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2013 Year in Review

2013 was a big year for me on the bike. There were several big changes that made it one of the best years for me in some time. A quick summary is:

Distance: 2,514 miles Ascent: 241,434 feet Moving time: 236 hours

I suppose the biggest changes were:

  1. I reduced my weight by about 50 lbs.
  2. I bought a road bike and used it quite a bit (in addition to mountain biking)

I suppose the biggest change was the weight loss. I went on a diet that restricted calories and carbohydrates while continuing to mountain bike. I ended up adding a pound or two of muscle while losing 50 pounds of fat. This made a tremendous difference in my bike riding, especially climbing hills. I think the not-so-secret trick is to stick to the diet all the time and not make excuses about "just this time" or "I earned it". I used a smartphone app called MyFitnessPal that allowed me to track my foods, exercise and weight so I could see where I was at any time. Once I got going, success on the diet led to more success because I saw it could be done. That is not to say there weren't times I wanted something that wasn't on my diet, but I then had the tools and the willpower to make the decision to pass up the "opportunity". The point really sank in one day when I visited a gym and lifted a 50 lb. plate. It was really heavy and then I realized that I had been hauling the equivalent amount of fat up the hill and on every step everyday...no wonder it was tiring. It was nice to have other people comment on how much faster I was.

The second big change was the purchase of a Trek Madone 5.2 road bike at mid-year. I hadn't ridden a road bike in many, many years but did a few road rides on my mountain bike that were a lot of fun. Based on this, I tried a few different models out and settled on the Madone. It is a lot of fun to fly around on such a light bike. I find that my average speed is 2-3x faster and my ride times are 2-3x longer than mountain biking. The technique, gear and issues are pretty different than mountain biking, providing a refreshing change. Since I am on roads, I am going lots of different places than I mountain bike, though I have ridden past some of the locations (on the road) on some of my road rides. I am not race calibre and have no desire to race but I find that I pass a lot of people and only a few pass me (I suppose I need to try more challenging routes). Most of my road rides have been by myself, but I have not found this to be too much of an issue. I think the conditioning base I have built up mountain biking has helped on the road biking and the road bike saddle time is paying off on the mountain bike as well. Some of my road bike accomplishments were:

  • Longest ride: 109 miles going to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bride.
  • Fastest pace: 18.5 mph on a 30 mile ride.
  • Group ride: I scouted (on my bike) and then led a group ride out to and around Uvas Reservoir. This ride (over 100k) was the longest by far that several of the riders had ever gone. They all made it and they are all still speaking to me!
  • New routes (everything was basically new, but these are notable):

I have kept up on my mountain biking and I have continued to ride on Sundays and Tuesday nights with the respective groups that I have been riding with for some time. With the weight loss, I am stronger, faster, and have much more endurance. My mountain bike is starting to show wear with more parts needing to be replaced. This year it was pivots and brakes. Let's see what next year brings in the in way of new parts! Some of the new trails I rode this year include:

Finally, I had some combined personal bests this year. In the same week, I set personal records for distance, time and ascent. I also set a new personal record for total distance ridden. On the one hand, it may not be a fair comparison since the road bike is include for half of 2013, but then I was working the entire year so riding opportunities were more limited that some years in the past.

Overall, this was a very good year for me on my bikes!

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