My Journey into a new and Healthier lifestyle

10 things every cyclist should carry!

 

  1. A phone, useful in an emergency or to call for someone to pick you up in case of equipment failure/bonking guy-1424911_960_720
  2. Cash, because some places won’t accept cards. It can also be used as a “boot” in case of side wall damage!dollar-941246_960_720
  3. Air pump or CO2 canister, so you can inflate a flat or low tirecycle-1578341_960_720
  4. Patch kit or spare tube(or both), I prefer glue-less patches but either type will work.220px-puncture-repaire-kit
  5. Tire levers, to be able to change the flat tirebad-luck-1411315_960_720
  6. ID, because you never know when you might get carded at a pub or have to deal with police.contact-97574_960_720
  7. A helmet, because you only get one brain!bicycle-for-our-minds-909820_960_720
  8. a bicycle specific multi-tool, in case you break a chain or need to tighten the hex bolts during a ride.knife-310205_960_720
  9. Water bottle for any ride over an hour, dehydration suckscamel-1348472_960_720
  10. For longer rides Food/Gels as you don’t want to bonk!hunger-413685_960_720

Disagree with me or did I forget something? Comment below!

Life’s for the living…

Just some morning ramblings…

I was on a bike ride today, and as I was pumping along some lyrics came to my mind, “Life’s for the living, so live it or your better off dead”. How many years did I live as a dead man? I sat and watched endless hours of tv, played computer games until my mind went numb. I let the world slip by me like I was allergic to concrete. I let my weight climb so high that doing anything was becoming a seemingly impossible task. I was dead…

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Yet, I turned it around, I dropped from 450 down to 250, I was living life to the fullest! But, it was short lived. Slowly, at first, the weight started to creep back up. 280, 290, 300, 330, 340, finally finding myself around 360! I was living like a dead man again. I felt dead inside, and my outside was beginning to match it. But I always held on just a little bit, I would bike occasionally and every time I did, I felt that taste of life again. I recently recommitted myself to improving myself in multiple areas, from spiritually to physically. Yet I always feel like the boy who cried wolf. How many times have I “recommitted” to this journey just to fail again? To many to count. This time though things feel different. I’m not living like a dead man anymore, I am living life. I feel it every time I hit my daily step goal, when I take in a moment of quiet meditation in the mornings, and when I ride my bike.

I finally feel alive again.

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Living LIFE!

Green Eyed Monster

Man have I been bit by the green eyed monster lately. It is a vicious beast and strikes when you least expect it. I joined a rather large Facebook group for road cycling, and I noticed that everyone had nicer bikes, nicer wheels, and Garmin GPS units. I had never felt the need for a fast bike because my weight would be a limiting factor. Nor could I justify dropping $2k on a wheel set, that just seems crazy to do if you aren’t an actual racer(which most of these people aren’t). But, a nice Garmin gps bike computer, now that looks fun! I sort of felt like Ralphie from a Christmas story as he admired and coveted the Red Rider double action bb gun with the thing in the stock to tell time.

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So I started plotting, and planning on how I could make one of those beauties mine! I looked at prices online and the $400+ price tags would mean that new would not be an option. But what about used or refurbished? After all refurbished is better than new! I looked around and after comparing models settled on one for $190. It was amazing, it would tell me how fast I was going, how far I was going, and even give me directions on how to get where I was going! YES! YES! YES! I MUST HAVE IT! Now at this point I almost felt obsessed about it, I imagined how sleek it would look mounted on Tallulah. The way the lines would complement the cockpit view. I would be able to travel to unknown parts without worrying about anything. Life would be grand! Besides, from what I read, how could I be a real cyclist without one?

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The other night while driving home, I decided to tell my lovely bride about my lusting for this amazing piece of modern technology. Her response was surprising, I expected her to frankly just laugh at me and say “nope, you have enough stuff”. But instead, she opened the dialogue about WHY do I want it? I explained that it would allow me to free up my phone in case of emergency, it would tell me my information, and it had GPS so I wouldn’t get lost. Her reply was pretty smart , it went along these lines “Why do you need a gps? You ride the same routes all the time. Your phone works fine and you carry battery packs. Why do you really want it?”. It was at this time I realized I wanted it because everyone else had it. I didn’t NEED it, it was a want. IF the worry was about freeing up my phone, I could buy a cycling computer for half the cost and it would work just as well. This left me feeling a bit down and deflated.

