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  1. #1
    Senior Member Hoss Cartright's Avatar
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    At 54 years of age, losing weight, saddles, club riding, staying on target.

    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)

    Last edited by Hoss Cartright; 06-10-12 at 08:08 PM.
    '72 MERCIAN VINCITORE ~ MY PARAMOUNTS - '72 P15-9, '72 Chrome P13-9, & '73 P10-9 ~ '87 all 'Campy' Cannondale Team Comp ~ '95 Bob Jackson ~ '04 Cannondale R600

  2. #2
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    Thanks for sharing and putting that nice post together.

  3. #3
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    Hoss - thanks for the encouraging post.

    I just got back into riding about a month & a half ago. My tipping point was going to the doctor's office and being told I weighed 309 pounds. I knew I was scarin' the heck out of 300, but I couldn't believe I had crossed that particular line.

    I started hearing more people my age talking about the medication they were taking. High blood pressure meds, cardiac meds, diabetes meds, cholesterol meds.....

    And I started hearing about guys my age keeling over dead. Love by everyone, dead as a post at 48.

    I sure didn't want any of that to happen to me. So, I started riding the bike. I decided to commute on it. First I rode to a distant bus stop. It only took a couple of weeks to build up to the point where I could make the entire commute. 40 miles r/t. I've been doing that for about a month now.

    I went to the doctor's office on Wednesday. I've lost 12 pounds, my resting heart beat is down 4 bpm (from 72 - 68), my blood pressure (which wasn't high in the first place) is down two points. The doctor told me to ignore anyone that starts talking to me about height/weight charts or BMI measurements. I'm six feet tall and I am a Viking (Norwegian - and a big 'un) He said "You're a big guy. You'll always be a big guy. I don't see you ever getting below 200 pounds, but if you do, more power to you. 175 is definitely out of reach. What you should worry about is simply being healthy. You're doing great!"

    And all of this is without changing my dietary habits much. I've stopped doing fast food restaurants and I did away with drinking soda. I figured if we're talking a lifestyle change, I should do it gradually so as to not be discouraged or overwhelmed.

    And - best of all - I feel great! It's been a while since I felt this good.

    I guess I'll keep doing what I've been doing.

  4. #4
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    Great post, thank you for posting this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Nice post, your bikes look great.
    But 54 is not "old" it's just more mileage maybe a few dings and dents.
    (I turn 56 soon.)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hoss Cartright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Nice post, your bikes look great.
    But 54 is not "old" it's just more mileage maybe a few dings and dents.
    (I turn 56 soon.)
    Hehe.. I try to use the term "of age" but sometimes one uses "old" instead.. The thing I don't typically mention in the bicycle forums is that I raced off road motorcycles from 1973 until my last race in 2004. I was a USA national champion and many times regional champion. The fact that that I am able to ride my bicycle today is simply because I survived all of those years with only one semi-serious injury. (Cracked ankle bone in a National Championship race in Tennessee 1988) I am very fortunate to have both knees intact. At this point in life, I want to get stronger, have a two-wheeled sport to enjoy and above all avoid injury. It seems the bicycle is the lowest risk to leg, knee and foot injury.

    Many of my friends are riding street motorcycles and they constantly suggest that I buy one as well. For me, I am getting that same "in-the-wind" thrill out of the bike club riding. And the exercise and health benefits are included as a bonus. As well as the fact that a nice second-hand high-quality road bicycle costs substantially less than a motorcycle.
    '72 MERCIAN VINCITORE ~ MY PARAMOUNTS - '72 P15-9, '72 Chrome P13-9, & '73 P10-9 ~ '87 all 'Campy' Cannondale Team Comp ~ '95 Bob Jackson ~ '04 Cannondale R600

  7. #7
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Nice post, your bikes look great.
    But 54 is not "old" it's just more mileage maybe a few dings and dents.
    (I turn 56 soon.)
    I'll be 60 within a year. Hoss, great post - it encourages us all.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    What a wonderful post, and a great story. I will post something similar when I get the chance.

    I have shed 52 pounds in a year, mostly on diet (not type of food, simply watching the volume) and in addition to riding (150 or so a week in summer, half that in the winter) I run at least 10 miles a week, and I do core work every day.

