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Daily Ride Off the Bike

Bikes and Burpees : 93/100

Kate and I went on a nice 2 hour ride this morning. The weather was perfect for a ride and we did the G to J loop. The G and J are the names of roads south of Mancos that go through some of the farms in the area. Its a low traffic route with some great views.

We stopped by the local coffee shop and had some iced coffee before climbing back to the land. When we got back I still had some time to complete for the training session. I rode 2 laps and finished the workout as prescribed.

August Burpee Challenge

My company has been encouraging anyone who wants to organize group activities to do so. So far we have had the 100 days of blogging challenge, a daily step challenge, and now we have started a daily burpee challenge.

The gist of it is that each day of August I will try to do as many burpees as I can. We will keep track of our progress and then see how many we all did as a group at the end of the month.

Personally I don’t usually do burpees. Today I took it easy and did three 1 minute sets with a minute rest between each set. I managed to do 13, 12, and 11 for a total of 36. I felt pretty good about my effort even though my form felt horrible. The good news is that I have 30 more days to perfect my form.

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Maintenance

Wax off, wax on : 92/100

A few months ago I wrote about changing by bike chain lubrication to a wax based system. Shortly after then I reduced my bike riding considerably and the wax testing fell off the radar. I was still riding with the wax chains. However I had not done a re-waxing of the chains.

The reason for that was the number of projects we had going. Just getting the cock pot up to heat with the wax takes a couple hours. Then you need a space where you can hang the chain to dry and keep things clean. Once I setup a work bench in the shed I had my space.

So last weekend I rinsed the 2 chains that I had ridden on for about 200 miles each. To rinse a waxed chain you place the chain into a colander and pour boiling water over the chain. This washes away the wax on the outside of the chain, which is also where the dirt and debris are attached.

Then I air dried the chains before dipping them individually into the wax/Teflon mixture in the crock pot. Once they soaked for a few minutes I air dried them on a dowel rod hanger I custom built during the waxing operation. Then I reapplied one chain set back on the bike and rode smoothly again.

So far I would say the waxing process is challenging but worth it. From having to strip the factory lube off of new chains, to setting aside a few hours to reapply the wax. There are a lot of parts and pieces involved. However the bike does ride noticeably smoother and has better shifting.

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Daily Ride

White Cows and Walnut Stain : 91/100

I am having a few days of vacation this weekend and figured the best way to start things off would be to spend the day doing manual labor. We are getting the trim finished on our cabin and have hired a friend who is a carpenter to handle things. I have worked with Doug on a number of construction projects and had helped him trim place.

One thing I wanted with the trim was a nice natural wood look. Doug’s suggestion is that in the dry conditions of Colorado you are fine with just oiling indoor wood. I like the idea cause oil is usually easier than varnish.

One gripe about using oil on pine is that it makes the wood look yellow. To counter that issue we added some Walnut stain to the second application of linseed oil. The walnut stain was kept pretty light and gives the wood a sepia/antique look. It also brings out a lot of the character of the wood.

Most importantly Kate is happy with how it is coming out. We should have things wrapped up on Monday, I and my mid back hope. While staining wood is a bit more enjoyable than pulling weeds it is still pretty tedious work. Its gonna be really nice when we are done.

Workout Details

Today’s ride was a 3 sets of 6 minutes at Level 4 effort. Level 4 is a sprint but not an all our sprint which is Level 5. I did 20 minutes of warm up on the highway and then used my fenceline trail for the intervals. One lap around takes me a little over 5 minutes so I rounded the intervals down a bit. It was a great way to do intervals. The trail has enough challenging sections both physically and technically to keep you focused on not hitting the fence.

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Off the Bike

The Ips Beetle : 90/100

Kate noticed that one of our pine trees was dead the other day. While there are still some green pines in the tree most are dead. This is indicative of an Ips beetle infestation and is a problem that we need to attend to before we lose more trees.

