Sunday, September 4, 2011


Well, I am almost a week in on the challenge, and I have only one more update on my progress: My bike's reset odometer reads 103.83. I went on the Wednesday Bike Ramble with Dave M. et al and then the Quaddies on Saturday. My big accomplishment was averaging 19 mph over 50 miles--and NOT getting gapped by their fast riders:) I am thinking about joining their team to get the discount on kits and bike gear... plus the added incentive of riding with people I know. Below you will find a picture of my steed:

This is a 93 Cannondale 2.3 road bike. Full aluminum handed down from Dave M. via Adam R.

Upgrades: I upgraded the cranks/BB to Dura Ace from the Shimano 800 (the old name for Ultegra), shortened and raised the stem for fit (old 'dales had very long top tubes and this is a 62cm model). I also got rid of the old Shimano 105 brake levers/hoods because the narrow grips hurt my hand in favor of a style more like the Campy grips--however my shifters are on the down tube.

Pros: The ride quality is very ridged, being full aluminum with beefy downtube and chainstays. It is excellent for acceleration and getting out of the saddle to transfer power on hills. The weight is also ridiculously light. I haven't found a bike scale yet, but this baby (at 62cm!) is still lighter than a 56 aluminum/carbon bike in a mid tier range. Not too shabby:)

Cons: Aluminum bikes are very very rigid... which translates into every bump is sent straight from the tires and into my sit bones and hands. Not comfortable for long rides AT ALL. I needed to double wrap the bars just so my hands didn't go numb on me after 30 miles.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I have been pretty busy working these past few days, but that hasn't stopped me from getting a jump on my list:)

The first thing I did was go to the library, per Diana H.'s challenge. Whilst making ice creams at Tosci and listening to On Point with Tom Ashbrook, there was an interview of one Philip Hoare, author of The Whale: In Search of Giants of the Deep. This guy was EXCITED about whales, specifically Sperm Whales. And when I say excited, I mean every five seconds he was blurting out some new factoid about whales. Did you know that Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal in history, every and for all time? Did you know that Blue Whale can talk to another Blue Whale from across the Atlantic?

I think I paid more attention to this broadcast than any others in recent memory on NPR (Europe is burning, New York is shaking, then flooding, Washington DC politics are burning...). It reminded me that my favorite book I ever read: Moby Dick (as taught by MIT's very own Wyn Kelley in American Literature 21L.006). As I recall, it was the only book I read cover to cover in that class. As a bio major and kid who once wanted to be a zoologist, it was a real treat. Herman Melville supposedly wrote the massive tome with an encyclopedia on his desk, including as many facts about cetology as he could... There were even whole chapters on the topic (which my classmates skipped and I particularly relished). What helped is that I found a very old and exquisitely illustrated version of the book in the MIT stacks.

That being said, before I even received her challenge, I had set out in my mind to pick up a copy (and read it). Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you books 1 and 2 of my library challenge!

Physical Media... FOUND!

But how do I access the words?

And whats this, just next door?

And wait, it has pictures INSIDE?!?! And why do Porpoises get such a small font in the title?

They are checked out, and there was like, $1.30 of fines on my card already, so that doesn't count against me in this challenge.

My! What thick books!

tl;dr: I got 2 books from the library about whales.