Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My bike's been in & out of the shop lately, and the guys at my local bike shop have replaced the rear rim.

The new one has fewer spokes and reminds me of more of racing-oriented rim than the one I had previously.

I doubt it was designed with much load-bearing in mind, and I have yet to see how well it'll survive hauling me up & down these steep hills out here. But I'm putting it through its paces to see what it can handle.

On the general fitness front, I've been adjusting my diet more toward plant consumption and easing off my carnivorous ways a bit. I'm not going vegan or anything... just balancing the diet.

I've been focusing on some weight lifting, swimming, walking, etc. while the bike's been less available. It seems to me this has been making me more capable on the bike when I am on it.

The weather's been a little less oppressive lately, as August winds into September. The question of the day is whether this is just a quick reprieve or an actual seasonal shift.

Hopefully weather, finances, and schedule will allow for some actual travel soon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

fitness focus

Bike's still in the shop, so I've been forced to break routine. This has meant breaking out the heart monitor and getting a little creative.

On the fitness front, I've been walking with sprinting intervals to make the heart work a little harder for short periods.

And I've added in a little more emphasis on weight training, stair climbing, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, and the like.

Most of this activity is of the type that requires rest days for muscle recovery & such.

And I'm still working on that elusive healthy diet thing. Bleh. Parents teach your kids to eat rabbit food while they're young, because it's mighty hard to do in middle age.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

hoofing it

I haven't been in the best of health lately (various stresses coming together at one point in time, for the most part), so getting exercise is even more important to me than normal.

There's a temptation to reduce fitness activity when one isn't feeling well, and I've taken that path many times. But as I grow older and chalk up more life experience, I've been concluding that most of the time that's exactly the opposite of what I should do.

So I got up early for another ride, but a pre-ride bike check (a very good thing to do regularly if you put your bike through any real strain) revealed a couple of popped spokes on the rear tire.

I'm not equipped for such repairs (although I'll have that fixed soon, as I can't imagine a spoke wrench & a few spares can be insanely expensive), so I had to make alternate plans.

Fortunately, I invested in a new pair of crosstrainer shoes the other day, so I donned a floppy hat and Camelbak, and headed off for a vigorous walk (something my riding partner has been reminding me to do anyway).

I don't know exactly how far for for precisely how long I walked, but I put in several miles around the lakes & hills here.

Just as I have a more intimate experience of my environment when cycling than when driving, walking provides a closer look than just cycling.

However, insects & the many, many unfettered dogs around here are basically impossible to avoid while walking. The city dweller with no experience being attacked by dogs & bugs would've likely had a bad time doing what I did this morning.

It's good to break up the routine anyway, as trekking is more than just bicycling.

For me, it's important to maintain at least basic fitness for a range of activities including walking, cycling, and canoeing. This way I'm able to take advantage of many opportunities to explore as I stumble across them.

I also need to work on some other skills, such as getting up & down the sides of hills & caves. But the hills around here don't make it too convenient.

I have consistently good results from focusing on trekking opportunities that fall within my budget, interests, and local availability. This makes it easier to maintain some level of motivation.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Unusual ride after work today. Turns out someone from a nearby town tried his hand at swimming in one of the lakes around midnight and drowned after swimming out around 30 feet.

As I cycled by the lake, his family was in mourning while the monthly Fishing Club meeting took place maybe a hundred feet away. It was surreal.

I tried to be respectful and mind my own business as best I could.

As I proceeded with the ride, I noticed that I was making certain hills in significantly higher gears with much less effort than on previous occasions. I attribute this to the longer weekend rides pushing my limits & forcing my body to adapt.

I'm just trying to think of ways to get at it more without the heat killing me. First thing in the morning's not so bad, but after work it can be much less tolerable.

How the local racing gearheads get out & hit the road for 30 or 60 miles after work is beyond me. Cheers to them!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

32-mile Longleaf solo ride

I made my target plus a few miles this morning.

trip = 32.0 miles
avg speed = 12.9 mph
max speed = 22.2 mph
time = 2:28:32

And I passed the 500-mile mark with a final odometer reading of 512.

Start time was 7:50 a.m. from Prentiss, as I didn't want to spend time driving to Bassfield that could be spent pedaling.

I turned around after about an hour & a half, knowing from experience that it's desirable to be off the trail & out of the heat by 11 a.m. (It is still August, after all.)

I just missed the 11 a.m. target, as I spent a little extra time at rest areas chatting with fellow riders who actually happen to live on a road near my home on which I'd actually ridden yesterday.

One of them also turned out to be a fellow Trek 7300 rider, although hers is the 2006 model. The other earned a little of my respect by making the entire trip on a big ol' Mongoose with knobby tires.

Their trip was just shy of the distance of mine, although they'd started riding at 6:30 a.m., allowing a more leisurely pace. But they picked up the pace from Carson to Prentiss when I warned them about the heat factor.

About 3 miles from the end, my right knee protested acutely, but a quick stretch stop got me going again.

Pre-ride, I had a cup of coffee & bowl of Total at the house before driving to Prentiss. My next food was a cup of mixed fruit at the 20-mile mark, and it tasted like the most delicious thing I've ever tasted at the time.

As soon as I had the bike mounted, I dashed straight for a country cookin' buffet in Prentiss without bothering to even towel or change clothes. At around 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday, I suddenly found myself surrounded by people in their Sunday finest as I drained the buffet of anything that looked calorie-laden.

I couldn't have managed more stares if I'd donned a top hat & cane to sing Hello, Dolly.

But I figure I'm not the first sweaty guy they've seen walk in to throw a little tourist money around.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Not all aspects of getting out & exploring are what one might call sexy, exactly.

Today I spent around an hour of wheel-spinning time out on the bike, and it can be fun rambling on at length about that part.

But then I kicked myself for not having gotten around to basic bike maintenance lately. So I headed out to The Bike Rack and picked up the degreasing fluid I always forget when I'm there (because degreaser isn't as cool as new bar ends), then I came back and spent a while degreasing and oiling the drive train.

In no way can this be considered fun, although there's a certain geek fascination to such processes.

I also had to plot out my route for tomorrow's trip. This sort of thing is probably only interesting to map geeks such as m'self. As I'm 20 miles away from breaking the 500-mile mark on my new bike, and I didn't put in the 30 miles I'd planned this morning, I'm leaning toward something like taking Longleaf from Bassfield to Sumrall and back.

Then there's digging up food to take along, cleaning the Camelbak, mounting the bike rack on the Sentra (and covering it in plastic, so it won't be soaked in the morning from tonight's rain), and putting gear together in general.

It's not actually necessary to make a lot of fuss about all these details for most people on most trips. But as my bad memory is the stuff of local legend, and I plan to ride solo in the morning, I try to be a little extra fanatical. That way I only need to worry about getting up & conscious in the morning before starting the drive to Longleaf.

In fact, much of this isn't strictly necessary for the kind of half-day touring I do during the summer heat. One could get away with carrying only a bike, some water, and a credit card.

Even most of the bike maintenance can technically be skipped, as well as they make bike components these days. My usual riding partner's idea of maintenance mainly consists of airing up the tires every 20 riding miles and periodically spraying some WD-40 on the drive train.

He also routinely tells me I don't travel light enough, while depending on me to carry the extra load. Of course, 25 miles is the most I've seen him ride, as his mountain bike isn't much pleasure to ride after a while. So to me it seems natural that I'd be more likely to think in terms of riding off into the sunset.

Simple fact is that different people ride differently. I, for one, focus on a zillion details between rides, then figure I'm good even if WWIII breaks out while I'm on the ride.
After work yesterday, I added some of what I call "scorpion" bar ends to my 7300, essentially adding several additional hand positions for bike riding. After more meaningful distances, more options correlates somewhat with more comfort.

And I strapped on a small tool kit under the seat for flat kit & such. In a nutshell, I'm making one or two additions at a time to gradually increase gear load while gradually increasing distances and more technically challenging routes.

This morning I also added in some uphill sprinting.

Add in the fact that my bud got us exploring a route I hadn't ridden since my teens (long enough that I'd forgotten a few beastly details), and this morning's ride was fairly novel.

We hit it early enough to get in a vigorous ride before heat & traffic had a chance to become just intolerable.

August heat is certainly a factor. I figure when things start to cool down this fall, what I call "bike touring season" should present some great opportunities, simply by virtue of the fact that the environmental conditions won't be so oppressive.

With all the hilly terrain out here, it's just not possible to slide into the steady cadence of Longleaf trail. I might find myself dropping as low as 5.6 mph up a long, steep hill, and 32.7 mph down the other side.

At one point, my partner expressed relief that a certain hill had finally become less steep, but seconds later we went into a turn revealing a punishing change of slope. On at least one hill I can think of off-hand out here, I find myself entering a sequence of 90-degree turns at over 35 mph.

