Monday, September 14, 2009

A summer of centuries

I did very little "event" riding in 2009, but had a season of consistent century rides: One 100-mile ride in each weekend* of June, July, and August 2009. Most of these were my Sweet Home loop (which is starting to get a bit old), but there were a few variations, including the Covered Bridges century in Albany (the only "event" ride in those three months), at least one ride to the Roseburg area, leading a Gears ride over Wolf Creek and on to Cottage Grove, and pre-riding the bRamble route with Bob Zumwault. (I couldn't ride the bRamble as an event ride because I was driving sag.)

I capped off the series at the end of August by riding Aufderheide from Blue River to Westfir and back with Ian Fuller (116 miles), then broke the streak the next weekend by riding around Crater Lake (only 47 miles including the Pinnacles spur).

Overall it was a good summer ... but now I feel I've had enough of consistency, and next year I want to push more on the outer limits of my endurance. I want to do a 300k (186 mile) brevet for sure, and might consider 400k depending on conditions and schedule. The Davis Double would be great, but I might have to put it off yet one more year if the data conflicts with ICSE. (So far my only double century has been Seattle to Portland, a few years back.)

*Defining "weekend" broadly to include a Friday or Monday of a three-day weekend.

Bicycle maintenance

I don't seem to be disciplined enough to log everything promptly, but from partial records I can see that the chain on my Trek 5200 lasted from April to September, approximately 2400 miles. This seems to be roughly typical for Ultegra chains, although there is wide variation depending on conditions. I ride this bike in good weather, but I like to climb (and do a lot of grindy climbs on training rides), so I shouldn't be disappointed. Chain before that one was late July of the year before, so I guess I'm looking at a bit less than two chains per year on this bike.

The chain on my Salsa was replaced in March, and seems to have lasted about half a year (based on the bike being built in October 2008). That's a rain and winter bike, so it won't be surprising if I go through chains a little faster, even though I put less total miles on the bike. In March I also got a new cassette on the Salsa, but that was replacing a cassette that came from my earlier Trek 5200 destroyed by a car in 2006.

When bike maintenance starts seeming expensive, I remind myself how much more expensive it would be to maintain a car (we get by on one car for the family).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ride: Greenhill loop

Rode parts with Cyndi, but forked off to climb Willow Creek by myself, as well as the last leg home.

Willow Creek in 10:00 (very good if not my best time)
McLean in 3:41 (PR?)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The namespace problem

After extended, silly perseveration (look it up) over a blog name, I finally chose "melange" to indicate that this one is a miscellany with no single topic or theme. Setting the title is no problem, but then one needs a URL ... and as one would expect, the namespace of * is cluttered with abandoned blogs, among them and insalata-mista and insalatamista (mixed salad) are taken also, but at least one of them seems to be an actual living blog (with recipes, in Italian).

Clutter is an inherent problem in popular namespaces. Any popular email service soon forces users to choose handles like JaneDoe232. Since Facebook recently started allocating non-arbitrary names, it will soon face the same problem. Hierarchy helps some, but only some ... the internet domain name system didn't avoid huge conflicts in the .com and .org portions of the space. Likewise, making the namespace large (by making names potentially long) helps only a little, because the set of names people find mnemonic and meaningful is a tiny portion of the syntactic namespace.

Is there any fundamental solution to namespace clutter? As far as I can tell, one can have a system of meaningful names, or a system of unique names, but never both. The inevitable compromise is to pair meaningful names with arbitrary (and inherently non-mnemonic) names.