Rainy Sunday Ride

The RCCS ride this morning turned out to be a solo ride.  The usual characters that like to ride in any weather were unavailable.  The weather chased off the rest.

I set out just after 9:00 am with light rain.  The predicted thunderstorm never materialized, but it was windy and rainy.  The rain would sometimes stop, and there was even some occasional sun.

I felt weak and slow during the ride.  I averaged just under 10 mph.  That’s slow even for me.

The original route was going to be 57 miles.  I made several wrong turns, as I often do, but still enjoyed the ride.  At 36 miles into the ride I was done.  I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel like riding any further.  I called for a ride home.

Despite the abrupt ending, I was glad I got out and rode the bike.

Learning To Work On A Bike

Nermal’s drivetrain is shot.  I’ve put over 3000 miles on that poor cheap bike, and it’s really showing signs of wear.  I bought a new chain and cassette yesterday, and a few tools from Bluegrass Bicycle.  One of the tools I needed was a chain whip, but they didn’t have one in stock.  It is on order now though.

I decided to fix the bike without the chain whip, using the old chain, a screwdriver, a rag, and my daughter’s assistance.  It worked.  I was able to swap out the cassettes.  Installing the new chain was much easier.  I still have worn chain rings, but that will wait another 3000 miles or so.

I haven’t been riding Nermal much recently, but that’s partially because the chain had begun to skip when pedaling hard.  This should fix that.

Bikes are quite simple to work on.  You only need a few specialized tools, and you can fix nearly everything that goes wrong with just a little research on the internet.  Unlike a car, they are small and light enough to pick up and flip around any direction you need.  I’ll never be a great bike mechanic, but I’ll at least be able to handle much of the maintenance of my bikes.

Four Days of Bicycle Commuting

On The Bike

I rode my bike to work every day this week, except on Thursday.  I feel good about that, but haven’t been feeling good in general.  More on that later.

$30 worth of rubber, wasted
$30 worth of rubber, wasted

Monday I rode the long way to work.  A beautiful route through Utica with lower traffic volume than the normal route.  The ride home was cut short by a large nail, and I called a friend for a ride.

Tuesday, I took a wandering route that was longer than my standard commute, but not as long as the Utica route.

Wednesday was the full Utica route, without a tire failure this time.  I’m really enjoying the longer days than we had a few months ago.

Thursday I didn’t ride to work, but I did ride a few miles to get pizza and beer.

Today, Friday, I took the direct route to work and back.  It was cold and windy this morning, and slightly less cold and windy this afternoon.  I throughly enjoyed the ride to work, but the ride home was a slog.

I’m not planning on riding tomorrow, as I’ve got a lot of other things going on, but I am planning a 55-60 mile RCCS ride on Sunday.

That will push me pretty close to 200 miles for the week.

Weight and Diet

My weight is fluctuating around 200 lbs again.  My eating habits aren’t where they should be.  I’m drinking a beer as I write this.  I’m seriously considering giving up beer for good.

My paleo-diet idea is currently just that, an idea.  I’ve been consuming pizza, brownies, ice cream, beer, chips, and other things that I shouldn’t.  I think I need to reformulate the how and why I eat.  I can better change my behavior if I understand it.

Mood

This has been a rough week.  I’ll write a seperate post about it when I can put it into words that don’t come out sounding whiny.  I went too long without updating here because I didn’t want to post something that basically means “Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!”.

What a Wonderful Week

Sunrise over the Ohio River
Last week had incredibly nice weather.  Once I realized just how nice it was going to be, I was determined to ride to work every day.  I didn’t quite achieve that goal.  I rode three days, including taking the long way most days.  I managed to turn a 33-mile round-trip into a 44-mile round-trip.

It was still quite cool each morning, but the evening ride was much warmer.  Sunny skies were the norm (although I did get a few raindrops on Monday).

My new favorite route to work is more pleasant, but longer and hillier.  I no longer have to ride the shoulder of a four-lane divided highway.  My average speed to work remains the same, but my max speed is higher due to 35+ mph downhills.  That is usually followed by a 6 mph uphill.  :)

Once I make it to the Ohio River, the route is mostly flat, but the view is nice.

