Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy Hiatus Bat-person

I can't believe how long I've been off the bike, and today's excursion on the Redline made me wonder what's wrong with me.

I have a lovely bike, I need to ride it. It's such a different feeling than driving a powered vehicle - you are limited only by your own will-power, not the diameter of your throttle body / mass rate of flow through the engine.

The blackberries along Tapeworm / Towers of Power have a long way to go to ripen.

In other news: the Bally's right down the street closed without warning. Sign of the times? I am extremely, extremely unhappy about this. They had a nice pool.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back in the saddle

Well, against my doctor's orders, I took the Redline out for my usual 8.5 mile routine of mixed trails and singletrack. It was an incredible early spring day, and I was cooking in a light hoodie (we here at the nonserious cyclist spurn any kind of obviously cycling-specific clothing).

It was also completely wonderful, and the haze of mental apathy and confusion that had descended on me like a cloud with my injury and the subsequent pain lifted a little, and I felt like myself again.

Still don't dare do anything serious with the shoulder, though. So, not doing measurements until I can start lifting again. That just seems like masochism.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I know nobody cares, but the reason for my inactivity stems from a severe fracture of the humerus, misdiagnosis, undermedication, and the general failure of the western medical industrial complex to respond appropriately to a serious injury sustained while snowboarding.

Here's my advice:

Get an MRI as soon as possible. Like, immediately after injury. Don't rely on the advice of an MD, and palpation / range of motion / pain levels. Goodness, I did that all on the slope, and came the conclusion that I hadn't seriously fractured anything, or torn anything.

I was wrong.

A week later, so was my random, out-of-the-box MD. My shoulder apparently had full strength. After all, I'd kept riding for a while, then I'd driven home 55 miles from the resort after the injury, and ridden a good 9 miles of XC training the next day. It didn't seem weak, although I didn't try any one rep max renegade rows, or anything silly like that. I went to the doctor to get qualified advice. What I got was: palpation (thanks, did that already), range of motion (yes, did that), and pain thresholds (uh...). Well, apparently I have an extremely high acute pain threshold.

Listen, I don't think it's guy thing, I think it's sheer pragmatism. I remember getting a thorn deeply embedded in my foot, and it healed for a week or so, and then infection set in. So, on the bottom of the foot, we're talking 10-14 layers of epidermis.

So I poured myself a glass of whiskey. To sanitize my lockblade. And then removed the infectious material. I didn't notice pain. Yes, there was pain, but I could ignore it, since I knew exactly when it'd be over. It also helps to have a very, very sharp knife, and work slowly.

As for my shoulder? Misdiagnosed as a rotator cuff injury by myself, and my random MD. The symptoms were indeed consistent with such an injury. I agreed with my MD. Last time that's going to happen. The next time I'll let the machines decide.

Within a week I was in excruciating pain. I had still been training for my mountain bike race, swimming, and training (although no weight training, just miles on the stationary). As per the advice of my MD. 'Light stress is ok. Keep using the shoulder.'

Yeah. Right.

Within a week and a half of the injury my pain levels were exceeding anything experienced during the injury, or subsequent. I decided to go back in and request the MRI. If your insurance covers the MRI, do it first. The MRI revealed serious fracturing of the humerus. Look at it - this is 1.5 weeks after the injury.

My MD seemed fairly unconcerned, gave me nothing useful for the excruciating pain, and told me not to use the shoulder. Well. That's a little bit of an about face. So, I spent a week and half with my shoulder mobile and elevated, making no money (I'm a consultant), and making no progress.

Thanks, medical industrial complex. If you can't get your diagnoses right, at least cover your mistakes with meds so the ones of us that do real work can get our jobs done.

Thank you. You sadistic, kowtowing, pathetic excuses for doctors. Do they even take the Hippocratic oath anymore?

Fuck. MDs.

I'm sorry this isn't a family friendly blog. Tough shit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New toy: Redline D440 29er

Well, it's about time I said something about my latest two-wheeled conveyance (if such it can indeed be called). This is actually a result of my generous corporate sponsorship for the upcoming Kona 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain bike race. I'd like the opportunity to thank my employer.

