Thursday, November 13, 2014

Personal Challenge Completed

6 months ago I decided to challenge myself.  I decided that I wanted to ride my bike for 180 days in a row. It was tough staying motivated to do something every day for 180 days, but I made it. Its been an interesting ride.

Some days I rode longer than others, but I rode at least a mile every single day. The biggest challenge wasn't getting out and riding in the high heat of summer, but towards the end when the lower temperatures of fall arrived. I've proven to myself that I can set a goal and achieve it over a fairly long time period.

Here are some statistics from the last 180 days:

Total rides: 180
Total distance: 368.7 miles
Total Time: 29.75 hours
Total Burned: 44021 calories

My grandson asked me yesterday when I didn't ride if I was going to do it again.  The answer is yeas.  I am taking a short break but I will start a new 180 day challenge in the next few days and I hop to greatly improve upon those statistics.  This one will be a real challenge with the cold windy days ahead, but I will do it.

What challenge will you give yourself?

Get on your bike and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for an update

I realize I have been fairly quiet on here of late and I am hoping to address that with some more frequents posts, but I have a feeling I may be absent from this space for most of the month of November.  There are a couple of reasons for this and the biggest is that November is the National Novel Writing Month.  I am one again in the process of creating a novel of at least 50,000 words during the 30 days which is November.

On top of that my parents are coming to vist for 10 days at the end of the month. I haven't seen them since last year when they visited in September so that my dad and I could ride the Viva Bike Vegas ride together (Read about it here: Part 1 and Part 2). Obviously while they are here writing time is goingot be very limited.

One thing I will post about will be the wrap up for my personal challenge of riding 180 days in a row (today I am on day 178).  I will also go into a bit more detail on some of the health information I've found out from my doctor and several tests that I have undergone over the last few weeks.

One thing I do want to point out is that I've re-challeged myself to lose weight between no and the end of the year. So far, over the last 2 weeks, I have lost 6 pounds. This is a good start on what I'm hoping to be a 20 to 30 lb. loss by the time we go on the cruise in January.  It will be tough with the usual gluttounous holidays focused on food coming up, but I plan on doing it.  No more excuses.

So, thinkif this post as a preview of coming attractions for other posts soon to come.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inspiration from an unexpected source...

I was surfing the book of face today and found a picture with a quote from an actor and martial arts originator and it surprised me in that it was truly inspirational and struck a chord with me.  I have been thinking about it since I saw it and can't get it out of my head as it truly has affected me.  Here is the photo:

In case you can't read the text very easily on whatever device you may be perusing my blog on, it says:

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."

This is a quote from Bruce Lee.  What resonates with me is that what we are truly capable of is beyond what our mind tells us we can do. Most of the limits people experience in life are limits they have self imposed because in their mind, that is all they can do. I don't care if we are talking about a physical act like lifting weights or running or cycling, or a mental one like solving a problem or being creative, our minds create limits for us and we live up to those limits.

I see this quite often when I am teaching.  Students have an idea that they can or can't do something in their minds before they even attempt to learn it and 99% of the time they are right, either way.  If they are sure they can learn it, they do.  If they are sure they can't do it, again they are usually right. What I have found is that it is very important to maintain an attitude that anything is possible and you will go so much further than you ever thought you could.  I have to remind myself of this every day.

What mental limitations have you placed on yourself that aren't true limitations?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Still here

I have been woefully negligent of this space for the last 3 weeks or so.  Most of the reason for that is little has happened in that time that is truly worth noting.  I am still riding everyday and have only 22 days left in my personal challenge.  unfortunately no progress has been made in the weight loss department and neither have I completed any rides or events of any note.

One thing that has been going on is an increased focus on my overall health via attending several doctor's appointment and having a variety of tests conducted on my body. No results have been revealed as yet due to one last test coming up this weekend. Once the testing is complete it will be time to sit with my doctor and discuss treatment options.  Nothing drastic is happening (that I know of) except for some resistant high blood pressure.  Let's hope the tests confirm this lack of other issues.

I do know that I need to get myself into better shape and will be starting to address this in the near future.  I mentioned my plan to lose weight through the fall and into winter and my doctor was skeptical due to the number of holidays frequently used as convenient excuses to overindulge in all things calorie rich.  I have hoped to prove him wrong, but so far he has been right.

Once I have a better idea of my medical status I will be making my plans to improve my overall heath and I will be posting it here, if for nothing more than public accountability.

