New to bike to the group: 2000 Yamaha YZF-R6

After a couple of years to stabilize myself, I’ve found I’m not leaving the sport bike world. Even with my stratoliner cruiser, I’m still missing the nimble street fighter approach instead of the lumbering metal hulk approach of the cruiser. They each have their niche.  I don’t like the sharp angry looks of the newer Yamaha series of sport bikes, however.  I’ve had two R6 in my life, mostly generation 2 and they’ve been very good to me.  I decided I’d take this time to buy a used one that was in great shape for its age.  A 2000 Yamaha YZF-R6, with Vance & Hines exhaust and LED lighting.

IMG_1342This bike originated from Alaska, from a guy who moved to Phoenix and sold off some stuff.  The guy I bought it from was a young bright kid who bought it and put new cables on it, riding for half a year and got bored.  That’s where I came in!

Right now I’m taking time to put TLC in, and do things that need to be done with older bikes.  The front suspension was a little leaky so I had that resealed and front brake pads replaced due to leakage.  A brand new battery was thrown in as well to replace the one that was dieing after 1-2 days.

Since I have a prosthesis, it can be a little damaging to the paint during spirited riding since it’s carbon fiber.  I picked up a Stompgrip brand traction pad and threw it onto the gas tank tonight to protect the tank when holding on with my knees/legs.  I don’t have pictures since it’s a fresh installation, sorry.

I’m still trying to get used to keeping the RPM above 6000 since it’s been quite some time since I’ve rode in that range haha!  With this engine, that’s where the life comes in.

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Ikon B1 Slant vs Maggard Slant for Scalp

My first metal slant bar safety razor purchase was a Maggard brand.  They modelled their head off of a model that the Ikon B1 was modelled from, as well.  I wanted to compare the two, so I purchased the Ikon B1 slant head & Ikon OSS handle from eBay.  The reason I did from eBay is because of the escrutiating price otherwise, since they normally are $120+.  On eBay I was able to get both with “cosmetic imperfections” that weren’t visible to me at all, for more than half price.

Coming into slant bar razors as a noobie, I researched them and how to properly cut with them.  Everywhere I researched said that with slant bar the pressure should be minimal, however for scalp hair I found this to be relative.  I began first using a bakelite style slant before purchasing the Maggard for this reason.  The weight of the Maggard slant head works nicely when there is minimal to remove on the scalp, however last night I was removing 5-days of hair growth and found out that weight is important when you are cutting that much hair.  I am not bald by any stretch of the imagination, so my head is a great test-bed for this.

I used the Maggard with thick shaving soap lather, and the head seemed to float over the hair and not want to push down through it as it passed over.  After 5-10 different passes, in frustration I grabbed the Ikon B1 slant and started using that.  The steel head gave it enough weight to drill right down through the hair and carve the hair off.  That was a huge litmus test in my eyes, and since I wasn’t putting my skin through undue scraping through multiple continuous runs over the same area I came away with very little redness.  I’m going to see if attaching the Ikon OSS handle to the Maggard next time will make any weight difference, or if the head weight is a major player.  So far, the Ikon B1 slant is a winner in my book.

Slant Bar Open Comb Safety Razor

I just recently decided to try a slant bar safety razor to see the difference.  I’m actually very impressed and amazed at the difference in cutting style between a straight safety razor vs a slant bar.

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Going through a fit of nostalgia, I ordered a retro razor made from bakelite material, and is also a slant bar open comb!  As can be seen in the photo above, at first glance the head looks very unique, but that shape holds the blade at just the right angle to act as a scythe/guillotine when making impact with the hair.  After doing research and finding the weight of a slant razor should be kept low, I decided to pick up this one from Phoenix Accoutrements. (Phoenix Accountrements)  This was probably the third razor I’ve purchased through them, and I’m yet to be disappointed.

Upon first touching it, most people would scoff and say it’s a plastic razor.  Bakelite was the first plastic used in the industry, and it’s light & durable.  It also has a feel unlike other plastics in my opinion, and that’s why I bought it.  The head and handle fasteners are actually metal, which makes it mount up just right with no worries.

