Martin Mills Metric, again.

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode my Martin Mills Metric route. I was finished before noon, so the heat wasn’t that bad. That 60 miles, added to the 40 mile rides I did on Wednesday and Friday, gave me 140 miles for the week. Both of those 40 mile rides were done in the afternoon heat, and I’m obviously still not used to this summer’s heat and humidity.

I rode 130 miles last week, 135 miles the week before last, and now have 525 miles for the month of June. I’m hoping to get another 30 mile ride in on Monday or Tuesday, so it won’t be a bad mileage total for the month. I’m still behind the pace I need to be on to make my mileage goal for the year.

Today’s Martin Mills Metric route.

Martin Mills Metric

I took off on the F5 yesterday morning and did my Martin Mills Metric route. That 60 miles gave me 130 miles for the week. Every year at this time, the first hot weather arrives, and it takes a body a while to become acclimated to that heat. This week’s rides were tough. With the record rains of May, there’s so much water still on the ground that the humidity is really high. That, combined with the ninety-something degree days we’ve been having, make for a tough bike ride.

I ended up with a total of 401 miles ridden in May. That’s way too low for me. The record rains made it tough to get in my miles. I’ve said this before here: I really don’t like riding in the rain, and with the 19 inches of rain that fell here last month, it was hard to get in a ride between storms. There’s nothing to do now but get myself acclimated to the heat, and try for a good mileage month this month.

Yesterday’s Martin Mills Metric route.

Ben Wheeler 80 mile ride

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode out to Martins Mill, following my usual 60 mile route, but then on to just past Ben Wheeler. In this spring of seeminly unending rain, I only got a few sprinkles on today’s ride, and ended up with 80 miles. There haven’t been may days lately where you could ride that many miles without hitting some serious rain. I had ridden 40 miles Thursday afternoon, so ended up with 120 miles for the week.

Last week, between work and all the rain, I didn’t manage a ride at all until Friday. But, 40 miles on Friday, 40 miles on Saturday, and another 30 miles on Sunday gave me 110 miles for the week. Near the end of Friday’s ride, I hit some hard rain for a short stretch, but managed to stay dry the other rides. The forecast of rain every day continues for next week, so I’ll again be trying to dodge storms long enough to ride.

Today’s route.

570 Miles in April

I ended up with 570 miles on the bike in April, not a bad mileage month at all. I managed 140 miles last week, and with 30 miles on Monday, 60 miles yesterday, and 30 miles today, that makes 120 miles total for this week, in spite of the fact that I won’t get any miles this weekend. I’m boarding a plane tomorrow, and joining other lung cancer survivors at the LUNGevity National Hope Summit in DC for the weekend.

I didn’t do anything longer than yesterday’s 60 mile ride this month, but I ended up with 15 rides for the month. That’s averaging a ride every other day, and that will usually translate to a decent mileage month. This still leaves me well behind the pace I need to be on to make my 5,000 mile goal for the year, and my weight is still too high, but this looks like progress. With warmer, and hopefully drier, weather coming, I should be able to have another good mileage month in May.

Yesterday’s 60 mile Martins Mill Metric route.

50 Mile State Highway 19 Loop

I took off on the F5 this morning and did my loop out to State Highway 19 and back through Purtis Creek State Park. I ended up with 50 miles. I rode 110 miles in each of the three previous weeks. I ended up with 402 miles for March, which isn’t bad, but January and February were both pitiful mileage months.

Between the weather, a cratered disc in my back, bronchitis, and strep throat, I’m well behind the mileage pace I should be at right now. Nothing to do but try and get in some better miles in the coming days. I’ve also been ignoring my blog again. My mileage has been poor, and my rides have just been short solo rides that don’t seem worth blogging about. I never figured I’d be one of those who is enthusiastic about a blog for a while, then loses interest and stops posting, but that’s what it’s looking like these days.

The other news is my weight. At the peak of riding lots of miles and really watching what I eat, I got down below 185 pounds. I set that as my goal to remain at. I figured that as long as I stayed under 190 pounds, I wouldn’t worry too much. I set 195 as my do-something-about-my-weight-right-now weight. During the four years where I was riding 7,000+ miles, I figured out that I wasn’t going to put on much weight no matter how much I ate, and I eased up on my eating restrictions a lot. The problem is that I’m no longer riding 7,000 miles a year. I’m riding 5,000 miles a year. And at 5,000 miles a year, I can’t just eat whatever I want and maintain a healthy weight, it’s becoming obvious. I had long since quit weighing myself every day, but when I made that trip to the scale one morning last week, the news wasn’t good at all: 197 pounds. That’s too heavy for me. It’s back to trying not to eat everything in sight, and see if I can get my weight back to where it needs to be.

