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  1. #1
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    New Fathers: How did/do you do it?

    Ive been a bit down lately. Last year was my first race season and I had so much fun that winter last year was almost unbearable. I made it through to spring and all I could think about was racing again and how great it was going to be to have a full season of racing and working out to improve my results.

    My wife was pregnant during the off season and we were expecting in July. I knew that the baby would effect my racing/training schedule but I told myself that I would still find time to keep going strong.

    Well that hasnt happened. I was planning on missing 2 races, I missed 4. I never thought about the races I would miss when my wife was within a month of delivery and the DR told me I couldnt be more than an hour away from home.

    I also used to ride 4 to 5 times a week. Im lucky if I ride once a week now. The wife and I are working opposite schedules to avoid daycare (something we werent originally planning on doing) and as a GM of a company I work 55+ hours a week.

    I cant believe the race season is coming to an end in 6 weeks and I wont be able to race again till next April. I weigh 25 more pounds than I did this time last year and I gained 20 pounds last winter. Im pretty damn concerned about slipping any further.

    So for you new or past Fathers who had a baby during the season, how did you keep going?
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  2. #2
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    I have 3 daughters. I used to ride alot more then I do now but I wasn't any faster. My training is more focused now. Less wasted miles/time. I raced SS open in our state series last year and I'm planning on racing cat1 in 2013. I do alot of night riding both road and mtn.

    You choose to have a kid and a wife. They deserve the most from you. I'm 36 and most of the guys I ride with are still getting better into their mid 40s. There will be time for you after the kids are older. Just focus your diet and time to ride as much as possible and not put on to many lbs.

  3. #3
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    Lunch road rides and more road riding in general. If I had an hour while he is napping (and my wife is home of course), hit the road hard. Kept doing the weekly Wed mtb ride almost every week too.

    Also close to home MTB rides on the weekends, again hard rides no/minimal stopping. Actually faster than I ever have been. Pretty fast Cat 1/slow Open racing, after 4-5 years consistently racing, so have a good base.

    Edit - Also have a jogging stroller that I'll run w/him in occasionally.

  4. #4
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    Get some rollers and/or a trainer to get in saddle time - during nap time, before or after they go to bed. You might also schedule an Evening or early morning ride once a week. Running is also good and takes a lot less time, which can help with cardio fitness and weight control. Hike with the kid in a pack; load it up with gear and water, and do some hills and stairs. Fit in one of each of those activities a week, with a Sat/Sun ride (trade weekend days with the mrs so she can a few hours on the other day), and you stay in shape and feel good that while maybe not racing, you're staying fit, doing your best fathering, and have a few solo hours a week to decompress out on the trails.

    Enjoy the time you have now as a father.

  5. #5
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    You probably don't want to hear this.

    I personally quit my job and sold just about everything I owned. House and cars and moved to a smaller cheaper house and bought a $700 car, but kept all of my bikes and found a job that would work around my new daughter and training schedule.

    Now I only work 35 hours per week and still have a cheap car and the same house. I ride around 10-20 hours per week and spend every night with the kids, they are now 11 and 8. The kids now also do the races as well and it is a family event for us.

    I do not miss the material things I once had and happier with the lifestyle. The bike frees me in so many ways.

    In life there are many choices, choose what fits your family best. Racing may not be happening for you for the next 5 years or so. I have a great wife who has supported the transition all of the way. Also got rid of our TV 11 years ago as well and believe it or not, that freed up a bunch of time for training.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    I have 3 daughters. I used to ride alot more then I do now but I wasn't any faster. My training is more focused now. Less wasted miles/time. I raced SS open in our state series last year and I'm planning on racing cat1 in 2013. I do alot of night riding both road and mtn.

    You choose to have a kid and a wife. They deserve the most from you. I'm 36 and most of the guys I ride with are still getting better into their mid 40s. There will be time for you after the kids are older. Just focus your diet and time to ride as much as possible and not put on to many lbs.
    Great advice (along with the other reponses here).

    You have to fit in in when you can and be more focused, but your family life is the most important thing right now. I remember feeling the same way when my daughter was first born.

    You will have more time when your child gets older.

    An night riding/lunch riding/early morning riding is what you have. Make the most of that time, so you can make the most of the your time with what really matters.

    (and positive rep to everyone so far!)
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    I have 3 daughters. I used to ride alot more then I do now but I wasn't any faster. My training is more focused now. Less wasted miles/time. I raced SS open in our state series last year and I'm planning on racing cat1 in 2013. I do alot of night riding both road and mtn.

    You choose to have a kid and a wife. They deserve the most from you. I'm 36 and most of the guys I ride with are still getting better into their mid 40s. There will be time for you after the kids are older. Just focus your diet and time to ride as much as possible and not put on to many lbs.
    This. You may not feel as such now, but you have decades of racing ahead of you. The first ten years of your child's life is your chance to bond and teach them. After that, they're essentially going to do what they want. Also, the stress of a new baby creates a lot of broken marriages. Take a year or two and focus on your family. Just like base training makes the season- your time is now to "base train" for your family.

    Otherwise, you work in what you can. Get up early or go out during lunch and crank out some intervals. Clean up your diet, that's what drives body weight. In another year or so you can put them in a trailer and then hit some hills. After that is the trail-a-bike. My best memories thus far (and best workouts) were riding single track with my 6 year old daughter on her trail-a-bike in tow.

    Congratulations on your new baby! Enjoy every second, it really does go by in a blink.

  8. #8
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    AZpoolguy- you sound like me a little bit.

    Our daughter is 14 months old, and she has made our lives so much richer I can't remember what it was like before she arrived. But I do know what changed to allow me to continue training and progressing.

    1) Get the best indoor trainer you can possibly afford. Get one with a powermeter, or get a permanent trainer bike with a powermeter, or something. I have a LeMond Revolution with the PowerPilot head unit for power display.

    2) Get a coach, or read enough to train yourself.

    3) Embrace riding early before the baby wakes up, or late in the evening after she is asleep. I prefer AM because my wife leaves early and I impact no one by getting on the trainer for an hour.

    4) Learn to enjoy structured interval training. When you can measure progress with a powermeter, it is very satisfying and almost fun. You can accomplish a lot of quality work in an hour (including warmup and cooldown).

    5) STOP RACING YOURSELF INTO SHAPE. Do NOT count on racing for fitness. Racing is actually pretty crappy training (if you want to get faster), and massively time-inefficient. Train with intervals (primarily) for fitness, and use the fitness you build to race.

    6) Negotiate one weeknight to ride outdoors. Try to make it a longer ride (2 hours or so). Make it fun, with friends if you can.

    7) Negotiate one early weekend AM ride. This will be your long ride, shoot for 2-4 hours depending on goals. Easy and fun, find friends who need to get it done early to join you.

    8) STOP DEPENDING ON RACING AND TRAINING TO CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT. Put down the darn fork and control your intake when you can't be as active for one reason or another. Don't be the guy who gains 10+ lbs every winter or 30+ if he misses a race season. Eat well and stay within 2-3 lbs. of race weight year round.

    These work for me. I average 8-10 hours/week of training and it's more than enough for Cat 1 XC, crits and road races (<4 hours). Hopefully it will be enough for Pro/Elite next season. Power numbers are up significantly due to recent blocks of structured training, so I have little doubt.
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  9. #9
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    My wife and I came to the realization that the second pay cheque wasn't worth all the goofing around it caused. She left work 3 years ago and stayed home to raise the kids, which has worked out amazingly... Kids have a full time caregiver, who can keep their days full of variety. I have the freedom to work as I need, or get on my bike and play as I need... She gets all kinds of time with her friends and family...

    A double income isn't all it's cracked up to be if you're always at your redline, all the time. Sooner or later the machine breaks down and you're going to have a hard time re-assembling the mess life has become. Car nut said it well, there are 5 years that you have to offer your kids,an opportunity to learn how to be good people. Some choose to shuffle their kids off to overcrowded daycares and rush them through their early years as fas as they can... Relax, enjoy, and find a balance that works, not one that breaks you.

  10. #10
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    I had a daughter last July too. We also have a 3yo boy. I'm 43, wife is 34. I make ok money and my wife stays home except for teaching yoga once a week. Money's tight, but we're managing.

    Last year's one post-daughter race was a disaster. But this year has gone really well. Some things that helped:
    > I trade time with my wife. So my 3-4 hour Sunday morning rides are exchanged for her getting to do her thing (yoga, running) a couple times a week.
    > I also take "race compensation" vacation days. So I generally take a vaca day the Monday after a Sunday race to make up for lost time with the kids and to give my wife a break.
    > I take my son to my parents' house (1.5 hours away) for some of the races that are closer to them, and they happily watch him while I go race. This gives my wife a bit of a break and qt w/ my daughter. My parents love it, obviously, and me and my son enjoy the guy time as well.
    > I ride to work (often take a bit longer route to get extra miles) and do intervals at lunch (we have showers at work). I also keep a trainer and bike in the basement at work all winter and do lunch workouts down there (I sometimes bring my laptop down and watch bar-cams of crit races and try to pretend I'm in the race - really fun!).
    > Every ride during training and race season has a very specific purpose - no junk rides. And, as you'd imagine, the more effort I put in, the better results I get.

