Number 54

Number 54 on Vimeo.

A short video of our modest home and yard. It’s hard to believe that twenty-two years have gone by since we first purchased the home. Out initial intent was to buy a modest house (instead of renting) while I was in graduate school. The plan was to flip the house after three years and, hopefully, make a significant profit.

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Summertime

Summer is a time to kick back and relax. That does not necessarily mean being inactive, but what it does mean to me is taking a break from social media and getting outdoors to enjoy the sun, the scenery, and real people doing real things. I have very little time now to post on social media as I am endeavouring to live my life to the fullest, by my standards, and not that which is imposed on us by the constant nagging of social media.

Here is a short video of some of my playtime activities to keep the electronically dependant happy for a least…well..um…30 seconds or so 🙂

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Emerging Beauty

Wascana Park in central Regina is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. There is just something exquisite about having a beautiful man-made lake in the middle of a major city on the prairies of western Canada.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite parks to cycle through, whether it be on a fixed-gear city bike, a road bike, or even a time trial bike enroute to the straight and flat highways east of Regina.

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When men were men…and boys…are just boys.

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The flamboyant Mario Cipollini sprinting to another victory.

The 42-time Giro stage winner, Mario Cipollini deplored the lack of action in the fight for the maglia rosa so far, criticising most of the GC riders for being afraid to take their chances.

The centenary (100th) edition of the Giro d’ Italia has been a snooze fest amongst the General Classification (GC) contenders. According to the 50-year-old Cipollini, the GC contenders of today are just not of the same quality of riders from past generations.

On Etna, there was wind. And…? Is that a reason? Do you think Pantani or Hinault would have stayed in the wheels because it was windy? I fear we may have to wait until the Stelvio for everything to unfold because even the time trials won’t see many differences between Quintana, Nibali, Pinot, or Thomas.

Mario Cipollini

I tend to agree with the former Italian sprinter. Today’s Pro Tour riders are so dependant on technology, constantly peering down at their computers to determine wattage and heart rate, listening obediently to their race directors barking orders on the radio from the comfort of the support vehicles. The GC contenders appear to be afraid to attack or do anything that would add some spark to this year’s Giro. Everyone seems content to wait for the last week of climbing, where, predictably, Quintana will ride away from everyone. This is not road racing, this is a boring snooze fest that has already lost the attention of dedicated fans, myself included.

We know everything about their watts, their heart rates, but of what interest? That doesn’t tell us anything about them. If we knew that a rider cannot produce more than 450 watts, then yes, that would be interesting to see on a screen that’s he’s reached his limit, but then again this is just data, useless gadgets that imitate Formula 1 and can only interest people who know nothing about cycling.

Mario Cipollini

Bring back the real men to the professional peloton. I am tired of just watching the timid boys and their superfluous toys.

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Deep calls to deep…

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There is one thing that I have learned in life that applies to everything we do and say. That one thing is personal integrity. Integrity can be defined as follows:

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    “he is known to be a man of integrity”
    synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness

    “I never doubted his integrity”

As the reader can see, personal integrity, by definition, is one tall order that few, if any of us can claim to possess with any degree of consistency. It goes without saying that the very basis of personal integrity is predicated upon ethics and morality and is demonstrated through our own willingness to be honest, sincere, and truthful, not only with others, but with the person we look at every morning in the mirror.

I do not think it is possible for any one individual to demonstrate true integrity apart from God in our lives. We may hold to some external form of religious piety or offer lip service to integrity based on secular humanistic principles, but inwardly we are a wayward people.

The words that we speak reveal what is in our heart, and ultimately reveal our character.

In a previous post, I presented numerous examples of how people use certain words, but often mean something completely different. To recognize deceit and a lack of integrity in another individual or group is not as difficult as it may seem. One needs to simply start listening, not just with the mind, and the various auditory and visual clues of understanding communication, but with our hearts. The scripture tells us that what comes out of a person’s mouth is that which fills his or her heart.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 NLT

As a child, I was a very trusting person. Somehow, I had a natural tendency to trust others and to give them the benefit of the doubt. By the time I was a young teenager, I had learned the hard way that what people say and what they mean, and do, are often very different things. At first, I was confused, and did not trust that “gut instinct” that the words of someone else, sometimes an authority figure in my life, were actually lies. That particular person(s) lacked personal integrity, and their hollow words were revealing what was really in their heart.

In my early adulthood, when I became a committed follower of Christ, I finally came to recognize that the ability to discern what was in the heart of another was much more than just differentiating between words and visual clues. By the Spirit of God, I was “looking” into the heart of another human being, created in the moral image of God. What I saw there sometimes was deeply disturbing, and yet, at the same time, caused me to feel compassion for that particular individual(s). Perhaps, the compassion I felt was the result of recognizing my own fallenness and tendency to wander from the very God I love. Perhaps it was a gift or a tool that God intended me to use to discern between good and evil, to truly understand the struggles of the human soul in that ongoing war between darkness and light.

So, why am I telling you all this? After all, for some, this seems just too incredible to believe or even understand. I would like to suggest that the ability to discern in the spiritual realm is a lot more common amongst followers of Christ than the world could possibly understand. Yet, even for those who profess to be Christians, I often come across individuals who still depend on their natural mind to understand or grasp something that can only be comprehended spiritually. I have even witnessed that in the prayer lineups of Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. People praying for others with lofty prayers using majestic words, but completely missing the point, and not rightly discerning what is happening in that particular person’s life who has come for prayer. Often, the person in need walks away with an even greater burden upon their shoulders, their spirit broken and slowly drying up. The sick remain sick, the downhearted remain hopeless, the disappointed become disillusioned…

I was troubled to learn that people are being taught in the Church to pray for others with their eyes open looking for visual clues to assist them to know how to pray. So much for discernment, even the proponents of modern psychology know how to use auditory and visual clues to guide them in counselling others. That is not spiritual discernment, that is observation based on the principles of basic science utilizing two of our five senses to understand and verify our environment.

Have we forgotten that the Spirit of God dwells within each and every follower of Christ? Do we understand that only spirit can understand spirit? Deep understands deep?

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7 NIV

For those who have understood and comprehended all of the aforementioned, I want to encourage you to pursue the Giver and not just the gifts. At the same time, allow the Spirit of God to work in and through you for the benefit of others. He will indeed lead you and guide you through this life. Deep calls out to deep.

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The Consumer: Unwitting Guinea Pigs

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Apple Inc files a patent for a method of calculating wind resistance for a cyclist, one factor that could be used to calculate a rider’s power output without a dedicated meter

This patent by Apple will most likely get buried and never come to fruition. It is interesting that the concept (based on Newton’s Third Law) has already been developed into a product (http://www.ibikesports.com) since about 2006.

Today, most popular commercial power meters are based on some sort of measurement of direct force applied utilizing various hardware, and software algorithms. The actual cost of developing a direct force power meter (DFPM), including research and development (R&D), is actually minuscule compared to the retail selling prices. Don’t take my word for it, just ask DC Rainmaker, considered an expert in the field.

As consumers, we are paying through the nose for a direct force power meter from companies such as SRM, Stages, Quarq, Pioneer, 4iiii, Rotor, PowerTap, and so forth. The strain gauges used in DFPM’s were originally developed for the nuclear industry several decades ago, and are relatively inexpensive. The claim that R&D is expensive has some merit, but every company out there is piggybacking off each other and using the abundance of data that is already out there in the public or commercial domains. The personal power data that cyclists eagerly post to sites like Strava, Training Peaks, Today’s Plan, etc., is most likely being repackaged and sold to other commercial interests who develop powermeters and other cycling specific products. Big data is big business.

So, what is my point?

Consumers are the guinea pigs upon which technology is developed and beta tested on.

Much of the hardware and software that is purchased by the consumer, especially niche products like power meters, is underdeveloped (i.e. released as final product, yet still in the alpha or beta stages of development) and buggy until several reincarnations down the road. By then, companies have already moved on to the latest and greatest, and the consumer starts the process all over again.

The hardware failure rates of DFPM’s is very significant (again, go ask DC Rainmaker), and something the consumer is generally not aware of. Likewise, we are all aware of the software issues that plague us almost daily in the “new is always better” mentality of hardware and software development in the cycling world.

Stop this madness!

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