Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Back at it again

     It is a new year. Time to refocus on the future. I want this year to be the best so far. I want to lose the weight I once lost and re-found. I want to bike more, run more, swim more, spend more quality time with my family. I want to share the outside with my kids, no sitting inside playing video games.
Goals - do betters at the Colavita time trials, complete another Assault on Mt Mitchell, do my first Xterra race, and many other races. I am back on myfitnesspal. It's going to happen. 2014 will be Great!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The first post of 2013

It is 2 weeks into the new year. Everyone seems motivated. I am back on MyFitnessPal. I want to lose 20 pounds from where I am at now. Exercise is not a problem, it is all my diet. Portion control, snacks, and eating out. Reading all this info about eating clean, all this processed food and how your body deals with it. It is crazy.

We went to Whole Foods the other night - I could not believe all the great looking food. And it was healthy! I like the fact that they do not even let the funky foods enter the store. I could have spent a thousand dollars there. So many things I want to try!

We ended up with some great seafood, pasta sauce, tons of fruits and veggies, and milk. So far we have picked winners. Working on a list of things to get for next time.
Next up was the exercise... my bike team has a challenge for the first of the year. It is to ride up the Devils Backbone (hill outside John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs) 60 times before March 1st.  Which basically nearly one time for each day. 13 days into it this year and I have done it 34 times. So far it has been pretty fun doing it, especially in large groups. The big surprise to me was Carisa - she seems to really enjoying it. She really is getting into it. She was with the group on Saturday doing it and she did great. In the beginning I was quicker than her, but as we got to our last times (the 10th, and 11th, etc) she would pass me and keep going. I asked her what her secret was and she told me that she was using the big ring on the front now..... seriously? She is the Hammer! So proud of her, she has the potential to be a great fast climber! Keep it up!
On the same day we had breakfast (ok brunch or early lunch) at the Clifton Mill. The food there is so TEMPTING! George got 2 pancakes that were as big as his head, insane!
I have to say that starting last fall and definitely this year the group I am riding with is Awesome! Everyone at Champion City Cycling is always fun to ride with, but getting to know Team Mad Cow Ramble has been great! They are all great guys and will do anything they can to help you out. It's fun mixing it up with them at events, even though we push each other, there isn't anything I wouldn't do to help them do better. They are just those kind of guys!
Here is a shot of Champion City Cycling and the Mad Cow Ramble riders ready to chow down at the Clifton Mill!
Need to hit this week hard. There is another indoor time trial next Sunday! This is the 3rd one in the series. So far each time I have knocked 30 seconds off my PR (over a minute faster this year from last year) - so that is a tough pattern to follow for this one! I will try my best!
That is all I have to say about that......
Fred out.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Everyone slips up

OK - I had be delaying this post. Hoping some miracle would fix it and I would never have to admit it. It would just go away. My weight loss journey has derailed. This is embarrassing.

I started out this year weighing in at 230 pounds.  I started doing MyFitnessPal and logging everything I ate and drank. I found out my biggest problem was portion control. I was losing weight like crazy, and some of my friends thought I just kidding. But when I started I was seeing big numbers drop off I think in the first 2 months I lost like 25 pounds. By the time I went to the beach in June I was down to 190lbs and feeling great!

Here is where the crash happened. I stopped doing MyFitnessPal.  It held me accountable, but it worked.  I started trying to guess where I was calorie-wise for the day. Estimate my portions. Guess what? I wasn't ready.

I put on 5 pounds, and justified to myself it was just my body leveling off.... then it was 10 pounds, and I thought that's not bad for just being careful on what I eat. Now today I am at 209lbs. I kept telling myself that its winter and I will be better in Spring, I can't exercise as much as I want to....etc.

You know what I found out... I'm a good liar, and I was in bad enough place that I wanted to believe the lies. When I justify I am still down over 20 pounds from where I started, no admitting that I am actually up 18 pounds from my lowest.... there is a problem.

I have a weak mind when it comes to food. It tastes so good. It can cheer you up. Heck you can drink your daily allowance of calories if you are not careful.... 1500 calories is not hard to do in this super sized Nation. Don't even get me started on sweets - they are my Nemesis. Schuler's is my drug dealer.

