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.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Numbers for this weekend

ideal 11/01/08 11/15/08 11/29/08
neck 43 39.25 39.5 40
chest 117 108 107.5 108.5
bicep 42 34 34.38 34.5
forearm 34 32.13 32.13 32.13
waist 82 95 95 94
hip 99 99.5 99 99
thigh 62 61.5 61.13 60.75
calf 40 41 41.38 41

percentages 91.28 91.86 93.02

92.31 91.88 92.74

80.95 81.85 82.14

94.49 94.49 94.49

115.85 115.85 114.63

100.51 100 100

99.19 98.59 97.98

102.5 103.44 102.5

I'm not doing a graph this week, because I don't feel like it, and nobody cares. On the other hand, the numbers look good, and I'm feeling good about my progress. One thing that's helping is that the weather is unseasonably (might I say, ridiculously) warm, and so I'm riding more than I expected to. For instance, it's sunny and in the mid 50s today.

Weight: still hovering right around the 200 pound mark.

Tell you what is weird, though. I decided to check my height yesterday, because I can't even remember the last time anyone measured that. I know it says 5'6" on my driver's license, but that's just what I told them when I was getting my first license at the ripe old age of 17, and honestly at the time it was just an educated guess.

Apparently I'm actually 5'9". Uh, wow. That's a pretty serious discrepancy. In fact, I've become so used to thinking I'm 5'6", that I find it hard to believe. Still, I've checked it repeatedly, and I'm not wrong.

No wonder I weigh more than I thought I should. I'm a full three inches taller than I thought I was. It's not every day you realize you've been under-estimating your height by a quarter of a foot.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Once again: another Day of Reckoning

Man, these just creep up on me. Almost exclusively a mix of short duration, high intensity and long duration, low intensity cardio these past two weeks, with some weight training thrown in.

ideal 10/18/08 11/01/08 11/15/08
neck 43 39.5 39.25 39.5
chest 117 108.25 108 107.5
bicep 42 33.5 34 34.38
forearm 34 32 32.13 32.13
waist 82 95 95 95
hip 99 99 99.5 99
thigh 62 60.5 61.5 61.13
calf 40 41 41 41.38

percentages 91.86 91.28 91.86

92.52 92.31 91.88

79.76 80.95 81.85

94.12 94.49 94.49

115.85 115.85 115.85

100 100.51 100

97.58 99.19 98.59

102.5 102.5 103.44

It seems like it's been raining almost constantly. Cycling is an exercise in masochism, and even walking to the gym has been a pain. That said, I've been managing longer and more intense sessions, so regardless of the numbers I feel like progress is being made...

Current body weight: 200.5. Hmm.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday meditation: Confronting the Cars

Stumbled upon this interesting piece about breaking through the insular barrier that cars create for their occupants and actually talking to drivers.

I'm not nice enough to pull this off. I think I have a great deal of pent up rage towards the many, many incompetent drivers I have encountered over the years, not on a bike, but in another vehicle. Road rage is neither attractive nor healthy, though, so I suppose it'd be better to simply accept that the vast majority of people will never be good drivers, and move on.

Is it that simple? I'm not so sure. Still, there's definitely something to be said to improving driver-cyclist relations.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Numbers for this weekend

ideal 10/04/08 10/18/08 11/01/08
neck 43 39.25 39.5 39.25
chest 117 105.75 108.25 108
bicep 42 33.75 33.5 34
forearm 34 32.25 32 32.13
waist 82 95 95 95
hip 99 98 99 99.5
thigh 62 61.5 60.5 61.5
calf 40 41.13 41 41

percentages 91.28 91.86 91.28

90.38 92.52 92.31

80.36 79.76 80.95

94.85 94.12 94.49

115.85 115.85 115.85

98.99 100 100.51

99.19 97.58 99.19

102.81 102.5 102.5

Last weight: 200.5. I feel like I'm going to be at 200 pounds forever. Not much progress by the numbers, but I actually feel good about the way things are going. I can definitely push myself harder... but isn't that always the case?

And of course, a graph:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two flats in two days

Man, I have the worst luck. Apparently.

For some reason I just seem to be picking up a lot of... sharp things. On the other hand, I climbed some stuff today in the wrong gear and didn't even notice the difference. I'm definitely getting stronger, even if my puncture karma is getting worse.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another weekend, another day of reckoning

ideal 09/20/08 10/04/08 10/18/08
neck 43 39 39.25 39.5
chest 117 102 105.75 108.25
bicep 42 32.6 33.75 33.5
forearm 34 31.4 32.25 32
waist 82 95 95 95
hip 99
98 99
thigh 62 59.6 61.5 60.5
calf 40 40.5 41.13 41

percentages 90.7 91.28 91.86

87.18 90.38 92.52

77.62 80.36 79.76

92.35 94.85 94.12

115.85 115.85 115.85

0 98.99 100

96.13 99.19 97.58

101.25 102.81 102.5

Just from the numbers, it might seem (aside from a nice gain in the chest) that I've been slacking off, possibly even losing muscle. My weight yesterday is just as discouraging: 200.5. Or is it? Shrinking measurements mean a net decrease in volume, which given a fixed weight can only mean an increase in density. Increased density is a Good Thing.

And, of course, the pretty graph:

I still feel like I could be working harder. On that note, it's another perfect fall day, and it's time to go riding.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Junk miles are the best miles

So, today was another of those utterly perfect fall mornings. The early cloud cover burned off around 9am, and the sun warmed things up enough to be comfortable, but still cool enough to make riding hard a pleasant experience. I skipped out of work for an hour, and took the Sekai down my new favorite out and back, Soos Creek.

Soos Creek is a five mile stretch of wetlands that are protected (and in any case, worthless for development) with a creek, of sorts, running along the center of it. A paved trail runs beside the creek, winding past head-high blackberry bushes and stretches of green, still water. There's a nice mix of wide-open blue sky cruising and dark, shaded forest. On a clear day Rainier towers in the distance, wisps of cloud trailing from the snow-covered summit.

It's a nice, easy 16 miles, and I like the diversity of people that I encounter on the trail. Perhaps three quarters of them are walking their dogs, but the rest are there for exercise - or, I suppose, the fresh air. Today there was an interesting assortment of calorie burning activities going on. There was the white-haired guy in a turban doing unrecognizable movements and stretches in different places in the trail each time I whizzed by. There was the usual assortment of non-serious cyclists on various and sundry mountain bikes, all with knobbies. I like these people. They acknowledge my existence, unlike the serious cyclists, who stare intently ahead of them as they spin by, as if simply looking at my unclean presence might somehow taint the purity of their cycling experience. I even got a wave today from another cyclist. Little did he know that by making this gesture he was demonstrating how completely unseriously he was taking his cycling.

It was wonderful.

Then there was the older guy jogging with some younger guy who could clearly stand to lose a few pounds. Like, a hundred pounds or so (I say this with the full realization that I am currently carrying an extra 25 pounds of fat). On the one hand, it's cool to see people taking an interest in not becoming a statistic in the current obesity epidemic. On the other hand, I'm concerned about their choice of activity. Running definitely works as a weight loss strategy for some people, but for many it's an unnatural and painful experience that sours them on exercise in general. Even just looking at people running brings back powerful memories, mostly involving fierce pain, a metallic taste in the back of my mouth, and panted mantras of sometimes profane motivational poetry. Climbing is painful. Descending is painful. Of course, the runners that do well thrive on this eternal wellspring of pain.

I'm not one of those people. For me, cycling is wonderful because it doesn't have to hurt. Thus my motto: All junk miles. All the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Five reasons why Windsurfing is better than Cycling

Before I say anything let me preface my words with an appropriate disclaimer. I am no elitist. I don't have a house on Cape Cod, a 45 foot yacht or even a single German sports car. This is unfortunate, but the upside of all this deprivation is a clear understanding of the difficulties of the middle class. I understand what it's like to be unable to afford a 36 cm deep tuttle freeride fin, and have to ride overfinned, or to have to choose between a shiny new sail and eating anything other than dried noodles for a month. I understand these things.

Therefore it's important to me to point out that windsurfing is almost as accessible as cycling, and I don't want to hear any complaining about how it's not affordable and possibly even difficult to learn. That's why god invented credit cards.

I do have to point out that someone asked me as I was rigging how much my gear cost. 'What, the entire setup?'
'Oh, about two thousand dollars.'

This casually interested bystander reeled backward as if I had doused them with cold water. I shrugged and continued rigging. You can't even get a nice sportbike for two grand. It was a glorious fall day, and the wind was gusting (violently) out of the southwest. I had neither time nor interest in foolish trivialities involving human currency and it's exchange.

I slogged out to the wind line. There's usually clear air somewhere in Lake Washington, and it took about 15 minutes to find it. Then it was an hour of over-powered blasting over sharp, bluish chop. The water was cold, but not cold enough to numb bare feet, and the sun made a 3mm wetsuit almost uncomfortably warm. It was then that I realized that there are at least five reasons why windsurfing will always be better than cycling.

1) No cars. Well, obviously. Yes, there are jetskis and the occasional barge or ocean liner, but it's generally easy enough to move out of their way. They don't mow you down at high speed as their pilots yap on a bluetooth headset while trying to fit their venti frappuccino into the far right cupholder.

2) You're flying. Yes, you are still in contact with a liquid surface. However, anyone who's experienced hydroplaning in a car understands exactly how frictionless planing on a sheet of water can feel. Except in this case it's exhilarating instead of terrifying, and doesn't generally lead to injury, death or huge insurance settlements. The other part of the equation is the sail. A modern sail is an airfoil, capable of fantastic amounts of lift. The majority of your weight hangs from the sail through a seat harness. Yes, technically, bikes are capable of flight. However, this usually has dire consequences. See hydroplaning, car.

3) You don't have to wear a helmet. Ok, yes, I know some people who sail in horrendous spine-snapping bump and jump conditions wear helmets, but they aren't cool, so ignore them. You don't have to wear a life jacket, in fact, it's dangerous to do so. Much like helmets.

4) Crashes don't hurt/Speed without terror. Yes, you can catapult into the sail and bruise your ribs. This generally happens only a couple of times, and doesn't even come close to the damage you'll incur as you turf it descending that really slippery bit of singletrack out by the Towers of Power. Or, god forbid, at speed on a road bike. Slamming into the surface of the water at 20 knots as your sail overpowers in a gust is terrifying, and you're certain you've broken a $500 mast, but after you swim out from under the sail and shake the water from your ears you realize that the only thing broken is your sucky sail handling skills. You can indeed go very fast on a bike, and I have. Tempering the adrenaline rush from watching the scenery whiz past you is the understanding of what would happen when you get doored or the front tire flats and parts company with your rim. When I'm locked in the straps and the waves are flitting beneath my feet in a blur of foam, there's no fear - just a clean, unblemished rush. I'm more at home on the water than I could ever be on pavement.

5) You get to use your upper body. I've seen the uber-developed Serious Cyclists as they spin a fantastic cadence through the Seattle suburbs, passing traffic as if it's standing still, their massive quads intimidating even from a distance. You can tell how serious a cyclist is by how underdeveloped their upper body is. If all they appear to have is a massive rib cage to house their oversized lungs, and their upper limbs are wasted to vestigial brake-operating and steering appendages, watch out. Windsurfing, on the other hand, is the best full body workout ever. No exceptions. Ever.

Coming up soon: why biking rules, and windsurfing sucks. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Numbers for this weekend

ideal 09/20/08 10/04/08
neck 43 39 39.25
chest 117 102 105.75
bicep 42 32.6 33.75
forearm 34 31.4 32.25
waist 82 95 95
hip 99
thigh 62 59.6 61.5
calf 40 40.5 41.13

percentages 90.7 91.28

87.18 90.38

77.62 80.36

92.35 94.85

115.85 115.85

0 98.99

96.13 99.19

101.25 102.81

I started a spreadsheet in OpenOffice, and it exports fairly well-formed HTML. Not bad for some free software written by a bunch of amateurs.

I even generated a nifty graph to visually illustrate my progress. Lame, eh?

I also managed to get an accurate measurement of my body fat percentage: 25.6. While this is distressingly high, the encouraging part is that I should be able to meet my weight goals without too much trouble. That works out to 51.6 pounds of glorious flab. If I set a target of 12.5%, I should end up anywhere between 175 and, uh, 200 pounds, depending on how much muscle I add. Which brings me to my next metric: body weight.

Today: 201. I gained weight. I realize this is desirable for some people, but I have to admit I find it somewhat discouraging. On the other hand, all the other numbers (save the waist measurement, which is as static as my weight) are encouraging. Decent gains on the chest and quad measurements, which brings me to my final metric. Miles in September: 300.66. It seems like a trivial number, but I saw measurable (hah!) gains.

I don't plan on tracking miles this month, as I just want to maintain lower body fitness, not add a bunch more muscle.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Technium CityLite dumpster rescue (III)

It's definitely not finished. I need to decide what to do with the front chainrings, or put on a derailer. It also needs a rear brake. Still, it's complete enough to ride, and the ride could be charitably described as 'unresponsive' or perhaps 'squishy', which is definitely a shame.

