Various Contrivances

Although it seems like a luxury, $70 for always dry shoes is worth it. Especially with spring weather ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

pair of running shoes drying on a shoe dryer

Happy Lucy

Completed an FTP test this morning. Important to do, though super challenging ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I’m letting my Pinboard subscription expire. I’ve added 3,500 bookmarks since 2010 and the service was valuable when actively engaged in research. I haven’t looked up a bookmark in the past few years though. Now I’ll rely on Apple Notes and Bookmarks

New trail running shoes ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I added a new pair of running shoes to my closet: Saucony Switchback 2. They are a lightweight trail shoe with the BOA Fit System (rather than laces) and good treads for gripping.

A pair of new Saucony running shoes Close up of the thick treads of the Saucony Switchback running shoes

I took them out for a 10k run around the neighbourhood. Not quite the right conditions, since I was mostly on sidewalks and they’re trail running shoes. Despite that, the shoes felt fast and light. For the first couple of kms, I felt a bit like I was slapping my feet on the ground, since I’m used to more cushioning and my feet weren’t making contact quite when I was expecting them to. I didn’t take long to adjust to a better form though. I’m curious to see what the transition back to my usual shoes is like. Presumably with practice, I’ll be able to switch back and forth easily.

Overall, I’m happy with the new shoes and look forward to getting out to an actual trail with them.

Donโ€™t forget to tie your shoes

Just fixed a small issue with my Elite Suito bike trainer: the magnets stopped working, so the resistance couldn’t be automatically adjusted. This is obviously a major feature of the trainer and particularly important for Zwift rides.

Fortunately, a quick conversation with their support team identified a fix that required replacing the trainer’s circuit board. Having recently built a gaming PC with my son, this wasn’t too complicated, though someone with less experience would likely be intimidated. The process took about 20 minutes and I took the bike for a quick Zwift ride to confirm all was well.

Although I’d much have preferred that the trainer hadn’t broken, Elite support was quick and helpful.

I’m really enjoying these videos by Mark Lewis on fitness and motivation

I appreciate his message of only striving for above average and carefully considering the trade offs between training and the rest of your interests.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse is a great story about a monster hunter on a Navajo reservation after a climate apocalypse๐Ÿ“š

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi is a fun โ€œsoldiers in spaceโ€ book with some interesting ethical concepts๐Ÿ“š

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers is really good. A strong emotional core with an intriguing sci-fi structure๐Ÿ“š

Busy morning so far

One of the highlights from last night’s Stout Beer Festival: Beeramisu Imperial Stout from the Third Moon and Bellwoods breweries

A photo of a can of beer and full mug

Although I was disappointed to miss out on attending Micro Camp March 2022, I’ve enjoyed catching up on the videos. A nice diversity of topics, each very well presented

I think I liked season 1 of Raised by Wolves? A curious mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror that overall was more about mood than plot. I’m not sure what to make of the ending yet.

Integrating MindNode, Reminders, and Mail ๐Ÿ—บ โœ… ๐Ÿ“ง

I’m still using MindNode for task management. Seeing all of my tasks, projects, and areas of focus on one mind map has been really helpful, especially since it is integrated with Reminders.

One challenge has been integration with Mail, given the majority of my tasks arrive via email. Despite Apple’s seemingly inexplicable decision to isolate Mail from the usual sharing actions found in other apps, they at least allow drag and drop from Mail into Reminders, which adds a link to the original email message. This works with MindNode too. If you drag an email onto a node, it will add a link there. The issue is that when you synchronize MindNode with Reminders, the links to emails from MindNode no longer work when shown in Reminders.

After tinkering around for a bit, there’s a relatively easy fix. When you drag a mail message to a node in MindNode, it adds a url that looks something like:


Editing the link to add // after message:makes the link work in Reminders, while also continuing to work in MindNode.

I’m not sure why MindNode creates a url that isn’t accessible from other apps (perhaps a security feature?). At least this fix, though a bit annoying, allows for a more seamless integration between Mail, MindNode, and Reminders.

As a follow up to my post about swimming with an Apple Watch, Iโ€™ll note that the watch only records activity when your arm is moving. So, things like kicking drills arenโ€™t recorded. Not a serious issue for me, though this can make stats inaccurate.

Despite this, I still appreciate the simplicity of using the Apple Watch to train for triathlons.

Pancakes for dinner

Indoor cycling ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ

The last piece of my training setup was an indoor bike trainer. Canadian winters aren’t great for outdoor cycling (-20ยบC with a blizzard just a few days ago, for example). So, I picked up an Elite Suito-t which is well reviewed and on sale at my local bike shop. This is a direct transmission model with built in power and cadence sensors.

I don’t have enough space in my house for a spot fully dedicated to cycling. So, I’ve got the bike a trainer tucked in a corner of the basement and then I slide our basement couch out of the way and move the bike in front of the TV when I’m riding. The compact size of the Suito definitely helps here.

Indoor bike trainer setup

The Suito came with a free month of Zwift that I’ve really been enjoying. Zwift has lots of group rides and workouts that are fun (though hard work!). Because the Suito is a smart trainer, it automatically adjusts resistance to mimic hills, as well as hit specific targets during structured workouts. Riding with a hundred or so people from around the world is inspiring and motivating.

Although I’m really looking forward to proper outdoor rides in the spring, this indoor setup has been great.

A fun one

A good one on a cold night

As with the first two books in the trilogy, The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton is a fun sci-fi story about humans fighting back against powerful aliens. Definitely an easy read, though with some pretty imaginative twists and ideas about the future ๐Ÿ“š

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is an entertaining mix of computer nerds, ancient rituals, cryptography, and a love of printed books ๐Ÿ“š

Iโ€™m fortunate to have a nice bike storage room at my office. Something happened there today that prompted the facilities manager to send us the list of prohibitions, which included this miscellaneous grouping at the end ๐Ÿ˜€

List of seemingly unecessary prohibitions