Saturday, July 31, 2010

Down for Coffee

Woke up this morning and realized it was absolutely beautiful. So the wife and I drove down to the B&A (She still is uncomfortable on the roads), parked the car and headed south along the B&A. We made it to a cute little coffee shop that sits right next to the trail, grabbed some coffee and sat on their back deck to enjoy it.

After that we returned back to the car and stopped at Panera for lunch. Unfortunately, I am now sitting at work and probably will be for another 4 hours. :/

And with today being the last day of the July150, I am proud to say I ended up with 165 miles. Not bad considering how few days I actually rode. I am shooting for 400 for August, which should motivate me to get out and ride right from the start. I made it a "goal" on Garmin Connect, so I am excited to see how that works!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

So this is what it looks like when you press "Start/Stop" instead of "Lap"

Got a side cramp on the jog out, walked back. I did try a sprint there at the end just to see how fast I could actually move. ~11-12 mph. I can't believe people can run that fast for an entire marathon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lunch jog

Well, decided to go for a jog at lunch. Not much to report. The Forerunner 305 is a freaking awesome device and the transition to jogging with it was simple. Navigate the menu to switch from Cycling to Running (three button presses) and the screen then showed my Time, Pace (minutes per mile), Heart Rate, and Distance. The distance started out in feet then switched to miles at the 0.5 mile mark.

I only jogged two miles today. A warm-up walk to the road I jog on, a mile jog, a small walk to stretch, a mile jog, then the cooldown walk back to work. These were easily distinguished via the Lap button on the face of the watch. Whenever I got to a new transition, I just hit the lap button and it logged that location to monitor.

I have to admit I wasn't really in the mood to run and it can show with the speed. I am beginning to question my abnormally high heart rate a little bit more. I have my cardiologist appointment coming up somewhat soon and I am looking forward to discussing my fitness with my cardiologist. I haven't seen him since I took up biking last year and he has never ever seen me after running.

Monday, July 26, 2010


(And yes, Kungfoo, this is ripped from knightly)

Sunday I went crabbin. Unfortunately, due to my old high school buddy being a dumbass and not showing up, it was just me and one other friend. We didn't get out to the docks until about noon... which is not only the worst time to go crabbing (mid day) but also the damn hottest. And we had to deal with a full dock, so we could only place a half dozen chicken neck lines. :( We only lasted an hour before we were completely dehydrated and called it a day.

We caught about a dozen crabs, though only 5 of them were keepers. So... here are some pics of the cooking!

And yes, they were delicious. The third and fourth shows the seasoning... a mixture of Old Bay and J.O. Seasoning.
We think we are going to make this a weekly thing. $6 to get into the park and if we get there early I am sure we can catch a few dozen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The $21M Photo + July 15 done

Decided today to head on out to Gibson Island. Left home at 6:30-ish. Gibson Island is a small little island on the Chesapeake Bay. Strangely enough, it is the #12 most expensive zip code to live in in the entire United States. It is a gated community, so I couldn't even make it there... and the road signs pointed it out quite clearly.

And as you approach it, the smell of water is great. Truth be told, I have really shown very few photos of the bay, considering the title of this blog is "Biking the Bay". So here is the Bay Bridge (along with the road that takes you onto Gibson Island:

The guard tower is just slightly to the right. I actually got yelled at for taking that picture... he thought I was photographing one of his precious residents. Anyways... I titled this the $21M dollar here it is.

Doesn't look all that impressive, right? Just a picture of 7 houses. Well, considering the average price of a house on the island is over $3 million dollars... that right there is a picture of $21 million dollars.

Anyways... I did 29 miles tonight, which officially puts me over the July 150 challenge. So yay for that!

But now a question for you all. According to my garmin, I burned 1593 calories on this ride. I am exhausted. I was equally as exhausted yesterday. My guess is it has to do with my food intake. I haven't changed my eating habits in years. I eat for breakfast(throughout the course of the morning until lunch) some greek yogurt, a banana, and a bit of cheese. For lunch I have a sandwich of either turkey or salami on wheat bread with cheese, tomato, and onion, an apple and some grapes. Dinners usually vary, but some meat and carbs. I don't know. I think I need to get some more food in me. Haha, or I'm just weak and looking for excuses for tiredness.

