The Plan for 2014

My weight today was 256.8 lbs.  That’s almost 20 lbs more than a year ago.  That’s unacceptable.  There are a few factors – and I have some ideas to combat them.

Goals

I still intend to get down to 175 lbs.  Anything under 200 is great, but 175 is still the goal.  I need to lose 7 lbs a month.  That will get me to my goal weight before the end of 2014.  It’ll also have me solidly under 200 for Gravel Grovel in November.

Accountability

I started this blog to be accountable.  I’ve lost track of that.  I no longer weigh daily.  I don’t track my calories.  I’ve been soft on goal-setting.

I’m weighing again every morning and will be updating my weight page.  I may even start the progress photos again – even though I’ve gained weight and a few years.

Food

I don’t believe food is the biggest issue right now.  I’ll need to watch what I eat, but in some ways, my eating isn’t bad at home.  I do poorly when I go out to eat, but Diane prefers we eat at home most days.  If I continue to gain weight I’ll start tracking calories again.

Beer

This is the big one.  I’ve dilly-dallied around this one.  I love beer.  Not just drinking it, but tasting it, talking about it, and trying new beer.  I’ve considered giving it up entirely.  Normally, just cutting back works for a while, then I slip back into old habits, so I need something new.

I’ve thought of something that will control my consumption, and allow me to further enjoy the beer.  Beer Tickets.  I’ve printed out a sheet of seven tickets – each good for one beer.  I get a new batch of tickets every Sunday.  The tickets expire that Saturday night so I can’t hoard them.

I can have one beer a day, or seven all at once for the week.  I’ll probably drink a couple a few nights a week.

How will I enjoy the beer more?  The tickets are mostly blank.  I write the name of the beer, where I had it, what I paid for it, and what I think about it.  I can review it later to determine what beers I prefer, or what I drink too much of, and tell me when it’s time to branch out.

If seven beers per week turns out to be too much, I’ll drop the number down.

This is the beginning of the year.  It is effective immediately.  I’ve had no beer today, so I have my seven tickets, but three are already crossed out due to the “partial week” so far this year.

A ticket is good for a normal size beer.  An 8, 12, 16, or 22oz pour is all “normal”.  A can or bottle is normal.  A monster 32oz beer from the Mexican restaurant is two beer tickets – and not really worth it.

Exercise

I need more fast bike rides.  I generally plod along at a leisurely pace now.  That’s fine for getting to work, but I need to step it up to burn calories.  I need to get faster to feel better on longer rides.

I need to branch out and do some strength training.  Maybe Diane and I could do a little running.  These are not new ideas.  I’ve been trying for over six years now.

Depression

I’ve suffered with depression pretty badly over the last year.  In April I started an anti-depressant.  It worked for a while, then it didn’t.  I quit taking it.  I’ve since started taking a different one with mixed results.  I’m still taking it.  Cutting back on alcohol could be hugely helpful here.  Easing the depression helps me control overeating and drinking too much.

Habits

I’m in the habit of going out to eat and drink.  Diane and I need to build habits of doing healthy things together.  When we ride the tandem together, it’s usually to ride to a restaurant, bar, or party.  We need to change that.

Happy New Year

I don’t know why we make changes with the new year.  Wouldn’t it make sense to do it on your birthday?  I dunno, but it’s time to change.

Snow!

We had some winter weather yesterday and last night.  There was rain, freezing rain, then snow.

Diane and I took the Big Dummy to a local bar last night.  The roads were a mess.

Today, I mostly “played domestic” around the house.  I did clear the sidewalks of snow and ice.

Front walk

Front walk

I grew up in Michigan, so the small amount of snow is nothing… but I still didn’t like clearing it.  I’ve gotten lazy living in a more southern climate.

Back yard

Back yard

After finishing, I had a good porter.

Founders Porter in a festive glass

Founders Porter in a festive glass

I’m going to Four Pegs later for an acoustic musical performance and some good beer.  This should be a pretty decent weekend.

Lifestyle Change… Again

I had a few of huge lifestyle changes over the last few years.  The diet and exercise that began in late 2007, the bicycling in 2008, and the car-free lifestyle that went into full-force in 2011 are all a big part of it.  There were also relationship changes.  It’s the relationship changes that are sparking things now.

Diane

Let me be blunt.  I love Diane.  She’s not living with me, but her dog has been at my house for a few days.  I bought her a phone and put her on my family plan.  We bought a TV together, and I’m no longer TV-free.  We’ll get by with broadcast TV and an antenna.

Yes, There's a TV in my livingroom now

Yes, There’s a TV in my livingroom now

This is at least a long-term relationship and possibly more.  I bought her a plane ticket to join me on my trip to San Francisco in July.  We’re making long-term plans.  I fully expect that we’ll live together this year.

She has a dog, Baxter, and a cat, Fancy.  Fancy hasn’t been over yet, but Baxter has been here all weekend.

Baxter after a bath

Baxter after a bath

Diane doesn’t like dog hair, so we’ve both been cleaning.  I also bathed both of my dogs and brushed them out while she was out running errands.  Once the wet dog smell aired out, the house smelled better than it has in a while.

Sandy does not like getting a bath

Sandy does not like getting a bath

You won’t see her on social media.  She doesn’t use Facebook or Google+.  She rarely touches a computer.  She says I post enough for the both of us.

I mentioned that her first bike ride in years was a 7-mile night ride in traffic.  I think she has the capability to be more of a cyclist than I am.  I don’t know if she has the desire.  I’ll find out more later.

Work

I’ve been trying to focus a little more at work to avoid getting too complacent.  That involved going in a 3:00am on Thursday to get a major project completed without disrupting things during business hours.

