On the road again

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Man, what a relief! The weather has finally taken a turn for the better; after many, many weeks of cold temperatures, snow, ice, and all sorts of other nasty stuff, we seem to have hit a patch of good weather.

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So that meant I got to roll the bike off from the trainer and on to some real pavement! I checked my tire pressures, filled up some water bottles, lubed the chain, checked skewer tensions, threw on some biking clothes and hit the trail. The ride was absolutely wonderful. It was so nice to be out and about rather than cranking out miles on the 'ole trainer.

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Even though it was gusting heavily (25-30mph gusts) the Pea Ridge trail does a great job of blocking most wind. The trail is nestled in valleys and forges, and you're surrounded by trees for the majority of the loop, so it makes for a great ride and run. I cranked out 36 effortless miles - maybe that trainer isn't so evil! I suppose it also helps that I'm hauling around 30-40 less pounds than I was last year.

I passed several families that were riding their bikes, enjoying the wonderful weather. I came up on a family of 5-6 people: mom, dad, and a bunch of kids. They were all on their bikes, weaving around on the trail, not paying attention to anything behind them, and just more or less meandering... So, I slowed down (it was on a flat section, and I had been cranking at about 24-25 mph) and said, "Hi - sorry - coming up on your left."

The mom, who was in the back of the pack, ordered her kids to move to the right, and they all did. The dad, who was leading the pack, looked over his shoulder and waved me past, so I pedaled on by. As I was passing one of the kids, he goes, "WOW - that is a cool bike! Dad, I want that one!" And the dad goes, "I want it, too!"

I laughed. I like my bike, and it is pretty sexy, but I didn't think anyone "normal" would think anything of it. I gave a quick shout of "Thanks!" back to them, and went on my way. I passed them three more times during my ride - I was averaging just over 18 minutes per lap - and each time, the kid would say something like, "Cool" or "Awesome." I'd always say, "Thank you - your bike isn't too bad either." Or something like that.

I guess my bike is pretty cool, even when it's dirty:

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People often ask what the Vroomen.White.Design means - it stands for Gerard Vroomen and Phil White Design - they're the two gentlemen who started Cervelo. They're geniuses, if you ask me - their bikes are so phenomenal.

Anyway... I finished my ride, then hit the trail for a run - I did 4 miles, and even that was enjoyable. The net result of today's workout efforts? Looks like I can pig out tonight!

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No, not really. I downloaded an application for my iPhone from Livestrong, and it's an awesome program. It's also totally free - and if you don't have an iPhone, you can simply visit their website, register, and track everything (food, exercise, weight) online.

The awesome thing about the Livestrong application is that it syncs with TheDailyPlate.com, which has more than 500,000 foods and restaurants worth of nutritional information in it, so you can easily track your calories. I've been using it for about a month now, and absolutely love it. It's incredibly easy to use, and it appears to be fairly accurate; I compared my workout calories between the Livestrong application and my Garmin watch, and both were within 5% of each other, so that's decent validation in my book.

To use the Livestrong application/site, you simply enter your age, weight, and "normal" activity level. It then recommends a base calorie rate (mine is 1,482) to achieve a weight loss goal of 1-lb per week. From there, I simply enter in my foods each day (as you can see, I had an egg with egg whites for breakfast (it's actually cut-off - I also had Canadian bacon, an English muffin, and some fruit)), and from there, the application tells me how many calories I have left for each day.

Exercising allows you to eat more - and in my case, I burned quite a few calories on my ride and run, so I have plenty of spare calories that I could eat today. I won't go crazy, though - I did that last night... pizza, donuts, nachos...

Anyway - check out the Livestrong site. It's a great fitness tool.

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