It definitely looks pretty cool, though. It'll make a good bike-path cruiser, which is a really uninspiring category of bike for me right now, which probably explains why I'm not tinkering with it until the spring. It definitely needs a single chainring up front, though.
Anyone care to comment on the Technium in general? I know there are higher end versions of this frame out there (pretty much any version of this frame, actually). How do they ride?

It's definitely shiny.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Long-term product review: Michelin XC Road 26 x 1.4 slick

It's been a great summer. I've spent a lot of time on this somewhat unimpressive Peugeot, but since I'm not a serious cyclist I don't know anything about serious mountain bikes, so minor things like lack of suspension don't bother me. Really.

Actually, a rigid mountain bike has a certain purity about it, a stark simplicity that appeals to me. Sure, traction is definitely limited at speed over rough terrain, and it takes some effort to avoid destroying wheels and tubes over really gnarly stuff. However, like most mountain bikes, this bike will never see really gnarly stuff. It sees a wide range of surfaces: packed dirt, gravel, grass, sand, and of course pavement - and it turns out the XC Road is almost perfect for almost all of those surfaces.

This is a light tire, both in terms of total weight and in terms of the thickness of the rubber at the contact patch. Rotational inertia is very low for a 26 inch tire, as is the rolling resistance. In fact, it doesn't feel like you're riding a mountain bike at all. Low inertia and rolling resistance are only part of the story, though. The compound of the tire surface is soft and very sticky. This means excellent traction on all but very soft and wet surfaces, and amazing road feel. Yes, this tire has good grip on gravel, on packed dirt and dry grass. This may seem incredible, but the soft compound conforms perfectly to rough surfaces, and the rubber is wonderfully sticky. When things get wet, on soft surfaces, the lack of tread becomes apparent. On hard surfaces wet conditions make no difference. Hard rubber compounds may offer greater flat resistance, but you will pay a penalty in grip, and a larger penalty still in road feel.

Of course, flat resistance may be the key issue (or indeed, the only issue) for some. In this case, much as I love these tires, I can't recommend them. The sticky compound that grips the pavement so well also grips glass quite well. I encounter a fair amount of glass, and I've punctured twice with it in some 750 miles of riding. I don't think that's a lot, actually. On the other hand, if you're commuting, any puncture at all is one puncture too many.

I should also note that these steel-beaded tires fit rather snugly on the Sun CR-18 rims I have. Yes, you can and should change them without tools, but it may take some time and require some cursing. Putting a tiny amount of dish soap on the bead definitely helps. Of course, if you're on a ride, you probably don't have dish soap handy, but the first time you mount these, it's a good idea.

Since it's now fall in lovely Seattle, these tires will be coming off in favor of something with slightly more tread. It's a shame, really.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why I ride

I was climbing out of the small valley where the Soos creek trail runs, and my legs were burning. My breath seared my throat as it rattled past my teeth, and I pondered the replacement of my front chainring with something a little more reasonable. Only another 50 feet of climbing, I tell myself. Only another 40.

It's times like this that I remember my childhood. I remember the running, especially.

The first time my family moved to the US for any substantial amount of time, I was 10. That seems incredibly young to me now (no, really!) although my math is definitely correct. I remember it so vividly. We had the good fortune to be living in Connecticut, fairly far from civilization, in the beginnings of the Adirondacks. Connecticut is a beautiful state, neither flat nor featureless, as the Midwest often manages to be. The seasons are vivid, and distinct, the entire valley changing color in a matter of days. The area we were in made poor farmland, and was mostly covered in secondary deciduous forest.

I had one particular teacher who was obsessed with fitness. He was in great shape, and loved to run everywhere, and couldn't understand why we didn't want to do likewise. I just wanted to build go-karts out of lawnmowers and electric wheelchair motors and play games on the 386 in the library. Thinking back, I just wasn't old enough to get it. I liked sports, and was reasonably good at them, but had no desire to go running for no good reason other than burning calories.

Frankly, it hurt too much. I'm just not built for running. I'm fast over a short distance, but on anything longer than a few hundred meters, physics and genetics both dictate that I will be experiencing serious pain in short order. My legs aren't particularly long, and I'm not particularly slender. I've already complained about how the BMI system consistently rates me as 'overweight' (and probably always has). I was blessed with a fair amount of childhood fat, and nothing I did seemed to make any difference. I remember swimming specific strokes for tremendous distances one summer as part of a contest - by this same teacher, of course - with fitness components. I swam 2 miles of crawl without stopping. It took all afternoon. I racked up tens of miles of sidestroke in half-mile or mile increments. I was still fat.

Still, I loved swimming, and since that part of Connecticut is dotted with small bodies of water, I had ample opportunity. There were plenty of things that I enjoyed doing that burned calories, although I didn't think of them that way. I could (and did) swing a ax or a maul for hours. Boiling thousands of gallons of maple sap into syrup requires a fantastic amount of firewood. I learned to ice-skate in Connecticut, and when the local lakes froze over you could skate for miles over a glassy sheet, frozen plant life flashing past beneath your blades.

I still had to run. I guess the idea was that once you were forced to do something you'd come to like it. It didn't work. The neighborhoods of Norfolk are seared into my memory along with the soundtrack of my rasping breath. Staring at the houses as they go by, ever so slowly, desperate for something to distract me from the pain. Just another few hundred feet to the top of this hill... Just another couple hundred...

Sure, there are moments on the bike I wonder why I'm doing what I'm doing, usually once the gradient gets much steeper than 10% for more than a few hundred feet. But even at it's worst, the pain doesn't compare to running. The scenery, the smell of the tree leaves as the year turns to autumn, the endorphin rush after the climb - that's all still there.

So I ride because it's everything running was supposed to be for me, and everything running isn't.

I'm sure my teacher would be proud.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

10 Sets of 10 Reps

I've finally started hitting the weights in earnest, and have been rewarded by constantly sore muscles in my upper body to complement my sore legs. It feels great.

It's also a new feeling, for me. Granted, after a three hour windsurfing session, my entire body will ache from my toes to my neck, but that usually only happens at the beginning of the season. There really is no better full body workout than windsurfing. Swimming is great, but doesn't give you the incredible interval training that windsurfing can. That said, I've only been windsurfing a few times since I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Part of it has been the dearth of wind, at least by my standards.

Part of it has been that my wetsuit no longer fits.

Unfortunately, over the past year, I've become really fat - by my standards, anyway. For the first time in my life I broke 200 pounds, and not by a small amount, either. This is particularly sad given that I was down to around 155 two years ago, when I was windsurfing regularly (3 times a week, between 1.5 - 4 hours a session). My diet didn't change, although due to stress at leaving my job and planning a move 2500 miles across the country to a place where I had never been and where I had no friends or even acquaintances, I was eating as a stress reliever, and simply stopped exercising. Given that my job consists of punching keys on a keyboard, it's no surprise to me that I packed on the pounds. What did surprise me was how much I gained, and how quickly I gained it.

At this point it's probably a good idea to mention a blog that's been a source of motivation in this effort: the Fat Cyclist. Elden is a funny guy, and not really as fat as he claims to be. The confessional style of his early blog postings is not only wildly entertaining, but inspirational. Really.

So, I've been duly inspired to post about my own weight loss experience, in somewhat less excruciating detail. You're not going to get pictures of me, since I have no desire to subject anyone to such things, and weight measurements won't be included as any usable metric. You see, according to BMI calculations, I'm obese. Like, more than borderline, actually well within the category. On the other hand, BMI measurements are an incredibly generalized metric that doesn't take into account body type. Even at my most fit several years ago, wearing pants with a 30 inch waist and very little abdominal fat, I still weighed in at 155-160, placing me in the 'overweight' category. That's absurd.

So, BMI calculations aren't going to factor into this. However, I still want to set a target weight of 175, because I think I can reach it, although it might take a while. Yes, this still puts me in 'overweight' territory, but I don't care, because of my strategy for losing weight.

My strategy: add muscle. That's it. This requires the least lifestyle change for me, and as lifestyle changes that are dictated only by the requirement to lose weight are always doomed to failure (for me, anyway) this has the best chance of working over the long term. This definitely differs from most people's weight loss plans, including Fatty's. Let me explain why.

