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Monthly Archives: May 2012


My Most Enjoyable Message

We all know how things work in the blog world but it’s one of those unspeakable evils – so I won’t dare write its name here. I received the opportunity to reject the following comment this morning on my post about Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

My particular favorite aspect of the comments, next to their general inneptitude, is their lack of coherence. Take this for example, “Almost all of the commentary on this particular webpage dont make sense”.

Glossing over the fact that the dope spelled “don’t” incorrectly (which actually makes sense when you think about it) for just a moment, I can understand why reading complete, structured sentences, in ENGLISH wouldn’t make sense to some people – especially after reading the comment.

Sometimes dopes are too ironic.


It Really Is A Small World

I’ve written about Matt Assenmacher quite a bit since I started this blog – he’s helped me out immensely with getting into cycling.  He’s the one person I know who loves cycling more than I do (and he enjoys it more by an order of magnitude)…  But there’s more to the story.

Before I’d gotten into cycling I passed by Matt’s shops on a fairly regular basis and I wondered if he was related to someone from my past – same last name.  My grade school gym teacher.  Mr. Assenmacher was pretty tough, he pushed us hard, but he was really good about it – he took the time to find the right buttons to push to get us moving.  He made a huge impact on my physical fitness as a kid and that carried to adulthood.  He was one of those grade school teachers whose lessons apply 30 years later.

When I finally met Matt at his shop after picking up cycling, I asked him if he was related to a gym teacher – sure enough, my grade school gym teacher was his brother.

So while I have and take the responsibility for my being physically fit, the Assenmacher family impacted my life in a huge way – first teaching me about fitness in the first place and then helping me to enjoy cycling (30 years later) more than I ever thought possible.

It really is a small world.

Part Awesome Part Lazy, If That’s Possible in 30 Miles… It is

If the title sounds a little odd, it should. I went out on my usual Saturday ride and run yesterday. I struck out for the running club on my bike shortly after a long stretch of rain. The pavement was still quite wet but I wasn’t about give up my long brick day for some wet pavement. The first four miles were uneventful and medium fast – it was the first four of 33 so I really didn’t find it necessary to push too hard. About 20 yards into my fifth mile the rain started up again. At first as sprinkles, then the clouds opened up… My second day in a row riding in the rain. I grinned and pushed on. My first leg was a little more than 12 miles at 17.5 mph… Quite slow by normal standards, but I was just going for distance yesterday, and for my second day in a row riding in the rain, I was getting a little tired of it to be truthful.

I made it down to the running club, changed and had a cup of coffee. With the rain I wouldn’t break in my new running shoes – I don’t do mud on the first day of a new pair of shoes – I don’t care, I’m not mucking up a brand new pair on the first day and I have a few miles left in last year’s model anyway (I got the Adizero Tempo’s again). We started off as a group of five – one guy walked the 5k, I ran it and the other three were headed out on 7.2 mile, or greater, runs. So here’s where the lazy part came in. I started out fast – 6:05 pace before I slowed down a bit after a quarter mile to a 7:35 pace. I finished off the first mile in 7:16. I kept the 7:30 pace going for the second mile to finish that mile (1/2 uphill, 1/4 flat, 1/4 downhill) at 7:33. My breathing was great, my stride was long and things were generally going really well but my legs were feeling a little heavy – it was a pretty hectic week by my standards, 124 miles in five days so I justified walking the rest of the way because I didn’t want to hurt myself. I would have been just fine, and I knew it, but I just didn’t feel like running the last mile so I enjoyed a brisk walk/jog back to the club.

I ate some lunch – heavenly pizza from Little Caesar’s, perpperoni and bacon for me – and relaxed for a minute waiting for some of the other guys to get back. It was a light crowd by normal standards because the Bay Shore 10k-1/2 marathon-marathon was yesterday and many of the guys from the club participate in that.

After a lively discussion or two I suited up and got ready to ride home – the long way around, an 18 mile trip. The first thing I noticed, after about 40 feet, is that the rain had finally taken its toll on my chain lube. It was a quiet ride down but my chain was squealing like a stuck pig after drying out. I started out slow again but was up to 22 mph by the time I was 2m:30s into the ride…a loud one at that, my $2,600 babied race bike sounded like a $120 Huffy that had been laying in the grass for a week. The protesting chain actually had a pretty huge impact on effort too. I noticed on several occasions that keeping my speed was a little tougher than normal. After a minute at the quicker pace I got to thinking I should slow it down a little bit because I didn’t want to wreck my legs after that heavy feeling on the run. My first four miles were right where I thought they should be considering the effort I wanted to put in: 3:23, 3:03, 3:12, 3:21. On the fifth mile I settled into a nice rhythm and shut the sound down on Endomondo so it wouldn’t give out my overall and mile times. I just kept rolling, the squeaks and squeals of the chain became a little hypnotic. I attacked the hills hard, standing on 1 gear higher (harder) than normal, and let gravity on the way down run my speed back up. My cadence was unusually high – approaching 100 rpm on a gear one easier than I use on a flat to maintain 20 mph and I just kept cruising, feeling great. My breathing was fairly relaxed and the temperature was perfect… Just over 70 degrees with cloudy skies. Into the 13th mile curiosity got the best of me and I kicked my stem mounted phone out of standby mode to see where I was time-wise.

Much to my surprise I’d made up most of the 58 seconds I’d lost in the first four miles to make a 20 mph average. I kept my cadence the same and wound up slightly faster than a 20 average when I turned right onto the home stretch road – directly into a head wind. I hadn’t even noticed the crosswind over the previous nine miles, I had been deep in the zone for eleven miles and didn’t even know it (I love it when that happens on purpose but it’s a rare treat when it sneaks up on me). The last three miles into that wind, a 20 mph pace on my own was impossible, I finished with a 19.3 average.

Overall, I had a fun time and while I could make the argument that I was a little lazy on a 33 mile day – why bother? I had a lot of fun.

On arriving home I left my bike outside to be washed later and went in for a shower and a nap. When I came out a couple of hours later I had a flat – two days in the rain and two flats in a row. I washed my bike and degreased my chain, dried it off and left with my wheel to pick up a couple of tubes… I took the wheel in just to make sure there was nothing structurally wrong and bought a couple of new tubes (one spare). The reason for first flat (on Friday) was obvious – most of my rides go past a construction zone and the General Contractor has been amazingly lax in keeping the cycling lane free of gravel – I picked up a small, sharp rock that punctured the kevlar layer and put a pin hole in the tube (it took till Saturday morning for the tire to deflate – it was a slow leak. The flat yesterday was a little more troubling – there were no visible imprefections in the tire – nothing. They couldn’t find anything at the shop either…for now it’s a mystery.

For today, it’s going to be really hot so I’ve got a few options, but I think I’ll keep it easy and simple and do the 25 mile route, recovery pace. I’ve got my Tuesday group ride on Tuesday so I want to ride but I want to have a lot in the tank for Tuesday.

The Weigh In

I weighed in at the running club this morning and I’ve managed to reverse my weight loss problem. I’m back up to 156, a gain of three pounds in two weeks.

Don’t ask what I had to eat in order to put that weight back on…and I promise I won’t tell.

In any event, this is really good news. In basic terms I doubled what I normally eat. At times that wasn’t easy, but I managed. Now all that’s required is finding a happy balance.

I was hammered by rain on the ride down this morning but it looks like the sun is trying to poke through the clouds… I just might have a dry ride home.

My Girls Show Dad What They’re Made Of – And It’s All Good!