Deep down I knew, I knew the reason I had to have it, it was because I see these people who ride, always talking about their Garmins, and they seem happy. In my mind I equated happiness with stuff, but that night I realized happiness isn’t about stuff, it’s about moments and experiences. They aren’t happy because they own a decked out bike with a fancy computer, they are happy because they are riding. Happiness comes from within yourself. Happiness is free…

Happiness IS FREE…..

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Broken Spokes

With my oldest now in kindergarten(where did the time go?!?!?!?), when the weather cooperates I have been taking him to school on my bike “train”. Not only does it mean skipping the pick up/drop off line, but it gives me more time to ride. This last week I have been trying to be more active, so after dropping him off in the morning I take my youngest out for a ride. We usually go down to Hobart and back, nothing substantial but about a 45 min trip(counting the time to drop off my oldest). Pretty boring stuff.

Today though, as I was huffing my way back towards the house I came across my friend Alex! I was surprised he was up so early because he works nights but I think it was his day off. Anyways, he asks me what I’m doing and I explained that I was just coming back from Hobart. So he invites me to tag along with him on his ride. Ignoring the fact that I didn’t pack any water bottles for me, just the one full of toddler backwash for the little guy, I decide to take him up on that offer.

The air was nice, not to hot or cold, a few bugs out but nothing noticeable and it was just a nice cloudy day. We are moving along at a slower pace since I am pulling the train, we pass a few spots I remembered from the Le Tour De Shore ride. I remember how I felt that day, how worried I was about making the miles, but how proud I felt when I finished it. Anyhow, we are chugging along and at about 9 miles from the house I here a pop pop pop and my wheel feels really weird. I stop, my first thought is I have a flat. No worries though as I always have a patch kit with me. Bending down I feel the tire and it is rock solid. That’s when I check the spokes, and sure enough I broke 3 off them! DAMN IT! At this point I’m feeling angry, angry at my bike, angry at the spokes, angry at myself. There is only one reason that I can think of why I broke 3 spokes at once, and that is I am to fat. I instantly feel embarrassed, this is the equivalent of the fat guy breaking the chair as he sits down. I do my best to hide the feelings of shame and Alex offers to go get his car from home to come pick us up. We agree to meet about a mile or so down the road at a park we passed and off he sped away.

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Ouch, something bit me, ouch something bit me again, and again and again. Turns out the mosquitoes were out, and were hungry today. My youngest is fine in his trailer with the mesh covering, but I have a long walk in cycling shoes, through the mosquito “jungle”, to get to the park. While walking I tried not to think about the wheel, because every time I did I felt that deep shanger(shame anger) building up. I started thinking about when I got home, all the things I could eat and all the food that would make me feel better. Because food makes stress go away, which means I would feel so much better after I gorged myself on what ever was in reach.

While walking to the park my youngest had fallen asleep, but there is something magical about a park that makes kids wake from the deepest slumber. While he played on the play set I sat down and really thought about this predicament. Food wouldn’t really help anything, sure it would feel great while I was eating, but it would feel ten times worse when I was done. I looked at my watch and figured by the time I would get home it would be lunch time. I decided at that moment I would not eat lunch until I was calmed down. I knew that if I tried to stick to what I had tracked and was still feeling this way, I would binge. I have been great all week, and I wasn’t about to throw it all away over a broken wheel.

When Alex arrives with his car we get everything loaded up(it’s amazing what a prius can hold), and he drops me off at home. It was at this point when my resolve started to waiver. I said goodbye after putting everything in to the garage, and headed into the house. My youngest was hungry as we missed snack time and I had to go into the fridge. After giving him his snack though, I sat there lingering for a minute. Those hot dogs look tasty! I think we have frozen waffles in the freezer! The delectable morsels cried out to me “eat me! No eat me! EAT ME FIRST! EAT ME DIPPED IN BUTTER!”. It was at that moment I had to make a choice. Would I eat, or would I wait until I was calmer?

