My Progress

Sunday, March 25, 2012

03.25.12 Too nice of a day to not ride!

Well last week I promised myself a special treat if I managed to do 100 miles on the bike.

This was taken as I was getting ready to leave to meet up with a fellow diabetic rider.  Can you spot the special treat?

The first part of today's ride was meeting up with Jeff K, who is the manager for Team Red, (the diabetic team for Tour D' Cure).  Jeff and I have been trying to get together for a ride for two months or so.  It was finally nice to meet and get the chance to ride.

The first part of today's ride was a 25 mile ride through the local hilly loop north of the town.  I felt bad for Jeff as he is a transplant from Michigan and his allergies are not yet used to a wet Texas spring and all the pollen.  I can well remember the time my allergies had adjusting down here.

Once Jeff and I finished up, it was just too nice of a day to not enjoy so I headed back out into the county and looped up around Weston.    80 some odd degrees and very light wind with hardly any clouds, days don't get much nicer around here.

What worked and didn't work.  I'd added a new bike bag from Bent Up Cycles and it worked great!  My homebrew mounting system for it though needs work.  Fig Newtons, Clif Shot Roks and Gatoraid continued to do well for nutrition.  I know I should have drank more, but as it was, I was watering trees about every ten miles.  What didn't work was somewhere on my bike I have something loose, time to go rattle hunting.

The total distance for today was 67.22 miles.  A quick check of my blood sugar after the ride showed I was at 93, right in the normal range!  An added benefit of today's ride was getting home and seeing this...

Too bad it's mostly all water weight.  Darn!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My first century in 20 years.

Well I managed to pull it off. 

Every since I did my first century back in 1988 I've loved the challenge of riding long miles.  It just seemed to be something that fit for me, it settled into my soul, this was my event.  The challenge of nothing more than myself, my bike, and a number on my bike computer.   To see if I can go longer than I've done before, to continually set that bar higher and higher.

Unfortunately years ago I'd let my love of cycling slide by the wayside due to career, an auto accident, poor lifestyle choices, (eating the wrong foods), and life.  It just seemed that although I loved to ride my bike, life was just going to get into the way.  Add a wife, kids, dogs and a house into the mix and things got busy.  Who had the time to ride?

The first wakeup call was getting diagnosed with Type II diabetes, the second was becoming insulin dependent, the third and final was realizing if I didn't do something I was going to lose my eyesight.  That third wakeup call I heard.

My wife and I made a change to a better diet, more exercise and a return to cycling via a recumbent.  Once I started riding again, that old love of the long distance ride came to the front in a big way.  While a 20 mile ride was nice, a 50 miler was better, I knew the true challenge was going to be 100+ miles.  That if I could make it 100 miles, especially as a Type II diabetic, I would be back.

All last week I had the nagging question running through my mind, could I do it?  Could I go the distance without blowing up and dying out there on the road?  I needed to figure out if I could do the distance as the local Randonneurs have a Brevet, (200 kilometers, 124 miles) ride coming up the end of the month that I'd like to do.  Saturday morning came around and the weather was right, breakfast was right, the time was right, this was MY day.

I rode it solo, just me to keep myself company.  I enjoy rides by myself, it gives me time to turn the brain loose and let it wander around on its own.  I find that this works great for problem solving, it allows me to look at things from different ways and come up with good solutions.   I tend to call this high speed meditation, (although on some portions of yesterday's ride, low speed meditation would be a better description).  One of the decisions reached was better glucose monitoring.  I'm even exploring the options for a 24/7 monitor for while I am on the bike, I'd really like to see what my glucose is doing during hard efforts.

And of course, there are pictures!

My GARMIN data for those interested is HERE.

Of course no effort like this comes without setting some type of carrot out in front as a treat for accomplishing the goal.  As to what the carrot was, you'll just have to look for the pictures later, I think you'll be surprised.

And once you hit one goal, you have to set the next one to chase.  And yes, I'm going back to that first century my buddy, Glen Handke and I did in 1988.  I looked at him and said, "Well 100 miles was fun, is 200 miles twice as much fun?"

Playing in traffic!

I've decided that it was time to drag out my mountain bike and turn it into a commuter to get back and forth to work.  With gas doing nothing but going up by $0.05 to $0.10 a leap it's time to cut back where I can.

Feed the kids, put gas in my car...  Decisions decisions.  Fortunately feeding the kids won out, if you don't feed them on a regular basis they get noisy and misbehave.

Doing some major digging in my garage unearthed a bunch of forgotten bike bits, I was able to locate my mountain bike fenders, several bits of dead lights and batteries, my old seat bag, (complete with a dead tube) and other somewhat useful bits.

My current plan is to drive to work only on Monday and Friday, and ride my bike the rest of the week.  I can bring three days worth of clothes and necessaries in on Monday and take the dirty stuff home Friday.  My Camelbak HAWG allows me to take my pocket items and lunch daily.

The commute so far is working out pretty good.  A 7.5 mile ride first thing in the morning does wonders for my metabolism, (kick starts it into high gear for the day).  This is good due to fact that with my diet and normal exercise load my metabolism runs for the hills screaming FAMINE and slows way down.  An added 15 miles a day, three times a week really helps the fitness base.

The commute also has another side benefit, as I'm on a bike I see a lot more of what is around and under me.  The other day was free tool day!  It looked like a tool truck has blew up on the road.  Unfortunately for me, it wasn't the Snap On truck but the cheap tool truck, but hey, free is free!

The only negative issue I've had on the commutes has been traffic.  Now it's just commuting through suburban McKinney, through mainly four lane roads, at non peak traffic hours.  One would think this wouldn't be an issue, however it's become an almost daily occurrence that someone gets a bit to close or doesn't want to move over into the open lane next to them and has to try and pass me in my lane.  Mind you, I'm one of those cyclist who believe in wearing high visibility colors, I have enough lights either blinking or shining that I can signal space aliens, I obey the rules of the road, and I ride in a steady and predictable manner, some drivers though just seem to have an issue with a regular bike on THEIR road.  As an aside note though, when I'm riding my recumbent, stupid behavior from drivers is a relative rarity.  My primary defensive weapon when on the bike for idiot drivers is my mirrors.  Since any argument between a bike and a vehicle is going to be a losing situation for me on my bike, I keep a close eye on what traffic is doing behind me and always leave a bailout path to safety.

I'd think of mounting a belt fed machine gun on my bike to solve the inattentive/aggressive driver issue, but aside from the paperwork though, the local drivers would have to get their noses up out of their phones to notice it.  It would only be effective once I went LOUD with it and that brings out so many more problems.