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Damned Ground Hogs Anyway… With Cycling Season Just Around the Corner, It’s Time to Lean Up

The temps are supposed to be creeping up. Spring is only a few days away after all. Well, technically spring is a month away but we should usually be able to get in an outdoor ride or ten in March. Unfortunately, normal temps are about double where they are currently so we’re pretty much stuck between a rock and an iceberg here in the northern U.S..  It sucks to be us but that doesn’t change the fact that sooner or later, it’s going to come time to ride and I had a choice to make about that:  Be lean, mean and ready…  Or be heavy, cranky and slow.

Unlike the last three winters I actually took some time off this year.  Only three weeks or so and I still managed to ride on the trainer two or three times a week.  Also unlike the last few years, after that short time off I decided to start throwing in an interval workout a couple of times a week.  I also had managed to put on a few pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas – not much, but I probably had a good ten pounds to work off before I can don the Lycra once again.

I started working on the weight about a week before I went on vacation to Florida.  I don’t have to go on restrictive diets anymore, I don’t really have anything left to give up that’s detrimental to my weight.  I don’t gain a whole lot over the winter and once summer rolls around I know I’ll be fighting to keep weight on.  Still, that doesn’t change the fact that if I go into the spring playing catch-up, the season just isn’t as fun.  One way or another, because of how I like to ride, I’m going to have to get up to speed.  I can either pay now or pay later, but I will pay.

My “diet”, if you can call it that, is simple:  On days where I can, I simply skip lunch.  I don’t go entirely without, I’ll have a granola bar or a banana, something small, to tide me over till dinner, but it’s as simple as that anymore.  In fact, I only ate lunch one time on vacation.  I’ve already peeled off some of the weight, my legs are toning up and what little gut I did have is starting to fade away.  By the time we can actually ride I should be good to go.

I’ll take a minute to examine the other way to do this because I know how this will turn out without even bothering to go through the motions.  Say I’m ten pounds over my ideal weight (that would put me between 175 and 180) and I decide to sit on my laurels and just deal with shaping up when Spring finally gets here.  With a few good weeks at 150 miles each I would have no problem dropping ten pounds if I simply stick to my normal winter diet – weight isn’t the problem at all…  Where I would get into trouble is with keeping up with the guys I ride with.  See, when Spring rolls around and outdoor riding commences again I get ready quick by doing intervals on every incline that I see on my normal routes.  If I’m working on dropping weight at that time, getting those intervals in really sucks so I end up backing off a bit after a week.  That’s where I get into trouble.  Once the weight is gone, then I have to get my speed back up to par so I can comfortably keep up.  At that point I’d have times where I started to question whether or not keeping up was really all that necessary.  I’d get to thinking, “Hey, maybe I should just concentrate on riding with Mrs. Bgddy this year and let the speed go.  From there, it’s a downward spiral and making excuses that I’m too old for that shit even though the guys I can’t keep up with are anywhere from five to fifteen years my senior.

No thanks, that’s not for me.  I’ll take the trainer and work now so that I can enjoy the season rather than wait and play catch-up (or worse) later.

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