Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ride for 3/17

I know it's short notice, but I've listed a ride for St Patrick's Day. Probable route here. Come out if you can; I'd be glad to see you. Princeton Freewheeler Club ride, of course.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

more than i should have done

When I met the rest of the group at the top of Mount Rose, about 11 miles into my ride and 7 for the folks who had started at Twin Pines, the two who had fallen off the back of the group weren't with me. Laura OLPH asked what had happened to them. "They couldn't keep up, so I ate 'em," I responded.

It's a sweep's duty to take care of the people in the back.

Aside from the eleven-or-so regular readers I have, people might not know that I was stricken with bronchitis in January that laid me low for weeks. None of you probably know that on Tuesday last, I was surprised by tremor, chills, and a fever of 100.6. So agreeing, not only to go on Laura's just-under-50-miler today, but to add miles to and from her house, might not have been the better part of valor, especially in view of the high winds expected. Still, when I got to Laura's, there were Ricky G and Linda.

We rolled over to Twin Pines to pick up the rest of the crew.

After I'd Donner-Partied the laggards, we were eight.

Laura figured we'd have a headwind the whole way in and we could hope for a tailwind on the way back. We got both, but the tailwind didn't help the poor showing I put in, my average for this ride was 13.2 on the GPS, and 13.5 on the RideWithGPS page, and I suspect the reason it's higher at RideWithGPS is that I'm a paying member there; making me feel like I'm faster than I am may be one of the perquisites of the paid subscription.

At Wertsville, Laura wanted pictures of the barn, so I got pictures of her and the rest of the gang. (I'm lost all the time; the only reason I know where we were is that I could read the road sign in the picture when I blew it up.)

Laura had described the ride, not as hilly, but as "rollers," rolling hills where the momentum gained on the downhill helps one over the subsequent uphill.  I don't think the hills on Hopewell-Wertsville into Rileyville, or Saddle Shop/Orchard/Snydertown, count as rollers. Laura blamed our difficulty on the headwind. Piffle. I think she was channelling Tom H of the "Lying Bastard Ride." She says otherwise. (If you DO consider these these hills "rollers", please let me know what rides you go on, so I can avoid delaying you and embarrassing myself.)

We stopped at Factory Fuel in Flemington. It was mildly disappointing. The coffee and food were as good as they always are... but this time there were none of the florid tattoos, ear gauges, nose rings, and other body art I have come to associate with the place. The staff today would not have been out of place in a library.

It really is a delightful place, but the routes in and out are traffic-y; we have to pick the times we go there.

Bike pics:

An unexpected benefit: a social worker with whom I had worked in the 90's had a card up in Factory Fuel; he sets himself out as, of all things, a medium:

I was tired when we got on the bikes to come back, and got more tired, despite the tailwind, as we proceeded. I should not have added the miles from Laura's, and I was glad (and mildly surprised) that I made it back to the car in as good form as I did. One of the other riders asked how I was, and when I told him I was tired, I think he was glad that he was not the only one.

Still: I'm glad I got out; I'm glad to see as many of my bike-y friends as I did; I'm glad I finished. On a different day, with less wind and better legs, this would have been a sweet ride. Now it's time for recuperation.

Hope to see youse soon.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

was gonna be 45 miles

We were at about 25 miles at 10:50 am when the rain started in earnest. That's when we decided not to head for the stop (planned for about mile 31) and to go straight back to the start, and the cars, instead. Tom peeled off a bit before Mercer Park East picnic area, where we were parked, to head for home. I knew Laura had ridden in from home, and I asked if she was going to want a ride, but she figured that if the rain was only as bad as it was by the time I asked, she'd go on her own (and I heard Ricky G ask something similar; Chris C was off the front heading back to his truck).

By the time we got to Edinburgh Road, Laura decided she' risk the weather and peeled off to head for home; Ricky and I caught up with Chris and went back to the cars. The dry, soon-to-be-warm cars.

We got into this mess because Tom had sent out an email which I saw Friday morning; he'd been watching the weather, and early reports indicated that we could get a ride in before the rain started; he had a 45-mile route in mind. I resolved to clear things with The Excellent Wife (TEW) and attend.

For once, I was NOT incredibly early, but only because I tried a new route and got lost. Imagine!

