Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Fundraiser with a Bonus

I have registered with Think Recycle for the Conquer Cancer Ride. I will be collecting used cell phones, laser cartridges and ink jet cartridges. I send them to Think Recyle and they issue payments to the Princess Margaret in my name. They recycle 100% of all items received and fund the planting of a tree for every 10 items submitted. Definitley a win-win program. Remember to keep you old cartridges and send me an e-mail to pick them up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Second Revelation

For the first few months of enjoying your new pastime you snicker whenever you pass a cyclist wearing one of those ridiculous helmets. The well aged ball cap with the logo of your favourite NFL team displayed proudly on the front feels just great as you pedal up and down the sidewalks and bike paths. Occasionally you stop in to see the guru at the local bike shop, just to say hello, maybe get things tightened up. If you are still in lady luck's good books, your second revelation will come during one of these visits. Someone will show you a picture or maybe even the real deal, a broken helmet. It will have a four inch crack up one side that you can stick your thumb into easily. Someone will say “yep, saved his life”. You imagine what a skull would look like if it suffered the impact that creased the helmet, and then pull out your wallet. I'll take mine in orange please. 

If you somehow upset the lady, you are either reading this with wings on your shoulders, horns on your cracked skull or a relative is reading it to you as you drool all over yourself. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

New at FCD

This winter has been a tough one at work. Our last gas bill topped $1000 and we're still frozen most of the day. I can honestly say I'm colder at work than I am during the walk in. Here's pic of my new Dell handwarmer. I turned th box sideways on the counter, put the monitor on top and the outlet for the fan provides a nice spot to warm my fingers.

Today's walk was a cool one as the advertised temp on tv was about 6 degrees off and with the wind I was a bit under-dressed. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And Now She Waits

Eyowen was rushed into being a few months back when Cecelia bit the dust but I've slowly been finishing up all the loose ends. From her humble start as a piece of discarded junk left in the corner of a garage to today the fininshed product, she's come a long way. All that remains of the original is the frame which is now a bright orange. She has a few pieces borrowed from her sisters but I've assembled every part with just a bit of advice. She's had 3 sets of handle bars and 2 sets of tires since November but I finally decided to go back to the original plan, a single speed mountain bike. Here she is along with a shot of the Vado mounted on the bar. Now we both just have to wait for some decent weather.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The First Revelation

At first you think, I'll get a bike to lose weight and get some exercise - or - I''ll drag my old bike out of the basement and start riding to lose weight and get some exercise. Any bike will do, I'm not going to go out and spend $500 on a damn bike when I have a perfectly good one already - or - why spend $500 when I can get this great looking red one for only $200 at _____ (fill in the name of your favourite department store).

So you dust off the old bike and fill the tires - or - rush down to the mall and roll out that red beauty after absorbing the wise words of the 18 year old sports department clerk who is actually from the tropical fish department but recently killed off a herd of guppies and got transferred to somewhere he could do less fish.

For a month your 'a bike is a bike' theory works like a charm. The old/new ride is perfect. It gets you where you want to go, which at this point isn't very far. It hasn't broken down or even gotten a flat. Those high priced bike shops are a real rip off, imagine $500 for a bike. What a joke. Barnum was right, there's one born every minute.

And then one day you're riding along and you decide to stand up and push a little bit harder. If you are lucky like I was, you are already in the process of sitting back down when the pedal snaps clean off at the crank arm and you don't land jewels first on the top tube. If you're not so lucky you speak with a lovely falsetto for a week as you tend to your wounds and then vow never to put your leg over another bike, assuming you regain that ability in the future.
-Or- you are riding along one day and you feel something strange. The pedal feels loose, the pedal on my 6 week old bike is loose, how can this be? So you return to _____ (fill in your favourite name for the department store now, bet its different) and are told the bike guy only comes in on Wednesdays after 2, and its Thursday. Wednesday rolls around and you return to get the bike that was tied up for a week. The clerk disappears for 15 minutes into the storeroom full of bikes and toys and pampers and coffee makers and everything under the sun except your bike apparently. He returns wheeling a shiny pink ladies cruiser, too bad you brought in a black full suspension mountain bike cause it is kind of cute. “Are you sure this isn't your bike Mr. Yamamoto”? Since none of your relatives, living or dead, have ever stepped foot in the land of the rising sun, you just smile. Eventually he comes back with your bike.

