My Journey into a new and Healthier lifestyle

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  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!


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!


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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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


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


Gym

Really proud of myself today! Not only did I go to the gym, despite my having to reschedule with my trainer, but I also stepped outside my personal comfort zone.

When I first started working out at the gym, my biggest fear was being noticed by people. The first time I had to do squats and lunges on my own, I was so scared I was shaking! I pushed past that however, and have finally gotten to the point where I feel comfortable doing my workout. I realized that everyone was to busy looking at themselves in the mirror to notice my reflection. I could workout in peace, and now don’t even need to headphones when I lift(I used them to drown out the room as opposed to listening to music). I saw my fear, faced it and moved on.

So here I am, mid workout, just finishing my sets of lunges, when a man walks up to me. Not only does he walk up to me, but he asks me to come spot him. Inside I am freaking out, my mind races and thinks about all the times I have been the butt of jokes, but I reply “no problem happy to help”. As I am walking over I remember that he had briefly introduced himself a week or so ago when I was working with the dumbbells. This made me feel slightly better but inside I was still feeling very self-conscious, my belling showing slightly due to the cut of my workout shirt(it is made for biking so it is shorter in the front and longer in the back). It sorta came to me at this time that I really didn’t know how to “spot” someone actually. I knew the idea behind it, but having never done it, I wasn’t sure the etiquette of doing it. Would I help him lift to soon? To Late? Was I about to get someone killed because the weight was higher than I could handle? Anxiety makes you think of these types of things.

“I’ve never spotted anyone before, what would you like me to do?” I asked, because despite not wanting to look like an idiot, I didn’t want to do this wrong.

He explained what he wanted me to do, but my thoughts were still galloping around in my head. Filling me with doubt. Would I be able to handle this weight? No, because you are just a fat weakling. Is this some cruel joke that someone is playing on me? YES, because why else would they ask for your help! Are you going to just mess this up and look like an idiot? Of course you will. These were the type of thoughts that were going on in my brain.

He didn’t get hurt, he didn’t laugh at me, he didn’t do anything besides lift weights and say thank you. Afterwords we talked for a few a couple of minutes and I came to the realization that he probably was having the same self-conscious feelings that I was. Turns out, we are both humans, both new to this, and both just trying to get our “burn” on. As I went back to my workout I felt a sense of pride in myself, a few weeks ago I would have just said no, and just the fact that someone noticed me, I may never have wanted to step foot in the gym again. I did it though, I proved that I was stronger than I believed. Physically, but even more so emotionally.

I read somewhere that the best thing to do with anxiety, is to do the thing you are anxious about. Every time you don’t, you are reinforcing that negativity behavior, making it more difficult next time to push through it. I know next time, I won’t feel like I did, or I should say, I won’t feel AS bad as I did. I am a stronger person, I am a healthier person, and I am learning to enjoy to workout physically and emotionally.

Finally starting to see some progress again(and time for a haircut again I think)!

Starting to see some progress

Starting to see some progress

Mid workout

Mid workout

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker


Going a bit stir crazy today! So sick of this snow and cold!! The ride I took this last Sunday was more of a tease than anything. Can’t remember if I shared about it or not, but did 14 miles that felt like 100. Why? Because my phone died half way through the ride(literally, right where I was turning around!) and had to do half of the ride sans music, speed info, mileage (to gauge where I am at) and had a strong headwind making me question if it was perhaps just a touch to cold to be out. Ventilated shoes seem like a great idea, but not so much in winter. This post will just be more of an update on what I am doing lately.

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Green Bean Heatbot Troll

Tallulah and Green Bean Heatbot Troll

My son is loving his new bike (picture above)! I was very impressed with how well he did on his inaugural ride! He even named it “Green Bean Heatbot Troll”, but surprisingly he won’t eat green beans(unless they are from Grandma’s garden). We did a short ride, around the block, did a few corners and I must say it handles very nicely. Eventually, I will be hooking up the trailer to his bike and will have a long train. I may even have to pull out my sons wooden train whistle. If you are looking for a good tag-along option, I highly recommend this one. Great price and solid, also comes with mud flaps(very important).

We-Ride

I have been doing well going to the gym, and love working with my new trainer. I am doing a 10 week “bootcamp” of sorts. Right now we are learning the basics, and there was only a couple of times I may have mumbled a few obscenity along with his name. Working out 3 days a week, with some light cardio thrown in on some days off. I must say, I am really liking weight lifting way more than I ever thought I would! While I am still a bit wobbly, but I like that I only need to focus on a couple of things, it really helps me clear my mind.

Big Boned Biker midway through a workout

Me middle of my workout!

Really excited about signing up for Le Tour De Shore , doing the camping version(very few spots left, I think 10). Will be the closest thing to a bike tour that I have done, 100 miles over 2 days. If you live in the Chicago/NWI area, sign on up! Considering signing up for the Tri-State bike ride  again too, but going to see how the LTDS goes first. Though thinking about this, LTDS is technically a tri-state ride! It starts in Illinois and ends in Michigan.

Overall things are going very good, getting use to the new program and my new medication is really working well. If you are going stir crazy like me, I hope we both can find something to do till the weather gets nice again!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

PS you can now follow me on InstaGram!



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