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  1. #1
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    Good job! Breakthrough Moments (long)

    So, about three weeks ago, I finally got out the bikes that were sitting in the barn, unused, for the last four 6 years. I was overweight, out of shape and generally desperate to change my lifestyle. My wife and I started riding. We did a few five mile loops on pavement and realized that we actually could do this. What's more, we found that we really enjoyed biking together! I installed bike computers so we could start to track our mileage and hopefully see improvement.

    Wanting to get away from the crowded park full of screaming kids, soccer games and power walkers we ventured to a local state park. There, we found a 4 mile road loop with two large hills (probably not too large by other people's standards) as well as a six mile (3 each way) dirt bike path with about a 1/3 mile of single track each way. Again, these aren't hard trails, but for us, they represent a way to get in shape. I used to be very good on a bike but years of not using these skills had made them rusty. While my wife had done a lot of biking in her youth, she had never gotten off road. Therefore, we're learning together. However, I still felt out of shape. I never really felt that I improving my stamina or gaining muscles. I may have been impatient but I was starting to get frustrated.

    Last weekend, I decided that the cage pedals I was using were simply not working for me. I have wide feet and the cages were pinching my foot. Not to mention they were hard to escape from if I needed to put a foot down. So I got clipless pedals and shoes. What a difference. I also ordered my wife some new pedals.

    So this past Monday, the weather cleared and we loaded up the bikes and headed out. We did the same six mile trail we've been doing but this time, I stopped at one end to adjust my saddle while my wife turned around and headed back. Needless to say, after dropping the hex bolt, finding the hex bolt and generally beating myself up for being a klutz, I got the saddle angled where it should be and took off after my wife. I ended up hauling down the dirt track at a good clip (for me that is...) I finally caught up to her after a mile or so and we finished the ride. I was exhausted and my legs burned -- but in a good way. Even though I was tired, I felt like I had actually accomplished a good workout.

    We took a day off on Tuesday and walked four miles on Wednesday. I was still sore. But yesterday, I woke up and felt great. We both went to work and then hit the trail again. The weather was beautiful and I actually felt good! I even found another half mile of single track that paralleled the trail we were on and rode that! It's a bit more technical with some more rocks, some short, but steep rock climbs and I had a blast. My wife rode the normal path as she's not sure she's comfortable enough to try too many roots and rocks just yet. We got back to the car and I felt great! My legs didn't hurt, I wasn't breathing hard -- in fact, I felt like i could go and do it all over again!

    I fully understand that six miles isn't much. But to me, it represents the point of breaking through the fitness barrier to the point where I'm actually able to enjoy riding -- to look around at the beautiful scenery, the animals and such and not focus on my lungs hurting or my legs burning.

    I remember back in high school when preseason for football would commence near the end of summer. I remember after a week of simply hating life (not really, but close to it) I'd finally break through and start to feel like I was actually participating -- even enjoying myself.

    Yesterday, I had one of those breakthrough moments. I still have a long ways to go to reach my fitness goals, but I can hardly wait till tomorrow when we both have the day off and we go back to the trails!

    I realize that this is long, but oh well -- I felt like sharing.

    Anyone else with a similar experience?

  2. #2
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    good post... might even deserve to be in the passion portion of MTBR ... but i'll leave that up to you... (but honestly thats what passion is about)

    similar to you... i've been back in the saddle now for nearly a full year (has it already been that long?) we'd recently moved to MI... we had some great trails in the area and we had some extra cash comming in thanks to that stimulus check... the wife and I split the stimulus check... i bought myself a redline d440... even short rides would kill me for a while... I started dabbling off road... man I loved those trails... but thanks to the economy in MI i had to move... back down south we went... it was a turbulent time in life... staying with different family members... 1st place I got a good bit of road riding in for a while... then in another area got some good trails close to me... spent as much time there as I could... I was slow... but I enjoyed the heck outa it... back in november we moved in with the in-laws... while in the area I joined the local bike club... I spent a ton of time out at the trails between nov and dec... did a few group rides (which about killed me) and just plain old rode as much as I could... things changed a bit after that when my wife found a job then I found one (yay)... i'm not spending more time on the road... but realy savor the time out on the trail...

