Cycling is not a sport for skinny men. Cycling is a sport that makes men skinny.
Also, and often in opposition to common thinking, it works just as well for women.
Some other popular misconceptions about cycling:
1. 98% of other cyclists don’t care what you look like in cycling shorts. Better than half of them looked rough in them when they started cycling too.
2. The 2% who do care that you’re a little thick in your shorts are jerks. Why would you live your life according to what a jerk thinks of you?
3. The reality is that if you feel self-conscious in cycling apparel the problem lies within you – those jerks are confirming what you believe about yourself and that’s why it hurts. If you change that tape you allow to play in your head to something just a little more constructive (say something along the lines of “I feel bad in these shorts but I am doing what it takes to change that. I will win, I will persevere”…) your chances of getting to a place where you do feel good in those cycling shorts increase exponentially. I’m not asking you to deny your feelings, I’m asking you to realize that those feelings will be temporary if you put in the work.
4. The vast majority of us “real” cyclists (and runners) are very proud of those who can beat those internal feelings – many of us know exactly how hard it is.
5. Don’t confuse a “real” cyclist’s lack of “excuse acceptance” with a lack of “personal acceptance”. We know you can ride faster and/or farther because we were right where you are at some point (I guarantee you I was – just this spring as a matter of fact)… We had to bust through that same mental block to get to where we’re at. What this means, specifically, is that when you say that you “can’t” go any faster, we will disagree and maybe even offer to explain exactly how you can. This does not mean we don’t care. If we didn’t care we would have agreed with you.
6. Those who make it, who embrace the fitness lifestyle and transform their bodies, do one of two things when it comes to number 3: We either embrace those feelings of inadequacy or we bury them. Somewhere between right now and when the transformation is complete (or close enough to it) if you’ve dealt with the feelings you will be reborn. If you chose to stuff them, they will take a different shape and still haunt you.
You can be happy, you can do it, you can be thin and sporty… You only have to beat yourself to do it, and therein lies the rub.
I went out for a fantastic ride Wednesday evening. It was an exceptionally good time and the weather was fantastic for the end of October. Sunny, low 60’s and a nice little breeze out of the south. This meant the ride out was nice and easy – spinning at 24 mph. The ride back? Yeah, not so much… 17-18 mph was pushing just a little bit harder than I’d wanted to the day after the Tuesday night ride. Sadly, that was the cap to my November as we had a rain all day yesterday. Now, I could have taken the Trek out just to get a few more miles in but, nah. With only 47 miles remaining to hit my yearly goal, I called it a rain day.
While I may very well be a glutton for punishment there is a line, and 80-100% chances of showers is crossing it. In fact, I’ll got enough of the rain when I took the kids out trick-or-treating (darn right I sucked it up and took the kids trick-or-treating! Fortunately the rain slowed considerably for the couple of hours we were out).
With that out of the way, even though I had to battle through dead legs for a couple of weeks, I still took 2nd place in Michigan for the month in the National Bike Challenge. I would have liked to have kept first, but I’d be in bad shape, two weeks later, and probably trying to heal an overuse injury (I really was that bad off).
Some other Endo challenges ended as well… Here’s most of what I participated in (I’ve loved using the challenges for motivation in the past):
National Bike Challenge: Nationwide (USA): 162 of 34,627 Statewide (Michigan): 2 of 515
Distance in One Hour: 22 miles 16th of 300*
Mobilize your life: 566 of 136,447
All Wheels: 446 of 147,553
Just Pedal and Win: (Most Miles July 1-Sept 30): 549 of 370,798
*Technically I was 15th of 300 – the “winner” used a spinning workout, clocking more than 34 miles in one hour. She “won” by ten mph.