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  1. #1
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    Calling all Athenas!!

    Hey Ladies!!

    Seems like a ton of guys on this forum so I am looking for some other big girl riders to offer some inspiration for me. I just started out less than a couple weeks ago. I have worked up to a 16 mile ride in that time. I have pedaled just under 50 miles since June 29th. I try to ride at least twice a week but am looking to maybe up it if I find that biking provides as much calorie burn benefit as the gym and I can fit it in to my schedule. I currently hit the gym for 45 minutes at least 2 times a week and also do a hike or long walk with my dog each week too and I play in a softball league once a week too. Hence why I only bike a couple times a week right now- usually a shorter one and then a longer one on the weekend. I am very excited to start out on this adventure. I want to get more fit and lose some lbs (well, more than some ) combining my increased workouts with better diet management . Hopefully someday I can call myself a former Athena- but I am very, very, very far away from that.

    I would love to hear stories of how you all started out, what progress you have made over time, and what you have learned/tips you may have. I think it would help motivate me to keep going. Maybe we can even create our own thread to inspire and support each other....

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Callie, you are where I was several years ago. I am a 58 year old woman who spent her life behind a desk and on her couch. I never exercised and at best I would take the dog for a stroll and walk to work once in a while. I retired at age 50 with plans to travel and have adventures with my spouse, who was already retired. Instead, I spent my time on the couch, reading novels, watching tv, making jewelry, and cruising the internet. I was obese, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, restless legs that kept me awake at night, anxiety and depression and to top it off, sleep apnea.

    My family was struggling. Home life was not good. A grand niece died. A niece died.

    Life was not good.

    But one thing was good. Every year I would go on a two week birding adventure with a sister. I would look forward to those trips and started to extend them beyond the time my sister could travel with me . It was time away from home when home was chaos and responsibility.

    In the fall of 2010 my doctor noted that I had gained a couple more pounds and simply said that was common to gain that much weight a year. Prescriptions were renewed and I was sent home. I laid on my side that night and felt the weight of myself. I couldn't breathe without a CPAP. I had to have a pill organizer for all my pills. My mother had died of a heart attack at age 39. My father died of heart failure at age 63. I was on my way to dead. I got out of breath walking one flight of stairs. I couldn't walk any distance because of back pain.

    In December of 2010 I left to go south for the winter by myself, leaving my spouse behind. New place, opportunity for new habits to form. I radically changed my diet to a lower carb diet of delightful foods. I counted calories, limiting myself to 1200 a day. I'd go out birding in the morning, every day. I pulled out my little used comfort bike and bike around the state park loop, all of about 4 miles, taking all morning to do the loop. Sometimes I would abandon the bike and walk. I was out. I was distracted.

    I lost weight.

    I returned home in the spring and stepped on a scale. Down by 15 pounds! Still significantly overweight but feeling better. Still not fit, but much more able to get around. I decided I wanted to bike more.

    I struggled on my bike, a comfort bike I had bought several years before. I was never comfortable no matter what adjustments I made. I googled about and found Bikeforums and got advice to keep riding and do x, y and z to the bike. X, y and z didn't work. But I kept riding. Finally I decided to buy a new bike. By this time I had found Team Estrogen forums as well as the Clydesdale/Athena section of Bike Forums. I learned about fit and figured out that my bike just didn't fit me right. I bought an extra small hybrid Cannondale Quick. I got a fitting. And biking started to become a joy instead of a grim job on the road to fitness. Starting in spring of 2011 I participated in the Clyde/Athena mileage challenge threads. I have participated every month ever since.

    I religiously recorded my calories and I watched my weight go down from obese to "merely overweight." And then from overweight to normal. I worked on my core fitness to overcome issues presented by lack of any muscle tone and arthritis in my neck. Once I had more core strength my bike mileage increased greatly. I rode a 50 mile charity event in September of 2011. I decided I wanted and "earned" a road bike and I bought my Madone.

