Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ride Home from Work

What a great afternoon for a ride. With a little wind at my back, it was also a quick ride home.

Chris reported a safe finish after about 12 hours. It was a big climbing route and it looks like he had a headwind for the entire first half. His text indicated he felt good. I'll look forward to seeing his ride report.

Ride to Work - Full Moon

Beautiful morning with a full or nearly full moon to start out.

The last 36 hours were terrible for the diet. Beer Monday night with my brother and father, burger for lunch yesterday and pasta for dinner. I've got to get some self control over what I consume or I'll never loose the extra ballast.

My friend and frequent riding partner Chris Lane is setting out on a solo 200K ride today. The route is "No Halfway Measures". This will keep his R-12 pursuit alive. I hope all goes well for him.

Still haven't gotten the Surly in for an overhaul. The bike shop reported a 7 - 10 day backlog when I called them Sunday. Worse, they weren't sure if it was 7 or 10 days. They suggested I call back today or tomorrow when they should have things sufficiently under control that I can make an appointment. I'm not actually having any trouble with the bike. But after a winter of riding in salt I want to get new cables and a thorough cleaning down to the bearings to avoid any surprises on a long ride later. Now it will be tight to fit it in before the next permanent ride on Sunday the 11th.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Around the River (again)

Met Chris Lane for an early ride before church. Weather the next few days looks questionable and today is full of church and sports activities so this may be last time to get some miles in for March. Gonna turn the Surly in today for an overhaul. If the weather breaks the next few days I'll jump on the Jamis. Otherwise I might just hit the pool.

I'm up a half pound since 21st. But considering that was the day after a big 200K ride and represented a 5 lb drop from the 14th, I feel pretty good about the weight progress the second half of this month. Now to keep it going in to April.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friends On the Trail

Met Carl Boernke at Jumpers Hole and stopped briefly to say. Then met Doug Corby at Robinson Rd. He was ready to head back south so we rode together until I jumped off at Jones Station Rd. Nice to see friends out and about.

Leisurely Ride to Work

The title says it all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday 05:45

5 riders this morning set out from the Rusty Bridge. A cool, clear morning on a bike is a nice way to start the day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Over to Dover

The Setting

I rode the Over to Dover 200K perm solo on Saturday. The first day of spring provided fantastic weather. It was in the low 40s at the start and hit a high in the low 70s by mid afternoon. Never a hint of clouds all day and light breeze from the SW. I even got touch of sunburn on my face and upper arms. I didn't think I needed the sun block yet this early and year and never thought of it until I saw myself in a restroom mirror.

The route is really beautiful. For such a long ride it is remarkably free of traffic. There are probably only 10 miles the whole way with any appreciable traffic. The rest consists of narrow paved rural routes that serve to connect all of the farms in the area. They are scenic, free of traffic and make for great riding. Only 1 mile of road on US 30 / Lincoln HWY was truly awful with heavy traffic and bad shoulders. But it was only a mile and the rest was great. Some day I'll get a camera suitable for riding resistant to water and shock and small enough for a jersey pocket. The camera in my blackberry sucks and is hard to use for a quick shot. Once I have this camera I hope do a better job capturing some shots on these long rides to back up my descriptions.

Another great thing about this route is that it is constantly changing and turning. There are few stretches more than 5 miles between turns and frequently they come every mile or more. Mr. Garmin was ready at every turn to remind me where I was going. Those who rely only on the cue sheet need to stay on their toes to keep up with the navigation.

The farm land and vistas across the hills were beautiful. Some of the farms raise livestock including at various points dairy farms, a hog farm, and poultry that I could identify along the way. The unique aroma reminds me that as that I grew up in urban America and I'm definitely not a farm boy. But it adds to the adventure and with a light breeze it didn't linger. Great fun.

Take a look at the elevation chart. (Click on the "View Details" link at the bottom of the map below). The two steep spikes either side of middle obviously represent the biggest climbs. They're perfectly symmetrical because the route retraces itself through that part. Before the first climb, the route descends in to a bit of a valley along Conwago Creek then crosses the creek and climbs out of the valley and down the back side of the hill to the mid point control stop. As you can see that is one steep hill climbing over 300 ft in less than a mile. 300 ft is NOT a big hill, though this one is a pretty steep grade. The Urbana brevet next week will offer participants a much higher climb. But it was the biggest challenge of the day for me. After the control point, you turn around and retrace the route. The ride description warned of this big hill as did others who have ridden it. I was nervous about it and desperately wanted to make it over this hill without walking. I did, but my legs never really recovered. The rest of the day, I found it much tougher to muster any power at all going up hill, even knowing the toughest one of day was behind me. I'll have to spend some training time specifically on hill climbing I think. Continuing my weight loss efforts will obviously help too.

