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Catching Up

17 May

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Greetings fellow bike fiends!

It has been a while since I last posted, but I still ride and still love cycling – blogging evidently – not so much.

Since it has been a while, I thought an update might be in order.

2015 Goals ~ First off, as far as my previously posted cycling mileage goal for 2015, I exceeded it. In the past that used to happen frequently, but in the last few years I have typically missed the mark. My 2015 cycling goal was 3,000 miles, I finished the year with 3,187. Nothing grand for many cyclists, but for me it was an achievement I was proud of, mainly because of how I did it, which I’ll explain in a bit.

As you might recall from my posts last year, I decided to continue April’s #30daysofbiking through the rest of 2015 with a #RideEveryDay goal. To that end, except for 12 days, I managed to ride every day from April 1 – December 31, 2015.

Going in I knew I likely wouldn’t be able to ride every single day – sometimes it just isn’t possible. There were days while traveling when I didn’t have one of my bikes so I had to get creative with how I could get my hands on one to keep the streak intact – anything short of stealing. So I utilized bike share, test rides and borrowed a bike from someone while traveling once for a quick ride.

Most importantly for me, riding every day changed the way I ride. I used bikes much more for transportation than I ever had previously – a big win. I also took shorter, slower rides which I found renewed my enthusiasm and love for cycling. No gadgets, no lycra on some rides – just me pedaling for the joy – and the goal of riding every day. Cycling had become too much about the miles, average speed and the like. Working a bike ride into my daily activity made me shift my focus from doing training rides to using cycling to get places, for recreation or stress relief or just to enjoy a beautiful day.

2016 Goals ~ When 2016 rolled around I wasn’t sure if I would set another goal to ride every day or wait until April’s #30daysofbiking and try to ride daily the remainder of the year – or neither.

As it turned out several illnesses over the winter made my decision for me.

Although I did bike some in January, February and March, more days than not I didn’t. I managed to ride every day in April, and the first part of May but then I missed a day, than another and so decided 2016 would be different with a change of focus.

With no daily goal of riding I have found more time for long walks, a few over 10 miles, the longest has been just over 15. I’ve also implemented daily weight training and yoga/stretching. Mixing it up basically and cycling is just a part of the mix.

Intermittent Fasting ~ Another part of the mix has been to implement Intermittent Fasting (IF). I utilize the 16/8 IF schedule 7 days a week. Basically I skip breakfast – black coffee only – and eat my first meal around noon or so. Dinner is around 7pm than nothing after 8pm until at least noon the next day – 16 hours of fasting.

Google Intermittent Fasting if you’re interested, there are some great resources on the web, one of which you can find here.

I love it. It’s easy, you don’t get hungry and if you want to turn into a fat-burning-beast, exercising during that fasting window is the way to do it. I’ve lost weight, but more than that I’m gaining muscle, getting leaner, from burning fat – win/win. Intermittent Fasting has become popular in the last few years and there are a number of ways to approach it, you likely can find something that will work for your lifestyle.

Primal Blueprint ~ Another change I’ve made is to follow the Primal Blueprint approach to food and exercise. You may not have heard of Mark Sisson but he’s a goldmine of nutrition and fitness information. You can find him and his Primal Blueprint at Mark’s Daily Apple website.

If you are familiar with Paleo diet, Primal is basically Paleo with a heart. The basic rule is you eat real food, not processed food – like meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables and some dairy. Unfortunately for a sweet lover like myself, chocolate cake doesn’t fall in the realm of “real food” but you can still enjoy wine, dark chocolate and the occasional indulgence – including chocolate cake.

The Primal method allows for an 80/20 adherence, mine is more like 90/10 or 95/5. I was very strict the first 6 weeks or so. For the most part I eat what I want, and certainly eat enough where I am satisfied. If it didn’t work well for me I wouldn’t do it. It doesn’t feel like a “diet”, you don’t go hungry and you eat good food. You do cook more and eating out requires a little thought and planning, but there are huge payoffs.

The surprising thing too has been 1) how easy it is to do, 2) how easy (fast) it is to lose weight, 3) how much more energy and focus I have.