    The first year, 2011, I put on 1500 miles on my bike, starting from nowhere. The next year I put on 3800 miles. So far this year I have put on a bit more than 2700 miles. My low weight was 101 pounds a year ago, just right for a person 4'11". My weight has crawled up by 10 pounds and this fall I am going to work on that. This summer I am riding and making sure that I don't gain back any more weight. For the rest of my life I will have to be "agile, mobile and hostile" to keep off that weight. I can live with that. I still participate on this forum even though I no longer meet the definition of an Athena because weight is a struggle for me. The past couple of years has brought me much joy which has long been absent in my life. I do not want to lose that joy. All is not perfect. I want to eat more than I can to maintain my weight, even with a lot of exercise. I still have sleep apnea. I guess I am a lifer for the CPAP as some are. I still have high cholesterol. My BP is still high but now well controlled. My resting heart rate is no longer 72 but is 45. I can run up the stairs. My back rarely hurts. I am slow on my bike but I think that I could ride all day.

    I have been a member of this forum for more than two years now and have learned so much and am still learning.

    Welcome Callie! There are several women who post here but predominantly the posters are male.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 07-12-13 at 12:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post
    Hey Ladies!!

    ..I would love to hear stories of how you all started out, what progress you have made over time, and what you have learned/tips you may have. I think it would help motivate me to keep going. Maybe we can even create our own thread to inspire and support each other....

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Callie - I may be alittle different than other ladies... I have been riding most of my life, since really little (I'm now 62). Although there have been times I rode more and rode less, I never stopped riding. I don't ride only to lose weight... if that were the case, I probably would be skinny and not posting in this forum. I ride because I just enjoy the heck out of it. It is my social world and its what I do when not working, sleeping and well, unfortunately eating (that is my second favorite sport!). I figured if I didn't ride, I would be 3X the size I am now and the only wheels I would be moving would be on a Rascal scooter!

    It really helps if you are doing this not just to lose weight... if only to lose weight, then I suggest you add in other forms of exercise as well such as walking, spin class, weight lifting etc to keep yourself motivated (which it seems you are).

    Another tip, don't beat yourself up if you miss a day, don't go as far as you planned, aren't as fast as others etc. The sport is suppose to be fun! Keep it that way. Do what you can when you can. Just remember, nothing first started is easy. Easy comes with repetition and commitment.

    Get out and meet others. I have a friend who finds riding partners on "meet - up". I found partners in just riding - out on the trail (I do both road and mountain biking) and through volunteering as a ride leader. Having a buddy keeps you "honest" and forces you to get out. If left alone its really easy for me to say "nah not today". Having a "ride date" I can't stay home, I must make my commitment and get out.

    Also think about all the cool fun clothes you can wear. BTW J C Pennys carrys a great line of plus size fitness wear - their wicking tops are perfect for riding. Companies like Terry and SheBeest sell great plus size shorts.

    As for my health - its great! I have normal BP, no cholestrerol issues, nothing other than standard old age stuff. My body is alittle beat up from injuries and falls so I am alittle stiff when I get up but joints are OK except for my right hip which I broke many years ago and will need replacement at some point. I attribute cycling to my good health.

    Anyway post your progress and remember - have fun! And don't limit encouragement to just ladies - there are some courageous, awesome men on this forum whose journeys are incredible!!! You can learn alot from those guys as well...
    Last edited by Pamestique; 07-12-13 at 01:58 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post

    It really helps if you are doing this not just to lose weight... if only to lose weight, then I suggest you add in other forms of exercise as well such as walking, spin class, weight lifting etc to keep yourself motivated (which it seems you are).

    Another tip, don't beat yourself up if you miss a day, don't go as far as you planned, aren't as fast as others etc. The sport is suppose to be fun! Keep it that way. Do what you can when you can. Just remember, nothing first started is easy. Easy comes with repetition and commitment. ...
    I love that this thread has 91 views and only 2 replies!! Does that mean a whole bunch of men are looking at the Calling All Athenas thread?

    I am definitely not just doing this for fitness. I am doing this for fun. I do the gym for fitness, I don't like doing it. I force myself to do it. I do the elliptical, the treadmill, the stationary bike, the rowing machine, I take Zumba and Spin classes and I lift. A variety of things, but they all feel like chores. The bike doesn't, well, not yet. I look forward to riding. So in my mind I can do something fun and be burning some calories. I think what I was trying to say (not very eloquently) is for weight loss purposes I NEED to work out to burn calories. So I need to keep hitting the gym to get in some more intense cardio and lifting. It won't be enough for me to just ride. Plus on evenings I can't go out on the bike for more than an hour. I just don't have the time. In a perfect world I would commute on my bike and maybe I will work up to that. But right now I am not there yet. It would only be 8 miles each way, but I haven't figured out how to get all my stuff to the office in order to shower and all. So that might be an adventure for a later time.

