A guest post from Melinda Casey. A mountain biker taking on the Beti Bike Bash TOMORROW with a great cause on the top of her mind as she pushes through every pedal stroke.
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Today marks the 6th day of biking for the 30 Days of Biking. I hope everyone is sticking to their pledge as best as possible!
Unfortunately, I haven’t done any epic rides during these first 6 days but my butt has sat on the saddle and my feet have pedaled some distance each day thus far. For everyone that is struggling to find the time to hit their bike rides I give you my guide to slacking your way through the next 24 days!
Start with small distances
Are you riding around the block? Down a hallway at work? Great, you’re getting on the bike and that is ALL that matters for 30 Days of Biking.
Earlier is better
Pedal your bike around the block as early as possible and then forget about your pledge until tomorrow
Make it achievable
Determine a daily task or distance that you normally walk that can be achieved by bike (mine is checking the mailbox). Make this task your fail-safe if you had absolutely no opportunity to ride your bike that day. Simply jump on the bike and check the mail, or ride down to the stop sign and back before you head to bed.
Hang a carrot out in front of those handlebars, I personally enjoy riding for ice cream!
Don’t over commit
This isn’t meant to be an epic undertaking of riding 1,000 miles a month. In fact, I think I have ridden <20 miles in the first 6 days of this pledge.You don’t have to bite off more than you can chew. Do what you can with what you can. As long as you are getting on your bike, in any fashion, you are doing better than most!
This is meant to be fun, to kick the dust off the tires. Enjoy it and don’t stress!
Back in October I mentioned very discreetly that I might be giving Crossfit ago and a week later I did just that, I gave it a “go.” My better half fell in love with the sport and I couldn’t walk right for 4 days. This is when friends would chime in saying that it was my first true activity since cracking my patella and that it was probably setting myself up for failure. I didn’t feel like I failed but I did feel deflated and frustrated.
Fast forward 2 months, my gf is hooked and I haven’t really moved forward with any particular hobby. I’ve been giving running a stab but with the Polar Vortex and crazy cold weather we have had since early December it hasn’t been ideal. So, I did what any athletic, overly competitive, endorphin chaser, would do – I pulled on my big girl pants and went back to Crossfit Parkhill to get my butt kicked again. First by front squats, and then by the WOD of my Whole Life Challenge baseline test. When I was done recovering, including trying not to throw up on the car ride home, I knew what needed to be done.
I’ve always had a strong belief that if you are scared of something, you need to try and conquer it.
Well, I am scared of crossfit.
I’m intimidated of the girls that could toss me over their heads like a pizza, I’m scared of box jumps and double under jump rope contests. How can I fix that? Well, last night I signed up for a Basecamp class at the Crossfit gym near my work in Boulder, Crossfit Sanitas. 3 classes a week for 2 weeks and unlimited access to the other classes. This morning was my first fundamental basic class and I loved it. Starting at the very basics is what I needed (and to work on my push-ups) and I’m already excited to show up to tomorrow’s 6:30am WOD to try it again.
It hasn’t been a secret that I’ve been struggling to find my personal identity when I removed the “bike racer” from 25 hours of my week. Combine that with a new state of residence and a month old job, I have felt pretty disconnected from who I believe I am.
Over the past week I started researching (again) about Paleo eating to address some stomach problems I’ve been having. Naturally when I was training a lot my eating habits were 90% of what is outlined in a strict paleo diet. The 10% was left in greek yogurt for smoothies and thin whole wheat bread with almond butter & jelly.
Without knowing that I was looking at the Paleo diet my girlfriend emailed me Friday morning to see if I would sign up for the “Whole Life Challenge” with her. Initially I was very resistant. You want me to pay $49 to track my eating and body weight? After some reading and taking a “pride check” that my biggest goal for this challenge would be for Emily to meet her goals. I wasn’t too good for this, and by submersion into better eating as a family we will have the best results.
