Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cubs Win World Series in 2015

Due to the lack of triathlon action, I'm resorting to this post...

A few days ago I was watching Back to the Future II. When Marty goes to 2015 he sees a video about the Cubs winning the World Series against Miami. Well, in 1985 or 1989 there wasn't a MLB team in Miami. Now there is.

As a Cardinals fan this is tough to say but part of me is hoping the Marlins will be moved to the American League and the Cubs will beat them in the World Series in 2015.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Last weekend was my second trail race, this one was a bit bigger than the first. It's called the Skippo and it takes place at Castlewood State Park right outside of St. Louis. Like most races, there is more than one distance. This one has a 10k, 20k and 30k, basically 1, 2 or 3 loops. It's a popular race that sells out within a day. I guess most trail races have a small cap because there isn't a lot of room on the trail .

I was fairly excited about the race but had no clue what to expect since the first trail race was very small and not crowded. I did a practice run the weekend before to see what I was up against. I've run at Castlewood before but only part of it.

The tone for this race is: annoyed. The race start was organized with pace groups, although people were flying by in the first 2 miles. They let about 50 or so people go at a time to lessen the crowds. Even with the waves it was still a bit crowded. The first 2.5 miles are relatively flat and I suspect that people went out too fast. I have the problem of wondering what other people are thinking during a race. I was hold the correct pace for my placement at the start but people were still passing me. I kept thinking if you started behind me, you're running twice the distance and you pass me at 2 miles, you're running too fast. Whatever though, I shouldn't worry about what other people are doing.

Anyway, the first 2.5 miles were uneventful. Then came the stairs. There are about 200 steps, instead of a hill, to climb. People were moving slow...very slow. There is barely enough room to pass but some people from the tri club started passing me so I hopped on. A lot of people didn't want to let anyone by. This set the tone for the rest of the race, people getting pissed about being passed.

After the steps there is a little more uphill which I promptly attempted to fall up. For some reason I guess I forgot I was on a trail and watched the person in front of me instead of the ground. Luckily I just had a couple scrapes and I squeezed a lot of water out of my bottle. Once I got to the top I knew going down was going to suck. I can go downhill fairly quick but, there were a lot of people without trail shoes and I don't think many people racing run trails on a regular basis. Granted, I'm fairly new but I've been running trails in the dark with a headlamp.

It's almost more difficult to go slow downhill because you don't realize when people are going to slow down. Half the race I was afraid of running someone over. The downhills are easy switchbacks so it wasn't very technical at all. After the first downhill there was a creek to cross. I thought it was funny how they had the creek roped off so you HAD to get your feet wet.

Then it was back uphill...straight up...no turns...the one thing that I don't like about Castlewood. I passed some people while walking up the hill. There was no point in running since my HR was pretty high even while walking and the race was only half over. This was where it got a bit more annoying.

I would pass people on the short downhills but, they felt the need to repass me on the flats or the uphills. After the second time you'd think they would give me the courtesy of staying behind me...nope. I certainly would if this happened more than once. 

Then it finally thinned out for the rest of the race. I attempted to pass more people on a downhill at very wide part of the trail. I looked up to make sure I wasn't going to run into them and sure enough, I tripped on something. I didn't fall but I probably doubled my speed trying to regain my footing. I also manage to narrowly miss taking out a girl in front of me. She didn't seem to notice, she just said "nice catch." I said thanks and apologized for almost taking her out like an unprotected wide receiver coming over the middle.

Then it was off to the finish...where they had M&Ms and BBQ.

My advice to anyone thinking about a trail race...get some trail shoes and practice trail running before the race.

Not much of an elevation change

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Techno Thursday - Bike Security Apparatus

I know Techno Tuesday has a better ring to it but, I didn't get around to writing this.

This week I came across an application (US 2012/0234777) for a bike stand/lock.

This bike lock works like a parking meter with a password. You put your coins into the slot and the lock pops open. The user would use a card and set a password then use a fingerprint reader to set the lock and then lock the bike. When the user comes back the password is entered or fingerprint is scanned and the device unlocks. 

For a more complicated description see below...keep in mind the inventor is from an Asian country and the translation may have some "broken English" in it: 

The bicycle security apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprises a housing standing on a supporting plane. The housing includes a panel formed on a front side thereof and two side plates respectively connected to the panel. At least one of the two side plates has an opening defined therein and a hook secured thereon. An opening is defined in the side plate where the hook is secured. The hook has a distal end extending toward the opening. At least one drive device is disposed in the housing and corresponds to the at least one opening. At least one latch is connected to the at least one drive device and the at least one latch is reciprocally driven by the at least one drive device, wherein the latch is received in the housing when the bicycle security apparatus is in an unlocked condition and the latch facing the distal end of the hook when the bicycle security apparatus is in a locked condition.

