Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 214-Weigh-in Day: 316.2lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 316.8
Current Weight: 316.2
This Week’s Weight Loss: .6lbs
Total Weight Loss: 49.2lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 39.19
Total Miles Biked: 1790.29
Miles to Go: 5709.71

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1082 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 11.74
Wednesday: 9.47
Thursday: 8.21
Friday: 9.77
Saturday: Rest

I think I still have a hangover from last week’s crazy sleep-deprived week. I’ve had a head cold, and have been very tired. I basically just rode my bike to work and back this week. It was hard to get back in the saddle on Tuesday and pedal. I felt a little rusty after not riding for only a week! I didn’t rack a lot of miles this week…but at least I’m on the bike.

I’ve had a few people ask me what I’m going to do over the winter. Here in Salt Lake City, Utah, up here in the Rocky Mountains, we have cold winters with snow. Right now the temperature is in the mid 70s during the day and creeping down in the low 50s at night. Fall is here and you can feel the crispness in the air in the mornings. My intention is to keep riding as much as I can, and just dress warm when the roads are clear. I know that will probably not always work when it’s super cold or it’s snowing. I also have my stationary bike, and/or I can get a lift for my regular bike to ride it stationary indoors.

I am not looking forward to winter. In fact, now more than ever, I can see why living in warmer climate would be a benefit to my health regime. I half joke that I will move to San Diego when I retire, but now I know I have another reason to do so ;)

I only came down about a half pound in weight loss this week. But again, at least I was on the bike, and being a conscious eater. We had a company luncheon this week with some really yummy looking pastries at the end of the table. The luncheon was a post “crazy schedule” wrap-party in effect. I think if I would have “treated” myself to some of those pastries that I wouldn’t be reporting a half- pound weight loss today.

You know, I will be honest with you…It’s been 7 months since I started my challenge. I think the first five months were fun and exciting as I was discovering life on a bike. There were new bike routes, I was seeing quick progress, weight was for the most part consistently coming off, and everything was new. As you know, I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. Maybe this isn’t just a plateau of weight loss, but of interest in my day-to-day biking. I think I’ve gotten a little bored with things. I’m a little frustrated with my bike since it has these huge tires which introduce a lot of resistance to my riding (which is a good thing too.) I don’t have any proper clothing especially biking shorts which make for an uncomfortable fit in the saddle more often than not. I think there is a reason they add some padding there in the posterior area of the shorts.

My bike is a good bike, but it’s about 12 years old, and is a little clunky. The gears don’t work properly, meaning when I shift up one gear, one click doesn’t do it, I have to click up twice, and down once to get it to shift. Yes, I’ve had the gears looked at 3 times. Still not working right.

Also, I can do the pedaling. Yes, I’m still working on going on longer and longer rides, but I think my core is stale. Meaning, I need to work other parts of my body out. I need to do some resistance training with weights. I need to just get my physical activity off the bike up to the next level.

So what am I going to do about all of this?

Here are the 3 things that I want to do to help me through this little “mid ride” crisis I am having.

1.        Get a new road bike. I’m currently on an old mountain bike with road tires. I’ve never ridden a bike with road bike handlebars. I’m putting all this effort in with mountain bike handle bars, and will need to adjust to a lower position of riding when I switch. I’d rather switch sooner than later.

2.        Get the proper cycling garb and clip on cleats. I need to have a little more comfort in the saddle. Also, cleats will help power my ride with the upward motion of the pedal helping me.

3.        I want to join a gym. I hate having to be committed to going to a remote location to get a workout, but I think it is what is needed to take me to the next level.

I think if I had these 3 changes in my cycling life, it would introduce enough change to help me shift to the next level of riding.

Okay, I can join a gym easy enough. It will require tweaking my schedule to make it work. I can go and get some bike garb. I don’t have $1500 for the bike I want to buy. So, I guess I start saving! I approached a couple of Specialized bike dealers for a sponsorship, but I don’t think I’m considered a “real athlete” to them. Oh well. I will be soon.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been eating a lot of cereal lately. It is so convenient in the morning, and is a great snack in the evening. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. My body always seems to crave it. I especially like the Shredded Mini wheats. I hear that cereal is a good thing for cyclists as it is carb-loaded. I haven’t been eating any oatmeal though. And veggies have been taking a back seat to my eating. I eat a lot more than I used to, but need to be consistently eating this stuff at each meal.

Honestly, I am waiting to get a little chuck of cash to go do some more filming. Everything takes money!

Thanks for listening to my “blah blah bah!”


P.S. These are the bikes I'm looking at. Which one do you like?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 211: Good Signs...

I don't know if you've been able to tell, but I've been a little bummed over the past month or so because I've been struggling with a plateau. Well, today, I jumped on the scale...and I weighed 314.4lbs! I know I shouldn't be weighing before Saturday, but it made me smile. Today I can say that I have officially crossed over the 50-pounds lost mark! Finally. Now the hope is to keep riding the rest of the week and come in under that on Saturday. We'll see.

So, that's all I'm going to say. We'll keep moving forward and see what Saturday brings! I'll keep this under wraps...



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 210: Motivation Tuesday-Meet Bonn Turkington

Today I'll be interviewing Bonn Turkington, an incredible cyclist who has been winning some big road races this summer. He's placed 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and has had four, 1st place races! He's also an author who writes books in the genre of fantasy. It's great to see that Bonn has balance in his life and that he enjoys his writing as much as he does his biking. Sit back and let's enjoy hearing from Bonn!


Tell us a little about yourself
I'm 27, and a CAT 2 cyclist with Canyon Bicycles. Given that the rest of this is about cycling…I will try to mention a few other bits. Besides riding I also do a fair bit of writing. It gets confusing trying to tell people which one I mean (say them aloud and you will see what I mean). I'm the author of Velwythe: Resurrection of the Mind. Initially, I self published the book after graduating from Utah Valley University. Since then, however, I lost my business after I was the victim of bank fraud and identity theft. Recently, a publisher picked up the book and I am back on the shelves. Other than writing, I also tutor students of all ages, working through the company Totally Tutoring Utah. It's impossible to get away from papers and stories. If I'm not writing one myself, I'm editing someone else's. And it's exactly what I should be doing; I couldn't be happier helping people like that.

When did you start riding a bike?
Like many kids, I grew up on a bike. Riding around the neighborhood or to the park was an everyday thing for me. Occasionally, as I grew older, I would borrow my parents' mountain bike and head out into the hills. It wasn't until the summer of 2005 that my road cycling journey began. My uncle received a road bike from a friend, a classic Moser frame with a hodgepodge of other parts. It didn't fit him and he had no desire to ride on the road anyway (he has been a competitive mountain biker for decades). So he donated it to me. I brought it home from California and took a spin. At once I was hooked. It felt like I was riding some sort of super hovercraft or something. The speed and freedom, the sense of connection with the world around me-I had found my calling.

What motivated you to start riding?
It wasn't until I found a local team and got involved with their group rides that I started taking the cycling seriously. After joining the team and going on a few rides I began looking at the world differently. Hills and mountains weren't just beautiful, they were goals. And I wanted to conquer them all. And the descents after climbing those mountains? That's sheer joy (with an appropriate mix of terror). If it weren't for the danger of getting it caught in my rear wheel, sending me crashing and tumbling hundreds of feet down a canyon ridge, I'd make wearing a cape mandatory for all descents. Sure there are other extreme sports that offer higher speeds or a closer look at your own mortality. Still, it's hard to beat riding down a canyon, taking switchback after switchback as fast as a car, and hitting speeds over 50mph. The sense of flying is real and it's amazing.

How do you find time to workout?
Just because I love riding doesn't mean I get to whenever I want. Making it a priority in my life, and having a fantastic family that accepts and promotes that, is the only way. Whether it's getting up early to get a big ride in before a tutoring job, or saying no to a movie with friends, or doubling up somewhere else in my schedule, riding comes first (other than the obvious family obligations, of course).

What made you interested in racing/competing?
Racing and riding began almost simultaneously. Finding my love for cycling by joining a team meant that there was little separation between casual riding and racing. The spring of 2006, when the racing season began after the winter hiatus, I entered my first race. It was fast, it was hectic, it was insane and I was hooked. For the next few years I raced when I could. While riding was a priority, I only raced a few times a year. Of course I loved racing! But at least through school, riding on my own was mostly sufficient. But when I lost my business and the life I had been working for over a decade vanished, I felt as though I had nothing. In order to find some bit of success and value in my life, while trying to recover from the horror of what happened, I rode. And I raced. And I did it a lot. I didn't know what was going on in any part of my life-except for when I was on the bike. There, everything was simple. I ride this far, doing this workout and will see these results. That's all there is to it. And when I began winning…that just made it so much sweeter.

How do you motivate yourself when you don’t want to workout?
I'd like to think that, even at my relatively slow and amateurish level, motivation isn't everything. You reach a certain point in training where you are no longer motivated, but dedicated and committed. Workouts, training, racing-it doesn't take motivation, it becomes a natural part of what I do. That's not to say motivation doesn't play a role. But I'm a pretty organized and routine oriented guy. I don't need to be 'motivated' to get out there on a hard day when I'm dedicated to the results I want.
Where I need motivation is in the winter. Mounting my bike on the trainer and spinning in place for 3 hours while the snow falls outside (assuming we're not in global warming winter where it snows maybe twice the entire season and you see honey bees in January), that's where I need motivation. On those days I will allow myself something extra special for lunch, or have a treat that night. Or it might be thinking of something fun planned for the weekend. Whatever it is, I dangle that idea in front of my handlebars and ride hard towards it.

What is a typical day of working out look like for you?
There is no typical day for me. Between recovery weeks where as little as 30 minutes might be all that I need, to epic 6+ hour rides, my training is varied. But I do have favorite places to go! Both of the Cottonwood Canyons are favorite haunts of mine. Riding out to East Canyon Reservoir and back is one of the prettier rides in the area. And of course, my favorite mountain of them all, American Fork Canyon. Can you tell I like mountains? As with most competitive cyclists I follow a structured training plan. What I do on a given day is largely based on what time of the year it is and what races are coming up. And the weather. I won't ride outside for very long on smoky days. Or snowy days. Or days with lightning (it's hard picturing myself as anything other than a mobile lightning-rod).

What is your philosophy about eating?
I love to eat! What, there's more to it than that? Oh...I didn't realize. Simply put, I love to eat. Most people like certain foods and have a significant list of cringe/vomit inducing foods. But I'm one of the few people who actually likes just about everything out there. Of course, with my focus aimed at winning races, a healthy diet is a must. Luckily, I love fruits, vegetables and everything healthy. Not only can I feel the difference each morning when I wake up, that a healthy diet allows, but I appreciate the natural flavor of real foods. Simple pleasures, simple foods. Slicing a home-grown tomato and watching the juice drip down the knife. The aroma of a fresh peach sitting in front of me. I love it all. When you can feel good, mentally and physically, about what you eat, it's obvious you're doing it right.

What is your philosophy about weight loss?
Weight loss isn't a big issue. With an active lifestyle and healthy eating, maintaining a good weight is fairly easy. I love food-ribs, steak, pancakes, cookies, ice cream, cheesesteak sandwiches-there are very few things I can't at least appreciate. Going without something you love is just crazy. But when there is an important race coming up, and weight becomes an issue, I pay a bit more attention to what I eat to make certain there isn't any unplanned weight gain. While I never have to lose weight in a general sense, getting to a prime weight isn't too hard if you remember what you are doing it for. By thinking of what I'm eating (or not eating) as a means to a goal, that goal being a win, it's not hard to manage my weight.

How do you prepare as far as rest pre and post competitions?
The weekly crit series doesn't require a lot of specific preparation just before, during or after. Those races are more part of training and I frequently use them to test new food, drink or supplements. But for larger races, such as state championships or long distant events (Tour De Park City), more careful planning is involved. Taking it easy the night before, day before or week before a big event is important. Legs up, stretching, eat well…all the usual stuff. Some of my more quirky traits offer more excitement…or at least add a bit of flair to an otherwise standard method of preparation.
Before long races I like to lay out all of my food and drinks (including supplements/vitamins and other important bits) on a table. With a marker and piece of paper I will write down everything I will begin the race with (bottles, extra drinks, bars etc), what I will get at each feed zone, and what other extra bits I might need according to changing circumstances (hotter than expected, harder pace and so on). It takes some of the stress away and allows me to relax as much as possible.
Further, I like to have a movie or game night before a race. It's a way of unwinding with family and ensuring my mind is as clear and carefree as possible. I do best without any worries going into a race and that's the best way to wipe the dry-erase board in my brain. And the movies need to be funny, otherwise my adrenaline gets going and sleep is impossible.
Lastly, my bike needs to be in perfect working order. That's not unusual (though looking at some of the bikes on the starting line of these races, I'm beginning to think I'm more an anomaly than I believed). My preferred tools of cleaning are some up-beat music (think BT, Jamiroquai or something along those lines), simple green, a toothbrush and some old rags. Give me an hour and the bike will look better than it did brand new.

