Post Thanksgiving

The day after. Everyone is shopping. That kitchen mess, if you haven’t done anything about it, is still there. The wife is shopping with her sister. I wait. My sinus cold is subsiding nicely and all I want to do is go on a nice ride. Well, I do have to wait for her to get home to watch the kids while I do that. I finally get to use the GPS system and put that information to the Strava program. Then I can start to see a picture of what I am accomplishing. I’m very happy that I did not totally overdo it at dinner like the rest of america does. I heard somewhere that the average Thanksgiving dinner is 4,000 calories or so! I think I did just fine keeping my plate at a respectable 2,000-ish.

She’s home! I ride! I saw 189 beats/minute as a maximum heart rate it sensed at any time. I don’t have a power meter but Strava did some sort of calculation that seems appropriate. I, a forty year old, rode 11 miles with a heart rate average of around 150 and a power output the whole time on average of 140 watts. I would have done alot more distance but by the time she got home from the shopping, I only had about 5 minutes of usable sunlight left. I am plugging away now, even in the holidays to get all of those figures to more impressive levels over time. We shall see. More rides when I get home from my next trip, and of course there’s 19 deg. and snow in the forecast for that time. We shall see.

2 weeks went by, Oh what a funk I fell in.

A perfect storm hits. that storm being bad weather and broken equipment and a terrible schedule PLUS company re-qualification! Oh boy!. Lets review: First the bad weather happens where it is freezing or raining pretty cold making any ride nasty beyond just dressing cold, I would have been soaked and washed off the road. I know people ride in that but i’m no masochist when it comes to cold to the bone rain and I’ll tell you what, if you can ride in it, you must be a dedicated competitor or you have no other alternative in how to get to work. So, i stayed in and took care of the family and laundry because…I have a suck schedule this month. The work computer behaved badly and through various formulae, assigned me reserve. so I sit in a hotel room and wait to be called to cover for sick or out of position pilots. The benefits to this are, minimal distraction and an exercise room all mine every day. The cons? Broken equipment or they actually use me and I’m off somewhere with minimal sleep or rest time to use the facilities at the other hotel. Being tired makes it hard to get up and exercise that’s for sure. Let’s see, broken foot straps or cycling programs in the machine that don’t do what they say or there’s no place to put any water! Grrr. At least I have the simulator proficiency check to look forward to. Right?

 Into a $20+ million dollar full motion simulator box at Flightsafety International I go. I prove I’m good enough again this year to keep doing my job and I have yet to register that I don’t have any more stress to worry about until next year when I do this again. I still feel like I should be studying. Well not anymore. I have some riding to catch up on! I did get one ride in last week but I had to cut it short and go home, change, and then pick up a sick little girl at school. 17 miles or so I think. I also had a birthday and am excited. Thank you WIFE! I now have a Garmin 800 cycling computer mounted to the stem! Hert rate monitor and cadence detector and all that good stuff. If I ever feel rich Ill pick up a power meter that it can also detect, but honestly until I have a good monster cardio machine, training with power won’t do me any good. I need that base to work from. I’m done spending money on bike stuff. I now have what I need to get the job done this winter and next year. See you next week as I burn off all that turkey!

Nov. 11, 2013: Birthday = Serious starting line

I am officially 40 at that date. Right when the weather gets a bit “poor” shall we say. The schedule has been terrible this month. The wafe was to have a surprise B-day party but when the work computer shafted me in scheduling, it took away any possible day for that on the weekend. I came home from 6 days out at work on the DAY of my birthday. I had a nice dinner. I had nice family time. I scored a nice Garmin 800 cycling computer from my wife, and a helmet mirror from my nearing-5 year old daughter. I’m set. Now, I have to power through the work stress as I get ready for my simulator event for work, (I have to prove i’m still good enough to keep flying for them) and study, but also keep exercising If I have some time to do that. I can assume they don’t use me while i’m on ‘reserve’ waiting for others to be sick or fatigued and take their place, but the reality is they will use me and I will loose that exercise time in the hotel. That’s how it’s been turning out. I get some where and then the stay is so short or I am so worn out that sleep is the best option. I’m hoping that next month is better at this point.

But, I start right now. I have a year to get over this and work hard. Even if it’s an elliptical machine built for the stride of someone three-foot-eight, I’ll have to use it if that’s the only option. There will be a post dedicated to crap machines coming up I just know it.

The Cold!! (It was a Monday)

Well, it’s cold alright! I did my first cold weather ride. I think it might have been 40 degrees F. As we know what cycling is like in the warm weather, with the normal pair of shorts and shirt, there are a lot more things to think about in the cold. First? It costs A LOT more money to ride in the cold if anyone plans on making it part of their training a few days a week. The clothes have to work. Secondly you need to bundle up a bit with that money converted into clothes. Firstly, nothing HAS to be cycling specific Lycra stuff, it can be what works and keeps you warm, but you do need to manage the sweat or you will get hypothermic and sick quickly. So, shirts become long sleeved and of a thermal fabric. The shorts stay put but now there are these things called ‘leg warmers’. Let’s not fool anybody, it’s really a pair of footless thigh-highs. Yeah. I put those on but they go under the shorts and as long as it’s sunny outside, the dark colors will keep me warm. I learned that as I rode into a very strong headwind and my average speed was kept around 9 mph that whole way. It was quite a while but I was still warm, until I hit the shady areas that felt riding into a kitchen refrigerator! Turning around brought me up to 30mph the whole way back. wow. Fast is fun. It takes one trip into the weather to know what else I should have put on. This weather was perhaps 40. What I was wearing is good enough for the upper 50’s but once the temperature touched 40, and being windy like it was, a base layer should have gone on, with the tights over the shorts instead of the leg warmers. That would have insulated me against more wind and some colder shade. If the conditions were overcast, then definitely the base layer and tights and probably the leg warmers also under all that should go on. There are some elastic boots over the shoes to keep the cold off the toes I have yet to get. I deliberated for a long time over what I needed to get for the cold weather and had to sort through all sorts of internet bits to really figure out the basics. Here is what I learned:

65 and up in the sun? A normal outfit. Below 65 to mid 50’s go long sleeve, possibly thermal long sleeve if it’s windy. Consider the leg warmers or knee warmers if it feels like it. If Below 55 start with the leg warmers with the thermal long sleeve and if it’s overcast into the 40’s or upper 30’s hit up the insulating base layer and thermal tights possibly ones with wind blocking construction. Into the 30’s by much near freezing? Definitely a warm wind blocking jacket or a fleece top layer and those shoe bootie things.

All of this costs several hundred dollars, and that’s buying the cheaper stuff off of Amazon. I will say though, that the Performance Bike stores quality is taken a huge jump up in quality of product…but plan a size up in the pants department, it’s just built a bit small.