Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Body Work: Week Three Journal and Summary

Here's this week's exercise and food confessional summary. Overall, it was a good week. I haven't really established or stated my exercise goals, but generally, I'm looking to ride my rollers six to seven times per week, adding five minutes to each session each week. I'd like to work up to an hour at a time or more at some point, and even when the weather gets nicer this spring I plan to continue to use the rollers because having them in the basement makes it easy to be consistent.

Week 3 Summary:

Goal: Lose 30 pounds, from 224.17 pounds down to 194.17 pounds by the week of June 1, 2011, calculated using 7-day average weight.

Average Weight:  218.46 pounds, down 1.34 pounds from 219.8 pounds last week.
Average Body Fat: 29.16%, down .27% from  29.43% last week.

Weeks until Goal:  14
Progress toward Goal: 5.71 pounds out of 30 total to lose; 19% of goal.
Pounds to Lose: 24.29
Pounds to Lose/Week to Meet Goal: 1.735

Total Exercise:
150 minutes on the rollers, 50 more minutes than last week.


Yeast Fountains and other Misadventures

Last Sunday, I brewed up a Honey Kolsch, a beer of modest gravity (1.047, so let's say if it finishes up at 1.010, we might be looking at 5% alcohol).  I didn't think much of it as I sealed the fermenter up with a conical stopper and an airlock. I love these new conical stoppers because their shape makes it so you physically cannot push the stopper too far in. I didn't think much of it when it started fermenting a day later, with a nice white krausen on top of the beer about an inch think.

Then the week happened. I didn't think much about my beer at all. Until last night, when I opened up the closet and found this:
Krausen in the Airlock. If this clogs up, the whole stopper flies out on a wave of yeasty foam, painting the ceiling.

I went and got one of my older "you can push it all the way into the bottle by mistake" stoppers and a length of blowoff hose and a growler of sanitizer, and set this up:
Yeast Fountain Avoided.

It started bubbling away within minutes.  I should have know better.  I have been starting all of my beers with blowoff hoses until this last batch. I've never had such a big weird krausen come up before, but this just goes to show that it can happen, even on a lower-gravity beer, and that it might happen a few days into fermentation.  In these colder months, when my clothing closet doubles as my fermentation chamber, it pays to pay attention.



Here's a more recent shot of Austen (last weekend). What a wonderful time to be a baby, five months old. The sun streams into our living room on these crisp winter mornings and floods the carpet and play area with light. The cat lounges, Austen lounges, or plays, rolling this way and that, gumming the odd toy here and there. He laughs now, occasionally. If your heart doesn't take flight at the new-found giggle of your baby, you are truly broken. Based on what I feel when he laughs, I am far from it. Exhausted, exhilarated, dumbfounded and awed, yes, but far from broken.


Brewing Journal: Batch #9, Entry #1

Batch# 9, Honey Kolsch, brewday. Boiled 2 gallons of spin water with a cup of golden malt extract and 1 oz. of Vanguard hops. Another ounce of Vanguard at 30 minutes. The remainder of the six-pounds of malt syrup went in with 15 minutes remaining in the boil, then a piound pf honey at the end of the boil. Chilled the concentrated wort to 100 degrees in 15 minutes in an ice bath in the sink, then added to the rest of the water in a 6-gallon carboy. I ended up with a little over 5 gallons of wort, total, with a gravity of 1.045. Not bad. I tasted the unfermented wort and noted prominent bitterness and little hop aroma, very malt-sweet. This should be a nice quencher, right around the first time I need to mow the lawn. 

Photo Courtesy Nugent Photography


Brewing Journal: Batch #7, Entry #4

Batch #7, Black IPA, tapped, chilled and tasted. It's everything we hoped for. Hop aroma forward, bitterness and malt come charging in together, with a little roasty stuff and alcohol warmth at the end. I didn't manage to get enough of the hop particles out when I racked and a few ended up in the bottom of the keg, the dip tube, and in the "beer out" post, which clogged it a bit. I might rack it over into another keg at some point, but it's a minor annoyance.  There's a serious head on this one as well. 


Body Work: The First Two Weeks

I normally expect to put these up once a week, but time has done that flying thing and here I am. If the gory details of my daily weight are not of interest to you, just wait for the next brewing journal or bike parts post!