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I closed the fridge door, binging is what caused this problem to begin with. The little devil on my shoulder though wasn’t done with me. I stood there, staring at the closed refridgerator, I could feel my hand reaching for the door. The cold metal box was calling to me, it was wanting me, it was needing me. I knew I had only once chance, I picked up what was left of my courage and I walked out of the kitchen. I sat down on the couch, and didn’t get up until I was calm and relaxed again. I reminded myself that the bike is fixable, no body got hurt, and I was able to make it home without having to walk 9 miles pushing a bike train.

I still feel embarrassed right now, still feel a bit angry, but I feel in control of my food. And that is a win in my book.

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

WHAM Night Ride 2016

It’s that time of year again, WHAM RIDE!

This year was probably one of the best years to date. But I will get into that as we go. The weather to start with was nearly perfect, not to hot or to cold, but it was just a little humid out. This year sadly Kool-Aid couldn’t make the ride, but I was able to catch a ride with my friend Alex“Sierra Nevada” and his girlfriend Shandi! As he pulled up in his prius I was amazed how he was able to fit 3 bikes with only having a 2 bike rack. Those little prisus can pack more than they look like. We arrived I think around 10pm and after parking we went to pick up our registration packets. But before we could leave Alex realized he had forgotten the mounts to his lights!Luckily for him I had my kitty litter panniers and had brought some electrical tape. He hooked it all up as best he could and we headed towards the pavilion. As I went to go pick up ANOTHER tie-dye shirt that I would never wear in public, a sack style “backpack” and some soap, I started noticing that a bunch of people had on some pretty cool shirts. They were a pleasant blue, with a bicycle in white over a map of Indiana.

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Could this be this years shirt? YES! Not only did we get cool shirts, we got awesome mini top0tube panniers instead of the backpacks!! But don’t worry, I still got my bar of soap. This worked out very well for Alex as his light was shining to high, but he was able to use a pocket on the tube bag to hold his light.

I did run into Jose “Red” from the previous years but didn’t get much chance to visit. While they still had a DJ this year the music played seemed better and the volume wasn’t uncomfortable. After registering, we had to get our “party” on with some glow sticks I had picked up at the store earlier (though I did see they added some vendors this year, they even had someone selling glow sticks!).

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With our festive illumination in place, and the clock about to roll around to 12 we got in place. We decided to leave with the fast group again, now what I hadn’t mentioned is that Shandi has only been riding for 3 weeks! She had a nice 80’s Schwinn (I believe), and we had talked her out of doing the 10 mile and join us in the 30. As we waited for the signal to go off, I was all set. We were nearer to the front this time, but still part way back. HOOOONK went the air horn to signal to go, when I realized I forgot to start my mapmyrun! I tried starting it but it was acting up, so I had to stop for about 30 seconds to get it going. Within that time both Alex and Shandi had left me in the dust. I could just make out her “halo” (made from a glow stick) in the distance. It ended up taking me almost 9 miles to catch up to her. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t get the speed, but more so I lost sight of her and I couldn’t get around people who were riding 3 abreast at times.

By the way, this is a shout out to the gentleman who got mad at me because my bucket was in his way, as he tried to pass me on the right, when I was in the right lane. Don’t get pissed that there wasn’t room, either slow down or PASS ON THE LEFT WHERE NO ONE WAS. Also, I was surprised by the number of people riding this year without lights, I counted about 10-15 of them. Those are just the ones I saw. It’s midnight, partly cloudy, and you need lights people. Ok now back to the story.

