- Checklists for what we need to have with us on our bikes
- Checklists for the day bags (in the support van)
- Checklists for checklists ;)
- Any extra rain gear
- Extra inner tubes
- Camera batteries
- Energy bars (check out the food articles)
- Hex keys (Allen Wrenches)
- What have I forgotten
- Wish us luck
Setting Earnest aside, let's now meet Ernesto, who is a not very convincing tropical storm (downgraded from a hurricane) currently making Florida very wet.
However, he also has the possibility of making Connecticut and New York somewhat wet on Sunday and Monday (the route and days of the Hazon ride). I guess it's time to get some cycling rain gear. I hope there is some good gear at the store; I even have ready money.
Getting to a termsheet which both parties are happy to sign generally involves lots of negotiations because the main terms of the deal are hammered out in this phase. However, a signed termsheet is just the beginning of a process during which lawyers produce three to six inches of paperwork before the money changes hands. This phase of the process (VCs say the deal is "in docs" or "in legal") also produces issues which need negotiating. However, once we are in docs, there is generally enough goodwill and momentum to carry the deal across the finish line.
If a deal does fall apart it is generally because of a major departure from expectations in some way. For example, many signed termsheets from early September 2001 never closed - VCs pulled out after 9/11 and the associated drop in the markets. Other examples are where the legal process finds significant problems in the business (litigation, improper accounting, IP issues) which had not previously been disclosed or well understood. The termsheet is actually a non-binding statement of terms (usually), so it gives both sides an out if they want it badly enough. Sometimes the startup withdraws from the deal. Maybe they get cold feet thinking about the loss of control, or they think they can get better terms. Once in a blue moon they get an offer to be acquired which turns out to be the real thing.
For either side to withdraw from a deal once a termsheet is signed, without a really compelling reason, is pretty bad form, and your reputation soon gets around. It does happen, however, and so we all know that it's never over until it's over - when the money is wired and the share certificates received.
So what does this have to do with Venture Cycling (this is a VC:VC post after all).
First, I bought a bike, and all the equipment (kind of like making the investment before the termsheet). Next, I signed up for the Hazon ride - I signed the termsheet. Finally, this coming weekend I get to close the deal - ride the 120 miles over the two days. Things look good and feel good, but the deal isn't closed yet, so who knows? Will the cold I am nursing get worse? Will I trip over a kids toy and sprain something? Will my bike be hit be a meteor? Will I? These kind of things have derailed venture capital deals, and I suppose they could derail a venture cycling deal as well. However, the goodwill and momentum I have built up seem unstoppable. I plan to close this one.
As I noted last Friday, my feet had been bothering me. The suggestions from Wheelworks seemed to be right on the mark. I rode 22 miles today with my new insoles, and making sure to keep my shoes loose, especially over the front of my feet (where I was feeling it). It really made a big difference and I think I have licked this one.
Chocolate flavor PowerBar Performance Energy Bar
First bite: Not entirely disgusting. Definitely seen a chocolate flavored chemical during processing.
Last bite: Still not entirely disgusting, although pretty hard work.
Nutrition info: 230 cal, 20 from fat. 2g=3% fat, 0.5g=3% sat fat. 45g carb 3g fiber. 1og protein. 95mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 1
Chocolate Brownie Clif kids Organic Z-bar
First bite: Ersatzy brownie oatsy grainy (or is that sawdust?).
Last bite: Smaller bar (thank goodness). Uninteresting.
Nutrition info: 120 cal, 25 from fat. 3g=5% fat, 1g=5% sat fat. 22g carb 3g fiber. 3g protein. 125mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 2
Depletion or damage of a resource sounds so reversible; collapse sounds a little more final.
I heard that cyclists (who cycle rather than drive) do not save fossil fuel energy overall. They are healthier, and live longer, and so cook more, heat their houses longer, use appliances for more years ... overall, it is a wash.
Also, some cyclists (naming no names), go out and buy fancy recumbent bikes, bling-bling GPS devices and the like. They then drive their bike to suburban bike paths, cycle up and down, and drive home (via the local instantiation of the probably unsustainable Starbucks corporation).
