Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back To It

Sorry about the no posts lately. Just too much has been going on for me to concentrate on cycling, such as work and school. I have been learning a lot on the photography front, that's a plus. Photoshop skills are very useful, as are basic editing and design elements, such as this masterpiece:

Linda At Boo at the Zoo
One reason I haven't been riding has been pain. I ached all over, didn't recover after rides for days, was putting on weight, and had gotten weaker. And it was getting progressively worse. Feet, shoulders, knees, back, muscles, you name it, it hurt. The doctors said it was from normal wear and tear do to age and abuse. I wasn't buying it, so I traced my steps back to when this started. In particular, when I started taking diabetes medications. The first was Avandia and Metforman. I didn't take Avandia for long, as it's side effects were nasty. I still have scars from the water blisters I got on my lower legs. Nasty stuff. Metforman has no real side effects, but I still stopped taking it for a while. No difference. Insulin has no real side effects, so it was down to the last drug, a stain for cholesterol. I didn't have a cholesterol problem, but the medical establishment like to treat type 2 diabetes patients as if they have already had a heart attack. Current research is proving that theory wrong, so I quit the Simvistatin. Three weeks later, I felt like a new man. The aches and sharp pains, especially in my feet, are about 90% gone, and remain that way. What a relief to be able to go about daily life clear headed from not having to take pain medications daily, not to mention what those can do to your system. I can work out again without taking a week to recover, and my outlook and demeanor are much improved.

I had mentioned my father was going through hell with temporal arteritis. Not really, he had Lymes disease. This misdiagnosis almost killed him, wreaked havoc on his diabetes due to taking prednisone, which raises blood sugar to dangerous levels and required him to go on insulin. He couldn't take his arthritis medications due to the prednisone, so he was almost bed ridden with pain, along with many trips to the hospital for complications. Now that he's had proper treatment for Lymes, he's doing much better. I', glad we kept after the doctors, because we had thought all along he had Lymes, but they didn't test him for it for several months.

I've got another month of school left, then I'll have more time to ride and write. College was one of the best things I have ever done, even this late in life. Everyone should take a break in life and take a semester or two. I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Stage 3 in a nut shell. Fabian hauls Andy butt through the Hell of the North and still gets the Yellow jersey back. That's a hugely deserved reward for being a team player. Frank Scleck hit the deck hard and is out, but Andy rode really well to get a bunch of time back from Contador. And don't forget Cadel Evans, who did his fair share of the work to help drive the winning break, instead of wheel sucking as he could have. I guess that rainbow jersey has changed his style for the better. He looked strong. What got me about today's stage was how Andy Schleck wanted everyone to know that he's a good bike handler and seemed miffed when people show surprise at how well he rode instead of just saying thanks. Maybe he really thinks he can knock out a bear with just one punch! I glad Thor got the win after yesterday's mess of a finish. He kind of deserved it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Update 7/5/2010

Not a lot to report here these days, not now that I'm actually back to doing a real job again. Boy, a genuine paycheck is going to be weird again. But, I think I can handle it. Especially now that I will be married again. Next Sunday, July 11th, L and I will be getting hitched at Valentinis on London Road. I think it's a very cool venue for a wedding and party, since we aren't doing a big, traditional wedding, but more of a quick ceremony, dinner, and music. I let L handle all of the details and I will just enjoy the ride. It should be a great time.

The Tour is underway and its start out with a bang. Or should I say multiple crashes. My boy Fab C was visibly upset with today's stage and even gave stern orders to stop the sprint as to let everyone cruise home with the same time. I guess with a name like Spartacus, he carries some serious weight in the peloton. I didn't time bar the late arrivals and canceled all but Sylvain Chavanel's points and awarded him the yellow jersey. Thor Hushovd was pissed at that, saying it wasn't Cancellera's place to decide the bunch finishing at the same time. Chris Horner said the stage was stupid and the Tour organizers got what they deserved. Mixed emotions seemed to rule the day.

As for me, I haven't been riding a lot, what with the new job and some weird health problems of my own, along with my father, who has got Temporal Arteritis and other age related problem. I've been spending time at the hospital and now at my folks home now that he is out. Mine passed after a few days, but dad's haven't. He seems to be giving up, but that's not like him. I suppose at almost 80 years of age, it's tough to fight back. I think he will though, being of good Norwegian stock.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dirt Spanker 2010

The 2010 Dirt Spanker at Mont Du Lac was a real mess-a muddy mess. We got there for the start of the last race and it was already over. I guess with the wet weather they must have shortened the races. A couple of guys said they quit after a lap because the couldn't shift or brake. They pretty much just stalled out due to drive train jamb. The line at the water hoses for clean-up was epic. I'm just glad I didn't race. I didn't see too many smiling faces afterward.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Wow, This nasty saddle sore is finally going away. Until you've had one, you don't know what a pain in the ass (sic) it really is. But, that's what I get for turning a short ride into a long ride without the proper preparations. I'm going to give it a go today for a short ride in Hartley Field. I've been riding pretty much solo because I am just too slow and have been having a lot of low blood sugar episodes. Plus, I can't climb worth a dam at the present.

Ok, you may have-or may not have- noticed I haven't done much road biking this year. Frankly, it's part vanity and part that I think I'm too heavy for the road at this time. Yes, I packed on the pounds since last summer. if you want a sure-fire formula for weight gain, just try this: Eat too much, too often, at the wrong times, of the wrong foods. Add in too many social occasions that feature alcohol and rich foods. Sammy's Pizza at 11:00 p.m. is a killer. Hey, love is blind, and I guess a bit undisciplined.

Where's this tale of progress turned tragedy going. Yes, spring 2009 I was getting a divorce, riding my bikes a ton, and getting fit. Like many, I started strong in the early season, but wasn't on the right plan to sustain my fitness gains and weight loss. 30 lbs dropped like a hot rock, my average speeds in the same route shot up, everything looked rosy. Now it's looks more like Rosey O'Donnell. Why? The wrong everything. Eating, riding, recovery, all wrong.

In his book RACING WEIGHT-How to Get Lean for Peak Performance, Matt Fitzgerald spells out how elite and not so elite endurance athletes find out the what's and how's of getting to their optimum racing weight. I bought the book a couple of days ago and can't put it down. It's a gold mine of information, all backed by current cited studies and facts, no fad diet plans designed to sell books and pre-packaged meals. He also disproves some of the long standing "truths" we cyclists live by, such as high volume-low intensity will burn off excess fat the quickest, high protein-low carb also is the ultimate diet to get lean, and my favorite, the trap I fall into, is that you can ride without much in the way of carbs on board will get your fat burning mechanism going. I just bonk, then have to suck down gels and really screw up my ride and that of those I'm with.

So where does this leave an insulin-dependent diabetic as far as eating. The less carbs consumed means the less insulin I have to inject. That's a given. So how do I get more carbs stored for long rides. Take more insulin. That's a fact of diabetic life and for now I'm stuck with it. Don't cry for me, Argentina, it's not that bad. Millions do it every day and there is an upside. It's the best thing we have for glucose control and doesn't have much in the way of side effects. A diabetic athlete just has to be more vigilant and cautious with dosage. You must also carry the proper fast-acting glucose sources at all times.

So what does EPOC mean and have to do with all of this? To me as a diabetic, it means everything. Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption is the effect of keeping the inner calorie burning mechanism stocked. I have noticed this effect in the past and have commented on how my blood sugar stays in control long after my ride has stopped, and the longer I ride, the longer the effect. Fitzgerald's book explains the phenomena in that your base metabolism is boosted about 10% of the calories burned during a workout for the length of that workout afterwards. If you burned a thousand calories per hour for say four hours, then you'd burn an extra 100 calories an hour for four hours after the end of the workout. Now I know I wasn't wrong about it as others have disagreed that EPOC is a real thing. I just no know it has a scientific notation attached to it.

I'm going to start to put some of the basic principles of this book into practice and will report what happens as I go.

Monday, May 31, 2010


This is our new cat, Willow. He's a blue point Siamese we got from my brother yesterday. Our other Siamese, Pieper, doesn't quite know what to make of him yet, but she'll come around. She's been lonely since the other two left us, so it's only a matter of time until she comes around.

I put in a lot of saddle time the last couple of weeks on my mountain bike. Nice weather was the norm, so one has to take advantage of it. The last couple of days have been taken up be family stuff, but maybe today will allow me an hour or two. One thing that may slow me down is a saddle sore. I haven't had one in 30 years, but after riding Thursday, something felt irritated in the sit bone area. Ouch! is all I can say. One more excuse for being slow, I guess.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Ride, Quick Post

That's the view from the top of a rocky section of the Piedmont trails here in the Duluth. There's some nice flow to this network and that's thanks to the COGGS group that designs and maintains them. If you ride in this area, it's a good chance that they are taking care of the trails you're on. Next chance I get, I will join this fine organization and contribute some time.

I finally gave up the battle over diabetes test equipment. I've been using a One Touch Ultra Smart meter since the start and didn't want to switch, as most others didn't offer alternate sight (non-finger tip) testing . But, my current insurance company, along with many others, has contracted with Bayer to supply test strips, so I dropped my Don Quixote style resistance and got the latest and greatest meter from Bayer, the Contour USB. After a call to Bayer and being satisfied that I could use it on my arm or palm instead of my finger tips, the pharmacy ordered one and I got it the next day. It's a plug-and-play unit, has no battery, charges through the USB port, downloads all test info into your computer with its own built-in software. So far, very nice to use and it's a smaller and a more portable package. It looks like a slightly larger jump drive. What they won't think of.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weather or Not

So how's the in your neck of the woods. It's supposed to be in the 70's F here for the next 10 days. Perfect riding weather for sure, so let's all take advantage of it. I know I am. This weekend was fabulous, got some MTB rides in on the trails going into Jay Cooke State Park off of the Munger Trail. I hadn't explored them much, but I was on my MTB, so why not give them a try. It was well worth it, nice trails in a great setting.

Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book called Racing Weight aimed at endurance athletes trying to get to optimum body weight for peak performance. I read some excerpts from it and it looks like it would be nice to follow to get lean and faster. The most notable thing I gleaned from what I read was this: For every ten pounds overweight you are, you have to expend 6.5% more energy to do the same effort. This means I have to produce 65% more power than I should to climb the same hill. Scary, to say the least. Not to mention how hard it is on your body to carry that much around on a day to day basis. No wonder I'm so slow on the climbs. This is a proof that the scale doesn't lie, it's proven accurate every time I get on the bike. I ride strong all day on the flats, but once the road goes up, my time does too.

On a final note, we are two more pets down. Spencer, our seal point Siamese cat disappeared over three weeks ago. He went outside in the evening never to return. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Brooklyn the Airedale developed a nose bleed the lasted for about ten hours. We took him to the vet and discovered his blood platelet count was 150. It should be at least 80,000. They gave us some steroids to give him, and he was rechecked a week later. This time he was at a normal count of 143,000. This didn't last long. Last Thursday he was bleeding out again, so we had him put down. L had him for almost ten years and they were inseparable. So first Simon, then Spencer, and now Brooklyn. Poor Piper, Simon's mother, is very lonely now that they're all gone. We may get her a kitten to keep her company and her mind off of the others.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

One In The Books


My first semester is in the books. It looks like the body count will be four A's, a B, and a "pass" in a pass/fail class. I had never been to college before and I must say, it was quite an experience. Now that it's over, I'm kind of torn over how to proceed. My major was to be health insurance management/billing & coding. Lots of jobs, steady, secure work etc. That was until I found I have some other talents, such as geography and the arts, such as photography.

