Posted by: fizzhogg | August 31, 2010

Of Illness, Levees, Records, and Fat


Being sick is not fun. Being sick when you want to ride is awful. Being sick when your entire family is also sick is akin to having bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails.


Five days ago I was very excited to see if I could, not only set a new monthly record for total miles, but maybe even crack 300. I was at 236 with five days left – no worries.

Then I got sick. As did everyone else in my house.

After three days of being either in bed or on the couch, of staring out the window at beautiful blue skies and imagining how far the Unfat Machine and I could have rolled, I awoke on the fourth day feeling well enough to mount up and ride. With two days left in the month, 65 miles was still very doable.

Then I looked out the window and saw the dark skies and the downpour. It lasted all day.

But today – the last day of August – I awoke and saw dry roads and fairly blue skies. I pumped my Jens Voigt Armadillos, loaded up my Gu and water, and was off. I knew 300 was gone, but breaking the 250-mile barrier for the first time was only an hour and a half away.

Coming off the illness I didn’t want to push myself too hard and bonk, so I headed for the levee trail. There was a good headwind going out, so I was excited about the ride home. I’ve noticed the humidity is the single greatest factor in determining how my body feels and reacts to my rides. On lower humidity days, regardless of the temp, I can make a water bottle last an hour, and only need to Gu it up every forty minutes. On high humidity days (like today) I’ll go through a bottle in thirty minutes easy, and I Gu every 30 minutes like clockwork.


Thirty minutes into my non-climbing ride, I had finished the bottle I’d stuck in my jersey pocket, had my first Gu, and was on to the two bottles in the Unfat Machine’s cages. But I was feeling good. It felt great to be back on the bike. Someone – maybe it was Hova – told me once that it takes 3 weeks of doing something to make it a habit. Or something like that.

Cycling is a habit for me. If finances were better it would be a full-blown obsession. My body freaks out when I’m off the UM for more than a day or two.

So, the ride. Yeah, so I’m cruising along, sweating like Michael Jackson in a Toys-R-Us, but feeling good. I get to the end of the levee trail – remember the photo I posted that showed they were extending it? – guess what?

Pavement! I mumbled a silent prayer of thanks to all things Jens.

I rolled across the new surface. They had added about a 1/2 mile to the trail. Okay, not much, but it’s a start. And as I stopped for more water and Gu at pavement’s end, I saw they had leveled the ground for more paving as far as my eye could see. The song about it’s gonna be a good, good night flashed through my mind.

As I stood there straddling the UM, a pair of cyclists rolled up and we discussed the expansion. They claimed that the levee trail workers (angels from Heaven to me) had already leveled another five miles of trail – going down toward the banks of the Missouri river and continuing on. My heart raced.

They rode off and eventually I followed.

And that’s the end of my story. No Lefors, no birds, no racing, no silly happenings. Just a nice, flat, high cadence ride.

23.1 miles. Good enough to set a new monthly record which you can see on the side there.

My goal for September is to break 3oo. If I ride three days a week – just three lousy days – I can do it no problem. For those newbie Clydesdales like me that think there’s no way you can put up these types of numbers – either because you don’t have the time or the stamina – I’ll let you in on a secret. See those numbers for April, May, June, July and August? I never rode more than 12 days out of any month. That’s nearly 20 days a month of not riding.

I don’t say that proudly. I say that kicking myself. If I had pushed a little more, not been as lazy, I could easily have another couple of hundred miles under my helmet. And with that, there’d be less weight on my body.

Which reminds me…

Illness is the second best diet in the world, poverty being first.

In three days of eating saltines and drinking water and 7up (not in the same glass), I lost 2.5 pounds. Am I counting it toward my goal?

You bet your lycra-wearing butt I am. My job now is to NOT put it back on.

While I am well on my way to hitting my goal of 2K in 2K10, I am way off the Lose-60-Pounds part of the project. Through no other fault than my own laziness, I am (this is a hypothesis) about ten pounds behind where I could be.

But I’m a glass half-full guy. I’m happy that I’ve dropped 20 pounds this year. But I am going to push hard these last four months to drop that same amount.

Today’s weight was 210. A new low for me. Good enough for a fist pump, but not good enough. The riding is under control. The whispering Jabberwock is locked in the basement.

Now it’s up to me to eat better and better. And better.

Eat better.

keep riding.

Lose the gut.

You’re very good. You are, you are

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