Normally I don’t push or write about my lifestyle choices – sans cycling obviously – but I’m making an exception for Primal and IF because it works so well and is so simple. It seems like one of those things that’s too good to be true, and too good not to share.

If you are interested, check out the links above and like with everything else, google. Does anyone practice Intermittent Fasting or the Primal/Paleo way of eating? Feel free to comment below, I’d like to know your thoughts/experiences.

 

Spring Rides

2 May

IMG_20140216_142926077Typically I’m more a fan of autumn bike rides than spring due to the strong winds that accompany the warm temperatures of spring. Especially here in tornado alley. Today was as pretty a spring day as I can imagine having and without the strong wind. Add to that an unusually clear blue sky and it was a day to rival the best of days in October.

We did our usual fast and flat ride, except for the fast part. We rode to Jones and back, plus the sod farm loop, for 32 easy miles. Locals know exactly where I mean, and the rest of you don’t care so no need for further details. 🙂

Anyway, if it wasn’t for my neck being such a pain it would have been perfect. As it was my painful neck and shoulders didn’t ruin the enjoyment of the ride. I’d give it a solid 7 of 10 on the fun scale.

Energy wise I felt strong. Due to all my health issues I really haven’t ridden much, but I feel surprisingly strong for the number of miles I’ve put in so far this year.

Since I’m not allowed any sugar or carbohydrates (other than from vegetables and limited fruits), I’m also not ingesting any gels or Heed before, during or after a ride. I’m using the fat burning method to supply my energy. When you use sugar to fuel your efforts you have to continue to replenish or you bonk. The more sugar/carbs you ingest the more your body burns and the more you have to take in. On the other hand, there is a fuel source you most likely have plenty of: Fat.  Fat supplies you with an endless source of fuel – at least for most of us.

Don’t take my word for it, if you’re interested just Google something like, “burning fat instead of carbohydrates” and you’ll find tons of information. I mentioned Mark Sisson in an earlier post, he’s certainly written about fat being the fuel of choice. You have to adjust your body to relying and utilizing fat stores rather than carbs/sugar so it’s important to do it the right way. I continue to take gels with me just in case, but so far I haven’t needed them.

 

Fuel

24 Apr

I’m going to take a detour from cycling this morning, just think of it as a little excursion on a back road, not sure where it leads, but it might be interesting…

 

One thing I’ve found while on my search to improve my gut health, is many of the people who are now at the forefront of digestive health got into it because like me they had a bout of food poisoning. Not your everyday food poisoning – if there even is such a thing – but the kind of infection that doesn’t go away on its own, and even when it finally does, the bad bugs have made a wreck of your insides and overall health.

The one year “anniversary” of my bout with food poisoning was yesterday. For most of the year I’ve struggled to leave it behind and to get back to normal. More progress has been made on that front in the last two months than most of the other months combined and I’m very grateful for that.

Without the help of several books and blogs I wouldn’t be on the mend. For anyone else struggling with digestive issues I recommend the following:

Digestive Health with REAL Food by Aglaee Jacob – a thorough and informative, yet easy to read manual of all things related to digestion. This booked really helped me to understand the how and why I was sick and how to eat my way back to health.

Fast Track Digestion by Norman Robillard – Robillard is a microbiologist and this book focuses on the science of digestion and how to figure out what food to eat that you can tolerate and what foods are likely to promotes symptoms. He also includes tables of foods by category to make it fairly easy to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat. Many people have had great success with this diet.

Mark’s Daily Apple website and books by Mark Sisson. Sisson is the guy behind the Primal diet. Think of Primal as a first cousin to Paleo, but more tolerant and forgiving. I really like Sisson’s approach, plus he seems very knowledgeable and writes well. I’ve used his book (The Primal Blueprint) to expand my knowledge base about the diet part of this new way of living.

I would add “this way of eating and living” isn’t just for people who are sick or recovering, but for anyone who is not functioning as optimally as they would like – especially the Mark’s Daily Apple website (and other’s he references).

And since it almost always comes down to the bike, I would tell you this “way of living and eating” provides better fuel for your pedal turning engine. I’m experiencing that every time I ride.

Keep on pedaling.

 

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.loveofbikes.com.