Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Photo Redux

At the suggestion of Doug, I took the power lines out of the very long distance shot (for a compact camera) of Enger Tower. I like it!
Enger Tower Redux

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Doodling with Photos

Since I haven't been able to do much physically lately, I've had a chance to play with some photo editing. Published some on Facebook, so I though I'd post some here.
A trail in the Piedmont system


A nice climb 

Enger Tower from the rocks above Skyline Drive

Looking west from the same rock ledge

Fall in the woods
The broken ribs are starting to feel better so I should be able to get back on the bike soon. I can't wait!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Good Ride Spoiled - ER/Silly Safari Edition

Yesterday started off with me planning a photo safari by bike. Back in the Canosia Wildlife Reserve was to be the location. Deer, bear, moose, coyote, wolf, or anything else that moved was to be my quarry. I packed my DSLR and lens' in my back pack, along with  food and extra clothes, and set out to capture some images in the forest. I've ridden the road/trail many times before, but not lately. Things have changed - the hills have had some furrow/berms cut across them, and about a half mile from the river I was trying, road stopped. It appears the area has  been logged in a most bizarre way. A quarter mile wide pile of logs, branches, and debris stops anyone from getting through. I tried walking though, but it was almost dangerous, what with all of the sharp sticks ready to go through one's foot. I'm glad I was wearing MTB shoes with a stiff sole!

Frustrated, I turn back to scout another route. About a quarter mile into the return route it happened. I was trying to carry some speed going up a long hill, I hit one of the berms. A split second later, I was on the ground, unable to breathe. Finally, I did manage to breathe (obviously) but very painfully. I got to my feet and surveyed to situation. Cameras, cell phone, bike, all intact. No skin loss. To cuts or bleeding. No real signs of impact, just pain along my left side, plus difficulty breathing. I tried to ride the rest of the way up the hill, but deep breathing was unbearable, so a slow hike-a-bike up the grades and more coasting down, along with soft pedaling on the flats.

I finally got back to the van, loaded up and headed up the Lavaque Road. A stop at my folks house to grab some Aleave and rest, the home. We ate dinner and later headed to the emergency room at St Luke's Hospital to see what was going on. The doctor examined me and called for a CT scan, as he suspected I had damaged my spleen. Results were negative on the spleen damage, but showed a broken rib and the others badly bruised. Treatment? Nothing but some Loritabs and rest. Stay off the bike for a while, take a deep breath to make sure pneumonia doesn't set in ( due to shallow breathing, pneumonia is common with rib injuries), and stop taking metforman for a few days due to it's interaction with the CT contrasting dye  - that can shut down your kidneys. That would be just what I would need!

Climbing to the sun.

Weird place to pile wood and boulders.

Looks like big kindling for a big fire!
All in all, a beautiful day to take in the fresh, fall air and perfect weather. The ribs will heal and it's just another lesson learned. What lesson? 29ers' can't roll over anything if you don't pay attention!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Piedmont on Foot

Piedmont trials on gorgeous fall day.

Lots of climbing.

Up and up.

Believe the signs!

Rock drop. Not for me at this time.

This ones not too bad. Thanks, COGGS!

Still some beautiful foliage.
I went for a ride this morning on the Piedmont trails to see what the more advanced areas were like. Tough, twisty, up and down, rocks, more rocks, roots, you name it, it's there. I was very cautious and still had a couple of biffs. If there's one thing Duluth has, it's variety of riding that's second to none. Varied terrain from one end of town to the other, beginner to advanced, no one is excluded. Today my lack of fitness really stood clear. I haven't been out much due to so many circumstances beyond my control, but things are kind of settling down. We'll see. The pics above are from this afternoon, when I went back and walked what I had previously ridden. I was right, this is tough terrain. I'm glad it's just up the hill from where I live. Nothing more humbling than riding over your head!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


What are running shoes doing on this blog? Glad you asked. You see, many years ago, I was a runner, cyclist, and skier all at the same time. I was engaged to my first wife and was a fat slob, so, I got back to cycling. I lost some weight, but the pounds didn't really come off until I started running. Three days a week were for running, three for riding or skiing, and one for rest. Eighty-six pounds gone in six months was what that accomplished.

