Day 365: Woo hoo! I survived 365 days!

3 01 2011

This time last year I embarked on a project I wasn’t sure I could finish. I started this blog 365 days ago. The original intention of the daily project was to share my thoughts about cycling and my attempts at weight loss. I had success with some things … other things, not so much. I plan to continue the blog posts, although it will probably be on a weekly rather than daily basis.

Looking back over the past year, this blog project has been a learning experience which enabled me to meet quite a few fellow cyclists (both in person and in the online world). While I may not have accomplished everything I originally set out to do, here are some of the things I learned from the project:

  • A 365-day commitment is much more time-consuming than I expected. Silly me. I figured each day’s post would only take a few minutes. Most of them took close to an hour, depending on the post’s topic. Some needed a bit of research, which took more time. Other posts just took a while to write because I’m not terribly comfortable writing. Getting past the initial stage of staring at the blank computer screen took me some getting used to.
  • Carrick has the patience of a saint (see previous item above). I’m not sure which one of us is happier that the daily posts are ending and life will return to normal. She’s been very patient with me through the project and is always very encouraging, which was a huge help. Thank you, Carrick.
  • I lack willpower for dieting. My original intention when I started this blog was to learn better eating habits and lose 20-30 pounds. I enrolled in Weight Watchers in July and have since lost 11 pounds. Not as close to my goal weight as I wanted to be by the end of the year, but I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. I’m learning to view my food choices as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It’s been a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but I’m getting there. And I’m not giving up.
  • Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. Work, after-work commitments and daily blog posts sucked up much more time than I anticipated, cutting into my cycling time (not to mention my neglect of my photoblog). I’ve now learned I need to allow for time in my schedule to enjoy regular bike outings, whether those are regular rides with Carrick, group rides or solo rides. By not planning in advance, I often let the opportunity slip by.
  • I learned to fix a bike. Not a big deal to most people, but if you knew how mechanically uninclined I really am, you would understand how pleased I am that Carrick and I went a little out of our comfort zone and took the Park Tool School classes to learn maintenance and repairs.
  • Louisville is a pretty awesome bike-friendly city. In fact, it’s #21 on Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities.
  • My “rides wish list” keeps growing. Each time I hear about an interesting ride, I add it to the list. In 2011, I plan to make a more concerted effort to do some of the rides. I’m particularly interested in trying to do some long-distance overnight touring with panniers, tent, and other necessary equipment. The only thing I lack is a touring bike. Maybe that’s the next big thing to save money for.
  • I had a lot of fun rides. I may not have racked up a few thousand miles on the bike this year, like several commuters I know, but I still had a blast. Some of my favorite rides this year included (in no particular order): The Indy N.I.T.E. Ride; Lexington’s Legacy Trail; Back Bay Nature Preserve in Virginia Beach; McAlpine Locks and Dam; the Louisville Loop; and the annual Hike & Bike event.
  • I can do anything I put my mind to. Actually, I knew this before I started the blog. As I get older, I realize that really the only thing preventing me from achieving my goals is myself and I need to work on that. I intended to ride my first century ride this year, but I didn’t make it. I did, however, ride a half century during our Louisville Loop to Farnsley-Moreman ride this summer (and 50 miles of the 100 Miles of Nowhere ride back in May). Small victories, but ones I’m excited about. I learned how rewarding it can be to push myself past my comfort level at times. The sense of accomplishment inspires me to keep trying and keep pushing myself.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog this year and for leaving comments, tips, suggestions and encouragement. I greatly appreciate your support and I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog even though the posts will be weekly instead of daily. Probably a relief to everyone. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.

Advertisements




Day 268: Athlete’s HoneyMilk

28 09 2010

Athlete's HoneyMilk

 

Did you know that yesterday was National Chocolate Milk Day? Yeah, me neither. I saw it mentioned online yesterday after I published last night’s post. There seems to be a national holiday for almost everything. Much the same as there seems to be a patron saint for just about everything (even one for cyclists, as I mentioned here and here.) 

