Saturday, May 4, 2013

What I've learned from the 30 Days of Biking

During the month of April I made the pledge to go out for a bike ride everyday.  I did on fact bike almost everyday, but I did fail miserably at blogging about it or checking in on social media.

Here is a list of what I learned from this endeavor:

  1. I love to go riding in a bicycle.
  2. I love all my bicycles.
  3. Riding puts a smile on my face, no matter how tired I am before I start the ride.
  4. I love riding clipless, and I regret not doing it sooner.
  5. Spandex is annoyingly and disturbingly comfortable.
  6. Spandex makes me more aerodynamic, and therefore, Faster.
  7. Muscles being sore is not the end of the world.
  8. I learned to love climbing hills.
  9. There is more time to ride than I previously thought.
  10. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just wont have time to ride.
    1. It's ok. I can always ride tomorrow.
 Be safe and Be Green.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm not out yet...

I signed up for 30 Days of Biking and 30 days of reporting it.  I'm still biking everyday. I may not be talking about it everyday, but I'm still out there...

Some days it suck to get on the bike, and some times I look forward to it.  Every single day after my ride, I feel happy...

Be Safe and Be Green

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 2

Somewhere between the four mile walk on Saturday, the fifteen mile ride on Sunday, the 8 mile errand bike ride, and the night swimming lesson, both of which where on Monday.  My will seems to have gone with the sun.  Completely gone for the day.  Normally, I'm quite cheery on gloomy days. It's the sunny days that get me down. Don't ask, I'm just as confused as you are.

After dinner, we watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones while our stomachs settled down.  As we were watching our show, I could hear the rumble in the distance.  Rain was coming.  Begrudgingly, I put my wind vest on. I put all the lights on my trusty steed, and out there door I went. I didn't have a destination or a determined number of miles I had to ride. I just had to ride to get day two out of the way.

Ten minutes later and 1.58 miles later, I was home again.  Gasping for air, and my head cap drenched in sweat.  No more than 30 seconds after I walked in the door with my trusty steed by my side, the heavens spoke and unleashed a torrent of rain over my neighborhood.  I chose a good time to go out and come back home.

Even though I was tired and I didn't want to ride, I found myself going as fast as I could.  The words from our swim coach seem to echo in my ear.  "Pace yourself Zeus!"

Be Safe and Be Green.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 1

Right before leaving the House on my trusty steed.

The whole weekend, I meant to pass by my local office supply store to print out and laminate the spoke cards from 30 days of biking.  I really wanted to roll the whole month with a little bit of bling on my bike, yet somehow the weekend ended and I never got a chance to go.

As fate would have it, the very first ride for my very first 30 days of biking was to run an errand, on behalf of 30 days of biking (say that three times fast).  The trip to the shopping center was nothing new. Last week I found myself going to the same shopping center to buy dog food.  To get there and come back, it's a hair under 8 miles (7.93 mi if you want to be exact).  I do have to cross a major highway to go there, but I pretty much have to cross that highway to run just about 75% of the errands I could run on my bike.

At the moment, I find myself thinking that I should perhaps take a picture of said highway intersection since I will probably be going past it more than usual in a bike this month. Past the highway I cut through a neighborhood to get the shopping center.  Nothing too bad, I'm slowly learning to negotiate suburban streets.  The few pedestrians that I encountered gave me a warm smile, and I even got a couple of thumbs up from a couple of motorists.

Considering April just started, and that there are 29 more days to ride, I feel great.  I'm looking forward to what the rest of the month will bring.


Be Safe and Be Green

Monday, March 25, 2013

I just had to ride...

Lately, I've been a little impatient.  I just want to start the 30 days of biking. I'm very curious to see if I can bike everyday for 30 days.  Even when I plan to go out on the weekends, the plan falls through the cracks and I find myself wondering where the weekend went.

Today, after writing out some bills that have to be mailed in.  I was about to start looking for my shoes to go to the post office box in the corner when the thought hit me.  I don't have to be at work for another 2hrs. Surely I can get my new road bike and head out to the actual Post Office.  It's only 3.2 miles away, and there are two brutal 50ft climbs in the way.  One on the way there, and one on the way back (Reminds me of grandpa's story. "It was uphill! Both Ways!").  It's 50°F outside, with the wind blowing 10+ mph. Sure, I got this.

35 minutes later, I was home.  I was cold, my nose was red, my feet felt like they were frozen, but I felt great.  I biked 6.3 miles to drop off one letter.  It beats driving any day, and I even got my daily exercise done.

Next Monday, day 1 starts... I can't wait...

 Before you go off to see your regularly scheduled program, watch this short video.  Maybe you can join me for the 30 days in April.

As of 3/25 1:20 P.M.  I'm still the only one from San Antonio to do the 30 days of Biking pledge...

Be Safe and Be Green.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Weekend of Firsts

The ending weekend for this year's spring break contained all the excitement that should be carefully dosed out throughout the whole week. The two weekend days were simply filled with fun first time experiences for me.

