Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

It's past 3pm Pacific Time, and half of the world has already made it into 2008. Right now, the fireworks are underway in Europe.

Earlier (5am Pacific), from Sydney, Australia:

From HongKong, China (8am Pacific):

Happy New Year !

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back on the bike

Although it was rather chilly today, I finally decided to go out for a short bike ride. This was my first ride in 55 days, and I didn't feel as bad as I anticipated it. "Short ride" usually means just zooming down the hill to CSU East Bay, circling the campus 10 times, and then climbing the 12% average grade back to my house, for a total of 17.6 miles.

This picture was from when my finger tips and toes were still quite comfortably warm.

My total mileage for the year stands at 2683 miles (4293 km), which is 31% more than last year (yes, I'm one of those nerds who records every pedal stroke). Apart from my previously stated goal of riding the 2008 Mount Diablo Challenge on a new bike in 1:20h or less, I'm thinking of riding up Haleakala in November; 38 miles, from sea level to the summit at 10023 feet.

If anyone is interested in joining, drop me a note.

Happy Holidays to everyone, and always be safe out there !

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Egg Nog recipe

Here's my personal recipe for a Christmas Egg Nog. It probably has as many calories as you would spend riding a century, but it's delicious and a favorite drink during Apres-Ski in Europe; for this reason, measurements are in ml (milliliter) and g (gram):

8 egg yolks
500 g sugar
500 ml milk (2%, half-half or even cream is permissible)
250 ml Everclear (or 500 ml brandy)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

- Mix the vanilla extract and the egg yolks with 250 g sugar
- Heat the milk (don't cook) and mix with the other 250 g sugar,
then add to the above mix
- Add the liquor and mix/blend very well
- Pour into clean bottles (with this recipe you need about
two 750 ml bottles)
- Refrigerate

Before use, shake well. For a quicker delirium, heat the egg nog before drinking it.

Back home

It's been 8 days now since I returned from China. Since then I had three chances to ride my bike again, but I also had three excuses, mainly the cold temperature, Christmas shopping and yard work. I feel losing my fitness by the day; while I played table tennis and table foosball almost every day in China, it's not quite the same as climbing Mount Diablo on a 24-pound bike. Speaking of which ... the bike or Diablo ? Actually both: I still need to start shopping for a new bike, and there's a New Year ride up Mount Diablo. Nothing official, but it's nice to start the year off not only with a hangover and good resolutions, but also a decent bike ride. Sixteen days until New Year, so I better get back in shape.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Zhongguo zai jian

Today's my last day here in Shenzhen, China. In about three hours I will board the ferry from Shekou to the Hongkong Airport, and in about seven hours I'll be airborne, en route back to the States.

After having spent five weeks here and gotten accustomed to the different life here, it's a little sad to leave, but at the same I'm looking forward going home to my regular life. I know it will take a little bit of time to adjust back, and I sure will miss China and its hospitable people. If it weren't for a few not so pleasant circumstances (e.g. air pollution, not many possibilities to safely ride a bike, let alone no hills/mountains to climb), I would probably agree to my wife's wish to move to China with her, but the verdict is still pending; time will tell.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My first bike ride

Well, not my first bike ride EVER, but my first ride in WEEKS ...

After having worked in Shenzhen a little over three weeks, I took a break and a bus to Meizhou, about 450km north-east of Shenzhen, to visit my wife and her family for a few days. Thanks to Al Gore for inventing the Internet, otherwise it would've been quite boring since most of the time everyone was out for work, school or other activities. But back to the bike riding ... the ride was on my mother-in-law's shopping bike, going around the block in a breakaway group of one; note the revolutionary bike shoes ! After this long absence of riding a real bike, you take what you can get and don't ask questions.

The peloton, consisting of some of my nephews and nieces, just close behind:

My time in China is almost up, week 5 has begun. I'm back in Shenzhen again, and in six days from now I'll be on the airplane back to the Bay Area. My first tasks will likely be mowing the lawn and decorating the Christmas tree (China has also adopted Christmas, and decorations are seen in a few places here in Shenzhen). Not quite the time yet to say Farewell, but it's been fun here. I will certainly miss Shenzhen and the many very hospitable Chinese people I met. More later this week.