Monday, September 29, 2008

Champing At The Bit

And I am. I don't know about you, but the cool weather changes my perception of riding. I haven't been putting in much saddle time lately, due to projects, family, and a nicked up knee. Talking to the surgeon this morning about the knee got me some answers. The X-ray and MRI didn't reveal any new structural damage, just more arthritis, which was aggravated by bowling. No more bowling, more bike riding. I will be getting a cortisone shot on Wednesday morning, but further surgery is out of the question for a while. A knee replacement is a few years down the road. A more aggressive weight loss plan will be put in effect, since less weight means less wear and tear on the joints.

OK, back to what I started to talk about, cool weather riding. Don't get me wrong, I love the hot weather. I'm very comfortable on 80-90 degree rides, the effort that results in a different type of suffering than in the cold. I find a base layer under my jersey keeps me more comfortable than just a jersey alone. Same in the cold. A good base layering system is the key to staying comfortable in all weather. I need to add a few items to my cold weather arsenal, but mainly for the extreme cold temps. The only thing I have problem with is my hands. Since becoming diabetic, I just can't keep them warm on cold weather rides unless I use chemical warmers. It must have something to do with the neuropothy, which effects my feet much more than my hands. I'm trying to add more blue berries and such to my diet, but that gets pretty spendy. All the good stuff one needs to eat healthy sure does cost a lot.

The major thing about cool weather riding is this: I don't look near as fat in cold weather gear than in spandex. One has to look good to feel good...

Monday, September 22, 2008


RICE. No, not the rice you eat, but the injury treatment method. I'm using it right now while waiting for the ortho doc to call me. The same knee I had repaired several months back, is banged up again. It feels worse this time. Very swollen and hard to put weight on, much less going up stairs. Now, I wish I had a cool story to tell, you know, some dramatic, heroic, sports related tale of triumph while playing hurt. It was a bowling injury. There, I said it. A bowling knee injury. How stupid does that sound?

Let's start by saying I don't bowl much these days. Once in the last 21 years to be exact. I used to carry a 170 or so average back in the day when I bowled leagues twice a week. Not bad, but not in the same rank of the better guys in this area. So when I was asked to be a designated driver for the camp ground bowling party, I obliged and hauled the soon to be intoxicated people from said campground to the bowling alley a few miles away. I don't drink much, being diabetic and all, so it was no big sacrifice. I actually like some of the group, anyway, and wouldn't want to see a car accident or a DUI ruin the fun.

Back to the mishap. I can't really even call it that, since I didn't slip, trip, fall, or bleed. One minute I was trying to recreate my old form, find the mark and groove. The next, my knee was tender. A few frames later, it was throbbing. The only thing I figure is the slide and twist motion must have popped something loose that shouldn't be loose. I couldn't throw stroke the ball without severe pain. My wife made the pointed comment on how she thought I was a bowler and now why am I not putting up big numbers. Well, you try rolling a 16 lb ball on one leg, see how it works for you, I replied.

The next morning, it felt better, I took some Aleves and went to work on my latest drywall project. i put in about 6 hours, doing mostly vertical seems and screws. It was a bit tender, but held up. Not so today. Any pressure, such as stairs, is very painful. RICE is the order of the day. Hopefully, the doctor will get me in later to check it out so I know what damage has been done. The swelling isn't going down, and that's what worries me. I just hope I won't need more surgery, knock on wood.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Up The Shore

I had to get out after work last night. All the crap of life get flushed with a good ride. I needed it badly, so I headed up the North Shore after work for an easy 2 hour spin. But as soon as I hit North Shore drive, the wind off the lake was cold and stiff. I rode an hour and 10 minutes out, 55 minutes coming back. There's is nothing like heading home with a stiff tail wind to make the hard effort into it worthwhile.

Another reason I had to get out was to find out if my erratic blood sugar reading are related to my inconsistent exercise regimen lately. I haven't been sitting around, mind you, but haven't been getting the hard multi-hour sessions in often enough. And, my readings have been taking a dangerous dive in the afternoons and evenings with no warning or reason. I can feel it if I get below 65, and the last 3 days, they have dropped into the 50's. No good if I happen to be driving. It has been waking me up in the middle of the night occasionally, too. Not good for the brain. I just may have to back off on the meds a bit and get back to a training routine to counteract this, but i feel the less synthetics injected the better. We shall see...

PS: the pics are from the new landing at Knife River. Very nice spot to launch a boat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All In A Day's Work

Suffering. Do you enjoy a good old body beat down once in a while? I do. Saturday and Sunday was a suffer-fest, especially Saturday. The campground crew and I cut and split 17 pick-up loads of wood at a friends cabin. 55 degrees, drizzle to pouring rain mix of weather. Soaked, cold to the bone , heavy work. 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, a short lunch break, but mainly hard work. It reminded me of a couple of races from back in the day, when you were so miserable, but working so hard, you just couldn't quit. I followed this up on Sunday with a long day of dry walling. A bit sore on Monday, perfect today.

I had the abscessed tooth pulled out and the gunk surrounding it carved out last week. It's sure a relief to get that over with. Very little pain, but lots of blood. I sure hope with all the infection gone that my blood sugar stabilizes. It's been erratic, but so has my work out regimen. One more side project to go, and my time will free up a bit for more riding. It's fall, my favorite outdoor time of year, and I just don't want to miss it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Train Wrecks

Seems like a lot of things in life are just beyond our control. Jim over at Unholy Rouleur , seems to have run into this sort of situation. Pop over to his site and read his interesting post on that subject today. He's a funny guy who when not lampooning something, often himself, writes some very insightful stuff. I've been running into plenty of stupid in my personal and professional like myself.

We bought a Chinese scooter to ease the burden of gas prices. Of course the novelty wore off quickly for my other half, and I am the main driver. We sold my van and were going to be a one car /bicycle/scooter family. Cool. It made an immediate impact, financially, but not practically. It broke down after 1400 miles and is now waiting for parts.

The novelty of car pooling quickly wore off, too. Kids going to activities, shopping, going to the camper, all sometimes need 2 vehicles. No one but me in this deal has had to make any sacrifices but me. Cut backs on other things didn't happen as planned. The simpler life style doesn't appeal to all concerned. Realizing I couldn't fight city hall, I bought another van. It's actually quite an upgrade over the old one, 50,000 less miles, all wheel drive, heated leather etc., all for the same price I sold the old one for. A lot of brain damage for the upgrade, though.

Some of the moves at work are putting the strain on my thought process. Less is more, human nature can be manipulated, if I believe it, it's true. I've learned over the last 30 years, none of that is true. 2 things are happening in this world that are absolutely true. The haves are getting a bigger share of the pie everyday than the have not's. And the gap gets bigger every time you stick that nozzle in your cars filler neck. Every time you go to the grocery store, turn on the heat in your home, in fact every time you pull out your wallet. I have to work 7 days a week to live the same as we have been. So that just means our quality of life suffers. I haven't spent near enough time on my stress relievers (ie the bikes), so my blood glucose is up and the hopeless feeling sinks in. Maybe after the election things will change. Let's hope for the better.

Because right now, this is a train wreck.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rare Bird

Here's something you don't see everyday ( unless you follow Doug around). An Xtracycle. As you can see, quite the hauling machine. I chatted with the owner when he came out of the store about what a great grocery getter this conversion made, where he replied it was also a great beer hauler, too! He was strapping on a twelver of Stella Artois to prove his point. A dog had chewed up the saddle, so I offered my BG Milano to replace it. It doesn't work for me, so I'm sure he'll put it to good use.

On the riding front, I haven't gotten in the miles I had planned in the last month or so. After @ 750 miles in July, I barely cracked 200 in August. Disappointing, I must say. My side projects and family have absorbed most of my extra time. And so it goes. This month is the start of the fall riding season for me, and this is my favorite time of year. Crisp, dry air, turning colors, it just can't be beat. I'm riding tonight, Saturday night, and Sunday for sure. As they say in the Red Stripe ads, Hurray, Fall !!