I’m still a bike commuter, and the ride into work was easy.  The traffic was very light, although the bars were still open, and I was a bit worried about drunk drivers.

Quiet commute in the bike lane

Quiet commute in the bike lane

Money

Diane is used to being more frugal than I am.  She’s tolerating my $15 per pound coffee, but she’s insisting on cheaper grocery shopping and eating at home.  She has done much of the cooking, so I’m not complaining.

Diane is still willing to go out on occasion.  We’ve gone out for good beer at Apocalypse Brew Works on my birthday (by bicycle!), and Four Pegs last Thursday (on foot).  I did grab a picture of her on the walk home from Four Pegs.

The sign seemed fitting

The sign seemed fitting

Events

It’s nice to go out and do things again.  We walked around during the Balloon Glimmer (as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival).

Balloon Glimmer

Balloon Glimmer

We watched the Great Steamboat Race – and had a few drinks and some food.

Exercise

This is the interesting point.  Diane wants to lose weight.  She’s in relatively good health.  The only thing preventing us from doing more exercise together is time.  She likes to ride a bike, but doesn’t own one yet.  Between both of our jobs, and her youngest child who sometimes spends time with her, time can be tight.

We’ll eventually buy her a hybrid bike of some sort, but she may turn out to want a road bike some day.  I think her power to weight ratio could be much better than mine.  She’s only 5’1″.

The hit on my cycling

At this point, I’m riding a bike less, and I’m not worried.  I still get around (alone) by bike.  Diane rides occasionally and I hope she starts to ride more.  She’ll continue to drive her car for transportation.

I did a lot of thinking about what’s important in life.  Long rides every weekend didn’t rank that high.  I can do it less often.

Overall, I’m happy with life right now.  Some of that is new love.  Some of it is the anti-depressant I’m taking.  I’m not complaining.

Acceptance

I’ve been frustrated with life recently.  I’m unhappy with my weight.  I’m unhappy with being alone.

It’s time to accept things.  I need to not worry about being single.  I’ve done it before.  I can do it again.

I need to acknowledge my eating issues and work on them.  I need to cook at home, give up the beer for a while, and do some exercises in the evening instead of sit at the bar drinking.

One thing will help me to achieve the “stay at home and cook” goal – I’m going to be broke for a few weeks.  Poor planning and unexpected expenses teamed up to take my beer away.  Maybe this is a good thing.

I have been riding.  I’ve even been back on the rSogn.  I still need to replace the handlebars with Albatross bars, but that’ll have to wait for finances.

Tim got a new bike.  He calls it SeaFoam.  We managed to get out for a ride both Saturday (foggy) and Sunday (Easter).  I have a few pictures from Saturday.

SeaFoam and rSogn

SeaFoam and rSogn

If you can’t tell, SeaFoam is a Rivendell Atlantis.  Tim always has the nicer bike.

Foggy

Foggy

A trip through Joe Creason Park in the fog completely hid the fact we were in an urban area.

I didn’t ride the bike to work on Monday or Tuesday.  I took a cab (waste of money) to work.  I took the bus home.  Both days involved walking, and drinking at a bar (more money wasted).

Tuesday, I had a few beers after work, when Tim contacted me about an evening ride.  I ran home and got ready.  We met and rode 15 or so miles after dark.  Again, I was on the rSogn, and he was on SeaFoam.  Both of us with dyno-powered headlights.

As he headed for home, I stopped again for another beer.

Bike and beer - a match made in heaven

Bike and beer – a match made in heaven

See?  This one was totally the bike’s fault!

It’ll be at least two weeks without beer now.  I’ll then limit my drinking to one day a week.

In addition to spending more time at home with my dogs, I’m starting back with sand-court volleyball next Monday.  This will hopefully give me enough social interaction (and some exercise!)

Life is an interesting journey.  It’ll be fun to see where I end up by the end of the year.

 

More Adjustments

I rode my bike to work four days last week.  I still don’t feel much like a cyclist, but pushing myself out the door is getting a little easier.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, but I spend the day running errands on the bike and doing housework.  I hauled a large load of groceries on the Big Dummy

Dummy Load

Dummy Load

I’m still drinking too much beer.  I love beer, but every time I try to cut back, my consumption climbs back up in short order.  I may have to give it up entirely.  I’m tired of still being fat.

Beer!

Beer!

I’ve pondered the idea of a paleo-diet multiple times.  I tried it once.  I wasn’t able to stick to it.  I lost my weight before with calorie counting and sensible eating (and little beer).  I’m not going to do the paleo-diet.  I’m going to eat a sensible diet, mostly home-cooked, mostly non-processed, and heavy on the plant matter.  I’m not going vegetarian, but smaller amounts of meat, and larger amounts of vegetables are in order.

The bicycling situation is complicated.  I’m out of shape.  I’m slow.  I can putter around town all day, but longer rides are hard.  I’m mostly limited to riding the recumbent.  I need to take off on some long solo rides, but time and weather have been limiting factors.

I feel like I need to take a break from worrying about the cycling for a while.  I can work on other issues in my life in the meantime.  So, I don’t care about bike miles.  I care about getting around by bike.  I care about making my house a more pleasant place to live.  I care about cooking healthy meals at home.  I care about spending more time with my dogs.

I used to have an exercise mat.  I should replace it.  I need to do some strength-training.  I’m getting too old to ignore my upper body.

Maybe it’s not too late to rescue this calendar year.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

For some reason Louisville has the St. Patrick’s Day Parade eight days before the actual holiday.  I’d never attended before, but Timothy told me the Pedal de Ville team needed some help.  He wanted to, but he was busy racing Death March with Asher.