I couldn’t let National Chocolate Milk Day pass by without participating by drinking a big glass of ice cold milk. My favorite is Horizon Organic low fat chocolate milk. When I’ve had a good bike ride and come home hot and tired, I pour a glass of chocolate milk as a recovery drink. It’s probably my imagination, but it seems to help me feel less tired and I rarely experience sore muscles after a ride. Oddly, though, I hate regular white milk. 

The link from Women’s Running magazine mentions a product called Athlete’s HoneyMilk, a high-protein drink which is made from real milk and honey. It seems to be marketed as a lactose-free alternative to milk, but I’m a little confused how it’s lactose-free if it’s made from real milk. Maybe I just missed something in the description of the product. I’d like to try it, but I’m not sure it’s available in stores. (You can order it online on their Web site.) 

What’s your favorite recovery drink or snack? If any of you have tried HoneyMilk, let me know. I’m curious to know what you think. 

Today’s food journal (I completely blew it at dinner tonight, but I’m back on track tomorrow): 

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat bagel thin = 1 point
— 1 Tbsp peanut butter = 2 points
— 1 small banana = 1.5 points 

Lunch:
— Spinach salad = 0 points
— Light Lime salad dressing = 2 points
— 1 apple = 1 point
— Weight Watchers chocolate brownie = 1 point 

Snack:
— 1 sugar-free jello cup = 0 points 

Dinner:
— 8″ pepperoni pizza (thin crust) = 18 points (HOLY CRAP! Guess I’m fasting tomorrow.)
— 1 breadstick = 2 points
— Iced tea = 0 points 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 257: Louisville makes list of “America’s Foodiest Towns” in Bon Appetit magazine

17 09 2010

The other day, I noticed a link to an article in Bon Appétit magazine for “America’s Foodiest Towns.” As the sub-heading explained: “Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton tries to balance exercise with excessive eating in this year’s Bon Appétit award-winning town—where residents enjoy great food as much the great outdoors.” The city taking the #1 spot of course is Boulder, CO. The article explained their judging criteria as, “small towns (fewer than 250,000 people) or with a small-town feel, quality farmers’ markets, concerned farmers, dedicated food media, first-rate restaurants, talented food artisans, and a community of food lovers.”

Louisville was listed as a runner-up: “For three years this bourbon-producing city with a soft spot for Community Supported Agriculture has made our runners-up list–no small feat. And the scene just keeps getting better: The restaurant lineup continues to mature, and there’s a new generation producing artisanal foods.” While Louisville is much larger than 250,000 people, it does have a small-town feel. And yes, there a TON of great restaurants here, many of which have great patios with outdoor seating – perfect for people watching while enjoying a nice meal. Maybe that explains why I’m in Weight Watchers. Too much eating and people-watching and not enough exercise.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 6.5 points

Lunch:
— Jimmy John’s Slim turkey sandwich = 8 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Dinner:
— Club sandwich on whole wheat = 8.5 points (est.)
— Potato chips = 7 points (est.)
— Iced tea = 0 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 244: Biking to WorldFest

4 09 2010

This afternoon we rode our bikes downtown to check out WorldFest, the annual event that features food, music and crafts from several dozen countries. More than 100 vendor booths provide information on the dozens of international cultures represented here in Louisville. According to Metro Louisville’s website, the Kentucky Tourism Council (KTC) chose WorldFest as one of the Top 10 Summer Festivals and Events for 2010 and the latest issue of Southern Living named the event one of the Top Ten Events to attend in the South. Pretty cool! And right here in Louisville! 

The weather today was perfect. High 70s to low 80s. It made me realize how ready I am for Fall. It’s still a bit early for Fall color I guess, but I’m ready. 

The camera store called me yesterday and said my Canon lens (the one that died while I was in Virginia on vacation) was repaired and ready to be picked it up. It was perfect timing since I had hoped to take it with me on our ride to WorldFest today. I’m happy to have it back! I didn’t shoot a lot of photos, but here are a few from the day’s events: 

Downtown Louisville

 

The beautiful weather brought out a LOT of people today.

