Monday, October 24, 2016

Back at it

Took a break.

Took a step back.

Took a deep look into the mirror.

Reset.

Make a plan.

Set the plan into motion.

Get tools needed to assist plan.

Use tools.

Follow plan.

stick to the plan.

Proceed. 

More to come....


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Taking a step back

This year has been a mess. I have been a mess. 

I have seen highs....

I have seen lows....

To make matters worse, I haven't touched a bike in 2 weeks. It will be 3 weeks by the time I can ride again. My weight is up. Emotions are down. Train wreck.

So, I am taking a step back. Taking stock. Evaluating. Investigating. Eventually planning. 

I will be around. I am not disappearing. Just taking a long needed evaluation period.

See you soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fade....to....black.....

Over the course of the season I have watched numerous people increase their skill. Some have increased their general speed. Some have just gotten to be better all around riders. Me, I am a solid rider. I can bomb downhills. I can handle the level of technical trails in my area. My weaknesses...well...climbing is the worst. I have never been a climber, but I know I can work on that. I also am not good at the tight and twisty trails....like TK Lawless or Maybury offer. Maybe it is just my mass, I am not able to hold speed in the tight corners and flow into the next corner.

But I got off topic a bit. Early this year I rode with some people out on Barry Roubaix. It was rough on them. But the last time I rode with with one rider, I could tell he was stronger. I also know that I just didn't put the work in this year. On another ride we did Kal-Haven. I was dropped by a rider that never should have dropped me. I caught him, but it took me 70 miles. Again, he put more work in than I did...but I still didn't like the outcome.


Tuesday I had the chance to ride at Fort Custer. I headed out and just rode my pace. While I was slow, it did feel good to just ride and not worry about anybody else. No concerns that I was holding someone up. No concerns that I was ruining a ride for someone. Just trail. Roots and rocks and dirt. But my mind kept wandering to those that got stronger this year while I faded. This year sucked. There are multiple reasons why it just sucked, and none that need to revisit. But this year is fading into obscurity again....time...it feels....is passing by at an alarming rate. Soon the green will give way to reds and yellows before the ugly landscape of fall rolls in. Then there will be a blanket of snow and this damn cycle will start over again....


I will find myself stuck on the indoor trainer....hammering away with a monotonous drone of rubber against steel. But I will do it....because the only thing that will change my training is a fat bike. unfortunately, that doesn't really seem to be in the cards. I just need to find the motivation to throw my leg over the bike any chance I can get. Keep plugging away. Try to come out in the spring stronger than I did this year....and make my presence known....before I just fade to black....



Monday, September 19, 2016

For Non-Cyclists (a message from Scott Wycoff)


This post is copied from my friend Scott Wycoff. He is a fellow cyclist. Parent. Taxpayer. Human. He posted this a while ago and I stumbled across it again. I wanted to share this because he brings a different perspective for non-cyclists and cyclists alike. Please take the time to read. Please share his thoughts if you agree.

From Scott Wycoff via facebook:

Ok. I want to talk to my non-cycling people... I want you to think back to when you were a child. To when you got your first bicycle, the happiness of having a shiny new bike. The pride you felt in learning to ride without training wheels, it was like a right of passage to becoming 'big kid'. Bombing around the neighborhood with friends, the hours of just cruising around. Building a sketchy ramp out of a cinder block and a piece of plywood. Sure, you crashed, you scraped knees, and even broke bones. But you still got back on it, because it was your bike, your ambassador of freedom. 
THAT is why I still ride. Cycling brings all of those feelings back to me. I now have a whole new group of friends to bomb around with. So, the bike is more expensive, the clothes are different, my banana seat is replaced by a paper thin piece of carbon. But the feeling I get is the same. During a stressful week, I can get out and ride. I can forget all the crap in life that weighs me down, it's freedom. It's a time to let it go, get some fresh air. I've seen the sun rise in Death Valley from a bike seat. I've ridden in sub zero weather, without a soul around. Unique experiences all brought to me through the joy of cycling. How many of you love to experience once in a lifetime things? What if it meant dying? Is that fair? That's what cycling has become. I am getting a source of happiness taken away against my will. You are doing that. You refuse to pay attention behind the wheel. You refuse to move over, give some space, and wait for a second until i is safe for everyone to continue on heir way.
How many of you have bought bikes for your kids, because you wanted them to feel those same feelings? To see your children experience that pride from riding all by themselves. It's great! 
So what happens? Somewhere along the way, you all decided that riding a bike as an adult is a reason for them to die. Why? Because I am on the road? Because I'm in your way? Are any of these a reason to kill me? 
If there is someone in the grocery store that is front of you, in your way, do you ram your cart into the back of there legs until they get out of the way? Do you haphazardly crash into them? If there is someone with a cart coming toward you and you want to go around the cart in front of you, do you squeeze through, risking crashing into everyone? Do you sideswipe the cart in front of you, run them into the produce stand? If everyone in the supermarket behaved the way they do on the road, the grocery store would be a deathmatch. So why would you do this on the road with human lives at stake? 
I've heard all of the excuses that people give, why they can justify their actions on the road. There is NO excuse to kill someone. Why do we all teach our children that the bike is a source of wonder and joy, if we at some point are going to flip a switch and decide at some point they deserve to die for riding? Stop hating cyclists!! 
Ultimately, I feel, the problem is a lack of education. On all sides. The public at large do not know the law and what a pedestrian's rights are on the road. You see me and friend riding side by side, and you think it's us being assholes. It's actually lawful AND makes us more visible. Motorcycles get hit all the time because people say they don't see them. So cyclists try to make themselves more visible. Many cyclists, or people on bikes, do not do lawful things on the road. I get it. I see cyclists blow through a stop sign, so that means all cyclists don't obey the law? How many times have we all seen someone do something dumb on the road? Do you judge all, on the part of the few? So why do cyclists? 
Care should be taken on the part of the party that can inflict the most damage. If someone has a conceal and carry permit they don't walk around pointing their gun at everyone. They know, that it will get them shot, killed or arrested. So they act in a responsible manner. We've seen the nutcase carrying an AR-15 around a Walmart, because "he has permits, and the right under the constitution". Just because he can, doesn't mean he should. Same on the road. Just because you can run someone over, doesn't mean you should. I want to understand the hate you feel and how that justifies killing someone.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Analytics....because I was curious

My season has been all over the map. I barely rode the first half of the year. Then I decided to dust off the bike and throw my hat back into the ring for some races in the second half. That alone has been quite the roller coaster of events. I have finished DFL in my last 3 races and the fourth race back was a DNF. This was after a 3rd and a 2nd. So.....I got curious. There are some factors that come into play for sure....and I thought I would put them down on the internet for history....or to waste time....or for those actually interested. Here goes...


Sweat Shaker was my first race of 2016. I had a solid race...but started with a DFL and I was almost 25 minutes behind the leader.

Treetops was brutal. I did take a solid 3rd place.....out of 3 racers. I was a solid 1:16:03 behind the winner and was actually lapped at the start of my 3rd lap of 4. ugh. So another DFL.

TK Lawless was a bit better. I did muster a 2nd place out of 3. I raced Sport Open because there is no Clyde class in the NIMBA Series. So I raced against people that could be mid to back of the pack Expert racers. I was a respectable 29:45 behind the winner.

Big M was awful for me. I got a DNF, but on that one lap that I did finish I was already 20:41 behind the eventual winner.

Glacial Hills was better. While I still mustered a DFL, by over 37 minutes) I was actually feeling pretty good at this event.

Maybury TT was brutal with the humidity. Add that on top of the local guys destroying me and I got crushed by over 20 minutes and ended DFL again.

Addison Oaks was my last race. While I still took last place I felt pretty good about my race. Then I realized that I was 30 minutes behind the leader and I started to look into things a bit closer.


So, with the short reviews above.....here are my finishes

8/8
3/3
2/3
DNF
8/8
12/12
8/8

Big picture, a Second, Third, and three top 10 finishes can be chalked up a solid season. But that isn't the point because all but one race was DFL. Still, a DFL is greater than sitting on the couch.

I dug a little deeper and looked at my average speeds at each event. Here are the speeds by race from fastest to slowest:

1. Addison Oaks
2. Glacial Hills
3. Maybury TT
4. Sweat Shaker
5. Big M
6. TK Lawless
7. Treetops

There are a few things about this that surprise me and a few that don't.

#7 Treetops. This being my slowest race wasn't shocking due to the amount of climbing.

#6 TK Lawless. This was a bit of a surprise because the course is flatter. It is however very twisty. It had also rained the night before the race and the course was slick.

#5 Big M. Again, not really surprise due to the climbing. But I was surprised that it was faster than the Lawless race.

#4 Sweat Shaker. Pretty solid to land right in the middle. I love the course and it suits my riding style. This being the first race, I believe it landed right where it should have.

#3 Maybury TT. If the humidity was lower I would have expected this to be higher in the order. Still, another course suited to my style of riding. Probably slower due to some tighter areas.

#2 Glacial Hills. This is the most surprising of the group. This was not a flat course. Yet I managed to pull my 2nd fastest average speed (at a race) here. I did love the course and it was a lot of fun to ride. Just shocked that it landed as #2

#1 Addison Oaks. No surprise here at all. Flatter and wide open course. I loved riding here again and I was comfortable for most of the race.


An item of note as well is that my average speeds were going up the more I raced. Meaning, I was getting stronger every day and have the data to prove it. There is more to all of this....studying numbers and boring people to death. I like the numbers. I like to see what is happening....I like to see if things make sense. I like to see if there is improvement. It isn't for everyone, but without some data to go off I don't know how I would improve.




Monday, September 12, 2016

Addison Oaks XC

Knowing this was a "flat" course was helpful in my decision to make another trek across the state. Up early Sunday morning I headed towards Martin to meet Mark. Then we headed to Kalamazoo to meet up with Jay and Byrne. From there, it was a long haul to Addison Oaks in Lenoard, MI. This trip I was a passenger as Jay offered to drive.

After nearly 3 hours we arrived. We headed to registration and started our prep. Greg and his family drove over as well. We had a solid club presence for a race on the East Side. After checking out the finish area we headed out for a warm up. Temps were in the 70's and the day was just beautiful. Then it was time to go.


I lined up and watched Byrne, Greg, and Jay take off before waiting for the Clyde class to line up. Looked like another solid group of 8 guys. 3, 2, 1....gone. I was 7th going across the start area and into the singletrack. Then the trail ticks upward with the first climb of the day. As I rounded the first bend the leaders were gone. I could still see 4th thru 7th as I rounded another bend. By the 3rd bend I was alone. By the top of the climb the fat bike class was bearing down on me already. All I could do was just let them by and not hinder their races. 

The miles ticked by. I love Addison. The trail is flowy. It has some rock gardens, bridges, roots, gnarly downhills and a few punchy climbs. The first lap I was doing alright. My heartrate was through the roof so I had no choice but to back off and just ride my pace. Second lap I was suffering. I was pretty confident that my plan of a solo attack of the back was working because I had not seen another ride in miles. I reached the pavement section in the middle and started to feel a bit better. But I reached the climb called "The Wall" and wasn't able to clear it. There were some guys cheering there and one looked at me and asks "OH CRAMPS?? CRAMPS??" To which I just smiled and said "nope, just a fat slow guy". We laughed, then I cried a little. But moving on....

The last part of the lap after The Wall is pretty fast and fun. I started feeling really good at that point and was able to close down the gap on a guy that started ahead of me. Sure he was in the 70+ age group but he was stomping my ass into the ground. I took a gel on the paved section and we pushed the pace towards the finish. I finished and was happy it was over. 8th place. Behind the leaders by a solid 30 minutes. Slow. Oh well. I tried and it was a fun course.

A closer look at my lap times led to this:
Lap 1  41:02
Lap 2  44:12
Lap 3  42:10
(winning times were in the low 30's....)

Overall, I classify that as a win. For one, consistent lap times are what I strive for. Minus the sluggish second lap I felt pretty good the other laps. But taking over 2 minutes out of my second lap during the third lap is my shining moment. It was just a fun course and I was comfortable the last lap, clearing all of the climbs and finishing strong. Gives me momentum and confidence for my next race.




After the race I drank something new. As I use Infinte during the races I thought I would try a recovery drink when I made my last order. This one below you can add to water, milk, or any other liquid I guess. I just added it to water...and it was delicious. No funky aftertaste and it tasted like Chocolate milk...which is my normal go to after a long ride or race. I can tell you that today I feel fantastic. So give this a try...it isn't cheap....but it works.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Racing to finish

Amazing how fast the downward spiral can arrive. One minute I am taking a solid and earned 2nd place.....the next.... I am taking a DNF and feeling like I never want to ride again. To describe my last 4 races as an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.

This past Sunday I was ready to throw in the towel. Done. No more races. Because while I love to ride, I don't like feeling miserable while I am riding. To make things worse....toss in the face that I was feeling miserable during a race...while getting crushed....and the mind starts spinning out of control. I have experienced this spiral in my last three races. Not so much at Glacial Hills, but surely at the Big M race (where I bailed after 1 lap) and then again Sunday at Maybury. Done. Mentally being done is harder than physically being done. If you are physically done you can convince yourself to keep pedaling. You can focus on the positives and just keep the drive to get across that finish line. If you mentally check out.....you suffer more. The more you suffer and the more you struggle the worse it gets until you find yourself talking about picking up yard darts and corn hole as your favorite sport.

At Big M, I physically felt awful. I was making the grind up a long climb and my legs just quit. I mentally could not tell them to "shut up" or to "just keep spinning" because mentally I wasn't really there. So when my legs left on vacation, my mind was on the next flight. I was so checked out that I was ready to bail about 3 miles in. Maybe sooner. Normally I have the ability to block that out...ride past the legs quitting....and end up finishing the race. At the TK Lawless race I felt good. No doubt. That race went well. At Big M I didn't feel great....and the race ended with a DNF. Mentally, I checked out...so physically I had to be done.

At Glacial Hills I was doing alright at the start. As a mental boost I was able to keep riders in sight on the initial climb. That boost kept me going for the most part, but I do remember getting that "checked out" feeling about 7 miles in. Then I reached the end of the first lap and mentally I was doing better. The hills still hurt, but I was able to power up more of them and I was able to keep going the entire race. Mental win.

At Maybury it was humid...and mentally....I was already fading. Then less than a few miles in and the train of guys passing....mentally I started to question everything again. The course at Maybury isn't hard. It is a solid course. But when you start to check out....the course is instantly harder. I know I had some lingering thoughts about KC's crash. But I did my best to squash those thoughts because they can actually cause a crash. I just finished. Crushed by a field of stronger riders...but blaming myself. Why....well....here is the truth.....it is my fault.

Mentally I may be checking out....but there is a reason I am checking out. Last year I was a stronger rider. I weighed less. I was mentally tough. I am still that person, but I am heavier and haven't put as many miles in so I am not as strong. Weaker+heaver= lower mental toughness. These things are all part of the same equation. The variable....is me. That old adage of "I am my own worst enemy" or "i see my enemy every time I look in the mirror" holds true. I am truly my own worst enemy. I started to think about what I ate before each of these last 4 races. Eating clean before TK I felt good. Eating not clean before Big M and Maybury. Huge difference in how I felt on the bike. Hands down, I don't take very good care of myself. I know I need to. I know how to. I know what I need to do to be healthy. I am not really content with being a DFL finisher and getting crushed by people I used to compete with.

I either invest in myself....or I just race to finish.





Monday, August 29, 2016

Maybury TT recap


Maybe I should make this short. I got crushed. The end. There really isn't much to report on this race, but I will attempt to shed some light on my mental workings.

Up early. Loaded up my two youngest daughters and headed towards Otsego. Swing in and picked up Mark and we headed down to Kalamazoo to pick up Lisa, Jay, and Mike. There were 8 of us piled into the suburban with all of our gear and a bike inside. 5 bikes total. Rolling heavy so to speak. We rolled from the lot a little after 7 to make the trek to Rochester Hills. Conversation was fairly typical...all about riding. After a couple of hours we arrived at Maybury and headed to registration.

Biggest item of note....it was freaking hot. Well, humid. The roads were still showing some water and the humidity was hovering in the 90's percentage wise. Heavy. The air was heavy. We registered and mulled around until it was time to warm up. I could feel my blood pressure was high for some reason. Pulse was about normal....but I could feel my heart beating. I just slowly pedaled around to keep my legs moving and let my heart know it was alright.....to just settle down some.

Then it was time to line up. 3, 2, 1 GO. I decided to wear the Gopro and actually record a race....but....uh...the setting was wrong and I got zero footage. Instead I had the weight of the camera and the straps around my chest squeezing me like a freaking anaconda for almost 9 miles. I am led to believe that it was just the heavy air, but it really felt like the chest mount was suffocating me. Sure, blame the innocent camera right?

I knew right away that I was riding to finish. Heart rate shot thru the roof....or at least I thought it did...because....I can't find my Garmin. So I was technically guessing. Strike 2. lol. Anyway, the course was full of slick rocks and roots from the previous day of rain. We were warned that "Maybury doesn't tend to drain well" so we were at least mentally prepared. Because I have not ridden here in a few years I was riding blind. The course is tight and twisty, then it opens up, then it is tight and twisty again. Overall, a fun course. I can only imagine how fast I would be out there if it was my home course.

I slogged away and eventually got a report that I was about a mile from the end. I was blown. Just riding to survive has become a theme for me...and not one that I like....but more on that tomorrow. I pedaled best I could to the finish line and headed right to the truck. I opened the cooler and dumped an entire bottle of water on the back of my head and down my neck just to try to alleviate some of the heat. It seemed to work, but the air was still heavy.

I took 12th....out of 12. DFL.....again. 20 minutes behind the leaders. But, I tried. I rode. I finished. You should check back in tomorrow....because that blog will probably be worth reading ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

It happens....

I headed down to Andrews University in Berrien Springs on Tuesday night. I wanted to get some trail riding in before my next race. Andrews is the closest trail...and it is challenging. I have ridden here a few times and I am always impressed by the nature of the course....DIFFICULT.

KC headed down to ride with me. He did a lap before I got there and warned me that it was fairly sketchy with washouts and some brutal drops. I don't know this trail very well, but I knew what he was talking about. There are some sections that make you "pucker". We planned to just ride and take it as it came. Slow and steady....

We started reaching the rough patches and I was realizing what he meant. There were a few deep ruts that could easily take someone out. They were generally right in the middle of the trail. No fault of anyone but mother nature. Her rains made this feel like a different trail than it was a month ago, the last time I rode it.


The pic above is the first downhill heading back south on the northernmost loop. The picture doesn't really do it justice....because this bastard is steep. The trail hugs the ridge and then dives down to a dry(ish) creek bed. There are a few things I need to point out on this pic.

1. Downhill (obvious)
2. Rut. Right in the middle
3. Harder to see is the hump on directly behind the rut. It takes a small dip before rising back up to the top of the bump where the rut is located
4. Skid marks. These are from riders coming thru after us.



Imagine bombing down that hill with some semblance of speed. Fast, but still dragging the brakes knowing that getting out of control is a bad idea. I went thru first and then heard a horrific sound behind me. When I looked back KC was down. I knew it wasn't good because he wasn't moving yet. I rushed back to him and he couldn't get a breath in. After a bit he asked me to roll him onto his back. He was able to get a breath in at that point and he asked me if help was coming. I was already dialing 911, knowing it wasn't a basic crash. It was clearly serious. To make things worse, we were 3 miles from the parking lot and not close to an access point. After a lot of conversation with the 911 operator KC was standing and ready to get out of the woods.

"The worst part was when they cut off my jersey" ~ KC

Campus security arrived and they headed towards a rendezvous point. The other guys that were assisting grabbed bikes and we headed out. I finally got to the hospital to check up on him. He was drugged up and eating ice chips. They had already done x-rays. They confirmed that he had a broken clavicle that would require surgery. He was ready to sleep so I headed home. In the morning he messaged me to let me know that they confirmed the clavicle break and that he also had 5 broken ribs. Honestly, glad it wasn't worst than that.

I didn't see it...but I can imagine that he got launched off of the hump and flew to the ground, landing on his shoulder. It happens quick. Unfortunately it is part of the sport of Mountain Biking. It was a scary moment for me on the outside...and I would imagine a HIGHLY scary moment for him on the inside. Thankfully he didn't get hurt more than he did.

When something like this happens it really gets your mind going. Scenarios start playing out in my head that have just become a friends reality. The whole thing is....this happens. I know numerous strong riders that have had these types of crashes happen. Another friend had a bad one a few years back. He rides more than anyone I know and just caught a lip wrong. Another friend got taken out by a slick root and bruised ribs earlier this year. Yet another got attacked by sand last week and it threw him down like a paper doll. I crashed and took out a friend a few years ago. But each and every one of these riders will get back on their bikes. They will move on. KC will be back and ready to ride. We dust ourselves off....but we still question this crazy sport we love. Because of our love of the ride we get back on our bikes and ride again. Our style might change. We will become more tentative on certain sections. We will completely skip others. We come back. I am looking forward to when KC is healed up so we can go ride again.


As a side note: It is a good idea to have an understanding of how to handle a major crash. I am not talking a bump or bruise....but a major crash where the person loses consciousness or has a major injury. Unfortunately this wasn't my first time....but because of my knowledge I knew what to do...and more importantly...what not to do. 

Do...remain calm.
Do NOT...move the injured person
Do...tell the person to breathe slow
Do NOT....Say "oh my god you are hurt"

These 2 things can be the difference between an injury and a paralyzed friend. I didn't know if he had twisted his neck or even broken his back. I didn't move him. I told him to relax and try to breathe deep. Only after he picked up his head did I ask if he wanted his helmet off. Only after he moved did I offer to help him....asking him what he wanted me to do for him. Calm. Panic doesn't help anyone. If I ran back to him and said "holy fuck dude....you punctured a lung" that really doesn't help the situation. He knew he was hurt. No reason to make him go into shock or worry about further injuries. If you are calm, it helps the injured person be calm. If you panic....mass hysteria happens. 


That is all for today. Ride safe. Keep the rubber side down.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Glacial Hills XC recap


Early Sunday morning I put the D.U.F.F. on the Suburban and headed towards Grand Rapids. I swung off the highway by Gun Lake Casino and picked up Mark and Jeff. Then we started the nearly 3 hour journey to Bellaire, MI. The further north we got the darker the clouds got. Checking the weather in the week leading up to this race I was curious how it would end. 60's and a 50% plus chance of rain....we took our chances. By Cadillac we were wondering if we made the right choice. As the skies opened for the first time I really started to question my decision to pre-register. Then the sun broke through the clouds. Then it rained again. Then...we arrived in Bellaire.

The sun broke through the clouds when we go to Bellaire.
When we got to the school for registration the skies were partly cloudy. It was actually kind of chilly. But perfect racing weather. From the reports we had about trail conditions we figured the trail would be solid and fast. After double checking tire pressures we headed up the first climb of the course to warm up. Knowing I had 2 laps I wanted to stash my second bottle. The first climb is about .8 miles long and not crazy steep. We just rode a casual pace up the hill and found the parking lot where the trail starts. I dropped my bottle and we watched a few Expert\Elite riders fly thru and then we headed back down to the start area.




I made my last minute preparations and headed to the start area. As we were lining up some people were bombing down the hill towards the finish. It looked fun and I was looking forward to that section. Then it was time to start. There was 9 Clydes galloping up the hill at the start. I jumped on a wheel and planned to hold on as long as I could. That worked out for a bit....as I kept the pack in sight for most of the climb....and then they disappeared into the woods. Once on the singletrack, I started to find out what the trail was going to be like. It seemed like the entire trail was bench cut out of the side of the hills. I was able to push myself harder than I have in recent rides. I was feeling pretty good, but wasn't going very fast. I kept catching glances of Ted up ahead of me, and then another guy in our class that was between us. I kept the pressure on my body and did my best to hold on....but eventually I had to ease up.

As I eased up I started to settle into my pace. I was realizing how awesome the terrain was that I was riding on. The hills were crazy steep but the trail wasn't. The trails cut across the hills so it wasn't bad riding. It was cool to be able to see people weaving up the hill and passing me going the opposite direction up above my head. The trail was awesome. I started getting a lot of traffic passing me but it wasn't a big deal. I was enjoying the ride.

I finally saw the parking lot and was happy to see the start of my second lap. I knew traffic would be gone and I could just ride my ride. I stopped and swapped bottles then headed back up the trail. I was really comfortable. Riding at what felt like a solid pace I kept spinning away. The miles ticked by and I was still enjoying the ride. Then I saw the parking lot again. After a short trip jaunt down the hill I made the right hander to head to the finish line. The last section was downhill for 1.5 miles....on pavement. I pushed as hard as I could and was absolutely trucking. I hit 37.4 mph on that descent. Brent was at the corner cheering me on as I flew past. GO GO GO. I quickly got to the last section of road and rolled thru the finish banner. I took 9th....but apparently a guy didn't do both laps....so he got a DNF and I moved up to 8th. I will take it....because it was just a fun ride overall.

