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   A week or two ago our garbage disposal stopped working.  Around a year ago we thought it had died after someone placed bones in it.  It made an awful grinding noise for a couple weeks, but then stopped.  Since then we have been waiting for it to die.  So when power was applied and nothing happened we figure that is what happened.  I wanted a more powerful garbage disposal anyway because we throw everything down it.  It came the other day and Xiphos installed it today.  Turns out our old disposal had not died.  The natural wire had come off near the switch.  It was good we had a look at this setup anyway.  The old garbage disposal had a fake ground.  Someone connected the ground to a water pipe--sort of.  There is no ground wire on that path but we now have a GFCI on the circuit.  So the ground can safely be ignored.  One day the kitchen will be redone and rewiring is on the list.
   At work today I was trying to send source code to a client.  I zipped it up and placed the file in an e-mail.  I got a message back form the system administrator say the e-mail server refused to deliver the message because it contained the virus W32/Skintrim.1!Generic.  Source code is nothing but text files.  This continues to support my position that makers of antivirus software purposely create false alarms so the suckers who waste their money to buy their software feel like they are actually getting a return on investment. 
   Everything is wrapped in a layer of ice.  Pretty, but slippery.
   I found instructions for updating my Pine64 from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS and successfully made that happen this evening.  With this done I can do the testing need to see if the Pine will become the next Sun Dragon.
   Ice storm this evening.  Everything has a thin sheet of ice cover it.  My sidewalks have a thick sheet of ice and I did my best to break them out with a combination of beating and salting.
   Mira was fascinated by this robot demonstration.  It was setup to play tic-tac-toe, for which she didn't understand the rules.  However, she did figure out that she could select a square and the robot would place a golf ball there.  She played over and over in order to watch the robot place the golf balls and then put them back in the storage bins.
   My ride to work this morning was more than +65°F/37°C warmer than my ride just 4 days ago, and despite the fact it was only 40°F/4°C with drizzle it felt like the most pleasant ride I'd done in ages.  The morning ride was to be the warmest as another cold front moves in to cool things off.  My the time I left for home the temperatures were down to 30°F/-1°C.  Still, it was an easy ride compared to Thursday.
   The weather has freezing rain and ice forecast, and I figured I should get my riding in now.  It may be awhile before I have anything resembling nice riding weather.

January 31, 2019

Record Setting Cold

One Hour 18 Minutes, 15 miles, -26°F/-32°C.

One Hour 18 Minutes, 15 miles, -26°F/-32°C.

