OH MY LORD…I am out of shape!

Posted in Cycling with tags , , on August 16, 2012 by Allen Smith

So…as you all know, if you have read this blog, that I finally got the OK to get back to moving around again. You also know that I have a plan to get back to my bike and RIDE!

Well, I just got my bike road ready again after having it sit for over 6 months. Being out on the road in the truck and then being sick, I couldn’t ride like I did. I decided to get back on it and figured I would pick up where I left off…not losing too much of what I had accomplished (15 mile PR). Took the bike out after pumping the tires (finally got a pump) from the flats that they were. I didnt wear my clipless shoes, no gloves, only a helmet and my walking shoes. Figured I would just ride around the block to get a feel for the bike again, and then maybe do 5 miles or so.

Hmmmph! I didnt make it all the way around the block and I was blowing up. Breathing was hard. Legs were burning like fire, and I was getting worried that I might not make it back up the hill (very tiny small bump of a hill that is my driveway) to the house. I MADE myself not stop that bike as I climbed that hill and thought I was going to pass out when I stepped off of the bike. LOL.

I sat in the chair under my carport and tried to keep my eyeballs from falling out of my skull as they were pumping with every beat of my heart. My chest was on fire! My heart was beating HARD. It got a little scary for a few minutes. I made it up the steps into the house and sat in front of the fan thinking just how miserable I was at that precise moment. I was also, at that precise moment, looking forward to tomorrow and doing it all over again!

It really did surprise me just how out of shape I had gotten! I knew I had gained back the weight that I had lost, and am now at a personal high weight of 294, but I didn’t expect to have lost THAT much of what I had gained.

I guess the time for hard work has come upon me again!

Im back…health got the best of me!

Posted in Cycling with tags , , on August 10, 2012 by Allen Smith

Let me explain WHY I havent been around.

I did get the new job with the trucking company and was driving for a while, which kept me off of the bike. The problem was, my diabetes starting getting whacky because there is NO WAY to eat right on the road…at least not for me. My sugar went through the roof. As a result, the stress from it all made my blood pressure go up very high. I had some terrible chest pains that I played off as indigestion for about a month until one day, I couldnt take it any longer. At that point, I almost went to a hospital, but it eased off. Well, I had cut my leg on a part of my truck and my sugar being as high as it was, the wound wouldnt heal. My whole left leg swelled up beyond believe and was very very infected. I made the decision to have my dispatcher send me home and was routed to my home terminal so I could see my doctor.

When I stepped in her office, she flat told me that I wasnt going back on the road, especially when she saw my out of control sugar. My A1C was over 12 (normal is less than 7 and ideal is around 5). My fasting blood sugar was over 400 (normal being between 70-100). She then asked me what I had been feeling other than the wound on my leg. I broke down and told her about my chest pain. She immediately sent me to a cardiologist.

Upon seeing my cardiologist, he had me come in for a stress test. It ended up being a nuclear stress test and there was an abnormality with the upper chamber of my heart. A full heart cath was done.

Needless to say, Ive been down and out. Havent been on my bike since then. My cardiologist just told me that he wanted me to go ahead and start some excercise and I asked about riding. He told me that riding the bike and swimming would be what he recommended for me because of my back keeping me from walking a lot.

So, that is my story. Im going to get back on my bike this weekend and ride. Even if it is just around the block. Im not going to push myself to the point of hurting myself. Im ready to get my life back, though. Im ready to get it in order from the last six months and Im ready to get what I owe out of the way to the people I owe it to.

I never meant for it to seem like I was ignoring you, my blog. I never meant to drop off of this blog, but life (or a lack thereof) got in my way. I have gained the weight that I lost back and added more because of the sedentary lifestyle and its time to get down to the business at hand and get my life back.

It’s just time.

From “Bad Boy” to Bad ASS! New PR – AGAIN!!

Posted in Cycling with tags , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by Allen Smith

This weekend, I did a LOT of thinking about my episode on Saturday. Felt terrible, knew I had done wrong, felt ashamed and a little embarrassed. I felt sorry for myself for a while, got mad at myself for a while, then talked to myself for a while. What did I say? Ill tell you what I said…

I said, “Dude, you screwed up. You let people down including your wife and little girl, but most importantly you let Allen down! You were doing SO good. Your head was right and your way of life was changing and you tried to throw all of that away and for what? A pizza? A Coke and a candy bar? Were they good? Was it worth it”?