This morning's obligatory stats: 32.7 mph max speed, 12.3 mph avg speed, 11.7 m trip, 58:13 time.

My bud's started getting a craving for a faster bike, on which he can make longer rides than on his MTB. So in the spring he may be pushing me to my very limit instead of the more leisurely rides of 2006.

Friday, August 04, 2006


In my present job, I'm essentially responsible for turning (usually large amounts of) paper into digital stuff (databases, images, searchable PDFs, etc.). So I'm in the office a lot. The desire to get out and explore can be pretty intense.

My last job had me traveling around Mississippi a great deal, but seldom with any meaningful time to explore at a leisurely pace. I drove around working on computer networks, always spotting places I'd like to check out by bicycle, canoe, on foot, etc. I filled countless hours behind the wheel with Pimsleur Spanish CDs (which really do work, to my astonishment and pleasure) and daydreams of coming back and seeing more.

One of my absolute favorite ways to explore is by bike (not motorcycle, although that's also cool). When I'm cruising on my bike, I can look at exactly the same things I'd see from through a vehicle window, but I see so much *more*.

Bicycling is slower, and slower is simply better. Details aren't lost in a blur.

Sound and scent aren't blocked by the noise & fumes of internal combustion engines and sealed windows.

It's also not passive, like driving or riding. On my bike, I move myself with only the mechanical assistance of the ol' Trek.

Don't get me wrong, now. I'm not fanatically against cars. My faithful Sentra serves me pretty well and even carries my bike to places I'd like to get to know better.

It's not that cars are inherently bad, but that foot on pedal or oars in water are just that great.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

1st Natchez Trace ride

We went for a quick ride on the Natchez Trace this morning, along with some neighboring trails & roads.

After 11 miles, we packed it in. The sun bore down on us intensely and early, and life's demands pressed. But it was a pretty fun ride while it lasted.

At least I liked it.

Total wheel-spinning time was 56:34, at an average speed of 11.6 mph. My max speed was 30.9.

I was drenched with sweat.

The trails we hit were a bit more technical than Longleaf, not long enough for my taste, enjoyable all around.

We'll have to try some parts of the Trace farther from the metro area, although our next trip of really meaningful length will probably be Longleaf.

Personally, I'd like to see a long, looping trail around here, rolling through mile after mile of traffic-free scenic juicy goodness. Fortunately, the roads around my place for miles in every direction are great.

Friday, July 21, 2006

first Longleaf trip

This morning my bud & I went bicycling down Longleaf Trace Trail for a while, bicycling a total of 24.7 miles.

Our cycling time was just over 2 hours. My top speed was 24 mph with an average speed of 11.6 mph. At the end of the trip, my odometer reported that my total mileage on the bike to date is 444 miles.

Unfortunately, my riding partner's cyclocomputer didn't survive the trip to Prentiss. We have no idea what came of it.

We took off early this morning, so we'd be able to get in as much ride time as possible before the heat of the day could kick in.

Behold my trusty bike at the Prentiss Trailhead and the facility at which one can find water, bathrooms, and such.

We'd planned on starting off from the Hattiesburg end, but figured Prentiss to be closer and a bit less trouble to access. We weren't disappointed.

The biggest vehicles we encountered during our ride were a few electric golf carts. Other people enjoying the trail were on foot, but mostly on bicycles of various kinds (including one electric bicycle, by the sound of it).

No motorized vehicles are allowed. This suits us just fine, as we're always grappling with traffic when we bicycle up here in Rankin County.

We turned around at 12.3 miles in. Our chief concern was that we stick to the time table to which we'd agreed in order to miss the worst heat. It was still bloody hot by the time we made it back to Prentiss, but our planning was sufficient for safety & enjoyment.

This weather station between Bassville and Sumrall served as a convenient turning point.

The Prentiss end of Longleaf moderately hilly, but we did encounter more or less flat stretches.

We're accustomed to riding steeper hills around home, involving a good bit of sprinting and coasting. The hilliness of the Prentiss end of Longleaf is such that one spends longer stretches of time on more gradual hills that don't allow for coasting.

We spotted at least 3 rabbits, but no really exotic wildlife. The insects were not as bad as I'd expected, but we did know they were there, and they certainly knew about us!

