Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's cold in the big bad world

I woke up Wednesday morning not feeling well. I ended up not going in to work, so obviously I didn't ride on Wednesday. Helen made spaghetti for dinner so I was heavy when I weighed myself that night: 204. I re-weighed myself Thursday night and it was 202. When confronted with two different scale reading I do what everyone else does -- I assume the lower one is correct and that the higher one is an anomaly.

I rode to work on Thursday even though it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit when I left the house. By the time I got to work my toes were painfully cold. That's the coldest temperature that I've ever ridden in (the previous record was 6). By the time I went home it was 12 degrees and that made a big difference. I was much more comfortable.

I did have one problem on the way home. My rear derailleur cable broke about two miles from home. When this happens the bike shifts into the smallest gear in the back and makes it very difficult to go up hills and to get going from a stop. On the bright side, I was only about a mile from Maplewood Bicycle to I made it there without too much trouble.

They always take good care of me at Maplewood Bicycle. I got there at 6:20 (they close at 7) and the had the cable replaced by 6:40. They only charged me $18. This is one of the advantages of supporting your local bike shop. They weren't very busy because of the weather but I wasn't the only customer in the shop. They were impressed that I was riding in the cold.

On Friday, it was -2 when I would have left for work. I decided that this was cold enough for me to have an excuse not to ride. There's a fine line between being tough and being crazy. Helen drove me to and from work.

I only rode 3 days this week but I think I had good reasons for the days I missed so I'm not too disappointed in myself. There are too many daily fluctuations in weight for me to judge my progress there yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bonus Ride

My friend Rick has a semi-regular poker night about once a month; typically on Monday night. I used to ride to the poker night at his house and then ride home afterward. Originally, rain was predicted for Monday night so I has planned to ride home and then drive to Rick's house. The forecast changed during the day on Monday so I decided to ride there.

Rick's house is only 7.75 mile from work so the distance is fairly easy. Traffic is a little heavier than I like and there are some hills as well. Temperature was in the 30's. Poker night is always fun. The downside is that it's too much fun to leave early. I changed back into my cycling clothes and left Rick's house at 11:40.

The ride home from Rick's house after poker is always an unusual ride for me. It feels more like a brevet than a commute. Late at night there is almost no traffic on Big Bend so I have the road to myself. It's been a long day and although I haven't ridden that many miles, my legs are tired.

On that night it was still relatively warm when I started the ride, probably still in the 30's. It was fairly windy but it was generally a tailwind. The first part are the ride is fairly hilly. The climb up from Valley Park always seems to take forever. Once I passed Sappington Rd. I was back on my commute route so it felt easier. A little later a front must have moved in. It got colder and started to snow. The snow wasn't too heavy and was actually kind of pretty.

I made it home in about an hour. When I came inside I was that mixture of hot and cold that you get after riding in cold weather. My body and head were warm, but my skin was cold. After a little bit of cool down time I went to bed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have two resolutions for the the new year:
  1. Get back into the habit of commuting every day
  2. Lose some weight.
Once I was able to start riding after the accident I started easing into regular commuting. I started riding a few times a week with the intention of gradually increasing my riding until I was riding every day. The problem is that it was too easy to find an excuse not to ride. I looked back at my records and saw that there were only 5 weeks in 2008 where I rode both to and from work. One of those was in January (before the accident, of course), one each in August and September, and two in October. Weeks with 4 round trips were fairly rare as well. Now there will be the occasional day that I can't ride, but I have only been riding about half the time, maybe less. This is what lead to my first resolution.

I actually rode all 5 days in the first week in January and I was tired at the end of the week. Riding in cold weather is more difficult but my lack of conditioning is part of the reason as well. I hadn't ridden at all in two weeks. The extra weight that I'm carrying doesn't help either.

That leads into my second resolution. I am way too heavy right now. I weighed myself on Wednesday and I was 203.5 lbs. and 26% body fat. This is about 30 lbs. heavier that what I weighed in 2006 and 2007. It's even about 18 lbs. heavier than where I was when I started riding in 2005. On good thing is that it is still 30 lbs. lighter than what I weighed in 1999.

I don't have a specific plan for losing weight. Riding more and not eating like a pig are part of the equation. I know that losing a pound a week should not be too much trouble for me but I'm not setting a specific goal. I do plan on posting my weight here every week or so to keep myself honest. I will also post whenever I don't ride to work.