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September 27, 2015

50 miles in one day

   I work up this morning and after last weekend's success in biking a 38 mile ride without issue, I wanted to do more.  I spent the morning seeing if I couldn't setup something for a one-way trip, but no luck.  So I decided to push my northern boundary and set out of Lodi, Wisconsin.  It's about 20 miles away.  Till this point, I had never biked further north than Dane and on that trip I had a fairly miserable ride back home.  Part of it was due to wrecking my chain, and part was exhaustion.  Lodi is an other 5 miles north of Dane.
   I packed my metal horse up with my camera, and a sandwich.  My first stop was the co-op to get some pink pearl apples I really like, but I found they were out.  Then it was on the road.  As I headed north I had a tail wind of about 8 MPH, which provided some pretty good speeds.  The ride was uneventful until just a couple miles outside of Dane, when the landscape started to get really pretty.  About an hour and a half into the ride I arrived in Lodi.  I stopped at a gas station to get an apple, but the park I had planned to stop for lunch was closed for construction.  I saw what I thought was an other park on the map, but it turned out to be a cemetery.  So I held off on lunch and started my trek south.  I would be passing through Lodi Marsh State Natural Area and I figured I could find somewhere to stop there.  This part of the ride was really pretty.  Rolling hills and natural landscape in view for miles.  I found a place to sit and have lunch, and then got back on the road.
   The head wind going south wasn't awful, but I wasn't traveling nearly as fast.  I made it home having logged 41.8 miles.  That is my single longest continuous ride (I did stop for lunch, but only for 10 minutes or so).  Pleased with this, I asked Zach if he was interested in going out for a ride in the evening.  On this ride I logged an other 8.6 miles for a daily total of 50.4 miles.  And that is a record for me.  There are people who bike 60 miles or more a day.  I have some work to do before I'm there.  However, I feel I'm getting a lot closer.  I wasn't even all the tired when I was done.  Soggy from all the sweat, but not exhausted. 
   My heart rate monitor says I averaged 136 BPM (74.3% of my max) and was as high as 168 BPM (91.8%) over 3 hours, 29 minutes.  These numbers show that I didn't push myself hard on this ride, but had plenty of endurance.  It estimates I burned 2,230 Calories for the ride, which is about the number of calories I burn in an entire day.  When I got home, I ate everything!  Since I'm not trying to loss weight, I found that exercise is a great way to afford large meals.  I was probably still at a calorie deficit for the day, but I went to bed full.
Actor Playing Gen. George S. Patton

