Thursday, December 27, 2012

Still your fault

A year has passed since we said good-bye. A lot of stuff has happened in this past year. Holidays were a little sadder without your smiling face. Not as many silly jokes at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Just that slight sadness in the air from you not being here. We did have some fun though. We took a vacation just like we promised....taking the kids on a cruise to Mexico, Belize and Honduras. The kids had a blast and we tried our best to never tell them "no" on this trip. We wanted them to remember it as a very special trip. You know that though....because Chelle and I both know that you were there. Your unmistakable smell surrounded us as we were waiting in line one day.....announcing your presence as if you tapped us on the shoulder. It was quiet for a while after that trip. Every now and then Zoe would cry that she missed you. I would think about how you introduced me to your beautiful daughter. The other kids would say they missed the funny things you would say.

Thanksgiving was hardest on Chelle. She was remembering the bad parts of this whole thing and it was making her very sad. We did our best to cheer her up by reminding her that you are not feeling any pain now....that you are watching over us and keeping us safe. Then Christmas came on Tuesday....and on our trip home from my Dad's house we were listening to music when Chelle said "if that song about the boy buying shoes for his mom comes on....change the channel....I won't be able to handle it".....but it never did. As we rolled to a stop at the last light before our house "Wonderful world" started quietly on the radio. I flinched for a second....but hesitated long enough for the words to start as I turned to you lovely daughter...who had tears falling down her cheek. We pulled into the driveway as the song ended and we knew you were thinking of us. People can believe what they want but this was no coincidence....you were letting us know that you were there......and that you are alright.

I still blame you, ya know. For this whole thing. It was an honor to be your son-n-law and I am proud to claim as such. Thank you for introducing me to your pride and joy and for sharing so many memorable moments in our lives. We miss you sir.....






Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Weekly Update 12-24-12 (a few days late)

This week went by in a flash. Super busy finishing up shopping and getting stuff ready for Christmas....for my wife anyway. Friday I started to come down with the crud. We had friends and family over so I made some White Chicken Chili. It was really good....but by the time we ate I was already heading downhill. Went to bed early....9pm....on Friday. Nice.

Chelle let me sleep until 11 the next morning and I was feeling good enough to go to the family Christmas party. Always a good time! Unfortunetly my feeling better didn't last the entire time and I started to backslide by around 6pm. I headed downstairs and hid under a blanket until we headed home. We got home around 9pm or so...and I headed to bed again. Didn't get out of bed until after 1pm on Sunday. Chelle was headed out to finish up shopping and I needed to get up to supervise the kiddos. I had a fever of 102 so I just basically sat there and made sure they didn't burn the house down....but my kids are good when the adults are sick. They helped me with whatever I needed. Put the little ones in bed by 10 and headed back to bed. By now.....I was tired of doing nothing...but was still too sick to do anything....so I was stuck.

Got up Monday around 10....I think. Started to feel a little better....fever was still spiking at 101 but I had to move around some....I was going stir crazy. Amazing how awful you can feel after being idle for a few days. My ribs hurt, back hurt, legs were sore,.....just plain sore. The good news....by the evening I was back on the road to recovery. I was able to move around and do a few things.....besides get food ;)

Yesterday, Christmas, we got up and the kids opened their presents. Then we headed to my Dads in Indiana. Had a great day with the family and got back home and in bed around 11:30. The alarm was not very friendly this morning....but I made it to work.....for another short week!

So....didn't really spin much....but I did manage to lose 2 pounds this week. Slowly I will get back to 100% and I will probably spin some tonight.....just to free up my muscles. Probably take it easy for another day or so...then get back at it. The 2013 race season will be here before I know it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What if.....left instead of right

 Before I get started I need to give the disclaimer that this is not going to be one of those deep life topics....like "what if I never met you" kind of thing....it is going to be more about how one decision can change the future when you find yourself at a fork in the road......

You make decisions every day that can change your future. Simple decisions....like whether to go to work....or to pick up a bottle. Whether to eat breakfast or to skip breakfast. You might not think it...but these subtle things can effect your entire future....your path. I skipped breakfast one day when I was 10. If I had breakfast that day I might be president today. Ok, so maybe I am going deeper than I intended...but do you understand what I am meaning by this? Every decision we make has the power to change the future. Simple? You with me? Ok...here we go....


We miss you Mr. Farley
Take the guy in the picture above. You know one day Chris got up and ate breakfast. That breakfast changed his future path. It landed him in main stream movies with David Spade and dancing with Patrick Swayze on a SNL Skit. Had he skipped breakfast we may have never know who he was. That one breakfast started him down the path, but he could have been pushed onto another path if he wore blue shoes on Tuesday. It is really simple....your path is not set in stone....your future is not paved in concrete. 


Gary Fisher

I met Gary Fisher at Iceman a a few years ago. I heard he was going to be there and sure enough I saw him. I walked up and introduced myself. He graciously posed for a picture and went onto his other activities. Let's think about how he ended up where he is for a minute. He was a pioneer of the sport I love. What if he had never looked at a bike? That day he decided to give riding a bike a chance put Gary on a path to be one of the best known people in the industry...with his name on bikes and and a very stylish mustache. What if he had gotten burned out....what if after a crash he walked away....letting that one event determine his future? A lot to think about for sure....



So that leads me to the final section of this strange post. The picture above shows two paths....they may indeed lead to the same place....but the paths are indeed different. The one on the left looks more open and flat....the other looks tighter and goes uphill. Which one do you take? On Monday you might take the path on the left....you have had a long day and don't need any more struggle. By Saturday you need to blow off some steam so you take the path to the right and burn your frustration out on the climbs. Pushing as hard as you can up the hills and leaving your stress on the side of the trail. In the end....you are still on the same path....but how you got there was different. Do you think your decision to go left affected your future? How about if you took the path to the right....you are in the parking lot...by your car....in the same spot.....but did your path change? You might think that you are in the same place....but your future was changed when you took the path to the right. That harder path made you stronger. Maybe you will eat a healthier diet....take the stairs instead of the elevator......park a long way from the building. Your one decision leads to another and another and another....effectively changing your future. 

Think about this the next time you are riding. Maybe there is a section of trail that you tend to skip because you either don't like it or it is too difficult. Take it.......see what happens. I think you can change your future...even a little....to a better path. Yesterday I started a workout program. I made the decision to start it a while ago when I bought the book. That was one step. Starting it was another. Now...I am going to get on my trainer again....for an hour...because I know that this decision is important to help me stay on the path that I have chosen. Slowly....the path will unfold and the decisions I have made in the past will fall away and my decisions tomorrow will help to create my path.....see you out there.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Update Dec 12

This week was less than stellar. I ended up gaining back what I lost last week and then adding some more on. Sitting firmly at 261.5  My own fault...and I have no excuses. Too much food (good food too...family christmas on Saturday and then various goodies yesterday) and too little exercise.

So....not going to bore you with the same "I know what I need to do" type of thing...but rather let you know that I have registered for two races for the 2013 season. Barry Roubaix will be the first race. It is mainly gravel roads with some paved and a few super sandy sections. Last year I got caught by the pros doing the longer course....this year I don't want that to happen. I want to get home before they do....because while they will probably be about the same speed....I have major room for improvement.

Second is the Yankee Springs Time Trail. Last year I felt awful during this race and finished poorly....it was my first Sport race. This year will be different....I will try to win....but my main goal is to shave time...and to chase down Dan S. and Brian B. Small victories will be in store....but....it all comes down to the same thing.

Weight loss. I have 18 weeks until the Yankee TT. That could be 36 pounds if I lose 2 per week. I would be at 225 if I could average that loss per week. So....that is the least I will do. I want to stay healthy but I want to get this weight off too.

Goal for Barry Roubaix 2:30:00 This would be an improvement of 24 minutes. Its on.
Goal for Yankee is to be sub 1 hour....an improvement of 12 minutes.

If I weight 225......I will do it......check back in to see how my attitude has changed.....and see what I have in store for the next few months.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A feel for the numbers.....

