Thursday, November 19, 2015

2 days 4 short rides but its a start

2 days 4 short rides but its a start
Saturday begins the gym visits 30 minutes a day everyday for now. starting from the beginning of the 5x5 plan. Going slow to avoid injury That covers 3 of the 7 days. The other 4 will be mobility work. This will cover the first 3 months.
All of my previous fitness from last year is gone.
My butt is no longer used to the saddle but the will clear up in a few days.
Still Dipping with a plan to quit. Cold turkey without a start date does not work for me.
Vodka and Seltzer has replaced IPA's for now.
I had a gigantic Turkey dinner lunch at work. The Diet plan is in the making.
One day at a time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm Fat and I don't care if anyone is reading this.

I am Fat
I want to lose 100 pounds.
I have to.
I am 43 years old.
I do everything in life in spurts. Some longer than others. My fitness is currently in the off phase.
I have not ever been a systematic person. I'm sure there's an excuse in there , like I'm to creative for boxes or some other shite.
I have a gym membership I will start lifting again.
I have a bike I rode in today.
I have a horrible Copenhagen addiction.
I drink too much beer.
I eat like shit and excuse it because life with 3 very involved children is busy
My house is in disarray
My Finances are a shambles.
I hate my job.

I'm hitting the reset button

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motivations and Such

I have been riding quite a bit. What you may have missed is a destroyed Specialized, may she rest in pieces, A return to a road bike.

Riding a Road bike brough upon some challenges. Most of all comfort. I could have ridden the Mountain bike all day. I was much slower on it but had found my comfort spot. I am still searching for that on the road bike.

I have started a garden vegetables and herbs and flowers. I am also revitalizing a number of small gardens around the yard.

Starting today I birthed the Scantic River Riders. A non-sanctioned, non-affiliated, non-governed cycling organization. Well an organization of one so far.

I plan on having very strict un-rules for the group though it will be strictly invitation only.

More to come.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Cleanup

After a winter of bicycle commuting, I am now riding regularly to the bus. I feel accomplished. I will continue to ride farther and longer as the season gets warmer. The loss of my Specialized was devastating but proved to be a minor setback.
I have some fitness goals as well as a new challenge.

Yard and Gardens.

I have always wanted to be but never have been a "green thumb". I can do the heavy lifting, rake, move dirt, lift stones, trim trees, I am a good albeit slow labourer. I have learned that I adapt well and can get obsessively interested in projects. That will be my plan going forward.
So below is the yard I have to work with. There will be a lush green front yard with flower beds. The back yard will have a large durable grass area for playing as well as flower beds and vegetable gardens. I hope to plant a few fruit trees and a variety of berry bushes. For now this is the canvas.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Winter Ick Removal

Being that this is the first season I've been a full time commuter, I was amazed at how much gunk there was in the cracks and crevices of my bike. I have been rinsing the salt and crud off every few days. Last night I decided to dig in and take the chain off, disassemble the derailur, disc brakes, and crank\chainrings. Salt and goo and ick like I've never seen. I spent two hours on it and could have done more. Now I know why Bike shop tune-ups are priced the way they are. There is a lot to do! Now i need to get a cassette removal tool so I can give that some popper attention.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

City Dragons

I grew up in the Connecticut, working middle class, white suburbs. Hartford and Springfield were not New York and Boston. The news was filled with news of shootings and rampant gang violence. A big deal was riding your bike to the Mall halfway across town.
The stories were like modern day fairy tales meant to keep us safe through fear. At some point you believe them as fact and they stick. The rules of engagement were a bit like those used when robbing from a dragon in a fantasy novel.
… “Should you find yourself in the Mythical Land of Springfield or Hartford, prepare your soul for battle.”

Don’t make eye contact.
Watch the body not the feet
They all have guns or knives (Razor teeth and claws and breathe fire)
They will hook you on drugs (enchant you with spells)
Stay out of their turf (lair)
The Girls are dangerous (the mermaids will curse you)

Yes there are shootings. Yes there are gangs. Yes there are drugs. Do you know what there is more of? People.
As irrational as the fears are they persist into my forties. I have to fight the urge to not look over my shoulder every time I hear footsteps. I put my wallet in my front pocket. I profile the crowd to try to identify potential threats.
To combat the irrational thoughts I also try to smile and make eye contact and give the appropriate time of day greeting with every person in my path. It has almost never backfired. Most people nod or grunt back. Some smile big excited smiles. I don’t carry much cash in the day of debit cards but if I do have spare cash and I do see someone begging I give.