Riding Alone

Riding solo for such a long trek was a new experience for me. At most I'd done solo rides of about 50 miles prior to this. It was rewarding to finish and prove to myself that I could. I enjoyed the ride and will probably do it again on similar routes in the future. But riding with friends is still more fun. A partner lets you share duties leading in to the wind, which would have been nice yesterday, especially on the return leg when the SW breeze was a light headwind. A partner can also challenge me to push a little harder up the hills, and provide a bit of encouragement when your legs are burning. It was a nice day alone with my thoughts and the beautiful countryside, but a nice day with friends or family would be even better. A friend recently asked for suggestions as he's taking up regular biking for exercise. I suggested he find a good local bike shop to help fit the bike and find a bike club or group of friends to ride with. I still thank that's sound advice.

Stopping and Eating

One specific goal I had for this ride was to spend less time stopped at controls and at other stops along the way. My idea was to stop very briefly every hour to take in some fuel and keep moving. That would limit the controls to refilling water, restrooms and getting the card signed. On the Solomons ride last month our total time stopped was over two hours and I was sure I could do better. I didn't. My elapsed time was 10 hrs 38 min, which did knock more than 20 minutes off my time at Solomon's but my rolling time was only 8:42, so my total stopped time only dropped a few minutes. The fueling strategy to eat more frequently still felt better and I'll do it again next time, but I was surprised to see how quickly those short stops add up. The food I packed consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, granola bars and peanut butter crackers. I also took 1 endurolite capsule from Hammer for every 16 oz water bottle I consumed. I probably drained and refilled about 8 sixteen oz bottles through the day plus a couple of servings of juice at the controls. Though I still felt dehydrated at the end and should have consumed more water. Finishing with 1.5 bottles of water in the cages makes no sense, I should have been drinking them even during the final push to the finish.

Finally, a note of thanks to my wife Tivy and to my friends in the SPP. At every stop I found a couple of emails and text messages with words of encouragement. It was a great day, and I'm glad I did it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

Eight riders this morning to Annapolis for breakfast at C & R. Also met Rod and Mark there so 10 for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning.

The morning riders, sunrise at City Dock 3/19/2010
from left: Jeff, Bryan, Carl, Mike (me), Chip, photo by Clint

I'm a little nervous and excited about my solo 200K tomorrow. I'll be doing the Over to Dover permanent for credit towards my R-12. The route is from Frederick, MD to Dover, PA and back. It's a bit more climbing than I've done before at such distances and it's the first time I'll be riding one alone, but my plans changed this week and there was little time to recruit a partner.

The weight loss program has been going well this week, finally. I think the idea of eating more breakfast and less the rest of the day seems to be working. Looking forward to new weekly number on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ride Home (I Feel Good)

Another great ride home. Absolutely beautiful evening, warm, sunny, lots of folks out enjoying the trail. Saw Doug Corby on his mountain bike headed north with a friend, it's good to see him back out after his accident. It's just so nice to blow off the steam after work.

Ride to Work

A pleasant ride to work with Chris. No rain, but much of the trail was wet.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Around the River

The rain held off and I had a nice ride out to Cape St. Clair, then through St. Margarets to Annapolis, out Generals Hwy and finally back to Severna Park via Benfield Rd.

It was disappointing to see the weight actually tick up 2 lbs in the last week when I put in 147 miles and burned 12,147 calories pedaling. Clearly I'll need to focus more on what goes in to the pie whole if I want to shed another 30+ lbs this summer. Cycling alone won't do it. I think emphasizing a decent breakfast may help. Part of the problem may be I eat too little in the morning and I tend to gorge in the evening. So this week I'll be adding a couple of eggs to my granola bar and piece of fruit to see if that will help stave off the craving later in the day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Orchard Beach Loop

It looked on the weather radar like I had a window until 11:30 or 12:00 to beat the heavy rain showers. I'd still have to tolerate the light drizzle but with the temps above 50 that didn't look too bad. Well that plan worked until about 11 or so, then the showers opened up and I got drenched, with about 8 or 9 miles left to get home. I'm still glad I went out, it felt good to get some miles in after 2 days off. It also helped that the wind was at my back the 2nd half of the ride.

Thanks to Clint for posting this route after the 05:45 crew broke with routine and followed this route last Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Feel Good

15.9 mph average home from work. James Brown comes to mind.