   This morning entered into the record books.  The official temperature for Madison was -26°F/-32°C breaking the previous record of -22°F/-30°C for the day.  This put today and yesterday on par with one another, but winds were lower today.  Middleton was actually reporting -28°F/-33°C just before I left which was colder than yesterday.  It was time to attempt the coldest ride I had ever done.
   Getting ready for a ride like this takes a long time.  I departed 15 minutes latter than usual, but I had a lot of preparations to make.  Based on yesterday's test ride, I dressed with the following:
  • Heavy cycling shirt.
  • Medium cycling shirt.
  • Cycling jacket.
  • Heavy wool socks.
  • Chemical heaters on toes.
  • Neoprene cycling shoe toe covers.
  • Neoprene/fleece cycling full shoe covers.
  • Fleece lined fitted pants.
  • Fleece lined thermal pants.
  • Wool balaclava.
  • Nylon balaclava.
  • Nylon cycling beanie.
  • Neoprene face mask.
  • Ear muffs.
  • Winter riding gloves.
  • Neoprene handlebar covers.
  • Chemical heaters in handle bar covers.
  • Goggles.
   Despite my hands getting cold on the test ride, I opted to stick with my cycling gloves because I worried my mittens would be problematic with the handle bar covers.  Instead I hoped chemical heaters help keep my fingers warm and with lower winds I should be alright.  I double up the shirts.  This creates more sweat but I didn't want my abdomen to get cold like it did on the test run.  I always had my heavy coat in case it became a problem.
   I keep my bike indoors during the winter because the loading process is easier if you are not losing heat while doing it.  I was fully geared up when I opened the basement door and stepped into the cold.  The garage actually stays slightly warmed than outdoors.  That first breath at under -20 stings.  The air is cold and very dry, and you feel it in your lungs.  But as soon as you enter the cold, the clock is running.  Seconds matter.
   The first part of a cold ride is difficult.  Heat loss happens very fast after stepping outside and in only a matter of seconds you begin to feel cold spots develop.  In the first several minutes it is very important to get moving and stay moving.  Your body comes from a heated environment and is layered in clothing.  It becomes hot form the effort of moving around indoors.  Entering temperatures 95°F/35°C degrees cooler reverses this situation very quickly.  In less than one block my knees feel the cold on the upstroke of peddling.  That brief period of not touching your pants during the power stroke is enough time for a temperature differential to develop.  After two blocks I am breathing through my mouth and my heart rate is over 140 BPM.  Because of the effort of riding in cold, my normal heart rate of around 155 BPM will be closer to 170 BPM.  That is good but there is a lag between an increased heart rate and heat production.  The first mile is likely when you feel the coldest and that takes about 5 minutes.  By the second mile body heat is established.  It is important not to push too hard during the first mile.  Breaking a sweat early in the ride could be disastrous.
   The start of the ride is difficult, but by the three mile mark I was as comfortable as this ride can get.  I passed the grocery store where my previous cold ride failed and I had now beat my previous cold ride temperature and distance.  The grocery store was my first emergency stop point.  I had several more considered and kept in mind what the next stop would be should I need it.  Reaching each point I asked the question: are we good?  Fingers, toes, face and overall body was considered.  I was 1/5th of my total ride.
   The stop points kept coming and going, and the trip slowly progressed.  I reached Regent Street and a thought dawned on me.  Last year I rode at -9°F/-23°C, but I was not alone.  On this trip I would not see one single cyclist.  A couple of people walking dogs, but no one else.  It is the only time I have ever ridden to work alone.  Fish Hatchery Road is the halfway point and the first time I had to stop.  A large snow bank separated me from the cross walk button, but someone had left a shovel.  I was able to use the shovel handle to press the request button. 
   The stop was only for several seconds, but seconds matter in deep cold.  My goggles had begun to fog and if you don't move quickly to get air flow past the goggle the fog begins to freeze.  I could no longer see my rear view helmet mirror due to frost, and I had no way of clearing my goggles.  Even with them on I could feel frost building up on my eyelashes. 
   Along John Nolen Drive I did get a bit of wind, but not much.  I was now entering the longest stretch without shelter along the south shore of Lake Monona.  This is all residential housing and no businesses.  Should anything happen, I would have to turn around for the hotel along John Nolen.  However, by this point I was acclimated.  The chemical heaters still had my toes and fingers in good shape.  Nothing but a breakdown was likely to stop me.  Waunona Way is a rough road because the plows don't do much and there is always a heavy layer of uneven packed snow.  This was a slower part of the ride as even the trails are in better shape.  By the time I reached Bridge Road I was getting good twilight.  I turned on my front strobe so drivers would see me better and made my way to Monona Drive.  With my vision limited by frosty goggles I opted to ride on the sidewalk for the half-block along Monona Drive.  The ends were poorly shoveled and I had to ram a snowdrift to get out.  Work was just a couple more miles.
   Due to the snow I was unable to take my shortcut of directly following Femrite Drive across Stoughton Road.  I would ride along West Broadway until Ellestad Drive allows me to connect back with Femrite.  From there a trucking company's parking lot takes me to World Dairy Road.  At this point I loss wind cover.  The light industrial area has no trees and the buildings are too far spaced to provide a wind break.
   Fen Oak Drive was also snow packed, but at this point I was nearly done.  I pulled into the parking lot followed by a coworker.  He thought I was nuts, but did hold the door for me so I didn't have to reach into my pockets for keys--an operation that often requires the removal of gloves.  I leaned my bike against the rack, grabbed my bag, water bottle and camera, and went inside.
   One hour 18 minutes, 15 miles, -26°F/-32°C, 1212 Calories.  Victorious I walked inside.  I wanted a picture of frost build up but didn't want to use my good camera.  It just spent the last hour at 20 below and I didn't want to risk mechanical failure.  So at my desk I used my cellphone to take this picture.  This ride is a personal record I don't feel like besting for a long time.  But my training and preparations made is possible, and I succeeded in one very cold ride.