Thursday, July 10, 2014

News from China and Heartbreak Hill


First more guest blogging (ok, me sharing my emails) from Pookie:



我们没有 RA, 他们也不分男女学生。

Yeah I have a roommate named James, he's super cool. He's in the same year as me (I think everyone is rooming with someone the same year as them) and he plays basketball a lot and is really nice. Our room is super nice, we have ac, a bathroom, a fridge, a kettle, a tv, and people clean our bathroom for us and change our bedding. It's a little creepy but hey how do you think they keep everyone in the country employed. 

I haven't gone to the actual dining hall yet, we mostly buy stuff at the student store, and eat at nearby restaurants (they're super cheap.)

They don't separate guys and girls since we're all in one dorm, and we don't have any RAs but a bunch of the teachers live in the dorms with us so I guess they could serve as RAs. Also the head of the program is like 30 and she's basically a big sister.

Heartbreak Hill

On the Boston Marathon course, at about mile 20, you come to a hill.  They call it Heartbreak Hill.  The incline isn't horrible, but "challenging."  The real problem is that the hill is so close to the end of the course when the runners are super tired.

Ok, I'm not running in a marathon.  I'm not even biking 26 miles, yet.  But my part of W. Lk. Samm Blvd is at the top of a bit of an incline, so no matter which direction I start, when I get home, I have to ride the last bit uphill.

You might remember that a week or so ago, I rode North on the lake road, or clockwise.  I got to coast down a nice hill almost all the way to Idyllwood Park in Redmond, but I couldn't make it back up the hill on my way back, and had to get off and walk.  Well today I decided to ride that direction again.  I rode around the lake to Marymoor Park, got on the Sammamish River Trail, and rode north towards Woodinville.  It is 4.5 miles to Marymoor Park.  The River Trail has these nice mile marks, actually they have them every 1/2 mile, so I rode for 4.5 miles on the Trail, turned around and then rode back home.

I need to bring my camera next time I ride on that trail.  It is really wonderful.  The "river" is really a slough (pronounced SLOO) because the current barely moves.  There are ducks and many other birds. Today I saw a heron and some mallards with their ducklings.  The trail is wide enough for two-way traffic.  There were people jogging, rollerblading, and of course, biking.  It is mostly flat but gently rolls in places.  There are lots of trees, so nicely shaded, but there are also some open places, and always the river right next to you.

Anyway, as I was riding there, I was amazed at how easy it was to get to Marymoor Park.  It seemed like mostly downhill, with the biggest, steepest hill very close to where my street connects with W. Lk. Sammamish Blvd.  I have little ego left, where bike riding is involved, and I told myself, just do the 18 miles, and if you have to get off and walk again at the end, big deal.  It will still be 18 miles!

I did not have to get off and walk at all.  Ok, I was down to first gear on Heartbreak Hill (as I am now calling that steepest part), but I made myself shift back to second gear, and keep pumping.

Did you notice that number?  18 miles.  I rode 18 miles today, and felt great when I got home.  (ok, butt still a bit sore, but not as bad as last week.  I'm getting used to it.)

The whole thing took me about 1 hour and 50 minutes.  I'm getting faster!

shaping the planet from the seat of a bike

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