Saturday, May 23, 2009

The massive Google, Kirkland, Cylcing update of great glory

Here it is the long awaited Google/Seattle(Kirkland) update. I've been down in Kirkland for three full weeks now, so I figure it's time for a proper update.

So far my internship at Google is going very well. The work environment is fantastic: relaxed in the right ways and intense where it should be. The focus is on good product done well as should be evidenced by the many Google offerings we all use on a day to day basis. I don't really know what else to say (that isn't covered by NDA), other than that I'm really glad I stepped up and applied for this internship.

Google has three offices in the Seattle area, two in Kirkland and one in Seattle's (very cool) Fremont district. I'm in one of the Kirkland offices overlooking Lake Washington with quite the view. The Kirkland/Bellevue/Redmond area has a suburban feel and is fairly spread out. Surprisingly everything is well connected by streets with bike lanes making it easy to get from place to place by bike. The problem comes when busing or trying to get over the lake to Seattle. The bus system isn't great with buses coming at most every 30 minutes going to every hour in the evenings. Getting to Seattle is a minimum of two buses taking at the shortest over an hour. Cycling to Seattle is doable, but is a long enough ride to be discouraging for purposes other than the ride itself. With all that said, there is enough on this side of the lake that all my needs are pretty much taken care of.

Before heading down to Kirkland I made the decision that 2009 was going to be the year of the bicycle for me, and so far I've been keeping it up with time spent on my bike 14 out of the last 17 days. I've discovered that they don't know from flat in this part of the world. It's not that Vancouver is flattest terrain in the world, especially when compared to Edmonton for example, but here it's a whole new scale. Basically any ride from where I'm living involves at minimum a hill climb on the way home, and most likely more than that. It's actually a lot of fun, and my fitness on the bike has already improved in the three weeks I've been here.

When I arrived one of the other interns mentioned that Kirkland has a yearly cycling event called the 7 Hills of Kirkland, so of course I couldn't help but enter. There are three distances: 40, 60, and 100miles. In a moment of insanity I registered for the 100mile distance, so in two days from now I'll be setting out in the morning to ride 160 km over some of decently impressive hills to the tune of about 2100 meters worth of climbing. Should be fun, and considering the longest continuous ride I've ever done was just over 100 km a big challenge as well.

I've also recently switched to a Brooks B17 Narrow saddle which so far is completely amazing. It's orders of magnitude more comfortable than the stock saddle it replaced. I'll report back after my ride on Monday, but so far I'm not looking back.

The only real downside to this summer internship is being away from Ilana for the better part of 14 weeks. While we'll visit on the weekends, being apart makes for some long evenings and large phone bills. Other than that I'm enjoying my summer thus far, and this internship is a nice change of pace that I'm hoping will leave me energized for the upcoming academic year.

I'm going to try and update this blog every couple of weeks, but, as past posting frequency might indicate, no promises ;)

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