31 December 2008


on that list of things i was gonna do was "get finances financy" so although i've got an employee stock option plan thing at work, i decided to invest just a little bit into a 401k (which the company doesn't match).

so i looked into everything, filled out their retirement worksheet, and came up with a figure of $459 a month.

that's $459 every month, into a retirement account, just so i can retire at 80% of my current salary at the age of 65.

i don't know about you, but $459 a month is not exactly the kind of money i have lying around....

granted, i'm starting at age 33, but... yikes?

30 December 2008

25 shopping days until my birthday. i've created a list for you. actually, it's a reused xmas list, but it'll work...

expensive stick.

grey cleat only.

any color except red.


if you have $680 to spend.

i also need a new ipod. a 16 gig nano will do, though a 160 gig classic would be better.

and/or a bike fitting at either gray goat or bgi. oh, and a new pair of specialized road shoes.

26 December 2008

christmas is evil

wednesday we drove to mom's, and then started eating. cookies, more cookies, a trip to my cousin's house, more cookies, cheesy bite-sized 20 minute spinning bike sessions. a lot of them. more cookies.

then when we got back home, i thought "well i ate a ton, but i didn't really eat a meal..." so i had brought some chickpea ragout back with me (didn't want it to go to waste) - and i ate that, the whole time knowing i wasn't really hungry. so that's another (healthy, but still...) 400+ calories...

xmas day? more of the same. though scaled back a bit.

today? a trip to schlafly's tap room. beer is at 1990something prices. yeah.

when i get back to indy? a visit to j gumbos for their closing. i'll surely be drinking.

sunday? maybe a roundtable with my fellow hbg folks.

monday? bike

tuesday? bike

wednesday? the hbg new year's party. 120 minute ipa on tap. it's 400+ calories in one beer. it's also 20% alcohol. so only one of those.

and then? back to work.

21 December 2008

Chickpea Ragout Revisited

So this recipe isn't rocket science, and no matter where you look online, it's the same sort of recipe. I like cooking, but I don't know what I'm doing really... rarely am I completely happy with what I've made. That's not to say that the stuff I make is bad - I just usually feel like it's missing something that I can't put my finger on.

Today I made a whole pot full of this, though, and it turned out best yet.

Maybe Brant would like to make this. I don't know. It's good. And healthy, even.

Here we go...

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
I know nothing about olive oil. i know this is the olive oil I have at my house.

1 large diced white onion
1 large diced yellow onion
I forgot to use the green onions I bought, but I had 3 bunches.
The idea here is that variety might make for more layering of flavor. any old onions will work.

1 diced shallot
Not necessary, I just had one laying around so I threw it in there.

4 cloves diced garlic
While you're dicing you might as well get this out of the way.

3 cans diced tomatoes
You could buy tomatoes and dice them yourself, but this time of year it's probably cheaper to just used canned stuff. Make sure you get diced tomatoes, not any other canned tomato product. This time around I used Hunts fire roasted diced tomatoes (not the "garlic added version") - again, I'm looking for anything that'll add to the flavor. So... fire roasted.

2 cans garbanzo beans (otherwise known as chickpeas).
You're gonna drain the water out, and then rinse these. I just drain the water out, refill the can with tap water, pour that off.. do that a couple times... good enough.

Ok... so you've got everything diced and whatnot. Get a big pot. Put in the olive oil. Heat the burned to the 6 or 7 setting... somewhere past medium. Throw in JUST the onions and scallions (if you have scallions). Stir it up, get everything a little oily... and let that cook for a bit. The onions will start to loosen up and get soft, and when they seem tender enough, you can pour in the garlic, all the tomatoes, all the chickpeas.... salt and pepper that a bit...

1 box or a couple cans or whatever of chicken broth
You want to pour this over everything, usually to about the level where everything is swimming in it. Make sure you buy enough.

Throw in some sliced sausages.
This time around I used a whole package (5 or so) Trader Joe's Sweet Apple chicken sausages - I always use a turkey or chicken sausage, but finding an apple chicken sausage isn't always that easy. Depends on if your stupid Kroger store has any chicken sausage. Mine normally doesn't.

I suppose you could use pork sausage, but that'd ruin the healthy part of this dish.

Ok, everything's in there now... roll back the heat to maybe setting 3 or 4 on the stove. You're just going to let that simmer/boil until the chicken broth reduces to basically nothing. When you drag the spoon across the bottom of the pot, you don't want to see the space you've created refill instantly with chicken broth. That's how you'll know you're done.

While this stuff is all boiling I threw in probably two tablespoons of curry powder. Then I ground up some cumin seed (maybe two tablespoons worth?) and threw that in there too. I like Indian food. This adds some flavor. You could really throw whatever you want in there. Don't be afraid to try anything. Get stupid. I do. Stir it up and forget about it.

So once the chicken stock has boiled off, you've got a pot of awesome. I've seen people put some fresh Parmesan cheese on it, but I don't think it needs it.

If you've used a ton of chicken stock, everything will be nice and soft already. If you've used a little less chicken stock, the chickpeas will be a little more firm. Either way, it's good stuff. If you pack some away in the fridge for eating during the week, the flavors will blend a little more as the week goes on, and it gets even better.

So. There you go.

Ingredient list again:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large diced white onion
1 large diced yellow onion
3 bunches diced green onions (optional. use whatever onions you want, really)
1 diced shallot (optional)
4 cloves diced garlic
(A clove of garlic is just one section of a whole garlic bulb. In case you didn't know. Once upon a time, I didn't.)
3 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (Or 3 cans garbanzo beans. If you like them.)
A fairly large container of chicken stock (more than a can).
Chicken/Turkey sausage (Apple if you can find it.)
Salt, Pepper
Curry powder (optional)
Cumin (optional)

19 December 2008

Cuyahoga Valley

View Larger Map

I'm thinking that a ride in Ohio might be a nice weekend retreat - found this route on on mapmyride... it's a little short but it's something to start with.

I need more friends that are into this.

18 December 2008

stupid weather

Tuesday, while driving home for the gym, I decided to see just how icy the roads really were by putting my car into 6th gear at about 15 mph, and giving it a little gas. Not stomping on it - just testing to see if the car would still spin the wheels in 6th (it was spinning through first and second with very little pedal).

I don't know if the wheels spun, because that's when the back end came around.

As I slid down the road sideways, I looked to see what obstacles I might collide with. Hey look, a mailbox.

Despite my best efforts, the mailbox was headed right for me. And then I hit it.

Now there's a nice paint smear from the mailbox post along my passenger side door. And there's a nice sort of bow in the door as well. Next week it goes to the body shop.

So let that be a lesson. Even at 15-20 mph and in 6th gear, you can spin your 160 horsepower convertible right into a mailbox post.

15 December 2008

This is for Jim D only...

The rest of you might not get it.

2008 recap

it's a little early for this, but...

january i messed around with a atkins diet thing which was really stupid and i rode the bike
february my vacation plans for glacier national park were cancelled and i rode the bike
march i was bite by a dog, my brother had a baby, my knee started acting up when i rode the bike
april i appeared on an episode of Across Indiana and started rebuilding my old bicycle
may i had knee surgery, my xbox died, i was named a godfather, i started buying art, and i got back on the bike
june i watched euro 08, canceled my big bike ride, booked denver and the great american beer festival, and started bike commuting again.
july i drank every day for a week during Indiana beer week. and bike.
august i saw radiohead and my niece had open heart surgery that went well.
september i got lost on a 40 mile bike ride and ended up doing 75, i served on a jury, and my girlfriend broke her leg at rollerderby practice.
october i laughed at cubs fans again, spent a week in colorado visiting breweries and drinking, i floated the idea of writing a book with some friends, and i got some miles in on the bike.
november i visited schlafly in st. louis and they gave me a hundred or so dollars in free beer, i made a list of things i always talked about doing but didn't, and i joined the gym.
december i committed myself to bike racing in 2009.

no complaints. i could have done more with my vacation time, but i'm gonna fix that next year.

album of the year: metallica death magnetic? i dunno. this year sucked for music.

14 December 2008

the other kind of work

If I'm going to really make an effort to lose weight, going to the gym isn't enough. I've got to put my diet on a training schedule as well.

This isn't as easy as it may seem - I can eat well enough during the day, even with the limited fast foodish options I have. But coming home at 7:30 pm and having to make supper usually becomes a hassle when I've still got to work in a post-gym shower and some semblance of the kind of lazy I prefer when at home.

Or I can switch it up - eat a better meal at lunch at work, and then hit Taco Bell for something off the Fresco menu after the gym.

I know that's not really the best option, but I'm working on that.

On the weekend I can cook. I don't mind cooking at all, as long as it turns out. The picture above is a chickpea ragout from a recipe I picked up on a messageboard, and a orange/artichoke sauce from a lemon-artichoke chicken recipe in this month's Clean Eating.

As it turns out, the lemons I thought I had were oranges. I used them anyway, and it turned out pretty great.

So this is what I'll eat at work this week. And maybe for supper I'll have a salad. Or a fresco bean burrito.

* * * * *

The other pans are for brownies that Gina made to torment me with.

10 December 2008

My first road bike

So I was just browsing craigslist, and I do on occasion, and came across this:

And the memories came flooding back.

That bike, a seafoam green murray ten speed, was my first road bike, way back in probably 1986. Bryan had a blue huffy with blue tires, and I had that Murray. And we'd ride around pretending our bikes were F-15s, and calling each other Maverick and Goose.

It's too bad my bike allocation has been filled. I could really use a crappy Murray that I'd never ride.

The Rider

Tim Krabbe - The Rider
In 1919 - Brussels - Amiens was won by a rider who rode the last forty kilometers with a flat front tire. Talk about suffering! He arrived at 11:30 at night, with a ninety-minute lead on the only other two riders who finished the race. That day had been like night, trees had whipped back and fourth, farmers were blown back into their barns, there were hailstones, bomb craters from the war, crossroads where the gendarmes had run away and riders had to climb onto one another's shoulders to wipe clean the muddied road signs.

Oh, to have been a rider then. Because after the finish all the suffering turns to memories of pleasure, and the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is Nature's payback to riders fro the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses: people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. 'Good for you.' Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately.
I'm not as hardcore as some - I've seen bike commuters out in weather I'd never dream of riding in. But I do enjoy the occasional rain ride - a constant spray in your face that means you won't need to drink from the water bottle, that zing you'll only get from the trail of water off your back tire and up your back..

Having started my riding career with seven mile jaunts around the neighborhood (with a rest in the middle!), I can relate to the whole "Good for you" bit - it starts that way when you're used to doing nothing. But eventually seven miles isn't enough to be worth the effort - anything short of 20 feels like cheating yourself.

Of course I'm not really riding outside right now - right now the routine of intervals on the spin bike at the gym feels more sustainable than the occasional road ride. I've been doing 4 minute standing 160-170 heart rate intervals (one minute off) for an hour, and it seems like a good place to start.
I stopped doing everything else, I trained harder and harder, my body began achieving things I'd no longer thought possible. I was touched by its loyalty. I had neglected it for so long, but there were no hard feelings, it seemed only pleased to have me call on it again. I raced with Stephan in Anduze, I applied for a permit in Holland - full of disbelief, I worked my way up in those races through the hierarchy of being dropped, of sticking with the bunch, of taking part in a break, of placing, of winning.
That's how it works with cycling. My first ride at Eagle Creek was an eye opener, my confidence lacking, but eventually I joined in on the sprints. Eventually I even lead a few. It's starting all over again. I've just got to be patient and put the work in.

* * * * *

I called my the gentleman my advisor at NIFS recommended last night, and the guy was amazingly nice and helpful. We had a conversation about what I was really looking for (to get better, and faster, and to have a team to push me and to learn from), the dangers of teams (they can be a bit clique-ish and hard to crack) and he is now doing a little research to find me some folks to work with. And what's he get out of it? I haven't offered anything. He's just a good guy. I don't know why I waited so long to call.

08 December 2008

i am in need of work

body composition
body density: 1.032
percent body fat: 29.7%
fat weight (lbs): 59.2
lean body weight (lbs): 140.4
total weight (lbs): 199.6

Well, considering I weighed 235 once, this isn't the worst news. Of course I also weighed 178 for about two day two years ago

Body composition goals
Short term (4-6 months)
percent body fat: 21.0% change: -8.7%
lean body weight (lbs): 141.5 change: +1.1 (lbs)
body fat weight (lbs): 37.6 change: -21.6 (lbs)
body weight (lbs): 179.1 change: -20.5 (lbs)

This is doable. I regularly weighed 183 - 186 before knee surgery and the consequent letting myself go. My advisor recommended cardio 3 times a week, weight work twice... I'm much more likely to do cardio 5-6 days a week. It just seems like the natural thing to do since I go directly after work. I know that if I come home and sit on the couch I'll be bored and wondering what to do with myself.

Long Term (one year+) Goals
percent body fat: 17.0% change: -12.7%
lean body weight: 141.5 change: +1.1 (lbs)
body fat weight (lbs): 29.0 change: -30.2 (lbs)
body weight (lbs): 170.5 change: -29.1 (lbs)

I always (potentially) saw myself at 170 the first time around, so this goal is reasonable... there are some picture of me at 180 where I look sorta sickly, actually, but I think that had more to do with a haircut and bad clothing choices. Anyway. At 178 I still had more weight around my midsection than a guy wearing bike jerseys on a regular basis should have. So.

My goals walking in the door were to lose the weight I had regained, improve my cycling, and find a team to ride with. I've yet to call the number of the coach he gave me, mainly because I'm a little nervous about the whole "am I ready for this" thing. I know riding with a team is going to kick my ass. I'm more concerned that I'm either not going to find a team, or I'm not ready. I'm certainly not ready now, but I can be in a couple months.

I should call tomorrow regardless. Stay tuned...

04 December 2008

back on the fitness jam

i don't talk like that.

met with the trainer guy at the gym... he (sort of) prescribed a workout consisting of an hour of 4 minute standing (160-170 hr) spins with 1 minute off between, along with a list of exercises with free weights that i've yet to decifer. i've not picked up a weight since maybe eight grade. he also suggested these bosu classes... i watched one last night and i'm sure it will kill me. he also suggested i go see a chiropractor for my lingering lifetime back issues, but i'm still of the (wrong, i'm sure) opinion that chiropractic medicine is a bit quacky. not to say that i don't believe it works, just to say that (at least at the chiro I visited) I felt like I was less in a doctors office and more in a romper room.

I have self prescribed a lot of streching, as that works when i have flair-ups. i just don't do it consistantly enough to fix anything long-term.

i'm meeting with the trainer guy again tomorrow for my initial fitness accessment thing, in which i will find out if the 20% body fat my home scale claims is actually true. I'm guess it'll be higher than that. i think i can also do VO2max and that sort of thing... i'm looking to find out my heart rate zones so i can work a little bit out of the cyclist training manual book.

lastly, and perhaps most important, he's given me the number of a guy that does fitting and training and stuff out at the velodrome - hopefully he'll be able to provide me with some sort of gateway to find a team to work with. cycling progress is easier to attain when you've working with folks who can kill you. so that's what i'm looking for.

anyway. so far, so good, and i'm back to eating better and enjoying the whole process.

01 December 2008


thanksgiving was so so, friday after we rode four wheelers, and that was pretty rad, saturday i took family xmas photos and we drove back home, yesterday i signed up for a year at the gym and scheduled some stuff there...

rolling along.