What advice would you offer to someone that wants to make a change in his or her physical activity?
Start slow. Too often we get caught up in making goals that seem impossible to reach, then feel like every little thing that happens is a setback. Discouragement sets in quickly like that and a once lofty goal dies the quick yet painful death of a New Year's resolution. It's fine to have grand goals, like running a marathon or riding a century or hiking to a certain peak. But day to day, week to week, month to month, goals need to be modest but challenging. Athletes at every level have goals. It doesn't matter what your own goals are as long as you are working towards them. I personally find it just as motivating to hear of people who have never been active in their life finally run a 5K, or drop 100 pounds as the story of an Olympic gold medalist.

What goals do you have for yourself in the near future?
I received my upgrade to a CAT 2 earlier this year after winning Tour De Park City in the 3s. That was a major goal of mine, one I have had on my mind for years. With that done, I want to focus on getting more race experience with a faster, more developed field, specifically in a few major out of state races.

What is your family involvement with biking?
My family couldn't be more supportive. From standing in the baking sun at distant feed zones in obscure races to helping with dinner on the days before races so I can stay off my feet, they do more than I could hope for.

What brand of bike do you ride?
Specialized. Tarmac SL3. A mix of Dura Ace and Ultegra components. Easton wheels. Nothing too fancy or flashy, but it gets the job done.

Where can we follow you on your journey?
I am on facebook and post interesting bits about rides and races there. Twitter was interesting for a while, until I realized all that's on it is ranting or 140 character ads. So just facebook or better yet, face to face on group rides. (You can also get more info on Bonn's books at

Any parting words of advice?
Don't worry about what others do. You can't compare yourself to anyone, so don't even try. Doing so only leads to resentment and depression. And most of all, enjoy the ride.


Thanks Bonn for a great interview. I think one of the most amazing things I saw was when I was scanning through Bonn's Facebook site was a picture of his fuel that he'd laid out for his next day's race. He's got his racing down to a science!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 207-Weigh-in Day: 316.8lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 318.2
Current Weight: 316.8
This Week’s Weight Loss: 1.4lbs
Total Weight Loss: 48.6lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 25.00
Total Miles Biked: 1751.10
Miles to Go: 5748.90

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1043 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

Monday: 13
Tuesday: 12
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

Well, I have been out of town for the past 8 days! The first few days I got a stationary bike workout in at the fitness center in the hotel, but when your working until 1am or 2am in the morning, and getting up at 6am, working out is not a consideration. I did my best, and faced the fact that at least I got something in, instead of nothing.

I got to hang out with Mark, the fellow that was featured on Day 182 of Motivation Tuesday. He is a cameraman and we wanted to get out and get a bike ride in while in Washington DC, however, he was on the same schedule as me. We kind of joked a bit trying to tempt each other to eat badly, like buying a Dunkin Donut. But, for the most part, we were both good boys!

After 8 days of craziness, I was grateful that I basically lost a pound and a half. We were working in Disney World one day and I think we walked about 100 miles. I think that helped.

I am dead tired, but very excited to get back in the saddle this week.  

Don’t sweat it if your schedule is literally impossible. Just do your honest best.
I think I ate pretty well this week. There was a time where a Chicago dog and a few variations on the theme, were the only menu items in the restaurant we ate in. Oh well, we had to fuel up.

Nothin to Report

This week I will be featuring Bonn Turkington, a cyclist that bikes hundreds of miles in bike races, and wins first place! It will be great to hear his interview. Stay tuned!

Pedal it!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 203: Motivation Tuesday: Meet these Champions!

This will be a slightly unusual break from the normal entry on motivation today. Every Tuesday I feature an interview with some great cyclists that are doing some great things. However, today I wanted to share an experience that I’m having right now in Washington DC that has nothing to do with cycling, but is probably one of the best shot’s in the arm one could ever have. It’s truly inspiring and motivating!

I, along with many of the staff of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, are traveling with 50+ child-ambassadors who represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They are ambassadors of all children’s hospitals across the United States. Every year, our partners such as Delta, Marriott, Chico’s FAS, and ACE Hardware, sponsor this trip that takes the Champions to meet their congressional leaders in Washington DC, visit national monuments and tour the White House. They then fly down to Orlando, Florida and spend three days in Disney World.

We call these kids Champions because they have overcome, or are dealing with life-threatening challenges such as cancer, blood diseases, traumatic accidents, and many other health-related issues. These kids and their families are fighters and truly represent the spirit of courage and overcoming adversity.

