Monday, January 31, 2011

January is Done

I'm disappointed with my progress towards my riding and heath goals for January. I only clipped in 15 times in 31 days. I rode 453 miles against a goal for the month of 650 and worst of all I gained 5 lbs! Portion control and food selection were obviously a problem too. The low mileage is especially disappointing. 6 more round trips to work, 1.5 per week, would have been sufficient to meet this target.

But my goals for the year: 9000 miles, complete at least one 300K ride and get my weight down to 200lbs are all still achievable. So February 1st is a chance to re-focus myself on these objectives, especially the food intake and it's affect on my weight.

Today's commute to work was however, very refreshing. I always feel good when I get off the bike in the evening at home. Tonight when I walked in there was also a fire going in the fireplace. Priceless.

Riding home down Oakwood as I approached Elvaton, where I should have made a left, I was pushing up a slight rise and when I saw the light turn green I just kept pushing. When Oakwood turns sharp right and becomes Old Mill another quarter mile past my turn I realized my mistake. Bonus miles on my commute home from work. More evidence I'm not riding enough.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Poking Around Glen Burnie

Temps this afternoon got up to 42 deg F. I couldn't pass that opportunity... riding with less clothing!! So I skipped the full length wind pants and the balaclava. It was great.

I'm determined to get a couple of commutes in this week on the bike. So I used the opportunity to scout how much of the trail I could count on using up north. It's good to the detour around the Jumpers Hole washout. Then things start to fall apart. Behind Jumpers Mall it's marginal, but the bridge over MD 100 and the section behind the Marley Mall are impassable. I walked the bike over the bridge, then when I saw the conditions behind the mall, I bailed out. Cut through the mall parking lot and took Ritchie Hwy to Aquahart.

I rode as far as Stewart Ave and Dorsey Rd. From there I could see that the loop trail around BWI and the connector between the B&A and BWI trails are both completely snow covered. So it looks like my best bet is the trail to Jumpers Hole then I'll take Elvaton to Oakwood past the hospital up to Aquahart. I came home that way and the roads are fine.

It's been so long since I've ridden up this way, I didn't know they'd broken ground on a new water tower on Jumpers Hole Rd just south of Waterford. At least I think that's what it is. Also saw these bucket trucks parked for the weekend at the old Luckie's market. I guess they raise the buckets to keep any bozos from climbing on them.

From Biking 2011

From Biking 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A good start for the weekend

A couple of nice rides Friday and Saturday. We had fast heavy snow fall Wednesday night, about 6 inches over Annapolis and Severna Park. By Friday morning power was restored, all major roads were plowed and the temps were hovering just below freezing. There was black ice everywhere, the snow melted during the day, ran across the road and re-froze overnight.

Naturally these looked like ideal conditions to go for a bike ride. So four of us met at the RB and rode to Annapolis for breakfast. Dan, Earl, Bryan and I stayed on the roads and set an easy pace to Annapolis. There we met Rod and had a nice breakfast at Chick N Ruth's. C n R is an Annapolis institution that's been open on Main St for like 50 years. With the MD Legislature in session it's frequently busy on Friday mornings, and the other patrons are always bemused by our appearance. The crazy guys on bikes, on a freezing morning before dawn. Then we had to go to work for the day. The real world can be such downer after you get off the bike.

Saturday I met Bryan, Clint, Chip, Janet and Dave and we again headed to 'Naptown. This time breakfast was the Hard Bean. Dave and Clint left from there to head home. The rest of us to Sandy Point to watch the Polar Bear plunge. Bryan broke a spoke along the way. But he just opened the brakes a little wider and kept riding on his wobbly wheel.

The Plunge was quite a spectacle. It's a charity event to raise money for Special Olympics and every year it raises several million dollars in pledges for people willing to take a dunk in the Bay in mid January. When we got there the Super Plungers were finishing 24 hours of dunking. Once an hour since noon Friday. The big public plunge where thousands dive in at once wouldn't be until later in the day. The whole thing is set up like a carnival with clowns on stilts, funnel cakes, hot chocolate and a big crowd in a good mood.