Riding up to the BWI Loop

I headed out last night for a ride back up the B&A. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I don't very much enjoy the northern side of the B&A. I was planning on turning around where the B&A dead ends, but about 100 yards before there some punk ass decided to play chicken with me. I was barreling down at a semi-brisk pace and this guy, riding a kid's bike, stayed on my side of the path while coming at me. I yelled at him to move over, but he just stared at me. At the last second I bunny hopped off the side of the path and turned around. He stopped and stared me down. Fuck it... so I just kept on going. I decided a run in with him probably wasn't the smartest idea, so I kept on riding to the BWI loop. I turned around right at where it "started", and headed on back home via East/West. Not wanting to get caught inside Kinder Farms, I didn't do that and was back home in no time.

On an unrelated note, somebody deleted my data for the July 150, so I had to re-input it all again. Glad I've been keeping track1

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 305

After spending some time looking at different GPS devices, I decided the best idea for me would be to go with the Forerunner 305. Considering I've been running as well, it made sense for me to get something that would easily transition between running and biking. And, in my opinion, the Forerunner 305 is the best bang for the buck.

The Forerunner 305 comes packaged with a heart rate monitor (which sells for $60 alone) and for extra cash, you can purchase the Cadence/Speed adapter.

I purchased it from Best Buy for a total of $154 after taxes. In the box is the actual GPS unit, a usb to mini-usb cable, a mount for charging/uploading, the power supply (which is connected to the mount via the usb cable), the heart rate monitor, and the paperwork and software.

I let it sit on the charger for four hours before pulling it off. The recommended charging time was three hours, but I never got a "Charging Complete" message so I was hesitant to pull it off. That being said, after scouring through the documentation, I don't think there is said warning... so I think I am safe. Unfortunately, by that time it was too late to take it for a run so I simply configured it.

The configuration was incredibly easy. You turn it on by holding down a button on the side and then you go through simple questions. "Do you own a heart rate monitor?" "Do you own a foot pad?" "Do you own a cadence?" "What is your age/weight/sex?" etc.

All in all, the setup took about 45 seconds before I could have been using it. Unfortunately, by that time it was 10:45 at night, so I couldn't do much else.

This morning, however, I worked on the configuration screens.

You can choose how many data sets are on the screen, up to four. For biking I chose Time, Speed, Distance, and heart rate. You can configure more screens, (Up to 5 I believe), so if I wanted to also see what my max speed, lap speed, lap time, etc. was, I could configure those for a different screen, at which point pressing the up or down arrows on the side of the unit would take me to those screens.

I strapped the heart rate monitor on this morning and off I went for a small little ride. I wanted to make it back with plenty of time to download the software and upload my ride.

Satellite acquisition took about 45 seconds, which was exactly how long it took me to lock my front door, put my keys away, walk my bike down the stairs and check to see the satellite status. (It is a progress bar that, when filled, means you have satellites). Reading about the product on various other reviews have stated that after awhile, the satellites pick up faster if you stay in the same general area (i.e. not going to a different state). To start recording you simply hit the Start/Stop button on the device.

While riding it was great. I didn't purchase the bike mount, so I simply wore it on my wrist. Surprisingly, I didn't even notice it. I'm not gonna lie, the device is rather large. The screen is the width of two fingers and about an inch (2.34 cm) long. The whole unit is probably double that size.

But, what makes that good, is that you can actually read the damn thing. A quick glance up and I know how far I've gone, how long it has taken, what speed I am going, and what my heart rate is.

Once I got back home, I simply hit the start/stop button and took it off.

Downloading the software was a breeze. It comes packaged with Garmin's home made tracking tool which auto-detects any rides/runs you have done and uploads them. But I wasn't that interested in that... I wanted to check out Garmin Connect.

So I went to Garmin Connect, registered, downloaded a plugin, and that auto-detected my device, uploaded my routes, and I was done.

So... wihtout further ado, my very first Garmin Connect upload. (ok, it was the second. Apparently last night I hit "Start" while walking around in the apartment, so I have about 10 seconds of me standing still).

A few interesting things about that.

First off, click the "View Details" button to go to the actual garmin site. You can then see my speed vs time, elevation vs distance, and heart rate vs time graphs. You can also see my route, max and average speeds, times, device, etc.

The first thing I noticed was my heart rate. Admittedly, my heart is a bit of a dysfunctional piece of crap. Due to a birth defect and heart surgery, my heart rate is high and erratic. But, I do believe a heart rate of 260-ish would even kill me. So something was screwy for the first few minutes with the heart rate. The second thing is the elevation. I don't quite now exactly what occurs when you say you want "Elevation Corrections" enabled, but it was and I am impressed by the data output. You can zoom in and out on any of the graphs to make out the changes a bit more.

But the last thing that I found interesting was the mapping. I am guessing it takes a gps reading about every 2 seconds. If you zoom in on the first intersection (Kenora and Old Mill), you will see it clips the corner of the road off. I was going fairly quickly through that corner (no cars and there is a good 10 foot shoulder there) so it was interesting that that happened. On the return trip I went through the 7-11 there.

Anyways, I am really liking this device. I have a $35 credit to Hudson Trail Outfitters, so I am going to check to see if they have anything neat to go with it (perhaps the cadence sensor)!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Ride with SPP

Thanks to Chesapeake Sailors post regarding his bike club, the Severna Park Peloton, I decided to sign up for their email list. I found out they were doing two rides this morning, both originating along the B&A at East West. I decided to tag along with them down to the Annapolis docks for breakfast.

I rode out to the meeting point a bit earlier to give myself a moment to rest before starting the trek with them. I was the first one there

Shortle thereafter another guy showed up and we started chatting and by the designated start time, about 23 people were there, including a tandem bike couple. I introduced myself to everybody and they were all very friendly. We took off at 0730, a majority of us to go down to Annapolis and the rest to go to Ellicott City.

It was great! We were cruising along at about 18 mph, which was very easy when your riding in a group and can draft. At some point, we took a side road along a broken pavement road. The leader of the group asked if we wanted to do hills. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of saying yes. Let me tell you something. When a guy whose legs look like this:

asks you if you want to do hills, it is 100% acceptable to say "no". Needless to say, I tried my hardest to keep up (though I got dropped rather immediately), but he was nice enough to turn around (after he already finished the 2-ish miles of pure hills, ride BACK UP and down the hills to find me, and then turn around and lead me BACK UP the hills he had already done...twice.

Great guy.

Anyways... we made it down to the city docks where we enjoyed some coffee and bagels before getting back on the ride.
Our bikes outside Aromi d'Italia:

The view outside the store:

Anyways, we took off for the return trip. Once again some people split off to take another route home (Crownsville, which was the way I got to work about a month ago) while me, the leader, and two other guys went back along the B&A.

Great ride and I am looking forward to doing it again... minus the "hills"!

Tack on 33.7 miles for the July 150 challenge. Not much more to go!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heading South Down the B&A

I wanted to check out my replaced tubes on my road bike so I took off down to the Naval Academy bridge and back. Tack on 27 miles (15 for the July 150 challenge. Just a few miles short of halfway at the halfway point of the month.

Average speed of 15.4 mph

The "start" of the B&A, just outside of Annapolis. The rest are either on the bridge or right before the bridge on the WW2 Memorial.

And I just like this picture. Kinda wish I didn't snap it while trash was right ahead of me.

Let's talk GPS

First off, on a cool note, we had an earthquake in Maryland this morning. I woke up at 5am and was brushing my teeth when I heard a low rumble and the house started moving. I ignored it, figuring the furnace had just kicked on. Until I realized we don't have a furnace... It wasn't a large earthquake by a Californian, but nonetheless it was pretty awesome.

To the topic at hand...

Do any of you use a GPS device while biking? I know that at least Chesapeake Sailor uses a Garmin Edge 705, which is the top of the line Garmin (and well out of my price range).

I've been doing a bit of research on them...

The Edge 205 is the very entry level Garmin device. It shows basically what a $10 bike computer shows, but it does track your gps coordinates. This is $250.

The Edge 500 does everything the 205 can do, but adds an altimeter and, for extra, you can add a cadence and heart rate monitor. It is the same price of the 205, so I doubt there is any reason to even look at the 205.

The Edge 305 is the predecessor to the 500 and comes standard with either a cadence -or- heart rate monitor. You can purchase the other and use it as well. Price hike to $350 though and since you can get the Cadence and heart rate monitor on the 500 for $350, there really isn't a point in spending more money for an older product.

The Edge 605 is the first one to offer an on-screen (and colour) map. It will show you where to go and has the functionality of the edge 205 (speed, distance, gps). Unfortunately, and in a move I don't understand, it is not compatible with any cadence or heart rate monitors. So basically you are paying $400 for a $250 product (the 205) with maps. It doesn't even have an altimeter! I'll pass.

And finally, the king of the Garmin series, the Edge 705. It does all the neat things of all of these, including an on-screen map, cadence and heart rate, speed, etc. The issue is the $550 price, which is more than my bike is worth.

And to toss in my final cheap-ass options are getting the non-bike specific gps's. The Forerunner 205 for $150, which is a running watch, the Etrex H, which is a mountable handheld, and the Foretrex 401, which is similar to the Forerunner 205, but also has an altimeter (a great review of the 401 is located here.

So anyways, do you have a gps? What do you like about it? Do you even care about your data? For me, I don't really see a point in monitoring my heart rate nor cadence. While it would make for a cool data set, I'm not training for any races. I just like the idea of knowing exactly where I go with higher accuracy than can give (along with knowing what speeds I am going throughout the ride).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Forget the Lights!

The wife worked late and I was busy this afternoon, so after dinner I decided to head out for a little ride. I thought I had left at 8... but I guess by the time I changed, got my bike out, and started pedaling, it was a bit later.

Meh, plenty of sunlight to do my normal 7 mile loop. I decided, once again, to take the mountain bike since I still haven't fixed the flat on the road bike. And damn, it was a beautiful night! Nice cool breeze right after a day long rain.

When I got to East West, the sun was just setting and I figured I'd have enough time to make it down to the main entrance to Kinder Farms like I had on the previous ride, so I stayed on the B&A. After about a half mile, I started getting nervous. I had based my daylight decision while standing on top of the East/West Bridge, which rises about 20 feet in the air... by the time I got back down the sun had well set and it was really starting to get dark.

I recalled that there was a side entrance to Kinder Farms from a cul-de-sac that also connected to the B&A, so when I saw a small side path I took it which opened into a neighborhood I had never been on before. Figuring this was part of the neighborhood that shared a side with Kinder Farms, I kept on riding. And riding. And riding.

And nothing ever came up. I saw a lady walking her dog, so I stopped and asked for directions to the park. "Up ahead, down the path and on the right."

Alright, so I raced on ahead, now nearing complete darkness. I spotted a small side path and took it. Unfortunately, it was for a small community pond.

Long story short, the "down the path" was actually the major road at the end of the neighborhood which I recognized and went down into Kinder Farms.

Not wanting to waste too much time, I took the main bike path around and found my side trail that I love to take.

Granted it was pitch black. I had no lights. But I just wanted to take it.

And damn was it fun! I couldn't see a damn thing except the white dirt/sand mixture of the single track. I was scaring all sorts of wildlife around and almost had a heart attack when I came within 10 feet of some bunny or something that ran across the track.

And then... when I thought I was in the clear... I get to the park exit back onto East West.

The closed the damned gate on me!

And mind you, that really is a tall fence. I had no idea what time it was, but I figure it was just after 8:45. There was simply no way around it and I had zero interest in backtracking out the main entrance, back through that neighborhood, down the B&A to East West.

So I threw my bike over and hopped the thing.

At which point I took off down the road and back on home.

All in all it was only 10.7 miles though it felt much much longer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wanna see fast?

Well here it is. (This is NOT me)

This was during the Death Ride which includes over 15,000 feet of climbing. here is his Garmin Stats. Also, he is using the GoPro HD camera which I am seriously wanting to get. Shoots in 780p with 30 or 60 fps and even in 1080p at 30 fps.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why I don't go up the B&A

I headed out at 7pm this afternoon for a nice little bike ride. I opted to take my mountain bike again due to a semi-flat on my road bike and lack of motivation to change the tire... seriously... I really need to.

Anyways, I opted to head up northward of the B&A tonight. Where I get on the B&A at Elvaton is pretty much the socio-economic middle point. Northward is the... ghetto/industrial side and south is the pretty side. Not that the north is really that bad, but it is definitely not the route to take for the enjoyment of sights.

Shortly after heading northward you cross route 100.

And then you are at Marley Station Mall. There is really zero reason to ever step foot in this mall, except they have two Gamestops.

I passed three groups of teenagers hanging out along the B&A... all three groups passing around a pipe of pot. But hey, at least they were nice enough to get off the path as I came barreling through.

At the very end of the B&A is a pretty neat little abstract art sculpture. Not that I really understand abstract art, but its all good.

I was also sad to see they are officially ripping down the cheapo movie theater, the last place I know of that you could see a movie for $1.99.

I went back down the B&A past Elvaton and even further past East West. For the first time I wanted to take the main entrance to Kinder Farms. I rode around on the dirt paths in there for a little bit and as I turned a corner I was surprised to see a rather large buck standing along the path. I jumped off my bike and took a few terrible pictures before he headed into the nearby brush where there were two more bucks! I laughed wondering if they were gay, cuz seriously, where the women at?!?

I eventually got too close and they hopped away.

Anyways, I mentioned I got that jersey the other day so here it is.

I took off as the storm clouds started coming in and made it home by 8:30.
Tack on 19.8 miles for the July 150 challenge!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Damn it is hot!

Well, in accordance with my plan to do the July 150 challenge, I decided to go on some bike rides today. The first was to do something I have never done. I figured, considering I now have a mountain bike, I could actually carry some stuff on it. So I went out to the store to pick up some necessities. It was actually amazing. I got some bread, some meat, some lettuce, sauces, pickles, etc and brought in on home. I give the mountain bike a 10/10 for the ability to carry said groceries home.

So after that delightfully healthy meal, I went out for the bike ride I normally did on my road bike, the 7 mile loop + 3 mile Kinder Farms loop. But, since I didn't actually have to stay on a road, I jumped off into the local baseball park and did some loops through dugouts, trees, and what not before getting onto Elvaton.

I was surprised to see they built a rather large chain link fence around the broken B&A I've mentioned before...

though I was still able to climb around the fence and take a look at the work they've done... which, to be honest, doesn't look like anything.

To be fair though, I'm not sure I want them to rebuild it. Put a bridge over it or something... but with the water drained out of the marshland on the right hand side, that area has been flourishing! Just check out all the greenery!

I got to the Kinder Farms park side entrance and was amazed to see the pond at the entrance completely dried up. Just a testament to how damn hot it's been here!

Normally my bike would be completely underwater!

I did about a half hour of riding around in Kinder Farms... it was starting to get dark by the time I left. And those bamboo trees that popped my tire on my first trek out were looking pretty intimidating.

The lake surface was so completely calm I got a perfect mirror image of the trees on the other side.

And I made it home just as the sun was setting over the tree line.\

I did love how absolutely beautifully green everything was this time of year. And I can tell my running has upped my endurance crazy.

16 miles for today, or there-abouts. I know I did 13 on the road... and 3 is probably a low estimate for inside Kinder Farms, but I'd rather low-ball.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 150

Following suit of most of you others, I signed up for the July150 challenge organized by Phill Connell. Even with Joby of Biking2Work completing the challenge in less than a freaking week (and almost entirely on one ride!), I think this is a good way for me to get back on the bike.

Of course, it is 101 degrees out (thats 38 degrees C) right now with the heat index pushing it over 110, I think I might be able to get out for a ride at night.

On a cool note, I bought my first real bike jersey from Black Dog down in Annapolis over the weekend.

Either way, let's do this!