Mount Diablo in 51:22.8

This weekend, I ventured to Mount Diablo with some coworkers. We participated in the Mount Diablo Challenge, a timed non-competitive climb of 3350 feet over 10.96 miles. I posted full ride data from the climb.

The usual disclaimer applies: I'm out of shape, haven't been riding much, and don't have the genetic graces to have the wiry climber build. Watching me climb is like watching an A380 take off: you can't give it grief for being slow, since it's amazing that it gets off the ground at all.

With that said, my time on the course - 51 minutes 22.8 seconds - was a new personal best by default, and good for 23rd place overall, 5th in the 19-29 age bracket. The course record floats around 44 minutes, and a ProTour climber could probably do it in about 40. (I raced with bib #10. I switched places with Rich Stevens.) I had my brand-new Zipp 303s on my Fuji Aloha with Quarq power meter, yielding a 16.8 pound bike. My goal for next year is below 50 minutes.

At the top of the hill, I met none other than Frank Day, proprietor of PowerCranks. We had a good chat about my results with the cranks.


Apartment Photos

Friends and family have asked to see what the new apartment looks like. I've posted a photo album with some images of the place. Enjoy!


Bicycle of Theseus

I described the Ship of Theseus problem in a blog post not too long ago, and this made me start thinking of how this would apply to the bicycle. Clearly, a bicycle is comprised of many parts. Each surface of every part can be carefully tuned for light weight, durability, aerodynamic qualities, and so on. If I walk into a shop today and buy a new road bike, then change the wheels and brakes, is it still the same bike? This is a simple thought experiment, but its result helps me keep track of my bicycles.

My solution is to choose one immutable part of the bicycle to encompass the whole thing, and that's the bottom bracket shell of the frame. I find that this definition nicely handles the edge cases:
  • intuitively, a frame defines the bicycle's fit, handling, and performance characteristics, so it makes sense to define the atomicity of "bicycle" by a frame, or at least part of its frame.
  • it is relatively simple, and sometimes necessary, to change the fork, wheels, and other components on the bicycle.
  • the bottom bracket shell is the point about which the cyclist applies almost all motive power to the bicycle frame.
  • it is possible to repair or replace a dented or broken frame section, or paint the frame, while leaving the bottom bracket shell intact.
  • replacement of an entire frame, due to upgrade or repair, constitutes a new bicycle.
  • the bottom bracket area traditionally contains the bicycle's serial number.
When I talk about clearing space in the bicycle room, I say that the goal is to reduce the "bottom bracket count". When I describe the mileage on a bicycle, I'm really describing the distance that the bottom bracket has traveled (though I do include indoor "miles").