Actor Playing Gen. George S. Patton

   Steve and I attended the annual World War II Days at Midway Village in Rockford today.  We spent 6 hours there and basically did three things: chatted with the character actors who did General George Patton and General Dwight Eisenhower, someone from the Polish camp, and someone from the Ukrainian camp.  And we were both geeking out to have done so.
   Our first order of business was to watch a briefing by Patton.  Old Blood and Guts was getting a briefing and being told to hold his advance at a time he was moving so quickly allied command didn't know where he was at the end of each day.  After the briefing the audience was treated like the press core and got to ask questions.  There were some pretty good questions, but I had one of my own.  When called on I asked "General Patton, what are your feelings about our Russian allies."  The look on the general's face, coupled with others who knew his feelings on the subject, had the entire tend breaking into laughter.  It was a lot of fun, and I got a pretty good answer about Patton's feelings.  After the briefing was over, the actors stuck around to take questions.  I knew people would be swarming Patton, and I wanted to talk to Ike.  I started my conversation with "General Eisenhower, have you considered a career in politics?"  After there followed a lengthy conversation on Eisenhower's working relationships with various leaders, and some of his shortcomings that are usually whitewashed.  Steve and I spent at least an hour and a half chatting with these guys.  They are some serious history buffs, and I think we could have chatted the rest of the day.  But it was time to get a snack and watch a town battle.
   We watched some fighting, and then resumed our binge for knowledge.  At the Polish camp we got a pretty good history of some of the firearms used by the Polish army and partisans.  At the Russian camp we learned a bit about the role of bicycles in the war.  And at the Ukrainian camp we got a really great history of the Ukraine and it's place throughout history.  It was all fascinating stuff, and now I have some reading to do.
   Steve and I left 30 minutes past the official closing of the event.  We hadn't traveled nearly as much as we had in years past, but the information we gained was very much worth it.
   Friday at last.  And it was a fairly short day compared to what I have been doing.  I polished off a programming project, had my group wrap up the remaining ends on an other project, and made sure all my homework was finished before calling it a week.
   Despite my intense schedule during the week, I managed to workout all 5 days.  Two of the days are shorter routines, but I burn out fairly quick doing them.  I have yet to discover any great bro-cake stories.  I did notice though, despite the fact I have been out of high school for over 19 years, the bro-cakes are exactly like I remember the people in my high school.  It makes sense there would be some similarity--kids are kids--but they even dress the same as I remember, have the same mannerisms, and that same fake superficial conversational style that defined my school days.  Like my entire high school was transported 19 years into the future.  It's a little eerie.
   Got home around 10:00 pm.  My group project is going alright, but no thanks to any of my effort.  I've discovered that while I have been writing software professionally for over 19 years, I don't understand how to do requirements development at all.  Everything is abstract concepts that when it comes time to apply it I don't even know where to start.  And I seem to be the only one who has this problem.  The rest of my group seems quite knowledgeable.  I feel bad for not being able to contribute anything.  About all I do is plan and lead the meetings; taking notes, making sure we are on schedule, and the project goals are met.
   I had a statistics exam in the evening.  Most of the questions I felt pretty good about, but I didn't get enough study time and there was one question I tried to work with for about 45 minutes before I threw in the towel.  It is something I know had I studied I could have been prepared for.  Despite the large number of hours I'm putting in, it hasn't been enough.  I'm going to have to try harder.
   I'm starting to loss faith in my C++ programming class.  The professor seems like her background is purely academic.  She teaches from a series of Power Point slides that are likely from the book for the class, and seems hopeless married to Microsoft.  I've caught a couple of mistakes she has made, such as when she taught us how to use inclusion wrappers to avoid declaring functions and variables multiple times.  While her example worked to avoid multiple inclusion, it would have failed to link.  She also doesn't seem to keep up with the changing language standard.  When a student asked if there was a for-each equivalent in C++, she said no.  This was added in C++11.  And she stated you could not allocate an array on the stack with a variable number of elements, which was added in C++14.  But what really bothers me is her blindly showing off aspects of the language without any consideration for when it should and should not be used.  We learned about friend functions, and used the classic bad example of allowing stream operators as friend functions.  Some argue friend should never be used.  Other argue it makes sense for testing.  Overall, some mention that it should be avoid and why would have been nice.  She does things like this all the time, and it drives me nuts.  Mixing pointers and references.  Allocating memory in one location and letting something unrelated free it.  Mixing null-terminated strings with fixed-length fields.
   I've stopped listening to lectures.  It's too stressful to have to sit and listen to someone present a topic you are very passionate about, and do it wrong.  C++ is probably the hardest mainstream programming language in use.  This is not because the language is hard to understand, but because it is so easy to use the language wrong and write bad code that is extremely hard to debug.  The C language has always been one to give the programmer the ability to do whatever they want, weather or not it is a good idea.  In addition to syntax one must also learn conventions.  And my professor, who has a Ph.D., isn't covering this.  My guess is she has no real world application experience outside from small projects.  It is driving me nuts!
   Took a bike ride to Vermont today... Vermont, Wisconsin.  I have been wanting to do this ride for over a year, but did not feel ready until recently.  The plan was to do this ride last weekend, but my front derailleur was being fussy and I had to take my bike to the shop instead.  On Thursday, Steve picked up my bike from the doctor after a full tune-up.  With clear skies, light wind and cool temperatures forecast for today everything was looking good.  I set out with a sandwich, and banana for the first leg of my trip up Airport Road toward Cross Plains.  It's a dull ride, but not too much traffic and keeping a regular pace I could listen to my book while getting warmed up.  In Cross Plains I stopped at a grocery store and picked up an all fruit drink and an apple, then continued west along County Road KP.  This part of the ride I have done a couple other times.  It was not until turning South along Union Valley Road I was covering new ground, and things got pretty very quickly.
   Soon I was cycling along rolling hills and picturesque farms.  And it wasn't too long before I started to have some hill climbs.  While nothing I encountered was as intense as the hill climb on Barlow Road just outside Black Earth.  My tuned bike was a dream to ride, and my gears shifted so smoothly that even when the climbs became steep I could drop down into the lower gears and keep a steady torque.  It didn't seem like it was all that long before I had reached Vermont.  There are no signs, no town center to speak of, or anything else of note upon arrival.  But it is very pretty. 
   I stopped along close to where County Road J meets County Road JJ and had lunch.  At this point I was 20 miles into the ride, and just 7 miles from Blue Mound State Park—a future goal.  After lunch and a couple pictures to mark the furthest west I've biked, it was time to start back.  County Road J would take me the next 10 miles.  It was pretty until about highway 78, where things flattened back out.  There was also a 555 foot climb over 4 miles with the last part as steep as 15.9%.  A few miles past Pine Bluff, I hit Mineral Point Road, then ducked into a sub-division to work my way north toward Old Sauk, and then took a pretty standard path through residential and light industrial back home. 
   The ride took 3 hours and 3 minutes and covered 38.47 miles—shorter than I thought it would be—and I did it pretty much non-stop.  When I returned home was a little tired, but not overly so.  My heart rate averaged 141 BPM (77% of max) but my maximum rate got messed up by my monitor. 
   In the evening I took a second ride with Zach and added an additional 5.98 miles to the day, for a total of 44.45.  This beats my previous record of 43.84 miles set back in July of 2006.  Zach didn't feel up to a 12 mile ride, which is what I wanted to do.  So I'll live with 44 miles for the day.