At least if I call myself a hypocrite I have the cover of the Epimenides Paradox (similar, I believe, to Bertrand Russell's set-of-all-sets paradox) to hide behind, by blinding the world with logic.
I see in the issue of The Economist that arrived today the cover story is "Who Killed the Newspaper?" In my case The Economist is at least a third of the answer.
Back in my gel foam, mesh-backed, lumbar supported, very comfortable bike seat after a vacation break, I managed to sneak in a 40 minute ride on Heartbreak Hill (around 5 miles) yesterday morning. I am pleased to say that riding a recumbent is just like riding a bike (you don't forget how).
I did notice, as I had on my half-century ride last week, that the outside of my feet seemed to be bearing most of the pressure of pedalling. Given that I have clipless pedals I decided to chat to the folks at Wheelworks about that. I had thought I needed small wedges on the cleats to even out the pressure.
However, one of the knowledgeable staff suggested two things that made more sense. The first suggestion was to get some cushioned insoles, and the second was to make sure the shoe is not too tight. Apparently it is a common problem to tighten cycling shoes too much. Given I was feeling the same pressure wearing my cycling shoes for a brief fitting session, this makes lots more sense. I was asked whether the shoes are wide enough - I just hope so, since I don't want to have to buy another pair because of incorrect fitting.
Collins has done a great job of looking at the vexing question of bringing discipline into the governance and management of non-profit organizations. I am on the board of Hazon and of JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School. On both boards, we grapple regularly with how to measure progress or success. At a school there are some obvious metrics, such as student enrollment, staff retention, academic scores, graduate achievements and so forth. However, there are many seeming intangibles to track at a school which prizes values so highly, and similarly at a non-profit like Hazon. It is pretty obvious that these are tougher to measure in the cold hard way we can measure corporate profits. This monograph is short, to the point, and helpful, and makes great reading for anyone serving on the board of a non-profit.
I recommend it highly.
I just returned from a truly wonderful vacation in Canada - wonderful in many respects, the books being only one. I read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and the first half of JPod by Douglas Coupland.
The Omnivore's Dilemma is absolutely wonderful... well worth the read. I loved an early passage in which he reminds us that eating is, for most of us, our most pervasive engagement with nature, and that the depth of this engagement cannot be underestimated.
(More on JPod once I have finished it - I hope it does not have to wait until my next vacation!)
I contended that it is a false dichotomy to suggest that the pursuit of happiness competes with the pursuit of purpose. Rather, pursuing purpose is often (usually? always?) a route to happiness, and without purpose the pursuit of happiness often (usually? always?) turns to emptiness. I noted that by pursuing the purpose of getting a bike and preparing for the Hazon ride, I was finding happiness. Not only am I having fun with the bike, learning lots, blogging and getting fitter. I am also hanging out with my daughter, Hannah, who is doing the ride with me.
As I think about this now, I realise that pursuit of purpose with no thought of happiness, of fun, is what can lead to zealotry in many forms. Happiness and purpose are not only above competition, but perhaps they are inevitably and closely intertwined.
How does this apply to venture capital? Surely neither happiness nor purpose are relevant. The pursuit is of competitive advantage, profit, capital gains, a place on the Fortune magazine Midas list.
Around 10 years ago I had the good fortune to be approached by my friend, Paul Bleicher, to start work on what became the great success of Phase Forward. Along with a couple of other folks, we started to work on a business plan together. At the first meeting we agreed that our purpose was to be, in order,
1) have fun
2) create a high quality, well-respected, industry-changing company
3) create a financial success
We all agreed that without the fun, we would not achieve quality, and without quality we would not achieve financial success. This seems to place happiness higher than the other purposes. Instead, I hope it is clear that the notion was that we would not let the inevitable and healthy pressure and disagreements overpower the friendships or make us wish we were doing something else. We were reminding ourselves to keep those business pressures in proper perspective.
Also, as you can see, we had the purpose of building a high quality, well-respected, industry-changing company as the driver ahead of the "pure profit motive". Paul's Google vector, (1,L) where L is a very large number, shows how well we achieved this purpose, and we had lots of fun working together. I think all good startups have this approach, and few VC-backed entrepreneurs are driven solely to get-rich-quick.
