Loser on a Bike: Week 4

   Another week down and a little closer to the goal…


   This has been a good week because I finally feel like I am adapting to the new lifestyle well. Settling in if you will. I still have a mountain of weight to lose and progress to make, but I feel like I am over the initial “hump”. Monday started off well, getting in my normal strength routine and some stretching afterwards. We had major thunderstorms/rain all day Monday and Monday night, so I was really glad that was a strength day. I can really tell I’m making good strength gains already.


   After the storms and rain moved out, Tuesday was absolutely beautiful with lots of sun. The wind had changed and was blowing out of the North at about 11mph, so it was a little cool, but nice. I mounted my Adamo Century saddle, cleaned, lubed and gave the bike an overall check Tuesday afternoon planning to take off on my ride somewhere around 3 or 4 pm. As I started to warm up, I noticed that the screen on my Garmin didn’t look as I expected. With about a mile down, I stopped to check it. When I first started last year, I actually started running before I got on the bike and so one of my first purchases was a Garmin Forerunner 305. When I got on the bike, I decided to just buy a bike mount and cadence sensor for the Forerunner instead of shelling out the bucks for an Edge. When I had programmed my workout for the day, I had apparently set it up for a run instead of bike. I wound up just having to reset it and do the workout from memory the best I could. The first mile of data was lost…and I hate that because I am a serious geek/data weenie. Anyway, I got started again and settled in to the ride. I estimated my intervals by the timer on the Forerunner and just tried to stick with the plan as well as I could. I wound up stopping at about the 2/3 point to make a small adjustment to the Adamo saddle and then again with about 3 miles left to go. I really like the saddle, but it definitely takes getting used to. After getting a few rides on it under my belt, it’ll be great. Thanks for the recommendation Lou! I arrived back home feeling great. After recovering for a minute, I stretched out and then grabbed something to eat. About 30 minutes later, I uploaded my data and looked it over. I felt strong the entire ride and was gassed when I finished, but feeling very exhilarated. A good day in the books and looking forward to the next ride on Thursday. I can definitely tell the strength workouts are helping because I feel stronger on the bike than I have since I started last year…and I know it’ll keep getting better. I did shoot to maintain 15 mph on this ride, but fell a little short at 14.4.


   Wednesday was almost identical to last Wednesday. It all started off good and my strength session went well, but somewhere around 4pm I was starving and couldn’t shake it. I seem to make it just fine every other day besides Wednesday and I’m not sure exactly why…I think next Wednesday I will try to up my protein intake in the early part of the day and see if that takes care of it. On ride days, (and apparently every other day besides Wednesday), I don’t seem to get nearly as hungry. A hard ride actually seems to suppress my appetite. I’ll experiment a little more and see what I can figure out.


   Thursday’s ride was good. It was pretty windy and instead of doing the normal 20 mile loop, I decided to take the last couple of legs of that loop and do an out and back. This worked well, because I was fighting the headwind during the first half while working on my intervals. I was able to keep my cadence up well over this trip and made sure to really recover between each interval. The return trip was just plain old fun. I felt very strong after this ride.


   I spent a little time on Friday cleaning and lubricating my bike, but also taking a 30 minute walk Friday afternoon. I stretched and rolled out Friday evening, anticipating the weekend. We had a family gathering to attend on Saturday and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get a ride in that day, so I adjusted my plans and decided to do my longer ride on Sunday.


   On Sunday, I woke up to the familiar howling wind we have had around here lately. I checked the weather and it looked like 18-20 mph constant wind with large gusts for the whole day. I thought about it over breakfast and decided to hell with the wind! I’ve been wanting to do a 50 mile ride for some time now and if I keep waiting on good weather, I might not ever get it in. So full of willpower, I took off. It was really a struggle on the southbound legs of the ride heading straight into the wind. The east and west legs weren’t a whole lot better because it seemed like the gusts would just about blow you over. I dug deep and tried to maintain a 10 mph average into the wind but wasn’t totally successful. A lot of times I could only manage 7-8 mph into the wind. I knew that if I could just make it to the halfway point, the ride back would be somewhat better. Reaching the halfway point, I was relieved. It was at the end of a long southbound leg. I turned and headed back…able to really book it. That was fun and worth every bit of the struggle I’d had getting there. Still not used to my new saddle yet, so I had to stop every few miles and just get off for a few minutes, but it worked out pretty well. By the time I was about 12 miles from home, I was totally out of water and sports drink. I stopped at the only vending machine anywhere on the route hoping to find some water, but no such luck. Only Pepsi and Mountain Dew. I chugged a Pepsi and poured a Mountain Dew into my water bottle for the rest of the trip. Feeling pretty good, but definitely worn out, I took off the the last part of the ride. Pulling back into the house, I was thrilled. I finally did a 50 mile ride! I know that’s not much compared to a lot of people on here, but for a 314 lb fat boy, it was awesome! I came in, rehydrated and stretched out just thinking about the day when I’ll be able to ride 2 century rides in a weekend. Looking over my data, It took me 4 hours and a little over 13 minutes to do that 50.6 miles. I wound up averaging 12.0 mph. Not great, but considering the wind and the fact that there were times I didn’t know If I’d make it back at all, not bad.


   So, what’s the damage for the week? 3 pounds. That brings the total to 18 lbs down in 4 weeks at 314. I am feeling great!


   There is one other subject I wanted to talk about that I haven’t mentioned here before. I’ve pretty much put everything out there for everybody to see and I think it definitely helps keep me accountable. Ok, so the other thing I want to talk about is tobacco. When I was 15 and playing high school baseball, I started using smokeless tobacco. I used this for about a year before I turned to smoking. Back then it was still the “cool” thing to do. I smoked from the time I was 16 until I entered boot camp at age 20. By the time I went into boot camp, I really wanted to quit, but couldn’t seem to do it. Well, going into the military was a blessing because not only did it get me into shape, but there is absolutely no tobacco during training. I HAD to quit the minute we pulled into the gate. I made it just fine. I guess with all the exercise I was getting and stress I was under I didn’t have the time to freak out about not having tobacco. By the time we started getting weekend passes in advanced training, I was tobacco free and 62 pounds lighter. I was feeling great! Then I probably made the second stupidest decision I ever made…I had a couple of buddies out on the pass with me. One was smoking, and the other was dipping. I turned down the cigarette, but gave in to the dip. Wow that was stupid as I look back from 20 years later. I have pretty much been a smokeless user ever since.


   So last year, Plochman was helping me out a lot with cycling and this very subject came up. He had been a smokeless user as well like 4 or 5 years earlier. He was able to quit by basically weaning himself off of the stuff. He sent me a very detailed message laying out exactly how he was able to do it. Well, I never did do it last year…I started the plan but at some point, I lost my motivation and gave up. And here we are today. I have been working on cutting down more and more over the last several weeks and this past Wednesday was the day. As I type this, I haven’t had a “dip” in 5 full days. There have been times that I have reached for it and realized that it’s not there anymore. There have been times that I would think, “Man I really wish I had a dip”, but there’s no looking back! I am going to take it one day at a time, but have full confidence that I am done with that particular habit. I really want to thank Plochman, because without his detailed plan, I’m not sure I could’ve made it this far. It’s definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…and you definitely have to take it day by day. So, that is why I’m discussing it here…to be accountable. I will also be including the number of tobacco free days along with my other stats from now on.


   Well, that was my week, hope yours was great and I’ll be back next week.