Archive for January, 2008

Bike Routes

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I mapped out my two favorite routes for cycling on Google Earth. The Kittitas route is what I used to ride when I was a student at Central Washington University. It’s about 24 miles, and has a nice rolling profile. The only caveat of that ride was that there was almost no shade. Oh, and I was almost dispatched by some Rottweilers and Black labs.

The Redmond to Seattle route uses both the Sammamish River Trail, and Burke-Gillman trail. Really it’s just one trail, but changes names in Bothell. It used to be a rail line for timber before being converted.

The Ironhorse route was a leg of the Ironhorse Trail (aka John Wayne Trail), that I used to ride my Mountain Bike on. The trail extends from North Bend, to Spokane and used to be a railroad. It’s an unpaved trail, but has a thick layer of gravel on it which makes riding feel mushy. I used to see a lot of wild life on it: birds such as Cranes, and I once saw a Rubber Boa, our indigenousness constrictor.

Google Earth Paths:

Apples in Syrup

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Here’s a tasty treat that I hacked up.

Ingredients:

1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Tbs. Butter
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 C. Apple Juice

Directions:

1. Peel the Apple, cut it in half, and then quarter it. Now core the apple with your knife. Next cut it into eighths, and cut each of the resulting Apple crescents in half so that you have sixteen Apple chunks.

2. Heat your skillet over Medium-High heat and melt the butter.

3. Put the Apple in the skillet and coat in the melted butter. Cook for approximately five minutes, tossing every couple of minutes.

4. Sprinkle the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon on the Apple and toss the Apple around. Cook until juice is drawn out of the apple and a thick syrup starts forming on the bottom of the skillet.

5. Once the Apple is just barely fork tender, pour the Apple Juice into the pan and deglaze the bottom of the pan with your spatula. Cook until the liquid thickens into a gooey syrup.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Trail

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I just got back from my first outdoor ride of the year. It’s one of those sunny weekends in January, where the nine months of cloudiness has given way, and the warm rays I hear they enjoy in California poke through and make Washington almost bearable. Along with the Sun comes a certain ‘phenomena ‘ on trails that I’ll call “clueless pedestrians”. A horde of indignant neophytes, if you will. These are people that tend to walk three or four abreast, have dogs on leashes that are wandering around the trail, and of course the unattended toddlers who define keeping a riding line something like a sinusoidal wave.

So when I started my ride from Marymoor Park blissfully unaware of what was in store, as I was as happy as could be. With all the training I’ve done indoors since November, my legs feel better than they ever have before. I took yesterday off, so my energy level was as high as I could want. Pardon the expression, but I was bright eyed and bushy tailed.

The first mile which was mostly flat and required little steering was terrific. My bicycle felt smooth, and as one would hope, there weren’t any strange noises. It was slightly chilly, so I was wearing my new winter gloves (Pearl Izumi Gavia). I noticed rather quickly that they were interfering with my ability to shift, brake, and to a degree, steer. It was like a surgeon having his hands wrapped in gauze before a surgery. So I took those off and put on my summer gloves, which I was carrying in my back pocket. Lo and behold, my hands were actually warmer in them!

So I got going again, and all through Redmond’s portion of the trail, I had to keep unclipping a foot from my pedals and use a leg to walk around these groups of people that were hogging the trail. I’m sorry walkers, but walking three to four abreast on a public trail is not okay–that’s bad trail etiquette (the worst are women with strollers who walk four abreast pushing their strollers at close to 1mph). Once I got out of Redmond, there weren’t any issues up to Woodinville (6 miles in), where I stopped, drank some Gatorade (wasn’t thirsty, but it’s easy to get dehydrated in the cold) and stretched my legs.

From Woodinville, through the I-405 knot of roads, over the soft-bridge, and through the Rooster Woods there was no trouble. The trail through the Rooster Woods were shaded from the sun, and the trail was still wet from the rain yesterday morning. In fact, parts of the trail had moss growing on it, so I slowed to a crawl and hoped my tires didn’t slip (9 miles in).

While I was in the Rooster Woods, I did witness a baby falling out of its stroller (backwards). How that worked, I’m not certain. I think it was the dad’s fault.

After the Rooster Woods, I went over the Suicide Bridge (supposedly some kid..well you know..), up the Slope, and into the deep dark tunnel. I had forgotten how dark the tunnel is, and thanks to my over performing sunglasses, I couldn’t see a darn thing.

I really don’t have anything to say about the Golf Course, the streets, or the detour, other than that I almost slipped on a sideways slope. I stopped at Log Boom park, 13 miles in, and had my delicious chocolate brownie clif bar (Clif Bar, I just gave you a plug, please send me gear ;) ). So I turned around and started back.

Everything was going fine until I got back to the western edge of the Rooster Woods, when suddenly this old ladies toy poodle charged at my bike! The lady yelled “No, <effeminate name I can’t recall>!”, and I slammed on my brakes, locking up my tires since the little rat was headed right for my front tire. I didn’t really want to clean blood and gibs off myself and my bike. The old bat didn’t even apologize to me!

My adrenalin was pumping from the incident, and as I neared the soft bridge, I started getting tired. so I slowed down, and got passed by what looked like a team of semi-professional cyclists who were keeping the tightest line I’ve seen on the Burke-Gillman.

Some kid zig-zagging around the trail was coming right at me. I slowed down to 3mph and was hugging the the right shoulder of the trail to avoid the tike.

Nothing to report on the way to Woodinville, I stopped and took a swig of Gatorade. I hopped back on, and decided to sprint back to Marymoor for as long as I could. So I went into my drops and cruised at 19mph, which isn’t bad considering the trail congestion. When I got back to the Redmond Bridge (near 520), I noticed as I was rounding the switchback that there was this gigantic dog turd in the middle of the trail. The crap was everywhere. It was by far the most disgusting pile of shit I’ve ever seen. There was one gigantic plop of crap, and then a trail of logs that spanned the bridge.

Feeling jaded at that point, I solemnly rode back to my car, drank the rest of my Gatorade, and went home.

Total miles: 26
Chances for Carnage: 2

Blife Plans

Friday, January 11th, 2008

blife is the cellular automaton program that I’ve been working on for the past few months. I wrote most of it in mid-November and have been touching up bits of it ever since. It’s currently written in C and runs Conway’s Game of Life rule set (23/3). I’m going to be rewriting it over the next month in C++ and implementing a generic engine so that is can run other rule sets specified at run time. If you’d like to help out, or keep up to date on the new version, please email me at brad@stackpointer.org, and I’ll keep you in the loop.