Words of encouragement, a very long post, read it if you want. Some of this is from my older posts, some of my posts from other forums.
I suspect that some of you who are trying to get going with road biking are having similar problems as I. SADDLE SORES, trying to find some fun, trying to win the battle of weight loss and gaining strength, trying to lower blood pressure and cholesterol..
So, just a post today to confirm that I am still on track for my personal goals, growing stronger, club riding like a mad-man and loving it! Did 34 miles this past Wednesday evening with the local club. There were 19 of us that evening, and I did another 38 miles this morning with eight others. I ride "D" class which is 14~15 mph average speed and 25~35 mile rides typically. We have a ride leader, and a sweeper. Almost everyone is my 50ish age group and today we had five women and four men. Most days it is about 30% women. I have accumulated about 800 club miles since joining in July of 2011.
My weight loss story - I'm 54 years old.
Back story - Rode a bunch and did quite a bit of touring in the 1970s as a teenager... Didn't ride more than 100 total miles in the past 30 years.
I was 285 pounds in October 2009, walking bent-over with a cane and terrible left hip and leg pain. I had a successful L4~L5 disc hernia operation on my spine on December the 7th 2009 which relieved the pressure on the nerves going into my left leg. That got me off the walking cane.
Then after a few weeks to heal and getting the surgeon's OK, I Immediately started walking and worked my way up to 5 miles every day and eating right. Lost 90 pounds in about eight months time. Was entering 5k walk-a-thons and winning them all the time.
But by late summer of 2010 I got a painful case of Plantar fasciitis in my left foot that seriously cramped my style. I got some orthotic shoe inserts and let it heal all winter 2010-11 while tuning-up my vintage bikes.
When it finally stopped raining in mid-June 2011, l had gained some winter weight and weighed about 210 pounds and got on my Paramounts and worked my way up to almost daily 25 mile rides. Joined the local bike club in July 2011 and did 500 miles with them in two months that late summer and fall. Rode at least 1000 miles from June to November of 2011. I haven't done a century ride yet but can knock off 50 miles like nothing.
(I'm 5' 11" and built like a Viking so 195~200 is about as light as I am going to be. Was down to 195 in October 2011 but I weigh 210 now as like most people cold mid-west winter is very hard on maintaining one's weight) - (if I can make 185 I'll be super skinny)
I'm not a very good hill climber and struggle into the prairie head-wind. I often would lose ground to the rest of the club group on these hills. But had no problem catching them once it flattened out. but I think that weak climbing is part of weighing 200 pounds? No matter how strong I get, I still have to haul my 200 pound body up that hill? I feel strong, seem to have good Cardio and recover my wind very quickly. My group members (especially the ladies) use me for a draft leader. Guess I am quite the wind block. I'm really looking forward to a whole summer of riding in 2012 to see how strong I can get.
Today, the 26th of May 2012 I climbed a big hill while standing out of the saddle! I now can feel my much improved leg strength! When I started this, there was no way I could climb out of the saddle, Did that 38 miles today with eight other riders in the 50ish age group and we maintained a 15 mph average speed and I can stay right in the pack all the time even on climbs! WOO HOO!
My rides of choice - I have two vintage Schwinn Paramounts that I ride primarily and a 1981 Schwinn Super LeTour, I also have an all Campy 1987 Cannondale "team comp" I'm real careful with my two Paramounts being that they are pretty much pristine original paint survivors.
How I lost so much weight.
No Coke, no fast food, almost nothing fried, almost no bread. I also gave up Caffeine at the same time. My doctor took me off all medications!
I had slightly high blood pressure, the biking made me real strong and at one point my resting BPM was 40. The doc freaked-out and took me off the daily 25mg Toprol Xm that very day. One week later I tested at 55bpm resting rate and normal blood pressure. He calls me "Lance Armstrong"... I have never been a smoker.
My cholesterol was 245, is now 120. Loving the no drug or substance lifestyle.
BUT - I know I am a food addict, (stress eater) and after getting real strong on the bike I began to be able to eat again as I was burning so many calories. So when I'm not biking (winter) I must be very careful about what I eat.
Two plus years into this life-style change I feel better now than I have since my early 20s and weigh less than any time in my adult life. I was a size 42 pant, now a 36.
left image December 2009, right image December 2010
My sore backside and how I cured that problem - Selle AnAtomica Titanico X saddle.
As I ride the saddle more, the more I like this design. There are some videos on YouTube of the different prototypes etc.. I purchased a third one for my P10-9 Paramount, now have one on each of my three riders.
Honestly, I am/was a Brooks fan, I understand the heritage and tradition of Brooks. I have several Brooks Professional saddles and have been riding on them since the 1970s. And I had been fiddling with them as I am cranking-up the miles since last summer. (Proof-hide, neatsfoot, tension etc.) In fact I played with padded saddles last summer and switched back to the Brooks Pros.
But now I sincerely believe this saddle (Titanico X) is the very first saddle designed specifically for "Clydesdale" riders (200 lbs.+) - I am really beginning to understand the principals of this saddle and indeed I do believe it is what I need. Certainly it is a fact that those hundreds of miles typically required for "break-in" of a Brooks are the reason most people don't like them. I have two very well worn Brooks saddles that are very comfortable and three that are hard as a rock.
I now have several hundred miles on the An-Atomica Titanico-X and I am convinced that for me, this problem is solved
A new one looks like this
I tried a new idea to get in some miles on windy days.
Back story - The prevailing wind is from the Southwest or West typically. (These past two weekends it has been from the Southwest at 15~20 MPH)
So to avoid coming home at a crawl into hard wind, In the A.M. I head out across the prairie to the Southeast toward the city (We live 40 miles from the city, about 45~50 miles via bike-type back-roads.) The wife leaves a couple of hours later and drives my route. If I get to town first, we meet at the Menard's on the edge of the metropolitan area. If she catches me, then I load up there, change into my street clothes in the truck and we do our weekend shopping and errands, have lunch and head home. This way, I don't have to deal directly with the prairie headwind which is sometimes brutal. I take my cell phone with me so we can stay in contact. The roads are mostly flat with some rolling hills and laid-out in one mile square grid pattern, flat open fields and very desolate. Out in that part of the county, it is less than one house per square mile.
A photo of me before I went out with two other club members on a 30 mile Christmas day ride. (Northwest Indiana 43 degree day)