I need to confess, I haven’t been riding my bike as you can probably tell from the lack of updates and Strava achievements. In the cold and dark I’ve been turning to running and exploring the trails near my home. While this isn’t ideal for a content on a cycling specific site it is ideal for my happiness. My 2014 goals include no bike races for the first time in many years but instead to explore more and become a more rounded athlete.
How are you staying motivated and moving during these cold spells that keep hitting? Are you hitting the gym or maybe braver than I and suiting up for a bike ride? Perhaps you are smart and on the trainer in your basement pushing those watts around as your sweat hits the ground.
Tell us, what are you doing?
Halley was featured earlier this year in the Motivational Monday series. I personally pulled a lot of inspiration from her and asked her to write an article for BSG on cycling with epilepsy. Give the article a read and then visit her blog to follow along her journey.
When you are triaged at the emergency room or picked up by the ambulance after a bicycle crash involving no other vehicle, the intake paramedic or nurse will write “FDGB” on your form. What super official medical term does this acronym mean? “Fall Down Go Boom.” It does get the point across, at the very least.
In 2009, I was going to the emergency room approximately every six to eight weeks for similar reasons. Part of it I was cycling more so naturally I was on my bike versus say in my apartment or walking. It made me a prime candidate for tipping over randomly. A few crashes I just stood up and dusted myself off, but several of them were pretty epic with full facial road rash, splayed out in the middle of road and no memory of how I actually ended up there. That last part was the most unsettling of the entire affair.
That’s when they sent me to a neurologist. It seemed that I had been what are called “absence seizures.” Chances are that I have been experiences them for a long time in my life and have never noticed them. I kind of freak out when I think of this, because I have driven a car a lot in my life and worry that I could have been driving when this had happened. Earlier in life, I would go into random crying fits that had been misdiagnosed as “hypoglycemia.” I very distinctly remember not being able to look at restaurant menus and see the words or formulate thoughts. The neurologist informed me that I was most likely experiencing what was called a “simple partial seizure” and having had them recently, I can attest all the orange juice and glucose tablets in the world won’t help, so while yes they do look like a low blood sugar crash, they are indeed not.
I had my first “grand mal seizure” during a bike ride in downtown Portland and hit a park bench. This was an extremely difficult and stressful time for me. I felt like my brain was trying to kill me. All I wanted to was live a car-free lifestyle, work at the women’s homeless shelter and continue my own business as a professional harpist (with a custom-made bike trailer for my full size folk harp). You know, the typical Portland Oregon lifestyle, right? I couldn’t really live that when I was riddled with migraines, my weight massively fluctuating from trying out new medications – and I already suffered from an overweight awkward childhood so this new struggle was just one more thing to add to my plate.
My neurologist and I struggled to deal with my daily migraines so that I could ride my bike again without the threat of seizure and we couldn’t figure it out until I came across something she didn’t think of. Allergies. I knew I was allergic to a few medications and chemical products, but in addition to them, I added gluten, lactose and egg to my list. Having a very severe latex allergy, I had never realized that banana or avocado were part of the same family, which while I loved and are very beneficial to most diets, unfortunately for me, they cause more harm than good. Cutting them out as well, cleared so many skin issues. It was actually about that time, 2010, I “went vegan.” I had already been eating mostly vegetarian due to the lack of dairy and egg products. My body has never processed red meat well and I don’t eat pork, so it was a pretty natural transition. The most difficult thing for me to break up with was gluten. Total carbitarian.
I want to smack myself in the forehead because it sounds so stupid writing this. You cut out the stuff that you’re allergic to and you stop being sick. I’m not a nutritionist, not giving you nutritional advice and I can only write what worked for me. And, let’s be honest. I still have seizures. It’s not all about food. But I did lose 70 lbs in less than a year, which I am sure was mostly because I was putting crap in my body that couldn’t be processed and broken down.
There are the good days and the bad. I have worked really hard to get to where I am. Charting when I have seizures. I have been on a bunch of different types medications that haven’t worked for me or that I have “grown out of,” meaning that dosage is at such a high mg that any more would be toxic so the doctor either has to supplement a different medication or change medications. There are literally dozens of different kinds of epilepsy that affect the brain. Mine is called progressive myoclonic epilepsy. In short, it means it’s going to get worse in time, but right now it’s really well controlled.
I love cycling and it’s my life. I ride with a primarily road racing team here in Portland, though my passion is cyclocross. I haven’t been able to race the last two years due to health reasons. My knee went out two years ago and I had foot surgery last year. This was related to a back fracture I had six years ago. Ironically related to the dysfunction in my right cerebral hemisphere, which causes discrepancies in motor skills, visuo-spatial, perception and coordination. Basically I FDGB. I am definitely looking forward to this fall and getting muddy.
Last week I committed to commuting 1,000 miles in August. Not less than 12 hours after typing that post I woke up swollen, looking like a chipmunk, in great pain from a tooth that later that day would need to be removed. After a dentist visit, one less tooth and one more hole in my head I spent most of Friday through Sunday being lazy around the house and controlling the swelling of my face. By Sunday night I felt pretty alright but needed the dentist to confirm this.
With a pocketful of other excuses I can say I haven’t been on the bike since last Thursday, and today is Wednesday of a new week. No commuting miles and not any closer to my 1,000 miles. While for a moment this morning I allowed myself to be frustrated with this fact, I swallowed my shame and remembered I made the decisions that put me in this situation. All I can do is get on my bike tomorrow morning and maybe add some longer routes to my commute strategically to hit the 1,000 mile marker.
Setbacks Happen, Moving Forward is the Success
A wise friend once told me that when a setback, injury or change of course happened they welcomed it with open arms. It shaped them, it allowed them to show true strength, intelligence or humility where some might find frustration, embarrassment or anger. It made them mentally and emotionally stronger, but more importantly a better person than if it was all smooth sailing.
Lately I have been finding comfort in these thoughts and words.
We are only as good as how we handled our biggest failure. Your true character is the one that shows up when you are handling stress, struggles and fear. As an athlete I find excitement out of proving myself when the chips are against me and this commuting challenge isn’t any different. The strongest people I know aren’t numb to their emotions or ignorant to fear, but instead they find the rainbow and learn how to dance in the rain.
How do you handle a setback in training or life?
Everyone handles things differently, how do you handle a setback? How do you stay motivated? Is it through music, an idol or an inspirational quote taped to your bathroom mirror?
April 1st brings bad jokes, hints of spring and a great program called 30 Days of Biking.
30 Days of Biking, whose fourth year begins April 1, has one rule: Bike somewhere every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online.
Take the pledge with me and enjoy your April on two wheels. Personally, this is going to mean borrowing bikes, trying Bike Share in different cities and putting effort in to ride a bike once everyday as I travel but I am excited in the challenge, and I am excited to share my month on two wheels with you!
Yesterday I only had a couple things on tap I needed to achieve outside out of the house.
#1 Errands to prepare for being on the road traveling this week
#2 A fartlek of a ride between 1-1.5 hours (anything to get me off the trainer!)
As I looked at my forecast of the day it was freezing rain and wind. I decided that I would run my errands on my road bike to stay motivated when all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a good book.
Necessary Items to Become Rain & Wind Ready
Fenders quickly installed on the Ridley Helium SL (SKS Raceblades to the rescue)
Waterproof backpack (SealLine Urban Backpack)
Wool and warmth as close to my body as possible (Smart Wool)
Wind and waterproof outer layers
Other Things that Kept Me Motivated
I planned my ride to have multiple stops. The first was for coffee and lunch. The second was my storage unit to pick up new product samples. The third was a friend at a bike shop.
While it looks like a lot of gear, it is gear that you may already have. The jacket I decided to wear is from Outdoor Research and is made more for outdoor/hiking. When it was pouring I wore the hood under my helmet.
The only thing that I wish I had worn was either waterproof booties or waterproof socks (which I don’t own yet.) I hope to not have to ride much more in the rain, but I’ll take freezing rain over all the snow that parts of the East Coast received this weekend.
Hilarious motivation going into the weekend!