1 comment has been made.

From XX

Irkutsk, Russian Federation

September 25, 2015 at 8:28 PM

Nice Job, man!

Andrew Que and Mira

Andrew Que and Mira

   In the morning I went on a hike and picnic with Pokie and Mira at Devil's Lake.  When I hike at this location, I have the problem of pushing myself to move quickly and leaving those I travel with behind.  It's a bad habit I need to check, but I found a new way to handicap myself: strap on a baby.  Hiking up a rocky path with a baby on board keeps me cautious, focused, and much slower.  Seems to be the ticket to hiking with people who are not interested in sprinting up the rock face.  Mira seemed rather indifferent about the climb, but enjoyed holding her stick during the trip.  Pokie had prepared a picnic lunch and I enjoyed a big sandwich, potato salad, and yogurt—energy I would need in the evening.
   After the hike at the lake, it was time to skate.  I stopped at home to quickly eat before heading out, which cost me about 15 minutes of skating time.  Once at the rink I met up with Liz and I started a session where I didn't try to push myself quite so hard as I had done the previous weekend.  Burning the first 1,000 Calories took about an hour and a half, but I had a lot more energy toward the end of the night.  When the session ended, I was just below 2,000 Calories, but I cheated and kept the clock running as I took off my skates—effectively logging my cool down calorie burn.  I burned though the last 30 Calories in just a few minutes and stopped the clock at 2 hours, 46 minutes, and 12 seconds.  My heart rate averaged 145 BPM (79.2% if max) which is slower than last week, but higher than 2 weeks ago.  My maximum heart rate was 185—101.1% of my maximum.  I felt this session I spent more time in the >170 BPM range and held it more comfortably than last week.  It's a lot of work to hold a heart rate this high, but it feels great to dig in and get the speeds necessary to accomplish it.  In addition because I was taking things slower, I had enough energy to get my heart rate this high during the last couple songs of the night.  This is the safest time to go all out because there are few people left on the floor, and most of them are stable skaters you don't have to worry about.  Had I started this last burst just a little sooner I would have made my 2k Calories without clocking the cool down.  But I would have also made it had I not been 15 minutes late.
   My first full week of school complete, and I made it home before 4:00 pm today.  I've decided that I want all my homework done before the weekend, because if I have to spend 6-12 hours a day doing school work during the week, then at least I get weekends for myself.  I am going to need more audiobooks.  I have completed several this summer, including one on Winston Churchill, the Edward Snowden NSA leaks, a review of George W. Bush's presidency, a history of banks and their involvement in politics from per-depression onward, a book on the Great War (World War I), and most recently a book on Barack Obama.  I'm now reading a book about the history of Goldman Sachs.  With all the driving and biking I do, I have a lot of time to "read".