Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nepali Trails with Sandman Titanium. First Details - 970biking - Mountain Biking Videos - Vital MTB

Fat bikes are not just for winter...

Nepali Trails with Sandman Titanium. First Details - 970biking - Mountain Biking Videos - Vital MTB

Take an epic journey through the highest mountains in the world in Nepal, on big wheels! After a 15 day trek around the base of Everest to acclimatize, Martín Campoy takes his Sandman Titanium on the rest of this amazing journey.

Biden on Internet Freedom = Anti-SOPA on Vimeo

Biden on Internet Freedom = Anti-SOPA on Vimeo

Joe Biden filled in for Hillary Clinton at the London Conference on Cyberspace (LCC) on November 1st, giving a speech on the importance of freedom in cyberspace and talking up the importance of freedom on the internet and not regulating the internet. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration stands with congress in full support of H.R 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would give copyright holders the ability to censor websites on the net. We need to stand up now and let Congress know that they shouldn't mess with the Internet!

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet on Vimeo

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet on Vimeo

Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! -

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity". The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that's for a fix that won't work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why my Laptop is Running Hot

Dust Bunnies. Apparently they were getting in through the vents and multiplying. This is what I had guessed. Not sure why I haven't pulled it apart and cleaned it before. Anyway did it tonight and it's running cooler and no longer overheating. Now I just need a new battery and I'll be all set.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Local Ride: Central Park, Schenectady, NY

Yet another great day to ride on Wednesday. The sun was shining and I think temps were almost in the 40's. Trails were hard and fast again. I am glad I got out too because I knew the weather was going to change...and it did. I woke up on Thursday morning to everything covered in wet, heavy snow and now freezing rain was coming down. Shitballs. Had it been colder or the snow less wet, I would have attempted to ride. But with the wet snow and the weather channel calling for more rain, I am going to have to stay off the trails till they freeze again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Local Ride: Central Park, Schenectady, NY

Trails are hard and fast, just watch for the leaves in the corners
I've been taking full advantage of the mild weather we've been having. Rode last Friday and today on my lunch break at SCP, and in Luther Forest this past Sunday. Still not feeling 100% but I'll be damned if I am not going to get out and ride while I still can. Gonna try and get out tomorrow too. Might head over and ride at Colonie Town Park, depends on how much time I have. No excuses for the rest of you. Get out and ride Fuckers!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Local Ride: Luther Forest Trails, Malta, NY

These trails actually begin in the state's Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, but they extend onto the Luther Forest property. I just always called it Luther Forest. Another great day to ride today. Temps were perfect, not too cold and not too warm. There were some areas that were soft and wet but for the most part it was hard and fast. The only thing that kept my speed in check were the leaves in the corners...well that and my fitness level.

I haven't ridden here since summertime last year. There have been a few changes, some new sections of trail and some new technical features. Since I don't ride here often I wasn't quite sure what the preferred route should be. Luckily I had a map, made by one of the trails frequent riders, to help me keep my bearings.

Except for one or two ridiculous but not impossible climbs, this place is perfect for a singlespeed bike. Lots of flow and not terribly technical so you can keep up your momentum. I am glad I brought the singlespeed. One, because of the fitness benefit to me and two, I wanted to see how the tires would fare on these trails. These trails are similar to the ones in Schenectady Central Park but there is more elevation gain and less rocks and roots. Overall I think they performed well, although they take some skill to get the most of them. Traction, braking and grip were all very good but rolling resistance and weight of the 2 ply casing were a negative. One area where they excelled was on fast descents, which of course I am not surprised because it was what they were designed for. I felt much more confident bombing hills with the Maxxis Wetscreams than with the Kenda Nevegals. Not sure why, maybe the heavier tires make the bike more sure-footed or maybe the 2 ply casing sucks up the bumps better. Whatever the reason, I love going downhill fast and these tires allowed me to do so.

I've also been playing with the air pressure in the fork. Not sure if I should lower the pressure but I didn't want to blow it out because of the cold weather. I'll have to look into this a bit more because setting the fork air pressure to 130 PSI for both positive and negative chambers was giving me too much sag. I had it at 150 PSI initially so maybe I'll try 140 PSI and see how that goes. Oh and I am still loving the pedals.

I have been sick with a cold since December 30th so my new year hasn't been great so far. Still, I cannot complain with all the good weather we've been having. Even though I probably should not have been riding, I went anyway because who knows how many more days we are going to get like today? Now, I am not going to gloat and continually beat a drum about how great the weather is because I know there are a lot of people waiting to ski and snowboard. But I am going to enjoy a nice day and take the opportunity to ride if it presents itself, which it did. Really for me there is almost nothing as relaxing and enjoyable as a mid afternoon ride on a warm winter's day with the sun peaking through the trees.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reflection and Resolution

Happy New Year! Another year has come and gone. I always start the year thinking about what I am going to do different, bigger, better...yet never about what I've done or learned during the past year. I thought this year I would do that, reflect, and get an idea of what if anything I need to change. Because how can you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been?

