Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tahoe Sierra 100

Tahoe Sierra 100 route map posted. Looks like it's only 10k of climbing rather than 13k like initially reported, which will be nice. I can do 1000ft per 10 miles. Pretty bitchin' that it's not laps.

Jeannie, any of that familiar to you? Will I be riding on any of the same stuff you do?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Palomar Observatory

This weekend Graylan was in town and he wanted to see the observatory on Mt. Palomar. This is by far the most visitor-accessible of still-in-use observatories in the world, and it was worth the trip.I finally got to use my new camera in low light situations (major weakness on my old camera) and it's great. All of the indoor pictures were shot with ambient light in near darkness. I love the new camera. Purdy pictures abound.

The dome of the telescope with a circumhorizontal arc ("fire rainbow"), a fairly unusual sight. Submitted this to Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The "summit" of Mt. Palomar (5600'). It's certainly a very big hill, but mountain is a little generous.

The 200 inch mirror housing with the bearing for Right Ascension adjustment on the left. That's a BIG mirror.

The full telescope.

The telescope frame and the inside of the dome.

Some scale on the telescope frame with the Graylan. Also testing the fill flash.

It's so big!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

El Prieto Revisited

On Saturday I did another 42 mile mtb ride out to El Prieto. It was absurdly hot: in the sun it was just over 100F. I also think I've developed exercise-induced asthma from living in LA. I just could not fill my lungs during the ride and was short on breath for several hours after I got home. Despite putting down 3 liters of water on the ride, I just collapsed when I got home and couldn't move for a long time. I've got a doctor's appointment on Wednesday for the potential asthma thing. It's been a problem on most hard workouts lately and hopefully I can get it taken care of somehow (short of moving away from LA, which isn't an option for at least a couple years).

Anyway, enough of my suffering in the heat. It was a good ride and I managed to clear more of it. For some reason I have a much harder time with right-hand switchbacks than left-hand switchbacks, but I'm working on it. Reversing my feet seems to help. Here are more pictures (all taken from the bottom of descents):

It took me a while to be able to ride this section. The key is choosing the correct line. Even though the line on the right looks better, it's actually quite unpleasant and delivers you directly into that big rock in the center. The line on the left looks ugly, but is actually very manageable.

This turn I absolutely refuse to ride. This picture simply does not capture how steep that embankment is on the right, nor does it highlight the 15ft ledge on the left waiting for you if you overcook the turn. Life's already short enough.

I cleared this one once, but haven't tried in a while. The last time I tried it I clipped that tree up on the left that juts out into the trail and went down the rock garden off balance (again steeper than it looks; this cell phone camera does a bad job of capturing slopes) and nearly endo'd, saving myself by body-checking the rock wall towards the bottom. All in all, an unpleasant experience that could have been much worse so I walk it now.

Requisite squirrel picture for Carie.

Speaking of mountain biking, Chet of Chet's Log fame recently had a nasty crash and is in the hospital with a broken neck. They were able to repair it and he should recover, but it's scary nonetheless. Good thoughts for you, Chet! Get better soon!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Night Riding

I met up with some friends tonight and rode El Prieto in the dark. It's the first time I've done any real mountain biking at night. It's a total trip. In a way it's almost easier, since your headlamp forces you to look exactly where you're going and not deviate. On the other hand, scary drops look even bigger in the shadow of your lights. I will definitely be doing it again.

I really recommend both a headlamp and a handlebar-mounted light, both as bright as possible. The handlebar light keeps your peripheral illuminated so you can maneuver through rough patches, but the headlamp is a must to point where you're going (especially on a trail with anything approaching tight turns).