Mark flatted but still finished with a 13th place. Jeff had a great ride and took 5th place in his class. The trip home was full of laughter. It was a great day with friends and teammates on a trail I had never ridden before. Next up is Maybury TT this coming Sunday. All I will do is ride and see what happens.....and gauge my ride on how I feel and not on where I finish. Should be interesting!

Monday, August 15, 2016

1st Kal-Haven of 2016

7am roll outs can be brutal. Thankfully the trailhead off of 10th St. in Kalamazoo is under 30 minutes from my house. I loaded up the Defy and headed out to meet Jay, Lisa, and Jeff. Temps were in the 60's and it was hazy.

Off we went. The first stretch is always the best...downhill. It is pretty fast do the first stop sign. Faster to the second. Knowing this was going to be a long day on the bike I was still finding it difficult to find a pace that wasn't "hard" or "fast". Eventually we settled in.
Courtesy of Jay B. 
We always start in Kalamazoo and head to the North Shore Pier in South Haven before heading back. The pace was comfortable. In typical fashion it would always feel like right when you hit your rhythm that there is a stop sign. Then you take off again and find your rhythm again, stop sign. It is one of the things that makes this such a difficult ride. In the pic above we were probably holding 19mph or so...and Jay was riding no handed. lol. The trail is an old rail trail so it is pretty wide and straight. The chances of hitting something are slim....but they do exist. There was a tree down across the trail on the way out, but someone cleared it by the time we were heading back.

The first leg always goes fast. Everyone has good legs and it is downhill the whole way to South Haven...at least it feels that way for a relatively flat trail. We rolled into the trail head with an average speed of roughly 15.6 mph. My goal for the entire ride was 15 so we were right on target. We headed to the beach and I was surprised by how many people were out enjoying the Southwest Michigan sunshine, especially considering it was only about 9:30am.


We piled up the bikes and took the obligatory "we are here" pic of the light house. After a quick break we were headed back to Kalamazoo. Mentally I was doing alright...not really dreading the 34 miles back. Legs...well....not the best....but doing alright considering the lack of miles I have this year. 

Jay was stamping out a solid pace and I was doing what I could to hold on, but then we hit just a little riser and I could feel my heart rate creeping up. The speed was solid and I was holding his wheel but my heart felt like it was gong to explode. This is where my brain started to get the best of me. I let up...and fell back. I had no choice...my brain wouldn't force my body to go hard anymore. I eased up and watched the group ride away for a bit. I just had to settle into my own pace. Knowing I still had 25 miles to go.....that was my only choice. 25 miles....TO GO. ugh. 

I had one bottle of Infinite with me and started to sip off it. Eventually my legs came back some. But then my feet started to hurt. Stupid shoes. I switched brands last year and have never been comfortable in the new shoes. I have wide feet and the constant pedaling was making my toes hurt. I plugged along and eventually rejoined the group. Reaching Bloomingdale they stopped for a minute. I slowly pedaled on. Wondering how much more my feet could take. I was listening for tires behind me because Jay was on his fatty but I never heard them...until he was right on my wheel. Strange how those tires can be so quiet when all you are hearing is your heartbeat in your ears. 

Courtesy of Jay B.

I had recovered pretty good but my feet were still killing me. We cruised past Gobles and I knew we were 12ish miles from the end. Just keep going. By this this point I was visiting every emotion a person can deal with. 
doubt....can I finish
anger....dumb shoes
happiness.....man it is gorgeous out here
tiredness....legs don't fail me now
confidence....I can do this
fear....what if I screw up my fee
excitement....only 11 to go...10...
frustration.....why can't i keep up
elation....I see them
pain.....ouch.....my feet...

I couldn't do it anymore. I had to stop. I stopped and basically shook my foot like people shake their hands when they go numb. Instantly it felt better. So I stopped for all of 15 seconds....but when the group is going 17-18 mph it doesn't take long for them to be out of sight. We were close enough to the end that I didn't expect anyone to wait. I know my way back and they know I will be there eventually. I got back on and found some resemblance of rhythm. I could see Jeff up ahead and I slowly closed the gap on him. He asked if were towards the end. We were, the worst part of the entire ride in my opinion. The trail tilts upwards away from the Kalamazoo River and after 70 miles of flat the small inclines hurt. 

I just kept plugging away and eventually saw Lisa and Jay heading back down the trail. Go Go Go! They offered encouragement as I smashed the pedals up the last climb. Finally the parking lot and 73 miles of riding. Longest ride of the year by double. Happy to be done we all went about the rest of our days. Might not have been the fastest ride we have done out there, but we did it. Thanks to my friends and teammates for hanging out!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day by day

Upper Mac was like riding on pavement

The best thing for me to do is just focus on each day as it comes. Not saying that I will completely disregard the future....but I cannot stress about the future. I need to focus on what is going on each day and crush each thing as I arrive at it. If that means crushing a run....crushing a ride....crushing a project at work....or crushing dinner then so be it. One day at a time is my best bet.

I have been taking my oldest to work every day because his car is broken. This week he started at 5:30 am. I am up and on the road before 5 am to drop him off....then another 30 minutes to South Haven. So starting work at 6am I can be out super early. The problem is....I have to pick him up too. No point in driving home 30 minutes and finding something to do for an hour and then driving back up to Zeeland to get him at 5pm. I did however find a solution.....leave work at 3....drive to Zeeland and ride Upper Mac until he get out of work.

Wednesday I loaded up the bike and made the stops. Worked my day. My day always ALWAYS goes better when I know I am riding afterwards. I swung to the gas station to procure some fluids and landed at Upper Mac around 3:40. Plenty of time to ride. Parking lot was empty other than a girl doing her workout. So I geared up and headed to the trail. 

To say "hot" would be accurate. It was low 90's and sunny. I was dripping sweat before I ever got on the bike. I headed up the connector and the open areas were crazy hot. Where the sun beats on the open sandy areas is like riding thru an oven. The shade was comfortable. I don't mind riding in the heat as long as I have water with me. 


The trail was in pretty good shape. Kudos to the volunteers that keep it clean. This trail is so different though. Lots of off camber. Hard clay base. A little bit of everything. Not my favorite trail, but a trail to ride when I have some free time. Not easy either. I wouldn't take my littles here until they get more experience. The rolls can sneak up on you sometimes and attempt to buck you off the bike. Thankfully no crashes.

