Once upon a time I was a young man. I raced for a couple of seasons with the South Bay Wheelmen. I was never particularly fast, but I was pretty fit (I’d ride PV every morning and do wind sprints with Mike Piper on Paseo del Mar in the afternoon). Fast forward 35 years: I’d become a sedentary fat old (61) guy. Encouraged by Tony Jabuka at The Bike Palace, I began riding again. Again, encourage/kicked in the butt by Tony, I started training in earnest for last year’s Steve Hartt Ride. I was riding a lot more, working up to the 113 mi. ride to San Diego. I wasn’t sure I could make it. My main concern was whether I was going to be able to handle sitting on the bike for 11 hours (hands and butt were my biggest concerns). I finished the ride, and had a great time. It was not nearly the “death march” that I feared it might be.
This year I plan to do better. We’ve got 102 days to prepare. That should be sufficient.
I’ve been riding fairly seriously for a year now. I’ve lost 42 pounds, and am expecting to lose much more in the next year (I really haven’t been pushing that hard, maybe that’s why it’s been fun). I’m 6’1″ tall and currently weigh 268 pounds. I have good long ways to go, but I already feel MUCH better than I did before:
- I don’t get short of breath while tying my bike shoes.
- I don’t have to pay $90 for Levi blue jeans at Rochester Big & Tall that I can now buy at Sears for $40.
- I don’t have to go to Rochester for shirts, either, in fact I fit into a lot of my old “pre-huge” clothes.
- I’m down to a XXL (usually, sometimes an XL), from a XXXL or XXXXL.
- My knees feel much better. I can stand straight up out of the chair. I no longer need to use my arms to help push me up.
- My cholesterol levels have dropped to a level that my doctor has described as “100 times lower than low.” To be fair, they were already low. I have my problems, but cholesterol wasn’t one of them.
- Anything involving my movement is much easier.
I admit that I’m wondering how much better I’ll feel after I lose the next 40 pounds. My final goal is to get down to 190 pounds, or so. I don’t think that it’s an unreasonable goal, but it won’t happen quickly. It’s been a great experience for me, and I’ll thank my boss, Tony Jabuka, for all the support he’s given me in getting fitter. If I can do it, I know that you can, too.
P.S. I hope that you’ve figured out by now that I’m not the guy in the front of the image above, that’s Mark Abercrombie, PenCC President. I’m the guy in the back, but don’t expect me to keep looking this way.