When I got there, Chris C and Ricky G were already waiting with Tom.

(a couple of extras, just because I like the way they came out.)

Laura came riding in from home.

And off we went. The only thing I knew about the route was that Tom had planned on a roll down Rues Rd. We chatted about winter, recovery from illness, and being fat and out of shape (like, it wouldn't kill me to lose the eight-or-so pounds I seem to have discovered since Thanksgiving).

Laura stopped for pictures, so I got a few, too.

We stopped at Walnford for a few pics. I remember working a rest stop on a rainy Event there, years ago. (I hear the Event is cancelled for this year. I'm not sorry.)

We got to the sharp turn at Polhemustown, and Tom decided the weather looked like it would hold off, so we started the scenic route to Allentown... until the rain started. But you already know that part.

So now I'm in dry clothes, and the laundry is going. when I see you, you can ask about how I knocked over the file cabinet and killed it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

gettin' back ride

Regular readers (those who don't only visit when I post a link on the Princeton Freewheeler Facebook page) may remember that I was sick for over a month over the winter, and went out with the excellent Ricky G a couple weeks ago on a 30-mile ride that I felt like I barely finished.

I've been dreading a B ride with my usual compatriots, so when Tom H emailed that he was thinking of Tru's slower-paced, shorter (at 35 miles or so) C+ ride, I figured it was just the ticket. Now, two things:
  • Tom had also emailed around separately to the usual crew asking if anybody was going (and several did), but since I didn't check email for almost a full day (unusual for me), I didn't know, and
  • Tom also had concerns (not ill-founded) that if I didn't get out of the house for a bit, two things might happen: first, my head would be so far up my posterior for so long that my ears would start to take root in my large intestine, and second, that The Excellent Wife (TEW) would stick the stiletto cleanly between my third and fourth ribs, resulting in a term of incarceration for her and as-yet-undetermined injuries to yours truly.
So Tom's outreach really was a work of mercy.

I got to the start early. Now THERE's a surprise. 

And slowly, people came in: some I'd never met:

...and some old friends:

Above, Tom H, Winter Larry, and Laura OLPH. Below, Dave H.

Prem came out, and had his first flat in, like, ever. 

We tried to change it out, but the fit between his tire and wheel was so tight that we killed the replacement tube; he limped off home to fix it under better circumstances.

A dozen of us, however, went off to Princeton Junction on this ride. And while I'm still not at the level of fitness I had hoped, I'm glad to say that it's comin' back.

I think that some of the riders on this ride will be glad to hear that (not that I'm the one coming back, but that it happens at all). At least one of the riders was complaining about loss of speed and stamina over the winter. It happens to most of us even if we get to ride comparatively frequently over the winter; when illness, weather, and other commitments conspire to keep us off the bike (as they did for me) the results can be disheartening. Keep pedaling; we'll be back to speed in a couple more outings.

I had time to speak to Laura (about the end of the Ride for McBride, and how rumors if its demise may be ill-founded, among other things), and Tom (about work, and home projects), and hung out some with Ricky G as we herded up the stragglers (Hrmph! Two weeks ago, I would have been one of them!). We got a little rain: just enough to make us uncomfortable (and give us Rule 9 bragging rights). But I got 36 miles in that I didn't expect to, and reconnected with some people whom I haven't seen in too long, and, to the best of my knowledge, TEW isn't keeping the stiletto up her sleeve for now. Life is better.

(And this post was written on that revivified computer with the real keyboard. Gott sei dank.)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

bad computer juju

It's been a season of bad computer juju.

It reaches back at least as far as a couple of weeks before Christmas, when The Excellent Wife (TEW)'s Prius wouldn't start, then wouldn't show icons on the dash, then wouldn't shut down. She wound up buying a plug-in Prius, with, if not ALL the bells and whistles, then at least enough to start a good-sized carnival.

Then, Optimum raised our rates for internet and phone by 40% and would not listen to reason; they only offered a lower price after we'd already set up the other service. No thanks; we'll go back when Verizon screws us again (as I'm sure they will; don't get me started on Verizon).

This morning, her eight-plus-year-old laptop stopped responding to any trackpad or mouse inputs (I suspect some dodginess in the USB interface). The replacement is on order.

