New Bike Changes

Tim met up with me the other day and dropped of some tires to try on the Big Dummy.  I’ve had a lot of flat tires with the old ones.  I haven’t put them on yet.  We’ll see how that goes.

Tim was going to loan me some tires he had to try on the new bike.  Due to mis-communication, he didn’t bring them.  It’ll have to wait a week.  He’s on a short bike tour right now.  I’m leaving Saturday morning for a trip to San Diego.

I stopped by the bike shop today after work.  I ordered a new seatpost for the new bike.  It’s not a two-bolt like I wanted, but it’s a third of the cost.  I’m also skipping the new seatpost clamp.  I’ve also decided to stick with the existing saddle for a while. We’ll see how that works out too.

I also bought two bottle cages.  I only had one on the new bike.  I’ll now have two, and can put yet another on the Big Dummy.

I still need focus in my life.  That seems hard to do with this trip to San Diego (work related, but gonna enjoy it anyway), and other stuff going on.  My earlier post about making my house livable is all about being able to be home and enjoy myself.  That will make focusing easier.

I’m not setting any bicycling goals for the time being.  I’m not setting any weight goals.  I want to pull things together.  I also need to remember to enjoy where I’m at now rather than worry about where I may be later.

Home Sweet Home

My house has been a shambles.  Sometimes it’s clean, other times it’s dirty, but it’s been disorganized and not pleasant to live in.  I haven’t had a kitchen table since Kristy moved out.  I didn’t like the one we had before she moved out.

I never used my livingroom.  I mostly just slept at home.  Too much space was taken up by bike parts and tools.  Every flat surface was covered in junk.

Robin had brought a TV and DVD player over so we could watch movies together on the couch.

Since then, I’ve wanted to spend more time at home, but I needed a few things to make it nicer to be here.

Over the last few weeks, Robin and stopped at a lot of yardsales.  I bought two table lamps for the bedroom.  I bought a floor lamp for the livingroom.  Yesterday we found an old, but sturdy and nice, kitchen table with four chairs.  It was priced well, as it was missing it’s middle leaf.  This makes the table football-shaped, but that doesn’t bother me. The smaller size fits my kitchen better.

My bedroom had water damage from the leaking roof.  The roof has been repaired, but the bedroom needs painting and new carpet.  I moved my bedroom to the front of the house (former livingroom), which is bigger.  My livingroom moved back one room to the former “bike room”.

The old bedroom is bike storage for now, but I’ll have to move them out for remodeling.

I did some bike work that I’ve been meaning to for a while.  This allowed me to get rid of some stuff, and put other stuff away.  I no longer have bike parts or tools anywhere, except put up where they belong.

My house is de-cluttered and clean.  It feels like a nice place to live again.  I still have paperwork to sort in the computer room, but it won’t take long to do that.

I’m still recovering from being sick, so a long bike ride was out of the question for the weekend.  Using the extra time to clean and organize was a better idea.

This is reducing my stress level and helps me feel in control of my life again.  Sometimes, little things can really help.

Goals, Shmoals

I had intended to not drink for 30 days.  That didn’t happen.  I did cut down a bit though.

I had intended to ride 500 miles (or 700) in July.  500 is unlikely.  700 won’t happen.

I had started to weigh myself again, but that habit never “set”.

I had started to track my food consumption again, but quickly lost interest.

That said, I feel that I’m on the right track.  I’m riding more.  My neck is better (other than some stiffness from Saturday’s foolishness).  I’m cooking more.  I’m happier most of the time.

Maybe it’s time to forget the numbers for a while and enjoy life.

What Was Old Is Now New Again

Back in April of 2008, I bought a bike.  This started the crazy/wonderful/bizarre/car-free lifestyle I have now.  I put over 3000 miles on that old bike before breaking it.  It went through everything.  I did off-road riding, commuting, gravel rides, hilly rides, coffee rides, and everything else on that bike.  I think this one sums it up the best.

I had named that bike Nermal.  Nermal was a cheap ($225) hybrid bike.  I bought one for my daughter also.  My daughter’s was stolen last year.  Although I had upgraded mine quite a bit, it was comfortable and versatile.  It was not a lightweight bike though.  It was comfortable.  The handlebars were up high enough.  I started riding drop bars with my Surly LHT that has since been sold.

Although my neck flared up for the first time in June last year, and again in December, I think it’s been a long term problem going back eight or so years.  I remember periods with a very bad stiff neck long before I rode a bike.

I think I’m done with drop-bar bikes.  I’m not happy with the city bars I put on the single-speed, and I don’t know what I’m going to do there.  The recumbent will remain my touring and distance bike.  The Big Dummy will continue cargo duty.  The single speed will probably be my commuter again, once I figure out the bars, and replace the damaged crankset.

How do I do gravel rides?  How do I have a bike that’s easy to haul on or in a car?

