Daily Archives: February 14, 2005
Forget chocolate. I’m having a Big Mac (not really). Today is my anniversary of when I started on my journey back to fitness. One year ago I weighed 220 pounds and had done one 10 mile ride in the previous 18 months. 365 days and a few thousand miles later, I’m down to 155. To put that in perspective, I went through high school at 165. I’m still dropping and figure I can go another 5 pounds before calling it good. That 65 pound loss works out to the caloric equivalent of around 500 Big Macs.
It’s been quite a journey. I’m pretty astonished that I had so much to lose, but am soooo glad I’ve finally done it. I feel like ‘me’ again. I’m wearing size medium shirts (not since 9th grade). Pretty crazy… Cycling definitely agrees with me!! It was very cool to wrap up training camp yesterday and reflect on how far I have come. I wouldn’t have been able to follow those guys around the block a year ago, and yesterday I came home with 3 trophies. Pretty sweet indeed.
When someone I haven’t seen in a while first catches sight of me, the reaction is pretty dramatic. Invariably, they get around to asking how I lost the weight – their first question always seems to be ‘were you sick’? I don’t think I look sick, but I guess they’re searching for something to explain such a BIG difference. I can’t easily answer how I did it. It’s a combination of things. I worked less, I rode. I rode a LOT. I stopped drinking soda. Breakfast used to be a 44oz Pepsi and a Twix. No more. I eat about 1/3 of what I used to, and the quality of food I eat is infinitely better. Last summer I would get up early and head out on a 5 hour ride with nothing to eat at least once a week. I wouldn’t recommend that approach for the ‘low-carb’ crowd, but it worked for me because I had years of riding experience to draw upon. Also, I wasn’t training for racing at the time.
I visualized being in a boxing ring with the weight I had to lose. All of the other diets would have you sit down for a tea party with fine china, or otherwise tiptoe through the tulips on your way to weight loss. I didn’t have time for that crap. I pictured myself as Mike Tyson. Ugly. Mean. Tattoos. Gap teeth. B-A-D. Staring down the quivering mass of fat. In the fight of my life. Hitting, kicking, tearing, biting, POUNDING that weight to a pulp. Full-on Kumite. Making it beg for mercy before it shrunk away, out of the ring. Never to be heard from again. My arms held up in victory. Take that, Atkins.
The grand finale. Time trial showdown on Leyden Road. 12.7 miles, 1,000 feet of climbing, and lots of WIND. I drove the course in the morning and was feeling pretty confident about my chances (almost too confident, as usual). We would be starting at one minute intervals, and I would be going last. I was glad to be in that position.
Start your engines…
The first three miles went over some rolling terrain before hitting highway 93 and heading north towards Boulder. That’s where we’d tackle a 2-mile climb. I was secretly hoping to catch Paul before the climb and then just be able sit up and keep him at a certain distance. HA, HA – good one! I did manage to pull 20 seconds out of him by the start of the climb, but it was rough going into the huge headwind and it was costing me. I really need to get better about sticking to a reasonable plan rather than just lighting the fuse and holding on for the ride.
By my best estimate (I was able to time him when he would pass a sign or shadow on the road), Paul took 10 seconds back from me by the top of the climb. At this point the wind was just huge. You couldn’t keep any sort of momentum or rythmn. That all changed as soon as we hit the corner at the top and had a 4.5 mile straight road descent with a tailwind. I was holding 50mph for long stretches and was closing the gap – down to 30 seconds at the bottom. From there we had another 3-4 miles straight into the wind to the finish line. I thought I would accellerate right off the bat and get the gap closed down for good, but nothing doing. It was still 30 seconds up until the last half-mile or so. I was suffering pretty badly at that point. Paul switched on the afterburners and took almost all of the time back. I crossed the line with the win – by 3 seconds!!
I was really happy to have won. It felt great. I got lucky, though. I really didn’t ride the type of race I should have, and it was a good lesson for me. I can’t afford to get too cocky and blow it. My mind is a lot more optimistic than my legs sometimes…
On the way back to basecamp, we stopped at a school and did some handlebar/elbow/shoulder/head bumping while riding alongside each other on the grass. This was a drill designed to get us comfortable taking hits and dishing them out. I had read about doing this kind of thing, but kind of had the attitude that I was well beyond that sort of stuff. I approached our activity with the open-mind concept, though, and was really amazed by how cool it turned out to be. Especially when I got to see the guys I was riding with loosen up and really start to get a feel for knocking around and rubbing tires.
One final lunch, then it was award ceremony time. Paul took the trophy for the 3k TT win on Friday. I got trophies for Saturday’s hill climb, and today’s 20k TT, plus the overall classification. Paul and Eric got medals for 2nd and 3rd in the overall. I felt a little sheepish getting called up to the front three times in a row, but I’ve been working/training really hard up to this point so decided to roll with it and really soak it in. Coach Mike was very cool about giving everyone an award for something, so no one walked out empty handed. Justin got a sweet t-shirt from one of Mike’s training camps. On the back it had one of those yellow highway signs that you see with a picture of a truck pointed downhill and something about a % grade. This one had a biker instead and said such-and-such training camp, where grades really matter! Very cool!!
And so ends our training camp. Never before in all my years of riding have I trained consistently through the winter. This year I have been very dedicated and it is paying off already. I can’t wait for the season to begin!