    Doing all this has helped a lot. I feel faster than ever, managed to move up to Cat 1 this year and have been competitive. All on an avg of maybe 7-9 hours of riding per week, often squeezed in wherever possible. It was a bit tough to get it figured out at first, but my wife and I have a great understanding about it now and support each other. And squeezing quality workouts in at work means I don't feel like I've missed out on quality time with the kids. On the contrary, I feel like I spend as much time with my kids as any dad I know.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post

    8) STOP DEPENDING ON RACING AND TRAINING TO CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT. Put down the darn fork and control your intake when you can't be as active for one reason or another. Don't be the guy who gains 10+ lbs every winter or 30+ if he misses a race season. Eat well and stay within 2-3 lbs. of race weight year round.
    .
    This one is huge! I can't add more training time but I can control what I eat and how much I eat. I am 5'10 and raced at 155 lbs last year. I did a 5 day juice cleanse two month ago and then went on a Vegan diet. I'm now holding at 144lbs. But the biggest difference has been my sleep and recovery is better. I cut out coffee and soda also.

    Control what you can and go with the flow on the rest!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    This one is huge! I can't add more training time but I can control what I eat and how much I eat. I am 5'10 and raced at 155 lbs last year. I did a 5 day juice cleanse two month ago and then went on a Vegan diet. I'm now holding at 144lbs. But the biggest difference has been my sleep and recovery is better. I cut out coffee and soda also.

    Control what you can and go with the flow on the rest!


    Ha. I'm 5'10", 143, more similar than I suspected

    But I love coffee, and eat meat regularly (though less than in previous years). Never eat fried foods. No gluten. No sodas for years.

    Eat lots of plants (whether or not you cut out meat), it's a winning proposition.

    I do get irritated at friends who complain that "I can't ride as much, so I've gained 30 lbs" or similar. No, you gained 30 lbs because you continued to eat AS IF you were still riding as much. Simple math.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    So for you new or past Fathers who had a baby during the season, how did you keep going?
    I hate to say this but getting married and having kid is one reason I stopped riding in 2004 and only started again in late 2011. I still have never raced, but with all that was going on riding got the short end of the stick. The only way to keep doing it is to re-evaluate all priorities and maybe cut back on other things. For example.. I used to watch college and pro foot ball. I don't any more as I don't have the time.
    Joe
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  14. #14
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    Yup, same thing happened to me... We had a boy almost three years ago... Most athletic stuff stopped right then and there for the first 2 1/2 years... I put on about 40 pounds. Things have finally settled down enough that both my wife and I can begin to give our health the attention it deserves again...

  15. #15
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    A lot of good points and good advice have been made here.

    We had our first last November and it has definitely strained our marriage with trying to find time to ride and stay active. Something that has been a problem is that I need my time to train and she needs time to do her own thing as well. Leaving your family all the time while your wife has to take care of everything is not cool and she needs her own time as well. What we have more or less compromised on is the following.

    1. One weekday ride after work for about a 1 to 2 hour ride.
    2. One weekend ride in the AM or PM for 2 to 4 hours. The earlier in the AM the better because the wife likes to sleep in and some times I am back before she is up.
    3. I run during lunch at work on M, W, and F. If I can't run during lunch or it looks like the weather is going to be nasty (too hot or rainy) then I will get up early (5AM) and run before work and everyone is up.
    4. While I was training for Xterra I was also swimming once a week (or trying to) on Tuesdays. The little one had swim lessons on Tuesday nights and I would swim while she would do the lesson with the little one and vice versa.
    5. Every once in a while if I missed a ride or a run I will take a late night ride around town while everyone is asleep. I am planning on getting a decent light this fall so that I can do some night mtb riding as well after DLST. I am only 8 min away from a trailhead so that helps.

    I am probably not the person to ask because I don't really "train". I have more fun just being outside and riding and exploring than I do with specific training. In the winter time I will do specific training workouts on the rollers. But in the nice weather I like to be adventurous and just ride wherever I feel like riding. I am also in a similar boat to you and this was just my second year racing and I am a solid mid-pack Cat 2 and still getting faster and improving. I am a mid-pack in Xterra as well. If I actually did a structured training plan I would probably be more successful, but also have less fun.

    As far as weight gain. Like everyone has said. It has a lot more to do with what you put in your mouth than what you do. This last July was the most training than I have ever done with 5 hours of running and 15 hours of biking and I gained 5 pounds because I ate everything in sight. There are skinny people who never exercise. There was an article from Chrissie Wellington that even though she was running and biking all the time that she still has to watch what she eats or she will gain weight. I am 5' 10" and 175 so I am not particularly skinny nor heavy. I have noticed that I will easily drop weight if I just do simple things like don't always eat until you are full, and stop drinking empty caloried drinks that do not have alcohol in them.

    The most important is try to get the family involved. It is still a little early, but get a trailer and pull the trailer while your wife rides with you. Or let her do her own thing while you have the little one in the trailer. Get a backpack to put the little one in and go on family hikes. Go on jogs and push the stroller while your wife runs un-strollered. You will find out very quickly how pushing/pulling/carrying extra weight is a great workout (and often an equilizer to your wife so you are the same speed) and you get to feel close to your child and family as well. It is very important to me that both my wife and I show our daughter to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Watch that you do not replace quality sleep with exercise too much. You will feel tired and grumpy and not have a good workout anyways. There have been studies that have linked obesity with a lack of sleep and that our bodies crave extra calories to make up for the lack of sleep. Try and turn the TV off at an earlier time and get you and your family to bed at a reasonable time.

    Don't let it get you down. You are not a professional racer. Your familys wellfare is not based on your cycling placings. You will have more time to ride when the kids are older. Unless you are in your 60's this time frame probably allows you to get to CAT 1 when they are older and do not need as much time to take care of them. They will only be this age for so long so embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts. Biking is something that you do for fun because you choose to do so. If it causes too much stress in your life and makes you unhappy then stop. I told myself that I would rather have a happy marriage/family/life and never ride a bike then be divorced and have all the time to ride in the world. Obviously there is a middle ground. You just need to find out what works with you and your family.

  16. #16
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    Son was born in 2009

    Been a night rider ever since.

    I can clock 5-6 hours a week this way. I don't race.

    But it meant no trail ride for me. So its not really MTB on these ride as I ride with slick most of the time on pavement. BUT I take a day off for the occasionnal day long epic ride now and then and maybe on week-end ( have to negotiate these though). And I often bring my 3 yrs old on saturday morning ride with the trailer.

    The kid and family worth it and I have no regrets, but sometime slight nostalgia ...

  17. #17
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    I have 9month old twins, and the first 3 months I hardly saw or did anything besides work and home. It was pretty much a day shift (work) and night shift (kids).
    The kids are still young, but to keep on top of my training I ride at 5.10am every morning, with Sunday off.

    You need to accept that things won't be the same as before, and that you also need to adapt your schedule around the kids. For me it was early bed, early start. Now I find it weird that not everyone is up at 5am every day.

  18. #18
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    Just sent my twins off to college earlier this week. Still have a 14 and 12 year old at home. Started riding/racing motocross and mtb again once my oldest could start to participate or showed interest. You will never be as fast as you think you were, but who cares?

    You can still live a healthy and active life, it sets a great example for the rest of the family.

  19. #19
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    So many great replies -- and really good to see what's working for everyone here. I also have a relatively new daughter, and have been able to improve fitness pretty significantly in the time we've had her. I get fewer overall trail miles (and sleep) than before, but I'd never trade back. Family first for sure.

    Here are a couple things that have helped us in dealing with my bike riding addiction:

    1. Just like a bunch of guys here, she gives me the go-ahead on one week-night ride, and then another longer ride on the weekend... with an optional (but likely) 2nd weekend ride depending on how the weekend goes. For us, just setting the expectations for ride days that work for both of us made a huge difference.

    2. I started riding to work every day, instead of sporadically... it's only 10 miles a day for me, but it's essentially 50 'free' miles on the bike each week because it's not much longer time-wise than driving, so it doesn't take away from family time. It just requires more planning ahead on my part. Obviously this may not work for everyone, but it has been a really good option for me.

    3. Do tons of chores. It's magic.

  20. #20
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    Sorry, double posted that...
    Last edited by jp67; 09-08-2012 at 12:22 AM. Reason: double post

  21. #21
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    I have 4 young kids 4-10 years old) and train 5-6 hours per week and race cat 1 mountain. My wife is supportive and comes to my races with the kids who are all old enough to race kids races. When they were young I etched the training time into my schedule no matter what, as long as I made sure my family got the time I needed. I scheduled workouts weeks in advance and made sure I had plenty of family time as well. I'm self employed which leaves me with flexibility to ride during lunch and early afternoons plus my wife is supportive. I was able to race and train over the last 5 years with young kids and putting my wife through nursing school. As others have said-ride early, get a good trainer and workout a schedule with your wife and agree on your workout schedule and you'll be good to go.
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  22. #22
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    I have 2 girls and when the first came our way I got myself a road bike for those days I want to ride but only have an hour, then I started riding in the early am to try to up my cardio a bit. I also picked up night riding for those summer 10 pm rides, worked for me and I actually ended up riding a bit more but not quite as fun as all mtn bike rides

  23. #23
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    Reading this whole thread just freaked me out.
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  24. #24
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    It's been mentioned, but the year our son turned 1, I got a trailer and started riding with him every day.

