Happy new year. Unless you’re Chinese, then I’ll get to you next month.
It was my 4th year as a cyclist, and what started as one of my best, most dominate, most pleasurable, most intense, most fun years, turned out to be one of my worst. Certainly from a mileage standpoint as you can see from the right.
At the risk of boring you all, let me do a shorthand recap 2013, what I am dubbing The Year of Living Dangerously.
January 2013 — I start out on a ride one morning feeling strong and fast… until my back decided to stab me with one of Geoffrey Zakarian’s knives. Cut to: 4 bulging discs in my back, and dangerously close to herniating.
Thus began 8-10 weeks of rehab where I was not allowed on the bike. My physical therapist was amazing. Mike Gorman of StL Physical Therapy is not only a great doctor, but a cyclist, and understands the body and its injuries connected to that sport. Mike pointed out that one of the major reasons my back went south was my lack of core strength and my excess weight.
He tells me that he can rehab me all I want, but I will not heal properly unless I drop the weight. At the time of the injury I weighed 213.5 pounds.
I guess it was the thought of actually never being able to ride again that scared me straight with my ongoing (and well documented) battle with the whispering Jabberwock called FAT. Or maybe it was the fear of back surgery if I didn’t get stronger (i.e. thinner). Or maybe it was a newfound inspiration I’d found… a reason to care more about myself.
I think it was the combo platter. Whatever it was, I dropped 10 pounds in the first 30 days of NOT riding. Read that sentence again.
If you eat right/better, you can lose weight without exercising.
Then, when spring arrived and my rehab was done, I got back on the bike and — as you can read in my posts from last March, April, May, etc — I got fast.
Well, fast for me. Holy granny gear, does losing weight make you faster on the bike.
At one point in 2013, I was down to 178 pounds. That’s right. In July I weighed 178. That is 35.5 pounds lighter than when I hurt my back in mid-January.
That’s as much as I lost ALL of 2010, when I first began this odyssey.
But now we get to the “Dangerously” part of the year…
I don’t like to get too personal here for various reasons, but I feel like in order to be truly honest about my journey I need to share.
I got divorced in 2013. It was a longtime coming, and is definitely for the best, but it still sucks. Especially with kids. It is awful and horrible and the worst thing ever. But sometimes bad things need to happen in order for good things to come.
So, despite my newfound health and weight-loss and speed on the bike, I was battling severe depression and we all know what that leads to… if you don’t drink or do drugs, then you eat.
Add to that not riding due to extreme weather and other personal issues, and…
At the end of 2013 I was back up to 190 pounds. Yes, it’s still over 23 pounds total loss for the year, but it’s 12 pounds MORE than I weighed in July. It’s what I’m hovering at as I type this.
What’s funny is — less than a year ago I was dancing in the streets at being 190. Now, it feels fat. I feel more fat now than I did at 213.5.
Because I have been to the promised land. I have experienced what sub-180 life feels like.
I want it back.
So, once again, for the FIFTH year in a row, I am setting a goal to lose weight. This year, I only want to drop 12 pounds. I want to be 178 again. I loved 178. We got along so well. Had so much fun together. I want 178 in my life again.
Looking at things half-full, this is the fewest number of pounds I’ve wanted/needed to lose at the start of a year. But I cannot wait until that one January day where I can sit here and type to you all that my goals for the year do not involve weight-loss of any kind. That the goals are all cycling related.
Speaking of which, since I was off the bike so much in 2013, I have set my sights on a major mileage goal for 2014…
Yes, I said it. Nearly 1500 more than I’ve ever ridden in a year. 4000 miles is the goal.
And if I ride 3,999 the year will be a fail.
Welcome to 2014 — The Year of The Comet.
Ride your bike.
Never give up.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy