Thursday, May 21, 2015

User Error

Got up at 4:00 am again this morning to go for my ride.  I had checked out my rear tire again last night and it needs replacing.  There is a pronounced wiggle to it.  It appears to be "throwing a belt" in one spot where it is off center about 1/8".  Not a huge amount but very noticeable and I believe indicative off an impending total failure if I put too much stress on it, like cornering at speed.

I didn't want to not ride this morning as I wait for a new tire to arrive, so I decided to do some easy laps around the block.  I grabbed my Garmin, headed out and got ready to ride.  Once the Garmin had acquired the satellite signal, I hit the start button and heard a peculiar beep.  It was a combination of the high and the low beep the Garmin makes when it starts and stops recording the ride.

I headed out and started making some gentle laps around the block.  About 6 laps in, I decided to check my time as I was curious what my pace was taking it easy.  I was dismayed to see 00:00:00 on it.  It seems the peculiar beep was because I had double tapped the button when I started it, thereby immediately turning it off.  I hit the button to start it and verified it was, in fact, running.

I completed another 6 laps and called it a morning.  Looking at my Strava, it shows that I started the ride at 4:10 but only had moving time of 14:28 and a distance of 2.84 miles. The elapsed time, however, was 29:35. It was obviously user error.

Oh well.  I know I went the distance and my health will benefit from it, even if there is no record of the true distance. :)

As for the tire, while the tread is not overly worn, you have to figure I have stressed the tire much more than a normal rider would due to my weight.  Looking at the rides I've done since I put those tires on the bike in 2013, I've got over 1200 miles on the tires and I figure that's worth about twice that for an average rider. The other thing I noticed on close inspection of the tire, is that the ride half is noticeable worn more than the left half. The reason for this is that the vast majority of the turns I make on the bike, especially at speed, are right turns so it makes sense.

I hope you can get on your bike and ride!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Issue Not Solved

As I mentioned yesterday I had an issue developing with my bike which I attempted to rectify last night.  I needed to do a bit of maintenance anyway, so I changed my clothes and headed to the garage after dinner.

My first order of business was to replace the front tube.  Fortunately I have a couple of tubes here that I purchased as back-ups so I wouldn't have to run to the store if I was ever in need.  Unfortunately the valve length on the one I choose was a bit shorter than what I had on the bike.  My wheels are very deep V in order to provide more strength and shorter valves just don't work. I believe I had 75 mm valves on the bike and the one I was replacing it with was only 45 mm. It was barely long enough.

I installed the new tube and paid particular attention to how true the tire was within in the wheel.  I've had issues before where I've not seated the tire properly and had the tube blow out on me.  Once I was assured it was evenly mounted, I inflated it to the recommended max of 84 psi and put it back on my bike.

Next I wanted to make sure it was true so I gave it a few fast spins and the front tire looked great.  I checked all of the spokes to make sure none were loose and it was good.

Then I turned my attention to my rear wheel.  I gave the pedals a few spins and notice a slight imperfection in the tire as it went around.  It wasn't much but I could see it.  I slowly applied the brakes to see if I could isolate the spot. the wasn't any real high spot as the distance from the pads to the wheel never varied.  I was able to find the spot and it appears to be a slight imperfection in the rear tire itself.  It wasn't seated quite right in that spot.

I let out some air and tried to make sure the tire was seated properly on the rim.  There is a reflective whitewall on my tires that I tried to make sure was evenly spaced around the rim.  I seemed to have taken care of the issue, but checked the spokes, just to make sure and one seemed slightly loose to me in the same area of the wheel. I tightened it up a bit and gave it a spin. Things seemed to be better so I cleaned up and went in.

This morning I went for another 4:00 am ride and it seemed that the bike was indeed better, at least at first.  As the ride progressed, however the thumping and slight wobble came back and seemed to get worse the farther I rode. It became very noticeable by the time I headed back in after 6 miles.  So, tonight I need to look at the rear wheel again and I think I may need to change the rear tire.

Get on your bike and ride!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Biking is cool

And I don't mean just cool as in way cool, but cool as in temperature.  This morning I got up again at 4:00 am to get out for my ride.  I noticed it was a bit cool in the house so I opted for my long sleeve jersey instead of my t-shirt that I have been riding in. I got to the garage and checked my tire pressure to find my front tire down to less than 20 lbs.  That is not a good thing when yesterday I had topped it off at 84 lbs.

I managed to pump it back up and close the valve with no audible hissing so it seemed good to go. The inner part of the valve appears to be bent but it looks like it holds the air in.  I'll need to replace the tube, though, as I don't trust it.

I opened the garage and immediately felt the temperature difference. It rained here in Las Vegas yesterday and there was actually humidity in the air, which combined with the cool 51 degree temperature made it feel almost cold. OK, I don't want to hear about true cold from you northerners, I know how cold it can get, but for here, it was cold. Add to that riding at up to 21 mph this morning and my fingers were quite cold!