Day One
February 7, 2011. 227 pounds. 30.8% Body Fat.

No exercise but for all the shoveling. Gotta meeting tonight, at work all day, probably won’t exercise.

Two 150 calorie granola bars, one for breakfast and one for lunch.  One Lindt chocolate ball (70 calories), a plate of goulash, a hunk of bread with butter. Water. Two fried eggs, three chocolate chip cookies, two bowls of kettle corn, one english muffin, one hunk of bread, tea with honey.

Day Two
February 8, 2011. 224.6 pounds. 30.1% Body Fat.

More shoveling. Another meeting tonight means probably nothing more than that will happen.

Two 150 calorie granola bars- breakfast and lunch. More water today- I got pretty dehydrated overnight and that’s counterproductive. Two Lindt chocolate balls. A burger on bread and some fries (home made at least). 12 ounces of roasted red pepper and tomato soup. More water. Water every time I think I’m hungry, just to see if I’m just dehydrated and thinking I’m hungry. A hunk of bread the size of my fist with some butter on it.   The list of things I didn’t eat because I couldn’t be arsed to write them down is a long one. I mostly avoided devouring the contents of the pantry while I was making dinner. That’s a good thing.

Day Three:
February 9, 2011. 225.2 pounds. 30.2% body fat.

None so far. Austen was up at 5:00, made it hard to do anything in the morning.  Kate had a meeting tonight, so I’m on baby duty. I am especially proud of myself for avoiding the box of “super softee” powdered-sugar dipped doughnuts at the office today. Update- I spent about 10 minutes spinning the rollers tonight. First unassisted ride!

Two slices of white toast with almond butter and honey. One 150 calorie granola bar. One wrap sandwich, roast beef and cheese with greens. One kombucha- 70 calories. Two slices of Donny’s deep dish pizza with pepperoni. In retrospect, one would have been enough. I had heartburn at 2:00 AM when I got up to feed Austen, and still felt a little full in the morning.

Day Four:
February 10, 2011. 225.2 pounds, 30.2% body fat.

10 minutes on the rollers again this morning- exhilarating!  I actually daydream about getting on them again and riding some more. Looking to add a weight routine soon.

One 150-calorie granola bar for breakfast and another for lunch. Damn “super softee” doughnuts are still in our office kitchen, but I stayed away.  I went with a cup of green tea instead. Dinner was a burger on a bun, about a cup and a half of mashed potatoes, a cup of roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Dessert was two handfuls of kettle corn and a small hunk of bread with almond butter and honey. Very satisfying, still feel sated at 10:00pm. Lots of water. Feeling better. Learning to occasionally feel physical hunger and not be freaked out by it.  Lots of energy, feel more alert.

Day Five:
February 11, 2011. 223.0 pounds. 30.2% body fat.
I was surprised to see my weight go down so much from yesterday. The scale showed a lower body water percentage than I am used to seeing, but I feel like I drank water like a horse all day yesterday. I’ll take it, I guess, but I think most of the loss was from water.

15 minutes on the rollers this morning- worked up a good sweat. Will have to raise the seat back up on the bike as I get more comfortable.

One big oatmeal pancake with almond butter and honey, two big glasses of water and a cup of black coffee for breakfast. Still feeling very full two hours later. Granola bar for lunch. Cup of pea soup, 1.5 slices of Donny’s pizza, and three chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Very full. Could’ve backed off a little on the pizza and cookies.

Day Six
Saturday, February 12, 2011. 221.6 pounds, 29.2% body fat.

20 minutes on the rollers in the morning and another 20-25 in the afternoon.

One chocolate-peanut butter muffin. Considering I made these and had 16 of them in front of me and at my disposal, I’m going to call that a victory. Two fried eggs on a single slice of whole grain toast, buttered. Two and a half cups of whole-gain penne in meat sauce with mozzarella and a slice and a half of whole-grain bread with butter. Four cups of popped popcorn with butter, salt, and a little sugar. Yes, butter figured heavily today. Nothing but tons of water and seltzer to drink.

Day Seven
Sunday, February 13, 2011. 222.6 pounds, 29.2% body fat

20 minutes on the roller after dinner.

Three apricot scones (don’t judge, I made them and they were awesome), two peanut butter chocolate chip muffins, a cup and a half of rice, a cup of black beans, one 10 inch flour tortilla and two cups of cayenne roasted zucchini.  Water and seltzer to drink and one-half (375 ml) of an Allagash Tripel.

Week 1 Summary:
Average Weight: 224.17 pounds. Average Body Fat: 29.97%  

Exercise: 85 minutes on the rollers and some shoveling.

Day 8:
Monday, February 14. 221.6 pounds, 29.6% body fat.


Cup and a half of steel-cut oats with dried apricot and maple syrup. A cup of cooked penne in meat sauce. 8 ounces of filet mignon, one and a half cups of mashed potato with butter, and a cup of steamed asparagus, also with butter. One half-cup of bean soup with ham. One half-cup chocolate lava cake with 375ml of Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Ale.

Day 9:
Tuesday, February 15, 221.6 pounds, 29.6% body fat.

25 minutes on the rollers before breakfast- heart rate in the 140’s to 150’s. Too sore to spin much harder than that today. It might be nice to have a slightly smaller cog so I could have a little more resistance, but I’m going to have a killer spin on the road if I keep this up.

Food: A cup of cooked steel-cut oats with dried apricot and about a tablespoon of maple syrup. A burrito made from one 10 inch white flour tortilla and a half cup of black beans and rice, also some roasted zucchini. Water and tea like nobody’s business.  A cup of bean soup and a cup of cooked black beans. Three slices of whole grain bread with butter and garlic. A cup and a half of cooked penne in meat sauce. One small brownie and two Dunkin Donuts Munchkins.

Day 10:
Wednedsay, February 16, 2011. 221.6 pounds, 29.6% body fat.

25 minutes on the rollers. Was able to stay in the 160-165 bpm range tonight, either due to a bit of rest or perhaps raising the seat.

Food: A cup and a half of cooked steel-cut oats with a tablespoon of maple syrup. One 150-calorie granola bar for lunch.  One cup of bean soup. One ⅓ pound hamburger patty on one slice of whole grain bread. One and a half potatoes, one cup of cooked blue hubbard squash.

Day 11:
Thursday, February 17, 2011. 219.6 pounds, 29.2% body fat.

25 minutes on the rollers with a heart rate of 150-165 bpm.

Food: A cup and a half of steel-cut oats. A bowl (two cups) of bean soup with ham. Four small pieces of pizza plus two crusts Kate didn't want and a cup and a half of cooked blue hubbard squash (raw would be just gross).

Day 12:
Friday, February 18, 2011. 219.4 pounds, 29.3% body fat

None today.

Food: A cup and a half of steel-cut oats, with maple syrup. A single slice of pizza. Two veggie dogs (Smart Dogs brand, yuck, never again) Two cups of baked beans, one roll, two slices of brown bread with butter.

Day 13:
Saturday, February 19, 2011. 218.2 pounds, 29.0% body fat.

25 minutes on the rollers. A new saddle and pedals that allow me to use my bike shoes made this more pleasant.

Two fried eggs on a slice of buttered multigrain toast. Three slices of Costco pizza. One peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. One Lindt chocolate ball and two chocolates from a Whitman’s sampler box.   One and a half pints of homemade Black IPA, 7.4% ABV. Lots of water and black coffee, one 12 ounce latte.

Day 14:
Sunday, February 20, 2011. 217.4 pounds, 29.0% body fat.


Three scrambled eggs and 15. waffles with maple syrup. One slice of pizza. One bowl of pea soup, one hamburger patty on one slice of bread and two potatoes, wedged and roasted in olive oil.  One blonde brownie bar, one peanut butter oatmeal bar. One six ounce glass of Black IPA, 7.4 % ABV.

Week 2 Summary:
Average Weight: 219.8 pounds. Average Body Fat: 29.43%  

Exercise: 100 minutes on the rollers.


Body Work

Winter Hibernation
I could blame it on Austen’s birth, but that wouldn’t be fair. I could blame it on getting sick and not biking to work much since November, but that wouldn’t really be fair either.  I could blame it in the fact that I absolutely love, love, good food and drink and the manufacture and consumption thereof, and while true, that wouldn’t really be fair either.

The truth is, I don’t exercise enough (OK, at all over the last few months) and I eat junk food. That’s right, junk food. Gourmand that I am, lover of all things smoked and slow-cooked and sauteed and home grown and home brewed that I may be, I will destroy a bag of Fritos, a Snickers bar, a bad gas-station sandwich and a root beer like nobody’s business, and I’ve been doing too much of that lately. Then I’ll go home and sack out on the couch, no joke.

I’m overweight.

Until the weekend before last, I hadn’t weighed myself in years, but having now purchased a decent scale, not only can I state emphatically that I am overweight, but that I am a lot overweight.   In fact, when I came back up from the basement with its nascent workout area and scale and told Kate the number, she looked surprised. “You carry it really well,” she said.

I know better. I know that my pants don’t fit right. I know that I can stand in the mirror and look all OK, but then I’ll see some picture of me, and it looks like like I’m twice the size of all the other people in the frame.  Seriously, any one of the other people in this picture could skin me and wear me as a suit:

To Protect the innocent.

I need to do something about it, and I decided that I’m going to. I read a great quote the other day from somebody who embarked on a similar journey: ” I don’t have a weight problem, I have a discipline problem.” I have allowed myself to get out of shape by approaching food and exercise with absolutely no discipline whatsoever. I have been disengaged from my own body, and it is starting to feel neglected and complain. So there it is. And I need help, dear readers, from as many of you who want to help.

The Goal
It starts with raising my consciousness by weighing in every morning, and by keeping a journal of what I eat and how much I exercise.  Oh yes, and by making my goal public.  So here it is: I want to weigh 30 pounds less than I did on February 7th by the first day of June.  I’ll need to lose about 1.88 pounds a week to make that happen.

Wish me luck, and watch for future posts on my progress.


Brewing Journal: Batch #7, Entry #4, Batch #8, Entry #1

Batch #7 (Black IPA) racked to the keg with a little over a half cup of cane sugar for carbonation. Also brewed batch #8, German Altbier. This is another Northen Brewer extract kit with specialty grains. I brought two gallons of spring water up to 154 degrees with my bag of steeping grains (Weyerman Caramunich II, 1 pound) in the pot. I let the grains steep for 20 minutes, then removed the grain and brought the wort to a boil. Added 1 pound Briess Amber dried malt extract and 6 pounds Northern Brewer amber liquid malt extract, 1 oz. Perle hops (pellets). Added another oz. of Perle 15 minutes later, and an oz. of Hersbrucker pellets 15 minutes prior to the end of the one-hour boil. Hersbrucker had an interesting aroma, nice, but couldn't place it. 

Cooled the wort to 99 degrees F in about 20 minutes in an ice bath on the sink. Added 2.5 gallons of spring water to the carboy and then the wort, was able to keep most of the hop gunk out. Topped up with distilled water to just over the 5 gallon line. Measured gravity at 1.051 (kit is supposed to come out to 1.052, so that's pretty good). Pitched my packet of Safale US-05 yeast. did not rehydrate the yeast ahead of time, just sprinkled in per package instructions. Aerated and put in a stopper and airlock, it's in the closet at 62 degrees, some slight signs of fermentation about 8 hours after pitching. 

I did taste the wort- sweet of course, but very bitter around the back and sides of the tongue, lingeringly so. Not much hop aroma but that's true to the style.  I'm going to give it six weeks in the primary fermenter, then rack to the keg. That means racking over to the keg on on March 20, then serving no sooner than 4/10. This is good because the planned debut for this beer will be 4/17 at Kate's birthday party. 

This brewday was a nice example of how to combine tasks for efficiency. I made a batch of sanitizer, sanitized my fermenter, then cleaned and sanitized two kegs, racked the Black IPA, put 5 gallons of spring water into one of the kegs and hooked it up to the gas for seltzer, cleaned and sanitized a third keg that just came up empty, got everything out of my keezer (that's a chest freezer with a temp controller- making it the ultimate keg chilling machine) and cleaned it out, and finally used the old sanitizer to set up a bunch of bottles for soaking and de-labeling.