10 Miles With Venus and Saturn

This morning I was able to climb back onto the bike after a lay off of about three weeks or so. Why the lay off? Several reasons actually. First, I’ve been sick on and off again. I got really sick about three weeks ago but a couple of times since then I’ve had some relapses where I’ve experienced significant sinus issues, migraine headaches, and generally feeling like dog poop. Yes, dog poop. It wasn’t until about five days or so ago that I’ve actually started to feel good. Second, my morning routine of riding was thrown into a death spiral when my wife was asked to take a long-term substitute teaching job at one of the local high schools. Her being asked to do that was an answer to prayer but it meant I had to take one of our daughters to school three days a week. I could have still ridden but it would have meant getting up at 5 AM to do so. There’s a couple of other reasons but I’m not going to bother you with them. The kids were out of school today due to Thanksgiving so I decided I would ride this morning. I’m glad I did. The weather was superb and there wasn’t much traffic due to the impending holiday. The low last night was only 55 F with it climbing to 80 F today. Florida in the winter is so awesome. I was worried that I might face some issues after being off the bike but I didn’t have any. I immediately settled into a good pace and rode to/from the University...

Your Co-Workers Will Try To Sabotage Your Weight Loss Plans Today

Yesterday was Halloween. It’s that holiday we loved as a kid but have come to dread as an adult. As kids we loved to get dressed up as our favorite super hero, ghost or monster, and run around the neighborhood from door-to-door collecting candy. Lots of candy. What kid wouldn’t love that? As parents we’re tasked with finding the perfect costume while deftly blocking other parents with our shopping cart and hearding the kids around the neighborhood. We get sore from walking, our patience is tested by all the imps running around, and all we want to do is go home and go to bed. Ah….the joys of making our kids happy. And then we wake up the next day. The day after Halloween. The day our co-workers will try to sabotage our weight loss plans. The Day after Halloween; The Real Nightmare We wake up today feeling proud of ourselves. We made it through two hours of door-to-door horror the previous night and didn’t steal any of our kids candy. If we did (I didn’t), it was easily rationalized because we had walked 10 miles. And at least part of that was uphill. We needed that chocolate for an energy boost right? We’re good to go and head into work. Unknown to us, a deadly trap is laying in wait. It seems like a normal Monday morning at work. We’re tired from the weekends activities, we’ve already got work to do, and we need coffee. Lots of coffee. So off to the break room we go. And there it is. The trap our co-workers have laid. We can’t...

Broken Spokes, Not Broken Spirits

My riding has been a little sporadic lately. I’ve gotten two or three early morning rides during the week but nothing consistent. I could make the typical excuses – I’m tired, sick, need the rest, blah, blah, blah. I’ll save my breath and your time. Great Day For A Ride I hit the road on Saturday for a planned 20 mile ride but only ended up getting about 12 in. It was a beautiful morning for a ride with the skies partly cloudy and the temps in the mid 60s. Just an awesome morning to be out for a ride. And I felt pretty good too. A perfect recipe for problems. Until The ‘Twang’ At about the six mile point I’m riding along and I hear a ‘Twang’ followed by the sound of a metallic object bouncing on the road. I immediately pull over and start walking back to where the sound occurred to see if I could see what the object was. I see it and immediately recognize it as a spoke. I look at my rear wheel and found where it came from. Now I could either call the SAG WagonSAG wagon: Support motor vehicle following long races or recreational rides to pick up riders unable to complete the event. In other words, I'd have to call my wife. or try and make it home. I decided to ride a little bit and see how it went. I didn’t ride hard the last six miles home and the wheel held up just fine. Cycling Tip: If your broken spoke is still attached to the rim, just bend...