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My first use of this razor was for it’s intended use: Scalp shaving.  Head hair can be kind of rough for safety razors to plow through, and after leaving my hair grow for a week I dug in!  With this model, very slight pressure is needed due to it’s light weight… but the word VERY is important.  Otherwise, the blade will do collateral damage.  Also, due to the extreme angle of the blade the handle is kept higher than usual.  This means it’s best to start at 90 degrees and slowly tilt as dragging across the skin at first to get a feel for when the blade makes first impact.  Unlike straight safety razors, the cuts are subtle and sometimes so smooth you don’t really think much cutting is happening.  To put it into perspective, I cut against the grain on first cut of my scalp and it was like a lawn mower removing a row.  The light pressure makes sure the head doesn’t float over the hair, but also isn’t so extreme as to cause skin lacerations.  After 1-2 haircuts, the learning is usually complete.

The nice thing is the ability to do multiple passes without severe irritation of the skin, since the blade isn’t causing such trauma as it cuts the hair.  This allows a more forgiving second or third pass, and once you have the learned part down then it gets even smoother.

I used a Feather brand razor blade with mine, however I’m going to experiment with Lord, Personna, and some others as well.

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The sounds that won’t cease

I’m sure there are many out there that might think I’m insane for mentioning such things, but I’m typing this for those that feel it too so they know they aren’t alone.  That constant scream inside at yourself, the one that is intolerant of everything you do.  That doubt that the step you are taking is correct, and that desire to make things better being the only motivator.

Over the last 5-6 weeks, I’ve unburied old feelings I had before 2008 which was a physical/mental/emotional/life changing period of my life due to an accident that nearly killed me.  I’ve thought about it quite a bit since.  I had a personal goal to actually make something of my life in special forces, and that was the pivot point which stopped it all.  With the last month and half of pushing myself physically, I’ve learned I’m still the same man I used to be and I am better than I ever was.  I’ve found that by abusing myself physically through different forms of physical exertion/exercise, the hormones change and dull the pain a touch.  It takes a while but it slowly makes that die away until you have that fire, drive, ambition to do what you can before it’s too late.  That being said, you’re not alone and that scream never goes away inside.  You just learn during that work, you are in control of yourself.  I may have said it in joke before but the mantra, “Pain is weakness leaving the body” really does hold true if you don’t fear pain.  Love is out there from me to you all.

And with that, as a single leg amputee with a military-grade prosthetic, I bid you farewell with this:

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Concept of Protein Powders By Providers

Since I’ve been with The Camp Transformation Center, I’ve viewed the prices of many protein powders in the industry.  I’ve used protein powders since 2005-2006, so it’s not new to me. What is new to me is the concept people have about price vs product.  During my time at The Camp, my protein necessity is zero fat/zero carbohydrate/zero sugar.  In the protein industry, that’s quite a limitation!  I used one within that boundary for over a year or two now, named Isopure unflavored whey protein isolate which has 0g fat/0g carb/25g protein.  The price for me?  ~$39-$40/3 lb container, which I’ve always considered a very good price for a quality product.  I started The Camp, and the brand sold there (MyoFX IsoFX) was $50/2 lb container, and also had 1g fat/1g carb/24g protein.  I’m okay with it being sold, but everyone seems to act like the one I’ve been using is this outrageously priced one that is silly to buy.  (Including the GNC salesman…)
It’s hard to have a conversation when you basically say you paid less but then your told it’s expensive.  I finally bought a container of the MyoFX IsoFX to try and while it tastes good I’ll relinquish it to protein snack mix.

I finally just bit the bullet, and ordered a 7.5 lb container of Isopure low carb dutch chocolate whey protein.  If I’m going to be told something is expensive, I’m going to do it in style.  It was $95 and has 0.5g fat/1.5g carb/zero sugar for $12.66/lb.  I’d say that’s better than $25/lb for MyoFX IsoFX, or most of the others in the fat/carb/sugar spectrum.

The reason I went with dutch chocolate is because the unflavored was starting to become a nuisance since all I tasted was the stevia I added with it for sweetening.  You can’t go wrong with the unflavored version otherwise, however.  zero carb/fat/sugar, 25g protein, for ~$13/lb.

The Camp Transformation Center – Week 4

This is my fourth week at The Camp Transformation Center, and I have to say it definitely changes your entire life.  I’ve learned quite a bit along the way so far, and more to come I’m sure.  The first thing I learned is don’t take a doctor’s word as gospel.  They are looking out for your well being, but at least for me they went the motherly coddling approach and telling me not to put undue pressure on my hips along with no impact sports.  That was the only thing that finally made my muscles balance completely, and this program helped me with that in a slow pace.

I’ve learned, at least with my bodies metabolism, not to use hydrolyzed protein isolate in between-meal supplementation due to the quick bodily absorption.  During my use, it hindered weight loss.  I slipped back to using Isopure protein isolate (unflavored) which has the same nutritional facts but digests slower.  (0 fat, 0 carbohydrates, 25g protein/serving)

I’ve also learned that person in the front guiding the group is not your boss, they are not telling you what to do, they are guiding you along the path.  When first starting, it’s very painful and feels impossible.  With that person in the front giving instructions it feels very formidable but it’s important to remember that you’re doing this for yourself.  After a week or two the inner anger builds to push yourself.  Once you are your own worst enemy and your own best friend, that person in the front is simply guiding you along so you don’t have to think about what to do next or if you are performing the task correctly.

One thing I’m still learning is how to properly handle food preparation and choices.  The food choice is limited while on the program.  Not limited to diet food, but limited to a certain list of meats that are high nutrient/protein but low fat/calorie and a list of certain vegetables and carb selections that are high nutrient but low fat/calorie.  The largest problem I’m working on is how to prepare it in my kitchen with the limited amount of time I have and allow it to taste decent.  Taking food to work does kind of suck at times since microwaving destroys flavor.  My biggest task now is including the carb selections since (for me) it’s the longest of preparation time.  I’m working on this, and I will do this since I’m including this in my life for a while.

At first the main thought by most (and partially including myself) is I’ll do this and lose some weight then go onto a plateau but then you learn how food interacts with your body.  The food selection within the restaurants within America for the most part is depressingly geared towards how it tastes vs keeping any semblance of nutrition.  It seems most times the selection of nutritious choices are limited to lettuce based salads with chicken, or some other poor choice.  Lettuce offers nothing, it’s mostly water.

I have 2 more weeks on this challenge, and I’m hopefully going to reach the second challenge to continue my journey.  I have lost 15 lbs so far in 4 weeks, with 10.6 lbs lost on the first week.  To reach my 20 lb loss in 6 weeks, I must lose 5 lbs in the next 2 weeks.  My personal goal is 10 lbs in 2 weeks.

Wish me luck.  As I tell the group, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Fitbit Blaze & medical equipment

With the whole change of life, I thought it’d be best to invest a bit in monitoring of my body along the way.  The first item I got was a Fitbit Blaze smartwatch.  It monitors heartbeat, steps, calories burned (approximately, obviously), and gives you reason to input the rest to a log like weight, food eaten.  It auto senses activities performed and logs them as well, but the nice thing about it for me is the ability to go to “exercise”, and select “bootcamp” then monitor everything that happens while I’m in my workout.  I wasn’t sure about my heartrate being monitored accurately, so I figured whats the next step?  A blood pressure monitoring machine!  I know, it sounds over the top and something you’d only get if you were old.  With my genetic predisposition, I know I’m susceptible to a bad cardiovascular issue.  I figure I’ll monitor my blood pressure once a week and make sure I’m in good shape… and it also shows beats per minute.  To top it all off because of my history of lung issues in the past, I also picked up an oxygen sensor to use at the same time as the blood pressure monitor.  The oxygen sensor also shows heartbeat.
The double-check between all three shows that the Fitbit is within 1-2 count of spot-on which is pretty damn good in my eyes for something strapped to your arm and monitoring 24/7.

The oxygen sensor was a good investment, I found out after receiving it.  First time using it I saw my blood oxygen levels were fluctuating between 89% and 96% depending on my breathing patterns.  It’s nice to have a little nudge to look at something when at the doctors again since that’s not usually something that’s monitored regularly until something breaks.

I didn’t realize until now that I had repaired my heart issues from 15+ years ago with the cycling/cardio I did before my accident.  I haven’t been working out enough to make a dent in that respect this time around, but I know 15+ years ago my resting heart rate was about 80 bpm, where now it’s 55 bpm, with no heart arrhythmia like back then.

Knowledge is power, and being able to monitor/graph changes as they happen now will help as I make this journey.

The blood pressure monitor I purchased was this one: Ozeri CardioTech BP3T Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor With Intelligent Hypertension Detection ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2EABVA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )

The oxygen sensor I purchased was this one: Innovo Deluxe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter with Plethysmograph and Perfusion Index ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010C92IT4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )