It’s too hot to ride that far…

The little voice in my head, the one that I ignore so often, was telling me that going for a bike ride in the heat, without working up to it was a bad idea. I ignored it again. La la la la I’m not listening….

At mile 14.8 I purchased an ice cream sandwich (and I am not getting a kick back at all…Seriously) It was quite possibly the best ice cream sandwich I have ever eaten. Don’t get the wrong idea, I was calorie deprived, hot, sweaty, hungry and feeling a little bit bothered in several ways I don’t really want to go into. The “It’s It ice cream sandwich” is delicious even when those things aren’t true.

Knowing that I was 14 miles from my destination, and it seemed to be getting hotter, the ice cream was the only thing that got me half way and that carried me to the finish line. I’d like to say it was will power, or nerves of steel, or just stubbornness, but it was the promise of chocolatey oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich goodness that drove me onward and fueled my return trip.

Thank you to the nice people at the Lacomb Store for having these delicacies available for weary (and I mean WEARY) travelers. Bless you.

28.2 miles total @ 84.4 degrees F. average over 2:02.34. Not bad for a fat guy, on a bike ,in the hot, without any prep. Eh?

Keep riding.

The garden 2.0.

Yard

This is the section of the yard I’ve been working on.

New features: 1 new 4’x4′ raised bed. New edging around the garden. Hazelnut shell mulch on the garden paths and around trees. Stella Cherry tree (dwarf). Frost Peach tree (Semi-Dwarf) and 8 Thuja Occ. in Emerald Green. We chose these to try filling in where a section of fence blew over last winter. It cost about $30 less to plant the arborvitae than to buy new fence materials. I am really just hoping that none of these die out this year.

The hazelnut shell mulch is a” new to us” attempt at keeping some soft footed critters out of our garden area. So far, the dog hates them and avoids these areas, which is a good sign. I’m more concerned about neighborhood cats who like to crap in our raised beds. (Do not want cat poo next to my carrots.) If rabbits don’t like them it is a bonus. We have read that slugs and snails don’t like to cross hazelnut shell mulch. I guess we’ll see.

Other benefits are that they will last a long time (they do not break down anywhere near as fast a wood or hay mulch. They also excel at helping the soil beneath retain water. Finally, I like the way they look. The color is similar to western hemlock that is sun dried.

Drawbacks are two… They are sharp and will be rough on bare feet and they do not break down very fast. If we get tired of them, they will be around for a long time to come. Worse comes to worse we can mulch over them with something else and they will degrade over time, out of sight, out of mind. I think we will like them over the long haul.

Next items for the yard are a pergola and pavers to create an outdoor room space and a new garden shed. Stay tuned to read more on that sometime in the future.

Cheers!

To affinity and beyond…

I was reading this article on Lifehacker.com and was thinking about the problem of making new friends in middle age. Actually, I’m not sure I see this as a problem, but the article indicates that it is probably more of a problem than I realize, which isn’t really all that surprising, i suppose.

Brew1

Boil it…

The article talks about the different ways to meet people, and I think I have the answer… Brew your own beer and invite people.

It works. Everyone wants to know how it’s done (perhaps not everyone, but then, those folks might not be as likely to be new friend material anyway). It’s a pretty simple process… Water, $15 – $20 bucks worth of grain or malt and yeast and a big pot or two. Throw it all together (get some directions, or invite me to help. I’d be glad to tell you what to do) and in a few hours you have (essentially) beer. People are amazed by this. Really.

I think it might help to share a little bit of the last brew to really solidify interest.

Brew3

Toss in the yeast and let it get happy.

To my point (which is not really about brewing, believe it, or not)… I think, at 40, I have met the most interesting people through affinity groups. People who have common interests doing those things together. For me it’s bicycling, brewing, disc golf and philosophy. Strangely, these four activities all have enough in common that you can do two or three at a time and it makes the experience that much better.

Brew2

Package for serving. Don’t fear the foam.

In the end, I thought the article was interesting. I am amazed that so many people over the age of 30 are lonely. To that I’d say, get a bike or brew some beer or join an exercise group. You gotta be a friend to make a friend and there aren’t many people sitting on your couch waiting for you to vegetate with them. You gotta get out in the world. Do something. Heck, throw a BBQ… you saw my soccer team post, right? (No? Well go read it…) There were 10 adults there that I’d never met before and they all seemed nice. Maybe even nice enough to take for a bike ride.

Get out of your comfort zone, doing something you like with someone you don’t necessarily know! If it’s fun, invite me. I might join you (especially if it would be fun for my wife and kids, the brewing doesn’t do much for them).

I almost forgot. I told you in my last post that I’d talk a little more about the garden. That post is ON DECK. See me here tomorrow for more on that topic.

Cheers!