 

Trinkets at a vendor's booth

 

We serve Oink, Moo and Cock-a-doodle-doo.

 

I don't know the name for this kind of costume, but it was fascinating to watch.

 

The guys inside the costume caught the crowd's attention.

 

Today’s food journal: 

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

Lunch:
— Veggie chicken patty = 3 points
— Deli flat bread = 1 point
— 1/2 cup chocolate milk = 1.5 points 

Dinner:
— Club sandwich on wheat = 8.5 points (est.)
— Iced tea = 0 points 

Snack:
— Frozen fruit bar (no sugar added) = 1 point 

Exercise:
— 8 mile bike ride (slow pace) = + 2 activity points 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 218: Cycling-related movies

9 08 2010

Bicycling Magazine recently listed what they called the “9 cycling movies you can’t miss.” Rather than copy the movie synopsis here, I’ve linked each movie to the trailer and description on Bicycling’s website. I’ve seen most of these, but the last four on the list I’ve never heard of before.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Breaking Away
Triplets of Belleville
American Flyers
The Bicycle Thief
A Sunday in Hell
Stars and Watercarriers
2 Seconds
Key Exchange

While E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is not a bicycling movie exactly, I think it definitely should have been included on the list. The scene where Elliot puts E.T. in his bike basket (covered with a white blanket) and takes him back to the woods to meet his spaceship, was one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

Other bicycling-related movies that are also worth mentioning, though I’ve only seen “The Flying Scotsman” so I don’t know much about the others:

(Summaries from Netflix.com):
Bicycle Dreams – From the Pacific to the Atlantic, bicyclists race against time and their own physical limitations as they face Mojave Desert heat, steep Rocky Mountain climbs and more. Then, when tragedy strikes, the endurance test takes an emotional turn. As they attempt to make it across the country in less than 10 days, the participants in the Race Across America must draw on all their inner resources to meet the challenge in this fascinating documentary.

Beijing Bicycle – When 16-year-old Guei finds work as a messenger in the titular Chinese city, he buys himself a bicycle. But as he nears the final payment, the bike disappears — and without his wheels, Guei can’t work. After desperately searching all of Beijing for it, he finally finds Jian, who claims the bike is his. The two young boys learn that sharing can be a good thing.

The Flying Scotsman – Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller), an out-of-work amateur cyclist, designs and builds his own bike from washing machine parts and other scrap. His dedication pays off as he breaks a world speed record to become a cycling hero. And although personal tragedy and professional setbacks threaten his success, he never loses sight of his dream. Laura Fraser and Billy Boyd co-star in this inspiring true story of one man’s unwavering determination to win.

The Bicycle Corps: America’s Black Army on Wheels – Narrated by James Woodill, this documentary recounts the astonishing journey of the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry, an all-black unit that was sent on 2,000-mile bicycle ride in 1897 to test the effectiveness of bikes as a means of transport. With their trek being documented by a ride-along reporter, the 25th rode from Montana to Missouri through sandstorms, rivers, cactus fields and unwelcoming territories on a journey you have to see to believe.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of cycling-related movies. What are your favorite cycling movies and why do you like them?

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Strawberry-blackberry smoothie = 2.5 points

Lunch:
— Jimmy Johns slim turkey sandwich with cheese = 8 points
— Diet Coke = 0 points

Dinner:
— Club sandwich with turkey, ham and small amount of cheese  on wheat bread = 8.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snacks:
— Apple = 1 point

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 162: Bicycling Magazine’s What to Wear Guide

14 06 2010

I got an email today from Bicycling Magazine, promoting their “what to wear” guide. The what-to-wear guide allows you to select temperature, wind conditions, sun/cloudy conditions and how you like to feel when you ride (cool, warm or in-between). Make your selections and click Submit. The guide returns clothing suggestions and includes links to product reviews for the various items.