As I worked out the stiffness in my legs and got to the faster portion of my morning route, I noticed that the bike just didn't feel right.  I didn't trust it going into the turn so I did something I almost never do and that is hit the brakes to slow for the corner.  The second lap felt wrong as well.

I changed it up and went around the block instead of the longer loop and there was a distinct, almost thumping when I was going faster.  It felt like a tire was out of round.  I stopped after the second lap and tried to see what was up but I couldn't see anything obvious.  I actually suspect a loose spoke or two.  I'll need to get out there and take a look at it this evening.

Many people aren't as tuned into the performance of their bike as I am, but I need to be.  At 425 lbs. I'm putting a great deal of stress on the components and if one starts to fail, it can quickly become catastrophic. So, when I feel the bike is off I normally stop riding until I have a chance to check it out.

The good news is that was ride number 5 for the National Bike Challenge and I am slowly accumulating points. It also feels good to be getting back out there on a much more consistent basis.

I hope you get on your bike and ride!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We took the Bronze Medal

In Monday's post I mentioned that I was proud of my team and that I had lost 28 lbs. as part of the Corporate Challenge's Biggest Winner Competition.  Well I'm happy to say that as a team we lost a total of 85 lbs. which equates to 6.16% of our initial body weight.  This was good enough to earn us 3rd place and a bronze medal in the competition. YAY TEAM!

Subsequent to that I got on my bike and rode on Monday. I rode 2.7 miles.  Not bad for my 5th ride of the year. Yesterday I got up at 4:00 am and rode another 4.1 miles.  Increased the distance nicely. This morning I got up once again at 4:00 am and rode 5.4 miles.  Again a healthy increase in distance.

I think I've started a trend here I hope to carry on through out the rest of the National Bike Challenge. So far I've gotten in 3 rides for a total of 72 points.  I feel like I'm well on my way towards my goal of eclipsing last year's mark. I plan on keeping up daily riding and have a good average so far.

So, I hope you too can get on your bike and ride!

Monday, May 11, 2015

And here we go again...FINALLY!

OK, I have to come clean. I have been planning on riding my bike for many many weeks now.  My last ride was the 13th of March. I would make all these plans to get out and ride, but for some reason when it came right down to it, the motivation just wasn't there.

Today, it finally was and I got out for a ride. OK, it was a short one, under 3 miles, but this is a positive step. Part of my trepidation was reading about several people who have been hit by cars in the last few months.  I definitely didn't and don't, want to become someone's hood ornament.

Finally today I felt that I just had to go for it and I did and I enjoyed it.

I think it's time to start getting up at 4:00 am and riding while its cool and the traffic is light. Hopefully in the near future, after we move, I can find some decent bike paths that get me away from traffic where I will feel a whole lot safer.

In other news, today was also the weigh out for the Biggest Winner competition in the corporate challenge and I am proud to say that the scale showed a 28 lb. loss for me. I'll certainly take it and now its all about continuing the journey.

So, now that I did it, its your turn to...


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Are you willing?

As part of my job, we are learning a new way of doing things. In order to learn this new philosophy we are becoming educated in a new way of approaching problems and part of that education is through some online videos which are on YouTube.  Now, these videos are fairly mundane and a bit on the boring side at times. As I was watching one of the videos, however, there appeared a link on to the right for another video that caught my attention.

The video was a compilation of motivational speeches from various movies, ads and tv shows and it was powerful. It reminded me that if you want something, truly want it you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it.  It doesn't matter what it is that you want. Sure most of the examples are sports related, but that's because they are easy to show and measure.  Truthfully anything that is worth going for and achieving will take sacrifice.

The question came up over and over as the video played - are you willing?  Are you willing to endure the pain to reap the reward?  Are you willing to put forth the effort and do the work you have to do in order to achieve your dream? Are you willing to fail? When you do fail are you willing to get back up and try again?

As I watched this video I realized that we all have to answer this one simple question - is our dream something we are willing to work for? If its worth it then the answer is yes.  Its that simple.  If you have a dream and are willing to do the work, to strive to attain it, then you will succeed.

I had a powerful revelation while I watched the video.  I haven't been willing to do the work, I haven't been willing to try and fail in pursuit of my dreams, I haven't been willing to do what it takes.  That changes now.  I am willing.  I will achieve.  It will take time and effort.  I will fail, but I will get back up and keep moving forward towards my dream.

So, now I ask you... are you willing?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to write

I have written very little on here of late because not a lot has been happening. At least not in the losing weight and getting fit department. My weight has been fluctuating a few pounds up  and down over the last 3 weeks.  Part of that is a change in medication from my doctor and my body deciding it needed to take a few days to adjust. It wasn't a major adjustment but he was a little concerned about some blood work results that were just outside of normal levels.

I have been getting in some steps with my Fitbit and I must say I have added steps that I wouldn't have taken just because it is in my pocket. Now my weekly totals look small compared to some people's daily totals, but the fact that I'm getting up and moving more is a good thing.  Its just so hard sometimes when your job puts you at a desk, in front of a computer 8 to 10 hours a day.

Unfortunately I have not been riding my bike and so have no stories there.  I have no good reason to not ride, right now. I guess its just laziness. Not to mention the fact that I'm busy, but not that busy. That will be changing as the National Bike Challenge NationalBikeChallenge.orgis coming up starting May 1. I hope to match last year's performance but might not make it every single day as there are a few travel days in there when I won't have access to a bike.  I'm shooting to pass my point total for the entire challenge, though.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A FitBit is powerful

Psychologically, at least. Yesterday sowed me just how powerful a FitBit is.  I had unfortunately forgotten my FitBit Ultra at home, having left it in my shorts I wore the night before.  I meant to grab it when I was getting dressed, and honestly thought I had.  When I got to work, I was doing a few extra trips around, to get some extra steps in when I went for coffee, or to use the restroom. you know, I wanted to increase my total for the day.

At lunchtime I decided to see where my total was for the day. I reached into my pocket to retrieve it and lo and behold it wasn't there.  After a momentary panic that I had lost it, I realized that it must still be in my shorts at home. At that point I lost all motivation to do any extra steps.  My mind said, "what's the point, they won't be recorded and so don't count."

That mentality lasted all of about 10 minutes.  Just until I got back to my desk with my Atkins meal for lunch and I read a couple of posts on Facebook from FitBit users who were posting their Transformation Tuesday pictures.  I realized that while the steps didn't count towards my FitBit step total for the week, they did count as far as my health was concerned.  So I still did the extra steps whenever I got up from my desk, but my total for the week won't reflect that.

I think the extra motivation from having that little piece of technology is invaluable as it is a tangible result, showing what I have accomplished.  I don't have to wait to see any results on the scale or in my body, its almost immediate satisfaction showing that I am doing something.

If you are on the fence about getting a FitBit, I heartily endorse doing so as it will help motivate you to do more than you normally would.  Not to mention there is a great community of other FitBit users out there who support and and encourage each other on a daily basis.

Friday, April 3, 2015

My FitBit is back online

I have been waiting to buy a new FitBit Charge HR since it was announced in December. Unfortunately they STILL do not have it available in size XL. So I finally decided that I needed to bite the bullet and buy a charger/dock for my FitBit Ultra.  I have had it for 3 years, but its been down the last 7 months or so because the base, which allows it to Synh with the computer and charges it up, broke. To be honest, I've felt a bit lost without its prodding to do a little more, more a little more, get some more steps/floors/active minutes.

So I ordered a new one for $19.95 from FitBit and it arrived in the mail today.  I just finihsed charging up my Ultra and already have measured over 100 steps just letting the dogs out and in.  Tomorrow I hope to put a good deal of steps in. Grocery shopping in the morning and Arena Football at the Thomas and Mack in the evening.

Time to get some steps and start pushing my getting healthy and losing weight.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Motivation is a funny thing. At times it is easy to find, usually when it is needed the least. Other times it is nowhere to be found and this is when you usually need it the most. Let's look at a couple of prime examples.

Example #1

It's 3:00 pm and you are taking a break from your work on the computer, where you've been sitting for the last 2 1/2 hours.  You look out the window and see that it is a nice, sunny day with almost no wind and temperatures in the low 70's. You are motivated to get out and ride, but know you can't because you have another 3 hours of work to do at the computer. For a slight diversion you read a popular cycling blog about an awesome MTB race and you know that if you get out there and ride, you could do that.

You are highly motivated at that point in time.  You start making plans in your head about how you are going to get out there and ride, primarily before work as your schedule makes that about the only time available. You have visions of getting stronger and faster on the bike, of losing weight and feeling good.

Example #2
It's 4:02 AM. our alarm went off 2 minutes ago and you are still in bed, trying to get yourself up to go ride your bike. You know you should. You know you'll feel better if you do, but it was a late night and the dogs were up barking at 1:17 when the party next door broke up. You can't keep your eyes open or truly focus. You have absolutely no motivation.

You tell yourself, missing just one day won't hurt, there is always tomorrow. You tell yourself you forgot to check your lights last night in the middle of the chaos of homework and dinner and late night company so you just know they are dead. You hear the siren song of your pillow and quietly succumb to it.

There is truly only one way to overcome example #2. That is to be so excited and amped up with motivation in example #1 that it carries over to the following morning when you actually get up and execute the start of the plan you laid out for yourself. Unless you can manage this, or have some other external factor, like someone who is counting on doing it with you, it is neigh on impossible to overcome the lack of motivation.

I hope you are motivated and get on your bikes and ride!!!!