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   A faerie ride across the Wisconsin River to Merrimac.  My horse has carried me over 25 miles by this point and is having a rest by the rail.  The faerie was interesting.  It uses three cables that are mostly underwater to move along to the other side of the river.  I'm not sure if the cables are used exclusively or if there is a propeller.  I didn't see any wake being generated from the rear of the boat so it seems reasonable to think this is the case.  While I was doing pretty good on my ride up to this point, having a mandatory rest during the faerie ride nice.  I was able to have an apple and put a little sugar into the system before the next leg of my trip.  So I think I'll continue to keep this route in mind for future trips.
   Balanced Rock on the right looking down toward Devil's Lake.  We ate lunch just above it next to an other precariously balanced rock.  A bit of the rock face we climbs up is visible.  The south east side of the lake seems to have the tallest rock face, and thus the one I prefer.  Despite having ridden 32 miles before climbing the rocks, I had plenty of energy to climb, leaving most of my party behind.  To be fair, Sean had a pretty bad cold and wasn't climbing at his full potential.  In past climbs he left me pushing hard to keep up.  So it is hard to say if I have improved a lot or not.  But I loved the climb nonetheless.  There is something about this big pile of purple quartzite that brings out the kid in me, and I just can't resist the urge to scramble up it.
Ben

Ben

   Ben, whom I hadn't seen in over a year.  He went and lost over 80 pounds and looks fantastic.  Well done Ben.
   Ben and Amber did not attack the rock face directly and hiked the trail to the top.  Ben got a workout hauling a very heavy bag that contained our lunch.  We found a nice spot near the top just above Balanced Rock to have lunch.  Amber brought everything necessary for making sandwiches.  And there is nothing like a big sandwich with friends at the top of a several hundred foot hill after a long bike ride and a good climb. 

October 04, 2015

Bike Trip to Devil's Lake

Our Crew Having Lunch

Our Crew Having Lunch

   A major milestone achieved today: a bike ride to Devil's Lake.  I have wanted to do this ride for over two years, but until now have never felt I was in good enough shape to accomplish this goal.  With my recent rides the last couple of weeks, I finally felt I was ready for attempt this ride.  Contacting a few other people I arranged for a meeting and hike up the rock face on the southern shore.  My goals was to bike to the lake, but get a ride back. 
   I had originally planned to do this ride yesterday, but with low temperature and high winds made me push the ride back a day.  Today wasn't any warmer, but the winds had reduced significantly.  Getting up at 9:30 am allowed me to be on the road by 10:15 am.  I wanted a bigger breakfast, but my body didn't.  So I packed two sandwiches, an apple, and a banana.  I don't like most fruit, but lately I've really been craving apples. 
   As usual when I bike in cooler weather, I put on thermal pants and a couple layers.  But I found I was crawling at barely 10 MPH most of the time.  In addition, my heart rate with around 165 BPM, meaning I was putting in a lot of effort without much to show for it.  True, I was riding into a 13 MPH headwind, but this was far slower than I had expected.  Once I got to the town of Dane, I stopped at a gas station and took off the thermal pants and one of my shirts.  I also picked up some hot chocolate, which I put in one of my now empty water bottles as I wanted both the warm drink, and the sugar.  This seemed to help and my speeds improved.  I was still moving slower than normal, but I did have a headwind.
   In the city of Lodi I stopped to eat my sandwich.  After this stop, I would be venturing further north than I had ever been by bike before—and I record I had just set the previous weekend.  About 5 miles latter I was at the ferry crossing.  The ferry had left some minutes before so I ate my apple.  After the ferry crossing, I was actually much closer to my destination than I thought.  For some reason, I thought this was a 40 mile ride, but it was actually only 32.  I arrived right on time, and after an other cup of hot chocolate I met up with party. 
   Most of the time I go to Devil's Lake, I go to the north shore, but lately I've been doing the south shore.  Since it is less distance to bike, I had everyone meet me on the south shore.  This part of the park also has a higher rock face to climb, and despite having already biked for 3 hours and 40 minutes I wanted to attack that hill.  A party of four of us went up the rocks, and the other two took the trail.  We met at Balanced Rock and had a picnic right to it on an other precariously balanced rock structure.  Amber, Sean, and Ben had stopped by Wollersheim winery on the way up and picked up some wine for lunch.  Amber made me a roast beef sandwich, which atop the rock structure surrounded with good people, after a long bike ride I was feeling very good.  I got a ride back home, but I was feeling good enough I think I might have been able to make it back by bike.  An other day though. 
   In all I burned over 2,500 Calories, although I didn't run my heart rate monitor for most of the hike so I don't know the exact numbers.  Despite the cold and head wind I met my goal, enjoyed a challenging ride to a new place, had a great hike, lunch with a fantastic view and good company, and went home in good sprites.  Thank you Jolene, Epic, Sean, Amber, and Ben for helping me make this day.
Que's Skates

Que's Skates

   Skating day.  I started loading up on carbs in the afternoon with a big lunch of pasta and bread.  Still hungry, I added in a pumpkin smoothy--the recipe I've been trying to prefect.  Right now it consists of yogurt, pumpkin, a small can of evaporated milk, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, milk, and a little brown sugar.  It is pretty good, but not quite what I am looking for.  During the day, as I did laundry, I worked on cleaning my skates.  I pulled out the bearings, blasted them with carburetor cleaner, spun them to get any dirt out, and put on some light oil.  The wheels I soaked in water and wiped down with a rag.  The wheels seem in pretty good shape, but one bearing may be broken beyond repair.
   Just before 6:00 pm I started loading up and departed for the rink.  A mile or two down the road I realized I hadn't grabbed my skates, and had to turn back.  That cost me 30 minutes.  Once on the floor I got warmed up in about 15 minutes and was quickly able to get my heart rate to >165 BPM (90%).  In fact, I was easily able to hold a rate of 175 BPM (95%) for quite some time.  There were a few times I was holding my heart rate at around 180 BPM (98%) without the typical heavy exertion this takes, and for some bursts I was up to 184 BPM (100.6%).  I credit this to eating correctly beforehand as my body had the energy stores it needed to push hard and stay there.  This lasted until about 15 minutes before the session was over.  After that, I was able to hit 165 BPM, but my body just didn't want to hold it there.
   Because I arrived to the session late, I only burned 1,877 Calories—a little shy of the 2,000 I targeted.  Like last week, I would have made this target had I not been late.  But it seems clear: want to skate fast and hard, EAT!
   Pictured are my skate.  They are now 18 years old.  This is the third set of wheels, second set of bearings, I've replaced the rear axles a few times, one of trucks has been replaced, and I've gone through probably a half dozen laces.  But they continue to serve me well.
   Week complete.  This is the second full week for daily workouts.  Each workout is roughly 40 minutes in duration and I feel that I am still getting my body acclimated.  My biceps are the weakest, barely able to do 10 repetitions at 15 pounds an arm.  The rest of the routine for each of the two sets seem to be alright.  I've found weights I am comfortable with, a pace and repetition counts I can handle, and am now going through the motions to see what kind of results are produced.  I haven't found any good bro-cake stories to share, although it is amusing to watch some of the faces that are made.  Bro-cakes seem to love watching themselves in the mirror, of which there is one entire all in the weight area of the workout room.  I am told they use mirrors to check their form, but all I see is guys admiring reflections of themselves making faces and lifting heavy things repeatedly.  This university campus isn't much different form my high school in students.  Although I graduated high school over 18 years ago, I may as well have been transported back in time.  These kids look, dress, and act just like what I remember.  The difference is, I'm an old man with a strange haircut, and they pay me no attention at all.  Some of these guys workout pretty hard and it shows.  But in the end what does that gain?  They are in their early 20s and this for many of them will be the best health they will ever obtain.  So why push for more, especially at an education institution where they have access to a wealth of information that could be far more beneficial.  Society probably has much to do with this.  Being educated is not nearly as valued as being athletic.  It is a little disheartening because it is clear some of these guys put a lot of effort into what they are doing, but what they are doing isn't going to give them anything really useful.  They are already in good health and being stronger will not assist in being a better engineer. 
   Went on a bike ride downtown with Zach in the evening for a slice of pizza on State Street.  I didn't really need a slice of pizza, but the ride sounded pretty good.  I ended up with a daily Calorie burn of 1,297 from exercise alone, so I think I earned my pizza.

October 01, 2015

Happy October!

Change Begins

Change Begins

   Happy October!  The weather has cooled off, leaves have been showing signs of change, and apples and pumpkins are in season.  Time for things to get pretty.  I saw the first leaves showing signs of change on the 19th of last month and have been noticing red vines in most locations.
   Because I track everything about my fitness, I have a large spreadsheet full of numbers.  For the month of August, when I started tracking heart rate and millage, I logged 33 hours and 30 minutes of exercise, with the vast majority being on my bicycle.  I traveled 375 miles and burned an estimated 24,514 Calories in the process.  September I logged even more time: 35 hours 46 minutes, but less miles: 224, and burned 24,296 Calories.  I was surprised I was able to keep the number of exercise hours the same because I had about two weeks where in August where about all I did was cycle.  In terms of weight loss, this 24k Calories equates to about 7 pounds of fat.  While I'm done losing weight, it is interesting to note that had I adopted these exercise practices I could have kept my diet at nominal calories and still lost 7 pounds.
   In my networking class we have been assigned the task of writing a simple HTTP 1.0 web server.  The professor gave us directions on how she wants the server implemented, and we are to build off a simple threaded socket server we had to do for our last project.  I have 2 hours between class on Wednesday and decided this would be what I worked on.  Initially I figured I would just get a start on the project, but I finished it.  Using a static copy of my home page, I had a web browser connecting to my server and getting a copy of my site.  While I knew HTTP 1.0 was simple, I didn't realize it was that simple.  It's nice to see that modern browser can still work with a standard that was officially recognized in 1996.
   Temperatures have plunged to the mid 60s for highs after a cold front yesterday finally remember it is, in fact, fall.  Walking around campus in a dress shirt is now much more comfortable.
   I am working on a C++ project for fun and found it has been awhile since I've used the language.  Feels strange to be a little rusty, but it has been a couple of years since I've done a project in C++.  Most of my work projects are in C.  I have done very small C++ projects, but nothing like what I've been working with.  I am trying to take advantage of some of the fetchers of C++11 and C++14.
   What I hope will be the last hot day of the year.  September has been unseasonably warm with temperatures regularly around 78° F (25.6° C).  While this has been nice for biking, it is too warm for fall weather.  It is hard to enjoy a cup of hot apple cider when it's hot out.
   After last week, having a short Monday seems unusual and I wasn't sure what to do with all my time after class.  I was home before 7:00 pm.