Thursday, July 30, 2009

I DID IT!!!!

237 today!!! I'm going to get my new pedals on Friday and then do a 50 miler with my fiance to break them in! WOOOOOOOO!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TT Route

I've officially stopped calling my hour loop, the hour loop. It was henceforth be called my Time-Trial Route. Today, I shaved another 15 seconds off my time and went up .1mph. EXCITING! Nothing eventful happened on the ride. I wasn't almost killed, I didn't almost get eaten by a dog, and my tubes stayed inside my tires. I did sweat out about 3 pounds, though, even after drinking both of my water bottles. Muggy.

Time: 52 minutes, 47secs
Distance: 15.77 miles
Avg Speed: 17.9mph
Max Speed: 34.4mph

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I've begun putting more effort into my fund raising for the City to Shore ride more recently. For those of you who don't know me personally, I have had a goatee on my chin for the last 5 years (since high school) with a few extremely rare exceptions. Over the weekend I finally made the decision to shave it off (with tons of encouragement from my fiance). But, I wasn't shaving it just to shave it. I was shaving it to help me with my fund raising. The idea was that if I looked different, people would comment or ask about it, and that could start a dialog. I made up a quick paragraph explaining why I shaved, and asked for a $5 donation for noticing. Of course, everybody is welcome to give more money if they want. I've handed out about 10 or so at this point which isn't too bad. If I get half of those people to donate, I'll be happy.

Yesterday, while at work, I was asked by somebody if I knew anyone with MS. After all, that's what the ride is for, right? A reasonable question, but I had to say "no." I feel bad asking for money when I don't have a person in mind that I'm hoping to benefit from the funds I'm working to raise. Today, while sitting in class, I zoned out and started thinking about WHY I'm trying to raise money to help fight this disease. Maybe I don't know anybody with MS personally, but that doesn't mean the cause isn't important to me. So next time somebody asks me why I'm raising money for MS, here's the answer I'll give them.

Last summer, I made a commitment to myself to train and ride in the MS150 City to Shore ride because my Step Dad asked me to ride it with him. Although my step dad was unable to participate, I accomplished my goal and rode 75 miles from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City, NJ in 5:30 at an average speed of 15mph on a Trek Hybrid bike. It was fantastic despite the dreary weather. I made a commitment almost immediately to ride again the following summer. This summer. My fiance told me about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line last year that she wanted to ride it with me next time. This motivated me again. So, why do I ride? I ride because this ride specifically changed the course of my life. Last summer I drank too much, I ate too much, and other than training for cycling, I did very little physical activity. Now, I'm trying to lose the weight that I regained last summer and through the winter because of my excessive eating and drinking habits. I've lost over 30 pounds total since I started and I'm riding better than I ever expected to. I've gotten closer to my brother, my friend, and my fiance. All of this because of one day last summer that got me hooked on this wonderful sport.

Thank you National MS Society for saving my life. I will try to continue to participate in at least one MS150 ride every year for as long as I am able.

For anybody who reads my blog, if you wish to donate on my behalf, you can follow this link and donate for me. I appreciate your comments in the past on my blog, and I appreciate all of your support. If you are unable to donate, I hope that you at least find motivation from me to get out and ride. It's healthy, fun, and a great bonding activity for friends and family. Start pedaling.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear Driver

Dear Driver,

First, I want to thank you for only coming really really close to killing me today, and not actually running me over. I understand that some drivers, like yourself, have a feeling of entitlement and may not have consideration that your giant green SUV could easily kill me on my 20 pound bike.

Second, as somebody who works with autistic children on a regular basis, I understand that not everybody picks up on non-verbal cues as easily as others. Let me explain the ones that I gave to you today before you completely and blatantly cut me off. But, before I do, I want to let you know that I am an extremely conscientious cyclist and understand that cyclist can be irritating to drivers at times when we inhibit your ability to make a turn or you get "stuck" behind us. Anyway, here are the cues you missed today.

