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Sometimes the littlest gains mean the most

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Sometimes the littlest gains mean the most

Old 08-19-18, 12:17 PM
  #1  
PhoenixBiker 
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Sometimes the littlest gains mean the most

Today I did something I hadn't done in more than 16 years: I completed a ride of more than 20 miles. Twenty-point-eight-five, to be exact, in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 58 seconds (13.4 mph average).

I know 20-mile rides are nothing to most of you folks; heck, they used to be nothing to me, too. I was putting in 3,000 miles a year. My average ride was 25 to 30 miles. Then my back blew up. Riding became so uncomfortable I simply couldn't do it any more. After five years of scans and tests, doctors finally found the problem -- a herniated L2-L3 disc. Fusion surgery followed, but even after I was cleared to resume exercise, it still hurt to ride.

Then, four years ago, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Chemo cleared it up. Eight months later, it came back. High-dose chemo and a stem-cell transplant cleared it up again. It took 18 months before I started feeling well enough to begin any kind of exercise. By then I had ballooned up to almost 300 pounds. Last September 21, I started walking, swimming and lifting weights, focusing on core strength. The months passed, and my weight came down. Thirty pounds. Forty. Fifty. Sixty. As my core got stronger, I discovered that riding the LifeCycle at the gym didn't hurt my back at all. I dusted off my road bikes and, after tweaking them to ride in a more upright position, started turning the pedals.

I started with 10-mile rides, then 12, then 13 to 14. Then I started stretching it out a bit. Fifteen. Sixteen. Eighteen. And today, at long last, I broke through with a 20-miler -- a 20-miler that included three decent-sized hills. I'm sitting here typing this with a grin on my face, because I know more riding means more weight lost, and more weight lost means more energy to do even longer rides.

Thank you...all of you on this forum and others...for providing a constant source of inspiration to get out there and JUST DO IT. And thanks for allowing me to share this tiny triumph with you.

All the best,
John

Last edited by PhoenixBiker; 08-19-18 at 12:19 PM. Reason: left off some info
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Old 08-19-18, 01:32 PM
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Ride on !!!
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Old 08-19-18, 02:32 PM
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Phoenix, you are a great inspiration, and that is no "tiny triumph" at all!
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Old 08-19-18, 04:02 PM
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I am going to go right out and get cancer ... oh, wait, that;'s not the message.

Good for you for all you have been through and all you have done, and even more so for being able to appreciate the little accomplishments which wouldn't have even registered a while back.
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Old 08-19-18, 10:08 PM
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Twenty miles is no little accomplishment. I just got back on a bike this year and have yet to do 20 in one ride. With all you have been through and you have the guts to get back up and take the next step? Do not minimize your accomplishment. Congratulations and I look forward to your next milestone.
Frank.
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Old 08-19-18, 10:29 PM
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Congratulations on your 20 miles! It's no small feat, and your courage and tenacity are an encouragement to us all.
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Old 08-19-18, 10:41 PM
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Look at all the ground you've covered, in your treatment, with your body, on your bike. Way to go! That's really an achievement.
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Old 08-20-18, 12:05 AM
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That's a heckuva great accomplishment, considering what you had to come back from. Well done.
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Old 08-20-18, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
Today I did something I hadn't done in more than 16 years: I completed a ride of more than 20 miles. Twenty-point-eight-five, to be exact, in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 58 seconds (13.4 mph average).

I know 20-mile rides are nothing to most of you folks; heck, they used to be nothing to me, too. I was putting in 3,000 miles a year. My average ride was 25 to 30 miles.
John
It’s all about meeting our own goals, not someone else's so good going on your 20 miler - but more than that, congratulations on your perseverance. Many would have given up.
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Old 08-20-18, 04:39 AM
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keep pressing!
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Old 08-20-18, 05:23 AM
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You’ve been through one heck of a lot and just pushed through everything. Your perseverance is very admirable. With all that going for You, You have a lot of great things ahead of. Keep pedaling!!!

Note: the next long one might seem harder so prepare yourself for it, but keep pushing!
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Old 08-20-18, 06:40 AM
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Great Job!
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Old 08-20-18, 07:18 AM
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Just fantastic.
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Old 08-20-18, 07:36 AM
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Outstanding ! Keep pedaling and having fun !
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Old 08-20-18, 07:57 AM
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Having watched a loved one go through chemo and a stem cell transplant I can appreciate what an accomplishment yours is.
Fantastic! Good work, and keep it up.
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Old 08-20-18, 11:15 AM
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Congratulations and welcome back!

If Nietzsche was right and whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger, you're flippin Hercules.

By endurance we conquer. Yea, baby.
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Old 08-20-18, 07:48 PM
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This is great news. Twenty is a wonderful milestone. Just don't stop.
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Old 08-21-18, 06:19 AM
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John, you're right, 20 miles isn't that big of a deal. Overcoming lymphoma, working through a herniated disc, and losing 60 pounds ABSOLUTELY IS. 20 miles on your bike is the reward... enjoy it like you're living a beer commercial.
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Old 08-21-18, 06:06 PM
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Great story and congratulations. It's only been a couple of years since I revisited cycling and also remember my first 20 mile ride. It was a pretty big deal to me at the time and I didn't have anything like the health issues that you've overcome. You've every right to feel proud of the accomplishment.
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