Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Well, this past Sunday I went for a ride out at South Mountain Preserve in Phoenix. One Sunday each month they have what they call "Silent Sunday." On "Silent Sunday", there are no motorized vehicles allowed in the park at all, with the exception of the Park Rangers. On any given day, South Mountain is a destination from both Road Cyclist and Mountain Bikers, Runners, Hikers, and just plain ole people out for some exercise. On "Silent Sunday", however, it's a mecca for Road Cyclists, and Triathletes. There are two main options for riding inside the park for the Road Cyclists. You can ride two miles in from the parking lot with a nice warm up on some rolling hills. Then, you can either go straight onto San Juan Road which is an 8 mile out and back from that point, or you can tun left and take on the Tower Road.
San Juan Road has roughly 700 feet of climbing and most will tell you that it's a challenging section of road to ride on. I have gone out and done San Juan Road 3 times and called it a day on many occasions. It's a really good workout and you feel pretty spent when your done. The Tower Road climb is much more difficult. It's about 6 miles and has roughly 2000 feet of climbing. The deceiving part is that it actually has some downhill on the way up, so the climbing that you do, does have a few sections that are fairly steep. Last month after 2 out and back trips on San Juan Road, I decided to head up the Tower Road. I made it about 2 miles before having to turn around.
Now, let me stop and give you some background. Last year, sometime around Labor Day weekend, I weighed in at 220 pounds. That was the heaviest I had ever been. I was in pretty bad shape. My cholesterol was through the roof and I got winded when I played with the kids. My wife and I embarked on an extreme life makeover. The first thing we did was to do a full 90 day round of P90X. Yes, I'm talking about that program you see on every other TV channel at all hours of the night. Well let me just say that it really does work! I lost 30 pounds over 90 days and completely turned my health around. My Doctor was stunned when he got the lab results back from my blood work 8 weeks into this program. My wife lost 14 pounds and got into the best shape she had been in in a long time. Now my wife is also 4'11" and was never really that overweight. But none the less, she did the program and was very pleased with the results.
So, back to me. 30 pounds lighter! What a difference. I got back on the bike in January and started training for the local MS 150 charity ride. I ended up doing the 75 mile option. I felt like a new man! I've kept my riding up to around 75-100 miles each week. But here's the problem, I haven't lost any more weight. I can ride hard and can average 17-18 miles per hour on a solo ride, but climbing is still a bear for me. This past week, I did battle with the Tower Road climb again, and it still beat me. But, I did double my last effort and made it 4 miles up the road. As I said, Baby Steps. Although a little disappointed, I felt pretty good that I am making progress.
It is quite obvious that I need to get serious about weight loss again. I really can stand to lose another 30 pounds. Yes, I still have a gut, and I still need to lose it. I have struggled with nutrition since getting back on the bike, but something about that ride up Tower Road has sparked a fire in me. A new and deeper desire to finish what I started last September. I'm going back to basics. I am fortunate in that fact that our winters are mild and I can ride year round here in Arizona. My plan is to keep it simple, get the nutrition under control, and integrate a few of the P90X workouts into my routine. I am setting three goals for myself. The first one and the most important is to drop the rest of the weight in no more than 6 months. The second one is to beat the Tower Road and make it all the way to the top. And finally the third is to complete either a short distance Triathlon or a Duathlon. The second and third goals might very well happen before the first one, and that's okay by me. The first one is the most important one though. It's time to take the gloves off and get serious. Until next time...