    I have never been stronger on my bike, and that was also the best shape I had been in in almost 10 years.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by thickfog View Post
    Reading this whole thread just freaked me out.
    Great birth controll for the single men and a little something to think about for the young married couple. I think a lot of it also has to do with your wife. Me and my wife switch workout days, she is also very active and as long as she makes it to the gym a few days a week she is cool with the rides and the early 6 am Saturday mornin ride so I am still home bay the time she gets back from the gym.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    I also used to ride 4 to 5 times a week. Im lucky if I ride once a week now. The wife and I are working opposite schedules to avoid daycare (something we werent originally planning on doing) and as a GM of a company I work 55+ hours a week.

    I cant believe the race season is coming to an end in 6 weeks and I wont be able to race again till next April. I weigh 25 more pounds than I did this time last year and I gained 20 pounds last winter. Im pretty damn concerned about slipping any further.

    So for you new or past Fathers who had a baby during the season, how did you keep going?
    Get an exercise bike. You can outfit it with your normal saddle and clipless pedals. Set it up in an area of the house so you have easy access to the baby, TV, etc... . Weather and or time is not an issue with such a solution.

    Our home gym in the basement...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/7166535@N05/4231710440/" title="HomeGymWeights by BBcamerata, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2803/4231710440_af36809f22_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="HomeGymWeights"></a>

    As mentioned above, entertain the idea of a trailer you can pull behind your bike or in my case - I preferred a seat on the back of the bike. It's great once your baby is a bit older (I used the seat for several years with both my children which allowed me to get a lot of miles in with them). Then I moved to a "hitchhiker/trail-a-bike" (skipped the Burley trailer option) when the kids were old enough to pedal and sit upright on their own.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/7166535@N05/7957656178/" title="21084_1 by BBcamerata, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8439/7957656178_ab52d42e71_n.jpg" width="320" height="320" alt="21084_1"></a>

    I started using the seat behind the bike very early with the kids when they were 8 or 9 months old. Check your state laws as some states don't allow it until the child is 12 months old. No laws existed back in my day or location, so once I could get an infant's helmet on them - we were out on the pavement getting our miles in. The seat reclines and 9.9 times out of 10 fall asleep within a few minutes and are out like a light for your entire ride.

    I've never used a front of the bike child seat, but they are very common in Europe with most everybody owning one who has infants/toddlers. Here's a link to such a solution...

    Your Mama Loves the IBert Safe-T-Seat for Bike Riding with Baby! «Your Mama Reviews

    Best of luck coming up with a solution that will work for you.

    BB
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 09-08-2012 at 01:59 PM.

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    Good grief, Bruce. You've got an entire YMCA in your basement.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barheet View Post
    Good grief, Bruce. You've got an entire YMCA in your basement.
    Yup, have had our own home gym since 1995. Wife, myself, and our 2 kids (now both teenagers) all use it. Started it exactly due to the OP's reasons. We had a 2 year old and a newborn at the time. If you want to work out and raise kids - you've got to come up with a solution that will get used - so we did.

    BB

  29. #29
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    Well it's a good idea if you can afford it and have the room. Iowa winters are long and dark. I usually gain a few pounds of hibernation fat. haha

    One thing I've done in the past few winters to keep in shape is play games on my Xbox. Heheh, seriously, I play Kinect games. I'm no dancer, but I do Dance Central and Zumba, Kinect sports and stuff like that. It doesn't help the biking legs all that much, but it keeps me up to date on my cardio and I can just pause if the kids get out of control. When the kids were babies, I'd play while they were napping.

  30. #30
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    Wow-this is great! Good to know others going through what I have/am! We had our first son as well as our first home together-which I'm doing as much of the remodel as I can and I've gained about 30 pounds and had almost stopped riding completely. My fiancé's friends started Bay Area Cargo bikes an GAVE us a Metrofeits bike to take our son on rides. I also just purchased a Pivot so if I can I go out and ride by myself or if my sons up to it I take him and my fiancé for a ride on the local trail. For me-that cargo bike is the best thing that could have happened to me-I can use it for work, to go to the store and most important-take my son for a ride and be together with my family.

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    I have a 3 and 1 year old boys. I do most of my riding during my lunch hour at work. If I want a really long ride I will take vacation days.

    My wife is awesome and let's me race one night a week during the summer and also let's me race several endurance events as well. It also helps that my kids are extremely well behaved and started sleeping through the night around 2 months of age.

    I chose to have kids at a young age (26) mostly so that I could enjoy more activities with my children. A added benefit is that I still have decades of racing ahead of me after the kids are older. Because right now the kids are more important than some 2 dollar hunk of cheap metal you win at a race.

