Top Of The World.

Despite my flat tire the other day, I’ve been out on my bike and enjoying the cycling experience to the hilt. I’ve often said that I love the recreational trails along the Erie Canal because they’re quite and peaceful. So naturally I hit the trail this morning ready to listen to nothing but the animals and the wind rushing over my shaved head.

Except today the annual Cycling the Erie Canal Ride is underway and I felt like I had just merged into heavy traffic in downtown Knoxville.

Canal Trail.

Actually, traffic wasn’t that bad and the folks passing through our area were super nice. Even though I’m pretty much a loner when it comes to cycling, it’s good to ride with others once in a while, even if it’s just for a refresher in cycling manners.

I rode with the group for four miles or so before I left the trail and headed up one of the many hills in our area. I’ve avoided this hill because there’s a gorge across the middle of it. You get halfway up the hill, then you descend into the gorge and then you have to climb up all over again to get to the very top. It was a struggle but I can proudly say that I did not have a heart attack.

Almost There.

I’ve mentioned before (and demonstrated) that we live near several ultra high voltage powerlines. We’re near where many of the major lines in the Northeast come together, so we have several of these dotting the top of our hills.

Industrial Landscape.

There’s another one about twice the size of this one at my back, but I couldn’t get a good shot because I would have been pointing the camera directly into the sun. The lines from the substation pictured head to Niagara Falls and the powerplants in Oswego, N.Y. The lines directly over my head are tying this substation with the one behind me. There’s a lot of humming going on. Notice I did not bring a fluorescent bulb with me.

After indulging my geekness a little bit, I proceeded on to the top of our road. I’ve complained that since we’ve moved to the new house I’ve had to ride uphill to get home from a bike ride, well today I decided I was going to ride down to the house for a change. Why wimp out?

Here’s a shot from the intersection of our road and the road that goes along the top of the hill.

Top of the World.

Unfortunately, the haze in the picture obscures the windmills in the distance that are about 25 miles away, but you can still see pretty far today.

And here’s the hill that I rode down to get home. It took me 35 minutes to get up this high whereas the ride down, which is about three miles, took no more than five minutes. I topped out at 41 MPH. I start to chicken out if I go faster than that on my bicycle.

Top Of The World.

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Independence Day.

Earl snapped my picture as I got ready for my Independence Day bike ride. As of today I have ridden more this year than I have ridden in the past two years combined. Since the summer is really just getting underway and I plan on riding until Thanksgiving, I’d say that’s a good thing.

My body is thanking me for the exercise. I feel wonderful.

Mother Nature is giving us her own version of fireworks for Independence Day in the way of severe thunderstorms. It looks like no picnic today. Perhaps we’ll catch a movie or something.

Oh, as a public service I made a video of me making a left turn at a busy intersection. I’m trying to spread the word that cyclists should ride their bikes like their riding cars and follow the rules of the road. I’ll have a longer post about this soon.


Numbers Game.

I want to know how that guy with the awesome mustache in “SuperSize Me” ate nothing but McDonalds food for a month and only gained 30 pounds. How did he do it? I have a Burger King meal once in a weekend (for the first time in a month or so), eating nothing but vegetables and reasonably numbered caloric/carb/fat craptastically healthy food otherwise and I pack on five pounds.

I can’t figure this out. My clothes are fitting reasonably well. I have not pelted anyone in my math class with exploding buttons or snaps from my clothes. At Hillside I was able to jump from the ground up onto the big rock on our site which looked to be a little above knee level. By the end of the summer I hope to be able to jump up onto a picnic table from the ground as I figure if the cat can do then so can I. This past weekend I also did pull ups and then pulled myself up into the rafters of the open air shower to convince myself of how strong I was. I was naked at the time to keep it interesting.

But I jumped on the scale this morning and saw that I’m gaining weight. I’m really hoping that I’m the added weight is from muscle and not fat. If the pants explode then it must be the latter. I don’t know why I obsess about the digital readout of that blasted electronic scale.

I think I’m going to go workout.


Pull Up.

Feeling the rebirth vide of spring and the need to confidently wear a superhero costume on a video, I installed the pull-up bar in our workout area today. I don’t know why I rushed to the occasion, because we bought the pull bar only six or seven months ago, but the planets were aligned properly or something so I figured I might as well go ahead and do it.

Ready to do six or seven sets of 10 reps, I confidently pulled myself up onto the pull-up bar and promptly had flashbacks to junior high where we had to do the exact same thing in front of our classmates. Back then I could do 1 1/2 pull ups if I was lucky and encouraged by my classmates that called me “Johnny Wing Dingbat”.

Today I did three, sort of. Big whoopin’ doo.