From Polar Bear Plunge - 2011

From Polar Bear Plunge - 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Cold Ride

Slightly warmer than yesterday, we again had seven riders set out at 7:30 am with temps in the upper teens at the start. The route was less ambitious this morning heading to Annapolis for coffee and gnash then back home.

I ate a more substantial snack before ride today in hopes of improving my energy level. It didn't help. I still lagged the group on any climbs. Chip held back with me and as a result we missed the group turning left at Jones Station to head down College Parkway. After another mile or two it was clear we'd missed something and called them to make sure they weren't waiting for us. We regrouped downtown and enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Hard Bean.

The other patrons commented on our little outing with comments that ranged from admiration, to envy or out right astonishment that 7 people would intentionally go riding in such cold temps.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Glorious Winter Ride

When the temps reach the low teens, the winds are calm and the skies clear, there's only one thing to do... go for a ride.

I met 6 others at the Rusty Bridge at 7:30 and we set out for the Caribou Coffee in Crofton via Annapolis and the rolling hills south of General's Hwy.

It was COLD but in the last two winters I've collected enough layers that I was dressed for it. I was struggling a bit to keep what was really a gentle pace. On every climb, even the gentle ones I'd fall off the back and my heart rate would quickly run up to 160bpm or higher.

But my ride mates made sure we were in visual contact at each major intersection and we made it to Crofton at about mile 30 without incident. Jeff and Dave took the short cut and stayed on General's Hwy I assume to return to Severna Park and warm up.

When we got to Caribou Coffee in Crofton I had icicles in my beard where my breath condensed. I did snap a self portrait but again left the camera adapter at work. So it will be posted later.

I then had an egg and sausage sandwich and coffee. I'm sure it would have tasted good if I had taken the time to enjoy it, but I was hungry and wolfed it down quickly.

From the coffee shop I had to break with the rest and head due north to catch my son's basketball game at 11 am at Shipley's Choice Elementary. I think my early struggle with the pace was due to inadequate nutrition and hydration prior to the ride. I felt great for the last few miles from Crofton to Millersville.

Erik played well in his game with several great rebounds and a lot of enthusiastic shooting. At his age group, they don't formally keep score but if they had, they would have noted Erik's team won 10 - 8.

Tivy brought the truck to the game I loaded the bike on the rack for the ride home. It was a good morning. Looking forward to Zach's game this afternoon and game night at friend's house later tonight. May also get to meet my oldest son's new flame as they may join us for game night.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friendly Friday

I got back on the bike today after a mid-week hiatus. It felt good to ride again. We got a bit of snow and freezing mix overnight but the temp was just above freezing when I set out and the street in front of my house was wet with no snow or ice. So I didn't mount the studded tires 'cause I didn't think I'd need them on wet pavement and I did pack my pannier to ride all the way to work from breakfast. That would be nearly a 60 mile day by the time I got home and help catch up on some miles I've missed this month.

Well as soon as I hit the trail I saw the first patches of snow. I guess the trail heats and cools unevenly based on where the sun hits it mid day. So the cool patches accumulated the crud overnight and the warm patches didn't. The covered spots were a crunchy frozen mix and not too tough to negotiate, less than a 1/2 inch deep.

Dan O caught up to me as I rode and we got the bridge without incident where Earl and Bryan were waiting. We could see more lights coming on East West Blvd. Clint stopped to lift is bike from the road to the trail and we saw him fall almost instantly below the bridge. Dave never rounded the corner to come up to the bridge so we came down to see how they were. Clint was fine. Dave's front derailleur was mangled from his fall, but fortunately Dave was fine. They both slipped on black ice.

After a few minutes Dave had his derailleur twisted back in to a position where he could ride. He couldn't shift but the route home is mostly flat. Dan accompanied him to make sure he would be okay and the rest of us continued to breakfast without incident.

As we headed north after breakfast and climbed the incline on the trail approaching Arnold Rd I slowed considerably, the intersection is at an odd angle and quite blind. Once I determined it was clear I stood up to accelerate and my rear tire spun out, no traction at all. I didn't go down, but missed a good opportunity to fall off of the bike.

