Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's like 72 degrees in my head at all times!

Yeay Global Warming! It's the first week of December and today's ride home was a hate-numbing 72 degrees. Sunny, no wind. Perfect riding conditions. Finally got the road bike "tweaked" just right so it's comfortable, and I zoomed home averaging 17.1mph. I should have timed the ride home because I'm pretty sure it was my fastest yet. I say "hate-numbing" because I surely didn't love all those rides home when it was pushing 110 degrees :) Days like today almost make up for it. 

I finally got a new cell phone that I'm happy with, an LG Dare on Verizon. It passed the music test with flying colors today. Probably an hour and a half of music, plenty of texting, and a couple short calls, and it still shows a full battery! The LG enV I had before would be half dead, and the LG Voyager I returned to get the Dare would be dead. I do need to fill up the memory card though, my playlist is getting too predictable! I'll get around to it this weekend. 

To counteract my day of bicycle bliss, I'll be surveying out in the middle of the freeway tomorrow. No bikes to be seen, no silence to be had. At least the weather will be nice!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fatty loves Batman!

Wifey took this old, nasty, unused Batman beanbag out of Garren's room on saturday and put it in the hall temporarily while cleaning. King took it over and hasn't really moved since besides to eat, use the litter box, or make his quick round of socializing. I just thought it was funny so I'm sharing the picture. I wish I had a beanbag big enough for me to cuddle in a ball like that. I'm kinda jealous!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gas is $1.95!

The election is over, gas was supposed to go right back up, as it always does...oh well, I certainly won't complain! I still rode today. My new $15 windbreaker kept me warm this morning, and the ride in to work was pretty nice. Even stopped and watched the rabbits on the side of the trail, since there seems to be some new baby ones that were hopping around. 

 The day itself though, sucked. I busted my butt at work trying to get things done (finally having steady billable work is exciting!), that I worked through lunch so I could leave at 3pm. At 2:30 I had my 40 hours for the week, and since OT is currently not allowed, anything over would be free. Working for free sucks. Since we had a doubles ping pong tournament to finish up (My team was knocked out first round, my year of reign as champion is over!), I figured I'd watch the finale and burn up some "free" time. So I watch the game and go back to finish my work. Then low and behold I get "office spaced" at 3pm, after I've filled my Camelbak for the ride home. 4:15 rolls around and I'm still at work. At this point I do not feel like riding home. I'm pissed. My plans for a new slow ride home on a beautiful Friday afternoon were destroyed and I was in a shitty mood. Probably wouldn't be so bad normally, but since the SAME thing happened last Friday (my bday) on the SAME project. So my anger was compounded. 

I text messaged my Wife, seeing if she'd pick me up, but I didn't get a response in time so I just left (note to self, calling instead of texting would have had better results). I had my first angry ride. Usually any annoyance goes away quickly on a ride. Not today. I was pissed off and even though it was a beautiful day, the frustration would not subside. Horrible feeling, and I hope to not experience it again. 

Looks like I'm on track for 3 bike commutes for the month of November. Pathetic! 3 commutes a WEEK is the plan. I'll get back to it in December perhaps :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Off the wagon

Hello Blog, it's been a while. 

I left off after the Tour de Fat to do some vacationing. I'm sure my wife's lovely blog can fill you in on the details of that, but here's some highlights in no particular order:

1) Young chickens are entertaining
2) Soul food rules my world
3) American Cyclery is the coolest bike shop I've ever been to. 
4) Triple Rock Brewing in Berkeley knows how to make an fantastic imperial stout. 
5) Driving a purple car with pink stickers has different results from a more "manly" car. Stereotyping is alive and well on CA freeways.

So in the month since I've posted I've been to California, turned 30, slacked off on my weight loss goals, and slacked on bike commuting. Somewhere on the I-5 I must have lost motivation. 

So yeah I turned 30. The big day I've been so afraid of. Wasn't that big of a deal (which is how I wanted it to be), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with my wife really made it special in a simple way. Playing with my new Wall-E toy that Garren got me surely entertained me at work, and the visit to Papago Brewing after work was nice as well. 

Weight Loss: Yeah I haven't stepped on a scale in a while, but I will when I'm in the mood to see what it says :)

Bike commuting: One of my passions, hell the activity that spawned this blog! I could think of some good excuses on why I haven't been riding, but it really comes down to something as simple as the seasons. It's COLD. 55 degrees in the morning is equal to a blizzard in Iowa for someone who's lived in Phoenix for this long. I usually enjoy the cold when I'm prepared for it, but something about getting up at 4:15am to get ready for a bike ride in the cold that's really hard to do. I'm willing to face it, but I'm slacking on getting cold weather gear for riding. Biking clothes are not cheap! I barely spend $100 a year on clothes for work, and now I'm faced with spending $150 in clothes just to keep me warm on my bike ride! The logic behind it has me all confused. I need to find some alternatives that aren't so damn expensive that will serve the same purpose. Because I'll never drop the weight if can't get back to having regular bike rides! Plus the afternoon temperatures are just nice to waste! 

Alright I've got to get studying for my LEED exam, so I'll try to get back to blogging on a more regular basis again another night. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tour de Fat

New Belgium Brewing (makers of Fat Tire and other beers that are all better than Fat Tire) had their annual roadshow called the Tour De Fat in Tempe today. Over 2500 bikers rode on a 3-4 mile parade, and even more showed up to drink $5 beers and enjoy the scenery. All kinds of costumes and crazy bikes, with people all with the same intentions of celebrating the bike as a form of transportation. 

From my house to Tempe, then parade and back, was about 30 miles. Add that to the 4 days of commuting and I've topped 172 miles for the week. Holy cow! I have a feeling I'll sleep well tonight! Got a long drive tomorrow....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ninja Bikers

Alright, I'll admit that I've been in Phoenix long enough to become used to its various stages of evil weather. The 110+ degree summers, and the frigid 32 degree nights. Today there was a curveball. After a nice cloudy weekend, this morning was a chilly 62 degrees. 62 on any day is a blessing, it's perfect for me. But this mornings ride was COLD. My body hasn't seen 62 degrees since February, and it's the "coldest" its been since I started riding. After a mile this morning I think I was actually shivering. I'll get used to it quickly, as I do every year, but today I'll admit I was a wimp! 

With the cold morning, the "Ninja Bikers" were out in full force. They appear out of nowhere, often on the wrong side of the road. It's dark, they're wearing dark clothes, and have no lights or reflectors.  They have no idea how much danger they are putting themselves into, and I'll be damned if they are gonna plow into me. *I* have lights (front and back x2!), and have lots of reflective gear on my bike/helmet/backpack, so I know that I'm seen, but these guys get awfully close sometimes, and all I can do is mutter "idiot" under my breath and be thankful I'm not one of them. They are going to be the statistics that give bike commuters a bad name. 

Since next week we'll be in CA on vacation, I'm gonna try to make up the mileage this week. 4 commutes plus New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat on Saturday. Should put me close to 180 miles by Saturday afternoon. We'll see how close I get! 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stop throwing shit

Seriously. I knew it was coming, some day I was bound to get hit by something thrown from a car. I read about it on commuting forums all the time. Today was my day. Riding down Rio Salado a car full of kids go whizzing by as I feel a light tap on my back (would have been worse if I didn't have my Camelbak on). Must have been a rock or something, but they had a crappy aim so I just laughed and waved as they drove by. 5 minutes later I'm riding down a side street and this black Sentra is in front of me by 50 feet, doing well over the speed limit so that distance increases quick. Soon I see a flying beer can go out the driver's window. I swerved to miss the more half empty can leaking all over the pavement. 

What the hell is wrong with people? Hopefully karma catches up to them before the weekend is over. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cupcake 150

Yesterday afternoon I received an email from TBAG. Tempe Bicycle Action Group. They organize all sorts of activities centered around biking. This morning they had a Cupcake ride, from Tempe Beach Park to Sprinkles Cupcakes in Scottsdale. 17 mile round trip. I woke up early enough and got ready. Left my house at 9am and arrived in Tempe at 9:55. Met new people and joined 16 other riders who were craving cupcakes :) Took a route that was completely new to me and was very scenic. 

We arrived at Sprinkles about 11am, had a $3.50 cupcake (Peanut Butter Chocolate) and a $2 coffee. Everyone sat around telling jokes and enjoying their carb and sugar laden treats, then we turned around and headed back to Tempe. Seems like a pointless journey but it was really fun and the weather was pretty nice. Meeting new people with like-minded interests is always a plus. Total mileage for me today was 41.2miles. My longest non-commuting ride, and certainly my longest without a 8hr break in the middle. 

Monday: 34 mile commute (road bike)
Wednesday: 34 mile commute (road bike)
Friday: 41 mile commute (mountain bike)
Saturday: 41 mile cupcake ride (road bike)

My first 150 mile week! 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coffee = Great! Weatherman = Bad!

I stopped again at Dutch Bros. Coffee this morning to take Jim up on his offer for a mug (see post below this one). Heidi was awesome this morning and gave me a choice of mugs, checking to see which one would fit into my bottle cage. I tried to pay for the delicious latte that filled it, but Heidi wouldn't accept it. I'll have to tip her double next time since I didn't have anything smaller than a $20 today. Doh! Big thanks to Jim and Heidi for going out of their way to make sure my cup unhappiness was resolved, they've got a customer for life now!

I got about 3 hours of sleep last night, and right before bed I checked the weather. 79 degrees, 10% chance of rain, sunny and 3mph tailwind. Great! Within 3 pedals strokes out of my driveway I realized the weather was off. It was muggy, about 84, and still way too dark to see the clouds. 

About a mile after my coffee stop, I crossed the Mill Ave. bridge just in time to catch the sunrise over the lake below. The ASU rowing team was out for an early practice, so I took a moment to take a pic of the sunrise and enjoy my coffee for a moment. On one side of the bridge was a nice sunrise, the other was clouds and lightning. Lovely. I kept on pedaling to work and arrived without any weather worries. 

About 1pm, after my tasty lunch of Easy Mac and applesauce, I'm draggin'. The 3 hours of sleep are starting to sink in. I take a peek outside and see the trees blowin' in the wind. Hmmm, wrong again weatherman! There's clouds building the south, so I duck out about 3:15pm for the ride home. It's windy. Not the 7mph tailwind as reported, more like 15mph headwind. Ugh. Did I mention my lack of sleep? So I debate getting a "bus boost" to cut 10 miles off of the trip home, but even though I'm tired and it's windy...I'm havin' fun! So I press on. 

Made it 3 miles from home when I see about a dozen police cars blocking the road. As I get closer, a pedestrian tells me that I better go around. "Go around? Why?", I asked. "There's a shootout going on, SWAT is there". Didn't need to tell me twice! So I hit unfamiliar streets to detour around the crime scene. My 3 mile home stretch becomes 5 miles, and I'm a bit lost. Of course this is in the scariest part of my route, and there's a crime in progress to boot. I muster up some energy and haul ass outta there. My fun was definitely over and I arrived home safely, albeit worn out. Hopefully Wednesday's ride will treat me better. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coffee = Good

Had to test out the newest addition to the bike, so a quick stop at Dutch Bros. on Rural was in order. Their coffee is pretty good although the service is kinda slow. The cups they use are garbage though! This cup was soggy and barely stood up on its own by the time I got to work. I gotta find a dedicated mug that fits a bottle cage (that doesn't cost $20!). 

This morning's ride was great, I think it was about 78 degrees, which is the coolest its been since I started biking to work. I can't wait for the winter! The ride home was about's just a tease since it'll be back to 112 by the weekend. Although the lower temps brought out some new riders, I met 5 new (well new to my route/timing) commuters today, even had a nice conversation with one on the way home. I haven't had a conversation in the "cage" (bikers loving term for a car) that didn't involve a middle finger or cell phone in ages! 

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sitting in Traffic School! 46

Sitting in Traffic School! 46 in a 35. Photo radar. This is gonna be boring! Oh well...

Friday, August 22, 2008

100 miles in 48 hours

Wednesday night: Dinner ride to IHOP (9 miles)
Thursday: Dirt/Trail/Street commute (50 miles)
Friday: Street commute, long way (40 miles)
Friday Night: Dinner ride to Baja Fresh (6 miles)

Ok, so not quite 100, but I'm rounding up dammit. I'll be doing another 5 in the morning, so that's close enough right? 65 of those were on the mountain bike. It doesn't have the comfy seat...OUCH! To add to the pain, when I went to the gym (at work) this morning, my bosses were doing circuit training and asked if I wanted in. Be it that I was already sweaty from the ride, and in serious need of upper body excercise, I said "Sure!". 25 minutes of the circuit before I gave in to shower power. I'll probably join them again, but not after the insane mileage I've done this week. 

Side note, school is back in session! Riding through ASU this afternoon was a madhouse! 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rode to work today. Forgot

Rode to work today. Forgot my work shoes. The clanking of bike shoe cleats on tile is annoying everyone hehe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random Haiku: Sitting at IHOP

Random Haiku:
Sitting at IHOP
Waiting for my pan-cak-es.
Breakfast for dinner rules

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Its hot, and things are sharp

Finally got a chance to trail baptize the new bike. My first time offroad in nearly 2 months, at a new trail, on a bike I've never ridden on a trail....and first time with clipless pedals in the dirt. Exciting! 

