Selling things on Craigslist.

I don’t know how anything that has any kind of value can be sold on Craigslist anymore. I put the super-size CAAD9 up for sale and I am getting relentless scammers. I’m sorry but the whole point of selling something on craigslist is that it is USED and anyone paying full asking price for something used sight unseen much less having a “personal shipper” is crap. So, show up. look at it, agree to something and then either pay cash or go with me to the bank. I’ll go ebay it if i have to. The K2 was meant to subsidize the cyclocross build but if that has no interest, it will be disassembled and the drive train will be used for the cross bike. the gears and shifting components are all in good shape and paid for. Now, if the K2 sells it probably just pay for the fitting of the new replacement CAAD. There are always bike things to spend money on.

FAA medical exam+observations. March to March = 29 pounds

The Federal Aviation Administration says that I need to get a 1st class medical every six months. In March of 2013 I was 235 pounds and the blood pressure was 124/90. That is apparently borderline high for the Diastolic reading. In September I weighed 228 pounds with a blood pressure of 117/70. Today, I had 5 hours of sleep in a hotel in the Eastern time zone, flew home, and then stopped at the doctor’s to do this before going home for breakfast. Until then all I had in the last few hours was a thing of instant oatmeal and a cup of hot airplane tea. So as I stepped on the scale, The Physicians assistant recorded everything on the chart and subtracted the usual few pounds for the clothes I wear, and pronounced 206 pounds after the subtractions. (Once home, I stripped down the the skivvies and on my digital scale see…206.6, I also learned a t-shirt can be up to 3/4 pounds!) I guess their rule of thumb is pretty accurate. The blood pressure was 117/70, no doubt from fatigue and some salt intake after the 4-day trip. The diastolic is a nice consistent 70. The other part of the exam requires an $80 EKG every year annually. This means I lie down on my back and then I’m supposed to relax. Wires are attached across my chest and one on my lower leg. It just records my heartbeat and sends that to the FAA home office computer in Oklahoma city and then it pings back if i’m good to go or not. My resting heart rate at that moment was between 58-59 per minute. Once in a hotel room, probably 2 months ago, I had my heart rate monitor and my Garmin cycling computer/GPS with me. Just for kicks I wore it and got a reading of 55 per minute at the lowest laying on a comfy Aloft hotels bed. this gives me a heart rate range of 57 -191 to play with.

All in all, Since August, when I weighed 241 pounds ready for work in my uniform, and now 206 in my skivvies, It is safe to say I have lost over 30 pounds. I still have time to hit that even 200 by the end of March but with the way things have been + or – lately I think the only way to do that is through a lot more miles and more sweating during my hotel stays. Day three of my last trip had me jumping up the staircases 3 at a time until the 5th floor. That was a good one in addition to the hour of intervals on the bike done just before. This is working. This is good. This is it’s own motivation because when I have a day at work without exercise time I feel pretty rotten about it, and when home If I can’t get in a ride soon I start getting fidgety and restless. I think 190 pounds by fall is seriously possible, if not just under that but I just can’t ignore the muscles and taking care of them with the right food. I can’t believe I’m talking about food but as long as I stay reasonably non-toxic and don’t go off the deep end routinely having donuts with my morning coffee and mass volumes of pizza I should be fine. I might have to investigate the protein shake sometime in the day and a better alternative to the Cliff bar as well. So, here we go. Today I look at a Bicycle in my size and if it’s the right one, I’ll get it professionally fitted and then start looking for some Category 5 road races.

6 month official weight check + I climbed that hill…

In a few days I go in for the FAA medical. I will get to compare this with the one I got six months ago. In late September I was at 228 lbs, where the assistant subtracted 5 lbs for shoes and things. Lately I have seen fluctuations in the weight, with the low being 205 and the high 210. I am stepping up the exercise but the downside is that I am feeling more hungry. Of course I need to feed the machine but what is the issue. I worked with a crew that had to have a donut a day with their coffee and I sort of fell in with that. It was something nice to do for the moment but I just can’t do that too often. When I exercise I need to make sure it’s for that hour of cardio plus core/leg work.

