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Bill Lightner

  • My Cycling Challenges - Bill Lightner

    My Cycling Challenges…………..

    I have always been active (most of my life anyway) in sports whether it’s been cycling, running, playing tennis, playing golf, skiing, in-line skating or whatever is tickling my adrenaline rush. Since taking on this relatively new path of fitness and good health, setting and achieving new challenges/goals has played a very important part to me. Since I found cycling, something I can be fairly good at and be competitive without actually competing on a top level, challenging myself has kept things interesting and fun! I cycle with many that are 20 years my junior and as many they are in their 60’s and 70’s! That’s encouraging to me that I can keep up with some of the younger folks (for now) and that by staying in shape, I can continue as long as I want.

    Initially when I first started cycling, my biggest challenge was just getting out every Saturday and Sunday. I would tell myself to just keep peddling, don’t stop. Each month or so, I would increase my mileage 5 to 10 miles. I started keeping a record of how long the ride took, and my average speed to track my progress. I soon build up my mileage and strength that I thought I could ride with the local Club without embarrassing myself.

    When I joined our local Club, I found out what that really meant to ride with a group of people and my next challenge began. In August, my fellow Brand Ambassador, Jenna Novotny wrote a great blog about Group Training, check it out if you haven’t already. I found that I really enjoyed riding with a group of people, it inspired me. There is such a variety of ability levels within the group; I had to find the right group to get started with. The challenge became keeping up with that group and pushing myself to get better enough to catch up to and ride with the next group. During this time, I was also encouraged to take on Organized Group Rides such as the Tour of Palm Springs. The first year I did the Tour, I rode 55 miles which was a push for me at the time. Later that year and after doing several more longer 55+ mile rides I was persuaded to ride my first Century (100 miles). This was a great accomplishment for me, not to mention not an easy first time Century that included 6,800 feet of climbing. This challenge very soon grew to become a Century ride a month for one year. The year was great fun with an awesome riding partner, great friends and finished my last Tour with my first Double Century (200 miles) ride.

    Now one might think, “What comes next?” Well, after a minor injury at the beginning of the following year, I got the hankering for my next challenge. The Double Century that I had done was kind-of a lead in…… My riding partner and I decided to aim for the Triple Crown (3 Double Centuries in a calendar year) and to add a “small” twist, throw in the King of the Mountain series (3, 110 mile mountain rides totaling some 32,000 feet of climbing). The year is almost over and I’m proud to say that I (we) have accomplished this great feat however it isn’t over!! It seems that there are 2 more Double Centuries in my near future to join the 1,000 mile Club! Crazy I know but I’m already being persuaded for next year’s famous/infamous Everest Challenge (a 2 day, 200 mile, almost 30,000 feet of climbing) race.

    The success of my challenges has now centered on training, diet and the right electrolyte replacement drink to keep me going. Please look to my following blogs about how I prepare for these challenges.

  • My cycling build-up…………..By Bill Lightner

    By Bill Lightner, Brand Ambassador

    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……..

    Should you have any questions about my blogs, please don’t hesitate to ask (I can be found on Facebook)!

  • My Story Back to Good Health... by Bill Lightner

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    After leaving our Desert home temporarily in 1997 due to poor economy/work, spending 4 years in Missouri (misery, no disrespect to Missourians, just a city boy in the country) and 2 years in So. Florida, we finally made it back to our Desert home where we belong. While away and during the first 3-1/2 years back home, I had been doing a lot of traveling, sitting in a plane or car, entertaining clients, eating out a lot and just generally “porking it up”!! The tennis a couple times a week with my wife just wasn’t cutting it for enough exercise!

    Of course I was in denial about my weight gain……….."No honey, I’m just retaining some water! It’ll go away”, LOL!!! Then I started going to the Doctor for physicals……. I was told that while I wasn't terribly overweight and could stand to lose a few pounds, my cholesterol and triglycerides were dangerously off the charts!!! Although I don’t like taking medication, I was placed on cholesterol reduction medicine. When I asked what I needed to do to avoid being on medication for the rest of my life, the Doctor told me to lose about 10lbs, start exercising more and to change my diet. I thought, “Gosh, what do I do? Work is so demanding and I love to eat……!”

    My sister-in-law and her husband are personal fitness trainers and are into cycling big time. With their encouragement I thought I’d get back on my 20 year old Schwinn and see how it goes. Well, after nine months of riding by myself and building up the mileage on the bike, I went out a purchased a new, 'real', light weight, carbon fiber bike. I finally felt that I could attempt riding with the local Bicycle Club without embarrassing myself. Wow, what a RUSH that was!! I started out slowly and in the back of the pack until I learned what I was doing and slowly got used to riding in a large group. I quickly found that it was GREAT!! I had been bitten by the “cycling bug”!

    Now, almost 5 years later, I continue to ride 4 times a week, booking 150 to 175 miles a week (other than my long distance challenges….blog to come), play tennis with my beautiful wife (though while I’m moving way better on court, she’s still kicking my butt!) and walk 1.5 to 4 miles 5 to 6 nights a week.

    I’m reaching the ½ century mark this month (turning 50 years old) and I’m proud to say that I’m 35 to 40 pounds lighter. I have reduced my medication to every-other day (in the process of things, I found out that the cholesterol thing is also hereditary. That means the best I can hope for on the medication is every-other day), my cholesterol and triglycerides are well within the proper range, and my resting heart rate is down to about 50bpm! The Doctor said if my heart rate went down anymore, I’d be dead, LOL! I also altered my diet a bit without hurting my love to eat and I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel. It’s truly an AWESOME feeling!!! I feel like I’m finally ready for the second half of life!! Who wants to join me?? It’ll be a great ride, I promise!!

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