#28: Pain v2: Annoying, or is it?

NothingWorse

So freaking annoying. I’ve been off the bike for a month now with the same nerve issue I had with my foot in January (Morton’s Neuroma). I feel like I have gone back 9 months in time and so has my riding.

[As I write this I have been tweeting with Jonathan Lovelock (@Jono_L) and if you read his crash story, you will understand that my pain is zero. Get over it Stu!]

Whilst travelling a little for work two months ago, I ate too much, didn’t ride, didn’t exercise, rode a bit, then got the injury, continued eating and didn’t exercise. Now I’ve started to put weight back on. It’s a vicious cycle when you continue to eat like you do when you burn calories.

But the thing that is so frustrating is I haven’t resolved the issue. Is it the tightness, or hardness of the shoes, or the angle I peddle in them, or even walking in them to the bike.

So I’ve decided to go back to what works and doesn’t put stress on the foot, and that is the more flexible loose fitting MTB shoes that I started with and never had any issues with. I’ll try them for a while and see how the foot settles and if all good, maybe I try the new shoes again, maybe I just cruise on and accept the MTB’s are for me.

Yet there is a question that plagues my mind and I have no idea how to answer.  Have I damaged my body for so long (smoking, drinking, no exercise) that it’s never going to be good and I just have to manage what is?  Any thoughts?

Anyhow it’s so good to be riding again, even if a bit gingerly but better than not because I hate other exercises (unless I try surfing again). My legs feel good and get stronger as I ride but I have really noticed how my lungs have gone downhill so quickly as it now only takes a little effort to get to high bpm on the heart rate monitor.

Time to work on my fitness again. Spring is coming and I have some rides to do!
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#26: More ways to keep cycling interesting

Skate Park Roady

I have decided not to go racing. I have decided for now not to do long distance. I have has a few aches and pains, been travelling for work and now winter has arrived – all reasons to make it harder to ride. But, my weight is good, my lungs are fresh, my muscles still get sore and I get comments on how much better I look.

So what keeps my cycling interesting? For me it’s the activities, and keeping up the variety.

  • During the week, I change my destinations, road types and effort
  • Especially on weekends, I try and ride new roads
  • I stop and take photos for my Instagram and Pinterest accounts
  • I take my Garmin Virb with me and record Strava Segments
  • And I also put some videos on Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest

It’s all good and I enjoy doing it even though I will never be a Steven Spielberg,

If you want to see some of my latest, I hope you enjoy my skate park rides below. I will post some more content soon.

As I ride past people on their stationary bikes in the gym I dont get how that can be interesting, stuck in doors and the relentless boredom. They will never be able to go for a four hour ride and soak up what the world has to offer.
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#25: To pay or to tinker, that is the question.

Finally

I created this meme for one reason and that is because after many times of trying I finally was able to adjust my gears for a better result.  For an IT person, mechanics is not my thing so any achievement is big for me which I will explain.

As a new cyclist that bought a device that is mechanically based, I soon learned that it’s going to need maintenance and maybe adjustment to keep it tuned, and if you’re a person like me who hates even the littlest noise and rides 4-5 times a week, it’s not a maybe, it’s a definite.

As mentioned in an early post How I Buy a Bike, buying from a quality dealer has major advantages and in the early days a key one was they are happy that I would take my new bike back to the shop for some adjustments, in addition to the regular services.

But you can’t always keep taking it to the shop and for whatever reason, you are going to have to get your hands dirty either because you get inquisitive, or maintenance is required when the shop is closed, or you want to reduce costs.

The obvious place to start is the tyres.  Adjusting pressure is easy and changing a tube is fairly easy and will get easier with practice. I got a lot of practice with this before I bought some kevlar tyres.

The next maintenance challenge for me was the chain because it was noisy. I found out I had to clean the chain after every 60kms or so with a rag (or after a rainy ride), and re-oil it with a “dry” lubricant (the “wet” lubricant seemed to get to much sticking to it for me) to keep it happy.

Adjusting brakes starts to get a bit harder and can be worked out. Turn the adjusting screws to adjust them inwards because of rubber wear (sped up by riding in the rain) or to offset cable slack. After that, the next step was to learn how to tighten the brake cables.

