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


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.