We had no trouble maintaining water supplies, as each of us carried 2 bottles, and I had my 1.5 litre Camelbak. I dipped into my trail mix about halfway through, but neither of us really felt like we were running out of energy from the breakfast we'd picked up on the way to Prentiss.

I recommend that anyone attempting this sort of trip get underway as early as possible for a summer trip, and bring along towel & fresh clothing for after the ride. We were pretty sweaty by the time we wrapped things up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

415 miles

I figure I saved around ten bucks today by eating a bowl of rice with albacore & garlic pepper sauce I made in the office, as opposed to crossing the street and eating yummy soul food at Fanatics.

I've been eating too much high-priced, high-calorie food lately, so I'm working on getting back to basics for two-pronged benefit.

After work, I hopped on the bike and knocked out a quick bike ride: 5.8 miles, 34.9 mph max speed, 11.4 mph avg speed, 30:42 total time.

It's hard work biking these hills in this heat. But it's fun, and more biking gets me readier for longer trips touring in the fall.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

quick Florence trip

7.0 mile trip
32:47 time
29.8 mph max speed
12.8 mph avg speed

This was just a basic hop to Florence and back. I took the back way there (Mullican Rd.), and back via Florence-Byram Rd.

Perhaps a good goal to set would be to make this same trip in under 30 minutes. Considering how much I had to slow down and divert myself due to traffic, better conditions may make that an easy enough achievement.

Since I don't blog every single bike ride, I can't say with certainty what my true average speeds are. However, I do record enough of them with details about routes, load, and conditions, that it may be possible to work up some fairly meaningful figures.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

breaking 400, CamelBak put to test

When I started off to ride this morning, I noticed that I was about 14 miles from breaking the 400 mile mark on my bike odometer.

Had I know this beforehand, I'd have gotten underway much earlier (at least an hour), because it's hard to know I'm that close to achieving something like that without going ahead and making a run at it.

I thought I'd talked myself out of it after 8 miles and some change, but I pushed on anyway, breaking 400 a few minutes after noon.

Before departure, I geared up with a filled CamelBak strapped on, which I used exclusively for hydration during the ride. I carried a spare bottle in a cage, but didn't have to tap into it.

I'm working on getting used to riding with more gear strapped on to get used to touring conditions. I can already tell that carrying water on the back adds challenge points.

Stats for morning ride:
14.2 mile trip
400 miles since bike purchase
11.3 mph average speed
30.7 mph max speed
1:14:50 total cycling time

I took 3 or 4 quick breather breaks during the route. In this heat (mid- to upper-90s by trip's end), I should've taken more and/or longer breaks. But I'm not a smart man.

putting the Blackburn X3 headlight through its paces

I did some night riding last night to see how good the new X3 would prove.

After a quick adjustment (literally took a matter of seconds in the pitch black) to move the light beam farther ahead of its initial placement, I found myself hauling tail through sharp turns and steep downhill grades (sometimes both simultaneously) at a maximum speed of 27.6 MPH in the dark.

At no point in this did I feel uncertain or unsafe.

Granted, these are roads I know well. But the visibility granted by the X3's 85 lumens seems quite sufficient for serious road riding under low-light and very dark conditions.

The instructions assert that you can stow the battery assembly in one's water bottle cage, and at least a few people on the web claim to have done it. I was able to do so, but found it unsatisfying. Fortunately, it looks to be quite trivial to mount it on any of several other locations on the frame.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I've picked up a Blackburn X3 headlight system for the bike, having missed too many opportunities to bicycle commute or otherwise get out and ride due to lighting conditions.

That sucker is stunningly bright. I'm impressed.

And more LEDs, of course. I plan to be lit up like a Xmas tree.

Another recent aquisition is a 1.5 litre CamelBak. So I can haul more water for some longer rides I have in mind.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Just so anyone who actually reads this doesn't start to think I'm dead....

Lately I've been mopping up a massive project at work, but I do still get out and about. Swimming and bicycling have been the order of the day.

Hopefully soon I'll have the opportunity to squeeze in some canoeing and golf (although not likely at the same time).

Friday, May 19, 2006

43:47; 34 mph max; 11.1 mph avg; 8.1 m trip

I had to put some effort into this evening's ride.

I had a belly full of Negra Modelo and chili colorado (with tomatilla.... mmmmm), and by a half hour into it, I found it necessary to tap into some motivation reserves I don't normally need to tap.

I also got off to a late start (7:42 pm) and found myself literally in the dark before the trip ended. That meant taking off my sunglasses and getting lake bugs in my eyes.

And my brakes rather suddenly started making a rough noise I haven't yet identified. They still worked, so my best guess is that some kind of debris is involved. I'll have to get to the bottom of that in the morning.

My heart monitor reports a Calorie rate of 5 kcal/60 min. That's higher than usual, but I never really understand all that stuff anyway. I just keep collecting data.

If nothing else, saving all this heart monitor data to the PC and reviewing all the charts does give me some information about myself. I can, at the least, maintain a realistic idea of how often I exercise, how hard, and for how long (at least when I don't accidentally delete an exercise session in the attempt of getting it uploaded.... grrrrrr).

Last few times I've stepped on the scale, I've weighed in at 231 and just now at 230. I honestly can't recall the last time I weighed in at 230, beyond it having been a span of years. I stopped looking at the scale when I got/stayed up over 255. It was just too depressing.

My best bud seemingly never tires of pointing out that there's no point in weighing in. He insists that weight and fitness aren't really meaningfully related. So I guess I'll spew my thoughts on the matter one good time.

My understanding of weight loss and fitness pretty much matches up with information in this article, which states:

The good news is that you don’t have to reach your ideal weight to lower your risk of developing obesity-related medical problems.
  • Losing even 10% of your total body weight can significantly lower your risk.
  • If you weigh 250 pounds and lose 10% of your total body weight, losing those 25 pounds can have a meaningful positive effect on your health.
  • Losing 10% of your total body weight is a good goal to start with. You can always continue and lose more weight once you have reached your initial goal.

I look better already. I feel better. People notice and comment that I look better.

I've even started looking in the mirror again, which I'd stopped doing for a very long time.

I'm Trekking Bob (a title I only use in the blog, BTW), and I just don't see how carrying all that extra weight can do anything but hold me back from my adventures.

So cheers to 230. That's a damn fine number in my book.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

57:11 time; 10.9 trip; 11.3 mph avg; 30.3 mph max

I love riding the hills out here.

Good thing, because my neighborhood is riddled with twisting slopes (and blasted speed bumps!), and I have to start out pedaling uphill to even exit the driveway.

I haven't made the commute to the office by bicycle yet in 2006, due in no small part to this massive job we've been working that has the office filled to the brim with boxes of sensitive documents. No room remains for the bike. :/

My time, average speed, etc. should stand out against those of my neighborhood rides because the commute is approximately 11 essentially flat miles.

After Hurricane Katrina, it took me just under 50 minutes to make it from the front door of my home to my office door. That was months ago.

I now seem to be in better cycling condition, and I've become accustomed to how the Trek 7300 rides (whereas it was only 9 days old when the hurricane hit). I weigh considerably less, and I've been working with the heart monitor, and my cycling seems to require less effort.

Hills that I found quite challenging several months ago can now be tackled with exertion but relative ease, in low gear without rising from the seat even briefly.

I'm at a loss as to the meaning and relevance of most of the information in the heart monitor charts. But I'm able to make out enough to tweak my rides and feel the difference.

staying in radio contact while cycling

I recently posted the following to the Jackson Metro Cyclists email list:

Any good tips on ways to stay in radio contact with a companion cyclist?

My cycling partner and I have reached a point at which this seems increasingly wise, because we regularly ride out into "the sticks" between Florence and Byram. Yesterday we lost one another sufficiently that he had to cycle home and call my cell while I backtracked a few miles to see if he'd come to some mischief.

I received several friendly replies, from which I gleaned the following nuggets:

  • Motorola Talkabouts

  • take a ham radio license test and get a handheld FM ham radio transceiver

  • Rino(r)520 and Rino 530: 2-way radio and GPS

  • Any of the better walkie-talkies

  • Motorola has a radio that is supposed to work around 5 miles

  • a less powerful FSR band radio has a 2 mile range, sometimes less indense cover or mountians

Sunday, May 14, 2006

bike route maps

Here are a few maps of where we often cycle for general fitness & pleasure around here.





Went riding with my periodic riding partner Gruesome Groff yesterday afternoon. We actually lost one another for the first time in a very long while, and more thoroughly than we have in years.

It wasn't my longest ride of the year (11.5 trip; 56:29 time; 22.4 mph max; 12.2 avg), although it may have been his. He rides a Moab mountain bike, so the fifteen-plus-mile rides are a real challenge for him in comparison with the relative ease with which I scoot around on my hybrid.

It's not that he's not in good shape. We're just differently equipped and train differently.

I was holding back for pretty much the entire ride, and he was blowing full steam trying to keep up while taking several breaks. At one point, he took a break I didn't expect, and I found myself ahead of him in some traffic. I took a right turn to get out of the way of a speeding motorcycle, and that's the last GG and I saw of each other.

Each made efforts to wait at what seemed like logical enough resting spots, but logical thought based on incomplete information doesn't always work out (as I know quite well from poker).

He finally decided to boogie back to his place to get to his cell phone and call me, while I opted to backtrack a few miles and examine a likely route to make sure he wasn't lying about in a ditch.

We both lived to ride another day, but we're looking into some options for staying in radio contact during rides.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

52:13 time; 10.1 m; 11.6 avg; 33.8 mph max

Had to take 3 consecutive days off from cycling this week. Even though I did bicycle during hurricane Katrina, my gut told me that if I got out in some of the mess this week, it would get me.

Plus, I had a wobble in my wheels on the Trek, which put it in the shop for a quick tweak, and a wicked allergy attack that set me back a bit.

Today I got back to it with just under an hour's ride. Kept my heart rate up as usual, and didn't even stop for the 2 calls I had to take from the office on my cell (although my hr did drop as low as 157 during the 2nd call).

Big news for the day is that I weighed in at 232 lbs! Damn right.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

20 lbs. lost - 300 miles traveled - first over-15-mile trip of season

I've been riding with the heart monitor lately, almost every day. Very educational, and I feel completely certain it's improved my cycling.

I strap it on, fire it up, go for the ride, then upload the data from the session into my PC microphone (of all things). It makes pretty graphs and charts.

During the ride itself, I check my heart rate (hr) regularly, some times tweaking my riding behavior based on the readings.

I've been getting in some very vigorous workouts. I continue the healthier diet, as well.

And I've managed to continue my weight loss. I'm down a total of over 20 lbs. now!

I've put my new Trek bike over the 300-mile mark and made my first 0ver-15-mile ride of the season already going out for a 2nd ride a few hours later (only to discover I'd somehow picked up a wobble in my wheels bad enough to encourage an abort).

The pollen counts here are killing me, though, and I'm missing a few days due to allergies. Bleh.

Got the bike into the shop to fix that wobble while I was ill. I look forward to putting it to the test, but not today. I've lost too much sleep due to the allergy problems and the meds I took to get 'em under control.

Friday, April 28, 2006

ahh, Spring!

I haven't updated the blog in a while, mainly due to work. Went a good month there without a day off. Bleh.

But it pays the bills.

I haven't had a chance to get out and play any golf, but I hear there's a driving range worth checking out near here. Maybe this weekend.

I've replaced my old-ish helmet (couple good years on it, with one really minor whack on the head last year) with a new Giro (which seemed to feel better on my head than the Trek, and maybe a little more ergonomic when it comes to little adjustments).

Also new is the heart monitor I picked up. Quite a splurge, but I really want to know more about how my internals are working. The instructions aren't too inscrutable to figure out, but far from riveting prose. I recorded a session of reasonably vigorous exercise earlier, but found out the that it's quite easy to lose the session in the process of trying to transfer it to the PC. I can't not deduct a few points for that.

I'm hoping to amass some good data to take to a doctor and have a really vigorous physical. I'm a 35-year-old guy now, and I'm past due to work on the long-term maintenance plan for my life.

I've lost over 15 lbs in the last several weeks. Was in the mid-250s, and am down below 240.

I've stopped having a heavy Southern breakfast in the mornings (eggs, biscuit, sausage, etc.) in favor of a bowl of Total with skim milk.

One of the other meals of the day often consists of either rice & [salmon or albacore] or something along the lines of leafy green vegetables with colby jack cheese, bacon bits, and maybe some grilled fish. (Yeah, yeah, I know about the mercury. As a middle-aged male, other problems totally trump it.)

Exceedingly peculiarly, my sense of smell radically changed around three weeks ago. Despite my chronic allergies (compounded by a very high pollen index), my smeller has been impressive.

The lion's share of what I'm getting is scents related to women and food. For instance, automotive fumes do not strike me as increasingly odoriferous, but I can pick up on a contractor's Tommy Girl when I walk anywhere near her general air space.

My friend with science brains suggested that it may be some mammalian thing, that my body is screaming for me to eat and breed or some such. I have no idea. :D