Loser on a Bike: Week 2

   Wow! Is week 2 over already? Thanks for all of the comments/messages after my last post, I really appreciate the feedback. Anyway, here we go with week 2 in review, as best I can describe it. 


   The cold front/rain/thunderstorms that were here last weekend remained through Tuesday. Temps ranged from the upper 30’s to low 40’s. Way too cold and rainy for me to ride on Tuesday, so another ride missed. I had very good strength workouts on Monday and Wednesday and when Thursday rolled around I was just itching to get out on the bike. It had been a week since I had ridden. There was a little breeze blowing and still pretty cold outside. Cold enough that it made your throat burn. I warmed up, settled in and was feeling good. Intervals felt good, leaving me fairly spent, but in a good way. Of course if you’ve read my blog post on my little confrontation you know that I ran into a little driver trouble right after the last one was over. After that lady sped off and was gone, the rest of the ride home was uneventful.


   As I have said before, I am new to cycling and knew absolutely nothing about it when I started last year. I purchased a cheap “Big Mart” “road bike” if you want to call it that when I started. It cost right at $160. I guess if you don’t know any better, a bike is a bike. I have since learned that is absolutely not the case. Of course, my wife still thinks that anything over $150 is too much for a bike, but she is learning. Actually finding that cycling is quite a bit more costly than golfing which is another story all together. 


   I have been looking for a decent bike over the last year, looking at everything from $600-$1000 entry level aluminum bikes on up to $2500+ carbon bikes. At this point, I could probably scrape together enough to get a nice $2000 bike, but I might not rest very well in the dog house. I have also been into exactly 3 bike shops in my life. Two in Cape Girardeau, MO and one in Jonesboro, AR. These towns are both about an hour away from my house, so I really do not have a truly “local” bike shop. I’m not trying to make a blanket statement about bike shops at all or anyone else in the industry, but in two of the three shops, I felt so uncomfortable that I turned around and walked out nearly as quickly as I had walked in. The third shop was pretty helpful and I purchased my shoes and clipless pedals from them last year. I got a look at a bike that was ordered from an online discount bike dealer that I’m sure everyone is familiar with. It was a Schwinn Le Tour Legacy, Steel frame 105 drivetrain save the FSA crank. I absolutely loved this bike! It reminded me of one I had won in third grade and ridden pretty much through my teen years. The difference between it and my “Big Mart” bike was unbelievable. I had also test ridden some lower end Trek bikes and I liked this one so much better. It probably weighed 10 lbs less than my aluminum frame el cheapo.


   With the closeout price, I couldn’t resist and pulled the trigger. The significant other wasn’t too upset about it. Of course it didn’t hurt that I turned 41 on Wednesday and I told her it could just be my gift from her. (Except that I also ordered a pair of Smith Pivlocks:). I ordered it on Monday night and it arrived on Friday. It was very well boxed and assembly basically just involved removing packing materials, attaching the front wheel, seat post/seat, stem and handlebars. A few minor adjustments with the rear derailleur and it was ready to roll.


   I rode around the driveway a few times just thinking of how much fun I was going to have on my long ride the next day. On Saturday morning, I woke up immediately checking the weather on my iPhone. Sunny, about 60 and a very light breeze. Perfect! I just imagined how glorious a ride I was about to embark on. I suited up, hooked up my Garmin, grabbed a couple of water bottles and even a couple of mini cliff bars in case I needed them. The first 5 miles was a breeze. Everything I had hoped for. I saw a friend of mine outside in the first town I rolled through. I stopped and visited for about 5 minutes talking about how pretty the day was. After leaving him, I rolled on and by the time I reached the next little town about 5 miles later, I was beginning to have a little discomfort on the saddle. It dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t be trying out a new saddle on a ride that is basically double anything I have done so far this year. I really liked the looks of the saddle and it felt good around the driveway, but I was figuring out very quickly that I should have switched it out for the one I was used to and really liked. Oh well, I thought, I’ll keep going and just stop every 5 or 10 miles to take a break…it’ll be fine. I jumped back on the bike and rolled on. I made it out to the interstate in another 5 or 6 miles and by the time I got there I was really hurting. My chamois just wasn’t cutting it. I stopped, drank some water and tried to recover a little. I was a little less than halfway at this point and the remainder of the ride progressively got worse. By the time I was within 5 miles of the house, it was all I could do to make it a mile without having to stop. I would pedal a little bit and then jump off the saddle just to take the pressure off.

   I finally made it home and was sooo relieved to be back. The first thing I did after stretching and eating a bite was to put my old saddle on the new bike. I didn’t even want to look at that other saddle anymore! I absolutely love the new bike and I think it is perfect for me right now. The riding position is exactly what I was looking for. I’ll step up in a year or two if need be.


   I pretty much rested the remainder of Saturday, watching the NCAA Final Four that night. I went to bed pretty early for a Saturday night and in waking up Sunday morning I couldn’t wait to jump on the scale and see what I had done for the week. Seven, count em seven pounds lost this week, bringing the grand total to 13 for the last two weeks. I’ve already reached my first mini-goal of getting below 320. Now to focus on 300. Long term wise I am now 99 lbs away from my main goal of 220. I’m really not sure if 220 is where I want to be for good, but once we get there, we’ll see.


   I am very confident that if I can just take Lou Plummer’s advice in being consistent, I will get there, and consistency is going to be a major theme for me from now on. – Thanks Lou. Also, thanks Al for giving me a plan and Plochman for being there when I need to ask a question. As well as everybody else in the VR community for the comments and feedback. This such a great community and you just can’t put a price on the kind of information, inspiration and motivation that you get here. Until next week, “Get on your bike and ride”!