The Official Kickoff To Summer was today at my girl’s school (as I mentioned in my last post).  They’ve always got a couple of bounce houses and a dunk tank that the kids can play on for a while, then we have a nice little picnic catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ (Dear God in Heaven, if you have a chance, check them out – it’s good).  Thank goodness I put in that 25 miler this morning, because they stagger the kids – Josie went through first and Isabella an hour later – this meant that one of either me or Mrs. BgddyJim had to eat twice!

Well you know I took one for the team and had a second delicious pulled pork sammich with enough barbecue sauce on it to drown a small animal – or a quarter pound of pulled pork (and a piece of watermelon and a bottle of H2O).

In any event, they added a new inflatable climbing toy this year – that had to be 20′ tall.  The kids get into a one size fits all harness that snugs up, and they’re attached to an emergency rope in case they let go, and up they go.  Josie dug right in (after a little convincing from papa) and made it about half way:

Not bad for 5 years old…

Then came the dunk tank where she really showed what she could do – this will take two pictures, read the captions:

Right handed toss – she did miss, but not a bad effort…

Now look at this:

Nope – switch to left handed…and it’s a bullseye – that kid in the tank went DOWN! Never seen a kid that could switch so seamlessly between hands.

Then after second lunch it was Bella’s turn.  And that kid didn’t disappoint:

Starting out

Right out of the gate she ran out of real estate and quickly changed directions


The kid looks like spider girl for crying out loud.

This is where she ran out of space. She got one row higher but eventually fell off…

Now my girl made it up pretty high – not to the top but pretty stinking close, but that’s not what impressed me…  The kid didn’t give up.  When she got stuck, she tried every path and every angle that she could until her hands just couldn’t hold her up there any more.  I’ve never seen that girl fight so hard to accomplish something.  It was inspiring to watch and it really made me proud to be her dad.  In the end, what was important was not that she didn’t make it – it’s that she didn’t quit until her body failed her.  I couldn’t have asked for a stronger daughter.  YES!





A New First…

My girls have a picnic every year on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I try to make it when I can.  That made an afternoon ride impossible so I shifted my ride to first thing this morning.  It was pretty windy out but because I made friends with the wind a few weeks ago I wasn’t fretting it.  Clouds were plentiful but the local radar showed all clear.  I wore a loose shirt to make the ride a little more work and headed out.  The first mile was with the wind followed by two with a cross tail wind and then I started into the wind.  It was ugly but survivable because it was only a few miles.  The next leg is where the ride got a little long, six miles into a cross head wind that got old after about three miles.  I put my head down and just concentrated on spinning the pedals around as fast as I could.  At mile 13 my ride got fun – 15 mph wind at my back.  I shifted to the big ring  and got to cookin’…for all of two miles before the clouds opened up – so much for the local radar.  After about a mile in that mess I started chuckling to myself – the rain really wasn’t all that bad.  Sure it was a bummer, riding through that much water would obviously require a bike wash this afternoon, but I was very comfortable as long as I wiped my glasses off every now and again so I could see.  At mile 15 I came upon a choice – either keep going or turn right and cut 7 miles off of my ride and call 18 good for the day.  You know which one I chose.

The rain continued for another 2 miles before it quit and it started clearing up  rather quickly and the rest of my ride was quite enjoyable, even if I did have to ride through soaked shoes and socks.  I met my goal for the day and kept my speed moderate at 18.5 mph so I’d be fresh for a long ride and run tomorrow.

So my “first” was not riding in the rain – it was enjoying riding in the rain.  It was a fun ride for sure.

And This Is Why I Dig Endomondo…

I have written often about Endomondo, my tracking software of choice, and about many of the Challenges that I take part in. I received the following email this morning:

“Hi Jim

The month is coming to an end and we will soon be selection this months winners across the prize levels. You are currently at the gold prize level with 403.55 miles logged.

Don’t forget to log your miles no later than the last day of the month to have them count in this months prize selection”.

That should be well over 500 by the time the end of next week rolls around…

I’m currently in 8th place of over 400 participating local riders. Nationally I’m 864 of 24,342.