Early in 2015 with my weight approaching 250 pounds, my body fat percentage just shy of 40% and my resting heart rate just over 100 beats per minute I decided that I had to make some changes. I had come to this through decades of sitting at a keyboard all day long with negligible exercise and careless eating habits. The thing that scared me the most was the very high resting heart rate due to a fair history of heart disease in my family.
In late 2014, my boss started an exercise program that included many things with cycling as a component. He quickly outgrew the amazon.com bicycle he started with leaving it at the office where most of his rides would originate and finish. I looked at the bike for some time before asking him if I could use it to go with him on a few rides…
In May of 2015, I brought in some athletic shoes, shorts and a t-shirt, changed at lunch and went on my first ride with him since I was a kid. I managed to struggle through just over 5 miles with every slight incline an enemy and every tiny decent a blessed reprieve.
I went out three times the next week with two rides of 13 miles and a ride of 21 miles just to see if I could. At the end of the second week, I set a goal to ride the distance of Dallas, Texas to Key West, Florida before the end of the year. I made this goal only having ridden a total of 50 miles or so when 1,466 miles seemed like the other side of the moon. I started tracking my distance on a map with a route and a tiny cyclist icon marking my progress. On December 31, 2015, I rode 18 miles in near freezing temperatures to complete the 2015 goal.
A few weeks later, I started looking for a club to ride with and found the Plano Bicycle Association. The main attraction for me was the routes went near my house and if I was in over my head I could bail out on the ride and have Jane drive me back to get the car. Fortunately, this didn’t happen. I continued to ride with the club, first as a guest, then a member, then taking the bike skills and ride leader courses to start leading rides.
One thing I have found fairly universal about cyclists as that they love to give back. Almost every rally is organized for the direct benefit of a charity and I love that I can push myself to accomplish more while helping some amazing causes do a little more of the amazing work they do.
My first rally was the Lancaster Country Ride in early April 2016. The longest I had ever ridden prior to that rally was 41 miles and I wanted to ride the 100K (62 miles). It took almost 5 hours riding time, but I finished. After another 100K ride at the Collin Classic in June, I started outlining a series of goals for 2017 through early 2018.
I wanted to ride the 100K at Lancaster again in early 2017, followed by the MS150 two-day ride that goes 150 miles over 2 days. In August, I completed my first century (100 Mile) ride at Hotter ‘N Hell in Wichita Falls. The last item on that list and the only one not completed to date, was the Tour de Rouge in 2018. Riding 535 miles over 6 days from Houston, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana.