Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Small knee update, with cool graphics

It is early March in central Virginia, and the high temperatures this week will all be 70 degrees or better. The unseasonably warm weather has allowed me to undertake some quality cycling, and allows me to gauge my progress in recovering from articular cartilage implantation surgery (carticel) eight months ago. 

Though I am still not permitted to stand up on the pedals - essential for climbing in anything but the lowest gear - I surprised myself yesterday by accidentally choosing a cycling route with 2 x category 5 climbs. (>1mile each, with an average grade >3%), so I realized that I maybe ready to do one of my favorite rides that has a good amount of climbing. This also allows me to do a direct comparison with my pre-surgery performance - something that I've stayed away from. 

Today's moderately hilly route was 20.2 miles, with 413 feet of climb. My pre-surgery rides of this route averaged 1:09, an average speed of 17.3mph.

Today's (post-surgery) ride was 1:20, an average speed of 15.1mph, so I was ~13% slower, but I'd say that the wind was a bit heavier than usual today, and more importantly, I was a bit heavier today. (I still haven't worked off all of my post-surgery and winter weight gain.) Wind and weight probably explains at least half the performance gap, so all in all, I enjoyed a good ride, and seem to be recovering well. 

When inputting the ride data into a tracking site that I use (, I noticed a new, cool option that I'd like to share: 3-D flyover of your cycling route. Take a look below, and pay attention to the speed of the flyover - the flight accelerates or slows based on whether the course is downhill or uphill - very cool.

I can't believe that this very cool technology can be applied to my simple bike rides in central Virginia.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous