The Wind Slapped Me Right In The Face

Some time ago a reader mentioned trying to find a local cycling group via Meetup.com. I took their advice and found one rather easily. It’s a road and mountain biking group here locally with over 200 members. They do a lot of their own group rides but also coordinate meeting at other area group rides. I’ve been a member of the group for a couple of weeks but didn’t meet for a ride until yesterday. The 9 AM Monday Morning ‘Social’ Ride Monday was a holiday so with me not working I took the opportunity to try a group ride that I wouldn’t normally be able to make. The ride was a ‘social’ ride and was one of the weekly rides put on by the North Florida Bicycle Club. Four other members of the Meetup.com group were RSVP’d to attend so it looked like fun. Plus, the start point was only a mile from my house so it was easy just to ride to the start. Seemed like a no-brainer for my first group ride here in Jacksonville. When I showed up there was already a group of 20 or so cyclists standing around. The group included men, women, young, old, and mostly road bikes. There were a couple of the older gentlemen (one was 82) riding recumbent trikes and a new lady rider on a nice Specialized Hybrid. The vast majority though were road riders. I wasn’t there but a couple of minutes when several people introduced themselves. They made me feel right at home which was awesome. By the time we started there was probably about 25...

Words: The Elixir of Motivation

Today, while riding the elevator up to the 9th floor in the building I work in, I got into a conversation with a lady who works on the same floor as I do. It went like this: Her: Have you lost some weight? Do I really need to say anything more than that? I think not but I’ll finish the story anyway. Me: I’ve been trying. Her: Well, I can tell. Especially in your face. By now we’re at about the 5th floor but my spirits are already on 16. Me: Thanks. Her: What are you doing? Me: I’m riding a bike 10 miles before I come to work each day and longer on Saturdays. Her: (insert totally shocked face) What?! Are you serious? Me: Oh yeah. And we continue talking about my riding, how to start out slow and then build up endurance/time in the saddle, and so on. It was a great conversation and an even better way to start the day. All of us have our ups and down associated with trying to lose weight, or get in better shape, but it’s comments like my co-workers that tell us that what we’re doing is making a difference. A few simple words like hers can have the following effects: They can lift our spirits. On our weight loss journey all of us have good days and bad days. Sometimes more of the later. A simple comment from a co-worker, family member, or friend can do wonders for our attitude and spirit. They can re-energize us. Getting into the shape we want to get into can put a...

What Not To Do When The Weight Scale Doesn’t Move

Those of us who are cycling for weight loss have to deal with the weight scale. I hate it and have a real phobia with it. Why? Because it always tells me what I don’t want to see whether it’s an increase in weight or no change at all. Not seeing that weight scale moving in a downward trend has always been a problem for me. I would always become upset or down after getting on the scale after a particularly good week of riding and finding that I didn’t lose any weight. How could I ride that hard this week, put in that many miles, and not see a change in those stupid little numbers? I knew the answer. It was lying. That’s right, the scale was lying and not telling the truth. I was lighter than that and it must not be showing my weight correctly because I drank a lot of water, I hadn’t gone to the bathroom before weighing myself, had eaten breakfast before stepping on, or any other of a number of lame excuses. You can think up some really good ones when your desperate to see a change on that torture device. Or it was angry with me. It was tired of getting stepped on by a guy who weighed too much and kept feeding me false information so I would lose faith and quit crushing it to death. It wanted me to quit. The reality? It was telling the truth. Gradually, I’m beginning to learn that what the scale tells me isn’t always accurate. Even when it tells me I’m losing weight....

How To Start Road Cycling [Again] Ebook

As I told you all several weeks ago, I was going to write an Ebook to help new cyclists, or those returning to road cycling after a long layoff, get started in this great sport. I’ve finally completed it and am ready to release it. For free. As you can tell by the title, it isn’t for the advanced, or even intermediate, road cyclist. It’s basic from the first page and filled with knowledge and tips that I wish I had known when I returned to cycling in 2008. Will it answer every question? No. But I think it’ll help anyone looking for help in deciding where to buy a bike, find out what to carry in a seat bag, or learn what online tools are available for road cycling. To get How To Start Road Cycling [Again] just click on the link below. How-To-Start-Road-Cycling Thumbnail Photoc: Explore The...

Finding Measurable Improvement In Your Cycling

Do you find yourself struggling to get better on the bike? Ever wonder if you’re making any progress at all? I do and I bet others do as well. That’s why I keep a log of my training. It isn’t detailed, or even linked to a GPS enabled cyclocomputer, but it tells me what I need to know about my riding and if I’m making any progress. For instance, I went back and looked at my rides over the past three weeks to see how my average speed was doing. I felt like I was riding faster but I wanted to see if there was any truth to my ‘feelings’. I went back through three weeks of data and found the following: Average Speed Three Weeks Ago – 13.475 mph Average Speed Two Weeks Ago – 13.775 mph Average Speed 1 week ago – 13.975 mph Those aren’t huge numbers, only a .5 mph increase, but considering my level of fitness and weight, they tell me that I’m improving. Do I feel like some of that improvement Is due to my ongoing Fit with Bicycle Lab? Yes, but I think part of it is due to my legs coming back as well. Regardless, I wouldn’t have been able to look at this data if I wasn’t logging my rides. Seeing empirical data showing progress is important because I don’t feel like I’m making much progress on the bike. Granted, I’ve only been riding again for a month but I feel like my gains are coming very, very slowly and I’m not making headway on my weight. At all. Not...

The Most Interesting Cyclist In The World, Part 1

When he rides his bike, the earth spins faster. Or slower, depending on which direction he’s going. When he crashes, it can be measured on the Richter scale. Then he gets up. He doesn’t attack the Peloton, he rides it into submission. After finishing the Tour de France, he rode it again. Backwards. He doesn’t ride up a mountain, he takes the express elevator to heaven. It’s rumored he wins races he doesn’t even participate in. When he says ‘Shut Up’, his legs listen. Jens Voigt. The Most Interesting Cyclist In The...

The Ride for Semper Fi

Yesterday I received some information about an awesome ride called The Ride for Semper Fi. I don’t think I could sum up the purpose of the ride any better than their press release. From Phoenix to San Diego: A challenging bike ride for a great cause The Ride for Semper Fi sets goal to raise $177,500 for injured Marines and their families PHOENIX—When 50 cycling enthusiasts pedal from Phoenix to San Diego this October, they’ll not only test their endurance, they’ll be on a mission to make a difference. The third annual Ride for Semper Fi, which begins Oct. 13, is a 430-mile, three-day cycling adventure to raise money for injured Marines. The goal is to raise $177,500 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund by the time the cyclists end the ride at Sea World on Oct. 16. “We are not professional athletes or career fundraisers, but we are people who want to give back to those Marines who have sacrificed so much of themselves in order to fight for our country,” John Greenway, founder and chairman of The Ride for Semper Fi, said. Between now and the Ride’s kick-off in October, the 50 riders who participate—including some injured Marines who have benefited from the fund in the past—devote nearly five months to a rigorous training regime. They complete training rides of up to 100 miles while also continuing their individual fundraising efforts. In 2009, the Ride raised more than $150,000 to help defray expenses, assist in recovery and support family members of Armed Forces service people injured in combat. This year, the fundraising goal is $177,500, which...

In For Review: Diadora Speedracer Carbon R Cycling Shoes

I’ve needed a new pair of cycling shoes for a while. My old pair was several years old and had seen better days. They were truly a ‘beginners’ pair of cycling shoes as the outer sole was plastic, they weren’t stiff, and only had velcro as the closure system. So, as part of my ongoing bicycle fit I’m doing with @Victor at Bicycle Lab, I went ahead and bought a new pair of shoes. Diadora Speedracer Carbon R Specifications The Speedracer features a synthetic upper and a three closure system. The two lower closures are velcro while the top one is a four position micro-metric buckle. The upper is bonded to a stretch resistant outer cage for added support. It features a dual sole that has a carbon spine inside a fiberglass outer sole for stiffness. The shoe has full SPD and Look-type (three bolt) compatibility and is well ventilated with over 15 vent holes per shoe. First Impression I picked these cycling shoes up at a local bicycle store and had the opportunity to try them on before buying. I read some online reviews that indicated they ran a little small in size and I found that to be the case as I went with a size 45. They come with their own removable insole but I pulled them out so I could use my own. I have wide feet but found the fit to be very good. They are stiff. I knew I was losing a lot of power in my old shoes as they were almost as flimsy as a fish. There is no give in...

Site Outage, New Comments, and the Cycling Ebook

Just a short post to let you know that I appreciate everyone being patient with the site yesterday. You all know that I’m always tweaking the site, trying to make it better for what I want to do and for your experience here. One of the things I had used to tweak the look was using a plugin called Disqus. I liked it because it gave commentors multiple options to sign in. It was never perfect though so yesterday I thought I would give another, but similar, plugin called Intense Debate a try. About an hour after turning the new plugin on, I got notice from my hosting provider that they had to suspend my site due to excess server load. Apparently, Intense Debate put a huge load on the server as it imported all my comments into their system. They shut me down in order to keep the server online. I made some changes my host recommended and tried again. It looked like everything was working OK. At about 6 PM last night I checked the site and it was down again and may have been down all afternoon (nobody told me it was down so I don’t know for sure). At that point I decided to just go back to the standard commenting system and drop both plugins. Since doing so I haven’t been shutdown again and the site looks to be loading faster (maybe my readers can confirm that). You won’t get the same amount of comment options as before but I think using the standard theme comment options looks cleaner. Again, sorry for the inconvenience....

Do You Have A Training Mindset?

If you’re like me, when you think of ‘training’, as it relates to sports, or cycling, you immediately conjure images of athletes training for sporting events such as the Tour de France, Ironman Kona, or the Olympics. Isn’t that what training is all about? Getting the skills, experience, and conditioning in so that you can compete, or perform, at a higher level? Yes, but I think the word ‘training’ can apply to more than just professional cyclists and athletes. I’m not just talking about my fellow cyclists who are riding centuries every other week, climbing 8000 feet a weekend, or racing at the amateur level. I’m talking about people out there, like me, who have weight to lose. It takes a lot of effort and commitment in order to lose that weight. Or to get into better shape. Or to finish that century in under six hours. I’m not saying we’re going to compete in the 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge but can we take a page from the pros and adopt their mentality and work ethic? I say yes. Being In Training Means A 24/7 Commitment Too many of us, myself included, think of our cycling as a 1-2 hour per day commitment and we can get what we need out of it. We spin our miles before work, at lunch, or in the evening. We catch a group ride on the weekend to get a few more miles in. But are we actually pushing ourselves to do our best by only devoting a fraction of the day to our training? Hardly. There are some of you out there...
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