Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Weekend Wondering 2
I've been enjoying a longish, low key weekend...watching some motorsports, a couple of baseball games, and some Tour de France stages.
I went halibut fishing with SturgeUrge, and came face to face with the weather. Nothing serious, but we didn't catch any halibut.
We nearly went on another Bay Area Boat Ramp Tour Monday as we found "sheep in the meadow" when we pulled up to the Richmond shoreline. Surprised for the second time in as many trips, I made a "Note To Self": Find an online weather station for the Richmond Harbor area.
We launched into steady 15mph winds. Still under the protection of the breakwall, we were taking some spray over the gunnels and the bow. We nursed our coffee cups as we ducked spray and surveyed the bay proper as it hove into view. Cap'n Urge said: "Lets just motor over to Paradise" "Good plan", I agreed.
We bumped across the Bay and took in the splendid vistas. To our South, a big finger of fog was streaming in through the Golden Gate, wrapping the top of Angel Island, and obscuring the Bay Bridge, before it turned North above Berkeley to crawl over the East Bay Hills east of El Cerrito.
The Southernly Winds had blown up some semi-serious waves that were keeping things animated. I'd packed a lunch of mostly finger foods, plus some potato salad. It's a little rough wrapping cantaloupe pieces with thin-sliced Black Forest Ham in a washing machine...not to mention pouring French Roast into travel cups from the thermos! Seemingly, the halibut were paying little attention to the luncheon we were serving at their table either.
We had a couple of raked baits, but in the churning conditions, the subtle take of a halibut was effectively invisible. We saw a dozen or so other boats fishing halibut in the area...but we didn't see any nets flying or bent rods.
Mother Nature won Monday. We bailed out early and were back in the Inland Valley before 5PM. We cleaned up the boat and tow vehicle and had a cold beer. We both claimed to be grateful that there weren't any slimy fish to butcher!
Back at the Ancestral Digs, I noshed on the boat lunch for dinner and watched the bike race replay. The Yellow Jersey changed riders in the Pyrénées. Some controversy arose around the matter in which the Jersey changed hands 3km from the summit of Sunday's final big climb, the hors categorie Port de Balèsthe.
Leader Andy Schleck's chain came off his front chainring just as he launched his attack. Arch rival, Alberto Contador answered the attack instantly, passing Schleck to his left as Schleck's bike came to a halt, and Contador was seen to look back several times over the 3kms to the top. Schleck fixed his chain and chased furiously, but was unable to catch the Contador Group as they flew down the big mountain towards the finish.
Two opposing Thought Camps have risen in the wake of this pass.
One camp says that Contador's move into the maillot jaune wasn't "sporting", that the Gentleman's Agreement in cycle racing says the race must be settled mano a mano, not by mechanical misfortune, and that Contador clearly knew he was dishonoring this unwritten law.
The opposing camps says: "That's racing" to quote NASCAR's evergreen cliche. There were boos heard as Contadore donned the Yellow Jersey Monday after the Stage, and again after Tuesday's Stage.
This year's Tour de France celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Tour's first visit to the high passes of the Pyrénées. The 2010 TdF will be remembered for it's heat waves, and the three weeks of high drama among the Contenders. Wednesday is the second rest day of the Tour, and the ultimate winner will most likely be decided Thursday, the final mountain stage of the Tour.
As befits the Tour's Centennial in the Pyrénées, the Organizers have the riders traversing three huge passes, the first catagory Col de Marie-Blanc and Col du Souler, before finishing atop the hors categorie Col Du Tourmalet.
39 seconds separate Schleck and Contador. The first stage after a rest day is always a crap shoot...the body sometimes reacts in unexpected ways to a low effort "Rest Day". Not uncertain is the fact that Thursday's Drama-O-Rama, Stage 17 will be worthy of a Centennial Celebration.
While I watched the coverage from the Pyrénées Monday I remembered my "Note To Self", and then remembered that the Weather Underground forecast pages have added a Weather Station Link List at the bottom of the Forecast Homepage. I looked around Weather Underground until found the Richmond buoy on the Richmond,CA forecast page. The links include Official, Academic, Commercial, and Personal Weather Stations (PWS)
Another wonder of the Internet, the PWS's are going to make the World smaller and more convenient for internet users everywhere. Personal Weather Stations have fascinated me since they first entered my consciousness, some twenty+ years ago. Simple battery powered PWS's can be had for a pittance. The more elaborate, internet-connected Stations start upwards of $800, so many thanks are in order to the magnanimous weather geeks who put theirs online for the rest of us! Several instrument makers offer PWS's that connect to the internet without involving any other computers, conserving the resources of your Home Network! You access your PWS on the web, like the rest of the world.
Like everything else electronic, eventually the economies of scale and the law of supply and demand will kick in and millions of PWS's will cover Our World. I'll be keeping my ear to the PWS Rail...I'm thinking there may be yet another CorduroyPlanet Toolbox trying to be born here.
I'll keep my eyes open and decide in plenty of time to build and install the CP PWS Toolbox by the time the chairlifts start turning on My Mountain.