Friday, December 28, 2012

Looking back..and ahead

As we all often do at this time of year, I have been reflecting on what I've accomplished over the last year and then I start thinking ahead to what I want to accomplish in the next year.

As for what I did in 2012:

I rode a total of 566 miles in 2012. (this may change if I can get out there in the next day or to).

I competed in the corporate challenge bike race in May.

I purchased a new bike in 2012 and am happy with it after the trials and tribulations with the spokes/wheels and pedal issues.

I completed the Viva Bike Vegas 17 mile ride in September.

Along the way I've gained and lost a bunch of pounds and have rededicated myself to improving my health and losing weight.  I've picked up a fitbit tracker to try and motivate myself to move more and it seems my wife and daughter are joining me on this journey as they have each gotten the fitbit for Christmas.

As I sit here I'm thinking about the events I want to do in 2013.  Those events include:

Tour de cure ride - April 2013

Corporate Challenge - May 2013

100 mile of nowhere - June 2013

Viva Bike Vegas - September 2013

Bike MS - November 2013

As you can see I'm hoping to accomplish much more int he ride department in 2013.  I also am looking to ride at least 2013 miles in 2013.

With this much riding and watching my diet, I'm planning on also getting below 300 lbs. by 12/31/2013.

I hope to see some of you on some of these rides in 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly update 12/21/12

Well, it looks like the Mayans were wrong and the world didn't end today. :)  That being said its time for a weekly update.

Here is my FitBit data for the last week:

Steps:  25142 (up 2472)
Miles:  12.51 (up 1.23)
Calories Eaten:  17725  (up 1716)
Calories burned:  25839 (up 1227)
Net:  -8114 (down 489)

As you can see, this is not bad, but it can be better.  The good news is I did increase my steps, distance and burn.  The bad news is I also increased my consumption.

Now comes the challenging part of the year.  I am off work for over 3 weeks and it is the holidays.  The tendency for this time is to slack on the activity and gorge on the food.  I am going to pay close attention to make sure things don't go too awry.

The best news is that since 12.1, I am down a total of 23.3 pounds.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Long Overdue Update

For anyone who does stop in to read, I must apologize for the time that has lapsed since my last post.  We all know that the best of intentions don't always end up with the best results.  Frankly there hasn't been a lot to talk about.  I haven't been riding, I have been watching my diet, through.

I joined a challenge on to lose 50 lbs.  The challenge is simply - whoever loses 50 lbs. first gets the first place prize, second gets second place, etc.  This challenge started on December 1st so I weighed in for the challenge the evening of November 30, after dinner of course.  I couldn't believe what the scale said: 464.4 lbs!  That's the heaviest I have been in almost 3 years - up 80 lbs from my lowest when I did Pumpkinman 2 years ago.

This was an eye opener for sure.  I was glad I had already decided it was time to get back into the process of getting healthy because this was unacceptable.

That was 2 weeks ago and I have to say that combining a bit more walking with truly watching what I'm eating and going back to the low carb diet has paid off.  As of this morning my weight is 441.8!  That is a 22.6  pound loss in only 2 weeks.  Yes I know this is not truly a sustainable trend and that a large part of the initial loss was fluids, but still it is definite progress in the right direction.  I also has me in first place for the challenge as well by a significant margin.

With this in mind over the next couple of weeks I'm going to try to stick to the every Friday updates and monitor my progress on here for even more accountability   Along the way I'll look back over the year to see what I've managed to accomplish and set the stage for new goals for 2013.

Also, here is a picture of me at the Viva Bike Vegas event back in October:

This is my before picture.  Never again will I be this size.  I am hoping to have another picture from this event in 2013 and there will be a dramatic difference between the pictures.

That said here is my FitBit data for the last week:

Steps:  22670
Miles:  11.28
Calories Eaten:  16009
Calories burned:  24612
Net:  -8603

As you can see, this is not bad, but it can be better.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekly update 11/9/12

Today is my first weekly update.  I'll be working with the format for the next few weeks to figure out what works best for me and what information I want to share.

I first want to say that I love the FitBit ultra that I have.  Its small, unobtrusive and it is helping to motivate me to be more active which is its goal.  I love that it wasn't very expensive, that it updates wirelessly, fits easily in a pocket or on my belt and best of all I don't have to subscribe in order to view the data.

Here is a snapshot of my results for the last week:


 30150 steps taken
 55 floors climbed
 15.01 miles traveled

Total BurnedTotal EatenDeficit
27648 cals 20212 cals -7436 cals

Now let's compare this to the previous week's numbers before I decided to get moving at all:


 23855 steps taken
 17 floors climbed
 11.87 miles traveled

Total BurnedTotal EatenDeficit
25998 cals  27476 cals  +1478 cals

As you can see from the above, there was a deficit in calories this week, where there was a surplus in calories the previous week.  Thi will be my baseline week to measure future activity against.

To achieve this, I have managed to cycle 3 days this last week for a total of just shy of 27 miles.  Not a lot of miles, but it is a new start and it is chipping away at my revised goal of 1000 miles this year.  My total is up to 566, only 434 to go.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Today is relaunch day.  I took advantage of the time change to get my butt out of bed and on the bike this morning.  After the ride I realized that I hadn't ridden in 33 days.  33 days.  How quickly we can fall out of the habit and let our old, bad habits take over.

My best guess is that in those 33 days, with the complete lack of exercise and the total poor eating, that I gained about 10 lbs.  Not a good thing at all.  Definitely moving in the wrong direction and its time to get my life back on course to a fitter, healthier me.

Towards that end I purchased a FitBit Ultra tracker to monitor just how active I really m on a daily basis.  I've actually had the tracker for 2 weeks now and have worn it every Day just to get a baseline reading of how inactive I truly am.  let's just say there isn't much place to go, other than up in the activity department.