Pursuit of purpose (above profit motive) and happiness are clearly intertwined in the VC world as well. In proper balance, and with good measures of luck and management skill, the profit will follow. I have no idea how many other startups are as explicit as we were in thinking about purpose and happiness, but I know I most enjoy working with those startups where such values are paramount.
Starting with a public health warning - avoid this bar!
Go Lean Chocolate Turtle Roll from Kashi
First bite: took 5 seconds to bite off; no chocolate taste – just ersatz sweetness
Last bite = 2nd bite, couldn’t stand any more
Nutrition info: 190 cal, 45 from fat. 5g=8% fat, 1.5g=8% sat fat. 28g carb 6g fiber. 12g protein. 200mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 0 (yes, zero!)
At the other end of the spectrum, I tried another Pria Double Chocolate Cookie bar, which I had forgotten I had tried before and given a 5. I give it a 5 again. Excellent!
Clif Mojo Mountain Mix
First bite: chewy, crispy and salty - a real workout - kind of like tasty cardboard
Last bite: much less pleasant than the first
Nutrition info: 200 cal, 80 from fat. 8g=13% fat, 1.5g=8% sat fat. 24g carb 2g fiber. 8g protein. 260mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 1
Balance Bar Gold Crunch Chocolate Chocolate
First bite: hard work, sweet, hint of fruit in a good chocolate flavor
Last bite: substantial chew although easier than the first bite, but not as soft as I would really like
Nutrition info: 210 calories, 60 from fat. 6g=9% fat, 4g=20% sat fat. 23g carb <1g fiber. 14g protein. 140mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 4
Snickers Marathon Energy Bar
First bite: hard work; does not taste of Snickers (it's all about the brand)
Last bite: hard work; never again
Nutrition info: 220 calories, 70 from fat. 7g=11% fat, 2.5g=13% sat fat. 30g carb 2g fiber. 10g protein. 230mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 1
Odwalla Superfood micronutrient fruit juice drink.
First gulp: sweet but not cloying - feels nutritious (it's all in the packaging) - good
Last gulp: as good as the first
Nutrition info: 130 calories, 0 from fat. 0.5g=1% fat, 0g sat fat. 30g carb 0g fiber. 1g protein. 10mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 4.5
Today I accomplished a half century - I rode 51 miles this morning (three times up and down the Minuteman Bikeway between Arlington and Bedford). This was a repeat of last week's 34 mile ride, with an extra loop added on. I worked hard on the first two loops, and took it a little easier on the last one. I started just before 7am and finished before noon. My moving average speed was 13mph, even though overall it was around 10mph (obviously, since s=vt). The difference is made up of the time when I stopped for breaks (or to cross roads).
The Hazon ride is 65 miles on the first day (a metric century = 100km), so I am now within striking distance. I also think that the pace will be a little easier, spreading the ride over the entire day rather than doing it all in the morning.
I see from my Garmin Edge 305 that I am supposed to have burned 2700 calories on this morning's ride. I am not sure I can believe this - that is equivalent to more than a whole day's caloric intake (although I was ravenous on returning home). If anyone can comment I would be interested to know.
I can feel the ride in my leg muscles and, interestingly enough, in my hips. I adjusted the bike seat slightly because of this at mile 44, and it felt better on the home stretch, but I wonder if I need more help getting the bike properly fitted.
Well, off to eat more!
It was a fun hour or so of riding (about 11.5 miles) to continue to get a feel for the bike, this time in slower circumstances with lots of other foot and bike traffic on the paths.
The weather was beautiful and the ride was great. Thanks, Josh.
If a Google vector is represented as (P, L), then P = the number of the first entry about you, and L = the number of consecutive entries from that first one which are also about you.
Today, my Google vector is (6,1): when I enter Richard Dale into Google the sixth entry is about me, but the seventh is not (only one entry the first time I am mentioned). My partner Greg Gretsch has a Google vector of (1, 53) as far as I can tell (the first 53 consecutive entries are about him).
On the Bikeway we saw the beautiful meadows of Purple Loosestrife I had seen first a couple of weeks ago and mentioned as an invasive alien species. However, we also saw another alien (reinforcements perhaps?). This time it was a llama. Yes, you read that right - someone was walking a llama (on a leash), and talking endearingly to it, as if to a pet.
At least it wasn't a pushmi-pullyu.
Hannah (age 13), who was listening in, waited until the end and quoted back to us the key teenager-gets-to-quote-out-of-context-phrase "I knew it, you guys don't want us to be happy." She said it with a big grin - she scored her point, but she had heard ours.
It's three weeks to the Hazon NY Ride, and between now and then I have a (short) out-of-town business trip, and a five day family vacation. My training, which is really about logging hours on the bike, now needs to be as carefully scheduled as all the other things that I fit into my time.
Add to this the fact I am working to get Hannah ready to ride as well, and she is away an extra four days during this time, and you have another layer of complexity.
This is the spot where I could lament the carefree days of my youth, where recreation was just that. On the other hand, without the goal ahead of me, I would certainly not be having so much fun with the training, the blogging, and hanging out with Hannah.
All in all, purpose brings happiness.
My good friend Ilan Segev brought to my attention an interview with Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and Chairman of GE, where he commented on this great news about globalization:
More people will graduate in the United States in 2006 with sports exercise degrees than electrical engineering degrees. So, if we want to be the massage capital of the world, we're well on our way. But we're not going to be on our way to develop the kind of jobs we want for our economy — you know, the $20-an-hour, $25-an-hour, $30-an-hour jobs. They are not the ones being created by our education system right now.
This is great! Not only are there going to be sufficient massage therapists for all cyclists, but he is forecasting that the hourly rate is going to go down significantly. I am lucky to find a good massage therapist for $60 per hour right now. All in all, good news for cyclists.
With this news, I imagine we will all be much too relaxed to worry about the impact on other sectors of the economy.
Thanks to our chiropractor, Michael Weinman, who is team chiropractor for the New England Revolution (MLS Soccer Team), we got four tickets to tonight's game against Kansas City. Hannah and I went with my friend Jason, and his son Dani who is friendly with Hannah. Although it was a 0-0 game we had a great time in club seats. The Revs play at Gillette Stadium (home of the NE Patriots). It is a big stadium, and a weeknight Revs game gets a small crowd. You know it's a small crowd when you can hear someone's cell phone ring from the next section.
However, time with friends and family: wicked nasty!
According to my trusty Garmin Edge 305, I averaged 13.3 mph. Going out (uphill) I averaged 12 mph, and coming back I averaged 14.8 mph. The last leg from Lexington Center back to Arlington was actually my fastest (15.3 mph) and my heart rate average across the entire ride was just below my cardio target of 144 (no faster on the last leg than the first).
Apparently I burned 1800 calories. During the ride, I had an energy bar, and energy drink and lots of water. When I got home I had an early lunch and started a second energy bar. For the good of the public health I must warn you not to try the GoLean Chocolate Turtle Roll from Kashi. It is unpleasant in the extreme and it might have an "optimized glycemic response" but it sure has a fully pessimized taste-texture response. Avoid this bar. Full details in an upcoming food posting. I had some yogurt instead.
I think I need to make a small adjustment on my left cleat to allow my foot to sit slightly differently, and 5th gear is still giving me sporadic problems. This is even after the rear cassette was changed, so I wonder if the problem is with the shifter mechanism... always more to do.
Never one to leave a winning topic alone, I am wondering, based on this morning's ride, whether my career as a cyclist will be limited by my bladder size.
When we arrived we found Guy already to go and unloaded our bikes. The first thing we found was Hannah's bike mysteriously had a flat rear wheel. Oh well. I had the requisite equipment and a spare inner tube, and Guy was quick to take the lead for a fast tube change. As we pumped up the tire we felt we were good to go... for about 15 seconds. The tire was flat again.
Hmmm... something more serious going on. The bike is about 72 hours old, so Hannah and I said goodbye to Guy who went off for a fun ride on his own, and we went back to Wheelworks. They could not find the problem, but retaped the wheel and threw in a couple of extra inner tubes for us. Hannah and I decided not to be disheartened and drove back to the Comm Ave carriage lane for our own ride. Her tires had held up through the gruelling journey back from Belmont and we spent 40 minutes riding up and down. Given Hannah's newness on this bike (on any bike), this may have been the best place for a ride today anyway.
