Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bike fit, a long ride and end of week 7

Happy Mother’s Day to All 
of you many readers who are Mom’s!

I begin today with a picture of a little patch of milkweed that is coming up on our farm property. There were many eggs already laid by monarchs. Earliest eggs (May 10) we ever found by three weeks!

Last Thursday I had my bike fit to me by an expert. He, Chris Balser, was recommended to me by my orthopedist. I have some aging knees (don’t we all!?).  I can tell already that it was worth the effort and of course a fee to get this done. He readjusted almost every part of my bike, including retaping my handle bars and moving all the brake and gear wires lower so the entire handle bar is even (without any bumps) for me to rest my arms on. He also used a tape that buffers the vibrations I feel in the handle bars (noticeable change already) when I go over bumps or uneven terrain. Plus he gave me a new seat (especially for women) and new stem for my handlebars that work better for a small stature person like me. His whole premise is that you should never ride in pain. By adjusting your bike to fit your body and riding style, he can basically guarantee a pain free ride. I rode on a trainer with my bike locked in while there. After he finished, he took a sophisticated blue print of the specifications so that I can have any bike set to meet my needs. It was terrific.

 Week Seven of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. Here is my update:

  1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds.  I will not weigh in until June 3; so nothing to report here. Although, I must say that I am beginning to feel a difference in my clothes!!

  1. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): My biggest NSV this week was figuring out how to sustain myself nutritionally so I do not “bonk” while biking. I will share more below, but on my long ride this week, I paced myself and ate a snack every thirty minutes. The result was by the time I hit mile 35, I  still had plenty of steam to step up my MPH and finish without a hint of exhaustion.

  1. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:
1.     Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 105 miles over 5/7 days! Most of my riding was on flats, with one hill day.

2.     My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My longest ride now is at 45 miles. Like I said above, I figured out my nutrition so that I sustained myself throughout the ride. There are a number of good and credible websites to help anyone figure out what to do in terms of nutrition when you go the distance.  I loaded on carbs by eating an entire bagel and large glass of OJ before I started. During my ride, I ate two Cliff bars and one additional bagel every 30 minutes.

Bruce had a great piece about pacing yourself (he is running a marathon). I followed his advice and paced myself for 13-14 MPH. That worked great, too. My ride lasted 3.5 hours and I am proud to say that I made it just fine all the way to the end. I cannot believe the difference for me in terms of ending feeling a little tired and sore, vs completely depleted. Every hour I took at least a 6-7 minutes pause, too, to walk around. This helped too. So, I am making great progress on my cycling distance, nutrition and pacing.

3.     Increasing my speed: My average speed finally landed at 13MPH. I am regularly getting up around 17 MPH now, too, on some legs of my rides. Cross training: I did all of my core exercises 5/7 days, including a series of squats.

  1. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days. The only day I was over was on my 45 miler.

For week seven my goals were to:
1.     Get comfortable riding with my new clip less pedals and shoes: Done. I loosened the tension and they are a SNAP to get in and put of now. I am still cautious, but my fear is gone.
2.     If I accomplish # 1 then ride for 40 miles…. Done.
3.     Keep working on figuring about the right number of calories for my rides: Done
For week 8 my goals are to:
1. Ride over 50 miles
2. Do hills twice

Maren asked us to write a letter to ourselves last week as a mini-challenge. I used my other blog for this particular post. You can read more here if you like.

Hope you are all making progress in your own efforts to regain your health and fitness. Have a great week! Stay strong.  TTFN and thanks for reading!


  1. I wasn't aware that you could get a bike fitted to you personally. Sounds like a great idea to me since I also have weak knees. I can walk for a longer span of time than I can bike before I have pain. Thanks for the tip and good luck with the coming week 8. :)

  2. I can't tell you how impressed I am with your dedication and activity level. I love to bicycle, but my knees are aging, also, so to me, bike fitting sounds like a great idea. Is he located in the Twin Cities?

    We certainly have had a very early spring here in Minnesota. It was a lovely day for a Mother's Day celebration at our house. Nineteen of us spent the entire afternoon on our deck and in our back yard. The children played, adults chatted, and we all ate, as we enjoyed the warm, sunny day. Happy Mother's Day to you!

  3. Michele, Happy Mother's Day! You continue to impress me with your focus and dedication. That's a great victory to figure out how to keep your energy up during long rides. I tend to either get weak or overcompensate with "fuel". Keep up the great work!

  4. Good bike fit is a must for any more serious distance.
    You are certainly getting speedy. Great!
    I was just thinking that us moms should get Mother's Week, not just one day. I would like that a lot.

  5. Wow.. you have just made such amazing progess. Just reading this post, I find myself almost envying what you are doing (in a good way, of course). How smart to get your bike fitted. I just think you are amazing and doing so fabulously!! I love biking and would love to do it more like you are!! I find that I also love biking on dirt paths and more of a mountain trail... but nothing too wild. So much to enjoy in life!!!

    Keep rocking it and Happy Mother's Day yesterday!
    Much love,

  6. Thanks for the info on bike fitting. My problem with distance is the seat, so there is hope. Getting to eat a bagel now and then is a great reason to start biking! ;-)

    Really, you continue to progress and take the small steps that will get you to your healthy goal. Training for a long ride is even better than actually doing it, I'm beginning to think.

    Have a great week!

  7. Way to pace yourself! That was a solid week of training. It is great to see the improvement you are making.

    You'll nail this week as well. You're doing things right!

    Thanks for the shout out!

  8. Good for you figuring out how to sustain your energy during the long rides! Good luck this week!

  9. Happy Mother's Day to you, too! Sorry it's late. I had no idea that they had bike experts that could do that. How cool and double cool that it helped so much. 45 miles!!! Woo hoo! You're amazing.

  10. You're really doing an amazing job! Feeling clothes start to fit a bit better is awesome :) Good luck with week 8!!

  11. I think I should get my bike fitted too, I have a feeling that my position isn't the best.

    45 miles! WOW!