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Yet One MORE Sunny Day for Easter!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Got out to one of our local parks, did a nice ride about town...tried a new route which I created as I went along by traveling a long, "no left turn" loop...hate left turns...as I am super cautious around intersections and invariably stop, get off the bike and walk across the intersection. So no left turns = uninterrupted riding joy!

Then took a water break and picked up the Nordic poles for some NICE stepping, jogging along at times. Couple of stand-out tunes including 4 on 6 by Lee Ritenour, a great tribute to Wes Montgomery, the father of jazz guitar, in my opinion...great MOVIN' song!

Here's Lee:


Here's Wes:


Another of my favorites REALLY pumped me up...Springsteen's Rosalita:


Wish I would run into some other folks using Nordic poles...have YET to see this happen...! I get some STRANGE looks at times, some approving "thumbs up" looks at others.

On a more sober note, came across this article about the mythical side of American holidays, talking initially about egg farms and what they are REALLY like, juxtaposed against the White House egg roll. The article later quotes Michael Pollin from "Omnivore's Dilemma" re: the McNugget:

"Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, I counted thirteen that can be derived from corn", starting with the corn-fed chicken itself ... According to the handout, McNuggets also contain several completely synthetic ingredients, quasiedible substances that ultimately come not from a corn or soybean field but from a petroleum refinery or chemical plant ... But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to 'help preserve freshness.' According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e., lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: it can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause 'nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.' Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill."

The entire article can be found here:


Sobering food for thought...!

Keep Sparking out there everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 4/9/2010 1:29PM

    Don, you're going to see more Nordic walkers one of these days - it's contagious, kind of like SP.

Have a great weekend!

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SVELTINGTON 4/6/2010 6:36PM

    I am proud to report that McNugget's and most of McD's stuff was not on my previous list of eats. I have always been wary of "coated" fast food.
Thanks for the links to the great jazz!

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XENA1956 4/5/2010 10:16PM

    My kids never really like Micky D's so they did not eat their Chicket Nuggets very often. Now really glad. Once again thanks for the great info. about the Nordic poles. Still saving up for some. Teri PS I really love Jazz too. Reminds me a bit of Chick Corea

Comment edited on: 4/5/2010 10:17:15 PM

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PISTL67 4/5/2010 8:31PM

    it's a shame they can't put more food in fast food. it's all about the profit. emoticon

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USARUNNERGIRL 4/5/2010 11:58AM

    Ok.....no more mcnuggets for me kids.....EVER! Scary stuff.

On a happy note, I loved your route, I do some similar planning with my runs, I try to make them as easy as I can as far as intersections and what not.

Hopefully one day you will get to run into another Nordic Pole user. These days I welcome strange looks, means I must be really sparking hard. emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 4/5/2010 6:48AM

    I love your "no left turn" route - right turns are so much safer!!


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L*I*T*A* 4/4/2010 11:40PM

    where i live there are lots of people who are using these nordic poles.......at first i thought i was the only one and it seemed suddenly there were many++++
wishing all the blessings of the Easter season...
blessings and hugs...........lita

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JCORYCMA 4/4/2010 11:40PM

    Wow. Thanks for the thought provoking information and link. It's sad to think that the McNugget comprises a large part of many kids diets these days. I enjoyed the jazz links too. Lee Rittenour is one of my favorites - do you ever listen to Fourplay?

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Chilly Start, SPARKIN' Finish!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bundled up against the 36 degree, foggy morning, I managed to bike to work in one piece. I was more cautious than usual in some of the high-traffic, intersection areas and hopped off to walk through those. Riding down the one MAJOR hill I discovered that eating ice cream too fast is not the ONLY way to get brain freeze...lol! Although I brought a pocket full of tissue and used them once or twice along the way by the time I arrived at work I'd never SEEN so much stuff running from my eyes, nose, etc. Must've wasted most of a box of tissue restoring myself!

