The universe conspires against us – or does it?

23 01 2011

Now that I’m 23 days into a new year, I realized that I’m failing miserably at my New Year’s Resolution of getting into a regular exercise routine. After finding a house we really like near Iroquois Park, we decided to put our house on the market. The past couple weeks have been consumed with “de-shitifying” as I call it — getting rid of clutter, old clothes that no longer fit and whatever other crap that we don’t need anymore. But now the house is in good shape and we’ve had two different showings in the 10 days it’s been on the market. (Now if we can just get an offer!)

This weekend, I decided it was time I get out the bike rollers or the stationary trainer and get my butt in gear. Yesterday, I wasn’t really in the mood, but today, Carrick and I assembled the stationary trainer I got her for her birthday last month. Simple enough to assemble, except we can’t seem to get the magnetic resistance cable installed correctly. Despite the fact that the trainer is usable for now without the cable, we rationalized that maybe we just weren’t meant to work out together today. So what did we do instead, you ask? Carrick took a nap on the couch and I stayed in my PJs until 4 p.m.  

I have a really difficult time staying motivated to work out during the winter. I want to be outside, yet I’m not really a fan of riding in cold temperatures. I have no excuse to not use the indoor trainers. Today though, I think the universe may have been conspiring against us. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





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.





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
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 340: Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus system

9 12 2010

I have no more diet excuses. Today’s Weight Watchers meeting explained the new PointsPlus system — the first change in the points system in the past 13 years. As I understand it, points are calculated based on a food’s fat, fiber, carbs and protein content. (The previous system used calories, fat and fiber to calculate the points.) Now with the new plan, all fruits and most veggies are zero points. Foods with high starch content (for example, a potato) will have points even though it’s a vegetable. And “free” veggies include those that are steamed or raw, but a plate of collard greens cooked in fat would obviously not be zero points.

I’m still learning the details and I figure it might take me some time to get used to the changes, but overall I’m excited about the new program. And I’m happy to say that after three weeks of not weighing in and not tracking my foods, I ended up losing a pound. I’ve still got a long way to go and I’ve still got a lot of changes I need to make in my eating habits, but I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m looking at this as a lifestyle change rather than constantly feeling like I’m on a “diet.”

Now if I can just lose another 7 pounds by Dec. 23, maybe I’ll end up winning some cool bike swag from Fat Cyclist.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 330: Raleigh Pursuit 502 conversion

29 11 2010

The project from Hell is about to begin! Now that we’ve recently completed the Park Tool School bike maintenance and repair class (which I talked about here), we’re excited about trying to rebuild Carrick’s old 12-speed Raleigh Pursuit 502 Chrome Moly she had in high school. We have no idea what size the frame is, nor what model year it is. (I think it’s a 1987, but I plan to dig around on the web for more information once I get the bike on the workstand to find more identifying information.) For the past year or two, she’s wanted to have the bike converted to a single-speed (or a fixed-speed — we’re not sure which yet.) Since the bike is sitting in the shed collecting dust and rust, we figured we can’t really screw it up too badly, so why not try, right?

Headbadge

Carrick's Raleigh Pursuit 502

Rusty chain, cassette and derailleur.

Rusty spokes, brake. I think we're going to have our work cut out for us.

Shifters and headset.

We talked with our Tom, the Park Tool instructor at Bluegrass Bicycle about the plan for our project. He helped us choose a starter Tool Kit, which he said should include the essentials of what we would need to get started. He also suggested a cable cutter and a bottom bracket tool, so we added those also. Here’s what’s in the toolbox:

  • Wrench set (2mm to 6mm)
  • Chain tool
  • Cassette lockring remover
  • Double ended cone wrenches (13mm to 18mm)
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 3mm flathead screwdriver
  • Pedal wrench
  • Three-way spoke wrench
  • GearClean brush
  • Chain whip
  • Patch kit
  • Hex wrench
  • Tire levers

Park Tool SK-1

Now we’re set with the tools, the bike and hopefully the knowledge to get started on what we hope will be a fun project to work on during the cold, dreary winter months. I’ll post updates as we make progress.

Today’s food journal:

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

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

Dinner:
— Soft pretzel = 10 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 320: Lexington’s Legacy Trail

19 11 2010

Next Thursday before we stuff ourselves silly with Thanksgiving dinner, we’re planning to ride the newly-opened Legacy Trail in Lexington. The 12-mile multi-use trail starts in downtown Lexington at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and ends at the Kentucky Horse Park. More than 8.5 miles of the trail are paved and off-street so traffic shouldn’t be a concern.

Our plan is to do the 24-mile out-and-back round trip, then head back to the house for big food. I hope to burn enough calories to help offset Thanksgiving dinner. This will be my first holiday meal since I’ve started Weight Watchers, so I’m trying to plan ahead so I don’t undo what good I’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to checking out the trail. Hopefully I’ll have some video and photos to share after the ride.

Breakfast:
– Organic LF yogurt with granola = 5 points

Lunch:
– 2 pieces Papa John’s cheese pizza (original crust) = 9 points
– Diet Root Beer = 0 points

Dinner:
– White bean chicken chili = 6 points (est.)
– Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
– Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 318: Park Tool School – Day 4 of 4

17 11 2010

Tonight was the last of the four Park Tool School classes we took at Bluegrass Bicycle. (Summaries of the previous three classes are available here, here and here.) For the final class tonight we discussed brake systems:

  • Types of caliper brakes: rotors; hydraulic brakes; linear V-brakes; disc brakes (how they work and the different brands, such as Shimano, Tektro and Hayes)
  • Caliper rim brake systems: brake levers; cable systems and cable housing; brake pads and alignment; and brake pad toeing.

Much like the “ah-ha” moment I had Monday night when replacing the shifter cable, tonight I realized how simple it is to replace brake cables. Before tonight, I was never quite sure how the brake cables were repaired or replaced (and was a bit intimidated by them). Now I know they’re actually pretty easy to do. I cut the rear brake cable on my bike and within just a few minutes had removed the old cable and installed the new one and I’m ready to roll. Or stop, as the case may be.

We’re really glad we took the class. Tom at Bluegrass Bicycle was a great instructor and our “classmates” were all very nice. Now I feel much more comfortable about working on our bikes. If you want to learn basic (but very detailed) repairs and maintenance, I highly recommend the Park Tool School. It’s definitely money well spent.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.