Day 363: 10 Steps for Better Cycling Performance

1 01 2011

As we start the new year, I’m making preparations for getting in better shape. This “10 Steps for Better Cycling Performance” article from training4cyclists.com seemed a perfect place to start.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

_O
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Thanks for visiting.





Day 362: Time to get back in shape

31 12 2010

Having moved here to Louisville from Texas almost 10 years ago, I’m still not a fan of winter. I remember many Christmases in Texas when my parents and I cooked steaks or burgers outside on the grill in 70 or 80+ degree weather. In fact, their temperatures were in the 80s last week, while we were dealing with temps in the 30s here.

Once winter arrived in Louisville a few weeks ago, I figured it’s time to make some new playlists on my iPod and get out the indoor bike trainer or the rollers. (Perfect for trying out the new Spinervals DVD Carrick bought me for Christmas.) Today though, it was 64 degrees! I’ve not been on my bike for about a month. As my friend Tom said recently, sometimes “life gets in the way of cycling.” I had some house cleaning to do this afternoon to get ready for friends coming over tonight, but I decided that could wait. A nice leisurely bike ride outside during a perfect sunny warm day was the first priority on my list.

I changed into my cycling clothes, did a quick bike check of the brakes, tires and chain, checked the air in the tires, grabbed the house key and off I went. It felt good to be back on the bike, but it was windy today and I think the past few weeks sitting around on my lazy butt made for a bit of a struggle today. I never felt like I got into the groove of the ride. My shoulder was bothering me after starting physical therapy again last week. (Yesterday’s MRI should tell whether or not it’s a rotator cuff tear, which is what the therapist is betting on.) The wind made my breathing a bit difficult since I’ve not been training in a few weeks. Maybe having something to do with being diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma a couple months ago. Crap, I’m falling apart! I expected to be a lot older than 41 before having to deal with arthritis, rotator cuff problems and asthma. But things could also be a lot worse, so I hesitate to complain.

So despite an abbreviated ride today, it was still a pretty great day. And the house cleaning is finished. I wish all of you a Happy New Year! Be safe out there.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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Thanks for visiting.





Day 361: My New Year’s Resolutions

30 12 2010

I can’t believe another year has already come and gone. And again, it’s that time of year to make New Year’s Resolutions. Normally, I make a resolution (or several), stick to it for a few weeks, then not really make much effort after that. But this year I owe it to myself to change those bad habits. I don’t really have much right to bitch about things if I’m not willing to put forth the effort to change. One of my favorite sayings is, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” I’m ready to make the change.

This is my plan:

  • Recommit to Weight Watchers – I had hoped to be much closer to my goal weight by now since joining WW a few months ago. Really, it’s no one’s fault but mine that I’m not closer to my goal. The past several weeks I lost my focus and quit tracking my food. As of today’s weigh-in though, I’ve lost 11 pounds total. Not as much as I wanted by now, but at least it’s something. I’ve still got another 15 or so I’d like to lose.
  • Stop dining out – Eating dinner out every night is getting old. And expensive. Neither one of us particularly enjoys cooking, so we prefer to just stop at one of the local restaurants on our way home from work instead. We avoid fast food chains, but we’re still eating larger-than-normal portions and not knowing the calorie and fat content of foods makes it difficult to stick to a diet (such as Weight Watchers). Starting Jan. 1 we cook dinner at home and eat out for special occasions.
  • Cycle more – I need to set a weekly mileage goal and stick to it. Otherwise, I let other daily tasks take priority and before I realize it, another day has passed and I’ve not developed a regular exercise routine. My plan is to schedule time in my day to work out in the mornings before I go to work. Or ride my bike to work which would be much more fun than dealing with rush hour traffic on the interstate.
  • Reduce use of car for short errands – I need to use my bike for short errands around town (particularly those that are close to home). I need the exercise and saving on gas money certainly can’t hurt either. 

I’m ready for a new year and new habits. It’s time for me to stop making excuses and start making changes.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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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
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Thanks for visiting.





Day 359: Patoka Lake hiking trip

28 12 2010

We’re back from our trip to Patoka Lake for Carrick’s birthday. It’s always nice to explore new areas and get away from the usual routine for a few days. We didn’t take our bikes this trip, but we did get to do a good bit of hiking which was nice for a change. I really enjoy hiking, but in the past year or so we got out of our regular weekend habit of hiking in the local parks.

Patoka Lake

Patoka Lake - view from near the Newton Stewart recreation area

The property manager of the Patoka Lake Cabins where we stayed told us about Newton Stewart State Recreation Area in nearby Celestine, IN. We bundled up the dog in her jacket and snow boots (she loved those) and set out for a hike on one of the trails today before we headed back home. The inch or so of snow on the ground provided a nice relaxing hike and made for some nice photos. The park has some nice paved bike trails that looked well-maintained so we decided it’s probably worth visiting again in the summer with the bikes.

Cabins at Patoka Lake Village

One of the trails near our cabin.

Roxy enjoying the snow. Or maybe pitching a fit because she hates her boots. Hard to tell.

We drove over to French Lick, IN and took some photos at the West Baden Hotel and at a nearby railroad museum. Something about old rail cars I always find appealing. Overall, the whole weekend was a great trip. We didn’t see as much wildlife as we’d hoped to find, but we did spot a bald eagle soaring over the frozen lake. He was gone before I could get my camera ready though. Figures. Still, it was beautiful to see.

West Baden Hotel

A luggage cart at the railroad museum.

The Pennsylvania railroad car.

Old railcars.

Pluto Water - America's Physic.

Perspective.

Swim at your own risk.

Patoka Lake - just before we spotted the bald eagle.

We wondered what the Zinger was. Must have been fun.

An abandoned wagon trail from 1900.

Snowy steps leading to the trail we hiked at the Newton Stewart recreation area.

I love to photograph old stores like this one. They were closed until March.

I've no idea what these are, but I thought they were worth shooting.

Snowy moss.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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Thanks for visiting.





Day 358: New Year’s Resolutions and the 50 fattiest foods in the States

27 12 2010

As many Americans (including me) prepare to start their New Year’s Resolutions of dieting, losing weight and getting in better shape, I thought I’d share a link to Health.com’s “50 Fattiest Foods in the States.” From Alabama’s bacon-wrapped meatloaf, Indiana’s fried-brain sandwich (ugh!), to lamb from Wyoming, it never ceases to amaze me what people will come up with next.

I can guarantee you I won’t eat any of the crap on this list. I am however, struggling with breaking my addiction to sugar and junk food. And doing a better job of tracking my Weight Watcher’s points. I’m ready for the New Year and new habits to begin!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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Thanks for visiting.





Day 357: Man eats entire artichoke, then sues restaurant

26 12 2010

Wow, there are some dumb people out there. And when those dumb people file dumb lawsuits, it’s a bit aggravating. Miami doctor Arturo Carvajal is suing a Houston’s Restaurant because they didn’t “teach” him the proper way to eat an artichoke. It seems that if you order something from the menu and don’t know how to eat it, then ask the waiter. Instead, Carvajal consumed the entire artichoke, leaves and all, which caused severe stomach pain and resulted in an exploratory surgery which revealed artichoke leaves lodged in his bowel. Now he’s suing the restaurant for “disability, disfigurement, mental anguish,” and “loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life”.

Whatever. When are people going to start taking responsibility for their own actions (no matter how stupid) instead of always trying to blame others?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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Thanks for visiting.