So I went out on a nice day that wasn’t too windy and climbed the hill. this hill was with the Boulder cycling Club ride I did last fall. I was down probably 7 to 10 pounds by then and there was a climb in there. Well the results of my work are in and I dropped a minute off last falls time. It was 6:something and now it’s about 5:12 for the climb. So, the exertion felt I think the same from what I remember last fall. I do know that comparing the two rides, I felt like I could burn a little bit and just sustain that for much longer. That is the goal here. Power output for a duration. Can I maintain more power for the same time every time? I did not let myself redline. I saw a heart rate of 184 for a little bit but that’s not the max 191-192. I would like to hang the heart rate at 180 and be able to leave it there for a long time while pressing on….and that is what training is for. Sending the air to the muscles so they don’t burn so much. Training the muscles to absorb fuel faster (recovery) and burn it more efficiently. That’s the intervals.

I am also looking at replacement bikes. Selling what I have and getting the same thing just in a size down. I don’t want to do this but a new one would have the best version of the frame and would be the keeper for many many years….but would also take another $500+ out of the bank. It is tax season and if the union contract passes there will be some money available but I really can’t count on that.

Next step is the medical, bike purchase, and I do have an upcoming entire week off as far as I can tell so I do plan on forcing the weather to be nice and go ride most of those days. Also there are club rides for Saturday and that Tuesday night as well and IF I wish to, a mountain bike ride on Thursday night, even tho the bike I have needs to be re-shocked with newer bits. We shall see how it goes.

The Bike is too big. How can you know too?

As a kid, visiting the bike shop and trying out bikes always involved the shop mechanic/salesman/manager getting the bike down from the display racks. When the customer didn’t like it he had to put the bike back up on the rack. I had no idea what problems existed for a bike salesman of those times. In the late 70’s and early 80’s a bike was sledgehammered together from lead ingots so this meant that a bike salesman had to have or shortly developed an amazingly built upper body. Shopping for bikes with my family had the same thing happen over and over.

Salesman: “What’s your inseam?….ok..*unghh*…this should be alright, stand over this one and see how that fits you!”

Parent or sister or myself would stand over the top bar of the bike and either nod or shake the head.The top bar had to clear any lower fruits by an inch or two. That was the only qualifier of what a proper bike fit was.

Salesman: “No?….*unggghhh*..ok….umm…*unghhh* lets try this one!”

In a much earlier post I purchased a Craigslist bike. I honestly had no idea on bike fit beyond “standover height” and how it affects the rider on much longer rides. I just knew that if I could stand over it, it would fit me. Well it did but after riding it, there are some issues. I tried to fit the seat height right for the leg extension and move the seat as forward as possible according to what the UCI says is appropriate and everything worked nicely. 50 minutes to an hour in, a backache, a little one, sometimes starts. I attribute this to not much core strength and the need to work on that. The internet attributes this to most likely a bike with too much reach stretching myself way out there so my back bears the weight of my upper body. This wouldn’t be too bad if I was in the full on race mode fitness of a big hairy American winning machine, but…i am not.

I approached one of the largest consultant agencies in this area, Mr. Google Internets. What he told me was all kinds of things that were not related to each other. I sifted through it all and found one of the few sources that does the right math to figure out what you really need. The Competitive cyclist website has a calculator that not only does the math calculations but they have a short video about how to measure yourself for each field of data. That is incredibly helpful but in the end, requires you to really think about the date you get out. Like any scientist will tell you, knowing what the data is telling you instead of just getting data is where you learn what it means. Stand-over height is now a thing of the past, but it gets you toward a range of frames to consider. The upper body you have determines what really fits. the stand-over height just gets the frame up to your seat height. The top tube lengths, measured, or effective make all the difference in just how aggressive and racy the frame gets.

The CAAD9 I ride has just plain too much reach for me. Again being a complete pro racer would be able to handle that, but time on the bike is an issue. It’s now how strong you are, it’s how long you can handle using that strength and with a core that at the moment can only handle an hour of stretched out abuse, so with a prio rider enduring 4-5 hours of that at a time, yeah sure they can handle it. I would require 8-10 hours to ride that distance. Heck no.

So, the calculator tells me that the top tube length should be around the 57-59 cm length, ideally 58. what I ride now has a measured length of 61 with a geometric length of 60. With the same handlebar stem on this bike as what I should have on a correctly measured bike this means I have +20-25 mm over what I need. I am reaching out about an extra inch plus more than what I should. That equates to several degrees of back angle that I shouldn’t be enduring. this reach can be mitigated with shorter stem length and moving the seat up helps shorten that reach but then the angle to the pedals gets funny, and the steering gets difficult because of the stem length being shorter affects the leverage on the fork.

