Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lovely Images, Part IV -- The Trek Touring Bike

Update, 3/9/06: My wife and I just found out this morning that we have been selected via the lottery to Ride the Rockies in June. This six-day 419-mile tour through Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico will surely test our middle-aged bodies and minds, but we are thrilled and curiously optimistic. We are also riding in the Tour de Wyoming in July, which is a six-day 350-mile trek through northern Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountains. Can't wait! Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

I am now in the habit of riding my bike for at least an hour every damned day. Unfortunately, the bike I ride is not the Trek 520 Touring Bike pictured here. I ride a Raleigh Hybrid Passages 3.0 that weighs 38 pounds and squeeks. As Secretary Rumsfeld tells us, "you ride with the bike you have, not the bike you wish you had." Since my daily average on my squeeky bike is anywhere from 14 mph with my best girl to 20 mph when I bike alone, I cover at least 14 miles a day, and more often 20 miles.

On Sunday, we rode together (key word) for nearly three hours and traversed 38 miles -- the longest ride we've done together since we started cycling last October. We ran out of Gatoraide and Powerbars after two-and-a-half hours and pooped out with about five miles still to go. While the jogger's term is "hit the wall", the cyclist's term is "bonk". We bonked hard.

The science behind our bonk is that the muscles and liver can only hold enough glycogen to sustain hard aerobic cycling lasting about two-and-a-half hours. Glycogen is the stored energy used by the muscles to do work without having to rely on converting food in the digestive system into energy while on the fly. However, after you run out of glycogen, the body switches over to operating on straight glucose in the bloodstream coming from the food you eat and drink while exercising. Since we ran out, we bonked. Gotta love science, even when it works against you.

Fortunately for our workout routine, the state we live in has benefitted from a phenomenally mild winter -- so mild that it hardly deserves the designation of winter. Taking advantage of the wonderful weather, I've personally travelled over 1,800 miles in those 22 weeks, despite the occasional snow showers and more frequent locomotive freak winds. I used to hate the wind and all hills, but no more.

Five months ago, the pain and discomfort after a typical riding session was horrendous and the flop sweat was embarrasing. Today, I barely break a sweat or even have to open my mouth to breath heavily unless I get my heart rate above 155 beats per minute, which only happens now by accelerating above and sustaining over 22 mph on flat ground, or by climbing more than 200 yards of 7% grade.

Yes, I've lost lots of weight and added muscles where before there were none to be found. But more importantly, I've found a form of exercise that I love to do everyday. I love to share that exercise with my best girl and it gives me great pride and joy to be this good at something athletic again instead of just watching my sons play baseball or tennis. Because I'm a jock at heart. Yes, I confess it. I've just been hiding it under 50 pounds of excess me for the last 15 years.

My old me is baaaack!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So--does an architect's design philosophy (or designs themselves) change if he or she loses weight? Or do most architects a) have no design philosophy; b) stay fugly fat; or c) let nothing except other architects/artists influence their design philosophy? Just curious about the effect of other forces (other than architecture) on one's designs/design philosophy.

1:43 PM, March 08, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

So--does an architect's design philosophy (or designs themselves) change if he or she loses weight?

I can't say for sure since I've been continuously overweight during my entire reign as Architect. However, in the same way that Frank Lloyd Wright, who was 5'-6" at best, designed homes for small people regardless of the owner's actual stature, and in the same way that bird-like little girlies at Subway sandwich shops tend to make me the most delicate of meals using only their fingertips, it is indeed possible that overweight American architects design ample spaces for ample Americans.

Or do most architects a) have no design philosophy;

Oh, all architects HAVE design philosophies. It's just that so many of these philosophies are conventional, repugnant, mealy-mouthed, compromised, and/or wormy, that deeply thinking and deeply feeling heroes such as you and I can barely discern "philosophy" in their work.

b) stay fugly fat;

People change. Architects are people. Thus, architects change. Rarely, but it can and does happen.

or c) let nothing except other architects/artists influence their design philosophy? Just curious about the effect of other forces (other than architecture) on one's designs/design philosophy.

Howard does not let other architects--or even artists and designers of other media--influence his design philosophy. He does, however, acknowledge that some who have came before him have had identical philosophies and design styles. That does not mean that Howard is not a trendsetter, an original, and a trailblazer. Au contraire, mon ami. Who's to say that Mr. Wright did not possess a crystal ball with which he used to steal wholesale from the genius of Howard? Eh?

2:05 PM, March 08, 2006  

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