Day 364: Bicycle t-shirts, iPhone decal and other cool stuff

2 01 2011

Some of the cool bike swag Carrick got me for Christmas this year!

T-shirts. (The green one is from Carrick's parents)

L-R: Spinervals Lean & Mean DVD; Backroad Bicycling in Kentucky's Bluegrass; bumper sticker; Bicycle pasta (tiny litte noodles shaped like bikes!)

Decal for my iPhone.

And some of the money I received for Christmas from my parents is going towards buying the ContourHD helmet cam, which I plan to order this week. Stay tuned for a review!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 360: “Across America by Bicycle” and “Ghost Trails”

29 12 2010

Across America by Bicycle

A couple weeks ago I started reading a book called “Across America by Bicycle: Alice and Bobbi’s Summer on Wheels” by Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery.  The book describes the adventure of two retirement-age women who ride across country from Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine – a journey of over 3,500 miles. I was about 30 pages into the book when I misplaced it (presumably at work which is where I had it last). I found it odd that I lost it. I don’t recall ever losing a book before. I remember having it in my hand after leaving the cafeteria at work during my lunch break. After that, I’m not sure where it went. I searched my bookbag, my car, the house, my desk at work … everywhere. So far it’s still missing (along with one of my favorite bookmarks my Mom made me). I ended up ordering another copy from a bookstore and I received it last week. I plan to start the book again soon.

Ghost Trails

In the meantime, I just finished “Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime” by Jill Homer, deputy editor of Adventure Cyclist magazine. You may be familiar with Jill from her blog Jill Outside (formerly Up In Alaska). “Ghost Trails” is an account of Jill’s experience during the 350-mile ultra-endurance Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska. (The race involves either the 350-mile route or an even more insane 1,100-mile route all the way to Nome.) Jill was relatively new to cycling when she decided to enter the race. The annual race includes not only cyclists, but runners also. While reading the book, I kept thinking, “How can I complain about cold weather when it’s 25 degrees?” Throughout the race, Jill describes cycling or walking in 30-below zero conditions (or worse). Racers faced frostbite, and hunger not to mention the extreme mental and physical exhaustion. One runner in the race dropped out early after becoming blinded on the trail due to frostbite on her eyes. Not her eyelids, mind you – her eyes. She apparently was running into the wind with no goggles. Ugh!

I have absolutely no intentions to ever enter such a race as the Iditarod Trail Invitational, nor am I a fan of winter weather in general. But the book was a fascinating read and well-written. I found it very difficult to put down. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 354: Under-$25 gifts for cyclists

23 12 2010

In case you’ve procrastinated too long and you’re trying to find reasonably-priced gifts for that cyclist in your life, About.com’s list of Best Gifts Under $25 (for cyclists) might help. Of course, most of these items would probably need to be ordered online, so you may still be out of luck.

These are some of the under-$25 items I’ve purchased this year that I think would make great last-minute gift ideas:

What are some of your favorite cycling items for under $25?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 298: Bike Snob book

28 10 2010

Bike Snob's book

I recently started reading Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. If you’ve not read it yet, I highly recommend it. Just like his blog, no one is immune from his ridicule and scorn, but he also offers a lot of good advice and tips on cycling. Not to mention humor (which is probably funny only to cyclists). There have been several times when I’ve been reading the book on my lunch hour, laughed out loud and received weird looks from strangers sitting nearby. I particularly enjoyed his description of the world of cycling:

“The world of cycling is like a big bowl of Lucky Charms — it’s full of lots of goofy-looking figures in different colors and shapes, but they all come together to be delicious.”

Obviously, there’s much more to the book than that, but I don’t want the copyright police to come after me. 🙂 If you’re looking for funny, quick read, be sure to check this one out.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Strawberry, peach, banana smoothie = 5.5 points

Lunch:
— Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat = 7.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Apple = 1 points

Dinner:
— Grilled chicken sandwich = 8 points
— 1 cup potato salad = 8 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 253: Cycling – Philosophy for Everyone

13 09 2010

Cycling - Philosophy for Everyone

As I was looking at Adventure Cycling Association’s Web site, I noticed a recent posted titled, “Biking Books That Have Recently Crossed My Desk.” One book description in particular caught my interest: “Cycling – Philosophy for Everyone: A Philosophical Tour de Force,” a collection of essays by notable figures in the cycling world combined with philosophers such as Aquinas, Socrates and others. The press release for the book describes it as “the first book to cover the philosophical territory of the cyclist lifestyle.” The book includes contributions from the areas of literature, kinesiology, cultural studies, and political science as well as from philosophers. Editors Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza and Mike Austin “use humor, their passion for cycling, and their deep knowledge of contemporary issues, to illuminate us on the ethical issues related to success, women and cycling, and the environment.”