While riding down the road at 25mph, I saw you on the other side of the road, facing me, with your left turn signal on. I knew that your intention was to make a left hand turn (see, I pick up on non-verbal signals). I looked behind me to see if there was a line of cars. My thinking is that if there is a line of cars, I do not need to change anything I'm doing, because you will not cross a line of cars to make your turn. If there was no line of cars, I COULD decide to change what I am doing so that you don't have to wait one extra second to make your turn. In this case, the line of cars behind me was ending, and by the time they passed you, I would be the only thing between you and your turn. Here's the non-verbal cue: When I'm already going 25 miles an hour, and stand up to get across the intersection faster, that is not your cue to make your turn. That means, I'm doing what I can to get across faster so you have time to make your turn before the next line of cars comes. NOW, since you didn't understand that and tried to run me down, I had to slam my breaks on and slow down about 15mph and skidding my back wheel to avoid getting killed.

Here's the second cue you missed. When I put my hand in the air after almost getting hit by you and your giant motor vehicle, that isn't me saying hello. Please don't wave at me. That only makes me angry. My hand gesture (what you miss-interpreted as a friendly hello) meant one of the following; "What the fuck!" "Are you a complete idiot?" or "You're a fucking moron!" Your equally old friend noticed, but her reaction was almost equally as ridiculous. It is not appropriate to put your hand in the air the same way I did when your friend almost killed me. A more appropriate hand gesture would be palm out as if to say, "SORRY! I know I fucked up!"

Now, maybe it wasn't the non-verbals that confused you. Maybe it was the sense of entitlement you have as an auto-mobile operator that lead you to the decision to cut me off and almost hit me broad side. I'll explain something to you, but I'll only say this once, so read carefully... Cyclist have the same right to the road as drivers. WHAT? I KNOW RIGHT? CRAZY! Have you ever seen those signs that say, "Share the road" with a picture of a car and a bicycle on it? That's what that sign means. If you don't understand how to share, you could ask your great grand-children to teach you. They teach that in preschool nowadays.

Anyway, thanks again for not killing me. Next time, look out for cyclists. If not for our safety, for the safety of your car. I'm a large man, and you don't want a BBoB sized dent in your door.


Jinxed it

240 this morning. I definitely jinxed it with my comments yesterday. Shit.

Edit: I weighed myself later in the morning and found that I had gotten down to 239.5. Looks like I made it by the skin of my teeth... just a few more pounds until I can buy my new speedplay pedals!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This weekend was a great weekend to ride. I haven't posted in a while, so I'll fill you in on what's been going on. I had to get new tires because my old ones were squaring off. I ended up buying Hutchinson Fusion 2 Kevlar tires. They've got blue sidewalls so they match my bike. They're also pretty fast and I like them a lot. The only downside to them, was that they are extremely difficult to get on, but worth it.

Friday I want to the beach with my fiance. I was hesitant to take a day off of riding because I hadn't lost much weight during the week. I love her a lot, though, so we went and enjoyed ourselves for the day. We got home, showered, and went to a local fair. It was a fun day, but not conducive to my cycling goals or my weight loss... we had dinner out.

On Saturday, I went for two bike rides. My first ride was about 22 miles with my brother, friend, and my brother's neighbor. My friend said that he wanted to climb what we refer to as "the wall." Now, to be clear, it is NOT "the wall" that most people know of in Manayunk. This "wall" is harder and longer. I was told it goes up about 380 feet in 8/10 of a mile. I'm not sure of the percentage grade, but I know it was REALLY hard. I made it about 2/3 of the way up, then had to get off my bike and walk for a little bit because I felt like I was going to throw up. It was terrible. The ride got a little better towards the end, though. Later in the evening, I went for a ride with my fiance. We took a nice half hour ride, just 8 miles, but it was nice to get back on the bike with her. We went on a path so no cars, and because it was so late, not many people. Our only problem was the bugs. Gross. The big news from this short ride, was that it put me over 1000 miles for the summer! ALRIGHT! I want to get to 2000 by the end of the year.

