How to get back on the trail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How to get back on the trail?

    I moved here in 2011 and loved riding at least 3 times a week. After a couple of injuries I've been off the bike for a few years and am up to 310lbs at 5'12". I'm weak, have no stamina, unmotivated to work out and I don't like riding my bike around city streets - which was my plan for getting back into shape before going out to the trails. I tried riding my old short loop at Skeggs last year and couldn't do it, I was too weak to ride downhill and not enough stamina to ride up.

    Any advice on how to get over this lazy hump of not wanting to ride, but still wishing I could ride mountains like I used to? I feel like a need some sort of structure, a schedule of what to do and when, that will give me guidance and goals to work towards. There's a group of riders at work and I'd really like to join them asap.

  2. #2
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    Someone is going to say "ebike" in 3............2............1
    Crusin' on a fake duck with a Sharks jersey on and a pig's tail in my fork

  3. #3
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    Welcome aboard, Anthony! What about some flat bike paths (not a fan of cars either)? You can ride those from Redwood City--or at least Palo Alto--all the way down to San Jose. Or maybe the trails/fireroads over at Coyote Hills. Walking/hiking is also a great way to up your fitness. Hang in there and good luck!
    "I will absolutely apologize hopefully sometime in the distant future if I'm ever wrong." ~ Donnie Bonespurs

  4. #4
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    Letís be honest here. Nothings going to get you back in climbing shape fast. You are going to have to work. You need a big dose of willpower. It would help if you could find a buddy with similar circumstances. Change your eating habits, gets some motivational music in your ears, and start riding small, fun rides and work, work, work your way up the ladder. You can do it. Get on Strava or something similar so you can keep track of progress. There will be days that you donít want to do it. Those are the days you need the willpower to kick in. Make it a lifestyle change. In the process you will meet friends that will help keep the drive alive. Good luck!
    DAAAANG...that was janky

  5. #5
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    Consider looking for spots that don't spend altitude as frivolously as Skeggs, and that are small enough that you can feel like you've done full ride without too much initial mileage (and/or can be extended with more laps and loops as fitness builds.). I'd also suggest keeping trailheads convenient may help, reducing barriers to getting out.

    And I understand the lack of love for roads, but you should also test if flat grinds on dirt are good enough experience wise, even if not mountains per se.

    I live mid-peninsula, so around here that's:
    Baylands parks in Palo Alto / Mountain View.
    Union Pacific trail / rail easement along the Permanente cement line.
    Arastradero in Palo Alto. (<- my actual rec)

    From there you can work up to slightly more fun and inclines like Montebello or Fremont Older, and then onto Skeggs.

    Kudos to you for putting motivation out in public, consider letting this board hold you accountable of you're up to it. Post your rides and progress!

  6. #6
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    As you said, a schedule. Figure out how you can start easy, be that riding pavement or doing that short loop with the realization that you will be taking breaks and walking some. Or maybe you need to start by walking regularly, it sounds like you are really out of shape.

    Create your schedule and then don't consider it negotiable; when it's time to ride, you go ride without considering if you want to or not. We are creatures of habit and you will need to force yourself into the habit until it imprints. I was a trail runner (and will be again, crash and then covid has temporarily interrupted my habit) and would get my stuff together the night before and run in the morning before work. If I stopped to think "do I want to run?" the answer would be "no". Same with riding after work, I was too tired. But I never regretted getting out there once I did so I reminded myself of that and got out there.

    Sorry, it is not going to be easy but it is your life and you are ultimately in charge of it. Decide to do it and then do it. It will take some time and be frustrating at times but like you said, set goals to work towards. Set up a thread like Battery did and post about your progress, that way you will feel like you are being held accountable.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  7. #7
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    Go to your doctor, get a physical, and start a medically prescribed weight loss and strength plan. After losing some weight and getting stronger, start riding mountain bikes again. If you are as heavy and weak as you say your are, taking a bad fall on a bicycle in the woods would not end well for you. Mountain biking is a way to get into great shape, if you are already in good shape. If your are in poor health, mountain biking can be dangerous.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Nonya View Post
    ...am up to 310lbs at 5'12".
    Soooooo... 6' then?

  9. #9
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    Take your bike for a walk. Do that loop at Skeggs, walk when you have to. Rest other times. Just keep doing it. Eventually that walk becomes a ride.

    Count calories to lose weight.

    Unfortunately we cannot motivate you, you have to figure that out yourself. What works for me will not work for you.

  10. #10
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    dont ride all the way down, stop 1/4 or 1/2 way


    no brainer, and how I started riding off road.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by daledenton View Post
    Soooooo... 6' then?
    Yeah, a little joke. I'm technically 5' 11 and 7/8's, so I round up to 12"s, but I'm not really 6' so 5-12 it is....


    Thanks everyone for your replies! I wasn't expecting so many responses so soon. I've been meaning to go to the Dr, so I'm going to take that advice. I'm also going to try some of easier the trails mentioned, I haven't heard of most of them so thanks for the suggestions!

  12. #12
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    Check out the book "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. He was in a similar situation as you and went on to become a Navy Seal and endurance athlete. It's a good read and he has lots of stuff on Youtube. He talks about the fact that motivation comes and goes, but discipline is the key. Try setting a major fitness goal and making it public. I had never done more than an 8 miles mtnb ride when I signed up for a 50 mile ride at altitude. It was a big goal, but I shared it with friends/family and that got me up every morning at 5am to train even when I was not motivated to do so. Good luck. You can do this.

  13. #13
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    Hi Anthony,
    Read some of the "success stories" at meatrx.com and then consider a lifestyle change that'll put you in control of your health. You already know how to ride so as you regain control over your body, you'll never look back. Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Nonya View Post
    Yeah, a little joke. I'm technically 5' 11 and 7/8's, so I round up to 12"s, but I'm not really 6' so 5-12 it is....


    Thanks everyone for your replies! I wasn't expecting so many responses so soon. I've been meaning to go to the Dr, so I'm going to take that advice. I'm also going to try some of easier the trails mentioned, I haven't heard of most of them so thanks for the suggestions!
    I've always said I'm 5' 15".

    Good luck in your quest.
    "Nobody likes me."

    DJT

  15. #15
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    Hi Anthony look up Dr Jason Fung for weight loss.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    I've always said I'm 5' 15".

    Good luck in your quest.

    I'm 6' (-)3" myself.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  17. #17
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    It'll be worth it to speak to a Registered Dietitian, as well. Look for the RD credentials. Losing weight is mostly about diet.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by drich View Post
    Check out the book "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins.
    I listened to the audiobook. That dude is insane.

    Amazing story -- the guy has been through it all, done it all, persevered more. It's straight talk about doing what you want to do. Very inspiring.
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live

  19. #19
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    Some good advice on here. Especially seeing your doctor before getting started.

    I would add sometimes it is easier to get in shape by doing other things besides mountain biking. Build up your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength by doing lots of walking, lifting weights and swimming. The latter will be good because it won't be weight bearing so it will be easier on your joints.

    Strive for consistency and don't try to do too much too soon otherwise you risk injury, burnout and disappointment. If you're unmotivated, set the bar low (30 min, 3 x a week) and gradually increase duration and frequency of exercise. Then increase intensity of exercise. If you think to yourself you need to ride 2 hours at Skeggs you'll never want to do that because it's way too much right now.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    Someone is going to say "ebike" in 3............2............1
    Ebike....

    Dont think you wont be pedaling, but it will assist. If it is helpful to do many, it wont hurt for you to rent it for a day and see the difference. I think in your case it makes sense.

  21. #21
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    Hey Anthony, a good motivational tool that works for me is Strava! Strava doesn't lie and can shame you into getting out there to maintain your stats. As you have ridden 3+ times a week in the past I think you already know what it takes. I would not create additional barriers like thinking you have to see a doctor before you go ride, you have done it before and you can do it again. Personally I just had to accept the fact that i have a low metabolism and have to ride or i will just get fatter. Once i accepted my circumstances it has become easier for me to get out there on a regular basis.

    Good luck, you can do it!
    Ride or die.

  22. #22
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    After gaining that much weight ( how much did you weigh before?) you should most definitely see your Primary MD, who might refer you to a cardiologist, to get professional medical clearance to start, and maybe a PT to help you do stuff right.

    There's nothing worse than good intentions wrongly applied.
    Just call me Ray

  23. #23
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    If your work situation allows it, sell your car. Some years ago I bet a friend that we wouldn't get a second car and I was forced to develop a bike/BART commute to work plan that eventually became all bike. Best part of my day was the rides to and from work, and the built-in miles provided such a great base for fitness. Now that spouse and I work from home, I recognize with chagrin how easy it is today to climb into my vehicle for an errand instead of staying in that walk/bike/transit mindset. It takes more time (only sometimes, given traffic) than using a car, but the quality of life benefits are enormous, and the exercise built-in. That and simply writing down what you're eating every day forced big changes in mindset for me.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by drich View Post
    He talks about the fact that motivation comes and goes, but discipline is the key.
    Came here to say this. Motivation is neither necessary nor sufficient. Discipline is both.

  25. #25
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    Damn most people make it sound like boot camp. Ride your bike around alot, practice doing stuff you used to be able to do like wheelies, jump off some curbs, ride in an empty canal build, a jump in your yard, mostly have fun on your bike. If it's fun it's easier to get done. (Learning to look at riding uphill as fun will help alot).

