Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking a Break

As you may have guessed, I'm taking a break from the blog for a while.  I won't abandon it entirely but there's too much other stuff going on right now.  See you again soon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 71
Average calories per day: 2097
Pounds lost: 1.5
Current weight: 241 lbs (109.5 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 50 lbs.
Next big ride: to Providence Zen Center 10/16

Yay!  I broke 50 lbs this week!  This is my first week off the cleanse and my first week ramping my mileage back up to normal.  I found that my body really missed the shakes as yucky as they are and that I was very hungry this week.  As the week has gone on, though, I feel like my body has settled down a little bit.  I'm adjusting to the different foods that I either can't eat or shouldn't eat as often.  To that end, I roasted my first turkey yesterday.  It came our pretty well, though the breast meat is dry. 
Let me tell you, I find a whole turkey to be a bit daunting both to cook and deal with afterwards.  There's just so much of it!  I have a plan, though.  I'm going to take all the meat off.  I'm going to make soup with the carcass and probably use the white meat in the soup since it is so dry.  I'll freeze the dark meat and the soup in measured portions so that I just have to pull out servings to thaw when I need them.  It should last me a good long while!
So, here I go off into the brave new world of eating according to my food allergies.  I'll be interested to see how my body reacts over time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hub On Wheels

We had a great time at the Hub on Wheels this year.  This is our third year riding a tandem at this event.  We did the 10 mile route the first year, the 30 mile route last year and the 50 mile route this year.  We were a bit confused at the beginning, though, because it wasn't raining.  This is our first year with decent weather and we thought we might have been at the wrong ride ;-)
We got there very early.  Stef had not received her registration packet in the mail so we wanted to get there before the lines got too long.  We've found that it's much easier to ride over there in the morning rather than make Jonathan drive us.  We had ridden the tandem down here last Thursday.  We left here while it was still dark and got to see the sun come up as we crossed the Longfellow Bridge.  I love being on a bike as the sun comes up.
We got there in plenty of time and actually had some time to hang out before the ride.  I, fortunately, had brought my knitting so I got to combine my two favorite pastimes!  I have no idea why I look so cranky.  I was having a lovely time!
The ride got started with a wonderful trip up Storrow Drive and back.  They close it for this ride once a year and I wish they'd make it a bikeway permanently!  It is so much fun to ride there.
This is Stef at the first rest stop.  I took a picture of her eating Fig Newtons.  She never eats this kind of thing except on bike trips.  I just wanted to have photographic evidence.
About six miles from the end, we managed to get a rear flat.  We were riding on a section of the Emerald Necklace that is kind of like a double-wide side walk and I think the rear tire got caught in the one of the ruts as we were going around the corner.  One of the things I usually like about this ride is that it's a bit of an obstacle course.  It really challenges my bike handling skills.  The downside of it is that it's a bit of an obstacle course and we end up riding over a bunch of stuff that can give us a flat.  We managed to change the flat with just a little help from a passing biker.  There are three things that I've learned from this.  The first is that the tandem is just going to get flats on long rides and I'm going to have to get used to it.  The second is that I'm never buying tubes with tiny, short valves since it's really hard to pump them up from flat  The third is that our pump sucks and I'm getting us a new one.

All in all, though, the ride was a great time and we'll look forward to doing it again next year!
BTW, this is us last year, slighty soggy and me 30 lbs heavier.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 52
Average calories per day: 2002
Pounds lost: 0
Current weight: 242.5 lbs (110.2 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 48.5 lbs.

I'm done with the cleanse now.  On the one hand, I'm pretty irked that I haven't lost anymore weight in the last two weeks.  On the other, I'm just glad that the 5.5 pounds I gained from celebrating my birthday has come back off.  I met with the nurse practitioner yesterday and we're changing my diet back to pretty much what it was before (protien, fruits and vegetables).  I got my first look at the allergy testing and I'm ragingly allergic to all dairy and, oddly, soy.  I'm moderately allergic to kidney beans, cherries (sad face), cilantro (seriously?) and safflower oil.  I have low reactions to a whole laundry list of things including a lot of meats and all gluten bearing grains.  The nurse said that I can eat the low reaction foods.  I just have to not eat them daily.  I'm leary of the grains, though.  I showed up as mildly allergic to them even though I haven't been eating them for months.  Also, the whole I ate a piece of birthday cake and gained five pounds thing is probably a strong indicator that I shouldn't eat wheat.
I'm going to spend some time rethinking my diet and trying to work out how I can cut down on the low reaction foods, many of which I eat daily.  I'm also going to start ramping up my biking again.  Stef and I are riding the Hub on Wheels 50 mile route on Sunday and really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


To celebrate my birthday, I gave myself a little over a day off from most of my dietary restrictions.  I didn't go entirely off the wagon.  For example, there was no eating Nutella with a spoon but I did eat a whole lot of sushi, some cake, a few french fries and possibly a brownie sundae.  Just for shits and giggles, I decided to weigh myself this morning to see what the damage was.  My weight was up five and a half pounds!  I'm back on program today as planned and remembering why I don't eat a lot of that stuff on a regular basis.  It is good to remind myself how I used to feel all the time and why I made changes.  Meanwhile, my hands are stiff and my pants are tight.  Hopefully, the puffiness will go down in a day or two.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Since the cleanse, my average speed cycling seems to have jumped!  Stef and I now consider 13.5 mph average for a ride to be a bit on the slow side.  Last week, we rode 15 miles at an average of just over 15.5 mph.  My city riding speed has jumped from just over 10 mph to 11+.  It's pretty exciting!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 50 Average calories per day: 1715
Pounds lost: 0
Current weight: 242.5 lbs (110.2 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 48.5 lbs.

I've been doing the second week of the cleanse where I get to eat actual food and I've been feeling a lot better.  I've even been adding back some riding, though I'm going to have to take it easy until I can eat more.  The 1600-1700 calories per day on this program aren't enough to support much riding.
I'm not surprised that I didn't lose weight this week.  I've lost 11 pounds in the last five weeks and my body was due for a week off.  We'll see what happens next week.  If I don't lose weight by next week, then there will be whining.  Meanwhile, I have another week and a half of the cleanse.  I'll be interested to see how I feel at the end of it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 47
Average calories per day: 1862 (I ate a lot over the weekend)
Pounds lost: 3
Current weight: 242.5 lbs (110.2 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 48.5 lbs.

Phase 1 of the cleanse is over and I'm really glad.  I'm dying to eat food I can chew!  I'm also looking forward to my brain coming back on line.  I've been having some chicken every day so that there wouldn't be dizziness and falling down but now I get to add rice cakes, fruit and vegetables to my shakes and chicken.  I can't even tell you how excited I am about crunching on a rice cake. 
I do three days of a combination of shakes and food and then two weeks of fewer shakes and more food.  All the foods I'll be eating are ones that have a reputation for being non-allergic.  Hopefully, my bloodwork will be back soon and we can figure out what I actually should be eating.
I hope I'm less dopey and uncoordinated today.  I was planning to ride my bike over to the Common Cod Fiber Guild meeting last night but had spent the day knocking over so much stuff and forgetting things (like how to spell) that I thought it would be a better idea to stay home :-(

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today, I feel better.  Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Tuesday and yesterday were tough but I felt the love. 
I'm still a little loopy which is why I haven't replied to any email.  Hoping to get to it tomorrow.  The only way I can describe how I feel is lighter.  Not lighter like I weigh less but like something that was pushing down on me has lifted.  I still had the afternoon sleepies but nothing like the past couple of days.  I'm also not as hungry which is nice.  I have one more day of having mostly shakes to eat then Saturday I can start eating real food again.  I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I'm in the second day of the detox and I'm dragging.  The doctor told me that my symptoms would increase for the first few days of this and he wasn't kidding.  I'm trying to clean my room and it is pathetic.  I've cleaned less the 20% of the room and I need a nap!  I wouldn't bother but the exterminator is coming Friday (found mouse dropping in my recycling last week, eww!) and I have to tidy up some.  I guess I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other for the next couple of days and then I'll feel better.  At least, I hope so!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cycling the North Shore

Stef and I had a great ride today.  We decided to join the North Shore Cyclists' Sunday ride.  We took the 45 mile route which was just beautiful.  We didn't get to spend much time with the NS Cyclists since we are slow and got dropped pretty quickly.  The time we did spend with them was very pleasant and we felt very welcome.  The group is nice, organized and had a very good cue sheet which was easy to follow.  This was good since we spent most of the ride on our own.  This was actually fine with me.  Riding in a group on a tandem can be tricky.  We go uphill slower and downhill so much faster than everyone else that riding with a group that is going an equivelant average speed ends up being a fairly nerve wracking game of leap frog.  We also take turns wider and take longer to get going from a stop.  I would like to increase our group riding skills as time goes on but it will mean increasing our average speed quite a bit.  This is happening for us, but slowly.  Used to be we averaged 11-12 mph on a regular ride.  Our last three rides, though, we've been averaging 13.5+.  This is exciting stuff, especially considering how crummy I've been feeling.  Riding has been getting to be the only time I feel really good lately.  It just sucks the life out of me for the rest of the time.  Hopefully, things will improve once I de-toxify.
I'll be really interested to see how next season shapes up.  Right now, I'm only ten pounds heavier than I was the year I did three centuries and rode my bike down here and back from where I was living in Maine (378 mile round trip done in four days).  I was also eighteen years younger but we won't talk about that.  So, if I can lose a bunch more weight over the winter, who knows what next season will bring.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I had a long visit with Dr. Rothfeld yesterday and it was very interesting.  I was all set to tell him how difficult and weird things have been since I saw him last except I didn't need to.  He pretty much told me.  He'd talked to the nurse practitioner I'd seen three weeks ago and knew that I was feeling fatigued, moody and ill and that my weight was zinging up and down for no apparent reason.  Why?  I have the type of body that is very bad at clearing toxins.  What has all the weight loss been doing?  Dumping toxins into my system.  He said that my body's default way of dealing with toxins, since I was a little kid, is to store them in fat rather than moving them out of my body.  This explains why I had been getting consistently more overweight as time went on.  It also explains why, when I have lost weight in the past, I feel crappier and crappier and hungrier and hungrier until I finally give up and start eating more.  I've always noticed that when I start eating more after dieteing for a while, I immediately feel better.  It is hard to feel like dieting is good for you when you feel like crap the whole time and only start to feel good when you go off the diet.
My weight fluctuating up and down is also a sign of flares of inflammation from all the toxicity.  I eat something that wouldn't usually set me off and suddenly I'm retaining five pounds of water.  After a couple of days, it lets up and my weight goes back down.  It is disheartening but not the result of anything I'm doing wrong which is an entirely new concept for me.
So, what do we do now?  Well, starting Tuesday, I'm going to go on a fairly drastic cleanse for a few days and then I'll slowly start to add back foods that are very non-allergenic.  Dr. Rothfeld is hoping it will clear out the existing toxins and, maybe, teach my body to clear them rather than consistently trying to put them back into fat.  First thing Tuesday morning, they are taking a bunch of blood for allergy testing so that when I go back on a normal diet, I can avoid foods that are going toxic in my body to begin with.  The cleanse is going to be fairly drastic for me, though not as drastic as a lot of cleanses I've heard about.  The hard part is that it's going to make all my symptoms worse in the short term before things start to get better.  I'll deal with it because I've got to break my body out of this cycle somehow.

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week:  100
Average calories per day: 1996
Pounds lost: 1
Current weight: 245.5 lbs (111.6 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 45.5 lbs.

I'm very surprised to have lost a pound considering the loop-da-loops my weight has been doing this week.  I was up over five pounds on Tuesday (more on that in the next post).  I'm not complaining, though.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

So Tired

I am so tired today.  I didn't start the day tired but then I rode almost 30 miles.  Now, I'm really tired and considering taking a nap on the couch even though the shop's open.
I do this to myself a lot.  I love riding so much that I use all my energy to ride and then other things I should be doing don't get done.  Have you seen my yard this summer?  Wild kingdom.  My kitchen and bedroom?  Getting ready to cut them off and throw them away.  I really need to find some balance between how much riding I do and how much time I spend doing other things.  I'm just so desperate to make the most of the summer while it lasts.  I can always clean in the winter, right?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I was meandering around the interwebs today and stumbled across this blog post and it just made me happy.  It is entitled Awesome and it is.  Just to warn you, though, the photo is probably not safe for work. 
Needless to say, I'll be following this guy's blog from now on.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 42 plus 30 minutes on the trainer
Average calories per day: 1792
Pounds lost: 3.5
Current weight: 246.5 lbs (112 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 44.5 lbs.

I haven't seen the south side of 250 in about five years and then only very briefly.  It is kind of a milestone for me because I use one of those old fashioned balance scales with the sliders.  I got to move the big weight over from 250 to 200, I slid the little weight back up to 46.5 and I got a start on a whole new 50 pounds.  I like it!
This is also the first week that I've actually felt like I look different.  I've felt smaller up until now but felt like I was essentially shaped the same as before.  Now, I actually feel like my shape is changing.  Losing weight is so weird because it can change how you look so drasticly.  I once had a friend ask me what it felt like to be fat and if, when I lost weight, I felt like I was losing part of myself.  So far, I've never missed weight I've lost.  I tend to go off diets simply because I'm so horribly tired of being hungry all the time.  I've always felt my weight was like a hot, heavy suit that I'm forced to wear and can't take off.  It pulls at me and drags at me and carrying it around makes me feel tired and slow and sweaty.  I don't miss the weight I've lost and I don't think I'll miss the rest when it's gone.
That said, I think there will be a lot of adjustment, should I lose all the weight and become what society views as normal.  I've never experienced what it's like to live life at a 'normal' weight.  I've been overweight since I was seven.  My mother put me on my first diet when I was eight.  My weight has impacted so many of my social interactions, it will be very interesting to observe any changes that occur as my weight gets lower.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finding the Love for the Trainer

Doesn't it figure that I get fancy new shoes and then it rains for four days?  I usually ride in the rain but I've been feeling like a wimp about the cold.  So, today I busted out my trainer, put the bike on it and went for a ride.  I had a pretty good work out.  I rode for half an hour (a huge amount of time for me on the trainer) and did four sprints.  I watched Giro d'Italia highlights on tv while I was riding and that helped pass the time.  I also wasn't as uncomfortable on the bike as I usually am when it is on the trainer.
I have been trying to find the love for riding on this trainer for years.  I really don't ride much in the winter.  I'm a complete wimp about the cold and it is also very hard to find any kind of serious plus-sized winter cycling gear.  Us fat chicks are a small enough market for summer gear.  For winter gear, the demand is so small that apparently the companies see no point in making it.  They make large sized men's gear but it never fits.  Companies assume a XXL man is 6'4", broad shouldered, narrow waisted and long armed.  That shape doesn't work at all for a short round woman.  I have a wonderful, warm, Gore-Tex rain jacket that is a men's XXL.  After losing 40 lbs, it swims on my shoulders, the sleeves hang down below my finger tips and it is still tight over my hips.  Don't even talk to me about rain pants.  I won't be able to get a pair of those until I'm what the industry considers to be a 'normal' size.
Well, I didn't mean for that to devolve into a big gear rant but that's my reality.  So, to solve this problem, I'm trying very hard to if not enjoy, at least get myself onto the trainer as the weather gets colder and I don't want to ride outdoors.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Yesterday, I splurged and got the new bike shoes.  Ho boy were they expensive and it wasn't the shoes that were the real problem but the pedals.  I have to get two sets because I have two bikes that I spend about equal amounts of time on.
This is my first time with road shoes and road cleats.  First of all, the fit of my new shoes is fantastic!  I was pretty sure I was going to have the hack off part of the strap because it would dig me in the ankle but if I have it a bit loose, it doesn't bother me.  This makes me very happy because the idea of buying $250 shoes and then immediately cutting them up makes me feel slightly ill.  The clips are a little harder to get in and out of.  This won't be such a problem on long rural rides but coming down Mass Ave stopping at stop lights, it was a bit of a pain.  Good practice, though.  Rustem also gave me the big talking to about doing a lot of walking in these shoes.  Apparently, if I want to do errands, I need to bring a set of flipflops with me since more than a tiny bit of walking in the cleats will ruin them.  For now, I'm going to look for a pair of packable, slip-on shoes that I can stuff in the back of my Camelbak and use if I'm running around the grocery store.  The good news is that since I'm getting two sets of pedals, I'm getting two sets of cleats.  When (not if) I ruin the first set, I can just change them out.  Also, replacement cleats aren't that expensive.  In the long run, I can see there being an errand bike (probably the one I'm riding now) with my old pedals and shoes and a fancy long distance bike with the new pedals and shoes.
I'm taking a long ride on Monday with Stef and our friend Kuen and I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that the new shoes don't make my toes go to sleep like the old ones did.  I'm really concerned about developing nerve damage in my feet, not to mention how inconvenient it is to have to unclip all the time to shake some life back into my toes.  I so hope the new shoes solve this probelm.  It is the whole reason I bought them.

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 41
Average calories per day: 1839
Pounds lost: 3.5
Current weight: 250 lbs (113.6 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 41 lbs.

The regroup seems to have worked but we're only a week in so we'll see what next week brings.  I actually feel like I'm retaining water today and the only new thing I added to my diet yesterday was some cherries.  So odd.
It's been an interesting week.  I cut way back on riding as you can see.  I didn't eat any fruit at all until Thursday when I had some raisins and then the cherries yesterday.  I've added another Metagenics drink for breakfast and am eating a lot of eggs to boost my protien as well as a suppliment to support my adrenal gland.  I'll make a list of them soon.  I also cut out yogurt completely.  It continues to make me sad that anything I really like turns into something I should never eat.  Guess what?  I loooove cherries.  Probably allergic to them too.
The good news is that my hunger is back to being trustworthy.  If I'm super hungery, it's actually because I should eat something and I've been far less hungry this week even though I've eaten a lot less.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Regroup

The last three weeks on this diet have been really bad.  I'm back to being hungry all the time as well as dragging around with no energy and bearly losing any weight. Nothing makes me more frustrated and downright mad than working hard, suffering through the hunger and not losing any weight. Add to that all the money I've been spending on suppliments, shots and doctor visits.  All of this is fine to deal with IF IT WORKS!  If it doesn't, I get royally pissed.  I've just been fuming the last few days.
So, today, having eaten without guilt for a day, I regroup.  I took my food log with me to see the nurse practitioner yesterday and we had a good long talk about it.  Apparently, I'm not eating enough protien.  Also, I'm eating too much fruit.  Two servings a day is too much fruit?  Apparently, so.  I told her that being summer in the yarn business, I couldn't afford to buy fancy, grass-fed beef to eat everyday so what was I supposed to do?  Her suggestion and it was a good one, was to eat eggs.  I'm also not eating enough vegetables and should be eating a bigger, protien heavy breakfast.  She suggested doing four days of an ultra low carb diet to get my weight loss started again and then continuing with the above suggestions, cutting out yogurt altogether (I knew it!) and getting a bunch of food allergy testing done the next time I see Dr.Rothfeld.  I'll give it a try (I'll give anything a try at this point) and see how it goes.
Also, the ice cream for dinner thing didn't really work out for me.  I was supposed to get up early and go for a ride with Stef this morning but felt so lousy I had to cancel.  The ice cream was good, though.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day Off

Today I'm taking a day off from my diet.  I've been feeling hungry, cranky and deprived for too long.  I've spent a glorious day eating whatever I want until I'm full.
Tomorrow, I'll be back on the wagon but today I'll be having ice cream for dinner.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Days

Some days dieting is made of suck.  Today is one of those days.
On the bright side, Stef is feeling much better.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Manners or the Lack Thereof

You've all heard me complain about the bike path.  Well, here I go again. 
Why is it so difficult for people to say "On your left" when they are passing??!!  Seriously!  It's not that hard!  Fancy bikes are really quiet and you can't hear people coming up behind you.  I swear, every person who passed me today (and there were a lot) didn't let me know they were there.  This is a safety issue and today was a prime example. 
One of the reasons the tandem works out so well for Stefanie and me is that, though Stef has everything it takes to be a good cyclist, she learned to ride as an adult and isn't super confident about steering.  One of her goals this summer has been to get out on a regular bike and build up her skills.  So, today was our big day to all go out on seperate bikes.  We were not out on the path five minutes when some idiot passed Stef real close without warning her, startled her and she crashed.  Fortunately, she knows how to fall and though she will have some really spectacular bruises and road rash, she didn't break anything. 
So, Stefanie gets to spend the day snuggled up to ice packs and eating Motrin all because some asshole couldn't be bothered to say "On your left".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Revere Beach

I just got back from riding to Revere Beach.  I couldn't face taking the train on a beautiful day like today but the ride wasn't the most fun I've ever had.  Anyone have a route they like to use to get out there on a bike?  I took Route 60 most of the way and there were some really delightful rotaries.  Let me take this opportunity to thank all the nice people in those rotaries who were paying attention and showed concern for my safety.  I really appreciate it!
Google suggested Route 16 as well but that is two narrow lanes of people going 45mph and no bike lane.  I decided to pass.
I had a good time when I got there because I met my sister and her daughters for some fun at the beach.  When we left, my nieces were tired and asking to be carried so I offered to push them on the bike.  We put the little one on the seat and the big one on the rack and I pushed them down the sidewalk to the car.  It was a big hit.  My sister got a super cute picture of them both on the bike.  I'll post it as soon as she sends it to me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 100
Average calories per day: 2069
Pounds lost: 0.5
Current weight: 253.5 lbs (115.2 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 37.5 lbs.
No more big rides scheduled this summer.

It is hard for me not to be disappointed with a lousy half pound of weight loss in a week where I struggled so hard not to eat more.  I had a couple of days where I was so hungry I kept looking back at my food log and saying, "How can I possibly have eaten this much and still be so hungry?"  I've since added back one more Crave Arrest at night hoping it will curb my appetite without making me sick.  I've also added a salad as an afternoon snack.  I've always had a hard time eating vegetables but my diet has been a bit too fruit and protien heavy and needs a little vegetable action.  Also, if my weight loss does not improve next week, I'm going to seriously rethink the shots I've been getting.  They cost a $90 a pop and I just can't justify them if they aren't going to do that much good.  I'm giving it another week and if my weight loss isn't more in the two pound range, I'm going to stop getting them for a bit.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kitchen Day

I was planning to ride today but then I realized something.  I hadn't had a 'kitchen day' in a long time.  One of the problems I've always had with eating right is food preparation.  Now that I'm on this diet, eating prepared foods isn't an option anymore and I have had to commit time to food preparation and kitchen clean-up.
This morning the dishwasher needed to be run, pots and pans needed washing, I had a half done soup to finish and a head of lettuce to wash.  There was no way I could get in a bike ride and get all that done too so I decided to ride tomorrow. 
I really like working in the kitchen if I give myself enough time to do it.  Cooking is soothing and, somehow, makes me less hungry.  I got the soup done and into the freezer, the pots and pans washed and the dishwasher running.  I've got the lettuce soaking and will spin that and put it in the fridge in a bit.  All in all, the food situation here feels a lot more under control than it did this morning and that makes me happy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Adventure Way

Stef and I have had a saying for years now. If we get lost, we say, "We're not lost. We're just going the adventure way!" The ride down to Providence Zen Center and back was a bit of an adventure. Not so much with the getting lost though there was a little of that.

Three of us were planning to set out around 4:30am or so Saturday morning so as to be all cleaned up and ready for the festivities at 10am. At 3:45am, I gave the tandem a flat rear tire while trying to pump it up. I had broken the valve a few days before but hadn't thought much about it since it was holding air. When I pulled the pump off, the whole thing deflated. Now, I'm not much of a tire changer. I actually had a bike that I rode for 15 years that never once got a flat. I usually just take it to the bike store and have them change it. Not an option at 3:45am. Crap. Well, no choice so I flipped the bike upside down and started changing the tire. To my great relief and complete surprise, I had the tire changed and the wheel back on in about ten minutes! I think it had more to do with the tire than me but it was a big confidence boost.

When I got to the Cambridge Zen Center, we found out that one of our group had over slept. Ah, well. What could we do. We waited and he got there by about 5am.

We headed out and had a very lovely and uneventful ride there. The new route I found to Dedham was much nicer than last year's route through JP and W. Roxbury. The weather was perfect and it was a fantastic ride.

Parked outside the convenience store about half way there.
I want to note that it can be hard for someone who's never ridden stoker on a tandem to do a long ride.  You have to be very still, you have no control over the steering or braking and you have to pedal at someone else's speed.  MJ did an amazing job dealing with all of this and I'd ride with her again anytime.
This is Mike.  He rode down with me last year too!

We, on the tandem, weren't up for the ride back so we decided to take the train. (Mike was going to ride back by himself but ended up getting a ride Saturday night.)  Fortunately, we left ourselves plenty of time to get to the station because I took a wrong turn that sent us about two miles out of our way. We made it to the station about ten minutes before the train got there and all was well from there to South Station. I figured the toughest part after that would be getting the bike down the stairs to to the Red Line platform.We bumped it down the stairs since I figured it wouldn't fit in the elevator. We managed to get the bike and our stuff onto an Alewife train and again, all was well, until Park St. Of course, they were doing some work and running shuttle buses yesterday. Tandems don't fit on buses. So it was ride the thing home or bust. Oh, and it seems you can get a tandem in a T elevator. You just have to stand it straight up on its rear wheel. We found this out getting out of Park St because we were going to damned if we were carrying it up all those stairs.

Two elevators and some foul language later, we got the bike to street level, gave the shuttle buses a sigh and struck off across the Common walking the bike. What did we find at the other side? More stairs. Ugh! Fortunately, I spied some nice young men headed our way and they were kind enough to carry the loaded bike up the stairs for us (thanks guys! You're the best!). After that, it wasn't too bad. We rode down the hill from the State House to Cambridge St, past MGH and over the bridge into Cambridge. A very nice T bus driver made sure we got through the Charles/MGH traffic circle without getting killed. I dropped MJ off and got home in one piece. It was pretty funny riding the tandem with a pannier on the back and no stoker. It does this funny wobble thing for a bit then settles down.

All in all, it was a great ride. Next year, I want to bring a bunch more people. I talked to a lot of people who wanted to come but didn't know how to get ready. My goal next year is to start talking to people about it in late March and help them figure out how to train for it. It should be fun. Mike's already started calling it the annual Zen Bike Challenge!

Friday, July 30, 2010


I went to the chiropractor this morning and she did a bunch of her voodoo on me.  She does some kind of strength testing on acupuncture points to diagnose certain ailments.  I have no idea how it works but it has been helpful to me over the years.  Anyway, I was telling her about the grumpiness and fatigue.  She did her thing and came up with two different clues.  One is that I was showing allergies.  That would explain the fatigue and sinus pain.  The other thing she found was hormones out of balance.  That would explain the crankiness.  There's not much I can do about the allergy.  There might be something I can do about the hormones.  I've been eating a lot of conventional  yogurt lately, like 25% of my daily calories.  And what do they give cows to make them make more milk?  Hormones.  Damn.  I love yogurt.  I guess I'll have to cut back on it and see what happens. 

Saturday Stats on Friday

Miles ridden this week: 68
Average calories per day: 1957
Pounds lost: 1.5
Current weight: 254 lbs (115.5 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 37 lbs.
Weeks until next big ride (here to Cumberland, RI and back): 0

At 4am tomorrow, I'm taking my tired, cranky self and heading for RI for the weekend.  I'm hoping the trip will perk me up. 
 I'm taking the tandem with my friend MJ from the zen center.  I always feel funny riding the tandem with someone other than Stefanie, like I'm cheating on her with another stoker.  My goal, as always when doing a long ride on the tandem, is for us to be speaking to each other when we're done.  I think we'll be okay.  It's not that far and I found a better route than the one I used last year.  I didn't get much of a chance to scout it out but it goes through a lot of areas I'm familiar with and then picks up the old route in Dedham.  In fact, we'll be riding right by my grandmother's old house. 
The down side of bringing the tandem is that MJ doesn't think she's going to be up for riding back on Sunday.  I'm holding out hope that she'll have such a fabulous time riding down tomorrow and feel so good afterwards that she'll be dying to ride back.  The truth is that we'll probably be taking the train.  But hey, I like the train.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grouchy McCrankypants

I'm having an interesting week.  I have been crabbier this week than pretty much any week since I started practicing zen.  I've also been very tired and there has been a major return of the afternoon sleepies.  Frankly, I'm not really sure what my problem is.  I have two theories.  One is that my weight loss is into 'old weight' by which I mean fat that's been on my body for years rather than months and that the toxins being released when it breaks down are that much more difficult for my system to handle.  My other theory is that I'm having a mid-life crisis.  I have several other friends who feel like they having mid-life crises as well.  We're thinking of having a party. 
The things keeping me going right now are biking, my shop and my practice.  If I didn't have those, there'd be trouble in River City.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden in last two weeks: 94
Average calories per day: 1941
Pounds lost: 2.5
Current weight: 255.5 lbs (116 kg)
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 35.5 lbs.
Weeks until next big ride (here to Cumberland, RI and back): 1

My weight loss got a literal shot in the ass this week.  I saw the doctor on Tuesday and told him that I hadn't been losing weight as fast and so he started me on the next thing.  It is an injection of three things your body makes anyway that help the liver break down fat.  I'm not sure what they are but people have been asking me so I'll find out.  It seems to be helping because, not only had my weight loss slowed down, I was getting that funny stuck feeling in my body that signals my weight loss stalling out entirely.  Since the shot, things seem to have loosened up.  The stuck feeling is hard to explain.  It just feels like something stuck in my middle.  I get another shot next week so we'll continue to see how it goes.
I'm laying off running today because my knees are a little sore and I'm also just weary.  I want to be super careful of my joints while my weight is still so high.  So, I'm going to relax this morning, maybe do a few errands.  Tomorrow, Stef and I are planning to ride the tandem up to the Lowell Folk Festival.  It's only about 22 miles from her house.  The team car may or may not pick us up there.  It depends on how we feel, what the family's plans are and how hot it is.  I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


When I ride a lot in the summer, I get so bored with the same old routes over and over again.  Finding new routes is time consuming.  Just going out and following the road can cause you to end up in the middle of a rotary muttering every filthy thing you can think of.  I end up cobbling together different routes from parts of other routes, a little bike path here, a little Mystic Valley Parkway there.  Sometimes, I just need some new scenery.
Here's some ways I like to find new routes:
~Cycling sites are never a bad place to start.  We've gotten some great routes that way this year.  Bike shops also sell maps but they can be expensive.
~When mapping, I like to use Google maps for directions and MapMyRide for mileage.  One of the really helpful things that Google maps does is it allows you to zoom in to street level live pictures.  This is excellent for getting a look at some of the crazy intersections they have around here.  It is also a good way to see if a route is shady or sunny.  MapMyRide is good for getting mileage on shorter routes and loops but tends to crap out if you are doing a ride longer than 50 miles.  I kind of have a love-hate thing going with that site.
~Getting across any major highway can be tricky.  Route 128 is about an even 10 miles from here in any direction so I'm going to have to deal with it on any longer ride I do.  I try to never, ever cross a highway using a road that has a highway exit on it.  People coming off the highway still have highway mind and it takes them a while to change back to "You're back on a regular road and LOOK OUT FOR THE BIKE!" mind.  Don't ask me how I know.
~Don't pick anything with too many twists and turns unless you have a printed cue sheet and sometimes not even then.  It can be easy to get lost.  Stef's iPhone has come in very handy this year.  We got real lost back in May sometime.  She texted her husband "We're lost."  He texted back "Use the phone, Luke."  We did and it has come in handy on many occasions.
~On the other hand, picking more main drag routes can be a problem because of traffic.  Numbered highways with three digit numbers tend to be direct, easy to follow and also much less busy than one or two digit highways.  Always double check them on the Google, though, so you don't end up in that traffic rotary.

Picking routes can be an adventure in itself but necessary to stave off boredom.  So, good luck out there and let me know if you have any favorite routes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

(no title, just the sound of Lucy sucking air)

Went for another run today and lasted a whole 90 seconds!  It isn't much but it was kind of exciting because I can feel my body getting the idea.  During my bike ride yesterday, I could feel a bit of difference when I stood up on my pedals to get up a hill.  I've just started doing that in the last few weeks.  When my weight is above a certain point, getting up out of the saddle isn't something I can do.  My friend Kit has always maintained that her running was better for her biking than actually biking and I'm really starting to see that. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Holy New Sport, Batman!

So, I thought I was in pretty good shape, you know, for a fat chick.  Well, that little run put me in my place good and proper.  I was supposed to walk for 5 minutes, run for 2 and walk for 5 more.  I managed to run for 1 minute and that was really, really slowly.  Apparently, I need to start out with the remedial version of this  training progam.  But, hey, you gotta start where you're at.  I'll give it another shot on Monday.  My recovery is pretty quick so I might try a couple of runs broken up by walking.  We'll see what my feet and knees can handle.
BTW, the dog had a great time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Stats-Two Weeks Worth

Miles ridden in last two weeks: 154 
Average calories per day: 2023 (not counting the four days I was in NY.  I have no idea how much I ate but I managed to stick to the diet)
Pounds lost in two weeks: 1.5
Current weight: 258 lbs (117) kg
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 33 lbs.
Weeks until next big ride (here to Cumberland, RI and back): 2

I'm noticing that my weight loss is definitely slowing down.  I have also started weighing myself almost every day and I've got to stop doing that.  It is depressing watching my weight jig up and down.  In dieting, I not only have to work on having a correct relationship with food and exercise, I have to work on having a correct relationship with the scale.  And let me tell you, the scale is a rat bastard sometimes.  I weighed 256 yesterday and 258 today.  WTF?!  And since Saturday is official weigh in day, 258 is what I have to count.
I'm seeing the doctor on Tuesday and I'm going to talk to him about the slow down and see what else he has for me.  Meanwhile, I'm going to work very hard on not weighing myself at home until next Saturday.
In other news, I seem to have hurt my right wrist.  I noticed it was sore when I got back from riding on Wednesday.  Wednesday, it rained the whole time we were out, sometimes quite heavily.  The problem with this is that my gloves and the handlebars get slippery and my hands slide around a lot.  I actually took my gloves off part way through the ride because they were so uncomfortable and bought a new pair on the way home.  I'm starting to have a real love-hate relationship with bike gloves these days.  Anyway, I went out for a ride yesterday and my wrist was killing me.  I came back, put ice on it and am hoping it is better by tomorrow. 
The wrist thing has pushed up my plan to start teaching myself to run.  I printed out the Couch to 5K plan yesterday and I'm going out to give it a try this morning.  It isn't super challenging at first.  I think I'm supposed to walk 5 minutes, run 2 minutes and walk for 5 more minutes.  I'm going to run really, really slow and we'll see if I can do a whole 2 minutes.  Running is like standing up on my pedals when I bike.  It makes my heart rate just rocket up.  But, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained and I really need an alternative form of exercise.  And I can take the dog!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Going to Need New Pants Soon

I seem to have lost enough weight that I'm going to have to seriously consider buying some new clothes.  It was actually kind of funny the other day.  I was gardening and had stuck a pair of clippers in my pocket.  They were so heavy that they were pulling my pants down!  It took me a little while to figure out why my pants wouldn't stay up.  Fortunately, I was wearing a long shirt. 
On the one hand, YAY!  On the other, ugh, clothes shopping.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes

I just bought a pair of sneakers at the New Balance factory store in Boston.  I rode my bike over (holy crap, it's hot out!) and tried on about six pairs.  I finally found the pair that felt the best and, of course, they're ugly as hell.  That's just my shoe karma, I guess.  Either shoes fit or they're cute.  Never, ever both.  Hopefully, between my new orthodics and the new shoes, my feet will start to feel better.  I still need to get new cycling shoes (which are both ugly and expensive) but that's $260 I'm not ready to spend until the shop is open again and I have some actual income.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Riding in the Heat

Today was a pretty hot day to be riding but I did okay.  Ever since we got heat exhaustion last week, Stef has been searching the interwebs for ways to keep cool while riding.  Here are some of the things she found as well as some other ideas:

~Soak a bandana and wear it under your helmet.  Re-wet it periodically.
~Put ice in a bandana and wear it around your neck.  Keep re-wetting after the ice melts.
~Put your water in the freezer.
~Wet your clothes when you can.
~Use lots of sunscreen.  Getting burned dehydrates you.
~Drink until you can feel the water sloshing around in your tummy.  Drink more when the feeling goes away.
~Drink enough so that you have to pee at least once an hour.
~Choose a shady route.
~If you stop, be sure to be in the shade.

These are just a few ideas.  Please post any other ideas you know of in the comments.  We're always looking for new ones.

In other news, I saw the podiatrist today.  She set me up with an over the counter orthodic and recommended I get road shoes for my bike.  She gave me a whole lot of stretching to do, said I should replace the shoes I wear in the shop every six months and said when I'm ready to start running, it should be no problem.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Poor Feets

First of all, Stef and I had an amazing ride yesterday.  We broke 14 mph average speed over a 30 mile ride which just seems amazing to me.  I rode an additional 15 miles on my own bike.  I picked it up from Quad yesterday.  They put new handlebars on it for me so that the reach is just a bit shorter.  So far, I'm really pleased with the result.  I still have to go for a longer ride but I can get my hands onto the hoods without stretching my back out of position.
So, my feet.  My blankity, blank, double E Fred Flintstone feet have been giving me a lot of trouble this season.  Now that I'm riding so much with clipless pedals, I've been having a lot of trouble with my toes falling asleep when I ride.  I tried getting new shoes and having the cleats moved but that only improved things a little.  It can get very uncomfortable and sometimes I actually have to stop and get off the bike for a few minutes to let the blood run back into my toes.  I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday and, meanwhile, have been looking into getting road cycling shoes.  Ben (my favorite Quad Cycle guy) recommended them because the sole is stiffer and the cleat bigger than the mountain bike shoes I've been using up to this point.  The problem is that the tongue and straps of road shoes come up too high and dig me in my giant ankles.  I went over to Belmont Wheelworks (I felt so disloyal but they have an entire cycling shoe department) and talked to their shoe expert Elena.  We tried on all kinds of shoes and found one that might actually work.  She also recommended that I look into having custom shoes made.  If you think this is starting to sound expensive, it is.  This little venture may end up costing $300 just for the shoes, never mind the new pedals and cleats.  Oh, well, I learned a long time ago that with these feet, if the shoe fits, buy it.
I'm going to see what the podiatrist says before I do anything but if having the right shoes means I can pedal pain free, I'm going to do it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 140
Average calories per day: 1926 (not counting the weekend because I was busy riding)
Pounds lost this week: 2.5
Current weight: 259.5 lbs (118) kg
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 31.5 lbs.
Weeks until next big ride (here to Cumberland, RI and back): 4