  • Diet. I already eat a relatively healthy diet, and have cut down on grazing activities. The only meats I eat are various fish that I consider sustainable, and most seafood. I eat eggs and cheese provided it's a small quantity and non-processed. If it's sheep or goat cheese, so much the better. Most of my/our diet in this household consists of Asian cuisine, and I'm not talking about Chinese food. I'd say we eat at a Vietnamese, Thai, or Japanese restaurant almost every day now that we live in the Seattle area. It's not just an addiction, it's healthy and it's cheap. Bientu, of course, eats nothing but raw meat and organs, but she's a dog. I hate candy, and anything with corn syrup or artificial color in it is a non-starter (another household rule). I generally eat two proper meals a day, one of which is breakfast. So, I'm not sure I want to change anything. I did forget to mention beer, which can amount to 200-800 calories a day for me. I refuse to alter that part of my diet.
  • Exercise. I'm not relying on the things I do for fun to provide the increase in calories burned. This is because I want to continue to do these things for fun, and not to lose weight. I ride my bike for fun. Yes, all my miles are junk miles. Hah! I windsurf for fun, although it's hard to imagine windsurfing for any other reason. I snowboard for fun. I simply refuse to run, ever again, for any reason. I did for a while, and it did very little for me. My knees are still in good shape, and I want to keep them that way, thanks. Besides, the more over your target weight you are, the more you're trashing your knees. No thanks. So, my strategy is simple: interval training on the mountain bike for the lower body, weight training for the upper body in the gym that's conveniently located half a mile down the street. I have a route that I ride every day that includes some hard climbing for short periods interspersed with nice rest intervals. I'm spending an hour in the gym five times a week. If this doesn't work, nothing will.
So, if BMI metrics are pointless, what will I use to gauge my progress? Well, in the spirit of beth bikes!, I'm going to include a bunch of measurements of an specific muscle group. Actually, a bunch of muscle groups. There are lots of bodybuilding resources on the net, and I stumbled across a male "Grecian Ideal" calculator, that will give you your ideal measurements based on the size of... your wrist.

No, really!

So, based on my wrist size (exactly 18 cm) here are my ideals:

neck43 cm
chest117 cm
bicep42 cm
forearm34 cm
waist82 cm
hip99 cm
thigh62 cm
calf40 cm

I don't know, compared to my target waist and quad measurements, that's extremely close. The others... Well, I guess I just have to see. Here are my current measurements:

neck39 cm91% of ideal
chest102 cm87% of ideal
bicep32.25, 33, 32.6 cm77% of ideal
forearm31.25, 31.5, 31.4 cm92% of ideal
waist95 cm115% of ideal. ewww
hipi'm not sure how to measure this
thigh58.5, 60.75, 59.6 cm 96% of ideal
calf40.25, 40.75. 40.5 cm 101% of ideal

Hey, that was actually interesting. Aside from the obvious (I'm pathetic) there's clear evidence that cycling has been a good idea. My upper body, on the other hand, needs a lot of work.

Oh, my weight? 200.5, yesterday. Scary.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Technium CityLite dumpster rescue

I would like to point out that these posts aren't happening in direct chronology with the images. I started that project, then started this project, but I wanted to break the narrative up into logical chunks and make it accessible in case someone else has one of these bikes. There's very little information about this particular model on the web, although I found pictures of someone else's (road) Technium fixed-gear conversion on Flickr.

I'm not sure I would have turned such a complete and (from the pictures) barely ridden geared road bike into a fixed gear, but that's just me. Regardless, there's no arguing that he did a fantastic job with the frame, and almost certainly spent a lot more time with it than I did. I also can't deny that it was helpful to have someone else's project as a reference.

Which is why I'm posting this. Uh.

Oh, if you have a 54-52 cm Technium road bike, and you want to sell/give it to me, that'd be great. Preferably a nice clean one like the aforementioned Flickr dude's. Thanks.

Anyway. At this point I had a stripped and fairly rust free frame and fork. I masked the aluminum sections, including the aluminum rings that butt the tubes together. Prep was limited to washing the steel sections with degreaser, and using a self-etching primer.

I did spray some of the previously rusted areas with a one-step rust conversion and then sanded off the residue before priming. This is a good idea if you're lazy and don't want to grind out every single pit of rust, or simply don't want to remove half the dropout in the process, for example. Hopefully your frame hasn't been neglected like this one.

The head tube logo is cast aluminum and has two pegs that simply press into the holes in the head tube. You can (carefully) pry it off with a flat-head screwdriver.

Primed and ready to paint.

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of the bare frame after the final paint coat, possibly because of inhaling too many paint fumes. Or something. Here's how it turned out, though:

I just put a random road seat on it to be able to get a feel for how it rides. Still need to go to a single chainring up front, and install a rear brake since I tend to ride on loose surfaces quite a bit.

Oh yeah, and that fork and headset is from a Trek 850 I had lying around. I'll explain that later. Now if you'll excuse me, it's staggeringly gorgeous outside, and I'm going riding.