Friday, February 27, 2015

Scheduling More 2015 Cycling

2015 is going to be a great year of cycling.  I've already registered for three rides, one of which is a 3 day ride, and another that is a 7 day event.  I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start riding/training!

I already talked briefly about Amishland and Lakes that is in August.  I always love this ride.  This will be my third year riding it, but I've never felt up to riding the third day.  I'm determined to ride all three days even if I only ride a short route on Sunday.

I also recently registered for Bike MS to raise awareness and support for the National MS Society.  My wife's aunt and cousin both have MS and I saw this as a way to ride a fun event and raise awareness and support for the organization's research and services!  I still have a long way to go on my fundraising, so I encourage you to make a donation if you are able!  Just click the banner below.

Additionally, I registered last night for The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure.  This is a seven day ride around Northwest Ohio.  I can't wait for this one as it rides through both the area I live in now and the area I grew up in.  I've never done a ride this long, but it is only 50-60 miles per day with two layover days that we aren't required to ride.  It includes tent camping each night, so it will be exactly what the name depicts, an adventure.  I'm not a greatly outgoing person, so my hope is that this will force me out of my comfort zone a little bit and I'll make some new friends along the way!

I'm kind of disappointed that I'll miss the Buckeye Bridge Ride this year because I'll be on the big adventure ride the day of that one.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do that one again next year.

At work, we're doing a Biggest Loser Challenge for our wellness program.  I've needed to take a few pounds off for a while, mostly because I love to eat...and eat a lot!  I've committed to eating right at least 6 out of 7 days a week (I have to have a day I can cheat each week) and working out 4-5 days a week.  So far, I've lost close to 6 pounds in about a week and a half.

Both of my boys have birthdays in March, so it's fun planning parties, but hard to believe how quick they grow up.  One will be 9 and the other will be 2.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy 2015 - Time to Start Planning Rides

Happy 2015! It's been a long time since I've blogged.  It seems I just don't have the time I wish I did to dedicate to writing posts.  It's a snowy day here in Ohio, so I'm just relaxing.  My son is busy watching the kitten bowl on TV. Not exactly my kind of show to watch!

I got news late in the year that I was selected as a Nuun Ambassador for 2015.  I'm so excited because I love Nuun.  When I found it, I fell in love because it has quite a bit of sodium which seems to keep my leg cramps on the bike at bay.  I fell more in love when I tried Nuun Energy for the first time.  I'm excited to represent such an awesome product!  I even ordered Nuun bib shorts and a Nuun jersey for cycling.  I am excited as this is my first "branded" cycling clothes purchase.  Most of my cycling jerseys are cheap jerseys I found at discount stores.

I was also super excited when I got the email that registration is open for Amishland and Lakes, a 3 day bike ride I've participated in for the past two years.  I love this ride for several reasons.  First, it's a fairly flat ride, so it is pretty easy to complete 100 miles on Saturday.  Second, it's mostly on beautiful country roads, passing many Amish farms.  Third, several of the Amish families provide snacks in their front yard for the cyclists as we pass.  Fourth, there's a great Italian restaurant in Howe, IN, where the ride start and finish is.

I have set a goal to complete 1,500 miles in 2015.  In 2014, I rode 1,112 miles.  To get this additional mileage in 2015, I'm looking for more ride events to participate in.  I'm seriously considering doing Bike MS, but I'm a little bit nervous because it will be the first ride that requires some fund raising.  I'm hoping if I commit that I'll be able to raise the funds required.  I would love to ride this in honor of my wife's aunt and cousin that both have MS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Looking Back Over 2014

This past Sunday, I was able to get out and ride 18.6 miles, which put me over my latest cycling goal in 2014.  My initial goal this year was 800 miles.  This proved to be rather simple to get.  Once I hit that, I realized I was on track to hit another milestone.  I hit 1000 miles this fall and then noticed another milestone as I looked back over the past three years.  In 2012 and 2013 combined, I completed 1,110.74 miles.  I was really close to going over that, so I set forth to double my pre-2014 mileage.

This became a bit difficult when I cut my thumb on a chainsaw during my time off for Thanksgiving.  The ER told me it was a good chainsaw injury in that it only require 3 stitches and wasn't the loss of a body part or head trauma.  This actually kept me from getting out because of the pain when I'd try to grasp anything like handlebars...or my toothbrush.

