Monday, February 28, 2011

Ducking Rain Showers -

Despite the forecast, the rain cleared for me to ride both ways to work today. The pavement was plenty wet, standing water to dodge and spray from cars flying everywhere. But almost nothing coming down on my head despite the forecast T-storms this evening. When I got to work this morning and checked the afternoon forecast it was really quite intimidating.

I tweeted this morning that I might have gotten myself in a predicament if the strong storms actually came to be in the afternoon and evening. I was really just expressing a little frustration with my own poor planning. 5 different offers for rides home materialized. I feel strongly one should never "test" one's friends. But it's always feels great when they offer you a hand. Thank you.

By late afternoon it was clear no rescue would be required and the worst I would face was light showers, but even that never really happened.

So February ended on a high note, but my weight change (gain!) and low mileage on the bike are disappointing. Spring is just around the corner. Always a time for a fresh start.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday felt like Spring

I slept in this morning, then headed out about 9:30 for a nice bike ride. The weather was awesome, mid 40s as I left and headed for the 50s. I went out to Sandy Point then through Annapolis and around the river back to Benfield Blvd and home.

The Severn River looking north from the Naval Academy Bridge


I stopped at the Baltimore Coffee and Tea on Bestgate Rd in Annapolis. Wow, quite a place. Much bigger than a typical coffee shop and the aroma when you walk in.. mmmmmm.. They have a huge inventory of different varieties and flavors of coffee beans available in bulk. I'll have to go back and browse those a bit. But as I had no way to easily carry a purchase I stuck to what I could consume on the spot. I had a small coffee and a egg / sausage / english muffin sandwich. Very tasty.

I wore the Camel Back again. I think the advantage of this will be actually making myself do a better job staying hydrated. Taking small sips frequently while still pedaling is much simpler with this than handling a bottle from the cage. I had drained it (1.5 Liters) by time I got to B'more Coffee and Tea at 20 miles, so I refilled it before I left and drained it again by the time I got home. That's probably twice what I would have otherwise consumed in that distance.

After the ride I took Zach and Erik out in our Scout Uniforms to deliver the food bags for "Scouting for Food". The Scouts solicit donations to the local food banks. Spencer and his father, Jeff also joined us. The boys did a good job explaining the program to the neighbors and asking them to leave their donations out on the front porch for pickup on Saturday morning the 5th. Jeff and I took them for a Sundae at McDonald's after as a treat. Spencer is the only boy with two sisters, so the "guy" time good for him. Jeff and I also get along well, both of us went to the Naval Academy and have maintained our connection to the Alumni groups.

All in all a good day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Busy Binnix Saturday

The Binnix clan was busy today. I got in a ride to Annapolis with Clint this morning. We delivered letters to the club sponsors asking if they are willing to contribute again since our club jersey's continues to carry their logos far and wide. We also talked about ideas for expanding the club's appeal to those who don't aspire to marathon events of 125+ miles at a shot.

Much of the rest of the club took advantage of the great weather to go further afield heading to Ellicot City. I had to get to Erik's basketball game by 10 am so the shorter ride suited me today.

Erik's last basketball game of the season was a hit. He and his team have come a long way learning to pass and work the offense rather than just dribble and shoot. This was followed by a team party at Bill Bateman's with trophies and speeches to congratulate the boys on their season. Team sports are so good for kids at this age (7 - 9).

The twins are off to babysit for a neighbor, Justin drove up to Columbia to see his buddy Sam, while Tivy, Zach, Erik and I enjoyed a Chinese food dinner.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A good weekend

Friday was a great day. Awesome weather and nice long day on the bike with friends. I met the SPP at 05:45 and we rode to Annapolis for breakfast. The usual suspects were with us. Jerry Rush caught us as we were approaching the south end of the trail. 5 of us had a great breakfast at Hard Bean cafe. Then Jerry rode with me as far as the airport, where I went to the office and Jerry continued north to his home.

After work I'd read a headline about brush fire along Rt. 100. I elected to ride down WB&A on the way home which crosses 100 at the point where the news said the fire was going on. By the time I got there the fire was out and most of the fire equipment was gone but the acrid smell of smoke was strong. The light was fading and my pictures didn't turn out. But the charred grass along the highway was clearly visible. The dry weather we've enjoyed has a price. Fortunately the emergency services crews were on the ball. More fires Saturday in a different part of the county burned several hundred acres and a couple of barns. So far no one has been hurt and rain is in the forecast.

Saturday was also incredibly windy. But four of the SPP did a 200K brevet anyway and they all finished in 10 hours or less, despite half the route confronting a head wind. Great job guys.

Sunday I got to ride with my son Erik. Seven sunny miles with stops for a granola bar and ice cream. Also plenty of smiles. A good day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friendship and Motivation

I'm still struggling to get in to a regular rhythm riding 5 - 6 days per week this year. But two recent events help:

I mentioned last Friday that a reporter met us at Hard Bean downtown to do an interview about winter cycling. Her story is up and I must say the notes on the camaraderie and friendships we form on the bike are spot on. Here's the article on the Severna Park Patch.

Next my friend and riding partner Chris posted this on his blog, titled Why I Ride.