That was settled today.  Rather than spend $1000+ on another bike that may not work, I spent $350 on a (relatively) cheap Giant Cypress ST – the same model as Nermal, the bike that got me started in 2008.

There will be some differences.  I’m not going to put a rack and fenders on this bike.  It won’t be for riding to work.  This will be my gravel bike and my travel bike.  I may also use it for around town rides and pub crawl rides.  It’s cheap enough that I won’t have a heart attack if it’s stolen.

Behold: The New Bike

It’s not a pretty or elegant bike.  It’s functional and comfortable.  I’m sure I’ll have to make changes to it to ride it regularly.  The wheels may not hold up to the abuse that I’m going to dish out.  The drivetrain is low-end and will get replaced once worn.  I never thought I’d buy a bike like this for myself again.  It may be just what I need to get back into the fun rides that I did in 2009 and 2010.

Back to June:  I mentioned I wanted 500 miles for June.  I managed 504.8, so goal accomplished.  I did have a 230-mile tour in June.  I also wanted a 500-mile month in July (actually hoped for 700 miles).  I’m currently at 326 miles, so 700 is a no-go.  500 is possible, but not probable.  I’m hoping having a new bike to ride will help.

Weird Week, Heat Wave, and Mileage Goals

My eating has been better, even with the large amount of ice cream that disappeared one day.  I’ve been weighing myself every morning again, although I have yet to post it here.  There is a definite downward trend.  It dropped six pounds in three days, then jumped up about three pounds.

It’s only Thursday, but it feels like the week is over.  I still have to work tomorrow.

Robin and I rode bikes to her volleyball game Monday evening.  I signed up for the next session beginning 7/16.  This could get interesting…  We went to a restaurant across the street called “The Brewery” after the games.  I drank water and had a spinach salad.  Success with self-control!

Tuesday morning brought a massive headache of near-migraine proportions.  I wasn’t on a bike, or even at work.  Later in the day I did install the front rack on Robin’s bike.

Wednesday morning was again filled with that massive headache.  I had to work.  I called Robin and she drove me to work.

Today, Thursday, I happily rode the recumbent to work.  The weather forecast has been calling for a heat wave beginning today.  It was still pleasant on the way in to work.

It was 103 degrees when I left work.  It was hot and sunny, but with a bit of a breeze.  The ride home was actually quite pleasant.  I had just got the bike indoors and undressed when I heard from Tim.  He was out on a ride and wanted me to meet up with him.  I got re-dressed and headed out for another 19 miles.

I’m now at 460 miles for the month of June.  I’d like to hit 500, but I’ve only got two days left, and I have other things to do.  I might get up early and try to get extra miles in to hit 500.  I’m also a part of a group on Google+ that are shooting for 500 miles in July, but I’ve got plenty of time for that, and I actually hope to surpass 700.

I’ve been beer-free for a week.  Just a few weeks more before I decide if I will allow myself beer again, and at what quantities.

Fitness, Food, and Alcohol

I’ve been eating poorly for almost two years now.  I’ve gained weight.  I quit weighing myself regularly.  I quit being accountable.  I’ve had a couple of false (re-)starts since posting about this in in November.

Much of the loss of momentum was due to the neck issue.  The neck issue in currently under control.  Moving into town back in 2010 made getting around by bicycle easy, but it also meant easy access to many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.  I have no desire to move back to an area where I would be car-dependent again, so I just need to be better about going out.

I went grocery shopping today so I would have enough stuff around the house to eat without being tempted so strongly to go out to eat.  Going out to eat usually means drinking beer for me.  Drinking beer means I don’t control my eating.  It’s an ugly cycle.

Beer has turned into a problem in my life.  Not an alcoholism problem, but a weight gain, depression, and digestive system problem.  I’m not planning on becoming a teetotaler, but quitting beer for a few weeks, then giving myself an weekly “allowance” of some reasonable amount thereafter.  I haven’t had alcohol since Thursday.

I’m trying to spend less money on excessive food and alcohol not only for health reasons, but so I can save more money toward my next major cycling expense.  I want a recumbent trike for touring.

I’m also considering going back to the YMCA in the mornings before work.  I haven’t decided if it’s worth the money, as I have trouble getting up in the morning and I’m not even positive what exercise to do.  I need some upper-body strength, yet I need to be careful to avoid hurting myself.  I have arthritis in my right shoulder and my neck issue to worry about.

For accountability, I need to begin tracking what I eat again.  I need to start weighing myself.  I still need to organize a bit on that.  This site should be about weight loss and bicycling again, instead of just bicycling.

 

Touring in June

Last year, I did a five-day (four of riding, one of rest) tour to Indianapolis and back.  It was in March, so I stayed in hotels.  I’ve had two overnight trips since then, but not a multi-day trip.

