FINALLY! After almost 8 months, I FINALLY got back out on my mountain bike today. The whole ride I had that old Gene Autry song in my head and a silly smile plastered on my face. I don’t really know what took me so long. Yes, I was scared after the tumble I took last fall, but it’s not like it was my first wipeout. Anyway. I’m back, baby. No more hiding behind my commuter (as much as I love it).

There was a little bit of a extra motivation for finally saying to myself today, come hell or high water, I would ride. Despite it being Canada Day and there being lots of fun things going on, and despite having a sun burn from partaking in other fun local activities yesterday (namely free outdoor concerts at the local jazz festival – man I love this town).

As it happens, my favourite place to ride is mostly shaded – which was an essential part of the plan. Between my sun burn and the sudden arrival of summer, I couldn’t have ridden in the sun today. Our Aussie team-member Neil might laugh at me, but there’s no way I am built to ride in the 30 degree Celsius weather we’re having. But, give me the dappled shade of a forest, and suddenly the air is fresh and sweet as it blows the hair off my neck.

Today was the day. No more putting it off, because in only seven weeks Rivers and I will be back at Silver Star resort, this time for at least two full days of riding. And, eight months of only riding on pavement has not prepared me for that. I’m rusty, and out of shape, and it’s time to do something about it.

Not that the trip is my sole motivation for getting fit – it’s just time. I have been making excuses about my health for two years now, and that is doing nothing to stop the weight gain. This spring Rivers and I took on a 30 day clean eating challenge that jump started eating better. It was a great start, and it’s time to do a little more. To lose weight and still have no energy and no vigour defeats the purpose. I don’t want to be skinny; I want to be strong, vibrant and healthy.

And so, here’s my summer challenge to myself:

  • two mountain bike rides per week
  • at least 30 minutes of movement at least 5 days a week (two of these can be the MTB rides)
  • continuing to eat clean on 80% of meals (no sugar, dairy, alcohol, soy, grain, starchy veg)

I’ll be updating here on my regular posts (weight loss and lost waist inches, which are the only two measurements I care about), and you can follow me on Strava – where I will be tracking mountain bike rides, commuter rides, and walks/hikes – and on Twitter for more frequent updates. And, if you want to take on your own summer fitness challenge – let me know with a comment. There’s strength in numbers and I’d love to support anyone who is challenging themselves.

Oh, and by the way – I cleared two climbs today that I’ve never cleared before. Not too shabby for taking so long off. It felt great, but there’s still a long way to go before I can ride two days at a bike park and still think I’m having fun.

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