Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday breakfast ride

Six of us mustered at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45 for weekly ride to Annapolis. Most of us are also doing the big round trip to Ocean City this weekend so the pace was modest and we skipped the big hills.

The trail is closed south of Severn Way for work on erosion control and utilities. So got on to Richie Hwy at Arnold Rd south about a mile and then back on to Boulter's Way at the exit ramp for US 50.

Northbound this meant using the shoulder of Ritchie Hwy all the way. Not ideal, but the shoulder is wide and we're all well lit.

Very much looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mid week tracking

No ride on Wednesday. I've allowed myself two days per week off and with the big rides planned this weekend, wed and thu seemed like good days. Friday will be a light morning ride then the weekend will rack up over 200 miles to Ocean City and back.

M - W I've ridden 2 of 3 days - still on track. I've consumed under my daily target for net calories 2 of 3 days, went over a bit yesterday, but for the first three days of the week I'm at 4298 net calories vs a 3 day target of 6813. Overall not too bad.

The Surly is in the shop getting a tune up and having a spoke replaced on the front wheel ahead of the big weekend.

Tonight is my first den meeting as the leader of Wolf Den 2, Pack 858. Me and 5 or 6 second graders. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Work, Pizza, Home

The weather was unseasonably warm today. I rode in shorts and a jersey with no cold gear at all. A pleasant change.

Mid way through a tedious work day I got an email that a few of the SPP were meeting for a Tuesday night ride and a pizza. Something to look forward to for the rest of the day. I met them at Squizitos and enjoyed a couple of slices and a couple of brews. Everyone is looking forward to the big OC ride this weekend. Stevensville to Ocean City on Saturday. Then we enjoy a big spaghetti dinner and stay overnight in hotel. Sunday we're up early for breakfast and a return ride to Stevensville. Approximately 225 miles round trip.

It's day 2 on my new goals program. I'm under my net calorie goal both days and I've ridden both days. After 40 miles, even a couple of slices and light beer didn't push me over. So far so good, but I'll reserve the glowing optimism until I can track a consistent trend on the scale.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Need further refinement...

Counting calories has been a bit of a roller coaster the last few weeks. I fell off the wagon again this weekend, though the weigh in this morning was flat. So I'm making a few changes to my approach.

First I've changed my weight loss target to 1 lb / week rather than 2 lbs/week. This in turn changes my net calories per day target to 2271 calories per day. At 1755 I felt like I was starving, especially when I didn't ride. Once I blew that number on a particular day, it had a negative impact. As soon as I new I was "out of bounds" for the day, I would just keep going.

Next I'm also going to set and track a goal of riding at least 5 days per week for at least an hour. That means more 5:45 rides with the SPP on weekdays I don't commute, and some weeks that will mean tolerating more wet weather.

Finally I'll also keep score each week of how many days I stay under the 2200 net calorie limit. The changes above are intended to make it easier to stay on track for the net calories 7 days / week.

These are all behavioral targets that can be measured daily and weekly to hold myself accountable. They are intended to further my one real goal which is continued weight loss. But that naturally moves in small increments each week so I feel like tracking my behavior gives me something more tangible in the short term.

Also made a change on the bike. I have two sets of wheels now so I can mount different tires for different conditions and switch easily. I've been riding 700 x 28 tires on the Surly for some time now. But since the dark commute hours have set in I can't see the potholes as well to avoid them. That's resulted in more pinch flats and some popped spokes. I've put a set of wider tires on for commuting when I will be riding mostly in the dark, more heavily loaded, and potentially more in the wet. This morning was the first ride on the 700 x 35 rubber. No issues, the ride was comfortable and they handle fine. We'll see if it helps.

I can still switch back quickly to the 700 x 28 set for longer rides when I expect to ride in the daylight and dry conditions, they are lighter and firmer. The forecast this weekend for the big ride to OC and back is looking good. It's a supported ride so I don't need to carry anything but water bottles and light snacks. I expect I'll still use the skinny tires for that unless the forecast turns wet.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A good Saturday Pedal with the Peloton

I met four others at 06:00 at the Ranger Station for an early work out. We completed the Sulley Rd loop at a crisp but not blistering pace until I developed a pinch flat as we turned on to Ft. Smallwood Rd. With the others' help we made pretty quick work of it, but I did go through two tubes, pinched one getting it back on the rim with the levers. (I know, I know, the new tube should installed sans tools).

Then we collected about 8 more at 7:30 at the Ranger station for a very nice ride to Annapolis. The morning was cool and clear. My first time this season with the full length riding pants and two base layers.

After breakfast in Annapolis I rode over to PAL park to watch Zach play football. Zach and the Hornets won 13 - 6. Now I'm watching Navy have it's way with Notre Dame. It's been a very good Saturday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A couple of good days

The commute yesterday was uneventful. I'm quite enjoying the fall temps, even if it's a bit damp the last few days.

This morning I rode with the SPP 05:45 crew. Chris sent a text last night and suggested we meet for the ride. I'm glad he did. My first reaction when the alarm went off was to roll over for two more hours of sleep. But peer pressure and not wanting to disappoint got me up and moving. Six of us met at the RB for a nice quick workout before starting our day. Bryan is expecting a reasonable settlement soon from his accident and looking forward to spending it, shopping for his new bike to replace the one lost in the accident. We joked about the recent email threads by the SPP club when someone asked a general question about choice of winter riding jackets. Many Many members chimed in with opinions leaving the original questioner with no clear consensus, and a checklist of possible choices that he could have assembled more quickly with a simple google search. It was all very well intentioned, and the club can be a wealth of knowledge when looking to solve a problem, but in this case result showed the disadvantages of tapping group knowledge and was a bit humorous in the details.

Bryan opted not to use the same approach looking for "advice" selecting his new bike.

Tonight is my first as the new Den Leader for Erik's Cub Scout Den. To ensure my timely arrival I drove to work. I haven't ruled out commuting by bike to the meetings one evening per week. But that means working out a ride for Erik and clothing. I'm not sure bike tights on the scout master would go over well working with 2nd graders. My normal commute pattern takes only a shirt and undergarments on the bike. Trousers and shoes are left at the office. So I'll need to add a uniform of sorts, like a scouting t-shirt and lightweight pants to the commuting kit on scouting days to make that work. We'll see.

Food intake the last 36 hours has been consistent with my targets. Looking forward to a better weigh-in next Monday. My food diary is available for inspection at MyDailyPlate. The link is also visible on the left side of the blog. The key target I'm watching is the net calories or calories eaten less calories burned. Any day below 1775 net calories is on target. Some days it's actually negative. I'm not sure that's necessarily good. I think a couple of negative days last week may have set me up for my weekend binging, and a disappointing weigh in this Monday. So yesterday when my mid afternoon craving set in I went to the Kabob shop here in the building and ordered a small serving of curried chicken and rice. Didn't blow my quota since the day would include over 40 miles of biking and associated calorie burn, and I didn't feel starved later in the evening. It feels like I'm getting the hang of this, but we'll need to see a couple of weeks' of weight trending down to be sure.

The diary also shows other opportunities for improvement. There is still too much sodium and fat content in my choices. All very educational.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work, Football, Home

I had a pretty good day today. It started rough, but kept getting better. I rode the bike in to work in intermittent rain showers. Dark, cold and wet. It wasn't pleasant but with the right clothes on, it felt good to be back on the bike. Then the puncture fairy struck about half way to the office. Changing a tire in the rain is definitely not my idea of fun. Took care of business and got the to the office a bit later than I had wanted.

But my thermos had kept the pumpkin spiced coffee nice and warm, things started looking up from there. The work day was productive. The food intake was consistent with my goals for eating versus burning. I got out of the office on time and rode to Zach's game at Kinder Park.

The game was a cliff hanger. Zach plays on the line both offense and defense and his coach usually leaves him in for almost every play from scrimmage. Tonight was the same and he carried himself quite well with several good blocks and a couple tackles. His team scored a touchdown to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Then they made the extra point to go up by one and hung on to win it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Overall a Poor Showing this weekend

It started Thursday evening. I'd had a sensible dinner and if I'd stopped there I would have ended the day just a few cals over my target of 1755 net calories per day. But some serious cravings set in and I succumbed to temptation. The trend would continue through the weekend. A good ride Saturday morning help offset it some, but no ride on Thursday, Sunday or today... well the scale told the tale this a.m. up 2lbs. Grrr.... Tailgate parties and other weekend activities are no excuse, I just have to keep the larger goal in mind and learn the phrase "no thank you....".