Evening Trucker
Signs of Spring

Not Wasting the Week

My weight has been just under 200 lbs all this week so far.  I started off not riding my bike to work, although I did ride the 56 miles on the Sunday RCCS ride.

On Wednesday, I was ready to ride.  I took the long way to work wandering down Waterline Road, through Utica, along the river.  I took a mostly normal route home, with a total for the day of 37 miles.

Today, I didn’t ride to work.  I took Nermal to work to use as “lunch ride” bike on days that I don’t ride to work.  I figured it wouldn’t get any use this week, as the weather forecast was calling for thunderstorms.

We had beautiful weather in the early afternoon.  The roads were even dry (good thing too, Nermal is running without fenders right now).  Patrick, who has joined us on a couple of RCCS rides met up with me downtown, and we rode through Old Louisville and The Highlands, before parting ways, and each getting back to our duties.  That was a nice 13-mile spin.

Tomorrow I’m attending a Norah Jones concert with my daughter.  Riding my bike to work is not really in the cards.  So, I took a 19-mile night-time ride now.  I may do another one tomorrow night after the concert.

What? No Bike Commuting?

This is the warmest week yet this year, yet I’m not really planning on riding my bike to work.  What gives?

I usually enjoy the ride into work, but the ride home is always slower and less enjoyable.  I still don’t know entirely why.  I’ve decided to mix up the schedule up a bit.

Today, I rode my 11-mile loop when I got home.  The route consists of beautiful country roads will very little traffic.  The sun was going down, and it was a pleasurable way to wind down after work before having to wash dishes.

I’m planning on getting up early in the morning, and doing that same 11-mile loop.  Then I’ll shower and head to work.

So, the plan is to ride two 11-mile rides per day for the week.  I only did one today, but that’s okay, this plan wasn’t formulated until this afternoon.

Sugar

I’ve been doing a lot of research to guide my diet.  Everyone knows that too much sugar will cause weight gain.  It’s worse than that.

The video below outlines how fructose (from high-fructose corn syrup and plain old table sugar) really destroys the human metabolic process with chronic usage.

Glucose, a simpler sugar, can cause weight gain, but without as much other damage.  How do you get glucose?  By eating starchy carbs.  So, a piece of bread, which I generally avoid, is still better than a comparable number of calories of sugar.

You don’t believe it?  Watch the video below.  It’s 90 minutes, but is completely worth it.

My “paleodiet” avoids the issue neatly by avoiding most carbs, including sugar and HFCS.

The biggest change you can make with the smallest effort is give up all drinks except milk and water (and unsweetened tea or coffee).  This means no fruit juice too folks.

Beautiful Weather – Day 2

The RCCS held a ride today titled “Gone With Thee Old Man Winter”.  I’m hoping we’re not jinxing the nice weather we had this weekend.  I’d hate to put the studded tires back on.

Four of us arrived in Edwardsville for ride.  Tim, Dominic, Patrick, and I were prepared for a chilly day, as the temperature was barely above freezing at the ride start.

As we headed toward New Middletown we ran across several members of the Louisville Bicycle Club, and they were moving quite fast.  It turns out they were running time trials.  One of them was Dale, who used to ride with us occasionally, until he preferred riding faster.  As we got into New Middletown we talked to a few more LBC members including Chaz, Tom, and Jen.

As the ride progressed we needed to shed clothing due to warmer temperatures, and actual sunlight!  I know, it was sunny yesterday, but after months of dreariness, this weekend is wonderful.  The temperature topped out in the low 60s.

We went a little off-route, so the total mileage was about 56.  This was probably the best ride I’ve had this year.  The New Year’s Day ride was nice also, but was much colder.

I was also in a cheerful mood because my weight had dropped below 200 lbs as of this morning.  We’ll see if that trend continues.

I rode 126 miles this week.  That’s my highest mileage week this year.  I’m hoping to start next week off with a full commute to work tomorrow morning.

