Adventures in Urban Bicycling – July

A tough month for bicycling.

On the positive side, I conquered the Cap2Cap trail for the first time.  That is a 52 mile paved path that runs from between the historic first capital of Virginia, Jamestown, and the current one, Richmond.  My first attempt was cut short when I did not balance my blood glucose properly for such a long ride.  Did much better this time.

The ride was a total of four hours and two minutes of saddle time with two breaks.  I took a quick one at roughly ten miles.  The biggest hills are in those first dozen miles, so I gave myself a break.  Then another twenty miles along for lunch.  May have stayed off the bike a little longer than I should have there (45-50 minutes), but warmed up nicely in short order.  Which is good for two reasons.  About fourteen miles after lunch you hit the Chickahominy River bridge, which is a high arch bridge.  One that never seems to end when you’ve pedaled that far!  The other issue had to do with heat.  I had left early to try and avoid the heat of the day.  It still caught me and the last ten miles were tough and the final five were very difficult.  But I made it.

Week three was a very light week for riding.  Weather again was the issue.  The Heat Index that week hit triple digits several times and I chose discretion.  I did get in a couple of rides as I continue to work towards my goal of 1,000 miles this year.

Otherwise, I’ve been exploring new places in Richmond to ride.  I rode out Monument (which is a major thoroughfare here in Richmond) to the Willow Lawn area.  Not a long ride, about 3 miles, but new experiences.  More riding with higher traffic.

Also enjoyed watching the Tour de France.  Amazing to watch those incredible athletes perform.  Hour after hour at 20+ miles per hour.  And simply riding for 100-200 kilometers.  Crashes barely seem to phase them.  I would be whimpering for months afterwards and they jump up, grab their bike, and take off once again.  Several of them crashed, re-started, and ended up winning the stage.  Awesome athletes.  And inspirations to those of us trying to crank along. Three cheers for team Cannondale/Drapac and Rigoberto Uran.  With determination and grit, Rigo finished second overall.  It was great to have a team to root for (all three American riders were on this team, so that made it easy).  All the riders continue to inspire me.  When it starts to feel tough, I think of what they go through and I push on.

The last full week of the month turned into a pretty good riding week.  Got a break in the weather, so I got to rack up several more rides.  Even set a personal best, approaching a 12 mph average for 90 minutes!  17.6 miles in 1:31.

Equipment is becoming an issue.  I’ve developed a wobble in the crank, the straps are breaking on my bike rack and my tire pump bit the dust.  Not the problems to be faced without steady income.  Sigh.  I shall soldier on.

Much to my great surprise, I’m almost half way to my goal for the summer with at least two more months of riding ahead.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 25 (through 7/26)

Mileage Total – 415.14

Let’s roll.

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Time To Change – Little Things

And now we’re back.

Getting out of the eating routine means some slight variation, but only a small one.  I do need to get re-focused.  I am falling into the trap of “Oh, just a little bit extra won’t hurt!”.  Except when it’s a little extra over and over and over.  Suddenly it’s a serious amount of calories, and the number begins to creep upward.  With all of that, plus the wedding weekend (which was wonderful!), the change is only a pound.  I think that’s pretty impressive.

Just had a nice visit with my Diabetes Educator.  Part of the coverage with my health insurance is a series of educational meetings about diabetes and how to live with it.  Being who I am, I walked in having already learned a lot of the basics.  This made some of the meetings a little tedious.  I tried to be a good sport about it.  Particularly once I realized that not everyone in the room had bought into the idea that change was coming.  And staying.

At this final meeting, I stayed a little later to ask some questions specifically about diabetes and high-intensity exercise.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that our educator was a former long distance runner!  The good news is that she supported the ideas I have working with about fueling myself during long rides.  She even said the circus peanuts were fine for that purpose!

Exercise has been better, but still not quite up to where I’d like it.  Active minutes were down because biking was down.  Steps were up by 10,000.  My total riding miles for the year have been adjusted.  To the surprise of no one who knows me, my addition was off.  I am very close to half way to my goal for this year.  It’s also one of the highest mileage totals ever for me, so it’s been a very good year with several more months of riding still to come!

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 249

Steps – 25,543

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 29.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 417.09

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

181.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 16.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

Time To Change – Celebratory Break

Taking this week off from the reporting.

Exercise has been extremely difficult.  The Heat Index in Richmond has been around 100-105 most of the week.  Strenuous exercise has been curtailed.

Diabetes numbers are generally fine.

Headed off to a weekend wedding, so I’m just going to take a break this weekend.  Will still work on eating wisely, which is always a challenge in situations like this one.

So no changes this week, all numbers below are from last week.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 426

Steps – 14,942

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 78.6 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 372.17

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

Time To Change – Holding this week

Not a lot of change, which is fine.

Conquered a major exercise goal, which is great.

Otherwise, it’s been another quiet week.  Did some eating at the ballpark, which wasn’t great.  Also had a bad day on the employment front.  More about being told there would be a decision and not hearing, than an absolute turn down.  We’ll try to sort that out next week.

On the diabetes front, all is quiet.  The numbers have been pretty good.

With a 52 mile bike ride under my belt, the activity numbers are very good.  My steps are still down.  I managed to misplace my Fitbit for a day.  That’s the problem when an all black device makes its way into a dark corner!

All of that resulted in a change of less than a pound, which falls into the “I refuse to worry about it” category.  Essentially I held this level.  And, for the moment, that’s fine.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 426

Steps – 14,942

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 78.6 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 372.17

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: +0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

Adventures in Urban Bicycling – Trust But Verify

I’ve been thinking about something that former President Ronald Reagan said.

“Trust but verify”.

He was talking about the Soviets.  I was thinking about all the drivers on the road with me.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts having to adjust to so many other folks sharing the road when I’m riding in the city.  What I want from them is simple – predictability.  It’s what I want when I’m driving a car as well.  I want the other vehicles – cars, trucks, motorcycles, and yes, bicycles, to behave in a predictable manner.  It makes life so much simpler.

For example, if you are turning, I want you to indicate that.  Yes, I want people to use their damn turn signals!  I try to indicate clearly what I’m going to do.  Stop, right turn, left turn.  The attitude that turn signals are optional drives me crazy as a driver as well as a rider.  But it really struck home this past week.  The street was a little busier than most, which means there was a bunch of us stopped at the light.  The cement mixer (honest to God, I ended up having an issue with a CEMENT MIXER!) was the lead vehicle.  I was pulled up next to the line of traffic, but only even with the back of the truck.  From there I can see things like, oh maybe a TURN SIGNAL!! None showing.  So the light goes green, the truck rolls slowly forward as you would predict and I rolled slowly forward too.  Only to discover that the truck was starting to drift my way.  That’s annoying, but big trucks will sometimes wander a bit.  I kept my eye on it and looked for turn signals just to be safe.  Nothing.  Truck continues to drift my way and is now clearly going to turn right in front of me.  Because I was being prudently paranoid (there’s a theme for urban cycling!), I came to a stop without creating any problems.  Problems for me like being crushed to death.

My real lesson on trust but verify came watching a young woman who was on the opposite side of an intersection.  I spend most of my time cycling through the part of Richmond known as “The Fan” (it’s roughly fan-shaped).  Nice streets, not too much traffic.  After a while, I realized that the intersections with traffic lights were predictable.  Once the cross street light went red, it was a two-second delay before my light went green.  Wonderful!  Now I could get a little jump on the four-wheel vehicles and get rolling sooner.  Aren’t I clever?

Then I came to the intersection with this young woman.  The light turned green and I was all set to push hard and zip through.  Meanwhile, she took a second, looked both ways and made sure that no idiot was blowing through the light.  In the split second that it took me to figure out what she was doing, I remembered all the idiots I’d seen doing exactly that in and around the RVA.  The wisdom of her approach seemed very profound suddenly.  Clever could get me killed.  Relying on other folks to be safe and predictable could put me in a hospital.

Trust but verify.

I am happy to say that the overwhelming majority of the drivers I encounter in Richmond are wonderful.  The day that I write this, I arrived at a traffic circle a second or so behind a car coming from another direction.  But he had clearly gotten there first and had the right of way.  He saw me and waved me through.  Much appreciated.  Most drivers give me the space I need and clearly recognize my existence on the road.  But it only takes one to really mess your ride up.

 

June was supposed to be the first of the “big rides” – Richmond to Williamsburg.  I discovered that the Cap2Cap doesn’t actually extend to Williamsburg, so I’m trying to find a safe route for the last few miles.  In the meantime, I tried to ride the trail to Jamestown.  Unfortunately, I appear to have not made the appropriate adjustments for the diabetes.  After 31 miles, I was very wobbly so I cut it short.  I am adjusting both my food and water system to make sure the next ride works.  Started off very well with PBs for 10 miles and for mileage in one hour.  Next time I’ll get it.  9 rides, 177+ miles.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 17

Mileage Total – 259.69

Let’s roll.

Time To Change – Quietly Rolling

A holiday week did some damage.

Not unexpected, so I’m not worried about it.  Could have been much worse.

Exercise has been off a little, eating was off a lot.

On the diabetes front, all is quiet.  Got a new finger sticker!

Just did the longest bike ride in about 7+ years.  Went well, overcame the issues of last time.  More details later.  Forgot to wear my Fitbit, so some days steps didn’t get recorded.  Still kept plenty active.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 289

Steps – 27,282

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 32.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 293.54

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.4 pounds

Weight Change this week: +2.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.5 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25