Everything started, bright and early on Saturday morning.  Miss Adventure's friend was signed up to do the 2013 San Antonio Jailbreak along with her husband.  Unfortunately (or Fortunately, I can't figure this one out yet), her husband could not participate due to personal reasons.  Instead of forfeiting his event fee, she asked Miss Adventure if she wanted to go.  I got to attend as a result, as driver and photographer.  After Miss Adventure and her friend were off on their wave, I backtracked about a quarter of the course back from the end.  It was a ton of fun to see the participants from earlier waves go through the obstacles.  I particularly liked the awesome gigantic slide.

In Jail... Getting ready to Break Out!

I liked this guy's shirt.



Look! Ninja Turtles!

Master Chief was there!

The Cargo Net

I want to do this...

Hay Bale Pyramid Climb

Tire Wall

These guys ran the whole thing in suits... Suits in a Mudrun!

A big part of me can't wait to do a Mudrun of my own...

After the Jailbreak, I really wanted to go this month's Frankenbike.  The local bicycle swap meet.  It tends to be the best way to get gently used parts for your old rides.  This was the first time that I had gone to one of these.  I'd always wanted to check one out, but never really put the time aside to attend one.  I thoroughly enjoyed looking around.  Talking to the vendors.  Seeing old bikes that were looking for a fresh pair of legs to ride more miles.

I also took advantage that Frankenbike was hosted at my (not-so) local bike shop (but the one all of our bikes have been purchased from, more on that later) to take a look at their selection of road bikes.  I have been lusting for a road bike ever since Miss Adventure got her second one (That is a story for another blog post).  I was looking at the huge variety, not to mention prices.  I knew more or less what I wanted in a road bike without making it too expensive.  I was looking around when Miss Adventure taps me on the shoulder and said "if getting your own road bike will keep you from drooling in public. Go ahead and get it already."  Have I mentioned I love that woman?  Her words even took a saleslady that was passing by surprise. Most wives are out to keep their husbands from buying, yet another bike. Miss A. encouraged it.  I almost want to take the memory of that moment and frame it, in order to save it for prosperity.

After a short time looking, I decided on a Trek Madone 2.1. Choosing a bike was the easy part.  The sizing was a whole other thing.  I must have tried every single Madone 2.1 they had in the building.  After the fit was dialed just right, I had to wait for the mechanics to give it the once-over to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.  After twenty minutes, I got to take it for one last test ride to make sure this bike was the one (was it ever).  Fifteen more minutes of waiting so a couple minor add-ons were put on the bike (pedals, seat bag, bottle cages, etc.). I signed over my left kidney and the tip of my right pinky finger, and just like that,  I was the very proud owner of my very first road bike.
My very own 2013 Trek Madone 2.1
That was enough excitement for Saturday.

On Sunday, Miss Adventure woke up sore and bruised.  After having a delicious breakfast and vegging in front of the TV for about an hour.  She went to the bedroom, when she came back she was dressed in her cycling best and threw me my cycling shorts. "Alright, let's see what you are made of?  Let's get this pony on the road."  The second sentence she said as she stroked the seat on the new addition the family. Not long after we were headed to our quickly accessible country road for what was to be a 14 mile ride.  Miss Adventure didn't want to go too far, specially since she had just done the Jailbreak 24hrs earlier. My very first ride on my very first road bike.

The Madone performed beautifully.  The ride was a tad bumpier than I am costumed to, but what it lacked in general comfort, it more than made up in overall performance.  My average speed on a stretch of road we are both very familiar with on our bikes was at least 3mph faster.  And, we were taking it easy because Miss A. just didn't want to push it.  On our way back home, we took a Hill in the back of our neighborhood and I gave it my all.  My average uphill speed improved by 5.7 mph.  5.7 mph!  I was excited about the things I could accomplish with this bike. Hell, I'm still excited.

With all the excitement, when we got home, I pledged to do the 30 days of biking.

The pledge is simple in theory:
  1. Ride your bike everyday in April. The kind of bike, the destination, and the length of the ride are not important.  Walmart BSO around the block, cool.  Surly Long Haul Trucker out for a 145 mile ride, cool.  You are not home watching TV, or sitting in front of the computer looking at videos about cats in YouTube again.
  2. Share every single ride in Social Media.  Facebook and twitter are preferred.  Me? I got this blog. I will blogging every single ride on this blog.  Everyday.  1 ride = 1 post in this blog.
I was made aware of this by Lindsay from You ain't got Jack.  She did it last year, and the way she talked about her accomplishment was infectious.  I thought I would give it a try myself.  It would be a first.

