Saturday, August 20, 2011


Today was a milestone that was 4 years in the making. Actually, it started back in 1996 when I first became interested in cycling. Several friends from church had started riding and encouraged me to join them. I struggled to keep up with them on my off brand mountain bike with a "fat-boy" seat. After a couple of brutal rides, I headed to the local bike shop and purchased a Schwinn hybrid.

Over the next four years, I continued to ride, logging 50 to 70 miles on most Saturdays, shorter distances during the week, and trading up to a Cannondale road bike along the way. During the same period, I rode Oklahoma Freewheel (week long ride from Texas to Kansas across the Oklahoma) twice, did the MS150 once and participated in a number of other organized rides in the area.

In 2000, my oldest son and I were training for Oklahoma Freewheel--would have been his first--when I "wrenched" my knee about half way through a 60 mile ride. The pain was horrible and worse yet, my bike riding days were over for that summer. We didn't do Freewheel, either. I hung up my bike, started physical therapy with the idea of getting back on the road as soon as possible.

Weeks turned into months and months into years and before I knew it, the bike had been hanging in the garage for a little over 10 years.

Backing up a bit to 2007, I decided I needed to get myself in shape. The bike was still in the garage, but I was in no shape to jump back on it, so I joined Owasso Fitness Zone, a local gym. I told Paul, the gym owner, "I want to get back on my bike." I changed my eating habits--a little--worked on building some much needed muscle...and I started riding the stationary bike.

This Spring, I took my bike down, took it to 360 Sports in Owasso for a tune up and I hit the road. At first, just a few miles at a time, then 10 miles, then 15 miles. It was was frustrating not being able to go the distance I once had, but I kept at it. I set a goal for myself: I wanted to ride 30 miles in less than three hours. Days and weeks passed and I noticed my time/pace was getting better and I was riding more miles. I also sold my old road bike and bought a new Cannondale CAAD 8 105. I have been averaging 12-14 MPH on most rides.

This morning, I decided was THE day. I checked the air in my tires, turned on the GPS and set out...and 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I had ridden 31.5 MILES!!! That's an average of approximately 14.0 MPH! Not a world record, but for a 53-year-old that hasn't ridden in 10 years, I thought that was pretty good. I've also lost a little over 10 pounds and I definitely feel much better. Next month, my youngest son and I are register for a 55-mile ride. I'm looking forward to it!

No comments: