Thursday, January 12, 2006

Step away

I did an hour-long ride on the trainer tonight so I could cook some dinner and amp up for a short outdoor ride later. It's finally good and below 20 degrees, so I thought I could try out some of my colder weather gear. Only now it's later and here I sit, losing steam by the second (much like Mt. Augustine, currently settling after her initial blow.) It's not that I feel psychotically compelled to ride every day. It's just that now the conditions are ideal - clear, calm, cold, and no volcanic ash clogging up the air.

Perhaps I'll leave first thing in the morning for an early ride before work. Hmmm - that sounds just like one of the "lies we tell ourselves" mentioned on Fat Cyclist's site. Reading Fatty's and other real racers' Web sites has fueled my ambition and focused my training, but one side effect of this information glut from endurance athletes is a heightened focus on a much more ambiguous part of myself - my weight.

I'm never been one to gain or lose weight too quickly, so I never really noticed the fluctuations. I was honestly shocked when I bought my first gym membership two years ago and learned I weighed 159 pounds (this happened mere months after I returned from a 3,200-mile bike tour that, at the time, I believed left me in pretty good shape.) But thanks to an increased level of road biking, my efforts to curb my Pepsi habit, and the peer pressure of well-meaning Spin Nazis at the Apple Fitness, I was able to shave off 30 pounds without trying to diet. I weighed 128 toward the end of summer 2005 and hardly noticed the difference, except for occasional comments my mom would make about my need to buy new pants ('but wearing jeans around your hips is all the rage ... isn't it? No?' The truth is, I'm tragically turned off to fashion cycles.)

But the only reason I mention all this now is because I'm gaining weight again. I have an admittedly ancient bathroom scale that was purchased at the Salvation Army when we first moved to Alaska. On first use, the needle hovered around 130. Now ... closer to 135.

I'm not sure why I'm gaining weight. I do think it has something to do with my increased physical activity over the past six weeks. It could be muscle ... although I haven't done all that much strength training to really build muscle mass. It could be that my equilibrium is thrown off and my appetite has skyrocketed, causing me to inhale box after box of cold cereal without the former benefit of guilt. I don't know. But the worst part is, I do feel guilty about it. Because if I'm going to be carrying myself over 100 miles of snowmachine trail in February, less of me is better - right? I haven't really decided whether or not I'm going to start a cliche New Years diet or simply ignore my scale and hope my body finds its happy place. After all ... you need body fat to keep you warm for winter riding, don't you? Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.