Got to the trailhead about 7:45am, and it was already pushing 95 degrees. Rode for about 2 hours, taking a couple breaks, as the heat was just brutal! Was 100 degrees by the time we got back to the car.  I went through all 100oz of water that my Camelbak could hold. I can't wait for the winter time!

The bike did pretty well, didn't fall like I thought I would, but came into a corner a little too fast and the rear tire washed out on me, forcing me off my line and into a little tree. I didn't need to come to a stop though, just kept riding while pulling branches from the bike frame haha. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today was my first chance

Today was my first chance to ride to work this month. I took the car instead. Now I'm waiting to have a flat tire replaced. FU fate!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pedals and Pancakes!

Family ride to Joe's Farm Grill ( Total length of 17.5 miles! Longest ride for the Gman, and the first trip out on my new (used) mountain bike. Breakfast was fantastic (as always!), and the new bike is great. There's a nice trail that we can ride to get to Joe's that reduces street time by quite a bit. 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gears and Grits

Nothing says guilt free breakfast like a long ride! Wifey and I rode a little over 18.5 miles to Waffle House, making a couple stops on the way home. Nice hot ride! 

I forgot to reset the trip computer while leaving the driveway, so it only says 18.3 miles. Probably rode close to a 1/2 mile before I remembered to reset it! 

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Weight Loss Progress

Since starting bike commuting....

June 4th: 224.8lbs

July 28th: 212.8lbs

Drivers license says 215, that hasn't been updated in 9 years. I think I was 190 when I graduated high school, and damn near 240 when I got married. Was at 250 for my 1st wedding anniversary. 

First Goal: Get to drivers license weight (DONE! July 10)
Second Goal: Get to 200 by my 30th Birthday (November)
Third Goal: Get to 185 by my 5th wedding anniversary (April)

Why is it that food tastes better?

Mac & Cheese, Top Ramen, PB&J. 

Things that were once essential for bachelor life survival, especially on a tight budget. So now that my budget has grown, my bachelor life is over, and my taste buds have become accustomed to home cookin' again...Why do I revisit these culinary horrors from my past? It's because they taste MUCH better than they did years ago. In fact, I just had a PB&J (on whole grain wheat with reduced sugar jam), and it's pure yumminess inspired this post. Having the choice to eat these things out of boredom, rather than necessity, must be a big factor. For years they were just rotating slop of survival, but now I actually crave them. Speaking of cravings.....I wish I had some Zebra cakes :( 

The Bike

My trusty steed of pedal powered bliss. It's a bastardized road race bike. 

The basics: 

Frame: Soma Smoothie (853 Reynolds Steel)
Fork: Weyless Carbon Fiber
Wheels: Ultegra Hubs, Mavic CXP12 Rims
Tires: 700x23c Conti Gatorskins
Crank: Ultegra Double
Cassette: Ultegra 9 speed
Derailuers: Ultegra Front, SRAM ESP Rear
Stem: Supergo Carbon Fiber
Handlebars: On One Mary
Shifters: SRAM 9.0 Half pipes
Brakes: Ultegra calipers with Real levers
Headset: Cane Creek S6
Saddle: Brooks B-17
Seatpost: U.S.E. XCR Shockpost
Pedals: Forte Carve SPD style
Cables: Not matching and ugly, I know

Commuter extras:

Cateye headlight, Cannondale tailight, Specialized Elite Computer, Zefal Bell, Specialized frame pump, Profile Design bag, Camelback Mule 100oz with food, change, tools, clothes, etc. 

Monday, July 28, 2008

Green is a coincidence, the explanation

I started this blog mainly to track my bike commuting stuff, like mileage & weight loss, and when I set it up the only default layout I liked was the green one. So it's purely coincidence that my tree-hugging, Phish-lovin', pedal powered self has chosen a green theme. There's no underlying "Your carbon footprint just stepped on a baby seal" message. It's just a title and it'll change when I'm feeling more creative. Maybe. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

So I'm late to the blog game

My hatred for myspace conflicts with my motivation to talk to people, so here I am. For those that know me, I'm a damn quiet person, so don't expect much on this blog except random thoughts and a bunch of stuff about bike commuting.