My ride wasn't fast. But that doesn't matter. I was riding. I was content. I was letting things go and actually focusing on riding. I was noticing more things about the trail that I have never really noticed. The woods are desolate at times. Meaing, just trees. No brush to speak of. But then it changes and there is more brush and only smaller trees. You can generally always see a long way thru the woods. You can see the trail snake down the sides of the valleys. This is a bi-directional trail. And it is way different each direction you ride it. 

As 5pm rolled past my phone got a text notification. Riding thoughts started to fade and life thoughts started to creep back in. I reached the parking lot to find it bustling with people gearing up for their rides. It was a good day....and I will take it. Mentally I was reset.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I don't know...

I don't know what it is....but I do know that I don't like it.

Maybe its depression...

...maybe its gluten...

....maybe its maybelline...



Whatever it is....I don't like how I have been feeling since Thursday. I have found myself sliding into the downward spiral since Thursday. This was the day I went to a visitation for the wife of my friend. She passed away last Monday at the young age of 41. One of the hardest visitations I have ever been to....simply because I started to imagine myself in this position. Either as the person who left this earth....or as the hollow shell of a man I saw standing there holding back tears as he greeted all of the people that were there.I don't want to be in either position. Unimaginable. I told my friend that I didn't know what to say because there are really no words when someone passes. It brought back memories of Tim. Memories of Chuck. Memories of all of these people that we loved so much that were taken too early.


But since that day I have been sliding. I rode Luton Park after the wake to clear my head. There were a lot of familiar faces sitting around chatting and I just put the suburban in reverse and slowly left the parking lot. This was the first sign I was sliding. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to go home.....give Michelle and the kids a hug and go to bed. Saturday I had an empty house. So I got up and sat on my ass watching the olympics instead of riding. "free time" isn't a major luxury for us when we have 4 kids. Generally there is something going on. I had time to go ride 50 miles but I chose to sit and eat. Ironically enough I was watching Road Cycling. Just didn't feel like riding and instead of talking myself into it....I talked myself out of it.

Sunday Michelle was taking pictures for a wedding and I went to assist. Feeling miserable I headed to bed earlier than normal. Monday was better, but worry about the future started to creep in. There is some major stress at work and a lot of things are up in the air. The downward spiral continues.


But.....I know I don't like this feeling. I don't want to feel miserable. I want to celebrate life and have fun. I will ride this dip like a skateboarder blasting across the bottom of an empty pool...and I will launch out the other side....stronger....more focused...happier.

I am planning on Glacial hills on the 21st. Less than 2 weeks and I head to another course that has "hill" in the title. But, I will go ride my race....have fun.....smile.....do what I can....and be content...because being miserable isn't good for anyone.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Big M XC


Brian and myself before the start
Things always start out with good intention. I was up on time to make the trek up to Big M in Manistee. 2.5 hours with a 12:30 start time. Not bad. I left the house just after 8am. 

When I arrived there was a DNR officer waiting with envelopes for the parking fee. I filled it out and chatted with Jimmy before heading to registration. Last time I was at Big M was last year. I was there for LJ100. A successful ride of 100 miles. Today, I was planning on about 18 miles and a fun day on the bike. I wandered to registration where I ran into Brian. We chatted for a few minutes and I headed back to the Suburban to get ready. 


Brian and I did a short warm up and headed to the start area. With temps in the low 70's it was a gorgeous day to ride. Little did I know what was coming.

Brian and his wave went....big group....16 people. Awesome to see more people racing. There was another class and then time for the Clydes. One thing I noticed was that there were 8 of us. Another thing I noticed was a guy that didn't appear to be anywhere near 200 pounds. Yet another is that I was by far the heaviest person in this class. Anyway.....8 people....not bad.

3, 2, 1 GO. Three people shot off the front. I dropped in behind 2 other guys in 6th. The pace wasn't bad and I was doing alright. Then the trail ticked upwards. Not a big hill. Just a little one. 7th and 8th passed me like I was sitting still and that newly formed group disappeared. My legs were like "ha ha...you're funny" when I tried to power up the hill. As I crested the hill  saw the group wasn't too far so I tried to close the gap. Never happened. Trail kicked upwards again on a super long, not steep, climb. Blown. My legs were blown up 2 miles into the race. I just didn't have anything. No power to put on the pedals. All the groups that started behind me were streaming past me like I had a flat tire. 

How would this be?
2 miles in...and I am done?

3 miles in and mentally I was already checked out. To say I went into survival mode is an understatement. A group of beginners caught me and I rode with them for a while. Then an awful crash. The guy at the front stalled and created a chain reaction behind him. #4 put a foot down....but there was nothing for his foot....as he stepped on the downhill side of the bike. He went down and took a woman down with him. Poor lady went tumbling down the hill like a sack of potatoes. I stopped and made sure they were okay, which they were, and then pressed on.

Before too long I was alone and struggling on even the tiny hills. Ugh....I could puke. Maybe I should. I wondered out loud if it would make me feel better. As the miles slowly rolled past I talked myself into being done. Cramps on the front line...ready to attack. Crazy headache. Stomach ready to erupt. I figured it was smarter to mail it in than it would be to continue and risk injury or some other illness.


I was reminded of Boyne a few years ago. I was miserable on my last lap when a guy caught me on a hill. He looked at me and said "sometimes you're the nail". It has stuck with me....and this ride reminded me that everyone can have a bad day on the bike. Setback? Not at all. Illness? Possibly. I was pretty miserable the rest of the night. I am feeling about 75% as I type this. During the race yesterday I was roughly a low 21%. 

So reality check. I am surely not a climber. I know this is not a secret. But I was hoping for a better result than a DNF at a trail where I had my biggest cycling success ( finishing LJ100). All I know for sure is that I will continue and hope for the best. The bad thing.....my next race has "hills" in the title. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

TK Lawless XC Recap

We were gone in Nashville for a week leading into this past weekend. I was scheduled to run a 5k down there, but I bailed. The main reasons were that I didn't want to get up at 5am to run...and it was crazy hot down there...even at 6am. Not sure what this has to do with anything......history I guess.

