Trail Riding and Bike Changes

Since going to friction-shifting on the Fargo, the ten-speed rear has been a bit of a pain.

Tim recommended a short ride at Waverly this morning.  I got up early and replaced the ten-speed chain and cassette with 8-speed equivalents.

Fargo Power!
Fargo Power!
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I’m too fat and I struggled a bit.  Afterwards we had coffee.

In other news, I’ve made changes to the Big Dummy.  It’s also become my primary commuter bike.  I’ll have more on that later.

November 23rd Gravel Adventure Ride

Timothy has been putting on Gravel Adventure Rides for the Louisville Bicycle Club.  I attended one last month.

Tim and I went together.  I think we had a total of six riders.  The ride started in New Washington Indiana.  This route is nice for only having one big climb.

My memory isn’t clear, as I didn’t write about it right away.

Timothy and the other riders mostly stayed ahead of Tim and I.  Tim stayed with me.  I was struggling to keep any kind of pace whatsoever.  The first half of the ride, I never took my camera out.

We stopped at Jendy’s Pizza in Hanover.  It started raining at that point.

My new waterproof camera is perfect for rain, but I was too busy to use it.  I let Tim take pictures.

That's me in the distance
That’s me in the distance
Running along the river
Running along the river
Horse!
Horse!

The ride was cut a bit short at 35 miles.  I enjoyed getting out, but had a weak day on the bike.

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More Adventure

Tim and I had big plans for last weekend.  We were going to drive to Texas to ride with Pondero.  We were concerned about weather on the return trip, and stayed closer to home.

Saturday was Tim’s birthday, and we usually try to put a ride together.  This time, it was on Friday.

We re-visited Daniel Boone National Forest, where we spent some time back in July.

Going to a remote area, and having a flaky GPS is a bad thing, so I brought both my old GPS, and the new one, recently replaced.

Belt and suspenders
Belt and suspenders

We started at S-Tree campground this time.  Tim and Patrick had scoped it out a while back, but I’d never been there.  The ride start was at 1400 feet of elevation.  It was a pleasant run on a gravel road that followed the ridge for a while.

We followed a turn-off that lead to a cleared piece of land overlooking… well, everything.  I have no idea what the purpose of the clearing is.  Maybe someone will build there.

Clearing with a view
Clearing with a view
Tim at the edge of the world
Tim at the edge of the world
Pleasant
Pleasant

After a while we took a steep downhill, still on gravel down to our only paved road of the day, KY-89.  That was a couple of miles riding along the river, with some dogs chasing us along the way.  Traffic was extremely light.  There was a neat old wooden-decked bridge over Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Rockcastle River.

Neat bridge
Neat bridge

We eventually turned off near where Horse Lick Creek branches off from the Rockcastle River.  This was a pleasant ride for a while.  After enjoying a snack at a deserted intersection, we continued along.  Our GPS route had us crossing the creek at a location that just wasn’t feasible – and there was a “private property” sign on the other side of the creek.

We continued on “our side” of the creek for a while.  It remained mostly flat, but large mud pits became common.  I was reminded of the old videogame, Pitfall!.

After a while our road path dead-ended at a campsite along the creek.  It wasn’t feasible to cross the creek there, and moving away from the water meant a steep climb through the woods.

Not crossing here
Not crossing here

We considered taking crossing the creek anyway.  We took off our shoes and socks, intending to walk across.  It was too far.  The rocks were sharp.  The water was icy.  I bailed and put my footwear back on.

We turned around, and later hiked crawled up the hill.  Near the top was an interesting rock bridge and a cave.  Neat, but I was too tired to get closer.  We moved on.

Rock bridge
Rock bridge

After riding along the ridgetop for a while, there was a mostly-unrideable descent back to the creek.  This creek crossing was shallower, and looked rideable.

Tim made it successfully
Tim made it successfully
I did not
I did not

It takes more than wet feet to deter me, so we continued on.  In the flat spot by the creek, there was an open field with the makings for a bonfire.  We had brought coffee-making materials, but time was running short.  Sunset comes early this time of year, and we weren’t equipped with good lights.  We skipped the coffee, but I did change into some dry socks.  We also decided to cut the ride short, and head directly back to the car.

I mostly quit taking pictures at this point.  We were off track according to the GPS, and there was that pesky creek and it’s cold water between us and the magic purple line.  Tim and I had disagreements over the route, but it was his ride, and I followed.

In the end, even though I was technically right, his way worked fine.  He has a better sense of direction than I do.

We had a couple of miles of endless mud pits to cross.  I got a bit reckless due to my haste, and went over the bars.  I wasn’t hurt, but rattled.

The temperature had dropped.  My rear derailleur was iced up and wouldn’t shift at all.  Tim’s drivetrain had similar issues.

Eventually we joined up with Raccoon Creek Rd.  This began our climb back to the car.  I walked most of it.

Raccoon Creek Rd and the endless mudpits before were a low point for me.  I really wanted to give up cycling.  I wanted to stay home where it’s warm and dry.  However, I didn’t want to get rid of the Fargo as I had in some previous trips, so apparently the bike changes helped there.

Before I knew it, we were at the car.  The sun was slowly setting.  What was supposed to be a short ride took all day.  We stopped for pizza on the drive home.  It was a nice finish to the day.

Now, my bike is cleaned and lubed.  The sore muscles have returned to normal.  The clothing has been washed, dried, and put away.  Now what?  I want to do it again, of course.

Tim’s write up is here.

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Fargo Changes

After the rides I did earlier in the year on the Fargo, the drop bars were really hurting me.  I decided to take a risk and make some changes.

I bought Jones H-Bar handlebars, Silver Shifters, and Paul Thumbies, some new brake levers, and a new rear derailleur. This gives me a more upright riding position.  The derailleur is just because I’m trying to sell the old shifter/brake levers/derailleur together as a set.

Fargo Cockpit View
Fargo Cockpit View

Bar tape and grips finished up the bars.  The upright riding position didn’t work well with the stock saddle, so I moved the black Brooks saddle and seatpost over from the single-speed (there’s another story there too).

