Now, I’ve known for some time that I am not worthy of my bikes. I wasn’t worthy of the Yeti 575, or the Intense Spider 29er, or the Yeti SB-95. I’ve known that no matter how light and well-built the bike, the ride isn’t going to matter if the person mounting it is an overweight, underconditioned schlub. And I’m a schlub.
After my latest fit of spending - a Giant Defy road bike, I finally said “enough.” I grew tired of paying top dollar for bikes because I’m fortunate enough to be able to, only to not be in the best physical condition I can be to actually leverage the engineering behind the bike. So, I approached a friend for help. He also happens to be a USAC cycling coach, and has some idea of how to get fit, and he is willing to work with me. I guess I have a cycling coach now.
When it suits me, I’ll be providing an update on my progress, starting with this post. There have thus far been two areas of emphasis. The first has been on defining my goals. What do I want to accomplish, and when do I want to have it accomplished? First, I want to reduce my weight to the upper half of my “healthy” BMI; in this case that’s around 177. I am currently a svelte 231.4. Second, I want to increase my upper body strength in a way that benefits my mountain biking. Finally, I want to improve my bike handling skills such that I will be able to change my racing strategy, handle more technicals, and do so more efficiently. When? By the first race of next year.
The second area of emphasis has been, surprisingly, not on making me work out until I throw up. I’m sure that will come, of course, and I will embrace it. Instead the focus is on flexibility and stability geared specifically for cyclists. The reason for starting there according to my trainer is that it does no good to work out like mad only to injure yourself, and making myself more limber will help reduce that risk. We spent an hour on that this morning. My initial observation is that stretching can be every bit as painful as clipping a tree on the trail. But I get it, and I’m committed.
My trainer tells me that committing to the program is the hardest step, and that I’ve already taken it. He also tells me that the next steps will be shorter, and much more painful.