My goal is to go back to weekly updates with my weight and activities for the week starting this coming Friday.  I'll be pulling numbers from my fitbit as well as listing how many miles I've traveled and how far to get to my revised goal of 1000 miles in 2012.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Viva Bike Vegas 2012

Saturday was the 2012 version of Viva Bike Vegas and it was a blast. There were 4 distances riders could choose from, 122 miles, 105 miles, 75 miles or 17 miles.  Since I haven't been riding as much as I would have liked/needed to for the longer distances, I opted for the 17 mile route.  This route started at Town Square at the south end of the strip and headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard to downtown Las Vegas and then made its way back south to the starting point.

I woke up early on the day of the event and got ready to head out.  I visited the restroom twice before leaving home as my stomach prepared for the day. On the way to the event, I stopped and picked up a couple of Powerades in case I was thirsty.  I had opted to not bring my camelback as it was only a 17 mile ride and I figured at most it should take 2 hours.  I've ridden almost as far without hydration so I figured it was no big deal especially since we were starting in the absolute cool of the day.

On Friday night as I was reviewing my packet I found out that the 17 mile ride was going to be a mass start at 6:00 am.  This was different from what they said online which was that the event started at 5:00 am.  The longer distances started at 5:00 with waves leaving every 7 minutes or so.  Part of the reason for this was to control traffic on the strip for the event.

I arrived at Town Square at 4:40 and started going about preparing my bike for the ride.  I inflated the tires, checked my lights and made sure everything looked good.  I hadn't ridden the bike since i had gotten the rear wheel back from being trued on Tuesday.  I figured that if the spokes were going to loosen again, I wanted to make it through the ride so I didn't want to take any chances.  While I was preparing I heard the first wave leave the start with much fanfare and even some fireworks.  I then decided to go and investigate where I would line up for my wave.

As I rode around to locate the rear of the staging area it struck me just how many people were actually there for the ride.  They were lined up all the way to the center square of Town Square with many more milling about.  One look told me that I need not get lined up yet as there was plenty of time before I would leave.  So I did what many others were doing, I located the restroom for one more PRP.  As I walked into the restroom, it struck me that as a group we cyclists were a pretty trusting lot.  Everyone was leaving their bikes unattended while attending to their bodily needs.  Anyone could have walked up and ridden away with multi-thousands of dollars worth of bikes.  Happily that didn't happen!

After attending to my business, I headed back towards the start corrals and decided to grab a picture of the sea of cyclists.  It came out a bit dark, due to the lack of light since it was pre-dawn, but it does show how many people were there:

Instead of standing in line for 35 minutes waiting for the start, I decided to go and find a bench to relax.  While I was watching the mass of people heading back and forth towards the restrooms, Mary Jo from work stopped by to say 'Hi'.  Her and I had ridden in the Corporate Challenge and were close to the same pace.  We decided to do most of the ride together.  Her husband had already left with one of the earlier waves as he was doing one of the longer distances.  She went to find our corral and I said I would look for her in a few minutes as the start got closer.

At 5:45 I decided ti was time to get ready and find the group for the start.  I had been thinking that the larger number of riders would be doing the shorter distance, but that wasn't the case.  There were maybe 200 riders doing the 17 mile course and some of those had signed up for a longer distance but decided to do the shorter distance that morning.  I moved through the corral and found Mar Jo towards the front of the group.  As we were waiting I decided one more trip to the restroom was in order so I hurried back and took care of business.  I wasn't gone more than 5 minutes, but when I came back they had moved the group up to the starting line.

As we waited for the time to count down the announcer went through the crowd asking where people were from and if it was their first time doing the event.  There were several people from California, someone from Portland, someone from Seattle, someone from Arkansas and several from Las Vegas.  Finally it was time to go and we headed out onto Las Vegas Boulevard and headed north.  I was glad to be riding as the anticipation was getting too much.

We set out at a fairly good pace.  Not having done many group rides, especially with so many people in such a tight group, I was a bit tentative at first not wanting to get too close to anyone else.  Within a half mile or so the group seemed to stretch out a bit and there was a bit more room to maneuver.  Since I had made the last minute restroom stop, Mary Jo had ended up towards the front of the group and I was at the back.  I started working my way slowly through the pack and caught up to her just past Tropicana.

 I loved riding up the length of the strip in the pre-dawn light.  Most of the hotels were still brightly lit and there were even a number of tourists walking along watching the 2000 or so crazy cyclists riding along.  The temperature was around 70 with a light breeze so it was a very enjoyable ride.  I especially liked having the police escort with the intersections blocked so we didn't have to stop all the way up the strip until we hit Charleston.

Thee was a bit of confusion as our route directions had us bearing left onto 4th street just past the Stratosphere, but there was an officer there with the turn blocked off with cones and he was forcing several riders who had ridden through the cones to turn around and continue down Las Vegas Boulevard.  We then decided that since we would have had to make a left from 4th Street onto Wyoming, when we got to Wyoming and Las Vegas Boulevard we made a left.  There were no signs or route markers at this turn.  As we got to Main Street, though, there was a route marker so we knew that had been the right move.

Once we left the strip, we left the part of the ride.  As we continued on we went through some commercial and industrial areas of the city.  We also lost the police escort and blocked intersections.  This meant stopping for lights many time over the last half of the ride.  It also meant that our essentially flat ride also had some hills as we went under the I-15 freeway and up along Dean Martin and Industrial Dr.  In fact it was on the uphill just past the I-15 that I dropped my chain.I hadn't really gotten the shifting of the front derailleur dialed in since I had the cranks replaced and I was trying to downshift to my middle ring heading up the hill.  I clicked the shifter but it didn't shift so I hit it a second time hoping it would go to the small ring.

