The Human Powered Season: Week 2

Camp before Borah

Camp before Borah

I’m 43. There, I said it. I’m not 21. Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter (if you don’t, just click the links, because you should) know that since November I lost about 60 pounds. It changed my skiing game, my running game, and even how I handled the heat for a month in the desert. With moving and the rest though, my diet suffered recently. I took a week off the exercise regime, and then embraced the idea of a more human powered approach to transportation.

I started riding again, and thought “Hey this isn’t so bad.” Then I took some uphill rides. Okay, maybe I’m not in quite as good of shape as I thought. Then this week I hiked Borah Peak, and discovered some more truths:

Diet is Fuel: Food is your fuel, and just like your car, it’s important the type of fuel you run on. Those sweets you grab really quick? The corn dog and fatty burger? That ice cream? It all comes into play later. If you are going to add more human power to your life, you need better fuel. One goal? To get my diet back on track. Remember the line from “Full Metal Jacket?” The one where private pile gets caught with the jelly doughnut in his footlocker? Yeah. I’m paying for it alright.


“Like climbing a 5000′ staircase.”

Pacing: Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t start too fast. Keep a nice, even, I can do this all day pace. It will save you. Otherwise, your muscles have no time to recover. If they don’t recover, you just can’t go on. Borah was a quick lesson in this for me, and the last two mornings, I have applied it to my rides as well. It works: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. It pays to remember that.

Distance: Last week? Anywhere is within biking distance if you have the time. (Read that post here) It’s true. Scheduling time is important, as is choosing a route and increasing endurance. I watched a documentary this week about people who ride in L.A. and put in 50 and 60 mile days in traffic. It is doable.

So today when I needed five pounds of sugar and a few things for dinner? I hopped on the bike, lock in the backpack, and rode into the wind. It felt good. Really good. Now, start my engine has a different meaning.