Monday, October 29, 2007

But I thought all of you were broken!

Apparently I have a genetic disorder: photic sneeze reflex (aka ACHOO (Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome)). I sneeze when it's too bright. No, seriously. Helen thinks it's funny.

My mom used to tell me people without this are the broken ones. Now I know that it's really a syndrome!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I biked to Half Moon Bay, and all I got was this pumpkin. And the makings of a cool scar.

Last Saturday, a Googler named John arranged a bike ride called "The Pumpkin Fetch". The premise is just to bike to Half Moon Bay, buy a pumpkin, and bike back. Also, we were required to buy pumpkins. (Apparently John's been doing this ride for quite some time.) I'm not an amazing biker, but I figured a 60 mile bike ride would be fine.

The ride requires two ascents from basically sea level to the top of the hill between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Most people call it going up to Skyline Boulevard. I've biked up to Skyline about 5 times now, but never twice in one day. I knew it would be a strenuous ride, but John said that he took his time and would be ok with people a bit slower.

I left home at 7:30 am. I met my friend Jim and John at 8 am at Google. It was pretty chilly last Saturday, and I didn't really warm up until about 3 miles out from Google (9 miles total into the ride). Jim and John kept a pretty fast pace to King's Mountain, and I just tried to keep up. We had a pretty leisurely ascent up Kings Mountain (according to Jim, I took 48 minutes from Tripp Road to Skyline). We then turned north and biked to 92. 92 is a busy road to Half Moon Bay. We descended on 92, and then passed quite a few cars while we biked on the shoulder.

We picked up our pumpkins at a small farm on 92 and took a bit of a break. John purchased a 29 pound pumpkin, and I picked up 50 cent pumpkin - one I'm very proud of!

After the pumpkin selection, we headed west towards Route 1, and then south on Route 1.

The second ascent was up Tunitas Creek Road. From the description, I thought Tunitas would be just a little bit more challenging than King's Mountain. I was wrong - Tunitas is one heck of a road. It's beautiful, not many people, but fairly steep for a few miles.

After one of my many stops on the way up Tunitas, my right foot slipped while trying to clip into my pedals, and came back against the chainring. I started lightly bleeding, but there wasn't much I could do but continue on.

About 3 miles from the top of Tunitas creek, I got a flat in my rear tube. I tried to replace it, but broke off the tip of the Presta valve on my spare. I was trying to reach Jim, who was far ahead, and let him know that I got a flat. Since we were in the middle of nowhere, it took me 15 minutes to get a text out. In the meantime, a very nice biker named Ryan stopped and helped me out - we busted a third tube before we realized that my tire also had a hole in it.

John came back down from the top to help out. Some duct tape, a patch kit, and 15 minutes later, I was on my way again. We reached the top of Skyline again, and I biked home.

I recorded 66 miles and about 6000 feet of vertical. John got quite a lot of compliments on riding up Tunitas with a big pumpkin on the back of his bike.

GPS data and the map of the ride.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Las Vegas!

Helen and I are off to Las Vegas this weekend, and I'm curious - what would you do in Vegas? We have 3 shows to see, and we're staying kind of south strip.

What's really worth going to? What made your trip to Vegas? What stunk?

So far, this is what I want to see:
Anything else must do? Is the New York New York roller coaster worth it?