Muddy Fargo
Muddy Fargo

The bike as you see above was how it was ridden last weekend.  I still want to change out the rest of the drivetrain.  Shifting 10-speed stuff with friction can be problematic sometimes.  I’ll replace the cassette with an 8-speed, which means a new chain also.  I’d like to replace the crankset with a triple.  This bike will be for gravel adventure, winter commuting, and some touring.

Riding High
Riding High

This is a picture (stolen from Tim) from last weekend’s ride.  Yes, it’s a very upright position.

August 16th, Ferdinand Gravel Ride

I’m still trying to catch up with my writing.  I’m showing that I actually did ride this year.

Ferdinand State Forest in Indiana has some wonderful gravel roads.  Tim and I headed out there on August 16th for some adventure.  Tim’s write-up is here.

My favorite road picture
My favorite road picture

This was a 42-mile ride.  I suffered a bit from it.  I’ve had more issues with my neck, and riding the Fargo seems to make things worse.

Tim is happy
Tim is happy

It was a good day to get out for a ride.  The flat I had after riding down a “farm road” didn’t bother me.

Bad selfie
Bad selfie
Good roads
Good roads
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August 10th, Miles With Tim

After our Charlestown Pizza ride in July, Tim and I wanted to revisit the area, but on a longer ride.

So, on August 10th we headed out through Utica toward Charlestown.  I was on the rSogn, Tim was riding his Lightspeed.

Old bridge
Old bridge

This was three months ago, so the details are sketchy, but I ended up with over 80 miles for the day.  We were caught in a hailstorm on the way home.  In other words, perfect.

Heavy skies in Utica
Heavy skies in Utica

Tim wrote about it when it was fresher in his mind.

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Charlestown Pizza Ride

I used to live in Charlestown Indiana.  It’s not that far.  They have a cool pizza place.  Tim and I decided to do a road ride there and enjoy some food and beer.

On a Friday in July, I took the day off work.  After running some errands, I met up with Tim at Quill’s coffee to get the day started.

This was a road ride, so I was on the rSogn.  Tim was on his Lightspeed.

rSogn
rSogn

We took the Big-4 bridge across to Indiana.  Riding this thing is absurd.  There’s nearly always huge crowds of pedestrians.  I’d say “screw it” and take the Second Street Bridge, but the I-65 realignment and bridge project is going to turn that bridge into a high-speed exit ramp.  Bleh.

Once across, the ride up to Utica is pleasant and rather flat.  Being along the river tends to do that.

Ohio River and fluffy clouds
Ohio River and fluffy clouds

There’s a gradual climb up Waterline Rd.  We took Highway 62 into Charlestown and enjoyed our tasty treat.

We took part of my old 11-mile loop north of town then headed down hilly Bethany Rd and back to Waterline, and back the way we came.

It was a nice 58 miles for the day.

Good food
Good food
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Daniel Boone National Forest

Tim, Timothy, and I drove down to DBNF back in mid-July for a camping and biking trip.  It was intended to be three days of riding, starting on Friday the 18th, but the riding was much tougher than we planned for, so we rode two days.  We still camped for two nights.

Yes, I’m behind on writing here.  More about that later.

I’ll admit to being nervous about the trip.  We were going to be in a very rural, rugged area.  My neck was flaring up.  My Achilles was still healing.  Damn it!  I needed a ride!

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My new GPS totally failed me.  It refused to show our course on the map.  Timothy had forgotten to load the course on his.  Luckily, Tim had no issues with his.

On the GPS track above.  See the little wiggle off to the east?  That was our “Big Sinking Creek” loop.  It was an off-road adventure that turned out to be much more than we bargained for.  It was beautiful and rugged, but mostly unrideable.

Sure, we can ride thatThe scenery was worthwhile.

Cliff & creek

It’s called Big Sinking Creek because the creek is partially below ground.  I assume it disappears and reappears seasonally.  We had plenty of opportunity to ride and walk through it.

Wet feet

The rest of the ride was low-traffic, mostly-unpaved roads.  It was quite pleasant.

Pleasant

We finished the day tired and went to Red River Rockhouse for dinner before heading back to camp.  I slept like a log.  Tim’s write-up on Friday is here.

If Friday’s word was “Hiking”, then Saturday’s was “Mud”.

It rained overnight.  I slept through the worst of it.  Getting out of the tent was a damp experience.

Most of the rain had passed.  It continued to sprinkle occasionally, and the mist was constant.

Damp morning

After coffee & breakfast at camp we drove to Heidelberg for a nice parking spot along the Kentucky River.

Fargo and mist

The goal for the day was to ride to Turkeyfoot campground and cook our own lunch.  We were each carrying small stoves and a little food.

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The ride started out on paved roads, then a nice gravel road, then a turn onto a rutted, muddy, mess.  Timothy managed to go over his bars at some point, but he was unhurt.

Slippery

Happiness is a muddy GPS.

Muddy GPS

We eventually make it to Turkeyfoot.  It’s a very pleasant campground.  It has no fresh water supply, but we brought our own.

Turkeyfoot!

Turkeyfoot is alongside a creek.  The picnic area is near the creek.  This made it quite handy to climb in the water and rinse off the mud.  I didn’t even think about snakes until I was already in the water, but I never did see one.

The Esbit stoves did a good job of boiling water for my simple meal of macaroni & cheese with tuna.  After eating and relaxing we still had to get back to the car.

We took a different route back that wasn’t as rugged.  There was still a mud-pit road, but it was not rutted.  It was completely rideable.  It would have been enjoyable had I not been so exhausted and sore.

That was not to last as we hit another rocky, rutted, rough stretch and we walked again.

Once things flattened out and we were along a creek again, I wanted to sprint to the car.  I didn’t have a sprint left in me.  I was done.  We all were dragging back to the car.

Tim and I discussed not riding on Sunday.  We discussed leaving soon.  It was eventually decided we’d go ahead and camp Saturday night, and head out in the morning.

We had a simple meal at camp.  I slept soundly again.

Aftermath

My bike was a mess.  It wouldn’t shift right.  The brake pads were toast.

I was a mess.  I’d had several instances this year where I hate the Fargo.  I put it up for sale once, then pulled it back down.  I was considering selling it again.  It physically hurts me to ride it.

Many tough rides can be hard at the time.  I’ve cried during rides before.  I usually enjoy the rides much more in retrospect.  Initially, I was having a hard time with this ride, even in retrospect.  I’ve gained weight.  The bike hurts my neck.  I love these kind of adventures and the recumbent won’t work for this type of riding.

Now, more than three months later, the ride was excellent, in retrospect.  I haven’t sold the Fargo.  I actually switched out the handlebars, brake levers, cables, shifters, rear derailleur, and cleaned up everything.  It’s a totally new bike.  I don’t know what it’ll be like on another awesome adventure like this, but so far I like it.

New Toys!

I have to reward myself for my new drive to get fit again.  I can’t have beer, but I can replace it with something healthier, like bike stuff!

Gadgets

My old GPS still works, but I can’t mount it to the bike anymore.  The piece that connects to the handlebar mount is broken, and isn’t something I can order from Garmin.  I’ve since learned about RAM mounts that would work, but before I knew this, I bought a newer device – the Garmin eTrex 20.  It’s similar in size and appearance to the old eTrex hCX, but it’s faster, more accurate, and has a much more robust mounting system.

Once I buy the RAM mount, I’ll have two usable GPS devices for the bikes.

Cousins in the GPS family
Cousins in the GPS family

Rebirth

My poor single-speed has been languishing in the basement for too long.  The crank and bottom bracket were trash.  I damaged the stem and handlebars.  The original (30+ year old) headset was crunchy.

Some time ago, I took it in to have the headset replaced.  I ordered some brake pads, cleaned the bike, obtained some tires, and had a rolling frame in the living room for a while.  It did make a nice art piece, but that wasn’t the plan.

I ordered a stem and handlebars.  I mounted the brake levers.  Diane had bought me a crankset (a beautiful Sugino) on our honeymoon.  I took the bike and crankset up to the bike shop and dropped it off.

On Friday, I got a call that the bike was ready.  I went and got it, put pedals, lights, and a bell on it, and took it up the street a bit.

The single-speed lives!
The single-speed lives!

It still needs bar tape, but I haven’t decided on color yet.  I also want freedom to re-position the brake levers for  a bit, so I’m in no hurry on bar tape.

I went for a different look this time.  I ditched the red accents, and when grey, silver, and black.  I may give it a splash of color with the bar tape.  I may cloth, twine, and shellac for an old-school look.

Mechanically, it is a little different.  The new crankset would give it a higher gear ratio (but I really liked the crank).  So I also had a new freewheel put on, to lower the gear ratio.  The end result is about 65 gear-inches, which is a bit lower than before.  That’s about perfect for my old knees.

I won’t be commuterizing this bike this time.  I did last time, but really this bike just wants to be a simple, nimble, light, fun ride.  I’ll ride a different bike to work.

Saturday, I met up with Tim for a ride.  He, unfortunately, rode a geared bike.  No matter, I got to give the bike a good workout.  I got  a good workout up and down the hills.  Things were good until on one climb when the headset made a loud pop and the lock ring came loose.

I carefully rode it to Tim’s house, where he gave me a ride home.  I didn’t use the front brake at this time.

Once home, I was able to tighten down the headset.  As long as it doesn’t come loose again soon, I’ll be happy.

Future?

I miss my LHT.  I shouldn’t have sold it.  I don’t have the money for another right now, but when I do, I’m going to buy the Disc Trucker – which is the same bike, but with disc brakes.  It will become my commuter/tourer/beater/gravel grinder.

Once I have the trucker, the rear rack will come off of the rSogn, as I want that bike to be my rando bike, even if I never do a randonneuring ride.

Goals

I need to earn the new bike.  I need to be able to crank out metric centuries every other weekend or so.  I used to do this, but have not recently, and I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it much if I did it in my current condition.

I’ve done no long rides since my Achilles surgery (until today! – more soon!).  I’m out of shape.  I’ve gained weight.  I need to fix that.

Still on a Bike

Yes, I’m still riding a bike.  I just having been writing much about it.

Camping!

Back on June 20th, Tim and I went bike camping.  I rode my Big Dummy.

Big and dumb

We didn’t want to deal with a campfire, so I brought a candle for light.  An unfortunate spider managed to get into the molten wax.

We each brought our Esbit stoves for cooking dinner, and making coffee in the morning.  There’s little else as important as camp coffee.

World’s smallest campfire

This was just a quick trip to Jefferson Forest, but it improved that weekend.

Family Riding

The next weekend was my wife’s birthday.  She had her daughter over.  We got out on the bike (my stepdaughter and I on the tandem, and Diane on her own bike).

Among other places, we rode the Beargrass Creek Trail.  There’s a heron usually visible, but he’s shy and hard to photograph.  This time he was feeling brave, and I managed to get a picture of him.  I think Tim knows him well.

Heron!

This was a slow, meandering ride.  It was quite enjoyable.  We stopped for ice cream on the way home.

Volleyball

I’m still not playing volleyball, but I will be in about a week and a half.  Two years ago, I was the only one who rode a bike there.  Last year there was usually one other bike.  Last month brought a large collection of bikes, including my ex-girlfriend riding the bike I bought her.  Sweet!

Diane and I rode the tandem

The motorcycle belonged to our group too.

Look carefully, there are four more bikes

Robin’s bike had a low tire.  I pumped it up.

Robin’s bike looks neat with a basket

Fourth of July

Bicycling For Louisville put on the Family Freedom Fun Ride on the morning of the Fourth.  It was partially intended to celebrate/show off the new bike lanes on Breckenridge and Kentucky streets.

Turnout was good, probably 100+ people.  The mayor was there.  The news crews were there.  There were four highwheel bicycles there, which is more than I’ve ever seen in one place.

A few of the crew

We didn’t take many pictures.  This one was at the end, before everyone returned.  Diane is off to the left in hi-vis yellow.  There’s a highwheeler hiding behind the tree.

Tim rode with us most of the way.  We ran into a number of people we knew, including Ben and Marcus.  After the ride, Ben, Tim, Diane and I went to Cumberland for beer and to watch the soccer game.

Ben invited us to a party at his house.  We went home, and packed up the tandem with beer.  Ben is much younger than we are.  He lives in an apartment with a roommate.  There’s a nice back yard.  He had quite a few people show up, most on bikes.  You know it’s a party when the police show up.

Yes, one person was arrested.  Almost nobody there knew her.  She was arrested for DUI.  She had driven there (drunk) and ran into a parked car in front of it’s owner.  Sigh.  The police are never in a good mood when responding to incidents like this on the Fourth.

Louisville’s main fireworks show, at the Riverfront, was cancelled this year.  Diane and I went home early and watched a few neighborhood fireworks from our front porch.

More?

Yes.  More.  I’ll have more posts today.  Things are a-changing.

Riding, Updates, and New Resolve

Driving

I don’t care for driving, but I still do it for longer trips.  I first got a drivers license two days after my 16th birthday.  I rarely drive these days.  After having a valid license for a solid 27 years, I managed to let it expire yesterday.  I didn’t realize it until this afternoon.  It’s now been renewed.

Beer

I’m taking a one-month break from beer.  I’m not cutting back, I’m cutting it out.  I’ve gained too much weight.  I’ve been lazy.  I’ll re-evaluate in a month.

Bike-Pooling

Diane and I often ride the tandem to her work in the morning, then I ride solo a few blocks to my work.  We did that today.  In the afternoon, I picked her up, and headed to get my drivers license renewed.  She had changed into casual clothes and flip-flops.  She learned that flip-flops can come off while pedaling.  She had to retrieve her footwear in downtown traffic.

Look carefully – there’s Diane grabbing her flip-flop

Achilles

My weak ankle has been causing me to limp.  The weird walking caused a large buildup of callous on my heel.  The heel split open and was quite painful.  This caused quite a few issues.  I started putting “heel balm” on it a few days ago, and it’s much better.

Sunday’s ride with Tim showed me that the ankle is still quite weak.  I think the uptick in activity that I’ve had recently has been good, if a bit painful.  I noticed today that I can barely lift myself onto my toes while standing only on my right leg.  I haven’t been able to do that since before the accident.  I’m also not limping at all today.  I still have some weakness, but I’m making good progress.

More About Beer (and Food)

Beer and food is the keystone of my current social life.  I often go out for beer after a bike ride.  Diane and I go out for beer too often.  Since I’m not drinking beer for a month, we need to come up with healthier habits.  We started today by taking the dogs for a walk.

We walked the dogs to the bank, post office, and coffee shop.  It was about a 2.5 mile trip.  I much prefer riding a bike that distance, but it was nice to do something different and the dogs liked it.

Sandy enjoyed her break at the coffee shop

What’s Next?

I’ll eventually start weighing myself again.  My last doctor visit had my weight at 268, which is pathetic.  It basically means I lost 100lbs only to gain back nearly 70% of that.  I weigh more now than I did since before I started riding a bike.

I’m going to have to help more with the cooking around the house.  I have some ideas for healthier eating.  I’m going to start tracking calories again.  Once I do allow myself beer again, the beer calories will have to be tracked.

I want to feel like a cyclist again.  I’m not selling the Fargo.  I’m holding off on buying another bike.  The bikes I have can get me through.  It’s more about riding the bikes than buying them.

Three-Day Weekend Fun

Saturday

Tim and I met up at Breadworks, as usual, on Saturday morning for an urban spin.  The ride was pleasant, but it’s really the only kind of riding we’ve been doing recently.  We schemed to do something about that.

He did play a game of Spot the Turkey at my expense, but that’s how we roll sometimes.  If you follow that link, you’ll see that I’ve gained some weight.  More on that later.

I was up quite early Saturday morning.  Diane and I bike-pooled to her work on the tandem.  Then I rode home to grab my rSogn to meet Tim for the morning ride.

After the ride, I went back, grabbed the tandem, and took it to the shop for some minor repair.  I then picked Diane up and headed home.

Later, Diane and I rode the tandem again, this time across the newly-opened Big Four Bridge.  We checked out a burger & beer place in Jeffersonville before riding back home.  The Big Four Bridge has no car traffic, but the crowds of pedestrians made this a walking-speed ride.

Sunday

Diane was on her own on getting to work.  I had other plans.  I had the rSogn packed and ready to go when Tim pulled up in his car with his Atlantis on the rack.  We loaded my bike and headed for New Washington Indiana.

Tim and I have ridden the New Washington area before.  It’s got enough hills to be interesting, but it’s not brutal.  It has enough gravel to add texture to the ride.  It’s low-traffic and our Sunday morning began with beautiful weather.

Tim likes his beach sunglasses

Much of the route was wide-open farmland.

Moo?

Some of it was a bit more forested.

Shady

We had navigation issues.  Tim used his Edge GPS, which isn’t meant for routing.  I didn’t have the route, and my GPS was at home with a broken mount.  We meandered in the general direction, but managed to make a wrong turn on to a long dead-end road.  It wasn’t wasted.  It was one of the better roads on the ride.

We had planned a reasonable 35 miles, as both of us are out of shape.  At 20 miles I was done.  My right ankle is still weak.  The ankle kept trying to turn while pedaling.  It was painful, but I managed the last eight miles back to the car.

Tim wrote his piece here.

After I was home, I still had a few errands to run.  I was extremely slow on the bike, but I managed without injury.

Monday

Monday, being Memorial Day here in the States, brings various celebrations.  Louisville has the Mayor’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle.  I had already planned to ride this on the tandem with Diane, but Asher contacted me about riding with him and Denis on their tandem.  Tom and Jen joined us on their Rans Screamer (tandem recumbent) – and it was a party.

