Saturday, April 30

Today’s ride: 1:47:56 Distance: 30.67 miles

I’m buying a lot of gloves and tail lights.

The tail lights I’ve talked about. I broke one hitting a pothole. Another one fell off hitting another pothole.* Since I ride a lot in the early morning, I really want to make sure I’m seen, so I’ve gone and plunked down more money for yet another tail light. I think this one has promise. It’s shaped differently, so hopefully it won’t get jammed up against the rear tire if I hit another pothole. Or maybe I should just do a better job avoiding potholes.

The gloves are a different story. The pair I had last year were hard and crusty from a year of riding, so I purchased a new pair of bio-gel fingerless riding gloves. Then I started going to spinning class, where I sweat so much it becomes difficult for me to keep my hands on the handlebars, so I started bringing the gloves to that class, where they got all sweaty and uncomfortable when they don’t dry fast enough, so I bought another similar pair. Then, since it’s quite cold in the morning, I purchased a third pair–my heavy, two-fingered Zoidberg gloves, which have helped me stay warm. Even if I’m not wearing enough layers elsewhere, I’ve found that putting on those gloves goes a long way toward keeping me warm.

But as they days get slowly warmer, there’s going to be times when the fingerless gloves (hobo gloves, my son calls them–who nonetheless has a pair for himself)  will be too little, and the Zoidbergs will be too much–or just be too freakin’ ugly. That’s why, when I purchased the tail light, I bought yet another pair of cycling gloves–medium weight, full fingered, which use this cool technology which makes them glow like lightsabers when headlights hit them.** This brings my cycling glove total to six for this year (the four mentioned, plus a pair of hobo gloves each for the kids).

I used my new gloves for my ride today. It was a sunny day, and relatively warm, but it was colder by the lake, which I where I rode today. I rode a route called ‘The Pickle’ for reasons unknown to me. It goes from Webster Park in Webster, to B. Forman Park in Pultnyville and back. A straight shot, on a rolling road that goes past lakeside McMansions, old estates, vineyards, orchards, and the occasional nuclear power plant. Okay, there’s only one of those, but I have to pass the damned thing twice.

I think the real Pickle starts at a specific point in Webster Park so that the route is exactly 30 miles, but I don’t know where that point is, so I just park in a little pullover spot, strap on my helmet and start from there.

I’m a little bit cold when I start out, but figure I’ll warm up as I ride. I set a very fast pace for myself. I averaged 17.1 MPH for the ride, and that’s without ever going faster than 28–no long, fast downhills on this ride.

I made it to Pultneyville–15.335 miles from where I started–in under 52 minutes. I stop long enough to have some water, watch some kids get their Pultneyville prom pictures taken in the park, put on a windbreaker,*** and head back. I could have stopped earlier, but I was feeling strong, strong but cold, and I only wanted to stop once, so I figures I’d wait.

And I did feel fine for the ride back, although I was thoroughly gassed by the time I got back to the car. I finished my second bottle of water, and climbed into my car.

It was then that I really started feeling the cold. Driving in the sunlight, with the windows cold and the heater up full, I was shivering. I hadn’t brought a change of clothes. I was riding in sweat-soaked shirts, and I was cold. As soon as I got home, I shed my clothes–and believe me, three removing layers of sweat-soaked, skin tight artificial fabrics is very much a shedding operation–and crawled under the blankets for a good long while. How long, I know not, since I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I squeegeed my clothes into the washer, and made a very decadent dinner of oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and nutmeg, with chocolate raspberry milk for dessert. I tried to watch a little TV, but that’s just making me sleepy again.

If my clothes are dry enough, I’ll do a short ride tomorrow before hitting the spin class. But now to sleep. Hope I don’t hit any potholes tomorrow.


*I’m getting a real good look at ‘our crumbling infrastructure.” Especially on the edges of the road.

**Not why I bought them, but geeky cool nonetheless.

***I have a well-packed gear bag, which contains, among other things, a bright orange windbreaker that folds up nicely into one of its zippered pockets for easy transport.


Wednesday, April 27

This morning’s ride: 37:26 Distance: 10.26 miles

I’m a ditherer. I dither like a mother.

When I went to bed last night I told myself that if it was raining, I’d go to the spin class at the Y, and if it wasn’t, I’d ride. This morning, I dithered. It was cold and wet, a little foggy, and I didn’t know which I should do. So I dithered. I futzed. I puttered, until it was too late to go to the Y, and I rode.  This is why I rode such a short ride.

Well, one reason, anyway. Another reason is because I don’t have a good tail light on my bike anymore. Or again, depending on how you look at it. I lost my replacement over the weekend. I have a rather weak little clip-on number, but I don’t really like having just that light as my only tail light. But that’s what I did. And to make sure it was noticeable, I clipped it onto the collar of my jersey, even though I felt it made me look like a dork.*

I am really feeling the energy from this new food plan. I cruised this morning. I posted my second-fastest time on this route today, and it wasn’t a good morning for riding.** On mornings like this one, I’m not certain about what to wear.–how many layers of clothing, which gloves, should I wear the shoe covers, the helmet cover, et c.

Turns out I slightly underdressed for the ride. The moist, cool air cut right through me as I rode. I had to stop about a mile into the ride to take off my fingerless gloves and tug on my Zoidberg gloves instead. I’ve found that if I keep my hands warm enough, I don’t mind the cold on the rest of my body.

That one small adjustment was enough. I finished the ride in comfort. Except for one small thing. I swallowed another freaking bug. It’s not fair, having it be this cold and still having to worry about the freaking flying insects. Maybe I should start including insects in my food plan.

"Hooray! Hooray for Zoidbug!"


*If you’re thinking “You’re dressed in skintight shiny black tights, and a lemon-yellow jersey. That light is not what’s making you look like a dork” then we’re thinking the same thing.

**Hence, the dithering.

Saturday, March 12

Five months, 8 days til I ask myself “what the hell was I thinking?

I’m still here. Sorry about the lack of posting. Been busy.

I worked out on Thursday (I noticed I wrote the wrong day but right date on the previous posting) with Dave. We worked chest and abdomen. It’s good to work out the other parts of my body. That way, I get a nice, even body ache, rather than a specific thigh-and-hamstring pain.

This food plan is working. I am feeling lighter. Unfortunately it’s mostly in my wallet. In addition to buying a lot of meat and vegetables, I also purchased a portable dishwasher today. I need it. There’s just too much to do with this plan to not have a dishwasher. I spend almost as much time washing as I do preparing. It’s full-sized, which is good. I did a full load today and still had some stuff left over to have washed tomorrow. Boy, I like not having to wash. Plus, it’s got a nice big square of space on top that’s just perfect for more work space. I purchased it used, which was good, but there’s a bit of a problem with where it connects to the faucet. It doesn’t seal properly. Hopefully, require little more than a few small parts to fix this issue.

Tomorrow is spin class. Tonight I set my clocks ahead. Great. Just what I need: one less hour of sleep.

Thursday, March 9

Five months, 11 days until the big climb.

I’ve been up since 5. I made the spinning class. I worked all day, then spent too much time in the kitchen. This food thing is killing me. Not the food itself–just the preparation and cleanup. Tons and tons of time.

Remember that list of food I wrote about on Sunday? It wasn’t enough. Not nearly. Okay–there was too much of some things. Well, one thing: onion. But I ran into serious deficits in the meat department. Also carrots. My kids love carrots. And then all the washing. Sheesh. No wonder I’m tired.

I know that a routine will eventually develop, and it won’t seem as difficult. But we’re still not at that point.


Saturday and Sunday, March 5 & 6

Five months and two weeks (I think–still not sure) til the rubber hits the extremely-sloped road.

I didn’t work out yesterday. I did get my bike back, though. I had dreams of actually getting on the road this week. Then I woke up Sunday to 2″ of snow on the ground and more in the sky coming down, and I figure I’ll probably have to wait a while longer.

The rest of Saturday was filled. I went to a meeting in the morning, then spent most of the early afternoon shopping. We got new shoes for my daughter, a second digital scale (to help weigh the food), and then we bought food.