With that out of the way, what about the bike? The Redline D440 is a rigid, steel 29er mountain bike that's set up without a front derailer for a 1x8 speed drivetrain. It comes stock with awful Tektro v-brakes, which you should remove immediately, and disc compatible hubs and the appropriate mounting tabs. It is, in fact, as if they simply included the v-brakes in order to be able to sell the bike.

I have to admit I didn't even try out the Tektros, they felt mushy, but other people have said nice things about them, so I'll leave it at that. I had pair of Avid Single Digit 7s lying around, but felt that with the predominant conditions that I ride in (mud!) a mechanical disc brake setup made far more sense. I wouldn't be scoring up my rims, and I already had some Avid Speed Dial levers. So I grabbed some Avid BB7s from REI, and for $100 I had 160mm discs - and not particularly crappy ones, either.

I think it was possibly the easiest upgrade ever.

Everything on the bike is designed to accept either mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. There's even a braze-on for a front derailer, if that's your thing. Personally, I don't think you need a huge range of gears on a mountain bike, where the speeds you'll be traveling at vary less than on a road bike. Regardless, I think it's interesting that a manufacturer is shipping a bike with a stock gearing system identical to the one I have on my 1990 rigid Peugeot.

Of course the brakes are great, but how does it ride? Like a giant BMX, really. Which makes sense, given the frame geometry, material, the oversize riser bar, the drivetrain simplicity. This thing can go anywhere. I have to put some more miles on it, but so far it's been nothing but an absolute pleasure to ride.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Me...

ideal 11/29/08 12/13/08 12/27/08
neck 43 40 40 40.5
chest 117 108.5 109.5 111
bicep 42 34.5 34 34.25
forearm 34 32.13 32 31.25
waist 82 94 94 93.5
hip 99 99 100 99
thigh 62 60.75 61.75 61
calf 40 41 40 40

percentages 93.02 93.02 94.19

92.74 93.59 94.87

82.14 80.95 81.55

94.49 94.12 91.91

114.63 114.63 114.02

100 101.01 100

97.98 99.6 98.39

102.5 100 100

So, last weekend was my birthday. How convenient. I will admit that I had set ambitious goals for this particular birthday, although I'd never actually made clear to myself exactly what they were. What kind of numbers were I shooting for, anyway?

I don't know. I don't have a quick way of getting body fat percentage, which would have been the most useful. I'm not sure why I haven't bought a bioelectric impedance unit. I don't believe in weight goals. Setting a target body weight encourages dieting - and some people end up starving their muscles of nutrients. Losing muscle is a quick way to lose weight, but obviously that's not something we're interested in.

Whatever. Since I didn't set any real goals, I'm not sure how disappointed I should feel. The fact that I feel disappointed clearly means that I'm, once again, not living up to my own expectations.


In honor of the occasion, I've whipped up a slightly more interesting graph. The lines show a vague and ponderous convergence. I guess I can stare at it and think about how difficult progress really is.

Weight at the end of this week: 191.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Numbers, numbers

ideal 11/15/08 11/29/08 12/13/08
neck 43 39.5 40 40
chest 117 107.5 108.5 109.5
bicep 42 34.38 34.5 34
forearm 34 32.13 32.13 32
waist 82 95 94 94
hip 99 99 99 100
thigh 62 61.13 60.75 61.75
calf 40 41.38 41 40

percentages 91.86 93.02 93.02

91.88 92.74 93.59

81.85 82.14 80.95

94.49 94.49 94.12

115.85 114.63 114.63

100 100 101.01

98.59 97.98 99.6

103.44 102.5 100

Almost everything is trending in the right direction. Right now my focus is on maintaining muscle mass, yet dropping weight. So far so good: weighing in at 195 consistently now. Of course (as I tell myself every time I do this) I need to work harder.

I'll do a graph along with the next set of numbers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I want my face back!

Isn't that just perfectly awful? I put this image series together to document my descent into disgusting levels of fatness. In the left image, I weight about 155 pounds. The second image from the right: about 175. The last image? 215. In a year, my weight just skyrocketed. I had stopped windsurfing, and there wasn't a gym within ten miles of where we were living. I wasn't riding. I wasn't doing anything.

The thing is, when you look in the mirror every day, you don't notice little changes. It wasn't until I saw pictures of myself, and started comparing them with older images, that I realized how bad things had really become.

Every time I need some motivation to work harder, I'm going to look at this sequence.

Then, sometime early in 2009, I get to take another picture.