Monday, May 28, 2012

Hup, Two, Three, ... Crash!

After Saturday's ride, where I was both wildly over- and under- pedaling at times, I considered how I ride the exercise the bike versus how I ride out in the Big Blue Room.  I realized how much I used the exercise bike's cadence display feedback to help control my exertion.  

Unfortunately, my new Sigma BC 1009 STS wireless bike computer doesn't have that ... but the installation guide teased me that the next higher model, the wireless BC 1609 STS Cadence, does.   So yesterday had another trip up the street to Bothell Ski & Bike, where I asked about a trade up.   They couldn't do that per se (I was missing the packaging), but they gave me a very reasonable deal on the BC 1609.

Newly equipped, we rode out for local errands today.  Between the cadence metric and the one additional day's experience, I was far smoother, and enjoyed it more as well.  

Even a minor crash at the end didn't ruin my mood.   I lost my momentum on the last rise before the house (as Katherine describes it, a very "short but nasty hill"), and my wobbling recovery was interrupted by a looming curb.  Too much was happening, and I tipped over.  I at least used my limited aikido head knowledge, and I let my fall morph into a sideways roll rather than being stupid and trying to straight arm the sidewalk on the far side of the aforementioned curb.   The result was only minor damage: I noticed my shoulder for a few minutes, the handlebar needed to be twisted straight, and Katherine pointed out that I had a classic road rash on the outside of my leg.   

(I did straight arm a sidewalk once, on ice around New Years 1984.  I remember it well, not to mention the resulting dislocated left elbow that would ache off and on for the next fifteen years.   I'll risk the unpracticed amateur roll, thank you.)

I'm not ready to match the summer of 1985, when at ~ 150 pounds I rode over 1300 miles, but small progress is being made.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Once Around the Block

After verifying the bicycle can roll with its new toys, it sat for a over week while I returned to the stationary bike, played around with the gym at work, and also watched Seattle weather be cool, cloudy and generally less than ideal for riding.    The progress did continue on the exercise bike, and I nudged it up another level.

I almost rode outside yesterday evening, but I delayed a bit and when I realized a storm was about to pas through, I punted.

I didn't punt today, or fallback to the exercise bike.

I recruited Katherine, and returned to the scene of my previous retail crimes.  She got riding shoes, and I got  a new trunk (i.e. bag for my rear rack).   Then we pedaled down the Burke-Gilman Trail few blocks, doubled back, picked up the mail and headed home.    Total ride, ~ 5+ miles.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.  Suffice to say, I didn't exploit the tools at my disposal to maximize efficiency.   And since there remains alot of me to haul around, I need to be efficient.

I need to learn to transfer the power and cadence balance I've acquired on the exercise bike to the road, using my gears better to keep an even a pace.

Practice, practice, practice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Skirmish in the Diet War

The good news is that I have lost 5% of my body weight.   But the battle continues.

Of course on the day I have already spurged on a breakfast omelet & bacon, and this afternoon I will have hot chocolate with an old high school classmate, the lunch menu includes:
Beef, Onion, Garlic, Bacon, Parley, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Parmesan, Corn Flake, Egg, Ketchup, Worcestershire, Cayenne, Paprika, Molasses, Brown Sugar, EVO and S&P
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Potato, Kale, Garlic, Butter, Lemon and S&P
Yes, the menu includes other (healthier) choices, but I love both meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  

(Did I mention meals are free at work?)

Ceiling Cat is saying "Drew, you have done well.  See how you handle the next level!'   But, but ... I didn't want to turn up the diet knob from easy to medium yet.   Ah, well, it really does average out, and my overall progress is good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lights, Action, . . .

Our local bike shop is making a small mint off me, and I haven't even gone for real ride yet.

The kick-off to the latest expenditures was when I got my bike back from its tune up and realized the bike computer (speedometer for us old school types) wasn't registering any speed.   This actually predated the tune-up, so it wasn't their fault, but I mentally kicked myself for not having them replace it.

Driving home Monday, I stopped in at the shop to ask when they would not be busy as to expedite my install.  I ended up looking at bike computers, and, knowing how tired my light was, lights.   It turns out they don't carry FireSwords, but for a package the size of a fat short cigar, 500 lumens from the folks at Light Motion has a pretty good punch.   Ditto for the tail light from the same folks.    With a wireless bike computer (no wire up the fork) and a competent amateur bike mechanic for spouse, I figured it all could be installed at home, so I bought on the spot.

However, let's just say the bike computer was the cheap part of the trip.  Whee!

(I forgot to ask about a wall mount for hanging the bike, which doesn't quite fit in its current summer home since our 2001 Audi was replaced two years ago with a slightly longer 2009 Audi.   We won't discuss why we didn't notice before now.  Or what the mount could cost me.)

The bike has been stripped of its old electronics, and we'll install the new toys for the weekend.

Side Note:

Regarding actually riding the bike, my stationary bike rides continue, and I am gradually getting more work in per session.   This morning I nudged the stationary bike up a level, and I didn't die (or have to back it off, as I did Monday when I first tried without easing my pacing lower).   Hopefully I can get in a short spin this weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Human Wheels

Weight loss and exercise do wonders moderately good things for creaky parts ... in my case that means my legs, especially my knees.

Moderately good things include a drop off of pain in my right knee, and an improved power-to-weight ratio that allows me to handle stairs in a less awkward fashion.

The lack of wonder includes that last weekend, after I walked home just over a mile from dropping off my bicycle for service I could barely move for over two days.  Yesterday, when I picked up the bicycle, I got smart and had Katherine drop me.   However, I had already ridden my exercise bike, and I lacked the reserves for the ride home, especially the short but steep hill leading to our subdivision.  I got home drenched in sweat and fell on the couch until I could drag myself upstairs for a shower and a nap.

Clearly, I'm only getting started here.   I guess the wonders won't come until later.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Cheers

Weight Watchers hands out stickers with stars (ones that make your former teacher's Gold Stars look expensive) for every trivial thing imaginable, from minor weight milestones and long term attendance to simply deliver (literally) a "Bravo".   Combined with our ... zealous ... meeting leader's cheery nature, it's almost surreal.

When I checked in at the meeting this week, the receptionist noted I had lost my first five pounds, and could it be announced in the meeting?  Since my own records are more precise than theirs, it was old news to me.    Also, having shed weight before, I view dropping the first five pounds as no more than pulling out of the parking lot, so it's no big thing to me.   In any case, I thought it would be nice for others to hear someone making progress, so I said yes.

Never mind other people, I cared when it was announced.   ("Hey, I did something!") I was even vaguely disappointed when I realized it was the only thing I would get (no first "Bravo" for me this week).

I find the Weight Watchers meetings to be somewhat hokey and rather over the top, but I also realize the fundamentals (eat less, eat better, don't starve yourself, exercise) are sound, and that in general it's a dose of something which does help.

My first star is pasted next to my weigh-in data for this week.