A week later you have entered your first race, a charity relay event and only 12 miles but they clock it and you are pumped to test yourself and your new ride against others. During the week you purchased a tool to do your own repairs to the crank arm that continues to cause you grief. No sense taking it back to _____ (you know what to do here) since they can't fix it and anyway it's Friday. Off you go in your first race, somehow knowing you are out of place in your football jersey, shorts and running shoes. Funny, your bike is the only one with a kick stand. And even funnier than that, halfway into the race the crank arm falls right off the bike and you end up pushing your new bike up the hills and then rolling down the other side. You try beating it on with a rock the size of a softball but that only works for a few yards and then it all goes wobbly again, but it does vent some of that frustration as you pound away.

And then the revelation. Our hero from the local bike shop that is sponsoring the event appears with a bike on the roof of his car. He pulls it off with ease, lowers the saddle and says simply 'finish'. You hop on and you are dumbstruck. The machine feels like it has a motor of its own. It climbs the hills and roars down the other side as you flick the gears up and down. You sprint the last 4 miles. The wind in your face has you realizing why your dog loves to put his head out the window of your speeding car, it just feels so damn good. You are so dead last the organizers cut your team mate's 3 mile run down to 1 mile so they can pack up and leave to go to the party, but you still feel so good. Until you remember that your 'bike' is on the back of that pickup over there, the machine is back with its true owner. People hear your story and tell you to take the bike back and get a real one. You have seen the light and that's exactly what you do, but you still don't spend $500. Now you realize you get what you pay for and spend $900 after absorbing what the guru at the bike shop tells you. He's about your age and more importantly about your weight, he doesn't have the life of even one guppy on his conscience, and he knows stuff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Toy

One of the items I received at Christmas was a small video camera (Creative Vado) capable of quick uploads to Youtube. It can hold up to 2 hours of video (1 hour higher quality) on the 2 gig flash card and is only about 1/2 inch thick and 4" x 2". Over the weekend I MacIvered an old light mount into a camera mount so that I can attach the camera to the handlebars of a bike securely and remove it quickly if the weather turns ugly. Check out my first test ride with the new setup below.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coldest Day of the Year

Today as I was making my way to work I listened to the radio and that could have been a bad decision. The morning crew made sure that everyone knew it was -31 with a windchill of -42, at least every 60 seconds. Yes it was cold but no I didn't really feel it. With enough layers I'm convinced you can go out and walk in anything. The most I feel is like standing next to a door with a slight draft, normally where my gloves meet my jacket or if the wind blows at the wrong angle it can seep in around the ski goggles. This week has been extremely cold so as I went home Monday I was planning on what I could add to my list of winter wear.

Today and since Tuesday I have had on thermal socks Sal got me for Christmas, Under Armour base layer pants, a pair of pajama pants and my jeans. Around my middle a moisture wicking shirt, turtle neck, windbreaker, the outside shell of AJ's discarded American Eagle parka and the outside shell of my way too big Northwood 3 in1 jacket. On my head a standard Buff neck tube, a polar Buff over my face, an under-the-bike-helmet toque and a thermal fleece toque over it all with the ski goggles. I've learned to breathe in a way that doesn't fog the goggles and to never stop moving even if a red light holds me up. When I get to work I'm normally sweating where my pack sack rides but I'm not cold. It can be a fine balance between warm enough and not too warm. Ocasionally one too many layers will have me getting far too sweaty and then the cold will get to me about 3/4 of the way in. Not enough layers and I can jog a bit to get the core warmed up. I actually enjoy it. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Tool to Fight Boredom

I found a great tool to fight the boredom that is a big part of indoor riding. It's an open source download program with a unique feature. It can download online flash videos and then convert them to file formats that can be burned to dvd iwth Windows Movie Maker or Nero etc. I already got the 12 part 'History of the Tour de France' and 'Lance Armstong's Road to Paris' which will keep me from dozing while grinding away for more than 3 hours. The quality is not great but when converted and burned the image on the tv screen is much better than the little window on YouTube. I'll post a link and more info once I get some more time with the new software.

I managed to get back on the push up regimen this morning before walking to work. I've been doing too much snacking after 4 clean days. My km's are going up but I'm sure the weight is not going down yet. If I don't stay clean this week it'll be back to posting what I eat here, can you wait?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back to Work

I finally got down to the shop to change Eyowen's tires and bars over to a more winter friendly setup tonight. Hopefully the snow will hold off so I can get out Saturday. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Frost on the Pumpkin

I can't imagine why this large pumpkin is sitting in the snow bank at the corner. It's been there all week. Ukrainian Halloween?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Not About the Bike

I just finished Lance Armstrong's book 'It's Not About the Bike'. It is his autobiographical account of his first Tour de France win in 1999 and his battle with cancer. Everyone is aware that he had testicular cancer but at the same time he was operated on for cancers in his lungs and his brain and then underwent long bouts of chemothearpy. 

