Five weeks ago I took on the personal challenge to bike 100 km in a single day. The reasons a fat guy in his mid-40’s would do such a thing can be found HERE and if you want to read about the training and preparation it took you can find it HERE.
SPOILER: I actually did it.
I could bore you about the details of the trip – but in the end, reading about a bike trip is an injustice to experiencing the quiet contemplation and spectacular scenery of a 6+ hour Niagara bike ride.
The short of it is we had some good weather and some bad weather and no matter how prepared you are 100 km is long way to pedal.
For me, at this point in my life, this trip was as much psychological as it was physical.
Over the past couple of decades, I have transformed from a reactionary person, to a planner, to an over-planner.
I have a tendency to make lots of long-term plans, followed by analysis, a bit more research, some fear-mongering and then some small deliberate actions and eventually I softly slide over the goal line kind of anti-climatically.
That approach has served me well in many things, but I have been spending more time planning for life than actually living it.
This was a concentrated effort to do something preposterously out of character.
I made a public commitment to do this for a good cause because this is the kind of person I want to become, even if it is not the person I am today. Crossing the finish line puts me 100 km closer to being the man I want to be.
So I did it. I completed the ride and it didn’t kill me. In fact, it really wasn’t that difficult.
It turned out that what I couldn’t conceive of doing 6 weeks earlier was not impossible at all but rather a fantastic and fun experience that provided an opportunity to meet great people and raise a few bucks for a good cause.
Now, the question that comes to mind is how many wonderful experiences am I missing out on because they seem foolhardy or inconvenient or even impossible?
JUST THE FACTS
The training paid off and I was able to do it with no lasting aches or pains (though I admit to still being a little bit saddle sore).
My training consisted of biking every 2-3 days and alternating resistance training and strategic days of rest throughout the 5 weeks. The result was that in a slightly more than a month:
- Lost nearly 10 pounds of fat
- Gained 2 pounds of lean muscle
- Lost more than 4 inches off my waist
- Biked 400 km before the big ride
The results were obvious to me throughout the 6.5 hours of riding:
- Averaged slightly better than 15 km/hour (about 3 km/hour less than my training, but my longest training ride was 50 km)
- No shortness of breath
- No feelings of fatigue until the 70 km mark and more severe in the last 20 km
- Only stopped for lunch (30 minutes) and 3 short bathroom breaks
It was a great day made better by the other 26 people who participated. Any sense of worry was alleviated by Rick and other members of the Mac’s Bikes team who supported us with enthusiasm, snacks, and spare inner tubes (5 such incidents occurred during the ride).
Even battling some rain didn’t detract from the spectacular views of the Niagara biking paths!
For more information on the event visit the official webpage on Mac’s Bikes website.