I've been thinking about why it hasn't been that easy to drop the extra pounds these days as compared to my younger years. Sure, age has something to do with it, along with the many physical problems I have encountered in the last few years. Fine. Recently though, I realized that I used to run quite a bit. And that I enjoyed running. And I lost weight quite quickly running in combination with biking. So, why haven't I been running? My left knee was trashed for years, but now feels almost new. That excuse is now out the window. Time to get going.

As you can see in the above pic, I stopped at the Duluth Running Company and got a pair of Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes. I'll start slowly and build up the mileage as the knee allows. Fall is my favorite time of year to run, and there are lots of trails to explore in this area, so here I go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back In Saddle

I finally got out for a ride yesterday, the first in a month. The first couple of miles were hard, but I soon settled into a rhythm and things fell into place. 14 miles in one hour and eight minutes was a pretty good effort for me on gravel roads. This was the same route I took on my last ride before the Lyme's Disease knocked me out, and it took 4 minutes longer that time. My thinking is that I was getting sick for a while before the rash showed up. I'm glad my weight stayed down for the last month and will continue to drop now that I can ride again. Time will tell. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Impatiently Recovering

A couple of more days left on the Doxycycline and I should be good to go. I'm feeling much better, but still get fatigued easily. I've tried to ride this last week, but in a few blocks, my legs felt like cement. At least he nasty body aches and light-headedness are gone. It looks like my next door neighbor may have gotten Lyme's too. More and more people I've run into have had it or know someone who has contracted it in the last couple of years. Be careful out there...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Excuse

For the last 2 weeks, I've been felling rotten. At first, I thought it was the flu, what with the fevers, chills, sweats, no energy - classic flu symptoms. Then, it started to go away. Until yesterday, that is> I was going to head out for a mountain bike ride, but I could barely get the bike off the wall hanger in the garage. I went back in the house and laid down. Didn't feel to bad, just tired. Then the rashes started. Light red areas that itched like crazy. This afternoon, my back felt all itchy and puffed up. Linda took one look and we called my doctor. He told me to get to his office pronto, so off we went. He took one look and said what I had thought - Lyme's Disease. Caught in the early stages, I just have to take antibiotics for a couple of weeks. A friend didn't know she had Lyme's for 20 years. Now she is on pesticide therapy. Glad I acted quick!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Here's a study that proves what I have said all along. The more you exercise, the more the effect on blood sugar. Just getting back to a regular work out and ride schedule has helped me cut my insulin intake dramatically. And, for me, the longer the duration, the longer the effect lasts. In my humble opinion, the first thing doctors should prescribe to a new type 2 diabetes patient is exercise, and plenty of it. Lower the carbs, move your butt, and keep a positive outlook. Just what the doctor should have ordered, but the first thing seems to be pills. I guess there's no money in  prescribing diet and exercise, so this is what we get!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not Quite So Fat!

This is the standard Body Mass Index chart that is used by most folks concerned with such thing. Doctors, nurses, diabetes educators, etc. all use it show where you fall in according to industry standards. 17-25 is considered healthy, 25-30, overweight, 30 to 35, obese, above 35, you better push away from the buffet and get some help.

At an appointment at the diabetes center a few weeks ago, the nurse/educator said she couldn't figure how I did what I did as far as exercise.
Her - Your BMI is 35.1, you should really lose some significant weight before doing such intense cycling efforts.

Me- I don't feel super obese, my heart rate monitor tells me when to cool it off a bit. I don't worry about it.

She - Let's use our new super-duper electronic BMI machine and see where you're really at.

Me - Cool.

Down the hall, into a different area of the center.

She- Step on this machine. Hold still while I hook up theses self stick pads and hook the leads to them

She - Hold your arm straight out.

The nurse hits the buttons, enters data, sends a current through me, and gets the reading.

She- This can't be right, let me do it again.

She- It reads the same. 29.3 Weird, can't be right. (implying I'm a certified fat bastard and somehow the machine can't figure it out.) We'll try another day.

Yesterday, Linda and I went and had our BMIs' check and protein levels evaluated. I'm up first for the BMI test. My weight was down 21 lbs. My BMI is at 28. The gal doing the test can't figure it out, either. She thinks her machine is also FUBAR. So, she tested Linda. Right on the money. She gets out the calipers and tape measure. She finds the machine is right! Now I only need to drop 58 more to be on low side of healthy. Piece of cake!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fitness Flown

Just as the weight comes down, the fitness goes up, the fickled finger of fate gets you: the flu. Rode last Thursday, felt good, but a little lacking on power. This got worse as the ride progressed, so I cut it short and headed home. The blood sugar was OK, if not a bit high. Just an off day, or so I figured. The next morning, I had an Herbalife shake for breakfast, good to go, or so I figured. A couple of hours later, the sweating started. Then, I felt like I was in the deep freeze. Soon back to roasting with intermittent freezing, no energy, no appetite, cold sweats, hot sweats, weird dreams, no sleep. Sounds like drug addiction withdrawals, doesn't it? So, it's been the couch or bed with some fluid intake, but up until today, food was off the board. I think it will be gone tomorrow, with any luck. At least Versus has bike racing on every afternoon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Sky!

This sure has been a summer of dramatic sky's. I seems like every day we have some weather that presents great opportunities for fabulous photos. The lower shot was featured on the local television station's (KBJR) Saturday night news cast. Pays to always have a camera at hand. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Great Hawk Chase (on the right day)

Niner Air 9 Carbon. I'd love to have one!
Here's some shots from Sunday's Great Hawk Chase. I had mentioned I was going out Saturday afternoon to check it out. Glad I didn't, because it rained hard. Then I checked the Website for the MSMBS and saw it was on Sunday.
Women's Expert winner, Sarah Kylander-Johnson
Women's 4th Overall, Kari Gate (517)

Men's 2nd Overall, Josh Tesch (one of my college instructors)
Ian Nancekevill's unique downhill style
Local favorite Charlie Farrow

Local endurance racer (and blogger) Tim Ek.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great Hawk Chase

I think I will spend some time out at the Great Hawk Chase mountain bike race this afternoon. Get some pics and watch the top level riders on the single track to see how they tackle it. Could help my technique so I can get faster. Should be a good time.

Storm birds

The eye

Blue sky disappearing
Why these pictures? I just like them, snapped them during a recent storm. We may be in for more of this later today and tomorrow.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Pleasant Day...

Took the MTB for some gravel road exploring, along with a bit of single track (path through the woods?) exploring. Lots of rolling terrain was covered in the lakes area just north of town. A few hours of cruising around, a few pictures, a few bugs, lunch on a bench in the middle of nothing? Nice.

Had lunch on this bench off the side of the road. Saw a few in the area.

Lots of wild flowers.

I didn't see a car on most of these roads.

East Cook Lake Road.

A quiet little inlet.

I could look at this type of scenery all day.

Island Lake

A ride-able path  to nowhere. Good for developing log and root riding.
 With the current cash flow cut back due to being laid off, one austerity measure was on food - including cycling grub. I thought back to the old days, and remembered riding strong on a diet of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, bananas, fig bars, and sweetened ice tea or Gatorade. That's what I went with, and it worked out just fine.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hartley Field

My view

Nice single track

Love weaving through the trees

This bike makes it fun!

Hard to see on coming riders through this tall grass on the way up to the outlook

A rock garden as seen from the outlook

Top of the outlook climb

A rather large rock formation that is the outlook

Nice view

Speaks for itself. The area is well marked

We'll need a bath when we get home
I really do need to explore this beautiful area right here in Duluth more often. Fun and varied trails for all skill levels. Today was a gas. I can't believe how nice the 30 speed XT shifts, even when wound up with grass and mud. It's nice to have better gear than ability, I rode to the top of the outlook without touching. That's a first for me.