Archive for December, 2009

A month had gone by

// December 31st, 2009 // Comments Off on A month had gone by // Bloging, Diet

It has been more then a month now since I have decided to change my way of life. From a personal perspective this time of the year greatly helps. It is the end of the year and I haven’t traveled for work in the past five weeks. Next week I am home as well. This had allowed me to build a routine that better fit my needs as well as to spend valuable time with the wife and kid.

8kg/17.6 lbs were lost in the first four weeks of my diet and I have moved from a 15x to a 14x weight (in Kgs). My rides are longer and I feel much more confident on the bike. I like planning a route and more importantly to fully execute it in the outdoors.

My biggest test would be when traveling again, keeping my diet abroad. I know I would need to exercise while away from home, and although I hate walking, it seems the only logical solution to the problem due to the gym availability at the hotels I stay in.

I feel a lot better with myself, more energetic. At last I am putting efforts in enhancing my quality of life and I am extremely happy about this!

Two more weeks went by. Lost 2.2 kg/4.8lbs more

// December 27th, 2009 // Comments Off on Two more weeks went by. Lost 2.2 kg/4.8lbs more // Bloging, Diet

2.2kg/4.8lbs less. And why am I disappointed that much? I know that there is no logical explanation to why did I lose that much now and why did I lose that much then. But I wanted to drop more weight. I wanted to be able to say that I already lost more than 10kg in total. All I can say now I broke the 15xkg marker and my weight is around the 14x kg marker.

Loosing 8kg/17.6lbs in four weeks is not bad at all. I just need to keep at it.

Connected

// December 21st, 2009 // Comments Off on Connected // Bloging, Riding

The one thing I have replaced with the Enduro is the pedals. Instead of the nothing you get with the bike, I got Crank Brothers Mallet 2 pedals. Why should I mess around with cleats when I have only 4 months of experience riding bikes? – The answer is simple. My knees.

See, since I am a big guy my legs are placed on the pedals in an angle and not strait. My right leg has the worst angle where my heel sometimes touches the chain guard. This had a direct effect over the pain I feel in my knees after a ride. So what would be an appropriate solution? Cleats! Force the leg to be placed strait on the pedal.

Today it was the first time I rode my bike with the new pedals. I have tried to get my shoes connected with the cleats in the driveway but failed. It took me a kilometer and a half until I got the left shoe to get connected. Suddenly I heard a click… and that was that. Only two kilometers after I managed to get the right shoe connected as well. I could feel the difference immediately, although my right leg still wanted to shift right, but the shoe had prevented that.

The use of cleats forced the legs to be placed strait on the pedals lowering the pressure on the knees. I was not stressed from the fact I was connected to the bike. Only on one part of the ride I got nervous. The part where I have a stoplight and I am to stop. For some reason I could not disconnect at first, but after taking a deep breath I disconnected… finally.

I hope that in time and with the fact my muscles should get stronger (as they all say and write about), and with the use of cleats, most of my knee pain would vanish.

My Diet, Day 20

// December 18th, 2009 // Comments Off on My Diet, Day 20 // Diet

Tomorrow I will be completing three weeks of diet. I must admit it, I though it would be harder. The one thing I find hard, still, is when I am away from home and need to eat. In some places I can find what I need and to keep with my strict attitude. In some places I need to adjust a bit. It does not mean I divert from the cause, it just means I may eat some things I would usually not include with my food (more oil for example, etc.). This weekend I am away with my wife on a SPA resort. Luckily I am able to maintain my diet here.

This week I did not ride. It was a miserable combination of being sick part of the week, and of rain…lots of rain. It seems when I am back I will be able to ride. It simply burns in my veins…

My new ride – Specialized EnduroSL Comp 2010

// December 14th, 2009 // Comments Off on My new ride – Specialized EnduroSL Comp 2010 // Information

On Friday I traded my Gary Fisher Big Sur 09’ with a brand new Specialized EnduroSL Comp 2010.

I have learned many different things about myself and about cycling in the course of the last three and a half months. Simply put, I love this sport.

The problem I had is that I went through a frustrating and expensive process to put me on the right bike. See, I had 4 bikes during this short time period. From a Trek 4300 2010, to a Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo 09’, to a Gary Fisher Big Sur 09’, and finally to a Specialized Enduro SL Comp 2010. The whole thing could have been easier on me if I had a clue about cycling when I went to buy my first bike, or the understanding that an uber Clyde like me must check few basic things in a bike just to consider them to be fit. My experience could have been different if the bike store I first entered would have fitted me on the right bike instead of selling me a Trek 4300 (the front fork was for show only). And instead of trying to squeeze me for more cash trying to fit me on other bikes that cannot fir me (the Gary Fishers are very aggressive on the geometry of the bike) would have give me a good advise on which actual bikes I should get. Now I understand they do not have a clue about Clydes and what should or should not work for them.

Uber Clydes like me should look for a bike designed for Freeride, Downhill and/or All Mountain ride. Some key parameters to look for are:

  • A strong frame that can sustain abuse
  • Relaxed geometry
  • A 160mm front fork
  • Strong rims with good spokes to carry the weight

The Specialized Enduro has it all. Once I have finished the test ride I fell for it (I tested few bikes that day). It was the first bike I rode which immediately felt right. I could finally feel the front fork is doing its job (Rock Shox Lyrik 1600mm), and that the rear shock (Fox RP2) is effective even when a heavy guy like me sits on the bike.