Over the past few days I have been chatting with a friend about the differences in bikes, components, wheel size, tires, and all of that stuff. I have a feeling he is getting frustrated because he is trying to trust the salespeople at the shop he frequents. Then he gets advice from other people that absolutely contradicts what the shop tells him. So....I broke it down for him in the simple terms as I see....and how I think things would be. Here goes....
First things first.....Trek, Specialized, Niner and Giant all have different geometry. Why? Well....that I don't have an answer for but I do know that each company tries to "tune" the bikes to certain rider sizes and shapes. Take it easy....I am not judging the designers and engineers that create these machines we love....all I am saying is that the broader range of people a bike can fit the better. That is why we have small, medium and large bikes....with a billion different stem and handlebar combinations. So...back to the point...while I may feel comfortable on a Large Giant the same might not be said for a Large Niner. I am sure they are close...but the differences can be subtle enough to merit a change in size. Find a geometry that feels right and tweak the bike from there.

Size matters? Wheel size? Really? Ok, so now we have a 26" wheel, a 750b and a 29" wheel. Allright....are there differences....well...yes....but as I explained to my friend I will now explain to you....as the way I see it. The trend is surely headed towards the 29er crowd. Bigger wheels put the axle another 1.5 inches higher and make those wheels roll over obstacles better. Awesome. But....it takes longer for the wheels to get up to speed.....so.....trade off? Doubt it....I think it comes down to more than just the wheel size itself....but the actual rider....size...and riding style. Me for example....I am 6'1" tall and weigh in around 250 (ish) and most of my weight is from the waist up. In my eyes....my center of gravity is pretty high already. So...putting that COG another 1.5" higher has advantages when rolling over log piles or taking a step up....but does it help in the corners? How can I hold the bike down when my ass is another 1.5" higher on off the ground and I need to hang a right? Well.....simply put....riding style. I would ride a 26" wheeled bike differently than a 29" wheeled bike for that simple reason alone. They handle different....rotational weight is different....COG is different....the bike is just different.....almost as different as a hardtail and a full suspension bike.


All I am saying is that each bike, tire, shifter, pedal, wheelset, and component will treat a person differently. My friend Dan S. and I are the nearly the same size and build. He is a stronger rider than I am....hands down. If we had identical bikes he would crush me on that aspect alone....but our riding styles are different too. I take different lines than he does. I clear some sections....he clears others. Each of us will handle the same bike differently and ride differently no matter what. One simple change...such as tires....can change the entire way the bike rides. Dan made a comment last time we were out about how differently a Giant Trance and a Niner handle. Different bikes.....wheels....components. Even if set up exactly the same they would be different.


In general.....what it comes down to is simple. Ride what you like. Try a few different brands of bikes, tires, shifters, shoes and whatever else you can think of. Each brand offers different things and different feels. What I like may be way different than what you like. What my friend likes I might hate.....it is the nature of the sport we love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday check-in

I realize I never posted last week.....because last week there was nothing to report. Long week and a gain of .75 pounds. This past week was better.....a few hours of training and a 2 pound loss. Progress is progress. I am working on getting my mind wrapped around what I actually need to do. It is so easy to just say what needs to be done.....but it is a different story when the action is required. I am slowly turning my train of though onto the right set of tracks and really paying attention to the details. For example.....getting the trainer set up is is not enough.....using it is the next logical step. I set it up and actually used it 3 times this past week. Not much right....but that is 3 more times on the bike than I have had in the previous 2 weeks....so that is progress. I have a few different training regimens I can choose from....and 2 of the 3 are spelled out for 12-15 weeks....I simply need to follow the schedule. Easy enough.

The next thing is food. I have been cutting meals down and eating a little less....minus last night. I had a sundae at 10pm instead of getting on the bike.....but......I did still post the 2 pound loss this week. Might have been 2.25 if I had skipped it. But, I will not be doing that every night....or every weekend for that matter. Cutting a little at a time is easier and I am setting myself up to do this damn weight loss thing right....for the long term....and to get off of the roller coaster that I have been on for the past 4 years.

I want to be fast. I want to be skinny.   I want to be HEALTHY. That is the main thing right now....the rest will come with the healthy changes. I am going to fashion some sort of trainer for my 8 year old to use as well. She would love to spin with me through the winter. There is some extra incentive. Even after only 3 days of training I have more energy and actually feel 30% better than last week. This week I expect another improvement and will take what I can get......and as far as losing weight.....I will lose it.....but I will also destroy it....so it cannot come back.

Have a good week! (it snowed here today....just a little...so all you skiers should be excited that it might actually snow heavy enough to ski soon!)