It didn't.  It went past the small ring and right off into space.  Leaving me with a dropped chain.  No big deal except there went any momentum I had and now I had to get greasy putting the chain back on.  Of course I shifted back to the big ring, but that didn't help so I got off and place the chain back on the big ring, but then it was off on the rear.  SO after moving it around and telling the 15 people who asked that I was OK, I was back in business, except I walked up the hill because I wasn't going anywhere in the gear I was in.

That was my one and only issue for the day.  A little grease on my hands was the only casualty.

As we worked our way along Valley View I realized that there was a bit of elevation difference between where we were and the starting line, especially when we turned onto Sunset and I realized this was where we were crossing back over the freeway.  The overpass was high, but there was a slight downhill leading up to it.  I got up a good head of steam and used my momentum and 4 gears to get to the top.  Unfortunately there was a light at the bottom of the other side of the overpass where we had to make a left and no police to stop traffic for us so we couldn't take advantage of any gravity assist.  We of course hit the red light and as we waited we weren't enough to trigger the sensor in the left turn lane so when we got the chance we had to ride through the red turn arrow.

We then made out way around, under the overpass we had just crossed and into the rear of Town Square and into the finish chute. I received the finisher medal and was very happy to have ridden the 17 miles in just over 1:30.  There was a lot of tents set up in the finish area, but most of them weren't really ready for finishers yet.  Outback Steakhouse was there to provide lunch for all of the riders, but they hadn't started cooking yet.  So after a brief look at the tents I decided it was time to head home.  I was home before 8:00.

All in all it was a great event and it pushed me over the 500 mile mark for miles ridden this year.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I am obsessed with numbers today. 6.46 - that's how many miles I rode this morning.  478 - that's how many miles I've ridden so far this year.  2012, 1534, 105, 14.6 These are the total miles I hope to ride this year, how many I have left, how many days are left and how many miles I have to average per day in order to meet that goal.  Looks like I really need to get riding!

You might wonder why the obsession with numbers today. 18,262 is why.  That's how many days I've been alive, or to put it in a more recognizable format 600 months, or 50 years.  Yes, today is my 50th birthday and I find it a day for reflection and a slight obsession with numbers.

Some other numbers I'm obsessed with today: 2500, 385, 20, 446.5.  2500 is my approximate base calorie burn per day.  385 is approximately how many more calories per day on average i must have consumed over the last 6 months.  20 is the number of pounds I've gained in the last 6 months and 446.5 is my current weight.

I have been avoiding the scale for the last 6 months.  I had hoped to get back into a rhythm of riding and eating better and shed some weight before getting on the scale, but realized this morning that obviously hasn't been the case.

2200, 850, 45, 15, 416.5 are my new numbers.  2200 will be my new target net calories per day.  850 will be my average calorie burn per day.  45 minutes per day is my new exercise target.  15 weeks until January 1st.   416.5 is my goal weight by 1/1/2013 losing a safe and sane 2 lbs. per week between now and then.

To that end we've found a new source for fruits and vegetables.  Its called Bountiful Baskets.  Its a food co-op.  We picked up our first basket last week and couldn't have been more pleased.  I'll got into more detail on them in a future post.

76, 12.  76 is the number of posts, including this one, I've published on this blog.  12 is the number of followers who are listed.  I think all of you for your support.

I started this blog 2 and a half years ago with the idea that it would be my chronicle of losing weight and getting healthy (hence the title) and I have had some great success, but I've also let that success slip away.  I am 26.5 lbs. heavier now than I was when I started this blog and I need to change that. Please stick with me and join me on this journey.  I will not quit.  I will get healthy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beautiful morning for a ride, sort of...

I got up this morning determined to ride.  The weather is a bit cooler since we had some thunderstorms yesterday, so that shouldn't be an issue.  I got the bike out, noticed the tire were soft, so I spent the next 10 minutes putting air in the tires.  Its amazing to me how quickly they loose air here.  In less than 2 weeks, they went for 75 lbs. of air down to 45.  That's just crazy to me.  I guess its the combination of heat and the low humidity which leave the rubber more porous or something.

Anyway, once it was all aired up, I head out on my usual morning route - West on my street to Quarterhorse, north on Quaterhorse to Pebble, East on Pebble to El Capitan and South on El Capitan to Mackanos.  The my street was fine, but as I made the turn onto Quaterhorse I found 3 to 4 inches of gravel, dirt and other larger stones on the road.  This lasted a good 75 feet up Quarterhorse.  I successfully navigated the obstacle, but decided I really didn't want to push my luck riding through the debris multiple times.

I continued on around the circuit, but when I got to Mackanos, I detoured to the street south of mine and commenced to riding around the block.  The streets were fairly clean and I was making pretty decent time. The drawback to riding this shorter course is that it becomes boring going around and around the same block.  I continued on making 9 circuits with little issue but as I was going around the 10th time I noticed that my back wheel had developed a significant wobble. Again.  The last time I rode I ended up cutting it short due to a wobble, which I had thought I had corrected, but alas, it seems the fix was but a temporary one.

I carefully completed the 10th lap and brought the bike into the garage and turned off its lights.  I wasn't ready to stop yet, so I grabbed my old bike and proceeded to ride another 2 laps around the block.  I only completed 2 laps for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I had yet to mount the new lights on the Univega and it is still very dark at 5:00 in the morning.  The second reason was that I was running out of my allotted 1 hour exercise time.  I must say I enjoyed riding the Univega once again, but the riding position is so very different from the Diamondback.

So, I have decided that I need to have a professional look at the spoke situation on the rear wheel of the Diamondback, and that I need to get the lights mounted on the Univega so I can ride - NO EXCUSES.  I really do have to thank Fizzhog for his most recent post as that is what was the last bit of motivation I needed to get my butt out there and riding this morning.  His line "Ride your bike. Never put off any length of ride for any reason ever." is what did it.

