Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold, Snow, and Bicycles

I woke up Sunday morning to see the ground covered in snow and more coming down. I think we got a couple of inches by the time it was done. The kids were excited by the first snowfall of the season. I was a little concerned about what the roads would look like on Monday.

I got ready by swapping tires on my fixed gear. Out with the 23mm slick tires and in with the 32mm tires with tread. These are not specifically winter tires but I used them last winter and they seemed to do pretty well. The drawback to these tires is the higher weight and higher rolling resistance. Swapping the tires also gave me a chance to practice removing and reinstalling the rear wheel on the fixed gear.

Luckily the roads were in pretty good shape by Monday morning. The worst street was the street that I live on. It was better by the time I got to the next block. There were a few places where I had to ride on packed snow but for the most part the roads were clear. The bike lanes were unusable for the most part.

Another problem was the cold weather. It was 8 degrees for the morning commute, with a sub-zero wind chill. The ride home was in the teens, but there was less wind. I didn't have any problems, but I did have ice in my moustache by the end of the ride.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The next three Rams games don't matter

This is not a sports blog, but I do enjoy watching sports (mostly baseball and football). I have been very pleased with how the Rams have been doing this year. They are not a good team yet, but the are certainly improving. After last years 1-15 season anything more than 4 wins would have a cause for celebration.

Because they are in the NFC West, the Rams have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. Everyone expected the 49er's to walk away with the division this year but that didn't happen. The Rams and the Seahawks are currently tied for the division lead right now with a record of 6 and 6. The Rams hold the tie-breaker because they beat the Seahawks but that doesn't help them unless they beat the Seahawks in the last week of the season.

In the next three games, the Rams face New Orleans, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Seattle faces San Francisco, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay. Realistically I expect both teams to go 1-2. So it should come down to that finally game between them. In fact, the only way that the last game doesn't decide the division winner is if one of the two teams picks up two games in the next three.

Here's why: If Saint Louis and Seattle are tied going into the final game, obviously the winner will have the better record. If Saint Louis is trailing by one game and then wins, they will win the tie breaker because the will have beaten Seattle twice. If Seattle is trailing by one game and wins the final game then they win the tie breaker because the head to head record will be even and Seattle will have more division wins.

In all of this, I've been ignoring San Francisco. They have not been mathematically eliminated, but they would need to go 4-0 or 3-1 over the last 4 games to have a shot. While they do have an easy schedule, the Rams can all but eliminate them if they beat them.

So that's why I don't think the next three games matter. Please comment if you disagree, or if I've made mistakes in my analysis.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wheel Problems

After I got to work on Friday, I noticed that the rear brake was rubbing. While adjusting it, I noticed that the spokes were very loose. Loose enough that I didn't feel comfortable riding home. I figured that it was better to call Helen to pick me up than to call her when I was halfway home.

I took the bike into Maplewood Bicycle and they decided to do a warranty replacement on the wheel. I had a problem with the spokes loosening shortly after I bought it in August. This means that I will be without the bike until Wednesday.

I rode my Lightspeed to work on Monday morning. Unfortunately I did not realize that I had left my headlight on the Salsa until I was ready to leave on Monday night. Fortunately, Matt E. was still there and he gave me a ride home. Actually I had him take me to Maplewood Bicycle so I could pick up the headlight and I walked from there. Matt offered to drive me home after that, but I needed to stop and pick up some dinner on the way home. It was cold (upper twenties) but it's only about a mile and a quarter walk and I was dressed warmly.

Helen will have to take me to work tomorrow and then I should be able to ride home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Longer Commute

For the past two days I've been working from my company's satellite office near Scott Air Force Base. This is a sneak preview of what my working location might be for the next year or so. Since this is about 30 miles from my house, it presents a commuting challenge for someone without a car.

Google maps estimates that it would take 40 minutes to get there if I was driving, about 2 hours using public transportation, and 2 hours and 45 minutes cycling. Using a combination of cycling and public transportation, I am able to make the trip in about an hour and a half.