It was clear I was riding the wrong tires for the conditions and the forecast called for steadily dropping temps all day. It would be well below freezing, windy and dark for the ride home. The surface could be as bad or worse then we were already seeing. I opted to go back home and drove to work. I'm disappointed in my mileage so far this month and cutting today's plan short means I won't make up any ground today. But I'm confident it was the right call.

Dave reported on Facebook that he made it home just fine without shifting but will need a new derailleur and chain.

Stay safe everyone. Winter riding presents spectacular clear views and a great sense of satisfaction when you can get a good workout despite the elements. Today we got a gentle reminder that we must respect the cold even while we're out enjoying it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mosey Monday

Met the club for the 5:45 ride this morning. A good way to get the heart rate up and start the day. There were 6 of us total. 4 of them had done the all night brevet on Friday night so everyone seemed content with the "Mosey" Monday pace. That was fine with me as it still got my heart rate up a little bit.

The temp was slightly warmer than forecast which should bode well for Earl riding the Sailing to Solomons perm solo. If he finishes before 6 this evening he should beat the snow showers. I'm sure he'll do fine.

As promised I updated yesterday's post to include the horses we saw yesterday while riding with Chris.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crofton - Caribou Coffee

Met Chris this morning and rode to the Caribou Coffee house in Crofton. We hadn't been out in a while and both enjoyed the chance to catch up. As always coffee and gnash at the Caribou was very tasty.

The area between Generals Hwy and Crofton sports several horse farms and large estates. We stopped at one farm where several horses were grazing in a pasture next to the road. They were layered up for the cold weather just like we were. I snapped a few pics and the horses came right to the fence line. I think they were looking for a treat. Unfortunately I had nothing to offer, nor would I presume to give them food with their owner or caretaker there to ensure I didn't give them anything inappropriate. Still it was a shame to disappoint them.

As I sat down to write this I realized the adapter for my camera is at the office. So you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the horses in their blankets.

The ride reports from our friends who set out Friday night on a 200K perm are starting to come out now that they have had a chance to recover. All of them finished safely in a time of 10:30. They all mentioned the cold and the challenges of control stops that were closed and required them to improvise or ask for brief shelter in hotel lobby. I didn't realize it when they were planning this adventure but this was Bryan's first RUSA perm and his longest ride to date. Quite a way to experience it first. I'm looking forward to hearing more tonight at the happy hour.

From Biking 20011
Saw this guy while pedaling past his farm just outside of Crofton.
Follow the link to the album to see more.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Future Is Looking Bright

I enjoyed a rare treat this evening. I was invited to present the Eagle Scout award to Noah Fowler, of Boy Scout Troop 396 in Annapolis, MD. Noah's father, Charlie, and I were scouts together in this same troop when we were boys and we both earned our Eagle Scout awards there. 30 years later Charlie and I are still close friends.

Noah and the other young men of Troop 396 are a wonderful, talented group. While they were gathered to honor one of their own, I had the chance to visit with a couple of them. I met scholars, athletes and most importantly, young leaders with big ambitions. It was like looking through a time machine at younger versions of Charlie and I and our other friends.

Tomorrow I get to see my own son, Justin, perform as Minstrel in the Children's Theatre of Annapolis production of Once Upon a Mattress. He's been working with CTA for 6 or 7 years now and this will be his last show with this group as he will no longer be eligible when he graduates from High School later this spring. The show, and Justin in particular, have garnered strong reviews from the Baltimore Sun and other local press. More importantly for a proud father, we've heard from the director and other volunteers at CTA that Justin's leadership has been instrumental in helping the cast come together effectively as a team. I'm looking forward to the show tomorrow.

I'm also feeling pretty damn good about the new generation that is about to leave our nests and strike out in the world.

Annapolis - Bay Ridge

Met Bill and Janet at the Ranger Station for the Saturday 7:30 ride to Annapolis. Bill C caught us on Old County and the four of us enjoyed a nice morning to Annapolis for breakfast. The Italian restaurant at the end of city dock is still closed so we ate at Hard Bean.

While we were there I got a text from Clint. The 5 midnight riders had a successful overnight brevet finishing the 200K in 10:30. I'm looking forward to hearing about it tomorrow at the awards ceremony.