Beautiful Weather

Beautiful Day!
After a protracted winter, we are finally having some nice weather.  Today hit about 50F with clear skies.

I had intended to get up early for a ride, but caught up on my sleep instead.  I did get out in the afternoon and took Oria, my recumbent out for an 11-mile spin.  I hadn’t had this bike out since November, but the comfort is amazing.  Any thoughts I’ve had of selling this bike have been quelled.

The Wonderfully Comfortable 'Bent
I have a temporary replacement shifter on the LHT.  The original is being replaced under warranty, but I needed something to use all of my gears for tomorrow’s RCCS ride.  On Your Left Cycles hooked me up with another shifter that works well enough.

I had also been playing with saddle set-back and tilt to try to make the bike more comfortable.  I took a second ride on my 11-mile loop on the LHT to make sure I would be comfortable for the RCCS ride, and that the shifter would work properly.

By the time I got out the door for the second ride, the sun was lower and the air a bit chillier, but my single layer of clothing was enough.

It's Getting Late
Comparing the two bikes is interesting.  I was slightly faster on the recumbent.  My top speed was 42.2, my average speed was 13.9.  On the LHT my top speed was 40.0, and my average 13.4.  The strange thing is that riding the LHT just felt easier.  Yes, the ‘bent was more comfortable, but it can be a bit ungainly starting off.  It’s harder to keep it under control at really low speed.  On the other hand, the ‘bent was much more stable feeling at high speed.  The LHT made me feel as if I could go over the handlebars at any second while flying down the hill at 40 mph.

LHT and Sunlight
I love both of the bikes, but for different reasons.  I’ll be on the LHT for tomorrow’s ride.

Stomach Grumbles

No, I’m not hungry.  Quite the opposite actually.  My weight has been trending downward recently, and I’ve been poised to drop under 200 lbs again.  I weighed in this morning at exactly 200.  I figured tomorrow would be the day.

I had a large-ish lunch of salad, steak, and steamed broccoli, but totally within my diet.  It was dinner that was totally out of line.  I took my daughter and one of her friends out for pizza.  I had entirely too much, and a couple of good beers.  Pizza and beer really doesn’t belong in my diet, except in small amounts.

I ate so much that I was uncomfortable and had to lay down when I got home.  My stomach has been rumbling and gurgling trying to handle all this crap floating around.

So, tomorrow will not be a sub-200 lb day.  Maybe in a couple more days.  Why do I do this to myself?

Mixing Up The Commute

It’s easy to get bored of the same old rut.  I think that’s why I’ve been riding to work less often.

I changed that a bit today.  I left early this morning for a little extra time.  I stopped at a coffee shop and enjoyed a coffee before continuing on.  I didn’t go out of my way by far, but I did ride along the river in Jeffersonville and added 1/2 a mile to the ride.

On the way home I only had a vague idea of what I was going to do.  I ran along the river in Indiana to Utica.  A mostly-pleasant ride, but with few chances to stop and eat or drink.  That’s okay, I really don’t need more to eat or drink.

Once I got to Utica, I know that I’ve passed the hairy sections of Highway 62.  On the other hand, getting to 62 means riding a narrow twisting road with t00-fast traffic.  So, instead, I continue northward along the river.

I eventually find Waterline Road.  Waterline Road was just recently opened to the public.  It runs through the old Army Ammunition Plant.  Riding through there is eerie yet beautiful.  There are signs of the former human-use of the land, but everything is grown over, falling apart, or usually both.

This part of the ride is mostly uphill, as I’m moving away from the river, but I’m not in a hurry.  I’ll poke along at eight miles per hour.  I eventually run back into the highway and putter along the shoulder at twelve miles an hour, only into a bit of a headwind today.

It was a good ride, and a little bit of an adventure.  I rode a total of 37 miles for the day.  All this just to get to work and back.

I should be asleep, but I didn’t take pictures on this ride, and wanted to get some of the details out before they were lost to my imperfect memory.