My Dailymile.com year-end review

12 01 2011

I recently received an e-mail summarizing my year’s worth of workouts I logged on dailymile.com. Before I share the pathetic-ness (is that a word?) of the data, let me just say that while I did not work out nearly as often as I intended last year, there were also many workouts which I forgot to log each day on dailymile. Entering my information on the Web site was not something I got in a regular habit of doing. This year I plan to make a point to log each and every workout so I’ll have better information to compare by the end of this year.

It appears since I joined dailymile in May, I only logged 15 workouts. Sad. Anyway, here’s how the stats break down from May through December:

  • My goal was to lose 25 pounds. So far I’ve lost 11. Still a ways to go, but I’m getting there.
  • I logged 210 total miles.
  • I burned off the equivalent of 84 donuts.
  • Most miles logged in one month was 93 in August. Far less than most people do in a week.
  • Farthest ride was 50 miles.

Wow, I’ve got some catching up to do. I’m ready.

On a side note, I suppose since day 365 of this blog has come and gone, there’s really no need to continue numbering each post.

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 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 341: Alice’s favorite things

10 12 2010

When Oprah recently gave every member of her studio audience over $37,000 worth of her “Favorite Things,” it got me thinking. Hang on, don’t get excited … I can’t afford to give all my readers (all five of you) my favorite cycling things, but I did want to list my favorite cycling-related items (in no particular order) that I’ve purchased this year.

  • Clipless pedals and SPD shoes – I couldn’t be happier with the pedals and shoes. The thought of being clipped in to my pedals was rather intimidating at first, but after just a few minutes with them, I realized why so many people recommend them. Definitely a good purchase.
  • Sufferfest videos – The $9.99 download price of these videos is a more than reasonable price for an hour-long kick-your-@$$ workout. I’ve never particularly enjoyed using the indoor bike trainer, but the Sufferfest is a whole new experience. So far, I’ve purchased the Downward Spiral and Angels. Excellent!
  • RoadID – Several friends told me about the RoadID bracelets. The interactive version that I bought enable me to include my full medical history, allergies, emergency contact information and any other important information in a secure, private page on the RoadID website. It’s something I hope to never actually need, but if I’m unable to speak for myself, emergency responders will be able to access all my necessary information by using the PIN number and ID code engraved on the bracelet.
  • Madonna Del Ghisallo medallion (photo available here) – I’m not a religious person, but I do tend to be superstitious. According to CyclingNews.com, “legend has it that in mediaeval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards this vision saved him. Thus, the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patroness of travellers. Then, in 1949 a local priest managed to persuade Pope Pius XII to admit her as the patroness of cyclists.” My medallion is affixed to the stem on my bike. Carrick’s is on her seatpost. A little something to hopefully keep me safe can’t hurt.
  • Park Tool School – I won’t repeat all the details here, but during the Park Tool School we learned how to do maintenance and repairs on just about every part of a bicycle. If you’ve never taken the classes, I highly recommend them.

I’m saving up to buy a Garmin Edge 500 Bundle and a Contour HD helmet camera this next year, but I can’t decide which one to buy first. What are your favorite cycling-related items you’ve bought this year?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 328: The obscenely-priced $777 Paris Casino burger

27 11 2010

I’ve talked before about horrifyingly unhealthy foods, but when I recently read about the $777 hamburger at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, it reinforced that people really have lost all common sense. According to the Consumerist, the staff at NPR  reviewed the overpriced burger as part of their “Sandwich Mondays” series. (The meal was comped by the casino.)

Apparently the crazy expensive burger consists of Kobe beef, Maine lobster, onions, imported Brie cheese, pancetta bread and 100-year aged balsamic vinegar — all served with a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon champagne. I wonder if the 100-year aged balsamic tastes much different from the bottle of probably-expired, rarely-used balsamic we have sitting in our kitchen pantry? 😉 The article didn’t say what vintage of Dom Perignon is served with the meal, but looking at the photo on NPR’s site (which I was unable to snag), it appears to be from 1996. When I looked up the price for that year, Wine.com listed it as $429. So wouldn’t that mean the burger really only costs around $350? Oooh, a bargain! If you hit the big jackpot at the casino, then blow over $700 on a burger … don’t whine when you’re broke in 6 months.

Then again, I’d be willing to bet the $777 Paris Casino burger tastes far better than these I spotted a local McDonald’s. (Decimal points are important, people.)

McDonald's must be pricier in the suburbs.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Organic whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter = 3 points

Lunch:
— 2 black bean soft tacos (Qdoba) = 5.5 points
— Diet root beer = 0 points

Dinner:
— Black bean nachos = 15 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 325: Saris Bones 2 bike rack

24 11 2010

Today after work, we loaded the car, put the bikes on the trunk rack and headed out of town for Thanksgiving. Of course, Carrick likes to tease me about my packing skills. I always pack like we’ll be gone for a week (really we’ll be back home tomorrow night), but I figure you never know what you might need, right? Anyway, as we drove down the highway, it occurred to me how much I like our bike rack (and no, the company is not paying me to endorse their product. I’m just a happy customer). Last summer we bought a Saris 2-bike trunk rack. Before buying the Saris rack, we had a cheap bike rack and before long, realized you really get what you pay for. After the bikes almost fell off the cheap rack as we flew down the highway, we realized it was time for a new one.

The Saris rack is sturdy, secure, easy to put on the car and simple to adjust for either one of our cars. It’s nice to strap the bikes on and not worry about them falling off while driving down the road. The bikes have survived with no problems through various trips through several states: Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio. It seems like so often we all hear about how crappy a product is, so I thought it was worth sharing how good the Saris bike racks are. If you’re looking for a sturdy, easy-to-use rack, I highly recommend this one.

Tomorrow we plan to take our bikes over to Lexington to ride the Legacy Trail that I mentioned recently. Assuming the weather prediction for 62 degrees and 50% chance of rain. Today was cold and rainy.  Not my favorite kind of cycling weather.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a great day!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

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.