New Bike Purchase & May 11 ride

On Wednesday, I went over to the Marinette Cycle Center to look at some road bikes and found one that I liked, but they didn’t have that model in my favorite color, which is black, so it’s on order It’s a Trek flat handlebar road bike. I’m not one to ride bent over on the curved handlebars. My back can’t handle that for a long distance. So I went with the flat handlebar road bike, which should not be too much different from riding my mountain bike, which also has a flat handlebar. I’ll receive the bike on Monday and am looking forward to taking it out.

As for my workout this week, I missed Tuesday’s ride because I had a loose wheel on the bike and didn’t feel like repairing it at the time nor did I feel like going to Planet Fitness for a workout. So I skipped Tuesday’s scheduled workout.

I made up for missing Tuesday’s workout with a harder ride today. I fixed the loose wheel on the bike, then rode 8.5 miles in 39:56 for an average speed of 12.9 mph. I rode from my house near Henes Park to all the way to Red Arrow Park. I stopped at Red Arrow Park for a quick water break. I currently don’t have a water bottle that I can open, drink and close with one hand while in motion. So I took a quick 5 minute break at Red Arrow, then rode home.

And I rode hard too to maintain the 12.9 average speed. If I can do that on a mountain bike, imagine what I can do on a road bike. I’m so looking forward to getting my road bike.

Pictured below is what my Pebble smart watch looks like when paired with the Strava app. Once I started the ride on the app, I didn’t have to touch my phone once and controlled the app from my watch. It was great.

If the weather cooperates on Saturday, I hope to go for a longer, but more leisurely ride. I’m hoping to do 12 miles. Stay tuned. 

May 6 Workout

I have not ridden since Tuesday because Wednesday and Friday were my rest days and I wasn’t motivated to ride on Thursday even though the weather was nice. Motivation is still my biggest issue when it comes to my training for the Menominee River Century. 

Even today, I still felt like ass mashing on the couch, but then I thought, “Fuck it, let’s get out there and ride.”

So I hopped on the bike and started riding. There was a nice north wind of about 16 mph, which would make for both an easy ride with the wind and a tough ride against it.

Initially, I decided to just ride a few loops around the 1.25 mile Henes Park trail. But there was just too many mayflies out there and I was getting a nice diet of them. I had to cover my mouth for much of the ride around Henes Park. I was like, fuck it, let’s ride on the road away from the mayflies at Henes Park.

The problem with the Marinette – Menominee area is that there is no bike trails at all. Sure there is Red Arrow and Henes Park, but both bike trails are like a mile or so.

So I just stuck to the bike route on M-35 and US-41. I had a nice wind assisted ride, going from Henes Park to all the way near Veterans Memorial Park in Menominee. I wanted to keep going to Fat Ladies Beach, which was another mile from that point, but I knew I would have a very difficult headwind on the way back, so I turned around before reaching Veteran’s Memorial Park.

The headwind was very brutal. I barely could crack a speed of 10 mph on the return trip. It took me a while to get back to my house, which is near Henes Park. 

At one point in the ride, I had to stop to tie my shoes and paused the Strava Riding app on my phone using my watch. But I forgot to restart the app once I got going again and didn’t realize it until I went about 3/4 of a mile.

Officially, my stats for today’s ride  was 8.3 miles in 43:45. I figure I would add about another 3 minutes for that 3/4 of a mile that I didn’t record. 

Not a bad workout for my longest ride of the season. 

Hopefully the wind will not be too bad the next time I go riding, but even it is, I’ll go out anyways. There is no guarantee that it won’t be windy on the day of the Menominee River Century.

For my next ride, I’m thinking of throwing my bike in my truck and take it to a bike trail somewhere. Hopefully the weather is good on Tuesday.

Getting there.

Cycling recap & Strava quick review

On June 25th, the Menominee River Century takes place. It’s an annual ride that goes through scenic routes in the Marinette and Menominee area. More info is in the link that I just provided. 