    I did it to get to a healthier base before the age effects really kick in. There's just less pressure on everything if you're leaner and stronger.

    I'm 6'3.5, and now around 205. Dr. told me to stop trying to lose weight, and that I was fitter (not for my age, just fitter) than a decade ago when we met. Best line ever -- when I told him my BMI was still high, he said "yes, but they haven't seen your thighs!"
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  9. #9
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Several posts have quotes from their doctors basically saying to quit losing weight, or you'll always be a big guy.

    If my doctor told me that I'd fire her immediately. Just because you're lighter and fitter, it doesn't mean there can't be more improvement. Being lean is better on your joints, heart, circulatory system, everything!

    Especially if you're older.

    I don't think there is a body type or heritage that prevents one from being lean (maybe some very rare medical conditions, and being a "Viking" ain't one of them).

  10. #10
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    hey Hoss, thanks for the post. And I admire your strategy with headwinds, nothing saps the life out of me like battling a headwind for hours.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    Several posts have quotes from their doctors basically saying to quit losing weight, or you'll always be a big guy.

    If my doctor told me that I'd fire her immediately. Just because you're lighter and fitter, it doesn't mean there can't be more improvement. Being lean is better on your joints, heart, circulatory system, everything!

    Especially if you're older.

    I don't think there is a body type or heritage that prevents one from being lean (maybe some very rare medical conditions, and being a "Viking" ain't one of them).
    Big does not necessarily mean fat does it?

  12. #12
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    Several posts have quotes from their doctors basically saying to quit losing weight, or you'll always be a big guy.
    That's not the case here - adrien is 205 pounds at almost 6'4", which would be considered an ideal weight and he probably doesn't need to lose any more. I'm 6'5" and when I have been 210 pounds people worry about me because I look too skinny.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkippyX View Post
    Big does not necessarily mean fat does it?
    I guess not, but choosing words that will be constructive and non-insulting instead of ones that might be harmful sometimes leads to ones that aren't exact. In my experience, big is often used to avoid saying fat. As Barbie says, Language is hard.

    Here's an interesting, at least to me, article:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18262887

  14. #14
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    That's not the case here - adrien is 205 pounds at almost 6'4", which would be considered an ideal weight and he probably doesn't need to lose any more. I'm 6'5" and when I have been 210 pounds people worry about me because I look too skinny.
    I am 6'4" and although 205 isn't obese, for me it was too heavy (overweight by BMI, too close to 40" waist, hill climbing too difficult, and other metrics) so I lost more.

    In the context of 21st century of America, "too skinny" would likely be "slightly pudgy" in the past. Ever seen Miracle on 34th Street and the guy that passes for Santa?

    My point was a doctor should encourage patients to be as healthy as possible, not just a little better and that's good enough.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I am with jm.

    I have a rather simplistic view of losing enough weight. The truth from my perspective at least is that whatever skeletal and muscle mass we have below our skin and fat is what it is. If I can still roll up fat on the underside of my arms or make a roll on my belly or the underside of my thighs, I still hae weight to lose regardless what scale or chart may say.

    Now if I want to train differently and ass muscle then that wouldn't be bad, but for me, if I can pinch fat ( reasonable pinch here folks not 2 mm of skin). I am still too fat

  16. #16
    Fredly
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    Very nice post and I love what you had to say about the Titanico X. I just ordered one of those today and then I come here and read about your experience with it. Sweet!

  17. #17
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    I am 6'4" and although 205 isn't obese, for me it was too heavy (overweight by BMI, too close to 40" waist, hill climbing too difficult, and other metrics) so I lost more.

    In the context of 21st century of America, "too skinny" would likely be "slightly pudgy" in the past. Ever seen Miracle on 34th Street and the guy that passes for Santa?

    My point was a doctor should encourage patients to be as healthy as possible, not just a little better and that's good enough.

    Well, I think I agree, but I can tell you that I do resent somewhat the implications that I must still be overweight and my doctor somehow at fault for telling me I'm not. My BMI is 26. My waist went from a 40 to now about 34.5. Is that too close to 40? 5.5 inches? Would I be happier at 195? Dunno. Not if it meant I had less power to go up the hills.

    Heck, even with the new bicycling magazine calculator I am at my ideal weight.

    Meh. For me it was an accomplishment, and he has the medical degrees. I've spent a small fortune having all my suits take in, and just finished a self-supported century in 90 degree weather with 4,000 feet of climbing...in 6:19:08. BP is great, resting pulse in the 50s. And one community on the inter webs doesn't completely agree. K. I can live with that.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  18. #18
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrien View Post
    Well, I think I agree, but I can tell you that I do resent somewhat the implications that I must still be overweight and my doctor somehow at fault for telling me I'm not. My BMI is 26. My waist went from a 40 to now about 34.5. Is that too close to 40? 5.5 inches? Would I be happier at 195? Dunno. Not if it meant I had less power to go up the hills.
    I apologize for my implications. Speaking only from my experience, I'm slightly taller than you, and my waist was close to 39" when I was 205. You must carry more in your arms & legs than I do.

  19. #19
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    I apologize for my implications. Speaking only from my experience, I'm slightly taller than you, and my waist was close to 39" when I was 205. You must carry more in your arms & legs than I do.
    Which is exactly what he said:
    when I told him (the Doctor) my BMI was still high, he said "yes, but they haven't seen your thighs!"
    - - which is why we were wondering why you implied that the doctor should be fired. Everyone's different - 205 would be too thin for me, also, at 6'5. My waist is about 36 at 210 pounds, which is where I am happiest, and my friends/family say "You need to put some meat on them bones!" when they see me. Bottom line I think all of us are different.
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    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Which is exactly what he said: - - which is why we were wondering why you implied that the doctor should be fired.
    One of the posts said that the poster's doctor said he'd always be big. That's the doctor I'd fire.

  21. #21
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    I apologize for my implications. Speaking only from my experience, I'm slightly taller than you, and my waist was close to 39" when I was 205. You must carry more in your arms & legs than I do.
    no worries
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  22. #22
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Which is exactly what he said: - - which is why we were wondering why you implied that the doctor should be fired. Everyone's different - 205 would be too thin for me, also, at 6'5. My waist is about 36 at 210 pounds, which is where I am happiest, and my friends/family say "You need to put some meat on them bones!" when they see me. Bottom line I think all of us are different.[/COLOR]
    You know, to be fair, I'm not saying that 195 would be too thin for me. But I think I would need to either have very very low fat (like 5%) and / or lose some muscle mass. I don't lift much, but I do resistance work and yoga a fair amount. For example I can't wear many off-the shelf jeans -- not because of my waist, but because I can't get my thighs in.

    I don't think 6'5 with a waist of 36 is unhealthy. It sounds like we have similar body types.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  23. #23
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I am 6' 5" and 218 as of yesterday and wear a 36 in some pants and still have to wear a 38 in others.

    Oddly enough, however when I lose the next 8 lbs, I still think I am too fat. I still have a fairly sizable gut...much smaller than it use to be, but still a roll that I don't want. I seem to lose weight from the extremities to the middle..my lower legs and arms have almost no fat on them now,mbut from my knees to my chest still does.

    Guess that will come off with time.

    Thats why I mentioned above that I just do t think debates on weight mean a lot especially when compared to height, I think we ought to use fat as the real measure

  24. #24
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post

    My point was a doctor should encourage patients to be as healthy as possible, not just a little better and that's good enough.
    Yes and no. I think doctors need to know their audience. For example, if a person is overweight it might make sense to ask them to have a goal of losing maybe 10 pounds. They still would be overweight but it would improve their health and the goal isn't as daunting as losing 50, 100 or even 200 pounds.

    Then if this goal is met they could reassess.

    My doctor told me I should quit losing weight at 116. I ended up at 103, with a BMI of 21 point something. I was stronger at 116.

  25. #25
    Fredly
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    I apologize for my implications. Speaking only from my experience, I'm slightly taller than you, and my waist was close to 39" when I was 205. You must carry more in your arms & legs than I do.
    Wow crazy. When I'm 205 lbs I have a size 32 waist. Which sucks because then it's hell to find pants big enough for my monster thighs.

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