Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the grind...

         So, Thanksgiving 2009 is in the books. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Ours was very busy. Emily was here last weekend and decided to stay here with us for the Thanksgiving holiday (we were offering better desserts). I was very happy to have her here. On Tuesday, we made a Pumpkin Cheesecake (I told you we had better desserts). As you can see, it was a work of art, and it tasted better than it looked. Emily and I baked some pumpkin bread and banana bread to snack on as well.

      Our Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by Bev's sister Donna. It was an enjoyable time with great food, great conversation and great fun with family. It was traditional fare of turkey, mashed potatoes, mom-mom's candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy, sauerkraut and rolls and homemade cranberry sauce. Dessert was pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, cherry pie and hello dollies. Mmmmmm Mmmmm good!

       We missed having Tiffany with us for dinner, but she was splitting time between her Dad's and her boyfriends parents, so Bev, Tiffany, Josh, Mom mom, Pop, Emily and I will celebrate Thanksgiving again this upcoming weekend. It should be another great time with good food.

       Knowing that I would consume more than my normal amount of calories over the Thanksgiving holiday I attempted to work the calories off before I ate them. On Wednesday morning I did the normal a 17 mile ride with 2 other members of SPP at 5:45 a.m. On Thursday morning a group of about 25 SPP members rode 30 miles to City Dock and back. It was a little disorganized as to which routes we would take and at what pace we would ride, but the great thing about this group is that everyone pretty much takes things in stride. We were all out there to create a caloric deficiency so that what we ate at Thanksgiving would not stick around too long. Mission accomplished.

        Friday was the day that I planned to do my metric century (100k/62.1 miles) to celebrate losing 100 pounds. It was also the day that SPP was planning a ride to Baltimore for coffee. The trip to Baltimore was a LOT of fun. We had 10 riders make the trip. One of them was from Florida and as we passed M&T Bank stadium (Home of the Baltimore Ravens) she wanted a group picture in front of the Stadium. After riding through the Inner Harbour and having coffee at The Firehouse in the Canton section of Baltimore, we made the trip to Camden Yards (Home of the Baltimore Orioles) for another group photo. After that photo op we headed back to Severna Park. When the group dispersed I had 10 more miles that I needed to ride for my Metric Century. I headed into Annapolis and rode to City Dock and back to my car. Metric Century Complete. Total miles... 64.5. My legs were sore the next day, but like the saying goes, "Pain is temporary, Pride is forever." I am proud of the fact that I have lost what I have lost and that I was able to ride 100k.

         As a side note, for those of you who knew that I was having blood work done, I got the results back on Wednesday (yes, my doctor actually called me with the results!) My sugar was 86 (much better than the pre-diabetes levels that they were a couple years ago)... my total cholesterol was 162, my LDL was 58 and my HDL was 96. The quote from my Doctor was that "...everything looked very good."

         I have shared my training log for those who are interested. It just records my rides each day, cadence, distance etc. Click the link on the "links" section of the blog.

         Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

     I am thankful for all of you that check out my blog.

     Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Update and EARLY Weigh in results

      It was a GREAT weekend for riding. On Saturday I rode with Severna Park Peloton to the Hard Bean for coffee. I could not partake in the caffeinated beverage or any of the sweet treats that they offer because I had to get my blood drawn at 10:50. So the 'fasting rules' were in effect. While they were getting their coffee, I rode from City Dock, to the Mall, the B&A trail and back to my car at the Severna Park Farmer's Market. I made it home in time to shower, change and get to my appointment with the vampire.

      Speaking of vampires, Emily, Courtney, Bev and I all went to see "New Moon" Saturday night. We got there early so that I could get an end seat and so that we were not in the first row looking up at the screen. The gates opened at 8:00 for the 8:30 show. We got our seats, our popcorn and our drinks (water for me and Bev) and settled in for the movie. We had just watched Twilight an hour before arriving at the theater so the story was fresh in our heads.

      The movie was good. I am not a Twi-hard so, for me, it was not the be all end all movie that it is for some people. It was mildly entertaining, the story line was easy enough to follow (probably because we just had the Twilight refresher course an hour earlier) and the actors are very good. I could have done without the 14 year old girls (not Emily, but the gaggle of them that were sitting in the back of the theater) oohing and ahhing when Jacob is on the screen with no shirt on. Show some restraint, would ya? Over all I would give the movie a thumbs up, but wait until it comes out on DVD before seeing it. (...and if you want to know EXACTLY when it comes out on DVD, ask ANY 14 year old girl that you know.)