I didn’t want to leave a bike locked at the parade staging area so I walked the two miles there.  It was a nice day.  I took the shortest route which took me through a bad neighborhood, but it was the middle of the day and I had no issues.

I knew nobody there.  I was introduced to Scott, the Schlafly representative.  Schlafly was sponsoring this “float”.  It’s not really a float.  It was a decorated, pedal-powered, bar.  It could hold over a dozen people.

Green everywhere

Green everywhere

They were still in the process of decorating the “float” for quite a while after I arrived.  Some stuff was St Patrick’s-themed, other stuff was Schlafly-themed.

Last-minute preparation

Last-minute preparation

This was Lilly.  Poor dog.

Festive, yet sad

Festive, yet sad

We eventually got underway.  We began with a minor hill, but this thing weighed 2500 lbs. I think a few people didn’t pedal.  There was no shifting, and the first few feet were difficult.  After that we had to be careful to not run over children.

We cruised slowly along Baxter Ave and Bardstown Rd.  The spectators were pretty crazy.  Everybody wanted hand-outs, but I had little to give.  It felt wrong to give green plastic bead necklaces to children.

It's nice seeing these street full of people

It’s nice seeing these street full of people

We were egged on at the end to go faster, so we spun like crazy, taking our speed from 2-3 mph to probably 5 mph.  That thing is heavy!

Is the Schlafly sponsorship obvious enough?

Is the Schlafly sponsorship obvious enough?

We parked at the end, and I walked down with a few of the others to the Schlafly event at River City Drafthouse.  I had three beers and some food.  I paid for the food, Schlafly covered the beer.  That was very kind of them.

I walked three miles home.  This was not in a bad neighborhood, nor was I the only walker out and about.  I stopped again at Four Pegs for a few more beers.

At this point I stumbled home and went to bed.  It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday.  Five miles, too many beers, too many calories, and a whole lotta fun.

I’m Still Here!

I’ve been lax about writing.  Instead, I fire off a sentence or two on Google+.  I’ve also been using Google+ less, which has helped my productivity, but I’ve had nearly no social life – even an online one.  I’ll be curtailing my G+ usage even more to spend the time having an in-person social life, writing here, and focusing on my health goals.

Beer is a problem.  Food is a bigger problem.  Both have been out of control for a while now.  Grocery store? What’s that?  Seriously, I need to buy groceries and cook again.  Yesterday (and too many other days) I went out for dinner and drank too much beer – way too much.  I woke up this morning after a crappy night’s sleep feeling sick and dehydrated.

I went out to eat after work today too.  It was either that or the grocery store, and I loathe the grocery store.  Also, I’d have to cook, which would mean washing the dishes….   Anyway, I had only two beers.  It was enough to enjoy my time, but I didn’t get drunk.  It was quite nice.  I’ll have to try this “not drunk” more often.

So less time on social media.  More time on dishes.

I’m riding the bike nearly every day.  I’ve got just over 600 miles in for the year.  This time of year isn’t conducive to really high miles, so I think I’m doing pretty good.  There’s a populaire this Sunday that I should force myself to ride.  62 miles + 24 to get there and back.  Pushing 90 miles?  Maybe I could go the long way and get an even 100 for the day.  I’ll probably ride the recumbent, as the rSogn will be having new rear wheel built that weekend.  I’ve never ridden 100 miles in a day on the ‘bent.

I’ve had some nice short-ish weekend rides with Tim.  Nothing epic, mostly just around town rides.  Sometimes we had multiple coffee stops.  Most of the RCCS crew has little free time.  They all have family obligations or whatnot.  Darn families.  They take away our freedom.

I’ve complained a little (maybe more than a little) about loneliness.  Well, I went and joined a dating site, again.  I’ll try not to marry the first woman I meet within six months this time around.  I texted with one woman late into the night on Sunday.  I was limiting my looking to local women… really local, because I don’t own a car.  Unfortunately, her profile said she was five miles away, in reality she had moved to another town 40 miles away.  We still planned a Monday night date here in Louisville.  She stood me up.  She did contact me later.  She had car trouble.  I haven’t heard from her since.  I’m not going to pester her.  We’ll see if I have better luck (and hopefully someone closer) next time.

Icing on the cake?  My daughter and I had plans to go out on Tuesday night.  Guess what?  She stood me up too.  She fell asleep and didn’t hear her phone.  Oh well.  I’ve spent most of my dining out time alone.  Often I’m surrounded by people, yet I’m alone.  I’m not an extrovert.  It’s difficult for me to just start talking to people, and honestly, some of them don’t want me to talk to them.

I’m a great procrastinator.  I wish I could get paid for that.  I’d easily get that job.  “Senior Vice President of Procrastination”  Yep.  I could do it.  I put off posting here.  I’ve put off my upper-body exercises.  I’ve put off getting my diet back under control.  I should take advantage of my good mood tonight and do something useful, but I won’t.  I’m procrastinating again…… Oh wait!  I’m posting here.  That counts, right?

I’m dreading the March 1 weigh-in.  Unless I starve myself until then (which I won’t do), I’ve probably gained a tad.  Bleh.

It’s past my bed time.  Good night!

Poor Progress

This blog may stay named “The Fat Guy” with my lack of progress.  No, I’m not giving up, just feeling frustrated.

I did my monthly weigh-in on February 1st, but didn’t post it until today.  I need to lose 5 lbs per month.  I lost 3.4 in December.  I lost one pound in January.  This progress won’t get me there.  I’m still 61.4 lbs from my goal.

On the bright side, seeing this has focused my attention.  I was going to go out for dinner.  Now I’ll stay home and cook.  I have no beer in the house, so that’ll help too.  Although I should go grocery shopping, I think I’ll do better if I stay home today.

