A Return to Biking and New Goals for 2015

For all who do not know - in May of 2014, I pulled my 29 year old bicycle out of storage and started riding again. Why?  Glen and I had booked a 16-day trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in the fall. He is an avid biker, so I decided to add a full day bike trip in Prague and a second in Vienna to our self-directed tour organized by David Manley at Go Real Europe. The second was labeled as dead easy - the first would be more of a challenge with a lot of hills to climb. I needed to start riding again or I wouldn't keep up.

Getting back on a bicycle after so many years was interesting.  Fortunately I owned a great quality 5-speed commuter that was still in great shape. It just took a little oil and tuning up to hit the road. From the first push of the pedal, I realized you never loose the knack of riding.  Off we went on our first short hop. BUT, oh my. the behind did not enjoy the experience and I tired after a really short distance. I am a great walker - but just didn't use those pedalling muscles much. Fortunately, Richmond where I live is very flat so I didn't have to deal with hills while I built up endurance.

By the time we left for Europe in late September, I was consistently riding 20K a day. A side benefit - I lost 20 pounds. The daily ride also helped me deal with the tremendous stress of trying to finish my first book which was well past its completion date and I was sleeping better. Vancouver had beautiful weather almost every day that summer. I loved the feel of wind in my face and how I came home with a clear, quiet mind.  One down side of riding daily was numb private parts.  It took a few tries to find a seat that worked for me, but once that was in place I became a riding maniac. Unfortunately, over the cold, wet winter I lost momentum.

By spring 2015, I was struggling to get back to consistently riding. I was starting to make progress, but then left for 10 days to visit family. When I returned it just seemed constant obstacles arose to keep me off the road. Yesterday I woke up committed. I would get out on that bike.  Fate also stepped in with a much needed push. My husband forgot his pants at home and needed me to bring them to work. You heard me - forgot his pants.

Glen rides to work everyday. Once and awhile he forgets part of his work clothes. He was stuck in the office in his lycra biking gear - not a hit with the company. So instead of my normal 20K, I adjusted the loop to pass by his office. This unfortunately meant instead of a more box shaped route that constantly changed into and out of the wind - it was a long straight shot each way. Riding with the wind at my back was dead easy, but riding straight into the wind for a long stretch after my break was challenging, I'm proud to say I was triumphant and finished all 20K - probably partly due to the strong legs from finishing singer/songwriter Jody Quine's recent squat challenge.

While I rode I thought back over my interview with pro-cyclist, trainer and motivational speaker, Leah Goldstein of No Limits and No Finish Line Living. While I don't want to train for racing, I did need to set some goals to keep myself motivated.  I came up with 2 -

1. Buy a newer, lighter bike with more gears (Leah - still concerned about a klutz like me with clip-in shoes, though I am seriously considering the purchase of an indoor bike next fall!) BUT I had to earn it by increasing my speed and strength until I was riding that 20K in 5th gear for the majority of the ride regardless of the wind I faced.

2. Finish my weight loss journey. The 20 pounds I lost was about 2/3 of my original goal. It was time to get serious about getting those last few extra pounds of unhealthy belly fat off. I want a real waist to join my slender arms and legs.

The course is set, the prize in view.  Time to get to work - back on my bike!