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October 28, 2006

Why I Love Colorado - Part 1

A few months ago I started to mountain bike as a park of my workout regimen. My mountain bike has been staring at me for the past few years every time I went into the garage to see it hanging from the ceiling. So I dusted off my mountain bike and started to ride. Less than a hundred yards from my home is an incredible open space area called "the bluffs" that includes a 2.6 mile trail that ascends and declines a few hundred feet as you go around it. It's such a great workout, especially at 6,000'. When I started doing this, as a newbie, I noticed the other bikers, all decked out in their latest gear. You know, the biking shorts, team Italia shirts, a camel back for water, head gear, etc. I was in it for the workout so I started with a t-shirt and a pair of old shorts and my sneakers. I quickly learned I needed at least the biking shorts, then the sunglasses (gotta have the right Oakley's). Dscn0769_1I've stopped there....for now. Anyway, after the first couple of rides I wondered just how much of a workout I was getting as I was gasping for air, so I got a Timex Heart Rate monitor with a wrist watch, etc. - actually Christine got it for me. I was blown away by the stats, for about an hour ride I was burning 950 to 1000 calories, my high heart rate was up around 165, I was averaging in the low 150s for the entire ride. Pretty good workout. Over the past few months those stats have declined a bit as I've gotten use to the ride and more in shape so I started to go a different route to mix it up a bit. I was up to 5 or 6 times a week - I was addicted. As I was cooling down one day after a ride I was talking to another biker about his watch, he's got one that includes a satellite feature so you can tell how much elevation change you're going through. I did some research, it's pretty cool, you can download the data right to your PC and you can determine what parts of the ride you're burning the most calories, speeds, etc. It's amazing what's available for someone that really wants to train and master something. He also looked at my sneakers and pedal baskets and smirked as he took off in a cloud of dust. I gotta get the biking shoes with toe clips now! Anyway, one of the huge benefits I get from this is just being outside, in the Colorado air. I never get tired of the views of the mountains and the crisp clean air we have. Perfect for clearing the mind. What a great place to live.

October 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 07, 2006

Like Minds Think Alike

It seems that we're becoming more an more polarized on idealogical issues than ever. I don't get the "Us vs. Them" mentality. To me it's counter productive. I think we become more ingrained in our opinion when we have like minded individuals continually being with, collaborating with others of the same ilk. I guess that happens when you want to solidify your beliefs, to be more righteous in your conviction. There's been some great studies done of groups of people talking about and addressing issues when they tend to have the same mindset vs people with different mindsets in the same group. When you have people with the same mindset they tend to polarize and be more extreme in the views - it's commonly called "group think". When you have differing perspectives within the same group addressing issues the solutions tend to be different, generally because you learn from one another. Perhaps the greatest test of this was when President Kennedy declared "space the new frontier" and committed to put a "man on the moon". What most people don't realize is that engineers had to produce breakthroughs in engineering to order to achieve this feat. Engineers were divided, polarized as to thinking a spaceship could ever be built to land on and return from the moon, safely. So they (NASA) did something extraordinary. They didn't divide the camps of thinking, they actually did the opposite and placed engineers in offices, side by side, one that thought it could be achieved right next to one that thought it couldn't. And they learned from one another. Rather than creating polarized groups that led to extreme views, they actually came up with a solution - and the rest is history. We're polarized over 9/11, we see it with liberals and conservatives, religion, the war and now I'm seeing it every 10 min or so on TV with ads of political candidates blasting one another over issues. Maybe there's a place and time to have a group of people that think alike to be together and discuss issues, maybe that creates an extreme view that pushes the envelop. But maybe, just maybe we should try to seek out or create a contrarian view on an issue, to talk with others and gain their perspective - maybe thats the ticket to the solution. Just an idea.

October 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack