Step exam


3rd black: End of the year! Time to kick the training up a notch.

I cannot wait!


I bike to work

I started a new blog on wordpress. ibiketowork.wordpress.com. I always felt I was misusing my kenpo blog. Now I can refocus both as they should be. This is my Kenpo training log, wordpress is my personal attempt to help change the world.

"I feel that people are panicking about the oil crisis. My goal is to show everyone that there is no reason to fear, that there are alternatives. If more people cycle to work, more people will notice and follow. Eventually cities will be forced to make more bike paths, to beef up their public transportation, to encourage alternative transportation. When people stop using so much oil they can kick the dependency, they can regain control.

I believe I can change the world with a bicycle.

I’ll meet you on the road, the road to a better world."
Here it is, folks. my quest to get America back in shape, to screw the oil companies, and save the world. Wish me luck.



I'm taking a brief intermission from my bike (my legs thank me) while practicing for my step exam at the karate studio. Mostly this is due to watching Millie in Manchester. So now I'm 20 miles from work and not quite ready to cycle an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I'm certainly not ready to do 25 miles there and back (which would allow me to ride a safer route), that's an hour and a half. While an hour and a half commute doesn't actually sound that bad on a bike, remember I have to be signed in at work, in nice (read: not sweaty) clothes at 7am. Please include 30 min to shower and dress after the ride in you math. That's right, leaving at 5am, pedaling like crazy for 25 miles... morning and night. Do you have time for 3 hours of exercise a DAY?

I would actually try that tomorrow except for the step exam Thursday and Sunday's fifty. Sure I love a challenge, sure I'd love to do that ride, but not this week. One day, I'll do that ride 5 days a week. I'm not trying to be crazy. I'm extending my possible commute distance.

Speaking of crazy, here's an open letter to motorists from Crazy Biker Chick. It's not full of spite as I expected, it's actually a good read. Here's an excerpt:

I ride my bike year-round as my main means of transportation. My bike is not a toy. I don't aspire to be Lance Armstrong*. I'm not too poor to afford a car. I choose a bicycle because its healthier for me, and healthier for the city I live in. I'm not riding in the middle of the lane to slow you down or thwart you. I'm just trying to do the same thing as you - get from point A to point B safely.

Time for bed. I will post some links to other cool cycling blogs tomorrow, if I can find the time.
*she may not want to be Lance, but I do! =)


I did it.

The hills were preposterous. I nearly made another max speed record on a 3 mile hill. I'm exhausted and so happy! I did it!

3:05:15, 51.8mi
82ºF, Odo 1547mi
avg 16.7mph, max 44.9mph

Here's a map of the route I took. 25 miles out, 25 back.

View Larger Map

First break: 25mi. water
Second break: 41mi pbj + water
Quick stop: 45mi cool off at Glen Lake

I'm glad I took the wrong turn that lead me past Glen Lake (below). Sure it lengthened my ride by nearly 2 miles, but dumping cold water over my head, clearing off all that sweat, was so worth it.

View Larger Map

Here is an elevation map:

Min 253ft, Max 902ft, Ascent: 1512ft

My legs are still killing me from this awesome ride. I might just do the same ride again next week, this was beautiful.


First ride in a few days

I plan to do another 50 after cello practice, but this morning's 15 was a good refresher. It was hilly to the point of lowest gear (for half a mile. ouch!) Said nightmare hill was not smooth enough nor wide enough nor lit enough to really break out the speed, else I'd have a new record of 50 something mph. I was coasting with intermittent breaking at 33mph.

51:35, 14.6mi
81ºF, 1485mi
avg 17.0mph, max 39.3mph

Now I'm off to cello practice, then maybe a bite to eat before a fifty miler.

It didn't happen, but 6am tomorrow I have a date with a long long ride. yes!



I'm back.


Bike Log, day 64

Comedy of errors
This morning was a pain in my bottom. It started when I picked up the fender and it fell apart in my hands. Fortunately, the two pieces snap together at the hinge. After about 5 minutes I got them together again--Backwards. Once I finally managed to wedge them apart I dropped the small piece into the sink, and nearly into the disposal. When I knelt to attach the fender to my bike, I managed to scrape my knee into the top sprocket. At least it's not bleeding. After that I had a dozen or so other negative things happen that I do not care to elaborate on, because I try to stay positive. I will mention this, though: If you're driving in fog, put your headlights on. Not only so you can see, but so other people can see you. Also: SLOW DOWN!

After that I just didn't care about setting any records this morning. I stayed up late reading about bike races and group rides--none of which are anywhere near me--and how 20-25 is the max for group rides. This is the only good news I read last night. Everything else was "on flat rides, big riders fare well in short sprints then draft the rest of the time" (conversely: "Small and lean riders fare well in the hills." That's me, small and lean) and 25 sprinting to 35 and beyond! I'm certain I'll be able to hold a pace of 25mph soon, but I can't imagine sprinting to 35 unless it's downhill or if I'm drafting. Not that this is going to prevent me from competing. I'm no slouch, but I also know I need to improve before I'm going to win any awards. That's fine, I love a challenge. Honestly I'm hoping to get in, get better, then win some money.

22:00, 6.5mi
66ºF, Odo 1453mi
avg 17.7mph, max 28.8mph

Lots of repetition in those numbers... 22, 66, 77, 88. Interesting.

The ride home was beautiful. The air was cool, the sun was warm. I felt euphoric on my way out of the office. I tried keeping relaxed early on then powering at the end but it didn't really work:

19:36, 6.5mi
81ºF, Odo 1459mi
avg 20.0mph, max 27.8mph

Last night, walking to the grocery store, I noticed a tree about a block from my house. Now, I've passed this tree more than twice a day for over a year and never even noticed it before. I'm no photographer, but I can definitely see a beautiful photo here. I was quite surprised when I saw it, and how strikingly beautiful it is, because I usually notice such things.


Bike Log, day 63

The alarm clock failed to go off this morning, so I woke up with only 15 minutes to prepare for the ride in. Fortunately, now that I've reduced my ride time so much, I can actually leave 10 minutes late and still sign in on time. Unfortunately I forgot something I really need: a towel. I had to use my shirt (eew).
I powered into the office in the top sprocket. My legs are still slightly tired from yesterday (and with good reason!) but I still made good time.

19:36, 6.5mi
72ºF, Odo 1440mi
avg 19.9mph, max 29.7mph

FYI, if you cycle in the Nashua area and are looking to do some 50-75 mile weekend rides, let me know!

The afternoon ride was unpleasant for two reasons. I do not own waterproof sunglasses, and left my fender at home. Scrunching my eyebrows protected my eyes pretty well but made it difficult to stay positive. And then there's the fender. Having my butt crack sprayed with water for 6.5 miles turns out to be a real downer on my mood.

Other than that I was fine!
19:41, 6.5mi
77ºF, Odo 1446mi
avg 20.0mph, max 28.4mph


Epic Sunday

I finally rode a fifty. 50 miles. Like my 18 mile route last Sunday, I started by writing down the street names and drawing a map. Like last Saturday's ride, I got lost. Except today I got lost twice, found and rode on dirt roads (Bumpy!), but ultimately had a great ride. I took two major breaks, at 30 miles and at 40 miles, but stopped for directions and turned around more often than I care to count. I did, however, have the greatest break in the world: soaking in a river. Talk about refreshing! I ran out of water 10 miles from home. When I arrived at my door, I had 49.3 miles. So I rode around the block. yay 50!

2:57:28, 50.0mi
90ºF, Odo 1410mi
avg 16.9mph, max 47.8mph

New max speed!

My legs ached (specifically on stairs) for hours until I practiced Kenpo. There's a strange concept. They hurt *until* I worked them again. Now they feel fine. I have no explanation for this.

Also it seems I've developed an intense tan on my back, which outlines the camelbak I wore. Then I went to see a movie...

Dark Knight

Wow. There really isn't anything else to say but Go See It!

After the movie, sushi, and a nap, I rode home. Gu 2.0 gel, and the nap, helped tremendously.

