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Monthly Archives: July 2012





Flatlander Round Two…

Not being someone who can take the fact that I couldn’t climb the mountain we’re vacationing on lightly, I went back out again for another try yesterday afternoon. This time, I rode along the main road that loops around Burton Lake after my descent. Unlike our mountain road, the drive has plenty of uphills and downhills, but they’re much more manageable… 10-15% grades with a 20 or two thrown in for good measure. I went out and back six miles each way before trying to tackle my mountain again – hey, maybe if I got the legs warmed up first, eh?

Uh, no. I was walking again… But there’s a reason behind it. Because I never paid attention to grades before and because I immediately think of myself as soft as a default position, I made a mistake in writing simply that a couple of sections were greater than 20%. They’re also greater than 30% and even 35%… I made it up the first one, but I just can’t get my legs to turn over so I can maintain forward progress. It’s just too steep.

The other 14 miles were awesome though, so the misses and I will be heading out some time this morning to have another go.

Here are a couple of photos of a switchback just below our house – I’ll get a couple of photos of the steep sections when we’re out later on.

A view down the mountain at the closest switchback to the house we’re staying at…

This is the view up that same switchback

Just a steep section of road – that’s only 9′ across by the way…

A neat looking cross between a bee and a battleship

The Term Is Flatlander…

Folks, I am a fit freakin’ individual, it’s a well established truth. I am, on the other hand, fit for a Flatlander. I just had my first mountain climbing experience. Oh my God it was hilarious. I suppose I’ve been watching too much of the Tour because I went way too fast.

Keep in mind, we’re talking about grades in excess of 20%, we’re staying on the steepest peak (by far) in Tiger, Georgia – and the only experience I have is on expressway overpasses, so that pretty much means I have no climbing experience whatsoever…

I started off down the mountain more nervous than a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. I rode the brakes for the first half while I got comfortable. To say the road is narrow is an understatement. There’s barely enough room for two cars. As I grew more comfortable, I picked up the pace until I reached the bottom and turned around to climb back up. The goal was to climb the worst of it before I started venturing out…and our little mountain is by far the worst. We’ve got Mrs. BDJ’s road bike and that’s only got a double on it so I wanted to try the climb in my middle ring: 42t with a 12/25 cassette. Ain’t no way, and I knew it before I hit the first switchback. My heart was already racing when I dropped down into the granny ring. I pushed on from there and started on the serious climb at just shy of one mile in… And then it got tough. My legs were fine but my heart wouldn’t slow down, no matter how much I tried to slow down. I blew up shortly after that, cooked. I called Matt and explained what happened (because I had no clue) and he explained that I just went too fast.

I’ll be trying again this afternoon.


Well Rested And Ready To Go…

We moved up our plans to head out on vacation to 10 o’clock this evening which will allow the kids (and their dear old dad) to sleep through the night and for most of the trip.

I took yesterday off the bike to get a few things wrapped up around the house and I’ll be packing this afternoon so that’lll make two days off of the bike in a row – something I haven’t done since February. My legs are feeling quite good already so I should be in all kinds of good shape when I hit the mountains tomorrow morning (no sense inmessing around).

I’m takin both my road bike and my mountain bike and we’re taking Mrs. BDJ’s mountain bike – this will be my first trip to the mountains with a bike and I can’t wait. We’re staying in northern Georgia for the first couple of days (elevation 3,600 feet) followed by a week in the Smoky Mountains. I have ‘t a clue where I’ll be riding but I can all but guarantee I’ll be out every morning.

I picked up a handful of Jelly Belly energy beans and another handful of cliff bars… I’ve got new tires, picked up a set of Serfas lights – front and back rechargeable (coolest lights on the market) and tuned up all three bikes so they’re in perfect working order, and that’s saying something with Mrs. BDJ’s K-2 Zed 1.0… It’s got the exact same components as my Trek, but the rear dérailleur is unbelievably finicky.

So in the end I’m hoping this will be the very definition of the fit/relaxed vacation, leaning more heavily to the “relaxed” part. I have no mileage goals as far as that goes, but I’m hoping for a 25 mile per day average with a couple of long one’s thrown in for good measure.

More to come soon…

If It’s Good Enough For A New Tattoo…

Uh, this is going to be a bit of a touchy subject…  Well, perhaps that isn’t the best way to put that…

I developed a bit of a hot spot, a saddle sore, due in part to the amount of riding coupled with the moisture from profuse sweating riding in this heat.

So there I am wondering what I could do to remedy the situation when I remembered my tattoo ointment – A&D.  I’d accidentally picked up the zinc oxide tube rather than the original formula so it had been sitting in the medicine cabinet for a while…

The particulars aren’t important, but let’s just say I figured if it’s good enough for a baby’s butt and healing tattoos, it should be good enough for that.

Sure enough, I was pain-free within 14 hours and I rode yesterday.  The sore’s gone today.

Just a friendly, if awkward, tip.

Why Pick Up The Pace?

With the kids still up north with their grandparents, Mrs. BDJ and I took the fat tire bikes out for an easy spin last evening and we had almost an hour to kick the tires on a few things.

One of the topics surprised me. We’d been talking about how out of control the leg muscles can get from a lot of cycling – mine have gotten quite a bit bigger over the last year to a point where some of my clothing doesn’t fit right – loose at the waist, tight at the thighs. So the conversation progressed to where she mentioned that as I’m starting to get into the high mileage rides, it appears that everything is coming really easy for me (in terms of my “want to”).

I don’t write much about the mental aspect of attempting to get faster and stronger and how that relates to fitness and eventually weight loss/control. Call it my silent struggle.  I had some time to kick it around though, so I’ll address it today.  Grab a cup of coffee, this’ll take a minute.

Anyone who knows anything about being good at something knows that the greatest compliment someone can give is “you make it look easy”, because it’s not easy no matter how it looks, especially when we’re talking about the mental aspect of physical exercise.  It can be looked at as fun, I thoroughly enjoy what many people call suffering, and there are definitely ways to mitigate the damages through preparation but when the rubber meets the road, it’s hard work.

First, riding a bike a long way or with a fair amount of speed is not rocket science. You pedal, hard and fast for a long time. Getting to a place physically where that is possible is where it gets a little tricky.

Sadly, There is no magic pill to help you ride farther or faster… at least on a bike.

Skipping the 637 other puns that relate and getting to the bacon of the topic, there is a point where folks don’t want to push any harder – it’s too far, it’s too much work, it hurts too much… I push beyond that.  Those who happen to be faster than me, they are aplenty, push harder than I am willing to – it just is what it is.

That is not the end though.  I got to a point, not too long ago, where it was enough and I just didn’t want to work harder to get faster.  Something changed, however, when I bumped my longest distance up on July 4th…  I went so much farther than I thought I was capable of that my entire perception of what I was capable of changed.

Once I realized the effort wouldn’t kill me (literally), that the extra effort wasn’t so bad, and the more I pushed beyond what I thought I could do, the less it bothered me, the better it got.  It doesn’t necessarily get easier, I just manage it better.

So the question is why bother.

On my ride Saturday, where I finally maintained an average of 22 mph ride I burned 55.5 calories per mile.  On a 19 mph ride (my 80 mile’er on the 4th) I burned 53.5 calories per mile.  On a 16 mph ride I burn 48.5 calories per mile…  It makes sense to me that also, the faster I go, the more lean muscle I’ll build in doing so, which burns more calories at rest, which contributes to the weight loss…  It’s a snowball effect.  Now I would never suggest that someone who is just getting into fitness should go all out right out of the gate, that would be crazy and almost certainly lead to injury (or worse), but for someone who’s been training for a time already, the harder we push, the better the results.

Last spring I was hoping to lose that last six pounds that would finally “make me happy”.  I lost 20 before adding 5 back on (on purpose – 150 is too skinny for me).  I lost the six in a matter of a couple of weeks, but it wasn’t until I really started working that the weight melted off and I got to that magic place where I can eat whatever I want again (even if I do still choose to exercise a modicum of restraint).  Those are the results that I wanted, and I don’t know if there’s any way I’d have gotten them with five-mile rides at 12 mph every other day – it would have taken forever and could have been impossible without some form of diet…  It certainly didn’t work with running twice a week.

At some point I suppose it’s got to be good enough – hell, I thought I was there.  Then I found out I could do better so I’ll be exploring that for a while to see just how far I can take it.  Why?

Why not?  The balance is between the results and the cost.  If you’re not happy with the results, it’s time to pick up the pace.  If you just can’t push any harder and you don’t like the results, you’d better get used to that tofu and bark diet…  Me?  I’m not one for tofu or bark, so I’ll take the effort and a greasy BBQ Bacon Burger (or two).

Not So Fast…

I just heard a stat on the news, I’d been wondering how long it would take to go mainstream, that 79% of the jobs created over the last couple if years went to men.

A year or so from now (or possibly sooner) feminist groups will use this information to claim that life is unfairly slanted against women.

Most women will likely buy this and be angry. How unfair America is, they’ll claim.

There’s only one problem – the 2008 recession adversely affected men at an even higher ratio: 80/20. That means, ladies, that 8 men lost their job for every 2 women. What the stats really say is that women are outpacing men in this recovery by a percentage point.  So you’re going to hear a positive stat used negatively – as if women were getting trampled on.

So the ship is righting itself, as they say – and people will use that politically to claim, yet again, that life ain’t fair.

My heart is breaking. Oh woe is me. Yea though I walk through the valley…

Now you know the whole story, not just the half that’s used to make you mad.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.