Wednesday, February 17, 2010


     I want to reassure those of you who figured I got buried in a snowdrift on my bike during the snow storm that I am doing fine. I apologize for the long period of time between entries. You would think that while we were snowed in, I could have found the time to do a blog entry, right? You REALLY didn't want me to do a blog entry on any of those days. My mother and children read this blog, so I try to keep the cuss words down to a minimum. Any blog entries, minus the cuss words, during the snow storm would have been very very short. The snow had definitely put a damper on my mood. Now that I am able to talk (write) in complete sentences (usually) without steam blowing out of my ears, I think I can do an entry.

     So, in case you hadn't heard... we got some snow. From Friday evening to Saturday evening (2/5 - 2/6) we accumulated about 26 inches of snow in Arnold, MD. I went out in the blizzard (yes, we had blizzard conditions) on Saturday and spent the better part of 6 hours shoveling the driveway so that when the snow finally stopped, the John Deere would only have 8 inches of snow to plow instead of 26. On Sunday morning I began plowing the driveway with the John Deere. I added some weights to the back of the tractor, which helped with the traction tremendously, and it had no problem pushing the snow. The problem was, where do you go with 26 inches of snow? The John Deere has no capability to lift the snow, so it can only go as far as I could push it. I came up with ways to push it as far as possible, and after a couple hours of plowing... the driveway was clear. Time to relax, warm up and get ready for the Super Bowl. It was nice to watch the game with out really giving a rip one way of the other who wins. I dislike both teams for different reasons, but I was hoping to see The Colts win because I enjoyed watching them dismantle the Jets 2 weeks before. Maybe it was because I was tired, or maybe it was just me, but I thought the game and most of the commercials were very boring.

     With so much snow in the area, and not nearly enough equipment to remove it, the Federal Government (which is who my employer follows in regards to Operating Status in foul weather) was closed on Monday and Tuesday while the District of Columbia tried to clear the roads. The Metro system closed all of its above ground stations, Commuter Rail service was canceled, it was a mess. NOW, to make things even more interesting, we got another 12 inches of snow on Tuesday. These are record breaking totals, and like I said in my previous entry... it's all my fault. Well, the John Deere handled moving that snow as well, and when it was all said and down, I was about ready to head to the Bay Bridge and jump. We will not see green grass until July. The bike trail is just a distant memory, and in someplaces you can not tell where it is, it is just a field of snow. The forecast has the temperatures rising above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night. That means snow will melt, causing the roads to become wet, temps will drop causing aforementioned melted snow to turn to ice. Ice + bicyle = disastrous results. I am officially depressed. Hopefully someone has taken the Viagra away from 'old man winter' and we will have no snow for the rest of the season. (By the way, i'd like to get my hands on that damn groundhog too!)

      The Severna Park Peloton IS a hardy group though. On Saturday a small group of riders were out enjoying the fresh clean air that the snow brings. The ride was an impromptu event and I did not know about it, so I did not take part, but I hooked up with my riding buddy Mike on Sunday and we enjoyed a GREAT ride out to Sandy Point, Thomas Point by way of The Hard Bean coffee shop at City Dock in Annapolis. Check out his ride report here. Mike's ride report  On Monday, Presidents Day, I rode alone from the Park and Ride in Severna Park to The Hard Bean and back by way of St. Margret's Road and College Parkway. I can't do the fancy ride reports because I do not have a Garmin 705 Edge GPS computer for my bike... yet!

       Tuesday, there was a threat of more snow, and in the early morning hours we did get a dusting, which discourage any street riding. It was either the trainer or sleep in. When the alarm went off... I rolled over and slept in until it was time to go to work. I checked email last night to see if any SPP riders were planning to ride this morning. There were no declarations of insanity, so I figure everyone was waiting another day before braving the roads. When I check email this morning at work, 3 hearty (and slightly insane) SPP riders rode this morning and reported that the road route was passable with caution and they would be out riding again tomorrow morning. I can guarantee you that I will be out there with them. I rode the trainer for 45 minutes this morning and I would rather be cold and cautiously icy than riding on the trainer. In the infamous words of my bike buddy Mike ... "Just say NO to trainers."

      So there you have it. I was depressed, and sat around the house eating bon bon's all week. But now that we are on the road to recover (pray for warm rain for a complete meltdown) I am feeling much better. Thanks for listening to my rant, and I hope you will stop by again soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What a bummer

      Well, I got in my last ride on the roads for a while I am afraid. The impending snowstorm has definitely dampened my mood. I will be sentenced to ride the trainer in the garage until the road ways have been cleared enough for safe passage by bicycle.

       Our ride this morning was well attended with 9 of us making the trek from the Rusty Bridge in Severna Park to The Hard Bean in Annapolis. Everyone had the storm on their mind, knowing that this would be the last ride on the roads for a while. The nickname  "snow-magedon" has been adopted, as the weather prognosticators have forecast between  12 and 30 inches of snow. Yuck.

        To make matters even more depressing for our ride, I was blessed with 2 flat tires this morning. It is funny (not funny "haha", but funny "strange") because I thought to myself as I was loading the bike into the 4Runner this morning... "I have had pretty good luck with the new tires I put on the bike. I haven't had a flat in a while." Well, I made up for it in one day. As I was coming down a hill, just about to turn onto Richie Highway, I hit a pot hole that was just big enough to traumatize my tires, causing them both to go flat. Mike, Brian and I pulled well off the road (this is the same road, and almost the same spot that Mike got hit the other day) and started changing the tire. Brian jumped right in and started removing the flat tube, while I dug out the new tube from my seat bag. I got my CO2 containers of air ready, and once we figured out how to use the CO2 device, we were filling the tire with air. I thought to myself, "wow, the rear tire went flat, but nothing happened to the front tire, and it hit the pot hole first." So, just to be sure, I checked the front tire and sure enough it was flat as well. Off the bike it came, Mike started on that one and I produced my 2nd spare tube (I am glad I had 2 of them). That one got changed and full of air, and off we went. That probably set us back about 15 minutes. Thanks to everyone that helped, it was nice to have a group of people around to help get you back on your bike quicker.