I’ve now got the time off work starting June 2nd for a four-day tour.  Debbie, who joined me on half of last year’s tour, is planning to ride this one.

Below is a preview of the tentative route.  We’re riding four days, which means three nights of camping.  Total distance is approximately 230 miles.

Tentative route
Tentative route

Camping is planned at Clifty Falls State Park, Spring Mill State Park, and O’Bannon Woods State Park.  The entire tour is in Indiana, but the start location is just across the river from Louisville.

My plan at this point is to ride the Big Dummy, assuming I can get the handlebars dialed in where it’s comfortable.  Failing that, I’ll try to figure out how to carry everything on the recumbent.

Goodbye 2011. What’s In Store Now?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  When it’s time for a change, you should work at it immediately.  I do, however, believe in looking back at things.  I’m looking back at 2011.

Bike Miles

I rode 5502.9 miles in 2011.  That’s more than 400 miles over 2010’s 5087.2.  By comparison, 2009 was only 3860 miles.  November 2011 was a new personal record month.  I had 697.7 miles.  December is my best December yet, but nothing exceptional at 444.9 miles.

I hope to surpass 6000 miles in 2012, and have a one-month best of 750 miles.

Car-Free

I sold my truck and became car-free on November 4th.  I’m still adjusting to living without a car, but it’s not a difficult adjustment after living most of the year as if I were already car-free.

Bikes

I bought the Big Dummy as my car truck replacement once I knew I actually would sell the truck.  I still have some fit issues to get dialed in, but the bike has been great at hauling things (and people!).

I’ve spent a lot of money on bikes this year.  In addition to buying the Big Dummy, I bought a SON dynohub and lighting system for the LHT in April.  I later moved the wheel and lights to the single-speed.

In March, I bought a used kid-trailer as an affordable cargo hauler.  I haven’t used it since buying the Big Dummy, but it could be useful to tow it with the Big Dummy if I really need to haul a lot.

In December I bought new wheels (including Shimano dynohub) for the LHT.  I also bought new brakes.  Now, January 1st, the bike is still partially assembled in my kitchen.

Health

2011 has been a challenging year due to health issues.

In June I had a horrible neck pain problem.  It kept me off the bike briefly.  It made me miss some longer pleasure rides that I wanted to do.  With some treatment and strength training it was resolved to the point that I can function normally, but it never went away.

In September I was hospitalized due to a bowel obstruction.  Luckily it resolved without surgery, but it was scary.  I only missed one important ride, and had no lasting effects.

On the day after Christmas my neck issue returned.  I’m still struggling with it, and I see myself riding the recumbent more often now.  I wasn’t car-free last time, so my options are a bit more limited now.

The various doctor visits may have actually added to my overall mileage for the year.  I had doctor visits in New Albany and east of Lyndon that took me a bit farther for transportation cycling than I normally go.

Weight

Ah, the elephant in the room.  First let’s look at my monthly average weight since I started tracking it in 10/2007.  Up until July 2009, things look great, then a bit of a bump, lost again, then steady increase since March 2010.

Now let’s look at the same values beginning January 2009.  You’ll notice that most of it is between 200 and 220lbs.  That changes when it goes above 230 in July 2011.  It stays above 230 until the last two month of the year.

It’s a little bit depressing, but not all that surprising.  I’ve been treating myself to good food and beer as if I don’t have a weight problem.  I not going to give these things up, but I need to make better decisions on how much and how often to consume these things.

2011 was not a good year for weight loss.  I ended the year 13lbs heavier than I started it.  Ugh.  As Tim would say, I have an “intake valve problem”.

Exercise

Other than cycling I’ve done little exercising.  I had my push-up plan back in 2008 that I abandoned after suffer shoulder pain.  I’m supposed to be using some dumbbells to strengthen my upper body to help with the neck and shoulder issues, but I’ve not been using them as much as I should.

I was training for a triathlon early in the year, but ditched that after suffering problems in the swim portion of the training.  I did not enjoy the running, but I was capable of performing what was needed.

I did race my first bicycle race in November, the Gravel Grovel.  I met my goal of less that 6.5 hrs (just over 6 hours).

My biggest problem right now, is that my most common exercise other than cycling is the 12 ounce lift (lifting the beer to my lips).

Relationships

Okay, where to begin?

When I started this blog in November of 2007, my 13-year marriage was ending.  I didn’t talk about it publicly for months, but it was happening.

I married Kristy in 2009.  It was a much different marriage than the first, but didn’t work out for much different reasons.  We are now officially divorced.

Interesting tidbit.  I met an interesting woman, Robin, a few days ago.  My desires in a relationship are a bit different now.  I’m not ready to rush in to living together or marriage (eek!  I said the M word!), but she lives nearby (walking distance, no bike even needed!) and we have some common interests.  We rang in the new year together.  I’m not going to talk much more about her for the time being.