    with the time change the weekly wed "night ride" is something I can do with out lights...last week was my 1st time out... we did the short loop... I kept up a lot better then I had back a few months... i'm slowest in the pack still but it wasn't the kind of waiting they had to do back in nov/dec on the sunday group rides... well yesterday I went out... my HR average was about 10bmp slower then it had been... and to top it off we did the extra 4 mile portion of the loop (1st time I did both loops together I about died)... i'm keeping up a lot better with the group, riding faster and harder though sections and the climbs are gradualy getting easier and easier (not that they are easy but i don't feel like i'm going to die 100% of the time i'm doing the cilmbs now haha)... I summed it up on the club forum... "either you guys are getting slower or i'm getting faster" sadly i messed up my cycle computer yesterday so I'm not sure what kind of pace average I had going or anything... but sometimes I think you just need those computerless rides (or rotate it down so you can't see it

    now it's back to doing more road miles... i've got a 100k (about 62 miles) fund raiser ride comming up in about 2 weeks... thanks to tons of rain i'm way down on my base miles... but it's still goign to be a lot of fun ... just hope I can function the next day at work haha
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  3. #3
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    As a matter of fact yes. Instaed of dusting off "old bikes" we bought a pair of them. My wife had been on me for a year to get some new mt bikes. When I finally pulled. The trigger we ended up with a trek 4300 for her and a fisher advance for me. We started riding them on a 10 mile road loop and quickly got bit by the single track bug. Now we frequent brown county state park in indiana and average 10 to 15 miles every time we go out. If you ask me that 10+ miles off road feels like 30 or more of road miles. Needless to say we're hooked.

  4. #4
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    Fantastic post, mjwood0! Congratulations!

    I fully concur with donalson - add your story to the Passion forum... more people should hear your story.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dog.gone
    Fantastic post, mjwood0! Congratulations!

    I fully concur with donalson - add your story to the Passion forum... more people should hear your story.
    I agree, this is a passion post if I ever saw one!

  6. #6
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    ...if you'd like I can put it over in passion with a redirect from here... or at least I think I can haha...
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure how to move something like this to Passion, but I'd welcome it being moved.

    I figured that we all have had such a moment while biking and I thought people might want to hear about them and discuss them. Glad to hear people are interested!

  8. #8
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    I would just repost it in the passion forum. I really enjoyed the read, I felt nearly the same way when I first started out.

  9. #9
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    meh... I like it being in here ...

    go ahead and just copy it and re-post it over in passion ... then post the cross link in here ...

    sorry i'm selfish I like having things like this over here in the big boy forum haha
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  10. #10
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    Posted over in Passion.

  11. #11
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    Great motivational post! I happened upon mtbr while researching cargo bikes and the big dummy, was sucked into the forums by Devo's posts of wunderlust and finally ended up here as a big rider who is looking to get back into the saddle. I'm still in the trepidation/reaclimation phase so your post was perfect.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkShip
    Great motivational post! I happened upon mtbr while researching cargo bikes and the big dummy, was sucked into the forums by Devo's posts of wunderlust and finally ended up here as a big rider who is looking to get back into the saddle. I'm still in the trepidation/reaclimation phase so your post was perfect.
    Go for it! It's a fun ride (pun intended)

    My wife and I have owned nice bikes for close to 6 years (I've had mine for close to 10). They've spent most of their life in the barn, collecting dust. Why? Well, we've tried to get into riding but it just never worked out.

    However, I feel that this time, we did a few things right:
    1. Made a commitment: financially, time and effort
    2. Took it slow and varied biking with walking. They use slightly different muscles and a good long walk (4 miles or so) the day after a tough ride (for us) seems to loosen things up a bit while still providing a bit of a workout.
    3. Focused on comfort. This costs money, but bikes get put away when they hurt you.
    4. Also focused on eating correctly for biking. This is key for us as my wife is a reactive hypoglycemic / borderline diabetic.


    We're up to biking close to 11 miles on relatively flat, paved paths. But we're also able to sustain a much faster pace (started out around 8 mph, now we're keeping it around 12 mph). The other day, I was able to sustain a 18 mph pace (on a mountain bike mind you) for the last 2 miles of the ride. For me, this really seems to help with both conditioning and building strength. I also do a nice cool down afterwords.

  13. #13
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    somehow I missed that you'd posted it to passion... but reading over there... i'm going to do a told ya so ;-) it realy is a good passion post...

    JunkShip... welcome aboard... I think the biggest thing is getting you on 2 wheels ASAP... ... if you could look at my early posts here they where me as far back as '04 coming in and posting about what to get... sadly I wasn't able to get a bike untill this last spring... while I haven't lost much weight i'm in far better shape then I had been... this sat i'm going to ride 100k (62 miles) for a tour de cure ride... i'd NEVER have dreamed i'd be saying that till maybe last summer...

    get on a bike as soon as you can... and enjoy the hell out of it ...
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  14. #14
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    Great post! I've had similar experiences, but between rides. I would ride alone whenever I could get out, and make some progress. Then, I would go biking with my very non-clyde brother (< 160lbs), and get pushed to the point of collapsing. Feels terrible to be last in any group, but coming back home, my regular rides get easier and easier.

  15. #15
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    Thank you MJ for posting this. I'm just starting out after a 10 year lapse, and it is nice to see others who are on the trail I hope to follow.

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