Ride to Work

The day off yesterday was just what the doctor ordered. I felt very good riding in this morning. Met Chris again at the Jones Station Park and Ride and we rode together until the B&A to BWI connector hits the BWI loop, then we split directions around the airport. I went along the east side of the airport up Aviation Blvd. When the trail passes Lindale Middle School and hooks left, I opted to stay straight and followed Andover Rd. to West Nursery. It's perfect, it comes out right a the Starbucks on West Nursery, and from there it's about 1/2 mile downhill to the office. I definitely think that's the standard route in from now on.

With the starting temp hovering at 40 deg F this AM I opted for bib shorts and leg warmers instead of my long riding pants. The Garneau bib shorts with the SPP logos are very comfortable. I may have to get a pair of those in black to go with other jerseys.

While the day off was good for the legs and my overall disposition, I did a terrible job late yesterday with the diet. I limited myself to a small sub at lunch, but it was still a sub with bread, chicken and lots of delicious sauces. Dinner was worse, mac and cheese, turkey and too much ice cream for desert. Oh and don’t forget the vanilla latte for a mid afternoon pick me up. The late afternoons and evenings are the toughest time. We’ll see how much damage I did when I weigh in again on Sunday.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ride Home

A very pleasant ride home.

First Ride to Work of 2010

Well the trail is finally clear so I made my first commute to the office today. Chris Lane is commuting to DC by coming from Severna Park to the BWI Train station where he takes the MARC commuter train in to DC. So we rode together on the way up. It’s not clear if our schedules will synch up for the ride home or not.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


What a wonderful afternoon to be on a bike. I felt 10 lbs lighter riding without most of my winter clothing. Set out with Clint, Fran, Steve and Bob for Elkridge at 1:00 pm. It was just a wonderful, slightly hilly ride. The climb up Lawyer’s Hill in Elkridge was challenging but I reached top ready to keep moving. After a quick stop for snacks at the Dunkin Donuts in Elkridge, Clint opted for a direct route home to pursue family activities and the rest of us wondered around the back roads of Elkridge and Linthicum before we came out near the hotel district at BWI Airport. From there we rode around the East side of the airport and down WB&A blvd home.

New feature
I've decided to include my weight loss progress in my riding stats at the top. My real motivation to get on a bike back in May, 2009 was to lose weight ahead of the Annapolis to Newport sailboat race. I weighed 300 lbs and lots of things didn't work right any more. Airline seats were too small, clothing never fit, and just standing up was sometimes a challenge. The opportunity to sail the big race was exciting, but I wasn't ready for 4 days at sea with irregular sleep and potentially hard work. So I got on the bike and fat started melting off. But I've kept that part low key, my online posts documented the activity on Facebook and now here on this blog. But until now, I haven't addressed the real motivation or the bigger goal.

Recently I've read some inspiring blogs by big folks pedaling to loose it and have decided to follow their example by addressing weight loss directly. To start, I'll open the numbers up for inspection and comment. I'll starting noting my thoughts, successes and setbacks on the weight loss goals to the posts a couple of times each week.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Long Rambling Saturday

We started at 6:00 at the Ranger station, Clint, Chip, Chris, Bryan, Bob, and Me. We rode to Gambrills, Odenton and then back to the Rusty Bridge to meet the 7:30 Riders. From there Bryan left to continue his day and another 4 or 5 riders joined us down to Annapolis for B’fast at the Hard Bean. A few split there to head home and 6 of us continued on to ride round Bay Ridge. We had one flat along the way, and otherwise an absolutely delightful morning. The view of the Bay was spectacular.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday B'fast Ride 05:45

So nice to have the weather warming up. 11 riders this morning! Including friends Jerry Rush and Dave Mumford. 10 went downtown, 8 of those hit the Hard Bean along with some non-riding friends for coffee and snack. We overwhelmed the one poor guy behind the counter with that many people but everyone had fun.

The Dinotte Tail light actually generated some concern in the group riding behind me in the dark, it's probably overkill in that situation, so I doused it and reverted to the AA blinky from planet bike. But that reinforces my confidence that it's the right light in daylight, or twilight or riding alone, even if I have to turn it off while riding with the peloton in the dark. In that situation many small lights still make us quite visible and I'm less concerned. Fiddling with the light angle may also help.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Timid Tuesday 05:45

Today was another nice morning with a hint of spring. The sun coming up early in the ride is nice, though we’ll loose that again when DST starts in about 10 days. The temps were above freezing and there is no ice on the roads. The legs felt good today too, even for a short ride.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mosey Monday 05:45

A great start to the new month. The temperature was above freezing, there was almost no ice, the trail is clear, and we started out with a full moon. I climbed the Round Bay hill for the first time since my bike accident and it felt pretty good. I was slow up the hill but overall the ride felt great. Six of us rode from the RB at 5:45.