After catching up with her, I found out that Alex had taken off like a bat out of hell at the start of the ride. So we rode together for the rest of the ride. It was nice this year having someone to talk with, it really made the miles go a lot quicker. Now from what I had remembered from the previous years the big stop at Cabela’s was at around mile 15. We both were looking forward to taking a quick break, but mile 15 came and went without a sign of Cabela’s. It couldn’t be much further, I figured it might be at 16 or 17, but I was wrong. We finally rolled into Cabela’s at mile 20. It wasn’t as busy this year, but I also noticed that the ride in general seemed to have less people. My guess is that with the weather being kind of iffy all day, many were afraid of the rain. The other thing could be that I was way off and they had more people than I realized.

 

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It turned out Alex has still been waiting for us at the stop, which I was surprised to find out as I was sure he would have left already. He had gone nearly 20mph! He has been working out and eating right this last year and is really in great shape, which seemed to have paid off nicely for him! So with only 10 miles left to go, we all decided to ride together.

I almost forgot to add, for the first time ever I was recognized for my blog out in the wild by a stranger! It was about a mile before the stop, and he rolled up on us. He asked if I was the “big boned blogger” and said he was happy to meet me, as he pulled away lol. So if you are reading this, thanks! It really made my night, and encouraged me to write this post.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, so I will just cut to the next parts. We finished the ride a little before 3am and had an 11.7mph average. Not bad all things considered and I still felt like I could have done some more mileage.

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But now it was time for Breakfast! This year breakfast was served by Tapas Cafe! This was the best breakfast so far, the eggs were tasty, the sausage patties yummy, and the pancakes fluffy and not burned/undercooked.

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So now for my annual feedback!

  1. The directions were much better this year, didn’t feel lost at all, plenty of signage and people pointing the way.
  2. Food was excellent, stick with them!
  3. Would like to see some food options, would have been happy to pay a bit more as I was still hungry after.
  4. Consider a live band
  5. The swag was much better this year, thank you!

Thanks again for a wonderful event, and already looking forward to next year!

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Le Tour De Shore 2016

After a restless night of sleep I woke up early at about 4:30 to begin my day. I loaded up my bike, while my oatmeal cooked in the microwave. I ate it nervously, and began to wake up the household. Today was the day. The day I had been both looking forward to and dreading since February, the Le Tour De Shore ride. A 100 mile 2 day ride from Chicago,IL to New Buffalo, Mi.

We arrived at the McDonald Cycling Center at about 6:30. I quickly unloaded my gear and saying goodbye to my family, I figured I would try and mingle. Accept for one little problem, I found myself full of anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone, because I had this irrational fear gripping hold of me. I did ask one lady for some help pinning on my riding number (number 31), but I soon found myself standing all alone again. However that same lady approached me about 5 min later and asked if I had anyone to ride with? I responded that I didn’t and she offered to let me ride with her group.
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We ended up leaving a bit early as another rider offered to show us a better way to get to the Lake Shore trail head. He was a local and his route was very simple to follow, though I doubt I’ll remember it for next year. It was a pretty uneventful start, my nerves were still high as I was worried about completing the mileage for day one. We were keeping a decent pace through Chicago which was a nice difference from the last time I rode through it, Tri-State Ride. Everyone I was riding with was very friendly, which made the time go by very nicely. Everything was going smoothly, until we realized that we were missing someone. We waited for awhile, and one of the guys went back to look for him, but didn’t find him. After a bit we decided to keep going, as we thought he might have actually been ahead of us (he was a very strong rider). After a bit he came up from behind us, he had dropped his bike pump from his jersey pocket, it had wedged itself between the frame and the back wheel! I don’t know how but he didn’t fall and none of his spokes were broken. Luck was definitely on his side!

We were on our way again quickly and things again were moving at a decent pace. I could tell we were getting close to Hammond, IN where our first SAG stop would be. It was at this point we met a train, and not just any train, a REALLY SLOW train. It moved in front of the crossing about 300 feet and stopped. Ugh! We sat there for what seemed about 5 mins and it slowly, inch by inch started backing up. A bunch of us decided that when it was past the crossing we would cross. It was a single track and with the train moving so slowly it wouldn’t be any risk. A few people did yell at us from behind as we crossed but again, there was no danger. We quickly regained our speed and as we rode through a park area it started to turn, and turn, and turn us right back to that same train! Nooooooo! We were stuck at the middle of the train, the slowest moving train that has ever existed in all of human history! About 3 people decided to attempt for a Darwin award by going under the train. Now it was stopped at times, but it was still moving at others. While the 3rd person attempted a crossing the train started moving again, this time at a decent pace. Luckily they realized it in time and were able to get back. One guy had decided to go over the train and he almost lost his bike. It ended up being about a 15 min wait, and we all cheered when the train finally pulled away.

We finally reached the SAG point, and what awaited us was some gloriously yummy PANCAKES! We were all starving at this point, and we quickly found ourselves in line for the delicious food. We were lucky too, about another 10 mins and the line was wrapped around the corner. My oldest son had me bring along one of his transformers, and asked me to get some pictures of him on the ride. So here is Heatwave, in dinobot mode, enjoying some pancakes.

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The next section of the ride is kind of a blur, I was keeping a good pace of around 13-14mph. I remembered some of the roads and trails thanks to riding the WHAM Rides WHAM 2014 Night Ride WHAM 2015 the last couple of years. I do remember riding down a “hill”, which was really an overpass on the road. I was ready to get some speed, I moved into my drops and head down low, only to find out the bottom of the “hill” was where we had to make a left turn! Yikes! By the way, my brakes DO work, and I really love the stopping power from my disc brakes. There was another hill, this time on the bike trail, and I the ride down it that time I was able to coast for a good ¼ mile or more and still was passing people. Big Boned Bikers do well downhill. By the time we reached the second SAG stop, our group had split up. One of the riders, the lady who had invited me to join them, had been getting cramps in her legs. We called them and told them we would wait for them at the SAG stop though, and after about 30 mins they caught up. Turned out the ended up in some construction and had to walk their bikes for awhile. While we had been waiting though An ambulance had shown up, and a helicopter started flying over head. All of a sudden the helicopter started getting lower, and lower, and lower. It landed in a field next to the park we were at! I wondered if it was a medical flight, but I noticed on the side it said “LAW ENFORCEMENT”. As it was landing a squad car pulled up quickly, lights on. I was thinking to myself “what the hell is going on!?!?!”. Out of nowhere a bunch of kids started running up to the helicopter though and I quickly figured out it was a “touch the truck” type of event.

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At about 1pm we left the SAG stop and continued on, heading to the last SAG of the day in Chesteron, IN. The sags were all spaced about 20 miles apart, and about 10 miles in, we had all split up again. We stopped at an unofficial SAG stop. It just was a park with a restroom and some water. It was here that I ended up splitting up with the group. I didn’t want to be late getting to the campground, because dinner started at 3pm and only went to 6pm. What was interesting, and kind of weird, was that this section of the ride was right by my house (less than a mile). It is the trail I ride all the time! In fact, I almost turned to go home by mistake at one point. I was starting to feel a bit run down about this point, and ended up stopping to rest a couple of times. It wasn’t so much my legs that were feeling it, it was my “boodle” as my son likes to call it. I should have applied more cream( I use diaper cream to help protect and it works great), but for some reason I decided not to even though I stopped at a spot with a restroom. I kept on going though, one pedal at a time and found myself arriving in Chesterton! It was getting late at this point, almost 3pm but I had decided that I would stop at the bar next to the SAG and have my one beer. It was at this point one of the guys from the group I had been riding with pulled up! We decided to go grab a beer together. I had a Lagunita IPA, which on such a hot day was amazingly refreshing. We went outside and I quickly drank my beer. It was so damn good, I couldn’t make myself nurse it like I normally would.

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After finishing my beer, and checking out Broomhead  bars booth, who I must say have AMAZING bars! I couldn’t believe they were gluten free/healthy! I was headed out, and I must say this was the hardest part of the day. I was completely by myself, and I there were a few hills. I was tired, my butt hurt, and I just wanted to get to the campsite with out getting lost. I eventually ended up stopping to check my directions and someone else came along at that point. A lovely couple on a tandem bicycle, I offered to take their picture for them and they let me follow them to camp. Well I tried to follow them. I was just barely able to keep them insight. After what felt like forever, we finally pulled into the campground. It was a free for all setup and I found myself a nice quiet spot to setup my tent.

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I had expected people to be already eating but the place was pretty empty. Turns out dinner didn’t start till 6pm and it was only a bit after 4. I was starving, and if I do this ride next year, I plan to pack a second bag of just food! The campground slowly began to fill up though and dinner was finally served. It was from this AMAZINGLY FANTASTIC SUPER DELICIOUS OUT OF THIS WORLD wood fired pizza place. This is coming from a guy who hates thin/crispy crusts. Here are some photos of dinner and the firetruck they cooked it out of.

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Feeling a bit jelly aren’t you? You should be.

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That night, I slept pretty well, despite the party that raged outside my tent for what felt like hours. I fell asleep quickly though and I remember waking up to complete silence at about 1am. I had decided to leave before the official start time the next day. There was a 5k race taking place along the route that I knew would end up slowing down the ride, and the weather was going to be warm out. I got up at about 6am and packed up as quietly as I could, and was on the rode by about 6:30. I did take a quick stop by lake Michigan to grab a photo of Tallulah.

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Again, I found myself riding alone, and this time along a busy hwy near sunrise. This sent me into a small panic attack as one car decided to buzz right by me. An inch more over and he would have clipped my handlebars. As I rode along I shortly found myself riding along the lake, it was amazingly peaceful. I passed the location where the 5k was going to take place, no issues at all since I was so early. After going a ways though, I hadn’t seen any marks to turn, and I knew I had a turn somewhere near here. I stopped my bike along the narrow lane, and pulled over as far as I could. I dug into my yellow bucket and fished out my cue sheet. Damn it, I had missed my turn. I back tracked about a mile, back to where the 5k was going to take place. They had painted over the turn marking on the road! I made the turn this time and kept a sharper look out for my next turn. This time I missed it again, but only went about 100 yards before I realized it. Eventually though I was on course, riding through a swampy area and wondering to myself why I decided to pack the bug spray with my camping stuff. After what seemed like an eternity though I finally got to Michigan City, where my first sag stop of the day was taking place. As I pulled into town I meet up with some other riders, who invited me to join them. They were planning on riding at a slow pace, so I figured it would be a great group to ride with. I was surprised to find out that the reason they were on the road so early was because their hotel had a fire the night before. They had been up since 2am and had spent most of the early morning drinking coffee at a nearby panera.

Here is a photo of the group, they were all from Indianapolis.

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Despite my best efforts, I was quickly dropped. In all fairness, they did offer to slow down, but I knew that this was going to be a tough day for me. The night before all I was hearing about was how hilly this part of the ride was going to be, and it didn’t disappoint. This was the worst part of the ride. 20 miles of hot and hilly riding. At one point it got so bad I did the unthinkable, and something I really hate to admit. I called my wife. I told her I was done. I couldn’t go on any more and that I was exhausted. That’s right, I quit and gave up. Only, she wasn’t able to come get me for at least an hour or more. I decided that instead of sitting in the middle of nowhere I would keep on riding. I’m proud of myself because instead of completely giving up and throwing in the towel, I decided to keep pushing on. Turns out I was over half way to the sag stop! I ended up making it to the SAG, after having to stop a few more times to rest, and nearly going through 4 bottles of water. I was sweaty, thirsty, tired and beat up. It was still another 10-15 miles till the end of the day. Why 10-15? Because the mileage had seemed to be off on the cue sheets. I really didn’t know if I had it in me. But thanks to some encouragement from a stranger, who told me that if you do 90miles you do 100, I kept on riding. Luckily this was a much flatter portion of riding, and I was told it was just meandering through town. They lied. While it was less hilly, it was still hilly, and it wasn’t a simple ride through town, it was a ride through the country side, which meant less shade. However, after stopping one more time, I finally found a pace I could keep up with. My “boodle” was on fire, because I had developed 2 bad saddle sores, but I just kept pedaling. After what felt like 10 hours, but really was only about and 1.5 hours I rolled into the end of the ride! I couldn’t believe it, I made it!! Big Boned Biker completed his first Le Tour De Shore.

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So the big question is, would I do this ride again? I honestly don’t know. If I do it again, I need to drag someone along with me, because the times that were hardest were when I was having to ride alone.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

The little engine that could…

From the Desk of the Big Boned Biker:

Still going strong here! I haven’t posted in awhile, life has gotten in the way, and maybe a touch of laziness. I have been doing great with my workouts; consistently on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. I have found my time lifting at the gym almost as relaxing as well as fulfilling as riding my bike. It helps me focus and really centers my mind. Here are a few pictures from the gym, though they might not be the most “flattering” I am still proud of them.

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I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it. I really need to work on my food intake, as I think I bonked at the end(ran out of “fuel”).

The ride started out well, it was a cooler day and I wore some gym pants and a light jacket. I wish it had been a touch warmer as I felt a bit overheated wearing the coat. I did try taking it off a few times but the wind from riding made it a bit to cold still. I had originally planned to ride to Michiana MI. but decided the night before to ride to La Porte instead. It looked like a nice easy ride, mainly on calm country roads, in other words some of my favorite riding.

I took off around mid morning and quickly made my way down the Prairie Duneland trail that runs near my house. That took me to Chesterton, and even though a couple people have shown me a route around the downtown, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. I HATE riding through the busy intersection that is there, and I am pretty sure the cars behind me hate it too. I continued along the roads, I knew them pretty well as it is the same route I take to get to the campground. When I reached the point where I normally turn left, I continued straight. This was my first break, and about 20 miles in!

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I was feeling strong and had only about another 10 miles to go before I turned around. Piece of cake! I take off and am riding along with a big grin on my face. There is something about being on a bike to make you feel alive! Wait, what was that up ahead? Ahh @#$@ a hill. Yeah, I didn’t know about the hills on this route! I ended up having to walk up one of them and this was waiting for me at the top.
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So apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! Despite the hills though I enjoyed the country scenery. I even stopped for a couple of pictures, or at least that is what I told myself the reason for stopping was.

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Now my wife and I have a deal of sorts, when I go riding she wont come get me. If I got myself somewhere, I can get myself back. Now this isn’t serious, and it is more of a joke than anything, but it is a mentality that helps me push through some tough spots. This ride though, she had said that if I needed a ride she would come and get me. As I pulled into La Porte, I stopped for another couple of photos.

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I was half way, I was tired, I was drained, I was feeling like quitting. I called her up, and told her how I felt. Those hills had wiped me out, and there wasn’t even that many of them. I also was getting over a bad cold and would go into minute long coughing fits, which didn’t help the matter. I told her though that I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to give up, and decided to rest for about a half hour before heading home.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. I counted a cadence in my head as I cycled slowly along the road. Through a bit of luck I took a wrong turn and ended up missing a couple of the hills, but I still was feeling like I was running on fumes. When I made it back to where the campground turn was though, I knew I could make it home. I called my wife and said to cancel the red alert, I would be biking home today! 4 miles later I was on the side of the road coughing, sore, tired, and wishing I hadn’t made that call. One positive note though, I did figure out the alternative way to go, so i was able to skip the busy area!Still, all the way home, about every couple of miles I was having to stop to rest my legs. I was finished. I couldn’t go one bit more. I stopped on the side of the trail, sat down and felt like crying. How could I have let myself get this far our of shape! I had done harder rides with ease in the past, even at heavier weights! The ride to Dodgeville was a tougher ride and I don’t think I could do that right now. However, I gathered my strength and pushed on. I just kept pushing myself, on pedal stroke at a time. I eventually made it home and I remember saying out loud “I f’ing made it”. It was a hair over 60 miles, but it felt like I had ridden a century.
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I learned for my June ride that, I can make it if I push myself(at least I won’t be riding alone hopefully) and that I really need to get my food intake figured out. The power bars I brought just weren’t enough fuel for my body. I further learned that, when you do a big ride on Tuesday, make sure Wednesday isn’t leg day! Ouch!

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Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker


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