A post for the Fall Equinox

Happy Fall Equinox! I thought I would check in. I haven’t been writing much, I know. I guess I haven’t been sure I had much of anything interesting to say. I have been keeping busy, though. I am trying hard to provide some quality education to my students as well as training on my bikes to be ready for the Highlander Century in November. Plus, the normal, everyday stuff going on: helping kids with homework, spending time with my honey, and fitting in some relaxation time, too.

So, when I started riding again, back in June, I think, I was weighing around 195 pounds. Today, I am weighing more like 180. I’ve dropped a couple inches around my waist. So, that’s very good. I completed a “Century” ride called the Amtrak Century a couple of weeks ago. That was 94 miles at once. (We took a shortcut at the beginning of the ride.) I did over 60 miles a week or so before that, as well. This weekend I rode 58 miles yesterday and 52 miles today with about 3,000 feet of climbing each day. That’s pretty decent.

That’s my friends and I after the Amtrak Century a few weeks ago. I’m the one in the middle with the Dark Side of the Moon jersey.

I got a couple awesome accessories. I got a Garmin Edge 500 that is a GPS unit for cycling. It can tell me how fast I’m going, how far, my average speed, my heartrate, my cadence (how many revolutions my pedals are making), and, of course, where I went. I hook it up to the computer and upload the ride data so I can see all of that. I am using Strava track my data. It says I have ridden 485 miles so far in September. I have been riding my bike to work and back most days, as well as longer rides on the weekends.

In November, I will ride the Highlander Century. This will be about 100 miles of cycling with about 7500 feet of climbing. Not an easy day. But, I feel sure that my training will have me ready, though I may suffer and be slow on all that climbing. My Garmin helps a lot with this. Not only can I precisely check my mileage but it also allows me to see when I am really working hard, or just riding at tempo, because I can see what my heartrate is. I can also ride better because I can see when my cadence is too high or low and shift gears accordingly. For fun, Strava has segments on lots of rides so I can record achievements like Personal Records, for example, on certain portions of a ride. I created a few along my ride to work and back so I can track my performance and abilities. This helps me also to ride intervals where I go really hard for a portion of time and then rest by pedaling more slowly other times. I am under the impressoin that this is a good way to train and lose weight.

My other favorite new toy are my Oakley Racing Jacket (neé Jawbones) sunglasses. I have worn Oakleys for a long time. I know a lot of people think Oakleys are overpriced. Maybe they are, but my experience with them is that they are some of the finest sunglasses I have worn. My eyesight is fairly important to me. I want sunglasses that offer clarity and protect my eyes, particularly when cycling. I have gotten grit and dust in my eyes while riding and, as a contact lens wearer, this is very bad. Also, I have been hit by insects a lot. I’ve had had them hit my glasses, too. So, I think that eyewear is a very important piece of safety equipment.

I was wearing a pair of Oakley Half Jackets but I found I was getting cloudy eyes from riding. It was so frustrating! Every time I finished a ride I would have to take out my contacts. And, on the Amtrak Century, my lenses were uncomfortable and cloudy on the way home. Not fun. I went to Oakley and decided that the Racing Jackets were the solution. And, they have been! Maybe they look obnoxius (I don’t think so!)

That’s a picture I sent of a cheesy grin to my daugther and wife the other day while I was riding. Yeah, the glasses are big, but they work! I rode 53 miles today and my contacts are fine! So, to me, that’s money well-spent. The glasses have an odd little spoiler shape on the bottom frame and I sometimes wonder if that’s why my glasses keep the wind out so well. But, they don’t fog up too bad in the morning when it’s cool out, either, at least not so far. The lenses are great, too. They are made to create more contrast and I do think I can see better with them on. Also, the pros wear them so they kinda make me look more pro, I think. haha

One interesting development has been that I seem to have Exercise Induced Asthma. For years now, I would cough after riding. I thought, for a bit, that it was dusty out, or smoggy. I thought it was just a thing. Normal. But, it always happened and has still been happening. My chest feels tight and I cough after riding. Sometimes I cough at night, too. So, my doctor prescribed an inhaler with Albuterol to use prior to exercise and it seems to have had a positive effect. I still cough a little, but not nearly as much, if at all. I still get the tight chest feeling sometimes at night and I start coughing. But, I have a follow up appointment tomorrow so we will see what happens. I had an EKG, a chest xray, blood taken for testing, and a breathing test. Hopefully my doctor will be able to draw some conclusions from all of that.

My students this year are good. I like all five of my classes. I have three classes of Sophomores and two classes of Juniors. The vast majority are good natured and work in class. I have a couple kids who don’t work but they arent defiant about it. I am making a firm effort to always been up and about in the classroom. If the kids are working independently, I have to circulate to offer help and supervise, not sit at my desk. I think this helps a lot. I am using Class Dojo, a web app at http://www.classdojo.com that tracks student behavior and I like that, too. Overall, that has been goodd.

So, that’s where I’m at these days. Things are going well. Today is the Fall Equinox; the days will be getting longer now. The year is 3/4 over and the 1st quarter at work is almost done. Good time to check in with my four readers. Hope your time is going as well as mine, if not better.


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