I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the glorious fall weather and...

Get On Your Bike and RIDE!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

National Bike Challenge stats

Yesterday was the end of the National Bike Challenge.  The challenge ran from May 1st through September 30 and it was designed to promote cycling across the country.

I was a little late to the party and joined on May 12.  The challenge is the catalyst which spawned my personal challenge to ride 180 days in a row.  To date I have ridden 139 days consecutively.

What is really great about the challenge is how cyclists support and encourage others along the way.  I actually joined the challenge with 47 other riders from my work.  We had a pair of awesome organizers (thanks Keely and Eric) and everyone was motivated to ride.  What I like is that you could see how well you were doing not only on a national scale, but a state local and organizational scale as well.

Let's break down the statistics.

Above is my overall statistics.  I rode 336.5 miles in 140 rides over the course of the challenge.  That earned me 3,136 points which placed me #4,757 out of 47,087 riders nationally.

Locally I was number 23 out of 202 riders.

At my workplace I was #9 of 48 riders.  Not too bad at all!

What I liked about the challenge is that they gave 20 points for getting on the bike and riding at least a mile on a day.  They then awarded a point for each mile ridden. This rewards perseverance which I how I placed so high.

I am certainly glad I participated in the challenge and look forward to it again next year.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The ride that didn't happen

Today's post was going to be about how I managed to complete a tough 25 mile ride for the Pedal to the Medal event on Saturday.  I was registered for the event and I intended to take my time and meet the challenge even though my longest ride of the year was just shy of 13 miles back at the beginning of May.  I panned on talking about the volunteers, the scenic course, the wind and how thankful I was for cooler temperatures.  It was going to be an epic story of struggle.

Alas, the tale was not meant to be.  I had logistical issues which arose with a vehicle in the shop and 4 grandkids needing to be a 2 different schools for their basketball games on Saturday morning. Family definitely trumps cycling so I didn't partake in the ride since we couldn't arrange the transportation of everyone to their assigned locations in a timely manner if I was dropped off for the ride, or I took one of the vehicles.

I am a little sad that I didn't ride, but it is more than offset by having watched the grandkids play their respective games. The 2 youngest are on teams in the same division and actually played each other so we had one win and one lose.  The second oldest played well, but his team lost.  The oldest played well as well and his team won! So we were 2 for 4 on the day.

Here are some pictures.

Would I have liked to ride? Sure I would, but in the end I'm actually glad I didn't as I would have missed the fun.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Amazing Jens Voigt

I am astounded.  It is truly amazing what a person can push themselves to achieve.  Jens Voigt today set the UCI one hour record by traveling 51.115 km on his bike in a one hour span. That is almost 32 miles in an hour.  He did it all alone on a track in a velodrome.  No drafting, no one to help him.  It was all Jens. I watched the coverage via VeloNews' feed. The also wrote up an article about the effort here.

Jens is famous for saying "Shut Up Legs," when racing. That is obviously what he was telling himself as the minutes counted down towards the one hour mark and he was actually increasing his speed near the end of the ride.  His early laps were just under 18 seconds and towards the end he completed several laps in under seventeen seconds.

Watching him reminded me of the movie 'The Flying Scotsman' which follows the career of Scotsman Graeme Obree.  in the film it documents his unique accomplishments breaking the one hour record through innovation with a very unique riding style for the time. His breaking of the record created a bit of controversy and was eventually disqualified but the UCI only to be later reinstated.

What is amazing is how hard and long they are able to ride at their almost absolute threshold. Towards the end of the run, VeloNews was talking with one of the Trek team technicians who was detailing the statistics they were receiving from Jens in real time.  Everything from cadence to power to heart rate was instantly available to the team throughout the entire ride.  With 10 minutes to go in the hour Jens' heart rate was 170 BPM and according to the team he can go significantly higher.

My hat is off to you, Jens for your amazing accomplishment as you retire from professional cycling at the age of 43.

Get On You Bikes and Ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guess what day it is...

While technically it is hump day it is also the anniversary of my birth 52 years ago.  I really do find it hard to believe that I am 52 years old. Personally I don't think I'm old and if you ask those around me you may be told that I certainly haven't grown up. :)  I know I am getting older, though as the body doesn't respond the way it once did.  I may have to make a much more concerted effort at improving my health in order to continue to have a quality of life that I want.

