Every Other Day For Three Years

When I started my cycling journey whilst questing for good health I often felt like quitting. Red-faced, walking my bike up the smallest hills, not being able to catch my breath and unable to keep up with anyone. I felt like a big fat failure.

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Me and my 1986 Schwinn World Tourist (10 speed), in 2016/17.

At the time I had lost my first 30 pounds by cutting calories but I still had over 30 more to lose and was in horrible shape. Maybe it was the excitement of losing the initial weight, maybe riding my bike was reminding me of happier times, probably the hormone changes and endorphins were kicking in, but something made me dig in and keep it up when I wanted to (and normally would have) quit.

Within a year I lost the rest of the weight. I was feeling wonderful and more importantly, I had a new attitude, like a new lease on life. That first year was a lot of hard work but now I was reaping the benefits of daily exercise. Almost 2 years later I’ve not gained a pound back keeping my weight within 5 pounds of my target of 139.

The biggest surprise was the change in how other people looked at and treated me that had nothing to do with my weight. They saw a hard working, positive, reliable, better me because I was now living that way. It was definitely an eye-opening learning experience about what I was really made of. One that taught me that maybe I was ok after all and that gave me the confidence to continue. It will be 3 years on February 20th I’ve never been in better health and I’m convinced I found the Fountain Of Youth.

Benefits Of Daily Exercise

  • Fights Depression Without Drugs
  • Lose Fat Around Internal Organs (the worst fat you can have)
  • More Quality Sleep
  • Eat Less/Crave Better Food
  • Maintain Healthy Weight
  • Positive Attitude
  • Get Sick Less (Colds, Flu)
  • Low Resting Heart Rate
  • Less Cortisol (Bad Hormones)
  • Reverse High Blood Pressure
  • Reverse Heart Disease
  • Reverse Diabetes
  • Reverse High Cholesterol
  • Better Bone Density
  • Fights Dementia
  • Live Longer

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Happy together, me and my 2017 Norco Rideau (24 gears), 2018/19.

What was the biggest thing that kept me going through plateaus and setbacks? All the improvements I kept seeing in my life! Even the smallest wins gave me the confidence to keep it going and get it done.

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Proud of my Lifetime Stats on MapMyRide started on Feb. 20th, 2016.

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MapMyRide ranks user’s rides. You can see how you’re doing compared to other people riding the same trails. They go by age and sex. The points are just for fun.

Keeping a record of your rides/exercise of choice is easy with all of the free apps these days like MapMyFitness (click HERE.) Made by Under Armor this system will track any kind of exercise including dog walking. Strava is another favorite (HERE.)

Wearable trackers like Fitbit offers us a way to track invisible health trends like sleep, resting heart rate and more. Click HERE for tracking your rides, HERE for tracking your rides if you own a Fitbit.

Click HERE if you want to know how to start changing your life with diet and exercise like I did. This is the beginning (part one of 3 parts), of the Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change. It worked for me it will for you.

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On the 20th I look forward to celebrating my good health, keeping the weight off, feeling wonderful, maintaining my motivation to ride 20-30 miles every other day and kicking 2019’s ass! Join me!

You don’t need New Year’s resolutions, you need to do one thing and do it well. You can do it!

Smoke On The Water

In 2017 there were terrible forest fires in northern California but the air quality didn’t suffer for most of the state. The weather was clearing out the bad air and no one needed masks unless they were sick.

Then this fall, another fire started up north (only 100 miles away) and near LA at the same time. Now there were fires above and below the Bay Area. A windless, rainless front dropped into the area and would not move. Our air quality was stagnant with smoke and haze for weeks making history. Even now I wait for the air to clear which is supposed to happen tomorrow when we finally get some rain-if we do get some rain.

Screenshot_20181109-085043_WeatherBugDon’t go outside! This was not the worst air day it got much worse. I couldn’t ride my bike for over a week until I bought N95 masks.

People not living here wonder how this could happen. For decades we had a horrible drought that killed trees, brush, and dried out our forests. When this second fire started the high winds scattered the fire with plenty of fuel to burn. Perfect fire weather.

Although we had a year in between of rain that restored lakes, rivers, and creeks in the state it didn’t stay green for long. Just as we were hoping the drought was over we had another dry year. After weeks of historically bad air quality, closures and warnings we’re told it might clear up the end of this week. Only then can we begin to figure out what happened and rebuild.

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Me biking last Thursday. Behind me isn’t fog or cloudy, the air is that thick with smoke and bad chemicals. The sun was out you just can’t see it.

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Wearing the masks made me happy for the first few rides. After I found out how irritating they are to wear I only rode 3 times with them on (meaning I only rode 3 times in weeks.) I had to keep stopping to wipe the sweat off of my face and dry off the inside of the mask. My sunglasses would fog at the worst times and be hard to wear. Drops of sweat would hang on the tip of my nose under the mask and at times felt itchy.  My nose would run. I saw only one other cyclist with a mask on-no wonder!

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The windbag at Windsurfer’s Beach hangs limp for weeks. Coyote Point is the mass of trees to the right in the background. Further down the peninsula, the landmarks like San Francisco and the airport are lost in the smoke and bad air.

This week is Thanksgiving. I last rode my bike on Saturday and should have ridden yesterday but I couldn’t put the mask on. The landscape on these masked rides hasn’t been that pretty and I feel for the animals trying to go about their lives in this soup. Everything looks unfocused, the light is strange, colors not sharp and everything smells like smoke. I did see some of the regulars who ride the Bay Trail but were surprised to see them not wearing masks. The masks truly are hard to wear exercising but to me health is everything!

Even in our homes, our air is bad there’s no getting away from it. I wear masks everywhere I go even in my car but I don’t wear one at home. Having my bedroom window open all year helps me sleep better but all windows are shut tight until this is over. Anything you run in the home isn’t safe unless it’s on a closed loop. All one can do is wait and get through it.

This is the first time that I’ve missed weeks of biking. I’ve biked every other day 20-30 miles for almost 3 years and although I’m not in training, it’s like a training schedule. I like to stay in tip-top shape. Biking helps my depression and mood swings so it’s been difficult coping without it. I’m especially thankful that I didn’t lose everything in these terrible fires.

We have a few Spare The Air Days during the year but nothing like this. I hope the news is right and the weather does change tomorrow so all of us can have a good Thanksgiving and be thankful for the clean air and peace it brings.

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Have you ever worn a mask exercising or lost time biking due to circumstances beyond your control? How frustrated were you?

Enjoy what you do have, count your blessings and be thankful!

The Right Motivation

One thing about tracking your rides with an application like MapMyRide (MapMyFitness) is at the end of the year you can look at your stats to see how you did and hopefully be amazed. I can log onto the site and look at my ride statistics including the maps, of every ride (or workout) I’ve done since the beginning. It’s great for motivation and reviewing just how hard you did work.

Learn how to track your rides.

I get emails from MapMyRide periodically to remind me of how I’m doing and this year blew my mind! You can see my stats HERE and it has some nice animation to go with it. This was my first full year riding and really was my best year yet.

My Best Year Yet Equals WOW

  • 3,630 miles, that’s equal to running 1,168 5K races.
  • 170 total workouts, that’s like working out daily for 24 weeks in a row.
  • 328 total hours, that’s like working out 24 hours for over 13 days. (Half a year, every other day.)
  • 158,185 total calories burned, that’s 427 slices of pizza.
  • 6 challenges finished, winning 19 awards along the way.

Plenty of times I didn’t want to ride. I almost always ride alone and without a bike carrier so I always bike the same 30+ miles every week. Motivation is my biggest problem. I wish I had a secret to overcoming a lack of motivation but the only way I know of is to try harder.

Overcoming Bad Motivation/Moods

  • treat yourself to something nice after your hard work (not food)
  • have a time of day for your workout and stick to it
  • eat breakfast every morning
  • hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before, during and after
  • think about how good this is for you and pat yourself on the back
  • practice a positive pre-ride mindset/ meditation to clear your mind
  • smile at others and let the scenery take you away
  • be thankful that you can workout and do what many cannot

If all else fails, do the mental work and try again. A half hour into my ride I almost always feel better. If your motivation is low don’t beat yourself up about it pick yourself up and start again. Never workout when you’re sick or have a fever and everyone needs a day off from exercise sometimes.

For most people, the number one reason many fail New Years (or other) resolutions about exercise is motivation. It took you a long time to get out of shape so it will take some time to get back into it. The more positive and realistic you are about your goals the better you’ll do.

Learn how to track your rides with a Fitbit. 

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Motivation:
ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun

  • the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

There’s no way I could have done what I did last year without learning how to deal with my lack of motivation. Most of the time this was linked to my moods or the weather. This winter I’m having a problem with the weather. It doesn’t snow or freeze in my area of California but if it’s a cold day I can balk.

In reality, it’s barely below 40 degrees and adding full gloves, a head covering and a coat solves that. It’s not too cold to ride but I “feel” like it is and if I don’t challenge that in my mind I probably won’t go. In moments like this, I decide to put on my “big girl boots” and do it anyway. I’m always glad I did.

For every good reason to go work out, there are probably 3 reasons why you won’t. Motivation really is mind over matter which is why so many people fall short of their goals. The real culprit is moods we can’t give in to them. The good news is once you get into better shape you’ll feel better which will put you in a better mood. You’ll find your moods are more even and might find yourself happier.

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I’m much happier going into 2018 and I know it’s because of my love of biking. So many positive things have happened to me surrounding it besides the good health and other benefits for someone my age. I’m a more confident, comfortable person all around and planning to keep it up. And yes, I’m damn proud of myself!

Put Your Bad Motivation On Permanent Vacation For 2018