There’s a soccer team in my yard!

I have to admit… I was nervous.

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But everything turned out just fine. My trees all survived and my dog is no more jumpy than usual.

It was B's first time coaching indoor soccer and instead of spending a weeks salary on pizza, she opted to invite the team over for hotdogs and playing in the yard. If you know me at all you know that I like kids. I like them so much I work with them all day. You might also know that I really like quiet at home.

I was nervous, but it's all good. NIce kids, nice parents and it's good to celebrate together. We are blessed and its good to share with others.

Notice the garden in the background. doesn't it look spiff? More on that tomorrow!

Keep reading…

 

On to something new…

After 30 days of biking I am now finding that there are a whole bunch of things I put off in order to take rides every day. Today I got home late from work and went straight to working in the yard. We are fans of, but not adherents to Square Foot Gardening. SFG is a way to maximize gardening production in a minimal amount of space. (Read my about page regarding affiliate links)

To that end ,we have 4 (4′ x 4′) gardens, 1 (3′ x 3′) garden and 1 (2′ x 8′) garden that we have set up in our back yard. We also have a half dozen blueberry bushes, a Stella cherry tree and a Frost peach tree. After our last growing season, I really neglected the garden plots so today was resurrection day. We have decided to give out little “garden” a more finished look and so we have decided to install a wooden “edge” and fill the walkways with Hazelnut shells.

It got too late to take a good picture of the progress on the garden, but perhaps my next post will be more photo laden.

My bike should be done tomorrow. Its getting a complete tune and the bottom bracket noise will be addressed. I am hoping it was just a significant lack of grease or something else easy to fix.

Hope you all are having a lovely week.

Keep riding (or gardening)

Day 30 – #30daysofbiking – EndSTRONG (or not, as the case may be.)

Well… Good intentions pave a road somewhere… and they tend to be more like a really crappy version of chip seal. I intended to ride and break the 200 mile mark. Didn’t make it. I did ride everyday though:

30DOBCalFinal

I broke my preferred mileage machine and am expecting it back from the shop on Thursday.

I am not sure how I feel about the #30daysofbiking thing right this moment as I am really feeling a couple of strong emotions.

Strong emotion – RELIEF – I finished. I rode every day, albeit not very far a few days, but I did ride. This is better than I did last year.

Strong emotion – BUMMED OUT – I missed every other measurable indicator that I set for myself to deem the month a success. So I showed up, but does it really matter?30DOB10

I would have to say, after sitting here and looking at those last couple of sentences for WAY to long, I guess showing up is a pretty powerful measure of success. Had I not, I would not have COMPLETED the 30 days of biking challenge. That would have been a failure. Missing the other marks is not necessarily failure. For the most part I would say I did my best, because certain days, getting my bike out of the garage was a huge win.

I had weight goals, I had distance goals, I had time goals, I had segment goals and all of those ended up eluding me. I guess I could get mad, but as I consider each of them I have noticed that I consistently missed them by roughly the same percentage and so I wonder if I may have miscalculated my own abilities and time availability. Perhaps I should have taken a little more time at the onset to determine a true and accurate baseline for each of the areas I measured.

Rainy

I learned a few things. The goals be darned. I have a sense of myself as a bicyclist and I can now be more certain that any future goals I set for myself are based on reality and a good working knowledge of my fitness and abilities. As I improve from this point, it should be easier to set and adjust goals.

So, whats next? I’m going to keep riding. I hope to be able to complete a Century ride at the beginning of June which, at this time, still seems fairly ambitious. Most century training programs take six to eight weeks and I have four. If I am not 100% confident in being able to complete the century, I’ll do the half and continue training for a century in August.

I’ll keep blogging here. I will probably go into some other things of interest to me, but I invite you to continue reading and I’d love it if you would participate. MatFam and Amy are both getting top commentor honors right now. I’d offer a prize but there are no prizes so you get my gratitude for the time being. I might do a book giveaway though, so look for that sometime soon.

Overall, I’m pretty happy about the #30daysofbiking and I hope next year a few more of you will consider joining me in the challenge.

Thanks for reading so far, and I hope you’ll stick around.

Keep on riding.

Day 29 – #30daysofbiking – Over hill, over dale…

29 days. I’ve ridden. I’ve wrecked. I broke a bicycle. I have thought about throwing in the towel at least twice and yet, here I am, still riding.

Today I went for a short jaunt up a hill and over a secluded little dirt road that went… nowhere. Bummer.

I stopped to take a photo and the bike wouldn’t stay still for the picture. So now I have one of those photos that just isn’t right. Well, here, let me show you:

30DOBday29

See… No cooperation.

Well… tomorrow is the last day of the #30daysofbiking but it probably won’t be the end of this blog.

Keep riding.