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Posts Tagged ‘Road Cycling’

Wow!! I didn’t realize that it has been two full months – my Memorial Day post – since I have been able to update my little corner of the inter-webs!!

My little fuchsia is blossom happy!!

My little fuchsia is blossom happy!!

An unfortunate and unplanned two month hiatus from the world wide web was thrust upon me as I found myself without internet, television, or telephone at home at the end of May. Unfortunately; my finances were still struggling to recover from nine months of unemployment; three of which without the assistance of State Unemployment Insurance (thank you Mr. and Ms. Congress!) and I had to pick and choose carefully how I budgeted the little income I was able to make through taking odd jobs through TaskRabbit.com.

Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue'

Lithodora diffusa ‘Heavenly Blue’

The decision of course was that I had to refocus all of my income toward those thing which are absolute essentials; paying my rent and food for myself and my cat. I realized that everything else was a luxury; and that I would have to live without the internet and cable television for a short spell. Thankfully; now that I am three months into my new job, my finances are getting much better and it looks like I won’t have to rely on the garden to provide my food, which is a good thing as a diet which consists solely of pomegranates, strawberries, tomatoes, and some herbs seems somewhat nutritionally deficient for the amount of calories I expend cycling.

A pomegranate in the making

A pomegranate in the making

Pomegranate flowers are crazy looking!

Pomegranate flowers are crazy looking!

So what did I do with all of the ‘extra’ time I suddenly found after checking out of the ‘connected’ world?

For the most part; I spent a lot of time on the bike and starting rebuilding my old bike. I had noticed that since I broke my ankle last September that I had let getting saddle time on the bike take a deep dive. That issue needed to be rectified, and pronto! I created a training schedule for myself; taped it to the front door; and starting tracking my results, it was the motivation I needed.

A training schedule on the front door = motivation

A training schedule taped to the front door = Motivation!

I had been letting the ankle injury, and its impact on my mental state, guide how I approached cycling. This overly cautious approach was fine in the first couple of months following being cleared to ride again by my doctor; however, I never moved past caution. My ankle is healed; I needed get my brain to be okay with that concept and get back to cycling again. So; I decided to challenge myself, I set two goals for myself: 1) Try to ride 400-miles a month / 2) Complete a 100-mile charity ride/race by November 3, 2014 (my b-day). On June 6th, I got to work getting back to focusing on riding and not my ankle. I didn’t quite hit my goal of 400-miles in June – but I was close!!

June 6 - July 8, 2014 | 298.57 miles

June 6 – July 8, 2014 | 298.57 miles

Another benefit of the loss of connectivity was the realization of how much of a life vacuum the internet and television really are. I never really noticed just how much time I spent until I was suddenly without – it was a lot of time! Now that I have identified spending too much time online and in front of the tube as a barrier to living the life that I choose; I have moved fixing it for good right to the top of the list of things to work on about myself.

I kept busy though! 298.57 miles from 6-6 to 7-8-2014

I kept busy though! 298.57 miles from 6-6 to 7-8-2014

N+1; Achieved!

N+1; Achieved! New Bike meet Old Bike

Il Toro~Blu rides again! As I mentioned; I also set to work on putting my old bike back together by slowly gathering parts over the past two months. Right now, she is about 95% complete, I just need to find a means of putting power to the wheels – a track crankset, pedals, and a chain – to get her road worthy! I just couldn’t stand to look at her frame sitting on my dresser any longer, she has way too much sentimental value to me to end up a wall-hanger!

Il Toro~Blu (the Blue Bull)

Il Toro~Blu (the Blue Bull)

Gathering parts for the rebuild

Gathering parts for the rebuild

Finally; she is able to roll again!

Finally; she is able to roll again!

Of course, I also spent a lot of time in the garden. Mainly caring for my tomatoes and experimenting with how to support the plants without using the traditional ‘mater cages as I just didn’t want to introduce them into my patio – their aesthetic is dismal! I remember on an episode of The Victory Garden; the host visited a commercial tomato farm where they used a system of wires hanging down from a horizontal beam above the planters. The farm’s gardeners would wrap the tomatoes around the wires, which almost reached the soil, and the tension of the vines grabbing the wires apparently supports even the most tomato laden plant. So far, the system is working like a charm!

My Arkansas Travelers are growing nicely

My Arkansas Travelers are growing nicely

About 3-weeks from my first harvest

About 3-weeks from my first harvest

A bountiful harvest to come

A bountiful harvest to come

Grow babies, Grow!

