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Tuesday

Losing the last 10-12 lbs is hard!!



In the world of cycling, the more weight you carry, the less successful results you will have. So dieting and weight loss have been crucial to my cycling comeback. I find losing weight the most difficult task so far. As a bare minimum, 6 hours riding per week with proper dieting alone, is hard enough. I often asked why is it taking months to reduce my size ? Simple, my age (40 years old) , my schedule, and a slowing metabolism.

I am now down to losing another 10-12lbs and I'm really finding it difficult. I am shocked at how slow my metabolism has gotten at my age of 40 ? Its actually quite demoralizing at times. One or two bad meals in a week/weekend and I feel the gain and it does set me back. I can't believe how strict I have to be?? Last week's weigh in just killed me as I gained 1.0lbs instead of losing. It was due to poor eating weekends, of which now I have officially stopped. I was tremendously demoralized and still am to a certain degree.

I have made it quite far thanks to the help of my wife. I have made considerable strides in my diet and with training. I can say that I am in the best ENDURANCE shape I've been in, in the last 10 years. But to reach my goal, these last 10-12lbs is really an uphill battle. I have cut out a lot of sugary juices and fatty foods. I now only eat rice pasta, and more rice based foods along with a lot more rice. I am constantly reading about professional cyclists diets and try to adapt them into my own life. Again, NOT EASY !!! I have adopted the "bland and boring" world of foods! Thanks Dr. Allen Lim! I'm trying to get my body to adjust to less calories and its extremely difficult. Its this phase of learning to live with less calories that extremely difficult. Its what most people trying to lose weight cannot do.

I wish I could find something to suppress my hunger or curb my appetite. After lunch I'm hungry ??? After dinner I'm still hungry??? I go to bed hungry???? Do you have any idea how awful it is going to bed with a grumbling stomach???? But learning to live with less calories is what its going to take.

But this is what it takes folks! DO NOT KID YOURSELF !! I yearn for my system to adjust, but its just taking soooo long to get results. I've never had done anything so difficult in my sporting life before. I am aware once I get down to the size I want, it will be slightly easier and less regimented to maintain, but its the current process of reducing, to get there, that is so tough. So like the rest of the cyclists out there going to bed hungry with grumbling tummies, I know how you feel.

“Learning to live with less ,” Hmmm ? Sounds like a metaphor for life no ?

Onto next month's weigh in..

some veins ?

The Mighty Grimselpass in Switzerland


If there is one piece of road in Europe that has grabbed my attention hugely, its this one. I can now add Switzerland to my list of places to ride one of these years.
This photo of the Grimselpass just blew me away. Its from the 2011 Tour de Suisse.
I so want to do this climb one of these years. Its one beautiful road.

Monday

First Club Ride after 15 years

After 8 months of getting back into cycling from a 15 year break, getting a new bike, new position, new everything basically, I finally experienced my first club ride. My long time friend, Marshall, was finally able to accompany me on a ride. We had been discussing it for months over the winter and we finally made it reality. Marshall showed up and I was awestruck at his form. He shrunk down to pure climber’s body. His BMI was similar to that of Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador. On a abnormally chilly Sunday morning we headed north. As I followed him in his slipstream, his grace and power to the pedals, resembled Contador ‘s even moreso. I was in amazement as I desperately tried to stay on his wheel. As I began to get warmed up, my mind kept racing from all the Carmichael DVD’s I had taken in, to the days of my old coaches telling me how to ride, to all the books I’ve read. Could it be true ? Am I actually here riding with a Senior 1 at a comfortable pace, that’s not holding him back too much ? To my astonishment I was ? I can still hear the voices of Jim Lehman, Chris Carmichael echoing in my ear to stay focused. I finally calmed down and fell into my groove. I settled into what I think was my old form and tried to maintain a smooth and calm pace. As we continued north the cold head winds continued to batter us, but we literally flew by another cyclist like he was standing still. My confidence growing with every pedal stroke I was proud of myself for reaching this level.

But then, Marshall delivered the news I did not want to hear. He said he’d like us to catch the “Scarborough Club’s slow “ group as they made their way back home. Now I became nervous !!! I thought to myself, do I still have what it takes to ride in a group going 40-45kmh ? Did I have the endurance to keep up and not embarrass myself and get dropped ? We proceeded to ride in the Aurora area and weaved in and out of routes in attempt to catch “the Scarborough Club” on their way back. Then at the top of Leslie in Aurora, he spotted them. We changed our course and would let them catch us. On a lonely strip of Leslie southbound in Aurora, I looked back and saw a pack of riders approaching us like terminators in the distance. My heart racing , my nervousness heightened, we sped up and within a blink of an eye they were upon us. I quickly jumped out of my saddle, changed gears and flew to catch up to the back of the pack. I had no interest in taking a pull at the front, in fear of embarrassment, so I just sat at the back in amazement. I was hanging on quite comfortably as we were moving at about 40-45kmh. At times we were surging at 50kmh! and the group split but we caught up again. After a few minutes dealing with my fears, everything just fell into place ??? I was able to hang onto this pack, I even began to drop guys on the short hills ??? What ? Could CTS and all those months of talking about “climbing with power, and surging in a group” actually have helped ???? Yes indeed !!! It certainly helped as I was flying !!! I actually dropped 2 guys on hills !! They soon caught up to me, as I waited to pull them back to the main group. But then I noticed another gap forming , and I “surged” again to catch the group. I thought about what the CTS DVD’s told me, the hours of interval training, and began to believe all that indoor training is coming into use! I jumped a gear, got out of the saddle and closed the gap with one guy on my wheel. The other guy unfortunately could not hang on. As I looked up from the back of the pack, I couldn’t believe that Marshall was comfortable taking pulls up front. Again, his 137 lbs frame pulling this train like it was nothing ???? I was once again amazed. As we made it back into the city, the one guy who I dropped on the hills, blew a red light to catch up and I stayed back. At this point the ride was over due to too many cars and stop lights. Marshall came back and we reconvened the two of us down the road. Wow, it felt like the good old days, except we were three back then. The only thing missing was our dear friend Dennis. Yes if you are reading this, we miss you man. Marshall did it purposely to test me, to see where I was , to see how far my comeback was. I think I managed to surprise him. So after 15 years, I felt and rode like I never missed a beat. It felt good drafting, jumping and riding at high speeds in a pack of riders. Now I know where I am , and what I have to do to improve my conditioning, and make my way to the front again.

I love Cycling, I love Europe


Back in 1985 I was in grade 9 and by chance I joined a local cycling club. It was a very small group of us, who joined this rare “cycling” club. It was a time when most ventured in the typical high school sports, hockey, basketball, swimming, baseball etc. But it took one brave teacher Mr. McIntyre who was into cycling, and he taught us about the sport. During this time, it was my grade 9 homeroom neighbor Domenic who would change my life forever. It was his drawings of funny frame TT bikes, it was daily conversations about his “Winning” Magazines, which led me to my path. I was more and more drawn to cycling and I have my grade 9 classmate, to thank for that. When everyone around me thought hockey, and baseball and North American sports, my dreams and thoughts were of LeMond and Hinault doing battle throughout France and Italy. A significant amount of years did pass, where I did not make time for cycling. I live with that regret every day while I try to make up for lost time.

France is my Mecca, my Golden Temple. To me, its cycling’s holiest ground and cycling is my religion. To me, the most holiest of holy worlds is the Arenberg Forest in Northern France. Thousands pay homage to this place for its history. Arenberg to me is like an Indian bathing in Ganges or stepping foot into the Golden Temple. To me, France holds cycling’s holy grail. Enshrined in history, there are Arenberg-Roubaix, Ventoux, Tourmalet, and L’Alpe D’Huez. Just the mention of those names will have any enthusiast of the sport, peeked with interest.

As a cyclist, you cannot help but be drawn to Europe, as the heart of Cycling lives there. For over two decades I've watched my heroes ride through roads of Belgium, France and Italy. Its the passion I have for this sport which creates the passion I naturally have for Europe. That skinny Indian kid from Toronto, Canada still dreams of Europe every day. Even though I am separated by the Atlantic, as a cyclist, I now have the internet to bridge the distance. In years past, it was simply the television footage which painted my picture of Europe for me. However, in today’s world of internet blogs, and online maps, and other online technology, the Internet has helped bridge the gap and has created even more desire to visit and hopefully one day reside in Europe.

Europe will be more than a trip for myself. I see it as a religious pilgrimage. It’s a land where my ashes will one day lay. So many people can’t understand why a Canadian boy is so in love with that continent ? Simple, its all about cycling.

And yes, that skinny Indian kid is coming back…