Lessons We Can Learn From The Rescue Of The Chilean Miners

The last couple of days I’ve been watching the dramatic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. I’ve kept in touch with the story off-and-on since they became trapped but with their rescue over the last two days I’ve kept close tabs as they were pulled to the surface. It’s a great ending to what could have become a tragic story. It required a herculean effort by hundreds of people to pull those miners to safety. I couldn’t help but notice how the entire ordeal seemed to pull the country of Chile together and captivate the world. As I watched the first miner, Florencio Avalos, being pulled to the surface late Tuesday night and the last rescuer, Manuel Gonzalez, stepping into the Phoenix Capsule to make the journey up last night, I couldn’t help but think about what it took for those 33 men, the rescuers, and the country of Chile to make it through the entire ordeal. Here’s what I think it required: Teamwork. There were two distinct teams in the rescue – the trapped miners and the rescuers on the surface. In the mine the 33 miners relied on each other in order to survive. They had to work together in order to live in inhospitable conditions while at the same time keeping their sanity. The rescuers had to work as a team in order to pull off one of the most, if not the most, difficult rescue ever attempted. They brought in expert American drillers, consulted with NASA, developed a plan, and executed it flawlessly. Neither of those groups could have accomplished what they did without teamwork....

Pistolero Isn’t Shooting Blanks After All

By now you’ve probably heard that Alberto Contador (a.k.a. Pistolero) has apparently tested positive for both Clenbuterol and Plasticizers. Did he? Who knows. As is usual with the UCI and WADA, the handling of Contador’s positive test results has been sketchy at best. He produces a sample for the Golden Flow test on the second rest day of the tour. He’s notified a month later (i.e. he’s already drank the champagne) that he tested positive. Then it’s not made public for another month after that. That’s all followed by stories of Pistolero’s beef getting tainted (where’s he been putting his beef?), conspiracy theories, you name it. In other words, another cycling and drugs soap opera. Not good for the sport. Because of lots of testing protocols and legal mumbo-jumbo the whole situation is a mess and we’ll probably never know the truth of it. Pistolero testing positive does bring back memories of the analysis done on his 2009 climb of Verbier and speculation that he may have been doping then. What will happen? My prediction is that Contador loses the 2010 Tour title and gets a two year ban. Regardless of what happens, I wanted to point out that Pistolero’s beef is tainted and he’s not shooting blanks. Maybe he should have listened to the bovine during those Chic-Fil-A commercials. What do you think? Does he get the Ban Hammer or do you buy the tainted beef...

That Blueberry Muffin Isn’t Helping You Lose Weight

I haven’t ridden in a week now due to a couple of things. First, I was out of town last weekend with the family. Second, my wife has been out of town all this week and I’ve had to play Mr. Mom. That left me with no real opportunity to ride and still feel comfortable that the kids were getting off to school OK and all that stuff. Plus I’ve been riding pretty solid for two months now and thought some time off the bike wouldn’t be too bad. Taking the time off has forced me to do some thinking about losing weight, getting fit, and lifestyle in general. Back in August I wrote an article titled Do You Have A Training Mindset? In it I talked about the word ‘training’ and how it can not only apply to elite athletes training for sporting events but also to those of us trying to lose weight and get in better shape. To summarize, I said it takes a 24/7 commitment and training mindset in order to achieve the weight loss and fitness goals we’re after. This week I had some time to think back to that article and see how well I’ve done in making a 24/7 commitment to training. I won’t say that I’ve failed but I can certainly improve. I would imagine that most of us have room for improvement. Identifying Areas of Improvement My areas of improvement need to be in diet (which I’ve make good improvement in already), more exercise, and sleep. I consciously know I need to continue improving in those three areas but I...

A Rant On The Local Bike Shop

I like the idea of being able to get what I need at the Local Bike Shop (LBS). I know I can get better prices online but it’s nice to be able to walk into a LBS, get what I need, and use it the same or next day if I want to. Plus it supports the little guy and the local economy. Since I’ve moved back to Florida, though, I’ve gotten more and more upset with the LBS’ here. Here’s why. [Rant] A couple of months ago I was in need of an external crank arm fixing bolt. I went to the only LBS in town that sold Specialized bikes and they sold me the wrong kind. I went to another shop looking for a new headlight around the same time. They had just one in stock that would fit my bars. I only bought it because he offered me a 20% discount. Not long ago I was looking for a cycling cap to wear under my helmet. I visited no less than four LBS’ (and one out of town) and not one had a cycling cap in stock. How can a cycling store not stock a cycling cap? I had similar problems when I was looking for a new seat post not long ago. This past week I was in the hunt for a new saddle. Before I dropped $100-$150 on a saddle (that may not even work because saddles are so personal) I thought I would try a WTB Speed V Comp because they got good reviews and because Bike Noob put in a good word...

