Monday, February 27, 2012

When Did I Become “That Guy”?

We’ve all ridden with “that guy”…you know the one. Basically a decent enough guy, but out of shape and overweight and armed with all of reasons (or excuses) as to why this particular ride is so hard…
My derailleur is acting up, I’ve been sick lately, I haven’t ridden that much, I’m in a recovery period right now, I broke my collarbone, etc, etc….

He’s always polite, and is always apologizing for being the last one up the hill and making everyone wait….but to be honest you’re really just sick of him and wish he’d get his fat azz off the couch and on the bike more so he could save the excuses and stories.

Well, the week before last I came to a startling realization….I’m THAT GUY!!!! Yep, me….somehow over the past few months through a rigorous regimen of eating as if I ride every day while hardly ever actually doing any riding, I’ve reached a new pinnacle of fatness and out-of-shapeness….

This, combined with my first Thursday ride on the SS since I broke my collarbone back in August reduced me to the dead-freakin-last-fat-guy-up-the-hill status.

Oh sure, I had all the excuses primed and ready to go when I finally caught up to everyone at the top of the first and longest climb of the evening, and the guys were all very nice and sympathetic and actually seemed to not mind waiting on me but I know…..I could see it in their eyes…..I could tell they were all thinking it…..”Rich if you’d just put down the box of Krispy Kremes and ride once in a while we wouldn’t be standing here cold and shivering while waiting for your lardass to catch up”

The rest of the ride was more of the same….the short steep climb at the half way point, the long climb up from the stone bridge, the road back to the parking lot, every single climb of the evening ended with me arriving red-faced and on the verge of hypoxia and them all patiently waiting…politely humiliating me with their kindness and platitudes.....It was humbling to say the least.

I guess though if you want to find a silver lining….and I’m definitely a silver lining kind of guy…..the humiliation has since been used as motivation. I’m down from my 3 year record weight of a couple pounds over two hundred and I’ve managed to run or ride at least a few times a week since.  In addition, I no longer shove everything I see down my throat as if I’m riding 5 days a week, I’ve been doing my exercises and I actually feel like I may be getting back into shape.  Of course, round is a shape, just not the shape I want to see when I look in the mirror.
I’m hoping over the next couple of weeks to drop “that guy” and not see him again for the rest of the season….

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giving Back….

For the past couple of years our riding group has been involved with a really cool charity. Turning Wheels for Kids ( They assemble and donate bikes for under privileged kids that otherwise wouldn’t get a bike.

The majority of the giving happens at Christmas time following the Big Bike Build, but from what I understand, there are bikes given out at other times of the year as well.
Our involvement to date has been at the Big Bike Build which, in addition to doing something good, is a tremendous amount of fun. This year, I think they said there were 900 volunteers who helped assemble and give away 2400 bikes. It’s an amazing site. You walk in the morning of the build to an empty building with nothing but boxes down the middle aisle. Then at the end of the day, the boxes are gone and replaced by 2400 sparkling new bikes….

This year though, several of us are taking our involvement to a deeper level as we’re helping to launch the Tri-Valley Chapter of Turning Wheels for Kids. Our goal is fairly aggressive in that we’re hoping to buy, assemble and donate 400 bikes this coming December.

I’ve always believed in the phrase that for those to whom much is given, much is expected and I really enjoy being able to help support causes or charities I believe in. I feel like my family has been abundantly blessed and giving back is the least we can do. This though, is a whole new experience for me. I’ve never really been involved in something like this, at this level. The planning required and the fund raising to be done seem almost overwhelming when I sit down and look at the list. The good thing is though, that I’m not alone. We have a very smart, committed group of people that are going to work to pull this off. And, of course, we have the resources of the founding Turning Wheels board to help us get this thing rolling.

It’s actually pretty exciting to be a part of something like this although I know it’s going to be a lot of work and a really great learning experience. We’ll be reaching out to local corporations as partners, working with various groups for both donations from them and others who will be asking for bikes to be donated and all the while focusing on helping kids get a bicycle…..what could be cooler than a bunch of cyclists helping get kids on bikes of their own?

Stay tuned, as things move forward you’ll be hearing more about it here….