They don’t choose to jump into the endurance race, or the competition they find themselves in. Life throws a curve ball at them and they get to figure out how they are going to deal with it. Each of these precious children has an amazing story and I invite you to go read some of those stories HERE. Then look at what you might be dealing with on your journey to transformation, and ask yourself, “Do I have anything to whine about?”

Motivation Tuesday is pleased to introduce you to the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions…

While we are in Orlando, we honor these Champions on a huge stage by awarding them a Champions Medal. A crowd of thousands, stand and applaud them for their courage and example to all of us.

You have a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital near you, and most people don’t realize that these hospitals are charities. They need your help. And just as you are working to better your life, don’t forget about these homes of healing that take care of our children. No matter who they are, and no matter their family’s ability to afford the care, these hospitals take care of them. Just as you are taking one step, one swim stroke, or one bike pedal at a time to better your world, you can do something for a kid in need, with one small donation to make his or her world better.

The following video was a piece I produced for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals earlier this year. It played in 50 markets across the country this past spring in various telethons. It features last year’s Champions. Dr. Phil hosted the piece, and you’ll see other celebrities like David Archuleta and Meredith Vieira appear in the show. But you’ll soon find that the true Celebs in this video are the kids.

A couple of our past Motivation Tuesday cyclists John Lauck and Mark Thalman are part of the Children’s Miracle Network Family.  I share that with you so you can see that beyond their lives of cycling, they are passionate about helping sick children get better!

If you feel inclined after watching the following video, make a donation to your local

You can also keep an eye out for our paper balloons that are sold in Rite Aid, Costco IHOP, Walmart, Sam’s Club, etc.

When you buy one, that money stays in your local community to help sick children!

Are you motivated?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 200-Weigh-in Day: 318.2lbs

Start Weight: 365.4
Last Week's Weight: 318.8
Current Weight: 318.2
This Week’s Weight Loss: .6lbs
Total Weight Loss: 47.2lbs
Miles Biked this Week: 56.75
Total Miles Biked: 1726.10
Miles to Go: 5773.90

GEOGRAPHY (Where I'd be on the map having started at my house in Salt Lake City, Utah, heading for Tokyo):
Pacific Ocean (1018 miles off the west coast. I am heading for the Hawaiian Islands)

Monday: 20.92
Tuesday: 20.39
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 9.44
Saturday: Rest

Well, I am hitting a wall. I have discovered that I am not progressing as consistently as I have in the past. It’s time to reassess my eating and exercise. As I look at what I was doing on Day 1 compared to today, Day 200, I think I am a little more liberal with my eating. Today I had a handful of peanut M&M’s. Isn’t that terrible! ;) I think I may be eating slightly larger portions that I have in the past, and maybe those portions are adding up. Also, my bike riding over the past few weeks has varied, meaning I am not consistently riding 6 days a week. The past few weeks have been 3 days a week. Life has been a little stressful, with extra work and responsibilities at home.

Erika, one of this blog’s subscribers gave a great bit of advice yesterday in a comment. “Don’t look at how far you have left to go, look at how far you’ve come!” I like that. It’s amazing to me that I am out there doing it. I was up at 6am getting ready for a bike ride that I had promised my daughter. It was 52 degrees! I have changed, and come a long way.

This coming week is going to be super busy. This will be a test for me to see if I can get on the bike. In fact, I will have access to a gym and am going to do some weightlifting also. So I am curious as to what will happen.

My blood clots have cleared up and my leg is feeling much better. And I was realizing today that I don't have an achy Achilles heel anymore. Months ago my heels used to kill when I would walk. And, now they don’t! Woo Hoo!

It’s important to reassess where you’re at and make changes. I get to take a look at what is getting in my way, and adjust.

I was craving a burger earlier in the week, and my company had a BBQ, so I got to eat a burger and a couple of hot dogs. Loved every moment of it.

Nothing to report here this week.

I hope you liked last Tuesday’s interview with Travis Jackson from Japan. This Tuesday is going to be another amazing interview with a young fellow who is winning bike races right and left. Stay tuned!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 199: Huh?

Well, I went out to ride my bike this morning with a friend and there stood the bike, with a flat tire. Huh? Do I attract flats or something? I least once if not twice a week, I get a flat tire. I looked at the tube and there was not just a hole, but a slit. So, of course I didn't have another tube, so I cancelled the ride. Gee, that really bothered me.

Oh well. This week I haven't felt the greatest. I've felt like I am low on energy. I wonder if being on antibiotics takes the wind out of you?

