The Bike that Beat the Baja

Wheel full 70pxI needed a bike to train on in Alaska for the couple of weeks before I head to Florida to pick up my Surly.  My son Jon had my Trek 7000, which he has been riding off and on…


…for much of the last decade.  He was in “off” mode this summer and had taken the bike to the Anchorage Trek Store for a tune-up he didn’t have the money to pay for, so


I’m back on the bike I rode the length of the Baja with- 1,000 miles/1,600 kilometers from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas- in 1994.

Wheel full 70pxI’m sad to say that Jon has let this great bike get into pretty fugly shape…


…but there wasn’t anything that several hundred dollar bills couldn’t take care of. I had to get a new seat and seatpost


a Bontrager saddle on a no-name seatpost

and the shop had already replaced the nice shifters I had back in the day with some low-end Shimano dreck.


Soft-Ride handlebar suspension – those were the days

I also had the shop put on the pedals I bought for my upcoming ride.


Wheel full 70pxMan, this bike does not weigh anything.  You drive the Surly.  You fly this particular Trek.

And we’re counting them down…

Florida Shield 30 with star 400px






Wheel full 70pxMost of the gear and accessories I have ordered arrived this week, and there’s just a few things left to go.  I plan to have the last of the things I need sent off for by the weekend.  I have an endocrinologist appointment today and see my GP doc tomorrow.  Hoping to get some good advice from each.  A cardio stress test is in the works, probably for late next week.  After that, it’s just the dentist and sticking to my training plan.  Then it’s wheels up for Florida on the 18th.

Wheel full 70pxIf anyone knows of a really inexpensive, but clean and safe place to stay in Jacksonville from the night of the 19th through the night of the 23rd, please let me know.  I’ll be making a reservation at a motel in Atlantic Beach for the night of the 24th so I can be dipping my wheels in the ocean at around 5:30 a.m. the next morning.  Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

David Edgren

Have a heart… rate


Wheel full 70pxThe Scosche Rhythm+ heart rate monitor [linkie] I ordered came in today.  I read a lot of reviews of all the non-chestband monitor devices out there and the consensus appears to be that the Rythm+ is pretty good.

Scosche Logo 250px

Wheel full 70pxIt took about two hours to fully charge and five minutes to set up, link to and add to my various apps.  You wear it on the forearm just below the elbow.  It looks to me like it works as advertised.

Please, sir, I want some more.

Wheel full 70pxDickens is so evocative, but Mark Twain probably nailed it on the head.

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Wheel full 70pxA promise.  This blog is not going to turn into one long diatribe about healthy diet or weight loss.  Neither is a primary goal of the whole enterprise.  If I am successful, mind you, I believe they will be outcomes.  But I am obsessed with neither, and other than an open invitation to be a friend on myfitnesspal [linkie] so you can track what I’m eating if you’re interested and the results of my weekly weigh-in, I don’t intend to bend your ears about this stuff.

n.b. If you’d like to friend me on myfitnesspal you need to have a user account (which is free) on that app.  You can then send me an email here at letting me know that you have signed up and the email you used to sign up under.  I can then send you a friend invite.  Sounds more complicated than it should be, but it’s not my app. -de

MyFitnessPal icon

Wheel full 70pxThat said, I am currently morbidly obese.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define morbid obesity as: Being 100 pounds/45.3 kilograms or more above your ideal body weight, or, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater or, having a BMI of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition.  I’m pretty sure without checking that 357 pounds/162 kilograms has got to be more than 100 pounds/160 kilograms over my ideal body weight, but a few minutes checking on the Internet confirms that as a fact.  Using the “Hamwi Method” [linkie], one of the MediCalc website’s handy calculators [linkie] discloses my ideal body weight to be 202 pounds/~92 kilograms.


Well, I guess not.  So I’d have to lose 155 pounds to be at an ideal weight.  First NIH criteria: Met.

Wheel full 70pxIt’s “Strike one, you’re out morbidly obese,” but let’s do the others just for grins.  As far as “BMI over 40” goes, I couldn’t tell you what my BMI is, unless it’s on the InBody report I posted [linkie] the other day…

yep, there it is: 44.7, about halfway down the page on the left

But 44.7 what?  Butter pats?  Frog’s eyelashes?  Some more looking on the ‘net led to me discovering that Body Mass Index is calculated by using the following formula

Body Mass Index formula

where m is your weight in kilograms and h is your height in meters.  Using the 357.2 pounds from Monday’s weigh-in to convert to 162.02 kg and my six foot four inches to convert to 1.93 meters, then squaring 1.93 to get 3.725, and finally dividing per the formula 162.02 by 3.725…

following along at home?

I get just a smidgen under 43.5.  So still well over 40.  I’m morbidly obese times two.  Let’s go for three out of three.

Wheel full 70pxI see my endocrinologist tomorrow to talk about, mainly, my Type 2 diabetic condition and how my trip will impact it.  Fortunately enough, my diabetes is manageable through a combination of oral meds, but I have been concerned from when I started planning the trip that the change from a sedentary to an active lifestyle might upset the balance we have reached, with my A1C at or below 7 going back a good little while.  But diabetes is diabetes, a serious co-morbid condition, and my BMI is over 35, so…

[cue somber music]

I’m three for three.  Out for the count.  Morbidly obese by every measurement.  Well, that sucks.

Wheel full 70pxI’ve fought the scales since the 70s.  The then in force Army Weight Control Program, which if I recall correctly allowed me first to weigh 232 pounds/105 kg max, then 238/108 as I got older, was an every six-month bogeyman just waiting for me to trip up.  This was despite what would be objectively found to be a higher than usual physically active lifestyle.  I ran (ugh!), I backpacked, I biked.  A lot, actually. My little vanity piece here [linkie] describes in sad detail what happened as that slowed down then more or less stopped altogether.  The short story: my weight ballooned to just under 400 pounds/181 kilograms, at which point I considered bariatric surgery (which one of my daughters had, and is, 15 years later, a poster girl success story for).  I went through the six month period the insurance company (well, my insurance company, anyway) makes you go through to see if you can’t just lose the weight on your own and lost 40 pounds/18 kg.  I decided not to do the surgery based on that and other considerations, and have never looked back.  My weight has bumped around in the 360s for a few years short of a full decade now.  It’s been higher at times, mainly in the winter (which is hell for the sedentary here in Alaska) and at times of stress.  But I’ve eaten and drunk what I’ve wanted to and in the quantities I’ve felt like.  Shame on me for saying it, but sometimes, given the state of my health overall, that really hasn’t been such a bad trade-off.  I love to cook and I love well-prepared food.  I adore wine.  A gin & tonic or two are just what hot days are made for.  So I get 40 years of indulging myself in, but I’m beginning to realize that can’t go on.  You just can’t do that and dodge bullets forever.

Wheel full 70pxAnd, if it’s time to go, I’d rather go pedaling a bike than eating a steak.  Saying that required a closer call than I was comfortable with, so there is all the more reason to know that it is time for a change.


I can do this.

David Edgren



Pre-ride Weigh In #1

Wheel full 70pxIt would be early evening on the east coast.  So I’ll stick with 3 pm on Mondays while I’m here in Alaska.


Wheel full 70pxThat’s 357.2 for those of you who can’t read upside-down.  I’m unclothed and the last food I ate was several hours ago. We duplicated the result within 2/10 of a pound in two subsequent weighings.

Wheel full 70pxI’m a little worried about my ability to find places along the ride to weigh while naked. I may need to figure out a way to work around that. I’d hate to frighten the horses.

David Edgren

So it is way cool to be proved wrong

Wheel full 70pxA couple of days ago I posted more or less to the effect that I believed that shoe manufacturers, and bicycle shoe manufacturers in particular, were not being straight with us folks up in the “Bigfoot” sizes [linkie].  It is my pleasure to admit that the Specialized company [linkie] makes an EU 50 size shoe that fits me like a glove.

Specialized Logo 200px

Wheel full 70pxYeah, I have to fudge my applause a little.  According to Specialized, the shoe was supposed to fit a US size 15.5


Nuh-uh, I would say not.  My size 13 foot is just perfect in there.  I had an EU size 49 of these in the store to try on too… not even close.  I would have had to have cut out the toe on each shoe.

Wheel full 70pxSo I am so happy, in any event.  After trying on numerous EU size 50s and even 52s that did not fit properly, I found what I think is the perfect pair of shoes to start the trip in, and far enough in advance to break them in a bit.

2016-06-23 19.49.46

2016-06-23 19.50.05

I’ve been stationary biking every evening with them all week for six or so miles a shot at a challenging resistance.  No hot spots.  No pinching anywhere.  No sore toes.

Wheel full 70pxI think I’m good to go, shoe-wise.

David Edgren

Lunch, anyone?

Lettuce-wrapped burger 800px

Wheel full 70px330 calories for the burger patty, plus another 10-15 or so for the tomato and onion.  Say round it off at 350.  I had two yesterday while we were at an outdoor event in a club my wife and I are members of.

Wheel full 70pxI’ve said before that I’m not dieting in the last days before I start my trip.  I am counting calories pretty strictly, though, and am keeping a detailed food and exercise log on an iOS app called MyFitnessPal [linkie].

MyFitnessPal icon

My dietitian recommended it, and it has proved both easy to use and an invaluable tool.  Free!- there is a premium version you get nagged every so often to buy, but it meets all my needs at the basic level.  It even has a “Friend” feature- you are welcome to be a friend if you would like to follow my diet on the ride- my username is “davidedgren”.

Wheel full 70pxSo here’s what I’m doing pre-ride.  I’m about two weeks in to doing nothing more than counting calories very strictly.  I set a daily maximum of 2,000 calories and have only exceeded that once by a little bit in that two weeks.  Most days I’m around 1,500.  My exercise each day burns about 300 calories- you’ll see more about that in my post about the new bicycle shoes that is coming up.  My goal is to start the trip as close to 350 pounds as I can get.  I will weigh myself every Monday both before and during the ride, probably in the late afternoon.  I will post the weekly results here, of course.  So tomorrow we will see- stay tuned.

Wheel full 70pxIn the interest of gathering as much info as I can, I went early this week to a local place also recommended by my dietitian that has one of these fancy body mass index calculating scales.  The process took a couple of seconds and involved standing on a large scale while holding an electrode grip in each hand.  Doing this, plus lightening my wallet by $30, caused the following report to be generated.

Wishing Wellness Report black border 800px

Wheel full 70pxNow I’m not going to whine about how I shouldn’t have eaten lunch before I got weighed or that I had my heaviest pair of pants on.  My home scale is reading about 5-10 pounds/2.5-5 kilograms lighter than this weighing myself buck-naked.  But I get the message.  I could drop about 120 pounds/55 kilograms and be a lot more svelte than I am today.  Not to mention healthy.  We’ll see.

David Edgren



I’d’ve worn rubber gloves too…

Rubber Gloves 800px

Wheel full 70pxBut they’re my feet.  I’m, err… kind of attached to them.

Wheel full 70pxSo several pre-ride appointments this week.  Yesterday I met with a dietitian, and that will be the subject of an upcoming post all on its own.  Today I saw the podiatrist.  Not because my feet have any real issues, mind you, other than being gigantic and 63 years old along with the rest of me.  Well, yeah- I do have some peripheral neuropathy, especially in the left foot, likely as the result of a car accident almost 30 years ago.  So I took the doc’s time to describe what I am setting out to do in about a month and hear her recommendations.  They were common-sense, but very helpful to have them organized all at once.

  1. Check feet frequently for issues.  The moving bike and the motion of the legs and feet in turning the pedals will tend to mask things.
  2. Don’t let a small problem turn into a big one.  Deal with stuff like irritation and redness before blisters and sores develop.  Deal with a small blister before it becomes a big one.  That sort of thing.
  3. Maintain daily foot hygiene.  Wear clean socks every day.  Let feet air out after a ride.  Make sure nails are trimmed and do not become ragged.
  4. If a problem develops, give it time to resolve.  Consider staying off the bike if necessary.  Some delay is better than pushing things to a ride-ending injury.

There was more, but those were the high points.  If those feet are going to get me across the country, I’d better treat them right.

Wheel full 70pxOn a related front, we ran my feet through a Brannock Device during the visit.  What’s a Brannock Device, you ask?  One of these gizmos.

Brannock Device 727px

Wheel full 70pxThese are actually a pretty interesting part of American ingenuity, dating back to just after the First World War [linkie].  When it gets used by a shoe salesperson, well, that’s just part of selling you something.  But when your foot is “Brannocked” by Trained Medical Personnel, hey- that’s the answer, right?

Wheel full 70px13B/C.

Wheel full 70pxI can’t get my foot into a size 13 shoe at any store, even with a shoehorn and someone pushing the shoe in the other direction.  And what about this?

Hoe Size Comparison Chart Size 14 Marked EU highlighted 800px

Wheel full 70pxNow, I allowed a one size fudge-factor, upping the Brannock results to a 14.  There’ve been 14s I have fit my feet into.  I don’t remember when, but I have.  Follow the red line down, though, to where it crosses the EU adult sizes (which I have highlighted in yellow).  A 49?

Wheel full 70pxUh-uh.  No way.  I’d have to cut off my toes.  Same with a 50.

Wheel full 70pxSo do I doubt Mr. Brannock and his device?  Not one bit.  I think that my problem with finding bicycle shoes- any shoes, actually- can be laid squarely at the feet (DYSWIDT?) of the vendors that make the shoes for the various manufacturers.  Like I said before, I think they take every hundredth EU48 shoe off the line and label it an EU49.  Then they take every hundredth one of those and label it an EU50.  It’s the manufacturers’ fault, too.  My feet don’t magically turn into size 52s when I put on what should be a properly sized shoe.  “They run small” doesn’t explain anything.

Wheel full 70pxI’d like to see a single bicycle shoe brand that could prove me wrong, but I’m not too worried about that happening.

David Edgren