I’ve mostly been at the computer today.  I should do some exercise and stretching.  I need to get away from the computer.

Goals and Motivation

Goals and motivation are important in life.  I have goals, but my motivation seems to be lacking recently.

Instead of going grocery shopping yesterday, I went out to eat and had a few beers.  I came home and went to bed early.  The alcohol helped me fall asleep quickly.  I didn’t stay asleep.  I woke up a few hours later with a headache and couldn’t sleep until almost 4:00 am.

I got up this morning at 10:00 am.  I still have the headache.  I’m fighting it with coffee and ibuprofen.  I cooked pancakes.  That’s not a diet-friendly breakfast, but it’s what I had on hand.

I had originally planned to get some bike miles in this weekend.  Yesterday, I rode one whole mile.  Today, I’ll go to the grocery store and back.

I’m not motivated.  I’m depressed and have a headache.  I’m pissed off at myself for the over-consumption yesterday (beer and food).  I’m slightly peeved that my caffeine addiction is so bad that sleeping in guarantees a headache.

I have a document I started in 2007, shortly after I started my original weight loss attempt. It was some life goals, and notes about each.  I added notes about each goal as the situation changed.

Some of the items on the list no longer apply.  I quit updating it before my second marriage.  Some of the others are still very relevant: exercise, healthy eating, depression, simple living.

Some of the other items on the list are a bit too private to post.  I need to write an updated document with my new goals, and reasoning for each.  It may take a while to figure out that document.  I’ll post the non-private bits when it’s ready.

I need some exercises to do indoors.  There are days I just can’t push myself outside for a ride.  That doesn’t mean I should be a lump in front of the computer on those days.  I need to do some core and upper-body work anyway.

New Month, New Year

As I stated at the beginning of December, I need to lose 5 lbs per month for 13 months to hit my goal weight by the end of 2013.  I’m one month in and I’ve lost only 3.4 lbs.  I need to work harder on that.  I’ve updated the weight page.

I rode my bikes 313.8 miles in December, for a total of 3,595.9 miles for 2012.  That’s down about 1,900 miles from 2011.  I intend to rectify that this year and ride 6000 miles for the year.  That’s an average of 500 miles per month, or 16.4 miles per day.

I’m buying no new bikes this year.  I’ll spend money to properly outfit and repair the five I have.

I need to do two types of training: distance and speed.  Distance just requires long rides.  Speed may involve intervals.  I’m far from being fast, and basically just want to keep a 15+ MPH pace of a reasonable length road ride.

I also need to get back into upper-body workouts.  I’m not prepared to start a YMCA membership again, so I’ll work with body-weight exercises and the dumbbells I have.

 

Training Failure

Peeved

Peeved

Sunday’s training ride didn’t work as planned.  Four of us met as planned and headed out on a windy morning.

The first part of the ride had us heading into the wind.  I tried to keep up, but just kept getting farther behind.  So I did something I almost never do.  I stopped, sent a text to Tim, and turned around.

I went back to Sunergos for another coffee and a snack.  While I sat stewing, I played chess on my phone and generally was anti-social for a while.  Eventually it began to rain, so I headed home.

Fargo

Fargo

It was a short ride home.  Instead of the 50 miles planned, I managed about 18.  On the bright side, heading back north after the turn-around, my speed was above 20 mph due to a tailwind.

Skinny-tire mountain bike

Skinny-tire mountain bike

I’ll try again soon.  Hopefully the rSogn will be ready for the next one.

For Real This Time

As I mentioned before, I intend to reach my goal weight of 175lbs by the end of 2013.  I’ve got 65lbs to go, so that’s only 5lbs a month.

I’m no longer counting my previous 100lb weight loss.  I’ve gained 40 of that back and I haven’t lost weight in a long time now.  So, today, I start from 240.8lbs.  I’ll will be weighing regularly again, but not daily like I used to.  I’m considering only doing it monthly.

I gave up beer, but then I had some at Car-Free Happy Hour on Thursday.  That’s okay, Once a month won’t hurt.

I ordered parts for the new bike yesterday.  It could be rideable within a week.  I look forward to putting thousands of miles on it next year.

I want to ride at least 6000 miles in 2013.  I’ll race Gravel Grovel again in November.  I might race The Death March.

I’m probably going to hold off on buying bikes for a while.  I have five again, and I’ll spend money and time getting them set up the way I want.  The single-speed is a mess.  The rSogn is waiting on parts.  The Big Dummy and recumbent could each using dynamo lighting.  The Fargo could use different handlebars.

I’ll re-do my weigh-in page here on the blog soon.  I’ll start updating it again when I weigh.  I’m still not tracking everything I eat, but cooking at home has been a huge help.

Once I’m done here at the computer, I’m going to head out for a solo excursion into Indiana.  I have no destination in mind, but I’d like to crank out 40 or 50 miles.

Gravel Grinder

I purchased the new cheap hybrid as a gravel machine.  It really won’t do well in that role until I’ve spent way too much money in upgrades.

I’ve made a change of plans.

Salsa Fargo

Robin drove me out to Main Street Bikes in Shelbyville Kentucky to test ride a Salsa Fargo 2.  They have one in stock that has been used as a demo bike.  It’s the large size, which seems to be what I need (but not the extra-large like Patrick has).

I took it for a spin around town, and I’m hooked.  With a swap of the stem, and moving some spacers around, the bars will be high enough for me to ride, even with my neck issues.

It’s the higher-end model with the BB7 brakes, SRAM 2×10 drivetrain with brifters, and Thudbuster seatpost.  I’ll probably swap out the seatpost.

I got back and put down a (large <gulp>) deposit.  The bike is mine.  I’ll pick it up in two weeks when I finish paying for it.

