February Cycling Challenge Results


February Cycling Challenge Results

Fitness challenges serve an important purpose.  First they help the athlete focus on a specific part of their training.  Second, they provide a measurable milestone which provide feedback.  Third, if the athlete has taken the challenge seriously, it will result in improvements, regardless of whether the ultimate challenge was met.

The Challenge

A month ago I created a personal cycling challenge to help get myself moving more consistently and lose a bit of weight.  The challenge was to cycle every other day, increasing mileage as I went and cover 230 miles by March 1st, culminating with a 20 mile ride. This seemed challenging, but I knew if I could stick to it and put in the mileage, I could get close.

Reality Sets In

The first three rides were fairly easy, but aggressive.  I didn’t stick to the planned mileage, riding a mile or more than planned for the first two rides.  The third ride was a bit of a stretch and fell just short of the planned goal.  Then I started missing rides.  Two days passed before I rode again. The body was realizing and feeling how aggressive it was to go from riding 8 miles to 11+ miles in no time flat.

This was the start of riding whenever I could while not pushing my body too far. It was also difficult to get rides in during the week of the 18th when an important client was in town for a project.  While catching up to the plan was nearly impossible, I kept riding, trying to get a decent amount of miles in.  It is more important to listen to your body and skip a ride for recovery than to push too hard and injure myself.

The Results

I completed the challenge with 144.4 miles compared with the 230 planned challenge miles.  While this is only 63% of the distance, I still feel great about the challenge.  Yes, I missed the ultimate goal, but my average ride went from 8 miles to 12 miles.  I feel great and am quite happy to be spending more time on the saddle.  Time in the saddle is a spiritual place where I spend the miles brainstorming and solving problems.  The challenge was a success.

Cycling Challenge Actual vs Plan
blue bars represent actual rides with green being planned. Actual falls a bit short

Did I lose weight?  No.  Starting weight was 229.8 with the final weight at 230.6.  The change is statistically insignificant was the deviation across the month was 2+ pounds.  After all of those miles sure would have been nice to be slipping into a smaller sized short.  But at the end of the day, body weight ins’t necessarily an indicator of fitness.  I feel and look more muscular than when I started the challenge.  As an athlete works out, they build muscle, which is heavier than fat. So, a change in weight can be delayed as the body burns more fat than the muscle in builds.  A better measure would be waist and wrist size.

The Next Challenge

With March 1st nearly here, I am thinking about my next challenge.  I like the idea of doing another cycling challenge, but would also like to incorporate a dietary challenge.  Cutting flour and sugar from my diet completely worked extremely well in 2008 and 2009 during my racing best. So stay tuned…  a new challenge is coming.

A February Cycling Challenge


I’ve been so far away from a regular exercise routine, I see death coming for me and he’s across the street. It’s time to get back into a routine and put a little more distance between myself and death. Just the fact that he is so close and I let him get so close is just shameful, but that is a topic of another post. This post is about the new beginning and a new personal challenge.

A Proud Triathlete

In 2009, I was a proud sprint triathlete who worked his way up from finishing at the back of the age group to the middle. I could run a mile and not even get tired. I could cycle 30 miles and call it satisfying, 40 miles would be a workout. I also almost lived at the gym. I had an awesome trainer, participated in the local triathlon club, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Until the day in early 2010 it all came crashing down. I was insanely sick with a nasty cold for 2 plus weeks and lost my fire. I just couldn’t live at the gym anymore. It seemed life had gotten the best of me. And so, I started a slow, long digression back to a state somewhere between office potato and triathlete. I wasn’t exactly not exercising and I wasn’t exactly eating healthy, but I wasn’t “training” either.

Getting Started Again

So today, as the scales push 230 pounds and I feel the fat accumulating on my skeletal frame, I am making “training” a priority. Training means I have a goal in mind, milestones to measure against and I will eat the best food I can. I already have an awesome food log setup in Excel using the TMX Yum Score. I even have an awesome training log setup in Excel thanks to TrainingMetrix (disclaimer, it is my company). I am lacking a trainer, but in the beginning that is fine. I have also decided to focus on hiking and cycling until I lose a few pounds.

What is the challenge? The challenge is to drop at least 10 pounds and cycle 230 miles by March 1st. Yep, riding every other day, starting at 8.5 miles, I will cover 230 miles and an average of 7.4 miles per day. Along the way, I will shed at least 10 pounds. If I can do this, I will not only be ready to start running, but also be able to squeeze into my tri shorts without looking like a muffin top in the pool. hehehe

The First Challenge Ride

I got started early with a ride yesterday covering 9.3 miles. The ride was along Mountain Drive in Santa Barbara and the weather was nearly perfect. The rolling hills and meandering canyon road was certainly challenging with acceleration, braking, and dodging cars on blind curves.  Certainly a bit sore this morning, but it is great to get a solid start. Many more exciting miles to go.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/685701361

Check back for the next update.  A 9.5 mile ride has been scheduled for 1/31!