Saturday's ride with SPP was fun. Having our daughter Taylor home from college was wonderful. I enjoyed the weekend. But set my fitness and weight loss goals back at least a week, maybe two in the process.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

A great morning ride. It was 48 deg this morning when I left the house at 5:15 to meet the SPP early riders for breakfast. I wore knickers which come down below my knees and have just a slightly thicker construction than regular bike shorts for warmth. A light weight wool base layer, a short sleeve jersey, a wind breaker and long fingered gloves. I was actually just a tad warm. I probably could have zipped the sleeves off of my jacket and worn it as a vest, with the upper back ventilated. When I took the jacket off to sit for breakfast I realized I was a little damp with perspiration which then induced a slight chill.

That much detail is for my own benefit dear reader next time I'm trying to figure out how to dress for the current temps. If it's too much info for you... well it's my blog.

5 of us met at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45 and we picked up two more a mile in to the ride on Jennings Road. I enjoy these rides at a conversational pace. Everyone catches up on how the week has been, weekend plans coming up, and any news or excitement they have to share.

Once in Annapolis I met Rod and Doug for breakfast at C & R while the rest of the bike crew went to for the quicker service at Hard Bean. Had a great visit with friends then rode home in the bright morning sun. A great start to the day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back on the Bike

I knew after the big weekend that I'd need a day off. So I stayed off the bike Monday and slept in an extra hour before work. But when I woke up yesterday morning it was clear I needed two days off. So I didn't ride Tuesday either. Today, it was clear that was a smart move. I felt fine riding in to the office and again coming home.

From work I went to Kinder Park to watch Zach play football. This was game 7 of their season. They are 3 and 3 so far and a win tonight could decide their playoff chances. But the referees didn't make it and the came was called. Very frustrating for the parents and the kids.

On the food front.... I'm seeing a pattern. The program recommended by the Daily Plate service looks at "net calories". Calories eaten minus calories burned. It recommended I shoot for 1755 or fewer net calories per day. So the pattern... it's easy to stay well below that target on days when I ride, and burn plenty of calories. Much tougher on days when I don't. Today I rode, so it was a good day, only 212 net calories.

Tomorrow, the forecast calls for temps in the upper 40s when I strike out for work. Break out the wool base layers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another recovery day

No ride again today, when the alarm went off at 4:45 the body made clear I needed another day of recovery from the big weekend. I expect to commute in tomorrow.

I did a good job with the food yesterday, stayed on target for my calorie goals, even saved enough to have small treat for desert last night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly weigh in

Down to 235.5 this morning!! That's 5.5 in a week. Probably a fluke with the big riding weekend, but it's nice boost and good reinforcement to stick to managing my intake correctly. I'll be happy if it continues at 1 - 2 lbs / week from here on.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eastern Shore 200K

After Seagull Century I took advantage of the hospitality at Salisbury U for a bit and visited with Earl and his wife. Then I moved out of the flea bag motel that I had to book at the last minute for Friday night in to more comfortable digs for the evening. Got the bike cleaned up, the route for this morning plotted in to the Garmin and turned in. Not surprising I slept very soundly. The surprise came when I got up this morning and felt reasonable.

So I was up and out of the hotel by 5:30 to drive south about 40 miles to Wallops Island for this morning's start at 7:00. Saturday I rode 100 miles of flat terrain with a couple of friends and 8000+ other bikers I didn't know yet. It was a great time. Today I set out on a 200K trek all by myself. I was unsure of how my legs and body would react to two big rides back to back, but I was determined to find out, even if meant a 13 hour ride to finish today. It was very gratifying to find that if I kept fueling the fire with plenty of carbs and glucose, the wheels kept turning just fine.

If you click on the summary below you can see the route was a straight shot south from Wallops Island to Cape Charles and back with only a little variation on the northbound leg. You'd be hard pressed to find a flatter elevation profile anywhere in North America. It's FLAT. It's all farm country, mostly soy beans with some cotton, corn and chicken farms scattered for variety. Dawn over the fields, with a light mist hovering over many of them, was absolutely spectacular.

