Weekly Update #9; 27 Miles and 1 Good Samaritan

This week I didn’t run, it was all about riding! Although I might go for a 4 mile jog tomorrow to achieve my goal of 4+ activities a week. 

I’m happy to report I haven’t fallen off the bike again. I was close to toppling down in two occasions but managed to stay mounted. And my scraped knee is healing well. All is good in my world. 

I’m also happy to report that I made it back to the hills of Breakheart Reservation and completed both loops without having to stop or walk the bike up the steepest hill. It’s a good training course. I’ll be heading back this coming week. I’m not going to be satisfied until I’m able to complete 5+ loops in session without feeling like I’m dying. 

I jumped into the deep end of the cycling world without training or life vest and I love it. It has definitely been a learn as you go experience. 

Today I rode for 27 miles which is the longest I’ve ridden in one session. I know it’s a warm up for a serious rider but I’m a baby rider. Next week I might try going for a 35 miler. 

Wednesday after work I wanted to try the 27 mile course but decided against it because I had to catch an early morning flight. I decided on the 19.7 mile course instead.

This week’s goals included a 25+ mile course. So, today was as good as  any other the day give it a go.

I got up at 8am and gathered my gear. It was overcast so I checked the weather, not looking forward to getting soaked, it didn’t mention any rain so I was in the clear. With my gear in hand I grabbed my bike and noticed the rear tire was flat, whomp whomp whomp whomp. But I was prepared for this! I reached for the replacement tube, tire levers, and compressed air gun; 20 minutes later I was ready to go, again!

The course is about a 25 minute drive from my house. I jump in the car and the gas light comes on! Damn it, quick detour. As I’m pumping gas, I catch a few people checking me out, I’m with my biking shorts, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. And I’m off, again!

I managed to start riding at 9:11am. Not too late, but not as early as I would have liked. I’m feeling good after two days of rest. The weather is pretty damn nice. The route is beautiful. I’m having a grand old time!

About 19 miles into the course, I feel my rear tire is losing pressure. Damn it! It’s a brand new tube, why o why? Now I’m stranded in this beautiful town without a spare tube or compressed air. Walking the last 8 miles was out of the question. 

First I attempted to call an Ubex XL so I could throw the bike on the back. For some unknown reason there were no Uber XL available in the area, damn it! 

Bike rack is not a standard offering when calling a taxi or a regular Uber. I texted my brother to see if he was available to go pick me up on his truck. As I’m texting him the directions another rider pulls up and asked if I was okay or if I need help. 

I explained the situation and he offered me HIS replacement tube! His name is Matt; an older gentleman and an avid rider. 

We removed the tire, replaced the tube with the new one. Matt got frustrated as we attempted to inflate the tire with a minimalist hand pump. He offered to take the tire to his house where he had a proper pump. He happened to live less than 5 minutes from where I was stranded. Within 10 minutes he was back in his car with a fully inflated tire.

It’s hard to express my gratitude to Matt. His generosity and willingness to go above and beyond to help a complete stranger is admirable. I offered to pay for his trouble but he simply said to pay it forward. Needless to say that I intend to do so in the future. 

One hour and a new tube donated by a good samaritan and I was on the bike again for the last 8 miles of the course.

When I get to the car it’s 12:15 and I still haven’t had breakfast! Time to head to my parents’ house. By the time I get to their house my mum had already made soup for lunch! It was delicious.

Sooo, critical lessons learned: don’t go out on a ride without a replacement tube and a way to properly inflate it. Also, there are good people who will go out of their way to help others in need. Today I was fortunate to come across Matt. 

Weekly breakdown:

Monday: 7 miles at Breakheart reservation. Nice and hilly course. My cousin Jesus joined me. 

Wednesday: 19.7 miles starting at north reading. It was a beautiful scenic course through quiet suburban roads and the Harold Parker State Forest. It almost makes you forget that your body is in pain, almost.

Saturday: 27 miles, with an hour intermission to replace a tube. It’s a variation of Wednesday’s course. It takes you through more state forest roads which adds about 8 more miles.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can ride more than 50 miles in one session, but for now I’m happy with my 54 miles a week. 

Thanks for reading! 

  • Keep moving
  • Keep pushing
  • Keep active
  • Get healthy, stay healthy

Weekly Update #8

I slacked with the blog last week. I can’t believe I didn’t post anything during the week and this update is late. There’s a reason for it all but it’s not a very good reason.

The good news is that I stayed relatively active throughout and was able achieve my goal of getting out 4+ days a week.

On my last update I finish by saying I would either go a party and stuff my face with food or go riding. I kind of did both.

I went to the birthday party but didn’t stuff my face. I also went out on the bike after the party! And I broke the bike during that ride. 

From the start of the ride I felt the chain slipping from on the gears. It, the chain, eventually came off the large chain ring on the way to Deer Island. On the way back home the chain came off the cassette and got stuck between the cassette and the seatstay. 

One of the spokes broke and the rim bent. I was able to pull out the chain and walk the bike home for the last half mile.

I brought the bike to the shop on Tuesday to have it fixed and got some upgrades and accessories. I picked it up all fixed on Friday evening.

Weekly Breakdown:

Monday: My friend and I  walked Breakheart Reservation, 4.5 miles / 1 hour and 15 minutes. We followed the Couch to 4K app for the first half hour then we jogged up all the hills.

Wednesday: I went back to Breakheart Reservation with my cousin and his nephew. We biked the 4.5 miles, I didn’t log the activity so no time recorded. He let me borrow one of his old bikes 🙂 Thank you Jesus! 

His nephew had an accident coming down one of the hills and scraped his knee and hand. He’s okay.

Saturday: I jogged my usual route around my house and the beach. It was 3.7 miles and 54 minutes. It wasn’t as hot as last week; it was only 80 degrees instead of 95!

Sunday: I went to Deer Island to practice clipping and un-clipping my new bike shoes to the new pedals. I went around the island 5 times and climbed one of the hills for a grand total of 13 miles in 1 hour and 2 minutes. 

I was concerned with the pedals clipping and un-clipping mechanism. My friend Jose had told me I would fall the bike a few times before getting used it. I was determined not to fall and I didn’t, until I did! 

Throughout the ride I was stopping and practicing un-clipping the shoes. I felt really comfortable after one hour. When I decided to call it a night, I rode back to the parking lot. I get into the parking lot. I un-clipped my right shoe. I came to a complete stop when I got to my car. I set my right foot on the floor. My body decides to go to the LEFT! I slowly fell to my left side. As I hit the ground I couldn’t stop laughing, I lay there for about a minute literally laughing out lout. I got a scraped knee.

This week I’ll be more active on the bike. I need to fall off a few more times I suppose! The goal for the week will be to get at least 30 miles in one session. The most I’ve done so far is 16 miles.

I mentioned that I had neglected the blog this week. The reason is that I started playing a game on my phone. I’m very close to being addicted to it. The good thing is that I’m aware of it and this week I will intentionally stop myself from playing it as much, but look at that sweet gear the commander is using!

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great week ahead!

Weekly Update #6

I’ll try to keep this entry short and sweet. I have a few highlights from the week. The main activity for the week was cycling. I was able to get out on the bike four days of the week.

  • Sunday: 10 miles to test out the bike along the beach on flat streets
  • Monday: 16 miles for fun along another beach; aslo flat streets
  • Wednesday: I jogged the hills of Breakheart Reservation to get a gauge my plantar fasciitis and test out my new shoes. It was a nice and slow 3 mile activity which was great for spotting/hunting objects; I captured 3!
  • Thursday: 5 miles on some pretty steep inclines @ Breakheart Reservation
  • Saturday: 15 miles with my friend Jose who was coaching me and encouraging me along the way. These 15 miles were pretty intense and included some ‘nice hills’ and some flat areas.

Tuesday and Friday were my recovery days. Today, Sunday was my cheat day! We had so much fun!!!

I replaced the bike rack for my car with the Saris Bike Rack. It feels sturdier and is easier to load and secure the bike. Those extra 30 seconds really add up!

I received a gift from Jose on Saturday before heading out. It’s the Quad Lock bike mount for my phone! Now I can easily check my Strava stats AND catch Pokemon while going for leisurely rides 😂😂😂. Thank you brother! All joking aside, this gadget is a life saver. It’s easy to attach and remove which makes a world of difference.

That’s the week in a nutshell, Sunday to Sunday. Going forward I’ll try to cover from Monday through Sunday. But then again it’s me and typically plans my plans change.

My learnings this week:

  • I need to continue chipping away at my fitness or lack there of
  • I like biking
  • I’m not ready for serious hills on the bike yet
  • I was reminded that fun with family and friends is the most important activity. Don’t loose track of the ultimate goal which is: You’re getting healthier to spend more quality time with your son! Family and friends is your second ultimate goal.

Thanks for reading. I hope you had a great week as well!

I’m adding this entry to the Spotted Challenge. I realized my “Super Coach” is my buddy Jose. He has been instrumental in my biking efforts and we took our first ride together this Saturday. He’s in the first image with me 🙂

I’m Not Ready for Hills

On my last entry I mentioned that my buddy Mike wanted to test out the bike during my hunt yesterday. What I didn’t mention is that he was dead by the time he was done. We thought it was due the heat, humidity and perhaps the bike was the wrong size for him. 

Today I decided to go out on the bike for what I thought would be a few laps around the Breakheart Reservation. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious! The place is comprised of an inner loop with modest inclines and an outer loop with a lot more steep inclines. Both loops converge as one once you get close to the parking lot.

I figured I’d do the inner loop to get warmed up. Boy was I wrong! Right out of the gate the modest inclines got me winded! I knew I was going to have a hard time.

Earlier this week I was reading an article by Jim from Fit Recovery where he defines the Baby Ring. I was reading and thinking ‘I should stay away from the baby ring!’ Nope!!! I was on the baby ring for about three quarters of today’s 5 mile ride.

Today was my third time on the bike. 

  1. 10 miles to test the bike from Swampscott to Nahant
  2. 16 miles along Revere beach to Deer Island in Winthrop
  3. 5 miles at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus

This means I’ve ridden 30 miles this week. My buddy Jose rides 30 miles in one afternoon for fun! His last entry on Strava this weekend was 55 miles! 

I’ll stay away from Breakheart Reservation for a while. I need to get some endurance under my belt before trying it again. 

Why is the bike by the bushes? Because I couldn’t finish climbing one of the more steep inclines. I got off and walked to the top. My legs were burning! I had to stretch and take a couple of minutes before continuing. 

Why was I on the baby ring for most of it? Because I needed it for the inclines and didn’t pedal on the way down. 

Needless to say that I didn’t go around multiple times. I only went around each loop once! Now I have a new challenge.