This bike won’t be a road-touring bike.  I’ll use my recumbent for that.  It won’t be for commuting, but I may ride it to work a few times to show it off.  I’ll just carry my stuff in a backpack, because I don’t intend to put a rack on it.  I won’t be putting fenders on it.

This bike is for off-road, gravel, mud, whatever.  I may do camping trips on it that require off-road capability.  I’ll have to learn about bikepacking.

I intend to race the Gravel Grovel again this year, and this is the bike to do it on.  It should do the trick better than the LHT that I used last year.  If I lose 20lbs by then,  I might even do as well (?) as I did last year.

Now the decision is what to do with the hybrid bike.  Sell it?  Keep it and add fenders?  I don’t know at this point.

Still No Long Rides

I rarely ride more than 10 miles in a day now.  It’s mostly just commuting, errands, or neighborhood rides.  Robin and I still ride to volleyball on Mondays.

Some of this is mental.  I still suffer from depression.  Some of this is poor time-management and some is logistical.

I bought the new hybrid (Nermal 2.0?) to make into a gravel bike.  I’ve added a rear rack so I can ride it to work.  I still needs changes:

  • Fatter tires
  • Better saddle
  • Two-bolt seatpost
  • Better seatpost clamp
  • Another bottle cage

Once I get those things, I’m prepared for gravel rides.  Later, I’d like:

  • Different handlebars
  • Better brakes, pads, and levers
  • Small front rack
  • Better pedals

Maybe next year I can really upgrade the bike, to where only the frame and a few parts are still original.  I’d add:

  • Better wheels
  • 9-speed drivetrain (3×9 or maybe 2×9)
  • New crankset
  • New shifters

All this is nice, but doesn’t solve the root causes.  I’m out of shape and depressed about it.

Change in Plans and Volleyball

I mentioned before that I signed up for volleyball.  I’ve played the last two Mondays.  It’s fun, tiring, and leaves me covered in sand.  I ride my bike there after work.  Sometimes I come directly from work, other times I have time to ride home first.  Robin and I usually go across the street for dinner after the games.

I’m not good at volleyball.  Luckily the league I’m playing with isn’t great either, but I’ve got plenty of room for improvement before I can give any of them grief.  :)  After only two days (six games), I feel I’ve learned a few things.  The hardest part is coordination.

Yesterday I decided at the last minute to ride the new bike to work.  It doesn’t have a rear rack, so I had to hang my laptop bag over my shoulder.  It wasn’t very comfortable, but it worked.  I’ve said I’m not going to put a rack or fenders on the bike.  I’ve changed my mind.

The new bike will get a rear rack for panniers – whether for commuting or camping.  It’ll also get one of the small front racks, like I put on Robin’s bike.  I won’t be adding fenders, as I want room for bigger tires.  Tim has offered to let me try out some monster 47mm tires.  I’ll try them out for fit soon.

Robin took me to work today.  I seem to have pulled a muscle during volleyball last night.

I’ve put a whole 14 miles on the new bike so far.  I won’t ride it tomorrow, because I don’t like carrying the laptop on my shoulder.  I’m probably going to ride the Big Dummy.

Now I need to get the money together for the racks, tires, seatpost, clamp, etc…

Fitness, Food, and Alcohol

I’ve been eating poorly for almost two years now.  I’ve gained weight.  I quit weighing myself regularly.  I quit being accountable.  I’ve had a couple of false (re-)starts since posting about this in in November.

Much of the loss of momentum was due to the neck issue.  The neck issue in currently under control.  Moving into town back in 2010 made getting around by bicycle easy, but it also meant easy access to many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.  I have no desire to move back to an area where I would be car-dependent again, so I just need to be better about going out.

I went grocery shopping today so I would have enough stuff around the house to eat without being tempted so strongly to go out to eat.  Going out to eat usually means drinking beer for me.  Drinking beer means I don’t control my eating.  It’s an ugly cycle.

Beer has turned into a problem in my life.  Not an alcoholism problem, but a weight gain, depression, and digestive system problem.  I’m not planning on becoming a teetotaler, but quitting beer for a few weeks, then giving myself an weekly “allowance” of some reasonable amount thereafter.  I haven’t had alcohol since Thursday.

I’m trying to spend less money on excessive food and alcohol not only for health reasons, but so I can save more money toward my next major cycling expense.  I want a recumbent trike for touring.

I’m also considering going back to the YMCA in the mornings before work.  I haven’t decided if it’s worth the money, as I have trouble getting up in the morning and I’m not even positive what exercise to do.  I need some upper-body strength, yet I need to be careful to avoid hurting myself.  I have arthritis in my right shoulder and my neck issue to worry about.

For accountability, I need to begin tracking what I eat again.  I need to start weighing myself.  I still need to organize a bit on that.  This site should be about weight loss and bicycling again, instead of just bicycling.

 

More Riding and Some Weights

The week started off poorly.  I overate and took the bus to work and back on Monday and Tuesday.

Kristy, my ex-wife, recently joined a gym, and wanted a workout partner early Wednesday morning.  She understandably didn’t want to drive the ten miles to pick me up, ten miles back, then do it all over again to take me home.  40 miles uses gas and time.

She suggested I ride out to the gym to meet her on the folding bike, then she could give me a ride to work.  I scrambled to get the bike back from my daughter, who hasn’t been riding it recently.  After tuning it and taking care of the neglect it had suffered, I packed it for the next morning.  I used my large Arkel touring bags on the tiny bike.  Not only are they the only bags I can make fit on the tiny rack, but I needed the storage capacity for clothing and commuting stuff.  The bags are so large on the bike that I have to be careful to avoid leaning too much on turns or the bags rub the ground.

