Posted by: fizzhogg | October 30, 2010

42 Miles From Completion

I thought of several words other than “completion” for the title of this post. Success, victory, infamy, etc. But completion is the best.

If I ride another 42 miles, I will have reached two thousand for the year. When I started this project back in January, I had no idea if I’d even get close. After a combined sixty-five miles in the first two months, I was pretty sure IF I did it, it wouldn’t be until the very end of the year, and have to include the 109 miles of El Tour de Pain.

Now, I sit here with a modicum of pride at what I’ve done. I will achieve 2,000 miles before the end of October. For your Mathletes out there, that means 1,935 miles in eight months. As optimistic a person as I am, it is still tough for me to think about that without imagining how many miles I could have ridden had I put in a more serious effort in those first two months, and though I averaged over 240 miles a month March – October, I keep thinking back to all the days I didn’t ride.

3,000 miles would have been obtainable. Easy.

But don’t misunderstand. I am happy with my accomplishment. I am currently at 208 pounds – the lightest I’ve been in over ten years. TEN. My goal was to lose sixty pounds this year. I will not come close to that. But I’ll share a secret with you – I set that almost-ridiculous goal because I thought if I did even half of it, I’d be happy. And that’s just about right where I am.

I wanted to be at 200 lbs for El Tour. I don’t think I’ll get there. But hopefully, by the end of the year, I will be. That will be thirty pounds lighter than I was, and it will be the first time I’ve weighed two hundred since I got married in 1995.

But all weight-loss and goal-setting aside, this year has been fantastic. Thanks to Hova, the PT, and 9-Toes (sounds like a law firm out of a Seuss book) I fell in love with an activity that not only makes me healthier, but gives me wonderful time and memories with my family, as well as providing some great alone time to use to think about work, God, life, etc.

I love the Unfat Machine. I mean, love it. We have a special relationship. And though I dream about “upgrading” to something like a Specialized Roubaix, or Scott CR1, shifting without clunking, climbing without a granny gear, it will be very tough for me to ever part with the Unfat Machine. In fact, I don’t think I could ever sell it. I think once he retires, he will be hung on the wall as a piece of art honoring the year I finally got off the couch.

Which leads into this – I will not quit. Once 2Kin2K10 is a memory, I will continue to ride. It is in my blood now. The only other thing I’ve ever been mildly obsessed with, or truly loved doing (aside from my job), is golf. And I see great similarities between cycling and golf. Both are solitary endeavors that can be done with others. Both are endeavors you can never conquer, but provide great joy in trying.

Just as one will never play the perfect round of golf, one will never achieve the perfect ride. But just like golf, we feel we have a chance. In golf, a perfect round would be to ace every par-3, eagle every par-4, and double-eagle every par-5. A score of 32 on a traditional par-72 course. Forty under for the round. Absolutely not possible. Except golf makes you think it is possible. Because we’ve all hit that one great shot. Even 25-handicappers have hit that near-perfect shot.

In cycling there is not a finite score like golf. But there is that thing, that quest, to go a little farther or ride a little faster each time. Even a 7-time Tour de France champion thinks about what might have been. For a pro cyclist, attaining perfection would be to win every race while setting a record each time. Impossible. But not. If we just try one more time.

For us recreational cyclists the same applies but on a much lower scale. To ride half a mile more than we ever have before. To get our average speed up another tenth. To climb a previously unclimbable hill. See, there will always be another hill to conquer. Because for each River Valley or Mt. Lemmon, there is a Mt. Baw Baw, or a Mont Ventoux.

And, just like golf, even if you’re not interested in getting better or challenging yourself, it is still an incredibly fun sport. Riding with friends, for nothing more than purely social reasons is a blast. Riding by yourself just to take in the sights and sounds and smells of the land, is a blast.

So, back to the point of this post. I’m about to go ride. I may very well ride 42 miles. If not, I will get close enough that I know I’ll hit 2,000 tomorrow. So I will feel great about it all weekend. And then Monday will come and I will focus again on El Tour de Tucson. And I will feel I have not yet finished the Project.

But with all that anxiety, stress, exhaustion, and pain comes something else – pleasure. Cycling is fun.

Eat better.

Ride your bike.

Lose the gut.


Fair winds and following seas, Willy


  1. Your blog is so inspirational! You have covered so many miles on your unfat machine. That’s great determination, keep it up 🙂

  2. Nicely done, P.

  3. Wow! Stay Gold…

  4. As Betty said, your blog is so inspirational. That’s because it’s so honest and so relatable. Except for Superhumans, there is nobody reading your posts who would not be able to relate to your “two-steps forward, one-step back” experience over the last nine months. If you gave the impression that reaching your goal was a piece of cake or that there ARE no excuses for not giving it 100% every day, you’d lose 99.9% of us in the translation. Your perspective is real, and that’s what makes this blog so inspirational. Good job. 🙂

  5. I’ll be honest — when you announced this quest, I didn’t think you’d make it. But over the course of the year, I was continually impressed by your determination and resilience. You’ve accomplished something significant.

  6. p.s. And that’s the last nice thing I’m going to say about you. You fatty.

  7. And the V02max required for golf is different then that of Cycling.

    Good job. Don’t stop because you have to move indoors soon.

  8. Great read. Parallels many of my own biking stories.

    Keep the rubber side down.


  9. Next stop, Leadville?

  10. Leadville? Are you insane, man? Didn’t you see the film? I’m not going near that place anytime soon.

  11. Just read your posting about reaching 2,000 miles. What you are doing (and have done) is what cycling is all about. El Tour is not about the Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze medallion or the 40, 66, 80 or 109 miles you did. It’s about what you did to get there – those 2,000 miles. El Tour is the icing on the cake. Enjoy it. You already accomplished a great deal. Thanks for riding El Tour and for being such a great inspiration to me. Gives me another reason to keep going on …

    Richard, Founder, El Tour

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