I have been commuting by bus and bike from Enfield to Hartford for nearly 5 months now. Nearly all of my trips have been during daylight hours, until last night. I normally take the express bus to Enfield which has its last run at 6:15. I had an event to attend in the city that ran until 10:30. I could have called my wife for a pickup. I could have ridden 16 miles back but really didn’t want to get home after midnight. I decided to let my wife sleep and take the local city Bus as close to home as I could and ride the rest of the trip from there. My usual commute is about 4.5 miles on neighborhood streets to the Bus and home from the Bus. I usually ride on the Bus with 45 other people from my giant insurance company or one of the neighboring giant insurance companies. Last night was different in a number of ways.
Hartford downtown empties out entirely at 5:30. There are a couple restaurants, bars and shops but for the most part it is deserted. Creepy deserted. I was wandering around looking for the Bradley Flyer bus stop. I saw a dark hooded figure. On an empty street a dark figure with a hood is far scarier than on a bright crowded street. I couldn’t find the Bus stop. The Bus only ran once an hour. If I missed it I was out of luck and had a long cold ride ahead of me. I asked the hooded figure where the bus stop was. And he……

DID NOT kill me, rape me, offer me drugs, or try to harvest my organs. He told me where the bus stop was with a smile. I waited with him. He was not chatty. The bus arrived. I got on the Bus. Everyone stared at me like I was the new outlaw walking into a saloon. I think the music actually stopped playing too.
I chose my seat carefully. No one behind me, everyone in my periphery. Then something happened. The bus pulled away and the driver started to talk to one of the shadowy figures riding the city bus late at night. The conversation went like this:
Bus Driver: You working tonight Al?
Al: Yup Student loans aint paying themselves
Bus Driver: Laughs
Al: Yup Jr. starts his second semester today. That boy is working hard he’s on the Dean’s list.
Bus Driver: I told you he’d be fine up in Boston. You worry too much.
Al: Hey he’s my only son I have to worry.
The shadowy figures on the bus all transformed in front of my eyes. These were no longer scary thugs waiting to mug you. These are people putting food on the table and paying the bills. Just like me. Just like you.
My shoulders relaxed.
I relaxed.
Al fell asleep on the bus and missed his stop. The bus driver apologized for not remembering and promised to loop back by after the last stop. Al laughed and moved to the side of the bus not directly behind the driver so the driver could see him and so he wouldn’t get forgotten again.

I asked the driver if he could stop on the main road before the airport. I said I wanted to be as close to Enfield as possible and laughed nervously. Since my bike was on the rack in front of the Bus he said “Your riding to Enfield? “How far is that”?
“About 7 or 8 miles” I said.
“Wow stay warm” said the driver. “You going to be here tomorrow night too? “
“No maybe next week” I said.
He said “OK Buddy have a safe ride and don’t forget to turn your lights on”.
I said Thank you and good night. Everyone on the bus nodded in response.
I was out of the city and I felt good , accomplished and a little ashamed for being nervous. OK I felt a lot ashamed.
I started the bike riding portion of my night. The first 2 miles is pretty much downhill. I saw almost no cars. I kept thinking about everyone on the bus. I got down the hill and turned onto Main Street there was only 1 car. I turned to cross the bridge. Ahead of me on the bridge another cyclist is riding towards me, he nods, we smile. I climb the longish hill up to Sophia’s plaza. Traffic picks up a bit. I cross the street and ride down the hill past the strip club, past the Trolley Museum, and I reach a wooded stretch of fast road that has almost no shoulder.
I am nearly home, maybe 1.5 miles away. Cars are going by fast. Fast enough and close enough to make me flinch. One big, diesel, Dodge Ram 3500, that is from my neighborhood, that I see every day on my way in, goes by so close and so fast I feel the aero suck of the truck and feel thankful his mirror didn’t brain me.
Yup you really have to be careful in the city.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Earning it.

I currently own two bicycles. A project bike Cannondale and a Specialized Hard Rock Pro Disc which, like a teenager mowing lawns, I found myself a second job in order to pay for it. I worked Thursday nights and weekends in a country club kitchen.

It was summer in Connecticut. Summer in Connecticut is underrated for its heat and humidity by those who don't live here. I think people have an Illusion of Vermont winters and breezy shoreline summers laced with lobster and yachts. For most of us this is far from the reality of things. Anyone who has ever sweltered under the nets of a shade tobacco field will tell you that summer in Connecticut is miserable. The mosquitoes are everywhere. Temperatures reach into the high nineties and you feel as though you are drowning in the humidity with each breath. So what better way to earn my bicycle without dipping into our family funds than by working for $9.00 an hour in a basement kitchen

Rapha loves to document the suffering men endure on a bicycle. They should have documented the summer of suffering I endured for that bicycle.

Why did I buy a Specialized Hard Rock Pro Disc? Why did I buy a bike that was not at all what I planned on buying? I am easily inspired. No it was not the shiny bike on the showroom floor that got my attention it was youtube.
Initially I was going to buy a Surly Cross Check. Then maybe a Karate Monkey, No ,No the Cross check for sure. Utilitarian, Most bang for my buck, Fits Fatties Fine! mmm maybe I’ll scrounge for a frame and build it up.. No no every time I price it out I spend way more than I’m going to earn this summer..

$9 an hour
X 20 hours a week
$180 an hour

- taxes
- home CFO needs extra money for xyz bill
= take home bike fund of roughly $100 a week
- occasional take CEO out on a surprise date night and blow $150..
Ok I was at about $800 to spend on my shiny new steed.

It would be my first bike since I bought a Triathlon tricked out Shogun Katana from Darren Holmes in High School. It had Scott Aero bars, Look Clipless Pedals, Shimano tip to toe.. Man it was sweet. I would fly on that thing. Ahhhh the memories.
Then I watched a video at work. It had single track, crazy dudes in BC on amazing trails. I had cash in my hand and that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to float effortlessly through the back country trails. I wanted to zip down mountainsides and fly over rises. So what if I was over 30 and a father of two almost three kids.

Anyone want to guess how many times the Specialized Hard Rock Pro Disc has been in the actual woods? How many times has it flown effortlessly over trails, across bridges and down mountainsides?


I finished my time at the country club in time for winter. I went on a few rides around the neighborhood. I even took it to the country club a couple times. Then it would sit. I wouldn’t ride it for months on end. I would read about Jill Up in Alaska and get inspired and go on a 3 mile ride only to feel inadequate. I would read about Kent Peterson riding halfway to the moon and get inspired and go ride up the first hill and go home feeling like I wasn’t worthy.

Then it sat again for years. We moved to Florida and I asked for slicks for Christmas. I would ride it around the gated community we lived in and it started to feel good and fun. I would come up with an exercise plan and then it would stop being fun and I would stop riding.
Florida was a mess for us and we are still recovering and will be for a while. Things started to look up as soon as we came back to Connecticut though. I got a great job the day after we got back with the moving truck. It was back in Hartford. I had always wanted to commute full time by bike and now I was going to. I had the additional motivation of needing to save money once again. this time it wasn't for a bike. It was for my family. It was to get back on our feet and live like we want to again. Not extravagant lives. Not decadence. Middle class suburban New Englanders.

I am still inspired by Jill and Kent. I still love reading what they write. I just stopped trying to be them. When I ride 16 miles to work and its 6F outside I remember Jill's storys about the Iditarod.
I keep pedaling. Its only 16 miles to the office

When I want a brand new shiny bike I remember what Kent can do with so little. I wait because I have a Specialized Hard Rock Pro Disc and that’s more than some people.
I have a project road bike in the form of an old Cannondale SR500 that someday I will build the way it deserves to be.

Tomorrow Im going to wake up and get on my bike and go to work.
Its fun again.
I earned it.