The El Tour de Tucson bike ride is a big milestone for me each year.
I participated in my first El Tour de Tucson in 2008. The 36-mile ride was my big goal after having started riding a bike five months earlier. While 36 miles seems easy now, at the time I weighed 275 pounds and it was a challenge to finish.
One year later, I weighed 155 pounds and completed the 109-mile ride fairly easily.
I’ve alluded to it before, but bicycling provided me with a vastly better life.
I wrote a story for Inside Tucson Business about how much bicycling changed my life.
Here is an excerpt:
When I purchased the first bike, I was obese and unhealthy. I worked in front of a computer all day, ate unhealthy meals — sometimes four of them in a day – and never exercised, took medication for high blood pressure and weighed almost 300 pounds.
At first, I went riding for fun, but after a short time my competitive nature came through. My friends were so much faster than me and they could ride for so much longer. I didn’t want to always be left behind, so I started getting serious.
I knew a radical change in my lifestyle combined with riding bikes would help, but I don’t think I realized it would lead to a complete shift in my life.
In September 2008, I changed everything I put into my body. Gone were the 5,000 calorie days, replaced with 1,300 – 1,600 calorie days, which I used a calorie counter to track.