Ah but the ride home...! The PAY-OFF! Nearly 80 degrees, bright sun, nice breeze...woo hoo! Yet one more hill I could tackle with my new bike without having to get off and walk, as I had to with my other bike! The northbound side of this hill has such a narrow shoulder and I wobbled so with my other bike that I landed in the ditch once...always walked it up after that. Not so with this bike! But I have to wonder...is it JUST the bike or am I in that much better shape, fewer pounds, etc...? Oh, and I was able to change into my favorite biking attire...shorts & T...YES! ...covered up those dorky lycra things with regular khaki shorts...lol

And... after being so stubborn (never needed no dorky pants BEFORE...!) I have to admit they really DID help! I'm not out of the woods just yet, but at least after riding almost 20 miles today I don't feel like I'm sitting on a hard APPLE tonight...! Maybe more like a squishy peach...! :-) Now how is it that I can yet STILL dream of multi-day, long distance touring with such humble, feeble beginnings...?!?! But dream I do!

It at least feels manageable, like something I really CAN toughen up!

And after coming home it was just too darned BEAUTIFUL to sit in the house...so went to one of our favorite parks (Dorchester, Whitney Point) and pumped up an hour of Nordic Walking...which I got to thinking is a lot like taking the elliptical out on the open road...pumping those poles!

When all was said and done I felt good and spent and the body part that felt the best "ache"...? Upper arms and shoulders! Nordic pumping of those arms I realized beyond working shoulders and abs also targets those blasted BATWINGS! Great stuff!

Tomorrow: Hit the road to work yet again! At least it will be around 5 degrees warmer...low 40's...!

Thx everyone for following my trials, tribs & VICTORIES! Woo Hoo!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JCORYCMA 4/3/2010 12:01AM

    Something that targets the batwings? Sign me up! Great job! You never fail to inspire.

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GRACEFULIFE 4/2/2010 5:00PM

    Sounds like a great day! And good job with the weather; I would not have wanted to bike at 36 degrees. I bet that hill felt awesome, just like the killer one that I rolled up yesterday.

I always wished I could have biked to work, but what with traffic I'm also not sure I would ever have wanted to. Great job to you for doing so!

Uh oh... I just got a vision of you using the neti pot while riding.... emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 4/2/2010 2:06PM

    Sounds great!

How far is your commute, Don?

Mine is 14 miles each way and now that the weather is so nice I'm getting tempted to do it once a week on Tuesdays when I have my personal training appointment at the Y...

Or Thursdays instead of my marathon spin-lift-spin sessions.

P.S. Glad those shorts help. We'll getcha into some moisture-wicking performance gear, eventually. Even if we have to drag ya kickin' and screaming, which seems likely. LOL

P.P.S. My nose runs like crazy in the cold, too. Rather than deal with multiple soggy, flimsy kleenexes, I usually just bring a bandana as a hanky and stuff it in the pocket in the back of my jersey.

Comment edited on: 4/2/2010 2:07:34 PM

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MIZZSB 4/2/2010 9:54AM

    woohoo Don!
Way to go 'dude'!

I just feel your energy sparking through the screen emoticon

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LADYGWEN25 4/2/2010 9:15AM

    Good job DOn! I gotta say I"m impressed with you biking in traffic.. I am WAY to nervous to do that..I am more concerned with falling off the bike in traffic and gettins squished!looking forward to the day i can get over the fear of that... Maybe when i do the hubby will get me a new bike! now that would be a goal :) Hope you have a sparking good weekend.. I know we're doing some fishing and hiking since yesterday was the first official day of trout season and i just got my Lifetime fishing liscence for Valentine's day.. I"m excited to use it!

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AZIMAT 4/2/2010 9:14AM

    Thanks for the narrative, it was great.

From my experience, yes, it does get better. When I first started riding, I was lucky to do a mile. After a few months, 10 mile rides were an absolute breeze. Same with rollerblading.

I can just picture you up and down those hills of Bingbong. Congrats on the new bike. That was a great investment! Keep up the good work!

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FRECKS96 4/2/2010 9:12AM

    Awesome!!! What a gorgeous stretch of days to break out the bike! I think we tend to appreciate this time of year so much more than some others and I happy to see that none of us are letting it go to waste!

On a side note, I think I saw you out nordic walking a couple days ago on what must have been your lunch. I was on my way to do my run at Otsinengo North.

Keep up the great work! I'm looking forward to hearing about your first 100-miler!

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KELLI9001 4/2/2010 9:03AM

    Oh my. That cold temp would be very trying for me, Kudos to you for that brisk ride. You are doing awesome on the long rides. emoticon

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    What a sparktacular ride Don. You are doing great. Woohoo.

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COLOURFULME 4/2/2010 8:22AM

    WOW you must have tuns of energy as well as the scale smiling at you on your next weigh-in.....and those pants yep agree they look yak!! :( but do their job somehow and the more often you bike the less problems you will have LOL ;)

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SVELTINGTON 4/2/2010 7:44AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAYHIKER 4/2/2010 6:33AM

    It sounds like a great day and that the shorts were a good investment. Yeah, I'm thinking it wasn't just the bike but that you are in better shape this year! Keep dreaming of multi-day long distance rides--you'll get there!

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FERRETLOVER1 4/2/2010 6:17AM

    I am very sure that your success with the hills is due to that fact that you are in better shape now than before. Keep up the great work and you will probably see & feel even more improvement.

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JO11YMON 4/2/2010 2:01AM


Glad to hear you had such a great day on the bike.

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DAISES2 4/1/2010 11:37PM

    glad the shorts helped. emoticonworkout day

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BEKKI42 4/1/2010 11:32PM

    You are an inspiration!

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SUZIAND 4/1/2010 11:19PM

    Don...you are really on fire! Fantastic job with the biking! You have transformed right before our eyes!!!

I can't wait to buy a bike! I wanna be like you someday!!!


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L*I*T*A* 4/1/2010 10:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 4/1/2010 10:40PM

    emoticonYou are amazing Don! Keep up the great work! emoticon

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On Your Mark, Get Set...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Okay, tomorrow I'm going to start my efforts to bike back and forth to work 2-3 times each week!

I've been waiting for the sun to creep up early enough for safe biking along with temps that are warm enough and the stars are finally aligning properly! :-)

Last weekend's biking was yet another exercise in *P*A*I*N*...afterwards when sitting on a hard chair it felt like I was sitting on an APPLE...yikes! So okay, been too stubborn...went out and bought biking shorts tonight. I am crossing all my digits that this will do the trick and enable me to bike in relative comfort...!

I've been holding off on committing myself to any biking events until I get things squared away on my posterior...!

Had a nice SPARKING effort today even though been up since 5:30 and it's now heading for 11 pm...ugh...(note to self: let's wrap this up in a hurry! the bed calleth!) got an hour of Nordic walking in during the dreary, chilly noon hour and later during the gloriously sunny dinner hour...!

Wish me luck in my first run tomorrow with those goofy shorts!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 4/1/2010 10:19PM


Couldn't resist! There's a song for just about everything LOL!
emoticon emoticon

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TRAINOF4 4/1/2010 10:11PM

    I like the idea of a new seat. There are tons out there - just a matter of finding one that works with your particular anatomy, right!?

Ride On!! emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 4/1/2010 12:58PM

    Good Luck. I just bought a different seat and now I can ride in moderate comfort in my own clothes.


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AMETHYST0809 4/1/2010 12:27PM

    We got a padded seat for our stationary bike, and have played with the forward/backwards positions to find the right one, but I have to admit that there is no such thing as perfection with this endeavor! Even with the padded seat, I find that I can hardly ride for the 20 minutes I am currently doing, much less extending the time as I had hoped to do by now. Good luck with the bike shorts Don! emoticon

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GRACEFULIFE 4/1/2010 10:44AM

    goofy shorts? Dorky pants! *grin*

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JESPAH 4/1/2010 9:31AM

    Hey, goofy shorts aside, you're a hero. :)

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 4/1/2010 9:04AM

    LOL. If it makes you feel any better, I sometimes have the same issue on my longer rides...

When I got home on Saturday after my 27-miler I dubiously poked at my (split) seat, wondering how it could possibly LOOK padded, and FEEL padded to my finger, but not to my rear!

At least this seat is wide enough for my female sit bones. The one that came with the bike was not so I gave it back to them.

Eventually your butt gets used to the abuse and settles down.

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DAISES2 4/1/2010 8:31AM

    woo hoo shorts already.i hope they give you a bit more comfort.
split saddle? what will they think of next

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SVELTINGTON 4/1/2010 8:16AM

    Good Luck Don!
What about one of those split seats?

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CARRIE1948 4/1/2010 8:14AM

    The shorts aren't that strange when you see the difference they can male

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ZELLAZM 4/1/2010 7:19AM

    Spring has sprung - Don's in bike shorts - all is well with the world :)

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FERRETLOVER1 4/1/2010 6:48AM

    I sure hope the bike shorts help you out. Have you also checked into some of the newer bike seats - there's a ton of different types available now. Good luck - enjoy this fantastic weather! Oh, & thanks for being up so early this morning & commenting on my blog already!! emoticon

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DAYHIKER 4/1/2010 6:26AM

    Glad to hear you will finally be able to ride your bike to work and I hope the shorts work for you, Don. Nothing like being miserable doing something you love to do. Went Nordic walking yesterday and I always think of you when I do--weird huh? emoticon It's already 60 here this morning at 6:30 emoticon


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COLOURFULME 4/1/2010 3:33AM

    Get well soon and I am very sure you can do it!!

Are you joining the team challenge of http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/
groups_individual.asp?gid=38424 as well?

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JO11YMON 4/1/2010 1:37AM

    i hope that the new shorts help you out. another option is the weird looking split saddle i use one on my mtn bike and it makes a big difference

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JCORYCMA 3/31/2010 11:45PM

    emoticon to you. Don't forget to pack your trousers. A patient would feel awkward talking to a therapist in bike shorts emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 3/31/2010 11:13PM

    best of luck to you........... emoticon
blessings and hugs............lita

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Radio Head

Sunday, March 28, 2010

One of the down sides to biking is being unable to use my mp3 player for tunes while I'm on the road. However a "trick" I've been using at times has been to play my tunes in my mind's "ear" as though I AM wearing an mp3 player. Sometimes it can be a bit garbled, sorta like George Carlin's old skit where he's turning the radio dial through the channels...lol, but other times it helps me to keep on keepin' on, like having a radio in my head.

Makes me wonder about those who go on long distance touring bike rides of hundreds of miles a day as to how they do it and what goes on in one's mind during all those hours of biking.

Haven't had the kind of time I'd like to have for biking just yet...waiting for it to be light enough in the morning for me to be able to safely start biking back and forth to work.

Yesterday's ride convinced me that even though I never needed them before with my other bike, I'm going to HAVE to invest in a pair of biking shorts...YEOUCH! Even after 5 days off the bike, the pain came back in a hurry! Still was great to get out again, even at a nippy 38 degrees!

I've been on a dried bean streak lately and almost ALWAYS cooking up either a soup or making my own hummus...which is so CHEAP compared to the OUTRAGEOUS prices for hummus at the stores! Died garbanzos and other beans are far less expensive than the canned varieties and no BPAs to worry about...yum! Love to spice it up with the cumin, jalapeno, crushed red pepper, LOTS of black pepper, chili powder, etc. Great for dipping my veggies...!

Looking forward to warmer temps this week...everyone keep on SPARKIN'! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 4/1/2010 10:16PM


Couldn't resist emoticon emoticon

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USARUNNERGIRL 3/29/2010 9:08PM

    On a busy road I sometimes put in one ear plug so I can hear in one ear and just keep the volume down a little low on the other when I am out there running.

Your homemade hummus sounds yummy.

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/29/2010 8:57AM

    I think I would invest in an ipod speaker for the bike if I was riding in a long distance touring bike ride. I love to listen to the tunes while walking. A couple of years ago I rode my bike to and from work. It was about 6 miles each way. I loved the morning ride.

Speaking of beans, we made the best Spicy Black Bean soup this weekend.

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FERRETLOVER1 3/29/2010 6:39AM

    When I used to ride my bike, I would find that I would do a lot of "interior singing" while I rode. That helped to pass the time. Also, when I did longer rides, I would just do lots of thinking about things - that helped too.

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BEKKI42 3/28/2010 6:26PM

    Keep up the good work you are truly an inspiration!

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GR8CATSBY 3/28/2010 4:30PM

    This is a comment on Sveltington's comment: For me, I want both ears available when I'm biking. I ride on the shoulders (mostly) of the roads, and I need to be constantly aware of what's happening - so do car drivers, of course, but bicyclists are more vulnerable in that they're not protected by a car frame, they're harder for drivers to see, and sometimes drivers harass them. The guy behind me - might he pass me and do a right turn, cutting me off (a cousin of mine - wearing earbuds in both ears - was killed a few years ago this way)? Or if I need to make a left turn - does the driver who's approaching see me? Having music on my handlebars would be slightly distracting, but having the music in even one ear would distract me even more. I've had enough close calls (sometimes the driver's fault, sometimes mine) where I'd rather be too cautious than not cautious enough.
That being said, when I snowshoe I wear my earbuds. And I often wear them cross-country skiing as well. And I refuse to jog without them!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/28/2010 3:08PM

    I'm pretty sure my SwiMP3 player would work on a bike. And the bonus is that since it transmits sound through my cheekbones, it doesn't cover my ears and block out other sounds.

But I've never ridden with music. I do find spinning songs coming to mind and playing over and over, though. LOL!

Mostly there's a dialogue going on between me and my body. We discuss things such as:

- the fact that my seat feels awfully hard although I'm *sure* I felt padding in it,
- the lactic acid buildup in my quads,
- my toes going numb,
- whether or not I can push a little faster / raise the cadence,
- what that car up ahead is likely to do,
- how far we are,
- whether to cut the loop short or keep going,
- to watch out for that pothole / glass / dead oppossum up ahead, etc.

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SVELTINGTON 3/28/2010 1:46PM

    I have never been on a bicycle. Why can't you listen to your mp3. I listen to mine in the car but only put it in one ear. Even in both ears I can still gear sirens and horns.
Yum! Hummus! I have been experimenting making my own too.

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JCORYCMA 3/28/2010 12:52PM

    Hasn't somebody invented a bike helmet with tunes in it yet? I love Humus but haven't attempted to make my own. Perhaps you could blog your recipe??

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GR8CATSBY 3/28/2010 12:51PM

    I see cyclists using one earbud sometimes, but I think that would still be dangerous. I've thought about getting a small pair of speakers to clip to my handlebars or fanny pack but haven't done it. Don, if you end up doing something like that please report how they work for you! I, too, miss having my music when I'm out riding.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 3/28/2010 10:53AM

    LOL! I thought I was the only one that did that with tunes! Talk about coincidence, right now, as I post, I'm listening to different upbeat tunes before I take my after-breakfast walk! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAYHIKER 3/28/2010 10:43AM

    The mornings are getting lighter little by little now! It won't be long! Leftover beans make good "refried" beans for tortillas and tostadas, too! Hubby was raised on them (9 kids) so he is happy to have them any time. You're a busy fellow between your bike and your Nordic walking! Life's good! emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 3/28/2010 10:35AM


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ZELLAZM 3/28/2010 10:32AM

    I assume you don't use headphones because of the danger of using them in traffic. But I think you can get a little clip-on radio for your handlebars that might work. Or can you just use one earbud?

I'm also a fan of dried beans lately...you can even freeze them. Cheap and the salt content is zilch.