To test it out, I selected 95 degrees (F), breezy, sun, and in-between (I prefer not to be too cold or too hot). The suggested clothing was pretty obvious: short sleeve jersey, helmet, shorts, fingerless gloves, socks, shoes and sunglasses. During hot, humid summer months I have no problem figuring out what to wear on a ride. I figure the least amount of clothing, the better. Without getting arrested for indecent exposure of course.

When the weather is cooler in the Spring and Fall, I have a harder time deciding what to wear. I’ve finally figured out that my legs get cold easily, so if it’s 60 degrees or less, I’m most comfortable wearing tights over my shorts, and either a long-sleeve jersey or a light jacket over my upper body. To see what the guide recommended, I selected the following:
— Temperature: 50 degrees F
— Wind: Windy
— Conditions: Overcast
— You like to feel: In-between

And here were the results (it said I may need to shed or add layers mid-ride). This is way more than I would bother with wearing, but it seems to be a pretty good list that provided suggestions for many different items – sure to be something there for everyone:

— Helmet (I always wear a helmet)
— Winter Beenie (I have one really warm one for cold weather, and a couple for warmer, but still chilly temps)
— Balaclava (I’ve got one, but it makes me feel claustrophobic. Might take some getting used to.)
— Short-sleeve jersey (I’ve got several and wear a baselayer underneath when needed.)
— Long-sleeve jersey
— Baselayer (very helpful on chilly Fall days)
— Long-sleeve baselayer
— Shortsleeve/sleeveless baselayer (I only have a long-sleeve baselayer)
— Thermal jacket (I have one thermal, and one more lightweight jacket)
— Vest
— Lightweight jacket
— Shorts (I have multiple pairs of shorts to make sure I always have some that are clean when I need them.)
— Long Tights (these work great and might be my favorite cool/cold-weather piece of clothing)
— Thermal Bibs
— Neck Warmer
— Arm Warmer (I think the ones I bought are too small – my arms feel rather numb when I wear them, so I don’t use them very often.)
— Leg or Knee Warmer (I prefer tights. I hated the knee warmers – I felt like a stuffed sausage.)
— Thermal Gloves
— Fingered Gloves (haven’t worn them yet)
— Fingerless Gloves (I have several pairs)
— Winter Socks (important to keep the toes toasty)
— Medium Socks
— Light Socks
— Winter Shoes
— Shoes (I’m buying clipless pedals and shoes soon. Right now, I just wear a pair of old tennis shoes.)
— Shoe Covers (haven’t worn them yet, but I’m prepared)
— Toe Warmer
— Glasses (I never ride without glasses. They’re great for keeping road debris out of my eyes.)

Overall, I thought the “what to wear guide” was a pretty helpful. Those Bicycling Magazine folks always provide good information.

I totally blew my diet (or lack of) today, so I didn’t track my food. I’m on the wagon and back on the scale again tomorrow.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 58: Bicycling Magazine’s Buyer’s Guide and Downloads

2 03 2010
Bicycling Magazine's Buyer's Guide

Bicycling Magazine's Buyer's Guide

 

My new issue of Bicycling Magazine arrived today (the Buyer’s Guide). With a new cover! Do you think they heard me? 😉  

On another note, Bicycling magazine now has a bunch of cool free downloads on their website: training plans (riding your first century, how to become a better climber, etc.), core exercises, nutrition information, bike maintenance guides and more. Pretty cool stuff. I would have included a link here, but it seems to require a login, so if you’re a member of bicycling.com, sign in and check it out! 

Today’s starting weight: 151 

Food journal: 

Breakfast:
— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 353 cal. 

Lunch:
— Low fat PB&J on whole wheat = 398
— Small bag Rold Gold pretzels = 230
— Powerade Zero (1/2 bottle) = 0 

Dinner:
— Grilled cheese sandwich = 431
— Salad with ranch dressing = 163
— Iced tea = 0 

Thanks for visiting. See you tomorrow.