Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moving from Google Tasks to Remember the Milk

The Steps

A quick google search didn't reveal a how-to, so I'm volunteering my own. It's actually really straight-forward, so the post will be relatively short. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to do all of the lists at once, but I can do an entire list at a time.

  1. Create the list you want to move in Remember the Milk, you can do this by going to Settings > Lists > Add List.

  2. Switch to the info tab in the settings, and copy the "Import Email Address"

  3. Expose Google Tasks in GMail by clicking Mail in the top left and select Tasks.

  4. Switch to the list you want to transfer.

  5. Click on Actions > Email Task List

  6. Paste in the copied import address in the To box

  7. Remove the list name from the body of the email

  8. Send

I'm pretty sure notes get lost in this process, so you'll have to keep the google tasks around long enough to transfer them over. This wasn't a big deal for me, as I didn't use that many notes before moving, but I could see that being annoying if the feature was used extensively.

The Reason

I decided to switch back to rtm because gtasks was just too simple. I'm not looking for really complicated features, but entering tasks was getting frustrating. I also got sick of looking at the tasks in tiny windows on the side of my calendar and mail, and remember not having that annoyance with rtm.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Polyphasic Sleep and Back Pain

About six months ago I slipped on the stairs and injured my back. This was obviously unpleasant, but I recovered from most of the pain in about two weeks. Unfortunately, as I was recovering from the initial pain a chronic issue appeared: after about 4-6 hours of sleep I would be woken in excruciating back pain.

Two weeks ago, my wife showed me this article on polyphasic sleep, and I was just desperate enough for a decent amount of sleep to give it a shot. I began the transition to uberman last weekend, and I am happy to report that I have not been woken up by back pain in that many days. I know a lot of people will think that this sleep schedule is a bit mad, but the simple fact is not waking up in pain has substantially improved my quality of life.

Important to note is that I'm really bad at doing this transition properly. I keep changing up the schedule and oversleeping on certain naps, but the shift is still enough to have completely eliminated the pain I've been experiencing. If you are having similar sleep deprivation issues, I highly recommend trying one of the polyphasic routines.

Monday, May 2, 2011


View Cycle the Seacoast in a larger map
Well, the century was last Sunday (I know I'm a little late, but it's been a busy week) and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. I'm very proud of my accomplishment, but I felt the event itself had some organizational flaws.

Getting Up

We found some information online that said we needed to be at the event at 6:00AM, so at 4:30 my alarm went off and we started getting ready to leave. I had packed my bag and laid out my clothes the night before, but getting up that early meant that I still had trouble getting my act together until 5:00 when we had to leave.

Unfortunately, when we got to the event, we discovered that they were barely ready for us to check in. Getting there so early meant that speedy check-in was completely meaningless, but considering there were only about 30 people doing the 100 mile ride, it wouldn't have been that relevant even if I had shown up at 6:30 when we originally planned. It wasn't all bad, though, as the additional time allowed me to get ready at a leisurely pace.


Other than half the cyclists (including me) nearly missing the first turn, the beginning of the race was incredibly nice. The first 20 miles flew by, as we had a strong wind at our back the whole way, and I rolled into the second rest stop (I skipped the first because I was feeling so good) ahead of the main group.

Adrianna met me at the second rest stop, and I took some time to down a Gatorade and recharge for the next stretch. While I was resting, the main group passed the rest stop (I guess they decided to stop at the first stop but not the second) while I was taking my break, but I was still feeling pretty strong about my progress.

Challenging Hills

I got to the third rest stop before the main group had left, and shortened the rest so I could ride with them for the next stretch. This was better in theory than practice, though, as this part of the ride represented the most challenging climb of the century. I kept up with them fine, but at the first hill everybody pulled ahead as I struggled to push my higher weight over the hills. I caught up with them again at the third rest stop, but was so exhausted that I couldn't leave with them. We weren't quite done climbing, and I wanted to be rested for the work ahead.


The Plaistow stop was a little over half way, and by this time I guess the main group had completely broken up anyway. By many accounts, this was about when stamina started failing. I was extremely exhausted by the climbing we had done thus far, and that made the smaller climbs remaining feel as hard as the most challenging climb from earlier.

The attitude of the riders at the rest stop in Plaistow represented this very well. At the fourth rest stop people were still very talkative and excited, but now the mood was more one of grim determination. There was a chart of the elevation, and so we were able to see the hard climbs still to come.

80 Miles Down

Adrianna met me again at the 80 Mile rest stop, and by this time I had fallen back to the last group. I wasn't really aware of how far back I had gone until I noticed that they were packing up the rest stop as I was recovering. It was somewhat hurtful to not even wait until I had left to start doing so, and made the last 20 miles psychologically difficult.

This was about the time that people started telling me "almost there." This did help me push through to the end, but the last bit still dragged on worst than any other part of the ride. At 10 miles left, I found myself constantly glancing at my cyclometer, as if I could will the distance to diminish faster by doing so.


I was one of the last to actually complete the century, with a few coming in after me and a few picked up by the van. I ended up above my target speed, but still exceeding the time limit due to time spent at rest stops. Fortunately for me, the limit was changed from 3:00 to 4:00 in the last week before the event, so I still had a half hour left before they would have picked me up.

Adrianna met me at the finish line, with one of the staff members, and I got a medal for completing the event. Being exhausted and more than a little hungry, we headed indoors to eat some of the end-of-event food.

While I was in the early stages of recovered (I'm still sore as I write this on Wednesday), I had the unfortunate experience of one of the organizers complaining very loudly about the last group finishing at 3:30, and how they shouldn't even bother attempting the 100-mile course. This upset me more than a little bit, but she was the only person in the whole event that was rude, so I can't complain too much.


I worked very hard for this event, training nearly every day for the past 10 weeks, and I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am in now in much better shape than I was when I began the training, and I'll always be able to say that I rode 100 miles in one day.

I couldn't have done any of this without all of the people who supported me. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their financial and emotional support.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

General Update

I know I haven't updated in a while, and I wanted to assure people that this only means that I've fallen behind on blogging. I'll do my best to give a general update of my progress.


My overall training regimen is going well, although a little slower than I was hoping. I went on a 53 mile ride yesterday morning, and averaged 11.1mph. This means that I should be able to finish the century in about 9 hours, with 8 hours being the goal. I purchased on book on training and am currently attempting interval training as a way to improve my speed more quickly.


I had some difficulty getting the new parts for the road bike I was planning to use, and decided recently to stick with the hybrid I have been training on instead. Wednesday I decided to forego my normal training ride so that I would have time to attach a cyclometer to the hybrid, then Thursday I brought the bicycle in for a tune-up.


Yesterday, during the training ride, I learned several things. This was the first ride with the cyclometer, and I learned that on relatively flat terrain I can maintain a pace close to 15mph. Hills, on the other hand, drop my speed down to 5-6mph and wind can have a similar effect. One of the suggestions in the book I was reading was that I treat hills as intervals and press through them quickly, and that is exactly what I attempted (operative word) to do. My cadence seems pretty good, right around 90 most of the time, and popping up to over 100 without too much upper body movement on occasion.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training Since Sunday

Sunday's Ride

View 38 Mile in a larger map
This ride was much of the reason I haven't posted in a few days, it really broke my momentum. First, as it was getting dark I discovered that one of the batteries in my lights was dead. Not only had the battery died, it had corroded so that opening up the battery compartment was a mess. Second, I missed one of my turns and ended up over in North Andover. I had to have my wife come and pick me up, and ended up having to remove both the wheels to get it to fit in the car. Third, when I measured my distance and determined my speed, I discovered that I had ridden significantly slower than my previous average.

Problems aside, I had chosen today to try out the East Coast Greenway, which comes within a few miles of our house. Unfortunately, I guess the areas outside of the converted trail have absolutely no indication that they are part of the greenway. I rode on the route for 15 miles, and didn't see so much as a sign.

Tuesday's Ride

View 8 Mile in a larger map
I took an easy loop near my house to try to get back into training after Sunday's experience. I was feeling pretty good about the ride until I got home and discovered that my average speed was still very low.

Today's Ride

My motivation has been running a little low, and daylight savings time has been messing with my rhythm even further, so I didn't get out on my bike until around 9:00. I ended up deciding to try a bicycle trainer I got from my in-laws, for which I have mixed reviews.

The Bad

Cycling in place is beyond boring. I was sitting in our drive spinning for an hour, and I will never do that again without something to occupy my mind. It's also somewhat surreal to be cycling without moving, and near the end it really felt sisyphean.

The Good

Segregating the cycling from movement allowed me to concentrate on technique. I was able to adjust my toe clips to better fit my feet and do the single foot drills, which are both supposed to help with the more efficient pedal strokes I described in a previous post. I was also able to time my cadence, and discovered that the optimal of 90 was a lot slower than I thought. Finally, I was able to focus on maintaining a consistent cadence, something that was very difficult when having to spend most of my energy worrying about hills.

The Conclusion

I think that there are some really good benefits to using the stationary trainer, and I think I'll incorporate it into my training regimen. My Tuesday ride is supposed to be easier, so that is the ride I'm going to replace. I will also either load many songs onto my mp3 player, or set it up inside in front of the TV.


I surpassed my fund raising goal this past week, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their support. I am very excited by the amount that has been raised thus far, and really appreciate you're generosity. When I first started raising money, I thought I would be lucky to get even a little over the minimum requirement, but now I'm sitting just $75 shy of getting into the "Winner's Circle" for the event. Thanks again, everybody, the support has really kept me going through this rough patch in my training.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Errands

Todays Ride

View 15 Mile in a larger map
I had more errands to run today, so I rolled them into my ride again. This time, I had to pick up a plumbing piece at Lowes to fix our broken sump pump.

Also, as you can see on the map, I made it into New Hampshire today. This represents the first time I've crossed a state border on bicycle, so it's a bit of a novelty. I know I barely made it into the state, but still a weird sort of milestone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Three Days Off

I took the last three days off, but for very good reasons. I made it back out onto the road today, and I'll talk more about that once I get down to today's ride.


This was a planned day off so that I could go to the New England Open Go Tournament at MIT. I didn't do that well (won 1, lost 2, and a bye), but I got some ideas for improving my game.


Mondays are my planned rest day, and for good reason. I go into the office on Mondays, and the commute eats up two and a half hours of my day each way.


This was the only day I took off that I didn't plan to do so. We woke up that morning to a failed Sump Pump, and after sloshing around trying to get it working all morning my back was giving me some serious problems.

Todays Ride

View 13 Mile 2 in a larger map
Today I actually had to run a few errands, so I made sure that my route took me through downtown. My back was still giving me trouble at the beginning of the ride, but by the end it was fine.

My favorite part of this ride was when I went by Kimball Farm. I guess in the summer they have a corn maze, and they don't bother taking down the sign in the winter, so I was able to solve the maze instantly from the road. They also sell hay, which I made a mental note of so that we could pick some up for our guinea pigs when we run low.


I don't want to be too pushy about donations, but I found out that check-in on the morning of the event will be significantly easier if I raise the $250 by April 8th. If you look at the bottom of the page, you can see that so far only $75 has been donated. You can make a donation here, so please do so soon.