Get out there and ride!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Now I've done it

I am now officially registered for the VIVA Bike VEGAS event on September 22. I choose the 17 mile option that focuses on a trip up the Strip.

Of course after I paid my money I read the details including the 5:00 AM start time. I had been wondering how we would "see the lights on the world famous Las Vegas Strip" and now I know since sunrise isn't until 6:30 or so.

So who is going to support some great causes and join me on this ride?

BTW Thank you to Lisa at for the promo code bikininglv12 which saved me $21 off the $105 registration fee.

Monday, August 27, 2012

So Much Technology

It hit me this morning, after my ride, that I'm using way to much technology to tell me I'm slow.  I know I'm slow, but I still feel this need to measure and quantify that slowness.  Here's  why I decided I'm way too "connected."

I got up this morning and put on my cycling clothes, went downstairs and grabbed my Garmin Forerunner 305.  I then proceeded out to the garage and got ready to ride.  I turned my Garmin on and had to wait about 60 seconds while it acquired the satellites so it knew where I was and could track my movements.

I then rode my bike (only 6.22 miles but that's another (short)story).

When I got home, I pulled out the laptop and my Garmin connector and commenced to uploading my ride to various sites.

When I first connected the Garmin, Training Center opened and automatically imported my ride data.  It has a map of the ride as well as my speed and timing and elevation profile.

Next I opened my internet browser, went to my favorites and opened My Daily Mile.  This was one of the first sites I found when I started training 2 1/2 years ago and I have been uploading everything there since.  This site definitely has my most complete workout history.

Next I went back to my favorites and opened My Fitness Pal.  This site is great for counting calories consumed as well as calories burned.  I selected my activity (bike riding 12-14 mph) and entered my time of 29 minutes and its magic calculator said I had burned 740 calories.  Not bad for a quick, early morning work out.

After that I fired up and logged into the Plus 3 Network site,  This was a site that Fatty turned me on to last year while we were raising funds for World Bicycle Relief.  I love the site because through its sponsors I can help others by doing nothing more than logging my activities.  So far I've earned them $15.75.  Sure its not much in and of itself, but it was donated for my doing nothing more than uploading my workouts.  Everyone really should be doing this!

The next site I went to to log in what I had done was Map My Ride.  I had been using this off and on to track my rides, but that was more so before I got the Garmin.  I did find out a couple of people I follow on the web use this site, so I have been uploading my activities here as well.

Lastly I log into Garmin Connect and upload my activity there.  I'm not really sharing the data here with anyone, it serves more as a back up.

I have also gotten a new phone and downloaded the Map My Ride and Strava apps to it to use in case I happen to ride without my Garmin.

That makes 6 different places that the details of my slow rides are preserved.  Each one has its one or two unique features or reasons I use it, but what it really boils down to for me is a bit of accountability.  By putting my rides out there, I am showing the world how often, long and hard I am riding.  It gives me just a little more motivation to actually get out there and ride somewhere that day and that helps.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easy or Hard????

How should I push myself - Easy or Hard?

I am looking ahead to a couple of organized rides this fall.  The first is put together by our Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) and is called Viva Bike Vegas.  In the past it has been held in October, but this year they moved it up to the Middle of September to coincide with the Gran Fondo Pinarello and Interbike, and it is being held on September 22.  What attracts me to this ride is the opportunity to actually ride the Las Vegas Strip.

The second organized ride is BIKE:MS Vegas Challenge  which will be held November 10 & 11.  Thee are ride options on both Saturday and Sunday and the proceeds of the fundraising go to the National MS society.

Both rides look to be well organized and well run.  They both offer options as to length of ride as well.  Viva Bike Vegas has 4 options 17, 75, 102and 122 miles.  BIKE:MS has 3 options on day 1: Century, Metric Century or 30 miler, and 2 options on day 2: 50 and 30 miles.

This is where the question comes in:  Do I go the easy route and look at the shorter options, or do I really push myself and try for a longer option?  My first instinct has been to ride the 17 mile route for Viva Bike Vegas and the 30 mile on Day 2 of the BIKE:MS. Of course that was before I read some of the recent blog posts by Fatty, Sarah, Fizzhog and Steve.  Now I am starting to question if I should push myself harder.
One huge consideration is my current fitness level, likely quantity of riding to prepare for the events.  Another is whether or not anyone is going to be accompanying me on the ride(s).  I would love to have some company!

OK, I’ve made up my mind and will shortly be putting my money where my mouth is as I actually register for these 2 events.  I am going to do the 17 mile route for Viva Bike Vegas.  If they had a 50 mile route, I would be tempted to do it as it is just after my 50th birthday, but I think the 17 miler will do nicely.  I’ve also decided to do the 30 mile ride on both days of the BIKE:MS event. (watch for more information so you can donate to help support this great cause)

So, I now have a plan and will ride fairly easy, but tending towards hard as I get more miles under my belt.  Anyone want to join me at either event????

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are you a solo or a group rider?

Watching the Men's and Women's Road Race in this year's Olympics got me to thinking about how hard it has to be to ride in the middle of a peloton.  I watched as the main peloton in both races lost to a small breakaway group.  It became very apparent that the larger group had issues with organization and working together, where the small group(s) at the front did not and that helped them to win the race.

I am not a gorup rider.  I have been on a grand total of 4 rides which have involved other people and I realize, now, that I was not a good member of the group on most of those occasions.  The reason for this, I believe is my lack of experience in riding with others.

Now that I think about it, when I rode with Robin and Cyn 2 years ago, I chose to follow Robin's lead, letting her "pull" me along.  I really wasn't being selfish about it, I just didn't want to go too fast and drop her, so I let her set the pace.  Since we really weren't riding that close together nor at any appreciable speed, there really was no benefit for me in the trailing position.

