Hello Again

It’s been a while, huh?

The Kilted Dad had a great year back in 2018. Amazing progress and the achievement of lofty goals were the order of the year. My training allowed me to build up to and complete the Trotternish Trek – a 57 mile circuit around the Isle of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula – which included my first real attempt at tackling a long ride with any significant elevation to it. But after the Trek, I had 2 more weeks of traveling where I didn’t ride at all. Then when I got back to the States, I barely rode for the rest of 2018.

Complacency throughout the first half of 2019 meant that I made no progress for almost 9 months. I finally got “back in the saddle” at the end of May and was just getting back to daily twenty-milers in mid-July when I was attacked by a Pit Bull and bitten on the leg. By the time I was feeling like riding again, the weather was turning cold, so I used it as an excuse to put of riding a bit longer.

Then it was 2020. It didn’t take long for 2020 to start going downhill fast. I was just getting started on morning rides again progress was affected because COVID turned me into a home-school teacher. I started again in June until I got a flat front tire on June 18th. I replaced the tube myself the next day, but only made it 1.7 miles before the front was flat again on the 19th. Assuming I did something wrong, I waited until I could take the tire in for a professional check and repair. I only managed a few more rides before school (homeschooling) started back up – and by that time, we knew we would be moving so I was spending my spare time cleaning and packing so we could list the house rather than riding.

By December of 2020 we were settling into our new home. I hadn’t been keeping track, but by this time 2020 had added maybe 30 pounds back to the waist and I was itching to get back into the habit of riding so I wouldn’t slip any further.

January 1st 2021 I was ready to crush it and get back where I had been in the middle of 2018. I started posting again with the first post of the year: New Year, New Plan, New Start. It was indeed a New Year. I had a New Plan. And I made a New Start.

So we live in a much smaller neighborhood here than we were in back in Jacksonville. There I could go about 4 miles without venturing onto the main road and without any backtracking, so you could achieve 20 miles without too much repetition. Here there’s only 30 or so houses with a mile round-trip on the street until you get to the main road. It’s significantly hilly here reducing the visibility on the main road (granted, anything’s hillier than where I rode in Jacksonville) and that combined with the lack of shoulder and sidewalks, means you can’t really ride safely on the main road. But I figure I can stick to a few laps in the neighborhood with the hills adding significantly to the workout.

Day 1. I gave my bike a tune-up, filled the tires, adjusted the brakes, hopped on my bike, turned out of our driveway, and 2021 hit me hard. Not even to the corner of our property and my brakes won’t bite enough to bring me to a stop at the corner. I go back up to the house to adjust them, and I have to make a choice: Either make them tight enough to stop the bike and have constant contact with the tires, or give them clearance from the tires and not be able to stop. I opted for tighter… and rode for about 2 miles before the front tire was flat (again).

So about 2 weeks later I finally made the trip to the closest bike shop 2 town over to get the wheel checked and the tube replaced. About 2 miles from home the tube blew in the back of the car (loudly I might add – keep in mind the pressure on these tubes is supposed to be around 90 psi). So, two weeks later I made it back over to the bike shop to get another new tube. This one didn’t even wait to get in the car before it blew. So back into the shop and after a thorough check of the spokes and the rim tape they decided one of the spokes was the culprit, so they adjusted some spokes, replaced the rim tape and the tube and I was out the door again.

Finally, I was able to get back on the road riding again. I hop on. I’m down the road cruising along. But something’s not right. The whole wheel is completely unbalanced with a noticeable wobble and about 20 degrees of the wheel’s arc rubbing on the right brake. So I pull back into the garage and decide that the whole bike needs to go into the shop and I maybe need a whole new wheel (this one probably doesn’t even have much more than 500 miles on it).

After having discussed for over a year, the wife and I decide the getting a rower might be the solution. After a month of research, we pick what looks to be a pretty good one that won’t break the bank and make the plunge in August, hoping that rowing will be a good fit for me. I began rowing on August 24th with a 5 minute session. It worked. It seemed productive and like it would give a good burn once I built up enough endurance. Within a month I was up to 30 minute sessions and getting a good burn. It was going great.

Meanwhile, the Kilted Wife also started using the rower and liking it too. Except for one thing: it was in front of the TV and she can’t watch TV while she rows. She wants it moved, wedged in between the couch and a bookshelf, but in a position where the rower can face the TV. After protest that it’s a pretty tight squeeze, she insists that it has to be there, so I move it for her. Long story short, it is still over there wedged between the couch and the shelf where she can face the TV while rowing (even though she is more often focusing on a laptop beside her – go figure). As I said, the rower is not in a space which is too tight for me to use it without hitting the bookshelf with my knee elbow and shoulder. So she‘s rowing most days, and I haven’t used it since the end of September.

So here we are. January of 2022. One year since my last post and another 20 pounds heavier.

Time to make a change.