       The rest of the ride was uneventful. We enjoyed good coffee, pastry and conversation at The Hard Bean, and as we headed back to Severna Park, you could just feel the impending doom of the weather. I apologized to everyone on the ride, letting them know that the weather this past winter has been all my fault. Usually, I welcome the snow. It was really not a big interruption of my life. If it snowed and I didn't have to go out... I stayed in. If I had to go out, I was confident in my abilities to drive in snow, coupled with taking into consideration the other idiots who have no clue how to drive in snow. Now, snow is the enemy. Since I started riding with the 5:45 group, there is virtually no conditions that I will not ride in, with the exception of snow and ice. I have ridden with temps as low as 15 degrees, I have ridden in the rain, in the wind, etc. but snow forces me to make a choice. Stay in bed, and get fat. Or, ride the trainer and learn to like it. I am hoping that I will choose the 2nd choice more often than the first. So, because I needed it not to snow this winter, so I can ride, we have had record snowfalls, and we are only into the first week of February. So you see, it's all my fault. Sorry everyone.

       I will try to make the most of the trainer. I am going to go home, put as much weight on the John Deere as I can so I get better traction, move the cars around in the garage so the John Deere is ready to start plowing when the snow stops, and I am going to set up the laptop so I can watch a movie while I am inside riding the trainer. I guess I will make the best out of a snowy situation.

       For those of you who will be affected by the snow, please be safe and stay off the roads (I don't want to have to take YOUR driving into consideration in case I have to go out). As for those of you not affected by the snow... I'm jealous.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


     OK, so it's not REALLY fat Tuesday, but with me traveling the past couple of weeks, and the dumping of another 8 inches of snow on Saturday, I have managed to gain 2 pounds. Not a big deal, I am not in crisis mode... we are going to Ruby Tuesdays as planned. It just means that I need to ride a little harder and longer and faster when the snow melts enough to get back on the bike.

      It is never easy to maintain a healthy eating routine when traveling. I spent last weekend in our New York office doing scheduled maintenance and reconfiguring the firewall. It was nice to work alone in the office, not because I don't enjoy the company of the guys that work there, it's just that I find I get a whole lot more done. The drive up to New York on Friday evening was very long and very slow. I was on the New Jersey Turnpike on a Friday at rush hour. I did not plan that very well.

     What is nice about New York is that I am able to drive to the hotel and the office, which means that I can schlep around all the food I need to stay on track. I brought some salmon, and pork chops, already baked sweet potatoes, plenty of salad ingredients. I brought along fruit and snacks for work... so I was pretty well set. The problem was that I did not bring my bike. Sure I rode the stationary bike at the hotel, but it just isn't the same. It tells you when to increase the tempo or pedal harder, as opposed to being on the bicycle and YOU deciding how fast you want to go up that hill, or how long you want to keep the cadence above 100. You actually 'move' on a real bicycle too. The stationary bike just wasn't cutting it. I did an hour each day, and didn't have that good work out feeling that I get from riding a real bike.

     From New York I headed north to see my Mom and Dad. That was another day sitting in the car. Only this trip was during monsoon weather. It was raining buckets and the wind was blowing 40 - 50 mph gusts. Going over the Tapanzee Bridge in New york, I felt like I was going to be blown over the side. There were 2 spots along the trip where I was detoured from the highway because of high standing water. What was happening was the water was eroding the embankments along the highway, loosening the dirt around the roots of the trees, and the wind was blowing the trees over into the road. The drive that normally takes me 4 hours took me the better part of 6 hours. No working out at my parents house. Not that I couldn't have... I just didn't.

     Tuesday I did some visiting with a former teacher and a former sister in law. These visits were preparations for the New England Classic ride in July. My former teacher said that having me in his office was like an episode of "Cold Case". He was picturing me like I was 27 years ago when I was in high school. It was sort of surreal to walk through the high school again. The kids look so young...I was not that young when I went to high school.

      Wednesday I was off again, headed home. I snuck out of my parents house at 3:45 a.m. and headed to the New York office. I had a computer that I needed to drop off there, and then I was on my way back to Maryland. Another day in the car, with no exercise... and what is there to do in the car. Driving on long trips is SO boring. It's no wonder I fell asleep at the wheel when I was younger. There is nothing to do when you are driving. Bite your nails and pick your nose... that's about it. The radio is OK for about 15 minutes, then all the songs start sounding the same. This is a perfect scenario for mindless nibbling. Twizzlers are my favorite, but pretzels work just as well, which is what I had with me.

      So there you have it. Traveling, coupled with lack of bicycle riding and you gain 2 pounds in 2 weeks. I am scheduled to travel to Chicago the week of the 21st of February. I am looking for a place that rents bicycles in Chicago. I figure I can get a pretty good rate to rent a bicycle in Chicago in the middle of February.

      That pretty much gets you up to date. I am very busy at work, getting ready to make the trip to Chicago. I am finishing the flyers and the web site for the New England Classic fundraising, and Emily will be here this weekend. I will post again when before I go to Chicago.

Thanks for reading.