In between, the motherboard for my desktop gave up the ghost. There had been a weirdness for years; I'd gotten messages that some of the USB ports weren't responding, but I could get around that by using other ports. But then the hard drive controller gave up, too. I kept it limping along long enough to do a final backup, and went shopping for parts.

I built this computer from parts in 2009; I'd done a few upgrades in the meantime, but I know it was old. I built it, though, on the understanding that I'd be able to swap out parts and keep it going. So I did.

Now, there have been some changes since I built my last computer. Time was when you could tell if a motherboard had graphics built in by looking at the ports: if there were video ports, no separate video was necessary (this blog is about the most demanding thing I do on the computer). In the intervening time, however, AMD has built some video processing into their main chips. So I needed to get a board/chip combination that did the video, and I didn't know that until I'd bought some parts. I got the board, the memory, and a wrong chip from Newegg, and then was lucky to find a proper chip for $20 on Ebay (didn't need the heat sink; I had that).

The last of the parts came today. I'd downloaded a fresh copy of Linux Mint to install after the build, and I was ready to go.

Case empty, ready for install.

...and a table full of parts to go in.

The hole where the motherboard panel shows in the back of the case.

...and the panel installed.

Motherboard in. The one it replaced was twice that size, and the case could hold the old full-size one.

That silvery rectangle at center is the chip that makes all the difference. Not much to look at, is it?

The chip, though, gets covered by a heat sink and fan. It looks all industrial-punky, but its whole purpose is to take excess heat from the chip. Under the fan are heat-dispersion fans, and copper tubing. The utility of the copper tubing is beyond me, but it looks cool; it's a shame it's gonna get closed up in that case.

Memory: the two blue strips to the right of the fan. Memory now comes all suited-up-and-bowtied, but I liked it better when it was just modules on circuit board.

I keep three hard drives and a DVD drive in there. The computer likes to boot from drive 1, so I only hooked up that drive and attached the peripherals to see if it would turn on.

Not only did it turn on, but the copy of Linux Mint that was already on the hard drive booted up; I didn't need to do a new install. I've gone and re-attached the other drives, and closed up everything, and found the couple of weirdnesses that always go with a new computer (and I'm sure there will be more). But I wrote this blog post on that computer. It's going fine.

(AND it's got a real keyboard. Having to type everything on that benighted membrane on the laptop has been a painful penance.)

So Reg's car is going great, and this computer is working again. Here's hoping Reg's new laptop is a success (and here's hoping my laptop lives long enough that I can save some money before I have to replace it).

Saturday, January 27, 2018

omil recovery ride

Ricky G (who ought to be canonized before the weather changes, although I think he has too much humility even to know why I'm suggesting it) saw my last blog post and texted that if I was gonna go on a ride, he'd be happy to come along. I haven't been on a bike except to roll down the driveway for about six weeks due to illness, and I'm not recovering quickly. Tom H or Laura OLPH were planning a 55-mile ride, and I knew I'd never finish that, so I texted Ricky about a 32-miler from home, and he agreed.

We did part of my usual route that goes up to 6 Mile/Blackwells Mills. I stopped on the bridge for pictures...

... but mostly because I wanted to get one of Ricky:

And off we went. It was a little colder than Ricky had planned for, but it was a great day. We got to chatting about what he did before he retired, and I learned about tools, and wheels coming off buses. (Don't worry; it doesn't much happen anymore, according to Ricky.)

Up in Hillsborough, I've passed this place a few times:

... and I wanted to get a picture so that I can go look 'em up. After all, is there even a market for yesterday's business computers?

From Hillsborough, we go the full length of East Mountain Ave (where there is a demanding hill) and turn onto 601. And it was there I started to flag. We weren't talking much, but there was even less after that. Ricky kept up some conversation, perhaps to be sure I wasn't getting delirious, but I wasn't stellar or sparkling in my banter.

But we made it back without incident. I'm glad I went, but I'm also glad I didn't do any more. You can see on the ride page that I was in C+ range today, and I'm not going to go tomorrow even if weather allows. I've already had a nap, and early to bed is the likely watchword.

I'm an Old Man In Lycra. Here's hoping I can build up some strength and stamina so I can ride with the Slugs or Tom's Insane Bike Posse before the July 4th All-Paces.