If this becomes long term (which is the plan) I will have three options: continue with this commute, buy a car, or find a new job. I don't went to spend all day commuting. We've been a one car family for over 4 years so I'd hate to buy a car. But I also really like my job so I don't want to find a new one. There aren't any easy answers, but it's not a decision that I have to make right away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Riding at night

I like riding at night as long as the weather isn't bad. Last night I left work late enough that it was fully dark when I started my commute. The temperature was in the upper 50's. There are several advantages to riding later than usual: There was no wind, traffic was lighter than usual, and I felt like I could just take it easy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The school of hard knocks

From my reading, I knew that I would have to take corners slower on my fixed gear. This is to prevent the pedal from hitting the ground and causing a crash. Unfortunately, I did not slow down enough on on turn this morning and I crashed. I got some road rash on my elbow and shoulder, and pretty much just banged up the left side of my body. Fortunately there were no serious injuries. I got back on the bike and rode the rest of the way to work. I felt OK while I was riding, but once I got to work and stopped, everything started to stiffen up. I'll take it easy this weekend and I probably feel better in a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Backpack, Backpack

Since my regular commuter bike is in the shop being converted to a fixed gear, I riding my Litespeed to work. It doesn't have a rack so I needed another way to carry my clothes and computer. I decided that buying a camelback backpack would be the best way to go. That lets me carry my stuff and I can also use it to carry water on my longer rides.
I used it for the first time on Monday. It is going to take a little getting used to. Weight on your back feels heavier the weight in panniers. Also, my back was a little sore after I got to work.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Converting to a fixed gear

On Thursday, my rear shifter stopped working on the way to work. I thought it was a broken cable since I've had that happen several times on this bike. I rode the rest of the way to work and rode home in a single gear. I dropped the bike off at Maplewood Bicycle to have them take a look at it.

Josh called me on Friday to let me know that the shifter was broken. It was going to be rather expensive to replace so I told him that I was thinking about converting it to a fixed gear. I thought about it for a while and decided to do it.

There are a few reasons for riding a fixed gear. Since I ride in bad weather, there are fewer parts to wear out. Some people say it gives you better control on the bike in bad conditions. Since there is only one gear you have to work harder up the hills, but that makes you stronger.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This week

On Sunday, I went on my first long ride on the new bike. It was a social ride with four other people: Jeff, Theresa, Pam, and George. The plan was to ride to Fast Eddie's in Alton, have something to eat, and then ride back. This was not a hammer fest and we averaged about 14 mph.

We got to Fast Eddie's around 1:30 at it was packed. We would have had to wait an hour to get anything to eat. Since we were too hungry to wait, so we went to McDonald's instead.

The ride back was at about the same pace, but George and I sprinted ahead for a little bit and then waited for everyone to catch up. After we had cross back over the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, Theresa was ready to pack it in. She had already almost doubled her previous longest ride and she was done. Pam decided to wait with her while Jeff went back to the start to get his car to pick them up. George and I rode with him.

We decided to hammer it pretty hard at this point to get Jeff to his car as quickly as possible. We had a slight tailwind so that helped our speed, but I was impressed that we were able to maintain 23 mph for several miles. In my head I was imagining myself as Jeff's lead-out man on a sprint to the finish. At one point we dropped George.

After leaving the Riverfront Trail, George caught up to us. Then it was my turn to get dropped when my rear light fell off crossing some railroad tracks. I stopped to get it and then got caught at an intersection. Now I had a new mental picture, I was a lone rider trying to bridge up to a breakaway. I did finally manage to catch them.

I ended up turning for home before we got back to the start. Jeff and George made it back to the start and everyone made it home safely. I had a good time hope to do some more group rides this summer.

I was a little tired the next day riding to work, but nothing too bad. Tuesday evening, I was extra slow on the ride home. There were three reasons for this: One, I had given blood on the way to work that morning. Two, I was still a little tired from Sunday. And three , the temperature was 100° and the heat index was somewhere between stun and kill.

Wednesday was just as hot. When I left work, it felt like I was riding across a cast iron pan. Things aren't as bad once I get moving, and a get a little shade later in the ride. At least it's only about 8 miles.

The heat also cause a problem with my helmet mirror. The double sided tape that held it on had been weakening for a while and the heat finally did it in. I rode without it on Wednesday. This was the first time I had ridden without a mirror for quite a while and I really missed it. It just makes it so much easier to keep an eye on what's going on behind me. Especially when merging into traffic from the incredible disappearing bike lanes.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bought a new bike

I went splurge on a new bike last week. It's a Litespeed Xicon. It's a lot lighter than my Salsa Casseroll. Partly because my new bike is titanium and partly because the new bike doesn't have a rack or fenders. I also think that it's a little more aerodynamic.

It won't be my everyday commuter bike but I have ridden to work a couple of times. Each time I took an extra set of clothes the day before. This is because I don't have a way to carry much. The first commute was almost 3 minutes faster than my previous best.

Friday, June 25, 2010


On Wednesday, I went to mediation for my lawsuit about my accident. The judge said that we we had to at least try mediation before the case went to trial (the trial date was set for September). Mediation is different than arbitration in that the mediator has no power to enforce an agreement. The mediator can help the two sides reach and agreement but either side can walk away at any time.

Since I had never done mediation before, I had no idea what to expect. So far Coca Cola seemed to be doing everything they could to delay case. I didn't know if they would be negotiating in good faith, or just showing up because they had to. We met at a mediation company downtown. There were me and my lawyer, Coke's representative and their lawyer, and the mediator. We started out in one room where each lawyer explained their case. After that, the Coke people went to a different room and the mediator went back and forth talking to each of us.

The negotiations were based not on the facts of the case, but on what a jury might believe. For example, I think that the evidence and witness show that the Coke driver did not have a left turn arrow like he claimed he did. But Coke's lawyer would try to convince a jury that he did. People on the jury might have a bias against cyclists. The accident took place in St. Louis County so that might mean the jury is stingier than one in St. Louis City. Coke wanted to keep there name off the lawsuit because a jury would give more money in a lawsuit against a corporation that they would in a lawsuit against John Smith.

After about four hours we came to an agreement. People have asked me if I think that it's fair. I tell them that fair has nothing to do with it. I didn't get what I think I deserved, I got what I could get. If the case went to trial, there is the possibility that I would get nothing.

There is one thing left to be negotiated. Anheuser-Busch still gets a chunk of money for the medical payments that they made. I have no problem with that, we just want them to pay a share of the attorney's fees. My lawyer is still talking to the subrogation company to work something out. That will affect the amount of money that I get.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Last Saturday was the 400K. I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to do the ride because I was having trouble arranging a ride to the start. I had talked to George about getting a ride but I had trouble arranging the details. I had pretty much decided that I wasn't going to do the ride until George called me Friday afternoon.

I still needed to ride home Friday evening into a very strong headwind. Then I rode the Heights for A.J.'s birthday party. He had a pool party so I needed to be in the water to help watch the kids. Everyone had a good time but we didn't get leave until around 8:00. I rode home and helped get the kids in bed. After that I started getting everything ready. George was going to pick me up at 4:00 am so I set my alarm clock for 3, or at least I meant to. The alarm wasn't set but I woke up at about 3:50. I quickly did the last few things that I needed to do but I didn't have time to eat breakfast.

We got to Edwardsville and turned in our registrations. After the rider meeting and having our lights and reflective gear inspected, everyone was ready to go. I was more than ready actually because it was chilly and I was ready to start riding to warm up. It was very windy, but at least it was out of the west so we would have a tailwind for the first 30 miles.

At 5:00 we started the ride. I started out with another rider up front. I knew that I would not be up front for very long so I was not surprise when some other riders caught up to us after a few miles. I hung out with the front group for a while but once I noticed that we were cruising at 24 mph I decided to drop back. There was a strong tailwind but that's still very fast.

I stopped in Pocahontas (mile 24) to get something to eat. With the tailwind I has a 19 mph average at this point. I was able to get back on the road pretty quickly. I rode with several different riders through Breese (mile 51) and then to Okawville (mile 78). I was riding with George into Okawville. He had said that he would give me a ride home if we finished near the same time but I told him that he would most likely finish long before me.

A few riders passed me while I was in Okawville, but I managed to catch them once I got back on the road. I caught up with Scott who also offered to give me a ride home, but he later had two flats in succession and had to abandon.

I was still feeling pretty good when I got to Ava (mile 150). As I was getting ready to leave, a man came up to me and said "I think one of your buddies left this." It was a Ziploc bag containing a phone, cash, and brevet card. I thanked him and said that I would catch up to the owner.

It belonged to Dan, a rider on a recumbent who was doing his first 400K. I was able to catch him before he noticed that he had forgotten it so he hadn't needed to backtrack. At this point I was starting to feel tired. We had turned into the wind before Ava and this section was pretty hilly. After we stopped so I could give Dan his belongings, I took a 10 minute break on the side of the road. I caught up to Dan and another rider at Sparta (mile 177).

Many of the convenience stores along the route have places to sit. The checkpoint at Sparta did not. This was disappointing because I really wanted to be able to sit somewhere besides a curb. It was starting to get dark so we put our reflective gear
back on and turned on our lights. It was also getting colder.

I suggested that we stop in Coulterville (mile 186) because that would be the last place for supplies until New Baden (mile 217). Coulterville didn't have place to sit either so it was a relatively quick stop. When we started up again after a stop, I really felt the cold. This was because we were moving so we had wind but we hadn't warmed up yet. At least the wind had died down by this point.

Once we got to New Baden we were really starting to feel the miles. We joked about quitting but I think that if one of us had quit the rest might have too. We stopped over an hour and a half. I think all three of us took a short nap. I know I did. Quitting at this point would have been pretty silly because we only had 32 miles to go and over 7 hours left on the clock.

We started the final leg at 12:45am. The nap in New Baden had really improved my mood. I guess being so close to the end helped too. I was a little concerned about the battery for my headlight. It was rated to last 7 hours at low power (which it was I was using) but I estimated I would have had it on for more that that when I finished (including the time I used it in the morning). I had a backup headlight but I was not looking forward to switching them by the side of the road.

We finished the ride at 3:50. 22:50 is not a great time but it is well before the deadline of 27 hours. Zac came and got me and took me home. I owe him big time for that. I showered, slept for about three hours, and then got up to make waffles (from scratch) for Helen for Mother's Day. After that I went back to bed for another hour or so.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Last year I made a deal with my daughter. When she learned how to ride a bike, I would buy her a real bike. She was never very motivated though, and I had to nag her to get her to practice. She made progress but never seem to be able to make everything click.

This year, she has a friend who lives on the next block. Her friend rides a bike and this got Rachel motivated. She wanted to be able to ride a bike to her friend's house. We talked about this last week and she decided that she would learn how to ride a bike on Saturday. I told her that it might take more than one day but she was determined.

It was supposed to rain off and on all weekend so we started about 9 am on Saturday. We went up and down our driveway. I would give her a push to get started and then run alongside her. This was hard on me because I can't run without pain since the accident. She did very well, and by noon she was able to go up and down the driveway with only a little help to get started.

Since she had fulfilled her part of the bargain, we were off to Maplewood Bicycle to pick out a bike. We had looked at them before so I had a good idea what she wanted. Jessica was a great help.

Once we got home Rachel was eager to ride the new bike. It took a while for her to get used to the the hand brakes and to the size of the bike, but she was undaunted. For the rest of the weekend, whenever the rain stopped, whe wanted to be on that bike. Even when she feel she got right back on it. We even went for a ride around the neighborhood together. She was on the sidewalk and I was on the street. This was a little tough for her because the sidewalk is narrow and bumpy with lots of nearby obstacles. I told her that, if the weather was nice, I would take her to a bike trail next weekend. Someplace that is not crowded.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The 300K started at 6:00 AM. Since we only have one car, Helen and the kids had to get up early so Helen could drive me to the start. I was a little slow getting ready so we did not get there as early as I would have like but I did have time to turn in my registration and get ready before the start.

The weather would be warmer later in the day, but it was still in the 40's when we started. I started off wearing a jacket, tights, and full fingered gloves. As usual I hung out with the front group once we started. I thought that Scott was in that group too but I realized later that it was someone else.

The front group was about 9 people. The pace began to pick up and a few people (including me) got dropped. The group slowed down enough for us to latch back on. We got into Pocahontas at 7:26 at a 17 mph average. At the stop, I took off my jacket but forgot to put on sunscreen.

Shortly after Pocahontas, the route turned south into the wind. The wind would be coming out of the south at about 15 mph for most of the day. I was glad that I had a group to ride with for this section. The first checkpoint was at Breese. We had average almost 18 mph between Pocahontas and Breese. Here I took off my tights and put on sunscreen.

Not too long after Breese, I was not able to keep up with the group. I rode by myself for a while until I was joined by a rider named George. He was seemed to be doing okay but he said that his knee was bothering him. He talked about abandoning the ride though I don't know if he was seriously considering it. I told him that he was not allowed to quit before he got to Okawville. Experts say that if your are thinking about quitting a brevet you should stop, get something to eat, and rest at least 15 minutes first. This can help you metal state quite a bit. He decided to keep going and I ending up dropping back for a while. I did catch up to him in Okawville.