“HELL no, it wasn’t worth it”, I told myself. “It wasn’t worth the suffering I was going to have to do to turn this setback around. It wasn’t worth the wasted calories with that poison that I was shoving in my face when I could have ordered a salad and gotten off of my ass and got on my bike. No, it damned sure wasn’t worth it”!

Then I got to thinking about what I SHOULD do to fix it. I decided to get off of my couch today and hit the trail on my bike. I put my bike in the car and headed to the Silver Comet Trail again. I didn’t know how long I was going to ride for, nor how far. I was thinking about doing eight miles, which would have been to the [URL=”http://silvercometdepot.com/”%5DSilver Comet Bike Depot[/URL] and back. I figured that would be about enough for me.

Off I went. The weather was PERFECT! Not a cloud in the sky and no wind to speak of. I was feeling pretty good, surprisingly. My legs didn’t burn much and I thought to myself that I was breathing really well compared to the last time. I kept about a 10-11 mph pace and was feeling pretty good. Figured that the bike depot would be a good place to stop and take a rest.

Got to mile marker 4.2 where the depot is and just decided to keep on riding. I figured maybe go a mile further and turn around. Got to mile marker 5.5 and said if I turn around now, Ill match my previous PR.

I just kept riding.

Thought about it for a minute and figured that if I could get to 7.5, then that would equal a 15 mile ride. Ive never done a 15 mile ride. I just kept riding until I got to 7.5 and figured I gotta ride BACK 7.5 now and turned around.

I thought it was going to be a tough return trip, but it turned out kind of pleasant. I figured out, on my way back, what someone told me to do with my cadence…get it to the point that you are comfortable and spin. I figured out what they meant by “Spin”.

I would be feeling resistance on my stokers when there was an incline but when there wasn’t and i was going down an incline, I just kept spinning the pedals at the same cadence like there was. It started feeling awesome! I wasn’t tired, my legs weren’t burning, my lungs weren’t burning, and I kept a constant speed whether I was going up or down an incline.

Anyway, I made it back to the trail head where the car was and I was at 14.89 miles and said there is NO WAY Im not going 15 miles. So I went out further past the trail head and turned around. Ended with a total of 15.4 miles…a NEW PERSONAL BEST!

I felt AWESOME after it was over! And to top it off…After the ride I had dinner (ribs and a sweet potato, baked) and STILL have 2000 calories left for the evening, which Im not going to use. So, according to myfitnesspal.com, Im going to LOSE weight.

Im proud of myself. I really am!








Read it again…15.4 miles! 














I’ve been a BAD boy!

Posted in Cycling with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2011 by Allen Smith

This weekend was NOT good for me. My intentions on Saturday were to get up, go to the Silver Comet Trail and bust off another 10-15 miles, come home and eat a good dinner and watch LSU beat Alabama (Geaux Tigers!).

What actually happened was, I got up and started watching Gameday on ESPN. Got sucked in to that and then the first game came on. I figured, what the heck and watched it thinking I would go ride after that game. I got hungry about then and figured I would order a pizza so i could have some today and put the rest up for tomorrow.

Well, before I knew it, I had eaten the WHOLE pizza! Now, that in itself would make me a TERRIBLE diabetic, but the day was not over. OH NO!

I proceeded to sit on my butt all day, watching football and ended up going to the store to get a snack. I seriously went to get something healthy. Really, I did! Ended up with a 20oz Coke and three candy bars. And yes, I drank the Coke and ate two of the candy bars before I realized it.

So, instead of going to knock out my miles, I spent the day with an old love of mine…PIZZA and CANDY! It was like I couldn’t stop myself. I craved it. I NEEDED it! I would have done a chocolate IV, if it was offered to me, I think.

Today (Sunday), wasn’t much better. All of those carbs from yesterday just made me lazy today and I didn’t get off of the couch. It was a beautiful 66 degree day today as well. I am SO disappointed in myself over this.

Tomorrow, Im going to punish myself by doing hill climbs. I hope to do 8-10 miles on rolling hills, but if I get 6-8 Ill be happy. Anything less than 6, I will be flat discouraged, I think! Eating all mod that crap has really got me depressed.

All of my hard work…down the drain. Im back on the wagon as of 8am tomorrow. I think i need a 12 step program!

Today was a personal record for me

Posted in Cycling on November 1, 2011 by Allen Smith

I did 11.6 miles on a bike today. I’ll say it again…I did 11.6 miles on a bike today!  I have never been over eight miles (I think I rounded up from 7.5 miles on that one). I think I could have kept going but I had a mishap with my clipless pedal. Yeah, ANOTHER mishap! I’ll tell you about that in a few. Tie a knot in this one and hang on.

I met up with two guys (who I now consider friends) from the Bikeforums.net site Clydesdale section, Martin and Daniel. It was awesome riding with Daniel (Dahamac) and Martin (Punkncat). I could not have asked to be with two nicer guys for a ride. I slowed them down, I know I did because they are accomplished riders, and not one time did I hear them complain. They let me go at my own pace and just tagged along with me. They kept telling me to take my time and not to go faster than I was comfortable at. They helped me a lot with my technique and were all around fun to ride with. Thanks guys for helping me!

We started out on the Silver Comet Trail at mile 0. The ride was going pretty well, even though I had to stop within the first 3 miles to rest. I was spinning too much and was burning my lungs. Martin and Daniel got me in the right rhythm after that and I was fine for the most part. We stopped at the Bicycle Depot at mile 4 and I wasn’t feeling too good. Stuck around there for a few minutes and I ate a Cliffs Bar and instantly felt better.

After we left the depot, we actually rode for about 4 miles before stopping again and I think that is as far as I have ever ridden without stopping. It was getting a little hilly and I was burning my legs AND my lungs. Once we got over the little hills, Martin needed to stop but I was coasting along at a good speed at that point and kept speeding up and figured I would go ahead a ways since they would have no problem catching up.

I probably rode about a mile when I saw this fence that I figured would be a good place to stop and just hold on and wait on them. I pulled over to the right to stop, unclipped my right foot because I was gonna rest my right hand on the fence. Slowed down and leaned left. Lol. Busted my ass again. My left elbow and knee hate me now. They told me so. My left knee is all puffed up as I type this and the elbow is stinging still. Once I hit the ground, I looked back and saw Martin and Daniel sprinting towards me on their bikes as well as a walker that I just passed. They all came like the Calvary. I was just embarrassed and shocked that I let that happen AGAIN. Second time in a week. LOL.

The wife had planned to meet me at mile marker 11.5 and see if I wanted to stop. When I got there, I thought that I could have gone another 5 miles or so, but decided to pack it in right there. I actually stopped because my knee was getting puffy and I was afraid it was gonna swell up on me. I’m still proud of my little effort. I know 11.6 miles is a warmup for most, but it was a milestone for me.

Now, I can’t wait to do it all over again! More later, guys!

First Clipless Ride

Posted in Cycling on October 27, 2011 by Allen Smith

You know…As a car salesman, when you sell your first car, they cut your tie in half. As a deer hunter and you kill your first deer, they smear the blood on your face. Is there a clipless right of passage for when you bust your ass? If so, I want mine NOW!

Here I was, clipped in and pedaling just like the little man at the bicycle store had instructed me. I had practiced numerous times before getting on the bike at clipping in and unclipping. I was doing it like a road pro. Nothing could stop me now. Clip in, clip out, clip in, clip out…oh, how easy it was. This was feeling really natural to me. I was confident I was ready for anything. I was just under a mile into my first clipless ride when I slowed for a stop sign and forgot I was clipped in. Did you read that correctly? I FORGOT I was clipped in! Now, let me say right here that those clips really hold a foot onto the pedals. Yep, you just can’t lift your foot off and set it on the ground. When you are clipped in, you are ATTACHED to the bike.

Down I went…and HARD! Busted up my knee and my elbow was smashed pretty good. Bike was fine, though. Im the only one that got scratched. Had to limp back home. Took the ride of shame. Headed back home and was really hurting the whole way there. Knee and elbow bleeding, face red from shame, stomach in knots knowing i can never show my face on that corner on a bike again.