Today’s route.

100 miles this week

I got in 100 miles on the bike this week. Not bad, I’m thinking, considering that on Tuesday, I was diagnosed with strep throat and bronchitis. And that wasn’t even the main reason I was seeing the doctor. That was for a follow up on my cratered lower back that had taken me to the emergency room a week earlier.

They did x-rays of both my chest and lower back. The chest x-ray showed bronchitis, but no pneumonia (and thankfully, no cancer). The lower back x-ray showed a narrowing of the space between the vertebrae in my lower back. That’s no surprise since I’ve had degenerative disc issues in my lower back for more than 20 years. It hasn’t flared up this bad in a long time, though. In fact, it hasn’t been this bad since I started riding a bike in 2004. I’m going to have to feel my way along to figure out how much I can do on the bike with my back like this. I’m thinking I need to just do short, easy pace rides for a while. That’s pretty much all I do in the winter, anyway. I’m glad I’m on a recumbent bike. I don’t think I could ride an upright bicycle at all right now.

I felt enough better on Wednesday that I did a 30 mile ride out to Purtis Creek. Before Wednesday’s ride, I had been off the bike for 16 days, my longest break from riding since the 18 days I missed while having, and recovering from, lung surgery in 2007. On Friday, I rode another 40 miles, so today’s 30 mile ride gives me 100 miles for the week.

Friday’s 40 mile route.

Martins Mill Metric

Ever since I’ve been riding, I ride fewer miles in the winter. Rather than trying to remain in the very peak of fitness year round, it just makes sense to be cyclical, peaking at some point, getting extra rest and recovery at another. With its shorter days and colder temperatures, winter is a natural time for the extra rest and recovery.

Our body’s immune system seems to be more compromised in the winter, too, and during the four year stretch where I was riding 7,000+ miles a year, I seemed to have more than my share of maladies in the winter, not the least of which was shingles in January of 2010, and pneumonia in December, 2012. After that bout with pneumonia, I made a decision and followup effort to cut my winter miles down even more, do mostly shorter rides, especially on the colder days, and not ride at all when the temperature isn’t over 40 degrees.

But my miles lately haven’t even been as much as I had in mind for winter. I reached 2014′s mileage goal, but two weeks ago, I only rode 30 miles. Last week, I again just rode 30 miles. And until yesterday, I hadn’t ridden at all this week. That’s just 60 miles on the bike in almost three weeks, a lot less than I had in mind for my winter riding. Between the weather and work, I just haven’t been able to ride. But I got home from work yesterday early enough that I did 30 miles in the afternoon. And late this morning, I took off on the F5 and did my Martin Mills Metric route. So I did get 90 miles on the bike this week.

It’s now been a year and a half since I moved to Gun Barrel City. I like it here. It’s more quiet, and the air quality is better than DFW, a nice benefit for a lung cancer survivor. And Cedar Creek, Palestine, and several other great fishing lakes are nearby. But it isn’t the most bicycle friendly place around. The only way I can find enough time to ride the kind of miles I want is to do most of my rides from home. If I have to load the bike, drive somewhere, unload the bike, ride, load the bike, drive home …….. well, you get the picture. But unless I want to just do laps in my own neighborhood, there are only two roads out of town.

One is Main Street. But it’s heavy traffic, with turns into stores and shopping centers all along the way in town. And leaving town, either east or west, it becomes a two lane high speed highway without even a shoulder. The only other road that leads out of town is County Road 4006. It goes east and north to Mabank. But, Kaufman County and Mabank have been engaged in a disagreement about rebuilding and maintaining the road, and the half mile of it nearest me has fallen into an unbelievable state of disrepair. There are large potholes everywhere, and many of them are, no exaggeration, 12 inches or more deep. It’s become very hard to dodge all these holes on a bike, and hitting any one of them on my bike would instantly ruin a wheel.

So this fall, I started cutting through a gated community, that lets me bypass all but a few feet of the bad part of CR 4006. There are some really nice luxury houses here, and even a polo field. But there haven’t been many homes built yet. I wouldn’t usually resort to this kind of trespassing, but I figured I wouldn’t be hurting anything, just riding through. It goes to show how desperate I had become to keep riding from home. I would just lift my bike over the gate at the rear service entrance, step through the gate, then leave through the front entrance.

I hadn’t been doing this bypass much more than a week when I was stopped by a man in a very nice truck. I have since come to think that he runs the community. On this day, he stopped his truck, rolled down his window, and motioned for me to stop. I complied, thinking my route through this place was going to be very short lived. The man asked me how I got my bike into the community. I told him I lifted it over the gate and stepped through, that I was trying to avoid CR 4006. He thought about it for a moment, then said, “If anyone challenges you, just tell them I said it was OK.” So I’ve been riding through ever since.

I’ve been trying to finish my rides early this winter. There are double gates at the front of this gated community. The outside front gate stays open during the day, but sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon, it closes. It’s a taller gate than the others, so tougher to lift a bike over. And that’s the reason I’ve been mainly riding the F5 this winter, rather than my designated winter bike, the faired Xstream. The Xstream is longer, heavier, and bulkier, so is a tough lift over these gates, especially for someone whose shoulders are as bad as mine.

On today’s ride, I had just pulled up to the service gate, and was about to lift my bike over it, when I saw a white SUV approaching from the other side. I recognized the driver as a man who I think is a maintenance supervisor in the community, so I stopped and waited for him to open the gate, then waved and rode through. Just after I passed his vehicle, he honked and started backing up. I stopped and sat up. He stopped beside me, and said, “Hey.” I replied, “Hey.” He reached his arm out of the window, and handed me a remote control. I smiled and thanked him, and without saying another word, he drove on.

These people don’t know me at all, other than as a guy who rides a funny looking bike through their private area, yet here I am, now in possession of a remote that opens all the gates. Sometimes, people do random kind acts that surprise you. I think I was smiling for most of today’s ride, thinking about that.

County Road 4006, in all its splendor.

50 Mile State Highway 19 Loop

I took off on the F5 just before noon today and did my State Highway 19 loop. I ended up with 50 miles on this windy Christmas Day. That’s 190 miles in the last seven days, and puts me just 27 miles short of my 5,500 mile 2014 goal. I may make it after all.

After last weekend’s Saturday and Sunday 40 mile rides, I did a 30 mile ride after work Monday, then took a day off on Tuesday when the roads were wet. I did another 30 miles on a really chilly day yesterday, riding the Xstream with its fairing. Today was much warmer, but the wind howled out of the south, gusting to 35 mph. It made today’s ride tough, but I want to go fishing tomorrow, and it’s looking like chilly weather for the rest of the year after tomorrow, so I’m glad I got the miles today.

The 50 mile State Highway 19 route.

80 miles on the bike this past week.

I only ended up with 80 miles on the bike last week. I worked in Odessa most of the week, then came home to rain Friday afternoon, so I didn’t get to ride at all until the weekend. It was chilly both Saturday and Sunday, and I really don’t like doing longer rides when it’s cold, so I settled for a 40 mile ride each day.

I only got 90 miles last week, too. I got in just one 30 mile ride during the week, then a 60 mile ride out to Martins Mill on Saturday. But, as this last Saturday’s cancerversary reminded me, I’m lucky to be riding at all. I am now a seven year lung cancer survivor, and I’ll end up with around 5,500 miles on the bike this year, so no complaints.

It warmed up nicely today, and I got home from work early enough that I did a 30 mile ride out to Purtis Creek this afternoon. And here I was, on December 22nd, wearing shorts for the ride. You have to love that about Texas. But, a cold front arrived just before I finished the ride, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be wearing shorts again on a ride any time soon.

From the Funny Signs Department: So, does this mean the gravel parking lot right behind the sign is off limits?

State Highway 19 Loop

I took off on the F5 this morning and did my 50 mile loop. When I do this distance, I ride the same route as if I’m riding to Martins Mill, but cut off the route when I reach State Highway 19, turn right there, and then right again at FM 1861, and come home the same way as I do when riding to Martins Mill. This shortens the Martins Mill route to 50 miles.

I did this same route Thanksgiving morning. That’s the only other ride I did this week, so I ended up with 100 miles. Between weather and work, I had only ridden 90 miles each of the two preceding weeks. I did get in 120 miles the first week of the month. So, I ended up with 411 miles for the month. That leaves me needing just over 400 miles in December to make my 5,500 mile goal for the year. That may be iffy if the weather turns ugly in December. We’ll see.

I rode the F5 today, and on the other warm days we’ve had lately, but I rode the Xstream on Thanksgiving morning, and the other chilly days this month. Its fairing is nice when it’s cold outside.

The 50 mile State Highway 19 route.