I recently wrote about my quest to knock off a few pounds while improving my cardio fitness. Well, I am happy to report that although I have already reached my target weight and have exceeded all of my riding goals, I have not resorted back to my previous ways.
In fact, I embarked upon this challenge with an understanding that to prove successful, I must view my efforts not as a diet and workout program, but a long-term change of lifestyle.
I began the adventure during the brunt of summer. It was essential to be mindful of proper hydration, especially during those weeks when the temperature hovered around and sometimes exceeded the century mark.
Of course, I would rise before the rooster crowed and was usually on my bike just as the eastern horizon began to lighten. But there were still nights when the lows hardly dipped below the high eighties and the humidity remained high. But I eventually acclimated to the dog days of summer.
Although the high temperatures grew far more easy to tolerate, I longed for the arrival of fall. And with the change of season came a noticeable improvement in my performance.
My weekly thirty-mile rides were hardly as demanding as they had proven just weeks earlier. In fact, I found myself adding another mile or two to the route during each ride.
I also noticed a positive change during my rides to atop West and North Mountains. Of course an improvement in my cardio and overall fitness lent to a portion of the improvements, let alone a substantial weight loss. But the cooler temperatures obviously had a positive effect on my overall performance.
Well, the fall season was short lived, and here we are, at present, nearing the coldest months of the year. And although the brunt of winter is still weeks away, colder temperatures have already begun to creep into the state.
Although cycling during the brunt of summer can prove taxing, previous experiences have taught me that wintertime is the most miserable season. In fact, many riders simply park their bikes during the coldest months and resort to indoor workouts to maintain at least a portion of their physical fitness.
But experience has also taught me that I’m not geared that way. In spite of good intentions, I simply cannot find adequate motivation to exercise on a consistent basis indoors.
That in mind, I recently found myself in somewhat of a quandary. I had worked very hard throughout the past several months to lose a substantial amount of weight and to improve my physical fitness. But all of my efforts would have been in vain if I failed to continue riding on a consistent basis.
So what to do? Well, I did consider coming up with a program that I could follow indoors, but I was sure to fail. That in mind, I began tossing around other options.
I finally devised a game plan that I was confident would work. I lived in the midst of mountainous terrain, and nearby hiking trails were plentiful. And I certainly wasn’t beyond striking out on excursions to atop the most rugged mountains when the frigid temperatures deemed it too cold to ride .
But there would also be days when the highs creeped into the upper forties and lower fifties. So I also began shopping for cycling gear that was designed for wintertime riding.
Well, it didn’t take long to find the attire that I was confident would keep me relatively warm during the months to come. I must first choose a base layer with wicking capabilities. And a beanie and mask would suffice in keeping my face and ears warm. A windproof jacket and cycling pants would surely help provide comfort for my core, while warm socks and wintertime riding gloves would protect my digits from the bitter cold.
Well the pants, beanie and gloves have already proven a welcomed addition to my riding gear. And although I have yet to resort to the jacket, I am confident it will prove much appreciated in the weeks to come.
I suspect there are those who would be quick to suggest that it makes little to no sense to spend hard earned cash on items that I will only use for a couple of months, at best. But I must respectfully disagree. In fact, I think the money spent is a small price to pay for good health and peace of mind. Let alone the fact that I get to spend even more time in the midst of the wonderful outdoors.