Friday, April 17, 2009

Alright, Cam and I finally got out on the bike for the first time in several weeks. I've had a crazy work schedule, plus working to get The Outdoor Church Lodge ready for our launch date, and all the cold and rain has prevented us from getting in any rides. This evening was a tad on the chilly side, but absolutely beautiful. We rode down Christian Church Road to the gravel road that leads to the Ruritan park and came back to the house. Daylight was fast disappearing so we couldn't go any further.
Tomorrow, my parents are coming at 11am, so I need to get in a good long ride tomorrow morning. After this ride, I sat down and contemplated the goals that I met last year and how I ruined it over the winter. I need to give up soda once again and stop eating donuts in the morning. I can't dwell on the past, and can only change the future. It looks like the good weather is just around the corner, so I can once again return to my healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Its Been a Long Time Coming . . .

Its been way too long since I've blogged about my journey. The sad part is that I got into great shape in 2008 and lost 25 pounds. I believe I overtrained which flaired up my sciatica and it put the hurts on me for 6 weeks. I rode some more in the fall but then the cold weather hit and I am not prepared to ride in weather below 45 F so I got lazy over the winter and gained 20 pounds back.
So here I am in 2009 starting over again in my journey from fat to fit. The upside is that last year, my first ride was about 1 mile. This year my first ride was 5.6 miles, so I was slightly encouraged. I still need to get my cardio, my cycling legs and my sit bones toughened up to survive long hours on the bike.
I plan to learn from my mistakes of 2008 and I'm really excited about my training in 2009. So far, I've signed up for the National Capital Tour de Cure 62 MI/100 KM ride in June and I will also be signing up for the Shenandoah Valley Heritage Ride on May 31, 2009 and will probably do the 30 MI ride for them. It will be a great tune up for the TDC ride. One of my lessons learned from 2008 is to find a late season ride to join as well.
So here are some goals that I'm setting in 2009:
1-Ride 1500 miles
2-Ride the entire C&O Towpath by July 31st
3-Lose 25 pounds
4-Don't overtrain

Good Luck and Happy Cycling!!

This Week's Mileage: 14.20
Previous 30 Days Mileage: 14.20
This Year's Mileage: 14.20
Current Weight 225.6 lbs

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My First Century Week!

Last Sunday, I decided that since my two charity rides were completed, that I would set a goal this week to ride 100 miles in a week. About 3-4 weeks ago, I came close with 81 miles but usually average around 60 miles a week. The way I look at it, the first step to riding 100 miles in a day is to ride 100 miles in a week.
My work schedule and the wet weather has prevented me from pursuing this goal earlier this year, but I figured the time was right for this week. Monday is my normal rest/recovery day and I didn't ride at all. When Tuesday rolled around, I was planning to ride my bike when I got off work, but on my way home the rainstorm hit and didn't let up for sometime. I now had to ride an average of 20 miles a day for 5 days to reach my goal by Sunday. My training week runs from Monday to Sunday in case you were wondering.
The weather wasn't too much of a factor for the rest of the week, although I did get caught in a small rainstorm for about 2 miles--but no biggie. Wednesday I rode a short 7.2 mile ride with Cam. Thursday, I logged 2 rides in one in the morning and one in the evening of 15 miles and 4.80 (mountain climb) respectively. Friday, I rode 13.10 miles and Saturday was 15.30 miles before a family Fathers Day dinner. This left me with about 45 miles that I need to ride on Sunday to reach my goal.
I woke up at 7AM and headed out the door for a nice foggy morning 21.7 mile ride down River Road. I had some committments at church today, so I finished up just before 9AM and showered and headed out the door without breakfast. On the way to church, I stopped by McDonalds and grabbed a Sausage Biscuit, Hash Brown and Bottled Water. This was the first time in 2 months that I had eaten a fast food breakfast--but I knew I needed to eat something.
After church we headed down to my parents house for another Fathers Day meal and hung out til 4PM. We then headed home. At 5PM we got home and I quickly changed into my cycling gear and headed back out to do another ride on River Road. The second ride turned out to be a 21.6 mile ride and was .2 mph faster average then my first ride. I came home and filled up my water bottle and made some sandwiches and Cam and I rode down to the park and had a picnic dinner by the river. We then headed home before it got dark and completed my third ride of the day with 7.2 miles. I ended up riding 55 miles today and 105 miles for the week, so I was able to reach my goal of my first Century in a week!!!! It just seems like yesterday that I was logging in my first 10 mile ride.

