Little background info first.
I started my 9 years of couch potatoeness in 1998 and decided after starring at my moobs in the mirror in 2007 that enough was enough. Tipping the scale at 209lbs I was kind of flustered that I had myself let go like this.
So in the spring of 2007 I dug out my old, trusty steely (which had been stolen Sept. 2008 ), put on my Sidi's and made a trip to the park for a 6 mile trip around the park. Holy moly, was I out of shape. Back in 1998 I used to make trips from Heidelberg to Karlsruhe and back (60 mile RT) almost every weekend, played some Badminton for 3 hours straight right after my ride and had the scale clocking at 165lbs. I was fitter than Lance Armstrong during his 7th TdF win. Okay, maybe that's slightly exaggerated.
Anywho, in the summer of 2007 I had a good amount of miles in my legs and attempted my first century in Kokomo, IN where I met Mr. Stormcrowe and friends for the first time I finished a rather flat century in about 6 hours and 15 min. Not too shabby for my first attempt I thought.
I continued cycling daily about 20 miles a day and threw in some longer 40-50 mile rides on the weekend. Also a couple of more centuries during that Summer were in the mix.
So in October I was tipping the scale at 193lbs. I clearly went into the right direction. I lost weight slowly, but I was still adjusting eating habits and trying to change what kind of food I was taking in.
The the Winter came and my riding stopped, my weight went back up because of missing exercise and in December I decided I would like to start racing in crits and road races. But I needed to get in form and loose some of the weight which had crept back up to 205lbs. So I bought a set of rollers and starting training on those rollers from December to April until the looong Winter was over. In March I thought my own 4 walls were out to kill me and I tried my first cold weather rides outside to no avail. Way too cold. So back on the rollers and suffering inside continued.
I signed up for my first race in the beginning of April, while I topped the scale at somewhere close to 198lbs. I had shed some of my Winter fat and was scared and excited at the same time at the prospect of racing.
Race day came and to make it short, I was dropped on both races after two laps. Holy cow! The acceleration and the speed was humbling. The time I was riding with the pack I averaged at 26mph. I went much slower of course after I was spit out the back.
At the same time I was hooked on racing. I started training harder during my week rides, joined the Tuesday night training races and continued to shed more Winter fat. Down to 193lbs. I felt good, I was stronger than ever, managed to hold on to 26mph races and even hills couldn't scare me anymore.
Then September 2008 flooded my basement, my steel bike was stolen 3 days before the flood and it completely took the wind out of my training and weight loss program. I was devastated at the loss of all my stuff in the basement and my beloved bicycle. I stopped cycling for month. I think I was pretty floored and close to depression about the loss of my bicycle. That same bike took me two times through the French Massif Central and one time through Grenada in Spain and countless times around Heidelberg and Karlsruhe. I lost part of my life
But my basement rebuilding kept me busy and my thoughts somewhat occupied.
Fast forward to January 2009, I hopped on the scale again and gosh darn, back to 203lbs. Not cycling for 4 month resulted in some unwanted Winter fat again.
But this time I was more serious than ever. I never considered the rollers and I went outside and rode my bike even in 10 degree F weather. I had bought winter cycling gear a few month before and I was ready for it this time. I hated the rollers from last years sessions and I needed to see nature. It did me good. I started to love cycling again and I went out on my race tires in snow, ice, sleet, darn cold weather and I loved it. It was the best feeling ever even when I dumped to bike a few times on ice.
Here is a pic of my bike after one of those winter rides:
This time I put in some serious effort into my training, bought a power meter and counted calories like a hawk. I wanted to win races, not just sit in the pack or get dropped. The first races of 2009 started in late March (still somewhat cold at 30-50F) but it was a great series, but my fitness was still not where it should be. A few more races came and went and my weight continued to drop, but still no wins. I guess I'm still too slow for this sport. One race was so fast I hit 36mph on the flat straight, but was dropped soon after. Cat1's and 2's are one hell of a fast bunch. But that doesn't deter me from my goal and continuing to race and train. I'm still having fun!
So to finish the story of my late new found love for cycling, today in the morning a new milestone in my journey happened, I finally dropped below 180lbs! I'm only 15lbs away from my 165lbs goal and I'm really enjoying myself so far. I'm looking forward to June 13, century in the brickyard with the Team Stormcrowe to finally brake into the below 5h for a century benchmark.
Cycling is like crack, I can't get enough of it. I hope it does the same for you.