I’m sure you’re asking by now why I’ve decided to ride a bike to help me lose these 100 pounds. For me the reason was simple. Riding a bicycle is the only endurance sport that I’ve ever been any good at.
Running is out of the question. Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a difficult time running long distances. It always hurt my calves to run much further than a mile and it still does to this day. In high school the max distance I ran was the 200 meter sprint. My bread-and-butter was the opening leg of the 4×100 meter relay. I was fast out of the blocks and a very good sprinter over short distances. In the off-season we would run long distance just to build endurance and I hated it. Even after joining the military I never became accustomed to it. I attended Officer’s Candidate School (OCS) in the mid-90s and was forced to run long distance. I had to in order to graduate. Not to mention that those Marine Corps drill instructors were very motivating! Man I’ve got some stories! Anyway, I left OCS in the best shape of my life but that quickly deteriorated because of my lack of desire to run. About five years later I had to have surgery on my ankle to remove bone spurs and some floating bone fragments. Needless to say my dreams of becoming a long-distance ultra-marathoner were over. Seriously, that was never a dream of mine!
I like swimming but finding the time and resources is difficult. You can’t get much more low-impact that swimming and it’s a great workout for the entire body. I swam for a bit while recovering from my ankle surgery and it seemed to help. Finding a pool and working a swim workout into my schedule isn’t easy though. Because of tha, swimming is out.
That left biking. I think I got my first bike when I was about six or seven. It even had a banana seat. Throughout my teenage years I had several bikes and learned to work on them myself. I always remember watch the Tour de France on TV and had dreams one day being able to race a bike. In the mid-90’s I bought my first real bike. It was a Cannondale R-300. I was in heaven. I bought it to train for a ride from Groton, CT to Akron, OH. I rode to work almost every day and tried to get some “training” rides in when I could. I say “training” because I had no idea what I was doing. Anyway, that trip went very well and since then that bike has been a trooper. Why a trooper? Because I’ve lugged that thing through about five different moves, had it become a professional dust collector, and didn’t ride it again for I don’t know how long. It’s actually quite pathetic to look at right now. Truth be told, I’m too heavy for it now anyway. So, after moving to Florida in late 2006 I had visions of riding again but knew I couldn’t begin with a serious bike. So, I headed off to the local Target and come home with a brand new Schwinn Trailways bike. It’s a hybrid with front shocks, a triple chain ring, index shifting, and reflectors. Sadly, that bike has sat in my garage unused for months save for the occasional spin around the neighborhood. Over the course of the last few weeks though I’ve begun to get it ready to ride. I moved the water bottle cages, look-style pedals, and seat from the R-300 to the Schwinn. Next I dug around in the garage until I found the bag where my shoes, helmet, gloves, and seat bag were stashed. I was set to ride at the time of my choosing.
Is this bike going to get me from 280 to 180? I hope so. I plan on putting a lot of miles on it to make it happen. I told my wife that when I get down to 180 I’m going to want a “real” bike. It won’t be one of those carbon fiber savings account busters but it’ll be something that my new body will be able to power to maximum potential.
There you have it. It’s biking for me. Lookout asphalt, bad drivers, and squirrels because I’m coming to a street near you. I wonder if I can get my kids to setup aid stations along the route? I doubt it.