1:02:34, 20.9mi
75ºF, Odo 1431mi
avg 20.0mph, max 33.1mph

Now I am completely physically exhausted and going to bed early.


Make up work

For taking 2 days off my [wheels], I needed to do some make up work--with interest. Today is the day, now that I'm feeling better (*more on my doctor's visit below).

1:05:33, 21.1mi
94ºF, Odo 1336mi
avg 19.2mph, max 33.4mph
*carrying 13lbs on my back. It felt like 30. =)

This started slightly after 8:30 this morning (I tried to leave earlier, but I couldn't seem to get out the door). I missed karate, I simply didn't make it up here in time.

After a couple of hours and a good sandwich, I headed out again, this time up rt 13. I'm not impressed with the time or the average speed, but it IS an impressive second 20 miles in a day:

1:06:04, 20.1mi
100ºF, Odo 1356mi
avg 18.2mph, max 39.7mph

I plan to ride more today.

[Next Day]
I did not manage to ride any more yesterday, as much as I wanted to add another 20+ miles to my day, it just didn't fit in with the party. I had to help carry the cake. Best. Cake. Ever. I personally would have done without the coconut, but it wasn't MY birthday =) Also, I watched the end of Avatar, with my aunt and cousin. SO AWESOME!

*My doctor's visit went better than I expected. I went regarding some really slight pains in my chest and the hair loss. There are heart problems on both sides of my family, and chest pain is the single most common medical problem NOT reported to a doctor, so I brought it up. I was also concerned that the spot of missing hair was indicative of a more serious problem, like some nutritional deficiency. The doctor gave me good news: You're healthy. The chest pains are probably from being punched repeatedly at karate. The hair thing will go away in 6 months on it's own and has nothing to do with anything. Regular exercise and eating well keep me at a low Body Mass Index. My heart doesn't have to work as hard, since there's less to carry. Yay!


No bike Friday

I didn't work yesterday due to being sick. Today I didn't ride because I still didn't feel excellent and also had a doctor's appointment after work. I felt ok for Kenpo, though, and oh was it an eye opener. We learned some amazingly lethal knife disarms.
Tomorrow I'm planning to ride everywhere, hoping to drop a 50 miler in, in between 20 mile trips to Manchester and back. I'll be riding home late though, so I'll have plenty of time to recuperate.


Bike Log, day 62

This morning's fight was just to get out of bed.

20:57, 6.5mi
59ºF, Odo 1308mi
avg 18.5mph, max 30.8mph

It would seem I'm having another plateau week(start at the bottom). Hopefully next weeks results will follow that trend and I'll start breaking records by 2 full minutes again.

[Ride home]

19:41, 6.5mi
91ºF, Odo 1315mi
avg 19.8mph, max 31.6mph


Bike Log, day 61

It would have been an uneventful morning but for my crazy headlight, which quite suddenly stopped working: it would not turn on. Without stopping the bike I played with the button and the lens and though it would turn on sometimes briefly, it would not stay on. So after arriving at work I opened it up and removed the batteries. There was rust on the electrical connections, which I scraped off with a fingernail. I replaced the batteries, lens, and now it works fine. Yay!

It was cold enough to warrant wearing a shirt on the ride in, I brought the bigger backpack, and I was feeling tired, so I had little expectation for greatness.

20:49, 6.5mi
63ºF, Odo 1295mi
avg 18.7mph, max 29.0mph

Last night after riding home I thought I'd take a nap. Five hours later, at 10pm, I woke up and made dinner. That shows you what kind of weekend I had =)

[after work]
The ride home was similarly slow:

20:01, 6.4mi
90ºF, 1302mi
avg 19.2mph, max 40.6mph

It's not a bad time, in the grand scheme of things, I just felt I should have done better. I just didn't have any energy. Maybe riding during lunch was a bad idea.


Bike Log, day 60

This morning I battled more than just the wind. I had a strong desire to stay in bed, but pushed on. There was a mental roadblock to overcome, also. I thought just because it's Monday I'm out of practice I'll have a slower time.
But that's Not True! I cycled both weekend days!
My time shows I didn't let this slow me down:

19:51, 6.5mi
74ºF, Odo 1282mi
avg 19.6mph, max 29.1mph

I broke 20 again! Yay!
Unfortunately I forgot my bike lock at home, so I took the wheels off and stuck it under my desk. If it was just 6 inches shorter I could make invisible.

Quote of the day: Lao-tzu
Limiting is what results in clarity; minimizing is what results in attainment. Therefore when the external is controlled by the center, nothing is neglected. If you can attain the center, then you can govern the external.

After work I tried not to push too hard at the start, instead really working on the hills, and made excellent time!

18:44, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1288
avg 20.8mph, max 32.4mph

*note: oddly, my cyclometer only tracked 5.8 miles and gave me an average speed of 18.5mph. Hopefully this does not indicate some type of failure in the cyclometer and is just a fluke.


Sunday Ride

Yesterday I discovered some wonderful hills while getting lost. Today I drew a map and left it at home. Simply drawing the map on paper etched it into my mind. I knew it wouldn't be as long a ride as yesterday, I didn't do all the hills due to time restrictions: I wanted to get home at noon, and I did.

58:16, 18.4mi
91ºF, Odo 1276mi
avg 19.0mph, max 37.7mph

Now for a shower, shave, and sushi!


Weekend Warrior

I was hoping for 50+ miles, but didn't have the routed mapped out correctly. Oh well

1:23:07, 25.2mi
84ºF, Odo 1257mi
avg 18.2mph, max 40.0mph

the average speed stinks for all the times I slowed down to figure out where I was. There is nothing like not knowing where you're going to take the edge off your climb.

Now, to party!


See Spot

Karate was good, as usual. However, something is missing.

Can you see what I lost? Here's a picture of me looking for it:

Note: I probably lost this grappling, there was a "grab hair" part. I never even noticed what happened.


No bike log today due to driving breakfast into the office. I was hoping to make today "day 60" but as I do not have a bike rack, I still cannot carry orientation sensitive foods to work.


Bike Log, day 59

I had stuff to carry today, cereal and cookies and such, so I knew I wouldn't be breaking any records, but I still tried anyway.

19:18, 6.5mi
70ºF, Odo 1225mi
avg 20.3mph, max 28.0mph

Excellent time, awesome average speed!

Home again: another really good ride:

18:22, 6.5mi
88ºF, Odo 1232mi
avg 21.3mph, max 38.1mph

21.3mph average speed! Nice!


Bike Log, day 58: No Sweat

My goal this morning was to get into the office without sweating. Success!

23:25, 6.5mi
74ºF, Odo 1208mi
avg 16.7mph, max 28.7mph

Not too long ago I was struggling to get to 17mph in the morning. Now I can do it without sweating, literally! Yay improvement!

The ride home was much warmer and I raced a bit at the beginning, so I did sweat.... a little.

22:15, 6.5mi
88ºF, Odo 1215mi
avg 17.6mph, max 30.5mph

Not bad for -no effort-
well.... I did race a car out of work, and won! His car was obviously at peak torque, the whole body shifted as the car surged forward.... slower than me. (the driver was very impressed)

On the other hand, getting out late today was cool because I saw a lady cyclist on the way out. I shouted "Nice to know I'm not the only one!" and she smiled. Since I wasn't wearing much more than spandex over my nether region, I decided stopping to chat would be .... awkward. Hindsight says "you fool! you should have stopped to talk. duh" Probably I was still in the "race home!" mindset, which I only thought my way out of 5 minutes later.

Hmm, time for the evening thunderstorm. Also, since I didn't work out on the bike, it's PUSHUP TIME, no excuses.


Bike Log, day 57: Break a twenty?

This morning I was tired and thought I'd take a relaxing, slow ride in. I only had a banana for breakfast; sleep was elusive due to the neighbor's dogs barking at each other all morning; expectations were low.

Once I clipped into the bike, however, everything changed. Suddenly I was keeping to the top sprocket and powering my way up hills to maintain momentum. I was gaining speed on flat sections and even slight uphill sections. When I reached the long gradual uphill section of Rt 3 I knew my time was good.

Heartbreak hill put me in the second sprocket, but I knew that meant defeat unless I kept pushing hard. No relaxing here. No "I'll take this slow." I could feel the desire to rest welling up inside but I did not give in. Nothing but power. I did it, I set a new record! My old time was 20m14s, average speed 19.4mph. Here's the new time:

18:41, 6.5mi
70ºF, Odo 1195mi
avg 21.0mph, max 30.5mph

I saw my time at the end, how close I was, and it drove me on. Phew! What a race!

[After work]
Made excellent time on the way home, too:

18:51, 6.5mi
90ºF, Odo 1202mi
avg 20.8mph, max 31.3mph

I was trying to match 17:59, but instead I matched the morning ride! This slowness was likely due to waiting for traffic. I was only 1mph slower than my record (21.8mph).
1202 miles! Not a bad day at all =)


Bike Log, day 56: no time

Woops. the cyclometer was not seated correctly so I didn't get any numbers this morning.

I was carrying half a gallon of milk and 24oz of water, among other things. Slowness can be taken for granted. On the other hand, I pushed from the start, even on flat sections. It felt like a good ride.

6.5mi, 70F. probably around 20 minutes

[after work]

Again, I pushed from the start. I also managed to keep the bike in the highest sprocket for 99% of the ride!

19:09, 6.5mi
90ºF, Odo 1184mi
avg 20.5mph, max 31.5mph

not bad -at all-



My only goal for this weekend was to do a single 40+ mile route. I managed to do much else, including a 6.6 mile route.... which was only so short due to a flat tire. I managed to ride the bike home, though a new leak surfaced on the way. (Actually there were two flats. the first flat was two holes, and large ones; the second slow leak was also two holes, though tiny. I believe these were all caused by creases when installing the tube. I will not make that mistake again)
I also managed to get emotional at a wedding reception, move a dresser, and watch the men's final at Wimbledon. It was EPIC!

Now, listening to Bocelli and Brightman, I retire.




Weights are measured each hand.

50 pushups, 50 crunches (cycling legs)
20 reps each:
15lbs side
15lbs front
30lbs triceps (both hands together)
5 supinated grip chin-ups (thumbs toward each other), 5 sternum chin-ups (pinkies toward each other)
25lbs biceps (10 reps)
short breather to update blog, now for more pushups, crunches:
10 one handed pushups (each hand)
20 diamond pushups
20 regular pushups (total: 100 pushups)
75 side crunches (each side; I wasn't feeling the workout at 50, so I kept going. ouch)
20lbs biceps (10 reps)
50lbs bent-over row, 10 reps each hand.
15lbs bent over flys. (10 reps; I need work here..... updated blog then added another 10 reps)

now to cycle to the grocery store for food, then out for a cruise. I'd like to put 20 miles in today, but maybe I should conserve for tomorrow's epic ride I'm planning. I'm planning to do at least 50 miles, but I'm hoping for 80 or more.

[The pics show my shoulder work side and front, and the triceps lift]

*just a healthy reminder, I'm not doing this to get buff or become super strong. I'm not expecting visual results. This is just for endurance.


Bike Log, day 55

I really relaxed this morning and didn't push too hard. These results are excellent for such little effort!

20:49, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1154mi
avg 18.8mph, max 31.3mph

I will finish my storm story later... Does our hero survive?! Find out next time....

[After work]
Again, I took it easy.

20:40, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1161mi
avg 19.0mph, max 37.2mph

There was a time not so long ago when a 19.0mph average speed meant I'd broken a record. I could go on about 37.2mph max speed, too. Sorry for taking so long to finish my storm blog entry. On the other hand, my phone is working again!


Bike Log, day 54: The Storm

Today's plan is to drop everything at work and cycle 25+ miles to dinner, then cycle 20+ miles home, without a shirt. *Reminder to self: hydrate or die.

20:32, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1123mi
avg 19.0mph, max 32.1mph

First, 20:32 is awesome!
Second, 32.1mph max speed into the office is pretty good too!
Last, my total mileage is the Fibonacci sequence!

[Ride home]
1:15:22, 24.6mi
72ºF, Odo 1147mi
avg 19.6mph, max 33.5mph
*thunder storm!

I beat my previous record, 1h20m13s by 5 minutes! Wow!
As I noted above, there was a bit of bad weather. Now, I've always loved the rain, ever since I was a baby. Today's rain was no different, I loved it! I began to worry about my iPod, but then I tucked it up as far into my armpit as I could and figured it would survive. Really, rain never hurt anybody (floods are different); Lightning, on the other hand, does.
I was about 7 miles from my destination when the storm began throwing lightning down, but I could barely hear it at first. The lightning was far ahead and to the left. Unfortunately the road also kept edging left. Eventually the lightning was coming down on both sides, but still far ahead. Then the rain started, slowly, with sparse, heavy droplets, and actually stayed that way for quite some time. I could smell the ozone, it was cool and refreshing. The rain gradually grew more intense until about 5 miles from home.
Then I entered the heart of the storm and all hell broke loose.

There was a good bit of rain coming down, the droplets were still huge but there were significantly more of them. Lightning was all around me now, I even saw a bolt in my tiny rear-view mirror(!), but then I saw it: a wall of water.
The rain I was in fell from one side, the left. The rain ahead of me fell in all different directions. I don't mind being wet, as I stated above, and it's a good thing because this was a completely different kind of wet. Uphill became 'upstream' and downhill became a game of trying to remember where the giant potholes are. As I pedaled downhill, my wheel cut a deep path in the water and splashed my feet. I am flying. It should not be possible to be doing 24mph in a flood-warning downpour, but I did. At the bottom, the puddle (read: lake) was so deep my feet were submerged as I pedaled. Slosh Slosh Slosh.
Uphill on the sidewalk around a blind corner, two kids surprised to see me but still young enough to think I'm cool.
I can't see. The rain has long since rendered my sunglasses useless. 2 miles to go--JUST GO.
Up the steepest hill on my route, one block of sheer terror. I didn't even use the smallest gear, I just powered up it. I am propelled by a primal fear, driven to give it my all. The storm makes me crazy and I love it. Me verses nature at top speed, full tilt, in a knock down-drag out thunderstorm. We're having record amounts of rainfall, it's 20 minutes of catastrophe. 1 mile KEEP GOING. I'm cutting across S curve streams in a straight road. I can't turn sharply or the bike will slide out and dump me in a giant puddle, unceremoniously shedding skin from my exposed arms, legs, and ribs. I take it slow at 22mph and round the final block to shelter. I'm up the stairs and in the entry way, fitting my bike on a diagonal so the door will close. I've stripped off the ipod and removed it from the soaking armband. My headlight and cyclometer are unaffected, my rear light is going crazy. The doorbell only makes a dog inside bark more.

I wait and make a bit of a puddle. Maybe nobody is home, maybe I should ride the 5 miles to moms while the storm lightens up? It doesn't seem so bad now. I knocked and my Aunt let me in. Slosh slosh slosh. I don't have much to shed but what I do is WET.

My phone is done, my iPod is fine, my cyclometer is fine. After leaving my rear light out (and pulling the batteries, since it would not turn off) it is fine. I sat wrapped in a beach towel for 20 minutes before I realized I was getting cold. I got a t-shirt and an awesome dinner and a ride home. What a day! =)


Bike Log, day 53

I knew I wouldn't be breaking any records this morning when I noticed it was 62ºF, which meant I had to wear a shirt. Sure, it was underarmor, but it was still a defeat.

21:04, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 1110mi
avg 18.5mph, max 30.1mph

I'm watching that to-work average speed drop slowly.... I was really hoping to cycle in with no shirt today and go for a record. Oh well.

[After work]
Another non-record, but it was still a very good ride home

19:04, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 1116mi
avg 20.5mph, max 39.7mph

*39.7mph is -awesome- and certainly a track record for unassisted top speed.
*I passed 1111 miles on my bike today. I almost wanted to stop and hold up a big sign. "1111 miles on my bike, 0 gallons of gas"