I ate ate and bought extra water in Okawville. I meant to put on more sunscreen but I left quickly because I wanted to ride with George and another rider. I wasn't able to stay with them for more that a few miles. I ended up stopping in New Minden to put on sunscreen and buy a snack. New Minden is the last place to buy supplies for the next 33 miles. There was an 18 mile section that was almost entirely south. During this part I was struggling to go more than ten or eleven miles an hour. I kept looking for a shady place to stop and rest. Illinois farm country does not seem to have much shade.

I finally saw a place around 2:00. I was about halfway between New Minden and Oakdale. I stopped and sat in the shade for about 15 minutes. I also called Helen and told her that I might not finish until 10. On the bright side I only had about 3 more miles until I reached the southernmost part of the route. After that the wind would be helping me (or at least not hurting me) for the rest of the ride.

I reached Oakdale at 3:35. The checkpoint there is also a restaurant so I had a second lunch and drank lots of water. I spent about 45 minutes there. I did remember to put on sunscreen this time. The next 30 miles were almost easy. On many of the northbound sections I was able to cruise at 20 mph because of the tailwind. I reached New Baden at 6:10.

I stopped to eat some ice cream and get more ice for my water bottles. While I was there I met Wayne. Wayne was not doing the ride but he lives along the route and like to ride portions of it with other riders. I was glad for the company since I had not seen any other riders for about 6 hours. I started feeling stronger at this point.

Not too much later, the sun started to set so I stopped to put on my reflective gear and to turn on my lights. I also called Helen and let her know that I would be done by 9:30. Wayne rode with me to St. Jacob where he lives. He told me he would ride farther but he didn't want to fight the headwind coming back. I didn't blame him and I was glad that he rode with me as far as he did.

It started to get a little cooler once the sun went down but it never got cool enough for me to need to put on my jacket. I was probably a little slower in this section because I would need to stop to look at my cue sheet. I was familiar with the route but I didn't want to make any navigational mistakes.

I finally finished at 9:18. 188 miles in 15:18. (11:30 rolling time).

After I got home I noticed that I had some sunburn. I think that this was because I didn't put on sunscreen often enough and because I missed some spots. This may have been why I fekt so weak during the middle of the ride.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blood and sweat (but no tears)

Yesterday, I stopped on my way to work to give blood. Originally I had made an appointment to give on the 19th, but I wasn't feeling well that week. I did give the next week because I didn't want to donate in the week before the 200K.

I always make sure to take plenty of time to rest, eat, and drink before leaving the donation center.
It's only about two miles from the Red Cross to where I work so it's not a big deal to ride afterward. I actually feel it more on the ride home and for a few days after.

The weather has been incredible lately. I've ridden home in just shorts and jersey for the past several days. Today I was able to ride in to work with just shorts and jersey. The highs for today and tomorrow are supposed to be around 80 (that was the sweat, in case you were wondering).

Monday, March 29, 2010

One good turn deserves another

When I went out to my bike this morning, I noticed that a couple of screws that hold the rear rack on were loose. I tightened them up and rode to work. They may have loosened during the 200K on while the bike was on the bike carrier on the car. When I got to work I noticed that one of the screws that I hadn't tightened was missing. I don't know if fell off during my ride or sometime earlier. I decided to stop at Maplewood Bicycle on the way home.

On the way home, my foot slipped off as I was clipping in and knocked one of the nuts of the front fender. I figured that this was something else that I could get fixed at the bike shop.

I little while later, someone called out to me from a bus stop on the other side of the street, "Hey, have you got any pliers?" Since I did have pliers I told him to hold on and I turned around and went back. He had some electric hedge clippers and something was caught between the blades. I let him use my Leatherman to fix it. He said that he rode a bike and that he used to live in Alaska. Oddly enough his name was A.J.

After helping him out, I rode off into the sunset (Well, it was evening and I was headed west). When I got to the bike shop, they replaced the screw and the nut. They didn't charge me anything. They told me that I could pick up the wheel tomorrow. Support your local bike shop and they will support you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have two sets of wheels for my current bike: the wheels that came with the bike and the wheels from my old bike. The wheels that came with the bike are a little wider and have 32mm tires with tread on them. The other wheels have 25mm tires with no tread.

I switched to the wider wheels after falling twice on the way to work one day when there was a little bit of snow on the ground. Idecided to switch back because I wanted the narrower wheels for the 200K this weekend. I switched them last weekend so that I would have time to deal with any problems during the week. You never want to make a change to a bike's configuration right before a long ride.