I have not ridden in this ride in years, mainly because of work. This year, I still have to work on the day of the ride, but I decided to do it anyways. I’m just doing the 25 mile route though so I can work then do the ride.

I started training on April 25th and posted my progress on my Facebook. I decided to do a quick recap of my training from my Facebook posts in this post as follows:

April 25th – Day 1 of training for the Menominee River Century: Rode 4.65 miles in 22:58. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s my first ride of the spring. I’m planning on riding the 25 mile route at the MRC, which is on June 25, exactly 2 months from today.

Just have to keep the motivation to keep riding. Next ride is Thursday. Tomorrow is rest day.

April 27th – Today was supposed to be day 2 of my training for the Menominee River Century. But because of the rain, I went to Planet Fitness, signed up, and rode a stationary bike for 35 minutes (set by my training schedule). According to the computer, I rode 7.1 miles in those 35 minutes. And nothing like a little AC/DC on my iPod to motivate me to keep going until the 35 minutes were up

April 29th –  Day 3 of my training for the Menominee River Century. Went to Planet Fitness again. 5 miles in 23 minutes. Shorter ride than the other day, but a harder workout with an increased level on the stationary bike.

I would rather ride outside, but not at 35 degrees. 

Getting there.

May 2nd –  Day 4 of my training. Shitty weather again. Been raining off and on all week. Still only 40 degrees. Went to Planet Fitness again. Good workout. 35 minutes (7 miles) on the stationary bike and 5 minutes (.25 mile) on the treadmill. 

Getting there. Baby steps.

That recaps the week of training. Now I want to write about an app called Strava. While I have not fully had a chance to really use it, I do like what I’ve seen so far. I needed a riding app for my phone that would sync with my Pebble smart watch. MapMyRide, which was my previous cycling app, was not compatible with my Pebble smart watch. So I looked at apps that would work with Pebble. Strava was one of them.

Even though today (May 3rd) was supposed to be rest day, I decided to give Strava a try for the first time. I mounted my phone on my bike’s handlebar, started Strava on my phone and off I went. As soon as I started Strava on my phone, the display popped up on my Pebble smart watch automatically. I loved that because about a minute into the ride, the phone screen went to sleep because it wasn’t being used, but the app kept running in the background. My Pebble smart watch still displayed the data on it. The speed, mileage, and time of the ride. All there. I loved that. No longer do I have to keep tapping the phone screen to keep it awake. I could set my phone screen to stay on for good, but that poses a security issue. If the phone gets lost or stolen, anyone could get into it because there would be no lock screen to get into.

In addition to that, if I wanted to pause the ride for a break, I can do it right from my watch. A quick click of the button on my watch and the app on the phone is paused 🙂 No more wasting time to enter the lock code on my phone just to pause the ride.

It’s just a matter of determining accuracy on the app. During the test ride on the app, I rode 7/10 of a mile for 4 minutes, which is an average speed of 11.8 mph. I wasn’t trying hard either. I just wanted to do a light ride to test the app. 

Once I get Strava fully figured out, I’ll post a full review on it in the near future. For now, I love the app. 

Stay tuned for future updates as I continue my training for the Menominee River Century 🙂

PlayStation Vue Review Followup

Yesterday I commented that I would check if I could use my PlayStation Vue account as a TV provider to log into TV network sites such as NBC and Fox to watch their programming, Well, I was able to find out that I indeed can do that.

I downloaded the Fox Sports Go app to my phone. then used my Vue account as a TV provider to watch all sporting events on all the regional Fox Sports networks. This includes Fox Sports Wisconsin, FS1, FS2, and the local Fox Station. While I can watch Packers games anytime they are on Fox, The NFL has a restriction on watching NFL games on a phone. I believe only Direct TV subscribers can do that with their Sunday Ticket account.

