Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thursday’s Ride + Gear post #2 – the Helmet and sunglasses

Thursdays ride was my first try at my new ‘I have time for 20 miles, what can I do at rush hour that doesn’t feature too many stop signs or traffic lights’ route http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/132906165 which features about 500 feet of climbing, most of it in a two mile stretch that mapMyRide labels as ‘cat 5’ – My understanding is that ‘real’ riders don’t talk about cat 5 hills (I think its an invention of mapMyRide), but for little ol’ me, that cat 5 hill was a beast.

The good news is that I was able to get up the whole thing without stopping. I’ll hit it again next week and see if I can do less of it in geezer gear.

Gear Post #2 (a work in progress)

I’m having trouble finding information on the web (incredible!). I know, that seems unthinkable, let me explain: I’ve spent about $1100 dollars (not counting clothing) on my bike and related gear. The idea at this point is to selectively upgrade things as I can justify it. So, first up is my Helmet and Sunglasses.

Justification: I’m working really hard when I ride currently – especially on any climbs, but after about 5 miles even on flat routes I’m sweating a lot and that leads to three problems: First, sweat drips off my head onto the inside of my sunglasses (generic aviators I picked up at CVS several years back). Second, it gets into my eye (always the right eye, don’t ask me why) and so then I’m riding with one eye shut – not a great idea. Finally, if I take the shades off, I run the risk of getting hit by a bug – I don’t remember this from riding when I was young, but a kamikaze fly bouncing off my cheek at 20+ mph really hurts – I don’t want to risk getting hit in the eye.

So, I’m going to research both a new helmet that won’t drip sweat in my face (or some alternative like a headband that will help with that), and also some less expensive sunglasses that are designed hopefully to not be dripped on. We’ll see how that goes and I’ll report back here.

happy trails.

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Gear

As apparently every successful cyclist knows, its not just the bike that gets you from point A to point B in a quick and stylish manner. You also need:

  • a Helmet (really, I see too many people without still)
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Cycling Shoes that clip neatly onto your pedals
  • a water bottle or two
  • spiffy skin tight shorts with chamois inserts so your bum doesn’t bum you out at the end of your ride
  • Some sort of shirt / jersey with handy pockets in back for storing extra stuff
  • a Cycling Computer to tell you how far you’ve gone, how much you’ve climbed, how much power your burning legs have generated, how many calories you’ve used, what the name of the road was that you were supposed to turn off on two miles back, and whether or not you should invest in the Facebook IPO.
  • A neon green vest or jacket so that the car that runs you down will see you clearly as it does so.
  • (Flashing) lights – white for front, red for rear
  • Arm warmers when its cold
  • a tire pump, spare tube, and repair kit – as the Guy at the Bike Shop told me, there are two kinds of bike riders, those who have had a flat and those who are going to have a flat. Don’t tempt fate, carry a spare. Oh, and don’t forget tire irons.
  • Snacks of some sort for longer rides – when you’re two hours into your ride and you can’t turn the pedals any more, that’s when you know you needed to eat something an hour ago.

There’s probably quite a bit more, this is just what I’m aware of now. In the coming days I’m going to write about what I’ve chosen in each area – I’m working from a semi-budget conscious point of view – and the number of choices is astounding.

till then, happy trails.

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Is this blog working?

A quick Q&A session for both of my regular followers.
Q: Is this blog working?

A: Yes, but I guess I took the summer off.

Q: Did you change the name?

A: Yes, I thought the cutesie title would amuse you. Plus, I’m going to be writing about more than just Sharks hockey.

Q: Oh, that’s nice, what will you be writing about?

A: Well, biking (I have lots of thoughts backlogged on this), the San Jose Earthquakes (who are playing quite well), Probably some about the upcoming election (nothing profound, but I have some questions I need to write about), and then we’ll see where things go from there.

P.S.: Especially on the biking front, I’ve been looking for some ‘how do I get started’ writing out in the greater blog-o-sphere, and haven’t found anything – I will make some sort of feeble attempt to rectify this situation.

Categories: Biking, Earthquakes, Indecision 2012 | 1 Comment

Riding my way to a new thinner me…

This past April, I took a few days off and flew up to Seattle to visit son Michael and daughter Kathleen. We took in Mariners opening day, played some disk-golf, and generally enjoyed some very nice weather.

Visits to Seattle have always involved a fair amount of walking, and this trip was no exception. That Friday, Michael and I logged about 10 miles between walking downtown to grab Kathleen for brunch, and then heading over to Safeco for the game. The downside to this was that it demonstrated in superb style how out of shape I was – dragging myself up the steeper hills was truly painful.

So, on my return to Sunnyvale, I vowed to start getting in shape. For most of May and part of June, I walked diligently – as much as 7-8 miles a day – and I felt great and lost that first easy-to-lose 10 pounds. Unfortunately, I stalled out at about 225 – and it sure seemed that no amount of walking was going to make any difference.

So, if walking wasn’t going to get me where I wanted (I’m trying to get under 180), and since I love to eat my wife’s incredible cooking, I decided to try running (again). Now, I ran cross-country and track in high school, and after college did some running for fitness, but that was all 20 years and 40 pounds ago. In any case, I started out mixing some ‘running’ (more of  a painfully slow jog) with my walking, and about 5 days into that my right knee started hurting (a lot). So after some rest and reflection, I decided to start riding my bike
again.

That was back at the start of July, and so far its been a fairly successful effort – I’m down under 220, I’m riding 4-5 times a week, I’m tackling some ‘starter’ hills in the area (Mount Eden and the locally famous Portola Valley loop), and I’m not the slowest guy out there any more.

Motivation has been, for me, hard to come by. It can be really challenging to get my rear out of bed on Saturday or Sunday. So I’d like to acknowledge a couple of people who’ve
really helped – first up: Eldon ‘Fatty’ Nelson (www.fatcyclist.com) who writes encouraging, humorous, engaging notes about biking – its good to know you’re not alone. Second, (and yes, this one scares me quite a bit), NBC for their Tour de France coverage – its amazing how watching a bunch of people who are way better at this then I’ll ever be can still motivate me to go out and get riding.

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Random Ramblings From A Long And VERY Winding Road Toward Health

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