The school had its annual art show this week, combining all the art classes together for one show in the main corridor. There was hundreds of pieces from my specialty; digital photography, along with sculpture, painting, ceramics, drawing, the list goes on. We could put a price on our pieces and sell them if we wanted after the show was over. I put some modest price tags on mine, just to see what would happen. What happened was this: The college bought my "Rum River 'Cross" and plans to blow it up and prominently display it in the school. Wow, my first sale, and not to a relative or something like that.

What this lead to is the predicament over what I should pursue. Stay with the original plan, transfer to a bigger school and get an art degree, or maybe, go into the geography field. Mapping the world and its population might be interesting. I've got the summer to chew it over, and a lot of that chewing will be from a bicycle seat.


The Scene of the Crime

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finals Week

The end of the 1st semester is coming up this week. I've enjoyed college for the most part and will miss some of it, but not as much as I've missed my regular rides.

One thing left is the art exhibit starting this coming Monday at LSC. I will have six of my best shots on display ( and for sale), so this weekend will be taken up with matting the photos that I had enlarged. They came out great and I hope to do well at the show. The above shot was taken at dusk by the Proctor Golf Course and reworked a bit for the mood I was trying to capture. My theme for the semester was mechanical/action/texture/industrial, so I had to concentrate on those aspects for my subjects.

We had to also write a paper on our favorite photographer. I, being a cyclist, chose Graham Watson. What was great about that is that while I was doing research for the paper, I learned some new things on how to shoot action photos. Watson's web site is a great source for getting the details on how he does things, and what he uses to do it. You can ask questions on the Q&A page and he will explain in detail how he got the various shots, or general answers on equipment choice, lighting, flash, etc. Very enlightening, I must say.

Once school is over, I will be able to get back to cycling on a somewhat regular schedule. Oh, yeah, I've got another commitment on July 11. L and I are getting hitched. Details to follow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Fabian Cancellara has done it again! Back to back monument wins, crushing the field in a decisive manner. After last weeks Flanders victory, Cancellera took on Paris-Roubaix and won going away. He has some form, and a riding style that suits him to the Classics. Thor Hushovd of Cervelo took second and Juan Antonio Flecha of the new Sky team took third. That' one strong podium. It looks like Tom Boonen settled for fifth.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This weeks photo shoot was on the theme of distortion. It could be done in-camera or Photoshopped to get the desired effects. I liked it because the instructor put no boundaries on what you could do, you just had to stick to your theme as set up at the mid-term review. Mine is mechanical things, both in black & white and color, with some textural elements and depth and distance. We will be showing our best 4 shots at an art show at LSC later in April. My instructor seems to be really into my style.

Above are three of my distortion shots. As you can see, Photoshop is a lot of fun to experiment with. I think I'll have the top photo printed on canvas for display at the show. I took it at the Rum River cyclo-cross race 2 years ago. The second is of me riding out at Lester Park yesterday afternoon. A quick extrusion reconstruction and that was all. I took about 30 lbs. off of me, so it I kept it to post for class.

The last is the from wheel from my road bike. A bold line plus a neon effect give it some pop and texture. I like it and may use it for the show.

It looks like we are getting into some seriously nice riding weather. I have a light day tomorrow and plan on some mile in the afternoon. Should be fun.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Digital Photo Class

These shots are from my Digital Photography class I'm taking this semester at Lake Superior College. The instructor really loves the derailleur pic, so much so she is having it blown up and shown in the art building on her office wall. She didn't even know what it was, but thought it was an excellent piece of art. What would she think if it was Campy C-Record? Hmmm...