NOT a happy camper (or rider)!

Posted in Cycling on October 16, 2011 by Allen Smith

I haven’t taken my bike out of the basement in two weeks. I’m not happy about that. Let me explain.

Being unemployed made me realize two things – 1. No job=no money and 2. no money=no food. So, I broke down and called my old employer and they hired me back on to come and drive for them over the road again. That day, I was given about a hundred things to do before I could go to the terminal to do orientation, so I didn’t get a chance to ride my bike before I left to head to Missouri.

Let us skip ahead to getting to orientation. Once there, I was told that since I was a diabetic, I needed to have my doctor fax all of my records to the doctor’s office at the terminal. No problem, right? WRONG!

Once they got my records they denied me because my A1C was high. Nevermind the fact that my blood sugar was perfect at the moment. All that they could see was that it had been high on a three-month average. The doctor there refused to even see me and they sent me home, again unemployed.

So, here I am at home again. No job, no prospects of a job, and not happy. I feel like a failure and I feel like I have let my wife down. It is really starting to get to me. What does this have to do with riding? I’ll tell you. I have had no desire to do anything other than sit on the couch and watch TV. I thought about riding. Wanted to ride. But, couldn’t make myself get up and get on the bike.

I will tomorrow, though. One way or another, I’ll be on my bike tomorrow and will be riding. How far? I have no clue, but I will be riding.

More later.

I Came. I Saw. I CONQUERED!!!

Posted in Cycling on September 25, 2011 by Allen Smith


Today was a grand day. I woke up this morning in a great mood. My Clemson Tigers beat Florida State yesterday, the sun was shining bright this morning, and the birds were singing their little hearts out. Today was going to be a great day. I could feel it in my bones.

Today…today was just another day for most of you, but not for me. As I woke up, I knew that I was going to ride today. My plan was to ride the Silver Comet Trail for 5-10 miles and then relax for the remainder of the day. That didn’t happen. What DID happen was that I sat around and watched the Saints beat the Texans. I sat here and thought about riding and then decided to go and ride the neighborhood.

I got my bike out, put on my gear and set out. I got to the end of my road and had a choice…go straight and ride some rolling hills or take a left and try to ride the monster that beats me every time I try. I headed straight. As soon as I crossed the highway, my front wheel took a hard left and I was facing my nemesis…The HILL.

Trekkie, my bike (2011 Trek 7000), started whispering to me.

“If you take it slow and put me in the right gear before we start up, I’ll get us there”, he said.

But this hill has beaten me every single time I have tried it, except in a car, I thought.

Again, I heard him whisper to me. “If you take it slow and put me in the right gear before we start up, I’ll get us there. Remember what you have learned from the forums. Remember what everyone has told you. Put me in the right gear BEFORE the hill. Just DO IT!”.

Ok…here we go. I take it easy towards the hill. About ten to twelve miles per hour. I got near the hill and dropped the gears to 1 – 4. Started climbing and it got a little slow. Dropped the gears to 1 – 3. Climbed more. Saw the steep part of the hill in front of me and decided at that point to go to the lowest gear I had and take it slow…remembering the words that Trekkie whispered to me – “If you take it slow and put me in the right gear before we start up, I’ll get us there”

Slow and steady. I was almost to a point at one time that I thought I was going to have to put my foot on the ground to keep the bike upright. I kept pushing. My legs were burning. My lungs were on fire, but I could still breath. I felt my heart beating in my chest. I felt my legs starting to fatigue, and then it happened. What I never thought that I would do…I saw the crest of that hill. It was about seventy-five yards ahead of me.

I struggled mightily, but I refused to give up. I was too close to the top. The stop sign at the top of the hill was getting larger and I was pumping my legs harder. I thought my quads were going to explode. I could feel my glutes as they were starting to burn as well. Pushing harder than I ever have. Breathing fire. Thinking there was no way I would make it.

“C’mon, PUSH!” I was thinning to myself. Or was that my bike yelling at me?

“PUSH! You got this!”

Thirty yards. Twenty yards. Ten yards…I crested the top! I actually crested the top. I did it! I had WON!

I stopped and turned around and looked down, just to make sure that I did this. I had! There is a MUCH different prospective from the top of this thing. It actually looked steeper from up here!

I rested for a minute (or twelve), trying to get my heartbeat down and trying to catch my breath. Rejoicing in the fact that I had just beaten my mortal enemy! Letting it sink in a bit before heading forward. I couldn’t believe that I had done it, but I had. I had beaten the unbeatable, in my eyes. I took this hill down and whooped him like a red-headed step child. It was harder than anything that I have yet to do on a bike, but dadgummit, I DID it!

After I reveled in the glory and had my own personal ticker tape parade while standing beside my bike, I patted it on the seat and told it what a great job it had done getting me there.

“Wasn’t me”, he said. “It was all you! YOU were the one pushing ME!”

I thought about that for a while. I then got back on him and we rode forward a little further. I decided to turn us around and we headed back. The ride back down that hill was a LOT of fun! I rested my feet on the pedels and just rode the bike. It felt like I was flying. I decided to go and do the loop that I wanted to do to begin with. That loop has rolling hills and I did them each with a smile on my face. I did them breathing hard, but with a smug sense of accomplishment.

I had done it. I beat it. I took that hill down. I did it with him screaming and kicking me the whole time, but I was relentless. I wouldn’t give up, and finally, the hill DID give up. It was a done deal.

I’m now going to relax for the rest of the day and contemplate this whole thing. It still hasn’t sunk in. I still can’t believe that I did what I did.

If anyone asks me what I’m going to do now that I have beaten the Hill, I’m going to tell them, “I’m going to DISNEY WORLD!!!”

More later, guys…keep moving those legs!

Hills, Hills, HILLS!

Posted in Cycling with tags , , , on September 23, 2011 by Allen Smith

It seems like Im always talking about hills. Well, I live in NW Georgia near Atlanta and unfortunately, hills are what we have here. I dont like them, but I can’t do much about them except to ride them and get used to them.

So, today, I went on a ride on a loop around my neighborhood. It has some pretty moderate hills. These are hills that I tried on the second day of owning my bike and they kicked me in the head. I couldn’t make it up ANY of them at that point. Today, however, I went up all of them without stopping. It was a rough ride and I definitely thought about stopping and walking them, but I refused to let myself.

After I was finished, I thought I was going to die! Heart felt like it was gonna beat out of my chest and my legs were sloppy. The entire ride was a little shy of two miles, but I was spent!

I would have never been able to do this without the advice from the guys at The Clydesdale/Athena forum at bikeforums.net as well as the advice from the Beginners forum at bicycling magazine Forums. Without those guys helping me with learning to change my gears and when to change them, I would have been walking up those hills today as well. I could not have done these hills without the advice from those guys regarding my gears. Im getting better with them, except when trying to switch my front ones into the lower gear on the way up at the bottom of the hill. TWICE today, I switched the front gears into 1 and the chain decided it didn’t like me and popped off. I think I need to get that adjusted. Will probably take it to my local Bike Store tomorrow to get them to look at it.

More later…

Good little workout tonight…

Posted in Cycling with tags , , on September 21, 2011 by Allen Smith

I was going to try to defeat the hill that I tried last night. You remember, the one hill that is my mortal enemy…my nemesis. I was going to. But, I wimped out. I wanted to ride a little flatter today. My wife knew of a trail not far from our house so we loaded up the bike and headed out. She dropped me off at the beginning of the trail and I took off.

This trail was hilly, but not so much that it was tiring me out too much. I did get the opportunity to change the gears to cable me to climb the hills easier. This is what I needed. I needed to practice changing  the gears and getting used to WHEN to change them. I will admit that it helped me with climbing them.

I also wanted to make sure to try to get a cadence going and staying in that range. I actually up-shifted to make it feel like I was pedaling going downhill as well, instead of coasting and letting gravity pull me down the hill. This gave me such a good workout.

I didn’t go FAR, today, only a little under three miles, but those three miles were as intense as I have ridden since I have had the bike. I am going to try to ride for time, I think, and let the miles be what they may.

More later.

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