However, I can still watch Packers games with my Vue account log in using a a tablet – which I currently do not have. My Nook is way outdated and is not compatible with the Fox Sports Go app. But I was planning on getting a new tablet anyways, perhaps something along the Samsung Galaxy line. Once I get the tablet, I’ll finally be able to watch Packers games at home too anytime they are on Fox. I’ll use the NBC Sports app for the Sunday night prime time games. Vue already has ESPN so I’ll use that for the Monday night games. I still have to check if I can watch games live on the CBS app  yet, but that’s a possibility. The Packers only have two games on CBS this year, so no biggie.

How am I watching my sporting events on a phone, you ask? By using Google Chromecast. I’ll get into more details on Chromecast in a future article, but basically, it is a device hooked up to my TV that allows me to “cast” TV shows and videos from my phone to my TV over my W-Fi network. 

Back on subject, I then downloaded the NBC app and was able to verify my Vue log in to watch NBC TV shows on it. I just watched the Season 2 premiere of “Blind Spot” on the NBC app with Google Chromecast. The quality was excellent and I was sold. 

There is no doubt in my mind now that PlayStation Vue can be used as a TV provider when using a streaming app like Fox Sports Go, NBC, ESPN, etc. With this in mind, I canceled my Hulu account and will be watching all my TV shows using the various network TV apps and my Vue log in credentials. 

Why I didn’t get Vue earlier, I don’t know. But I’m so glad I got it now and will be looking forward to seeing what I can get out of it. 

Sometime this week, I’ll post a more in-depth review of Google Chromecast. Stay tuned.

Playstation Vue Review

Welcome to my new blog where I may post anything on my mind that is usually geek related.

First, a bit about me. I’m a cord cutter with no cable TV service, though I do have internet. I watch my TV shows on Netflix and Hulu.

The problem for cord cutters is the inability to watch live sporting events on TV. I’ve been going to local bars here in Marinette and Menominee to watch my events. But there are two problems with this:

1) It gets expensive , eating bar food and drinking $3 longnecks.

And….

2) There is no guarantee that the bar will show the game that I want to watch. Living in Green Bay Packers country, I’m practically guaranteed to catch the Packers on TV at any bar in the area, but if I want to watch a game not involving the Packers, there is no guarantee that I’ll be able to see this particular game.

At the same time, I had no desire to pay Crime Warner more than 50 bucks a month, not including the set top rental fee, to get TV service at home.

This is where the PlayStation Vue comes in.  It’s a live streaming service for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 users. They offer 3 levels of service: Elite ($45), Core ($35), and Access ($30).

I choose the Core package as it offers all my favorite sports channels such as ESPN, the Big Ten Network, the NFL Network and Fox Sports.  I didn’t need the additional channels on the Elite package.

I used Vue for the first time yesterday on my Playstation 3 to watch the Wisconsin Badgers play Michigan State on the Big Ten Network. My god, the quality was excellent. It was like watching it on a cable TV service with no lag whatsoever despite just having a standard internet account (15 Mbps download). I was very impressed.

I watched other shows on it and was impressed with Vue overall. My only gripe is navigating the viewing guide. It’s a bit cumbersome, but that is no big deal.

The only other bad thing about Vue right now is – in my market, local channels are not offered. I’ll have to get a TV antenna if I want to watch the local stations, but since I watch my TV shows on Hulu and Netflix, I don’t bother with an antenna. The one downside of not having live local service is not seeing the Packers live. But that’s all right. I go to the bar for that anyways as it is more fun to watch a Packers game with other Packers fans than it is at home.

But for other sporting events such as the Badgers, the Bucks, the Brewers, or out-of-area- games, I’ll definitely be making good use of the PlayStation Vue rather than go to the bars.

To sum it up, if you have a PlayStation 3 or 4, check out Vue for live streaming services. It even offers a 7 day trial so you can try it out. And while I cannot confirm this, I believe you can even use your Vue account as a TV provider to log onto apps such as Watch ESPN, BTN2Go, etc. I still need to confirm this and when I do, I’ll post another blog.

For now, give Vue a try. You won’t be disappointed. I know I’m not disappointed 🙂