       Sunday was a nice bike ride by myself. I have been told that I have anti-social tendencies (but that was by my ex-wife... and what does she know, right?). I enjoy very much riding in a group and chatting with the other riders etc, but sometimes it is nice to just get out on the bike and get lost in your mind, with out having to hold a conversation with someone, worry about where they are going to ride, watch the wheel of the guy in front of you and so on. That is what I did on Sunday. I took my normal route to The Bean, Coast Guard Station, the Mall and home. I got to see a beautiful buck on the way back from the Coast Guard station. As a matter of fact, if my arm had been 3 feet longer I could have smacked the deer in the head. As I was coming around a bend in the road, just past a group of trees, he was standing right there. He ran about 10 - 15 yards into the clearing and then turned back towards the road. Apparently, what he wanted was on the other side of the street.

       This morning I rose early and joined the 5:45 a.m. bike ride group. It was 5 guys and myself and the pace was a little more intense than the ride on Friday. We rode for an hour and the guys showed me some hills in the Round Bay section of Severna Park that I never knew existed. I have to say, it is exponentially easier to go up a hill with other riders around you purely based on the fact that you don't want to be 'that guy' that struggles up the hill. Clint told me as we crested the longest steepest hill of the morning that they call that the "warm up" hill. I told him I was warmed up. It was a beautiful morning for a ride and it was a nice group to ride with. Thanks SPP.

         For those of you who read this blog, you know that I do my weigh ins every other Tuesday morning. However, I am taking tomorrow off to hang out with Emily so I will not be at my scale at work to do my weigh in. Consequently, I did my weigh in today. I lost 4 pounds over the past 2 weeks, which brings my total to 102 pounds lost. I have broken the 100 pound barrier and although I have much more to go, I am planning on celebrating. Tomorrow night I am going to provide Bev's Mom with a pound of crab meat and hopefully she will make us up some GOOD Maryland crab cakes. I am not real big on crab cakes, but the ones she made a couple months ago were the best I have ever had. So I am looking forward to enjoying them. Now, I know that when you reach a weight loss milestone, food is not the best way to reward yourself, so my other form of celebrating is to ride a metric century (100 kilometers or 62 miles) on Friday morning.

         On Friday morning (black Friday)  the Peleton is planning a ride into Baltimore to have coffee. I asked Clint today how far it was and he said it was 19 miles each way. So that is a good 38 miles of it and if I head into Annapolis after those 38 miles, I should cover the additional 24 miles on my normal route out to the Coast Guard Station. I am looking forward to that ride.

          I did not write down the stats for all my rides since Friday, but I did over 100 miles on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and this morning. Because of the holiday and time taken off with Emily I will be able to ride (weather permitting) everyday next week including next Monday.

        Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you will come back and check it out again soon.


Friday, November 20, 2009


     I apologize for the delay in making a new entry, but there really has not been much going on over the past few days. It has been fairly routine with the exception of a full physical exam on Tuesday. It has been more years than I can remember since I had my last one, so I figured I was well overdue. I was also over due for changing doctors. In the past, my medical appointments were at an office with several doctors and unless you planned ahead for your sinus infection, strep throat or other sicknesses... you got whatever doctor was available. This wouldn't have been SO bad if the doctors stayed at the practice for more than a week. Ok, so that is an exaggeration, but if you happened to find a doctor that you actually liked, it seemed like the next time you needed an appointment and asked for that doctor, they were no longer working there. I had had enough.

     I scheduled my physical with a doctor who used to be at the a fore mentioned practice, but now has his own practice. I had never been seen by him before, but Bev had and she liked him. I was surprised when I was able to make an appointment for early the following week ( I called on Wednesday) and I was happy that the Doctor had a web site that allowed me to print the Medical History form, Insurance Forms and Medical Record Release forms so that I could fill them out at my convenience, and not trying to rush to fill them out before the appointment. I was thrilled when I arrived for my appointment and there was no one in the waiting room. Could my 10:00 am appointment actually happen at 10:00 am? I was called back at 10:04. So far so good.

     The appointment went well and the Doctor said that my heart, lungs, blood pressure and thyroid all looked or sounded good. He sent me on my way with a lab slip to get blood work done. I am hopeful that all those numbers will come back within acceptable ranges. The BEST part of the physical was while talking to the Doctor he asked me what type of exercise I was doing. I mentioned that I enjoyed riding my bike and that I have been riding on the weekends. I mentioned my trainer that I have set up for when the weather gets cold etc. We talked bikes for a little bit and he asked me if I belonged to a bike club.  I shared with him my distaste for the Lance Armstrong wannabes that typically make up the "bike clubs" that I have seen. He gave me a card for the club that he rides with and said that they were down to earth, fun people who love to ride. I took the card and checked out their website when I got home.

      The Severna Park Peloton (see the link to the right) is a bicycle club that rides for the love of riding. There are no member dues or fees. Just sign up for their email group and show up to one of their rides. I noticed that their website mentions that they have a STRICT "no drop" policy, which means that if you leave on a ride with them, unless you choose not too, you will return on the ride with them. They will not leave anybody behind because they are not fast enough or because they have a flat etc. I also noticed on their website that they do some fun rides. About twice a year they bike from Kent Island (just over the Bay Bridge) to Ocean City on a Saturday and bike back on a Sunday. That's around 230 miles in 2 days. They also have a couple of riders who have ridden the Paris - Brest - Paris ride in France, which is 750 miles. I believe one of the guys finished that ride in just under 80 hours. These same riders have ridden from LA to Boston and have competed in the Race Across America. This club contains a group of VERY accomplished riders.(Ok, accomplished in MY book. None of them have one a stage in the Tour de France. You get my drift) How down to earth could they be, and even if they ARE down to earth, how fast are they going to set the pace? Am I going to be able to keep up? I'll try one ride and see how it goes.

       That one ride came this morning. Watching the emails, I saw that several people were planning to show up for the regular Monday through Friday 5:45 a.m. ride along the B & A trail. I arrived at departure point at 5:40 and was greeted by Mike. A few minutes later we were joined by 3 other riders. Clint, Doug and Carl. Clint is the guy who road LA to Boston and Paris - Brest - Paris so I figure he will be the one person in the club that should be the most pretentious. Introductions we completed, we determined that we were the only 5 riders and we set off down the trail. We went about 300 yards and realized that Carl was still not with us. We all stopped and waited. We could see his headlight in the dark, but it was not coming towards us. We figured if  he had a flat tire, he would change it in a couple minutes and be headed towards us. When that wasn't happening, Clint rode back to him and after a few more minutes they made it back to where we were waiting. Turns out that Carl had a flat tire, but because he was involved in a bike accident on Sunday and fractured one of his knuckles, he was having difficulty changing the tire. Clint helped him out and away we rode.  I guess they really do honor that 'no drop' policy.

     Once we took off, each of the other riders took their turn riding next to me, asking me about me, what I did for work, where I worked, where I lived and they all answered those same questions for me. I thoroughly enjoyed riding with this group. We went beyond the end of the trail (where the ride was suppose to stop) and rode into Annapolis for breakfast at Chick and Ruth's (a.k.a. Jack & Irene's). It was obvious that they are regulars, because when they walked in they called the waitress by name and asked why their coffee wasn't on the table waiting for them. It was a lot of fun. Good food and good conversation. What's funny (to me it's funny) is that I have lived in Maryland for over 7 years and had never been to Chick and Ruth's until last week with Bev. Now I have been two times in one week.

     The ride back to the departure point was a little slower paced. Going up and over the Naval Academy bridge and the hill immediately after it (affectionately know as "oh shit hill")  did not seem nearly as difficult as they do when I ride alone. The ride overall was much more pleasant.  The miles went faster and the time flew by. I typically don't ride with anyone on the weekends. Partly because I don't know a whole lot of people who would want to ride 40 miles at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but also partly because I thought if I found someone who wanted to do that, I would be unable to keep up with them.  I hope that riding with the Severna Park Peloton will continue to be as enjoyable as it was this morning.

     Here are the stats for this mornings ride-
         Miles - 25
         Time - 79 minutes
         Flat tires - 1 - (but it was Carl's, not mine.)
         New riding buddies - 4

Thanks for reading. Emily is here this weekend and we are going to see New Moon. I'll let you know how it is.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Update...

      For the most part, this past weekend was very enjoyable. On Saturday morning we were still under siege by the remains of what was hurricane Ida. It seemed like the rain was NEVER going to stop. I was contemplating trading my bike in for a kayak. I know that other places in the country had it a lot worse than we did, but I was tired of the rain and I wanted to ride.

      When I woke up Saturday morning, I looked out and saw that there were actual dry spots on the driveway. That meant that it had not rained for at least an hour, and if I was to believe the weather prognosticators, the rain was supposed to be out of the Annapolis area on Saturday morning. Well, it was Saturday morning and apparently it had not rained in a couple of hours...excellent, I am going for a ride. I put on my layers and other bike 'stuff' and off I went.

       I was headed out to do my typical Saturday ride to the Coast Guard Station and back by way of City Dock and Annapolis Mall. Typically on my Saturday rides I concentrate on keeping my cadence up for as long as possible before having to take a break and recover. I made it to the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail (see the link on the right) feeling very good about my ride so far... cadence and speed were up, legs were feeling strong and ready to ride more. I made it to City Dock and was headed out to the Coast Guard Station when I noticed the drops of mist begin to form on my glasses. It was not too bad, I can ride through mist, and it meant that I would have to wipe down my bike when I get home, but it needed to be cleaned anyways, so no biggie. I continued out past the Coast Guard Station and headed back towards City Dock. By this time the mist had turned into rain and I have had to slow down considerable to keep the bike upright. (skinny tires on wet leaves and pavement are very slippery) Looking at my bike computer I see that I have about 35 minutes to get to the Farmers Market where I was going to meet Bev for coffee. That was cutting it close, so I decided to fore go my Iced Mocha at the Hard Bean and head straight to the market. As I made my way around Church circle, I began to feel the first signs of a tire going flat. I looked down and it appeared to still have a good amount of air in it, so I continued to ride, trying to put as little pressure on the back wheel as possible. I made it to traffic circle by Taylor Ave before it had gone totally flat.

     NOW, a choice had to be made. I carry a spare tube for situations just like this one. I also carry a cell phone for situations just like this one. It was an EASY choice. I called Bev and asked her come pick me up. I purposely leave her the keys to my car so she can use it to come an get me.

     I won't even go into the circus that was me changing the flat in the garage Saturday night. Here are the Stats for Saturdays ride -
          Miles -  20
          Time -   70 minutes
          Flat Tires - 1 (this is if you don't count the ones in the garage on Saturday evening)

     For as bad as Saturdays ride turned out to be, Sundays ride was that good. First of all, Sundays ride was brought to you by Chris and Will at Capitol Bicycle in Annapolis. They changed my tire and tube 5 minutes before they closed on Saturday. Thanks guys!

     The weather on Sunday was AWESOME. I think we got into the mid 70's which is GREAT for mid November. I enjoyed being on the bike, on the road, without the rain. I was able to get out early, so there was very little traffic on the roads.

      On my way out to the Coast Guard Station there is a house... well more along the lines of a mansion, that is really beautiful. I will post a photo when I get one, but picture 2 football fields separated by a driveway that leads to a brick mansion with the Chesapeake Bay in the backyard. The property is bordered by trees and almost every time I go by on my bike there are deer in the yard. Sunday was no exception. There were 2 does grazing. It would have made a beautiful picture had I had my camera.

      The same road that the mansion is on is the only place that I have seen black squirrels. They look identical to the typical grey squirrels we have in these parts but with black fur. Maybe they dye their fur? Who knows. Anyway, to cap off the wildlife ride on Sunday, I also saw a red fox, a rabbit and another deer while I was on the B&A trail. I guess the critters were enjoying the dry, warm weather as well.

Stats for Sundays ride
          Miles - 44
          Time - 170 minutes (2 hrs 50 minutes of ride time)
          Flat tires - 0
          Wildlife spotted - 3 deer, 1 red fox, 1 rabbit, 3 black squirrels, countless grey squirrels.

Big announcement coming soon... check back often.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pedalling to nowhere...

      The conditions were NOT optimal this morning for a bike ride. This was very disappointing, because I was really looking forward to getting in an extra ride this week.

      PLAN B - A couple weeks ago I purchased a CycleOps Wind trainer to help me continue riding and losing weight when the weather was not cooperative. That is what I used for my ride this morning.

      Although the trainer is no where near as much fun as riding the bike on the road, it does provide a good work out, in the dry confines of the garage. The huge down side to riding the trainer is that no matter how fast or how hard I pedal, I never move an inch. Consequently, the scenery never changes. This can make the time go by VERY slowly.

      The first time I used the trainer I set up a laptop directly in front of the bike and watched "The Bourne Ultimatum" while I rode. This was a great way to pass the time, but setting up and taking down a place to set the laptop each time is a pain in the butt. I am working on a more portable solution. So, without a movie to watch, I rode with my iPod in my ears and thoughts in my head.

       The music was by "The Rovers" and the thoughts in my head were of potential topics for this blog. My goal is to write about things that are relevant in my life, and at the same time entertaining for YOU to read. I came up with a few topics that I think will meet those two requirements, so stay tuned.

       For those of you wondering who The Rovers are, they are a local Celtic rock band that are a little like U2... only better. I have placed a link to their website on this blog. Check them out.

Thanks for reading.




Tuesday, November 10, 2009


     For those of you who didn't know, over the course of the past year I have been working on losing weight and trying to get healthier. I have been using the Spark People (see link on this page) to track my weight, and food intake. The website provide a lot more than what I use it for, but it has helped me become more aware of the amount of food, and exactly how many calories, grams of carbs, proteins, and fats were in the foods I was eating.

    I weigh in every other Tuesday. I like to mark my progress over a two week period for a couple of reasons. #1, it allows for bigger weight loss numbers. OK, so maybe this is a mental game that I play with myself, but I feel better about the difference in weight being 6 pounds over a two week period than 3 pounds each week. #2 - I like to have 14 days to work on the next weigh in as opposed to only 7. Again, another mind game... but if there is a situation where I end up having a little more to eat than I should, I feel better knowing that 1 high calorie meal over the course of 14 days will affect my weight loss less than over the course of 7 days. It just makes it easier for me to stay "on the wagon" so to speak.

    These past two weeks have been pretty on track although there was some Halloween candy consumed. I am not sure WHAT I was thinking. I decided that because we do not get many little ghosts and goblins for halloween that we should be the "good" house on the street and pass out full size candy bars. I purchased the Mars variety box from Sam's club. That would be 30 full size candy bars (the good ones too, Twix, Milky Way, Snickers). Long story short we had one (1) trick or treater and she wasn't even a trick or treater, she was dropping off 2 chocolate bears that I bought for a fund raiser. We gave her a candy bar since she was going to be trick or treating at the mall. So now we have MORE chocolate than when we started the night with. Yes, I had some chocolate.

      Also this past weekend, Bev's Aunt and Uncle came up from Virginia Beach for a visit. I saw it as a perfect opportunity to make a Cranberry Cheesecake for them try. This was the first time I had ever made a cranberry cheesecake so I was not sure how it was going to look and how it was going to turn out. We did not eat the cheesecake until Saturday night, but I knew Friday night, while I was making it, that it was good. That's because I sampled the cranberry filling, the cheesecake filling, the topping and the crust while I was making it. I figured if all the parts were good separately, they would be REALLY good put together. I WAS RIGHT. Not only did I partake of the Cranberry Cheesecake (on Saturday and again on Sunday) but Bev's Mom made an Apple cake... and NO ONE makes an Apple Cake like Mom mom does!

     In conjunction with limiting the amount of food that I eat, I have also gotten reacquainted with my bicycle. I usually ride early Saturday and Sunday mornings. My favorite route takes me out past the Coast Guard Station, by way of Annapolis Mall and City Dock. There is almost ALWAYS a stop at The Hard Bean for a cup of coffee to refuel before riding on. This past week I did 124 miles over a 3 day period. One of the days I rode from home to the B&A trail to the John Overstreet Connector to the BWI trail and back for a total of 48 miles. On Staurday and Sunday I did the Coast Guard Station, City Dock, Annapolis Mall ride for totals of 43 and 33 miles respectively.

     So, now to the numbers... I lost 3 pounds over the past 2 weeks, which puts my total weight lost at 98 pounds since November 2008. I was hoping for a 5 pound loss to reach the 100 pound mark, but I am VERY HAPPY about the 3 pounds. I figure I can break the 100 pound barrier next weigh in, but that halloween candy and cranberry cheesecake demanded my immediate attention.

Thanks for reading... visit again soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Welcome to my blog

Thanks for checking out my blog.

 I am by no stretch of the imagination a writer. My grammar is 'iffy' at best, my punctuation atrocious, and my spelling would be horrible if it were not for spell check. So if you are here seeking literary gems... I am afraid that you will be sadly disappointed. If you are here to see what is going on with me,  you have come to the right place.

I thought this would be a great way to communicate with friends and family about what has been going on in my life over the past year, and what my plans and goals are for the year ahead.

I hope you will stop by often.