Phew!  The 260 mark is a big one for me.  That is the weight that I tried to get below for three months last spring and just couldn't.  I was fully expecting to be stuck there until my next doctors appointment on July 20.  I'm really relieved!  That said, we'll see what happens next week.  If I've actually cleared this plateau, the next one is at around 230.  I haven't been under that one since my sister got married (almost nine years now).
My next planned ride isn't a big one, just under 40 miles each way but I'm riding it on my own bike, not on the tandem.  I've done almost all my riding on the tandem this spring and have gotten a little spoiled.  My goal now is to get myself up to the kind of mileage singly that I we were doing on the tandem.  I'm still planning to do a bunch of tandem riding.  Stef and I are talking about riding up to Old Orchard Beach for a weekend sometime in August.  That's a Century Ride and would be a huge milestone for us, but it will be nice to spend some time on my single bike as well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MS Ride 2010

I'm back and we survived!  It was a little touch and go there on Saturday.  I don't think I've ever had such an eventful ride. 
But, let's start at the beginning.
Stef and I decided to stay down in Quincy and take a shuttle over to the start so that we wouldn't have to start out so early Saturday morning.  The hotel was very nice.  Here's our view.
We had to bring the bike up to our room for the night.  Here's the tandem enjoying the amenities.  I have to say it was pretty inteteresting getting it up and down in the elevator.  It just fit diagonally and was a bit of a trick to get in and out.

In the morning, we took the bus over to the start. The traffic was unbelievable and it took us over an hour to get just a few miles.  We'd have probably done better to ride over.

We made it, though, and here we are at the start.

We met lots of nice people there!

And we weren't the only tandem.

It took a while to get everyone going.  You can't just let 2000 cylists out on the road all at once so we got going a little after 8am.
Saturday was very hot and as the day went on, Stef and I found ourselves feeling worse and worse.  By the fourth rest stop, we'd ridden about 51 miles and were both feeling very ill.  We sat in the shade at the rest stop for a while eating and drinking and hoping to feel better.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to and decided to call it a day.  I'm surprised that the heat got to me so much.  Usually, if I keep drinking, I'm fine but not that day.  We really wanted to ride Sunday so decided not to destroy ourselves Saturday.  We got a lift to Mass Maritime Academy and spent the afternoon and evening eating, drinking and resting to make sure we could ride the next day.
Apparently, we succeded since we both woke up feeling pretty good Sunday.  It also helped that we got to leave at 5am and get most of our riding done in the early part of the day.
Here we are pedaling along the Cape Cod Canal first thing in the morning.  It was really lovely and peaceful.
Yes, that's my back.  We were experimenting with Back of Bike Cam.  Stef took these two pictures while were riding.
Sunday was definitely the more picturesque of our two days.
Sunday, however, was the day of technical difficulties.  When we got going, we noticed our gears had gotten a little out of wack from the truck ride the day before.  We were able to fix them a bit but they needed a professional touch.  We limped into the first rest stop only to find out that the mechanic who was supposed to be there hadn't showed up.  A helpful stranger did what he could but didn't really fix it.  So we limped it to the next rest stop where the mechanic fixed it in a jiffy.
We were chugging right along, feeling good when about half way between rest stops 2 and 3, we got a flat rear tire.  Now, I'm extremely bad at changing tires.  I'm actually pretty bad at doing any kind of bike maintenance.  I consider myself a fairly mechanical person except when it comes to bikes.  The lessons we got from Liz aside, I've still been known to walk into a bike store and say something like "Bike not working.  Make bike work." in a sad and pitiful voice.
We flagged down SAG vehicle who pumped up our tire for us again but we could hear the air escaping so they decided to take us to the next rest stop.  I'd been looking at our rear tire and not liking what I was seeing.  Fortunately, there was a bike shop at that stop so we just bought a new tire and the awesome mechanics put on and got us on the road again.
From there on, things went pretty smoothly for a while.
We saw lovely scenery.
One of our rest stops was even at the beach!

They even hosed us down at our last rest stop.  It felt great!
The last bit of our ride was straight down Rt. 6.  We were about 2.5 miles away when we took this picture.
Then we got another flat in the front tire.  Arrgghhh!
It was a slow leak so rather than changing it, we decided to pump it up and see if we could limp in.  It was tricky because a flat tire really effects the steering but we managed.  We had to stop and pump up the tire once more but we made it in.  Stef's husband and daughter picked us up at the finish and took us home.
All in all, we managed to ride 123 of the 150 miles of the ride and we both want to do it again.
Thanks again to everyone who supported our ride.  You are the best!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Saturday Stats on Friday

Miles ridden this week: 96
Average calories per day: 2083
Pounds lost this week: 0
Current weight: 262 lbs (119) kg
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 29 lbs.
Weeks until MS Ride: none

Oh, the dreaded week of no weight loss.  I really hate it when that happens because then all the questions start.  Did I eat too much?  Didn't I exercise enough?  Am I retaining water?  Is this the beginning of a plateau?  Why, when I worked so hard, did I lose nothing?  It doesn't help that this is right where my weight loss stalled out last year.
But, you know what?  SCREW IT!  I'm going on the MS Ride tomorrow and I'm going to have fun and not worry about it.  If I don't lose weight again next week, I'll call the doctor and see what he has to say.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ready Or Not

Saturday, we ride.  Today, we took our last ride before Saturday.  We managed to take it easy by taking Stef's daughter with us.  She can ride about 9-10 miles at a stretch and helped us keep the pace reasonable.  She really loves biking and wants to do the Hub on Wheels ride with us this year (YAY!) but the heat got to her a bit today (can't imagine why, it's only billion out there).  She was a trooper, though.
I had to buy new bike shoes unexpectedly this week.  I was really hoping to get another season out of the ones I had.  Unfortunately, Sunday and Monday, I had a lot of trouble with my toes going to sleep.  Come to find out that the combination of my worn out shoes, the type of clipless pedals I'm using and the heat really hurt my feet.  I've now got new shoes with the cleat moved a bit forward to take the pressure off the spot that was bothering me.  I'm not thrilled with these shoes, but they'll do for now.  Ben at the bike shop said that considering how much I ride, I should really change to road shoes and pedals.  I've been using mountain bike shoes because you can still walk in them but the cleat is small and presses on my foot unpleasantly.  Road shoes have a much bigger cleat that spreads the pressure but are smooth on the bottom and not much fun to walk anywhere on.  What I can see happening, knowing myself the way I do, is me buying a fancy dance road bike and getting the new shoes and pedals for it and keeping the bike I have now with it's pedals and shoes for doing errands.  We won't talk about how many other bikes I already have.  No, we won't talk about that at all.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking It Easy

It's the week before the MS Ride and we are supposed to be taking it easy, eating lots of carbs and drinking lots of water.  Sounds great, right?  Not so much.  When I've been in a routine that has been working for me, I get very attached to it and fearful of any break in it.  It is so hard for me to get into a good routine in the first place, I don't want to do anything that is going to make me end back up at square one.  I've been back to square one so many times.  I just don't want to go there again. 
It seems silly.  How much can spending one week riding less and eating more cost me?  But the fear remains.  Everytime I get into a routine where I'm actually losing weight, I feel like all the stars align, like I'm breathing rarified air.  I also feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop because it always has.  My weight loss plateaus or I injure myself and can't exercise.  Or I just get tired of dieting and start eating again.  The cold hard fact is that everytime I've dieted in the past, I've failed, gone off the wagon and gained all the weight back.  I keep telling myself that this time is different.  I've got a doctor helping me.  I've got suppliments that work.  I'm far less hungry than I've been in the past.  Still, the fear remains.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 116
Average calories per day: 1991
Pounds lost this week: 3.5
Current weight: 262 lbs (119) kg
Total weight loss since 3/26/10: 29 lbs.
Weeks until MS Ride: 1 (Holy Crap!)
I stopped taking the Crave Arrest suppliment this week and feel much, much better.  I was able to eat enough so that I wasn't dragging on my rides.  I averaged only about 160 calories a day more than last week, but what a difference it made.  The doctor wants me to try to add back in the Crave Arrest at a lower dose.  I may try that later this week.
I've now lost 29 of the 30 or so pounds I gained over the winter.  Starting this week, I'll be trying to get below a plateau that I haven't seen the south side of since I was in my thirties.  Last year around this time, I spent a solid three months counting my calories and riding my bike 60-90 miles a week.  I was horribly hungry and my weight just jigged up and down the same 3 pounds the whole time.  It really pissed me off and caused the f@ck-all attitude that resulted in my weight gain over the winter.
An interesting development this week is that I've begun to trust my hunger.  For most of my life, I haven't trusted my hunger.  People would always say 'Just eat when you are hungry and you'll lose weight' but that has never worked for me.  Anytime I ate when I was hungry, I would consistently gain weight.  Now, thanks to the diet and suppliments I'm on, if I'm super hungry, I know I need to eat or I'll feel crummy, yet I don't seem to be too hungry.  It is a novel feeling.  I quite enjoy it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Team Car

The rack is now on the Team Car (aka Stef's husband's car).  Stefanie's motto is "75% of success is reading the directions" and this stood her and Jonathan in good stead while installing this fairly complicated rack. 
We got to try it out yesterday taking the tandem to the bike shop (again).  On Monday, Liz discovered that our rear wheel was badly out of true, too much for her to fix.  Must have been the giant bump we went over on our ride Monday.  Ah, the joys of road construction.  It should be fixed soon.
The rack is a great thing because before, if we wanted to get the tandem anywhere, we had to ride it.  This gave me a bit of stress as our rides got longer because if we broke down on the road, our choices were fix it ourselves or walk it to a bike shop, neither good options the farther afield we got.  It is also quite a luxury to be able to just put the bike on the car and take it anywhere we want.  When we did the Hub on Wheels ride last year, we did the 30 mile route but actually ended up riding 40 miles because we had to ride over from my house and back.  One way or another, the wonderfulness of the rack cannot be underestimated. 

Training and More Training

Stef and I rode 84 miles between Sunday and Monday and still felt pretty good afterwards.  Maybe we're going to be ready for the this crazy ride after all.
We had a treat on Monday.  The lovely Liz made a house call and spent some time teaching us how to adjust our gears and breaks and do other maintenance on the tandem.
She and I did a trade of bike repair lessons for knitting lessons.  I love bartering!
It was especially wonderful to learn all this stuff because tandems are notorious fussbudgets when it comes to gear adjustment.  We've been getting 2-3 weeks or 150-200 miles out of a gear adjustment and the bike shop guys are getting a little tired of seeing us.  Now we can do it ourselves!  Yea, Liz!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chelmsford Bike Path

Stef and I had a great ride today.  We did over 52 miles and felt pretty good at the end.  We gave ourselves a treat today and tried out the brand new bike path that runs from Carlisle through Chelmsford ending up just on the outskirts of Lowell.  You can see a great write-up about it here.  We enjoyed it very much.  With the rain, it was fairly quiet, though there were a surprising number of families out.  If there were that many families out in the rain, I would say it will probably be very crowded in good weather.
I'm trying to get more pictures of the fun things we see out riding.  Today we saw wild turkeys with chicks in Concord.  I tried to get a good picture but they moved into the tall grass and this is the best I could do.

You can just see two small shadows in the grass off the momma bird's tail.  They were pretty cute!
The other fun thing we saw was this.
The duck on the right looks real but is actually a decoy of some kind.
Stef spotted this the last time we went this way and I was determined to get a picture of them.
In other news, I figured out why I was having so much trouble eating enough last week.  One or more of my suppliments is giving me stomach cramps when I take it.  It has been sort of creeping up on me for the last week or so to the point where yesterday and today, I've felt very sick right after taking them and then generally sick thoughout the day.  I'm going to stop taking them for now and call my doctor.  I can't afford to have anything interfere with my riding for the next two weeks or I'm going to have a terrible time on the MS Ride.  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 90
Average calories per day: 1834
Pounds lost this week: 2
Current weight: 265.5 lbs (120.5) kg
Weeks until MS Ride: 2 (EEK!)
This was a tough week for riding.  The shop has been super busy because of the sale (not complaining, just sayin').  I missed my Sunday ride because of a stomach ache.  I went to the chiropractor twice having undone my first adjustment by lugging too many groceries home (I really should know better).  I fell, fortunately it was on the way to the chiropractor so the damage was mimimized.  Then I had to deal with home plumbing issues I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. 
I had a lot of trouble eating and drinking enough and my performance really suffered.  Yesterday, I went out to ride and only got about 3 miles before turning around.  I headed over to Whole Paycheck to see if I could buy some foods that would tempt me to eat enough (I've often said that if you aren't going to exercise, you should eat).  I got some of their breakfast food from the hot bar and some goat's milk yogurt.  Those seemed to help a lot.  Then, last night, I gave a dharma talk about my weight which I had been very nervous about.  It went pretty well and I'm feeling a lot better now that that stress is over. All in all, I'm glad to see the back of this week and am hoping next week I'll go back to feeling as good as I had been before.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Gosh, yesterday was cold.  After how beautiful May was, I thought I was going to be able to put away all my cold weather cycling clothes.  We still had a good ride and I'm headed out for another one today. 
I'm starting to get nervous about the MS ride.  75 miles a day for two days is pretty challenging to train for when you only have a few months.  That and for some reason, I just haven't been feeling it this week.  Maybe I'll feel better next week.  Let's hope the weather warms up a little.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blood Work

I went in yesterday to discuss my blood work with Dr. Rothfeld and the results were interesting and a little scary. The main thing he was testing me for was inflammation.  If you'd like to learn more about it, there's an interesting article here.  He was also testing my thyroid and a ton of other stuff.  The results came back that I have massive inflammation.  One of the markers he checked was five times the maximum healthy number.  He explained that this is causing a whole bunch of cascading problems with my health, surpressing my metabolism and is the reason I've had so much trouble losing weight in the past.  If let go, this could cause me to have the same kind of heart problems that killed my father at age 57. 
Fortunately, the suppliments he gave me, which all address the inflammation in one way or another, are helping since I am losing weight.  He added vitamin D to my suppliments and said to continue with the others as long as I keep losing weight.  If my weight loss stops, it will indicate that those suppliments aren't enough anymore and he'll bring out some bigger guns. 
I'm still a little freaked out that I was well on my way to having the same problems that killed my dad at such a young age.  I'm already 45.  I was always afraid of becoming a fat, decrepit old woman but now I find out that I might not have had the chance to become an old woman at all. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have finally found a doctor with some answers that actually seem to work. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Surprise Day Off

