My cycling build-up…………..By Bill Lightner
So now I decided to get into and stay in shape. It was hard work and wasn’t easy. I started out cycling easy or at least what is consider easy by today’s standards. In the beginning, I mapped out a path and every Saturday and Sunday morning I’d slip on some shorts, t-shirt and sneakers, jump on my trusty Schwinn and head out for a grueling 10 mile ride. The “real” cyclist around here would say that I picked a fairly flat route but to me, it was tough! There were some rolling hills, some wind and of course getting used to riding on the road …with traffic. I set goals for myself, the first being just to keep peddling and never stop. I’d pushed myself to go as hard as I could to burn the calories and increase my cardio workout. I had to adjust to numbing hands, a little saddle sore and knee pains, not to mention muscle cramping. I found out that the way the bike was “fit” to me (the height and position of the saddle, the height of the handlebars, the length of the stem, etc) were all very important in how I rode the bike and how comfortable I would be over the distance. As I adjusted to my aches and pains, having my bike adjusted to properly fit me, finding out what real bike shorts and shoes were all about and what it was to hydrate/drink while I rode (thank god I found Vitalyte about this time!!), I increased my mileage about 5 miles every month until I was riding about 40-45 miles consistently. I had a basic bike computer (I have since up-graded my bike computer to include a heart rate monitor that helps let me know how hard I’m working) to help track my time on the bike, mileage rode, speed and average speed over the course of the ride. I also kept a log of my rides so I could tell how I improved over time.
After nine months of riding by myself and building up the mileage on the bike, I purchased my new bike, a light weight carbon fiber bike. I started riding with the local Bicycle Club and now knew I had been bitten by the “cycling bug”! Now, almost 5 years later, I continue to ride 4 times a week, logging 150 to 175 miles a week. I have lost the weight I wanted to lose, altered my diet to eat healthier and now living a better and healthier life. I have continued with new cycling challenges all the time. It’s helped to keep things interesting and increase my fitness even more. I celebrated my 50th birthday this month and since January of this year, I have completed the California Triple Crown and the King of the Mountain challenges! Neither challenge was an easy feat! More to come on these events……..
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