    I ordered some bike shorts off of Team Estrogen and they should arrive today. After my 16 mile ride on Monday I realized that at about 10 miles I get pretty sore. I am sure these shorts will be uber attractive...yikes!

  5. #5
    Junior Member paparazzi's Avatar
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    Hi Callie- I just received my bike shorts from Team Estrogen today! LOL I'm new here too and 235 (from 256) and a work in progress. I love riding my Trek Cali which I just purchased this past Sunday. I didn't purchase it to lose weight but to assist in my other activities. I get bored easily and we have practically an entire gym in our home (all used/craigslist equipment but great nonetheless) and since I've always loved riding bikes (we have 4 others) I decided to get fitted for a proper one and it's never been better! Hope to see your updates, I'll keep you posted on mine too. I do find that the forum is male dominated but I've dealt with that on the motorcycle forums too- no issues for me. If you go over to Team Estrogen (which I just saw their forum today) let me know-we can keep in touch there.
    Ride your ride!
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  6. #6
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Welcome from a fellow Athena.

    will post more when I have time
    Move along....nothing to see here....anymore.

  7. #7
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    Got my rack!

    Went to the LBS and had them put on a rack and a water bottle holder today. So slowly accessorizing. I am going to use the rack to hold my lock. It is just too heavy for my backpack when I am riding. Did just a quick 6 miles today. Planning to meet my friend and do another ride tomorrow.

    My shorts came. I think I will save them until Sunday though felt weird when I tried them on but hopefully they will serve their purpose.

    I went over to the Team Estrogen site but the community section didn't seem to active. I hope to continue to hear from all of you.

  8. #8
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    Hi Callie

    Great to see another Athena posting. I started riding again two years ago on a Norco Malahat hybrid bike. It was heavy and I had difficulty lifting it onto my bike rake so I bought myself a Trek FX7.3 WSD and I love it. I'm a Weight Watcher and since August 2010 I have lost 70lbs with about 23lbs to go. I really dislike the gym and remembered how much I loved riding when I was a kid and thought it would be the perfect thing for me to do. Like goldfinch I also post in the monthly mileage challenge trying to do a bit more each month. My aim is to do 60km on one of my long rides. I mostly ride alone. I like to try out different routes and hope to do a bike vacation next year.

    Keep posting. It's fun to read about other people's rides and journeys.

    Karen
    2013 Trek 7.3 WSD

    Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND MENTAL states.

  9. #9
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    Hi Callie

    I've been riding for a couple of years, but not very far on each ride. My kids ride with me, and the little one can't go that far. We usually ride about six miles. I have been trying to eat better since the middle of May, and have lost 33 lbs so far but I have a really long way to go still. Right now my bike is in the shop, the rear axle broke and the repair has taken longer than I expected because they can't replace just the axle, they said it has to be the whole wheel and they can't get another identical wheel right now. Anyhow, I decided to start walking for exercise until my bike is out of the shop, and that went well for a couple of weeks but now I'm pretty sure I have a stress fracture in my leg. I had one last year also, from being on my feet too much. (I have a bunch of hardware in that leg, it causes issues).

    My bike is an Electra Townie, which is cute but not made for going fast or far, as far as I can tell. I'm short with a long torso, and I have to be able to put my whole foot down when I come to a stop, so that limited my bike choices.

    Since a couple of you mentioned the Team Estrogen site, I was just looking at it and I was interested to see that they had bigger sizes. I think I had looked a couple of years ago and they didn't have anything bigger than a 3x. I might be wrong...anyhow, now they go up to 5x, which is nice.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Karen M.'s Avatar
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    Hi Callie, I started going on short rides with my 83 year old dad after he hit the curb and fell off his bike, he was o.k. but I wanted to be with him on rides so used my niece's cruiser and rode with him. That really got me into it so I bought a hybrid and went out with some friends on longer rides. I rode the Long Beach Marathon last year. My BP is down and I have lost 60 lbs, over the last few years, ( I go to the gym 5 times a week) I am having my hernia fixed on 7/26 so I will be taking a break for a while.
    Take care, Karen

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post
    I love that this thread has 91 views and only 2 replies!! Does that mean a whole bunch of men are looking at the Calling All Athenas thread?

    I am definitely not just doing this for fitness. I am doing this for fun. I do the gym for fitness, I don't like doing it. I force myself to do it. I do the elliptical, the treadmill, the stationary bike, the rowing machine, I take Zumba and Spin classes and I lift. A variety of things, but they all feel like chores. The bike doesn't, well, not yet. I look forward to riding. So in my mind I can do something fun and be burning some calories. I think what I was trying to say (not very eloquently) is for weight loss purposes I NEED to work out to burn calories. So I need to keep hitting the gym to get in some more intense cardio and lifting. It won't be enough for me to just ride. Plus on evenings I can't go out on the bike for more than an hour. I just don't have the time. In a perfect world I would commute on my bike and maybe I will work up to that. But right now I am not there yet. It would only be 8 miles each way, but I haven't figured out how to get all my stuff to the office in order to shower and all. So that might be an adventure for a later time.

    I ordered some bike shorts off of Team Estrogen and they should arrive today. After my 16 mile ride on Monday I realized that at about 10 miles I get pretty sore. I am sure these shorts will be uber attractive...yikes!
    Yes, I have to admit I read the thread, but now here's my reply - I thought Goldfinch's story was amazing. I am super impressed by her story!

    My older brother is a bit overweight and does not exercise. I've been trying to figure out a way to get him to start a regular exercise program and that's partly why I clicked and read this thread. The other reason is that I was just wondering how many women are on these forums. Generally it's overwhelmingly men.

  12. #12
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post

    I went over to the Team Estrogen site but the community section didn't seem to active. I hope to continue to hear from all of you.
    The website forum is very active... are you looking at the right threads? I used to post there but just don't have time for two Boards so now stay here.

    Don't worry about the shorts; I actually think they make me look slimmer than regular shorts. Just wear them with a nice top that is alittle longer in back and you will be fine. You body will thank you for those shorts... now consider conditioning the chamois with something like Chamois Butt'r or Assos Creme. Definitely eliminates all chafing!
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  13. #13
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    So happy to see more of you posted!

    just got back from my ride. We only did 8 miles, but it was super hilly. I had to actually walk my bike up one of them. Definitely way bigger hills in Berkeley than down here in the South Bay! Just means more to work on.

    I am sure the shorts will serve their purpose. Just when I. Tried them on it felt like a diaper When I go out for my next ten plus miles I will try them out.

  14. #14
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    Yup. They feel like diapers but they are great and bike riding will be more comfortable. Another Athena here and loving her bike. Hills are great. They make you stronger and give you more confidence. Anyone can ride a flat road..LOL.

    I finally started loving cycling once I got my cross bike a couple of months ago. Right bike=perfect ride. I also do mountain biking when I get the chance. I'm not fast nor terribly athletic, but I love what I can do. Welcome!

  15. #15
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post
    Got my rack!

    Went to the LBS and had them put on a rack and a water bottle holder today. So slowly accessorizing. I am going to use the rack to hold my lock. It is just too heavy for my backpack when I am riding. Did just a quick 6 miles today. Planning to meet my friend and do another ride tomorrow.

    My shorts came. I think I will save them until Sunday though felt weird when I tried them on but hopefully they will serve their purpose.

    I went over to the Team Estrogen site but the community section didn't seem to active. I hope to continue to hear from all of you.
    Here is a link to TE forums: http://forums.teamestrogen.com/forum.php

    As Pam said, it is very active. I used to post a lot there but have drifted away for several reasons.

    I'm enjoying hearing about your rides.

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    well, with a little 'encouragement' from my hubby (indianarecrider), i've decided to join bike forums and partake in all the craziness he's always talking about.

    i'll start off by saying that i am an athena, weighing in at 262 pounds and standing 5'5. i don't do a lot of cycling right now, mainly on weekends when hubby rides, but i hope to change that.

    we went and had eye exams last week for new glasses, and while there, the eye doc took pictures of the insides of my eyes. the results were not so good. seems as if my high blood pressure is putting a lot of undue stress on the blood vessels, and if not corrected, could lead to blindness. needless to say, that scared the crap out of me; i certainly don't want to go blind. who does, right? anyway, going to see my regular doctor this week to get a referral for an eye specialist, and to also get his opinion on this matter. not sure what he will want to do, if anything. he recently took me off of one of my three blood pressure medications because of negative reactions with my new seizure medication. i don't think he would put me back on it, but he will probably tell me (again) that i need to lose weight.

