Sunday, February 26, 2012

Windy day ride

The wind never seems to stop here in Texas, and today was no exception to that.  It was blowing 20+ steady from the south all afternoon, with gusts up to 30 I am pretty sure.

I went out on a ride anyway, which was my first longer ride on the new bike.  It was also the first ride since I fiddled with the seat, bars and cushion(seatpad).  I was lucky in that the adjustments seem to be just about perfect.  I was able to ride for 2:27 without needing a neck rest.  This means when I do get/make my neck rest, I can recline the seat more for a more aero position.

Overall, it was a nice ride.  I only had an issue with one driver--I was spinning up a hill, at about the military crest, when suddenly an SUV decided he liked MY lane (or at least 2/3's of it) better than his own lane.  I bailed to the road edge of my lane, and turned around to watch him slowly drift back into his lane.  Mind you, he was topping a basically blind hill, 2/3's of the way into the oncoming lane!  I waved and yelled at him, but his windows were up, and he was oblivious. 

After making it to the top of the hill, the trio of horses in the adjacent pasture thought I looked VERY interesting!  Usually, horses seem spooked by a recumbent, but these 3 must be getting used to seeing me or something.  The trotted over to the gate, and wanted attention.  As I left, on down the road, they trotted after me in their pasture.  My oldest Monkey would've been thrilled!

The only other incident on the ride was when I tried to shuffle water bottles from the right to left bottle cages.  I can access the right side more easily/accurately so it gets drained first.  I wanted to move the bottle on the left over, and replace it with the empty one.  I managed the move of the full bottle over to the right cage, but fumbled the empty when I tried inserting it into the bottle cage. 

I stopped the bike and moved it off the road and put down the kickstand.  As I walked back to my errant bottle, I heard a crash!  My bike had been blown over by the wind.  Bugger!  Luckily, there was only a minor scrape on the left brake lever and no other apparent damage.  I made it home, for a total of 28.6mi.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Introducing, The Yellow Peril!

Yes I was able to send Dave out today in the wee hours of the morning, to meet up with a gentleman over in Huntsville, to pick up my new ride.  The Yellow Peril, a Bacchetta Giro 26, low miles on it, and the bag included.  So of course, yesterday I scooted over to REI and found the appropriate color coordinated new helmet!  [smiley=bounce.gif]

I did take it out for a spin to test it this afternoon, though not the Wilmeth road loop I had originally planned.  Got a late start, and it turned out to be a wise decision, as I found out at the end of the ride, that the rear disc was dragging a bit, making the bike feel sluggish.  Dave kindly adjusted it for me, and it should be much more sprightly on my next ride.

It does ride quite nicely--not quite as jarring as Dave's F5 seems to me, though the tires are similar.  I like the BPivot stem, once we managed to adjust everything so I wasn't whacking my shins on the bars...No problems with from wheel/heel clearance,  But I think I will want to add a layer of denser foam under my tailbone, as I did have some minor discomfort.

I am looking forward to the Ride Ataxia Denton event, as I am going to ride the Yellow Peril there!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Rain.  A simple enough concept, though with our most recent drought, a much sought-after, near-sacred event.  Rain.  You know, water falling from the skies, making drivers stupid.

Rain.  Cold and wet, 47deg and 14mph winds from the north, kind of wet.  It wasn't raining when we all left to do a spot of gear-shopping.  The dogs were out the rain.

Rain.  Cold and wet, falling from the sky.  No riding, or walking, or running, in the rain today.  Soup tonight, with the rain.

Rain.  My house now has a new smell about it--call it "Le Parfum de Chien MouillĂ©".  The Hounds of Renown are grumpy at having been left outside in the rain.  Mostly dry now, they lounge about, curled up, trying to stay warm, glad to be in from the rain.

Rain.  I can hear it falling, outside my window even now.  Wonderful, wet, life-bringing rain.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not much going on here.

Last week was a slow week.  Most of us here were sick-coughing-off work-etc.  We all had the crud.  I fared better than Dave, but only just...I seem to have managed to shake the lung crud without the aid of meds for once.  I just hope my luck holds.

So since no one has felt like riding or walking or doing much of anything, I decided to change bikes.  I am selling my well loved Rans Vrex recumbent.  You can see it here.  It's a great bike and very comfortable, but I found I was doing better on Dave's bike.  So I've found one similar and here in Texas, so I am going to try to acquire it this weekend.

I hope to be able to ride it on Sunday for an hour or two, and then can post my impressions.  Dave is going to pick up the bike for me, as someone has stay behind to wrangle the kids and the dogs.  Don't want to leave the dogs outside for 8hrs (barky) or inside (Cody can get bored and destructive), and the kids will be crabby stuck in the car for 8hrs with nothing to show for it afterwards (like a vacation drive has).

My weight loss has been holding steady even without the exercise, so I am pleased on that front.  Hopefully as the weather and health improve, I can make my primary goal, and then stabilize there for a while.  Then I will re-evaluate if I want to try to drop another 20#.  It gets harder and harder to convince my metabolism to quit conserving every excess ounce, and burn that fat.  My doc thinks 160 is a good stopping place for me.  I am going to try it for a while, and see how I feel and think about it.