I did the same thing a couple of months later when I rode with Mary but for the opposite reason.  I was as slow as a slug and didn't want to hold her up as much as I was, so I told her to go on ahead.  She did, but without getting too far ahead and maintaining contact with me.

I've never really beenon a ride where we were going a significant distance, nor at a fast enough speed where it would benefit us working together, taking turns pulling each other along.  I've ridden over 1300 miles in the last 2 years and all but 25 or so of those miles have been as a solo rider.  I think I need to find otherriders of a comparable skill level and speed to work on my group riding skills.

So, are you a group or solo rider?  Which do you prefer and why?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Short Term Goals

I'm looking back at my almost non-existent riding history for the month of July and I'm realizing that goals are important.  Not just the big goals like riding 2012 in 2012, but smaller, short-term goals like riding so many days in a week, or month.

I knew when I had bike problems at the beginning of the month that my total for the month was going to be low, but not quite as low as it is.  Between mechanical issues, the heat and humidity, a minor injury and various late nights, the mileage has not been there this month.  In fact, as of today, my mileage for the month of July is only 17.6 miles in 2 rides!

I could make excuses and dwell on the fact that I'm falling further and further behind my initial pace to reach my goal, but I know that is unproductive.  Instead I am looking ahead.  Since it is still very warm, I don't want to overstate my goal or over commit myself for the month of August, but I do want to make sure that I am making progress towards my big goal for the year.

With that in mind, I have come up with some mini goals for the month:

First I am planning on riding at least 17 of the 31 days in August.  That averages out to 4 per week for the next 4 weeks plus an extra day for the extra half week of the month.

Secondly, I am planning on riding at least one 20 mile ride and one 25 mile ride during the month.

Third,  My total miles for the month should be at least 200.

I think these are very doable goals for the next month and will help to propel me towards the 2012 in 2012 larger goal.

Looking ahead to September, there is a ride up the Las Vegas Strip on September 22 as part of Viva Bike Vegas which I am hoping to do.  The short ride option is only 17 miles, which I know I can do, but there are some longer options which I might attempt.  I'll wait until the beginning of September to see how well I'm doing, before I make that decision.

Anyone want to join me?

What are your goals for August?


Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm rolling again

I'm finally back on my bike and rolling along.  I realized this morning that its been 4 weeks since I last rode and that is just too long of a break.  Not only did I lose some fitness, but it certainly dug a hole in terms of meeting my 2012 in 2012 goal for this year.

I actually have both of my bikes back up and rolling along.  Some bearings and a good tightening of the bottom bracket on the Univega and a new Shimano crankset on the Diamondback were just what the bike doctor ordered. :)  I was figuring a cost between $125 and $150 for the repairs and was quite pleased with a bill for $62.

I rode 8 miles this morning and felt the 4 week layoff.  I did lose some fitness as my legs were gone at 5 miles, but I know I can quickly gain it back.  I don't think I'll make 5 days riding this week, but I should make 4. 

Keep rolling along!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Not a happy camper...

Last Monday I only rode 8 miles because my right pedal started having issues again.  Tuesday through Thursday I had to be into work early so I could teach early classes.  Over the weekend I thought I was able to correct the issue with the pedal, but this morning it proved to not be the case.  Within three turns of the crank the issue was back.  Looks like I need a new crank arm as the threads for the pedal are shot on this one.

What sucks about this is first, the bike is only 2 months old.  Secondly, there is apparently no way to order one online, which means I have to find an authorized dealer and get them to order it for me.  There are several dealers around, including Sport Chalet, its just the hassle of having to actually go in there that I dislike.  I've tried going to the Diamondback Corporate site, but their focus is on selling bikes and not on service.

The third part that sucks is that since I self assembled the bike, any warranty is null and void.  Apparently it doesn't matter that I bought the bike online and had it shipped to me directly, I was still supposed to take it to one of their dealers and pay them $80 to assemble the bike.  Based upon the wheel issues, the pedal/warranty issues and my overall feeling of abandonment by the company, I will not be buying another Diamondback bicycle, nor will I recommend them to anyone else.

So, now I'm probably down for at least another week while I get to a dealer and have them order the part for me.  My goal of 2012 in 2012 just got significantly harder to obtain, but we'll make it.

Not only am I going to get the crank arm for the Diamondback, I'm also going to see about getting the crank bearings taken care of on the Univega so I have a back-up steed as well.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekly goal met

I met my weekly goal of riding 6 of 7 days this week.  If I hadn't set the goal for myself I probably would not have ridden this morning, but I am glad I did!  My stats are:

Weekly Miles ridden:  72.55 miles
Time for week:  5 hours 38 minutes
Monthly miles:  102 miles
YTD miles:  388 Miles
Miles to go to hit 2012:  1624 miles

I am slightly behind on my pace of 56 miles per week, but it did improve with this week's miles.

On the calorie front I will be over my weekly total for allowed calories.  I never made up last Sunday's extra calories and was even over a bit yesterday with a trip to CiCi's pizza buffet.

I've read so many inspiring stories from the 100 miles of Nowhere and Fatty's Race report this week.  People truly suffering on their bikes for a good cause that I am motivated to keep pushing myself and improving.  I will ride that event next year.

I also watched my all time favorite movie again yesterday: Meet The Robinsons.  I can't help but get a little choked up every time I see it because it is all about the importance of family and has the best motto: KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  No matter what life throws at you, just keep moving forward.  Seems like some great advice.


Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm getting addicted... this thing called cycling.  I'm starting to slightly obsess about it and am thinking about it often.

Brian, in his post over at Mid Life in the Fast Lane, said it very well.  He mentioned how it starts out as a thought that maybe I can just do this a little better.  Then you progress to adding a little distance and the next thing you know you are contemplating doing a century ride.