So This bike, good for what I have ridden so far, requires a fitting if I am to ride it on extended days or events this year. This means it really should be sold, and replaced with a frame with the right reach and then fitted by the right people. a fitting with buying the right length parts to do it the right way costs $250 with the seat i’m going to buy and won’t be worth it on a frame that has me reaching too far.

So I need to look for the right frame. inseam of 86cm, means standover of ideally 83-84 and a top tube equaling a Cannondale 60cm. The search begins.

Hills of March 6th.

It was a very nice day of about 60 degrees. Just a little bit of wind from the west and I was ready to go ride. I got out on my normal loop and diverged fromthe normal. I knew there was a hill at the end of a long stretch of road and I wanted a hill. What I found was, again, a bit more wind right in my face than I expected. Along the road I was able to maintain about a 10 to 12 mph average. I watched my heart rate and just kept it at 150-something and whatever gearing it took to maintain that I used. I got a new cassette for the rear. It’s really a compact configuration rear cassette for I still have that triple front chainring and I’m glad. the front is a 30-39-50 and the rear is now an 11-28 (previously 12-26) I have a huge spread of speed ability now. Into that wind I was doing fine. Maintaining a decent speed, trying to stay in the drops as often as I could to minimize the impact of the wind and working on my pedal stroke. things are going well in that department. Oh look a hill…

There it was. It wasn’t that steep honestly but it was steep enough to test people. 4.3% grade up over .8 miles. the bigges problem with a hill like this is the headwind into my face. did I mention that? I think it was probably a 5mph or so wind given the speed I could only maintain on the way to the hill, but this was a good thing. I got to the hill without all of my energy, but with enough for hills. I averaged 8mph up this hill with some wind in my face. I stayed put in the saddle all the way up on purpose for efficiencey. If I stood up and cranked along I would have done it faster but probably burned out the legs and had to stop. In a no wind situation I could probably hold 10+. According to STRAVA, this effort was 995th out of just over 1000 people that have climbed this hill. Going 16mph average up the hill would land me 50th. I am in no way comparing and analyzing what I do to the pros here but I am evaluating myself and my present ability and am finding that i’m doing pretty good for 6-7 months in to this. When people in my position see Olympic athletes on these routes and feel bad, they need to remember just how far beyond the next level pro athletes really are. For this climb, Taylor Phinney set the best time at just over a 21mph average…going up hill. Professional athletes are at least twice as fast as an average cyclist in these parts, so there is a level of ability that us normals just cannot look at as reference points. At the top of the hill I was riding on flat ground and let myself recover but I mae sure I didn’t just cruise pedal, I had to keep going. My heart rate was just over 180 and I was breathing hard but the amazing thing about this cycling is feeling your body go through the changes very quickly over a series of minutes. five minutes later I felt good again. I could tell the energy level was down overall but that’s what I’m supposed to feel. I know I’m running out of stored energy and would have to eat something soon. 50 minutes in to the ride I finish the first bottle of water and bust out the bananna, starting the second bottle.

The next good ride I do with some hill challenges I think i’ll have to go do the BCC club route that I rode last fall and compare the time now to +20 pounds and 5 months ago.

Weather broke. People are coming out of their caves. Cycling season is here.

Last week I had a work layover in my town. So I went home and got on the bike. 22 miles of a nice simple loop and I felt strong. Just under 17mph average for the whole thing and I didn’t try to do it but I set a few personal best segment times on the STRAVA application.  It was very good to get out on a bike that was working well for the most part. The best part about this, is that I saw improvement. Where in the fall I would bust out a max effort on some specific segments just to see what I could accomplish at that time (sort of setting up a beginning frame of reference for later) I could equal that time now without getting out of the seat and without that max effort. I would like to think that this is from more than just weight loss. since I’m down 30-35 pounds now, I am seeing better things. For example yesterday I am eating fewer Tums than I used to, and I am finding myself having to step up the free weight..ummm…weight a little bit more in the exercise rooms. This is a good thing and is that next step of notivation. Seeing progress makes you believe in more progress. “Wow it really is possible!”

Two days later I got home from my trip, suffering through a difffering series of naps through the night until mid-morning at home. I rode the bike that afternoon and just felt “off”. It was a fatigue issue. I got my cardio exercise in but that was really it. I just did the required exercise and there wasn’t as much excitement in it. For the most part, that was a scenery trip. but, it set me up for the next ride. I am now looking for some hills since I have some kind of endurance now, I can do that.