Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wi-Fi-less


This is how my weekend started.

I got home from work on Friday and checked in on FourSquare on my iPhone (ya, I added my home) :) I noticed that I wasn't connected to my home Wi-Fi. It happens sometimes. I launched the Wi-Fi configuration and it didn't show any Wi-Fi networks in my neighbourhood. There are usually at least 5 or 6 of them.


I toggled the Wi-Fi off and back on again. Nothing changed. I toggled Airplane mode on and off. Still nothing. I turned the phone off and back on again. Nada.

This is where things got really ugly. When I went back into the Wi-Fi settings I found... oh wait... I couldn't get back into the Wi-Fi settings. It was disabled.

Img_0001
I hopped onto Google and discovered that this is actually a fairly common problem. For most people, it seems it happened right after updating to iOS 6.0.1, and it only happens with the 4S and iPad 3. Some say it can happen after dropping your phone. There are many different suggestions (including something called "the freezer trick?)

I tried some of the more sane suggestions, like resetting network settings. Resetting all settings. Nothing.
This is the point where I began to hate technology. I used to thrive on technical problems. I found them a challenge. That's why I once had a job in technical support. Those days are long gone. My years in technical support wore me down.

Back to my phone. I did more searching and found that I may have to do a restore to factory defaults. I did not want it to get to that, but what other choice did I have?

I first made sure I had a backup in iTunes and then started the process. It downloaded the latest firmware (6.0.1), which I had already installed and it proceeded to install it.

Once it was done, the phone setup started and it asked me to connect to my Wi-Fi. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was as happy as I should have been. If this happened once, what are the chances it would happen again? I went through the setup and chose the option to restore all of my data from the backup. I started that and set the phone down to do its thing.

At some point during the restore I noticed that it was no longer connected to my Wi-Fi again. I went back into the Wi-Fi sett... disabled, again.

By now I'm on my 2nd or 3rd beer.

I decided to once again restore it to the factory defaults, but I was prepared to not restore my data. I was secretly hoping that it wouldn't work because I didn't want to lose my data.
It didn't work. Wi-Fi was still disabled.

I recalled that when we bought our iPhones, the Telus rep told us that for support we'd have to deal directly with Apple. But the Telus trouble-shooting web site said to call Telus, or visit one of their stores. So I called them.

I explained the situation and the tech had me check a few things and told me that I'd have to contact Apple. I questioned why the web site said I can go to their store and she said that was if I wanted them to send my phone back to Apple for me and/or if I wanted a loaner until I get the replacement. Seriously... what's the point?

Anyway, she transferred me directly into Apple's phone queue. After about 5 minutes listening to hold music, the tech came on. Once again, I explained my predicament. She walked me through checking a few things (or trying to) I mentioned that it appeared to be a common problem that was hardware related. She agreed that she did find the same article on the web and asked if she could put me on hold while she consulted with her supervisor.

A few minutes later she returned to say that her supervisor confirmed that they have seen the issue and the only solution is to replace the phone, which she said she could arrange to do since it was still under warranty.

So now I await the replacement, which will have a box and information to send the old one back to them. She said it would take 3-5 days.

I suppose I could have called up an Apple store and made an appointment to see someone there and maybe get it swapped out.

I didn't bother restoring all of my data back onto my semi-functional phone. It's going to suck the life out of my provider data plan if I keep using it without Wi-Fi.

It's a little disconcerting to know that there's a chance it could happen again, or even to my wife's phone, and there is no other official solution (yet?) other than swap the phone. I wonder what would happen if it was out of warranty? I mean, this doesn't sound like something that occurs with age, it could happen at any time.

Here are some articles about the problem:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/28/3422024/ios-6-disabled-wifi-issues
http://www.zdnet.com/apples-ios-6-wi-fi-problems-linger-on-7000004799/
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/092512-ios6-wifi-262787.html
http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1559

And the long thread in Apple's community forum:

https://discussions.apple.com/message/19619592#19619592

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MRI results - the good, the bad, but no ugly

Haven't been in the mood to write. I'm still not, actually, but I will anyway because my brain is nagging me to write what the results of my MRI were.

The good is that the muscle is not a complete tear. That actually surprised me. I fully expected the doctor to say it had completely torn, as he suspected. In some strange way, I'm a little disappointed. That sounds odd, I know, but at least it would fully explain why it felt like it had completely separated.

So what exactly is wrong with my shoulder? The summary paragraph says:
"Longitudinal delamination/tears of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons are likely to be concealed at arthroscopy although is not possible to exclude pinpoint communication of the supraspinatus tear to the bursal surface."
The doctor explained that this means the muscle and/or previous tear is rubbing and causing small wear tears on that muscle. It's being compressed in the joint.

The solution? There really is none, other than to continue physio to improve the strength. If there's no improvement, surgery could be an option but it's unlikely.

I made an appointment with my physiotherapist to show her the results so we could plan our next course of action. She said that this condition usually occurs with males 45 yrs and older. In my case, the original injury is just adding to it, along with my poor posture.

The course of action? Keep doing what I'm doing with regards to the exercises and focus more on better posture (says me, as I slouch in my chair typing this...) She also suggested that I may want to consider massage therapy for my neck, but I'll need to get a referral from my doctor for that if I want it to be covered by my health insurance.

The bad is that my cycling will likely aggravate it. :( The only thing I can do to minimize the discomfort is to adjust my seat and/or handlebars so that I'm not bent over the handlebars as much, and perhaps take more frequent breaks while I'm out cycling.

I'm not happy about it. A few people have suggested a recumbent bicycle. While it would help with my shoulder and pinched neck nerve issues, I'm not to keen on the thought. I ride in a lot of places where a recumbent bike would simply not work. I read a little about them and if I were to consider one, it would definitely be the tricycle style.

I have the winter to work on improving my shoulder and neck and I guess I'll see what happens in the spring when I resume cycling.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MRI results are in... soon

I got a call this afternoon from the Carleton University Sports Medicine Clinic, to book an appointment to discuss the results of my MRI. The date is next Tuesday at 9:30am.

I'm really glad that I don't have to wait a long time. I knew they'd get the results in 7-10 days, but based on how long I had to wait to see them in the first place, I expected to wait about a month to find out what the scoop is.

The waiting is almost over.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Waiting... again

I went for my MRI on Sunday afternoon. It felt weird strange going to a children's hospital (CHEO) for it.
I can't recall where I went for my last MRI 4 years ago, but at CHEO they let me choose between listening to my choice of radio stations, or watching a movie with headphones and goggles while in the MRI machine. Seeing as how it was only going to last 20 minutes, I chose to listen to the radio. Unfortunately, many of the sounds the machine makes were still quite audible in the headphones.

I was much more comfortable this time than I was the last. My shoulder didn't ache at all, despite being squished into a shoulder cup and the machine itself.

After it was done they said that they got some excellent images of my shoulder since I was able to remain perfectly still.

Now I have to wait a week for the results to be sent to the doctor and then for an appointment to get the results from him.

My physiotherapy sessions are also on hold until the results are available. My last appointment was last Wednesday. Once I get a copy of the results I can book another appointment so my physiotherapist can determine what, if any, other exercises she can have me do. I can still do all of the home exercises, although I'm getting really bad for not doing them.

My neck (pinched nerve) issues are still present, but not as bad as they were when this all started. I still get some tingling in my arm, usually when I forget to keep good posture, which occurs more than I'd like to admit.

As much as I hate to say it, I think cycling is over for this year. I have to bring my bike inside soon so it's available for mounting onto the trainer, should I decide to try that again.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm baaaaack... back in the saddle agaaaain...

Today I went cycling for the first time in 67 days. I was a little unsure about it, but overall it went much better than I expected it would. I rode for about 45 mins in total, travelling a distance of around 16kms.

I did have a little tingling in my arm and hand occasioanally, but it wasn't continuous nor was it unbearable.

It felt awesome. Man, did I ever miss it. I will no doubt go back out again sometime soon. I'm not sure if I'm ready to resume riding to work or not.

Physio is still going well, but I'm now on a 2-week schedule. My next appointment is on Wednesday. My phsyiotherapist is awesome and I can't wait to go back.

I finally got a call on Friday to book my MRI appointment. I'll be having it done at CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario), of all places, on October 21st at 2:30pm. Seems kinda weird having it done at children's hospital, but if that's the only MRI machine available that's where it gets done. Of course, it could still be cancelled if someone needs it more urgently. I'm anxious to find out what's going on in my shoulder.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Physio — Part IV

Had a really good physiotherapy session yesterday morning, and a pretty good day over all; a big difference in comparison to the day before.

I've got a couple of stretching routines added to my exercises. Maybe they helped? Or maybe I'm just being more aware of my posture sitting at my desk. Regardless, I felt pretty good and I had a good sleep last night, without waking up every hour or two. It'll be a week until my next appointment, so it'll be interesting to see how just doing my exercises will work out.

I'm still fighting the urge to try cycling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Physio Part III

My first day back at work after 3 weeks of vacation and it started with a double-appointment of physiotherapy. Got more deep massage to work out the tight muscles and knots in my left shoulder and neck, more of my usual physio exercises — plus two new ones — and ended with the electro-therapy.

My physiotherapist said that the muscles in my shoulder and neck are definitely looser than they've been. I can also feel my left arm regaining some strength. I'm still getting the occasional tingling in my left arm, which she says is due to posture.

Trying to remember to sit up straight at work was a bitch. I kept catching myself slouching. This is probably the biggest challenge.

The two new excercises are tough. I don't know what they're called, but one involves standing on one end of the exercise band, and then pulling up on the other end to the side with a straight arm, and the other is almost the same except pulling up 45 degrees from the side and front with thumb facing down. That's apparently where your arm is the weakest. I can really feel these ones.

I'm feeling pretty sore right now from when she worked out the tight muscles in my neck and shoulder. My next appointment is on Wednesday morning so I'm hoping they're not still achy then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Physiotherapy continued...

I had my second physiotherapy appointment this morning. It was a double appointment. That's what my physiotherapist wanted because we need to work on my neck and my arm.

It was a little on the painful side at times because the muscles on the left side of my neck and the bad shoulder are pretty tight and she pressed pretty hard with her fingers to work them loose. I asked her if they were tight beause of the pinched nerve, and she said she suspects it's because the shoulder injury is causing me to shrug as I raise my arm to compensate for the weakness.

I could really feel them loosen up. She'd press hard, it would hurt a little and then they'd slowly give way. It was kinda cool, in a weird way I guess.

After about half an hour of that, I did my physio exercises and then got hooked up to the electrotherapy machine for 15 minutes.

I left with an arm and shoulder that fell pretty damn good. My arm is still very weak, but I think I'm seeing some improvement. Slowly, but surely. The physio exercises feel like the're getting a little easier. What's depressing is when I do them with my good arm for comparison and see how easy they should be, and how much trouble I have doing them with my bad arm. It just reminds me of how far I have still to go.

I've pretty much accepted the fact that any more cycling this summer is not going to happen, unless it's on the trainer in the basement where I don't need to lean forward on handlebars. I'm pretty bummed out about that.

My next appointment -- another double -- is on Monday, and the one after is on Wednesday. I'll be back at work that week, so I tried to get them as early in the day as possible.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Physio assessment

My first physiotherapy appointment at the Carleton University Physiotherapy Clinic went very well.

My therapist wants to work on not just my shoulder, but the pinched nerve in my neck as well. I didn't expect that, but I'm really pleased about it. After the assessment, she said that it's likely due to poor posture at work, sitting in front of a computer, not from cycling. If we don't see an improvement with my pinched nerve, then she'll send me back to Sports Clinic Doctor for a follow-up so he can include my neck in the MRI that I'll eventually be getting.

Today also included some exercises and electrotherapy on my shoulder. That was kinda weird but my shoulder felt pretty good after.

I was sent home with some exercises to do twice a day and a tension band to use for the exercises. I also booked my next appointment for Wednesday morning.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good news & bad news?

Our family vacation in PEI went well. Some of the driving really bothered my arm though. Certain positions occasionally cause nasty discomfort. It's weird because the same positions at other times are perfectly fine.

I think the pinched nerve in my neck is getting better, slowly. It still cause a weird sensation in my arm when I tilt my head back.

I went to my appointment at the Carleton University Sports Clinic this morning. I explained everything to the doc and gave him a copy of my MRI results from 4 years ago. As soon as I mentioned weakness in my arm, he had me do some strength tests. He seemed pretty certain that the muscle I had torn 4 years ago is now completely separated. I asked him about what my famiily doc said about being in pain if it was torn more and he said that's not always the case. But the fact that my arm is weak moving in certain ways and not in others is a good indicationt that the rotator cuff is torn, and may require surgery. O_o I also asked about my neck and the occasional arm numbness. He said that's a separate issue, so there are two things going on. He didn't seem that concerned about the pinched nerve.  

But, we won't know if it's torn until I get an MRI. He filled out the paper work and I guess I'll be awaiting a call to book that appointment.

First things first; an X-ray and physiotherapy.

Even if it is completely torn, he said that 70% of the time, strength can be regained with physiotherapy and the muscle may not need to be repaired. The other 30% requires surgery. I'm not looking forward to that option.

I could go anywhere for the physiotherapy, but I decided to stick with Carleton University since shoulders are one of their specialties. I walked over to the Sports Therapy Centre and booked my physiotherapy appointment for Monday morning, which also happens to be the same day that I have a follow-up appointment to see my family doctor, and also fill him in on what I've done I suppose.

I then went for the X-ray at the Merivale Imaging centre. The Doctor said he can get the results on the computer from them. I'm not sure why my family doc didn't send me for the X-ray at the same time as prescribing the Celebrex. It would have made more sense than waiting.

I guess the good news is that I'm closer to finding out what's wrong. The bad news is that it may not be that good. :(

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Partial relief

I had a good day yesterday.

First of all, my day was relatively comfortable, all things considered. One of the better days I've had in a long time.

My family doctor appointment also went really well. He's still convinced it's a pinched nerve though. That's a good thing, I suppose. More on that in a bit.

He prescribed 3 weeks worth of Celebrex with the hope that it will help. I have a follow-up appointment on the 20th, where he will decide whether or not to send me for an X-ray. If the Celebrex doesn't help and the X-ray indicates anything questionable, then we will look at getting an MRI and possibly some "nerve studies".

On Sunday night I did a little internet research. Yeh, I know... they say that the surest way to convince yourself that you're dying is to search the internet for your syptoms. ;-)

One thing that I've known for a while is that a possible side effect of taking Crestor for my cholesterol is a muscle degeneration condition which can lead to kidney problems. That crossed my mind. My doc put that thought to rest. He said I have other issues with my arm and shoulder, and that the condition doesn't usually focus on a single muscle. My other thought was that the muscle tore more than it did 4 years ago. Again, unlikely, because I have full range of motion without any obvious discomfort while moving my arm.

So a pinched nerve is the best diagnosis for the time being.

Something else I discovered while doing my evening "research" was that taking multi-vitamin supplements can apparently cause muscle aches and pains, and dizziness.

Although the arm and shoulder issues began in May, it was only recently that it got worse. It was mid-June that I started taking a multi-vitamin supplement. Whether this is a coindence or not, I stopped taking it on Sunday and since then my arm has been doing better. Also, last week and the week before I had been experiencing occasional dizziness when standing up too quickly. Kinda like a head rush. That has also stopped. Needless to say, it's unlikely that I'll resume taking the multi-vitamin.

I so miss cycling. I've already put a few pounds back on since I stopped. It's difficult to keep that in check without being able to work out on my bike. :-\

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boredom

It's been 5 days since I last rode my bike. This is driving me crazy.

My shoulder and arm have had good and bad days. I'm not sure what it is I do — if anythiing — that causes the bad days, but they are unbelievably uncomfortable.

Sleeping can be difficult as well. If I can find just the right position, I'm out like a light, but I've had a few nights where I constantly wake up because of the "vice".

My appointment at the Carleton University Sports Medicine Clinic is on August 16th. I also have an appointment with my own doctor this Tuesday.

Man do I miss biking.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pain-free... almost.

Today is the first day that I've been relatively pain-free. So far.

The pain came and went yesterday, but stuck around for most of the day, despite taking anti-inflammatory meds.

It's actually more discomfort than pain. It hurts, yeh, but the feeling is like my bicep is stuck in a vice and there's a blunt object jammed in my shoulder. And they're on fire.

I tried an ice pack for a few hours last night. Not very comfortble, but I think it made a difference later on when I went to bed. I had a little trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position, but I managed to get to sleep eventually. I'll use the ice pack again tonight.

I woke up this morning with a bit of pain, particularly when I got out of bed causing my dangling arm pulled down on my shoulder, but I popped a few Advils and made it through to now. I have had a few instance of "bicep in a vice"  but they went away fairly quickly after flexing my arm a few times.

I'm going to call the Carleton University Sports Medicine Clinic later this afternoon to see if I get an appointment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pain

Cycling home yesterday was unbearable. I seriously considered stopping and calling my wife to come and pick me up.

The pain and tightness in my left shoulder and arm was crazy. Not as bad as when I tore my rotator cuff years ago, but pretty damn close to it.

I rode most of the way home using one arm, and almost sitting upright.

To say that I'm a little upset is an understatement. Faced with the possibility that I won't be able to cycle for a while (at best) really bothers me.

I did a little searching when I got home and it appears this could be the bursitis that I was diagnosed with at the time they did the MRI on my shouder years ago. I was thinking it had to be more than that, but from reading other people's symptoms this seems bang on.

Of course, I'm no Doctor, so I do plan on making an appointments soon and having a talk with him.

A friend recommended contacting the Carleton University clinic. He said they specialize in getting people back up and running "ASAFP". I had never even heard of then, so I Googled it. Sure enough, that's what they do. According to their web site, they "provide care for not just the competitive athlete but the general public with musculoskeletal injury or pain who are seeking to be more active than their medical condition allows."

I'll see what my doctor has to say first. If all he says is "rest it" then I'm going to get in touch with the CU clinic to see what they have to offer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear dumbass...

Instead of yelling "you ran a red light!" at me as I rode my bicycle through the intersection this morning, perhaps you should be watching for the "walk" signal.

The light changed to amber as I entered the intersection. It changed to red when I had to come to a near stop because your ass had stepped into the dedicated bicycle lane — while the "don't walk" signal was still on — as I got to the other side.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Otterbox Rox

On Monday I noticed that the Otterbox case for my iPhone was cracked. I knew these things had a warranty, so I paid a visit to their web site and found where to submit a warranty claim.

This was at around 11:30pm. I filled out the online form with the required info. After submitting it, I received an email asking for a photo of the case, showing the damage, along with a piece of paper in the photo with my name and date written on it. I replied with the photo.

The next day, I received a confirmation that they were sending me a new case. The day after that, I recieved an email invoice (for $0.00) for the new case.

Today, I recieved the new case.

4 days to send me a new case is amazing customer service. It's probably more like 3 days, when you consider that I submitted the claim after business hours on Monday.

Thank you Otterbox!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bike issues and weight update

My rear wheel developed a slight warp last week. I'm not sure how it happened, but I took it to the bike shop next to where I work on Friday morning and they fixed it by noon. $17 for the repair. Cheaper than a couple of months earlier when they had also replaced a spoke.

I rode it home on Friday and it was fine. On Saturday, I went out for a long ride and about ½ way on my ride, about as far from home as the route would take me, I noticed the wheel had a warp again. I continued riding, but took it easy and tried not to put too much torque on the wheel. What choice did I have?

After 10-15 minutes, I pulled off the path and decided to check it out. I had a very loose spoke. Or so I thought. I cut the ride a little shorter than I had planned and when I got home I looked at the spoke again. It was actually broken. Detached near the wheel's axel hub.

I guess the question now is was this the original reason for the Friday warp? Or was this just a coincidence? I'm not too happy about having to pay for a repair again if it's related to the Friday repair, but if it's a coincidence I'll bite the bullet.

This is the third time my wheel has needed a repair. I don't ride my bike hard. There is an occasional nasty bump on Ottawa roads, but it's no rougher than it's been for any other bike I've ridden. Ugh.

Despite the unfortunate wheel incident, I did have a good ride yesterday, totally just under 55kms. I skipped today because I'm riding my bike to work tomorrow, and will hopefully get the rim fixed for the last time.

On the plus side, when I stepped on my scale this morning it showed me at 213.8 lbs. That's just over 4 lbs away from my lowest weight last year. I've almost lost the ~30 lbs I gained over the winter, and it didn't seem to be as much trouble as last year. Of course, still have ~15 lbs to go to reach my 199 goal. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rain sucks

The topic says it all.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and Monday was the day. I got rained on, while cycling home. Up to then, I was fairly lucky and the worst I got was a light misting.

The worst part wasn't so much the rain, but the puddles I had to ride through at the side of the road. My shoes were soaked.

I got a sports cam for my Birthday earlier in the month and I've begun filming most of my rides. Sometimes there's an asshole who cuts me off, and other times there's something cool to see. This is one of those "something cool" moments.

I'm really pleased by the steadiness of the camera, considering it's mounted to my handlebars. It's a Contour ROAM, but it doesn't have any kind of stabilzation feature. I've tried mounting regular video cameras or pocket cameras and the quality of the footage is terrible. I plan to eventually post a video of an entire ride (sped up around 300%), just for fun. By the end of summer, I may also have enough for a compilation video showing how bad some cyclists are.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hoping it's not a setback

A few years ago I tore a muscle in my left shoulder. An MRI indicated the tear as well as bursitis. After over a year, the muscle pain subsided and I was left with about 95% mobility.

Up until about a month ago, it's been fine.

I started experiencing a pain/tightness in my left shoulder. The pain ranges from hardly noticeable to a fairly intense burning sensation. In can be anywhere from my shoulder joint to the bicep. Sometimes I can feel it while sitting at work typing on the computer, other times while cycling. Most of the time I can get some temporary relief by doing a few stretching exercises, and/or taking some Advil. If I tilt my head up, to look at the ceiling or the sky, my shoulder and neck feels tight and there's some pain.

When I wake up in the morning, I usually feel no discomfort at all. It tends to build up during the day. This morning, for example, I'm pain-free. I feel great. Last night, my shoulder and bicep had a nagging pain.

I'm starting to wonder if it may be due to my cycling. At the same time, I'm really hoping it isn't. I could stop cycling for a week or two to see if it gets any better, but that's a lot of working out that I'll be missing and I really don't want to do that.

It's too bad our family vacation isn't sooner than August, because I'll be missing a week or so while we're away and it would be a good way to test the theory.

I have my annual physical exam in about two weeks so I'll be mentioning it to my Doctor, although he tends to want to deal with things like that in separate appointments "due to time constraints" (that annoys me)

In the meantime, my stubborness will likely help me to suffer through the discomfort so I can continue cycling. :)

On a different note, by the end of the day over 1515KMs will have been completed with 2485KMs to go.

 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Better than expected

This weekend's weather was supposed to be pretty crappy.

I got rained on riding home from work on Friday. It was a light rain and wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.

Saturday was a write-off.

Sunday was supposed to be more of the same, but when I woke up this morning it was sunny. The weather forecast was calling for thundershowers later in the morning and afternoon.

I decided to take a chance and see how much cycling I could fit in before the rain. I headed west, toward the darker clouds. The logic behind that was if it started raining, I'd turn around and come home, and hopefully stay ahead of the rain, or most of it at least.

I expected to be out for about an hour, max.

2¼ hrs, and 53½kms later, I made it home, still dry (aside from sweat). As I was putting my bike away, it began to rain. The timing couldn't have been better. :)

One of the highlights of my ride was as I drove along the Rockliffe Parkway. Instead of turning off, to ride the side streets home, I decided to continue along the parkway to Montreal Rd since it was closed for the "Sunday Bikeday".

As I rode along, into the wind, another cyclist, hunched over his handlebars, passed me. That's not unusual. :) After passing, they pulled in front of me about 20ft away. My brain must have subconciously increased my pace (or maybe they slowed down?) but I managed to keep up with them. The wind was nasty, so I leaned down on my handlebars to reduce the resistance. I soon realized that I was slowly closing the gap.

I took that as a challenge. I stayed with them for the next 3kms or so, slowly reducing the distance between us. We had a pretty good pace going.

I decided to push harder and regain my lead. :)

And I did. I passed them and pulled back in front of them one I had a ~20ft lead. I think I managed to keep it for a km or two. I had no idea if they were even still behind me, until the wind picked up and started to take its toll on my new found energy.

My mystery competitor passed me.

He pushed pretty hard, and I noticed that he looked over his shoulder a few times. I think he had the same idea. Again, I stayed inline with them, this time about 25-30ft back and they were slowly increasing that gap.

The wind was brutal and we were on an incline. But I was having fun. This guy was setting a pace, and giving me something to strive for.

I did regain the lead one more time, but not until he pulled over about 1km before the end of the parkway. :)

 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wobble-free

Total cycled this season: ~855kms
Remaining this summer: ~3145kms

I got my rear wheel back yesterday. It was supposed to be done by 5pm on Monday, but when I went to pick it up they told me that they were backlogged and it would likely be ready just before 6pm. Rather than wait almost an hour, I decided to pick it up on Tuesday.

I think it's straighter than when I first bought the bike. I'm really pleased with it, and I'm tempted to take the front rim in because it has a very slighty wobble. It cost me around $20 though, so I'll probably hold off.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weebles, wobbles...

I went for a shorter than hoped for ride on Saturday afternoon.

About half an hour out, I happened to look down at my rear wheel and noticed a pretty nasty wobble. I pulled off the bike path and dismounted to check for any broken spokes. They were all reasonably fine. I noticed a few looser than the others, but nothing major. I spun the wheel and it didn't see as bad as when I was on the bike.

I got back on and continued to pedal and it seemed worse again. I have no idea how long it's been like that. I'm pretty sure it wasn't like that after I repaired my last flat, because I do recall looking down at the tires after that to make sure they were fine.

I ended up riding for about 38kms instead of the ~60kms I had hoped to ride.

I removed the rear wheel tonight and put it in the truck to bring with me to work tomorrow. There's a bike shop next door, Cycle Power, that I'll take it to to get fixed. Hopefully they can get it done tomorrow so I can get back to riding on Tuesday (weather permitting)

Friday's weigh-in put me at 229.4 lbs. That's progressing fairly well, but the weekends of temptation seem to put a dent in my progress. :) At my current rate, I should be at my 200 lb goal by August. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trimming the winter fat (aka cycling 2012)

To say that I put on a few pounds over winter is a bit of an understatement. If I had kept it to around 10lbs I'd be happy, but I didn't. I put on more like 25-30lbs. I didn't stick with the bike trainer as much as I would have liked too. It wasn't anywhere near as appealing as I had hoped it would be. It was flat out boring, even when watching TV to pass the time.

While the weight gain didn't please me, I wasn't too concerned about it — obviously, since I let it happen. I figured once I could get out cycling, I'd regain control.

I resumed cycling in early April. The good weather came and went, although it leaned more toward the "went" so I only got out 4 times that month, but they were fairly long rides.

This month has been pretty good. I've managed to get out 10 times so far, which includes days cycling to and from work. I'm up to 648kms already this month.

My weight goal this year (aka summer) is to get down to 200 lbs. That was my goal last year and I scaled it back to 210, but I think I'm going to push for the full 200 this time. Or maybe 199 just to see it below 200. :)

My cycling goal is to crack 4000 kms by the time the snow flies, or when it's too cold to ride. I achieved 3000 kms last year, so there's nowhere else to go but up. With a slightly earlier start than last year, I think I can do it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Studio Project

Over the last couple of weeks I've been thinking about taking a crack at portrait photography. I started looking for lighting and possibly making my own backdrop to save a few bucks.

One of my co-workers suggested that I check eBay for backdrops rather than make my own. I had a look last night and found a kit that included backdrop, the backdrop stand, and two lights w/ umbrellas and stands for $230. I ordered it this morning.

I've got enough space in our basement to set something up temporarily and I'll recruit either my wife or my daughter to be my guinea pig model. I'm also looking forward to trying out some of the lighting examples I read about in one of my books last summer.

I've had a rather boring winter with photography, aside from Instagram pics with my iPhone (which are pretty cool), so I'm hoping this will drum up some new inspiration.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Same 'ol same 'ol

One of the so-called rules of blogging is to never aplogize for the lack of updates, therefore there will be no apologies forthcoming.

Hasn't been much new & exciting happening lately, so I'll post a few little odds'n ends.

iPhone. Still diggin' it. Got way too much crap installed on it and have been slowly thinning it out.

Rocksmith. Haven't played it much lately. I have been picking away "unplugged" though to keep up the calouses. They just released an update to fix bugs and make the game a little more user-friendly, so I'm anxious to try it out.

Photography. Aside from the odd photo taken with Instagram on my phone, I haven't done much at all in over a month. Got no inspiration. The cold and crappy weather certainly doesn't help either. One thing I did do was pick up a pretty cool app called Portrait Professional. This is one slick app. I'm all for keeping a more natural look with portraits, but when used minimally, you can fix up the small imperfections without making it appear overdone. Now all I need is people to take photos of.

Computers. I picked up a D-Link DNS325 a couple of weeks ago. I was long overdue for getting a home NAS, and after my wife and daughter lost data with a recent laptop hard drive crash it was time. I wish I had done something sooner. Right now I have an old 500GB drive that I hacked out of an external USB hard drive, and an 80GB. Once hard drives come back to a more reasonable price, I'll be picking up a couple of 1TB drives to replace them.

Music. Look for something new(ish)?  Check out Ravenscode. They're also Canadian, eh? :)

C'est tous.