My Journey into a new and Healthier lifestyle

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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


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


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


It was a wonderful day out, and I had plans to go bike riding! I love days like this, feels like spring has come(though in 2 days we are suppose to get a snow storm), birds are chirping and the pedals are moving. At drop off for LB 1’s preschool, I saw my friend Brian, and he made the mistake of mentioning that he didn’t have any plans this morning. Instantly I pounced on the chance, and invited him for a short bike ride. I promised to take it easy and we would just do a short little ride, and he believed me. Muwhahahaha.

I rushed home, got my youngest ready and went out to the stable(some might call it a garage). I started the process of getting everything ready. Brakes, check! Tire pressure, check! No weird rattling noises, check! All systems go and prepare for launch.

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After hooking up the trailer, and making sure I had everything ready to go, Brian arrived. He seemed both excited and apprehensive. I knew though, deep down inside, that once we got going he would love it. I know in the past he had joked he could only bike a mile or so, I figured we would go out and be back real quick. That’s ok, we all have to start somewhere and I didn’t want him to over do it, never wanting to go out again.

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We started out and I could quickly see that he wasn’t enjoying it. Did I mention this was a windy day? Like 50 mph gust type windy day? We went about a half mile and he asked to pull over, and I figured we would be turning around. I took that moment though to mention a few “pointers” for riding, sitting on the pelvic bone not the tail bone, don’t ride using your heel as you want to use the ball of your foot, I think I also mentioned posture and keep the shoulders relaxed. As we started back up again I also realized I had forgotten to tell him something important, how to switch gears! He was in a high gear as the bike was last used on my trainer, and with this head wind it must be killing his legs. He switched gears, sat right, moved his foot, and instantly I could tell he was enjoying himself more. We rode past the park and finally made it to the bike trail. What was nice is that with all the trees and the position of the trail, it really cut out the wind! I saw a smile on his face and was pretty sure I had him hooked.

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As we went along I told him when we hit mile marks, and how fast he was going. I could tell that he found that encouraging and that he was surprising himself with what he could do. There was even a few times I had to catch up with him as we hit some decent speeds(I think at one point 15mph). We reached a shelter area and decided to take a quick rest, we had ridden over 3 miles and had to get back in time to pick up the kids. The way home was very smooth and when we did get hit by the wind, it was luckily at our backs. As we got back I could tell, I could see the look in his eyes, he was hooked. If we hadn’t been on such a time crunch, I think he could have done the full ride to Chesterton and back. I also look forward to having a new riding buddy, because you can never have to many of those!

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!


Today was a day where I woke up feeling defeated. No energy, not even 2 cups of DeathWish coffee could wake me up! Despite this, I really wanted to get in a workout this morning, and the best time was after dropping my oldest off at pre-k. One of the most awesome things about my gym is the free daycare! I love the fact that it allows me to work out during the day time, and not having to wait till the kids go to bed. My youngest loves it so much, he practically runs the entire way once we get inside.

After getting him settled in I went to the locker room to get changed. While in the locker room I felt like I could lay down on the bench and sleep right there. I honestly wasn’t sure how I would make it through a workout, let alone off the damn bench. Yet, I managed to get dressed and found that the gym was happily dead. I picked a treadmill, with a buffer on each side because my heart rate monitor will get picked up by the machines next to me as well. While loading up my Couch to 5k app, I really wondered if I could actually get through the entire 30 mins. I had no get up and go, no energy to speak of, and I was pretty sure I would start walking and quit 5 min. into it. Ever felt this way? What did you do? Here’s how it went for me.

I did the warm up and realized this was crazy and quit. I went next door to the pizza place and ate an entire large pizza, with 4 full calorie sodas. Not really though, after the warm up I decided I would just walk the entire thing, but when the “ding, start running!” sounded, I found myself turning it up and running. When it finished I swore that I was going to walk the next one, because I am beat. “Ding, start running” and again I turned it up to run. This went on for awhile and each time I would finish running I would tell myself “next time we walk”. I was defeated but I refused to give up, I ended up running all of them and finished out the full 30 mins! I ended up earning a badge, and I must say it was highly appropriate.

Determination

Determination? Even though I swore I was quitting at every chance, when it came time to make a choice, I picked pushing through it. It wasn’t an easy choice, and I instantly regretted it as I gasped for air like a fish out of water. But the regret I would have felt by giving up would have been even worse. Remember, when the road gets rough up ahead, just take it one step at a time. When you do, you will find yourself getting through the rough patch before you know it! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker


WHAM 2015

Whiting Hammond After-Midnight Ride 2015

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Man, I can’t believe it has already been an entire year since the 2014 WHAM ride! Last nights ride was just as epic as last years too.

