So here I am on July 1st, looking back on the June that I had. Work was a bit of a, well, shit-show, but that’s farming sometimes. But, my goals for June did pan out, mostly anyways.

Our planting ended up running a lot later into June than anyone thought it would. Things happen. I missed both the “Tour de Lava” and the local cycling group ride. When the time came to do the “Lemhi Century Ride” the weather sucked. Really. It was windy. It was raining, or at least the chance of rain was very high. I decided that 100 miles is hard enough on its own. I didn’t feel like I needed to be a hero into a headwind for 100 miles while being rained on. I was going to be solo anyways and didn’t have to prove anything to myself. I can suffer, and I’m not afraid to do it, but those circumstances just sucked.

So, my other plans. I did clear my 500 mile goal for the Great Cycle Challenge by logging 600 miles (right near there anyways, once I passed 500 I stopped worrying). But, I didn’t manage to make any money for the cause so that’s a bit disappointing.

I also haven’t made any weight loss progress. I have been in contact with a nutritionist out of Salt Lake City. She is with Plan 7 Endurance Coaching. Since I started working with her my recovery times after my rides has been much better. I feel great. Not only do I actually eat more, I eat better. I haven’t lost any weight yet but I eat more, so that’s a win on its own right?

One thing that was completely random was a mountain bike race. The owner of a local bike shop told me I should show up and compete. It would at least be fun he said. So I did. I showed up, registered for the beginner class, and asked questions about the course and came up with a plan. It had rained the night before. All night. It was muddy. But, I was here and wasn’t backing out now. The course was only about seven and a half miles long. It had about two miles of climb for about 400 vertical feet at which point it started going downhill. The faster guys would be around thirty minutes to cover it. I figured I could go as hard as possible for thirty minutes. So, I would bury myself on the climb since I was on a super cheap hard tail and then just try and hold whatever I could gain on the climb to the bottom.

So the race started and I just did my “cyclist” thing. I put down power through the pedals and passed everyone in my class up the climb. I think I had a few minute lead at the top. I was feeling good. It was very motivating. Now came the downhill part. The hard tail worked great uphill since the power transferred well to the ground. Going downhill though I did notice the lack of suspension. All the years of riding dirt bikes kicked in though. I was railing berms, mud and all. I was hopping over puddles and ponds. I was pedaling like mad coming out of switch backs. I wrecked when my rear brake decided it didn’t want to work anymore. I caught and passed four people who started in the intermediate group ten minutes ahead of me. Then I got a flat. I thought I was close to the end, and the wheel was still rolling, so I wasn’t stopping. I kept pounding down the mountain. I could hear rocks bouncing off of my rear rim. But I had to be close. All of the sudden, out of the trees, there was the finish line. I was tired but jazzed. I had finished. I think I finished well. And I did it with a cheap bike and a flat tire. I made my way back to the start, which meant walking my bike back for most of it since the tire was flat and got my result.

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Here is my bike once I finished and got back to the start. Note the tube that isn’t in the tire anymore and how flat the rear is subsequently. This bike was VERY tired by the finish.

I won. I was shocked. I was up against people that, even though it was their first race too, rode in the mountains for fun and frequently. I won the class by 45 seconds. That alone told me how much cycling has done for my fitness. If I hadn’t been able to hit that climb as hard as I did I don’t think that I would’ve done nearly so well. I felt great!

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My first time ever on top of any podium. This random event sure was fun!

So for July.

I am going to try and fit in a century this month. A guy and I are batting around the idea right now of trying to arrange one with some people for the morning of the 4th while everyone is busy at parades and whatnot. I am also, again, trying to actually make progress on weight loss. What a pain. I can really tell you that as easy as it was when I started three years ago it is a million times harder now. When I started it was simple. Now it’s a serious battle.

I am also surely going to spend a bit of time watching the Tour de France. It started this morning and I am pretty excited to be watching that. It does help to both simultaneously inspire and dishearten a cyclist. The level at which those guys compete is amazing.

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Four of us decided to go on a ride one Sunday. We thought it would end up about 20 miles shorter than it ended up being. That last 20 miles was killer!

Keep checking back. I am going to try and write here more often. I am hoping to maybe do a handful of reviews on things I am using that I think are worth more people looking into. I also want to just try and, maybe not inspire since I think that word carries too much weight, influence people to try and seek a little lifestyle change on their own. If I can go from being an overweight guy who plays video games and eats for fun to a guy seeking new physical challenges maybe someone else can use it as a tipping point.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions reach out and I will answer as best I can.

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