I also have to admit that I like the main spirit behind this pledge.
"30 Days of Biking is not elitist. It is not a political statement. We don’t want you to worry about whether you have the right bike, or whether your butt looks good in spandex. We just want you out there, pedaling alongside our community, whether virtually or for real."
 Last but not least, on Monday (Yes I know Monday is not part of the weekend, but it's another first. Keep reading!) we began taking adult swimming lessons.  A first for me.  Miss Adventure is a natural swimmer.  Me, not so much.  I grew up in the mountains, we used to climb the hills for fun.  Going to a pool was more of a special treat, than a regular thing for my family when I was growing up. I know how to stay afloat and move around the pool with the doggy paddle.  It worked for me for 32 years, but Miss A. decided that I should be taken out of my comfort zone by throwing my own words back at me. "If we never challenge ourselves, we will never know what we are truly capable of." To be fair, that is not a quote of my creation, I read it in some inspirational poster.  The message, however, stayed with me.

Be Safe and Be Green

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2nd

With the first 60 days of the year done, I feel myself lagging a little bit behind.  I haven't put as many miles under my wheels as I would have liked, but I feel much better this far into the year than I did last year.  I'll be honest. I didn't get any bike rides done in January, but I did get 5 bike rides done in February for a grand total of 31.71 Miles.  That leaves me 468.29 short of my 500+ goal for the year.

A little part of me is a little disappointed that I only did a little under 32 miles in February, yet I feel good about the possibilities for this year.  Two of the trips in February was me going to work and coming back from work.  The first commute is done. The hurdle has been jumped. The cat is out of the proverbial bag. I know it's do-able. I biked to work and I didn't feel particularly fatigued ,tired, or lacking concentration. For the remainder of the week, I had a sense of accomplishment.  Sadly, the weather has taken a cold turn around this parts, and I am not yet acclimated to riding in anything bellow 50 degrees.  It's warming up though...  and warmer weather brings me and other cyclists to the roads.

2013 Mile total: 31.71 Miles

Be Safe and Be Green.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Being Healthy, Part 1 (17% Body Fat)

     "Be more healthy." I don't think I could have have been more vague if I tried.  Shortly after my new year's resolutions post was up on this blog, my lovely wife asked me to explain myself.

     Well.  Here it goes, and I hope it makes sense.  My health has slowly deteriorated since I moved to San Antonio.  The two main culprits were my allergies and my sedentary lifestyle.  The allergies kept me from going outside a great deal, and I've never really liked going to the gym.  Being on a treadmill gives me images of a hamster running in a wheel, and stationary bikes make me sad because they remind me that I could be outside on a real bike.  To satisfy my wife's and my need for some relative privacy, specially when it comes to medical stuff, I'm only going to say that I'm getting my allergies taken care of.

     With my allergies under control. I felt I finally had the opportunity to go on walks around my neighborhood.  I was free to explore the trail system in the closest city park on my BSO.  In the past 21 months since we got our first set of bikes from a LBS, I feel I've been more physically active than the previous 10 years in San Antonio.

     While trying to find some direction on how to be healthier, I stumbled upon several indicators and tons of different points of view.  The one that has been stuck with me the longest is the inaccuracy of weight as a general measure for health.  I've known from my own research that Body Fat Percentage (BF%) is a much better indicator.  In addition, in my own humble opinion, it is a less daunting number.  I find it a lot scarier to hear that I have to loose 50 pounds of weight than having to loose 10% Body Fat.  Also, I believe that BF% accounts for the fact that muscle is more dense than fat.  I have seen several people in my life get really discouraged when they loose a little bit of weight through exercise and then gain some of it back due to muscle gain.  Something tells me that if they had been looking at their BF% instead of their weight, they would still be exercising on a regular basis.

     With that said, my ultimate goal is to have 17% Body Fat.  It is the maximum allowed for men to be in the "fitness" category, and I plan to achieve it through both exercise and eating better.  Notice I didn't say diet.  Diets are evil (and yes, I'll explain later)!  Also, I don't plan to achieve the magical 17% goal anytime soon.  It took me 12 years to get where I am now, It's only fair that I take my time getting there.  For my new year's resolution, as long as I finish 2013 with less BF% than when I started, that will make me happy...

Be Safe and Be Green.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

     Talking about biking alone, 2012 was a far better year than 2011.  I got to take part on a couple of critical mass rides, and I got a chance to participate on three massively organized rides.  Also, I doubled my milage in 2012, in comparison to 2011.  Thinking about all the great things I accomplished in 2012, led me to thinking about the things I want to get done in 2013...

  1. Be more healthy
  2. Do more miles than in 2012 (500+)
  3. Do Conquer the Coast again
  4. Do Trek Breast Cancer Awareness ride again
  5. Do 2013 SA Marathon Bike Tour again (if offered)
  6. Do Tour de Cure
  7. Learn how to adjust derailleurs (front & back)
  8. Learn how to replace and adjust shifter & brake cables
  9. Begin a bike restoration project
  10. Commute twice a week to work for at least a month

      As an unofficial #11, I would like to continue updating this blog and hopefully meet more people in the cycling community.  I hope everyone had a great 2012, and like me... looking forward to a great 2013.

Be Safe and Be Green.