I am putting this out there to be held accountable. I need help. I want to get back to my 190lb self (or better). I felt great there. If you see me out and about and eating something I shouldn't, or thinking about buying junk I don't need - yell at me! I will no longer be the trash can after meals, if I don't want to throw it out I will save it in some Tupperware. I do not need to eat it.

No one likes to admit mistakes, but I screwed up. I got to be thin, liked it and lied to myself about maintaining it. I know life is a journey, and sometimes it is hard, but I do want to be healthier and lose the weight again.

There it is...

That is all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it...

Well it looks like the Mayans didn't get the Apocalypse right.... we are still here.
My favorite picture that explained it....
This last weekend was the 2nd in the series of the Dayton Indoor Time Trials on Sunday. This would be Carisa's first time at this and a chance for me to better my time.  After church when everyone was in Sunday school, I ran home loaded the bikes up and packed lunch. I went back and picked everyone up and we headed down to Club 51 to get it on! We got there in time to see Alix Payton in action, of course setting the bar for women that day (and of course no one beat her). I got Carisa set up on a trainer for warm up and tried to explain as much as I could to her without over-whelming her. She was in the next race, with George, McCarty and Dan P (and two others). For her first time she did great. Her goal was 20 minutes and she missed it only by 11 seconds (and when she finished she said she could have gone harder, but she didn't know what to expect). Still ended up 1st in her age group, Great Job! Next I was up. My previous indoor time trial I had knocked 30 seconds off my previous best.. I was hoping for more but I knew it would be tough. Before the start I was told about the guy on the end of the row racing against me. We had a run in....
It was at Criterium Practice race in Spring. We were racing around the Kilkare track and he was in front of me following a really quick (and very nice) kid in a LionHeart jersey. As we came through the pits (which is 8 lanes wide and exits in 2 lanes) the LionHeart kid swung out wide to fall to the back of the pack and this guy was wheel sucking and followed him. As the LionHeart slowed to fall to the back the main group which I was in kept up the pace and started going around and straight out the 2 lanes we were in... as this guy on the end realized what was happening he jerked the bike to the right and banged into me and nearly took the pack out as we were rolling above 20mph. Everyone in the group yelled at him and he turned around and looked at me and yelled back to me to "Hold my line"..... really? If I did hold my line I would have mashed this guy flatter than a pancake. He ran his mouth to everyone for the next 2 laps and then dropped out of the race before the end and left while we were still racing. 
So anyway, there he was in my heat. Where the bikes are on the trainer, and there are no variables that would sway an advantage to either person. Just Mano a Mano. The race started and this guy blew out of the start like a rocket... he put 400 feet into me in the first 1/4 mile - he was pushing over 400 watts and it only just begun. Joshua Bozue was in my heat also and I was ahead of him. If you know him I should NOT be ahead of him, he is fast! So I was starting to panic if this guy was so much faster than me and Joshua there was no chance.... but in a 10K race there was plenty of time left. I just focused on Joshua and figured use him as a pace and just try to keep the gap down between us. Joshua caught me about 2 miles in and then his gap kept growing (which I totally expected). I just tried to limit the amount of gap. I would look over and see him with the pain face and I knew I wasn't the only one suffering. And guess what... the gap to first was closing to Joshua and me.. there was the crack. It's on. As we worked over the course I was breathing like a vacuum cleaner - sucking in all the air I could. Heart rate in the 180's almost all the time. We both caught the guy on the end and passed him and it must have hurt as he slowed more... the gap jumped on him. Someone was next to him was coaching him, cheering him on and he was back at it...  his loss has started to level off and he was keeping up just not gaining or losing anymore.
I was able to find a new pain place that day..  when I was suffering and was spinning the pedals over hanging on, when I saw Joshua suffering.. it almost lighted my suffering. I was able to push harder... I would click down one more gear and spin it back up the same. Going faster than before and deeper into the suffering than before. I only realized this at the end of the race... If I could have figured this out earlier I hope that I would have been faster still. Joshua finished just over 15 minutes (15:14) and I was only feet behind him. Holy cow I think I am going to get a new Personal Record. I kicked it down and pushed. I finished at 16:22 - exactly 30 seconds better than the race before! I did it. Another improvement. So far I have knocked a full minute off last years best time and I feel like I have more. I hope to improve next time too.
That is all I have to say about that...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A great start to December...

