Gone Fishin'

HEY!

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!

5.31.2011

Body Work: Week 16 Summary and Journal


Another good week down, and the second-to-last one at that. I even survived, no, thrived at the Disneyland of food that is my in-laws' house over the long weekend. Click through for the summary.

5.27.2011

Thoughts from the Ride In

The boy is up at 5:30. No surprise there. That he's slept through the night is blessing enough. I'm out of bed, doing the wrestling match that the morning diaper change has become. He arches his back, pivots on his head as I try to keep him on his back. It's raining outside after a night of thunder, the doors and curtains sucking in and puffing out, moving on their hinges and rods of their own accord. "You want us to give you a ride to work?" My wife asks.

"No." Flatly.  Last night there was too much to do for me to ride at all, and as I have exercised more regularly in the last few months, not doing so makes me incurably cranky.  "I didn't ride at all yesterday. I need this workout." I know the words are harsh before they leave me, but it's too late. I make the oatmeal and the coffee, shave. I entertain my son while my wife gets ready for work. It's almost 7:00 now. I find my riding stuff. It's still raining. I've been doing knee warmers and shoe covers lately. I get wet anyway. I pull on shorts, a shirt, a windbreaker. Gloves will be pointless today, too. The bike is in the basement. 60 pounds in the tires, half of what they can take. No wonder it felt weird and unresponsive when I rode it last time. I pump them up in the dark.

By the time I'm ready to go, my wife is in the nursery, already putting my son back down for his first nap of the day. He's been up for almost two hours, and so have we. I can't disturb them to say goodbye, I can't make amends for my harsh words in the dawn.

On the road. I gave up on the fenders today too, didn't bother putting them on. There's a stream of grey water cutting me in half from the saddle forward. I'm soaked before the first traffic light. I'm late by now, I left about 15 minutes late. A flat or a mechanical and I'll be truly late. A miraculous ride and I'll be on time.

The first hill. My legs are fresh. I weighed less this morning than I have in at least five years. I spin up the hill. Fixed gear. Fifty-two teeth on the chainring and eighteen on the cog. It's hard to get it started from a cold stop but not too bad after that. Sometimes I mash up this hill. Today I spin.  What a shame. Fresh legs and nothing to burn them up on but a 25 minute commute to work.  Try to enjoy it.  The spin down the other side of the hill terminates in a roundabout and a 90-degree turn on to a bike path. I have a good line and I'm sure of it when the road is dry, but today my fingertips are on the brake levers, tentative. My legs slow the drivetrain, and I go from leaning into one turn, decelerating, over the top to leaning into the next, then powering out.

At the next big intersection, a red light. The diesel grumble of a big truck is right over my left ear. I have the jump on him at the green. Only to meet him at the next red. I spin away from that one in a valiant effort to make the mid-hill light coming up, the one I really hate to stop for. No dice. Red light, a trackstand that leaves my legs shaking, and that same truck, right there. We go again. He must be loaded heavy. I pull away and don't see him again until the top, where he turns away at the light and I go straight. There is silence for awhile, silence through the roundabout and down the hill, out in the country now, or what passes for it in suburban Vermont these days. The manure on the shoulder, slick in the mist and rain, adds to the country feel.

The last big hill. I'm still not mashing the pedals, just pulling up a little at the end of the stroke, My feet swim in the rain stretched leather. These shoes were a size to small when I bought them, now I can't get them tighht enough. No matter. I'm over the top and in the office parking lot before I know it. This bike has no computer, I'm not wearing a GPS or heart rate monitor. It might have been my fastest ride in, might not have. You never know with traffic.


5.26.2011

A Recipe and a New House Rule



He who thinks it will probably be OK to cook up a big bunch of kale with beans and quinoa and caramelized onions and carrots and spices without washing said kale thoroughly because the salad spinner is kind of a pain to clean-

5.25.2011

Body Work: Week 15 Summary and Journal


Not a bad week. It was a bit of a shaky start but so incredibly nice to be out on my bike riding to and from work regularly, and to have that be part of my workout. Food stuff was good too, especially considering it included not one but two massive waffle breakfasts on the weekend. Home stretch next week and the one after that. I think I can I think I can...

Week 15 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.

Progress:
Average Weight:  

Fixed

There is nothing out there like
a corner on a fixed gear bike, 
leaning over, away in anticipation, 
slowing the drivetrain 
ever so slightly 
with your legs, then 

a moment,

vertical. 

and you dive into the turn. 
legs putting power back to the road again. 
and for the first time since the last time
you breathe. 

5.18.2011

Body Work: Week 14 Journal and Summary


A fairly good week of outside riding transitioned to a weekend of no riding and the devouring of delicious grillables. That's how it goes when it rains every day and you have a cracked bike frame. Tale of the tape follows, still losing weight and feeling good.