Picture of me with our new class 3 product
I work as a designer for a start up fuel cell company. We design and manufacture fuel cell systems to replace lead acid batteries in all different kinds of fork lift trucks. Most of what I do is packaging, placing all the components and arranging them in a way that they will all work properly but also fit into a predetermined space. To put it more simply, fit 10 pounds of shit into a five pound bag. And it has to meet certain weight requirements, it can't be too light. There are many other requirements but you get the's not easy. This year was a big year for our company. We made a lot of public promises to investors and share holders. We were also launching two new platforms that will eventually take over or complement existing ones, make changes to current platforms, as well as design and build several low volume or engineering special units. Insanely busy does not begin to describe what this past year has been like for me. I don't believe I have ever worked this hard on a product in my entire engineering life...lots of long hours and late nights in front of the tube for me. As difficult as it all was I am amazed as I sit here and type of what we were able to accomplish. Sure the system isn't perfect and it could be cheaper but we did what we set out to do. In less than a year we designed and built a fuel cell system, based on an entirely new type of fuel cell stack, that is a drop in replacement for a lead acid battery...and it works. Had you asked me if this were possible in January of last year I would have said no way...impossible, and we actually didn't start the real design work until late February. Now certainly I didn't do this on my own and this victory belongs to everyone that worked on this project. This past year at work has taught me what a small, dedicated group of individuals is capable of doing regardless of the issues and problems that arise. We shipped more systems this year than we have ever before and we are on our way to becoming a profitable company this year. So I look back and say "well done."

On the boardwalk in Wildwood Crest, NJ
Life at our home last year was difficult, strenuous, joyous, hilarious, etc. just like most other families. But with my wife in school full time to be a Nurse Practitioner and two kids, a 3 year old and a 8 year old, it was extra hectic. Trying to balance work with my wife's busy school schedule and the kids school and extra curricular activities was difficult and left little time for anything else. Looking back now I am like "how did we do it?" My wife had one of her best semesters yet and made the dean's list with a 3.41 GPA, what we needed to get done at work got done,  the kids made it through all of their commitments okay, we were able to vacation beach side for a week, and I was able to get away to go riding for a long weekend with some of my best friends.  How did we do it? We just got it done. I think the big reason it worked is that my wife and I were in agreement with what had to be done, we discussed it, planned it out and executed as close to the plan as possible. Yeah it was crazy but as a family we had a great year. Another "well done" from me.

Mountain Biking
At the trail head for Cunningham Park Mountain Bike Trails
Obviously with everything else going on, biking had to take a bit of a back seat to other more important things. But looking back, I am not sure it did...well maybe a little. Local riding was definitely less because when I was around, I was busy at home. But I did get to do quite a bit of out of town riding, more than I realized. I traveled quite a bit to Long Island this year to visit family, usually it was a quick overnight trip and didn't involve me bringing the fam so I brought my bike. On the way down I would ride Cunningham Park in Queens, NY it's just off the Clearview Expressway and Glacier Ridge in Farmingville, NY which is maybe 10 minutes from my sister's place where I usually stay. I was also able to get up to Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire for an overnight and was able to stay over two nights in East Burke, Vermont to ride at the Kingdom Trails which was actually a surprise birthday present for me from my wife. Best present ever! Also was able to meet up with friends and ride Pine Hill Park in Rutland, Vermont which was a perfect spot for a day trip. The local riding I did do was basically Schenectady Central Park and Colonie Town Park, mostly at lunchtime, sometimes meeting friends but mostly solo rides. So yeah, I didn't get up to ride SMBA as much as I wanted, or out to Schodack or even the Capital MTB Wed. night rides, but I still did okay and can't complain.

Everyone should have at least a few because let's face it, no one's perfect. And what better time to make a change than the new year. We can all use a fresh start. So here are mine...

  • Continue to be a positive contributor at work because ultimately their success is my success.
  • Be a better husband because a happy wife means a happy life.
  • Be a better father because my kids deserve the best.
  • Exercise for a least 30 min everyday. This is not only good for me health-wise but exercise really helps my mood. Good mood = fun dude.
  • Ride more. This also helps my mood but it is probably the exercise portion that accounts for most of it. Yet I know I would not feel the same had I walked or ran on treadmill. Maybe just being outdoors is good for you.
  • Ride someplace new. Last year I rode two new places, Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire and Pine Hill Park in Vermont. Both amazing places and both very different. there is so many places I have not ridden in the NorthEast so we'll call this kind of a bucket list.
I guess I am not going to change as many things as I thought, just do more of the same. I think I am on the right track. Unfortunately this year didn't start as well as last year. While visiting my family on Long Island, I did pick up a cold and I am still sick. But I did open up relations with my brother who I haven't spoken to in about 8 years, that's a long story, and also got in touch with an old friend where we just happened to fall out of touch and thankfully no bad blood there. Maybe I'll add one more to my list...
  • Keep in touch with friends and family.
Here's to another year of awesome family fun and riding!