Friends and family are being very generous sponsoring both of us, for which we are both very grateful. We are looking forward to riding together, and today might not have been a fabulous start, but it was a good one.
Here are the next three entries in my ongoing quest... two come in at 4.5 points out of 5, and one at 3.5. Not bad.
Organic Food Bar Belgium Chocolate Chip
First bite: soft, grainy, not very chocolatey
Last bite: reminds me of honey cake, fruity, actually delicious
Nutrition info: 310 cal, 140 from fat. 15g=24% fat, 2.5g=13% sat fat. 34g carb 7g fiber. 12g protein. 5mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 4.5
Extra commentary: I am surprisingly positive on the taste and feel of this bar, despite its low chocolate quotient. Despite considering myself an informed consumer, I am still a sucker for the blurb. This bar packaging states: Most “health bars” are acid-forming processed dead food with artificial sweetners and ingredients. Our Cold processed, Enzymatically Active Organic Food Bar™ is your solution to eating truly healthy on the go. I love the final note “Save the Children! Please place bar in Lunch Box!”
Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie
First bite: Sweet, Gooey
Last bite: Subtle but good chocolate flavor; some effort to chew, but not a jaw breaker
Nutrition info: 240 cal, 40 from fat. 4.5g=7% fat, 1.5g=10% sat fat. 45g carb 5g fiber. 10g protein. 150mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 4.5
Rocky Road flavor Balance Bar Gold
First bite: Generic chocolate flavor plus caramel, chewy
Last bite: Dry, artificial flavor; jaw workout
Nutrition info: 210 cal, 60 from fat. 7g=11% fat, 4g=20% sat fat. 22g carb >1g fiber. 15g protein. 90mg sodium.
Overall points out of 5: 3.5
I last rode on Sunday. Given my continuing problems with 5th gear I dropped my bike off at Wheelworks on Tuesday, and only picked it up yesterday (when I got my new cleats fitted for clipless pedals). I was disappointed to see that the forecast for this morning called for rain, since I had hoped to go out riding. By 8.30am it seemed to have cleared up so off I went.
First time riding with clipless pedals - went more or less OK - read on.
First time wearing fancy cycling gloves - thank goodness - read on.
First time riding in the rain. After about 9 miles (up and down the Comm Ave carriage lane), I noticed the sky getting ominously darker. Sure enough, as I headed west away from T stop at BC, the heavens opened. There was a wonderful torrential downpour, a Boston summer special.
So, first time riding in the rain.
I decided to find cover under some trees, on the sidewalk, and as I turned off the road (at the top of a wicked grade), the bike slipped out from under me, and I joined the ranks of riders who have fallen. Luckily I was riding slowly, had gloves on and landed pretty easily. I landed on my right hand and right hip. My feet came out of the pedals really fast (but not fast enough!), and I ended up with hardly a bruise.
I think the bike is fine - the brakes needed a little manual pushing and pulling to realign, and I was all set (if very wet).
So that was my first fall, at least on this bike, since a childhood fall I recalled when I started the blog ... and it gives me a new first to remember.
After 20 minutes of watching the weather I decided to ride in the rain for a second time and rode the two miles home in lighter rain.
If that is the worst fall I have, I will not complain at all.
buying her a bike.
It's a Trek FX 7200 (2005), and it is Hannah's first bike with gears. Most excitingly, Hannah is going to join me on the Hazon ride. From now on the sponsorship link below will point to Hannah's web page - please sponsor her!
It is also a great way to get a workout in an air-conditioned facility in the still hot evening of one of the hottest days on record in Boston.
On the comedic front, I have no photos to hand of me dancing, but here is one of me getting made up before a dance festival performance of the parent-child troupe in which Hannah and I performed over the last couple of years. (Those are Hannah's hands applying the lipstick.)
This will always list my current venture cycling equipment and accessories. It will also include a list of equipment or accessories I may yet buy, and then stuff I have discarded. Finally it will list blog postings on the topic.
Venture Capitalists need a lot less equipment than venture cyclists to get their job done. A car, a phone and email is pretty much it. Of course some VC's seem to need much more, but that is a topic for another day.