Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting there

I am working from home today and tomorrow which is nice having been out and about quite a bit the lat couple of weeks. I went for a ride last night at about 8:45 and got home at 9:45, the great thing about this time of year, this far north is that the sun was still shining although it was getting a little cooler.

My final parcel arrived before we head south, my new sun glasses. I will readily admit that they look pretty stupid, but that is part of the idea, they are for cycling in and go well with everything else stupid looking that I seem to need to wear whilst on a bike.

The lens is some fancy photochromatic thing that seems to work very well and the hydrophobic coating makes a big difference by getting rid of the sweat and stuff that normally accumulates on the lenses. All in all I am very pleased with them.

Final weight mentions for a while -I am 99.6kg this morning meaning that I have lost 5.4kg since I started dieting (I think it was about a month ago now).

According to the scales I am 22% fat which means that my lean mass is about 78 kg. A healthy level of body fat is apparently between 8% and 20% so if I aim for 14% dead in the middle, then I should weigh 89kg. That still seems like a lot of weight to lose, but I am aiming for 90kg and I can starting worrying about the details when I get there...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Packing for all eventualities

The weather in Vaujany looks to be typical of the mountains in the summer, fluctuating from hot to cold, sunshine to rain. That means that packing for our holiday involves taking everything from sandals and shorts to fleeces and waterproofs. The problem is that I have to take clothes for normal days and also clothes for cycling in so I will end up with rather a large bag full of stuff. I began the packing process last night and have already got most of the cycling stuff together including food, spares, tools and such. Now I have to find some normal clothes and prepare for the inevitable argument with MK about her taking too much stuff. This time, however, it will be me with too much stuff meaning that there isn't enough room for her to take what she (claims she) needs.

Lawns to mow, bikes to clean, bins to empty and doors to lock etc etc...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Counting down to the holiday

I am taking my body to work each day this week, but unfortunately my mind is already half way through Germany and getting ready to hit the mountains. Yesterday I received yet another shipment of goodies from Chain Reaction Cycles to help me up and over the mountains starting on Sunday. The box contained some light weight inner tubes (50g each) to reduce my rotational mass, some patch kits for those special tubes and a pair of Skins travel and recovery tights.

I haven't fitted the tubes yet so I don't know how they will fare; I will certainly give them a test ride before heading off into the mountains for a 175km jaunt on Sunday just to check that they are safe and reliable.

The tights are for a couple of things. They provide graduated compression rather like flight socks and are supposed to help with recovery from exercise and also to reduce the effects of long journeys. They are tighter around the ankle and gradually less tight moving up the leg, this should improve circulation and hence reduce swelling and fatigue and improve recovery. This should help on the 18 hour drive and also to get over these races and be ready for the next one. Unlike the magnetic bracelets, this is in fact backed up by some proper scientific research so I will be interested to see how well they work...

Monday, June 22, 2009

The joy and frustrations of dressing as a scarecrow

This morning I weighed 99.4kg so the diet and weekend of exercise worked well although it was very tough to resist the cake and chocolate on offer at T&B's in the afternoon after our ride. I rode 116km with BHP yesterday including several loops around the "hills" near Tølløse. The aim was to ride really hard until my legs gave up which happened after about 100km and then we rolled home more or less gently. There were a couple of good things for me to note, firstly I was going reasonably well, secondly it was only a little bit cold without knee and arm warmers and lastly, we got home before the rain hit us.

The frustration of the weight loss is that rather a lot of my trousers now hang rather loosely around my middle and need a belt to keep them up (bear in mind that I was wearing them when I was almost 110kg at Christmas as well). This means that when I do up my belt, there is rather a lot of spare fabric bunched up under the belt and I end up looking like a scarecrow.
The unfortunate news of the weekend was that DK must have eaten something in the garden on Saturday afternoon and subsequently spent all of Saturday night and most of Sunday throwing up all over everyone and everything. We were getting rather worried by last night because he was still retching and giving us the occasional shower of bile and cried for hours. However, he finally went to sleep and seems to be a bit better this morning having drunk some water during the night and had a fair bit of his bottle this morning. We hope it continues...

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It seems that emailing photos to the blog from my iphone has stopped working since I upgraded the operating system. Hmmm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book Review

Last week I finished reading Nothing to Lose by Lee Childs. It is a Jack Reacher novel and was pretty good action thriller type of thing apparently aimed at the male market. I was drawn to it by the cover which was very clearly somewhere in Colorado and reminded me of the view down the main street in Steamboat Springs.
It was good enough that I will certainly read more of these Jack Reacher books, but not for a while, I think I need something a little more worthy and intellectually challenging next. given that I have a small stack of books that I bought in Birmingham airport to get through, the next book will be The White Tiger and I hope it will entertain me through our holiday.
Exciting things are happening this afternoon. Our chairs are being returned complete with new upholstery and DK is going to the doctors to see why he has such a bad rash around his mouth. I suspect impetigo, but I'm not a doctor...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This weeks DVDs

As members of we get a couple of DVDs every couple of week, they are chosen from a wish list that we have on their website so we don't really know what to expect each week. Generally we get a sort of kiddy film and a grown up film together which suits us fine. This week, however, we got two grown up films: Valkyrie and Changeling.

Valkyrie is a Tom Cruise film about a failed plot to assassinate Hitler by some of his own army. I thought it was pretty good actually and I don't really understand why it didn't do well in the cinema other than it was not really the action packed thing that he normally turns out.

Changeling is about a woman played by Angelina Jolie who's son is kidnapped in LA in the 20's. The LA PD return a boy to her, but he is not her son and the LA PD then proceed to insist that he is her son and that she is nuts. It was pretty miserable, but MK was relieved that there wasn't a Lars Von Trier ending (meaning everyone not only dies, but has to go through hell watching those they care for die as well). It wasn't a happy film at all, but again it was pretty good. I have no idea what we'll get next, but I think this film club has been a good investment and makes up for not being able to visit the cinema.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day dreaming

I have come to the conclusion that the best reason to use an ipod whilst cycling is that it stops you thinking about other stuff. Last night I continued my musings over the benefits of having a travel bike. This is not one that I would use for things like our upcoming holiday, but one I could easily take on a plane or in a car whenever we travel to visit friends and family for a few days (mostly the UK and US I suppose).

Last year Wiggle had a good offer on a Ritchey Breakaway frame and I wish I had bought it(like the one above, but painted). It is a basic steel frame that splits in 2 and comes in a travel case that is small enough to check as normal luggage. This has two big advantages, firstly it saves about €35 each way in baggage fees and secondly, it is less likely to get damaged seeing as it is in a structurally sound case unlike my soft bike bag.

Adding to the temptation is the fact that I have my old Cannondale road bike sitting more or less unused with a full Dura Ac group set and new-ish wheels, just waiting for something exciting to come along.
Perhaps this will be this years winter project...
Yesterday the nurse can to see MK and DK. DK has grown 3cm since the last visit and is now back on the growth curve that he was on from birth. He hasn't gained any weight, but as he is not particularly skinny and uses a lot of energy crawling around, that is not too worrying and we are happy that is growing again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pirate Parties and Christenings

Having endured autumnal weather on both Thursday and Friday with horizontal rain and cold temperatures, it was a pleasant surprise to see the sun again on Saturday. J's nursery had a pirate party in the afternoon so I had planned a long ride in the morning before going to the party in the afternoon. In the end I got out of the door late after clearing up breakfast and dithering whilst the others went to handball and then got a flat about 7km into the ride. This meant that I would have no spare with me and if I got another flat, MK and the boys would have to leave the party to rescue me. I decided to cut the ride short and get home in time for the party despite the sunshine. The party was OK - typical Danish really in that there was approximately 4 times as much cake as could be eaten (each set of parents bought bread rolls or cake to 6-10 so it's not hard to calculate that there was too much).

Yesterday was K&L's daughter's Christening so I got out of the door at 6:30 to make up for the missed miles on Saturday. I managed 55km in 1:45 and then we packed up and moved out for the main event of the day.

Everything went really well, the kids behaved and I didn't eat too much.

Weight yesterday morning was 101kg, but this morning it was 102kg again. This week I am planning to be even more strict with both the eating and training and I am fully expecting to be in double digits by the end of the week. I am still optimistic of seeing 98kg on the scales before we leave next Friday night...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Carbohydrate delight

As my diet is progressing I am beginning to obsess a little too much about food. Yesterday I allowed myself a piece of cake before my 1½ hour simulated climb of Alpe d'Huez in the basement (It was 10C outside and raining cats and dogs as they say in Denmark so there was no way I was going outside). That piece of cake was the motivation that I needed to cycle through the all of Confidence which really isn't that good when you know the twist at the end.

This morning I was 101.6kg so the loss is slowing a little, but still continues. I am confident that I can get down below 100kg before the race and I am aiming for about 98kg.

On Wednesday I took my bike into the shop to get the gears checked out as they were not running as smoothly as I would like since I fell off a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully the nice guy confirmed that it was not in my head and sorted me out with a new derailleur hanger. Perfection has resumed in the shifting department :-)

Whilst in Fabin I picked up the energy gels and bars that I plan on using in France. As I recall from last time, you really need a lot of these things to keep up your blood sugar levels for such a long time so I took advantage of their offers - 14 energy gels and 10 bars. I hope that's enough, but I don't think I could carry much more in my pockets!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Someone asked, so here it is...

The bike races that we are doing in France this summer all fall within one week. We arrive in Vaujany on the Saturday in time to register and then we will be face with the first big test the following day. The route is 174km long with about 4500m of ascent within that. The biggest obstacle being the climb through Alpe D'huez and beyond to the Col de Sarenne although I am sure that the last climb up to the village we are staying in will also be hard work at the end of it all. To get the gold award for this one I have to complete it in 8 hours and 11 minutes. Last time it took me 8:29 so I hope to be able to improve on that and move from silver to gold this time but I don't really know how my fitness is compared with 2005.

On Wednesday we are riding the Prix des Rousses which is a much shorter ride of 40km starting at the bottom of Alpe d'Huez and riding up the famous 21 hairpins and then back downabout half way then up to Vuajany. in 2005 it took me 2½ hours and I don't expect much difference this time.
Then comes the big one. Saturday morning at 07:00 we start the 175km Marmotte with many thousands of other cyclists and head almost straight up the first of 3 BIG climbs of the day (5000m in total)- The Col du Glandon, then there is a short rest before the Col du Galibier which is very long and very steep. There is a long descent after that before the final climb to Alpe d'Huez for the finish. Last time I got the silver award in 9:54 but this time I want to get the gold which means that I have to finish within 8:49. This difference may seem enormous, but I know that I spent at least 20 minutes sitting at the bottom of the last climb eating, drinking and resting last time along with several stops along the way. I think I have a shot at getting the gold this time, but it will certainly not be easy.

The morning after the Marmotte is the last race which is a short little 14km up to Alpe d'Huez again although I guess we may then ride back to the house to save anyone driving over to fetch us.
Over the 4 races there are well over 10 000m of vertical gain and that is why I am trying to shed as much weight as possible in the few remaining weeks before it all begins.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wasted time in cars

I don't know how much time I have wasted in cars in my life, but I know it is a lot. I don't mean time spent getting somewhere that served some purpose, I mean time driving somewhere to waste my time.
Today it will be about 5 hours. I was supposed to meet someone the other side of Denmark so I got up early and drive there. He apparently got up early and flew to Copenhagen for another meeting.
I'll leave early and make sure that I get a good bike ride in this evening to make up for the inconvenience and at least I can claim the mileage.
Weight this morning was 101.8kg so it is still heading in the right direction. After my ride at the weekend it was 100.8kg, but that was just due to dehydration.
3 weeks to the first race and 4 weeks to the big race. How much can I get rid of in that time???
I am still shooting for 95kg, but it may be too optimistic.
In the longer term, I am shooting for 90kg by my birthday.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Chimney emergency

We've had a weekend at home getting lots of stuff sorted out. On Saturday an upholsterer came to collect our dining chairs and this easy chair to be re covered. The dining chairs will be a fairly bright green and the easy chair will be red.

