Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Long time no posting, so I will bring you up to speed

Last time I posted, I was all on about my Mere Cats and Femmtastics, the men's a women's fantasy cycling teams I selected this year.  If you recall, I considered two of my Mere Cats possibly good deals. "On Sale Andy" Schleck didn't pan out, but Contador did, and it was surprisingly satisfying to see him take the Vuelta so soon after the TdF crash out. Unfortunately, the Mere Cats sit at 672nd among the 972 men's teams.  I will need to learn a lot more about non World Tour races to get the kind of points it takes to be in top 100 teams.    After a blistering start to the season, the Femmtastics have fallen to 68th, so no prizes for me there.  Oh well, I've been busy with a great many other things.

First, the dissertation. Done. Finally. I was officially recognized for my dogged persistence with a PhD in May.  I thought I would immediately get back on the bike and back into that routine, but it has not been the case.

Instead, I've been completely engaged in work projects and using everything I've learned every day, all day.  I love it, but at the end of the day, I'm shot - mentally that is.  So much so, that often the bike felt like a chore, so I put it back down, picking it up only to commute or when riding sounded and felt fun.

Instead, I've been spending my leisure time learning about GPS, GIS, and mapping along with riding my XR650L, a dual-sport motorcycle that I purchased last year.  The two hobbies go well together since the moto is most fun when zipping down gravel or earthen roads.  However, finding those roads intentionally is more of a challenge than you might think - only the Nebraska county maps differentiate the different types of unpaved roads and roads .
My 2007 XR is the one of the left.  MFD's ride is a 2012 Triumph Tiger.
There are three: gravel, unsurfaced, and primitive.  The latter two are referred to as "earthen."  Sometimes this is even a bit of a misnomer because they are covered with grass, having only the barest hit of trail.  Additionally, they often lead to a washed out or broken bridge.

Bridge to a bean field.
I've been testing a lot technology related to maps and GPS and will be describing what I've learned and posting links to different tools in upcoming weeks.  I have multiple aims.  One is to develop an earthen road route from east to west across the state, another is to understand ways that GPS apps can be used in classrooms to increase the relevancy of course content for students.  If you enjoy gravel grinding, geo-caching, or geo-picting (I learned this word today), stay tuned.

This was a good find. 

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