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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-26-12, 08:49 AM   #1
chepburn
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new member, just finished my 1st 5 mile ride

and I'm very excited

only been doing this about 3 weeks now, less than a week on the Trek.

I'm a type II diabetic who hasn't taken very good of myself over the last few years. I decided to try and make a life change and reintroduce some exercise, maybe some diet changes, in order to loose some weight and get off these meds. I'm danger close to having to start on insulin, that scared me enough to try and make this change.

I'm currently right at 280lbs stuffed into a 6'1" frame, my ultimate goal is about 225lbs. I believe I can do this and keep there, below 200lbs I just don't think I could maintain that as much as I'd like to be there.

I decided cycling would be a good avenue for my quest and headed off to Wally World in search of a bike. Found one I liked (Mongoose something or other) and my quest began... that bike made it 1.5 miles before it went poof so I took it back and decided I should invest a little more at the sporting goods store. I found a Schwinn Midmoor there and rode it a few miles and decided the front suspension just couldn't support me as it was really squishy and felt very unstable. Back that went too and off to the local bike shops I went.

After lots of back and forth's and online researching, I decided on the Trek 8.3 DS. I picked it up last Thursday and got out on it Friday morning for a quick ride. I'm still fine tuning everything and think I'm very close to getting my fitment down but I'm loving this bike. It's very stable even with the suspension unlocked. It shifts smoothly and is actually pretty comfortable, I've had none of the butt pain I had with the Schwin initially. I did have a little hand comfort issue at first but I think that was more due to me not being used to riding position because it has gone away over this past week.

I've done 6 rides so far with a total of 23.94 miles and last night my first 5 mile ride (my goal when I started this was to do 5 miles a day). My ultimate goal is to make the 17 mile commute to work but I think that will be a while before I attempt this. For the time being I will concentrate on my 5 mile loop and maybe in another week or two I will go to 7 miles and so on. I would like to get to the point where I can do the 5 miles without being exhausted and that's just going to require some conditioning. I am working on using lower gears with higher cadence (will be buying a cadence computer to help with that) as my thighs are letting me know just how unhappy they are with my decision to ride.

Small steps right?

I must say I have been inspired by the posts on here and hopefully one day I will be able to inspire someone to take that next step forward.

Thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to being a part of this community.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:20 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. There are a lot of us Type-2 people here. Just remember, it took you a long, long time to get to where you are now, and it will take a long, long journey to get to where you want to be. Slow and steady is what will win the race.

You are correct in that weight has a great influence on diabetes. Several years ago, I lost forty pounds and my blood sugar was so well controlled that I was able to go off medicine completely. Sadly, over the past few years, because I wasn't vigilant in what I ate, some of the weight slowly came back. Now, I'm back on meds. Now that the cold season is over and the days are longer, I'll be able to ride more and with a change in diet, the weight will come back off. Hopefully, I'll be able to discontinue the medicines.

It will be a difficult journey for you, but you can do it. Everybody here is very supportive of each other. Hang tough.


Oh, the bike shop should have provided you with a fit when you purchased the bike. If not, go back and ask them. They should provide you with a no-cost tune-up after several months, (or a few hundred miles), of ownership.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:22 AM   #3
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Welcome. I recall the first ride I had done back in July of '11. 10 miles in one hour and I needed a nap and was seriously thinking of my choice. Now if I only go 10 miles I feel as if I let myself down. Ended 2011 with 2465 miles and have 1342 miles so far this year.

I've gotten a lot(!) of advice from folks here as well as other avenues. Process it all and decide what's best for you.

Some of what I've learned...

Mileage will come easier than speed.
If it's not your legs that hurt it's your lungs.
Cadence isn't everything, you need to do both low cadence and high cadence to work both the legs and lungs.
When I asked a guy in a group I joined here if it's better to spin a small gear or mash a large one I got the answer, after some thought... spin a large gear! Yeah, right. I'm no longer 20 and still overweight


Small steps indeed as long as they are going in the right direction. Keep at it and keep posting your progress, it will keep you honest and on track.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:58 AM   #4
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Welcome and it does get easier!

My first rides were in the ballpark of 2 miles and I almost passed out at the side of the road I even got "overtaken" by a jogger.

Last year I rode 2500+ miles and I have gone from 320lbs to 280lbs - low but steady. A big revelation to me is that for weight loss, its mainly diet. Ive lost more in the last 2 months than I did all of last year by tracking calories - really is amazing that I can ride 50+ miles. eat two slices of pizza and its a "wash"
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Old 04-26-12, 10:05 AM   #5
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Hi. I'm also a Type 2 Diabetic. In your post you mentioned that you thought it was time to reintroduce some exercise and "maybe some diet changes" into your life. The exercise is a GREAT thing and congrats to you for getting back into some. But diet is NO LESS important. Especially for us diabetics. You can't exercise yourself thin, it takes exercise AND diet. But you've taken the hardest step- The first one.
Welcome top the Forums (a lot of knowledgeable, friendly folks here) and welcome to your new life!!
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Old 04-26-12, 10:08 AM   #6
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Welcome! I, too, remember the "long" 5 mile rides when I first returned to cycling. Now, as I near the end of a ride and have "only" 5 miles to go, I consider myself almost home. It comes quicker than you think. Consistency is the key. Don't worry about riding far, just ride often and enjoy yourself.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:34 AM   #7
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Welcome to the group! And way to go on the first ride. I have a friend that was a 400+ lb type II diabetic that was also on HBP meds. She switched to a plant based diet and has lost over 200 lbs...is no longer considered diabetic or has HBP. She takes ZERO meds now and her cholesterol is under 150. She currently works for Engine 2 Diet (a plant based diet). I recommend checking out the movie Forks Over Knives on Netflix. I am not saying to go Vegan. But the more you incorporate plants and whole foods into your diet along with exercise, the healthier you will be overall.

I have not gone vegan but am going what I call "plant strong" meaning more whole foods (grains, fruit and veggies)...and cutting way back on dairy, meat and fat.
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Old 04-26-12, 11:00 AM   #8
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Great job.

If you want to commute and not do the whole 17 miles then find a place to park 5 miles from work and ride in from there. Of course you have to ride the 5 miles back as well but that will be your challenge. Or park closer, whatever. Once you get used to that start parking farther away and in time you will be doing whatever distance you want to settle in on.
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Old 04-26-12, 11:01 AM   #9
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Welcome aboard. I was diagnosed with mild type II a while back, but the cycling and eating better is keeping it controlled. The doc had me on some BP meds for while and earlier this year she told me to stop taking one of them because my BP had dropped below the target. The cycling will help a whole boatload of problems, all while having fun.

It takes some time to get to where you can pull the longer distances and get some reasonable speed. (Reasonable speed still being what others on BF may consider "slow"). Be patient and extend your reach just a bit each time. You can't jump on a bike and do 50 miles the first day.
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Old 04-26-12, 12:50 PM   #10
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Welcome! I, too, remember the "long" 5 mile rides when I first returned to cycling. Now, as I near the end of a ride and have "only" 5 miles to go, I consider myself almost home. It comes quicker than you think. Consistency is the key. Don't worry about riding far, just ride often and enjoy yourself.
+1 on consistency as the first goal. I tell people that are just beginning to hold yourself back. Find that 20-30 minute ride and do it 3 times a week. Maybe in a month or two mix in a longer ride once a week. A wise man over in the 50+ forum said it takes 5 years to achieve your cycling potential. The first season just learn to love cycling.
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Old 04-26-12, 01:14 PM   #11
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Welcome aboard and congrats on the maiden journey. AH, yes, the success of a 5 miler. I usually required a 2 hour recovery that first summer I restarted. Now I can ride for 2 hours and need 15 minutes to shower and recover.

You are doing good and heading in the right direction. Everything in life will get better as you get better on a bike. Don't ever get discouraged. And if someone ever passes you and doesn't seem friendly-SMILE. The day is gonna come when you can ride with them and you will be friendly, you made the journey.
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Old 04-26-12, 01:28 PM   #12
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Weightloss is a function of a daily, weekly, monthly calorie deficit. If you are burning more than you are consuming then you will lose weight; conversely if you are not you will not. There is more than one way to get there. If you try too much, too often, too soon your likelyhood of burnout increases. If you don't do enough you might fool your mind into thinking you need to compensate by eating more or might not develop the habit to exercise enough. What worked for me may not work for you. I started like you only my ride was only 3 miles. I did that almost daily for several weeks and then slowly and gradually increased distance. Once I achieved a basic fitness I added intensity and finally both intensity and much greater distance. This process took me from late February last year to July when I finally was comfortable riding 20+ miles daily several days in a row. Last October first I rode a metric century. I continued riding throughout the winter, such that it was, and not only maintained but continued to lose weight.

As for you, congrats on that first hard step to ride 5 miles. Keep it up. Ride often but not to the point of exhaustion. Develop a plan and set a few goals.
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Old 04-26-12, 03:17 PM   #13
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+1 on consistency as the first goal. I tell people that are just beginning to hold yourself back. Find that 20-30 minute ride and do it 3 times a week. Maybe in a month or two mix in a longer ride once a week. A wise man over in the 50+ forum said it takes 5 years to achieve your cycling potential. The first season just learn to love cycling.
My first ride in 2008 I rode 2 miles to the convenience store and then 2 miles back. I looked so bad I had to talk my wife out of calling 911. Six months later I bought a road bike so I could ride with the group. turns out I could only ride with the slowest group and they had to wait on me at the top of the hill. Last year I rode 5800 miles and I ride with the 15-18mph group and they don't spend much time waiting on me anymore. I finally accepted the fact that I couldn't ride as fast as I could eat and joined Weight Watchers the end of January. I've lost over 20 lbs and my riding has improved dramatically but nobody told me it was going to take 5 years I may make it in 4
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Old 04-26-12, 03:33 PM   #14
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RedC: 5 years in Illinois! That's actually good news in that we have the potential to keep improving for a long time. OH, I just noticed that you're in year 4. If I hadn't crashed in Inverness the friday before the big race, I was planning on going on down to Sebring last Feb. How big a turnout did they get?
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Old 04-26-12, 04:30 PM   #15
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Congratulations on your first 5! I remember mine well. I had to stop half way to rest.