I then cleared out the guttering, had some lunch and went for a bike ride with BHP. Thankfully I am getting in better shape and am now able to give him a fair workout over the 100km we rode. We also met Lars for a short while so that we could have a rest ;-)
Yesterday MK was working at the polling station for the EU elections so the boys and I did some other stuff around the house. I washed the car and 2 bikes after my 40km morning ride, all in all a good weekend.
This morning I had a medical to get a certificate for the bike races in France. The doctor didn't check anything, she just signed the paper which was great because it also meant that it cost me nothing. Then the chimney sweep came to make his annual check. I think he is employed by the council and all chimneys have to be checked. Ours was blocked by a birds nest so he had to spend 45 minutes getting it out. It seems like a good thing that he checked because apparently there was a high risk of CO poisoning. Now on with the week with the reassurance that I am in good health!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Half day

Today is the lat public holiday until Christmas and it is only a half day. This morning I have worked whilst MK has been to an agricultural show with J and her mum. Now I am waiting for her to get home so I can get some saddle time in.

Have a good weekend everyone :-)

Happy Fathers Day to me apparently!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Seating plans

As I mentioned a day or two ago, I fell off my bike at the weekend. There was minor damage to both my leg and my saddle. The damage to the saddle is a tear that has more or less removed the red part that you can see at the lower edge on this picture and replaced it with a hole.

Last night I decided to try out the saddle from my old bike on the new one to see if it was more comfortable whilst I try to decide whether or not I should replace the torn one that is shown above with something more like this one from the old bike below.

After 1½ hours of riding, I have decided that I prefer the aspide (top) that was already on the bike and it is also noticeably lighter than the arione (below) which just leaves me with the decision of whether or not I should replace the torn one with a new one.
A slight factor in this is that I would really like to have a white one with white bar tape as is apparently "all the rage" as my mother would say.
Weight this morning 202.2kg - going well...
MK has J's nursery class visiting this morning to wreck the house, I hope they are having a good time.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Magnetic fantastic... or not

Having cut sugar out of my diet as much as possible for a week or so now, I am really feeling the benefits of eating more healthily. I don't find myself craving sugar so much and I even feel more energetic (still not very energetic, but more so...) I think this is down to not eating much processed food and as little starchy stuff as I can meaning almost no potatoes, pasta, white bread or rice.

So far so good but then whilst surfing around last week I stumbled upon these:

It is a Trion:z magnetic bracelet and suddenly it was clear. What my life is lacking is more minus ions to counteract the deluge of positive ions that I am subjected to on a daily basis.

So now here I am equipped with a couple of magnets and some "minus ion emitting material" around my wrist and I feel great!

I suspect that the magnets are doing absolutely nothing for me despite the claims and the fact that 2/3 of pro golfers now use them. It's the emperors new clothes and I think it suits me very well!

Weight this morning 103.2kg. I need to get out on a bike tonight.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Looking at the hippo

Zoo trip

Busy sunny weekend

We have been to CPH 3 times this weekend. A house warming on Friday evening, A barbecue with an ex colleague on Sunday and the Zoo and the airport yesterday.
The weather has been great, but unfortunately the garage failed to fix our air conditioning in the car last week so it has been pretty sweaty in there.
Steve has arrived safely and is braving the train to get to his meeting in Brøndby this morning, hopefully we will see him again at some point later in the day.
I have cycled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I am feeling fairly virtuous and a little achy. The aching is mostly from falling off on Saturday. No real damage to the bike, but a large red bruise on my right hip which is now thankfully feeling much better.
Weight this morning was 103.2kg meaning that I lost nearly 2kg last week. If I can maintain that for the next 4 weeks I will be very happy.