He may be a lot of things, some people find him arrgoant and aloof. That may well be and I'm sure he has his reasons, but he is definitely one tough sob. Anyone who tells him he can't, is in for a heavy helping of crow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ridng Along to Gold

It's too bad there isn't a World Junior Gold game every night. I hopped on Ethel at the start of the second period and never had an indoor ride go by so fast. I usually try to go about 17-18km per hour and add some sprints. As Espo got the second goal I looked down at the speedo and it read 22, adrenaline kicking in I guess. I did 17km at an average of just over 20kmh. It felt like an outdoor ride as I wasn't even thinking about the effort.
Way to go boys, 5 in a row. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Big Bash, Lotsa Cash

Thanks to everyone who attended or donated to Mike & Mel's shag. Even with a World Junior game, NFL playoffs and another lovely evening of blowing snow against them, it was a huge success. Rough figuring has the profit at about $5000 with 358 people turning out.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Outside at Last

I made the hike to work Friday and since the imminent snow storm held off I rode Eyowen, a long slow cautious 5km to the bank for ref money and then home. The sidewalks were plowed pretty well but the tires were cutting through the crust so she wandered a bit in places. Time to switch to some knobby tires for snow rides. So far I love kilometres. Sometimes another mile seems just too long but another km goes by quickly. I know that will change but this is the time of year that I need to do the extra couple.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Launchy is a great little program that can save you lots of time searching for programs or files on your computer. It indexes any kind of file you want to be able to run and with 5 keystrokes you can load not only your favourite program but the file you want to work with. By default you press 'Alt'+ the spacebar to open the launch window, the start typing the name of the program or file and it will bring up a series of possibilities. Once you make a selection it will use that pick as the first in the list next time around. I can load my spreadsheet in Open Office for Northwood scoring stats by hitting the alt-space combo and typing 'sco' in the window, hit enter and everything launches. Otherwise your desktop is covered in shortcuts. Sometimes for the life of me I can't find the shortcut I want or I'm clicking through directories trying to find the file I want. It takes a few minutes to set it up to index your drive but after that even web pages you frequent can be loaded with a few keystrokes.  

It can do a few other tricks as well. It has a built in calculator, can be used to find and play an mp3 file with your default player or load a picture. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Stats

Total Miles 4499mi

Geared 1985mi (44%)
  • Jill 828mi (18%)
  • Bridget 1157mi (25%)
Singlespeed 1991mi (45%)
  • Eyowen 78mi (1%)
  • Molly 908mi (20%)
  • Cecelia 1005mi (22%)
Stationary 523mi (11%)

New member of the family Eyowen November 22, 2008
R.I.P. Cecelia November 18, 2008

'08 Wrap Up & '09 Goals

What a dumb-a**. One more mile and I would have made it 4500 for the year. I should have added things up long before today. I just checked my last post of 2007 and my weight was x-80 or 245. After another holiday season where temptation arrives in every conceivable kind of container, I'm at 240. Not a great year for loss but I think I'm ready to get at it again. I heartily partook in holiday meals and goodies so I'm surprised I didn't show a net gain. I am beginning to know my weaknesses, if I take just one small thing I shouldn't, I'm likely to take a whole bowlful. I turned off the switch on the holidays on the 29th and haven't gone off the wagon since. 

As for biking I did lots of miles but I think this year I should be looking for more hard rides rather than just miles. I can easily churn out 30 miles, I need to sweat a bit more to make the miles count. To attain my goals for the upcoming year I'll need to work harder than I did in '08.

Later today the odometers on all of the girls will be zeroed and reset to track kilometres. I'm hoping for a 25% increase so that will be 5,625 miles or just over 9,000 km., 10,000km sounds much better though. Hopefully more miles will mean less weight, I'm shooting for 210.
December miles
Riding:106 miles
Walking:52 miles
Ethel:5 miles
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
Eyowen:2 miles
Ethel:4 miles
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
Boots:1 mile
100 push-ups
Ethel:12 miles
100 push-ups
100 push-ups
100 push-ups
Boots:1 mile
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups