles and took me 2 hours and 58 mins. we hung out at the top for about an hour eating, relaxing, and socializing. the view from the top of mt hamilton is impressive, with monterey bay visible to the south-west and mt tam to the north-west. It was pretty warm (90+ F) at the top but at least there was a refreshing breeze. going down only took one hour. two folks had tire blowouts on the way down, but happily no one was injured. i was really glad that my new slick tires worked well. (two days earlier i had replaced my knobby mountain bike tires with slicks to make riding on roads a little easier.) unfortunately the cool breeze seemed to vanish once we started the descent and there was a hot wind in my face for most the way down. also, ithought i'd be looking forward to the bits of shade i passed on the way up, but i quickly discovered that these bits of shade going down were hiding all the bumps in the road that i wanted to avoid when riding at higher speeds. regardless it was still a great ride, and i've been told by friends that since i've successfully done that ride, i can do any other ride in the bay area.

after getting home i cleaned up, took some aleve, relaxed a bit, and then headed out to city pub with ronda for a burger and beers. a couple friends (who also went on the ride) met up with us at city pub, and subsequently we went to the beer garden behind the staudt haus for a couple more drinks and some large bavarian pretzels. it was a pretty good friday. needless to say, i'm a little sore today and i figured i'd skip my normal sat ride up old la honda road in favor of doing some work around the house.

September 6, 2009

doing some biking again

so a few weekends ago i finally got around to fixing my bike up. It's an old but decent mountain bike that i bought in '93. two years ago i tuned it up and used to for commuting to work for a summer. unfortunately when we moved at the end of last year the rear derailer hanger got bent and the derailer was stuck in the rear tire spokes. luckily (since my bike is old) the frame is steel and i was able to straiten out the derailer hanger. then i spent some time cleaning and oiling the chain, lubricating the shifter and brake cables, and adjusting the shifters till everything ran smooth. subsequently i've been using it for commuting into work and riding on the weekends.

the ride into work is pretty flat and about 16 miles round trip. i've been riding into the office 2 to 3 days a week and i hope to keep this up till winter.

the past few weekends i've also been going on progressively longer rides. i started out by searching for assorted bike routes near where i live on i found one such route going along canada rd that didn't seem to difficult. it was 16 miles with only ~750 feet of elevation gain (most of which was near the beginning of the ride going up edgewood rd). i went up there on a sunday, and once i got up to canada rd i was happy to discover that (north of edgewood rd) it's closed to auto traffic on sundays from 9am to 1pm.

last weekend, based of a recommendation from a coworker, i decided to go south on canada rd and do a small loop through woodside. this was a little longer ride (20 miles, ~900 feet elevation gain) but pretty strait forward. the most difficult part of the ride was that i went on a day when it was 95+ F.

today i was planning on doing another slightly longer loop through woodside, but once i got down to woodside i was feeling pretty good, so foolishly i decided to ride up old la honda rd (click on the "Summary" tab to see elevation information). the ride was pretty brutal (for me), about 30 miles with over 2,260 feet of elevation gain. i had to stop at one point during the climb (which is about 4 miles) and i walked my bike about a quarter mile. the elevation drop riding down the 84 was pretty fun, but once i got back home i was very sore. so this afternoon i spent some time reading about pain and posture when biking. hopefully this will help keep future rides more pleasant. i'm also thinking that if i continue to do rides like this then a used road bike might be a worth while investment.

September 5, 2009

tomatoes and peppers in bulk

today ronda and i bought tomatoes and peppers in bulk. we went to one of the mariquita farms ladybug buying club events and picked up 20 lbs of early girl tomatoes ($28), 20 lbs of san marzano tomatoes ($28), $10 lb of assorted red and gold sweet peppers ($19), and 1 lb of padron peppers ($9). once we got home i roasted all the sweet peppers on the bbq (which smelled great), peeled them, and packed most them into the freezer. (i also roasted 2 lbs of coffee while i was attending to the bbq.) meanwhile ronda was busy canning the early girls. she canned them whole and we ended up with 8 full quarts of tomatoes. tomorrow she's planning on canning the san marzanos.

August 9, 2009

working on the garage

well, it took four 12 foot long 2x6s, lots of plywood, two weekends, and plenty of sweat, but i finally created some more storage space in the garage. the first weekend i removed all the lighting fixtures in the garage, added two new rafters (between two existing rafters), and then covered the rafters with plywood to create a new, albeit small, storage space. the second weekend i first ripped out an existing shelf at the end of the garage (unfortunately, the old shelf spanned 2/3 the width of the garage and was at a height of 5.5 feet with a depth of about 32 inches, which meant that i couldn't access most of one wall of the garage), and installed a new shelf about 7 feet up that spans the entire width of the garage. after creating these two storage spaces i filled them up instantly. i still have to re-install some lighting fixtures, but it's really great to have the additional space.

August 5, 2009

building a chicken coop

recently i spent a lot of time building a chicken coop. i first designed the coop in google sketchup, which took me about 3 days. then spent about 9 full days (9am - 8pm) building it. as with any large project, aspects of the design changed during construction. the wheel mechanism was the most difficult part and it went through about four revisions before i got it working. i originally designed and built the coop in may, and just this last week i built and installed the nesting boxes. the final coop was much heavier and expensive that i imagined. all the materials probably ended up costing my about $700. i've uploaded pictures of the coop design, construction, and our chickens in the finished coop. i've also uploaded the 3-d sketchup model for the coop.