I was on the fence still about racing at TK on Sunday. I love the course. I was indecisive because it was raining Saturday. Heavy. And I told myself I wouldn't race if it was nasty. When I got up Sunday the rain had subsided and the forecast appeared to be clear of rain. I loaded up and headed down to Vandalia to test my luck.
Lucky #7....twice
 When I got to Lawless the lot was filling up. I saw a handful of team members and found a place to park. I wandered over to registration to get signed up. The parking lot was soft....mushy. I had the thought right then to just bail and not race. Then I thought to myself....you just drove down here....race. I asked about a Sport Clyde class to which I got the response that they just don't have that class in this series because nobody races in it. I was holding my money.....again wavering about my decision to race today...knowing that I would get waxed in the Sport 40-49 class where my speedy teammate Jay was already signed up. The people collecting the entries suggested that I give Sport Open a shot. "there are only 2 signed up, so your chances are better". Hmm.....almost afraid to ask I blurted out "what is sport open?". It is exactly what you would think it would be.....a class for Expert riders that are not fast enough to be Expert riders....but too fast to be considered Sport riders. 
Photo courtesy of Brandon Krutsch

With a smile I said "why not" and threw down the cash to join the Sport open category. Podium guaranteed. I lined up in the first wave of Sport...where I clearly didn't belong. I chatted with a guy and then it was time to go. 3, 2, 1..GO. One guy blasted off the front and I slid into second before hitting the first turn. I kept the leader in sight for a minute....watching as he blew a sharp corner before I was thru the corner too....straight into the woods. Whoops. We both got back onto the trail and he accelerated up a hill and I never saw him again. Making a right turn there was big mud pit. I blasted thru it and was hoping that the rest of the course wasn't going to be like this. This section wasn't part of the normal singletrack so I wasn't too concerned.....but I was also being realistic that it was going to be a slog thru the mud today. As I broke out into the picnic area my parents waved and yelled "good luck". It was good to see them while I was racing, even if just for a minute.

Dirty
I was pushing pretty hard knowing that I had one guy in my class behind me...but also knowing that the entire Sport race would be closing in on me before too long. I made it a few miles before riders started streaming past. I was maxed. The trail was fairly stable, but some of the corners were soft and slick. It was hard to judge them as some would be perfect while the bike would drift on others. Thankfully I stayed up right. After a barrage of people passing I was riding alone. Around mile 5 I started to settle into my pace. The first lap wasn't great, but I was still sitting in 2nd place. I crossed the finish line and stopped at the picnic area to swap bottles. Then back into the woods for lap 2. 

 I finally was feeling like I could ride faster. Conditions were drying out and I was settled into my comfort zone. I started to hear someone behind me with about 8 miles to go...so I pressed a bit. At Lawless it is hard to tell where people are in relation to where you are. The trail passes close to itself numerous times so you can pass someone that is close....or someone that is way behind.....or possibly way ahead. I kept catching glimpses of the guy behind me but I couldn't tell if he was closing. The miles ticked by and I got to the last 4 mile section...still holding him off. I saw that he wasn't in my class, but I still was pressing. He didn't catch me and I crossed the finish line confident I had taken 2nd place. When they called the podiums it was confirmed....2nd place! My highest Sport finish ever. Too bad this race doesn't count in the MMBA series.

Still, it was a fun day on the bike and I was happy that I actually beat someone this time. Next up is Big M on Sunday and at this moment there are only 3 in my class, but I know this will change. I will ride my race and see what happens. I will see if I can make it 3 podiums in a row.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

No point to deny it....

This week has been good. Not gonna lie. Here are some highlights

1. I have been eating less.
2. I ran 2 miles without stopping.
3. I am having a solid positive emotional week
4. I feel excited about training again

The first step to over-coming an addiction is to admit you have a problem. I do believe I have some type of food addiction. Laugh if you want, but the garbage that I tend to put into my body has an extremely adverse effect on my chemistry. ohhhh...he is gonna use science?!?! Yes, look at any nutrition plan and you will see the underlying effects for reasons people gain weight. Not the only reason, but a definitive example of how a McDonald's chicken nugget can tear up your system more than say.....a piece of lettuce. 

My point is this....I am finally willing to admit that I have problem with food. I could launch a barrage of excuses, but these excuses have landed me where I am now. Heavy. The actual number is not important. Just know, that for 3 months I put my body under more stress than I ever though imaginable....just with food. No exercise to speak of. The pounds were sticking to me like blacktop to the highway. Glued.

Mentally I was blown. I had numerous "what's the point" moments which I have thankfully surpassed. Don't get me wrong....mentally I am still touch and go.....I could very easily slide back into a deep depression and let the scale show me high numbers again. But right now....here...today...I am doing very good. I am not "on a diet" so to speak. I have just cut back what I am eating. Mentally making myself stop can be a difficult thing to do...especially because I love food so much. I will have setbacks....that is a normal occurrence. But I cannot let a setback completely derail the accomplishments. I have to accept the setback and put a stake in the ground...then continue.

I stepped on the scale at work last Friday. As of today I am down 6 pounds. Yes, it might seem like a lot in a week but I put over 20 pounds on in just a few months....so I will be able to drop a healthy 15 to 20 very quickly to get me back to where I was this winter. Today, I am 21 pounds heavier than when I did Lumberjack 100  in 2016. I was strong, albeit still heavy....even for a Clyde. But feeling better is going to be more important than a number on the scale. Yes, that number is important....but I am not going to be defined by it.

Maybe a different approach is what I have needed. Maybe hitting rock bottom is what I needed. Maybe I will go right back into my addictive habits....like so many addicts do. But maybe this time will be the time that I do it right...that I open up about things...that I am more honest....that I learn...that I succeed.

Crank Casey from the movie Robots had a good line "never try never fail". I have used that many times over the year. I believe Yoda had better wisdom with his "Do or do not....there is no try". I am here now.....doing. I need to continue to DO...and stop "trying". 

Success is earned...not given.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Treetops XC Recap

I was up and out of bed at 6:15 to head to Gaylord. Why so early? Well, it is a 3-1/2 drive from my town south of Grand Rapids all the way up to Gaylord. Why was I going? Well, as of Friday when registration closed...there were zero people signed up in my class. So why not? Originally a few teammates were planning on going but other responsibilities arose and I headed up solo.

That hill doesn't look "that bad"
The drive was fairly uneventful. The skies kept changing from a full blanket of clouds to a light blanket of clouds to some light rain. When I arrived the clouds opened and the temperature rose to the mid 70's. I waltzed to the registration table and signed up. At that time...I was the second person in my class. Off to a good start....all I have to do is finish for a 2nd place. Sweet. Worth the drive.

Watching the Experts and Elites I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into. When the fast guys are riding slower....that is never good for a rider like me. But....oh well....still have 2nd right?

Then it was time to line up. The Sport class was pretty thin. They were combining and riders were sliding by to the start line. When it was time to go there were three Sport Clydes on the line. Sweet. All I have to do is finish. 
Half way up the first climb
Ready. Set. GO!

Done. The first climb was awful. Best part....only 3 more times. I was around a small group of riders as I got to the top. I caught a guy from the class in front of me and never saw him again. The first climb just kept going and going. Then it kicked. I don't know if I could have ridden that hill last year when I was the strongest I have ever been. It was so steep. At the top you get a short bit of respite. A quick downhill to a small paved uphill. Then to the singletrack. The trail shoots off a cart path for the golf course and dives into the woods between the driving range and one of the tee boxes. The trail is rough. Barely ridden. Tight. Loose dirt. Tough.

I meander my way though the woods and shoot out onto the back side of the ski hill. Then the second nasty climb. It is short...but crazy steep. I have to walk. Doesn't matter. I push up the hill and cruise back down the front of the ski hill....actually crossing the uphill from the first climb. There are already people coming through on their second lap. I am crushed already. HA. I press on.

The next climb is ugly. Long. Steep. Never ending. Awful. I barely even put a dent into it before I have to walk again. Have I mentioned I am heavy...and a strict non-climber? Yeah...that is rearing it's ugly head at this point. After an eternity I reach the top. Grab a drink of water and dive into the next singletrack section. Decent little stretch then BOOM. Huge steep climb. Legs are already cooked. I walk. So what. I am here. Trying my best. Doing what I love. After some very dodgy and technical downhill switchbacks the trail gives way to the pavement and I bomb down to the start finish line. That was only 1 lap....ugh.

View back down the first climb

Second lap was worse. 8 minutes slower than the first. But I was in what little groove I had. This course is hard to find any rhythm on. Just when you do there is a nasty switchback or a kicker or just something else. Mentally I checked out on the first lap. I was just riding at this point....there was no "race" left in me. Just finish.

The trees finally give way again and I head down to the start finish area. Halfway done. Sweet. I swing to the right of the hill where I stashed my cooler and swapped bottles. Just as I get back on my bike I hear "keep pushing dude"....from the guy that is in 2nd place in my class. Lapped....half way through the race. But....I had 3rd locked up. So....again...whatever.

Another view from the top of the ski hill

Slowly I churned away. I was tired. I was still trying to ride what I could...which wasn't much. Still, the people I did see where offering encouragement. Keep going. Just keep those wheels rolling Sean. you got this.  Lap 3....finally finished. I crossed the line and I hear Ted R on the microphone. "Passing thru is Sean Evans! He is in 3rd place. Keep going buddy! Still a smile on his face". Yes, for some damn reason I was still smiling. Maybe I was still having fun as miserable as it was. No, I really was still having fun. Like it or not....I was in 3rd place rolling on the hardest course I have ever ridden. Ever. Worse than LJ100. Worse than Ore 2 Shore. Worse than anything. Brent said "this is the toughest course in Michigan".....I agree. 

Dirt tan

Last lap....walking. More walking. Then as I pass across the course on the front of the ski hill I hear Ted calling the awards. Ugh. I didn't even make it back for awards. lol. Oh well. Top of the last steep climb I grab a banana and fuel up. Then I hit the last singletrack. I get that excitement that I am almost done...but it left as soon as I hit the nasty climb in that section. I just smile and say "what the hell am I doing out here".....to which I remember "taking 3rd". So I trek down the switchbacks and the woods open up one last time to the pavement. I get a spark and bomb down the hill and crush the finish. Surely this was the fastest I had ridden all day. Hey, people are watching after all. 

Earned.

I get cleaned up and catch the last part of Beginner awards. Ted calls me up and I collect my plaque. Earned. The single hardest race I have ever done. So yes.....I was slow. Doesn't matter. I showed up...and I raced to my current level. Crushed? Sure, but that doesn't matter either. I took a chance that I would land a podium and I was successful. My second sport podium. 

Will I ever do this race again? Well, depends on how many people sign up.....






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Get the scale...


Not going to lie....I was frustrated when I witnessed the podium of Sport Clyde at Sweat Shaker last weekend. I know the guy that finished 3rd rolls right around 215 lbs. But when I see the guys that finish in 2nd and 1st....I get pissed. "those dudes need to get on a scale" I say out loud. Internally, I was even more frustrated.

My wager, these dudes were a legit 200+ pounds. But they don't look it. They are my height...maybe taller...and jacked. Meaning....they are not built like I am. They look like guys that are in shape while I look like a guy that isn't. So lets say they touch the scale at 210-220. That still puts me 40-50 pounds heavier than they are. Internally, I was more pissed off. I kept thinking to myself "dudes are sandbagging" and "no way are they 200 pounds, fuck this sucks". But as much as they crushed me....they would probably get crushed in age group...because some of those guys will have 30-50 pounds less than them. Touche'


So I started thinking a bit deeper after I got calmed down some. I mean, I did take 6th place afterall. I was pretty excited to place that high (whether it was DFL or not is another story ;)  ). My thoughts drifted to myself. I did ok at that race. I got killed. Why? The reason I was so far behind was simple...I am not fast enough. Why am I not fast enough? Well....that leads to some deeper reasons.

1. I didn't ride for 1.5 months

Literally. I was signed up for 4 races early this year and I skipped the first one because it rained the night before. Excuse. I then skipped other races because the felt like I had not trained enough to compete. That kind of thinking led me down the path of not riding. I allowed myself to sink to a level where I was thinking "what is the point" to even ride...let alone race. Life was coming at me from all angles and I allowed it to affect my riding.


2. I am heavy

Sure I have always been heavy, but I am really heavy right now. The heaviest I have ever been in fact. So for me to race at all...that is an achievement. Because of not riding and sliding into depression I was eating more and more.

3. Life continues to happen

And honestly, dealing with it wasn't easy. I can hide behind all kinds of excuses. But that doesn't get me anywhere...much like sitting on the couch. At least I am to the point where I can admit I have an issue. My issue....I love food. It would be easy to say that I am addicted to food.....and I can admit that. I know I have an issue....now I need to do something about it. Mainly, stop emotional eating. Learn now to put the food down. Learn to make a healthy choice.....carrots instead of a donut....tuna instead of a burger...ect. I can do it.....and getting back on the bike has me more conscience of the whole thing. Well, that and the fact that my clothes are all super tight.

In closing, I guess a person has to actually stop and look around to see how far they have actually fallen. After seeing a pic of myself in my new kit it hit home even more. My choices are to continue down this path....or to get to work. I plan to get to work...stay tuned.