Quality of life.  To me that's the key. I want to do what I enjoy, but I realize that it must be in moderation and the good must be balanced by the not so good. Sure I can have some cake and ice cream for my birthday, just not half the cake nor a half gallon of ice cream! Not to mention I really then need to be physically active to combat that rush of calories.  Fortunately I can ride my bike and that is a good thing that I enjoy that is also good for me.

So, I started this post thinking I would do a look back over the last year of the highs and lows, the accomplishments and misses, but not today.  Maybe at the end of the year.  Today I am going to enjoy what I can and do what I must and be thankful for those birthday wishes from family, friends and acquaintances.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sometimes I amaze myself

OK, I have been riding my bike every day for the past 118 days.  Sure the majority of the rides have been short, in the 1 to 2 mile range.  I figured I haven't been doing much to help my cycling fitness by doing such short rides.  To test myself, yesterday I decided to go all out on my one mile training loop just to see what I could do.  My previous best was completing it in 3:46.  Last week I had done it in 4:02 and that seemed like the best I could muster.

Well, I was flying last night.  Looking at my results after the fact I hit 25.6 mph according to my Garmin before I had to make one turn.  Overall, according to Strava, I completed the 1 mile loop in 3:37.  That's a full 9 seconds faster than my previous best.  My average speed was an astonishing 17.2 mph. Here's the Strava report:

It seems that even the little bit I've been doing every day has been helping to build a little bit of cycling muscle in my legs.  Of course I was cooked after that short distance with my lungs burning as I tried to suck in oxygen, but it was a good effort.  I was very happy!

Now to work on quickly increasing my distances so I will be ready for the extended climb for the ride on the 27th.  Sure the climbs are only about 6 miles long, but they are a constant climb over that distance.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crisis Averted

OK, I took my bike in last week for a tune up and some service thinking I might need to replace the bottom bracket.  I had talked to the mechanic at my LBS and he was going to take it apart and give me a call if that was the case. I dropped the bike off on Friday and they said it would be ready on Saturday by 3:00.  I was stoked they could do it so quickly. I didn't get a call on Friday, but Saturday about noon my phone rang and I was dreading the call figuring it was the bad news. I was pleasantly surprised when I answered and was told that my bike was ready!

So my wife and I went to pick up the bike and I talked to the mechanic.  The bottom bracket is worn and will need to be replaced in the future but it is still good to go for now.  They took the measurements so they would know exactly what to order when the time came. I was more than happy with the service.

When I got home I took it for a ride and it was wonderful.  No noises from the bottom bracket.  No wobble in the pedals.  It ran nice and smooth.

Fast forward 10 days.  I took my bike out the night before last in a light drizzle and right away there was a strange noise coming from the rear wheel. It sounded like a spoke making noise and it happened with each revolution of the rear wheel.  I stopped and checked for a broken spoke, but didn't find one. Figuring I should be gentle on it, I slowly finished my ride and took my bike into the garage to see what I could find.

I went around the entire back wheel checking each spoke. They were all good it seemed.  I decided to wait a day and see what might happen, thinking it might be the rain which was contributing to the noise. Sure, I knew it was unlikely but I didn't see anything wrong.

Last night I jumped on the bike for my ride and it was again making the noise with every turn of the rear wheel. I slowly finished the first lap.  As I got close to home I tried to note where the noise was coming from on the wheel.  I slowed to a crawl and started walking my bike and there was no noise.  I sat on the saddle and slowly pedaled and no noise.  It wasn't until I was doing about 3 or 4 miles and hour that the noise started again.  Fortunately I was able to stop the bike with the tire in the position where the noise occurred.

I grabbed the rear wheel to holed the position and carried the bike into the garage.  Noting where on the wheel the loose spoke was likely to be, I flipped my bike over and started checking the spokes one more time.  There was one spoke in the target area which was just a bit looser than the others.  I could tell by the feel as well as by the sound when I strummed it.  I grabbed my spoke tool and tightened the spoke one full turn.

I then strummed it again and the sound was close to those around it.  I spun the wheel looking for any deviation in it's true and there was none.  I flipped the bike over and headed out for another lap and was very relieved when it was once again whisper quiet.

Not sure what had happened to the spoke that it would suddenly be loose and making noise, but I am very glad it was an easy fix.

Time to ramp up the miles and the climbing because in just over 2 weeks I have the 25 mile Pedal to the Medal ride for Special Olympics.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!