When I went out to the bike on Monday morning, I saw that the rim on the back wheel had failed. Part of the rim had separated and was curling out from the wheel. Rims do eventually wear out and the back wheel has several thousand miles on it. The front wheel had the rim and spokes replaced after the accident so it should still be in good shape.

I put the wider wheels back on and had Helen take the bad wheel to Maplewood Bicycle to be rebuilt. It was not going to be ready until after the 200K so I just planned on using the wider wheels.

The start of the 200K was at 7:00am on Saturday. It was about 40 at ride start with a southeast wind of about 15 mph. The route heads generally south and east so we expected to have a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. Rain was expected that evening but I was hoping to finish the ride before that.

I was a little chilly before the start but we warmed up once we started. I stayed with the front gorup at the beginning but I knew that I wouldn't last long. After one turn at the front I wasn't able to latch back on the end. This made it harder because the route was still heading east and I had no one in front of me to protect me from the wind. I had to work a lot harder and took my jacket off a little while later.

A couple of other riders caught up to me later and I rode with them for a short while. I lost them when I stopped in Pocahontas (mile 24) and they didn't. At mile 30 the route turned south but this didn't help much the wind. In some stretches I was struggling to maintain 12mph. At mile 36 the route turn towards the west and I was treated to a tailwind for three miles. I was able to travel at 20-25 mph for this stretch. Then the route headed south for 12 miles towards Breese.

In Bresse, at the first checkpoint (mile 51) I met Scott. I rode with Scott during large portion of the 400K and 600K back in 2007. He was on a fixed gear bike for the 200K but said he would use a geared bike for the longer rides. I ended up riding with him for most of the rest of the day. For the next 18 miles we were heading either south or east. When we headed south, I was having trouble keeping up with Scott since he is so strong. When we headed east we had a tailwind it was easy because the lack of gears limited his top speed.

At mile 69 mile made the last towards Okawville. This meant 9 miles heading southeast; almost directly into the wind. I soon realized that I would be able to keep up with Scott so I let him know that I would see him when I got there. When I finally reached Okawville (mile 78) I was pretty tired, but I was pretty excited to no have to worry about the headwind any more. Also the MotoMart in Okawville is my favorite convenience store in the world. It was about 1:30 so I called Helen and told here that I expected to finish around 5:30. After resting and eating, Scott and I got back on the road.

The first 10 miles out of Okawville were retracing our steps. the wind that was in our face was no at our backs. It almost felt like we were cheating but we earned that tailwind. After that we heading mostly north, but with the occasional section heading west. The wind seemed to be coming more out of the east than the south, but it was never headwind. We stopped and ate again in New Baden (mile 92).

We made the turn onto Fruit Road (mile 115) around 4:30. Now we were heading west for the last 10 miles we a tailwind the whole way. It felt like I could coast the rest of the way. Scott told me I did not have to slow down to stay with him but I didn't feel the need to push my speed. I enjoy riding with someone else.

We reached the final checkpoint at 5:14. That's a time of 10:14. My bike computer showed 8:31:31 rolling time and a distance of 128.06 miles.

I think I did pretty well considering that this was the first ride of more than 50 miles since the MS-150 in September 2008. I am not as fit as I was in 2007. I need to work on that to be ready for the longer rides.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not feeling well lately

On Wednesday night, after the kids had gone to bed, Rachel came running down the stairs yelling "Daddy, A.J.'s puking in the bed!" I went up with a towel and got him wiped off and put him in the tub. I then took the sheets and blankets to the laundry room. After he was cleaned up. I put him on the couch to sleep. Helen was at the grocery store so I called her to let her know what to expect when she got home. After doing all this I wasn't feeling too good myself. I figured that it was from dealing with a rather unpleasant task.

The next morning I still had an upset stomach. I ate breakfast and that did not help matters. I decided that I wasn't feeling good enough to ride to work so Helen was planning to take me to work after taking Rachel to school. A.J. was staying home, of course. While she was gone, my stomach convinced me that I, along with everyone where I work, would be better off if I stayed at home. I mostly sat around watching TV and not eating all day.

On Friday, I woke up, emailed work that I wouldn't be in, and then went back to sleep until about noon. A.J. stayed home again too. I started feeling better later in the afternoon but still had no appetite. I did end up a couple of slice of frozen pizza for dinner so I thought I was getting better.

Saturday I woke up with no appetite again. I had enough energy to go outside and play with the kids but not much else. Other than hot chocolate and crakers, I didn't really eat until dinner. I was definitely feeling better but not at 100%.