Original Road ID Sport Review

Let me start out this review with a story I told my newsletter subscribers earlier in the week: When I first started riding I gradually built up my mileage but was rarely gone from home more than an 1 to 1.5 hours. One Saturday morning I decided to do a long ride and was gone for over 2 hours. When I returned home I was greeted by a frantic wife who had been worried because I hadn’t returned home after my normal riding time. She was scared that I had been in an accident and was lying hurt somewhere on the side of the road. She had even been out driving around looking for me! I felt so bad that I had put her through that. After that incident I kept her informed of my expected route and time but also started carrying an ID (driver’s license) and emergency contact information (written on a piece of paper) with me. I kept these two items in a plastic bag in my jersey pocket. Last week, after some prodding from my wife, I finally broke down and bought a Road ID. Honestly, I don’t know why I waited so long to get one. I think I was just lazy. Regardless, I ordered one last week, have worn it a few times, and this is my review. What Road ID Has To Say From the Road ID website: “If you are a runner, cyclist, triathlete or just a person who doesn’t sit on the couch all day, Road ID is for you. This awesome piece of gear not only looks good but...

Mother Nature Is My Gym

Today, while reading a post over at 265andFalling about how he joined a gym, I made the following comment: Mother nature is my gym because that’s where I do my cycling. The ‘Mother Nature Is My Gym’ part really stood out so I sent that out via Twitter. It was nice to see several re-tweets of it and how a few folks liked it. After seeing that, and thinking about it some more, I liked it even more. Why Mother Nature is My Gym The fact that I don’t like being trapped inside a gym is what drove me to say that. I’m not self-conscious about working out in front of people (although I may be self-conscious about riding with them) but working out in a place with four walls, a roof, nasty bathrooms, a lingering stench, preening weight lifting behemoths, and scantily clad chicks isn’t my thing. Alright, scantily clad chicks would be OK. So, why is mother nature my gym? I like the smell of fresh air. I like the crispness of a cool morning. I like to hear the birds singing. I like to see the city come to life as I ride. I like to listen to my tires as they roll over the asphalt. I like to feel the sun on my body. I like to see things in their natural state. I like seeing animals as I ride. I like to see new things. I like to look at beautifully manicured lawns. I like cycling with the moon and stars overhead. I like the surprises a ride in mother nature can give. Mother...

How Far Will You Drive To Ride?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a group ride report that I did on Labor day. I wouldn’t have normally been able to participate in that ride due to work but with the holiday I took the opportunity to do it. What was really awesome was that the start point was only about 1.5 miles from my house so I could ride to/from the group ride. @331miles mentioned that it was great that I could “ride to the ride.” I agree but finding rides that are close enough to ride our bike to isn’t easy and I began to think about why people drive to their rides and wondered just how far people would drive to ride. Driving to ride our bike kinda seems backwards but I know lots of people do it for a number of reasons. They do it to participate in fund raising events, races, and even local group rides. Or maybe they drive to ride a particularly nice stretch of road or to get some training time in the mountains. Regardless of the reason, lots of folks drive to ride. Even if you want to participate in local group rides, chances are you probably won’t be able to ride your bike to the start/finish unless you’re lucky. When I was in Dallas I belonged to a group that really took the cake when it came to driving to the ride. They would setup Saturday rides that would routinely require a 50-75 mile drive (one-way) to the start/finish point. I liked the group, and the people in it, but I think that’s just crazy and...
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