I don’t think that was a bad start for several reasons. First of all, I’ve done no strength training at all. I’ve been focusing on my legs (for cycling) and my cardio for fat burning. My clothes are fitting better to the point where I’m wearing my smaller sized clothes without having to hold my breath or fear showering anyone near me with Levi rivets. I’ve been eating healthier and feeling better but the scale isn’t agreeing with me, so I think I’m gaining muscle which is heavier than fat (so I’ve been told). At least that rationale sounds good.

Anyway, here I am at the pull-up bar doing three pull-ups when I realize that I should take the stool away so that I’m really hanging there. Naw, I did that part, but I don’t remember if I should have my palms facing away from me or toward me while I’m doing this exercise. So I did three pull-ups each way, for a total of six. Later tonight I might actually unpack the free weights and then do some reps with those.

I told Earl last weekend that I think I was either suffering from seasonal depression or a midlife crisis (I’m approaching 39). He said I’m just nuts and besides he had planned on enduring several of my midlife crises before all is said and done. I’m glad he’s the sensible one.

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I’ve been doing pretty well with my good health efforts since the beginning of the year. The change in pace from becoming a student has been beneficial in that I feel more active and more awake than I have in years. I don’t if it’s because I’m not sitting behind a desk all day anymore or if it’s because I’m actually thinking rather than going through the motions of a job, but I feel like I’m cooking with gas. The scale hasn’t flown across the bathroom in a couple of weeks as it’s spinning up the right numbers when requested.

However, I feel like I’ve put this streak of good health into jeopardy with the baking of double-chocolate brownies last night. There was a mix in the cupboard, I was in the mood to bake, so viola, instant decadance. I’m sitting here at the kitchen table eating some soup for lunch and all I can think about are brownies. I bet I could sit down and eat the entire pan of brownies and not leave one morsel behind. There’s something so comforting about brownies. I don’t know if it’s because they smell so good or invoke memories of grandma’s homemade brownies after school but my goodness they are screaming out my name.

I will be strong, I will be strong, I will be strong.

I’m going to slice off one little piece for dessert and then muster up all the will power I can to leave it at that. I’m sure the scale will thank me for it later.

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Body Inspiration.

O.k., I’m going to just come out and admit it. I use this song for working out and the male model as a body to aspire to. I am convinced that with a few extra crunches, some major cardio and cataracts on all parties involved, I might have a body as good as this guy’s someday. Sonia looks like she’d be pretty fun to hang out with as well.


Drop Kick.

I don’t know who the Einstein was that thought that there should be a scale in our hotel bathroom this past weekend. I mean, did they think that I would pretend it wasn’t there and not weigh myself? Certainly not. You’d think for $159 a night I could escape the guilt of my eating habits but no, there’s the scale, waiting to remind me that my fitness routine is at a stand still.

The hotel scale does “airborne” well. It held up much better than the digital scale we have at home.

I don’t know what I thought would happen when I jumped on the scale Sunday morning. I mean after Saturday’s tasty lunch in Chinatown, a stop at Bertucci’s for supper, a cannoli and a chocolate chip cookie at Quincy Market and a beer at The Alley, did I really think I was going to spin a low number on the blasted thing? Of course not. To celebrate the fact that “tilt” didn’t pop up in glorious technicolor, I had three waffles, half a pig of bacon and some hash, all swimming in maple syrup, for breakfast. Then it was on to D’Angelo’s on the Masspike for lunch, where I was quite proud of myself for only having a medium sandwich instead of the large.

Today it was vegetables, fruit and a dollop of tuna for lunch. And water. Lots of water. I’ve peed more today than I did the entire weekend.

At least the “tilt” light is still off.

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I jumped on the scale this morning and discovered something quite remarkable. I’ve met my weight goal. On January 1, I weighed in at 208 lbs. This morning I weighed 170.

I have to admit I’m quite pleased.

I haven’t been able to get to the gym this past week because of work, I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine this coming week.

Now to keep everything in balance!


Work It.

Earl and I have been working hard at the gym for the past couple of weeks and I still can’t get the hang of one specific thing: how to properly accessorize with my iPod.

The last time I went to the Apple store I picked up a Sportswrap for my iPod. My iPod is a couple of years old, so it’s a “traditional” one, being full sized and having a black and white LCD screen. But I love it and I don’t see myself replacing it for quite a while.

The problem is I keep getting tangled up in the earphones wire.

Tonight I was doing my thing on the treadmill, bopping along to a special 10 minute remix of “Hung Up/Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” when I realized that I had somehow wrapped my arm around the earpiece and I was pulling my head down towards my chest, while my iPod was coming unwrapped from my arm, making it look like I was jogging at an awkward pace with some sort of palsy (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But the only affliction I had was a poorly placed iPod.

I ended up jacking into a rerun of “Deal or No Deal” instead. Madonna will just have to wait.