5.17.2011

Bike Musings

I have my aspirations for this to be a bike blog, but there hasn't been much to write home (or to anywhere)  about lately. It took all of April to get me off my butt and back into the routine of riding to work. With a new baby and a working mom and one car, the whole process was turned upside-down again, and the fact that all bike maintenance and other non baby-caring-for projects must now be done in 20 minute spurts between doing all of the other necessary things (like showering and feeding oneself and giving one's way-too-understanding wife a break every now and then)

Deep Breath. I've been training since February. I've been losing weight and blogging about it. I've been riding the rollers and outside and blogging about it. Great things have come from this. I'm stronger on the bike than I have ever felt before. I'm happier out there. I got my beautiful Scattante all set up with it's new cool handlebar and diamond-wrap and shellac bar tape, everything fitting together nicely and feeling just great.

I love these new bars and tape. 


Two weeks into my outdoor riding season and the frame is cracked. Bummer. I've been communicating with Performance, they are sending me a return label and I'm trying to find time to get the frame disassembled and cleaned up so I can send it back. I'm really holding out hope that I can somehow keep my beautiful bar taping job intact through the inevitable frame swap.

Such is life. I'm riding to work all week this week on the Trek 460 fixie, which is fun and as long as you're going to slog through the rainiest bike-to-work week ever, it might as well be on a fixie with an uncluttered drivetrain, making getting all the grit off of it at the end of the day a little easier.

Ridin' dirty.


Anyway, riding is great, life is good, work and baby are good but exhausting. I am doing more in my life than writing down everything I eat and weighing myself every day, though from the looks of this blog you wouldn't know it.  I think two years ago I wrote a post called "Welcome to new Ireland" about all the rain we'd been having. It's the same this year.  I'm getting used to it. Riding in the rain isn't all that bad, it's just not as easy-as-falling-down as throwing on bibs and a jersey to jump on the bike for a spin on a windless 70-degree day. Those days will come soon enough.

5.10.2011

Running Clear: Let's help Nate get his album out!

I'm a fan of Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a website where a person or a group with a goal that needs funding can advertise that goal to the world and take pledges from people to make that goal happen. If the funding goal isn't met, nobody pays anything at all.

We all have dreams, I think. Little projects in the back of our mind that we would embark on, if it wasn't for the fact that all of our money was tied up in the necessities of life. mortgages, food, student loans, car payments and the like. How many dreams, collectively in the world are there that sit, latent, as humanity struggles to just get the boring stuff of life done? Having the time to pursue a dream is a lucky thing, and if that dream takes some money too, having the money for it is even luckier.

So that's why I like Kickstarter. It's a nice, simple way that you can share that dream with anybody who can get on the web. You can tell everybody about your dream, your project, your invention, whatever, and then those people can help you by pledging to fund it. Here's Nate's dream:



Nate's a guy who lives up in Lincoln, Vermont, with his daughter Abigail and his draft horse Zuma, and he writes and plays music.

If you've never been to Lincoln, all I can tell you is that it's a beautiful and inspiring place. in fact, it's one of those kinds of places I should write a couple of essays about because like Cape Cod and like Copenhagen, it's one of those places that has informed and enriched my life over the years.  Nate was a few years behind me in high school, and while I haven't seen or spoken with him in some time, I know he's a good guy. And he makes music. Good, sweet original music inspired and informed by the beautiful place where he lives.  He's got an album, ready to go but for the mastering and the funding to do so. So he put up a Kickstarter page about it. You should check it out, and help him get his album made. Twelve bucks gets you a CD if the project is funded:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/519017465/running-clear-an-album-of-original-music-by-nate-g

I pledged because it's great music, it's a person I know, and it comes from a place I hold dear- but I also pledged because I could see myself doing a Kickstarter one of these days, for a chance to get the funds to do something I love- maybe I'll want some funding for a writing retreat or a chapbook someday, or to set up my cargo-bike based fresh doughnut sales operation (I have this way more planned out in my head than I should!), or to start my nonprofit foundation that will pay off outstanding loan balances for law school dropouts...

Let's make this dream happen for Nate, and then let's think about what each of our dreams are. In closing, there's a great quote from yesterday's XKCD comic, one that should be on the ceiling of your bedroom so you see it each morning:




5.09.2011

Body Work: Week Thirteen Journal and Summary


It was a good week for diet, less so for exercise. I haven't been able to have my rollers set up in the basement all week, and night meetings and bad weather ate into my outside riding options. It should be a lot better this week...

5.04.2011

Why I like Spreadheets

Different beers take a different amounts of time to ferment out, carbonate, and condition. I want a new beer to put on tap each month. 

Enter the spreadsheet:



List the beers, list the dates on which I want them to be tapped, list the dates on which they need to be brewed in order for them to be conditioned and ready by the tap date, re-order the list by brew date, and... Bam. 

Any suggestions for a beer to be tapped on 2/1/2012?

5.02.2011

Body Work: Week Twelve Journal and Summary

Judging by the week's summary, it doesn't look like I made much progress. Last week, with it's "four days of visiting the Disneyland of food that is my in-laws' house" felt like a blowout, and this week I felt like I was pulling a diving airplane back to level flight. But if you're willing to read through to the end of the week, I'm getting back on the right track. It was wonderful to get outside and ride my bike over the weekend- the weather was great and although I don't mind riding the rollers, riding outside is about a million times more enjoyable. Read on for the tale of the tape...