I took the rock formation shot this last Sunday on the Munger Trail. Doug and I rode up the trail from West Duluth for a ways until the hike-a-bike got a little too much. It was nice to get out, even for just a little more than an hour, in the great weather. This week should really get the snow melt going, being above 50 degrees for most of the week. I plan on riding a bit more than I have been lately. I need a good base going into summer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring 2010

The warm weather and rain have created some great rapids on the local streams and rivers. The above was on Skyline Parkway this afternoon. I took the local scenic route and luckily had my camera with. I bet Doug got a good look at this same spot. The deer were also moving around a bit. The little guy up above was content to just check me out and was in no hurry to get out of the road. A nice afternoon, I must say.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some Days You Get The Bear...

And some days that som-bitch gets you. That's the type of day I had yesterday. First off, I had a doctor's appointment at 10:40 a.m. This called a fasting for blood work, since I hadn't been insured for quite some time and hadn't been to the clinic in quite some time. Since I recently got health coverage, I went in for a long overdue checkup. That's when the proverbial sh#t hit the fan. The receptionist that check me in informed me that I would have to pay for this visit and try to get reimbursed from my insurance company. What? I had listed this clinic as my primary care facility, but my card listed some Warshowski outfit thirty miles away. A quick call to the company revealed that even though their forms listed this clinic as eligible, they were contracted with this other system. I would have to go there since it was "near by". If i wanted to appeal, it would take about thirty days to change things. No physical for me. Not yesterday, anyway.

Next, a trip to the pharmacy to get test strips for my glucose meter. They don't give them away, being around a dollar apiece. I use One Touch Ultra strips, probably the most common one out there. Now wait for it..... My new insurance company strikes again!! Here's this tale of red tape and no common sense: The strips I use aren't covered, I have to switch brands. Yes, they will buy me a new meter and strips, but here's the rub. No alternate site testing. This is not good, since I test on my fore arm, not my fingers, since peripheral neuropothy has made my finger tips overly sensitive to things like finger pokes. And for the more serious problem with this whole affair, the meter they want me to use isn't even available at this time. It's on back order, as are the test strips. Do you thinks my insurance company would authorize the strips I currently use temporarily. No way, they will not budge. So there went another $100.00 out of pocket.

One last thing, even if it's minor. I dropped the wheel for my road bike off at the LBS to have a broken spoke replaced. They said it would be a couple of days as they would have to order a matching spoke. Ten days later, I hadn't heard from them, so I called. I was told the spoke had come in that day, and it would be done this last Monday. Monday came and went with no call to say it was done. I finally stopped in yesterday to pick it up and the shop guy handed it to me and said it was all set, but he had to put in a silver spoke since he didn't have a black one in stock. ? What happened to the one you had ordered? Blank stare. I should have just done it myself, but the owner is an old friend and I would like to give him some of my business. But I don't think that will be happening. A simple phone call to tell me they had to use a silver spoke never happened, a call to tell me it was done never happened, and done in a couple of days never happened. The only thing that happened was poor customer service.

After that crap, I wasn't in a good mood. Hungry and frustrated was my mood, but L switched that around pretty quickly. She had a great lunch and fresh coffee ready when I got home. We hung out together the rest of the day and had a fabulous time.

I think I ate that bear for lunch and dinner. I'm going riding today to work it off.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Having been side tracked for a while with things like divorce, school, the upcoming wedding, and a butt load of life's other crap, it's time to get back to what I really intended this blog to be about - health and bikes.

The Spring racing season got underway today with Juan Antonio Fletcha of Sky taking the first race, the Omloop Het Niewsblad. That's the first win for a Spanish rider ever. Tyler Farrar ended up in third place for Garmin-Transitions. With Heinrich Haussler taking second position for Cervelo Test Team, the big guns were shut out for podium positions. It's a great start of the season for the new teams, but with the big Classics coming up, I wouldn't read too much into it.

I like Sky's new kit as I hated the trend towards the light colored shorts that have been introduced in the last few years. Give me black for shorts any day over the light colors, which aren't too flattering in the harsh rain and snow races, if you know what I mean.

On the diabetes front, my a1c is up, my weight is up a bit, but my motivation is coming back. I may be able to get n insulin pump in the near future, and that would help a lot. Also, the weather is getting better, so riding season is just around the corner. School has side tracked my efforts at good control and exercise, but I'm adjusting to the routines and am able to fit in a program around my school work.

I think I'll hit it for about an hour this afternoon on my MTB, then the daily core work this evening. Every time I go to the garage, the bikes all stare at me like I'm some sort of traitor, but hey, they only have one function, I have many. So give me a break, they'll all get their turns in the rotation. I promise!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a sad day here at the Casa. Our little Simon passed away this morning rather suddenly. He was only three years old and so full of life, it's hard to believe he went so quickly. The hardest part was watching him take his last breath and not being able to help him. Rest in piece, Simey. We will miss you dearly.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A lonley, ice covered tree sticking out from the rest.

Here's my favorite photo from my first black and white digital photography class shoot. The lighting was perfect for capturing the trail and trees.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Update 1/29/10

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but things have been rather hectic here at the casa. L and I are both hitting the books- and camera- hard at the start of the semester. The digital photography class I'm taking is very good. Lots of black and white pictures, Photoshop editing, projects, field trips etc. I took advantage of some of that stimulus money to upgrade the man cave a bit. A trip to Ikea netted a new desk and work table and cabinet, Sam's Club a new chair and computer. The Windows 7 sure is a lot nicer to work with than Vista, which will make school work much smoother. Not to mention a 25" high def monitor is much easier on the eyes than squinting at a 16" lap top screen. This makes Photoshop much nicer to work with.

As far as riding goes, I have not done much. Time and weather. Weird, I broke a spoke while riding the trainer. I've never done that before. Something tells me I need to loose some weight...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's Trainer Time !

Now that I'm finally over the bug that slowed me down for a couple of months, it's time to get some sort of conditioning and weight loss program going again. This last summer/fall was great, losing 30+ lbs, getting a lot faster on the bike and so forth. After I got my new road bike, I set some personal bests for me lately. Not close to the old days, but I was much younger and stronger back then. But, I was still improving none the less.

When September came around, I felt a bit sluggish, even on the flats. Steeper hills were getting harder, my heart rate was running higher for the perceived effort, and I was getting slower. I started riding shorter routes than normal, and my motivation dropped. I wanted to ride, but I was just weak and lethargic. After a 30 mile gravel ride with Doug and Jeff, it took a full week to recover. My weight rose and my fitness hit the deck - hard.

I've started riding the trainer in the pain cave here at the BD hq. When I moved into L's house, the basement was more of a dungeon. At least the bathroom and shower were in decent shape, but the rest was a pit. The wind came right through the gaps and holes in the plate, cob webs and general grime was everywhere. We cleaned and evaluated the situation at hand. I foamed all the air leaks shut, added insulation to the plate, and installed 2 baseboard heaters. Had I mentioned it was cold? It was, but not anymore. My office area is cozy, L doesn't even mind venturing down to do the laundry. She used to hate it. I also added another electrical circuit so the vacuum didn't blow the breaker if anything else was on. The lighting sucked, so I put in several pot lights on a dimmer. A nice touch.

There was an older entertainment center that I cleaned up and set up the TV and DVD player in. My futon acts as a couch and my nice leather recliner has a spot again. Office, man cave, house of pain, all without much cost other than time.

I put in a nice 1 hour zone 2 effort yesterday and another today with some intervals, without much discomfort. My heart rate stayed in zone, good snap on the intervals, and my legs feel good, not like logs as they did last fall. I've got a library of cycling DVDs, several Spinerval and CTS videos to train by. I really need to get some studded tires for my MTB, but haven't taken the plunge yet. A cross bike is in the works if my secret plan comes together, and that would get studs. Logical, me thinks.....