I must be addicted since I've gotten some gear, I keep pushing myself to go faster and/or farther, and yes I'm starting to think about a Century ride.  I'm not ready for it as yet, but I know that if I keep pushing myself and actually putting in the miles I can do it.

Yesterday I rode the farthest I have in almost 2 years - 18.3 miles.  I wasn't fast, with an average of 11.4 mph, but the fact is, I probably could have gone farther.  When I got home I wasn't worn out.  I could walk up the stairs with no more issue than normal.  I didn't even feel especially tired.  That all combines to tell me I could have gone farther.

One area that was tender though was the saddle area.  When you are placing the amount of weight that I am, on that concentrated of a region, it tends to get sore fairly quickly.  I'm finding that I start to get sore about 7 or 8 miles into my rides.  This has improved, though.  I was getting sore about 3 miles in, so progress is being made in this area. :)

In the weight department, I have to confess that I haven't been nearly as disciplined or made near enough of the right choices to move in a positive direction.  I haven't gained (at least not since my one week binge following the final weigh in of the Biggest winner) but I haven't lost either.  I have a feeling its definitely time to buckle down and stop eating over 3000 calories a day.  Sure if I take into consideration what I've been burning with my riding I'm "allowed" these calories, but if I want to lose some of this fat, I need to start eating less calories on a daily basis.

So my goal for this week is to ride 6 out of 7 days for a total of at least 60 miles and to limit my total calorie intake for the week to 2500/day for a total of 17,500 calories consumed for the week.  I'll have to closely watch what I eat since we had Mexican food and Ice Cream yesterday for a daily total of 3,389 calories, (with a burn of 1858 calories from yesterday's ride but I'm not counting net calories here).  So far today I've had 1,165 calories.  If I were to try and balance yesterday's choices, I would only have 446 calories left for today.  I think I might spread the deficit across a couple of days :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Glass was not the problem

The good news is that the glass on the road was not the problem last week.  I took the wheel off and inspected the tire, expecting to see glass sticking out of it. I found nary a piece embedded in it.  I then removed the tire and tube from the wheel to continue with the inspection. Again, I did an inspection of the tire, this time on the inside both visually and by gently running my fingers around the tire.  Still no glass.

At this point I was wondering if there was some other reason for the failure of the tube, so I turned my attention to the tube itself.  I didn't see anything wrong, focusing on the outer part of the tube so I decided to add some air.  As I pumped I felt the air leaking from a hole on the inner part of the tube about 3 inches from the valve.  I was confused as to how this could be the case, until I noticed that my new wheel was missing the rim strip.

It seems that when they moved the tire and tube from the old wheel to the new, they failed to realize that there was no rim strip on the new wheel and the sharp edge of one of the holes in the secondary wall of the wheel had punctured the tube. This was actually a relief in that it meant the Kevlar tire were actually doing their job in protecting the tubes form the hazards on the road.

I took the wheel, tire and tube to the LBS where I had purchased the wheel and they replaced the tube since the missing rim strip was their fault (Thank you Broken Spoke).

Unfortunately this took place on Friday.  Since my wife and I had planned a weekend of relaxing and doing very little, I didn't get another ride in until this morning.  The good news is that I Rode 9+ miles this morning with no issues.  I do have to make a slight adjustment to my handlebars as they are slightly off center from the crash on Thursday.  The interesting this was that I felt slow this morning, yet my Garmin and Strava indicated that I had ridden my best time yet on my training loop.  Go figure!

So, I'm on a working machine again and I expect to hit my 5 of 7 goal easily this week, baring any further issues, of which I hope there are none!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goals are sometimes very challenging

My short terms goals have been to ride at least 5 of 7 days each week.  I accomplished this 2 out of the last 4 weeks and this week my be in jeopardy after riding 4 out of 5 days.

I got up at my usual 4:00 am to get in my ride before work this morning.  I was moving a bit slow but managed to get the tires aired up and on the road by 4:15 or so.  The first lap felt good but I noticed a bunch of broken glass about 1/3 mile from the house.  I didn't think much of it having prepared for this by purchasing Kevlar reinforced tires and slimer tubes for the bike.

Unfortunately it seems my Kevlar reinforced tires and slimer tubes were no match for the broken glass someone so kindly placed on the roadway. Of course I didn't realize this until I approached the corner at 20 mph and felt the back end swerve. I tried to brake, but lost it. Fortunately just a bit of road rash on my knee and elbow and hurt pride were the only casualties(of course there was a couple walking about 1/2 block back from the corner).

So with my flat rear tire I walked the approximately half mile home.  Technically I did get out and ride this morning, if only for the short distance of 1.5 miles.  Its too early to look at the bike and see if I need a new tube or if I might be saved by the slime.  Hopefully I can get it to hold air and get out for a ride tomorrow to make my goal.

The good news is that I ended up riding 176 miles this month , which if I'm not mistaken, is the most miles I've ridden in any month, even when I was training for Pumpkinman.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

252 miles and counting

This week has been one with much less riding than I had anticipated or planned, yet I did manage to get out for 3 rides after all of the issues with spokes and wheels.  I rode a total of 24.15 miles this week bringing my total for the year to 252 miles.  I realize that I am a long ways from my goal of 2012 in 2012, but the fact that I was able to get any miles this week is a good thing.

Only 1760 miles to go for the year. Divide that by the 31 weeks remaining in the year and it works out to just under 57 miles per week average needed.  Riding an average of 5 days per week.  I need to ride over 11 miles  per day.  Definitely a doable number.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back at it

I'm back on the bike and loving it.

Last Saturday I did my longest ride so far this year, over 16 miles.  Now by many standards that's not a long ride, but it was an accomplishment for me.  The good news is I felt good and probably could have gone farther.  The bad news is as I mentioned before, I had 3 broken spokes.