The ride was uneventful, which surprised me on Taylorsville Rd on a Wednesday morning.

After seeing the gym and signing in, I changed in the locker room and met Kristy by the weight machines.  I demonstrated how to use them and got a workout myself.  I may have overdone it on the machine that works the abs, I still hurt.

Overall the workout felt good, but it did aggravate my neck and shoulder.  I need to build strength in that area.  Riding the folding bike didn’t do me any favors either.

After showering and dressing for work, Kristy dropped my bike and I off at work.  The 3.5 mile ride home after work was easy, even on the tiny bike.  I rode about 13 miles for the day.  I may continue to join her for workouts, but I’ll ride the recumbent to the gym, then work, then home, giving me 25 miles or so.  It’ll save my neck.  I also need to start getting to bed earlier.  It’s hard to get to the gym before work when you oversleep.  I’m really good at sleeping.  I get a lot of practice.

Today I rode the recumbent.  It was cloudy and windy with threat of thunderstorms, but I never did get rained on.  The rain came after I got home.  I’ll be on the recumbent again tomorrow for the commute.  It’s much easier on the neck.

I’m on planning on riding on Saturday so I can spend most of the day with Robin, but on Sunday I have tentative plans to ride with the RCCS for an Indiana gravel ride.  I’ll be on the ‘bent, which should be interesting.  I think 40 miles is planned.

I have ridden gravel on the ‘bent before, but never a long ride.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll be  slow, partially because I’ll be on the ‘bent, and partially because I’m out of shape.

January Miles and (Lack of) Progress

Between my car-rental drive to Bowling Green and driving Robin’s car for us to do stuff together, I drove 356 miles for the month.  It would normally not be difficult to ride my bike more than that in a month, but I’ve had a really off month.

I only rode my bike 160.6 miles.  My neck and shoulder have conspired to keep me off the bike much of the time.  I made good use of carpooling, the bus, and the occasional cab ride to get to work.  I’ve even walked the 3.5 miles home from downtown once.

I quit weighing myself recently, but I’ll be doing that again now.  I had quit posting my weight a while before that, but I’ll get that caught up soon.

Now that I have an iPhone I downloaded the  MyFitnessPal app to track what I eat.  I’ve also downloaded the EEBA app to help me budget my money using virtual envelopes.  We’ll see how that works out.

The last two days have been much less painful than before.  I feel like I can function normally.  I didn’t ride my bike yesterday, because I had to return the rental car and walk to work from there.  I took the bus home.  Today, I rode the single-speed and it felt wonderful.  I’ll be on it again tomorrow.

I still have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Monday.  I’d like to avoid surgery, so I’ll get a second opinion if he immediately suggests it.  If two doctors suggest it, I’ll go through with it.

Things are going well between Robin and I.  I like the fact that we’re both comfortable living where we do… two blocks apart.  Seriously, I just know I need to avoid pushing things faster (or further) than they need to go.  We are seeing each other exclusively, but I really don’t feel comfortable discussing much more here.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is also the Car-Free Happy Hour.  This is technically January’s event as it was delayed a week.  Will you join us at 5:30pm at Four Pegs at 1053 Goss Ave 40217.  I may ride my bike there, or just walk.  It’s very close to my house.

Weight?  Weight!  Wait?  No, don’t wait.  I still need to lose about 55lbs to make it to my goal weight.  A reasonable goal is one pound per week, giving me about a year to do this.  So 175lbs by 2013.  Could the iPhone be the tool I need to do this?

With my new phone comes a new phone number.  I used to publish my old one pretty openly, but I’m not doing that any more.  That’s why I didn’t port the number to the new phone.  If you need my number, send me an email, and I’ll get back to you.

Getting Bent Again

I rode the recumbent (‘bent) to work today.  Then I met up with Tim for an hour-long loop while one of his children was involved in soccer.

Tim and I had done some “training” rides on Monday nights last year.  No training today.  We’re both out of shape, and I’m slower on the recumbent due to not riding much in the last 18 months.

We meandered around town for an hour, then I headed toward home.  I stopped at Four Pegs to talk to the owner about Car-Free Happy Hour, and I had to have a couple of beers while I was there.  Their kitchen isn’t open on Monday’s, and I hadn’t eaten since lunch.  The last time I did this on a Monday, I went to Hammerheads and didn’t remember the rest of the night.  So, today, I went home.

I called Danny Mac’s Pizza for delivery, but they recently cut the days they are delivering.  Bummer.  I ordered anyway, and rode the ‘bent up to pick it up.

I ate well and rode a total of about 28 miles for the day.  That’s the best mileage day for the year.  It certainly was too many calories, but maybe I’ll get that under control tomorrow.

I’ve Got To Deal With It

I’ve bitched and moaned about my neck issue.  I’ve talked about riding the recumbent, but haven’t done it much.

I’m riding the recumbent to work tomorrow.  It’s set up and ready to go.  It would be more work to NOT ride it.

On Friday, I took Robin down to Za’s Pizza on the Big Dummy.  It was a blast, but she wants a cushion to sit on next time.  I rode the recumbent to her house today, and she rode it through the alley.  She’s interested in trying out a tandem recumbent now… so I’ve got to find one available for a test ride.

My eating habits have been bad.  I’m drinking too much.  My bike riding is way down due to the neck issue.  I guess the recumbent becomes my go-to bike so I can get more miles in.  I’ll ride the LHT in winter weather, as it’s better equipped.  I’ll ride the Big Dummy for hauling loads or people, as it does it well.  The ‘bent is for everything else.

I’ve driven too much this year (Robin’s car).  It all involved us going out for something, but I didn’t think the first calendar year of being car-free would involve so much driving.  I’ve driven almost as many miles as I’ve ridden a bike.  Granted, I’m low on bike miles due to my neck issue, but it’s still frustrating.