Probably infected tree. The orange sap is indicative of the saw dust the beetles produce when they burrow into the tree. The tree then tries to defend itself by using sap to push the beetles out?

From what I have gathered so far July is not a good time of year to do much about the beetles. This is because the beetles are active and cutting anything down may cause them to infect more trees. Insecticide is only helpful for preventing the beetle spread so we may not need to do that.

I reached out to the Colorado State Forestry Service which is run by Colorado State University yesterday and they called today. Apparently they will do a home-site assessment of our trees and help us handle the infestation. We both agree that this will be great information and help us get a handle on the beetle issue.

Workout detail

Today was a strength day but due to scheduling mishaps I wasn’t able to get the workout done in the morning. I prefer to workout in the morning because I am fresh and full of energy. By the afternoon I am generally pretty tired from work and would rather do anything but workout. I got the workout done but I am not going to say it was 100%. I did do a few burpees as a group at work is doing a burpee challenge for the month of August. I forgot how much I dislike doing burpees. We will see how I do at this challenge.

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Daily Ride

Fitness Test Day : 89/100

Today was day 2 of my cycling training program. Yesterday was a strength day, and today is the fitness test. I wrote about the fitness test on May 16th on the 16th post of this blogging challenge. I know I had said I was only going to watch my time on workouts but I have added heart rate back. This is more helpful for telling me when to reduce my effort. It is amazing how often we are working way too hard in aerobic workouts. The purpose is to train your heart, and science has shown us that training from 85% to 94% of your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) is where you make your heart stronger.

Determining LTHR is done by going as hard as possible for 20 minutes. You take your average heart rate during that effort and have an approximate of what your LTHR is. From there you use a guide or calculator to determine your training zones.

On today’s test my LTHR came out to be about 6bpm less than the last time I did the test. There is a possibility I could have pushed harder but I am tired tonight which I attribute to pushing pretty hard this morning. This isn’t exactly ideal but since I haven’t been doing aerobic training for over 2 months it should not be a surprise. I guess I know why I am doing the training now.

Overall it was a beautiful morning and a great ride.

Categories
Off the Bike

Adventures in Woodworking – Planter : 88/100

A good friend gifted us a Miss Kim lilac bush recently. Since we are building a home soon I am trying to avoid planting anything near the construction site. That means we need to re-pot the bush to a larger planter while we figure out where we want to eventually plant it in the ground. We could have easily gone to Wal-Mart and purchased a plastic planter, but I have tools, scrap wood, and an aspiration for my wife’s admiration. So I set out to build a planter.

After some googling I discovered that most DIY planter boxes are over built. I just needed a temporary solution and I needed it quickly. So I used some different ideas to come up with my one of a kind custom designed plywood planter:

Production is probably starting about when Intel gets their 7nm going…

It started raining just as I got the pieces cut. So I took a break and talked on the phone with my sister. Eventually the rain was light enough that I felt my battery powered tools wouldn’t electrocute me and I screwed it all together. Its not much to look at but its 100% recycled and should last till fall when we plant the bush in the ground.

Workout Details

Today is the first day of the cycling training program. The program was for 1 hour of bodyweight workout. I did 30 minutes of Yoga and then a few sets of pull ups. Mostly I was getting things out of the cabin so that the contractors can get the tile and trim done. I could have tried doing this myself but its going to look so much better cause I didn’t.

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Daily Ride

Bike Station : 87/100

There are a few items I should take on every bike ride. There is the helmet, gloves, and lights. The helmet is for physical and mental protection. There is a chance that my helmet could save my live or prevent serious injury. There is also the added comfort in wearing said helmet when a car zips past 12 inches away. The gloves are for comfort and nailing the 90’s look. The lights are to help drivers see us, and if we happen to ride at night they help us see the road.