Monday I took the bike into Broken Spoke, a newer bike shop here in the Las Vegas area.  When I dropped it off, the gentleman said it should be done the next day.  Unfortunately when I called on Tuesday afternoon, there were still 2 bikes ahead of mine.  That meant the soonest it would be done is on Wednesday.  I wasn't thrilled, but could understand that delays happen.

My 2 concerns were that it be done right and it be done quickly since I hadn't ridden since Saturday.  I called Wednesday about lunch time and was told there was a problem.  Apparently they didn't have the right length spokes in stock and it would be another 2 days to order them.  I was obviously upset and wondered why this was when they had the spokes in stock when I dropped it off.  As the mechanic was looking t the order, he noticed that there were 2 different spoke lengths written, one with 2 of the numbers transposed.  He said he would do some investigation and call me back.

The next thing I know, I got a call that the bike was ready to be picked up.  To say the least I was very happy.  It meant I could ride Thursday morning, the first ride in 5  days.  I stopped by the shop on the way home from work and picked it up and all was well.

This morning 4:00 am rolled around and I got up and went for a ride.  I was feeling strong and very happy to be rolling again.  I had missed it over the last 5 days.  In fact, I felt so strong that I decided to try something I had not previously done - ride my entire morning loop with out down shifting on the incline.  Now its not a very steep incline, but it does add extra work, especially at my size.  I made it up to the highest point and started on the downhill and was feeling good.  I rounded the next to corners and carried a decent amount of speed into the ascent (OK slight uphill grade).  I made it to the middle of the grade and was still going strong, I kept pumping and made it all the way up and I wasn't worn out.  I couldn't believe it.

I was feeling strong and said to myself "you made it once, let's try it again."  i did and I made it the second time, then the third.  Then the fourth.  In fact I made it through 8 laps without downshifting.  Unfortunately at right about the 9 mile made I heard a thunk and noticed a wobble in the rear wheel.   I took it easy the last .3 miles home and looked to see that I had broken another spoke.  I was not happy.  First because I had planned on at least another mile this morning, and second I had another issue with the bike.

I pulled the wheel as  I was headed out the door to work and headed to the bike shop on my lunch hour.  When I walked in I talked to who i think was the owner/mechanic (wish I was better with names to give him his proper credit).  He let me know that he had hoped to catch me when I picked up the bike.  The diamondback comes with single walled wheels and for someone my size, with the larger wheels, a double walled wheel would be a better option.

My thought was maybe just replacing all the spokes might be a good option.  The information about the wheel flexing made me think twice about that option.  Besides that Broken Spoke said they weren't capable of doing the re-spoking.  The other shops in town changed at least $40 for labor plus the cost of the spokes which were between $1.25 and $1.50 each or 36 spokes.  I was looking at around $100 to get that done.  Broken spoke had a stiffer, double-walled wheel for $80.  That made a lot of sense. So I pulled the trigger and in 10 minutes was out the door with my tire mounted on my new rear wheel.

I won't make 5 of 7 days this week but I will ride 3 for 3 with a working bike!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about habits the last few days, both good and bad.  I heard it said a long time ago that if you do something for 21 days, that it will become a habit.  It doesn't matter if its something good, or bad, just the act of repeating the same activity for that amount of time tends to imprint it rather deeply into our brains.

A web search reveals that this may not necessarily be true.  It really depends on the habit and how drastic of a change it is to our "normal" behaviour.  Simple things, like drinking a glass of water a day, could become a habit in as few as 18 days, but something more profound, like doing 50 sit-ups everyday before breakfast could take much, much longer.

Why all this talk of habits, you might ask.  Its because I've started developing the habit of riding my bike several times per week.  In fact, for the last 5 and a half weeks, I've averaged almost 4 rides per week.  That's 21 rides in 39 days.  Seems like its becoming a habit to get out there and ride.  I know it is becoming a habit, because I haven't ridden in 3 days and I'm really missing it!  In fact I just did a quick tally and came up with a total of 175.83 miles ridden during those 39 days and 226.47 miles ridden so far this year.

Now, I've been doing a bit of math, and having been inspired by fizzhogg in his blog 2k in 2k10 Unfat Project, and having done a bit more math, I'm setting a goal for myself for total miles biked in 2012.  That total is  2012 miles.  I figure its an easy number to remember and not a bad slogan "2012 in 2012."  In order to accomplish this feat, I simply have to average 55 miles per week for the rest of the year.

As soon as I do a bit more research I'm going to see how I can put some type of ticker on here to show miles so far this year and miles left to meet my goal.

Anyone want to join me in this?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Weekly goal met again

This week I set myself the same goal as last week, which was to get out and ride 5 of 7 days.  Even though I didn't ride last Sunday, I was able to get out Monday through Thursday and again this morning.

Today's ride was grat.  I rode out towards Blue Diamond and didn't stop once on the way out.  I even rode the farthest I have in over a year.  My total today was 16.44 miles in 1:31.  An earlier start, cooler weather and a light breeze all combined to keep the temperatures reasonable.

It does seem that I can't getin a weekend ride without an issue,  though.  I noticed a wobble in my rear wheel which seemed to get worse as I rode.  Come to find out, I seem to have broken 3 spokes on my rear wheel.  Time to get into the LBS and have them replace the spokes and perform a tuneup.  Hard to believe, but I've got almost 120 miles on the new bike so far.

Riding 5 of 7 days does tend to allow the mileage to add up.  I managed 47.52 miles this week.  Not a bad week at all.  Hopefully I can keep up with the number of ride and increase the distance week by week.

