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.