I have tentative plans to meet up with Tim after work tomorrow for a one-hour ride.  We’ll see.

For the rest of the week I need to eat healthier and ride more.

Goodbye 2011. What’s In Store Now?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  When it’s time for a change, you should work at it immediately.  I do, however, believe in looking back at things.  I’m looking back at 2011.

Bike Miles

I rode 5502.9 miles in 2011.  That’s more than 400 miles over 2010′s 5087.2.  By comparison, 2009 was only 3860 miles.  November 2011 was a new personal record month.  I had 697.7 miles.  December is my best December yet, but nothing exceptional at 444.9 miles.

I hope to surpass 6000 miles in 2012, and have a one-month best of 750 miles.

Car-Free

I sold my truck and became car-free on November 4th.  I’m still adjusting to living without a car, but it’s not a difficult adjustment after living most of the year as if I were already car-free.

Bikes

I bought the Big Dummy as my car truck replacement once I knew I actually would sell the truck.  I still have some fit issues to get dialed in, but the bike has been great at hauling things (and people!).

I’ve spent a lot of money on bikes this year.  In addition to buying the Big Dummy, I bought a SON dynohub and lighting system for the LHT in April.  I later moved the wheel and lights to the single-speed.

In March, I bought a used kid-trailer as an affordable cargo hauler.  I haven’t used it since buying the Big Dummy, but it could be useful to tow it with the Big Dummy if I really need to haul a lot.

In December I bought new wheels (including Shimano dynohub) for the LHT.  I also bought new brakes.  Now, January 1st, the bike is still partially assembled in my kitchen.

Health

2011 has been a challenging year due to health issues.

In June I had a horrible neck pain problem.  It kept me off the bike briefly.  It made me miss some longer pleasure rides that I wanted to do.  With some treatment and strength training it was resolved to the point that I can function normally, but it never went away.

In September I was hospitalized due to a bowel obstruction.  Luckily it resolved without surgery, but it was scary.  I only missed one important ride, and had no lasting effects.

On the day after Christmas my neck issue returned.  I’m still struggling with it, and I see myself riding the recumbent more often now.  I wasn’t car-free last time, so my options are a bit more limited now.

The various doctor visits may have actually added to my overall mileage for the year.  I had doctor visits in New Albany and east of Lyndon that took me a bit farther for transportation cycling than I normally go.

Weight

Ah, the elephant in the room.  First let’s look at my monthly average weight since I started tracking it in 10/2007.  Up until July 2009, things look great, then a bit of a bump, lost again, then steady increase since March 2010.

Now let’s look at the same values beginning January 2009.  You’ll notice that most of it is between 200 and 220lbs.  That changes when it goes above 230 in July 2011.  It stays above 230 until the last two month of the year.

It’s a little bit depressing, but not all that surprising.  I’ve been treating myself to good food and beer as if I don’t have a weight problem.  I not going to give these things up, but I need to make better decisions on how much and how often to consume these things.

2011 was not a good year for weight loss.  I ended the year 13lbs heavier than I started it.  Ugh.  As Tim would say, I have an “intake valve problem”.

Exercise

Other than cycling I’ve done little exercising.  I had my push-up plan back in 2008 that I abandoned after suffer shoulder pain.  I’m supposed to be using some dumbbells to strengthen my upper body to help with the neck and shoulder issues, but I’ve not been using them as much as I should.

I was training for a triathlon early in the year, but ditched that after suffering problems in the swim portion of the training.  I did not enjoy the running, but I was capable of performing what was needed.

I did race my first bicycle race in November, the Gravel Grovel.  I met my goal of less that 6.5 hrs (just over 6 hours).

My biggest problem right now, is that my most common exercise other than cycling is the 12 ounce lift (lifting the beer to my lips).

Relationships

Okay, where to begin?

When I started this blog in November of 2007, my 13-year marriage was ending.  I didn’t talk about it publicly for months, but it was happening.

I married Kristy in 2009.  It was a much different marriage than the first, but didn’t work out for much different reasons.  We are now officially divorced.

Interesting tidbit.  I met an interesting woman, Robin, a few days ago.  My desires in a relationship are a bit different now.  I’m not ready to rush in to living together or marriage (eek!  I said the M word!), but she lives nearby (walking distance, no bike even needed!) and we have some common interests.  We rang in the new year together.  I’m not going to talk much more about her for the time being.

2012

Most goals stay the same.  Goal weight of 175lbs.  Stay sane.  Be happy.

Some goals have changed.  Ride 6000 miles for the year.  Ride 750 miles or more in at least one month.  Save more money.

All of this is for nothing if the Mayans were right.

Happy New Year everyone!

Four Years?

Time flies.  I started this blog four years ago today.  November 11, 2007 was when I started documenting my weight loss effort.  I had actually started the effort in late October but took a little longer to get the blog moving.

What a strange trip it’s been.

It’s time for me to reflect where I’ve been and where I need to go.  I’ve gotten too used to “instant gratification” in everything.  I feel I “deserve” things that in the long-term are bad for me.  So I’ve gained weight.

This is more than eat less/ride more.  This is my relationship with food.

Looking back on old posts to write this has been illuminating and given me new incentive to work at this again.  The wedding pictures especially.  I was about 20lbs lighter then than I am now, and I looked quite a bit better.

So, I’m going to work harder and see where I am in another year.  I hope some of you hang out and enjoy the ride with me.

Good Monday

I normally loathe Mondays.  Today turned out good.  Tim and I have standing plans on Mondays to meet in the afternoon for cyclocross training.  My LHT is the only ‘cross-worthy bike, so I rode it to work this morning.

