Loser on a Bike: Week 6

   After having a “not so great” week last week, this week has been really good. The hunger I have had over the past several weeks was gone as were my cravings for tobacco. Hopefully they won’t be back, but we’ll see.


   My wife and I headed to St. Louis last Sunday to watch the Cardinals spank Brandon Phillips and the Reds, which they did. I pretty much just took the day off Sunday and put everything out of my mind so I could “reset”.

    I slept in Monday morning and woke up looking forward to the new week. Al had left a message for me to call him so he could give me some new strength exercises. I had mentioned last week that my strength sessions were getting “routine”. He gave me some new things to work on, which I very much appreciated. I got busy Monday evening with the new exercises he gave me and I added in some upper body stuff as well. I think it was just what I needed. There was a good mix of stability ball, body weight and dumbbell exercises. After the workout, I was spent, and I could tell that it might be a challenge to get out of bed the next morning, but I was feeling good about the direction the week was taking so far.

    Diet wise, things went well this week. I wasn’t starving on Wednesday like I have been the last several weeks and I seemed to be doing well with eating for fuel and not out of habit or stress. I have tried to cut back on things like bread, potatoes and pasta. I haven’t been eating a lot of those things anyway, just some whole grain bread and small amounts of potatoes and pasta every now and then. I’ve been trying to cut back even further and eat more fruits and vegetables with quite a bit of lean protein. I try to replace potatoes with sweet potatoes whenever possible (like baked sweet potato fries), and a lot of times I’ll replace the bread in a sandwich with lettuce or maybe a half of a bell pepper (tuna stuffed into a half a bell pepper is good). I still eat some whole grain oatmeal for breakfast on occasion, but instead of sweetening with sugar or sugar substitute, I may put some fruit in it and a little Agave Nectar. And eggs…quite a few eggs/egg whites with lean turkey sausage. Of course protein shakes after workouts as well…skim milk, banana and whey protein is my go to shake.

    Tuesday morning I didn’t know if I’d be able to get out of bed or not. I was stiff and sore, but I stretched out a little and felt ok. We were still having major storms here but there was a break that afternoon. I jumped at the chance and took off on the bike getting in about 18 miles or so. It took a few miles to finally loosen up and work the soreness out, but I finally settled in. I really worked on keeping my cadence up and being smooth because I have a tendency to move and bounce around a lot. I was feeling very good about the week so far. I haven’t mentioned it other than talking about a broken spoke last week, but I’ve been having a problem with my rear spokes coming lose during a ride. I had gone through and tensioned them all before taking off Tuesday and I guess I finally got it right because I didn’t have any further problems with them. After returning home, I stretched and rolled out with “the stick”. I have the travel version of the stick which is shorter and great for rolling out the legs, but not so great for other areas. Al had mentioned in his foam roller 101 message about using a basketball to roll out. Well, since I don’t own a foam roller, I decided to give this a shot. I’m sure I looked awkward rolling around on the ball, but it seemed to really work. I rolled out areas that I couldn’t get to very well with the travel stick…my glutes and IT band. Man it hurt. but I was able to get way down deep.


   Wednesday brought another good workout. We were having major thunderstorms/tornadoes again and I wanted to get a little more time in the saddle, so I dragged out the trainer and got in a pretty tough 9 miles. I still hadn’t gotten used to my Adamo Century saddle and was beginning to get really disappointed. It feels good for about 15 or 20 minutes once I get on, but then it gets so uncomfortable that I have to start stopping every few miles just to get off for a second. I again worked with the exercises Al had pointed me to including stability ball, body weight and dumbbell. I was pretty spent after the workout, but it felt good. I stretched/rolled out and got to bed feeling really good about the week to this point.


   Soreness again Thursday morning, but not quite as bad as it was on Tuesday. I jumped on the bike after returning from work and got in a little over 20 miles. We were still having storms here, but I was able to get it in between fronts. I worked on fast pedal intervals according to the MVP plan and it went really well. I am finally getting to where I am able to keep my cadence up and it’s feeling good. A few weeks ago, my natural cadence was somewhere in the 60’s, and now it seems to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. I was feeling the same discomfort in the saddle on this ride as well. I had to stop a few times and just had to stand up other times to get out of the saddle for a bit. I made the decision that after I got home, I was going to put my old cheap saddle back on and see how it went on the next ride.


   Friday was supposed to be a rest day, but the weather was absolutely beautiful! Nice and sunny with a light 6-8 mph breeze. Storms were supposed to be moving back in on Saturday night, so I decided to move up my Sat and Sun rides to Fri and Sat. I took off planning to get in a good hard but steady 1:45 to 2 hour ride. About 6 miles into it, I was wondering if I had made a mistake…I started cramping in my left knee/glute and felt a twinge in my knee. I backed off a little, continued on and by mile 10 it was gone. I didn’t fuel or hydrate properly beforehand, so that’s what I chalked it up to, but after downing some water on the bike, things were good. At about the 50 to 55 minute mark, I reached a good turnaround spot and headed back in. Things went a lot quicker on the way back, because I wound up back at the house in a little over 1:30. A little short of what I had planned, but a good ride anyway. The ride felt great and the old saddle made all the difference in the world. I don’t know if maybe I’m just still too heavy for the Adamo saddle or what, but I just could never get used to it. I think I’ll try it again after I’m drop some more weight. After return, I stretched and rolled out taking my time to get in deep. Hunger was still in check and everything was going great.


   Saturday brought back the familiar 20+ mph wind. I was planning to do my normal 16 mile loop just to get in a very easy ride. I left my HR strap at home and disconnected the cadence sensor. I just really wanted to go out, pedal easy and have a good time. I would’ve left the Garmin at home if I hadn’t needed it for the +3 upload. That was a blast! I worked up a little sweat, but kept it pretty easy and just really enjoyed the ride. I’m definitely going to start doing that at least once a week. I got home, stretched out and started wondering what the scale would show on Sunday morning…


   What did it show?


     Another 2.2 lbs down

     Total of 21.4 lbs lost over 6 weeks

     Average of a little over 3.5 lbs per week

     I’ve taken up another notch in my belt and am down another jeans size (a little snug, but they fit).

     Tobacco free for 19 days and not looking back!

     Feel absolutely great!


   So that was my week in a nutshell. Looking forward to the new week and more progress. Until next time…