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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Busy Weekend and Week

It's been a really busy week and a half here.  Last Thursday, I left work early and we drove to my in-laws' house.  Their family does a big camping event at their house over the 4th of July weekend.  My son and I slept in the tent the first night and I finished the final two nights in the tent by myself.  My wife and youngest son slept in the house the whole weekend.  I rode my bike 28 miles on Friday morning and 31 miles on Saturday morning, followed by a family softball game.

By the time we were done with softball, I realized that my Achilles Tendon was really irritated.  I've been taking it pretty easy ever since to try to let it heal.  I think I irritated it on my bike first and then softball made it worse.  From what I was able to find on Dr. Google, it's a common injury if a cyclist points his / her toes in the pedal stroke.  Additional information pointed to my bike seat being too high.  That's when I realized that about 3 weeks ago, I raised the seat about half an inch because I felt like I was sitting too low.  I've probably been over stretching that tendon ever since.  It's time to drop it back down a little and see if it helps.

This week has been crazy busy at work and my youngest son has been sick most of the week.  Last night, my oldest son and I decided to go to the Lima Loco's baseball game.  I found out it was a double header and at $6 for the two of us to get in, it was a fun night.  The first game was 7 innings with Lima winning after a grand slam home run.  The second game was 9 innings with a 3 run homer close to the end with Lima pulling out a second win!

My garden is still doing pretty well, although bugs have destroyed my cabbage and brussel sprout plants.  I've got a mystery squash plant that has some really large squash of some sort on it.  This was not something I planted, so I'm excited to see what it is.  The plant has vines that are probably close to 50 feet in length.  I also have another squash plant that I did not plant.  I can tell that it's a yellow summer squash plant.  I'm excited for picking that and grilling it.

Today, I took my lunch walk down to the hospital and back, stopping at the local produce stand that is set up near the hospital.  They had a lot more vegetables than they did the last time I was there.  I came home with sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers.  I found a recipe on Pinterest for refrigerator dill pickles and I'm going to try that with the cucumbers.  I've got fresh dill in the garden too.  Oh, and I have a sunflower that I didn't plant.  It is currently about 2 feet taller than me.  Anyone have a guess what my mystery squash is?  It's fairly round and bigger than my fist.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Buckeye Bridge Ride

Yesterday was the Buckeye Bridge Ride in Preble County, Ohio.  This was my third year riding this organized ride supporting Preble County 4-H.  It's one of my favorite rides because they put a lot of effort into effectively marking the entire route so that it is easy to follow.  They also provide a perfect number of SAG stops with food and water refills.

I camped at the Preble County Fairgrounds Friday night so that I wouldn't have to get up too early on Saturday morning.  I was up and registered by 6:30 AM and on the road by 6:45 AM.  The weather was cool with extremely high humidity, which made it sticky right from the start and more sticky as it warmed up.  There was practically no wind, so that was one less challenge for the ride.  With all the humidity, I found myself drinking almost 48 ounces of water every 15-20 miles.

We passed the first two bridges before the first SAG stop.  I love seeing all the bridges and especially all the countryside down there.

The first SAG stop offered water, Gatorade, several kinds of granola and cereal bars, and fruit.  I ate my first NuGo Stronger bar to keep me properly fueled.  Last weekend, I hit about 50-55 miles and ran out of energy.  I didn't want to do that again this week.  Shortly after the SAG stop, we arrived at the third bridge.

Somewhere around mile 21-23, we had a fairly long downhill and after reaching almost 30 miles per hour on the way down, I heard a strange sound that I hadn't heard before on my bike.  I looked down between my legs and saw that my rear tire had gone flat.  I'm thankful that I was able to make it down the hill safely.  I have no idea at what point going down the hill that the tire went flat.  I stopped and flipped the bike over checking for punctures.  I didn't find any punctures, so I decided to try re-inflating the tire.  I've never tried CO2 cartridges for inflating a tire, so all I had was a hand pump mounted on my frame.  I was able to get the tire up to about 90PSI and decided to ride for a bit and see how it went.  

By the time I arrived at the next SAG stop, around mile 27-28, the tire was very low again.  I decided I would be better to change the tube rather than trying to inflate the old one again.  Thankfully, I had seen a tire changed once and changed one myself in the kitchen one time before.  It took me about 10 minutes to get everything changed and at least 10 minutes to inflate the new tube as much as I could using my hand pump.  I think it's time to get a CO2 cartridge and learn how to use it.

That SAG stop is at the bottom of the hill at Hueston Woods State Park.  The bad thing is that after entering the park downhill, you have to climb that hill back out.  Thankfully, the tire and tube held out for the remainder of the ride.  About another 20 miles in and I started feeling light rain.  I checked the radar on my phone and decided it would be best at my pace to complete the shorter route rather than attempt the 89 mile route.  I didn't want to get soaked if it started raining harder.  There were and additional two bridges and two SAG stops and the rest of the ride was rather uneventful, thankfully.  