  32. #32
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    ...and here's a picture of how I manage family time and training time. That's about 110lbs total and it's attached to my singlespeed About half way through my ride I was wishing I grabbed the geared bike
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    ...and here's a picture of how I manage family time and training time. That's about 110lbs total and it's attached to my singlespeed About half way through my ride I was wishing I grabbed the geared bike
    Very nice!!!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    AZpoolguy- you sound like me a little bit.

    Our daughter is 14 months old, and she has made our lives so much richer I can't remember what it was like before she arrived. But I do know what changed to allow me to continue training and progressing.

    1) Get the best indoor trainer you can possibly afford. Get one with a powermeter, or get a permanent trainer bike with a powermeter, or something. I have a LeMond Revolution with the PowerPilot head unit for power display.

    2) Get a coach, or read enough to train yourself.

    3) Embrace riding early before the baby wakes up, or late in the evening after she is asleep. I prefer AM because my wife leaves early and I impact no one by getting on the trainer for an hour.

    4) Learn to enjoy structured interval training. When you can measure progress with a powermeter, it is very satisfying and almost fun. You can accomplish a lot of quality work in an hour (including warmup and cooldown).

    5) STOP RACING YOURSELF INTO SHAPE. Do NOT count on racing for fitness. Racing is actually pretty crappy training (if you want to get faster), and massively time-inefficient. Train with intervals (primarily) for fitness, and use the fitness you build to race.

    6) Negotiate one weeknight to ride outdoors. Try to make it a longer ride (2 hours or so). Make it fun, with friends if you can.

    7) Negotiate one early weekend AM ride. This will be your long ride, shoot for 2-4 hours depending on goals. Easy and fun, find friends who need to get it done early to join you.

    8) STOP DEPENDING ON RACING AND TRAINING TO CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT. Put down the darn fork and control your intake when you can't be as active for one reason or another. Don't be the guy who gains 10+ lbs every winter or 30+ if he misses a race season. Eat well and stay within 2-3 lbs. of race weight year round.

    These work for me. I average 8-10 hours/week of training and it's more than enough for Cat 1 XC, crits and road races (<4 hours). Hopefully it will be enough for Pro/Elite next season. Power numbers are up significantly due to recent blocks of structured training, so I have little doubt.
    You hit the nail right on the head. I lost a year of riding after my daughter was born (year and a half) but it was worth it.

  35. #35
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    Being the GM of your company do you have a private bath and office? Could you commute at all? That's how I get riding in.
    When my kids were little I would only do a couple races a year. I didn't start racing what I consider a full schedule again until my youngest was 7 (12-16 races a year).

  36. #36
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    Work, Riding, Family balance is tough. We have a huge wall calendar that we put all practices, PTA junk, work related stuff, etc. on. This will help you figure out when you can actually ride. Plan rides and get them on the calendar. It works for me, helps me know when I have other obligations and when my windows of opportunity are.

  37. #37
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    55 hours a week is too many hours at work. Negotiate with them to cut back or start looking for another job.

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    First, figure out your diet to avoid the weight gain............less exercise=less food consumption/calories. If you get this one figured out you will be light years ahead when the time constraints of fatherhood let up a bit.
    Do you want your kid(s) to know an outdoor lifestyle? You have likely discussed, pre-kid, what you would like your family to be like, work to make it fit what you want. Your children will be excited to participate in what you love as they grow up, which could be the seeds for what they end up loving. Have your wife and child meet you at the trails after the ride, go hike and hang out, or vise versa, you show up with the kid after her hike or bike thing.

    Enjoy your family, piss on racing if there is no time, but live a good lifestyle (food, health, exercise...). Make sure that you are the best that you can be when the time presents itself. You will find time eventually and the more you and your wife can work together on "lifestyle time", the quicker it will happen.

    On a personal note, I find out what my wife wants to do for an activity together and then ride my bike from home to where the activity is taking place, if appropriate.....lots of point to points. I have trails forever in my backyard, but a raod bike would work the same if I were into the civil living.
    ATV = fat A$$

  39. #39
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    I upgraded to pro 6 months after our first son was born. He just turned 2; I'm more fit and happy than I've ever been. Work 45-50 hours a week. I know this can sound a bit "preachy" but some things that helped...

    -Sold the second car; no choice but to ride my bike to work. Finding a job close to home (or home close to job) has been a priority over the last 5 years.

    -Sold the TV. HUGE timesuck...and for nothing.

    -Riding time is restricted to before work Mon-Fri. and home from work. No weekends except to race (a reduced schedule at that). I have to be in at 8:00, so this means a lot of 5:00 AM rides. I can manange 6-12 weekly hours this way.

    -Do whatever it takes for your wife too have time to do what she enjoys; even if it means she gets to do her thing more than you bike, it'll pay off.

    -Buy a trailer. It's fun for the family to get out together. Or go it alone with your child in the trailer...you'll get a killer workout and she gets her alone time.