One thing this weight loss journey has shown me, is I can get used to eating less, and eating better, and NOT eating a lot of wheat-based carbs.  Oh, I still crave fresh bread, but if I don't have it around, I don't eat it.  I am trying to incorporate the concepts from Pollan's Food Rules book.  Rules, such as don't eat things your grandmother wouldn't recognize or understand (ie: processed foods).  Or, if you think you are hungry, tell yourself you can have an apple.  If the apple doesn't sound good to you, then you're not really hungry.  I suppose you could substitute carrots or plain celery for the apple, but the concept is the same--if a healthy snack doesn't sound fulfilling, then don't eat.

Anyway, my friends, stay safe and stay healthy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's been an interesting week...

So, last week got off to a less than stellar start, with MonkeyBoy coming down in the wee hours of the night, with a raging case of Croup.  Blech!  Finally managed to get his lungs to open up between the cool night air (which calmed him down) and the steamy bathroom, which worked better than I had expected.

It is kind of scary to watch your nearly-9-yr-old struggle to breath in and out...Luckily I knew it was croup, he's had it before, and off to the doctor we went that afternoon.  He's fine now, but the girls came down with the associated head cold (croup without the wheezing and barking).  Then Dave came down with it, only he's got it so bad, he's wheezing, and has been off work all week.  He goes to see the doc in an hour or so.  Hopefully he will get some meds to treat him.  He feels horrible, and it pains me to see him coughing so hard he can hardly breathe.

This morning I awoke to that slight hint of sinus drainage, which tells me I may soon be laid up with the same crud.  That'll be the 3rd time this year for me, I think.  Maybe I will be able to keep it out of my lungs, but I doubt it.

On a positive note, I did get to ride Dave's F5 bike yesterday.  My first spin on it.  I rode my usual route, but in the afternoon, and found I was nearly 3mph faster than on my Vrex, without trying harder.  It also resulted in a lower overall heart rate, and exertion level (as measured by the Garmin Edge 305).  Looks like I will be probably selling my Vrex to swap over to an Rans F5 Enduro or Bachetta Giro 26.

By upgrading and the resultant speed gains, I would gain a fair bit of time (relatively speaking) to try randonneuring, and also be able to complete T-shirt rides and charity rides faster.

And on a final sad note, our friend, referenced in Midweek Ramble, passed away yesterday from his injuries sustained when he and his wife were struck by a truck/SUV.  Tim A., until we meet again, I know that God will be holding you in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bunny Alley, spider eyes, and one HUGE FIREBALL!

So Tuesday night, I got to go for a nice ride, as mentioned in the prior post. But what I didn't get around to mentioning, was my nightly trips down Bunny Alley. Bunny Alley is a short stretch of sidewalk/MUP that runs behind the library and an apartment complex, and next to an undeveloped field. This provides a lovely habitat for the local cottontail population to do, well, what rabbits do best!

Every night I ride the sidewalk there, I see at least 4-6 rabbits per pass. The big ones tend to stay out of the way, but the young ones are dumb enough to sprint across the sidewalk in front of me. So far, I have managed to avoid hitting any of them.

But Tuesday, there was a harbinger of summer in the alley...eyes! Eyes all over the's kind of creepy, especially once you learn whose eyes they are! You see, we ride with LED lights on the bikes, and they have a great tendency to pick up eye-reflections especially at a low on-the-ground low. What is out there that would fill the grass with eyes, you ask? Well, 'round here, the answer is SPIDERS!!! Big ones, little ones, fast ones, hairy ones....all kinds of spiders! So many sets of eyes, that it looks like dew drops in the grass...except they MOVE!

Now last night was Dave's ride night, and the kids, Cody & I went for a walk. As we walked down to the north pond on the MUP, I looked up at the sky only to see a huge fireball streak across the sky over town, west to east! It was highly colored--silverwhite in the center of the firetail, transitioning to yellow, then orange, and finally a beautiful green on the outer edges of the trail. Then it began to break up some, like trailing sparks.

I've only seen one other meteor like it in my life, and that was the night Carl Sagan died. This one also brought to mind the horrific videos I remember from the day the Space Shuttle Columbia and all aboard her died, Feb.1, 2003.

I remember that day-alone and pregnant with our son, as Dave flew to Oklahoma to pick up a used truck. I dropped Dave off at KCI and drove home, only to get a message from my Dad that the shuttle had crashed. Had we been in Texas at that time, I likely would have seen the shuttle accident...I'm kind of glad we were not there yet. The debris cloud passed near here, mostly landing east of DFW and around Nachadoches and Tyler. Last summer's drought dried up the lakes enough that they found several large pieces of Columbia, 8 years after the fact.

Remember them....

And watch out for the spider-eyes in the grass!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Midweek Ramble

I did manage a reasonable ride last night, of 17.26mi in 94min, despite what the GPS in the phone said I did (it thinks I went 50mi in that time, and teleported all over town to do it!). Once the GPS in the phones said Dave was teleported into Oklahoma on one of his nightly walks! Weather was on the warmer side, and humid, and made for a nice ride. Traffic was relatively low, and no one was a problem.

I confess to flinching a wee bit as the cars came past though. That's not usually an issue for me, but last week friends of mine were struck by a car while crossing a street in the crosswalk (on their green light). Both were seriously hurt. One will recover. The other, we pray for some good signs of a recovery, but truly his life is in God's hands now. Something like that makes you remember how fleeting life, and health, and even physical ability can be. If there is one thing we all can take away from my friends' tragedy, it is this: Tell those people you care about, that you CARE ABOUT THEM!

I will leave you all with an old Irish Blessing, one that I grew up with as a framed artwork in my parents hallway.