Asher and Denis in matching jerseys

There was a huge variety of bicycles to see.  John brought his velomobile – probably the only one in Louisville.

John and his velo

There were a few ‘bents, and a few tandems, but I only saw one tandem ‘bent: Tom and Jen’s.

Rans Screamer

The first part of the ride was very crowded.  I spent most of that time at a walking pace in close quarters.  That’s a bit of a challenge with a tandem among wobbly children.

Tandems everywhere!

At one point Denis, started a water fight with me.  I retaliated with my water bottle.  Diane ended it by dumping water on me.  It was already unfair – Denis, Asher’s stoker attacked me, the captain.  He had his hands free to aim.  I had to steer.  Then my own stoker turned against me.  All is fair in love, tandems, and water fights.  I did get the last squirt in later in the ride.  I zoomed past Asher and Denis’s tandem, drenching the surprised Denis along the way.

I have recently put a new saddle on the tandem.  I hate it.  I think I’ll be changing back to the old one.  I was rather sore by the end of the ride.  The six of us had a meal and beer at Against the Grain before going our own way.

Whew!

Over those three days, I rode 104 miles.  I’ve certainly done more, but not recently.  I’m out of shape and too fat.  I went to work today by car.  I was really sore.  I left early due to a massive headache.  I’m slightly sunburned.  I guess I need to work on my physical well-being.

Goodbye Candy

Candy, my yellow lab, has been suffering for a while.  Things started to go downhill about a year ago.   She lost muscle and developed arthritis.  She slept most of the time.

Recently, she hasn’t been willing to eat.  She’s lost a lot of weight.  She’s had bowel and bladder control issues.  She’s had trouble standing up.

Candy, about five years ago

Today, she was taken to the vet for her final visit.  We left there without her.  Her suffering is over.

Candy was the first dog I had as an adult.  This is the first time I had to take a pet to be put down.  I’ll miss her.

Wedding Update & Stuff

On April 6th, 2014, Diane and I were wed at Duncan Memorial Chapel.  This is my third marriage and her second.  It’s the first time either of us had a “traditional” wedding.

Duncan Memorial Chapel

We had approximately 50 people attend the wedding.  It was a good mix of her family and friends, and my friends.  I have little family in the area.  Asher played the organ for us.  His husband, Denis, was there also.

Asher at the organ

Michael and his wife, Sarah, were able to make the drive.  I hadn’t seen Michael in a while.  We need to ride bikes together again sometime.  He brought his camera and got some great shots.

I’m looking older

Tim was my best man.  It was great to have him there.

He was arm-in-arm with Denise, Diane’s sister. He’d never met her until this day

Tom and Jen were able to make it.  Patrick couldn’t make the wedding, he was at a funeral (gulp), but he did make it to the reception.  Timothy was there, and dressed well with a bow-tie.  He likes to pick up women at weddings, but I don’t think there were single women in his age range.  In a way, most of the RCCS crew was able to be there.

I hadn’t seen Diane since earlier the day before.  I had a beautiful bride.

My beautiful bride

Once the ceremony was complete, many pictures were taken, as people left to head to the reception.  I was really tired of pictures by this point.

The reception was at the BBC (Bluegrass Brewing Company) Taproom.  The mood of everything was lighter there.  Several people Diane and I both know from the Louisville Ski Club were present.

Ski Club – just there for the beer

Once the alcohol was flowing, people loosened up.  My daughter and her husband showed up.  They had been unable to make it to the wedding.  People started acting strangely, especially the bride and groom…

The garter is in here somewhere…

I did find the garter.  It eventually ended up on someone’s head.

Umm, wha?

Our wedding night was a quiet night at home.  We needed the rest after such a busy day.

We did have honeymoon plans.  We had a rented “cabin” in Brown County Indiana.  The “cabin” was actually an upstairs apartment in somebody’s home.  It had it’s own deck and hot-tub.  It was in the tiny ‘burg of Helmsburg Indiana.

On Monday, we loaded the tandem bike on the car and drove there.  We arrived during a cold rain, so we tried to stay warm in the hot tub before going to bed.

All the interesting shops in Brown County are in Nashville Indiana, about six miles from our “cabin”.  This was an easy ride on the tandem.  The tandem was our transportation for the duration of the honeymoon.

Let’s go tandem-ing!

The route between the “cabin” and Nashville was hilly, but scenic and low-traffic.

Tandem selfie?

Nashville is a small town, but it’s full of local shops, restaurants, and bars.  It also has a bike shop.

Bike Brown County!

Nashville is also the site of Big Woods Brewing.

I love a woman with beer

The weather on our too-short honeymoon was mixed.  There was always a threat of rain.  It did rain a little, but we were never caught in a downpour.

“I’ll be your driver for the evening”

The nights at the “cabin” were peaceful and quiet.  I have no pictures from that.  It was dark and the hot tub was hot.

On the way home we drove through part of Hoosier National Forest.  We went by Story Inn in Story Indiana, where the Gravel Grovel passes through.

Diane and I will need to save money to take more vacations.  We really enjoyed our time away form the daily grind.

Transition

Life is strange.  I’m in a weird place.

Diane and I had a wonderful wedding, and the marriage has been good so far.  Yes, we’ve had an argument, but nothing we won’t get over.  Mostly, things are quite good.  I really have planned on a big post about the wedding, but I think that’s dead now – over a month later.  We wedding was great.  The weather was perfect.  The reception at BBC Taproom was a blast.  I’ll write about the honeymoon – including tandem bike, later.

Wait. I’m married now?

My temporary job has been extended until the end of the year.  I don’t enjoy the job, but being employed is nice.  Work has kept me busy, too busy at times.  I feel like many other things are falling behind.

My doctor has not sent me to physical therapy for my leg/ankle/achilles.  I had my final appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, and he believes all is well.  It could take a year to feel normal again, but I have no more activity restrictions.

I still get swelling and soreness sometimes.  Walking causes more issues than riding the bike.  I still intend to start playing volleyball for the next session.  In the meantime, I need to stretch and work on strength.