Here’s what we bought:

9 heads of green leaf lettuce

6 12 oz bags of spinach

6 10 oz bags of baby carrots

1.5 lb of green peppers

.5 lb of assorted hot peppers

2 lb of sweet onions

6 oz of scallions

4.5 lb of black beans

5 lb of steak

3 lb of chicken

3 lb of pork loin

2 lb of ground beef

2 lb of ground turkey

2.5 lb of oat bran

1.5 dozen eggs

5 lb of frozen blueberries

3 lb of frozen blackberries

3 lb of frozen raspberries

1 qt of balsamic vinegar

2 lb of packaged string cheese

1 lb of shredded cheddar cheese

That’s for one week. And it’s probably not enough. For instance: we’re already out of pork loin and peppers. We do love our grilled peppers.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in food prep. cleaning and chopping, bagging and storing. The refrigerator was so full you could barely see the light. Then we grilled the pork loin, set up the steak and chicken in marinades (balsamic vinegar, garlic, dried onion flakes, crushed black pepper, sage, and bay leaves for the steak, low-sodium soy sauce, garlic and ginger for the chicken), ate dinner, then went to a movie. We smuggled in water and sugar-free gum for snacks. Movies are much cheaper (and faster to get to your seats) when you don’t stop at the concession stand.

Sunday started out with spinning at the Y. That’s not true. Sunday started out with breakfast, then shoveling, then spinning at the Y. I pushed myself harder this time than at any previous class. I’ve gotten used to the idea that I’m not going to collapse, exhausted, before class is over, so I’m more comfortable pushing myself.

Two things bothered me today: when I started, my right hamstring was a little twingy. I didn’t hurt enough to make me consider stoping, but it was noticeable. The second problem happened about 45 minutes into class–my calf started to cramp. It’s the same single strand deep inside the muscle that’s been bothering me for the last couple of years. I knew from experience that if I used my calf muscle at all, it would cramp painfully, so I spent the last 15 minutes pedaling while consciously relaxing my calf–no simple feat. I managed to gut it out. By the end, I was swearing and cajoling my calf. I was loud enough that Dave, who was riding next to me, thought I was talking to him. But I finished the ride, and then spent a few glorious minutes stretching that muscle out.

Usually I try to do some sort of ending–either snarky, pithy, or poignant, but I don’t have it in me tonight.

Thurs-Fri March 3 & 4

Five months, sixteen days until I can stop blogging.

I guess. I haven’t really thought about it. Will I continue this blog once I’ve done the ride? I dunno.

Thursday was hellishly long…I worked all day, rushed home and made dinner for the kids and myself, then went and worked a basketball game, then came home and washed dishes, then made the food for Friday, then washed those dishes, then went to bed. Hope that excuses me from blogging.

I did manage to do an hours’ worth of workout during the lunch hour with Dave. Cardio, then we worked abs and chest-specifically lower chest by doing inverted presses, which would be similar to the muscles I would use while getting off the saddle and riding.

Changing topic: A few years ago, I remember reading about a guy with an unusually strong digestive system. How strong? Well, the dude ate an airplane. That’s rather interesting, but what interested me more when I heard about this guy was something not many are inclined to mention:

He also had to shit an airplane. I feel sorry for his plumber.

I bring this up because my digestive tract has been a rather large part of the conversation on this blog for the past couple of days. I’m no longer consuming flour, sugar, alcohol or caffeine. I’m eating a lot of vegetables, a good amount of meat, and a little bit of fat.  This rather radical change in my diet has affected me in one rather noticeable way. It’s a rather delicate subject. How best to put it?

I started the program on Sunday. I didn’t make a boom-boom until Thursday.

I don’t mean ‘I had to go for four days but couldn’t,’ either. There just wasn’t a need. I don’t know if this is a reaction by my body to the change in diet, or just the fact that very little of what I’m consuming isn’t consumable.  Or maybe a little of both. We’ll see what happens. Or doesn’t happen, as the case may be.

Hey–there’s only so much I can write about when I’m not really riding, ya know?

Maybe this blog should end before I hit that mountain.

Tuesday, March 1

Five months and 20 days to the mountain climb.

Another day of no workouts. I’ll be doing two tomorrow, so I need to get to bed.

We had hamburgers for dinner tonight. Since we no longer eat flour, they were without buns. So it was a surprise when I got to the table and found both of my kids eating their hamburgers like…well, hamburgers. They used pieces of lettuce instead of buns.

