Register to ride

Now is a great time to register for the Hazon 2007 NY Jewish Environmental Bike Ride.

The $50 summer discount for riders has been extended until July 4 - just enter "summer" as a discount code while registering.

As of July 4, prices will be rising: Riders $350, Crew $225.

VC:VC Cadence

Hue Rhodes raced on the Stanford University cycling team for three years. He competed in both the Collegiate and the US National Track Cycling Championships. Hue is one of the Hazon 2007 NY ride training "coaches" and sends out training tips to the registrants every few weeks. Last week Hue let us know that we should be riding at a cadence of 80-95 rpm. Rpm measures rotations (of your legs) per minute. Why such a high cadence (for that is the term)?

A couple of reasons. It's the ideal cadence for burning fat (now I have your attention!) Pushing heavier gears taxes your muscles more than your cardiovascular system. You end up burning more sugar, generating lactic acid, and getting more fatigued over time. Watch the pro's. Lance rode at 100 rpm for the whole Tour de France. Your body needs a mix of fat and sugar to ride (a LOT more on that, later.) It's like a carburetor that mixes air and gas. Heavier cadence - less fat, more sugar. Lighter cadence - more fat, less sugar. And we all want to burn fat.

So this morning, back on my bike after two weeks, and riding with Guy Sapirstein for our "regular" 18 mile ride, I was thinking about cadence. It turns out my cadence is in the 70's - not bad, but not there yet.

I also realized that thinking about cadence, in the terms Hue suggests, is also relevant for venture capital. Startups need to match their activity (and their spending) to the conditions around them. In order to build and maintain momentum the trick is use the right mix of human, intellectual and financial capital (don't ask what is sugar and what is fat). Too slow and the energy level goes down, money is spent with no results and the venture fails. Too fast and the people feel burnt out, the money is spent down before the benefits of building can create the momentum to get the next financing, and again the venture fails.

At the right cadence, we spend enough to grow momentum but without getting ahead of ourselves. The company learns how to grow just ahead of the planned growth path so that each extra dollar spent yields more than a dollar of new value to the venture. Success!


My eighth grade daughter, Hannah, graduated from JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School, last night. It was a wonderful and moving occasion. Hannah has been at the school since Kindergarten and she and her 10 classmates are as close as siblings in many ways (the love, the hate, the arguments, the laughter). As Yossi Abramowitz writes, JCDS is full of the values of Peoplehood - the positive values that unite being Jewish behind a mission for creating good in the world. I am so proud of my association with the school, as a parent and a trustee, because I see so much potential for good in our graduates.

Go, Hannah!

Susan Silverman (married, as it happens, to Yossi) and I were asked to give the parents' blessing to the graduates as part of the ceremony. We had lots of fun in Starbucks over the last few weeks working on what to say ... here is the script we followed last night:

Richard: Why were we asked to give this blessing?
Susan: Maybe because we are the two parents who cry most shamelessly at school gatherings.
Richard: I did cry at soccer last month.
Susan: One year I cried at the math fair.
Richard: (to the kids) I do remember us both tearing up at school in 1999 at the mere mention of your upcoming kabalat siddur.
Susan: And now, we are poised to offer a blessing as you graduate.
Richard: Blessings often come with a laying of hands -- like the weekly blessing of children at the beginning of Shabbat.
Susan: Hands sometimes represent blessings ... and sometimes they are blessings:
Richard: They are the hands that held yours as you entered this school for the first time.
Susan: They are the hands that guided your first shapes and words,
Richard: the hands that helped you point to a new letter in the Torah scroll,
Susan: and the hands that signaled for you to slow down in the hallway.
Richard: They are the hands that stapled and cut and photocopied.
Susan: They are the hands that held yours when life got hard.
Richard: They are the hands of we, your parents and also of teachers and staff and friends
Susan: … and parents of friends, and siblings, and siblings of friends...
Richard: who circled you to protect you, nourish you and grow you.
Susan: Your hands also bring us blessings: Waving goodbye to us as you became confident kindergartners
Richard: Creating art work that we put on our walls and fridges
Susan: Holding our hands as you showed us your classrooms full of your work
Richard: Clapping joyfully as you sing together
Susan: Being at JCDS is like being called to the Torah, so we invoke this blessing.
Richard: מי שברך אבותינו ואמותינו
Together: May God, who blessed our ancestors, bless you, who are graduating today from this place of learning and of Torah. May God bless you with health and well-being and love. And may the Holy One guard you and send you blessing and success in all the work of your hands.
Susan: hands drawing doodles in your notebook
Richard: hands drawing a plan for a better world
Susan: hands clapping as you sing and make music
Richard: hands clapping as you celebrate community
Susan: hands pointing, like a child, at something beautiful or unexpected
Richard: hands pointing out injustice -- and raising a fist of protest
Susan: hands stretching out to a friend
Richard: hands stretching out to those in need
Susan: hands raised in meditation -- seeking inner peace
Richard: hands raised in action -- seeking peace in the world
Susan: hands holding a siddur, or a chumash,
Richard: hands holding a yad to read theTorah
Susan: hands wrapped in tefilin - entwined with God's words
Richard: hands offering a blessing - bringing God into the world
Susan: ... your hands turning your thoughts into actions
Richard: ... your hands turning your ideals into reality.
Together: May God bless you, and may the work of your hands bring greater wisdom, peace and justice to all Israel and all the world, and let us say ... Amen.

All the buzzwords, none of the buzz

A moment of synthesis...

Early on in my blog I posted about the longest Starbucks order.

Over the weekend I realized I could marry this with my love-hate relationships with buzzwords.

My favorite Starbucks drink at this time of year is a medium decaf no-whip skim-milk iced mocha, light on the ice.

Notice how I am getting in all of the buzzwords, with none of the buzz: no caffeine, no whole milk, no whipped cream, not even all that much ice! At least I am not attenuating the chocolate (yes, I know its not real chocolate).

18 Miles

Today we had another beautiful Newton morning in the upper 60's... and I had another wonderful 18 mile ride with Guy Sapirstein on the Needham/Dover South Street loop. This time our moving average was 15 mph, although with rest stops and chain events (bike chains), our ride took about 90 minutes.

On an unrelated topic, Bill Gates was the guest speaker at Harvard's commencement (graduation ceremonies) this year. Gates was a Harvard undergrad when he dropped out to start Microsoft. He finally has a Harvard degree (honorary), but his speech is really worth reading. The soundbite quote is

I want to exhort each of the graduates here to take on an issue – a complex problem, a deep inequity, and become a specialist on it. If you make it the focus of your career, that would be phenomenal. But you don’t have to do that to make an impact. For a few hours every week, you can use the growing power of the Internet to get informed, find others with the same interests, see the barriers, and find ways to cut through them.
Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.

What a great challenge to us all.

Join me on the Carriage Lane

Another 11 miles this morning ... what great weather!

If you are in Newton and interested in joining in some low-key rides feel free to join an email list where I and others will share plans for rides and invite others to join in. The group is called Carriage Lane Cyclists since riding on the Comm Ave Carriage Lane (rather than 40 miles before breakfast ... you know how you are) typifies the rides.

My regular ride right now is 11 miles on the Carriage Lane, with longer rides on the quiet roads on Sundays. I expect my ride length to increase over the summer (and to do some more adventerous weekday rides when the roads are quieter in July/Aug).

Click here to find out more about the email group.

Two kinds of People

There are two kinds of people: those who split the world into two kinds of people and those who don't. I guess I fall into the first kind (based on this and this).

Indira Ghandi had an interesting take on this: "There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there."
There are two kinds of people in the world, ...
... those who are psychotic and those who are invisible purple clowns trying to get me.
... those who know who Captain Feathersword is, and those without children.
... those who listen when you say “There are two kinds of people…” and whose who interrupt with a haughty skepticism.

Apparently the wonderful movie "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" used this formula several times.

Really, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who rode 10.5 miles on their recumbent bicycle this morning, and the unlucky ones.

Someone else said there are actually three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't.

Two decimal places

There is something faintly absurd about reporting that I cycled 13.71 miles this morning. Is my Garmin Edge 305 (cyclists' GPS) really that accurate? If I told you I cycled 14 miles I would be exaggerating. If I told you I cycled 13.5 miles I would be under reporting ... what is a venture cyclist to do?

I cycled out on Comm Ave, up Grove Street, along Quinobequin Road, down Chestnut and Oak, and then home up Needham St to Centre St. At 8am on a Sunday morning these choices are sane, even pleasant. Most other times during the week they are close to suicidal for a cyclist.

Someone on a bike yelled out "Hello Richard" as we passed each other on Comm Ave. Please identify yourself if it was you!