After breakfast we rode through Bay Ridge, gorgeous water views in the morning sun. Then home.

Busy weekend with kids' sports, Taylor's home from college to join us for Justin's show tomorrow. And I'm the presenter at Noah Fowler's Eagle Court of Honor this afternoon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Ride with the Club

A nice crisp morning to meet the guys for a bike ride. Four of us met at the bridge at 5:45 for a ride to Annapolis. There we met Doug and Rod at chick n ruth's. I was good and had eggs, toast and coffee. Avoided the lard (bacon) and other poor diet choices.

Such food discipline was not the case while traveling this week in Richmond. Southern hospitality would kill me if I had to spend too much time down there. Delicious, but loads of butter and gravy on everything.

So I'm back home and now my streak is back to one day for food discipline. My mileage is also well off my goal pace for the month. I want to complete at least 9000 miles this year. I set a schedule that assumes the cold months have lower miles than the warm months, but the target for January is still 650 miles. At this point I will likely finish the month below that goal, but I should be able to close the gap some by commuting next week and roll in to February less than 100 miles off pace.

Missing from this morning's ride were Chip, Clint, Dan, Bryan and Clif. They are clipping in at 7 pm this evening to ride the Eastern Shore Reversed 200K through the night. The forecast is cold, clear and calm. To the extent that you can have a good night in January, it looks like they will. Temps mid 20's through the night, with little or no wind forecast and absolutely no precipitation forecast. It will be a 3/4 moon though they may have some clouds obscuring that. I wish very much I could be with them but work, family and other personal demands require my attention this weekend.

Sunday is the SPP awards ceremony recognizing accomplishments for the annual mileage challenge. I'm sure we'll hear the tale of the midnight ride in all of it's glory then. Bon Route gentlemen!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Streak Continues

7 Days on track with the calorie budget.

Doing well with the food

6 days in a row now under the calorie recommendation. It'll be another week before I weigh in again to get the real verdict.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


After a break over the holidays I am again tracking my food intake carefully on MyPlate at

One of my goals this year is to ride a 300K, and if that goes well, a 400K randonee. I can't see lugging the extra ~40lbs I currently have strapped to by belly and waist around those courses.

So I've got to regulate the intake in addition to riding 5 - 6 days each week to improve and develop my fitness.

After I plugged in my height, weight, age, gender and a goal to loose 1 lb / week: MyPlate recommends a 2300 calorie / day diet for life support, plus whatever I burn while exercising. Today marks the 5th straight day I've been good with the choices and kept my intake at or below these recommendations.

I feel better after eating all of those salads too.

Here's to a smaller Mike in 2011.

Sandy Point - St Margarets

Squeezed in a quick ride between kids' sports events today. Winds were calm and the snow overnight was only a trace. So other than wet roads, conditions for a ride were really quite good.

But the forecast today did not predict such a nice opportunity. Even as late as 5 am the forecast called for 2 - 4 inches of snow today. As a result Gardner pulled the plug on his 200K ride to Solomons. He needs a ride this month to keep his R-12 going, I think he's up to 7 or 8 already. I'm sure he'll find a window with tolerable weather that doesn't conflict with the Ravens' playoff games. But now his opening this month is one weekend shorter.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hurray I rode My Bike Today...

First time this week. I hated taking 4 days off but I feel good about what I got done at work coming in early every morning.

The forecast said 50% chance of snow showers when I went to bed last night. Woke up to 33 deg on the thermometer and no sign of snow so I suited up for the Friday morning ride to Annapolis for Breakfast. By the time I was putting on my final layer I could see some flakes falling in the porch light.

Before I made it 5 miles from home to the Rusty Bridge at 5:45 there was 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the trail and I had to stop twice to wipe snow from my glasses! It was very peaceful at that hour with the big heavy flakes falling. The whole time I was convinced I would be alone at the bridge. Then I saw tracks after I crossed Earliegh Heights Blvd and was pretty sure that would be Earl. His habit is often to arrive a few minutes early and he accesses the trail further north than I do. Sure enough, there he was. Eventually 5 of us made the rendezvous despite the snow and set off for Annapolis. Chip joined us by the Ranger Station and all enjoyed a moderate pace.