As the sun came up and I warmed up to the idea that I was going to be able to hold a brisk pace all day, the miles started ticking by. But it wasn't all the same farm fields. The little towns like Onely, Modest Town, and Parksley gave the landscape a little variety. And there were dogs. My first encounter was comical, a little dog with surprisingly fast legs fell in 5 feet behind me yelping in a cute little high pitched squeak, but finally gave up when I kicked up the pace a bit. The second one was a bit more menacing. A black lab was crossing the road in front of me with two pups in tow. I assumed the pups where hers. At first she looked at me with her ears cocked in a way that suggest curiosity and her tail wagging. Then very suddenly she lunged as I approached; her bark was clearly threatening. But instead of trying to bite me as I went by she paced me and kept barking, finally letting me go after another 50 or 100 yards. I guess she just wanted me away from the pups.

I found I was a little more sensitive today to eating than I usually I am. I assume that is because my muscles started the day with a lower level of stored energy (glycogen?) and I had to eat more frequently. You can see my heart rate started to climb before the mid point break without a corresponding increase in speed. I got focused on getting to the control and forgot to eat. I took a few extra minutes at the control to eat, rest and regroup. I felt fine again and made sure to keep shoveling the snacks on the return leg.

Chris Lane was driving from Va Beach back home and timed his trip to catch me at the turnaround control. It was fun to run in to a familiar face after riding alone all morning. He had done the same route in recent months and provided some helpful intel about what to expect.

So I finished the day in 8 hrs 34 minutes elapsed time with a rolling average of 17.3 mph and a rolling time of 7 hours 14 minutes. That's my best time in 10 rides at 200K, though it's also the flattest terrain I've ridden so the correlation isn't a complete coincidence. I'm exhausted but feel good about the weekend.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seagull Century - A good day with friends and family

I rode the Seagull Century in Salisbury, MD today. This will be short as I have another big ride tomorrow and will be turning in shortly. In attendance with our group where my brother Todd (his first century ride) my uncle Dave W, Earl J from the SPP, Jeff S from the SPP and Jerry R a friend from high school.

This represents a diverse experience level. We set out together but knew that we may need to split based on desired pace. At different points throughout the day we came together and split apart again, though Todd and I made a point to hang together. The pace was harder than I'd originally intended. We averaged 19.5 mph over the first 63 miles to Assateague! Todd and I both left a lot on the course to support that and decided to the let the others continue on while we throttled down for the last third of the ride. We finished at 2:00 sharp 7 hours after we started with 17.8 mph overall average. 19.5 to Assateague then 15.5 from there to back to Salisbury.

As usual the logistical support from Salisbury U was fantastic. Food, entertainment and all the fun you could want to have with 8000 of your closest friends on a bike. The weather was incredible, though the headwind the last 30 miles or so was unfortunate. It was great was great to spend the day with my brother and other friends.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Big Biking Weekend Coming Up

Last night I got the drive train cleaned and lubed, tweaked the brakes, took the rack and other commute specific gear off and otherwise readied the bike for this weekend. This morning I rode with the SPP 05:45 crew to breakfast in Annapolis. It was an easy pace and felt good to stretch my legs before the big weekend.

I leave tonight to drive to Salisbury and ride the Seagull Century with my brother Todd, Earl J from the SPP and perhaps a few others. The weather forecast looks darn close to perfect. Low 50's at the start rising to the low 70s by the finish, with clear skies and little or now breeze. Biking doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday I'll ride my 10th 200K permanent of the R-12 series on the lower Eastern Shore starting in Wallops Island, VA to Cape Charles and back. The weather forecast is for more of the same.

That'll be 225 miles in two days. I've done 125+ on 9 occasions this year plus 100 on my ride to the beach in July. Just never done it two days in a row. I'm looking forward to it. I'll post updates from the road on Twitter, not sure if I'll get a blog entry up tomorrow for the Seagull or not.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 2 on the calorie tracker

Okay, I've stuck with it for a second day, and kept my calorie log up to date on the "MyPlate" service at I think I can stick with this program. I made a poor choice for dinner. That and no ride pushed me over my 26 calories, but I think I'll survive. By measuring my intake I think I can learn to manage it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A New Focus on Eating and Weight Loss

I've mentioned several times I've packed on weight the last two months and I'm not happy about it. So I'm taking some more concrete steps to address it.

