Thursday, October 30, 2014

Man Cannot Live by Cookies Alone

Today's Lengthy Tracking via APRS and Ham Radio

I had a doctor's appointment today at 10:50 AM.  I had previously planned to use this for an excuse to do a long ride, estimated at 25 miles each way.  I realized this, early this morning, but only at about 10 minutes to 8 AM.  Since my average speed is normally about 7 or 8 MPH, this means I should have already left in order to arrive in time. 
I jumped to, loading up the 2-wheel recumbent bike for the ride, but had not had breakfast yet and feared I didn't have time to EAT a real breakfast, so I snarfed 3 homemade choc-chip cookies and took off.
I was chagrined to find my pannier's LiFePO4 expensive long-life battery had not been plugged into the charger after yesterday's ride.  I was in a hurry so I took off anyway, hoping the battery had sufficient capacity to carry me through the day anyway.
My waking blood glucose had only been 67, so this obviously was not the best of programs for ride preparation.  I dialed my pump's basal rate back to 20% of normal and rode onward and westward.
It's been cold in the mornings recently and today was no exception.  I donned a windbreaker for the first several miles, taking it off to climb the long hills on southbound NM-14 and putting it back on when I topped the hill for the long mostly-coast into Tijeras and Old Route 66.  It was still cold when I got to Tijeras so I left the windbreaker on clear into the city limits of Albuquerque, and not taking it off until halfway THROUGH Albuquerque.
I haven't ridden this route in a while and today I was struck by the number of homeless camps and homeless folks I encountered.  They tend to congregate along the bike trails since many places are not easily reached or monitored by the "Authorities".  A couple of guys were set up in tents close together, and several others were just lying in piles of clothing and bedding in the open, including a male & female couple with a DOG lying right next to Old Route 66 just outside the city limits.  They were lounging around in a huge pile of clothing, pillows, and bedding, evidently trying to thus keep warm overnight against the cold.
Can you read the sign "Dark Tunnel Ahead"?
Translation:  "Homeless May be Sleeping or Camping Inside"
 When I got to the doctor's office the GPS said I had traveled 27.34 miles.  It had taken right at 2 1/2 hours.
When the physician's assistant took my blood glucose inside the office, it was 120.... a little on the high end but not bad considering all I had for breakfast was 3 cookies.  My blood pressure was 114 over 60 and my pulse was 80, surprising me.  Having just ridden 27 miles and still panting slightly, I assumed it would be pumping hard.
The doc gave me an atta-boy since my A1C had dropped a full point since we last met, and said I was doing good. 
I've known several people who died within days of receiving such "sound-as-a-dollar" reports, so remember me in your prayers.
He asked what I was going to eat for lunch, having skipped a decent breakfast, and I told him I was thinking of a nice juicy cheeseburger.  He said "Sounds good to me!"
Thus I was  watching for a LotaBurger or most any burger joint as I rode homeward.  Albuquerque's bike paths are like most, meaning they rarely come close to established businesses such as restaurants or grocery stores.  I remembered there were fast-food joints close to the bike crossing at San Mateo, but I could find none when I stopped and looked up and down the street.  My eye fell upon the "Subway" sign less than 50 yards south, requiring NO heavy-traffic  street crossing or dodging.  Thus my meal of a FULL foot-long Pizza Sub sandwich, with chips and a NON-diet Barq's Root Beer.  I've never eaten a foot-long before, always settling for the halfway 6-incher version, so I wondered if I could eat it all.  I knew I had a long pull going through Tijeras Canyon and the mountains to home, so I wanted to stock up on carbs.  I was able to stuff it all down, and it lasted me clear to Tijeras (about 10 miles), where I had to dig into my second baggie of 3 choc-chip cookies.  I stopped at the Subway in Tijeras solely to refill all 3 of my now-empty water bottles but, after checking the blood again, realized I had to "force" myself to eat the cookies.
When I got out of the doctor's office and started home, almost immediately my radio, GPS, and electronics died, indicating a dead battery.  I carry a smaller spare backup battery but it produced the same dead results when I plugged it into the bike's wiring so I gave up and rode home with no electronics at all save my cell phone, which was still charged and worked nicely, thankfully.
The ride east through Albuquerque is more uphill than downhill so it took me quite a while to make the return trip.  It was much warmer also, leading to more frequent water and rest breaks while slowly climbing the hills. 
About halfway to Tijeras I had to pull over to remove some thistles from my socks that were aggravating me.  How do you get thistles in your socks while riding a bike, you might ask?  Well, it must have been the walk in the woods looking for a private place to pee alongside the road.
Instead of returning the exact way I came, I rode farther  east from Tijeras to Guiterrez Canyon Road and rode north from there to Frost Road.  By now I had gone 40+ miles so when I neared a friend's home alongside the route I couldn't help myself.  I stopped in to say hello and stayed almost an hour cooling my heels.
After finally arriving home and plugging in the supposedly-dead battery, I was horrified to find a broken wire on the power connector for the electronics.  Had I realized this earlier I could have "hay-wired" it to get me home with radio & electronics blaring all the way.

