Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back to 'Normal'

After an early ride to avoid the heat of another 102 degree day yesterday, things are supposed to cool down here today. I think mid-90s are still on tap, but hoping for a strong Delta Breeze to cool things down into the mid-60s tonight, making for comfortable riding temps this evening - my favorite time to ride.

It was so hot yesterday my indoor-outdoor thermometer died, so I was off to Home Depot last night  to get a replacement. The new one is wired (the wireless seemed to develop problems after a year), but it has a humidistat, so more numbers to play with. Playing around with the new one to get it set up, I was amazed that the temps at the top of my vaulted ceiling are 15 degrees higher than down here on the floor. I've been putting off installing a ceiling vent fan up there for years. Maybe it's time.

Something about my ride yesterday, in addition to the Amoxicillin, gave me bad cramps all day yesterday, and generally played hell with my GI tract. That too has returned to normal now, and I only have a day left on the meds anyway, so that will be a non-issue soon. Nice to sit here, enjoy a cup of coffee, and not have to get up to do to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Very nice.

Pain is zero, swelling almost gone, and I am looking forward to a nice big salad again tonight. With it getting warmer I'm going to have to warm up to mornings. Oh, and order one of those $90 MagicShine 900 lumen bike lights from GeoMan. That kind of  light would have cost $500 two years ago. When the Delta Breeze blows, riding near, and hopefully, after dark, is really wonderful. Looking forward to that!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Root Canal with Kicker

Well, I got home from a lovely root canal yesterday, flopped into bed, exhausted from crushing the arms on the dentist's chair with my clutching hands and white knuckles, woke up 2 hrs later and was still numb as a tree stump.

I decided the best way to get the use of my moufh back was to burn/metabolize the Novocaine out of the bone by getting my heart pumping, so got dressed and headed out the door. I was surprised I had any energy, as I had not eaten all day, but the nap did wonders, and I was setting a good, brisk pace.

It was hot, so after 10 minutes or so I reached for my waterbottle, stuck the valve in the side of my mouth, and squirted Gatorade right out the other side. Turns out you can't really suck on a waterbottle with half your mouth working. :D  It was so hilarious I couldn't keep myself from laughing. A young couple out pushing a tandem stroller saw the whole thing from a distance and had the most comical look on their faces as I rode by. I mumbled in my best muffle-face "woot cwanal".

Not a long ride, and not an especially memorable one, except for the total silliness of trying to get some water, but at least when I got home, I could feel my face again. I made a few cups of Sushi rice, cut in a couple of tablespoons of sugar when fluffing with a fork, and had my first meal of the day as my recovery meal. Thankfully, I didn't have to chew much, because the few times I bit down on that tooth I almost came out of  my chair.

The pain kept building all day today, so caved and filled the prescription for Amoxicillin this evening. That and Advil are keeping the worst of the pain at bay, but sure hope this passes by tomorrow morning. Still, all in all, real happy I sucked it up and got a ride in. When the going gets tough.... and all....

Friday, June 18, 2010

PB climbing Beals Pt

So with my dental emergency handled for now, and smogging the car in limbo waiting for the reply from CAP to see if I can get $500 from California to fix my old car, I thought I was long overdue to head up to Beals again.

Most of the ride was pretty uneventful, and given the time off the bike, pretty fast, which didn't occur to me until noticed I was on pace to set a new PB from my front door to Karen's Bakery. Then I remembered I'd forgotten to start the Garmin until a couple of miles into the ride, so pretty sure that skewed the time in my favor.

Still, it was encouraging, so I decided to stop, fuel up, catch my breath, and make another timed climb up to Beal's Point. My previous best time was 14:00 flat. I did it tonight in 13:23. The wind was favorable, but the trail is very overgrown due to the wet spring and lack of $$$ for maintenance, so not much of a factor.

I stood and climbed the short little hill at Bannister Pk Alberto Contador style, bobbing up and down on my pedals. I never climb that way, but good for leg strength, and I was surprised how natural it felt. My Achilles tendon is screaming at me a bit right now, but it hung in there during the climb. A nice ride after such a long layoff.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On the Road Again

Nope, it's not just your imagination, I have been off the bike for almost a week now. I've been having trouble getting my old car smogged, and so have been doing one of my least favorite things - wrenching on an old car.