The snow let up as we rode and had stopped completely by the time we got to the south end of the trail. The snow cover had effects on different bike and tire configurations. Bryan had a camera and a few pics were taken so I'll link to them once he posts them. The snow clogged Earl's fenders so that he was carrying more weight and could feel the resistance on his wheels. He removed them. We also saw neat patterns as it sprayed off of the wheels, creating a rooster tail on Bryan's bike. All great fun.

I broke away once down town and joined Rod for Breakfast at C n R. Then rejoined the group for the ride home.

Yesterday saw some hijinx with some sort of small incendiaries mailed to state offices. The news crews were all parked outside of the state buildings as we left to report on the story. No one was reported seriously hurt and they are still investigating to sort it out.

As the sun came up the skies started clearing and it was clear that the quick snow shower from earlier was all we'd see for the day.

It was great to work the legs again after several days off, and always fun to ride with the group. Several of them are planning to ride a 200K starting next Friday evening at 7 pm and ride through the night. They should finish well before sunrise. It's the same Eastern Shore Reversed route from Wallops to Cape Charles and back that I rode in October. Rural, quiet and flat. The moon will be 3/4 or better full. If the sky is clear and the wind calm it could be a wonderful evening. Very tempting to join them. We'll see.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Days since last ride: 4! (that's at least 3 too many)
Food Intake: under budget, 3 days in a row.
Work: fair.
Sleep last night: awesome, didn't budge before the alarm.

Overall: not too bad. The scope of my backlog and overdue chores at work is depressing. The progress this week digging out, impressive.

On balance: better than most weeks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Day... Another set of goals met or not

Bike ride today: FAIL

Calorie Budget: under by 80. That's 2 days in a row on target.

Work productivity for the day: high.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Ride - But I ate well

No ride today. Work is demanding more hours than ever and will continue to encroach if I let it. But I did stick to a deliberate calorie budget today. The first time I've logged and tracked my food in over a month. If I'm ever to loose the next 40 lbs, this will be necessary. Especially when work and other stresses will try to knock me off track.

I WILL ride tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Warm, Gray Day Around the River

After yesterday's ride I took advantage of sun and warm temps on New Year's day to attend to some much needed bike hygiene. Stripped it down cleaned thoroughly to remove all of the salt residue and general crud that's been building up with the winter road treatments after each hint of snow. It was pretty gross.

From Bike Cleaning 1/1/11

From Bike Cleaning 1/1/11

This morning we saw Taylor off to return to college for the winter term. It was good to have her home for the last two weeks.

After she was packed off for the drive to school, I set off for a lap around the river. It was still quite warm with the temp showing 50 deg F when I set out. It felt great to ride in just a jersey and light base layer. No winter weight pants, or balaclava. The sky was gray and threatening, but it never rained while I was out. Of course there had been rain overnight, so the roads were wet. So much for my shiny clean bike. It's been a while since I rode three days in a row, it felt good.

After the ride I watched the Ravens hang on to one of the ugliest wins of their season. The Bengals offense ran up 50% more yards than the Ravens but kindly kept giving the ball back to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to keep the Ravens in it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Breakfast then Bay Ridge - Happy 2011

Met Chris at the Park n Ride at 6:45.  We headed to Java Diva's for a cuppa and to see if the 6:00 riders would appear.  The emails on New Years Eve suggested little interest in the early ride and no one appeared.  At the Rusty Bridge we met Dave, Neil, Bryan and Jim.  When Chris asked Dave where his helmet was he grabbed his head and realized he'd ridden off without it.  He begged off and returned to fetch it but told us not to wait.

The 5 of us set out for Annapolis.  Everyone seemed more interested in a leisurely ride than a work out so we just stayed on the trail to Boulters Way.

In Annapolis we selected Chick N Ruth's and sat down to a slightly too big breakfast.  After this hearty meal, Chris and Jim left straight for home.  Neil, Bryan and I added a lap around Bay Ridge. 

So 2011 has begun and I've got my first 36 miles to show for it.  A good start.