Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

With Greater Resolve

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The above meme appeared in my Facebook feed yesterday. My instant reaction was, “Duh!” As a cyclist (amateur wannabe status only), I’m always looking back. Okay, I’m not always looking back, but I look back often. Because I take pictures often. I also like to look back and consider how far I’ve come. For these reasons, I differ with the popular notion that looking back is a bad thing. The truth is, there are many good reasons for looking back. Sometimes a glance back helps you move forward.

I purchased my bike in 2010. I rode it home from the bike shop at the end of September. This is horrible timing for a bike purchase when you live in an area that has a full four seasons. Fortunately, I was able to get some riding in before winter, because we experience beautiful, warm autumns in Southern Oregon. It had been almost 30 years since I’d been on a bike, and the one I purchased, a hybrid, took some getting used to. Back in the day, mountain bikes weren’t in existence and I didn’t know what kind of riding I’d end up doing. The Specialized Ariel Elite was a good choice. I can ride road or trail with it. After one or two falls on some single-track in 2011, I decided that I was probably going to stick with the road cycling. Trail riding can be hard, and often requires some technical expertise. I tried it. I didn’t like it. Enough said. I have no riding records for those last few months of 2010, because I didn’t know about Map My Ride and because I wasn’t actively tracking my progress.

That all changed in 2011.

In 2011, I set some goals. I wanted to try to ride a thousand miles. Well, you can see, I fell short of that goal.

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I was short of my goal by 200 miles.

In 2012, I wanted to hit the 1,000-mile mark by June. I’d hoped to get 2,000 miles in for the year. It didn’t happen that way. I’m not making excuses, but I definitely have some challenges to work around where the school-year schedule is concerned. Also, it didn’t help that the first half of my year this year was spent focusing on survival and the second half dealing with a pretty surprising breakup. All of this got in the way of achieving my goals. My numbers this last year are pretty pathetic. They aren’t at all what I’d hoped going into the year. They are however, what I was able to do. I’m pleased to see that even though I didn’t hit the 2,000 mile mark, I improved over the previous year.

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There you go. Looking back, isn’t such a bad thing. It can be powerful in helping you set some realistic goals. (Resolutions, if you will.)

I realize now that part of my problem in covering distance is my bike. It’s a great bike, but it isn’t a road bike. It takes more effort and rolls more slowly than a road bike would. Another consideration is my weight. Either way you look at it, weight on a bike slows you down. My bike and I are both heavy. I need a lighter bike and I need to lose some weight. So, here we go with the “goals”:

1. I’d like to crack 2,000 miles, maybe even 2500. 2K is going to be challenge enough given my schedule. I’ll be pleased with that.
2. Simply put, I need to drop 45 pounds. There’s a lot I need to do in order to make this happen. Learning to prepare and eat healthy food, is going to be the priority. Ugh.
3. I’m going to offset my riding with strength training and cardio at the gym. (Nothing makes me feel more like a hamster on a wheel than this, but I’m going to do it. It’s good for me.)
3. I’m going to get that road bike this year.
4. I’m going to participate in Ride The Rogue this fall, with that road bike.
5. I’m going to photograph and blog about the journey all through the year.

That’s it. Just five goals, resolutions. Here’s to a cancer-free and fabulous 2013.

Ride on!

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Blogger on Bike

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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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