The “Devil Mountain”

Mount Diablo as seen from Pleasanton Ridge 
overlooking Tri-Valley

Interesting facts about Mount Diablo from TrailStompers (bold emphasis mine):

The “Devil Mountain”

According to the most widely accepted story, the reference to “diablo” or “devil” can be traced back to 1804 or 1805 when a Spanish military expedition visited the area in search of runaway mission Indians. At a willow thicket near present-day Buchanan Field, the soldiers encountered a Village of Chupcan people and surrounded it. But night came, and evidently all the Indians escaped unseen. Angry and confused, the Spanish called the site “Monte del Diablo,” or “Thicket of the Devil”. Later, English-speaking newcomers mistakenly assumed the word “monte” to mean “mountain” and applied the title to this prominent East Bay peak. A linguistic accident thus gave California its “Devil Mountain.”

The “Mount Diablo Meridian”

Just after the Gold Rush, federal land surveyors began the momentous task of surveying out the lands of the Wild West. To do this, reference points were chosen and lands were surveyed with respect to those “initial points” as they are called. Lines called “meridians” (north-south lines) and “base lines” (east-west lines) were extended out from the initial points. Because of the tremendous distances from which Mount Diablo was visible, in 1851 it was selected to be the initial point for the federal land surveys for northern California and Nevada.

Ignoring the excitement of the Gold Rush, Leander Ransom and his men erected a flagpole at the summit of Mount Diablo and began to extend the base and meridian lines that are used to this day in our official land surveys. As a matter of fact, Mount Diablo base and meridian lines are referred to in legal descriptions of real estate throughout two-thirds of California and parts of Nevada and Oregon!

The Auburn Pain Train

Swim start & end 
Rattlesnake Bar, Granite Bay

What’s remarkable about the Auburn Triathlon is how deceptively difficult it is. The longest version of the race is dubbed the “World’s Toughest Half,” composing a total of 70.3 miles of combined swimming, cycling, and running. That’s got to be marketing though, right?

The swim starts out in the North Fork American River, a northern river-like part of lake Folsom. The water will be great. Pre-race jitters will be fun and exciting. But, before you know it, the swim’s over. And you better have enjoyed that swim … because that’s about where the pleasantries stop. Welcome aboard the pain train to hell.

From there on out, it’s a grueling hour and a half of climbing on the bike (for the mid distance race, not the long version, which I didn’t do), with enough minor downhills and flat spots to let your heart calm down enough to lure you back into not giving up. An hour into your ride, every little muscle fiber in your legs will just be begging to cramp.

If you haven’t given up by the time you reach run transition (the last part of your race), you have a difficult decision to make: should you give up? It’s a real decision, don’t take it lightly. First of all, you need to assess yourself and your fitness. Nobody likes a dead triathlete in a race. That kind of spoils the party for everyone. Bike-to-run transition is an excellent spot to seek-out medical attention.

If you are in good enough shape to continue … awesome! You are lucky in a very unlucky way. Surprisingly though, the run lets up a little and you get to take in some spectacular views of the old-time gold rush mining canyons in the area. Absolutely spectacular. It’s an excuse to walk, and take it in, right? But … fat chance you will be doing much enjoying after all that climbing on the ride smashed your legs to bits.  If you screwed up your nutrition intake thus far, you might as well just walk, nobody wants to see a wrestling pig. And those smiles and pleasantries you share with your fellow runners will be fake. Everyone’s a hurt puppy, just moments away from lashing out in a fit of rage, controlled only by exhaustion.

But eventually, and time cut-off limits permitting, the finish line will come. And it will be sweet.

So, some words of advice on this race if you chose to ever do it, and you should: dig down deep in the face of adversity and find a reason to keep going. What kept me going on that day was was reflecting on the insanely hard efforts that our service men and women endure every day out there on the front lines protecting us, so that we can be out here doing things like ultra-silly hard triathlons, for fun. Makes it kind of hard to give up and stop.

What are the things you think about that keep you going when the going gets tough?


BlackBerry Priv … Finally!

 My new BlackBerry Priv!!!

Finally, the BlackBerry Priv was released this week. It’s the first BlackBerry device running android, with the full BlackBerry keyboard that we learned to love ages ago.

I’ve been waiting ages for this phone! Seriously, like since I left my BlackBerry Curve for the Nexus One.  On 5 Jan 2010.

I’ve only had it for a half a day … but so far, I’m very impressed.

Some highlights:

  • Scrolling with a touch sensitive key board is refreshing. I was getting frustrated by accidentally “hearting” tweets as I was just scrolling, or accidentally triggering links on web pages. I love the fact that I can scroll now without touching the screen itself. It also feels like I have more real estate, even though the screen is about the same size as my Note II.
  • Setup was so easy. In less than 15 minutes or so, I was fully transitioned over with all my core apps: banking, multiple gmail accounts, BBM, weather, slack, google maps & directions, google authenticator, WordPress, and all of the security policies required for work. It’s pure & perfect android. Everything just worked.
  • Gosh dang that keyboard. It’s good to be back. Having keys just brings a level of confidence for me that I just don’t think I’ll ever have with a virtual keyboard. The Priv also has a virtual keyboard (and it seems decent), but I haven’t used it, so TBD.
  • Micro USB. Came home and hooked the Priv into the charging cables I already had laying around. There is something awesome about standardized hardware.
  • I really can’t find anything wrong with it yet. Battery life, TBD. The power button is on the left side, and I’m used to it being on the right side. It has some lenses on it, so I figure it can probably take pictures or something?

We’ll see if the market acknowledges the device. I hope it does, because I think if BlackBerry is confirmed here with android, they’ll do even more awesome stuff. Here’s to hoping!

Bones Brigade

I remember, I was super thin, and I was falling apart in school, ’cause I really didn’t care anymore, and I remember he [dad] couldn’t do anything about it. It wasn’t acting out … you don’t do that in the house, you don’t do that … but the thing is, is I was withered in a way you could not control. And I was spinning. I remember the teachers and stuff … going to counseling, and they were like “we dont’ know what’s wrong. Something is wrong at home … eat.”

My dad is not some evil man – he was trying to do the best he could for what he had, with what he had, with me. But those are those formative years, teenager, when things start to hurt, in a different way. When I found skateboarding, it was the first thing I loved. I mean, I loved it. And it being pulled away from me, hardened something inside of me … where nothing mattered.

Everything I am today somehow, is probably fed by my need for acceptance. With my dad that’s not necessarily the acceptance sons are hoping for, you know … of it’s good you did this but do you get the point you are dominating something that really doesn’t matter? Apply yourself to something meaningful. But because of Tony [Hawk] and [Steve] Caballero and these guys, that gave me a sense of acceptance and belonging that was reciprocated and bounced back and churned in synergistic way.

And that’s what created the Bones Brigade.

–Rodney Mullen
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (Netflix)