Tag Archives: weight loss

Inspiration Comes When You Least Expect It

It has now been over six weeks of recovery, and my next visit with the doctor (and probably X-Ray) will be Monday. This week, the hip has shown some improvement. I was going to write about my progress, but I’ll save that for another day. I’d rather share a couple things that have inspired me.

The greatest inspiration this week came from Wayne, a regular blog reader since nearly the beginning. He and I have met once, and corresponded over email a few times over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe accident early last year.

Actually, severe is an understatement. His accident was devestating. He spent 1.5 months in the ICU, and another month learning to walk again. While he was in the hospital, he mentally committed himself to getting back on the bike.

Nearly a year later, he is back on the bike again.

I may be injured, but what I’m dealing with is nothing compared to the obstacles Wayne has had to fight with over the last year. He generously shared some words of wisdom in the comments of my Haute Route withdrawal post.

“I would suggest that you don’t forget why most of us start and still ride.”

I’m with Wayne there. While for me it is partly about the fitness and wellness, it is also about being outdoors, getting in tune with nature.

“Be sure to smell the roses or wildflowers as they drift by on the side of the road. Be careful about always having your head down trying to muscle your way up ever bigger hills unless the race is what you seek. I like climbing the hills also, but I like stopping at the top of the hill to survey the world from the top of the hill where I’m standing.”

I can get behind this statement completely. Part of the thrill of climbing hills is seeing the world below your feet. I’ll never forget the spectacular views from when I was on top of Mount Evans, feeling as though I was walking on the clouds with the mountainous heavens below me.

Wayne is now back on the bike, and just recently rode from a few miles inside Fort Jackson. To most of us seasoned cyclists, this wasn’t a ride for the ages, but for Wayne, there could not have been anything more satisfying.

“You could have wrapped my grin around both ears, it was so big.”

Keep on pedaling, Wayne. And make sure you keep in touch.

The other story that inspired me came from Robert Armstrong, aka Coach Rob, and the Vicious Cycle Team Leader. As you know, I recently dropped from the team due to injury, but I have gotten to know Rob and the others during this process.

When discussing training, we had talked about some of his success stories. One of them was Peter LeClaire, a guy who had found himself with a few extra pounds more than he had intended. Rob just recently posted a blog post with Peter’s reflection of his transition. He set a goal of riding in the Etape du Tour (pretty much a single TdF stage event). Not only did he succeed in his goal, but once he shed the excess weight, he kept going and transformed into a beast. Just looking at the pictures that Rob shared are awe-inspiring. Way to go, Peter!

These two tidbits of inspiration have different messages, but both apply to me, and they put this little hiccup in perspective. Sure, I’ve been off the bike for a number of weeks, which has been annoying and uncomfortable. I’ve had to deal with my share of pain, but it has mostly passed, and I will continue to get better. Nothing I’ve had to deal with compares to the recovery that Wayne has made from his accident. The fact that he kept going is, frankly, awesome.

Peter, on the other hand, assures me that no matter what fitness I lose and weight I regain, there is still hope for me to become that tiger again. With some focus and determination, it’s amazing what a person can accomplish.

Thanks for sharing the stories, guys!

Winter 2012 Report

Even though the Vernal Equinox and official first day of Spring is March 20th, looking out my window and at the upcoming weather forecast, I’m declaring it Spring right now. Daylight Savings Time begins in a couple weeks, which will allow me to get more miles and focus on my Spring training. I hereby declare Winter over. At least I’m done with it.

Here is a report of my Winter training and how it compared to last year.

Mileage has been good so far. I have ridden just over 800 in the last two months, 500 of which came in February and almost half of that was in Santee. A lot of that can be attributed to the comparatively warm winter compared with the last year. I can also attribute a lot to managing my time a little better. I now work an earlier schedule and have been able to sneak in a few miles here and there after work on warm days. In 2011 I had about 750 miles during January and February.

The miles this year have also been of much higher difficulty. I got off to a good start with the long rides in the mountains. Sassafras Mountain and Pinnacle Mountain particularly jump-started my training better than any base miles could have. The only real flat miles have been Santee weekend just recently. Even when doing my short, local rides, I have been trying to push it on hillier sections. Sometimes I will work in some intervals. It all adds up.

Another addition to my training regimen has been the weekly spin class. A number of friends who are trying to improve their riding (many are training for Mitchell) have hired a personal trainer to lead the spin class. She flat out kills us in this class. Sometimes I can barely walk afterward. We’re only in week four and I am already seeing results. I’ll talk more about this class later.

Another thing I did this year is cross-train. I did a little bit of running in January. Not a tremendous amount, maybe 25 miles or so, but that was enough to make a difference in my cycling. Since I picked up the riding in February I have not spent as much time putting foot to pavement. I have tried to do at least one short run per week, usually a mile at a time at a good pace for me.

Finally, and perhaps more importantly, my weight has been a struggle. The off-season regimen to drop down to 145 lbs didn’t happen. The closest I came was 147 a few weeks back. Now I am in the 149-150 range. I still expect a lot of that to drop once daylight savings time comes and I can get more weekday rides. The goal is still 145 lbs by Mount Mitchell day.

Post-Holidays Training Update

Happy New Year to everyone! A few weeks ago I was in the midst of a strength program. That was a high rep and low weight program. Around the time of the holidays my plan was to transition to a higher weight, lower rep program while gradually getting more bike time. On top of that I hoped to lose another pound or two.

So that didn’t happen.

The weight room program was going great and I was noticing a gradual difference. That was starting to show on the bike as well. The transition was going to begin around Christmas and then after the New Year I would start with the new program. What I didn’t count on was that my gym would close during my normal workout hours in the week between Christmas and New Years. Instead I snuck in a ride and spent a little time on the trainer. At least with that, I wouldn’t lose fitness. Now that the New Year has come and gone, I still haven’t been inside the gym for a number of reasons.

So the transition is still on hold and with a lot around the corner, might not continue, at least not the way I had hoped. Weight training will continue to a certain degree throughout the season, but the focus will probably be on maintenance with minimal gains.

And you know what? That is absolutely fine. The good thing is I am well beyond where I was last year. I’m actually in pretty good riding shape and now need to switch my focus to getting as many base miles as the weather and my schedule allow. At this rate, I’ll be stronger come spring.

Now the diet is another story. Rather than lose weight, I gained a little bit. I have since already trimmed some of that and hopefully that will continue as the training progresses.

This weekend I will be putting that training to the test yet again with some ‘insanely steep climbs,’ as the ride leader calls them. More on that later.

Back on the Scale Again

I am officially registered for Bridge to Bridge. It is yet another mountainous century ride, beginning at Lenoir, NC and ending at the top of Grandfather Mountain. While the numbers are comparable to Hot Doggett, the layout is more like Mitchell. The only major difference is that the climbing begins about halfway with a 10-mile, category one climb, then a gradual climb to the top. Grandfather Mountain will be short and steep. I have heard it is anywhere from a 15-20% grade.

With just under two months to prepare, it is time for me to get back into a training mentality. I stopped weighing myself after Mitchell. I was careful to continue to make healthy food choices, but didn’t watch calories or watch for portion control. I just weighed myself yesterday and found that I am about six pounds heavier than I was in May. That is still a great weight for me, but to make the climbing easier, it would help if I gradually dropped a little bit. Now I am at around 152 and would like to be 145 by ride day.

Much of my training will be similar to what I did before, which worked great for Mitchell. The only change I’ll make is with my training ride fueling. I feel that I am a stronger rider now and much less susceptible to bonking from inadequate fueling. During my initial training, I would make sure to get around 250-300 calories per hour of riding. I’m going to cut that down to about 100 for weekday rides and 200 for longer rides. I will fuel a little more for the big, organized rides like Blue Ridge Breakaway and Carolina Foothills Tour, where over-fueling will be the safest and most comfortable route.

My fall schedule will be heavy. Beginning August 20th, I will participate in large events for 5 of the next 6 weekends. That will end with the MS Ride, a double century. The season will be capped two weeks later with a 253 mile, one-day group ride from Spartanburg to Charleston. Yes, crazy, I know.