2012

Most goals stay the same.  Goal weight of 175lbs.  Stay sane.  Be happy.

Some goals have changed.  Ride 6000 miles for the year.  Ride 750 miles or more in at least one month.  Save more money.

All of this is for nothing if the Mayans were right.

Happy New Year everyone!

Progress Since the Reset

On November 21st I began anew at the weight loss effort.  I spelled out my goals and rules.  I’ve been revisiting that post every day since then.

Progress?  I’ve not been perfect about the rules.  I even bought beer at the grocery store, and had a few last night.  I have been better.

Results?  My weight on 11/21 was 230.2lbs.  Today is 224.2lbs.  In the time between, it’s been 220s the whole time.  I’m seeing small consistent drops.

Weaknesses?  On Wednesday, I went out on an allowed outing for Car-Free Happy Hour.  I was fine with my food consumption, but had a bit more beer than necessary.  On Thursday, I was going to go out to eat, but the restaurant I went to went out of business.  I went home and cooked.  Friday I went out for pizza.  I ate entirely too much, but was better about the beer consumption.

I went grocery shopping last night on the Big Dummy.  I hauled a lot of groceries home.  I’m planning on making large amounts of soup.  I can freeze the extra.  I can easily bring it to work for lunch.  It should be a big help.

My daughter came to visit yesterday.  We made a chicken breast and rice dish.  I ate a bit too much and had beer.

I have no big bicycle plans this month.  I’m just coasting by.  We have one gravel ride planned in a week or two… I don’t know which weekend.  Other that that it’s just riding to work, running errands, or the occasional in-town ride.

I dropped off my rear wheel for the ‘bent on Friday.  That meant riding out to Lyndon after work.  I’m riding back out there today to pick it up, probably just in time for the rain to get here.

Shooting For A New Record

In August, I rode my bike 671 miles for the month.  I crossed 500 miles for this month yesterday.  I want to exceed 700 miles and set a new personal best.

My top ten months are below.

RankMonthMiles
1August 2011671.0
2June 2010665.6
3March 2011646.5
4August 2008626.8
5March 2010574.9
6July 2010562.7
7June 2009542.2
8October 2011538.9
9September 2011462.9
10May 2009452.0

There are seven more days to ride.  One of those days is Gravel Grovel, which will get me about 60 miles.  That means I can average less than 23 miles per day for the other six days and hit my target.

Why yes, I do have a Thanksgiving Day ride planned.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Reset

I bitched and moaned a bit about gaining weight over the last 18 months.  I’ve made half-hearted attempts to get back on track.  Today, I’m getting serious.

My weight goals:

  • Get back down under 200lbs by March 2012
  • Get to my goal weight of 175lbs by September 2012
  • Maintain my weight between 175 and 180 indefinitely

How will I achieve these goals?  I will:

  • Get back to tracking everything I consume
  • Drink beer only for special, social occasions
  • Quit going out to eat alone
  • Quit eating at my desk at home or at work – especially snacks
  • Severely limit carbohydrate consumption, especially sugars and grains, except on days with big bike rides
  • Visit coffee shops less often, I drink my coffee black, but coffee shops have very little I can eat
  • Look into a support group, such as Overeaters Anonymous – I’ll ditch it if I see little value

I have some physical goals also:

  • Gain some upper-body strength
  • Through diet or supplements, reduce inflammation – this should help my neck and other areas

Somebody asked if I was starting this at the first of the year.  No, it started TODAY.  I’m not waiting.  Here’s my food list for the day (don’t worry, I won’t be posting this all the time):

11/21/2011
Breakfast:
Banana
Yogurt
Lunch:
Bowl of chili
Dinner:
Spaghetti w/meat sauce – serving was a little too big
Snack:
Almonds – serving was a little too big

You’ll notice I’m not counting calories.  I think what I eat, and the amount of it is more important than an inaccurate calorie count.  I’m also not measuring stuff closely, but relying on common sense.  Portion sizes will be a challenge.

I also have some bicycle goals:

  • Complete a ten-day tour next year
  • Participate in at least one race next year (I’ll be racing Gravel Grovel this Saturday, but I mean another race)
  • Get faster so I can keep up and have company during a Populaire/Brevet
  • Buy a lighter road bike set up “Brevet” style
  • Buy a mountain bike and try to avoid breaking any bones
  • Ride one century per month next year

I’m 40 years old.  I’m in better shape now that when I was 35, but things have been heading downhill again.  I think that losing weight, eating better, and getting stronger will help my mental and physical well-being.  I may even see improvement in my neck, which is important as I can feel the inflammation returning.  I’m terrified of going back in for another epidural.

So, this “project”, over four years in, is being reset.

Danger!

