First Ride


The new bike had its first good ride yesterday. Being the geek that I am, I was sure to bring along my heart rate monitor, as well as my GPS. The weather was really nice, and I was on a mission to take pictures of Charlie's Coin at the Boer War Memorial in Calgary. The total ride was about 30 kilometers, and for the most part was quite enjoyable exercise. At other times I thought I was going to die.

If you look at the heart rate chart, you can see I pushed myself decently throughout.  The low points around 1:15 were when I was on and off the bike taking pictures.  If you look at the Google Earth KMZ file, the spike in heart rate to 191 beats per minute coincides with the marker referred to as 'Killer Hill'.  I'm not sure if I was misusing my gears, but about 3/4 of the way up that hill, my heart was in my neck and I felt like I was about to keel over.  Nothing like a change in exercise routine to show you the poor shape of your body.  Granted, I haven't maintained 160 minutes of moderate intensity in a very long time.

I was pleased that I am able to keep up with traffic downtown.  I can pretty easily get up to 30km/h, which is par for the course in stop and go traffic.  I could keep up with the flow, and didn't have to resort to riding along the sidewalk like a inconsiderate moron.  The bike is also pretty fast, as I peddled it up to over 50km/h, on the downhill of course.

In the end I did my Geocaching, went for a nice bike ride on a beautiful day, and managed to collect data to get my geek on.


A Brief Stop

Backyard Bomber

The calendar is running my life these days.

Sonja's relatives made a brief stopover and we did our best to show them a good time. Hitting up some tourist destinations and a few places to look over some views of Calgary, it seems like they had just arrived and they were leaving.

The week in the middle collapsed into catching up around the house, getting some stuff set up, and of course the fiftyish hours a week I spend at the hands of TheMan®. It felt like the day after our guests left, we were packing up for a May Long Weekend camping trip

We had a nice car camping trip out to Handhills Highcountry Hideaway. The weather was very nice and sunny save for a freak thundershower with gusting winds on Sunday. The storm came and went on the inside of two hours, but those two hours happened to straddle the time we were making dinner. On Saturday, a group of us went out Geocaching and had a very productive day finding a grand total of six geocaches around the badlands. I forced myself to spend some time, laying on the grass, thinking about the present. Trying not to let the usual cacophony of thoughts roll about in my head, I watched my friends engage in several games of testie-toss. Sooner than anyone wished, our time spent sitting in the sun, and chit chatting by the fire had come to and end.

The hump day for my three day work week is only hours away, and on Thursday straight after work, we're going to make the long trek to a resort by Osoyoos for a wedding. It's going to be a very fun time, and I'm sure I'll have a yarn to spin upon my return.


Out and About

Go Get it Ginny

I was fortunate enough to get out of the city this weekend, and kick off the camping season. Easing into the year meant that we were car camping, and mother nature co-operated to make a very enjoyable weekend. As soon as the weekend had started, we made our way out to Sibbald Flats. The drive was nice, as it's a very short distance from Calgary and we managed to get out of town without being caught up in the weekend rush. Shortly upon arrival we had set up shelter and were sitting around the campfire talking with our company for the weekend. The campground was virtually empty, with our group sharing the loop with only another two other parties.

On Saturday we fired up a campfire breakfast, and after much deliberation, set out to find a Geocache. The trek towards the cache was about as straight as we could manage, which unfortunately took us straight up a respectable incline. We moseyed around the ridge and down by the lake, where the dogs were played out in the water.

Sunday a late morning and tasty breakfast set us in motion of clearing up the camp. All morning, as the whiskey jacks and chickadees yelled at me, I went out of my way to be in the moment. No thoughts of the day-to-day, what needed to get done, what was coming, what was had past or anything else that would ripple my pond of Zen. I took in the air, tainted with the smoke of deadfall, and loved every minute of it.


Global Position Verified


Many moons ago, I used to Geocache with a Magellan Meridian Platnum. I fell in love with the sport, and used it to find new and exciting areas when I traveled overseas. It wasn't very long however when my e-bay purchase developed a sickness and could no longer run off batteries, requiring that it be tethered to some other sort of power. I did examine the guts of the receiver, and thought that I could fix it, but the delicate work scared me and never did end up being completed.

Recently I was looking into a new receiver. I had my choices narrowed to a couple when a friend of mine told me about what he thought of the Garmin GPSMap 60CSx. One afternoon I rolled down to GPS Central to examine the units they had in stock, and as soon as I saw the 60CSx fire up with the Topo map, I knew I was going to be making a purchase.

Handheld GPS units have come a very long way since my first purchase. A lot of the functionality that used to exist on the PC software is now built into the unit itself. The GPSMap is able to routefind, manage your Geocaches, create images from your current map as well as a plethora of other features I haven't even discovered yet. The unit is about half the size of my old one, has 3x the battery life and locks into your current location in seconds rather than minutes. The antenna is sensitive enough that I can now get a lock on my position inside my house, which no body even dreamed of when I purchased my Magellan.

The software and community around GPSs and Geocaching has changed a great deal since I last played in the genre. I guess the major improvements are the new free software tools like Google Earth, the availability of very neat and super accurate maps and how seamlessly everything integrates. For instance our little 4.9km Geocaching adventure on Sunday where we dug up GCN419, GCRQTP and GCMVDW could easily be ripped off the GPS and examined in Google Earth like so:

Sunday Walk (Click for larger version)

The details really appeal to the geek in me, and I'm really stoked about getting back in the the Geocaching groove.

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