Also this week, I had the final weigh in for the Biggest Winner competition.  While I didn't have the loss I would have liked, I did post a loss.  My final weight was 416 which gave me a 12 lb loss for the competition.  Not sure how we placed in the competition, but a loss is always good.  i'll update once they post the results.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Update on last week's goal...

I had meant to post this sooner, but got side tracked and never actually published the update.

Last week I set myself a short term, achievable goal to simply ride 5 of 7 days.  I made my goal.  I rode Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  My total mileage for the week was just under 50 miles, which according to My Daily Mile, is the most I've ridden in one week since I completed Pumpkinman in October 2010.

When I looked back and saw that fact, I realized quickly how I had put back on some of the weight I had lost.  Its really very simple, I continued to eat too many calories and to burn too few.  I am working to change that by monitoring what I eat as well as what I burn.

For example, if I follow the calorie burns supplied by My Fitness Pal in capturing my rides, I burned an extra 4873 calories in 287 minutes of riding my bike over the same 7 days.

Obviously these are calories I would not have burned if I had not gotten out there and ridden.  For this very fact, I am planning on setting the same goal for this week - ride 5 of 7 days.

Now I actually have applied a bit greater pressure to myself this week because I didn't ride on Sunday.  I did ride this morning, though, so I have to ride 4 of the next 5 days.  My plan is simple - Get up at 4:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and Ride my 8 to 10 miles in the morning before work and then ride either Friday or Saturday, depending on the weather and the activities at home.

The good news is that with riding, my weight was down 1.4 lbs. this week to 416.  The big weigh in is on Thursday for the Biggest Winner competition.  I will have lost some weight, but not nearly as much as I had hoped for the 10 weeks of the competition.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Goals are Important

I've been missing out on one key part of my fitness and weight loss journey.  Setting short term, achievble goals.  Sure I had the long term big goal of geting down to 195.  The problem was I didn't have any particular plan to get there.

So This week I am borrowing a short term goal I read about on somone else's blog (Thanks Steve!).  I am going to set a goal to simply ride 5 of 7 days this week.

Not a big goal, but it is doable.  Also by committing to it here, I am holding myself accountble.

I'm well on my way to this goal, having ridden both yesterday and today.  So I know it is within my grasp, especially since at this point, I really only have to ride 3 of the next 5 days.

Speaking of yesterday's ride, it was my longest to date on the new steed.  I headed out along Blue Diamond road towards the town of Blue Diamond.  Its the same ride I did 2 weeks ago with the Univega.  While I was slower this week, that was partly due to stopping to make some minor adjustments along the way as well as needing to get comfortable with the different gear range.

This morning I got up and rode 8 miles around my normal training loop.  I felt really good when I was done.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My New Ride!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Univega I had been riding for the last 2 years has developed some major issues.  Its probably correctable, but beyond my skill/confidence level at this time.  I'm also not so sure investing much time and or money in a 20+ year old bike is the best idea, either.  So I talked to my wife and daughter and they agreed to buy me a new bike I had been looking at as a Father's Day present, and a bit early to boot!

Here it is:

Yes. it is a hybrid.  Its a Diamondback Edgewood LX in an XL frame.  It actually arrived on Saturday, but I wasn't able to assemble it until Monday night.  I LOVE IT!  Its great to have a bike that is the right size for me. I have it mostly dialed in, but still have a few more adjustments to make to it.

Here are the stats for the bike from

Bicycle TypeHybrid
MSRP (new)Unspecified
SizesSM (15"), M (17"), LG (19"), XL (21")
Item ID23490

Frame & Fork
Frame ConstructionAluminum
Frame Tubing Material6061-T6 aluminum
Fork Brand & ModelSport Comfort Suspension, 63mm travel
Fork MaterialUnspecified
Rear ShockNot applicable

Component GroupHybrid Mix
BrakesetAlloy linear brakes, Shimano EF-50 levers
Shift LeversShimano EF-51 EZ fire
Front DerailleurShimano TX50, 31.8mm top swing dual pull
Rear DerailleurShimano TX55
CranksetSR XCCT208 w/ chainguard, 28/38/48t teeth
PedalsAvenir Comfort Platform
Bottom BracketCartridge Type
BB Shell WidthUnspecified
Rear Cogs7-speed, 14 - 34 teeth
ChainKMC Z51
SeatpostAlloy Suspension, 27.2mm diameter
SaddleDB Deluxe Hybrid Double Density Base w/ Coil spring
HandlebarSteel 50mm rise
Handlebar ExtensionsNot included
Handlebar StemAlloy Adjustable Quill
Headset1 1/8" Threaded

HubsAlloy QR
RimsSSW700 Double Tunnel Alloy, 32-hole
Tires700 x 40c Kenda Cross
Spoke BrandStainless Steel stainless, 14ga. (2.0mm)
Spoke NipplesUnspecified

As you can see it does have Shimano components, front suspension and adjustable handlebars.  It also has a suspension seat post which isn't very effective for someone my size.  I may swap that out in the future.

My first real ride was this morning and I was pleased.  At least I was pleased after I put more air in the tires. I had approximated the air pressure Monday evening as my pump with the air gauge was out of order.  The tires were greatly under inflated.  After stopping to put more air into the tires, I was able to crank out 7 miles this morning in 39 minutes.  Not the fastest, but respectable.  I still think I'm under inflating the tires and will do a proper pressure check this evening.

One other tweak I need to make is to adjust the rear deraulier so that it engages the highest gear more efficiently.  There seemed to be a struggle to get to the gear this morning.  I also need to adjust the brakes as I had one that seemed to drag.  Time and adjustments will allow me to dial it in to a very pleasing ride.

One other possible change down the road might be to the rear cassette.  Since I'm going to mostly be staying on the pavement with this bike, I'm thinking I might want to go to an 11-28.  Going to have to give it some time and miles before deciding to pull the trigger on making that change.