Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I bought a spin bike for the house. I never could figure out or trust rollers and none of the other exercise bikes in my price range seemed like they would hold up so I bought a spin bike. Spinning has taught me to be less concerned with mileage and with average speed – there is no speedometer, odometer or any other kind of meter on my spin bike. I could wear my Garmin, but it won’t show any progress – only time. That’s what I’m focusing on when I’m spinning – riding for x number of minutes at a time.

Now, granted my time on the spin bike is currently fairly short – only in the 10 minute range, but that will be increasing as I move forward. My goal is to spin at least 5 days per week.

Some people call it boring, but I find it relaxing. It gives me a chance to retreat a bit from the chaos of the house and focus only on one thing – turning the cranks. Its almost a zen-like feeling as I focus solely on what I’m doing and leave the rest to resolve itself.

I know riding the spin bike this winter will give me a new appreciation for riding my bike and actually going somewhere. Sure I’ll still be doing my training loops and out and backs, but I think I will enjoy them more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Afternoon Ride

Took the afternoon off yesterday and decided to ride on a trail near Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Its called the Railroad Tunnels Trail. For the first half it follows the old railroad bed where the tracks for transporting the materials to construct the dam once laid. Along the way they carved 5 tunnels through the rock to facilitate the journey – hence the name.

The temps were in the low 50’s with a very light wind and lots of sunshine – a gorgeous day to ride, if a bit cool in the shade.

I have to say I really enjoyed this ride. It had a very different flavor from my early morning rides which are mostly about getting in the miles as quickly as I can and then getting home to get ready for work. This was a pleasant roll along a fairly smooth gravel trail with some gorgeous views of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains. Add to that the bonus of actually going through tunnels carved through the mountainsides and it was truly a lot of fun. There was, however one disappointment for the ride – you can’t actually ride to the dam along the trail. It ends at a series of steps and from the top, you cannot see the dam.

I have ridden part of the trail in the past with my grandson, Jacob, but we only made it about halfway – just past the third tunnel. What was interesting is that beyond the fifth tunnel, the trail leaves the gentle, fairly flat railroad bed and takes a fairly dramatic descent to the steps area. I didn’t realize how dramatic until I got to the bottom and then had to ride back up. The total elevation change was 586 feet according to my garmin, but it was the unexpected nature of it that caught me off guard.

This ride reminded me what it is I enjoy about riding my bike – getting out and seeing things and covering distances much easier than walking. Was I fast – definitely not. With all my stopping to look and talk to hikers along the trail, plus taking pictures of the big horn sheep, it took 72 minutes to cover the 7.22 miles I rode. A short ride by a lot of standards, but a huge one in my book as it helped to rekindle my fire for and love of riding.

Also received a delivery last night via UPS. It is an exercise bike so that I can keep up with my riding in the colder weather. Sure, I know its not that bad, being only in the 30’s, but I find myself using that as an excuse for not riding. This removes the weather as an excuse. It also allows my to jump on and do 15 or 20 minutes several times a day if I want to. I have big plans for improving my stamina and strength using this new equipment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So Many times

So many times I've started to write a post, gotten lost in the middle and never went back to finish it, and therefore never posted it.  I'm starting to really notice a pattern here - not just with the blog posts, but with my weight loss efforts.  Many times I've started losing weight, getting healthy and then gotten lost and abandoned the journey.  Not anymore.

I've watched the Biggest Loser every season from season one.  I've seen amazing transformation
occur on the show and seriously have thought to myself "I can do that."  I don't see it happening as
quickly as on the show since I have other things, like a job and family obligations, that prevent my dedicating such large amounts of time to it, but there is no reason I can't do some work outs and watch what I eat and get healthy.

Thoughts are easy. Ideas come all the time.  The hard part is putting those ideas into action on a daily basis.

 I've noticed that there is a need to have some sort of emotional revelation or catharsis in order for the new lifestyle to really stick.  Those that have a breakthrough emotionally on the show are the most successful when it comes to maintaining the healthy lifestyle beyond the show.

I'm waiting for it to click for me.  I'm waiting for it to become second nature.  I'm waiting.  Maybe that's the problem - I'm waiting instead of doing.

I want to be the person who can go for a 50 or 100 miles ride on the weekend and not think of it as any great feat.  I want to be the person who would rather ride/hike/run/??? instead of sitting on the couch
watching it happen or on the computer playing games.  Right now, I'm not that person.  Right now I prefer staying nice and warm in the house.  I prefer playing on the
computer and watching TV.

If I could ask one thing of all those successful people on the Biggest Loser, it would be when did it change for them?  What made it change for them?

I did a triathlon lastyear.  Sure I wasn't fast and finished 376 out of 383 overall, but I did it.  I had planned on doing it again this year, but I lost my way.  Training became a chore.  My motivation evaporated.  It was no longer new and exciting.  I shied away from the work I needed to do.  Part of it was the training route
was more difficult than the flat I rode/walked previously, but that should be a good thing.  Instead it made me not want to ride it.

Somehow I need to rekindle the fire to actually go out and do the work.  To face the cold and early mornings.  To set small, incremental goals and then achieve them.

I read Fatty's blog.  And The Trailer Park Cyclist and Elizabeth Waterstraat’s and I think to myself “why can’t I do these things?”  I mean, Fatty rides 100 mile MTB races, completes marathons and triathlons.  TJ
(The Trailer Park Cyclist) rides centuries for fun on a monthly basis.  Elizabeth completed Ironman KONA this year for the second time and did it in 10:22:02  which is amazing!  In my mind I tell myself that I can do these things – all it takes it hard work and dedication. And that’s where I have a problem.  Staying motivated to do the work to get out there day after day and do what needs to be done.

I should have been happy when I completed Pumpkinman in October of 2010.  I was, but I was also feeling that maybe I cheated and it wasn’t such a big deal because I hadn’t worked as hard as I could have so didn’t end up with the time I could have.  I knew I put in some work to get ready, but when I truly examine it, I didn’t put in as much as I could have.  I expected to feel spent at the finish line, having given everything I had to complete the race and I really didn’t feel like it.  There was still gas left in the tank and I think that is what makes the accomplishment feel lessened somehow.
I’m looking forward and trying to set some goals and trying to decide what I want to accomplish in 2012 and I’m not sure yet.  I need to do some more soul searching and see what gets me up and out there.  One big
event will be my 50th birthday.  The question is, what should I do to commemorate it?  What will be my
motivation to do the work day in and day out? When will the work become fun?