I’ve gained weight.  I haven’t been weighing regularly, but I’m about 260lbs right now.  I still drink too much beer.  I’ve left the weight issue on the back burner for now.  I know I shouldn’t, but I feel like I have to finish the transition to married life and fixing financial issues.

Diane and I are trying to fix some financial issues.  We want to own a home someday.  Our spending on beer is down – most due to buying it from a store rather than a bar.

I’m on the bike pretty much every day now.  Diane and I ride the tandem several times a week.  We bike-pooled to work three days this week on the tandem – and plan to do so in the morning again.  We work within a few blocks of each other, so it works.

I seldom ride at a fast pace.  Serious distance would hurt.  This is killing has killed my fitness.

My depression issues have resurfaced again, but in a different way.  I’m able to monitor how I feel.  Maybe I’m just learning a new coping mechanism.  It still sucks, but it doesn’t paralyze me.  I can analyze it.  I can usually avoid hurting others.

I hope to not go another month without posting.  This blog was built on accountability on my weight control.  It’s been failing at that recently.

Tandem Toodling

I spent most of the weekend at home being lazy and reading books.  Diane had to work.

When she got home today, she wanted to go out.  We hopped on the tandem for a quick trip to Four Pegs.  We decided not to eat there, but go somewhere farther away.  The tandem has the new chain and cassette, so I figured we should really give it a work out.

We headed to Indiana.  We cranked over the bridge, but very shortly after that the chain wedged between the cassette and the spokes.  I got very greasy getting everything back together.  We continued the ride, but soft-pedaled it, as the chain would skip.  Apparently it has a bent link or two.

We eventually made it to New Albanian where we enjoyed BBQ pork sandwiches and delicious beer.

The drivetrain on the tandem was really complaining on the return trip.  I was worried that we’d break the chain.  I carry both 9 and 10-speed chain links, but the tandem is an 8-speed.  Again, we soft-pedaled our way along – and took the bike path through Clarksville.  It was dark by the time we made it to the riverfront.  We were well lit, but we took some time to enjoy the view.

Louisville skyline from Clarksville
Louisville skyline from Clarksville

We made it home with no further mechanical issues.  Now I need to get in the shower and scrub the grease off of my arm.

No Focus?

Reminders

I’m glad I have friends to remind me where I’ve been.  In April of 2010, Tim and I did a nice ride.  He grabbed a picture of me that I didn’t think much of at the time.  I was just over 200 lbs.  I was much fitter.

He posted that picture to me earlier this year on Google+.

The “good old days” should be coming back.

I need to get back to that instead of the 250+ I’m at now.  I don’t even know what I weight, as I haven’t been weighing myself.  That will require cutting *way* back on the beer.

Bikes

After a week of riding the recumbent to work, I realize that it hasn’t been my favorite bike for many years.  That’s unfortunate, as it’s a nice bike.  I won’t get ride of it, as I need a bike for the “bad neck days”.

The rSogn has been in pieces.  I finally got around to picking up some used 650b tires* from Tim for a fair price.  I’ll re-assemble the bike this week.  I won’t be commuting on it.

The Big Dummy is in great shape for commuting.  I’ll ride that tomorrow.

Diane and I have been riding the tandem quite a bit over the last three days.  I made the wrong choice in tires for this bike.  The 26×1.75 Paselas are nice tires, but with our combined excessive weight, glass works it’s way through the tire pretty frequently.  I fixed another flat yesterday.  I’ll keep using the tires, but when they’re worn, I’ll replace them with something tougher.  Also, the rear wheel has two broken spokes.  I had no idea until changing the tire.  The wheel still runs true – one of the benefits of a 40-spoke wheel.  I’ll be taking it in this week for repair.

I won’t be buying a new bike for a while – probably not this year.  Money is tight.  I need to fix some things on the bikes I have.  I need to make the single-speed ridable.

The Leg

I’m recovering well from my Achilles repair surgery.  I still have a bit of a limp.  I started riding the bike (against doctor’s orders) five weeks after surgery.  This quickly led to accelerated recovery.  I quit wearing the boot within days.  The borrowed wheelchair was returned.  The purchased crutches, walker, and knee-walker are in the basement.

On March 13th, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  He said although I’ve been aggressive with my recovery, that I’m unlikely to re-rupture unless I start running or jumping.  Easy – I won’t be doing any running or jumping.  He hasn’t ordered any physical therapy as it would only be for range of motion, which I have no issue with due to my “aggressive” recovery.  I still need strength training, but he wants to wait a bit longer for that.  My next appointment is April 24th.

Tomorrow will be ten weeks since my Achilles rupture.  Friday was nine weeks since the surgery.  I’m pleased with the progress.

Fun Riding

I really haven’t done much leisure riding.  It’s mostly been commuting and errands.  I’m pretty liberal on what errand really means though.  It includes riding the tandem with Diane to the bar, the store, her mother’s house, or whatever.

We hauled her dog (Baxter) in a backpack on the tandem last night for a trip to Apocalypse Brew Works.  They are a dog-friendly establishment, and have good beer.  We had drivers pointing, laughing, and taking pictures on the way.  Baxter is a cutie.

Today, we hooked the trailer to the tandem and rode to Diane’s mother’s house.  We hauled the borrowed wheelchair back to her house.  We then went to her oldest son’s first apartment and had dinner.

On the way home we stopped for beer.

The Wedding

It’s still on – just in case you were wondering.  🙂  It’s two weeks from today. I was asked if I had cold feet.  I said I’d wear warm socks.

There are a few small details to iron out, but most everything is ready.

Work

My job was a contract position that was supposed to end on 3/31.  That’s now been extended to 4/28.  That means I can’t tease Diane that she’s marrying an unemployed bum.  Oh well.

There is talk of another extension.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I do feel as if I’m wrapping things up and fulfilling my duties.  I will be ready to move on at the end of April.  I just hope I can find a job.

Weight, Beer, and the Elephant in the Room

I haven’t been weighing.  I know I’ve gained weight.  Diane has gained weight.  She had to have her wedding dress re-altered.  Yikes!  She’s not happy about that.  Our combined weight was apparently too much for the tandem’s rear wheel and two spokes have broken.

I gave up beer earlier this year for weight loss.  It didn’t last long.  I’m getting married on April 6th, and our reception is at a bar.  There will be beer.  My birthday is 4/26, and there will be beer.

I’ve made tentative plans to quit drinking on 5/1, but will I stick to it?  I honestly don’t know.  I know I need to.  I want to lose another 70 lbs.  I want to be able to crank out mildly-hilly 70-mile rides on the single speed.  I’ve done it before.  I want to be able to do it again.

Diane and I talk about losing weight.  We just don’t do anything about it.  I’m sure that will be a recurring theme here for a while.  This website is fatguy.org after all.  Maybe I’ll find focus someday.  Maybe I can reach my goal weight of 175.  Then fatguy.org will redirect to usedtobea.fatguy.org, or something.  🙂

*Tyres for Mark because he’s from the UK, and for Timothy, just because he’s weird.

When Will I Notice Progress?

This is frustrating.  I have good days and bad days.  Today is firmly a bad day.  I haven’t left the house and have no plans to until tomorrow.

After my post-surgery follow-up doctor visit, I was given a boot to wear.  They removed the sutures and sent me on my way.  I’m still not weight-bearing, so I’ve been enjoying the new Knee Rover.

Knee Rover at the office

The knee rover does well for most things, but is actually a bit awkward in tight spots – like at home.  I managed to fall while trying to negotiate the kitchen.  I hadn’t put my boot on yet, and I put my foot down to attempt to stop the fall.  It was excruciating pain.  It felt like I re-ruptured the tendon.

I went back to the surgeon, where he tells me that I probably didn’t rupture it again, but even if I did, there isn’t anything else to do until I heal more.

Since then, I’ve been more careful (and leave the boot on more).  I’m paranoid as hell that the two ends of the tendon aren’t going to heal, and that I’ll be gimpy from now on.

I know I have weeks left to heal before I can even think about physical therapy or weight-bearing.  The wait is killing me.  I want to ride a bike again.  I want to walk normally.  Instead I can simply scoot around.

Diane takes me to work when she can.  When she can’t, I take the bus.  The recent weather has made that challenging at times.

The Knee Rover is not great in the snow

I work on the second floor of a building without an elevator.  Luckily, there’s a chair lift, so I take that up to my office – with my “scooter” in my lap.

I know I’m being pretty negative.  On the positive side, the Knee Rover works well for me.  I can walk (scoot) around outdoors without worrying too much about cracks in the pavement.  I can do the occasional step (although more than two in a row is a challenge).

The Knee Rover was poorly assembled when it arrived.  I’m glad I checked it over.  After a few minutes  with a wrench, it wasn’t ready to spontaneously disassemble anymore.  Other than that, it’s a neat product.  I like the basket – it’s hard to carry things otherwise.  I put bicycle lights on it – for those night trips to the bar.

The Unveiling?

As I mentioned in a comment, I removed the splint early Tuesday morning.  It was causing great discomfort.  I went to work yesterday, worked a full eight hours, then even spent a couple of hours at Car-Free Happy Hour, but I rode there in a car.  🙁

11 days after surgery

When I got home in the evening yesterday, my Knee Rover had arrived.  I put it together and got it adjusted.  So far, it’s only been around the house.  I haven’t taken an pictures yet, but it comes with a front basket.  I added headlight and taillight.  I’ll be taking it with me to work today.  I’ll write more about it once I have a little more experience with it.

Hospital Stay

This hospital stay is much different than the last one.  This one was planned.  The last one began with a trip to the E.R.  This one I went in feeling decent.  The last one I went in with excruciating pain.

I arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for the 7:30am surgery.  They had me undress, prepped me, and shaved my right leg.  They asked the same questions several times – in several different ways.  They stuck an I.V. in my right arm.

They took me back to do a nerve block.  This involved sticking a needle, guided my ultrasound, into the back of my right knee.  I did not like this idea one bit as I would be awake for this part.  It would ease pain post-op though.

They gave me some drugs to relax me.  I spoke to my doctor who said we’d talk more in the O.R. before starting surgery.  That never happened.  I fell asleep before the nerve block.  I woke up after surgery in the recovery room.

During the time I was out they did the nerve block, flipped me over, put me to sleep even better, intubated me, flipped me over again, fixed my achilles tendon, and put a splint on my lower leg and ankle.

I woke up in the recovery room.  It was a peaceful waking.  My thoughts weren’t clear.  My memory was foggy.  I had trouble staying awake for more than two minutes.  No matter, I was whisked to my room, where Diane was waiting.

There’s a dry-erase board in my room with Plan of Care

  • Pain Control
  • Fluids
  • Mobility

I wasn’t in severe pain when I woke up.  I was uncomfortable, but the nerve block was doing it’s job.  They gave me an anti-nausea medication and something for pain.  I had trouble staying awake.  Water and light food was pushed at me.  I had trouble keeping it down, but did manage.

Just a few hours after surgery the PT girls* showed up.  It was mostly to figure out how I can walk while I heal.  I now have a walker.  It’s easier to use than crutches, but it’s slightly embarrassing.

The PT girls will be back today to teach me to navigate stairs.

After my rather short PT session I was quite awake.  My appetite was back.  I started drinking copious amounts of water.  I was feeling better.

A couple of hours after that the nerve block began to wear off.  Ouch.  Surgery is painful.  I’ve been alternating between Percocet and morphine.  The Percocet takes the edge off the pain.  I’ve found the morphine to just make me feel weird and somewhat sleepy.

Ugh

I had a lousy night’s sleep mostly due to the pain.  Diane insisted on staying with me the whole time.  She fell asleep early on the small couch in the room.  She did crawl into the tiny hospital bed with me briefly.  It’s just too small.

I’m supposed to be discharged today.  I’m still waiting to see my doctor.  I don’t know how things will play out.

I am to put NO weight on my bad leg for a while.  This is going to be difficult.  Even once I get home, I’ll spend a lot of time in bed.  My Kindle should keep me from being too bored.

Therapy has not yet begun.  I have no idea before I can walk without a walker, ride a bike, or climb stairs.  This sucks, but I’m going to follow doctor’s orders.  I want this to heal properly so I don’t have to worry about it again.

*PT girls are the Physical Therapists.  No, they don’t work at PT’s, which is just a few blocks from here.

Weekend Riding

I did get two enjoyable rides in over the weekend before my injury on Monday.  Tim planned both of them.

Saturday

The first was a road ride on Saturday.  This ride was just Tim and I.  He was trying out some new handlebars on his Rawland Sogn.  I was riding my Rawland rSogn.  We took a mildly hilly route through part of Jefferson Forest.  It was a good day on the bike.  We didn’t push the tempo too hard.

Rain is moving off

The morning started with some light rain, but it moved out, leading to a beautiful day.

Two Rawlands

I was nearly at the end of the ride when my rear tire flatted.  Rather than fix it on the side of the road, Tim walked with me back to the coffee shop, and gave me a ride home.  The bike is still sitting in my office with a flat.  I should fix that soon.

I got 36 miles in on Saturday.

Sunday

Sunday brought a ride with some off-road stretches.  Patrick joined Tim and I for a “camp coffee” ride.  No camping was involved, but we brought coffee-making supplies and stoves along for the fun.

I rode my Fargo.  Patrick rode his Fargo.  Tim rode his Mukluk.  This meant all three of us were riding Salsa bikes.  That’s unusual.

We rode city streets to Indiana.  Once there we rode a few paths before diving into diversions near the river.  These weren’t paths, but muddy tracks that usually dead-ended near the river.  Tim’s 4″ wide tires meant he did well here.

Flotsam and jetsam

After enough dead-ends, we back on roads for a bit to get to an old railroad grade that I’ve ridden before.

Tim turned-off downhill to check out a spot for coffee.  Patrick and I continued on to check out a railroad bridge.  We turned back to join Tim.  We found the wrong “path” to get down to him.  It would still get there, but it was much steeper and muddier.  I didn’t realize that and went down first.

Riding down the steep section was thrilling, but relatively safe, and it was straight.  Then there was a steep uphill to slow me down, which it did.  What I didn’t count on was the uphill being so muddy and slick that I couldn’t even walk up the last few feet.  I had to cut through the brush – after falling and getting muddy.  Patrick walked and avoided the mud.

We rejoined Tim and started our stoves.  Three cups of coffee were made and consumed in the woods.  It was pleasant.

We continued on across two defunct railroad bridges.  I’ve been across them before – once on the rSogn even.  Tim and Patrick elected to walk while I rode down the middle.  Tim wrote lies about the event on his blog, but that’s okay, he made a more interesting story than I did.

We headed back to town.  Tim and I rode with Patrick toward his house (he lived the farthest), but I turned back after a bit – as I had a busy day planned with Diane.

I arrived home with a terribly muddy bike that I had to hose down in the back yard.

I rode almost 28 miles for this ride – much of it difficult off-road.

Spreading the Love

Diane’s sister’s birthday was over the weekend.  Diane and I went out for a drink on Saturday with her and her fiancée.  We were a bit silly, but I was designated driver, and kept us safe.

They came over again on Sunday to pick up her (their?) birthday gift – an old yellow Sears-branded tandem bicycle.  It’s a cruiser style bike – single speed with coaster brake.  I bought it from Asher and Denis, since they now have a better tandem.

I fixed it up a bit.  It needed grips, tubes, and rim strips.  I cleaned and lubed it.  I added a bell – because I like bells.  The four of us rode the two tandems down to Four Pegs for a beer.

I wish I had taken pictures of the tandem, but I failed to do so.

Monday

Yeah.  Monday.  Work went by quick.  I rode the Big Dummy to and from work.  It really wasn’t a bad day.  We went to volleyball – then my Achilles tore.  Oh well.  Game over.

In any case, last weekend was a great weekend.  Maybe that’s why I’m still in a decent mood, even with the torn tendon thing going on.

New Year’s Day Ride

Four years ago, Tim and I went on a New Year’s Day ride.  That day it was bitter cold and our ride was rural southern Indiana.

We did another New Year’s Day ride today, but it was urban.  He rode his Mukluk, and I rode the Big Dummy.  It was quite the odd couple of bikes.

Mukluk and Dummy

The weather today was pleasant.  Temperatures were in the low-to-mid thirties.  I did underdress a bit, and would get cold if we stopped long.

We wandered around town, on and off road.  Tim did some bird-watching.  We came across a group of runners.  We ran into some cyclocross racers that he knows training some young racers (10 to 16 years old or so).

We meandered along the river.  We never went fast.  Not with him on a fatbike.

Louisville skyline

We had two coffee stops.  I had a coffee and snack at each.

Tim’s write up is here.  He takes better pictures.

More Winter Bike Camping

Tim planned another S24O for last Friday.  Timothy, Patrick, and I joined him in the madness.

Friday brought some nice temperatures – into the 40s.  It was a tad windy and overnight temperatures were about 30.

Tim and Timothy both used bivy sacks instead of tents.  No, thank you, I’ll stick with my tent.

We each heated our food over the fire, or various stoves – fueled by alcohol or Esbit tablets.  Timothy made an awesome chili.  I had a can of soup.  There was also bread and sausage.  We had some adult beverages.  I drank more than the others, but stayed up later.

Another stupid fire picture

I expected to be cold and have a lousy night of sleep.  In reality, I had a great night of sleep.  I was warm, slept for nine hours, and only got up once for nature’s call.

The morning was cold.  Packing up was brutal.  The camp coffee was less than good.  We rolled out and had a nice warm breakfast at Twig and Leaf.

It was a great way to get away from holiday madness and spend time with friends.  I hadn’t seen Patrick in months.

Tim wrote more here.