My Progress

Friday, January 27, 2012

Midweek training and stupid dog tricks

So far most of my posts have just focused on my long rides on the weekends.  I do train during the week either by riding, walking or running.  My wife and I usually alternate with riding and walking with the kids.  Monday & Wednesday I ride, and she walks, Tuesday & Thursday she rides and I take the kids for a run.  This week however has been different.

First it rained here in the MetroMess.  We're still puzzled how that happened but we aren't looking a gift horse in the mouth.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday we got around 6" of very welcome rain.  While I don't mind running in a light rain, a monsoon isn't something I'd enjoy.  Consequently my normal midweek training was off.

Tonight, I took the kids and the dog for a run.  We ran our normal route, (about 3 miles) and were finishing up a nice little run.  The kids and I have a routine of finishing the run off with a sprint home.  The kids and I all have fun with this, Cody the dog, though doesn't enjoy a full on sprint pace.

Well this evening Cody thought he would take a short cut toward the door as we were sprinting for home.  Unfortunately, his two brain cells didn't fire in order and he failed to account for the brick mailbox.  He headed to the inside of it while I was on the outside of it.  Mind you, we were attached by a nice stout leash looped around my left wrist.

Cody hit full stop courtesy of a face full of brick mailbox, I go from full warp nine sprint to full stop courtesy of a dog, a mailbox, and the leash.  Newton said, "a body in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside force".  That "outside force"  ended up doing some rather unpleasant things to my shoulder and wrist.  I have a feeling that they are going to be singing rather loudly tomorrow.

And for you readers who are going who cares about you!  What about the dog?  Cody's fine, neither brain cell was hurt.  He's a little scuffed up and another scrape or two but nothing major.  How I'm going to explain to my neighbor about the dog sized dent in his brick is another issue though.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

01.21.12 75 Miles

So I had the not so bright idea yesterday that I wanted to up my mileage a bit on my weekend ride.  It was mainly to see how ready I was to start looking at some brevets, (200 Km/120 Mile) rides with the Lone Star Randonneurs.  I should have listened to my body and realized that after the week I had at work, (lots of heavy lifting), and my mid week workouts which included an 8.5 mile run on Thursday, I wasn't ready for a long ride.  My first clue should have been my blood sugar reading in the morning, I was a 141 which for me currently is 20 points higher than normal.  However, me being me, nope I had to do it anyway.

Here is a link to the ride courtesy of the Garmin Edge 305,  LINK.  I figured out the course/route feature and played a bit with it on this ride.  I think it is going to work for us and help Vicky and I navigate unfamiliar roads.  I'm really hoping it keeps us from accumulating lots of bonus miles on rides and ending up in "Pedal faster I hear banjos" parts of the country.

The day was just a little on the chilly side, (I know, I'm spoiled by Texas winters), and a light 5-12 mph North wind.  I'd started out in arm warmers, leg warmers, and a new Pearl Izumi Thermal Barrier vest, (scored off Ebay for cheap!), a jersey and shorts.  Opps, that was a mistake, I'd no sooner gotten down the block from the house before I realized I wanted a jacket over the top of everything.  A quick pit stop for the jacket and I was off to the wilds of the county.

Following my now normal route north had me hit all the usual spots on the route, the triple bypass of nasty steep little hills, the creek bottom for a quick nature break where I smacked my knee into the backside of guard rail hard enough to make me say a few unkind things, the road out of Weston where I finally spotted the no bicycle sign at the Anna city limit sign, (hmm, it says no upright bicycles, I'm on a recumbent!)

I might just have to see if I can map out a workaround on that little section.  I did the slow grind up CR 3356 to FM121 and chewed on the headwind the whole way.  At Gunter I figured I'd run North on Hwy 289 and pick up my bonus miles.  A quick bit of math and I came up with nine more miles of headwind and I would have my 75 miles when I got home.  Those were some of the longest nine miles I've done.  The headwind was just kicking my butt big time, I member crawling up a hill at 5.8 mph thinking I can walk faster, it was not pretty.

