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


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.