What a beautiful start to December.

I got out with Carisa on Saturday for a 100K bike ride. A metric century, 62 miles, more miles than degrees. We met up with George, McCarty and Smith at the Villa Road bike path. Headed out on the old Tuesday night ride with all the 'fingers'.  Little did Carisa know that meant after getting to Urbana and starting our way back as we ride down Middle Urbana road we take all the hilly roads down to Urbana road and back (yes that includes Dallas Road, County Line, Willow Road and Weber Road - there are the fingers).

Once we did the ride and got back to the start we reloaded our water bottles knowing that we still had the Snyder Domer climb and headed out. Carisa tried to punish me as we rolled into Tremont City. She asks "Where is that cemetery hill climb?" I'm like are you sure? So we turn right and head up, then back down to town. She says I think its quicker to go back up the cemetery... I'm like are you serious?  So we U-turn and head back up the hill and back down. I saw 16% on the cemetery hill climb. Craziness....  So as we get closer and closer to home we realize that we are going to be very close to 60 miles... but we need to make sure we break it so we go past our house and go nearly to North Hampton and back home.  We had well over 2,000 feet of climbing, which is great for Ohio! Carisa is now I think like 27 miles from her goal for the year, and I am 315 short of my mileage. Days like this are a gift, you have to take advantage.

Get out and ride!

That's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gravel Grovel

Well I signed up for some insanity on my cyclocross bike. A metric century through Indiana... the hilly part near Brown County.  The Gravel Grovel. It is 62 miles of gravel, abandoned dirt roads (if you can call some of that roads). I went with my friend Garry, he did it last year, he is responsible for this craziness.

As the time grew closer I knew I was going to be racing on my cyclocross bike. I had swapped tires around (went to the larger Ritchey Speedmax 700x42's) and a saddle change. When I first got the bike it just seemed to fight me every step of the way. It seemed nearly every ride I took it on I ended up with a flat. A week before the Gravel Grovel I managed to be out two separate times and ran out of tubes and CO2 cartridges fixing flats. I was starting to freak out. I started double checking everything on the bike. I took it for a quick 6 mile spin 2 days before we had to leave and no flats, checked the tires the next morning they both were holding air fine. So as a safety measure I packed the biggest saddle bag I could find... put everything I could think of it in (tire boots, 2 tubes, patch kit, 3 air carts, chain links and a length of chain, tools for everything, zip ties, duct tape, etc) - it was ridiculous. Then in my jersey pocket with food, my camera, and my phone - I packed 3 more tubes and 4 more air cartridges (I forgot to mention I put a pump on the bike too). I felt like I was going across the world went I left in the morning.

Next I hadn't realized how far away this was from my house. The race starts at 10AM on Saturday... well I was riding over with Garry who is in Springboro. It is right at 3 hours from his house.... add in the hour from my house to his... and you got to get there early... I had to be on the road at 4:30AM. Insane. So much for getting a good nights sleep.

We made it there on time - actually our timing on arriving was perfect. We walked in to pick up our numbers and goodie bags - there was no line. Actually I lie, we were behind 2 people. Sweet! We got our number, goodie bag, and map. Walked over picked up our event shirts... boom we still have an hour to relax and hang out before we leave.  We went in the general store and grabbed a cherry coke (I know this breaks my no soda rule - but I needed caffeine). Then back out and people watched.


Yeah the line to register is now getting huge, as we sat there it doubled over the view above. We did good. Oh yeah, look carefully, the Sram rep was there... sporting Zipp 202 and 303 wheels (pardon my drool), but he totally did me in. He had the New Sram XX1 mountain bike groupo there. I was asking questions about it fitting my Niner and he was like oh yeah, no sweat at all.. easy, peasy.  Oh and it just about falls on your bike out of the box, makes it crazy light and you will ride faster than ever before..... I want it. I don't need it, but for goodness sakes it is lighter and faster. Who wouldn't want that?

Some shots from the parking lot - looking both ways.
After a bit it was time to start. 10AM we lined up with all the other 62 mile racers.  We got our instructions via the megaphone and we took off.  We road for about 20 feet, then we all got bottle necked at the first bridge. Did the one foot boot scooting boogie across it and now we are off.

The first miles were not bad at all. Smooth paved roads with little gravel. All the bikers jockeyed for position as everyone was warming up.  Garry and I were mid pack at this point and working up. Up ahead you could see the paved road disappear into a gravelly climb. I saw quite a few people there stopped... working on their bikes or already pushing them. I quickly shifted to the small ring in the front, better safe than sorry.  We both made it up the hill  (Garry of course in front of me) but we passed quite a few people. Moving along it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.... so far it was either paved or very hard pack with some loose gravel. Up and down all the hills. Normally on a bike you can carry your speed down a hill to make the next climb easier. Not on this ride... the gravel totally steals any momentum. You work for every mile here.
Here is where the disappointment sets in... you think you are in good shape on the bike.... and 30 minutes into a 62 mile race you see the leaders ahead on the course (on a out an back section) and you realize that you are 2 miles behind. Two miles in 30 minutes... They are CRUSHING this ride.  To add insult to injury they were in a pace line hammering. It looked so cool!  I just told myself "Head down and keep pedaling".  The leaders are on the left side of the picture below.
There was so many different types of terrain on the race...
Paved Roads
Gravel Roads
Muddy Double Track
Single Track
After the last turn around we climbed on last major hill. It was mainly a dirt road that just climbed and climbed.  It was about 3/4 mile long and was steep. I remembered it from the ride down (I was thankful to have disc brakes).  Garry and I joked about the climb coming up to it - then we had the brilliant idea of clicking through our Garmin screens to see the % of climb. It was neat to watch the climb go from 2% to 4%, then jump straight to 8% and then 12%... but it kept going.... 16%.... 18% and finally stopping at 20%. I was like this must be a hump in the road. I looked back up and there was a ton more to climb and it looked all the same. I had never been on a hill that sustained that steep of a climb and just kept going.  Crazy... I was now thankful that Garry told me not to change the gearing on my bike. I loved having a 32 tooth big cog on the back (even though I secretly wished for a 36). Some of the climbs were just crazy. Here is a video of the climb.
So far the bike was doing good... no flats. I have seen tons of them. Lots of people on the side of the road fixing flats. I was trying not to look too much as I didn't want the God of Flats to smile upon my bike - it had already had it's fair share.  Other than about 10 miles of riding early with a stick that broke off and got wedged in my cassette preventing me from the bottom 3 gears the bike worked very well (and that stick did end up bouncing out, imagine that with all the gravel roads we were on).
As the end neared, the last 8 miles or so, the road were graced with a ton of fresh gravel. Yeah... nothing like trying to go fast, stay upright and climb a hill in 4 inches of fresh gravel. Let me tell you.. you do not go fast. You do not even think about standing to climb the hill on your bike. You look for any dirt showing on the down hills so you have a chance to slow down. I will say I did master the gravel surf feeling on the down hills by the end... feels like you are riding a squishy flat tire at 25 yeah at that point you want the race over one way or
So I am less than a mile from the end on a old abandoned road (now looks like just single track from people walking on it) and I see a guy on a cross bike slowly catching me.  I came across a abandoned bridge (the kind with a barrier totally blocking it's path). I lifted my bike over casually and coasted the bike over the bridge. I hear the guy behind me panting like a freight train... he is really trying to catch me. I get to the other side and as I am setting my bike on the other side of that barrier he is right there... I made a joke about the bridges condition... he just did the quick yeah, yeah, yeah laugh and was all business. Crap. I didn't come this far to get skunked for one spot here at the end. I jumped on my bike and pushed. No matter how much I pushed I couldn't build any speed. The overgrowth on the road was so bad I couldn't look down to see my tire to see if if had started going flat... so I just kept pushing. I saw the road closure sign ahead and open road... just need to get there and see. I pass the sign and look down. Tires are fine.. what the? Gears shift check. Legs are just toast. No gas. Dang. Here comes that guy again. Maybe I can sit on his wheel and survive, to fight again. He would have none of that. I heard him shift behind me and he pounded past me. I looked up past him and I could see the finish. Double crap. I now pushed with all I had... my only chance was the big creek crossing at the end... it was big and wide maybe 40 feet across with only inches of water in it but you had to ride through maybe a 10 foot stretch of water to cross it, the rest was mud and rocks.  I figure if I can get close enough I will just blast the crossing and hope for the best. I watched him carefully. He approached the crossing looking all around, was there a problem I didn't see? He must have gotten confused (or didn't want to do the creek crossing) as he tried to go the wrong way (the correct way was clearly taped on both sides for easy navigation) and he slowed and then entered the creek crossing. I lost sight of him for a second, maybe the crossing was too rough for a cross bike and I would just have to hike-a-bike it as fast as I can. I get there and it smoothly rolls into the creek.... I am still moving fast. I see the guy ahead trying to ride up the creek instead of the other side... again he is going off course. This is my shot. I pedal with all my might and I look like I will get him. Then he cuts back in on me on the climb up the other side. I change my line to the most right (which is definitely not the preferred route) and he unclips to walk to block the smoother left path. Luckily before I entered the crossing I went to the small ring in the front so I had enough power to climb the other side.. it was just going to be a balancing act with wet, muddy cross tires on my bike and the wet creek side. I made it. Passed the dude and road to the finish.
That felt good but now my body, knowing it was done, was letting me know that it did not appreciate the 5 hours of pounding it just took. Aches and stiffness were attacking my body like no one's business. Garry and I rolled over to the car, dropped the bikes off and a lady asked if we were staying for awards and door prizes. I asked when are they doing it. She said 3:30 - it was just after 3PM now - so we decided yeah no brainer. By the time we changed, ate dinner the awards would be moving along nicely. She handed us some beaded necklaces and told us to keep them for the raffle. So we quickly got all the muddy stuff off - changed and got cleaned up. Reloaded the car, and headed back in to get our Yat's catered meal. Cajun food.... and it was good. They even had pie for dessert.  Funny thing was there were no drinks. When I looked around it seemed that everyone knew it and they all had their own micro brews. Beer bottles everywhere.  Garry went back in to the general store and grabbed me another cherry coke. We brought no beer, and my water bottles were disgusting now. 
We ate and it passed 3:30 with no awards. We looked around and it always seemed there was the promise that they would start in just a few minutes. 4PM passed. 4:30PM passed, we couldn't leave now, we were to invested in the time. Yeah I had a 4 hour ride home, but last year one of the door prizes was a set of Zipp 303's. Around 5PM the show finally got going. First the beaded necklaces - they gave out 3 colors red, orange and black. If you had red, enjoy your necklace (Sorry Garry). If you had Orange (which I did) you won a free helmet. 4 of us were up there and the first guy was trying them all on blocking anyone from taking one until he finished picking. Really - we all had the same orange necklace he just beat everyone up there. I announced from the back I would take the black and white one. The guy behind him grabbed it and handed it back to me. I thanked him and looked back up to see the front guy panicked and just picking the one he had.... really. The helmets were all the same size and he was buying time as his friend was looking at them from his seat trying to tell him which one to get because it was the most expensive.  Dude - it is a free helmet. Pick one and move on. They weren't made of gold.  The one guy who got black beads got a set of Avid XO Hydro Disc brakes. Pretty cool! Next were the awards. Some of these guys were FAST! My official time was 4:57 (yes 4 hours and 57 minutes). The overall winner was 3:35 (with second place only 2 seconds behind him). That is crazy fast! 

With 182 racers registered for the 62 mile race - I came in 84th over all (Garry was 80th - would have totally been way better if he hadn't waited on me so much). Of the 182 racers only 155 finished the race, the rest were DNF's. In my Masters class - there was 85 racers I was 41st (Garry was 39th).  Not too bad for my first adventure into a race like this....
Three days later my legs are back to normal. I sit here with a scrape on my right knee, and my right ankle is still very sore (I popped out of my pedal in a muddy section doing my best cross dismount and the bike bounced funny and the pedal whacked me above my heel in the Achilles. It is sore in the morning (I look like Frankenstein walking) but after I am up moving around a bit it loosens up. Every day it is getting better so I'm sure it is just a bruise getting better.
I think I have said enough and rambled a bit to much here and there but that is all I got about this....
Fred out.