Sunday, October 11, 2009

Low-Key Old La Honda

Wow -- Old La Honda road has worried me every since I decided to put in on the schedule. The locals don't, I'm sorry to say, have a reputation of being happy about cyclists riding up their beautiful road. And so many do -- at any given time on a weekend day there's probably around 10 of them on the 3.2 mile climb. It's perfect in almost every way: not too long, but not short; not too steep, but steep enough; decent pavement but not smooth enough to be without character; a steady enough grade to stay in a single gear all the way, but varied enough to shift if you want to; and shaded from the wind and the sun. Combined with the relatively low car traffic (maybe 2-3 cars pass on a given climb up), and it's proximity to the densely crowded peninsula, it's as close to cyclist heaven as you can find in our car-obsessed culture.

But despite a few hic-cups, everything went amazingly well. This was due to the excellent work of coordinator Doug Simpkinson and all the great volunteers. I really am grateful to all of them. And Clark Foy had his MetriGear Vector prototype there. I think that thing is cooler than cool, as my blog posts here have made obvious.

The biggest change we need to make is in timing. Two weeks in a row timing has caused issues: time go get beyond the "recording times on paper" dinosaur stage. I found this ap, which I downloaded onto my girlfriend's iPhone:

I love the name: Pencil Busters. Art Walker, former Stanford cycling coach, once said "no number should ever be written more than once". I agree, except even better is to never write a number at all. With this app, we can record times, annotate them with the iPhone (for example, invalid numbers, or even note rider numbers), then email them to my account. This will substantially facilitate results, as long as the iPhone battery holds out....

Anyway, we'll give it a try at Tunitas Creek this weekend.


phipps said...

Dan, thanks to you & Doug for a very well run event!

Also, thanks for the info on the iPhone app. I just downloaded it and am sure it will come in handy for race timing both cycling & running. If there is a big gap between finishers, I see you can modify the 1st 6 characters to read for example "Bib 123" instead of "Lap 001". Unfortunately, the process of assigning numbers to all times is too cumbersome when finishers are close together.

djconnel said...

And thank YOU for not only giving people something to talk about (a new Low-Key OLH record) but also for stepping in and saving the day with your excellent results recording which provided a key backup to Doug and Howard's data.

With regard to the iPhone stopwatch: it is a bit cumbersome to add notes. Maybe the iPhone will get voice recognition at some point. But at least during clear idle times there's the chance to tag key data, or at the end to transfer some hastily written notes on which data should be discarded.

I'm a big fan of simple solutions, and this certainly meets that standard. RFID has also been suggested, but unless it's simple,it scares me.