    -As others have said, work on diet...No sugar (seriously, none), especially if you you have a spell when you can't ride. We have absolutely forbidden foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Oils, and anything with more than 5 ingredients in our house. Works well.

  40. #40
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    I'll be having our first baby in the upcoming weeks and I'm more than happy that it pushes racing aside...
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  41. #41
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    Yea, something that I think about whenever I get down that I am not training enough is that after I die, no-one will remember or care how I did in a B class mountain bike race that I did. However, I will live on through my daughter and the child(ren) that she has (hopefully someday, but definitely not soon ) and that will affect many lives to come. Helping her grow into the person she will be and hopefully mother she will be is more important in the grand scheme of things than if you can ride a bike faster/better than other people. The human race existed just fine before the invention of the bicycle and it will continue on if bicycles were non-existent.

    My ultimate goals in life are to not sweat the small stuff, enjoy life, and to leave the world a better place because of my existence. If everyone tried to live life with the sole goal of making the world a better place then this earth that we have would be pretty amazing. Just sucks that there are liars/thiefs/cheats and/or bigoted ignoramoses that ruin it for the rest of us.

    Sorry for the preach/rant.

  42. #42
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    Father of 2.5 yr old twins here

    I can relate to OP's worries. I've got twin boys, so that is all I know. Here is my quick response/advice/opinion:
    -You lose your free time when you become a parent. No way around it, so be a good parent and devote yourself to your family. They are the priority, it is just a bike.
    -I suggest just write off the first year at least. There is no time for anything else when there are infants to look after.
    -After the first year, you'll start to find/make opportunities. But you'll never have that free time that you used to.
    -We you get "free" time, consider putting it back into the family. My wife doesn't ride, so I feel some guilt when I take off to do my own thing all the time. I'm not sure what the OP's family situation is like, but for me I appreciate my ride time even more knowing that I have also devoted some extra time to my family.
    -Don't let yourself gain weight because you're not exercising as much. It sucks when you do.
    -I own a trainer, but I hate it. I'm just not disciplined enough to devote time to it. It gets about 10 hours of use per winter. 0 hours during riding season!
    -I put studded tires on my commuter bike and kept up my bike commute to work year round.

    Below is the long response I typed up.

    Before I had kids I was riding 10+ hours a week and racing probably 10-15 times per year. Not that I was a champ or anything, but I was finally finishing in the front third of the Cat 2/Sport field and I felt like I was actually improving after being at it for about 6 years. Then we finally managed to get pregnant, and with TWINS no less! Personal free time pretty much disappeared. I got probably one short ride in per week on the weekends during the boys' afternoon nap. I cut myself off from any races that involved travel. Fortunately that still left me with one early season XC race and one late season XC race, with one 38-mile "timed ride" fundraiser in the middle. I entered all three and suffered like a dog in all of them (cramps from overexertion)! When cyclocross season came around I stuck to my no-travel policy and did the only weekend of local races. DNF'd one race and just kinda sucked in the other. The fitness does not stick around, unfortunately...

    During their second year I found that I could begin to get more riding in during the summer after they went to bed. Bedtime was around 8 pm, so with a cheap lighting setup I could squeeze a 1-2 hour ride in after bedtime. I am very fortunate to have MTB trails within a mile from home. I still got the weekend ride in and with some negotiating I could stretch that into a longer ride of 2+ hours. I again did the same 3 mountain bike races. Stunk it up at the XC ones (overexertion cramps again), but my time in the 38-miler was at least down from the year before. Nowhere near my PR, though. There was also a weekend enduro race that was pretty fun, at least you don't have to climb quickly in those! I got the go ahead to travel to go watch the Pro XCT race in Missoula, that was awesome and a bike geek like me was star struck with all the pros I saw there. Cross season had only one day of local racing but I managed to get the OK for traveling an hour and half to race the BIG one in the state, Missoula's Rolling Thunder. I don't recall what the results were, certainly nothing to be psyched about, but at least I was racing!

    I just finished the third MTB season since having kids. I still do all the local races that I can, the same 2 XC events, the 38-miler (I got my 2nd fastest time ever this year!), and the weekend enduro race. I get the same amount of riding in as last summer, about 5-8 hours a week. I got to put my premier MTB race of the season back on my schedule, the Butte 50. That is what I'm most thankful for and I'm happy with this much racing. Don't let my wife know, but I would trade the XC events in order to keep the 50-miler on my schedule! I skipped traveling to watch the Pro XCT this year, I thought of it as part of the trade off for getting the out of town 50-miler back on my schedule. My weekend naptime ride can typically happen on both days now and I try to make one of them into a long training ride. Obviously this lasts longer than naptime, so I need to get permission before doing it! Fitness is much better, although I'm still not as fit as I used to be. I had put on almost 25 pounds since the boys arrived, and I'm happy to say that I've lost it all again. The earlier advice about watching your weight is absolutely true. I am now a calorie counter, I can't believe it! And here's a shocking truth, counting calories works. I've plateau'd at just under my pre-fatherhood weight, even though I'm still sticking to my calorie budget. Maybe this is just how much I'm supposed to weigh? But losing weight is addictive, it really does feel better than that extra helping of food tastes.