Not just feeling tired, but a little discouraged. I have plateaued with my weight and feel I am just floating around nowhere. Life is life-ing, work is busy, it's getting colder outside in the morning. I need some sort of success to flash in front of me to help me feel that I am going to make it.

There are other things going on that just add additional stress to everything. Oh well. This too shall pass.

At least I got another tube, and it's on my bike, and I'm riding in the morning...even if it's going to be 59 degrees. Actually that's not bad. It was 49, a few days ago!

Well, if you've got a little good energy, please send it my way. I need to break my plateau and get moving in a positive direction again! I need all the help I can get!!

BTW, I think the clots in my leg cleared up. I have a little pressure in my thigh, but I think that is a bruise from the ultrasound tech smashing my leg.

Happy pedals!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 196: Motivation Tuesday: Meet Travis Jackson

Meet Travis Jackson

I am really excited to present an interview with Travis Jackson! Travis is a "gaijin"(foreigner) that lives in Japan. Although it sounds like he's assimilated right in with the natives. When I first decided to do my challenge, I was searching high and low on the web for info on biking to Mount Fuji. I came across Travis' blog entry on the Tokyo Cycling Club website that gave details about his adventure, biking to, and hiking to the top of Mount Fuji. I was inspired! I have read his entry at least 3 or 4 times trying to soak up every detail on how to do the ride.

Anyway, I sent Travis an email cold turkey to see if he'd respond. He not only responded to me, but has offered me some tips and encouragement as I prepare to take on Fuji.

Anyway, Travis was kind enough to also answer my interview questions, and offers some valuable insight to his approach to cycling. I haven't met Travis personally, but hope next year I might be able to. Even through email, he comes across as one nice human being!

So, here is Travis Jackson's interview...


Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in Canberra, in November 1971, but grew up in Sydney, where I lived until I turned 28. Around 1996, when I was 24, I began studying the Japanese language as a hobby, and eventually moved to Japan 4 years later, where I have lived ever since.

When did you start riding a bike?
 Whilst in Australia, I never had any interest in cycling - or any other kind of exercise, for that matter - and spent most of my time drinking, smoking and having a good time. It wasn't until early 2005 that I was finally pushed (gently nudged) into it simultaneously by two friends in totally different social circles. One friend, Simon, was my long-term drinking buddy, and I was shocked to hear, after all of our long and detailed conversations together, that he was an avid cyclist. The other guy was my student, Mr. Sammori. During our very first lesson, I asked him what he would like to study, and he promptly plopped a cycling magazine on the table and said, "This!" - I was constantly being told about the merits of cycling, not only when I was at work with Mr. Sammori, but I'd also get an earful while I was trying to wind down with Simon. I took it to mean that divine providence was pushing me in a certain direction, and who was I to say no? So within a few short months, I found myself at Costco purchasing a mountain-bike worth around $150. That was the beginning that would lead to numerous upgrades, and then finally a move to a road-bike, followed by even more upgrades (Thankfully, you can only go so far).
Now, nearly 8 years later, having ridden over 35,000 miles (possibly 40,000), I feel that I could be called "adept", even if I might not actually be called "fast".

What motivated you to start riding?
In late 2006, after I had already made the switch to a road-bike, I joined the Tokyo Cycling Club (TCC) - This was probably the single most influential decision I have ever made. Not only has riding with other like-minded and more knowledgeable people been immensely educational and challenging, but it's also where I met my wife, so the benefits have been even more far-reaching than merely cycling. Riding with more talented and experienced riders is one of the best ways to also become talented and more experienced - You learn by osmosis, and after a while a lot of things just come naturally by having been surrounded by them, and seeing them done so often.

What is a typical day of working out look like for you?
My riding week now basically consists of 3 days commuting to various places around Tokyo (25mi, 20mi and 30mi), and a weekend ride with the TCC guys/gals; usually between 75 - 150 miles. I have been asked many times if I would like to work on weekends, but I flatly refuse as I regard my weekend ride time with friends to be more important to my overall well-being.
The weekend rides can sometimes get a little competitive, but that is what pushes you to get better. Every ride is an opportunity to get stronger - If you push yourself as hard as you can up a hill one week, you can guarantee that the next time (a week or two later), you WILL be stronger and faster. Over time, you'll be able to see your own improvement, not just compared to personal bests, but when you can beat that other guy who used to beat you up the hill, that is a special reward (and vindication). This is the motivation to race and compete.

Until very recently, I never really had a "typical" day of working out. When I was commuting, I had no choice but to ride, and whenever there was a TCC ride scheduled, I would do my best to ride with the group. Only very recently (since I decided to enter the Tour de Okinawa) have I started a more structured regimen - and it's not even bicycle specific - I'm trying to build my core-strength in the form of "two hundred sit-ups" (see: I also do 30 minutes of stretching / yoga every morning, more as an injury prevention measure than for getting fit; although it probably has other benefits aside from just stretching.

How do you motivate yourself when you don’t want to workout?
I try to enter at least 3 races a year (more if I have time), but generally one every 3 or four months works out well. If I don't have a race scheduled in my calendar, I find I have no motivation to train, or work out. I'm mostly concerned with my personal bests for each race - What was my time last time? What result do I expect this time? 2 minutes faster? 5 minutes faster? What kind of training will I need to do in order to achieve that goal? etc. Riding with larger groups is also good motivation. Once you've committed to a ride, if you don't turn up, the others will think you're a wimp - I use this self-imposed attack on my own pride to make sure I'm always there for group rides, even if I feel like staying in bed that morning.

I recently spent almost a year off the bike after an accident that led to some equipment issues, but in the last 2 months I have gotten back into full training mode. As a kind of "come-back" race, I have entered the "Tour de Okinawa" in late November, and I am totally committed to a place in the top 10%, if not in the top-10 finishers. This is perhaps the most "ambitious", and motivated I have been for a race in a very long time. My weight, before I started training again, was 168lbs - not a lot, I know, but it was not entirely muscle either, and my power-to-weight ratio in the hills was not so good. My goal is simple: to decrease my overall weight, while increasing my strength at the same time. I have succeeded in dropping down to 155lbs over the last 6 weeks, but I seem to have hit a plateau (I hope it's because I've gained some muscle, but I can't be sure) - My ultimate goal is to be 150lbs, with no extraneous weight at all - I'm not even close to that yet.

What is your philosophy about eating?
I have always been "naturally" skinny, although when I do put on weight, it is generally only around my midriff section, making me look like a ball atop two nails. Since I started riding though, I now have some thigh definition, which has given me a slightly more balanced look. The two main foods I have found that contribute the most towards weight-gain are ice cream (I used to eat 1~2 small cups of chocolate flavor per day), and salted crackers (these were like a comfort food - something to crunch on every few minutes), of which I would eat one or two packets per day. I suppose it was even a form of denial when I'd tell myself that, "No, it's not the crackers that are making me fat, but all of the other stuff I'm eating..."
Once I was able to identify which foods were causing the problem, it was much easier to put them on the "never-to-be-eaten-again" list. I still allow myself ice cream once a week though, on cheat days.

What is your post-ride nutrition?
One of the best recipes I've discovered to keep the ice-cream cravings at bay is the "Banana-tofu smoothie". It's delicious and healthy. It is also my main post-ride nutrition drink - Tofu is loaded with protein.
This is my breakfast on weekdays too - quick & easy, and it gets me through the morning.

How do you fuel when you do long rides?
For really long rides (over 100 miles), I usually start carb-loading the night before. I'll either eat a huge bowl of pasta with Bolognese sauce, or I'll have extra rice with my stir-fry. During the ride, I will take with me a banana, a sports gel, and a few pieces of pound cake. Riding in Japan, means that there are convenience stores within 20 miles of almost anywhere, so you can pretty much fill up anytime you like. But that kind of defeats the purpose - With my training rides for Okinawa, I have a 53-mile practice course, with no stops at all, and I have to eat everything while I'm pedaling (my self-imposed rules). My current time for the course is 3:28:15. My goal is to complete it in under 3 hours.

What is your philosophy about weigh loss?
My philosophy for weight loss happens to be the universal philosophy: "Burn more calories than you consume!" This is the golden rule. It's almost like a law of physics.
My daily diet now is very simple:
Breakfast: Banana-tofu smoothie - 300kCal
Lunch: Noodles - 300kCal
Dinner: Stir-fried meat/chicken/fish & vegetables, with a small serving of rice - 550kCal
On commute days, I also add a rice-ball (200kCal), and a piece of chicken (400kCal) between meals.
My weight seems to have hit a plateau at 155lbs. Next, I will have to start watching the calories I drink in the form of fruit-juices, coffee (with milk & sugar) and sports-drinks. My guess is that they are adding up to a lot more than I currently suspect.

Tell us when, and how you biked to Mount Fuji
Before I ever started thinking about doing the Mt. Fuji ride, I had been experimenting with ultra-distance overnight rides; kind of like "Brevets", or "Randonneuring" (200 ~ 250 miles). My first challenge was to ride across the middle of Japan from Tokyo, on the Pacific side, to Niigata, on the Japan Sea side - 222 miles. I left Tokyo at 8pm, and arrived in Niigata at 3pm the following day, then catching the bullet-train back to Tokyo, I was back home by 7pm (less than 24 hours for the round-trip). With that ride under my belt, I decided an even more adventurous ride - One way from Tokyo to Kameyama, in Mie prefecture - 272 miles away. This would rank as my most challenging ride to date. Not only because of the distance, but because it was done in late December, when it was freezing cold, and because I had a headwind to contend with almost the entire way. I was sure I could make the entire trip in under 24 hours, but with the cold and the wind, it took 28 hours - I left Tokyo at 3pm, and arrived at 7pm the following evening. Still, at 272 miles, that is my current record for a single ride.
Having done that, I figured Mt. Fuji would be a piece of cake. But no, Fuji is a different animal altogether.
The ride itself was the easy part - Having done two 200+ mile rides, meant that riding the 80-something miles to Fuji would prove to be no problem, and in fact, that part of the trip couldn't have gone more smoothly. Hiking up the hill, I also found was not so difficult ... up to a point, literally! It's hard to pin-point exactly where it starts, but at a certain altitude (between the 8th & 9th stations: Elevation 10,500ft ~ 11,500ft [The 10th station being the top, at 12,388ft]), walking becomes a chore, until finally, every step takes about 2 seconds to complete with an altitude gain of only about 4 inches at a time. One other thing I found even more distressing, as a cyclist, was that "going downhill on foot" does NOT equate to the fun of going downhill on two wheels. Walking downhill is just as, if not even more, strenuous than climbing.

What advice would I give anyone wanting to try this?
Don't just practice your cycling; go out into the mountains with some hiking boots, and spend some time walking around - preferably at altitude. A few weekends in a row ought to be enough to strengthen the ligaments and tendons that don't often get used when cycling only. I went into the whole Fuji thing with NO hiking preparation at all, and it hurt a lot - especially coming back down. I would have liked to run down, if only to get back to some breathable air, but my legs were mush, and I had to slog it out for a further two hours. I would have killed for a walking stick.

What advice would you offer to someone that wants to make a change in his or her physical activity?
For those people out there who want to make a change in their physical activity, I would say the very first and most important step is "Making a firm decision"! Once the decision has been made, the rest usually takes care of itself - You'll start asking yourself the right questions; the "How can I?" questions instead of the "Why can't I?" questions. The next step, although not necessary, can be helpful; Start recording everything. How much you weigh, what your waist size is, etc. Then when you make changes, even small ones, it'll give you the motivation to continue.

What brand of bike do you ride?
My bicycle of choice is a "Giant". On the TCC website, my original username was, "YellowGiant". That bike wasn't even yellow, but a gunmetal gray aluminum Giant - with yellow splashes, on various parts. When I crashed that bike, I had no idea what kind of bike I wanted to get to replace it. As fate would have it, I ended up with another Giant, this time in white - a beautiful carbon TCR Advanced model. So, a quick call to the TCC website administrator, and I am now known as, "WhiteGiant".
Thankfully, after changing the fork on my old gunmetal gray (Yellow)Giant, and upgrading a few parts here & there, it has now been restored to "fully-operational" status, and is my current commuting bike - The best of both worlds.

Where can we follow you on your journey?
I don't have a formal blog, because, well, I'm lazy in that respect. But I do occasionally post blogs on the TCC website when I feel a ride has been long enough, or hard enough to warrant writing about. I will definitely be writing about the Tour de Okinawa at the end of November - I'm expecting it to be a true adventure, filled with tales of overcoming and personal victories on a grand and mighty scale. Can't wait to read about it, myself. At the very least, I hope it will inspire others to just get out and ride.

Arrives at the 5th Station...the farthest bikes can go. Now to the hike...

At the 7th Station on Mount Fuji
(There are 10 stations from the bottom to the top of Fuji)

At the Summit!

If you want to read the blog entry about Travis' trek to Mount Fuji, it is HERE


Travis, thank you again for a great interview! You've inspired a lot of readers today, and many readers to come. We'll be looking for posts on the Tokyo Cycling Club website to see what you've been doing.