    hubby likes riding in the evenings, and i would love to ride with him more often but i work the evening shift, so i am going to try to see if he will switch to morning rides so i can join him.

    anyway, i look forward to getting to know everybody here and learning all i can.

    kris

  17. #17
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Welcome! I don't post a huge amount in this forum, because while I'm definitely an Athena (5'5", ~215 pounds), I have no interest in dieting, just in being a stronger cyclist. I spent quite a few years not riding due to some injuries/health issues, but after all those cleared up about a year and a half ago, I started rebuilding my biking muscles. I did my first century this May, my first 200K brevet in June, and am doing another 200K next weekend. The thing I'm working on right now that isn't fun (for me) is hillclimbing; my weight does put me at a disadvantage there, and I've never been a strong climber at any weight, but if I want to do longer brevets I'll need to improve. I have, some -- and I've also been working on flat-ground speed, which has improved much faster, but I have a ways to go.

    For shorts, I wear triathlon shorts even on long rides and even though I don't do triathlons, because they have just a fleece pad and are much less diaper-ish, and I personally find them more comfortable even if there's no padding there.

  18. #18
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Callie and Krissy - Keep at it... soon you will be doing climbs like this...

    Blackstar climb.jpg
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  19. #19
    Junior Member paparazzi's Avatar
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    Athenas, you're (we're) amazing!
    -Find what you love and let it kill you.

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    Well, you inspired me to register and post!

    I am more used to riding horses, than my bike, but I'm learning a lot and loving it! My username is in reference to my retired competition horse, Ben, and it is what i use on other forums, so I figured I'd keep it here too. I am firmly in Athena land as well, and while my main motivation isn't to lose weight, if that happens, then great!

    I have a hybrid I got last year, rode some and then quit for a while, and picked it up again several weeks ago when I realized I really needed to be in better shape and stronger and the young horse I'm bringing along wasn't fit enough to help me get fit! I've been riding every morning before work, and yesterday a young friend and I headed out to a local bike trail, and did the whole length of it -- I was on top of the world at having done 7*Whole*Miles! I know that for "real" cyclists, that isn't even a warmup -- but for us, it was HUGE.

    I started a thread on the main horse forum I post on yesterday about my riding instructor telling me that I didn't have any business teaching my young horse to jump until I lost a "substantial amount of weight." This was an excuse on her part for not wanting me to start even over 18" poles, but it frustrated me that it is so acceptable to comment on people's weight, rather than address what the real issue is.

    The reactions have been interesting and it really highlighted how accepting and encouraging folks are here. I hope I'm going to stick with my bike and enjoy riding it along with bringing along my young horse.

    A benefit to the bike is that it never demands a cookie when we are done with a ride!

    Nice to meet all of you!

    Libby

  21. #21
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Athena here also.
    My advice is to be patient, if you gradually increase your challenges you will see improvements in your riding for many years to come.
    Set some achieveable goals that matter to you. Enjoy the process of reaching your goals.
    Hills and headwinds are your friends. They make you strong.
    Ride safe, be courteous, be legal.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Went out again tonight.....broke in the new shorts. The padding felt nice but the lack of undies is a bit unnerving Felt breezy! But I will def keep wearing them for longer rides. Did 13 miles tonight. Felt good, but EVERYBODY seems to blow by me. Lots of work ahead.

  23. #23
    Junior Member Karen M.'s Avatar
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    Everybody blows by me to I just think back to a few years ago, I wouldn't be out biking on a bike path. What I think about is I am out living and not sitting on the sidelines.

    Karen

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Going to try for my first 20 miles this weekend.....EEK!!!

  25. #25
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    2002 Lemond Zurich, 2006 Santa Cruz Superlight, 2010 Landshark, 2012 Santa Cruz Juliana, 2014 Juliana Premiero Origin 29er and last but not least, the "Frankenweenie"!
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    Just think of it as a longer 10 miler... no worries!
    ______________________________________________________________

    Private docent led mountain bike rides through Limestone Canyon. Go to letsgooutside.org and register today! Also available: hikes, equestrian rides and family events as well as trail maintenance and science study.

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