  43. #43
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    To you fathers that have twins, I am impressed. Before we got pregnant I used to think how having twins would be the best (we have always wanted 2) and how people who had twins were lucky. That you get it all done with one shot and you are not changing diapers and caring for babies for the next 4+ years.

    I don't think that anymore. Every time I think of how difficult one baby is I can't imagine the difficulty in raising two at the same time. My hat is off to you.

  44. #44
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    A very timely topic for me! I have a 3 week old boy.

    So far I've got a couple short rides, a bit of trainer time and a little bit of running. My wife is also very active, so I guess we'll come to some arrangement in sharing exercise time once she's recovered.

    Regardless I won't be doing 12+ hours a week like this season. However if I can get 8-10 hours of structured training regularly for a couple months leading up to the season that'll be enough to competitive in 30-39 here. I'll have to stop racing 'Elite' though.

    For now, a couple mid-week 1.5 hour rides, 1 decent 3-4 hour weekend ride and a couple runs/functional training circuits should maintain a bit of general fitness until next February.

    I work from home, so that helps with time. Though I'm going to have to give up on 50+ hour weeks if I want a life.

  45. #45
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    Oh, the biggest thing my wife and I have been missing and will continue to miss for a while is being able to go for an MTB ride together!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by craign View Post
    Oh, the biggest thing my wife and I have been missing and will continue to miss for a while is being able to go for an MTB ride together!
    Baby back pack and hiking. It's not riding, but you're together in the woods getting a workout.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Baby back pack and hiking. It's not riding, but you're together in the woods getting a workout.
    Agreed, think that'll be the plan, still a couple months to wait until his neck is strong enough.

    Craig

  48. #48
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    Block training

    I went through this with kids. I realized that there was a certain level of fitness needed to keep mountain biking fun. Below this threshold, it just wasn't as much fun. I discovered this cycle based on the Morris plan and old posts from MTBDOC. It is simplified in terms of hard-as-you-can,medium and off. No heart rate monitors, power meters, etc.

    day 1: 1.5 hr as hard as you can
    day 2: 1hr as hard as you can
    day 3: 45 mins as hard as you can
    day 4: off (walk, spin, etc)
    day 5: 30 mins medium (just hard enough to make your legs feel it, not hard enough to do damage)
    day5: 1hr as hard as you can
    day 6: 30mins as hard as you can
    day 7: off

    I found a short circuit near me that had some short steep climbs. 6 weeks of this and I was fast enough again to go out and have serious fun.

    every 3 weeks, take a chill week.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl View Post
    I went through this with kids. I realized that there was a certain level of fitness needed to keep mountain biking fun. Below this threshold, it just wasn't as much fun. I discovered this cycle based on the Morris plan and old posts from MTBDOC. It is simplified in terms of hard-as-you-can,medium and off. No heart rate monitors, power meters, etc.

    day 1: 1.5 hr as hard as you can
    day 2: 1hr as hard as you can
    day 3: 45 mins as hard as you can
    day 4: off (walk, spin, etc)
    day 5: 30 mins medium (just hard enough to make your legs feel it, not hard enough to do damage)
    day5: 1hr as hard as you can
    day 6: 30mins as hard as you can
    day 7: off

    I found a short circuit near me that had some short steep climbs. 6 weeks of this and I was fast enough again to go out and have serious fun.

    every 3 weeks, take a chill week.
    THANK YOU!!

    I think I can actually make that work with my family and work schedules.

  50. #50
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    New dad here as well

    I'm not a racer by any means but definitely a regular rider. As they say becoming a parent changes everything and free time is all but gone. My wife and I plan everything now which really isn't bad in the grand scheme of things. Our boy is 3 months old now however I still manage to ride two times a week and then squeeze in some strength workouts when he is asleep or early in the morning.

    My question is I could probably make a 3rd ride each week by subsituting the strength training for that ride. I'd like to get a bigger engine speed and endurance wise on the bike. Not for racing, but I do know that when you go out to hammer with your buddies its much more fun when you are in better shape. Not gassing out has it advantages.

    Do you think I'm better spending that time on the bike or strength training? If I rode a 3rd day each week I can squeeze in a 20-25 mile road/trail ride directly from the house in about 1.5 hrs.

    I thought about bike commuting to work as well and just need to figure out an appropriate route as I'm about 12 miles from work each way.

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