Week in Review: biking, achilles woes, green eggs, house updates, and more...

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What a busy week; one that was filled with ups-and-downs. I'm not even sure where to begin, so I'll go in chronological order, starting with a diet/bike/exercise update.

I had been sticking true to the updated diet and workout plans - things were going really well in the kitchen, I wasn't having any urges or desires to eat poorly, even when my coworkers brought in a massive box of donuts and parked it in my cube:


I'm proud to say that the donuts didn't phase me - I skipped them and didn't even indulge a single crumb. It probably helped that I had been riding the bike quite a bit; for some reason, I don't feel like eating poorly when I'm really hitting the exercise plan hard. Perhaps it's related to that infamous "endorphin rush" that exercise nuts (present company included) often refer to?

Speaking of biking... I spent last weekend test riding a new bike called the "X-Bow" from Ridley. Ridley is a rather legendary bike company from Belgium and they make some outstanding road bikes, tri bikes, and cyclocross bikes. Cyclocross bikes are a bit of a "hybrid" - they combine a road bike with a mountain bike to provide a blend of ground clearance, off-road capability, and on-road performance.

I had been contemplating a potential cyclocross purchase for some time... all of my road bikes are a bit "delicate" to serve as daily riders/commuters, not to mention a bit pricey to leave sitting in a bike rack for hours on end. A nice cyclocross bike seemed like a good fit, and the good folks down at Cronometro lent me the use of a Ridley for a week or so.


After putting on 100-ish miles, and using it in every possible manner imaginable, I returned it to Cronometro and decided to wait on adding another bike to the stable. Why? I wanted to love the bike. I really did, because on paper, it seemed like a perfect fit. But, after riding it repeatedly, I didn't find myself feeling as if it suited my needs. I never got comfortable on it, and I never felt "at home" on it.

When I ride the Cervelo, everything feels "natural" - as if the bike is an extension of my body. The Ridley didn't offer that same feeling... Maybe I'm not a cross-bike kind of guy? It was somewhat disappointing to pass on the bike, but I'm convinced that it wasn't meant to be.

This week also marked my joining the Capital Brewery bike club, and as a newly minted member, I participated in two group rides. The brewery hosts 3 rides per week: Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Saturday morning.

I rode on Tuesday and Thursday night; the weather was gorgeous and a nice group ride after work seemed like a great idea. So, I ponied-up my $50 membership fee, got a complimentary Capital Brewery bicycle jersey and mug, and partook in the rides. After each ride, people gather in the Bier Garten for drinks and conversation. I met some really cool people, had a good time socializing, and managed to get a few extra riding miles in, which never hurts. Here I am on Thursday after our ride - you can see my road bike in the background:


On one of the nights, someone brought down their Newfoundland dog, and he was an absolute beast of a creature. They said he was "just over 200-lbs," and I don't doubt it - he was mammoth. I wasn't able to get much of a picture of him as he was a young dog and quite "active" - he didn't seem to enjoy posing for any pictures, despite the many pleas from patrons of the Garten. Here's a head-shot of him, next to someone's belly... not sure who that is in the picture (it may have been "Dan" - a guy from the ride that I met), but the dog's name was Lewis:


And for my last comment about diet and exercise, I managed to seriously injure my achilles tendon, and haven't been able to run since Wednesday night. Talk about bad luck.

The achilles started to feel "odd" during a run on Monday, but I chalked it up to carrying the extra weight, compliments of my "month of irresponsible eating" from April. I kept running on Monday and Tuesday, and it seemed to be bothersome but not debilitating. On Wednesday, I went out for a 5-mile run and with about 3 minutes remaining, I felt a massive burning sensation in my right ankle/achilles area. I couldn't put any weight on my foot, so I hobbled home, angry about what had just happened.

I wrapped my achilles, iced it, and limped into work. I tried to stay off my feet all day, and regularly iced the achilles. By Wednesday night, it was no better... On Thursday, it felt even worse; I was limping with every step, stairs were a nightmare, and ice wasn't doing much to help.

For some odd reason, I could ride a bike, and it didn't hurt at all... so, I rode the Capital ride, which in hindsight was a poor decision, because come Friday morning, my tendon was extremely tender - worse than it had been on Wednesday or Thursday. So, I did absolutely nothing on Friday, Saturday, or today.

After 3 days of rest, my tendon feels much better; I guess the rest is helping, but that same rest has resulted in my diet sliding completely off track. And by "sliding," I mean, "slipping, sliding, crashing, burning, and exploding" just like when a car would run-off the road in a cheesy 1980s made-for-television police drama movie...

How bad has the diet been? Well, let's see... there was a fritter, some fish fry, some soft pretzels, lots of cookies, some pizza, and even some Culver's. Oh man... no wonder my pants are fitting so snugly. I managed to consume nearly 15,000 total calories over the weekend; talk about disgusting. :-(

Although, I did have a stellar dinner on Saturday, compliments of some grilled bison from my boss's "Big Green Egg" smoker/grill. He invited me over to check out the infamous egg and to sample a few prized beverages with him and another friend. For those not familiar with The Big Green Egg, it's more or less the Mercedes of wood burning grills/smokers.

It's made from 2"-thick ceramic, which means it will heat-up and hold heat like nothing else. My boss uses it to smoke briskets, pork shoulders, turkeys, and so on, and he said that he can go 14-15 hours on a single load of wood (when smoking). That's unreal! Here it is, in all of its glory (and heft; the Egg weighs-in at more than 200-lbs):


We fired-it up on Saturday, adjusted the vents, and within 20 minutes had a grill that was registering a rocket-hot 700F. We threw on the steaks, along with some asparagus, and before you could say "Doctor Seuss," the Big Green Egg had produced a perfect bounty. The steaks and food were so awesome that I forgot to take pictures... trust me when I say it was out of this world.

We finished the evening with a few of Steve's finest beverages - a 25 year old Scotch (I'd bet a bottle of this cost as much as my mortgage) and for comparison's sake, a 21 year old Scotch (think 2 car payments). I'm by no means an aficionado, but both were really good. Here's a photo of the 25 year old:


And finally, I spent the better part of today prepping my new living quarters. Yep, I'm moving again, but this time, I'm truly excited because I absolutely will not have to deal with inconsiderate neighbors and intolerable noise-levels. How so? Well....


Yep, I found a house to rent. It's an 1800-square foot ranch, with a huge garage, and a full basement (unfinished, but the basement is entirely epoxied and is absolutely spotless). It's got a new roof, all new windows and doors, brand new appliances (the refrigerator and dishwasher have never been used), and the furnace is about 2-years old.

I scored it from the aunt of a co-worker. The co-worker's aunt is stationed in Spain as a government contracts employee, and she'll be working there until around 2015. My co-worker lived in the house until October of last year, but then got married and moved to her new husband's house. As luck would have it, I was able to secure the house early so that when the lease on my craptacular apartment expires, I can move-in to the house.

I've been getting it ready by cleaning, mowing, and updating the inside of the house; the owner has agreed to allow me to replace all of the electrical components (switches, outlets, fixtures, fans, lights, etc) - she's paying for the parts, and I'm installing them. Why? Here's a before-and-after shot of the light switches from one of the bathrooms:

Before (switches from the 70s; I attempted to clean them several times prior to this photo):




Not a bad improvement for less than $20 in parts, eh? It's amazing what an enhancement the "little things" can make - the house feels like "brand new," all through a simple update of some switches and outlets. It's been great working at the house for the past few weekends - I can get away from the apartment for a few hours, and I've been able to move small items ahead of time, which should make the official act of moving less painful.

And while I did try to stay completely off my feet this weekend, I did walk for a bit; I had to use my new mower:


That's a Toro 3-in-1 Recycler that my good friends from Topel's helped source and supply to me. It's an absolute dream mower - starts on the first pull, makes short work of the large yard, and somehow manages to make mowing fun. I'm sure the novelty will eventually wear off, but I'm really enjoying it for now.

And that's all for now. I'll chat more in a bit - my goal is to start running by Tuesday or Wednesday and to get back on the diet wagon. Here's to hoping for a good week.

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on May 15, 2011 10:16 PM.

Eggs: Inspired to Share was the previous entry in this blog.

It's a muhrrihcal! is the next entry in this blog.

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