Friday, March 20, 2009

Bonus ride

I was moving pretty slow on Thursday morning since the previous day's ride had tired me out. I did ride in to work though. I wanted to keep my streak alive. After I got to work I realized that Rick's poker night was that evening. Usually, I ride to Rick's house from work and then ride home after poker. I considered riding home and then driving to poker to avoid a late night bonus ride but that seemed to inefficient. Besides I have a reputation to protect (a reputation as a crazy cyclist).

On the way to Rick's, I hit a rock and got a flat tire. There was a group cyclist that were doing a preview of the Thursday night Trailnet ride that will start later this year. One of them got a flat in the same place a few minute after I did. A few other riders stopped as well. I chatted with them for a few minutes while I changed my tire. If you're going to have a flat, that was a pretty good time to have it: still daylight, nice weather, some people to talk to. The mentioned a cycling meetup group that I will have to look into.

I got the tired changed and got on my way again. I picked up some food at Sonic and then headed for Rick's. Poker was fun as always and I even came in 2nd place in the tournament. Normally I would drink beer at poker night but I gave beer up for Lent so it was Pepsi for me. I should post more about that some other time.

I left Rick's about midnight. I was a little concerned about about being tired on the way home but I felt fine. I'm sure I'm going to be moving extra slow tomorrow morning, though. If I had remembered poker in advance I would have packed some extra clothing for the ride home. I was lucky and it was still warm (48° F) when I rode home.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Race against the clock

Helen called me at work a little bit after 5. She said that she didn't know if she would be able to make it to pick up the kids before 6. When Helen works, the kids stay in after care, but they need to be picked up by 6 or they charge $1 a minute. I said that I would do my best to get there before 6.

I shut down my computer and got changed. I ended up leaving work at 5:25. That gave me 35 minutes to get to school. I knew it was about 7.5 miles so that should give me plenty of time time as long as I didn't get slowed down by traffic or red lights. As I started out I also started to worry about the wind slowing me down. A cold front was moving in and it was very windy. And of course it was a head wind.

I pushed hard and made it to school at 5:56. They were the last kids to be picked up be at least I made it on time. Helen got there just a couple of minutes after 6. Now we had a dilemma; My bike won't fit into her car and I really didn't want to ride home along Manchester Road. If it was a nice day I could have wandered around on side streets and found an alternate route, but I didn't want to do that with thunderstorms on the way.

We had been planning on buying a bike carrier do we decided to just go ahead and buy it then. I locked up my bike at the school and went to Maplewood bicycle. While I was buying and installing the carrier (with help from the staff at Maplewood), Helen got the kids some dinner at Jack in the Box. After that we went back to school and picked up my bike. We got home just as the first few drops of rain started to fall.

I felt exhausted that evening. Even though my commute was actually a little shorter than usual, it felt harder. Fighting the wind and hurrying against the clock really wore me out. On the bright side, that makes 8 commutes in a row without missing one. My weigh-in that evening was good as well at 197. That may have skewed a little low so we'll see how the next one goes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A good weekend

I rode every day last week. I even rode to Zac's house Friday night. He had just bought Resident Evil 5 (a video game) and invited me and a couple of other people over to play it. It was fun, but I stayed up way too late. I didn't leave his house until after 2 am.

On Saturday, I was incredibly tired. Riding every day when you're not used to it and being short on sleep really wear on you. It's only a little over 7 miles round trip to Zac's house but miles ridden after midnight count extra. I ended up taking a nap after breakfast.

Helen took Rachel to the History Museum for some St Patrick's Day storytelling. A.J. and I walked a few blocks to Yale Park for him to play on the playground. Helen and Rachel were driving by as we were walking there so Rachel joined us. I mostly just read my book while they played.

After that, I worked with Rachel on learning to ride a bike. For now she has just been working on balance and steering. I had taken the pedals off her bike and lower the seat. I give her a push to get started and she rides down the driveway with me running alongside. She is doing well and is starting to get excited about riding.

On Sunday, the kids and I picked up lunch and took it to Rocket Ship Park. This park has a much bigger playground as well as a sand area to play in. Helen has a big basket of sand toys that we take whenever we go there. That way we have plenty of toys for sharing. It usually starts out with Rachel and A.J. playing in the sand area. Then another kid or two will come by and I'll encourage them to share the toys. Eventually more and more kids gather. At one point on Sunday there were probably a dozen kids playing with our toys. The toys don't cost much and if we occasionally lose some it's not a big deal. It's neat to see the kids (and a parent or two) building sand castles and having fun.

Later the ice cream truck came to the park. It was the first ice cream truck of the season so the kids were very excited. I bought Rachel and A.J. some ice cream but didn't get any for myself. While they were eating, A.J. told me "Next time we come to the park, I want to bring my allowance. That way I can buy you ice cream because you don't get ice cream much." I told him that he didn't have to do that and I just didn't want ice cream that day.

I worked with Rachel on riding a bike again. She really wanted to pedal so after a few tries without pedals, I put them back on and raised the seat. I also put the train wheels back on but raised them as high as they would go. She did well like that except she hasn't got the hang of using the brakes yet. Her bike has coaster brakes which means she has to pedal backwards to stop.

Since it was such a nice day we grilled brats and hot dogs for dinner and ate outside. All in all I'd have to say that it was a pretty good weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New tire

Yesterday, I had a puncture going up Mount Sappington* on the way to work. It was a fairly fast leak but it wasn't a blowout so I rode a little farther and then pumped it up enough to last for the rest of the ride. I swung by Sunset Cyclery but they weren't open yet.

I had previously noticed that my back tire was pretty worn so I decided to replace the tire as well as the tube. After lunch, I pumped up the tire again and went to Sunset Cyclery and bought a new tire.

On the way home, I felt very tired and slow. There were probably several reasons for this. It was cold and I was slightly under dressed (I had a jacket with me but I wasn't cold enough to stop and put it on). I was a little short on sleep. I gave blood last Wednesday. And it was my fourth consecutive day riding.

I have not done very well on my goal of riding every day. There has been a lot going on so there have many days were I wasn't able to ride. There have also been a few days where I could have ridden but didn't. I've ridden to work every day this week so far and I am planning to ride today so I guess I'm doing a little better.

My weight hasn't been great either. My weigh-in this week was 199 (I am using Wednesday as my official weigh-in day). This is down some from the beginning of the year but no as much as I would like.

* Mount Sappington isn't really a mountain. It's just the steepest hill on my way to work. I gave it that name when I first started riding.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Helen's father

Helen's father passed away last Monday. She has had to deal with that as well as the stress of dealing with funeral arrangements for the past week. This has not been an easy time for her or the rest of us.