22 February 2012

The Year Of Excuses and the Price Paid

Was it simply a lack of motivation? Pure laziness? Do other cyclists go through riding slumps that last an entire year? I'm still unsure what it was exactly, but 2011 was an awful year of riding for me, and the ensuing weight gain because of it is the proof.

I honestly don't know what happened. I had just closed out 2010 with 3500 miles of riding and although I was still on the heavy side for my height, weighed in around 180 pounds. I started 2011 out with the intention of knocking out some serious riding. A friend and I even talked about doing a century ride every weekend, weather permitting, on top of our usual miles we ride solo and together. Sounds nice huh!? But the every-weekend-century rides never happened. In fact, hardly any riding was done! I did 3900 miles in 2009, and as I said, 3500 miles in 2010. 2011 came to a close and all I pedaled was a mere 958 miles and added about 40 extra pounds.

What I did have a claim to last year was excuses. And lots of them. I began the year with absolutely no motivation to ride the trainer at all because, well, it's boring. So my first excuse was that I was going to knock out some big rides last year without counting miles ridden on the trainer. It was going to be real miles ridden strictly on a real bike. This of course went over quite well. So I hatched a plan to simply hammer down more when Spring and warmer weather rolled in.
Enter Spring:
Ohio's Spring last year was mostly all rain. Which was great for the farmers, but bad for those of us who bike and don't really enjoy riding in it. So my excuses were, "If I had better rain gear, I'd be out there riding. But I don't, so I won't," and, "I'll make up for the rain when Summer gets here by hammering out some big rides." So Spring came to a close and I rode very little.
Enter Summer:
I was really pumped when the temperatures started climbing, the rains started getting fewer and farther between, and everything was getting nicer. Summer is my time of the year. But the temperatures kept rising, as did the humidity. And they kept rising. Yep, Ohio was in the midst of a heat wave. Now I normally don't have any issues with biking in extreme heat, I actually enjoy it. I always picture in my mind any impurities in my body being pushed out with the sweat, and this seems to work for me. As a diabetic, I need to keep all those nasties out of my system. However, I am a stay-at-home Dad with two children who I simply adore. Once school let out for the year, I didn't feel that taking them out riding in the excessive heat was a good idea, and that became yet another excuse for not riding. Of course this didn't excuse the fact that I could have gone riding once my wife was home and took over child watching duties. So Summer came to a close and I rode very little.
Enter Fall:
The heat from Summer carried over somewhat into Fall. Unfortunately, by this time I had already put on some pounds and laziness was taking up residence in me (stupid laziness). But I had some new excuses for avoiding riding. I do handy-man jobs on houses with a friend from time to time to make some extra money, and when the temperatures started getting more comfortable, we had a few roof jobs lined up as well as a room remodeling job. So I said to myself, "Well, we can certainly use some extra money, so let's get these jobs done and I'll take care of riding another day." Well those other days turned into weeks and before I knew it, Winter had returned. So Fall came to a close and I rode very little.
Enter Winter:
As much as I dislike riding in the rain, I dislike riding in the cold even more. Fortunately we were blessed with a very mild Winter, one that we're still enjoying! So much to my surprise, the biggest gains in riding I did last year were done in the Winter. Unfortunately, by this time it was too late to tally up any serious miles that would have helped me drop the weight. (As I just finished typing that last sentence, I realize that is just another excuse. In hindsight I know I could have ridden more if I wanted to). So 2011 came to an end and I had ridden very little and have the larger gut to show for it.

So where do I stand now? Nowhere, I'm actually sitting right now! Hahaha. Seriously though, at my second to last doctor appointment, I weighed in at 221 pounds and my A1C was at 6.8%! For diabetics, an A1C should be at 6.5% or lower. Not good at all. So I resolved that 2012 was going to be a much better year. Not just for my love of bicycling, but for my health and family as well. I still haven't gotten any motivation to ride that boring trainer, but luckily with the mild Winter we're still enjoying, I've been able to get out and ride. And although it's still not as much as I would like it to be, as of 20 February, I'm up to 240 miles, and at my last doctor appointment, my weight was 217 and my A1C was at 6.2%!

My friend Chris and I have been talking about doing a ride across Ohio this year. Actually we've been discussing this for a while, but it's looking like we just might be doing it this year. We are planning to have our bikes and gear, and us, hauled up to Ashtabula, Ohio and pedaling the Underground Railroad bike route that runs from Ashtabula to just outside of Cincinnati: about 380 miles. I pray it finally happens, but we'll have to wait and see. So with that plan in the works, I am motivated to get out and ride. Mainly because I'm going to need to be physically prepared for it. But hey! Motivation is motivation, right!? Will update on this later.

Happy pedaling everyone!

29 January 2012

CALLING ALL MEN!: The Resolution.

A few days ago I received an interesting message on Facebook. One that caught my eye more so than the mundane political drivel I usually come across. The message came across saying "CALLING ALL MEN!" Well since I am a man, I figured I should read it, and I'm glad I did. So I decided to put this out there for whoever may not have ever seen this or heard about it. It truly is a call and a challenge to all men, and not one to be taken lightly. The message comes from the movie "Courageous", which I didn't watch until a few days after getting this message on Facebook. If you're a Dad, I highly recommend watching this movie! What a great message it sends. I don't want to give away any of the movie and I won't, but one part of it is "The Resolution." Something one of the characters comes up with after a traumatic experience and some serious reflecting on his life as a Christian and a Dad. Even though this "Resolution" comes from a Christian movie, it is something I feel that all men, and not just Dads, should seriously consider dedicating themselves to doing. But remember, as it was noted in the movie (and I believe it to be true); if you dedicate yourself to this, you will be held doubly accountable for it. It goes as follows:

"The Resolution
I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife and my children. I will love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I will be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I will bless my children and teach them to love God with all their heart, all their mind, and all their strength. I will train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
I will confront evil, pursue justice and love mercy. I will pray for others and treat them with kindness,  respect and compassion.
I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family. I will learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
I will seek to honor God, be faithful to His Church, obey His Word, and do His Will. I will courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His Glory.
'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Joshua 24:15).

If anyone chooses to dedicate themselves to this, please share it with your families and friends, and encourage other men to do the same. This world truly needs more Godly men with integrity who are parenting the next generation of men.

God bless you all and may the peace of God be with you through your lives.