I completed the 64 mile route in just over 4 hours (plus stops, including replacing a tube).  My average speed was 15 miles per hour and I was pretty pleased with that considering all the climbing I did.  There are considerably more hills in Southwestern Ohio compared to Northwest Ohio where I do a majority of my riding.  I look forward to riding this ride again next year.  In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to squeeze in the Ohio to Erie trail by bike in July.  Then, at the beginning of August, I'm registered to ride the Amishland and Lakes ride in Northern Indiana.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How Many Steps Do You Walk?

My company has a wellness program that allows us to get a discount on our health care premiums.  Recently, they started a challenge to encourage us to get at least 10,000 steps per day.  I didn't figure it would be too hard, but I've found it to be way more difficult than I expected!

For the first three weeks, I was averaging about 5,000 steps per day.  Apparently, many other employees were also struggling to reach 10,000 steps, so they implemented a 10,000 step club for anyone getting 10,000 steps all 7 days each week.  For some reason, that made my brain decide it was time to get 10,000 at any cost.  I've spent some nights pacing the house during commercials, but so far, I've made just over 10,000 steps each day this week.

Walking between rain showers.

I am an Information Technology (IT) person at work, so much of my day includes sitting at a desk monitoring systems, troubleshooting problems, taking phone calls, and working on miscellaneous projects that are in the works.  I only get up for certain tasks or for problems that require me to go to someone's desk.  Because my job doesn't require a lot of movement, I've had to get creative.  I've been taking the long way to get everywhere and walking an extra block when I'm outside of the office.  I've also been walking 2.5 miles outside or on the YMCA track when it is too hot outside.

Do you track steps during the day?  How many steps to you get in a day?  My mom says she easily gets 20,000 steps in a day because her job requires her to be on her feet and walking most of the time she is working.  Do you have creative ways to get up and move while you are at work?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Limaland Tour - 65 Miles

Yesterday was the Limaland Tour.  I registered to ride the 65 mile route and completed it in record time.  I knew I was riding a pretty fast pace up until mile 55, where my body decided it might not want to finish.  I think what had happened is that I neglected eating enough along the route.  The last 10 miles were rather tough, but I still finished with an average speed of 16.7 miles per hour.  Last year, my average was right around 14 miles per hour, so I'm excited to see the increase in average speed this year.  I attribute part of that to my weight loss.

I really enjoyed the ride yesterday and even spent some time in lines of cyclists, which kept me at the higher pace.  The roads were pretty flat, which was nice, but now I have the very hilly ride next week.  The best part of yesterday was when I got home, and checked Endomondo and found out I had PR'd in several categories that Endomondo tracks.  That means I really was moving pretty fast.

This morning, my neck and knees hurt, but I'm feeling pretty good otherwise.  Next week, I think I have the opportunity to complete 89 miles on the Buckeye Bridge Ride.  That rides is about 1700 feet of climbing, so it'll be much more challenging than the 400 feet of climbing yesterday.  It will be very important that I monitor my time and mileage so that I can make sure I'm refueling often enough so that I don't crash at the end.  I'm still experimenting with different energy bars and gels for refueling my body on these longer rides.  It seems there are unlimited options available on the market, so I hope I'll find the one that works best for me soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heat It Up Giveaway Blog Hop

Thanks for stopping by as part of the Heat It Up Health & Fitness Giveaway Bloghop!  This is my first time participating in a Giveaway Bloghop, so I hope you will enjoy the prize I'm offering and even find some posts of interest on my blog.  You can find a list of other blogs participating in the Giveaway Bloghop at the bottom of my post, so be sure to check them out!

My blog has evolved over the years and I find myself leaning more toward posts about my cycling activities now.  Being "Meandering Matt", I let whatever is on my mind work its way into my posts.

Right now, I'm really excited that I'm already on track to be almost 60% to my 800 mile cycling goal in 2014.  I'm also really excited that my vegetable garden is looking great this year!  That's one plus to all the rain that has kept me off of my bike!  Additionally, I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with nutrition / energy / protein bars and snacks that I can take with me to keep me fueled on long bike rides!  If you have suggestions on snacks I can used on my rides, I'd love to hear about them!

One of the items I always have with me when I'm riding is Nuun hydration tablets.  I find that drinking Nuun while on my rides helps to prevent a lot of the leg cramps I used to experience.  I also have started using Nuun Energy for that extra boost on the bike.  Nuun Energy includes B-vitamins to help turn carbs into energy and a burst of caffeine.


For my giveaway, I'm offering a Nuun 4-Pack or a Nuun Energy Sampler Pack (includes water bottle).  The winner can choose which they would like.  Nuun offers Mixed 4-packs or 4-packs of an individual flavor.  Check out all the options on the Nuun shop.

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Giveaway Linky

Please be sure to check out all of the other amazing blogs participating in the Giveaway Bloghop!  You'll have the opportunity to enter ti win lots of other prizes!