Grow babies, Grow!

Now, it’s time to go out and enjoy life outdoors; the weather here in Oakland is glorious and I feel like pedaling! My next installment will definitely be more garden-centric; hopefully I will have found and planted a good array of late summer annuals to add some pop and color to the patio, right now, it’s kind of monochromatic and the focus is clearly the tomatoes. Another thing which I will have address. 🙂 Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Happy Weekend Friends!

Happy Weekend Friends!

Until next time…

 HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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The mood here in the garden is one of happiness and hope this week…

A bonanza of citrus!

A bonanza of citrus!

Following a nearly 9-month job search; (which was sadly sidelined for 3.5 months to recuperate following the shattered ankle) this gardener is finally rejoining the world of the gainfully employed masses! The new job; an administrative position for a company here in Oakland, CA, starts Monday, May 12th. I am looking forward to getting into a steadier income stream so I can rebuild some savings, pick up the occasional addition to the patio garden, and save up for some much-needed upgrades for my bike.

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Miss Gretchen should be quite happy to again have unfettered run of the house during the days while I am work. The one benefit of my unemployed stint was that she and I had plenty of time to bond with each other; a process and time which both she and I definitely needed. Miss G has been spending most of the sunshine filled days of the past week lounging out on the patio,  trying her best stealth cat impression by hiding under one of the patio chairs or tucked in behind a planter awaiting a mistake by the local fauna. I don’t have the heart to tell her that ALL of the critters KNOW that she is out there and keep their distance accordingly; which is for the best, I don’t want her hurting any of the local critters. Thankfully, she is not the super stealthy huntress that her genes would suggest; so either way, the critters are usually pretty safe regardless of where she is hiding.

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Lazy days; it's good to be a cat!

Lazy days; it’s good to be a cat!

The mini heat wave we had here in the Bay Area last week were just the ticket to spur my Arkansas Traveler tomatoes first significant growth spurt! I will be thinning out the tomatoes this weekend and working on stringing together a trellis of twine for the plants to wrap themselves around and support the bounty of tomatoes in July and August!

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for string trellis

Almost time for string trellis

My second Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom of the season tolerated the heat just dandy; however, it was the winds which followed the heat which proved to be too much for her. I went out to water the patio this morning and found that the wind gusts must have snapped her stalk!

All I can say is: Grrrrr!! Foiled Again!! Oh well; even though she only lasted about a week after flowering, it was great having such a beauty to look at while I fiddled with the patio.

My second Amaryllis flower

My second Amaryllis flower

Dueling Amaryllis

Dueling Amaryllis

Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

OUCH!!  Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

The Pacific Giant Blue Primrose have set out a flurry of their delicate blue/yellow flowers. There is apparently no weather which the primrose do not love and thrive in!

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Elsewhere out on the patio; my little wandering fuchsia continues her steady crawl toward the edge of the patio table. I wonder if she knows where she is heading? I guess she will figure it out; of course, I will be there to lend a hand if need be.

My creeping fuschia

My creeping fuchsia continue to explore

My dainty little purple daisies continue to creep over the edge of the patio’s big round planter; having more than quadrupled in number over the past two-weeks. I wonder if they will follow the Snowflake’s (Bacopa) lead and self-seed themselves into a nearby planter? I suppose that time will tell…

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Outside of the Garden; I made a somewhat radical change/upgrade to my beloved bicycle; Il Toro~Blu. I had the opportunity to pick up a new frameset for her; so yesterday I spent a few hours swapping out the heavy hi-tensile steel frame and forks for the new lightweight 55cm Specialized Langster aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork. The switch shed 8-lbs from the bike; leaving the new setup a rather svelte and lean 17.5 lbs.

Il Toro~Blu - then

Il Toro~Blu; then…

Il Toro~Nu

Il Toro~Nu; now…

I took her out for a 15-mile shakedown run this afternoon and I gotta say; climbing hills on the lighter frame was much, much easier than I remember the same hills being hauling the steel frame up them. Is there a real difference or just a psychosomatic response? I don’t know; however, the new set up definitely feels more nimble. All that is left to do is get the color scheme in order – the blend right now of blues, silvers, and blacks with slight touches of red is just a wee too busy for me. I suppose I could just paint the bike’s new frame and call it a day; or I could slowly replace parts over the coming months which follow a Silver & Black scheme and move the old blue themed parts back to the old frame as I go, which would be good as it means ending up with two bikes! Until then, Il Toro~Blu’s frameset will be a wall hanger – awaiting her rebirth.

