Comfort Over Style

I admit, I’ve been drawn to stylish bikes recently.  The new rSogn is proof of that.  The steel, leather, and drop-bar aesthetic appeals to me.  It would be even better if it had a horizontal top-tube and lugs.

However, my neck doesn’t care about the aesthetic.  My neck doesn’t like it when I have to tilt my head back to see the road.  I’ve been stuck with a minor flare-up for a while now, and my Sunday ride almost did me in.

I have the perfect bike for times like this – the recumbent.  I bought the recumbent before I needed it.  I didn’t know I’d need it.  It looked fun, and I hadn’t yet developed the retrogrouch style.

The recumbent has languished.  I’ve ridden it enough to keep it rideable and wear a few things out.  It has a crappy rear rack on it – the one installed in 2008.  The shifters are falling apart.  They work fine, but the plastic has decomposed and rubs off on your hands. It needs new tires.

I ordered a better rear rack and it arrived today.  I installed it a few minutes ago, and will use it for the morning commute.

The other things that it needs will have to wait.

So, what of gravel rides?  Although I can ride some mild gravel on it, any big rides would be problematic.  What about the aesthetic?  I have to put that aside for a while, and ride what doesn’t hurt me.

I’m not selling the rSogn, Fargo, or the others.  I’ll still ride them when my neck is less problematic.  They’ll get ridden less.  I’ll outfit the ‘bent as a better all-rounder and put some much needed maintenance into it.

Migraine

On Monday I ended my post with “We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”  It brought a massive headache.  My neck is having a minor flare-up, and the muscles were so tight that it was pulling my head, causing a severe headache.  I didn’t go to work.

Wednesday morning was much better.  I rode the recumbent to work.  I’ve considered commuting on that bike a pain, because I don’t generally wear “street” clothes on it.  Pants can get greasy on the long chain.  I used two small straps to hold my pant leg, and it worked.  I arrived at work grease-free.  I didn’t have to bother with changing clothes.

After work, I went out to eat and drink with my daughter.  It was totally against the diet, but it was good talking to her.

I overdid it.  I woke up this morning dehydrated and sore.  I spent the money to take a cab to work.  I walked to Car-Free Happy Hour after work.  Another attendee took me home afterword.

I limited my beer consumption tonight.  I need to ride tomorrow.

Things Were Good…

My post on the 20th, gained me an email from a friend who wanted to make sure I was okay.  Yes.  I’m okay.  I was actually in a good mood when I wrote that, but had just come out of a bad stretch.

Things were good last week and through Saturday.  I was upbeat, productive at work, and had hope for the future.  Then Sunday happened.

I’ll back up.  Friday after work, I went to Apocalypse Brew Works for beer.  It was packed inside, but they had a campfire in the parking lot, so I sat around with a group of strangers and got drunk.  It was actually a good time.  There’s something about sitting in a circle around a fire that gets you talking to people.

I left there after having one too many.  I still hadn’t eaten dinner, so I stopped at Cumberland for a burger and one more beer.  Cumberland didn’t have a fire or a circle, so I really didn’t talk to anyone.  My ride home was a blur – an uneventful blur, but still…  I got home and went to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling dehydrated and smelling of wood smoke.  I felt much better after a shower and a pot of coffee.  Saturday’s plans were grocery shopping and housecleaning.  Oh, and I had a growler of beer I’d brought home from Apocalypse.

I drink too much beer.  I realize that.  It hurts my weight loss efforts.  It hurts my mental state.  I’ve cut down for a while, only to pick back up later.  I was determined to not over-do it on Saturday, as I had big bike plans for Sunday.

I thoroughly cleaned the drivetrain on the rSogn for Sunday’s plans.  Timothy was putting on an LBC Populaire.

I woke up early Sunday feeling good.  I cooked a good breakfast and drank plenty of coffee.

The ride was planned at 68 miles.  I wanted 100 miles for the day, so if I took the long way to the ride start location and back (in Prospect), I could do that.

I headed out in plenty of time.  I was underdressed, but I knew it would warm up.  Ten miles in, I wanted to turn around and go home, but I kept going.  It was 18 miles until I arrived in Prospect for the 10:00 AM departure.

There were some interesting bikes there.  One guy from Columbus Indiana was riding a recumbent.  Sam, from Lexington Kentucky, was riding a Velo-Orange Polyvalent.

Being a timed event, I didn’t bother with pictures.  We rolled back toward town.  Many of the riders pulled ahead of my on River Rd.  They were soon out of site.  There were still a few behind me somewhere.  After a bit, the recumbent rider passed me.

Two riders behind me caught up as we were approaching downtown.  They slowed a bit to stay with me.  We crossed the Second Street Bridge into Indiana, and the faster group had apparently made a wrong turn somewhere, and were coming back toward us.  Now I was riding with a group again.

While riding next to the recumbent rider and talking to him, I didn’t spot a pothole in time, and hit it hard.  There was no damage to my bike, but I had to stop to retrieve my pump which had fallen off.  Nobody waited for me.  I was pretty much cooked already at this point.  I had pushed a pretty good pace (for me).  I was unable to catch them.

I continued on to the first control, Quill’s Coffee in New Albany.  Most of them were still there, including Timothy.  My mind was made up.  I let him know I wasn’t continuing with the ride.  I was only 18 miles into the Populaire, 36 miles into my day.  They left while I had a cup of coffee.

I wasn’t ready to ride another 12 miles to get home.  I was that tired.  I was about a block away from New Albanian Brewing, so I rode there for a beer and food, then began a slow amble home.  It took me nearly an hour to go those 12 miles home.

I cooked a nice dinner at home.  I spent some time stretching my leg muscles, which had begun to cramp up.  I was exhausted – much more exhausted I should have been for the riding I did.  I felt kind of “cooked” mentally too.  I went to bed at a reasonable time with the intention of riding the recumbent to work and taking the long way in the morning.

This morning, I hated the world.  I hated the alarm clock, the bikes, myself, and the fact I don’t own a car.  My legs and neck were still in pain, but the mental pain was bigger.  I couldn’t call off work.  I wasn’t going to spend the money on a cab.  I took the bus to work.  Riding the bus made me feel slightly sick, which it normally doesn’t.

Getting to work didn’t improve matters.  I was grumpy.  My co-workers were annoying.  I wasn’t very pleasant to be around.

I left work at 5:00 on the dot.  I didn’t want to miss my bus.  My mood had improved a bit, but I still felt a bit ill on the bus.

I cooked another nice dinner and prepared leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.  I did the dishes.  I played on the computer.  I feel better, but not quite right.

Maybe cutting out beer for a week (or three) will change things a bit.  Maybe just getting back in the habit of being at home, cooking, paying attention to my dogs, and playing on the computer will help.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Car-Free Fun

It was another cold morning in Louisville.  I had trouble pushing myself out the door.  I did my best to not over-dress for the 20 degree temperatures.  I was wearing work clothes, and didn’t want to get sweaty.

Once on the bike, I was cold.  I wanted to hurry and get to work, so I pushed harder.  That meant I was cold and sweaty when I got to work.  Oh well.

I’ve been riding the rSogn every day this week so far.  I won’t be tomorrow, as I’ve taken the rear wheel off to haul to the bike shop to have it rebuilt.

Earlier in the day, we were facing down a possible winter storm.  It had warmed up to just above freezing while I was at work, and began a light rain.  I had an appointment to give blood after work, so I rode there.

Take a pint!
Take a pint!

When I left the Red Cross, the rain had turned to sleet.  The roads were just wet, no icing yet.  Traffic had gotten quite heavy though.  I rode out Baxter Ave and stopped at Lil Cheezers, a new-ish place that I hadn’t been before.  They have gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, which just sounds wrong, but it tasted good.  I also had a West Sixth IPA from Lexington Kentucky.

From there I took residential streets home.  There were some slightly slippery spots, but with some care, I didn’t fall.

I finally got around to doing the dishes at home.  I also removed the rear wheel from the rSogn, took the cassette and tire (tyre for Timothy) off, and have strapped it to the Big Dummy for tomorrow’s commute.

I have mostly decided to ride the Populaire on Sunday.  I was planning on riding the ‘bent, but it seems my new wheel for the rSogn will be ready Saturday, so maybe I’ll be on it.  We’ll see.

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.

‘Cross and Company

I had an exciting weekend.  Okay, much of the cycling world and many local Louisvillians had an exciting weekend.  The UCI Cyclocross World Championships were held here in Louisville.  This is the first time the event has been held outside of Europe.

In addition, Jenny & Shawn from San Francisco flew to town and stayed with me for the insanity.  I’d never met them in person, but I feel like I’ve known them from Google+.

The races were originally planned for Saturday and Sunday.  The Ohio River had other plans, and was encroaching on the ‘cross course.  The city was using pumps and sandbags to slow it down, but it was a losing battle.  The races were rescheduled to get them all done Saturday before the river raised anymore.

Although they rented a car upon arriving in town late Friday, parking for the races would be problematic.  The couple from California were going to ride bikes to the race in the morning!

We woke to a snowy scene.  There’s was probably an inch of fresh accumulation and the roads had not been cleared.  Shawn rode my Fargo, Jenny the rSogn.  These bikes did not fit them properly, but it worked.  I rode the Big Dummy.

Not quite a winter wonderland
Not quite a winter wonderland

We carefully made our way to North End Cafe for breakfast.  After a satisfying breakfast, it was a short ride to the already-packed venue.  Bike parking was not done well.  We had to chain to a fence, along with dozens (hundreds?) of other bikes.  Having three of my fleet left alone for hours was a bit worrying.

Shortly after arriving we ran into Geoff from Rhode Island.  He’s another Google+ user we know.  He stayed in a hotel in town.

Shawn, Jenny, and Geoff - a G+ reunion
Shawn, Jenny, and Geoff – a G+ reunion

I don’t follow racing.  I know how cyclocross is run, but I don’t know who the racers are.  For me, it was more of a party with bikes.  I walked around in the mud and snow, drank beer, took pictures, and did a lot of people watching.

I eventually found Tim.  We wandered around together a while during the U23 (under 23) race and the women’s race.  We found quite a few the regular Louisville crew.

Ah, yes, people watching...
Ah, yes, people watching…

The fans were out in force.  I’d guess that most people at the event were not locals.  I heard several different languages being spoken, including Flemish from some of the Belgians.

Muddy cyclists
Muddy cyclists

Tim and I settled in with Louisville locals near an area of the course with barriers that most riders dismounted and ran over.  A few riders would bunny-hop them.  It would gain them a second, but risked a crash if they did it wrong.

He's not risking a crash
He’s not risking a crash

Normally, I’d say these Louisville fans are the craziest, but they had stiff competition.

Do More Drugs!
Do More Drugs!

I’m betting the guy at the bottom right of the picture is not named Clif.

Clif?
Clif?

This is how you do the barriers if you’re feeling invincible.  He did a good job here, but he didn’t win.

Bunny Hop!
Bunny Hop!

Cyclocross is all about mud.  We had plenty of it.  My boots will never be the same.

Feetprints
Feetprints

The river was definitely encroaching on the course.

Flooding
Flooding

As the Elite Men’s race was getting near the weather turned colder and the snow returned.  Luckily, I was well fortified with Vitamin B(eer). I would assume this intrepid soul was also.

Showing his pride, and his cyclist legs
Showing his pride, and his cyclist legs

The Elite Men’s race was a mud-fest.  Forget getting a feel for the course.  They were getting a taste of it.

Mmmm.  Mud.
Mmmm. Mud.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Cookie Monster for now.  Later, I’ll tell you about the after-parties and such.

Cookies!  Drugs!
Cookies! Drugs!