On Saturday I rode 24km with the bike. I still need to adjust it here and there, but overall it was a great ride. I cannot wait until I get the bike out the next time (the weather here is tricky these days).

I truly hope that ‘small’ people like me would learn from my experience, and the hassle of being hassled would be saved for them.

Lost 5.8kg/12.7lbs in two weeks

// December 13th, 2009 // Comments Off on Lost 5.8kg/12.7lbs in two weeks // Diet

Loosing weight gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. This morning I decided to see how much weight did I loose in the past two weeks since I have started my diet – 5.8kg/12.7lbs. I was amazed. I did not expect this to be as much as it turned out to be. I am very happy, and it gave me a huge push going forward.

A significant better well being

// December 12th, 2009 // Comments Off on A significant better well being // Diet, Information

I am not sure what is the exact reason. I am sure that taking the decision of dieting, and being on track with it has a significant impact on my overall feeling. Added to that the fact I am keeping my riding schedule and enjoying cycling more and more. On the past week or so I feel enormously better with myself.

I also feel that I have tuned down a bit, on the positive side. I am more willing to listen, I try to help more at home, I am having a routine I can follow and it helps a lot.

All I can hope is for this feeling to continue.

Things I have learned today

// December 11th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Information

I have learned today different things I was not aware of, and it made a total sense to me when trying to apply these on myself. See, for an uber Clyde like me (320lbs) a bike’s geometry is one of the most important things. Usually, I would not be able to ride (for too long at least) a bike with an aggressive attack angle (I call the angle between the seat and the handlebar the attack angle). It is due to my weight and the balance that needs to be achieved on the bike. The most common thing that would happen is a hurting and/or numb hands, sore back, etc.  Actually a lot of issues that relates to Clydes is a bike’s geometry and fitting someone to a certain bike.

Bikes are not designed for Clydes. They are designed for the average Joe. This is why we find ourselves riding bikes, which simply does not fit us. One of the mistakes is to fit us onto a bike with a 100mm front fork. It is simply not enough for us, and contributes to the overall aggressive attack angle of these bikes. Even when a different stem and/or a handlebar are used, it might not fix the problem.

This is why the bikes that are destined for All Mountain, Freeride, and Downhill better fits us. Not only they have a more relaxed geometry (i.e. the attack angle is minimal), but they are also using a front fork of 140mm and even 160mm.

I tested a few bikes today with a front fork of 140mm and 160mm. Those that are All Mountain oriented were performing best for me. The more relaxed angles, plus the fork, made a significant change.

The one thing I wish is for stores here to guide us better. Tell me the truth, or tell me you do not know. Don’t put me on a rode with a dead end. The sport of bicycles is a great sport. We can, and we are, enjoying it not less then anyone else. We just need to be fitted on the right bike!

Getting a Bike (Part IV)

// December 9th, 2009 // Comments Off on Getting a Bike (Part IV) // Information

The fact I was now limited to a certain front fork made the life easier on the people at the bike shop. They could now limit me to the higher end hardtail bikes that are using a Fox Racing Shox front fork.

I got a Gary Fisher Big Sur 09’ (uses a Fox F100 RL, 100mm).

I did not plan on getting this bike, or paying that much. It still seems to me I was ripped off. A kind of a situation you cannot get away from. “We will find the bike that would fit you”, is something they constantly told me. It is like you cannot simply walk away hoping not to remember the horrible experience.

Not that the bike is a bad bike. Don’t get me wrong. But a Clyde has different needs. The geometry of the bike needs to be less aggressive, and the Gary Fisher has an aggressive geometry. We had to replace the stem, and also the handlebar to raise the front portion of the bike higher.

It is not like it is perfect now. I still need to do some adjustments. My hands still get numb after the 8-10km marker.

The worst part is that I still have this feeling that I got ripped off, and this is something I can’t shake off.

If you are a newbie to the sport and a Clyde, I hope you would learn from my experience. Understand what are your limitations first, even before going to a store. If you feel you cannot trust the guys, or that they try to put you on a bike you do not feel comfortable on, just walk away. There are plenty more bike stores you can walk into, and I am sure that you would find a store you can trust.

So Cold

// December 9th, 2009 // Comments Off on So Cold // Information

I was playing a guessing game at 5:30am this morning. I cold see that the roads are wet, but I could not figure out whether it is raining or not. I decided to go out and ride. It was cold, really cold. Nearly no one outside, except for a guy and his German Sheppard dog who decided that if he is outside and there is someone he can chase, i.e. me, he should do so. That woke me up instantly forcing me to speed away to avoid a dog bite. The wind was blowing in different directions, which caused me to be slower in some parts of my ride, although I could tell I am investing energy as usual. The truth is I was glad to get back home, get a warm shower, and a cop of coffee. The weather is tricky these days. It was raining during the night time, and it is just beautiful outside now. That said, it should rain for the rest of the week as well. I guess I would have to find the right time in between if  I want to ride again this week.