Wednesday, November 18, 2009

18 November 2009

After not sleeping very well Monday night, I got up Tuesday morning to face this:
When we bought our home four years ago, I paid good money to have a sheister build me a fence which was non-compliant to neighborhood covenant and was not even on my property. Turns out his shovelman dug up the rebar marking the corners of the yard so he could set the posts. It took him two weeks to build the fence (a beautiful fence, I'll give him that much) and two months to make it right. Since then, I have had to disassemble and redo the entire fence and it has taken me this long to get to the last side. Between finishing school and working hard to become efficient/proficient/competent as an ER nurse, I've been a little busy. But things are finally starting to settle down, and it's time to actually do something about landscaping my back yard.
I started about 8:30am and had the whole fence down and all the posts out of the ground in an hour, that was the easy part. Then came the digging, measuring, and replacing the posts. Finished up about 4pm, tired but looking forward to a group ride in the evening. This is what the group ride looked like: That's right, it was a night time, urban-assault on mountain bikes! What a blast! Wasn't really that dark, but it was the first time I had done a night ride that wasn't on a closed course. We started out in West Columbia and rode around and through Columbia, through parks, neighborhoods, and a college campus. Definitely not a high-pressure ride, more fun than anything, but we still got in 17+ miles and I saw heart rates of 170+ on two occasions! Columbia has a couple of really good hills; east on Laurel St. from Gervais (by Cogdill Carpets) is, according to my Garmin, a 10% climb and longer than a quarter mile! Okay, it's not Mt. Mitchell, but still...
So, finished up a great ride with some awesome folks, and loaded the bike. Checked the phone and my wife had called; she knew I was a half-mile from the Krispy Kreme on Knox Abbot and wanted a donut. There went my ride, because I just couldn't make her eat a donut alone. And you know you cannot go to a KK and buy just two donuts, right? And I had to think of the kids too, right?
This has become a rarity, though, as I have nearly eliminated all sweets. I want to lose weight so when I climb Mt. Mitchell next May, I don't have to drag so much butt up those hills. Doing well, if I do say so myself. I'm down 16 pounds in the last 7 weeks, not from "dieting," just from making lifestyle adjustments. I am not a fan of "diets," as every time I have tried one, I lose 10-12 pounds in two weeks then it jumps right back on. I think it's because I make changes too fast and my body/mind can't handle it. Incremental adjustments, I think that's what'll work for me.
I had quite a day yesterday, and now this is what today looks like:I went to bed last night feeling like I was 12 years old again following the urban assault, and awoke this morning feeling like I had been assaulted! Based on my experience, riding a century has NOTHING on rebuilding a fence! I must have used muscles I didn't know I had and this morning they are all angry at me for disturbing them. This Sombra product is some good stuff though. My wife got it from her massage therapist, they have a good website, , if you're interested. I am using the warm therapy; my wife put some on my back nearly an hour ago and I still feel like I am lying in the sun in July.
That was my Tuesday, thanks for allowing me to bore you with the details. Now, go get a donut. And one for a friend so you don't eat alone.
Be blessed, be safe.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

7 November 2009

Loaded the car last night so I could leave early this morning and drive to Orangeburg for the 2nd Annual O'burg Rivers Bridge Ramble, a fundraiser hosted by the O'burg Department of Public Safety to raise awareness of gangs. Their goals include educating the public on recognizing such things as gang presence and recruitment. They (DPS) did a fantastic job of hosting about 100 riders doing several different lengths of rides like 27-, 63-, and 100-miles. We enjoyed breakfast, police escorts, SAG vehicles, and lunch from Subway when we returned. Spoiled, I tell you! This is a picture of the Edisto River which runs through Orangeburg and Edisto Gardens, which was our starting/fin- ishing point. A lovely place, I think the family needs a picnic there in a couple of weeks! We departed the park about 0930 under police escort, with the police chief at the front on a bicycle, no less! We were led out of town to some of the most beautiful countryside I think I have ever seen. There were farms, forest, wildlife, etc. The only part that worried me was about 85 miles out, when I was good and tired, I happened upon a couple of buzzards (or vultures, whichever) which were dining on a raccoon; I must have looked bad, because the began to ignore the raccoon and watch me. Freshness factor, I guess.
Anyway, the weather was incredible, the roads were, for the most part "like buttah!", and the day was a delight. Here is a photo representative of the views I enjoyed today:
Something else I like about these rides is the social aspect. When you do a ride like this in South Carolina (not a large state) you get to see old friends. I ran into (figuratively speaking) folks I have ridden with from the mountains to the sea and in between. This is a pic of me and my friend, Benjamin Buttons. His real name is Loris, but it seems the older Loris gets, the faster he gets on a bicycle. When I was in nursing school down on the coast, I rode with a fantastic group out of Grand Strand Bicycles in Murrells Inlet. That's where Loris and I became friends and I have been trying to catch him ever since.
So, it's been a good day, to say the least. I rode like I have never ridden before, covering 100 miles in 5:47 with an average speed of 17.3mph. I am totally happy with that seeing as it was for such a distance. And, I liked the fact that at 65 miles out, my average speed was 19.0mph! I have NEVER run a metric that fast. I am slowly but surely becoming a better, fitter cyclist. Mt. Mitchell, look out! I am coming for you! But,the best part of all today, was coming home to my family to enjoy a nice dinner, some desert, and to hang out (after some thermal hydrotherapy- a long, hot bath!). There may be things in my life I don't enjoy and wish would go away, but I know that I am blessed. God has been good to me, and I thank Him. Don't be jealous, He's been good to you too.
Be blessed, be safe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

1 November 2009

I was beginning to think it couldn't happen, but after playing with the calculator a minute, I think it can: I can still hit 5000 miles for the year! And all it will require is an average of just a hair over 21 miles a day, every day until New Year's Eve. I can do this! It will help that I am going to Orangeburg on Saturday for the River's Bridge Ramble, where I'll do a century in a fundraiser for gang prevention. I'll let you know how that goes.

We (my brother and I) did a metric last Saturday in Camden, the Tour de Camden, which was a fundraiser for the local Habitat for Humanity and an organization that cares for retired racehorses. Camden is the Steeplechase Capital of South Carolina, they take their horses pretty seriously!
A couple of weeks ago we were out preparing for this, had some goals such as 1)finish in a timely manner, and 2)not stop at all; well, turns out my brother bumped my back wheel and went down pretty hard. He's been nursing what's probably a broken rib since then and it's had him in no small amount of pain. He's not one to let things slow him down too much, so we rolled!
Because he was injured, he had some difficulty breathing deeply and could not ride his ride. He is significantly lighter and faster than I, though I am working on that, and would probably average 19-20mph on this course. Instead, we rode together and pulled each other through and finished with a 17.3mph average. For me, that is good. Lately, I have been working to improve my average speed and have been seeing 17mph pretty consistently.
I was please with myself, finished a metric in 3:37, only stopping twice, once to shed water and once to take on water. Right now, everything I ride is considered by me to be a training exercise for 2010 Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I want to make it to the top on May 17th, and getting up there is only part of the equation; I have to make the cutoff at the Hwy 80 and Parkway juncture. That means getting the first 86 miles out of the way as quickly as possible. And then still having the legs to finish. God help me.
No matter what though, I want to enjoy my riding. If I can't enjoy it, then to me it is pointless.
Be blessed, be safe.