As I have been building out the inside of my shed I wanted to have a bike station. This is where both of our helmets, gloves, and lights would be. Once I got the electrical wired I saw the potential for a powered bike station where the lights are being charged via USB. I had a light switch just inside the door already and the space was holding my gardening tools. There was a nice spot to add a piece of plywood and be able to add some hangers and clips. I grabbed a scrap peice of wood and made a shelf for the lights to sit on and charge.

Even a little extra space for the weed wacker’s charge station!

Someday I will insulate the wall and then make the whole thing plywood but for now this works well.

Workout detail

Kate and I rode to town for lunch but the cafe closed at noon. The coffee shop is closed on Sunday’s and we ended up going to the health food store for some snacks. We both wished we had just gone to the gas station and gotten proper snacks. The ride was very nice with no rain or wind. We got home and I started weeding some more. We got a good amount of rain recently and the ground was nice and soft for pulling weeds. I really dislike pulling weeds. I need to get better at doing it when they are really small and easy to pull.

Categories
Daily Ride

Back in the Groove : 86/100

The main thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I need to exercise regularly. If I don’t my body starts to ache and then I get fussy like a child. Its really embarrassing to be honest.

It starts in the middle of my back between the shoulder blades. That leads to my neck and shoulders. Then my lower back, hamstrings, and calves. It takes a week or two of not having regular exercise and this begins to set in. The reasons for my exercise routine breaking down are plentiful:

  • Injury
  • Broken equipment
  • Weather
  • Boredom

It is pretty ionic that a bike blog talks about being bored with biking, but it happens. I am still riding my bike but not regularly enough lately. The main reason for this is that I fell off of my training plan a couple of months ago. Between working on the trails and the cabin, my free time to ride 6 to 10 hours a week had disappeared. I was also pretty sore from the manual labor. Apparently my day job is not nearly as physical as construction work.

Then my bike frame cracked and I had to get it repaired. This process took some time and while the bike was un-ridable I moved further away from my training. I stopped doing my bodyweight exercises during this time. Once I had the bike back I was more interested in blazing a few fast laps around the land than going for a multi hour training ride.

Then there was the weather. Southwest Colorado is a high desert climate. While it isn’t 100+ degrees it does hit the upper 90’s, and we are closer to the sun. When you add it up it becomes a very solid excuse for not riding your bike.

Finally I was getting a little bored with the routine. Intervals are fun when you first start doing them. As the weeks move on they become tedious and repetitive. I was also riding by myself most of the time.

One of the most enjoyable things about riding a bike is sharing the experience with someone else. Unlike running, you can rest and still keep riding the bike. When it is flat or downhill you can coast and maintain a conversation very easily. You can ride for a while and stop at a coffee shop and have a cherry tart. Then ride home. Its really great for distracting yourself from the exercise that is happening.

To that end I have taken actions to rectify this situation:

  • Started doing yoga, again
  • Restarting my training program on Monday
  • Doing more rides with Kate
  • Setting the Apple Watch to only display the time while exercising

Yoga is something I have done off and on for over 17 years. I knew I needed to exercise more but I have never been a gym person. There was a Yoga studio near my work and I stated going. I quickly found that I enjoyed it a lot and was also pretty good at it.

Yoga’s combination of balance, strength, and breath work creates an endless potential for progression. I have never been very limber but over the years I have progressed a lot. Unfortunately when I don’t practice regularly the progress regresses quickly. I have incorporated various yoga moves into my bodyweight warmup, but it’s still not the same as following a set of movements.

Over the years I have practiced yoga with a lot of teachers in a variety of styles. In 2009 I did a month long 200 hour teacher training course and learned that the Ashtanga Yoga practice is my favorite.

In Ashtanga Yoga the movements all have modifications. If you have trouble touching your toes with straight legs; you can bend them. This helps someone, with knee issues and tight hamstrings, avoid trying positions that could cause an injury.

The combination of the movements into the various series is challenging ,and by then end of it your body is wiped out. There are a lot of pushups. If you are interested in learning I recommend finding a yoga studio that practices Ashtanga/Mysore Yoga and/or get David Swenson’s book.

Yoga helps me change things up with the bodyweight routine. If I don’t feel like doing pull ups I will do yoga and vice versa. This will help me keep on track with the off bike exercising.

I am starting the cycling training program I did this spring again. This will provide a structure to plan my day around. If I write something down I am much more likely to do it. With the training program I am able to simply add it to the calendar in Training Peaks starting on Monday, and it fills in every workout by day for the next 13 weeks.

The goal this time with the training plan is less about performance, and more about having a routine that gets me exercising regularly. The goal to race in anything is on hold till the Pandemic is done. Not only are no races being held I really don’t need to get injured and go to the hospital right now. Also I am going to start riding with Kate more.

Whenever I ride my bike with Kate I have a great time. We spend time together and talk about our day. The only reason I wasn’t riding with her was because I was following the training program, which specifies the intensity of the ride. Based on the training program I needed to ride faster than Kate. This was dumb.

The reality is that I am 43 years old and so far out of being a competitive rider that serious training makes very little sense. Except of course to feed my ego. Silly boy. Going on a ride with Kate is still plenty of exercise and I am spending more time with the person I love the most in the world. Win👏to👏the👏Win.

The technique to “riding with your wife successfully” I learned from Kate’s dad, Bill. He and his wife, Karen, were avid cyclists. He told me that once he learned to ride behind Karen then they would ride together the whole day.

It is an obvious thing to see, once you see it. The problem that I and many others have is that once on a bike we become competitive. It starts off subtly but ends in a full sprint to the next mail box. That is the ego literally driving your bike. Turning that off and riding second on purpose is antithetical to how I learned to ride a bike. I consciously wait for Kate to start and then fall in behind her. Turns out I am winning all the time now.

Finally I removed all the data from the Apple Watch Workout face except for the time. This will prevent me from focusing on anything other than the time I am on the bike, which is all I need to focus on. This will help me ride at Kate’s pace and also just let me ride my bike and enjoy the scenery. The physical benefits will come from that just fine.

The cool part is that all of the metrics are still being recorded and I will be able to geek out on them in Training Peaks. It is interesting to see how you are progressing even when just doing leisurely rides. There is also a potential for over training since I won’t be watching my heart rate on rides. The possibility is minimal but still something to be aware of.

Workout Detail

Kate and I rode into town. Had a coffee and blueberry-peach tart at the local coffee roaster. Then we rode home before the afternoon rain storm hit. It was overcast and the lighting was a little funky. So we rode with our headlights and taillights to help drivers see us. We should really ride with them all of the time. As a driver I know it helps me see and pay attention to cyclists.

Categories
Off the Bike

Hello World : 85/100

In most programming languages the first step is writing a ‘Hello World’ example. This is to help give you a first taste of how to use a language in a very basic form. I figure that in woodworking there should probably be something similar. For me that is a basic table, and hence I present you with my Hello World for woodworking:

Bob Vila lookout!

The most important thing about this table is that Kate likes it. I do not hate it, but it is a first attempt with the Kreg Jig and shows. I used all scrap wood, some of which has been sitting outside for a year, so cost was low. The 28 screws that I used were the biggest expense.

I learned a lot about the Kreg Jig and how it works. For the most part is was really easy to use and configure. I need larger clamps and a Miter saw will give me much more square cuts. Changing to a 60 tooth blade on my Circular Saw definitely helped. Oh and good wood is critical.

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Off the Bike

Sunset Dogs : 84/100

Took the dogs for a nice sunset walk on the fence line trail today. It’s the first time I’ve walked them since finishing the trail and they loved it. I had to slow them down a few times.

Workout detail

Did 30 minutes of yoga this morning. The ya the first yoga I’ve done in months. Maybe a year. I’m hot and cold with the yoga. Sometimes I’m all about it and then I’d rather do other things. Lately my back has been sore and anytime I do some regular yoga work it helps a lot.