I had a light breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk.  That’s mostly because I overslept and didn’t have time to cook bacon and eggs.

Work

I had a productive day at work.  Although my official duties are database related, I get pulled into various IT projects.  Today, I finished up a small Windows application to make deployment easier for one of our line-of-business applications.  Just a little thing, but it was nice to write software again, even on a small scale.

New Bike

I heard from Ian today.  We agreed upon a price and payment plan.  The Big Dummy is mine.  I’m getting the KickBack kickstand and wide loaders in the deal.  Now I truly have a pedal-powered pickup truck!

Cyclocross

After work I rode out to the park to meet with Tim.  We did a couple of easy laps around the course, then he started a faster lap.  I fell back, stopped and took a breather.  I really wasn’t feeling strong.  We then did a lap with me in the lead – running at my pace. It wasn’t much faster than an easy lap.

I’ve made up my mind that cyclocross is not for me.  I’ll continue to do these practices for fitness and fun, but I don’t want to race.

Tim gave me a ride part of the way back home.  I rode home from the Highlands.  I still rode 12.5 miles of commuting/errands and 12 miles of ‘cross practice.

Dinner

I go out to eat entirely too much.  I still haven’t been grocery shopping, but I had enough stuff to cook spaghetti, so that’s what I did.  I have no beer, but I need to avoid it for a while.  I had a filling meal, and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Late Errand

My daughter works at a local drug store.  She called me to ask me to bring her something.  I hopped on the single-speed, went to the ATM, then the drug store, dropped off something for her, and bought some stuff for me.  The round-trip was only 2.5 miles.

What did I learn on my errand?  I learned my Acorn handlebar bag will fit two large bottles of supplements (glucosamine) and a 14oz tub of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  So, dessert too!

More Saturday

I got an email from Michael, who I rode with on Saturday.  He passed along a couple of pictures of me.

The first is just me riding through the woods on my single-speed road bike.  Not the ideal bike for the terrain.

Action shot

Action shot

The second picture is hilarious.  We were at the nearly impassable stretch of the Riverwalk behind the golf course.  I had no idea he was taking pictures, but I needed to lift my bike to get through.

Upward and onward?

Upward and onward?

Exercise & Stretching

I’m doing my dumbbell exercises.  Even the 5lb stuff hurts after enough repetitions.  I have no upper body strength.

I’ve also noticed over the last few months that I hurt more.  My legs were so tight last night that any movement was painful.  I realized that somewhere over the last six or so months I quit stretching.

So, I spent about 30 minutes stretching my legs, back, and torso yesterday.  I’ll do it again tonight.  Hopefully I’ll notice a difference soon.

The Truck

The gasoline-powered cargo hauler (as opposed to the pedal-powered cargo hauler) is going up for sale this week.  I’m done using it now, I just need to find a buyer.  Then I’ll be officially car-free.

This Weekend

Tim, Michael, and I are heading to Red River Gorge (in Tim’s SUV) for two days of riding, and one night of camping.  It’ll be cool during the day, and cold at night.  I’ll be wearing as much wool as possible at night.  I hope there aren’t any burn-bans in effect this weekend.  We’ll really need a fire.

Either way, it’ll be a blast.  Much like the Big South Fork trip was last year.

Dumbbells

More than two years ago I started doing some upper-body strength-training to help with my shoulder pain.  I did it for a while, but I eventually quit doing it.  Letting the muscles atrophy may have exacerbated the cervical spine issue.

On the advice of my chiropractor, I bought some five pound dumbbells.  Then they sat on the bedroom floor.  Five pounds is nothing.  I can easily lift them.  Then, today, I did the exercises she told me to… and it hurt.  I’m glad it’s only five pounds.

This is one of those things that isn’t so much for weight loss as it is general health.  If my neck gets worse again, I’ll be off the bike.  I can’t have that.  I need to stay mobile.

Morning Metric

Tim called it “furly”, and it was.  I got up at 4:00am, made breakfast and coffee, showered and was out the door at 5:30 to meet Tim and Patrick for a 50 or so mile road ride.

I was concerned about the weather.  It was quite cool, but not quite cool enough for long-sleeves.  There was a chance of rain, which would make it cooler.  I wore shorts and short sleeves and brought a long-sleeve compression shirt with me.  Although it did start raining, I never felt cold enough to change.

We met near the intersection of Bardstown Rd and Douglass Blvd, known as “The Loop”.  We had planned to meet at 6:00, but were underway by 5:45.

Tim planned an urban route that would still get some climbing in.  We headed west, then south and looped around in Iroquois Park.  We stopped for bathroom/water break before leaving the park.  I ate a peanut butter sandwich while waiting.

We headed back north, through Old Louisville and downtown.  We shared River Rd with runners (there was a race of some sort going on).  We stayed out of the way.

We cut up through the Mockingbird Valley area, then over to Indian Hills where we did some more looping, just to ride the hills more than once.

Then back to River Rd and out to Wolf Pen Branch and Barbour Ln.  We took some neighborhood streets and were near Patrick’s house, so he headed home to take care of family duties.

Tim and I headed west on Westport and into St. Matthews where we stopped at a bakery for some much needed carbs.

We continued through Seneca Park and to The Loop and had breakfast and Twig & Leaf.  There was an LBC group having breakfast there because they cancelled their ride due to rain.  Tim and discussed riding a little extra to get 62 miles (100 kilometers) to have a metric century.

We each headed home from there.  I took a roundabout way to Sunergos Coffee and enjoyed a good cup.  I then took a wandering route home.  My bike computer said 62.3 miles, which is just over 100 km.  It wasn’t even noon yet.  That’s a pretty good start for the day.