I've gotten so used to being well over the last few months that I'm very surprised by being sick.  Don't worry, nothing serious, just a stomach upset.  Still, after being up half the night and not being super interested in eating a whole lot today, I thought trying to ride a bike 50 miles might not be the best idea.  Therefore, I'm taking my recalcitrant stomach and heading back to bed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Stats

Miles ridden this week: 111
Average calories per day: 1892
Pounds lost this week: 1.5
Current weight: 267.5 lbs (121.5) kg
Weeks until MS Ride: 3 (eek!)
Overall, I feel really good this week.  I'm very interested by the number of miles I rode vs my average calories per day.  I'm kind of amazed that I wasn't more hungry.  This time last year, I was riding about the same amount and eating about 2200 calories a day.  I remember being so hungry that I wanted to cry.  I don't kow if it's the diet or the suppliments or both but whatever it is seems to be keeping me from being so horribly hungry and still losing weight.  For that, I'm grateful. 
That said, I'm still working on losing the 30 lbs I gained over the winter.  Any weight that I gain quickly, I can generally lose quickly as long as I don't let it stick too long.  Once I get down to the low 260's I'm going to be addressing what I call 'stuck weight' or weight that I've been carrying for more than a year.  That's when we're going to see if all this stuff is actually working.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heavy Dharma

I'm a member of the Cambridge Zen Center and something almost all of us do occasionally is give a dharma talk.  CZC has them every Thursday night at 7:30pm except when there's a visiting teacher and then they have them on Friday night.  A student (such as myself) gives a short talk about their experience practicing zen and then a teacher answers questions.  I'm up on June 11 and I was wondering what to talk about.  Then, thinking of this blog and last Saturday's post, I thought, why not talk about my weight.  Weight and body image are a good subject for a dharma talk because of how much attachment there is to this issue both for myself and society as a whole.  My weight is a hard teacher.  I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to say but I'm looking forward to talking about it.  The Korean Zen Master who founded our school always said to turn your bad karma into good karma and I'm looking forward to doing some of that next week.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Little Nephew Rides!

After two years of trying to learn to ride a bike, I think my nephew's finally got it!! It has been very hard. First off, he and I don't have much time we can get together. He goes to school. I work afternoons and evenings. He's often at his mother's all weekend and even when he's here, I'm often too tired from MS Ride training. What we have been doing is bringing the bike when we go to the bus in the morning. He practices his riding to the bus stop and then I bring the bike home. I can only do this once or twice a week because I often leave from the bus stop to go on a ride myself.
However, we seem to be making progress! Last year, he took a lesson at the Somerville Bicycle Riding School and we've been using a lot of the techniques they use. Today, he rode on his own for 20-30 feet. I have to get him going and then jog along side until he tells me to let go. Who knew I'd be learning to jog while the offspring was learning to ride. Phew! Now he just has to learn to get himself going and how to stop in some way that isn't crashing. Rome was not built in a day, my friends.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Great Ride

Today, Stef and I had a great ride that more than made up for yesterday. We did part a of a route that we got from the Charles River Wheelmen site. If you are looking for some great local cycling resources, CRW is a great place to start.
I've finally started to remember to take my camera with me when we ride. Here are some scenes from the road. I think this is Virginia Rd in Concord. It is a nice way to get to Concord Center without taking Rt 2A.This is a rose bush that smelled wonderful.

One of the cool things about riding this spring has been smelling all the flowers as they bloom. It started with the apple blossoms, then lilac, mock orange and, this week, roses. I've smelled a lot of flowers that I can't even name but it always makes our ride delightful.

Here we are in Concord Center. Stef is texting updates to the team's home base. Last week, when we got lost, she texted her husband 'We're lost'. He texted back 'Use the phone, Luke', which we did and got back just fine.
This is Andrew. We met him in Concord. He is a cyclist and an origami artist. Check out his work here. It's extremely cool!

He was kind enough to offer to take some pictures of us with the bike.
We started out like this which was too serious for Andrew.

That brought us to this,

this,and, eventually, this.

Thanks, Andrew!

Folks, if his live origami presentation is half as much fun as just running into him in Concord, you should call him up!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Riding with People

Riding a long ride with other people can be challenging. People have different riding styles that depend a great deal on their body type, fitness level and even their bike. I am, of course, heavy, I’m moderately fit and I ride road bikes which have what I call ‘good roll-ability’. This means that I ride up hills slow and down hills fast. It works pretty well for me if I can get some momentum going. This effect is multiplied on the tandem. But pair me with someone who rides up hills fast and down hills slow and I have a terrible time. I end up struggling up hills trying to keep up with them, only to go down the hills riding my brakes the whole way wasting all that momentum. Stef and I had exactly that happen to us today. We went on Quad Cycles Sunday morning ride and got put in the slow group (which is legit). This group was lead by a fast uphill, slow downhill rider who also liked to stop for an extended break every 5-7 miles. These breaks, unfortunately, were just long enough that we lost our warm-up and had to start from scratch every time we got going again. After over three hours of this, we’d covered only about 25 miles and were tired, stiff, cranky and just about beside ourselves. Fortunately, we were able to head home from there with some other friends who were also riding a tandem and get in a few miles at a pace that worked much better for us. The difference in how we felt was amazing.
We learned a couple of super important lessons from this. First is that we have got to go our own pace and use our downhill momentum to get us up the next hill. The second is that though we do like to get off the bike once every 5-10 miles, we mustn’t do it for very long. Stretch, drink some water, have a snack and get right back on the bike.
So, riding with people is tricky. Most people are the fast up hill, slow down hill type. It is one of the reasons that I have done most of my riding alone up to this point. The great thing about a tandem is that it solves this problem. You can ride all you want with someone and you are always going the same pace. Of course, you have to ride with the right person and I’m very lucky to have found such a great stoker in Stef. I don’t know if we’ll do that group ride again anytime soon. If I lose a bunch of weight it would change our riding and possibly help our style match what more people do. Unfortunately, that’s a big if and I’m not holding my breath. Meanwhile, I’d definitely like to do more riding with Kit and Ramie, our friends on the other tandem. They are faster than we are and climb hills way better but don’t seem to mind staying with us on the flats and waiting for us at the tops of the hills.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weighty Thoughts

Well, I lost a couple pounds this week which was nice considering I didn't lose any last week. Dr. Rothfeld prescribed a couple of suppliments to try while we wait for the blood work to come back and I haven't been able to figure out if they've been doing any good. I feel like I'm taking a big chance discussing my weight on a blog. My experience is that as soon as I bring up my weight, people feel like it is then okay to lecture me about how I should go about losing weight. I've got news for you. Fat people know all about dieting, everything. If it's been in the mainstream media, we've heard about it and tried it. Unfortunately, no one believes this because, if we have all this knowledge, why would we still be fat? And, if we do have this knowledge, we must be lying about what we've tried because, you know, fat people do that....
Wow, I didn't set out to write a rant today. I guess, what I'm saying, is that I'd like to be able to discuss my weight here without being subjected to a lot of well meaning advice on the subject. I've spent a lot of years figuring out what doesn't work for me and now I've finally, FINALLY, got a doctor who's willing to work with me on it instead of offering me the same old tired advice and then blaming me when it doesn't work.
So, I'm not looking for weight loss advice even though I know people give it with love. I'd just like to share what I'm going through and what I'm learning about my body.
That said, here's the stats this week:
Number of miles cycled: about 97
Average calorie intake per day (according to my Fit Day program): 2022
Suppliments I'm using: Metagenics Ultra Inflamex for inflamation (also doubles as a multivitamin), Crave Arrest for hunger and Omega 3 fatty acids for whatever it is they do.
Weight lost this week: 3 lbs.
Current weight: 269 lbs. (122 kg)
Weeks until the MS Ride: 4
Overall feeling of wellnes: Pretty good. The Caveman Diet definitely agrees with me. I'm less tired and achy than when I started it and my knees feel real good.