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Finally today; Mr. Hydrangea and his cohorts appear to be feeling a bit pinkish this season. I was hoping for blue/purple; however, pink is just fine as well.

Budding Hydrangea

Budding Hydrangea

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!!

~ Noah

 

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Welcome back to the Gardens at Casa de Froio, Ms. Amaryllis. It is very nice seeing you and your lovely twin sister again this season!

Ms. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum); You Sexy Thing, You!!

Ms. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum); You Sexy Thing, You!!

This beauty is one of three Amaryllis bulbs given to me by my ex-wife in 2011; and is just the second flower I have been able to coax from the ground. The first of the bulbs to flower was the bulb I planted in the big yellow planter on the patio and that was way back 2012! Not a bad thing really; not knowing whether or not the bulb will produce a flower is definitely part of the anticipation I have built around the Amaryllis in my garden.

Ms. A's shy little sister opens for a peak at her environment

Ms. A’s shy little sister opens for a peak at her environment

This variety of Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) v. Apple Blossom, blossoms into two large flowers (as opposed to her smaller cousins such as the Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) v. Minerva which have four flowers atop each) which sit gracefully atop a 22″ flower stalk; for my plant. The larger of the two flowers is a full 7″ wide x 7″ high x 3.5″ deep; she has no trouble making an instant focal point in my apartment and absolutely captivates me!

Twenty-two inches above her starting point; Ms. A presents herself

Ms. A meets her new neighbor; Miss Anthurium

The Amaryllis sisters visit old friends outside on the patio to soak in the sun

The Amaryllis sisters visit friends outside on the patio and soak in the warm sun

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom, enjoying the warm sunshine

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom, enjoying the warm sunshine

If you have been following along with the goings on here at the Gardens of Casa de Froio; you probably know that I have a tendency to move plants around the patio on a whim. Well; the move that here; move that there; and then this here; and that there, whim kept me busy over the last couple of days!

The northeast corner of my patio garden before the plant migration:

Pennisetum and Aloe Vera

Before the repositioning party began

I repositioned the Avocado tree to the spot that the Aloe Vera plant formerly lived; then moved the Pennisetum over to the Avocado’s old place – the ornamental grass has outgrown its former spot as the blades were definitely infringing upon the seating area and that just won’t do. Next I pushed the Aloe Vera in front of the Avocado; and then gathered the miscellaneous plants; those that were randomly planted, volunteers, or just didn’t fit anywhere else, and moved them in front of the plant stand between the Avocado and Pennisetum. The arrangement now from left to right include:

  • Amaryllis with no sign of flower
  • Ornamental Ginger
  • Empty planter for tomatoes seedlings
  • Primrose (tucked in behind the Pomegranate)
  • Bonsai Pomegranate (which has been un-bonsai’ed!)
  • Volunteer Water (Black) Birch

I am definitely pleased with the outcome. By using the mixed plants foliage as a blocker for the vast empty spaces which existed before, this side of garden now looks fuller, more cohesive, and finished.

The northeast corner of my patio garden following the plant migration:

Big Boy Avocado and the Pennesetum swap spots

Following the repositioning party!

Outside of the Garden; being able to get back on my bicycle has been GREAT! I am averaging between 75-miles to 125-miles a week; which helps me close in on my 2014 mileage goal of 4,500-miles. With the first few months of 2014 spent rehabilitating the ankle following almost 4-months out of the saddle, my mileage average per day has been drastically reduced so I am unlikely to actually get there; however, the number is still possible and it is always good to have a goal to keep me pushing forward. The ankle occasionally acts up every once in a while; but for the most part, the surrounding muscle and damaged tissue keep getting stronger with each mile I put on the road.

Il Toro~Blu; Ready to Roll

Il Toro~Blu; Ready to Roll

Did a nice 15-mile ride following an interview with a company in San Leandro, CA. The route I took home hugs the San Leandro and Oakland Bay waters and is full of great views, migratory birds, and fairly easy flat-land pedaling. However, not long into the ride, I came across something completely unexpected for where I was.

SanLeandro_2_Oakland

The route: San Leandro, CA to Oakland, CA

I decided to make a quick pit stop at San Leandro Bay to fuel my body with a tasty Clif S’Mores 20g Builder’s Bar and some water before continuing the battle with a head wind that seemed to only get stronger with each passing rotation of the cranks! Snack time done; I started to walk my bike back toward the road when I looked across the black top and was surprised to discover a grinning fighter jet staring directly back at me!!

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat is not something I would generally expect to see parked next to a main thoroughfare; however, in Oakland you just never really know what you’re going to find next. Behind the F-14 was this Grumman KA-6D Intruder. I would have never expected to find such military hardware basically just sitting behind a rather unkempt chain link fence in the swamps of Oakland – now I know.

Grumman KA-6D Intruder

Grumman KA-6D Intruder

About the Planes: 

Grumman NF-14A Tomcat – 160666

  • The Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep wing, fighter aircraft.  With its Phoenix, Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles and 20MM Vulcan Gatling gun, the    F-14 Tomcat was without equal during its service and remains one of the most potent military aircraft of all time.

Grumman KA-6D Intruder – 152910/NL-520

  • The A-6 was developed to meet the US Navy’s need for an aircraft that could attack ground and sea based targets in any weather, day and night. The museum is proud to display 910 in her original colors VA-95 when she served in Vietnam in 1973 under the command of Lt. Cohen.

These two and many more are on display at the Oakland Aviation Museum. If you ever get to the area and have an interest in aviation, this would be a fun and probably education day trip to take! I definitely have them on my radar now and would love to check out the WWII planes they also have when time and finances permit.

♠♥♣♦   ♠♥♣♦   ♠♥♣♦

Well friends; that is about all that is happening from this end, I hope that your adventures are many and wonderful and your gardens bountiful!

Ms. Amaryllis and her shy Sister wish you a happy weekend!

Ms. Amaryllis and her shy Sister wish you a happy weekend!

Until next time –

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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…are not quite as little as I had previously thought.

~or~

How I decided a broken ankle is a temporary setback to be conquered!

Redwood Tree; Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA

Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA

Walking; not really something which I gave much thought to over the last forty or so years, I realize now that it is just not as easy as we all make it look!

Cycling; you have heard the old adage; ‘Easy as riding a bicycle‘? Well, I am now under the impression that whomever it was that coined the term had most likely not broken their ankle. There is nothing easy about riding a bicycle at the moment!

I didn't think much about this ride; 50-miles on 9/4/13

I didn’t think much about this ride; 50-miles on 9/4/13

I find myself now entering the third month of my unplanned one-legged journey through this section of that which I call my life. Still finding myself unable to take advantage of those two-wheels which just 90-days ago would happily take me anywhere my legs could pedal myself to. Even though my trusty bicycle; Il Toro-Blu, resides with me in my apartment and is more than ready to venture, sadly that means of transportation is still a couple of weeks away.

Needless to say; both walking and cycling have recently gained much ground in their intrinsic value and importance to my life.

Self-Portrait of a Cyclist

You can’t hold a cyclist down forever

I am a cyclist; and unfortunately injuries happen. I have accepted that coaxing my weakened and atrophied left leg muscles back into shape is just par for the course; the price of admission, as it were, to the land of walking under my own power.

My outlook is clearing

My outlook is clearing up nicely

I have been working really, really hard on rehabilitating the ankle and am happy to be able to say that the work is finally starting to pay dividends. This week I have begun my first steps around the apartment without the use of crutches or a cane. As expected, my walking gait is sloppy and ungainly; however, the locomotion is solely under my own power and that for me is a huge victory.

Putting in the work here to get me out there

Putting in the work here to get me out there

I have to thank a lot of people for helping me along the way; my Dad, my Brother, My Ex-Wife, and an assortment of great friends who were game to shuttle me around to doctor’s appointments; grocery shopping; etc. If it wasn’t for them, the last 90-days would have been much, much more miserable.

Goals for 2014

Goals for 2014

Before the accident; the above graphic was a typical week for me cycling. I was averaging between 175 – 200 miles per week and was loving it. My goals for 2014 are realistic and I will be working at putting 400 to 500 miles per month under my belt throughout the New Year. I still have a 100-mile ride to conquer; to date the longest bike ride I have done was just 2-days prior to breaking my ankle, on Sept. 4th, 2013, where I rode from my house in Oakland, up the I-80 bike way to Vallejo, CA for a total of 50.29-miles.

A lovely ride it was

A lovely ride it was

Really though, the one thing that I am looking forward to is just the fun of getting out there and exploring the world on two-wheels, at ground level, and making my own routes as the mood strikes. To be able to get back to the hills, to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow cyclists, and to be able to come home after a long workout and relax in my garden.

I am a simple man, I am a gardener, I am a cyclist.

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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