Monday, January 27, 2014

Wildwood and Gravity Brewing Company

25-26 Jan. 2014

It is hard to keep up with new breweries in Boulder County – but that does not mean one should not to try. This weekend Alita and I checked out Wildwood Brewery and I wandered over to Gravity Brewing.

Alita got me a Groupon for this brewery for Christmas and we decided it was time to cash it. Wildwoods is located in east Boulder on Arapaho near Avery. The brewery is in a warehouse space and it’s a tasting room only. But it has space for a meal if you want to bring one.They have six beers in their regular line-up. The Groupon was for a sampler of these beers.

Alita shows off the Wildwoods line-up
My favorite was their Treeline IPA. I would call it an English-style IPA. It has a nice piney hop aroma and flavor with a balance and flavor that reminded me of an imperial IPA. Their Campfire Red was also very interesting. As the name could suggest – they put a subtle bit of smoke into the usual malty flavor. The Berry Patch Wheat was also really interesting. I am generally not a fan of fruit beers since they often come out cloying, but this one has the fruit flavor without the overbearing sweetness. The rest of the line-up was also really solid. I would go back to this place.
Toasting little man's second brewery

This place had been on my radar for a while, but I had not found a good excuse to check it out. Putnam Smith, a folk musician from my home state of Maine, provided just such an excuse. Gavity's tasting room was a nice low-ceiling-but-open venue - perfect for some good folk music on a snowy winter's day.

Since it was winter I did not check out their beer garden – so a return visit may be needed. But the interior was spacious with a really nice bar design.

Photo from the Gravity website
As the name would imply their beers have some heft to them. Since I was driving I opted for a few of their 4-oz (maybe 3 oz) samplers. At $5 for three, it was a pretty good deal for high gravity beers - and about the right amount if you need to do something after. 

I tried the Jubelium Peppercorn Belgium Ale. As the name promised it has a just a bit of peppercorn in the light Belgium funk – a surprisingly good combination. Also worthy was the Ebb & Flow – Double Red Rye and the Tsar Bomba Russian Imperial Stout. My favorite sample of the night through was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Acceleration – Double India Pale Ale. Think Maharaja with a little oak. Amazing.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Running Log

As an engineer I love numbers and tracking things. This naturally bled into running. I remember back in 2005 when someone showed me a GPS running watch. I got one the next day. It's not that I need to run a certain distance or pace - I just like to know what I did. 

As my education and job taught me how to use Excel I eventually put my running log and stats on a spreadsheet. On day I started plotting my races and paces. I was curious as to how my pace varied with distance. I was surprised to find not just a relationship, but a very strong relationship –a logarithmic one. In fact, when I plotted my personal bests I got an R squared value of 0.99. Logarithms show up in many neat places with our bodies from how we perceive light levels or sounds and even the amount of time it takes us to make choices (based on the number of choices) so I guess this should make sense.

My personal bests
I decided to see if this held for world records. Low-and-behold, it did – with an R squared of 0.99 again.

A small selection of world records
As you could guess these folks' coefficients are much smaller. (And perhaps the mile record is a bit soft - but probably because it is not raced as often as the 1500)

When I went back and looked at my races I could then see which ones were above average efforts and which ones I had slacked on. Well . . . to a point. This trend worked as long as the races were roughly comparable.  In other words, as long as the races were all road races with modest elevation gains. So a race with some intense elevation gain or on trails was always going to be a little slow..

So now my nerdy running goal is to figure out how to quantify these other variables so that I can tell is that trail marathon was a great effort or if I have a little more room to target a PR. Right now I think the most important (an reasonable easy to quantify) variables to look at would be:

-Elevation gain
-Elevation loss
-Terrain (not quite sure how to quantify other than giving a variable of 1 for road, 2 for dirt, 3 for technical trails)
-Wet bulb temp

So eventually I will have a part two once I have enough data. As we say at work, happy nerding.