I hit my turn around point and pointed it south and enjoyed the tailwind! 

HWY 289 in that area is a fantastic road, it has  a wide paved shoulder that is nice and smooth, (until you hit Collin county where it devolves to rough chip and seal).  I made good time to the Collin county line where the wind died and I hit the chip and seal which both conspired to slow me down.  By that point I was running on nothing but sheer stubbornness and stupidity to get home with my 75 miles.  CR 88 to Meyers Park, to Lake Forest, (and that danged hill before Virginia St) and home. 

A note about my on the bike nutrition.  Again, this ride was an experiment in nutrition and calorie replacement while I was on the bike.  I had one water bottle of full strength Gatoraid, three packages of Clif Shot Rocs, a couple of Fig Newton bars, and some Clif Bar Minis.  Overall, I consumed 1040 calories, two packages of the Rocs, two packages of the Fig Newton bars, and a Clif Mini.  While I realize I was once again, light on my calorie replacement something was combining in my gut to produce some "unpleasantness".  Let's just say I was producing enough methane to solve our energy problem and leave it at that..  I am not sure what was causing the issue however, it may have been the Levaquin and Flagyl I was on to clear up the diverticulitis, may have been something I ate the day before, but I think it was something I ate or drank while on the bike as this was a repeat performance from last week, (just a lot worse).  I guess more experiments are in order.

And to end on a good note, my headset issue is now fixed!  Monday nights ride had it coming loose again, more reading, research and a stop by the nice folks at Plano Cycling and Fitness for a $5.99 part, and it is FIXED.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

01.14.12 58 miles

Another long ride, (for January) yesterday.  I headed out for essentially the same course as I did last week, except I skipped the bonus miles so my wife could get a ride in also.  The day started out nice and sunny but a little chilly do I dressed for it, by the time I hit Gunter, I was more than a little hot.  Stripped out of my jacket and managed to stuff it into my Fastback Double Century pouch.

I am still exploring options for bags and gear carrying systems.  The Double Century bags are great but limited size wise.  Vicky is trying to scrounge me a used Rans Z bag or an Angletech Aeropod but it seems the folks who have them love them and won't turn loose of them.  Guess I just have to be patient, (or spend the money for new).

I was also trying out a new to us Garmin Edge 305 and so far I like it.  One of the main reasons we added it to the equipment list was the data logging feature.  At a glance I can see all of the ride's statistics.  From the reading and research I've done, I should be able to use this to further refine my training and riding to be able to ride farther and faster.

Here is the data from the ride,  Lots of room for improvement but still not to bad overall.

This ride involved more experiments in nutrition/calorie replacement on the while on the bike.  The morning breakfast was a slice of breakfast casserole and hot tea.  I went without my coffee in hopes of at least slowing down the need to water the local plant life.  The idea didn't work but it shows me I am really WELL HYDRATED.  The on bike nutrition experiment involved using Clif Shot Roks.  They are tasty!  I started eating them about 50 minutes into the ride.  Overall I like the way they taste, they are easy to eat while riding, and have a great balance of carbs and protiens for me.  I think these may be added in on a regular basis for my rides.  My total calorie intake on the ride ended up being 670 calories, one package of the Clif Shot Roks and four of the Clif bar minis.  This seemed to work well as I didn't bonk and actually felt reasonable after the ride.

I still have a headset issue plaguing me.  I may have fixed it last night after reviewing some online documentation on it.  I really don't want to have to locktight my headset nuts but will end up doing that if last nights fix doesn't work.

Another issue was three less than friendly dogs running together in a pack.  As I have two large dogs I am more than friendly with dog body language.  Their body language was more than aggressive and they were more than persistent in their chase, the followed me up the road for a good ways before they finally gave up, (a good thing to as I was almost redlining my heart rate).  As much as I hate it, I may have to carry some HALT or something similar with me for next time.

The other issue I need to deal with is developing a set routine for stops.  Several times I failed to get my Camelbak tube situated before riding and this is a pain to do while riding.  I guess I just need to develop a mental checklist:

  • bushes watered
  • empty wrappers moved to bags
  • food moved to pockets
  • Camelback tube in place
  • And so on...
All for now, who knows what next week might bring.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It was a good day for a January bike ride, (no snow, ice, or rain)! 

I got out into the county for 65 miles and change.  I decided to alter my route a bit and explore some roads I’d not seen in awhile.  I hit part of my normal route, making sure to grab what passes for hills here in the area and proceeded up Weston Road chewing on a headwind the whole way.

Weston soon passed by and I ran east on FM 455 to FM3356 northbound.  Yay!  More headwinds, just grinding it out and up the road I go.  I’d not ridden FM3356 since my brief return to cycling back in 2004, it was just as I remembered, rural chip and seal with minimal traffic.  FM 3356 ended and I picked up FM121, I was sad to see the Mexican restaurant that had been there was gone as they had pretty decent food.  FM121 brought some relief from the headwinds but had some nice hills to play on.

Finally rolled into Gunter feeling pretty tired and a little bonky.  I’d been planning on stopping at the Kwicky Mart there for a bit of food and rest.  Something however about best laid plans because as I came down to Highway 289 four roadies pop out in front of me and turn south.  While the legs may be 20 some odd years older, my former Ricky Racer mindset says that I must chase them down and catch them!  So merrily I go heading south, riding a beautiful tailwind.  I relaxed a little bit and backed off the speed enough to grab a Cliff bar and half a Powerbar from my Fastback bag.  This brought enough snap back to my legs I was able to bridge up to the roadies in front of me.  I bridged up to say hi and chit-chat a bit, they weren’t very talkative though…  “Hi, nice day for a ride”…  Suffer fest roadie, “uugh”.   “you guys enjoying the ride?”…  Suffer fest roadie, “ungh uggh”  “Talkative bunch aren’t you?”  Suffer fest roadie, “uggghh”.  I guess maybe I offended them by catching them and being able to carry on a reasonable conversation.  After all, everyone knows recumbents are slow and if you ride one you’re supposed to be only doing 5 mph on the local bike trail!  How dare I catch up to them on their nice carbon road bikes with carbon aero bars!  Plus, not being at my maximum heart rate and actually having the breath to be able to talk to them, how dare I!  Actually, I thought it was pretty funny…  Some folks...

A quick aside here…  It’s unfortunate that there seems to be a dividing line between the type of bikes, (road versus recumbent versus mountain bikes….) people ride.  My personal belief is that anyone on a bike is a good thing.  It doesn’t matter to me if you’re on a Walmart special and your neighborhood sidewalk, or a $10,000 carbon Madone and the open road, you have my respect, after all, you’re out there turning the pedals.  I wish other folks were the same.

The suffer fest roadies finally turned off to pick up their vehicles and I continued on down HWY 289.  Rural Grayson counties smooth beautiful HWY 289 soon gave way to Metro Collin counties rough, chip and seal.  You would think that with the money in Collin County that the road would be in better shape.  After all, that chip and seal was causing a noise/rattle that I just could not pin down, it was driving me nuts!

CR 88, Twin Bridges road, to CR 168 and a full on bonk.  I had to stop and take a few minutes to grab some food as the blood sugar was falling.  I got ready to head back onto the road and found out what the nasty rattle/noise was.  My headset had managed to vibrate itself more than a little loose on the fine chip and seal around here.  While I carry a pretty extensive tool kit, headset wrenches aren’t something I normally carry.  A quick call to my wife and tools were inbound.  A fast fix and down the road I went in search of bonus miles to round out my ride to the 65 miles I wanted. 

