Thursday, January 29, 2015

Training - Diet, Riding, Life

I keep starting posts and then leaving them because I didn't finish them. Then they get sort of stale because of time related events in the post and it becomes one of those "well there is a story in there so maybe I'll pull it out and do that bit as a post some other time."

Then it becomes another one of the 200+ drafts I have (there are 213 to be exact, with 1219 published posts).

So whatever I get through right now I'm going to post.


First, diet. I've plateaued pretty hard and it's a bit demoralizing. I keep reminding myself that I'm 17 or 16 or 15 pounds lighter than I was when I started (note how that number shrank a bit as I listed it?). Still, though, to be on the cusp of breaking the 160 lbs barrier then sitting at 162 lbs is not really inspiring.

The thing is that I'm still pretty fat - using the "what do the various body fat % look like?" chart I'm still in the 20-22% fat area. My lean weight seems to be in the low-mid 130s, so 10% body fat would mean 145 lbs or so.

That number is sort of insane.

Still, though, it means that I ought to be able to get into the 15% range, and that would be in the 150 lbs range. That's pretty low but it seems sort of attainable, maybe as a long term goal.

For now, though, I want to drop into the 150s, like 155 lbs or 157 or something in that range.

The problem is that I've gotten used to going over the calorie count and then riding to burn some stuff off. I think, though, that I've lost some muscle mass, especially in my upper body. The problem is that muscle burns energy and losing that mass means my body has reduced its energy requirements. This requires me to adjust the calorie goals downward, but I don't know by how much.

For now, though, I'm just trying to get back into the right caloric range each day, not going over by 300 or 400 calories consistently. I've even upped my number to make the goal more attainable, from 1510 cal to 1690 cal per day.


The upside to overeating, relatively speaking, is that I've been riding a lot to try and burn off some calories. I'm feeling better on the bike, surprisingly so, which means that I'm really overeating. When I'm dieting aggressively I really can't ride well because I have no energy, so if I'm riding well it means I'm eating way too much.

However, with my weight in the lower 160s, it's reasonably acceptable. I want to be in the 150s but if I can ride like this then that's kind of neat.

I'm starting to dig through my kits to find size S shorts and size S or M jerseys. Size M jerseys seem a bit baggy now and even the very tight new fangled Verge Triumph size M (it fits super snug) is wrinkly. Snug, okay, but wrinkly. I never thought I'd fit into it and now I want to see what a size S is like on me.

Go figure.

A huge benefit to losing weight is that I can sit back a bit more on the saddle. The main reason I sit forward is because my legs hit my gut. Only when I get skinny can I sit back a bit more on the saddle - that's really only happened in 2010 recently, and now, again, in early 2015. It's cool and I like it.

In 2012, I think I was almost 180 lbs.
Photo by Heavy D I think.

In 2010 at about 158 lbs.
Photo by RTC.


The biggest thing for me has been Junior. He's progressing in leaps and bounds.

One of the things that really surprised me is his reading memory stuff. We read a book or two to him each evening before he goes to sleep. Often I'll read the same book or two before his nap.

One of his favorites is "Goodnight Train", a book about a somewhat psychedelic train that kids get on and everyone, including the train, goes to sleep at the end of the book. It's great to read it and have him get quieter and more still and have his eyes fluttering shut and watching him pass out.

The other night the Missus was reading it to him but with a twist - she left the last word off of each sentence. I was a bit worried because I couldn't remember the words, and I was reading this to him all the time. I figured it would frustrate him to not know the words.

Because we still have a video monitor in his room I could hear the Missus reading to him. To my absolute shock he completed all the sentences with the right word, albeit pronounced like a kid. It was so cute to listen to him finish the sentence.

"The goodnight train gets set to…"
"It's being shined and filled with..."
"Wash the cars off with a…"
"Scrub the engine's dirty…"


A different day we were at the supermarket, Junior and myself. He was a bit stir crazy from the cold weather. Temps in the single digits and teens made it a bit cold to go out and play so instead I let him run around a bit in the store.

At some point I figured we really ought to get going but he wanted to keep playing. When this happens I typically pick him up and distract him. This time I carried him over my shoulder and tickled him a bit. He squealed with delight, laughing that honest kid laugh, the one that only kids have, so full of joy and completely unrestrained. I could see all the grandmother and mother types turning and smiling and saying nice things as we went by them.

I realized that I was so lucky to share that moment with him, along with all the other ones that I've had with him.

When he gets a bit fussy I sit with him and pull a blanket around us and ask him about all the things he did earlier in the day.

"Did you go pee in the potty?"
He'd nod affirmatively. "Sticker a Dusty Crophopper."
"Did you go to the store?"
"Running. Help Daddy with numbers."
"Did you walk on the curb?"
"Wait for the car!"
"Did you eat pancakes in the car?"
"Did you make a tower with Legos?"
"Orange and blue and red."
"You were so good today, you did so many great things."

This calms him down and he starts talking about something, random stuff, stuff that stuck in his head.

"Lightning is a red racer. Fire truck a siren a police car. What is dar? Yaby (library). Bus da Legos."

It's times like this that it's hard to think of my diet or training or whatever as important. It is, sort of, but at the same time it's so inconsequential.

Well, maybe not. Over the weekend we went to the Big E where they had a hobby railroad show. Everything was at adult height, so at my chest or so.

The problem was that this was just above Junior's head. The solution? Carry him everywhere.

We were there a solid couple hours and Junior is now almost 30 lbs. Normally my back would be protesting loudly within 5 or 10 or 15 minutes but not that day.

Then I realized something.

I weighed 17 or 18 pounds less than I did just a couple months ago. This made Junior feel like he weighed just 11 or 12 pounds, not 29 pounds. It ended up that although I was tired after carrying him around I wasn't in pain or anything.

So I guess the diet and stuff does help taking care of Junior, even though I didn't realize it at first. It's all a big circle, one thing affecting another. That makes me wonder.

I wonder what the race season will bring.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Training - Diet Plateau

I'm still here.

It's been busy at home with all sorts of stuff going on. One thing that I've done is sacrificed a lot of stuff in order to ride. It means less blogging (as if I was blogging a lot before), less working on the bike (aka I've done zero mechanical stuff), less everything that I do in my free time except for the riding bit.

I'm focusing on the riding not because I want to get in shape but because I'm still working the diet angle of things. I think I'm inadvertently getting in shape, if only because I'm pedaling.

A friend said that his problem with riding has to do with rpms.


"Yeah, the problem is that I have a lot of zero rpm days."

Ah. I have the same problem.

I looked at my Strava the other day and apparently I did NINE hours last week. That's as much as a summer month in 2014, and I did it in a week in the dead of winter.

Okay, so I had a zero hour week also.

A couple weeks ago I hit a rough spot, consistently up a couple pounds, after staying at 166-168 lbs for a week plus. Something happened in my body, I think it was adjusting or something (maybe it was the non-riding?), because without me taking any drastic action the weight started to shed again.

Now I've been plateaued at about 161 lbs, so it's 5-7 lbs below my previous plateau. More significantly I'm about 17 lbs my start point 60-odd days ago. I've basically lost the weight of my bike at this point.

I remember these plateaus from before. I don't know how they work, why it happens, but it seems that my body sort of resets at different weights. I hope to drop one more plateau, in the 156-158 range, and it would be awesome if I could hit a second plateau, perhaps in the 151-153 range. In a month I should be able to lose 6-7 lbs. In two months, maybe 10-12 lbs total. Weight loss tapers so it's easier to lose the first 10 lbs versus the last 10 lbs.

Dropping below 150 would be dream, but really, at this point, any additional weight loss is a bonus.

My food/diet has been pretty consistent through the whole process. I've been eating virtually the same meals 80% of the time; sometimes I adjust the portion, to reduce calories (and then to return it to my "regular" portion). It's easy on a number of levels. In MyFitnessPal, my recent foods show up at the top of the list. With only a few standard meals (oatmeal, chicken and rice, recently steak) I only have to scroll down a bit, check a bunch of boxes, and I have my meal in place.

(Note: on the mobile version this isn't the case, so I try to add foods on the laptop versus the phone.)

Food adding page - I've checked my 454 calorie breakfast for this morning.
With my less aggressive approach I have a 1690 calorie daily budget, based on a 161 lbs weight.
Earlier I was trying to attain as low as 1300 cal.

You can see that I had recently eaten some of Koichi's leftovers (mayo!). Toward the bottom of my recent list you can see that I had a smoothie, I think it was a few days ago; otherwise I normally have the oatmeal. Junior even tells me it's time for me to get my "cereal and raisins".

I often "pre-add" my foods, especially if I don't know them. I put them in before I eat them to get an idea of my overall caloric landscape. This has been significant a few times where I realized that I simply couldn't afford to eat certain foods. The numbers put a stark reality to the food, versus looking at the food on the table and thinking, "Well, how bad could it be?"


I recently changed my overall strategy to include a bit more fat. This is why my breakfast list was a bit wacky, in the past I didn't eat stuff that Koichi didn't want, I either tossed them (if they were older) or saved them for later (if fresh). t realized that I wasn't getting the nutrients I needed, as evidenced by some annoying sore things in my mouth. With a better diet, a couple multi-vitamins, they disappeared in a few days.

After that I decided to include more fats. Previously I'd been limiting myself to about 30-50g of fat per day. Now it's higher, typically 40-70g of fat. I'm still eating carbs and such, I'm not limiting myself on really anything.

Except sugar.

I've realized now that sugar really makes me feel hungry, it gives me really inconsistent energy levels, and it's something that seems to affect me pretty significantly. Also, in my physical, I had yet another "pre-diabetic" level of some hormone thing. For years the doctor has asked me if I actually fasted before the blood test, and for years I had. Apparently my blood sugar thing isn't quite right.

So, with the energy level stuff, the hunger stuff, and the blood test stuff, I've been pretty motivated to avoid sugar. I've had my coffee black all but three times in the last 60-odd days, and only once did I prepare it anywhere near my normal "I like a little coffee with my sugar and cream" ratios. That night was the night I lost track of time as I hammered away on the trainer for 3 hours, couldn't get to sleep for another hour or two, and basically wrecked my schedule for the next week.

I can't remember if it was the same night I actually had some desert.

Whatever, it's not a good thing.

I have to think about my food approach for races. Normally I load up on sugar, getting that cheap/fast energy and sacrificing any longterm stuff. I'm thinking now that a less sugar oriented thing might be better.

One thing that I've done is had a couple of the organic pouches we get for Junior. They are fruit and veggie based, they're easy to digest, and they seem relatively healthy. It may be that I'll be eating them instead of a traditional gel or whatever.

So that's the food stuff...

For now the rest of my life is the same.

I'm still looking for work. I'm starting to get the Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series thing going (replacing Bethel Spring Series), with two scheduled races and two more potential race dates, stuff I've worked on since last fall. The site is new and obviously not yet finished, but the ANSS site should be better shortly.

I'm also starting to settle into some of my Carpe Diem Racing obligations. A big thing is a fund raising ride in June, up in northern MA. Although it's primarily to benefit the Northfield Mount Hermon School, it'll be open to anyone. It sounds like it'll be a hoot, to be honest.

Other events include the White Plains Crit in June, the Tokeneke Classic Road Race, and a still-to-be-confirmed July 4th race in Bethel. I hope to be helping with the Aetna Silk City Cross race again, and there may be another event or two as well.

With all that it means that CDR will be continuing as before. I had some doubts about this recently so for me to decide this is pretty significant. However, this means paying some recurring bills, like the unemployment things, the liability insurance, regular stuff that any employer has to pay. CDR is a high volume, low net type business. If it wasn't for the extra events CDR did throughout the year it would have been a massively losing proposition holding just Bethel. Hopefully this year I meet my goal of netting (pre-tax) $500 per week/event; last year at Bethel it was more like losing $500-1000/week, and that's been consistent for a few years.

In the background through all of this there's Junior, who is growing in leaps and bounds mentally and physically. He's much more interactive, even compared to a few months ago. I've realized that I place him first and foremost, before anything else. I've walked away from people mid-sentence to attend to him (typically if he's getting into something he shouldn't, not when he's doing normal stuff). He can get into things pretty well now, like getting a small step stool to access the sink (and running water), opening doors, etc.

This is the set up he's playing with now (Pops built it with his suggestions).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Promoting Races - Trailer Stuff Again

Although it's been cold and icy out we used the trailer to move some stuff into the Missus's office. I got to the office just ahead of everyone else so I had time to walk around inside the trailer and take a few pictures. I felt pretty good about all the stuff I'd done to make the trailer a better "race event" trailer.

Trailer backed up to the front doors of the office.

One big thing is that I'm much more at ease driving the trailer around. I'd like some lights down low so I can see how much clearance I have when, say, taking a slow turn with a snow bank on the inside, but otherwise I'm much more relaxed when pulling the trailer. I used to be a nervous wreck but now it's actually very soothing and comforting.

I do want to buy a stabilizer / weight distribution thing for the hitch. What it does is basically put a lever on the tow vehicle so the trailer doesn't pull down on just the ball, it pushes down on a long "bar" if you will so the tow vehicle gets loaded more equally front and rear. This would keep the rear of the tow vehicle from getting pulled down (and the front from being pulled up).

It also helps prevent the trailer from swaying in windy situations, typically when a semi passes me on the highway.

On this day, with a lot of running water freezing on the much colder ground, I also thought that getting snow tires for the trailer might be good. It'll be less prone to sliding on snow and in the summer it wouldn't make much of a difference. I run snows on the tow vehicle year round since I only put 1000-2000 miles on it a year and I wanted tires for the worst conditions, aka snow/ice.

One Day Licenses and Annual Renewals go in those bins.

I always lose track of the One Day and Annuals so I got an inexpensive bin set up to hold them. I keep blank forms in two pockets and put the filled in forms in the third. Makes it super easy to keep track of them, and since they're wall mounted it's hard to drop the folder or whatever.

The drawers are for the different categories, for numbers and releases. Put in a filled in release, pull out a number. It's easier to find a release if you need to get it. It's also neater than tossing all the releases into one box or bin.

Tables fold up but I leave them down. Legs unscrew when the tables are up.

Power outlet - the trailer is wired for 110v.

The circle is a little vent. There's one down low in the back, one up high in front. It's for air circulation.

The fuzzy thing hanging is a duster.

Carpe Diem Racing has a new site, revamped if you will. This will become the new central site for the events that CDR promotes or works.


I have white duct tape for finish lines. The black duct tape is to border the while, but often it's not necessary. It's nice for a deluxe finish line though.

The blue painter's tape is for posting results. It makes it much easier to pull down all the tape at the end of the day. We also post any notes/signs/etc using the blue tape.

Yellow caution ribbon is for marking areas off-limits and such. I have a bundle of 50 cyclocross type stakes for staking out such areas.

Notes for registration folks from the last event we did, the 2014 Silk City Cross.

People inevitably ask about start times and such. We post that stuff between the two side windows so we have a copy and we don't waste 200 pages of paper printing out flyers that get tossed after a few views.

Tie down straps.

There's a bunch of stuff tied down in the trailer. I have more straps ready to go.

Note the lights? There are 12v dome lights, which I had on. There's also four 4' long 110v fluorescent lights which are not on - they're hooked to the 110v circuit.

Poster from the old days.

I wanted to put up a poster or two. This one is real, it was really signed by local star Mark McCormack and his teammate Bart Bowen. Ironically Mark's brother Frank didn't sign it but I've actually raced against him on a day I had the trailer at the race in 2014. I'll have to get him to sign the post if I can get him and the trailer in the same location.

Tables, sewer grate covers, cones, toilet paper.

Promoters can never have enough toilet paper. The day that you think you don't need more is the day that the portapotties weren't restocked and it's 77 degrees and sunny and 200 extra racers show up unexpectedly.

And there's no toilet paper.

I have 3 or 4 or 5 such packages strewn around the trailer and the tow vehicle.

You can see the top of one of the stacks of large cones. There are 10 or 12 in one stack, 13 or 15 in another.

Other things include a camera tripod, ladder, tall step stool, chairs, some other stuff.

Two tents.

Both have a couple broken pieces so I need to fix them up.

We moved a super heavy desk (visible) and two file cabinets on this trip. We stayed well below the trailer's 3500 lbs load limit, and I put the desk stuff over the rear axles. The trailer handled well.

Small cones, gas can, and a fire extinguisher.

After a minor engine fire back in the day I've been a fire extinguisher nut. The trailer has a dedicated fire extinguisher mounted to the wall. Go in the side door, look down and right, and it's there.

Small cones for minor things. I have about 6 or 8 left of the 20 or so original. I have about 6 or 8 left of the 20 or so old large cones. I have 25 new large cones.

I have to get a couple more things for the whole set up. Every year there's a refinement or two that I can do and this year is just like the others.

I'm starting to ramp up stuff for the new Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series. Stay tuned and hope to see you out there!