Problems

I’ve been at risk of undoing much of the health improvements I’ve done over the last four years.  My eating habits are not only directly unhealthy, but not great for my mental health with the self-loathing I feel after a whole week of eating bad… week after week.

I’ve let myself get lazy and distracted.  I haven’t been keeping up on household chores.  I’ve basically been a mess.

I’m going to refocus.  I’m weighing myself again.  I haven’t started posting it again because the page is crazy with too much data.  I’ll find a better way to present it soon.  My weight this morning was 236.4lbs.  That’s higher than it’s been since October of 2008.

I need to stop going out to eat so much.  Going out for pizza or a burger and a beer three or four times a week is not only working against my goals, but is costing too much money.

Today, I cooked a pork chop on the grill and had celery sticks.   I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  It was a sensible size portion and I drank water with it.

More Goals

In December 2008 I listed a few secondary goals.  I just revisited that.

  • Learn to ride a unicycle (next year)
    I wisely gave up on this.
  • Be car-free (three years away)
    Strangely enough, I’m on track for this.
  • Either fix-up my house, or move (three years away)
    I moved more than a year ahead of the goal.
  • Meet a woman crazy enough to like my lifestyle (never?)
    I got married – we’re split up now – don’t want to say much more than that.
  • Ride a several hundred mile multi-day tour (next year?)
    Although late, I did this in March of this year.

Message From The Past

In January of 2009, I wrote something that I needed to read now.  Luckily, I do re-read my older blog entries occasionally.

I mention effort to save a life.  I was trying at the time to convince my audience that this is possible and necessary.  It turns out the audience is me in 2011.

Alright Then

If I fix my eating habits and focus more on productive activities, not only will I lose weight, but I should feel better about myself.  It’s not a cure for depression, but it means fewer bad days.

It’s strange that the things I crave when depressed (food & beer) are things that will eventually make me more depressed.  This is common.  What is it with the human psyche?

Gravel Grovel

A group of us are planning to ride the Gravel Grovel.  This is a 100 kilometer bicycle race over mostly gravel surfaces.  This takes place in late November near Story Indiana.

My goal is to finish the race.  Finishing last is okay.

I don’t have the budget for a dedicated gravel bike, so I’ll be stripping racks, lights, and fenders off of the LHT and putting some fatter tires on it.  The LHT is a wonderfully versatile bike.

Depending on the weather, clothing may be a bigger challenge.

Wish me luck!

How Did I Manage a Record Month?

August 2011 was  a record bike-mile month for me.  How did I do that?

  • I did a 130-mile camping trip on the last weekend of the month
  • I spent a lot of time running errands out to the east end
  • I rode my recumbent for 70 miles by riding to the Crestwood ride 25-miler, then back home
  • I rode a 70-mile RCCS ride
  • I rode my bike to work every day
  • I had several 20-40 mile rides
  • I rode a few extra miles on the last day of the month – just to push myself to a new record

On 8/31, I rode to work the normal way, a whole 3.6 miles or so.  I left work early for a doctor’s appointment (which got me okay’d for a third epidural).

I rode the following route from work to the doctor and then home:

Download

Instead of taking the normal way, I took River Rd all the way to Lime Kiln.  This was flat as a pancake and I managed a 15mph average on this stretch… on the single speed.

After turning unto Lime Kiln there’s a small climb, but it’s mostly flat after that.  I stayed on that same road, although it changes names to Herr Ln then to Lyndon Ln, all the way past Shelbyville Rd and nearly to my doctor’s office.

On the way back, I took the more normal New Lagrange, Washburn, Westport route.  After meandering through the parks, I wen’t to Za’s for pizza then headed home.

After getting home, I realized I was still short of a new monthly record, so I headed back out.

I basically just wandered around.  I didn’t have a destination in mind.  I had mentioned to Tim that I might go through Indian Hills, but I never made it out quite that far.  I was still on the single-speed (actually haven’t ridden the LHT since the camping trip).  Here’s my route:

Download

Once I got back home, I had 671 miles, a new personal best month.  I’m going to shoot for 700 in September.

3000 Miles

According to MyCyclingLog, I hit 3001 miles for the year on my ride today with Tim.  My spreadsheet actually shows 3031.7, but I still crossed the 3000 mark today.

I’m a bit behind schedule compared to last year.  At the end of July lat year, I was at 3202 miles and ended up with 5087 miles for the year.

Now that my neck isn’t preventing me from riding and I’m living the car-free lifestyle (even though I haven’t yet sold the truck) I expect to surpass 5000 miles for the year again.

So what should my goal for 2012 be? 6000?  7500?

Like I’m Waiting…

I’m waiting to get back on track.
I’m waiting to eat healthy.
I’m waiting to be in control of my life.

What am I waiting for?

I have a lot of changes coming.  My daughter is moving out of the house tomorrow.  My wife moves out in a few weeks.  There are plans in place to get ride of the house in Charlestown.  I’ll be selling my truck before the end of the year.

What’s that got to do with it?

Nothing, but mentally I seem incapable of handling too much at once.  So I’m waiting.  Not a great reason, but it’ll have to do.

What now?

My neck problem improved dramatically for a while, then started to get a little worse.  I’m going to start commuting on the recumbent again for a while, and save riding upright bikes for group rides, or gravel stuff, or whatever.

Miles!

My June mileage was horrible.  Due to my neck issues I rode only 110 miles.  July was better, but still a bit off, at 363 miles.  Back in March I rode 647 miles.

I met up with Tim this morning for a short-ish ride.  I ended up with 35 miles for the day.  I was happy with that.  I brought my camera with me, but never took a picture.

Where am I heading?

I’ll be car-free by the end of the year.  I will hopefully be back on track for weight loss.  I should be weighing myself again soon.

I will hopefully pull myself together enough mentally to be happy with what I have, rather than obsess with what I want.  I’ll still want things, I just don’t want to obsess over them.

This Is a Weight Loss Blog?

I’ve written more about bicycling here than any other topic.  I’ve never been much of a writer, so it’s possible I’ve written more about bicycling than any other topic since I could write.

I haven’t been talking much about weight recently.  I don’t have much to write about.  I haven’t been controlling my diet.  I haven’t been weighing regularly.  I haven’t been losing (or gaining) weight.  My weigh has been steady at just above 220 lbs.  That’s quite a bit above my goal weight of 175.

I started this adventure at nearly 300 lbs and very unfit.  I had a sedentary lifestyle.  I was probably on the fast-track to a heart attack.

I was able to bring my weight under 200 lbs for a while.  I also got much more fit.  That took a lot of effort and self-control.  I still intend to work at that, I’m not giving up my goal weight yet.

One thing has changed.  My bicycle-centric lifestyle means I can maintain a weight around 220 lbs without much effort.  I drink beer and eat pizza with few limits.  I don’t eat fast food or drink soda, but that’s because I don’t enjoy those things.  Parting with them wasn’t difficult.

Maybe I’m just making excuses for not putting the effort into losing more weight.  I want to do some more bike touring this year.  I want to have more free time away from work and family obligations, but I’m not sure how to pull that one off.

“Refining” My Goals

On Saturday morning I went for an eight mile “run”.  I probably walked half of it, yet I still could barely walk for a couple of days.

I’ve been ignoring the need to train a great deal for swimming.  Swimming is painful due to my shoulder arthritis.

I’ve made the decision to not compete in the triathlon.  Actually, I won’t be competing in anything.  I’m also not going to attempt to race the Tour Divide in 2015 as I initially intended.

The problem, is training.  Training isn’t fun.  Training hurts.  I don’t want to hurt.  It’s just not worth it.  I want to ride my bike and have a good time.

I had been formulating my decision all weekend.  I really didn’t want to talk about it.  I was ashamed.  I was angry with myself.  I posted on BikeForums about it with the subject “I’m a quitter“.  I actually got some really good feedback from the other members.

Quitting would be sitting on your sofa and eating cheese puffs. You’ve just refined your goals.

That made me feel better. I do still want to ride, and I want to ride a huge number of miles. I want to lose more weight, and stay fit. I want to go on a tour.

Life’s too short to do things you hate. Go out and ride, tour, randonnee, ride around the neighborhood….whatever. Do what you enjoy.

+1 on what everyone else said. Do what makes you happy. You’re still exercising and improving yourself by riding recreationally instead of training to race. I don’t blame you one bit for not wanting to do that stuff anymore. I tried it during the first half of 1993 for mountain bike racing. It was mostly fun at first and I did pretty well, but when it came time to upgrade from the Beginner class the fun was over. It became the kind of sufferfest I DON’T like, and not worth it to me. I’d rather suffer on my own terms.

I mentioned that Kent Peterson was my inspiration for attempting the Tour Divide in 2015.

The thing to realize is that Kent is a mutant. I mean that in the nicest way possible; I’ve ridden with him and he’s a really nice guy, great advocate for cycling, etc. But he’s in a class above most when it comes to riding.
He’s one of those guys that can survive on little to no sleep. He can fuel himself on garbage. No, really… we’re talking about a guy whose personal slogan is “Not A Nutritional Role Model”. He’s done a 1200k fueled on little more than Payday bars and Starbucks. He can ride for hundreds of miles on trail mix and peanut M&M’s. He won the Raid Californie-Oregon (1200k from SF to PDX, fixies only) then rode the additional 200 miles back to Seattle so he could go to work. By his own admission, he doesn’t beleive in “training” either. When you ride 12,000/year you really don’t need to do anything additional as training.
Most of us, with the right training, could finish a race like the Tour Divide or a 1200k brevet. Some people, like Kent, Vinnie M (over 40,000k RUSA distance last year), and Mark T (4x 1200k events last year) just have a different natural ability for the sport, and structured training doesn’t play much into their routines.

I’m of the attitude that if it’s not fun anymore, then why do it?

I know I don’t need the approval of others to make these decisions, but it did make me feel more comfortable with it after the fact.  I’ve disappointed at least two people by doing this, but I want to ride a bike not run and swim also.

Training, Racing, and Other Silliness

I still haven’t decided whether to continue training for the triathlon.  Every time I run or swim, I’m sore for days.

If I don’t compete in the triathlon, I can’t see making my goal of racing the Tour Divide in 2015.  Should I give up on both, or dig in deeper and train?

My training partner and I are doing a mini-tour to Indianapolis and back over five days.  It’s a leisurely pace with a full day in Indianapolis.  It’ll be in late March, and I’ll have a lot of pictures.  We won’t be camping, but staying in hotels.

Too Far?

I may have been pushing myself too far.

I ran another race last Saturday, the Reindeer Romp 4k.  It was originally scheduled to be before the 5k I did a while ago, but it was rescheduled to to weather.  I did run a bit better pace (26:54 for the run, 10:49 per mile), but I was incredibly sore after the ride.

Running in general just seems like a bad idea for my body.  I have issues with my knees and hips when running.  I also end up sore all over the next day.  I do get a stronger endorphin buzz from running than cycling, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  I don’t enjoy running much at all.  I sort of enjoy the first hour or so after a run though.

My shoulder arthritis has flared up again.  I’m not sure of the cause.  That started to cut into my bike riding, until I got the recumbent out again.  I can ride the recumbent without aggravating the shoulder, but now it’s causing knee pain.  It may be I need to readjust the seat.  I’ve actually gained a little weight since I last rode it regularly.

I took (yet another) break from the YMCA.  Spin class really hurts.  Swimming aggravates my shoulder.

The real question is am I pushing myself too far?  I’m seriously considering dropping out of the triathlon training.  I don’t want to.  Completing a triathlon would be really cool.  It’s still the swimming I’m most worried about though.

I should know in a few more days or weeks.

New Year – Time To Put More Miles In

2010 was a good year for bike miles.  I had 5087 miles.  Let’s look back at the last few years.

2008

I bought a bike and started riding in April of 2008.  At the time it seemed like I made slow progress in being able to ride, but I quickly shot up to 626 miles in one month (August).  It tapered off after that.  I finished up that year with 2238.6 miles.  The average monthly was 186.6.

2009

In 2009 I brought my average monthly mileage to 321.7.  I had a total of 3860 miles.  I didn’t have any incredibly good months, but I only had one really bad month, December, with only 91.6 miles.

2010

In 2010 I was more consistent.  My worst month, February, wasn’t really that bad at 297.3 miles.  I also set a new monthly record in June of 665.6 miles.  I barely made my 5000 mile goal for the year by getting 5087.2 miles, averaging 423.9 per month.

2011?

Now that I live closer to work, I’m a bit worried my mileage will drop.  I’m also spending more time on other activities related to the triathlon.  I’ve left my goal for the year at 5000 miles.  Commuting alone will only get me about 2000 miles for the year.  I need to squeeze in longer ride and/or take the long way to work.

I think I’m off to a good start.  I put in a 43-mile ride on the first day of the year.  I may (or may not) get in a ride today.

2011 Goals

It’s almost a new year.  Here are my goals for the next year.  This is not a “resolution”.  These are goals I can re-visit, track progress, and modify if I need to.  🙂

  • Train for and complete an Olympic Triathlon on 7/31/2011
  • Weight lifting for upper-body strength (I’m pretty pathetic above the waist now)
  • Get to my goal weight of 175lbs by 7/1/2011, and never go above 180 again (at about 216 today)
  • Ride at least 5000 miles for the year
  • Drive fewer miles than I ride (this could be hard due to most driving being longer trips)
  • Do at least three overnight bike camping trips
  • Start riding with the local club – on my single-speed (I’ve done that once this year)