Wilmeth road offered an opportunity to explore and I was glad I did.  I ran across some nice roads and hills to add into the route database.   I ran Wilmeth back to FM1461, (aka Lake Forest) and turned southbound for the run back home.  A fast downhill, a sprint across HWY 380 with a green light and I was at my nemesis.   My nemesis is a hill on Lake Forest that is way to short and way to shallow to kick my butt every time I ride up it but it does.  I guess it’s something about it coming at the tail end of my ride.  Down Lake Forest to my neighborhood with a short detour on the local MUP, (multi user path) and I had my 65 miles.

A note about my bonking and the nutrition I was trying out.  As an insulin dependent type II diabetic nutrition is something that I am trying to get a handle on.  I eat a low carbohydrate diet to handle my blood sugar.  Prior to long/hard exercise events I try and fuel up properly.  Breakfast was a banana, two slices of rye toast with peanut butter, two slices of toast with honey, and a yogurt.   On the bike I was trying out Hammer Nutrition’s Perpetuem.  It seemed to be pretty good, easy to eat, reasonable on the stomach, and a reasonable taste.  I think my bonking was just not eating enough of them.  I was eating nowhere near 200 calories/hour during the second hour of the ride and probably should have pushed more food earlier than I did.  I really have to work on pushing my calorie intake on these longer rides.

Hydration was good, but it’s January!  I had overcast for most of the ride and it was maybe 60 degrees at most.  I took a 100 ounce Camelbak loaded with water and Camelbak Elixir.  I only drank through a little over half of the 100 ounces.  I need to start cranking up my hydration to about 20-25 ounces an hour, once it gets warm around here; I’m going to need it.

Notes on Stupid People Tricks!

People continue to amaze me…  They are a constant source of amusement and head scratching. 
I’d like to think my family and I live in a reasonable area.  We’re in the middle of suburbia, most of the people in our area are professionals of one sort or another which should mean they posses at least a little brain power however their behavior on the local MUP, (Multi User Path) leads me to question that.
Dear readers I give you the following idiots:

Techno Tom/Tammi, (TT). 

TT is a gadget geek.  TT is one of those people who simply must be plugged in to the world in any way possible for 24 hours a day.  TT is easily recognizable while on the trail as the person standing RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING TRAIL staring at their latest and greatest smart phone.  TT is usually so absorbed in answering whatever latest email/tweet/blog that they are totally FREAKING OBLIVIOUS to anything happening around them.  Case in point is one night I was finishing up a nice workout and heading home on the MUP.  Sure enough, right in the middle of the trail was Techno Tom.  I kicked on almost 1500 lumens of strobe light, heck, I could see the light bouncing off his phone…    I dinged my courtesy bell multiple times, no clue, “on your left”, “ON YOUR LEFT”, “ON YOUR LEFT!” and still not a freaking clue.  When I finally squeaked by him, he jumped and called me everything in the book…  Gee thanks.

Blacked out Bob/Bethany.

BB is one of those really nice folks who think wearing dark clothes, carrying no lights, and owning no reflective gear is OK for going out at night!  They are a true joy to discover on the trail.  You usually find them about 10’ and closing fast as a dark on darker shape.  Fortunately BB and TT don’t combine to often cause the light coming off their smart phones usually gives them away.

Clueless Chuck/Carrie.

CC is a person who is just so wrapped up in whatever passes for music they are stuffing into their ears at 150 db courtesy of their IPOD that they have NO CLUE anyone else is out there.   These folks are a real pet peeve of mine, particularly teenage girls.  Get a clue girls, there really are predators out there.  Walking through life oblivious to your surroundings will not protect you.  Head up, eyes looking around, and ears listening will help keep you safe.  If you want to go through life clueless, please find another area to do it, I don’t want you bringing predators into the same area where I have to protect my children from them.  Combine them with BB and you get a real winner.

The numbers are in! My final numbers from 2011

Final numbers from 2011

Well the tallies are in and the numbers have been crunched. 
Since June 1, 2011 when my wife and I started this insanity, I’ve managed:

  • 1170.82 miles on the bike including two metric centuries, one of those was with the Lone Star Randonneurs
  • 213.01 miles walking or running
  • My average gross calorie intake was 1795 calories
  • My average net calories, (gross calories - calories burned during exercise) was 1121 calories
  • My total weight loss was 52 pounds
  • My fasting blood glucose readings went from in the 240's to the 110's
  • My insulin use dropped from 60 units a day down to around 15 units

Diary of a former fat guy volume #1

Well I’ve finally become literally fed up with being overweight and a type II diabetic.   256 pounds and up to 60 units of Lantos a day, it wasn’t looking good.

It came down to a relatively simple decision process.  Get busy living, or get busy dying.  Knowing the results of unchecked diabetes and having small kids at home the decision was relatively easy.

I’ve spent a lot of time and frustration on being overweight, I’ve known how to fix the issue for years, and it is really as simple as it sounds.  Eat right and exercise more.  Nothing fancy, no drugs, no supplements, just watch what you eat and get out for some simple exercise.  Friends and co workers of mine have gone to doctors and weight loss clinics and some have shown some fantastic results.  Most of the results though have come with a cost however, money, lots and lots of money.  I just could not see paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to have a doctor tell me what I already knew, eat less, eat right, and exercise more.

Let’s start with exercise.  Some folks buy expensive home gyms, expensive clothes racks, (aka exercise machines), or long term contracts with gyms.  Again, I’m cheap and live within a budget; none of those solutions were going to work for me.  I went the simple route, I went for a walk.  I already own the clothes and shoes; I didn’t have to go buy a bunch of expensive gear and equipment.  I simply went out the front door and started walking.  Thirty to sixty minutes a day, simply walk, it’s that easy.

Now for the other half of the equation, eating right, this has always been an issue for me.  Given my preferences, a cheeseburger and fries and I’m happy.  I’m also a carbohydrate junkie, for me, the more carbs the better.  Pastas, breads, and potatoes were major food groups for me.  Combine that with a sweet tooth and it’s real easy to pack on weight and kill your pancreas in fairly short order. 
Several years ago I was seeing a dietician to work on controlling the weight and diabetes.  What she taught us was how to count calories, carbs, and how to eat right.  The problem I found with this program however was the amount of paperwork involved.  Eat an apple, thumb through a notebook to look up what the calorie, carb and protein numbers were so you could write them down in a notebook in order to total them at the end of the day.  Then tally everything up at the end of the week, month, and year.  It ended up being a lot of paperwork and being a pain in the butt.

My wife and I have found a couple of tools in order to eat right and loose weight.  The first and foremost was that we finally upgraded to an Android based smart phone.  I know, you’re asking what the heck a phone has to do with losing weight and getting your diabetes under control…  Actually we didn’t just get  new phones, we got “smart phones”.

Once we got the phones, we loaded a couple of different of applications on them.  The first application I loaded was On Track for monitoring my diabetes.  Previously, tracking my blood sugar was as labor intensive as counting calories, lots of writing down numbers, scribbling in a notebook, copying my numbers into a spreadsheet, in short, a pain in the ass.  On Track solves all the issues I had with tracking my blood sugar.  Simply enter the number into the application and you are done.  I can only think of one way to make it simpler, make my blood sugar monitor talk directly to my phone with no input from me, believe me, I’m already thinking on that idea.  I also use this application to track my daily blood pressure, insulin dosage, and weight.  The other application that we use it My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter, this application is extremely easy to use.  Simply tap in what it was you eat, hit the search button and add it to your meal diary.  At the end of the day, you can see at a glance what your calorie balance is for the day.  My Fitness Pal also allows us to track exercise.  Simply input 60 minutes of walking, hit search, and there is the total calories burned.  This allows us to not only watch how many calories we eat, but what our net calorie total, (how much we ate less how much we exercised) is for each day.

So far, it’s working well for both of us.

Hopefully you will check back often to see just where we are on our journey.