I'm fortunate to count the folks mentioned in these pieces as friends.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working on Saturday

Had to work today. Bllleeecckk. But I rode the bike in and that was great. It was a little windy on the ride in, but otherwise a nice day. I left the office at 5:30 and rode home as it got dark. The moon was bright and the wind had calmed down. It was a great ride, no traffic incidents to report.

I've been working this week, again, to get my head right and match my food intake to the level of activity. (are you getting tired of reading that?) TCUP - think clearly under pressure. Work is going to be tight no matter how I eat. The pace is not likely to really calm down any time soon. I can't let that screw up the rest of my life. I maxed out my weight at 246lbs near the end of January from a low of 225 last summer.

About a year ago I had an accident on the bike, hit from behind by a car when I tried to change lanes. I was lucky and came out of it with just some bruises. Some friends asked if I was afraid to get back on the bike in traffic or encouraged me to back off. I assured them I was much more afraid of putting the weight back on than I am of anything that might happen while I was riding. I'm not ignoring the risks and have worked to learn from the incident, better visibility in my lights and clothing, and learning to be more aware of my surroundings. But no, I'm not afraid of the traffic. I AM certainly afraid of the prospect that I could return to the fat old days.

This morning the scale showed 240.5 after about a week of more reasonable eating: salads for lunch etc, staying off of the big subs and burgers that keep getting me in trouble. I KNOW if I can balance 5 - 6 days per week on the bike and reasonable food choices I'll keep shrinking. This week was a good start.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday!!

A great riding day. When I left to meet the 5:45 crew it was 19 deg F on my porch thermometer. As we rode to Annapolis Bill C reported his computer showed 12 degF!! Brrr.

Eight of us set out for downtown Annapolis where a Capital reporter had arranged to meet us for an article on winter riding. She wanted to interview us and get a photo. I stayed with the gang at Hard Bean long enough for the photo then met Doug at Chick N Ruth's. I understand from Earl's blog that they had a great time visiting with her at Hard Bean. I'm sorry I missed that visit. But Doug and I had a good time catching up too and I would have also regretted missing that. The group I meet with at Chick N Ruth's every Friday has history back to when we were all in high school together. Doug and I have known each other even longer than that and earned our Eagle Scout awards together in the the Boy Scouts. It's tough having so many friends that I have to choose who to spend time with!

Riding to work after breakfast was a treat. For weeks I've been cutting back on riding to get to work early and stay ahead of the crush. I recognized mid week this week I wasn't going to climb completely out of the hole this week so I backed out of tomorrow's 200K ride along North by Northwest. That will let me put in another day at the office this weekend, but also took a little pressure off of what I had to get done today. So I took a little me time this morning in exchange for giving tomorrow back to the office. It was the right trade off. With the sun getting up earlier it was bright, cold, clear and calm this morning. Great riding weather.

After work I met Bee at her office. Turns out she works a half mile from my office. She had samples for the next round of SPP club kits: vests, jackets and long sleeve jerseys. Looks like very nice stuff and I'm excited to get them in. Of course our timing is off, they will likely arrive as it's getting warmer later this spring. So I got to identify my size and set my order with Bee.

Then it was off for home. Still a nice evening and quite a bit warmer. The ride home was nice if a little slow. But at least one crazy driver tried to kill himself on Andover Rd. He actually gave me a wide berth but if he'd hit that truck head on, I'm sure I'd have been caught up in it. It's narrow with no shoulders. Two way traffic, the speed limit is 30 mph. There are neighborhoods and a school along there. It's not extremely busy. I was accelerating down an incline and approaching 25 mph. But speedy behind me couldn't wait. He swerved in to the other lane to pass me, misjudged my speed and had to accelerate significantly to get by. OOOOPPPPS... here comes a big delivery truck the other way. Bone head gets by me and swerves back in to our lane, continues to accelerate and flies up the next incline. The tucker had to visibly slow and swerved in to the lawn of one of the houses before it was clear. I caught up with him at the light. Time saved: 0. Regard shown for his own life, the truck drivers' and mine: 0. The look on his face when I pulled up to him at the light: priceless.

After all of that, the ride home was uneventful, the weather delightful and the sunset beautiful.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Hint of Spring

Wow what a nice day to be outside on a bike. Yesterday was raining and mid 30s all day. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. But today... sunny, 40 deg when I left the house about 10 and it just kept getting better. No studded tires, no winter clothing. It was just great to ride the bike.

Also got out Friday morning for the breakfast ride. The original plan was to commute to work Friday but I got an invite to a social event Friday evening while I was at breakfast. So I cut it short to make sure I could get home from work in time to go play.

From Biking 2011


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TCUP

Blogger Clive Chapman keeps a daily blog of cycling activities, weight loss progress and he occasionally brings up life's other foibles as well.

He writes much better than I do and makes periodic contributions to BikeRadar. This one about dealing with the pressure that sometimes side tracks our efforts to stay fit and healthy, especially us big folks who not only need to maintain fitness but still have some baggage to shed around the waist. The tagline is TCUP (Think Clearly Under Pressure) and it certainly rings true to me.