The other night while riding my bike after work, I realized that I ride one of two routes almost every day. I had never really thought about it before, but for some reason it really bugged me. I have “alternate” routes for when the trails are too muddy, or if it’s really snowing and cold, but usually it’s the same ride all the time.
I kept thinking about it, and before long I had a solution: I could create a database of all the rides I can access from work and setup a cron job to send a randomly selected ride to me every day. It was a long ride, though, and the more I thought about it, the more features I came up with. Before too long I had a whole list of features, and it started to seem like a really cool idea.
So my new project is going to be a website, After Work Rides.
I spent most of today setting everything up so that I can get started. I decided to make the site using Python3 and the Bottle web framework. Dreamhost provides MySQL databases, so that decision was made for me. Unfortunately, I had to install Python 3.2, Bottle, and the MySQL DB connector myself, because Dreamhost only provides old versions. Not difficult, but it had to be done.
After the hosting was setup I signed up for a Google Maps API key, created a new repo on Github and setup a simple landing page.
Finally I can get to work on the interesting part of actually developing the site…
I just got a great deal on a single speed mountain bike at the Trek store in Louisville. They’re giving $100 off every bike in the store for the entire month of May.
Despite the great deal, my decision to get a single speed was somewhat spur of the moment. I spent a good portion of the morning cleaning the chain and derailleurs on my regular bike. Like usual, I spent the entire time making a mess and hating it. This time it bothered me so much I decided to do something about it. Single speeds are simpler mechanically, and are supposed to require less maintenance.
I plan on keeping my regular mountain bike for longer trips and for serious mountain riding. But for my daily commute and after work rides, I’ll probably stick with the single speed. Rumor has it that single speeds make your legs stronger, so that may be a nice bonus.
After reaching my goal of skiing 50 days during the 2010-2011 season, I’ve been having a hard time motivating myself to go anymore. I still think about going, and I keep telling myself I’ll go again, but I really don’t know when. The super nice weather isn’t helping much – 75 degree bluebird days just aren’t skiing weather. I’ve been dying to go camping or on a backpacking trip, but unfortunately there’s still too much snow in the mountains.
That means it’s the perfect time to spend the weekends mountain biking. The last few weekends I’ve been doing some variation of this loop.
It’s a really great loop because it can be as long as I want it to be, and it covers all kinds of terrain, from the road to single track. Maybe best of all, I don’t have to drive to get to it. Sunday’s ride was the longest variation I’ve done, and is shown in the GPS track above; a 51 mile loop with ~3000 feet of elevation gain that took about 4.5 hours. the only thing that would make the ride better is if there were more trails and fewer roads. I’ve been looking for ways to do that, but haven’t had much luck.
Also over this last weekend, I rode out-and-back on Westminster’s Big Dry Creek trail, from my apartment to I-25, and back. It’s only ~18 miles, so I added a loop around Standley lake. It’s not a very exciting ride, but I get so bored riding on the street to and from work, it’s a nice change to ride any kind of trail.
The next few weekends I may actually drive out to the foothills and do some biking there. Usually, I don’t like driving to go for a bike ride, but I’m really anxious to get out on singletrack this spring. I think next weekend I’ll head over to the Walker Ranch Loop. A friend and I hiked around it a couple years ago, and it looks like a great place to ride. I might even go crazy and ride all the way to the trailhead, do the loop, and ride home, but that’d be a pretty long day. Guess I’ll see how I feel next weekend..
Lately I’ve switched up my schedule and started biking to work. I’m enjoying the change, but I haven’t completely adjusted yet.
For the longest time my routine after work was to eat a snack, read the news, stretch/exercise, go for a 10-13 mile bike ride, and then jump in the shower. The stretches, ride, and shower would take 2-3 hours and effectively took up all of my free time. If I skipped the snack and news, I would be out of the shower by 8:30, but that never happened, and I was getting really bad with procrastinating. Most nights I wouldn’t get out of the shower until after 11. And then I still had to make dinner…
Last week I finally got fed up with having no free time, so I decided to rearrange the schedule. Now I do the stretches and exercises first thing in the morning, followed by breakfast and the ride to work.
After work I go for the “real” ride.
The direct route between home and work is only 3.5 miles, and I wanted to stay closer to 13, so I had to find a less direct route. The route above is a little over 13 miles and takes about an hour. Just what I wanted.
I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting. The mornings aren’t bad, but it feels weird having a bunch of free time at night. It’s hard to get started on anything serious because I feel restless, like I should be going for a ride. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, though, and once I do, I have a big stack of books I want to get through.
Yesterday Rob and I rode the first section of the Colorado trail on our bikes. What was supposed to be an ordinary 5-6 hour ride turned into an 8 hour adventure. Writing out the whole story would take too long, but it suffices to say the second half of the trip was a train wreck. Regardless, we both had a lot of fun, and we know a few things not to do next time.
Today I ran South Boulder and Bear Peaks again. I love how convenient these mountains are. I can sleep in and lounge around the house for half the day, then at 3:00 say to myself, “Crap, I’m wasting a nice day,” so I go run South Boulder and Bear Peaks. Afterwards it always feels like like I’ve had an epic day in the mountains.
This time I made it up and down in 1:53, beating my previous best time by over 2 minutes. I’m starting to think 1:45 won’t be as hard as I expected. Just need to keep building my stamina for climbing.
My only complaint is that it’s getting crowded as the weather warms up. I spent a lot of time getting out of people’s way, or waiting for them to get out of mine. Next weekend I’ll start later and hopefully avoid the crowd.