A control unit is mounted onto the panel. The control unit includes a central process unit mounted onto the interior of the panel. A slot device, a card reader and a fingerprint recognize device are respectively mounted onto the panel and electrically connected to the central process unit, wherein the slot device is provided for user to insert coin(s) before take bake his/her bicycle and the card reader is provided to read the personal data from a card, and the card reader and the fingerprint recognize device are provided to recognize the person who wants to take back his/her bicycle. An input device is disposed on the panel for user to input the pass word(s) of his/her card for ensuring the identity of the card owner.

*All information in this post is available to the public through the USPTO.gov website or through Google Patents.

Monday, November 5, 2012

IMFL Travelers

Today while driving to physical therapy I saw a car with tri bikes on the roof. Normally I wouldn't think anything of it but I noticed a race sticker on the bike. It was an Ironman Florida sticker. The couple was driving back to Iowa. If you happen to be said couple, great job!

Over 1100 miles and 19 Hours of driving...each way. The arrow is where I saw them, roughly.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Creve Coeur Trails

I started running trails this year and even bought a pair of trail running shoes. Since St. Louis isn't a very hilly place, meaning it doesn't have long sustained climbs of more than a couple hundred feet if even that much, trail running is a good way to keep your heart rate up even when you're going down hill...or at least I can keep my HR high while going down hill.  One problem is the lack of elevation information and trails routed on something other than an orienteering map on the trails around here. So, I thought I would post my Garmin files and maybe some people will come across them.

This is from the trails at Creve Coeur Park that I've been running some Monday nights...with a headlamp in the dark. It's fun but the deer make it a bit scary at some points.

Note: the trail is not as long as the pictures say. This run involved doubling back because someone went the wrong way and did a second loop at the 1 mile mark so we went back to make sure she was alright.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon

As I'm sure everyone knows the decision to continue with plans for the NYC Marathon after the city has been severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy is highly controversial. I can understand both sides of the argument but, it's an iconic race. When 45,000 people have been training for 4-6 months and the New York Road Runners have probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, on the race, it's difficult to just scrap the race plans if a race is possible. Everyone should also keep in mind that some people depend on the race as a source of income since the prize money is so large. Who knows, it might help restore some normalcy and hope to the city in the midst of the chaos.

The reason I'm writing this is because of a post, which I thought was very thoughtful, on Pacers Running Store's Facebook page:

Important information for those who may be traveling to NYC this weekend for the marathon:

A number of Pacers people traveled via airplane yesterday with little to no delays or incidents. Once on the ground though, there are significant delays in cabbing/driving to any location within the city (upwards of an extra two hours of time). Most of lower Manhattan is still without power, so double check with your hotel. If your hotel is without power or other basic necessities, airbnb.com is offering rooms for as low as $10 a night to help mitigate the aftermath of Sandy. Most importantly, if you plan to drive into Manhattan (or any borough) there is NO GAS at all in the city. Yesterday, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I witnessed lines to a gas station stretch for over two miles and last for over five hours, only for most in line to be denied gas once it ran out. Most gas stations simply don't have gas and are not getting gas any time soon - bring extra in gas cans! 

Most importantly, if you are staying in Queens or Brooklyn and need to get to the marathon expo either today or tomorrow it appears the East River Northbound Ferry is the best option. Those staying in Brooklyn can get on the Northbound Ferry at N 6th St & the waterfront in Williamsburg with free transfers from the Southbound ferry at this location (ride is $4 cash only). Those staying in Queens can get on the Northbound Ferry at Hunters Point South/Long Island City. Get off at E. 34th St/Midtown and travel by free shuttle down 34th St til the end of the shuttle, then walk a few more blocks to the Jarvis Center. Lines have been long during rush hour, but significantly shorter than bus/shuttles that leave directly from Brooklyn or Queens, which have had lines of over 1,000 people lasting many hours. 

Hopefully this information helps. If anyone else is traveling and has any good tips, knowledge of huge delays or traffic jams, please help others traveling from the DC/NoVa area to NYC and post that information here!

...I've been lazy about posting but, I'm trying to get a post up about Pedal the Cause from about a month ago.

***Updated at 6PM EST on the posting date***

I guess I was a couple hours early with this post since the race has been cancelled. Like I said before, as a runner (triathlete as I've been told during a running for triathletes clinic) I can understand the decision to hold the race. As a human being I can also understand the decision to cancel the race.