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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


"Eat a bullfrog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day." Various forms, variously attributed. Sounds like something Anon might have said.

I took that advice to heart on yesterday's ride. Bet you wish you were around to see that! It might have been a more figurative interpretation as what I did was pedal up a short, very steep hill at the start of the early evening ride. Old Vineyard Road is 6 tenths of a mile with an altitude gain of 260 feet ~ a climbing rate of 500 feet per mile. And it throws 14% - 16% grades at you on the short trip up. Anyway, it's just over a mile from home and going up seemed a good way to loosen up.

It was hot yesterday. And humid. So I took it easy. It was nice to have a reason. I made three trips up Bliss, each accompanied by a "recovery climb," an easy ride up to the end of Ebner Coulee Road. It runs uphill and parallel to Old Vineyard, but that's where the similarities end. I gain 160 feet in just under a mile, only about one-fourth the relative climbing imposed by Old Vineyard.

On the way home I thought, "What the heck," and did Old Vineyard again. For my efforts, I was rewarded with a ride total of 34.5 miles and 3,240 feet of climbing. And, I got to follow a fox as it scampered along in the short grass along the side of the road. Better than a bullfrog any day.

I appreciate writers who can come up with a good word-picture or pack a message in a well-turned phrase that can be readily recalled. Like "Eat a bullfrog..." As for painting a picture with words, tell me what this dog is like: "He was a cross between a wolf and a chainsaw." I LOVE that one. It was in a Reader's Digest I read ages ago; probably in the LIfe in these United States section. I remember that the story was submitted by a bicyclist who encountered the dog on one of his rides ~ the original Fast Eddie*, I suppose.

Another of my favorites is Yogi Berra's "In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they are not." As an engineer who spends a lot of time working on the theory of things, I can attest to the absolute truth of this one.

It has been my privilege to give after-dinner talks at an engineering conference in London that I have attended for many years. One year, I used this one: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw. Nice theme for a technical conference. Well, I thought so. Being a scientific conference in England as it is, I thought using a quote from Sir Isaac Newton might be a nice touch. Here's one I've always liked: "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." You can't go wrong with quoting Winston Churchill either. His "...blood, toil, tears and sweat..." is a classic, but I couldn't quite work that into a thought related to Compressors and Their Systems, as the conference is called. But I liked, "Give us the tools and we will finish the job!"

Why am I sharing all of this? Not a clue. Sometimes it just happens. It's probably time to invoke another of my favorites, Dennis Healey's first law of holes: "When you are in one, stop digging."

Putting down the shovel. Now.

* If you don't know Fast Eddie, get the movie American Flyers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3240 feet of climbing seems worse than eating a bullfrog for breakfast!