Today (Sunday) was more of the same: no appetite. I did more today than yesterday but I still get tired easily (probably has something to do with eating one meal a day). I actually feel like I can function but not being hungry is weird. If I could figure out what germ is causing this, I could sell it for a fortune as an appetite suppressant. Sure there are some side effects, but not nearly as bad as the side effects of the medicine that makes your eyelashes grow.

A.J. seems to be over the stomach problems. But started complaining of a sore throat yesterday and has been having trouble talking today. He is also very tired. He probably will be staying home again on Monday.

Right now I'm planning to go to work tomorrow. I may ride in. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thank you

On my to work this morning, a driver pulled up next to me and thanked me for signaling a turn. That put me in a good mood for the rest of the ride.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

First long ride in a while

I did my solo ride today. It was just under 50 miles. When I checked my stats, I realized that this was the first ride of any distance that I have done since August of last year. The first brevet of the season is in 4 weeks. It is 200K (125 miles) and I don't have any doubts about be able to complete it but the longer ones have me worried. I have not been doing as much riding as I did in 2007 and I am heavier, not to mention being older.

I think that I will use the same goals that I used in 2007:
Finish the 200K
Finish the 300K
Start the 400K
If I finish the 400K, start the 600K

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Up Early

The kids woke me up at 7:00 this morning so I decided to go on the Saturday morning ride at Maplewood Bicycle. I ate a quick breakfast, got dressed, at was at the bike shop by 7:25. Unfortunately, Maplewood doesn't seem to be doing the Saturday morning rides anymore. They apparently have a mountain bike ride at Castlewood Park. I considered doing a solo ride but decided against it because I didn't have my wallet or cell phone with me.

After I got home I checked around on the internet but didn't see anyplace that was doing any organized rides this weekend. I did see that Trailnet was having an indoor spinning class (ugh). I decided to do a solo ride tomorrow (Sunday). I might ride to Granite City and back. This would be about 45-50 miles.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Foreshadowing: your key to quality literature

On my way home from Zac's house on Thursday night, I noticed that I had a stiff neck. I wondered why but didn't think any more about it. I woke up Friday morning with a sinus headache. For me, a sinus headache often starts in the back of my neck. If I had been thinking about I might have realized that this was the beginning of a sinus headache and taken some pseudoephedrine before I went to bed. I didn't do this and the woke up with a headache.

The worst part about waking up with a headache is that it means that I was sleeping with a headache and apparently that sleep doesn't count. Since I was was tired and in pain, I called in sick to work, took some medicine, and then went back to sleep.

I realize that a stiff neck is a symptom of a tension headache and not a sinus headache. I have decided to call them sinus headaches because the seem to be related to changes in the weather, sleeping doesn't help them, and sinus medicine helps them. Only pseudoephedrine works, not the replacement stuff. If the make it prescription only, it is going to be a real pain.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A bunch of small updates

Here a bunch of little things that have happened recently.

A.J. lost his first tooth. He was very excited to get a dollar from the tooth fairy.

I gave up soda for the year as a new year's resolution.

I haven't ridden my bike in almost two weeks because of weather and laziness.

I joined a weight loss contest at work. I'm still the weight I started at. It could be because of not riding.

I currently weigh 207. That's way to heavy for me.

I'm given up beer again for Lent this year. Maybe that will help with losing weight.

I had a very good anniversary, birthday, and Valentines day. Those all come very close together for me. Freckles's birthday is in there too. He's our dog. The kids like to celebrate that.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to make your bike feel faster

Because of the snow, I didn't ride for several days. I finally rode this past Tuesday. Since I was a little worried about the roads I decided to ride my old bike (the hybrid) instead of my road bike. That turned out to be unnecessary because the roads were okay. After I got to the office, I knocked the headlight off my bike and broke it. I guess I did not snap it into the mount when I moved it from the other bike. I didn't want to ride home without a headlight so Zac gave me a ride.

After that, I went to Maplewood Bicycle and bought a new light. It is a NiteRider MiNewt 200 and it is significantly brighter than my old light. I was very impressed when I rode home on Wednesday night.

I was back on the road bike on Thursday. After riding the hybrid the road bike felt incredibly light. That, and the warmer weather made me feel like pushing harder and riding faster than usual. I don't have stats on my ride because I've been having a problem with the mount for the bike computer. I ordered a new mount but I don't have it yet.