Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mobile again

The part has come in and my bike is back together and rolling along. Its amazing to me how much I missed riding when I didn’t have a working bike. I was without 2 wheeled transport for a total of 16 days. I had worried that I would be really starting to lose what fitness I had previously built up on the bike, but I’m happy to say that doesn’t appear to be the case. I rode 10 miles this morning in 48:06. That’s an average of 12.5 mph which is right where I was over 2 weeks ago. The great thing is I was able to increase my daily distance from 8 miles to the 10 miles as well.

When I got home I got Michele and we rode another mile together. This is only her 4th mile in many years but she is out there doing it! I am so proud of her for getting up extra early and going for a ride with me.

I’m starting to think that I might be becoming a cyclist as not only do I enjoy riding, but also reading about riding. I follow other blogs about riding like the Fat Cyclist and Cynz Adventures. Some day I hope to be completing rides like they do. Cyn just got back from a relay ride from Las Vegas to Huntington Beach! Amazing and awesome! When I grow up I want to be able to do that too.

The other thing about riding is that I love it just for itself and not just as a means to exercise and get healthy. It reminds me of back in my Boy Scout days when I would go on our annual canoe trips. You could feel a sense of accomplishment when you put your paddle in the water and pulled it back to make yourself go forward. I feel that same thing when I’m cranking on my bike – the direct benefit of my action. Its what makes me want to keep doing it because I can see that it gives an immediate return. Sure you get a return when you walk, but its just not the same feeling as riding.

I missed the wind in my hair, but now I’ve got it back and life is good!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Waiting on parts...

I didn't realize how much I enjoy riding my bike. I mean I hadn't really been on one for so many years that it can't be that important to me. Well it is and having mechanical problems requiring me to wait on parts from the manufacturer has shown me that. I truly prefer riding to walking, that is 100% certain.

Since my bike has been down, I have been walking in the mornings to keep the exercise and training moving forward. I'm definitely walking a lot more than I had planned at this stage of my training for Pumpkinman, but it has to all be good. I don't think a week or two without my bike will really hurt me in the long run as far as training goes, but I sure do miss riding.

My problem with walking is that it just feels so slow! I'm walking at a decent clip - 3.3 to 3.4 miles an hour, but compared to 12+ on my bike, its crawling! OK, sure I could start running, but I'm not quite there yet. I do throw in a few short stretches of jogging during my walk, but even that feels like plodding along.

I'm trying to figure out if the problem with my bike is a single defective part, or a symptom of abuse due to my size riding the bike. Maybe it wasn't made for the daily riding with 400 lbs on its saddle. Time will tell. The problem is that the retaining ring for the rear gears on the axle has split allowing play in the gears because they are no longer tight on the axle. I can see the part and even tried tightening it, but since its split its a no go.

The warranty department at Pacific Cycle (they bought Schwinn) was great. once I had the serial number and date number from my bike, Dawn decided to ship me not just the broken part, but a brand new entire rear wheel and gear assembly just in case something else got trashed in there. That was much more than I was expecting. Let's just hope this was a singular defect in the one part and not a symptom of larger issues looming.

Now, this lull in the riding has caused me to start looking at Craig's List at the used bikes section to see if there might be something for me to ride as an alternate. I have found a few interesting listings in a reasonable (cheap) price range. The problem is the timing of things and not really knowing if what I'm looking at is a reliable bike. So I have been afraid to pull the trigger on getting one. Add to that the fact that I don't know which type to get - should I get a road bike? a mountain bike? A hybrid? Do I want suspension or not? How many gears? What size frame? So many questions that I just don't have the answers to right now.

I am going to wait until the weekend to make a decision. If I haven't received the parts by then, I'm going to seriously look at what's available for little money and probably buy myself a second bike.

Oh how I miss the wind in my hair....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A call to action

One of my inspirations for starting to ride my bike is the blog written by Elden aka the Fat Cyclist. He has teamed up with the Livestrong Foundation in their fight against cancer on several rides this year. I have become a virtual team member for the ride in Austin and am doing what I can to try and raise funds in support of this fight.

It’s funny, I tend to normally donate a few dollars to most of the fundraising requests that come my way, but I never really went looking for donations myself. I always figured that if I ever did put out the call, then those around me who heard would immediately answer and donate, even just a dollar or two. I have to say that I’ve found that hasn’t been the case so far.

I know there are lots of very good people out there and I know that we are all bombarded with requests on a daily basis, but I hope this is one that those who read this blog will respond to.

My wife’s mother passed away from lung cancer which spread to her brain. This happened before I even met my wife, but I was touched by it as it touched my wife and daughter so deeply having lost her.

My mother is a cancer survivor having had colon cancer and beat it.

My favorite Aunt who is a bladder cancer survivor.

A family friend recently had breast cancer and had a mastectomy and chemo and so far is cancer free.

These are all reasons that I ask you to please follow this url (http://tinyurl.com/2a3hbx9) and make a donation to the Livestrong foundation to help those who have been touched by this dreadful disease.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Proud of my wife...

I am so proud of my wife. She got up early this morning and rode a mile with me on her bike. She started strong and was working hard by the end, but she made it! It was amazing having her out there with me. So far I've been basically doing my training by myself. Its been good and I am definitely getting stronger, but to have her along with me was really amazing.

Having someone share the experience definitely makes it easier to do. Its like sharing a burden where you don't have to carry it alone. Never having competed in sports, I never really understood the boost a person can get from the crowd and from their teammates. I can now see why having a personal trainer when working out in the gym is a big deal - they help motivate you and keep you going to in the right direction instead of giving in to your mental limitations.

I just want to say I Love You dear, and I look forward to sharing many more mornings with you in pursuit of our healthier, fitter lives!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It doesn't get easier...

OK, I'm starting to understand the saying it doesn't get easier, you can just do it faster and for a longer time. When I first heard that I thought it was ridiculous. If you keep exercising it has to get easier, is what I thought. Now that I've been actually doing the exercising in the form of riding my bike, I'm starting to understand. Its not exactly getting easier to ride my bike, I can just do it longer and at a faster pace. It still takes motivation and a mental effort to get myself up and out and start riding.

The good news is that I've lost 6 lbs in the last week. I also managed to ride 40 miles and walk 2. I've adjusted my training schedule so that I'm planning on riding and walking on alternate days to build up my stamina in both. I still have to get my butt in the pool and start swiming laps. I had hoped to do that over the weekend, but everytime we got to the pool, it was too crowded to swim laps. I concentrated on doing some kicks and other leg work in the water just to make sure I was doing something!