There are many good things about training. The first of them is the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long ride, or finally being able to breathe in the water, or running under a 12:00 pace for a 5k. All accomplishments I have seen over the last 6 seasons, but along with these good things (which by FAR outweigh the bad things), there are usually corresponding not so good things.
I don’t say bad things because in the grand scheme it isn’t bad.
The first thing that pops to mind is the weight loss. Yes, I know … those that have read this blog for a while have heard me bitch and moan about my inability to lose weight, or at least lose weight consistently (because going from 313 to 265 is a loss after all). The weight comes off, grudgingly, slowly, pound by pound, only to inch back up on occasion as if my body is telling me “don’t get too full of yourself, buddy, I control you still”.
But what I have noticed is a whole new issue.
When I was at my heaviest I took some pride (believe it or not … amazing how a person can find pride in negative things) in that my belly was not “flabby”. I carried all of my weight in my gut (not uncommon for a guy) but I still had decent muscle mass in chest and legs, so my midsection, though huge, was HARD. Tight as a drum. And here’s the thing … now that the weight has come off (I was a 58″ waist and now I’m a 46″) the stomach has become flabby. And it is refusing to tighten up.
This is my body again saying “see? we will allow you to lose weight but we will keep this jelly roll on you so that you remember we were here!”.
The body can be a real bastard.
So, anyway, on another point …
Throughout the years I have ridden three different road bikes (a borrowed LeMonde, a Scott Speedster, and now my Litespeed C1), a mountain bike (a refurbished Giant frame), and a Scott Plasma 20 TT bike (now sold to a new home). There are differences, and in the course of these years I have come up with a list for riding … lessons learned if you will. They are:
- It is much easier to stand on a TT bike than a road bike. I am not sure why this is … maybe just the way your body sits on it.
- If you plan on racing and riding in hills, invest in a compact crankset and an 11-28 cassette. Once I changed my Litespeed over it made a world of difference.
- All bikes must be named and all names should show at least a little bit of creativity (i.e. naming aBianchi “Bianchi” or a black bike “Blackie” is … boring). My bikes are/were: Scott Speedster was “Mario”. Litespeed C1 is “Buzz” (like Buzz Litespeed. OK, I thought it was funny). Scott Plasma 20 was “Gunner” (after a position I played in football on special teams, where the two fastest guys were called Gunners and whose job it was to get down the field the fastest to bust up the wedge on kickoff … we were also called “suicide men” because we would just hurl our whole body at the line of blockers). Giant mountain bike is “Buster” because he busts my balls going over rough terrain and jumps.
- It’s fun riding in aero going downhill (even if it’s a bit scary), though the control, or feeling of control, you have on a road bike makes it a bit less scary.
- Love Bugs taste better than grasshoppers. This might just be a palate issue.
- In that vein, learn to ride with mouth closed and breathe, Nuke Style, through my eyelids.
- There is something deeply gratifying getting off the bike and having sweat drip off you like a river. This may be a Florida thing, but sweating like that is … manly.
- Braking takes longer on a Tri Bike … adjust accordingly. Just trust me on that one.
So … things are coming along. So many people helping me, from Team in Training Alumni’s to Meghan Collins-Fanning, to Facebook followers, and to listeners of the podcast. They have been awesome, and when the motivations wanes, as it tends to do, they are the ones that pull you out and push you to the next level. This has been an awesome adventure so far.
I just wish I had started sooner.