Ride Started: 8:18 AM    Ride Ended:  5:36 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.9       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  37 F      Highest Temp:  74 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  54.68
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  7.9 MPH                               11.7 MPH                   35.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
9 hours 20 mins                     7 hours 4 mins           2 hours 16 mins        

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hauling Firewood on the Bike

Today's VeryShort Tracking

Today I was again left home alone with the dogs, since Jacque has signed up for poll watching or supervising or something during the ongoing election process.  She left fairly early and promised to be gone most of the day.
The dogs and I got a few odds and ends done today.
Yesterday I installed new LED tail lights on our little beat-up trash trailer/bike/trike hauler.  The old lenses and lamps were so dim I always feared someone would rear-end us after dark.  These new units are pricey but very bright, even quite visible in the daytime.
I got done with that installation right about sundown and left tools and materials outside, which was semi-forgiveable since there was no trace of wind, moisture, dust, or rain overnight.  Today I cleaned all that up and put the tools away.  Then I emptied Jacque's kitchen slop pail out in the compost pile.  The pile is a 3 foot high pile of horse poop that has been rotting for a couple years, and when we have kitchen slop and scraps I dig a hole in the middle of it and pour in the contents.  We should never have to buy potting soil again, if I can talk Jacque into trying this stuff instead.  Today I found a huge hole in the side of the pile where a fair-size critter of some kind (think COYOTE) had dug in for the smelly stuff inside.  I buried the newest contributions to the stinky stuff and added a couple inches of wood stove ash, since we have accumulated a bucketful of that in the past week from burning wood in the mornings to take the chill off the house.  When I mentioned the violation of the sacred poop pile to Jacque, she suggested  trying our largest varmint live-trap out there in hopes of capturing at least one of the intruders.  If it's a coyote, it will have to be one of the newer young pups since a full sized varmint would have trouble getting caught or even getting fully inside.  I baited it with a fresh slice of Spam and we'll see.  Nothing bothered it all day and the sun is currently setting.  We hear coyotes yipping close by most nights so it might even get some results.  If I do indeed trap one, it will NOT be a catch-and-release.  More details will be none-of-your-business.
Anyway.  I planned early this morning to saddle up for a bike ride and as usual with all my puttering around it was late afternoon when I finally got to it. 
The girls, as usual, were all enthusiasm for a ride.  When we rolled down to the pavement of Frost Road we found the wind to be unusually strong and cooler than we're used to. Blowing briskly from the West, it slowed us down enough to have to pedal furiously using most of my lower gears even on the few level areas of the road.
As we neared the Post Office, I noticed a piece of firewood lying on the right side of the road, and a few hundred feet farther, another piece was smack in the middle of the road.  I almost stopped to throw it out of the roadway but thought I'd just keep pedaling and throw it out of the road on the way back.  On the way back a couple MORE firewood pieces were spotted in the other lane of the road.  I picked them out of the roadway, carefully dodging oncoming traffic, but decided I had room on my front cargo rack to bungee them down and take them home with  me. 

Not really enough to be worth the trouble, but I couldn't resist a few extra BTU's for the stove.
Everybody we see comments on the carrying of TWO dogs on the bike with me.  What am I supposed to do, leave one of them home alone and heartbroken?
Quoth the Raven..... Nevermore.....

Ride Started: 3:52 PM    Ride Ended:  4:56 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.9       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  75 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  5.59
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.0 MPH                               6.8 MPH                    29.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 7 mins                        49 mins                      18 minutes

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Misfits

Today's Short Track Tracking

Jacque hasn't ridden trike or bike since we returned from our recent RV trip.  Her wobbly knee has been giving trouble for a few days, so we decided to do a trike ride today.  The circular, steady exercise she gets from pedaling seems to really help her inflammation and pain recede.
We need to ride the trike a lot more often, obviously.  I ride my 2-wheel recumbent more often, but it is lighter and easier to huff up hill and down dale than the trike.
We rode up the long killer hill to our Post Office in Sandia Park again today, which is frustrating but of course great exercise.  We had to stop for 3 or 4 rest breaks even though the trip is only slightly over 2 miles...... but, of course, mostly uphill.  Not a steep hill but a persistently long climb that just sucks the energy out of us.
Fortunately, the return trip is mostly downhill, and requires no rest breaks at all.
When we finally chugged up to the Post Office, all breathless and shot, we debated whether to do our usual last-quarter-mile from the Post Office to the Shell Station where we usually counteract our exercise by consuming carbs abundantly. 
Just as we were saddling up to leave our parking spot, a small station-wagon sized SUV pulled up in front of us and the passengers commented on the undeniable cuteness of our doggies.  We actually had to postpone leaving for several more minutes as the ladies pulled into an adjacent parking spot and the frail Granny from the passenger seat climbed slowly out and walked up to peer at the dogs more closely.   She seemed genuinely thrilled to see such an unusual thing:  Two very cute dogs taking their owners for a trike ride.  We had to finally pedal away, but felt guilty at not having time to "hang around" longer to entertain our elderly admirer.
I turned the trike left, coming out of the post office, on up the hill toward the Shell Station, and Jacque did not object, even though it meant some more noticeably tiring exertion.  Once there, as usual, the dogs caused the typical mild sensation amongst the patrons coming and going from the convenience store/station.  The proprietors even allow us to bring the dogs inside the snack area, which was nice today because the mild breezes turned into some stiff gusts that blew dust and interfered with Jacque's newspaper reading.  This resulted in even more puppy-admirers and lots of ooh's and aah's and "Oh How CUTE!" comments.  Which of course is hard to take for our two publicity-hounds.
On our mostly-downhill smoking return trip to our vehicular parking space along Frost Road, there were only 1 or 2 cars overtaking us in  the same direction, so we were able to stay in the actual vehicle lane (instead of the rock-strewn shoulder) for over a mile.  Which can result in some speeds unobtainable under normal circumstances.

Ride Started: 12:27 PM    Ride Ended:  2:32 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 12.9
Lowest Temp  34 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  4.31
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  2.2 MPH                               5.7 MPH                    31.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 56 mins                       45 mins                     1 hour 10 minutes

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Dogs are Worn Out.... and Me Too

Today's Partial Tracking due to Hills, Valleys, Etc.

Jacque disappeared to Albuquerque for a sewing class for her new multi-kilobuck machine, and had no idear how long she was going to be gone, so me and the doggie-girls went for another bike ride. 
Why they enjoy the idea of riding the bike is beyond me, since they are tethered into small enclosures:  Jazzy in the papoose-looking belly harness and Tink in the basket behind my seat.  But they get SO excited when I ask them "Who wants to go for a BIKE RIDE?"
You'd think I invited them to chase squirrels or something.   They jump around, all excited, and follow me closely out to the bike to make sure I don't escape without them, and eagerly leap up for the harnessing-in-place.
Riding Old 66 with I-40 in Close Background

We all decided to do a longer route today.  We rode out east on Frost Road to Mountain Valley, south to Crestview Lane, east to County Line Road (This small detour avoids a very steep hill on Mountain Valley farther south), south to Dinkle Road, then back west again to Mountain Valley with a short dog-leg over the I-40 overpass to Route 66, then west to Zuzax, crossing I-40 again over to the frontage road, and then north on Gutierrez Canyon Road back to Frost and then a short jog  back to the goat-path up to the house. 
It was beautiful weather today, what little winds we encountered were appreciated since it was warmer than expected, but the dogs and I MUST be outa shape, because by the time we started the last few miles up Gutierrez Canyon and almost home, we were SHOT.  Well, **I** was shot.  The girls get excessively tired from riding since, it seems, even though they are doing nothing but watching the scenery go by, they refuse to nod off and take their usual doggie-naps.  When at home or traveling in the RV they will sleep most of the day and waken every hour or so to romp around for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and then collapse again into deep slumber.  They sleep most of the day and then sleep all night.  Sometimes we wish WE could do that.
Anyway.  It didn't help that I forgot, again, to set my insulin pump basal rate downward BEFORE starting the ride.  I remembered a bit late, again, when I realized how bushed I was after only 15 miles or so.  But I kept track of the blood glucose and snarfed snacks so I wasn't in danger of going blotto and falling off or anything, which so far has never happened to me.  Thankfully.
We received several appreciative honks from passersby (seeing 2 lap-doggies on my bike softens most hearts) and no "negative incidents".  Even though there are several miles along this route with no shoulder and about 3 times vehicles had to slow down behind me and wait to pass or make their turnoff.  Nice folks.
Ride Started: 2:16 PM    Ride Ended:  5:40 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.8       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  84 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  22.43
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.7 MPH                               8.5 MPH                    32.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 22 mins                     2 hours 38 mins         44 minutes

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just Me and My Shadow(s)

Tracking via Ham Radio, GPS, and APRS

I asked Jacque if she wanted to do a trike ride today and she mentioned, pointedly, that she hadn't been able to play with her sewing produuction facility for too long, AND she was in the midst of making me a couple more of her famous fabulous shirts.  So I let her stay home and saddled up  for a solo ride. 
Jazzy came to life immediately from her early-morning nap and dashed back and forth between my legs, begging to be taken  along.  The doggies are much too smart and observant, of course, and notice such things as bike clothing, suitcases packing, Dad with his hat on, and any other sign of GOING OUTSIDE.  I told Jacque I was taking the "Junior Princess" (Jazzy) with me and this woke TINK up, who now began frantically following me across the house, wanting to "go" too.  I got to the door and told Tink "Bye, Tink!" and she SMOKED right past me and out on the deck, obviously not accepting the idea SHE was to be left behind.  So, laughing, I went back and told Jacque I was going to take both of them with me, even though it means more weight and a rearrangement of my pannier on the rear.  Instead of carrying it IN the rear basket, I have to mount it to the SIDE of the basket and carry the Tinkerbell inside.  Jazzy almost always rides in the belly-pack papoose-looking harness on my front, adding to the double-takes of passersby and motorists.
We finally got all arranged and took off, first riding up the long slow killer hill to the Post Office and then back east to get in a few miles  before returning home. 
This fall weather is really great;  nice and sunny and mild and just cool enough to be pleasant.  If I rode earlier in the morning I'd likely have to start out wearing a windbreaker to hold in a little more body heat.  As it was, today, I left my irritatingly-yellow biking shirt velcroed up to the top instead of opening it up all the way for the additional cooling.
I started to "run out of gas" fairly early, and when I checked my blood glucose at the Post Office it was 62 (it was over 100 when we left the house 2.75 miles earlier).  I snarfed my energy cookies and resumed riding, noticing again only a few miles further that I was running low on energy again but toughed it out for a few more miles before stopping for a break and testing again:  This time the BG was 47, uncomfortably low.  I realized I had forgotten to set my pump's basal rate to 25% for the duration of the ride in ADVANCE of the ride, which my doc always warns me to remember to do before riding.
Thankfully I've not yet experienced any fainting spells in my 30 years of diabetes and insulin, and I don't want to start now.
Another snack, this time a store boughten choc-chip oatmeal bar, and a few hundred more cranks of the pedals found us home safe and sound.
Ride Started: 11:31 AM    Ride Ended:  2:13 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.6       Ending Voltage: 13.1
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  14.44
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.0 MPH                               8.8 MPH                    33.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 24 mins                     1 hour 38 mins           45 minutes

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Old Geezer on the Loose

Today's Excellent Tracking via Ham Radio and APRS
Jacque went to Albuquerque today whilst I determined to get on the bike and eat up some miles no matter what.... as long as it didn't rain all day like it did yesterday.
It didn't.  Today started out a bit gloomy and cloudy but the sun was providing large blue-sky gaps so it looked good.  Since my front shifter on the 2-wheel was not working sufficiently to access my highest gear, I had to work on that first.  After a couple adjustments in the control cable length, it started shifting between all 3 rings on the front crank.  I started to saddle it up with all my riding junk, water bottles, pannier with battery and supplies, etc, and was almost ready to embark on today's wonderful adventure.  The cell phone rang  and it was my sweetie Jacque sweetly suggesting I load up the tandem Terratrike instead and meet her in town for  a joint ride on our favorite avenue.... The Bosque Trail.  This did not require much arm twisting, so I parked the 2-wheel recumbent and hitched up the trike trailer and loaded the Terratrike aboard and headed for town.  I had to stop twice:  The first time I noticed a black strap on the trike flapping dangerously in the breeze.  Turned out to be a loose foam wrapping on Jacque's rear seat stoker handlebar.  About 10 minutes later as I was roaring down I-40 at about 65 MPH, I saw a faint flutter of yellow in the rear mirror and then was horrified to see Jacque's overhead shade assembly sail completely off the trailer - out from underneath the trike - and flutter like a wounded kite off to the side of the freeway.  Thankfully this meant it was not going to be run over and shredded, though I was a couple hundred yards beyond it and dared not to back up on the shoulder with all the oncoming traffic to retrieve it.  I had to hot-foot it back on foot to get it picked up and back in the trailer, where I secured it with a weight to keep it held down in the trailer, which I had neglected at first.
We just hauled this same rigging and trailer about 1500 miles behind the RV on our recent trip, so it was a bit puzzling to suddenly encounter such difficulties.
Jazzy and I finally arrived in Albuquerque, picked up Jacque and Tink, and whizzed down to Tingley Beach to begin our ride.
Jacque in the Shaded Stoker Seat

This fall weather is just downright enjoyable.  It was a bit cloudy at times but the temperature was just cool enough to be wonderful and likewise with the fitful breezes we encountered.
We rode the southern leg of the Bosque Trail today.  Normally we encounter a scraggly coyote about 2 miles south of the Hispano Cultural Center along the trail and have been within a few dozen feet of him a couple times, which of course worries us about his intentions though he's never acted aggressive towards us or our doggies.  Today we saw him not at all, either coming or going.  Which is a wonderful thing, after all.
We did encounter -of course- the usual dogs inside their fenced properties which fiercely chase us along the perimeter of the fence barking ferociously.  Our pups were controlled enough today that they barely growled back at them.  Another walker with an unrestrained largish brown dog was encountered but he failed to threaten us too.  Great riding.  We encountered only a few other cyclists, including one who stopped alongside us during a break and asked bunches of questions about the trike since he and his wife have been considering buying one for themselves.
Jacque does not enjoy this southern loop of the trail, as it goes through part of the South Valley with lots of graffiti in some places and I-25 and South Broadway traffic coming close in others.  The return loop on the southern end is surrounded by junkyards and heavy-industrial buildings with less than enjoyable views.  I guess I enjoy it more since it reminds me so much of Grants NM in the days when I was living there as a young pup.
Stopping at the Tingley Beach park area is always a treat both for the relatively clean bathrooms, ducks swimming and quacking all over the waterway, and the ever present little toddler kiddos who ooh and ahhh over the doggies and the trike, in that order.  And, of course, the occasional ice cream snack.
Ride Started: 1:38 PM    Ride Ended:  4:44 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.2       Ending Voltage: 12.8
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  16.04
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.3 MPH                               7.4 MPH                    24.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
3 hours 2 mins                       2 hours 9 mins           52 minutes

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why Do So Many Stare? Is it the Dogs?

Today's Tracking, Briefly

Or is it just because I'm such a ridiculous sight on my weird looking bike, dressed oddly so as to attract maximum attention from inattentive drivers?  The doggie in my belly pack and the doggie behind me in the basket may add to the oddness, but whatever.
Jacque went to a sewing party in Albuquerque today and left me to my own devices.  Since I didn't burn the house down or electrocute myself or anything else interesting I decided I needed to go for at least a short bike ride, considering our recent RV trip caused such things to be intermittent and short term to say the least.
Since I was NOT home alone, but had both dogs and a cat to attend to my every whim (HAH!), I figured I had to take at least the dogs with me.  The cat does well unattended (so long as no food is left on any table tops anywhere in the house) so I left HER to her own devices.
With the weather coming up cold mornings and evenings as the fall season commences, riding later in the day is no big deal now.  It still gets warm on fair days but nothing close to the 90's or 100's as was the case only a few weeks ago.  Still sunny, however, so I did the usual slather-on-the-sunscreen thing, loaded food, water, pannier, radios, and dogs, and took off.
The roads seemed a bit steeper than I remembered.  Can it be I've already lost my bike-legs and have to re-condition them?  Perish the thought....
My bike also would not shift into the highest gear, leaving my average speed lower than normal due to not being able to crank it up while going on level pavement, or better yet, downhill.
The bike had blown over on its side while we were away RV'ing so maybe the bracket has been whacked.  We'll see if it can be readjusted or if it needs to be REPLACED.

Ride Started: 2:31 PM    Ride Ended:  4:04 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.0       Ending Voltage: 12.5
Lowest Temp  64 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  5.52
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  3.5 MPH                               7.1 MPH                    22.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 33 mins                      46 minutes                  45 minutes