Three Years Down…

Time for a short post today since it’s already late here in the east coast. I stayed off the Internet all day so I didn’t see who won Paris-Roubaix so am just now writing this. Three years ago today I launched Biking To Live and it’s been an interesting ride. Since I started this blog back in 2008 a lot of things have happened – I’ve ridden lots of miles, trained for a century (but didn’t get to ride it), got laid off and moved to Dallas, worked in Dallas for 18 months, moved back to Florida, my dad passed away, my trusty Cannondale of 15 years finally gave up the ghost, I bought a new (used) bike, I signed up for a charity ride, and started doing some group rides. Some great stuff but some unfortunate stuff too. One thing that’s not on that list is a consistent loss of weight. The last year of Biking To Live has been hard. I went through periods of not riding and found it hard to continue writing posts. There were times I went weeks without posting. I’m still not past that as other demands are taking lots of my time including family and work. I plan to continue writing about my exploits on the bike in hopes that it will continue to motivate others who are trying to do what I’m doing – lose weight with cycling. To those of you who come here and support me in my efforts I thank you. My readers are the most important thing about Biking To Live. Without you I would have probably...

Don’t Take Away My Bike

This past weekend I had some serious cycling plans. I was going to ride in another 50 mile group training ride on Saturday and watch the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. How could it not get any better? It couldn’t. It could only get worse. Many of you know that I’ve experienced ongoing issues with my crankset and I honestly thought they were fixed. Over the last three weeks I’ve had the bottom bracket replaced, the chain replaced, and the drivetrain cleaned and tuned up. The cleaning and tuneup were performed last Thursday and my bike rode like a dream on Friday morning. I was really looking forward to the big group ride on Saturday morning and seeing if I could replicate the numbers from the 52 mile ride the week before. I arrived at the host LBS at 7 AM, got signed in, and ready to ride. I even turned a couple of laps around the parking lot just to make sure everthing was OK and it was. A few minutes later we all gathered for the pre-ride instructions and then we were ready to roll. Not a half-mile into the ride I start experiencing a significant creaking sound coming from the bottom bracket/crank area. At first I couldn’t believe it and thought it might be someone elses bike. It can’t be mine because I had just had all that work done on it. Oh how I was wrong. I pulled over onto a side street to give it a look. A fellow rider was kind enough to stop and lend a hand. We both looked at it...

Tour de Cure Group Training Ride #2

This past Saturday saw another local bike shop sponsoring a group training ride for those riding the Jacksonville, FL Tour de Cure this year. They offered routes of 25 and 52 miles along with burgers and hotdogs after the ride. Little did I know that I would produce one of the best rides of my life on Saturday. Earlier in the week I had decided to try the 52 mile route. The training plan called for a 35 mile ride and the 25 mile route option was just too short (and not fast enough). After discussing it with Darryl we agreed that attempting the longer route would be good so that’s what I committed to. The only thing I didn’t know was what pace it would be ridden at. In discussing my fueling plan with Kelli I calculated my time on the bike based on a 16 mph pace. Boy would I be in for a surprise. I arrived at the bike shop at around 7 AM along with about 70 other riders. I did see two people from the shop ride the previous Saturday so it was nice to be able to talk to them. Eventually the announcements started and they identified the ride leaders depending on the route you would be riding. They also included the expected pace. The 52 mile route was to be ridden at a 19-20 mph pace. I was now officially worried. My best pace so far as 16.7 mph over 24 miles in the last TdC group training ride a few weeks earlier. Oh boy. We started the ride at about 7:30...

Pre-Ride and On the Bike Fuel

On Monday I mentioned that I had a great group ride last weekend that, I believe, was sparked by a change in my pre-ride meal. The change came about because I was ignorant on a couple of things and Kelli at Apex Nutriton straightened me out. If you’ve been cycling for any length of time you know that your body needs to be properly fueled before you start riding and, if the rides is long, continued to be fueled it while riding. I knew this but my knowledge of fueling was very limited so I needed help. When I signed up for the Cycling for Optimal Weight plan with Darryl and Kelli I started getting an education and help. One of the first things Kelli did was help me establish a pre-ride fueling plan. Short One Hour Rides My weekday rides are, generally, about an hour in length. I ride anywhere from 10-15 miles depending on what the training plan calls for that day. The pace can range anywhere from 14.5 to 16.5 mph solo (so no drafting off a buddy). For these shorter weekday rides Kelli had me eat the following before riding: 4 oz of water mixed with 4 oz of juice. (I use a measuring cup to get it pretty exact) 1/2 of a banana. Ideally I would eat this about 30 minutes before riding but it was usually anywhere from 15-20 minutes before I rolled out of the garage. Prior to getting help from Kelli I would almost never eat or drink anything before riding in the morning. I immediately started to notice an effect...

$75 Classic Cycling Gift Certificate Winner

The Tour de Cure fundraising contest has come and gone and a winner has been selected. After running for a week, the contest to help me raise money for the American Diabetes Association was completed last Friday. I put on my ninja costume and performed some freaky spreadsheet moves to help me select a winner using Random.org. Actually, choosing a winner wasn’t that hard since only two of my readers entered. That made the odds of winning pretty good. The winner was Bob Simonette. In addition to the $75 gift certificate to ClassicCycling.com, Bob also got a 10% coupon code for donating at least $10 on my Tour de Cure fundraising page. Congrats Bob! I emailed Bob to let him know he won and this was the response I got back: Woot! Very cool, looking forward to doing some shopping. Thanks and best of luck with your training. I did my first century ride in January to celebrate my 62nd birthday. It was cold and rainy but I made it along with two other riders, one of whom was doing his first, the other was doing his 3rd of the year towards his goal of 36. I thought it was totally awesome that Bob completed his first century this year at the age of 62. It kinda of puts my training efforts into perspective. Did you catch that part about the other guy doing his 3rd century of the year already towards a goal of 36? That’s a century every week and a half. Crazy! A big thanks to the two guys that entered, those of you who promoted...

Four Tips to Overcoming Group Ride Fears

Saturday morning was kind of a big milestone for me in that I made myself go ride what I consider my first local bike shop group ride. I know that may sound crazy to some of you but I’ve been putting this off for a while and I’m not sure why. Actually, I do know and I’ll explain. First, let me explain why I consider this my first local bike shop group ride. I did a group ride last year with one of the local bicycle clubs and we started from a restaurant vice at a local bike shop. About three weeks ago I did a group ride that started from a local bike shop but was actually a group training ride for the Tour de Cure. There was a big turnout for that ride so I don’t consider that a good example of a typical Saturday morning shop ride. Two days ago I got up the courage and showed up at one of the local stores to do the normal Saturday morning group ride. I’m glad I did. The Fear of the Group Ride I think showing up and riding with a group can be a big hurdle for newer cyclists to get over. Why? Because of the unknowns. Will you be welcomed? Will you get dropped by mile five? Can you handle riding in close proximity with others? Is it OK to not have carbon wheels or a full team kit? And so on. Not knowing stuff like that can be a big deterrent in not showing up. There’s the social aspect too. Let’s face it, cyclists...

Four Tips to Help Balance Family Time and Cycling Time

A reader left a comment on my last blog post that I thought was a good topic to write about so here it is. The topic is balancing your cycling with the need to also devote time to your family. It’s a delicate balance that can be easily upset if you’re not careful. Here’s my perspective on it. Those of us that are married, have kids, or are at least involved with another person romantically, know that meeting their demands and needs can put a damper on our cycling time. Conversely, devoting too much time to cycling leads to them feeling neglected. If you’re like me, and have specific cycling goals, you may find yourself stressed trying to meet the demands of both. Cultivating our relationship, whether it’s with the family or the bike, takes time. Time spent with the family and time spent in the saddle putting in the miles. Four Tips to Balance Is there an easy way to solve this puzzle? I don’t know about easy but there are several different things you can do to ensure you don’t upset the balance (or anger the significant other). I’m by no means a relationship expert but I think I’ve got a good routine worked out that not only gets me riding time that I desperately need but also lets me spend time with the wife and girls. Here’s some tips: Ride when they sleep. Many of you know that I ride early, before anyone else is up. In fact, I wrote an entire post on why I think the morning is the best time for cycling. During...

500 Miles Down

Today marked the first day of riding with the new wheels and chain so I was eager to get out and ride today. The temp was right at 50F when I left the house at 5:15 AM but, thankfully, there was no wind. It’s the small victories. If you missed it, I had a new wheelset and chain put on yesterday. The chain was due to normal wear and tear but the wheelset was due to me just being too heavy for my old set. My weight mixed with a low spoke count and straight pull spokes just wasn’t working well. I had broken three spokes over the last couple of months and was routinely experiencing high noise from my rear wheel. Happy with the Wheels and Chain Anyway, I headed out this morning eager to see how the new wheels performed. They’re great so far. They are heavier than my old set which makes for a little higher rolling weight but they didn’t seem to affect my performance as I was still able to turn out a 15 mph avg pace ride over 11 miles with no issues. I would expect every wheelset to work OK for me on the first ride so we’ll see how they hold up as my training for the Tour de Cure starts to ramp up. The new chain was great too and really smoothed out the shifting. I can’t describe to you how nice it was to ride in relative quiet this morning with no noise from the rear wheel. Just awesome. 500 Miles Down Today also marked a milestone in my...

New Wheels and Chain

Last week was another good week of riding with a great ride on Saturday of 26 miles. Saturday wasn’t without issues though and it came from a source I’ve had problems with in the past. My wheelset. If you’re a heavier rider and having wheel problems you may want to check this out. My try at completing my first century back in 2009 was wrecked by issues with my wheelset. I was just too heavy for them and they finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks before the century. Buying a new wheeset for that old bike just wasn’t practical so I didn’t get to ride the century. Fastforward to now and I’m experiencing a similar problem. I’ve broken three spokes over the last couple of months with the last one being two weekends ago during the Tour de Cure training ride I did. I had the wheel fixed that day but over the course of last weeks riding I began to experience a lot of noise from the rear wheel and when I stopped to check it on Saturday’s ride I found several loose spokes. I finished the ride but knew that I had to do something. Over the weekend I visited two different shops to get opinions. Both recommended a different wheelset due to my weight (275) which didn’t surprise me. I did get a good lesson on different wheel types and what makes one stronger than another. The biggest incompatibility problem with me and my current wheelset is that it uses straight pull spokes. Straight pull spokes are used on a lot of different...

Biking to Live and ClassicCycling.com Tour de Cure Contest

Ok folks, I’ve been working on this one for a while and am now ready to launch the first contest here on Biking to Live. Not only can you win something cool but you can help me by supporting the Tour de Cure and their fund-raising efforts for the American Diabetes Association. I’m sure most of you know that I’m riding the 100 mile challenge at the Tour de Cure here in Jacksonville, Fl on May 21, 2011. In an effort to raise as much money as possible, I’ve put some time into trying to setup a contest. This contest is the first of a couple I have lined up and I hope to have more before it’s over. Without further ado, let me get into the particulars. Welcome ClassicCycling.com ClassicCycling.com is an online store based in Harrisburg, NC that features a great selection of cycling products from brands like Hincapie, Giordana, Capo, and Castelli. They’ve got great customer service that I can vouch for personally. A few months ago I was in the hunt for a new pair of bibs and was having a hard time finding something that would fit. Shane at Classic Cycling contacted me via Twitter and helped me find a great pair of Giordana bibs that I love. Shane and ClassicCycling.com are helping me out again by offering a $75 gift certificate to the winner of this inaugural Tour de Cure contest. They’re also giving out some coupon codes to those of you who want to increase your chances of winning the gift certificate. Intrigued? Cool. The Rules To enter the contest all you...
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