Dodged a trainer again

exercise-bike-1We’re going to have two mild weekend days, and I’m looking forward to getting in some bike rides. It’s a good thing, too, because I’m getting to the point where I would otherwise have to put in some time on a stationary bike.

I hate stationary bikes. The golf club I belong to has some recumbent stationaries in the fitness room. I rode them some last winter, but have been able to avoid them so far this year. Recumbents have no relation to the kind of riding I do, so they provide a workout, and make me sweat, but I don’t feel as though they provide as much benefit as I think they should.

At the fitness club my wife visits, the stationary bike situation offers more options. She lets me go there on the occasional guest pass, and I’ve been to spin classes there, although not this year, and I’ve ridden an upright stationary bike — the kind with the screen for picking the type of workout and the level of effort. They’ve got some spin bikes in the room with all the ellipticals and stairmasters and the other bikes, as well. Haven’t tried one yet.

Likewise, I’ve never even thought about getting an indoor trainer to use in the house — the kind you mount a real bike on. I think pedaling a real bike indoors would absolutely drive me bonkers. It’s a moot point anyway, since there is no room in our house for a trainer. We don’t have a basement, and both of our extra bedrooms are already being used for other purposes — both are full of furniture.

To me, biking is something you do outdoors, on a bike. I’m lucky to live in an area with a mild climate year round, and the chilly weather we’ve had lately is an anomaly. So if you can put up with a little time off the bike, the good biking weather will return soon enough, and you can do your pedaling outdoors again.

Anticipating a good year

I’ve been  bad lately.  Haven’t been riding much over the past couple of weeks.  When I have ridden, my mileage has been below what my average rides were a couple of months ago.  The one longer ride I took recently showed me just how much my biking fitness has declined.  I’m in a biking slump.

But there are some signs that I’ll be on the rebound soon.  For starters, my bike club had its monthly meeting tonight.  I don’t usually go, but made it a point to be there tonight.  They were collecting our annual dues, and I wanted to make sure I paid up.  Although I haven’t been on a club ride since October, I do like these folks, and do want to continue riding with them.

Turnout was pretty high, both because of the dues thing and because we got our first look at the design for this year’s club jerseys.  And it pleased me to find myself seated at a table with several folks I’ve ridden with a lot on past rides.  David, and Pippa, and Bob, and Debra have all gotten mentions in this blog from time to time.  Anyway, I forget who started the discussion, but we reached a consensus that we’re tired of showing up for club rides and getting left behind by the strong riders (see “ABC” from way back in March).

We had all ridden on “B” rides with each other at various times during last summer, and we decided we had to make the B’s in the club a visible, viable contingent.  One of us proposed that we round up a core of B riders — say, eight or so — who we could count on to be more-or-less regulars on weekend rides.  Then each of us would take a turn as B ride leader.  The idea is, if other slower riders know there will be a group of folks out each week who won’t be keeping a 17 mph average over 45 miles, they will be more likely to show up themselves and grow the ranks.

I’m ready.  I had already decided that I would step up and offer to lead more B rides this year.  It was great to learn that others share my attitude.

A nasty cold snap seems to be easing.  This weekend could be the start of this year’s real riding.

Watching what I eat

bacon-cheeseburger-friesNutrition is a topic that has never interested me. I eat what I like, pretty much, and have been lucky because not only is Mrs. Noob an excellent cook, but she does pay attention to nutrition, and cooks healthy meals. So my weight has never been the problem that it could be. I’m just heavy.

But I’m at the point where I’ve decided that watching what I eat has to be an integral part of my overall fitness regime. I jogged for 28 years before my knees gave out and I took up biking. During that time pounding the pavement, I learned that it doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if you eat like a pig, you’ll still gain weight.

My weight is probably 30 pounds higher than it should be. I can’t seem to crack the 200-pound threshold, although I came close while training for the century last summer.

The problem is, that in my late 50s, I need to bring down my weight. I’m already taking pills for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I know that if I embark on a regular exercise program — not just riding the bike when I feel like it, and the weather looks good — I will be able to bring those things back to their normal levels. What’s sad is, I’ve done it before, and then backslid.

Lately, I’m getting inspiration from my son. He’s set himself a goal of losing 150 pounds, and has already lost 60. He combines daily workouts with careful eating habits, and aims to drop only a couple of pounds each week. It’s working for him. Now, if I really put my mind and effort to it, maybe it can work for me, too.