Old Goals

Let’s look at some goals I posted on 2/28/2009

  • Goal weight will remain at 175 lbs (for now).  I hope to reach that goal by the end of August.
    Didn’t happen.
  • Ride a century this year (100 miles in one day).
    Didn’t happen until 2010.
  • Raise $3200 for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, and complete the entire ride under my own power.
    I raised over $2500 and completed the ride.  I’ll call that success.  I did not participate in 2010.  The fundraising part really is the hardest.
  • Learn to ride my new unicycle, and complete a ten-mile ride on it by June 2010.
    I gave up the unicycle.
  • Juggling?
    Didn’t bother.  Without the unicycle it wouldn’t be as cool.  🙂
  • Ride to work more often.  I had hoped to average 3 days per week, but I’m not even managing that right now.
    This was up and down for a while, but I moved to Louisville, and I ride (almost) every day.
  • Ride to work five days a week at least 3 weeks per year.
    See above.
  • Increase my average speed on the bicycle a little bit.
    Hasn’t really happened, although the triathlon training should help that.
  • Learn to kayak this year.
    I still haven’t touched a kayak, but I did take a canoe trip.
  • Get a rod, reel, and fishing license, and spend some time relaxing and fishing.
    I didn’t do this either.  Most of my free time is gone.  I have been reading a lot though.
  • Find new fitness activities.
    I guess training for a triathlon counts.  I’m also starting weight lifting.
  • I had made a goal to live-car free.  I think I’m giving that up.  I do want to drive less, but realities of the modern world make this a very unpopular choice.
    I wrote this when I had an old car that was paid for.  Then it died.  Then I bought a truck.  I seldom drive now, but I’m now married, and have a car payment.  It’ll be a while before I can become car-free.
  • Ride 5000 miles this year.  I’m way behind on this so far.  I’m two months into the year, and I’ve only ridden 541 miles.
    I did not make 5000 miles in 2009.  I did in 2010, and hope to in 2011.
  • Get better about riding in cold rain.  I often use this as an excuse not to ride to work, but I have the gear to do so.
    I ride in cold rain.  I still don’t care for it, other than the “crazy factor”.
  • I had planned to try to drive less than 3500 miles per year.  I’m giving up on this also.
    I’ve modified this to simply ride more than I drive.
  • Ride in a roller coaster this year.  I’ll actually fit now.
    I didn’t get a chance for a real roller coaster, but I did ride in a number of other amusement park rides.  Yes, I fit.
  • Go skydiving in the summer of 2010.
    Didn’t happen.  I still want to do it someday, but I’ve got too much else going on financially and time-wise.
  • I want to be a better cook.
    I may be slightly better, but only slightly.  I still don’t cook often enough.
  • I want to find a wonderful woman to enjoy these activities with.
    I did.  I met her shortly after writing that blog post.

    The Bad and The Good

    Bad:
    My weight now is about the same as it was two years ago.
    Good:
    I’m 50-some odd pounds lighter than I was three years ago.

    Bad:
    At the Y today, I did three laps in the pool before needing to stop.  I’m training for an event that will require swimming the distance equivalent to 35 laps in the pool.
    Good:
    When I first started riding a bike, a mile seemed like forever, but I quickly built up to riding 60 miles.

    Bad:
    I was completely unable to do a single pull-up.
    Good:
    I’m now using a weight machine to strengthen those same muscles.  I expect to be able to do pull-ups in a month or so.

    Bad:
    The scale hasn’t budged recently.
    Good:
    My pants feel a little looser.  I may be gaining some muscle mass.

    Bad:
    I still suffer periods of depression.
    Good:
    I can muddle through until I feel better.  Muddling through is what I’m doing today.  🙂

    Achieving This Goal…

    … was almost a let-down.

    On my way home from work, I hit 5000 bicycle miles for the year.  I’m glad I did, but it does seems a little bit of a let-down.  There isn’t enough time left in the year to add serious miles, just commuting and a little riding around town.

    I know my mileage for 2011 will be down some.  I live a lot closer to work now.  I’ll be spending a lot of time training for the triathlon, most of that time won’t involve the bike.

    I still have other goals to work for.  I want to complete the triathlon in 2011.  I intend to reach my goal weight in 2011 (about time, I started all this in 2007).

    Stepping It Up

    I’m going to participate in a triathlon in 2011.  I’m starting training in the next couple of weeks.

    The joke has been made that triathletes are not cyclists.  I’ll be a cyclist who isn’t really a triathlete.

    That’s why I started a Y membership yesterday.  My swimming needs a lot of work.  I need to learn to run without hurting myself.  I need to get faster on a bike.

    This came about because I got an email from Debbie, a former co-worker, from my pre-weight loss days.  She had found out about my blog.  She wants to participate in a triathlon, and has asked me to join her.

    My gut reaction was to decline, but that is the “fat-person mentality” that I mentioned yesterday.  After rolling the idea around in my head for a while I decided to go for it.  It could very well be what I need to make it to the next level of fitness.

    I don’t expect to do well, I just expect to finish.  That’s my goal.  Hopefully I’ll attain my goal weight along the way.

    I have a friend willing to loan me a bike that is a bit better for a race than my current bikes.  If that doesn’t work out, I’ll strip my LHT down, and use that.

    I still have a lot to learn, but I’m commited.  I signed up for the Y membership and agreed to do this.  The next step is to buy some shoes I can run in.  I’ll probably go to the Y for some swimming and running very soon.  The real training starts in early January.