I arrived with my friend Kool-Aid at about 10:45 this year, since we knew what to expect as far as entertainment is concerned. Sure enough, it was the same as last year, a DJ and not much else going on. I was looking forward to meeting up with a couple of folks from last year and as we make our way from the parking lot to the pavilion we run into “Sierra Nevada” from last years ride! I wasn’t expecting him to make it, so it was an awesome surprise. He was riding his 1975 Schwinn road bike, nearly all original if I remember correctly. Fun fact, someone had almost the exact same bike as him on the ride too!

I was a bit worried about getting a swag bag this year, as I forgot to sign up, and they have limited amounts. As I roll up to the tent I am told the have exactly one bag left. I ask the size and it’s my size too, woot! As I was heading back to the car to drop off a few things who do I come across? “Red” from last year. Though this year he was wearing a kit from a local bike shop Michigan City Bike Shop, and also riding a different bike. I forgot to mention that Kool-Aid was also riding another bike, as his main bikes frame cracked on him. That meant I was the only one of the 4 of us who was riding the same bike as last year. I also brought with me my kitty litter panniers, which have sort of become my signature/branding. Here we are before the ride:

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I haven’t been out riding as much this year, and my average speed has typically been around 10-11 without the kids. I also haven’t even done a 30 mile ride this year, so I was a bit nervous about keeping up and finishing.

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The weather outside was perfect again, not to hot or cold, and just a beautiful evening. Again, they separated the riders by 3 groups: Fast, Normal-Long, and Short. Last year we decided to ride the Normal-Long group but this year we figured it would be smarter to ride at the tail end of the fast group. This had me worried, would I really be able to keep up? As we took off, every peddle stroke felt like my feet were made of lead. I was keeping up, though sustaining it was getting iffy. Suddenly I realized , I was doing well. The real realization came to me when we hit the first “hill” (bridge); where instead of slowing down, I was actually passing people (on the up hill even). I soon found myself near the head of our portion of the faster riders (so the back half of the fast section). I was feeling like an animal, and just having a blast!

I was up near the front, feeling like a winner and Mr. Murphy comes to say hello. My chain came off, and after stopping to fix it, I was no longer near the front. I decided that was ok though, this ride is about fun, and I sink back into my groove. I look behind me a bit later and realize I wasn’t near anyone anymore. I could see the tail lights of others up ahead of me and I just keep on rolling. I was able to actually catch back up to where I was! What really made me feel amazing is when I heard “wow, he caught back up! You’re an animal man!”. So I am flying along and Mr. Murphy says hello again. This time it is my water bottle that goes flying off my bike. By the time I stop go back and find it, I figure I may as well grab a quick bite of my power bar as I still had a ways to go till Cabela’s ( which I was NOT going to miss this year). When I finally get back on, the rest of my friends had caught back up to me and so we ride along till we get to the sag stop. Would you believe we missed it again this year? Yup, well almost. The turn was so poorly marked that we actually had to turn around a bit and go over the curb to get to it. It was a welcomed break, and I was very appreciative that they had the bathrooms open. Here are some photos:

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“What do you have in that bucket?”, everyone was wanting to know just what I was carrying. My first response was to joke and say “cocaine”, which I realized was not a good thing to joke about with all the cops around (they blocked the roads so we could ride through). Some of the guesses ranged from explosives to smuggling babies. I will say I am surprised no body put rocks or other heavy objects in it when I wasn’t looking. Sierra Nevada decided to make it his mission to try and touch my bucket while we were riding. It made for some interesting off-color banter back and forth for sure.

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As I was leaving the sag stop, Mr. Murphy paid me one last visit. Again, my chain came off, and this time my rear break decided to start acting up again. I found myself in the back of our group again, but like last time I didn’t let it stop me. I dug in deep and was able to catch back up with everyone again. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, and I completed the ride in 2 hours 10 min. and an average speed of 14.5mph! It was a freaking awesome ride!

The food this year sucked though, went through the line received 2 small pancakes, 2 sausage links…that was it. I burned 3200 calories riding and I was starving. They also ran out of food for a bit and a few people just left rather than waited.

NOW for some “feed back” to the folks running it:
1. LIVE music, I am positive you could find some local bands willing to play.

2.The food this year sucked. It wasn’t near enough and Kool-Aid’s pancakes were crunchy.

3. Consider a beer tent.
4. Maybe have a bike mechanic at the Cabela stop.
5. More stuff going on, maybe add some vendors/food vendors.

Hung out with some good friends, made some new ones, and had a fantastic time.

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Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker



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