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Fit Recovery on Effort: What I Mean by “I Ride Till I Puke”…


January 2015

Yesterday I wrote that the key to my weight loss, my wonderfully quick, easy weight loss, was effort – lots of good old-fashioned, ugly, sweat-drenched effort.

Two things: It was quick, once I figured out what I was doing and how I wanted to get there but it took me something like a decade to get the combination right. Second, yeah it wasn’t all that easy either.  Easy is a figure of speech pertaining to its simplicity – I literally had to work my ass off (and I’m using the word “literally” correctly).

Now, often a mental “defense” switch is flipped in certain people when we start talking about effort. People circle their mental wagons, get upset and vociferously defend whatever it is they do (or someone else does) as “good enough”.  This is not without its irony.

Some people use races for motivation, others use weight goals, there are all forms of carrots and sticks to be used as incentives to maintain the course that leads to a happy, fit person.  I’ve done everything I want to do in cycling already.  I can ride pretty fast, I can cover long distances, I’m in fantastic shape, I’m happy with my weight, I have several bikes that I enjoy immensely…  You get the idea.  I’m pretty much out of “stuff” to use as motivation, with the rare exception that I have a ride to get ready for (this year’s Horsey Hundred in Kentucky for example, 100 and 77 mile rides, consecutively over Memorial Day weekend), with one exception:  I use my weakness and desire to take it easy as motivation to push harder.

What this means, specifically, is that when I’m on training rides and I hit those rare instances where I want to slow down and ride easy, I remind myself that I’m being weak, that my fat ass and gut hates me working that hard and that I’ll be better for the effort, and so forth.  In reality, I use much harsher language on myself, I cleaned it up considerably for the blog.

Please don’t read into my describing this as a shot against anyone else, it’s not intended that way.  It’s simply the only way I know to keep from settling for second-best.  This is also a good point to explain that this effort that I’m talking about is not all-out, all of the time.  I mix in easier rides as well, just like “they” say we should and I could put more effort into cycling.  With the proper training plans, workout regimen a little strength training and most importantly time, I could be racing-fast.  This doesn’t fit what I want out of cycling.  I’ve got three jobs already (run two companies and being a husband/dad), I don’t need a fourth.  My balance is keeping it fun and fast while keeping me lean and mean.  Keeping my balance doesn’t require a lot of time during the week – only 45 minutes a day with the exception being Tuesday night where it’s just over and hour and a quarter to cover almost 30 miles (1:18 to 1:25 depending on the group we’ve got), though it does get a little long on Saturday and/or Sunday with anywhere from two to four hours a day in the saddle, I try to keep it manageable.

The point is, if there must be a point, I have to make sure my effort is in line with my desires.  If I don’t mind being overweight or obese (and I do mind, considerably), then I can be happy with loafing about the house.  If I don’t mind being a little chubby, then cruising around at 15 mph to simply enjoy an hour or two on the bike, there are plenty of local groups I could ride with…  Or I could do that and radically modify my diet so my calorie intake drops but I don’t want that either.  On the other hand, if I want to be a lean and mean cycling machine (and I most certainly do), then I have to put enough effort into it to be that guy.  Unfortunately that means pushing hard enough that I puke every now and again.

The only time this becomes a problem for someone else is when you want to keep up, so please, take what I write with a grain of salt (or two).


  1. So the first few years I rode I used a balance of longer slower rides and some really hard training. That balance is sort of like a spectrum. It sounds like you ride pretty hard ALL the time?

  2. EpicGran says:

    I like what you say about not wanting a 4th job… after completing arguably one of the toughest MTB stage races around last year… I had gotten to a stage where the training was like a job I had to get up and go to each morning. There was zero enjoyment… so I took a good many months off and am slowly finding the enthusiasm again. Got my sights set on another big stage race at year end to keep me hungry. As you say keeping it fun and fast… sometimes people are all about the fast and end up hating every minute! Good post!

  3. biking2work says:

    Agree that keeping it fun and fast is the key to enjoying the ride. I’m escaping the Northern Hemisphere for a while after tonights ride home and going to NZ for a holiday next week. Really looking forward to riding in the warm daylight for a change away from my usual cold dark routes – in only ONE layer! Now THAT will be FUN…

  4. bribikes says:

    I found this post and yesterday’s to be very thought provoking.

    So far I have lost weight without trying, just living an active lifestyle has been enough to cause the pounds to flee. However, I think I am reaching a point where my weight will just stabilize.

    I am at a crossroad, do I just accept this as my weight or do I actually start “trying” to lose weight.

    It is a scary crossroad for me, the world of diets and scales sucked the life out of me for so long and I refuse to return to that. But on the other hand, if I use common sense and remember that my value comes not from my weight but from my position as God’s child, I know I can stop myself from crossing that line of obsession.

    I have lived my life passively for a long time, but in 2014 I discovered God’s love for me and my true value and I began to tentatively step out and explore life’s possibilities. Then with this whole winter biking thing, I feel like I am on some kind of confidence/character-building steroids.

    I want to live life to the fullest.
    I want to challenge myself.
    I want to go all out.
    I want to be the best I can be.
    I want to follow God with my whole heart and not hold back.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Ah yes, but we must respect the engine. So sayeth the Lord. If I eat like there’s no tomorrow and treat my body like it’s a garbage dump rather than a temple, this is an affront to God’s gift of life.

      I feel good when I work my body well. I feel like I’ve shown appreciation for the gift that is me.

      And I don’t have to worry about pancakes now and again.

      Just a thought. Be happy and be you! Do what makes you feel good and thank God for the opportunity.

      And thank you for the kind words and excellent comment. I appreciate it.

  5. I ride ’til I fart. Sometimes it’s a short ride.

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