Have a good Sunday,

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This Little Engine COULD! :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Had AWESOME times out on my bike today! Racked up 24 miles which wasn't TOO bad, considering my first rides of the season are always a bit wobbly as I reclaim my bike legs and "posterior"...lol!

Made up my mind I was going to tackle one of the WORST hills in my area with my new bike and see how I could do. On my former bike I'd be lucky to get a quarter of the way up and would have to wimp out and walk the remainder.

Was HOPING to get a running start going up the hill, however it involved a left turn off the road I was on...too much traffic so yeah, had to start from a dead stop.

For the first time I kicked the left gear down to 1st and left the right side gear all the way up so I'd have those gears to work my way down as I "granny-geared" my way up this hill...!

I was huffing and puffing just like that proverbial little engine and as I got around 3/4 of the way up I discovered I had no more gears to "granny"...it was just up to me now...thought of Commander Cody & Hot Rod Lincoln:

"My foot was glued like lead to the floor
That's all there is and there ain't no more"

It was such a feeling of VICTORY to reach the top with no walking! And so satisfying to "feel it" in my legs when I finished my ride and arrived home...woo hoo!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUSTYSHAW1 3/24/2010 1:26PM

    TWENTY-FOUR MILES AND A HILL!? Oh my goodness, that is awesome. My hill was staying in constant motion last Saturday for seven hours. Not as many calories or as big muscles development but I felt like you, Woo Hoo.
It is ALL good. Always enjoy your blogs. Rusty emoticon

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ZELLAZM 3/22/2010 3:06PM

    Woohoo! Great job tackling that hill!

What are we going to do to celebrate 3 years on SP?

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USARUNNERGIRL 3/22/2010 11:34AM

    Wow what a great story Don, you are so awesome. I am proud of you for reaching the summit and not giving up. Woohooo.

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JCORYCMA 3/21/2010 9:15PM

    emoticon emoticon 24 miles! I'm impressed. In fact you've inspired me to think about getting a bike....

Comment edited on: 3/21/2010 9:16:21 PM

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DAISES2 3/21/2010 2:18PM

    24 miles and hills emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 3/21/2010 1:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRACEFULIFE 3/21/2010 10:12AM

    Nice! Just imagine yourself as Alberto Contador, out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals, maybe riding up alpe d'huez! :)

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SASSYCHRIS1952 3/21/2010 9:19AM

    emoticon emoticon
I'm glad you enjoyed your bike ride!

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AMABILE75 3/21/2010 9:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

That is wonderful!!! GREAT JOB!!!

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MADTOWNBUDDHA 3/21/2010 8:32AM

    Nice job Don, Congrats! Pushing through is starting to become one of my favorite things...helps me so much to feel better & better about myself. Glad you are feeling healthier too, being sick is a real drag. Ryan

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FERRETLOVER1 3/21/2010 8:28AM

    Good for you!! What a great feeling it must have been to reach the top of that hill still astride your bike!! Keep on going', man!

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CARRIE1948 3/21/2010 8:04AM

    I wouldn't worry so much about hills. It's often the difference between short-twitch and long-twitch muscles. I was an avid racer who could never do hills. But, I could go forever.

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/21/2010 8:04AM


When I was working in the yard yesterday I saw many bikers and had hoped you were able to tar out the new bike. 24 miles that is quite impressive.

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SVELTINGTON 3/21/2010 7:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/21/2010 5:12AM

    Yay for new bikes and sunny cycling weather!

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MIZZSB 3/21/2010 4:20AM

    way the go Don!!
I can imagine how great it must have felt...!!

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KEENTINA 3/21/2010 3:32AM


My knees still won't let me ride. I keep looking at bikes and wishing. Lots of things to work on after I move. Right now, I'm just trying to make it through that without putting myself into too much pain. I did burn off over 2000 calories today, though, so I'm happy - went way over my exercise requirements early in the week. Wish I could keep going with that!

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COLOURFULME 3/21/2010 2:27AM

    emoticon indeed! emoticon It's time to emoticon Enjoy your Sunday!

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