So today, Sunday, I woke up and weighed 240lbs. I'm going to jinx myself, I know, but after today's ride, I am assuming I will see 230-something in the morning tomorrow. When we set out today, same group as yesterday, I assumed we were going to do a 20-25 mile ride. I wanted to go do the fast hill again where I got up to 49.1mph a week or two ago, so we did. We had to work for it, though. When I got there, I was sort of spent, so I couldn't kick as hard to get my speed up. I only ended up going 48.4mph. Oh well. We finished that hill and then talked about what we wanted to do. My brother's neighbor asked if we could do 30 miles, so that's what we set out to do. We stopped at a convenience store for water and then went toward a local bike path. By the time we got home, we'd racked up over 40 miles! Great, ride though. I'm hoping it helps with the weight loss plateau I've had this week. Here are my stats for today:

Time: 2 hours, 27 minutes, 27secs
Distance: 40.95 miles
Avg Speed: 16.6mph
Max Speed: 48.4mph

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I can't explain the feeling I have inside me right now. I just came back from my "hour loop." Setting out for the ride, I knew I had a best time of about 54:30 on the loop and wanted to better my time. I did not realize I would completely blow it away. Today is one of the hottest/muggiest days of the summer that I've ridden the loop in. Significantly hotter than the day I rode my best time on the loop. I don't know why, or how, but I felt fantastic throughout the whole ride and finished in almost 53 minutes flat, averaging 17.8mph on a hilly course. Easily my best ride all summer. Hopefully this is only the beginning of big improvements.

I was asked twice today why I ride my bike so much. I told both people that it's fun for me, but I didn't quite have a GOOD answer. You can have fun doing lots of things, cooking, playing video games, watching TV, and (I'm not sure how this can be) shopping. I've been thinking about it. What's fun about cycling? Here's my answer. I like to go fast. I like the freedom I have while I'm on my bike. There is solace in riding alone, going through farmland that you didn't know existed in your neighborhood, finding new ways around town, exploring. Cycling has also brought me closer to some of the most significant people in my life. The love of my life (my fiance). My brother. My best friend from high school. All three of those people will play significant roles in my wedding... some for more obvious reasons than others. This sport has changed my life. One of the most interesting things that I still can't figure out is... I hate endurance sports. I'm fat. How can I enjoy the suffering I endure while riding? Who cares? It's fun.

Ride Stats:
Time: 53 minutes, 3secs
Distance: 15.79 miles
Avg Speed: 17.8mph
Max Speed: 35.6mph

Sunday, July 19, 2009

50 mile weekend

This weekend was a little rough on the diet, but I've managed to maintain my 242 weight through to this morning. My hope is that I can lose a little bit by the morning, but if not, I'll survive. My dad's band had a gig that I went to, had two beers and a burger for dinner. Saturday night was better, but I went out for drinks with my fiance and a buddy. My fiance ordered nachos that I helped with, and I had two beers (one more than I should have, but the first one just wasn't very good). I rode on Saturday and Sunday. The ride totals are below:

Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes, 7secs
Distance: 28.46 miles
Avg Speed: 15.3mph
Max Speed: 36.8mph

Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes, 55secs
Distance: 22.58 miles
Avg Speed: 15.4mph
Max Speed: 34.6mph

Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 pounds. 10 days.

The title says it all. In 10 days, I've lost 10 pounds. CRAZY! I feel like I should be on the biggest loser. People have been telling me all day I'm going too fast. Maybe I am, but I'm eating healthy and working out hard. I'm not starving myself, and I'm not doing workouts that are too intense. I feel like I'm doing this in a very healthy way. Maybe this time is it for me. I hope I can get down to 215 by the City to Shore ride. If I make it before then, I'll set a new goal based on how much time I've got left before the ride.

For those of you who are reading this and are wondering, HOW am I doing it? I started at 252lbs. I started using to manage my calories. I aim for 1700 to 2000 calories a day and work out every day I can during the week, for at least 50 minutes. When I go out for my short bike rides, I make it a point to try to beat my previous time. It keeps me motivated, and it makes me work harder. I'm 6'1" tall, and despite the height, I've probably got another 50lbs to be REALLY healthy, but I'm happy to lose another 30 or so and try to maintain and lose slowly from there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Improvements Continue

After losing 6 pounds in week 1, I've been focusing on improving my cycling as well. Today, I did my hour loop for the fourth time, and have improved my time yet again. I set out today thinking that I was going to have a lot of trouble. Half way through I felt as if I might even bonk. Fortunately, I had just taken a gel and started feeling much better at the end of my big climb. I got myself up to speed on the highway and when I got off, I checked the clock, and saw that I had 8 minutes to get home before my best time. Boy did that motivate me. I went significantly faster on all of the roads that I normally rest on and went real hard until the end. I even got a new personal best average on the hills. Check below to compare, but here are my stats for today:

Time: 54 minutes, 33secs
Distance: 15.81 miles
Avg Speed: 17.4mph
Max Speed: 35.2mph

Monday, July 13, 2009


My brother told me about a route he's taken around his neck of the woods where he got himself over 42 miles an hour down this one big hill. This is extremely fast for him. He told me we should do it some time together to see how fast I can get. With my heavier weight, I can typically bomb down hills way faster than he can. Today, while at work, I couldn't stop thinking about the hill. I wanted to find it, and ride it. Fast.

I got home and changed, grabbed my bike and a pack of shot blocks, water bottles, tube, and my "bike bag." My bike bag is a Ziploc bag with my tire levers, tube patches, chapstick, and I normally throw my drivers license in there. Anyway, I was off. I took a huge downhill on the way there, realizing I was going to suffer on the way home trying to climb that hill. Oh well, I wanted the speed. So I made my way over to this hill my brother told me about. OH GOOD LORD is it steep. I didn't realize it was coming, because there is a slight uphill before it, then over the top and down you go. Had I known it was coming, I would have charged over the little hump before it and tried for a faster speed, but as it was, I was a little bit scared. Once I realized I was on the hill, I went to the biggest gear I have, and pushed. I spun out completely. My pedaling couldn't do anything for me, I just had to hold on and enjoy the ride. When I got to the bottom, I checked my speed, and it was 49.1mph. WHOA! Coming home, I didn't suffer up the big hill as much as I'd thought I would. Must say something for my overall fitness level. I'd ridden that hill once before, but this time was much easier, and I wasn't being pulled at all.

So, after all of that, I'm pretty proud of my ride. There were quite a few uphill moments, and my average speed reflects that a little bit. I didn't push as hard as I could have, but I pushed hard enough. Here are the stats:

Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes, 25secs
Distance: 19.58 miles
Avg Speed: 15.3mph
Max Speed: 49.1mph

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's Roll!

I spent all weekend with my fiance, but had no time to ride. I had a friend in town who I haven't seen in MONTHS and went downtown for Saturday night to spend the night at the fiance's apartment. Overall good weekend, but zero miles. Until today. I left my fiance's apartment tonight at around 5:30 to get home for a ride before it got dark. It had to be short, so I figured, do the hour loop again. And I did.

I hadn't eaten a meal since 2:00, and since then, had a little bit of food, but not much. I was worried I wouldn't have the energy to ride this route as fast as I had last time, so I brought a Gu Gel in hopes that I would be able to use it half way through the ride and not bonk. I didn't. Without a lengthy explanation of my ride, here are the stats:

Time: 54 minutes, 53secs
Distance: 15.84 miles
Avg Speed: 17.3mph
Max Speed: 32.7mph

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Continued success

Since starting my weight loss on Monday, I've lost 4.5lbs. I was 248 this morning. That's what I weighed on May 25th, but that's the lowest I've been since then. Terrible. I am well on my way for calorie consumption today, and I got a short bike ride in. On Monday I did an hour long ride... 1:01. Today I decided to motivate myself and take the same exact route, but do it faster. I accomplished that goal, and am extremely proud of myself.