First - I've joined an online weight loss challenge group. Ten people, trying to loose a collective 300 lbs. I've actually not met any of them personally. But several of us have become online pen-pals of sorts through our blogging, including several who took up cycling specifically to confront their excess weight. So we all have a lot in common. I'm excited by the idea and look forward to trading tips and encouragement, maybe the occasional scolding or stern suggestion with them.

Second - I've opened an account with the Daily Plate service offered by the Livestrong Foundation. It offers some pretty slick online tools. You plug in your vital stats and weight loss goals. It recommends a daily calorie quota. Then you log your activities and food consumption and it estimates whether you are on track to meet your quota.

I documented that off the bike, my life is rather sedentary working in an office on a computer all day and that I wanted to loose 2lbs / week. It suggested a net quota of 1791 calories per day to achieve this objective. "Net" means I can eat 1791 calories per day for life support PLUS whatever I burn exercising, in my case that's mostly on the bike.

Today's meals consisted of the following:

Breakfast: 16 oz of coffee sweetened with honey and low fat cream, a large banana, a pack of Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars (2 bars per pack), and two Fig Newtons.

Lunch: A large chef's salad.

Mid Afternoon Snack: a pack of Nature Valley honey and oat granola bars

Dinner: a bowl of Taco Bean Soup

Consumption: 1492 Calories.

I rode from home to work: 21 miles at an average pace of 15.6 mph for 80 min.
Then I rode from work to Old Mill High School to watch the twins play field hockey, 13 miles at an average speed of 16.4 mph.

Burned: 2943 Calories

1791 quota + 2943 burned - 1492 consumed = 3242 calories below my quota, a good start for my first day.

Don't worry, I won't blog this much detail every day. I'm just highlighting how it works. But I think keeping such a detailed log might be just the tool I need to hold myself accountable.

Check back in here next week to see how I'm doing keeping the log updated and acting on the feedback it provides.

I plan to take the day off of the bike tomorrow and ride a light day to breakfast on Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday will be big days riding on the Eastern Shore.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Good Commute to Work - Then Tuesday Pizza

I had a good commute in this morning. Chris is all jammed up at work himself and indicated he can't connect for commutes this week, so I set out a little later than we do when he has to catch a train. Took the Brightview Rd route in and managed to keep just over a 15 mph pace the whole way in.

Did the same on the return and met the SPP evening crowd at Squisitoes for the Tuesday Pizza. I'll need to grow some will power next week and order a salad rather than pizza and beer. But it's fun to meet mid week like this and I hope it continues at least a few more weeks until lack of sunlight will probably end it for those without adequate lights and wool clothing.

If you've been paying attention to the little bike ticker at the top of the screen you can see it's gone the wrong direction lately. Note what I said about salad. I'll be getting more detailed here about my dieting and logging my discipline sticking to it as I make another push to slim down again after taking my eye off of that goal the last couple of months.

Temps are cooler now and light wool base layers with a wind vest are keeping me comfortable.

Big plans this weekend. I'll ride the Seagull Century with my brother Todd and with Earl on Saturday. Then Sunday I'll try to tackle my October brevet for the R-12. That's 225 miles of flat Eastern Shore riding in two days. I've never done that much before in so short a period. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tour de Elon

This past weekend my wife, eldest son and I drove down to Elon University to see our oldest daughter during the University's annual family weekend. Bob C of the SPP also has a daughter at Elon and made the trip with his family. We took our bikes and had a great ride around town Saturday morning. The only snag was our plan to stop for coffee after. Apparently college students are not typically "morning people". So the coffee shops near campus don't open until 9 AM on Saturdays!! It took us three tries to find a shop open before 8.

We had a wonderful weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Very gratifying to see our oldest launching in to the world and doing so well. The weekend activities included ballroom dancing with club Taylor has joined, my early Saturday bike ride with Bob, a football game, watching an ultimate frisbee game with Taylor's team, brunch at the University President's home and plenty of time to visit with our girl.

I have pics and video of the dancing but have been threatened with being disowned by my elder children if I post them. Hmmmm seems I should be able to blackmail something from them for the original files.