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by donutnational View Post
    Damn most people make it sound like boot camp. Ride your bike around alot, practice doing stuff you used to be able to do like wheelies, jump off some curbs, ride in an empty canal build, a jump in your yard, mostly have fun on your bike. If it's fun it's easier to get done. (Learning to look at riding uphill as fun will help alot).
    Yep.

  27. #27
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    This 100%:
    Quote Originally Posted by Radium View Post
    After gaining that much weight ( how much did you weigh before?) you should most definitely see your Primary MD, who might refer you to a cardiologist, to get professional medical clearance to start, and maybe a PT to help you do stuff right.

    There's nothing worse than good intentions wrongly applied.
    Consider - after you do the above (medical clearance) - getting a ... Singlespeed mountain bike.

    Why? Two reasons:
    1) Efficiency (time) Gears and motors allow you to dial it back as needed/compelled. There's nothing wrong with that, except that you might need to commit more than an hour to get some good work in (especially on flat rails/trails, etc.). Assuming the doc says go for it, you will get a good workout in well under an hour riding a single speed.

    2) Better workout: Singlespeeds will necessitate the activation of way more muscles than a sit n spin geared bike, and will force you to stand out of the saddle a bit. Start off on a completely flat 5mi flat pavement ride, and gradually move toward mellow hills with a bit more elevation, maybe some dirt, etc. Eventually you'll get strong & motivated enough to attack the little rollers, and this is where the best work out is found on a bicycle.

    I've been riding mt bikes for ~20 years now, and the best overall shape I have been in during that time (by far) was during the 3 years I rode SS a lot. My 2cents.

    Last thought is a mantra: NSIW - No Shame In Walking
    Be good to yourself, meaning don't set expectations too high. Just commit to the time, and to getting out. Listen to your body when it's complaining and walk if needed. The reward during the ride will probably take little while to manifest. The good soreness, better sleep, mood, etc. - those will come before it gets fun again, so be patient and look forward to the healing rest first.

  28. #28
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    It's a combination of exercise and diet but I've learned through the years that diet matters a bit more than exercise. If you focus on a good diet, the fitness will come much easier. Walk, ride flat trails while keeping the cadence up. Little by little.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by HrznRider View Post
    It's a combination of exercise and diet but I've learned through the years that diet matters a bit more than exercise. If you focus on a good diet, the fitness will come much easier. Walk, ride flat trails while keeping the cadence up. Little by little.
    This is the old Vince Gironda bodybuilding thought, which is still true today. You will never out lift a donut.

  30. #30
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    These are really great recommendations.

    Arastradero is great for getting back into it.
    If you want some flat miles on pavement without cars, the Stevens Creek trail is good -- though it gets crowded.

    I'm in about as good shape as my intrinsic athleticism and age will allow, and Skeggs still kicks my butt. When you feel good at Fremont Older, I'd also recommend the ridge trail from 9 and Skyline. You can go either direction, they are both good.

  31. #31
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    meditate, mindfulness and breathing exercises, yoga and stretching. have fun like donutnational says.

  32. #32
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    Someone mentioned it in this thread. Discipline. About 15 years ago I was in a similar place (not as heavy) and very unhappy about everything. I just decided one day I was done being unhappy. I set the goal - stop being unhappy - wrote it down and made a commitment to not stop no matter what until the goal was met. As others have said, diet is key, or rather creating a calorie deficit. I quickly realized calorie loaded drinks were the easiest way to cut calories; start with identifying something like that. Small steps are easier to digest than drastic changes.

    You will go to bed hungry. You will crave junk food. Don't give in. Same thing about fitness goals, they will seem insurmountable. I started by running. It is the fastest way to loose weight and build up CV fitness. It also sucks and is hard on your body; to this day I hate it. I could barely do a quarter mile without tripoding. I built it up over 4-6 months to 3 miles a day without stopping. There were days I didn't want to get out of bed. There were days I was feeling lazy and it was 35 degrees outside and raining, but I still ran. No excuses.

    I'm not sure how old you are, but after about 30, strength training and stretching is also important so you don't hurt yourself and are able to recover.

    The most important lesson I learnt was that the biggest battle is mental and that's where the discipline comes in; I used this experience as a template to address other parts of my life that were lacking. Your body will deal if your mind is committed. Good Luck.

  33. #33
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    Get yourself a good blender, some almond milk, protein powder and fruit. A great snack that prevents hunger cravings.

  34. #34
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    You might try hiking and then work up to biking. There is nothing wrong with walking a bike up a hill either.

  35. #35
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    Not too many bikes are rated for 300#. I'd do a bunch of hiking first (after doc visit of course). It probably took a while for all the weight to come in, it'll take a while to get rid of it. So long as you remember what your goal is, you'll get there. But please don't go ride Skeggs and hurt yourself trying to get up that hill. It's hard enough when you're in shape. You gonna have to baby step this. Good luck.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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