All of the bending over and twisting and pulling has left me sore and my back a mess, but I think I finally found the problem. Given how cheap the parts are for my car, and with garage rates at ~ $100 an hour here, the general approach has been to make a list of all the sensors the computer talks to, rank them by expense, and start replacing them.

Somewhere along the way a nasty smelling cloud of smoke came rolling out from under my hood when trying to start the car, and a test turned up a fried alternator. If you're going to replace that, then replace the serpentine belt that runs it too, and as I have just discovered, when you replace that belt, by all means take the Gates belt people's advice and replace the tensioner. It turns out, my tensioner was frozen in one place - so completely worthless.

I should have been done with this chore twice over by now, but even brand names like GoodYear are making aftermarket auto parts (tensioner) these days that are so far out of spec they do nasty things -  like rub on the crankshaft pulley, and prevent putting on the AC V-belt by blocking access to the crankshaft pulley.

I am taking the high road now, buying premium Dayco parts, as I don't want to spend any time under my hood again for a good long time. I am also buying online, as prices are about 60% of brick and mortar auto parts stores, and with better selection - just like bike parts!

So after spending $250 to have a $50 oxygen sensor replaced, it turns out the real problem was the alternator throwing AC noise (my best guess) and/or voltage spikes all over the computer due to bad diodes and/or a belt that stretched enough when warmed to chatter and engage sporadically, dumping an extra volt or two into the computer for a split second - rinse and repeat several times a second.

Long story short, assuming this finally gets me a smog cert, the moral of the story is, if fixing your car is really just a process of going on a fishing trip, replacing one thing after another until the thing works, its usually a lot cheaper if you go on that trip instead of a mechanic.

Last, but not least, and the point of the post,  I get to go riding again. Whooo, hoooo!

Monday, June 7, 2010

...and some days the bear eats you

Sticky, hot, sluggish and not enough to eat today. A tough ride. I took some comfort from the cool-ish breeze coming off the cold water in Folsom Lake, and hoped a little rest would revive me.

Alas, I had started late, so could wait no longer, and took a detour to get a nice big cookie at a gas station. Not big on foraging for carbs, but needed it tonight. The wind that had been so refreshing made the return trip long, but I made it home, and got what I needed out of the ride - some sanity, and a BP reading of 129/62. Some days just showing up is a victory!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Running on 'Empty'

After a couple of days of rest, I headed out the door for Beal's Point again. 34 miles and 2,300ft, it's a nice, challenging ride from my front door.

Right out of my door the humidity hit me like a wet blanket. Steamy, overcast, the kind of humidity that turns the sky into the inside of a light bulb and coaxes every living thing to open it's blossoms and spew pollen all over creation. Good thing I had decided on an Alavert an  hour earlier.

The ride up was rather uneventful, except that I found a really cool .6 mile marker pointing out the snack bar on the way to Beals. I hit the Lap button on my Garmin so I could get a good timing on the top of the climb.

I intended to stop and rest 15 minutes or so, because as an experiment I had decided to only bring one weak bottle of Gatorade, and no other ride fuel, with the goal of doing the ride on liver glycogen to burn some body fat. A 15 minute rest does a good job of marshaling some fat the liver can convert to blood sugar.

As soon as I stopped the humidity and skeeters were making me miserable. The cold water in the lake only seemed to make the humidity worse, and the wind was dead calm. It was Memorial Day, so there were tons of people there, not many places to rest, and a watchful eye on the bike was required at all times.

After a few minutes making friends with a very curious puppy (I'm sure he as me down as a self-importing salt lick! :D ), I realized I was getting swarmed by mosquitoes, mounted up in disgust and pushed off. OMG the breeze felt good, even if I did have to make it myself. Coasting downhill a mile or so, to the bottom of the last part of the climb, I sat erect and opened my jersey. Blessed relief!

I felt strong all the way home, and uploading my Garmin found I had lost nothing in burning liver glycogen vs ride fuel. I used the Garmin software to compare my last two rides and they were right on top of each other. The only thing I lost is the fat I burned. Cool!

PS: This just in.
Your body is capable of storing enough liver and muscle glycogen to support 2 hrs of activity at 100% of max heart rate. For rides up to ~ 2.5 hrs, no fuel is required. After that, you will hit the wall HARD.