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Monday, December 29, 2008

Missed Opportunities

Missed opportunities or excuses, excuses, excuse! I was going to go with the "excuses x 3" for the title of this post but I'm saving that title for a later date that I know all too well will come. Yes, the long holiday weekend presented several riding opportunities all of which I allowed to pass. Too cold, too wet, too windy...too tired, too lazy, too busy...they all applied over the post-Christmas 3-day weekend. Not even a new Garmin Edge 305 could motivate me. Yup, pretty pathetic!! But on the other hand, I got to spend some quality time with the kids playing with their new toys which includes the family gift of the Wii (Wii Sports, Wii fit, and MarioKarts to start). Other than the kids DS units, we're not really video heads in this family, so it was not just about new video games but also learning the basics of using all the gizmo's that come with a Wii console. We don't have everything mastered quite yet, but we're having lots of fun learning. And so far daddy is the champion of most of the Wii games, but as I learned with the DS, give my son enough time and daddy is no longer good enough to play with him. :-(

I'm heading out of town for a day so I guess my 12/18 ride was in fact the last ride for 2008.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Ho, ho, ho...the snow's a melting!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Tracking

The children and I were just tracking Santa Claus on the 2008 Norad Tracks Santa website. The problem of course is that at this time on Christmas Eve, he's pretty much over the Atlantic, so there are no live images from any Santa cams. But the previous recorded videos of Santa over the major European cities are pretty cool. Actually, with a little bit of computer technology and know how I was able to capture and blow-up a good image to display here. What's this I see??

Looks like Santa has a new mode of transportation this year!!

Note: Clip Art Courtesy of Pearl Izumi

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Little Christmas Music...

...Bicycle repair style!

Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" - performed entirely on bicycle parts:

Click on the 10-Speed Cassette to listen. Wait at the end to see the "instruments"

Courtesy of Specialized Bicycle Components.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 22, 2008

And Snow It Did!

Snow totals in my yard:

Friday - 9"
Saturday - 2"
Sunday - 4" (before brief change to sleet/rain)

I can be a bit of a weather geek with stats and with IMO commentary on weather forecasts. Drives my wife crazy. What can I say, it goes hand in hand with my BS in meteorology.

As expected, I won't be hitting the road on two wheels anytime soon. But I WILL start on the trainer before 2008 is over and do plan a series of mostly bicycle related posts over the holidays. Gotta keep the blogging skills intact too!

Looking over my my blog, I'm mostly pleased with the results so far. One thing I'm not pleased about is the lack of photos will be added soon. Today I've add stock photos of my bikes on the sidebar.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Ride This Year??

Had my sights set on two more rides this weekend and at least another two over the long Christmas weekend, but with a double barrel snow threat bearing down on southern New England for Friday and Sunday I decided to vacate the office this afternoon to get in what might be the last ride of 2008. Hope it's not the last ride, but I can't see myself riding in the snow, slush and ice left over from two major winter storms.

Anyway, it was a good ride...the longest ride on the fixie so far. Stayed warm enough except my toes got too cold, which was a first for me on these cold weather rides. Bummer, freezing toes always spoil an otherwise good ride.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 19.8 miles
Time: about 78 minutes
Average Speed: approx. 15.2 mph
Next scheduled ride: 12/26 - 12/28...but more likely in 2009
Temperature at start: 37.0 F
Temperature at end: 32.5 F
Gear: base/Summit jersey/InsulaTour jacket/Zephrr vest/Bell Weather winter tights (circa 1988 but they're still the best winter tights I've ever used)

I actually do like the snow...especially around the holidays. So...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!! (But I'll be hoping the January thaw comes on schedule and lasts the rest of the winter)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Ride - 12/14

Wow! What a difference 10 degrees makes. Today's ride was warmish. I had on a base layer, winter weight jersey (Sporthill Summit top) and the Pearl Izumi InsulaTour jacket...just the right combo for a long ride. Just one little problem. When you leave for the ride at 3:08 pm on a mid-December day, you haven't left yourself enough good daylight for a long ride. Had to settle for a 17.5 mile ride...was hoping to do 25 miles but that ride will have to wait for another December weekend day with temperatures above 40. Perhaps we'll get one soon but times running out I'm afraid.

So today I had my first self inflicted "incident" related to riding on a fixed gear bike. The loop I rode yesterday and today has a short downhill section on which I typically attain 33 mph while coasting. Knowing this, I used a little brake action yesterday to make sure I could handle it on the fixie. Today I decided no brakes...oops, little mistake. These old legs couldn't handle the RPMs on this section and my foot slipped off the pedal (yup, no clipless yet on this bike). I also learned that you need absolutely perfect timing to reengage foot to pedal at high speeds (moderate and low speed too) and I have the marks on the back of my legs to prove it. Plus it's hard to keep one foot on while the other is off at this speed, so the cars passing by must have done a double take when they saw me flying down the hill with my legs out straight and the pedals moving. Oh well, I survived that little incident fairly unscathed so I'll just chalk it up as a lesson learned. Thankfully, the rest of the ride went without incident.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 17.5 miles
Time: about 70 minutes
Average Speed: approx. 15.0 mph
Next scheduled ride: next weekend
Temperature at start: 42.1 F
Temperature at end: 40.8 F

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Ride

Made it out today for a slightly longer 16.5 mile ride on the fixie. I was too bored with the 14 mile ride which is a shorter loop I do twice. I get bored easy! We had around 4 inches of rain on Friday so it was no surprise that many roadsides were still wet...even had to do a little ice dodging.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 16.5 miles
Time: about 65 minutes
Average Speed: approx. 15.0 mph
Next scheduled ride: tomorrow (suppose to be mid-40s!!)
Temperature at start: 31.5 F
Temperature at end: 28.4 F

Housekeeping notes: I've added some new widgets! Local radar images are at the bottom of the page. A "Latest Ride Widget" courtesy of dailymile is on the right under "About Me." Dailymile is yet another training and social networking web site. It's currently in beta testing. Figured I'd try it out for a while.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nothing Tastes As Good As Thin Feels

The title of this post is a saying I heard tonight on NBC's The Biggest Loser show. Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I need to get my motivation to ride from different sources...including a reality TV show. So every Tuesday night I tune in to the Biggest Loser to watch these amazing transformations. They truly are amazing. And believe it or not, I had never heard that saying before...neither had my wife. But we're in agreement that it's a profound statement.

Again, the reason I mention this is, that despite my love for cycling, I still need to be motivated to get out and ride. And riding is my main method for losing weight. What can I say, I enjoy eating...and most often not the right food. Yes, I'm more of a live to eat than eat to live type of guy. But I also know when enough is enough, and that moment came earlier this year when my doctor informed me that I had essential hypertension (high blood pressure runs in the family) and put me on medication. I hate medication! I desperately want to be off of meds! Ha!...more motivation.

At the time of my high blood pressure diagnosis, I was tipping the scales at 226 lb (at 5'-11" I believe that equates to a BMI of around 31...not good). Immediately, I set out with a haphazard bike riding training schedule and I'm happy to report that I lost 25 lbs by mid September. No doubt, eating better was also an essential part of that success. Currently, with the lack of riding miles and the festive season underway, I'm waging a losing battle with maintaining that weight loss. So yes, I need all the motivation I can get.

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I should put that on a tee shirt! Darn, someone beat me to it.

Now you know a little more about me and the motivation I need. I went riding in snow showers on Sunday. I never would have done that in the past. Being part of a cycling blog community provided the motivation. Thanks Sarah!!

The weekend weather is looking mighty good at this point, so no excuses for not getting in two more rides this week.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Post, Two Rides

Quoting myself, "I might be a little slow getting this blog going but I've got ideas and lofty goals...and it looks like an early winter is setting in here in southern New England, so I might have some extra time too. Stay tuned"

Did I say I might have some extra time? What extra time??

My goal going into this past Friday was to get two rides in over the next three days. I knew it would be tough given the weekend weather forecast of snow on Sunday and our plan to once again find our "perfect" Christmas tree and get the lights on it. For us, buying a tree is not a quick's not even an activity that can be reliably scheduled in a 2-3 hour window, though we do try. In a good (lucky) year, it may take an a bad year it might start on a Saturday afternoon and wrap up the next morning! This was a fairly good year. We left the house around 2:30 pm Saturday afternoon and headed over to a previously unknown (to us) tree farm in Plainville. Traipsed around there for 30 minutes looking at all the half-way decent trees that were already tagged...okay, time to try another place (Sunlight Farms) we recently found in Foxboro. First Saturday in December and their pre-cut Frazer Furs are all picked over...time to move on, until I start talking to a worker about the tree farm we had just visited. He asks if we've been out back to look at their 3 dozen or so uncut trees (they're not really a tree farm, but apparently they planted some a few years back). The moment I saw these trees I had a feeling we would find ours. Bingo! 15 minutes later we're driving away with what I consider to be a great "tree farm" find. Total elapsed time of about 3 hours (after a few more Christmas decoration related errands). Not bad. Unfortunately, with the children's commitments in the morning and the tree adventure in the afternoon, there's no time left to ride the bike. That's the bad bike news.

The good bike news is I left work early on Friday and was able to get a 14 mile ride in and the snowstorm on Sunday was a nuisance event that was over by early another 14 mile ride shoe-horned into an otherwise busy weekend. It actually snowed for a while on the Sunday afternoon that was a first for me.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 2 x 14.2 miles
Time: about 60 minutes each day
Average Speed: not worthy of mention
Next scheduled ride: who knows with a week of forecast unsettled weather and no doubt another busy weekend
Temperature: ranged from 33 to 38 F for the 2 rides.

I had most of my new winter riding gear on during these two rides, but the verdict is still out on how much I like this stuff. Need a few more rides to finalize my opinion.