Keep it fun and cycling will pay big dividends.
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Old 04-26-12, 04:43 PM   #16
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chep: you are doing GREAT. Keep it up.

And trust me...... commuting to work is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much fun and a great workout plus the savings in gas too!

In time, you can work up to commuting and please PM me and reach out when you are ready to make the plunge into commuting. I would love to help you out.
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Old 04-26-12, 07:37 PM   #17
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Congrats! Keep up the awesome work man. Reading this reminds me of where I was a few years ago. I think my first real ride was about 2 miles long, and I was beat. Fast forward two years and I'm down ~60 lbs, going on 50 mile rides! You'll get there. Just keep riding, and having fun!
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Old 04-26-12, 07:51 PM   #18
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Congratulations on your first 5 miles!, Mine was 3 weeks ago and I just about monkeyed out. Be careful, this is addictive. In the past 3 weeks I have put just over 75 miles on my bicycle. Feels good and it does get easier.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:29 AM   #19
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I'm not diabetic but that was my weight a year and a half ago on my 6' frame. I was having a hard time getting up and down our stairs with bad knees. Today I did this ride http://app.strava.com/rides/7429117 in Denali Park (not open yet) with 30 mi and 3000 feet of elevation gains. Not much for some folks but many of us in this forum know what it means to go from a difficult 2 miles to a ride like that and I'm here to tell you it's totally doable for nearly anyone. It just takes time and an enjoyment of cycling. I doubt if it's possible to do it if it isn't fun on some level so my best advice is do whatever it takes...take it easy..take breaks...or work hard...do it with your mate or without...whatever makes you enjoy it while pushing your limits in some appropriate way. best of luck.
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Old 04-27-12, 01:54 AM   #20
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I went from 5 mile rides being moderately difficult weighing in at 230 pounds or so to riding 30 miles a day or more and not even feeling it in 3 months. I'm also 205 pounds and moving on down every week. Consistancy, good eating habits and determination are all it takes. Your body will decide that 5 miles is too easy and you ride further... and further... until not riding 30+ miles every day seems to be inconcievable. I also commute on my bike 3 days a week as 2 of them are too time constrained to make it possible.

Also I really like the post ride feeling so much I get really cranky if I don't ride at 4:45am every morning.
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Old 04-27-12, 09:14 AM   #21
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Congrats on your first milestone! As people have said, calories are the biggest thing to watch: burn more calories than you eat and you WILL lose weight. Make sure you give your body (particularly your muscles) time to recover in between your workouts, especially while your body is getting acclimated to your new active lifestyle. Don't forget that walking can be a good way to stimulate your metabolism and burn some calories, especially on the days in between your rides. When I first started losing weight (I was 315 lbs on a 5'11" frame) I walked every day (literally only missing like 4 days that first winter). Baby steps!

Now (85 pounds later, sitting at a svelt 230 lbs ) I walk ~3 miles 3 or 4 times a week, run once or twice a week (3.2 - 3.8 miles right now) - and bike 60-80 miles a week. I really beleive in mixing it up -- and getting at least a little exercise (like walking!) every day: it helps me maintain the right attitude about my diet, as well as burning some extra calories.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 04-27-12, 10:01 AM   #22
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100% awesome. keep it up and keep pushing. it gets better and better (still hurts the same though)

you went farther than i did on my first ride.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:24 AM   #23
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thanks for all the kind words, encouragement, and advice! I am modifing my diet too but this time I am sticking to it. I'm not 100% of where I want to be diet wise but I don't want to make a drastict change and then faulter later so I am easing my way to a 100% healthy diet.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:32 AM   #24
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as an update:

I took Thursday off to rest my legs, my thighs were screaming lol. I went by the my LBS (picking up the lingo ) and bought a computer to monitor cadence. Apparently the 1st grade picture instructions were to much for me so I had to take it all back, along with the bike, to have them sort it out. Come to find out they install everything the sell for free... go figure!. Anyway I didn't get it back until late yesterday afternoon so I waited until this am to go for a ride.

I concentrated on keeping my cadence up and did pretty much the same 5 mile loop (I turned down 1 street differently to avoid a dog so this one was 5.16 vs the 5.19 the first time.) My time was almost 3 mins faster with no stops my cadence average was 78 (have a question on that and will post a new thread about that).

I can really "feel" a difference with trying to keep the cadence up, not as hard on the legs but definetely hard on the lungs lol.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:42 AM   #25
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90 rpm (+/-10rpm) is the optimal cadence range so you should keeping working towards being able to consistently pedal in that range, but a good rule of thumb for cadence is:
If your legs hurt shift up(Pedal easier/higher cadence)
If your lungs hurt(heavy breathing)shift down(pedal harder/lower cadence)
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