But gears, these guys are my nemesis. Continue reading

#24: Video of Strava Segments Sydney North

Strava Segments 1 Sydney

If you are someone who likes to check Strava segments before the next ride, or someone who likes to explore new rides online before venturing out, you’ll be interested to see some reconnaissance videos I have put together and continue to grow in number.  It’s way better than clicking a thousand times through a Google map street view.

You can see and search all the segments I have recorded on Pinterest here

Or, check the map above, see the segments and follow the links below.

1. Sydney Harbour Bridge
2. Battle Boulevard
3. Parriwi Rd
4. Taronga Zoo KOM
5. Monavale to Church Point
6. McCarrs Creek Rd
7. Bobbin Head West
8. Bobbin Head South
9. Wakehurst Parkway North
A. Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation
B. Wakehurst Parkway South
C. Pymble Hill
D. M2 Westbound
E. Lane Cove Cycleway

Hope you enjoy the videos.  Let me know if there are any segments you want added. I know I have to do Akuna Bay, West Head, Brooklyn and Berowra, and I am also have a set of bike paths and some Lower north Shore hills.
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#23: Strava, Virb, Video, Segments, Pinterest

Road to Church Point

In post #18, “So what do I want for Christmas” I was torn between asking Santa for new Specialized road shoes or a Garmin Virb.  As you know I chose the shoes but the profound thing is they ended up being involved in me missing some time on the bike (that is I pinched a nerve in my foot) which I am happy to say is nearly all resolved due to refinements.

Now that I am on the bike again and getting out there, I am enjoying my new shoes and my new Garmin Virb – yeh!!!!   Yes, I couldn’t help myself and bought one with a bike mount for the handlebars and started taking video and pics like the one above on the road to Church Point.

My Garmin Virb

This year I have come to terms with the fact that racing is not where I am heading and that exploring on my bike is, so I have found the Virb is adding to that experience. In addition to me enjoying being out there on the road, appreciating the visual world I live in, feeling the wind in my face as it cools my sweat and having the time alone with my thoughts, I have now found a way to continue the ride when I get home.

As you may have noticed I really enjoy combining technology with riding. Continue reading

#22 Live long and prosper

Coffee Chocolate Saviours

  • 13 months ago I started riding a bike again at the age of 47.
  • 12 months ago today I gave up smoking.
  • Every day I still battle with it.

I have discovered that I am like an alcoholic who says “I haven’t quit, I give up every day” because for me nearly every day I face the demons.

Usually it’s just a feeling or an urge but sometimes, when I go somewhere I haven’t been for a while I will remember that I used to smoke there.  For example, I was recently at a hotel in Japan that I had been before where I used to smoke near the front door, that I understood that it’s not until I go there and face it, that I feel I have mainly overcome that hurdle.  It’s is like you have to break every little piece of the habit in your memory and it’s not easy.

If you are a smoker and have done it for decades, never think “I will quit and it will be done” because it’s not that easy and there are so many reminders, so many habits to break and the temptation to go out and buy a pack when you are angry or stressed often exists.  It’s because that is what you did before.

For me, I have found three saviours:

  1. Because I have channelled so much energy into cycling, I know that any cigarette smoke that goes into my lungs will be detrimental.  It will make it harder to climb hills or ride to the places I want to go.
  2. Having a coffee after my dinner has replaced the post dinner smoke although for others, coffee can be another addiction or is not practical if it keeps you up at night.
  3. Eating chocolate is my major replacement, especially late at night before I sleep. It’s the final kick that helps and as a cyclist, the best thing is it’s easy to burn those calories.

So I still need some kicks but today’s choices are so much better than before and when I look at my achievements, especially in the first 5 months, I have seriously surprised myself and am thankful I am on this path.

In the last 13 months:

  • I have lost 12 kgs or 26 lbs
  • I have ridden 6,871 kms or 4,270 miles
  • My longest ride is 132kms or 82 miles
  • I road my first 100km (60ml) ride in less than 5 months
  • I have saved around $AU 3,744 or $US3,368 by not smoking

I will live longer and prosper, and I am so much happier about it!
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