On a side note, I dropped three pounds when I weighed in on Tuesday morning and I'm only 9.8 pounds away from my goal of weighing less than 200 lbs!!! Its been a good week on the bike.

This Week's Mileage: 105.90
Previous 30 Days Mileage: 339.60
This Year's Mileage: 617.70
Current Weight 209.8 lbs

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tour de Cure 2008

Back in February when I started my lifestyle change through cycling, I decided that I needed a goal to work towards to make sure I keep up with my new lifestyle. After a few days of searching, I found the Tour de Cure in Reston, VA and felt this was the perfect event to choose. Several family members have Diabetes and I knew that if I didn't make a lifestyle change, then I would eventually be diagnosed with it as well. Also, I had never ridden the the W & OD rail-to-trail and thought this would give me a great reason to ride the trail. I also set a goal to ride 500 miles this year on my bike. After I signed up for the TdC I found out about a local event the SVHR that I blogged about last week.

Flash forward and today was the Tour de Cure ride in Reston, VA. I had signed up for the Half-Metric Century which is 32 Miles. The weather was very hot (mid-90's), but I was able to finish the ride with no major problems. This is a first-class experience and I'm so glad that I participated in this event. I was hoping to raise $500 so I could win a free TdC cycling, but I came up a little short with $200. Maybe next year I'll raise enough money to win the jersey. Last year, my wife couldn't even get me on the bike because I would complain about the heat, and here I am riding in the TdC in 96 degree weather.

On this ride there were a total of three rest stops at 9, 16 and at the 23 mile markers. I skipped the second rest area because it was only 7 miles from the first one and I didn't feel the need to visit the second one even in the heat. I don't know how many riders participated, but there were at least 50-70 on my ride and it made for a very crowded trail in the beginning. It took about 5 miles for the crowds to begin to open up. I was able to ride at 17-20 mph for several miles throughout the course, but the worst part was between the 28-30 mile markers. I dropped down to 10-11 mph, but after 2-3 miles I was able to recover and finish strong.
I was very impressed with the finish line. They had a balloon arch to ride under and there were 100-200 people lining the streets and cheering us on, plus they had an MC who would comment on us as we finished up. It sent chills down my spine and made me feel proud that I finished the ride. We were greeted by some girls who gave us a big bottle of ice cold water and a bottle of freebies. I then went over to the lunch table and ate a turkey sandwich and a Larabar or something similar in name. The food was a huge refreshment.

On a side note, I was able to surpass my original goal of 500 miles on this same ride, so now I have reset my goal at 1500 miles for 2008.

This Week's Mileage: 63.60
Previous 30 Days Mileage: 276.10
This Year's Mileage: 511.80
Current Weight 212.2 lbs

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shenandoah Valley Heritage Ride

Several months ago, I signed up for this ride, since it was a local ride. I had already committed to the Tour de Cure ride in Reston, VA which is next week, but I thought I should be able to handle two charity rides in back to back weeks. This ride took us on the outskirts of Winchester, VA up and down the rolling hills and through the agricultural areas of Frederick County. The scenery was top notch and finally gave me a chance to ride in this particular area of Frederick County, VA.

This was my first official charity bike ride and I really enjoyed my experience. I was pretty nervous since I have never done a charity bike ride before and I quickly noticed that I was the only adult who was using a hybrid bike. There were a few teenagers who were using mountain bikes, but as far as I could tell, I didn't see anyone else on a hybrid but me. The local bike clubs showed their support by having a good show up from their camps. I saw representatives of the Potomac Peddlers, Winchester Wheelmen, and various other bike clubs. There were not too many such as myself who didn't have club jerseys. I was also the only adult to sport Mountain Biking "baggy" shorts instead of skin tight lycra shorts that roadies where.

I arrived at James Wood Middle School around 8:30 for the 9:00am start time. Registration was fast and easy because I pre-registered for the event. I then found a concrete step to sit on until they called for the start of the ride. There were a total of three rides that were offered for the SVHR: 30 miles, 50 miles, and 70 miles. Each route was color coded as green, blue and yellow. I was a little worried since I'm red-green color blind, that I would get lost or off track. In fact, the green arrow looked identical to the yellow arrow. Fortunately, this didn't happen, since the green route overlapped the blue and yellow, so whenever there were green arrows they were always with blue and yellow. Plus for the first 15 miles of the ride, all three colors used the same route to the same rest area. Beyond the rest area was when they split away from each other and that was well marked with signs in addition to the arrows.

The weather couldn't have been better for today, although we did get some short rain showers after lunch, but I was well beyond finished and eating lunch at Applebees when the rain did hit. For my first charity ride, I couldn't have asked for a much better ride to choose. The ride was well supported with police officers, motorcyclists and bike repairmen. My ride was the 30 mile ride and included one rest stop at the 15 mile mark. I had brought along a Clif Bar and 2 granola bars because I have heard horror stories of all the snacks being gone by the time the slower rides show up. Fortunately, this was not the case today for me, they had plenty of ice water, bottled water, gatorade, granola bars, PB&J, fruit and other snacks for the riders. In fact, I drank 3 big bottles of water, Fruit & Nut granola bar, 1/2 PB&J, and 1 banana.

This was the third weekend in a row that I have ridden 30 miles, and this was also the toughest of the three rides that I have done. It had a mixture of hills and flat areas, but it seemed that the hills were successive in some areas, so when you recover from one, it was time to start another.
There are two other things that will stick out about this ride. First is the wreck that I almost had. Since this was to support the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County, VA, they allowed 4 young boys about 12-14 start the ride. They gave them brand new Trek Flat Bar road bikes to ride, and if they finished the course they could keep the bikes. Well at around the 23 mile mark three of the boys took another break at a farmers market up on a hill. I past the market as they were coming back down the hill. Since they were traveling down hill they had lots of speed and momentum and they easily passed by me as I was riding around 20 mph on a flat stretch of road. Two of the boys were riding side by side about two feet apart, when the third decided that he was going to ride between them. At this point they were 20-30 feet in front of me and I had a birds-eye view for the events unfolding in front of me. The boy in the middle bumped on of his friends and lost his balance, and started wobbling. This ended quickly with him dumping his bike in the middle of the road. I am still traveling 20-30 feet behind them and still going about 20 mph and heading straight for the boy and his bike on the ground. I hit both of my breaks and all I hear are my tires skidding as my breaks lock up my rear tire. As I'm closing in on the boy and slowing down, I'm also trying to get my feet out of my clips so that if I do stop I won't flop over myself. It was pretty amazing, with my heart pounding in my chest with the realization that I'm going to wreck into this kid, but within 3-5 feet, I was able to stop. I also was able to get my feet out of clips before I stopped. I'm glad that I was able to avoid a potentially serious problem of hitting his bike first, and then potentially falling on top of this 100lb skinny kid.

The second thing is that during the first half of the ride, there was a couple riding tandem. For a few miles they were drafting me, and the husband eventually spoke up and starting encouraging me. He said that I was handling the hills and the headwind very well since I was riding in a fairly upright position on my hybrid. This was a huge boost of confidence since they belonged to the local bike club in Winchester. I held on and battled the wind throughout the ride and eventually made it to the finish line in 2:02:30 at a pace of 14.25 mph. I have no clue as to how much change in elevation this ride had, but I think its more than I have ever ridden before.

Overall, I'm very pleased with myself and I'm glad that I chose this ride as my first charity ride. It was a very positive experience and will definitely be back next year--hopefully with a road bike.

This Week's Mileage: 61.90
Previous 30 Days Mileage: 222.80
This Year's Mileage: 448.20
Current Weight 214.0 lbs

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Need a Spark?

This weekend marks the end of my 15th week that I've been living a healthy lifestyle. At first, I thought if I could cut back my soda consumption from 2+/- liters of soda a day to one glass, ride my bike, and cut back on fast food that I could lose my 30 pounds. That strategy worked for about 2 months where I lost around 10 lbs.. The five to six weeks I stalled and didn't gain nor did I lose. Although I was watching what I was eating, I was still packing in the calories and not keeping track of how many calories I was putting away each day. At this point I realized that I was going to have a strategy if I wanted to reach my goal of sub-200 pounds.

Then about two weeks ago, I found a website called Its a free website that helps you lose weight and reach goals in your life. Several years ago the owner created another website that was bought by Ebay for $25 million dollars, so he then created to help people. In fact, he invested $5 million of his own money in getting up and running. Oh and did I mention that it's free to join.

I will give you a small picture of what sparkpeople is about and how it can help you not only lose weight, but to help you in reaching your goals in life. It's based on a point system and you get points by doing things like: spinning a wheel, reading articles, keeping track of your food and counting calories, drinking 8 cups of water a day, exercising, posting messages on the message boards, etc. The idea is to get you involved in the website and motivating you to lose weight and to educate you about losing weight. Each day you get points when you log in and spin the wheel. Everybody likes points, and all you have to do is click on sparkpoints tab and it will show you how to get points for the day.

There are three stages to spark people and they are designed to help you get adjusted to a healthy lifestyle and to teach you how to do it. By the end of the third stage, you will be empowered to live healthy each and everyday. Oh, did I mention that it's free to join sparkpeople.

It's been two weeks since I've joined and I just entered into the 2nd stage of sparkpeople and I've lost 3 pounds!!! Through sparkpeople, I've become more conscious of the calories that I'm eating and that has helped me tremendously. For the last 4-5 days, I've been coming in at around 1600-1900 calories a day without really trying. It's like I subconsciously add the calories through the day.

Sparkpeople is not a diet plan, but is a way of teaching you a new lifestyle. If you want to learn how to live and eat healthy, or simply to lose some extra weight, or if you just want to reach some new goals in your life, then give sparkpeople a try.

Current Weight 214.0 lbs

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From Fat to Fit

In September 2007, my wife and I went out to California for vacation. We stayed with my former boss, and for the first time in my life, I got a chance to ride a motorcycle. It was awesome!! Of course, I decided that I needed a motorcycle, so my wife challenged me that if I could lose 30 lbs, then I could get a motorcycle. Well that pretty much put an end to my motorcycle dreams.

A month or so later, I was on a business trip to our corporate office to attend a manager's meeting. The owner of my company, made a joke about my big belly sticking out, and I thought to myself, "I need to change my lifestyle." But still, nothing happened.

In December, my grandmother passed away, and that was the beginning of my desire to change my lifestyle. I saw in her passing away, how cruel death can be at times. I began to remember a conversation that I had with my doctor about 2 years ago. He diagnosed me with borderline High Cholesterol (250), and gave me a long speech about changing my eating habits and my lifestyle in general. He said, "Most people believe that getting old is a b****, but I don't believe that it has to be. I believe that getting old doesn't have to mean heart attacks, strokes, etc." I realized that if I didn't make a serious change, then I would end up with either a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

My lifestyle included eating fast food 1 to 3 times a day, drinking 2+/- liters of soda a day, eating greasy, fried foods, no exercise (except for hunting). Last winter, during hunting season, I couldn't walk as far up the mountain as I used to, and felt like I was going to pass out. I had to stop and take a break every 15-20 as I walked up a steep mountain. I began to get out of breath going up one flight of stairs. Oh, and I almost forgot, that I would make fun of my wife while she was doing aerobics and I totally despised any thought of going on a diet. You can say, that I had an allergy to diets and exercise.

About five years ago, I did get into cycling and did get into a form of shape, but winter hit and I got out of shape. I had one old Schwinn that was borrowed and eventually gave back to the owner after I moved back to West Virginia, and a cheap huffy mountain bike that was crap.I was still very much a recreational rider and never did more than 250 miles a year. A year and a half ago, I purchased my first Bike Shop Bike and got a Giant Cypress with 700c wheels. However, I bought it at the end of the season and put about 65 miles on it, then the winter hit and I didn't ride again until this February.

The culmination of the above met up with me in February 2008, when I decided that I needed to make a change. Here is my picture in early March as I was beginning my journey from Fat to Fit.

My first ride was only a mile and I thought I was going to die. I set four goals for 2008 to help me keep my focus on going from Fat to Fit:

1. Lose 30 lbs
2. Ride in a Charity Bike Ride
3. Ride the entire C & O Canal Towpath
4. Ride 500 miles

I am now in my 15th week of cycling in 2008 and so far I have lost 13 lbs, 1.75" off my waist, ridden 397 miles to date, and have signed up for two charity rides for June 1st and 8th. The first is a 30 Mile ride in Winchester, VA benefiting the Boys and Girls Club, and the second is a 32 Mile Ride on the W & OD trail in Reston, VA benefiting the American Diabetes Association. When I signed up for these rides this past winter, I wasn't sure how far I could ride, so I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew, but now I'm wishing that I had picked at least a Metric Century.

Thanks for coming to my site and I hope you enjoy my future adventures as I continue my journey from fat to fit!