I’m equal parts appalled and amused.

Monday, February 28

Five months and twenty-something days til blah blah blah.

Food is a lot of work. Really. Especially if you weigh and measure everything. Which is what I’m doing. Right now, food preparation is taking up a lot of my time. Like, 3 hours a day. Part of it’s a learning curve–getting used to a new way of doing things. Part of it is it just takes time. Especially when I’m doing this for three people.

Ever try serving four ounces of meat? Not approximately four ounces–four ounces exactly. It’s a little bit tough. Works out to about a hamburger and a half. Three-fifths of a chicken breast. Two and one-eighth mahi mahi fillets. Now, try that for three people, plus an exact amount of cooked vegetables, plus an exact amount of raw vegetables and try to get them all done at the same time so everyone can eat.

Not easy.

And I’m sure some of you are thinking, well, have the kids help. They do. As much as they can. But it’s a small kitchen. I have six feet of counter space when I cover over the sink with cutting boards. And only one scale. I sort of have a one-person kitchen. And I haven’t even covered the costs. Fresh food’s expensive. Especially the partially-prepared stuff, like cut and washed beans, carrot sticks and the like. I know it would be cheaper to buy them unprepared and clean and chop myself, but that would take more time, which is something else that’s a precious commodity right now.

It will get easier, I know. Humans are the most adaptable creatures this side of the cockroach. But right now, I’m tired. Tired of food.

Sunday, February 27

Five months, 24 days or so til I ride up Mount Washington.

First day on the food plan was good. There’s going to be a learning curve to getting the food prepared. I spent a large part of today prepping food. And I’m surprised at how much is gone from the food I purchased on Saturday. I’m going to have to make another run to the grocery store on Tuesday or Wednesday.

After breakfast I went to the YMCA with Dave, and we did the spinning class again. This time I was much more successful at it.

Man, am I tired. Going to go to bed now. I expect to have more energy tomorrow.


Saturday, February 26

Five months and 25-ish days ’til my legs turn to Jell-O on the side of a mountain.

I got an email today from one of the organizers of the ride, telling me that registration was open for a training ride up Mount Washington in July. Yeah. Like I’m gonna ride my bike up that thing twice. Then I got another email from  her stating there was a problem with the site and someone was working on it. She then thanked me for my patients.

Oh, doctor.

She may be able to ride circles around me,* but at least I can still be a word snob.

No exercise today. I’ve been on the go with commitments for 17 straight hours. What little time I had to work out I used to prepare myself for my upcoming food regimen. Which starts tomorrow.

Here’s my food:

Breakfast: I cup oat bran, cooked. 4 oz frozen blueberries. 1 hard-boiled egg.

Lunch: 4 oz chicken. 6 oz grilled scallions, peppers, and spinach. 8 oz salad (mixture of iceberg and green-leaf lettuce, carrots, scallions, and cucumbers), with 1 tbsp. blue-cheese dressing.

Dinner: 4 oz grilled hamburger, 6 oz mixture of steamed broccoli and asparagus, 8 oz salad (mixture of iceberg and green-leaf lettuce, carrots, scallions, and cucumbers), with 1 tbsp. blue-cheese dressing.

This is an approximation of the food plan from the program I’m going to be using, but I have yet to be able to get to one of the meetings, and I won’t be able to get to one tomorrow. In fact, the earliest I see myself getting to the meeting would be Tuesday evening, and I don’t want to wait that long to start changing the way I eat. I’m fairly certain that there will be changes to that plan once I get into the meetings and get a sponsor–a person who’s already successful in the program, who will tell me how to structure my food going forward. But what I’m eating tomorrow will be close. It will certainly be closer than what I’ve been eating lately.

After breakfast tomorrow, I’ll be going back to spin class with my friend Dave, which is good. Then after that, I’ll be going to a meeting, and that meeting will be filled with sugary, floury foods, and caffeine-laden drinks. Which will be less good. We’ll see how well I can handle it. I’ll just have to remind myself that it’s not my food.

Somebody might be getting a phone call. You know who you are.


*I lie. There’s no ‘may be’ about it.