I’ve added it to my ever-growing list of books to read. Too many book and not enough time.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— 1 cup organic low fat vanilla yogurt = 3 points
— 1/2 cup organic granola = 2 points
— 1 medium banana = 1.5 points

Lunch:
— Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat = 7.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Dinner:
— Cheese quesadilla (whole wheat tortilla, fat free cheese) = 3 points
— 1 cup LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Snack:
— Frozen fruit bar = 1 point

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 239: Calculating heart rate training zones

30 08 2010

Ride Your Way Lean by Selene Yeager

 

I recently purchased a book called “Ride Your Way Lean: The Ultimate Plan for Burning Fat and Getting Fit on a Bike” by Bicycling.com’s “Fit Chick,” Selene Yeager. Last year, when I was first getting interested in cycling, the first book I bought was her book “Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling.” Her books really do a great job explaining various aspects of cycling and training routines without getting overly technical and tedious. I’ll discuss “Ride Your Way Lean” in more detail once I finish it, but one of the things I thought was most interesting is the various training zones. I’m trying to not get bogged down in all the acronyms that seem to be prevalent in cycling: MHR (maximum heart rate); VO2 max (the max amount of oxygen your body can use); LT (lactate threshold); RPE (rate of perceived effort) and RBI (rest between intervals) just to name a few. 

To prepare for one of the training programs outlined in the book, I’ve figured out my maximum heart rate, which seems to be 179 (based on the common 220 minus your age formula). In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I suck at math. Like, I really suck. Sad, I know. Keeping that in mind, I’ve used the formula in the book (MHR x % of MHR) to calculate my percentage of MHR (of 179) for each training zone: 

— Zone 1 (recovery, easy day):
60-64% MHR = 107-114
(RPE scale 1-2) 

— Zone 2 (aerobic endurance):
65-74% MHR = 116-132
(RPE 3-4) 

— Zone 3 (high-level, tempo pace):
75-84% MHR = 134-150
(RPE 5-6) 

— Zone 4 (lactate threshold, race pace):
85-94% MHR = 152-168
(RPE 7-8) 

— Zone 5 (max effort)
95-100% MHR = 170-179
(RPE 9-10) 

Great. So now I’ve got that figured out I think. (I also found a heart rate training calculator online — good for people who have math-suckage skills like mine. The numbers seemed very close to what I found using the formula in the book). I realize these numbers are only rough estimates. Overall health and fitness, medications, diet, sleep, outdoor or indoor temperatures, and other things can affect a person’s heart rate. Judging on my heart rate monitor which I always wear while riding, I’m usually in Zone 3 for most of my ride. Obviously when I do hills, my heart rate increases pretty quickly into the Zone 4 range, then quickly drops back down to Zone 2 or 3 when I’m finished climbing. 

Here’s where you cycling people can help me out: am I correct in understanding that intervals help build not only endurance but strength, which will help my body more easily adapt to the harder efforts? And what happens if my heart rate reaches the 95-100 percent range for a short time? I assume I won’t just drop dead, but that seems like a reasonable question. Once I approach the 164 or 165 range, I tend to back off. Mainly because I’m panting like a wild dog by that point. 

What is your preferred method for training? Do you follow a structured training program? Did it take long before you noticed an improvement in your cycling (particularly climbing)? 

Today’s food journal: 

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat english muffin = 1 point
— 1 Tbsp peanut butter = 2 points 

Lunch:
— Grilled cheese sandwich on wheat = 8 points
— Iced tea = 0 points 

Dinner:
— 1 soft pretzel = 5.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points 

Snacks:
— WW fudge brownie = 3 points 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 232: “Lost Cyclist” author visits local bookstore

23 08 2010

The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance

 

A book I’ve had on my “to-read” list for quite a while is David Herlihy’s “The Lost Cyclist.” I had first learned of the book on Tim’s blog, An Old Guy on Two Wheels. Here’s the description of the book: 

“In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He finally got his chance by recasting himself as a champion of the downsized “safety-bicycle” with inflatable tires, the forerunner of the modern road bike that was about to become wildly popular. In the spring of 1892 he quit his accounting job and gamely set out west to cover twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent for Outing magazine. Two years later, after having survived countless near disasters and unimaginable hardships, he approached Europe for the final leg.  He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. Bringing to light a wealth of information, Herlihy’s gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. This untold story culminates with Sachtleben’s heroic effort to bring Lenz’s accused murderers to justice, even as troubled Turkey teetered on the edge of collapse.” 

I’m almost finished with the current book I’m reading, so I plan to start “The Lost Cyclist” next. I hope to finish it in time for the author’s visit to Carmichael’s, one of our local bookstores, on Sept. 9. 

Today’s food journal: 

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat light English muffin = 1 point
— 1 Tbsp peanut butter = 2 points
— 1 small banana = 1.5 points 

Lunch:
— Veggie hotdog = 1 point
— light hot dog bun = 1 point
— small apple = 1 point 

Dinner:
— 3 slices Amy’s organic cheese pizza = 9.5 points 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )  

Thanks for visiting.