This weekend, the temperatures reached the mid-40's and I knew I only needed 17.5 miles to go over my mileage for the past two years combined, so I headed out for a ride between church and the children's program at church that evening.  I was able to complete 18.6 miles, bringing my year total to 1,111.95 miles.  That's crazy to think I rode over 1,110 miles in a single year!  That included two 100 mile rides, with one of those being the same weekend as another ride that I participated in.  That weekend, I completed 164 miles between Saturday and Sunday.  I never thought I'd complete that kind of mileage in a single weekend!

I'm looking forward to more riding next year and am trying to decide what goals to set for myself.  I'm also starting to consider other gear I may need.  Below is a list of items I'm starting to think I may need:

  • Toe covers to help keep the cold off of my toes while riding in cooler weather.
  • Winter long legged bibs for warmth in cooler weather.
  • Long-fingered gloves.
  • Rear rack with pannier bags for longer rides or commuting to work.
  • Professional bike fitting to make sure I'm on the bike right.  My back and shoulders always bother me after a ride, so I think there may be some adjustments needed.
  • RoadID. I have a ID on my shoe that my wife got me, but I really like the design of the RoadID bracelets.
  • CO2 tire inflater.  Had to hand pump up a tire early this year and that was not fun along the side the road.
  • Faster bike?  Or is it that I need to pedal harder or faster?
  • Heart rate monitor bracelet (no chest strap!).
A few products I've come to love this year:

  • NUUN Energy
  • Rip Van Wafel
  • Honey Stinger Waffles
  • Gu Energy Gels (Vanilla and Root Beer)
  • Several different energy bars and protein bars
Well, I guess that's all I really wanted to share.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don't write again before 2015!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Am I Losing My Mind?

I was just looking at my calendar and realized I've registered for two organized cycling events this weekend, both offering a 100 mile option.  In one sense, that means I have two shots at getting my second century ride (goal) in for this yer.  In another sense, I obviously wasn't looking at the calendar when I registered for a second event on the same weekend.  Google Calendar week view goes Sunday to Saturday, so I didn't even notice that Saturday and Sunday are both scheduled rides.

Saturday, I'm registered to ride in the 2014 Black Swamp Bike Tour in Bowling Green, Ohio.  This ride offers routes of 25, 50, 63, 75, & 100 miles.  My goal is to complete the 100 mile route to complete my goal for this year of riding 800 miles and two centuries.  Mind you, I'm only 7 miles away from the 800 mile goal.  If the weather cooperates, I'll to the 100 on Saturday and consider a shorter ride on Sunday.  I don't think my body will recover quick enough to attempt two centuries in one weekend.

Sunday, I'm registered to ride in the Hancock Horizontal Hundred in Findlay, Ohio.  This ride offers routes of 20, 32, 62, and 100 miles.  If the wind on Saturday cooperates and I'm able to complete 100 miles, I will probably attempt the 32 or 62 on Sunday.  This would be the most mileage I've completed in a single weekend no matter which route I choose.  My previous one-weekend total is 114 miles, I think.

Do you ever schedule back to back rides or races?  How did it go?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Block Island Organics Sunscreen

Being a cyclist that puts in a lot of time on my bike, I am forced to think about sun exposure and the health of my skin.  I make sure to apply sunscreen any time I'm going to be on my bike longer than my 15 minute commute to work.  This also goes for our whole family.  My wife makes sure the kids are well protected every time they are outdoors and she has started trying natural, organic, and non-toxic products for our kids!

Block Island Organics contacted me recently to try their Baby Block SPF 30 sunscreen.  I figured this would be a great product for our children.  I use a much higher SPF when I'm on my bike, although I've read a lot lately stating that anything over SPF 50 may not really provide added protection.

We used the Block Island Organics Baby Block SPF 30 on our sons when we went to the County Fair.  We spent three and a half hours going in and out of buildings and animal barns.  The Baby Block sunscreen did a great job at protecting our kids from sunburn.  My wife mentioned that it was not as thick as other sunscreens we've used in the past, but that it was actually a lot easier to rub into the skin than others.

Block Island Organics Baby Block SPF 30 is a zinc only organic, lightweight, non-nano and mineral based sunscreen safe for over 6 months and for sensitive skin types.  It is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen, which is something I look for in all sunscreen I use.  Additionally, it is water resistant for 40 minutes.  I was also glad it is paraben free because when I was much younger, I had a mild allergy to products containing parabens.  And for those that watch closely, this is made in the USA.  Block Island Organics also offers adult sunscreens and sunburn relief products, so be sure to check them out!

If you'd like to try Block Island Organics, you can save 20% on any order before 9/5/2014 using my discount code: matts. This discount is not good with any other discounts or offers.