Here's a recap of the ride. I made it through the first 5 miles at 19.1mph average. I was MOVING. I went down a few hills after that while catching my breath. I was using Clif Shot Bloks for fuel, they seemed to work. I took 2 every 15 minutes or so throughout the ride. I had to climb a hill that is a shallow incline, but is also extremely long (by my standards). I was climbing at about 10mph, then I finished the hill and hopped onto the highway. When I pulled out, I saw another cyclist about 30 yards behind me. I made it a point to try to drop him, and drop him I did. By the time I turned off, he was totally off my radar.

Ride Stats compared to my first ride on this route...
First time (I made a wrong turn at one point)
Time: 1 hour, 01 minutes, 23secs
Distance: 16.19 miles
Avg Speed: 15.8mph
Max Speed: 32.9mph

Second time
Time: 56 minutes, 14secs
Distance: 15.83 miles
Avg Speed: 16.9mph
Max Speed: 35.5mph

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 1, Part 2: So far so good

Today has gone extremely well so far. I started the day off with some steak for breakfast. YUM! I had some more of the same steak for lunch along with some pineapple, strawberries, and half an apple (it wasn't that good). When I got home from work I had a Clif bar to fuel a little bit before my ride. I went out for a short 16 miler. My intention was to get lost. I was successful for about a mile or two. Oh well. I brought a bottle of Gatorade (one scoop of powder) and some GU Chomps. They were pretty good. I took 4 at about minute 20 and then two more about 20 minutes down the road, and two more another 10 minutes after that. I felt great after the first four. I was extremely tired after averaging 18mph in the first 15 minutes. I was hurting.

Anyway, I am proud of myself so far today. The plan for the evening is to get the grill going and put some chicken on and hope it lasts for dinner tonight, and lunch and dinner tomorrow. Keep checking back. I'll try to update more frequently.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spill Your Guts

Today, I came to a realization. I'm still fat. I hit 250lbs on April 13th, 3 months after I started trying... I lost 20lbs. How much weight have I lost since then? ZERO POUNDS. I went for a ride with my brother and his neighbor today. We went 20 miles and had a decent average. I KNOW that I have powerful legs. I can push hard. The problem is that with my weight where it is, hills kill me. I noticed myself getting left behind on the hills. I feel like I'm in decent shape (not good shape), but I continually got left behind on hills that were bigger than little rollers. Standing helps, but it wears me out.

So here's the deal. When my weight loss declined was around the time I posted about not needing anymore. HAH! What a crock. I need some accountability. What happened is, I started focusing on riding more than weight loss. I'm riding because I want to lose weight. I've got a year before my wedding, no big deal. I can lose weight slowly and try to keep it off until the wedding, but I want to make the end of my season easier than it is now. SO. What's the point? The point is, I'm going to be measuring my food and entering it into fitday again. It helped me. I'm also going to have to make it a point to work out every day I can. Currently, it's too hard to work out on the nights that I have school because I'll work too late to get a workout in before class. That means that I'm going to have to work out the rest of the days.

So here it is folks. Tomorrow will be my official weigh in for the next step in weight loss. I want another 20 pounds in the next two months, minimum.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Weekend

This weekend I plan on riding my face off, so to speak. Yesterday I did a ride with my brother and friend, we put in 21.5 miles at a decent clip. It was an interesting route. We tried to get lost but ended up finding ourselves back on a road we had already taken! Crap! So we re-did the route a little bit before turning off early to do a shallow climb.

Today, I'll be going over to the Schulykill River Trail to do a ride with my brother and fiance. I'm hoping for a decent average. Last time I did this ride with my brother, we bonked because of our 35 mile ride the day before.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my brothers place for another ride with him and one of his neighbors. We met him when we did the Iron Tour. I hope he's on our level and I don't get dropped. He looks like he knows what he's doing.

Yesterday I went to Performance Bike to grab another water bottle. I wanted another large bottle for the summer because it's hot, and I drink a lot. While there, I decided I'd grab some gels. I've never used one before, but I want to try them out. I got a GU energy gel (Orange Burst) and a Clif SHOT (Razz). I'll let you know what I think.