If He Can Do It, I Can Do It

My grandpa is an amazing man.  He was born during the Great Depression.  His mother, father, and eight other brothers and sisters struggled through life in a small two-bedroom house (the house he still lives in today) in rural Missouri.  His father died when he was only 8 years old, and he dropped out of the 3rd grade to get a job to take care of his mother and other siblings.  He went on to fight for our country with the Navy during World War II.  As he got older, he got sick and had three strokes over the course of two years.

After his last stroke, his doctor recommended that he begin riding a bicycle to help him recover and improve his health.  Since the Katy Trail passes right through his yard, cycling was the perfect activity for him.  Less than eight years after his third stroke, he has now ridden his bike more than 10,000 miles!  Oh, and did I mention that the strokes left him unable to even use his left hand?  Like I said, he is amazing.

For his 80th birthday in 2006, he announced that he wanted to ride the whole length of the Katy Trail, from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO, a span of 265 miles.  My aunt and I planned the trip, and in October my grandpa rode the Katy Trail over the course of three days while we followed in a car in case there were any mishaps.  He had the time of his life and started talking about taking the trip again before even finishing the first trip.  So every year since 2006, he has made the trek from Clinton to St. Charles.

This year, my grandpa turns 85.  This October, we will once again be taking a trip across Missouri to ride the Katy Trail.  There is one thing different about this trip, though.  I am going to ride the ENTIRE THING (265 miles!) with my grandpa.  Now, I usually ride with him for small sections of the trip, but I have never tried to ride every leg with him.

As of Monday I had seven weeks to get prepared to ride about 85 miles a day for three straight days.  I mapped out a training program, and I feel confident that I can do it.  My mantra is, if my grandpa can do it at 85 years old with only one good hand, I do not have an excuse! 

I ride my exercise bike pretty often, but I haven't ridden my actual bike in...ahem...a while.  I decided to start off fairly light with a 5-mile ride on Monday.  The ride went pretty well, but riding the exercise bike is nothing compared to actually riding outdoors.  According to my Polar heartrate monitor, I burned 338 calories in 35 minutes.

On Tuesday, it was raining, so I rode the exercise bike inside.  I burned 283 calories in 36 minutes (proof that outdoor cycling burns more calories than an exercise bike).

On Wednesday, I discovered this awesome iPhone app, Cyclemeter.  The app works like a bike computer.  It tracks your speed, location, elevation, time, and distance using the built-in GPS on the iPhone.  I love that it's integrated with Google Maps and shows your route.  Here are my Wednesday stats.  And by the way, when it says 2.55 mph for my speed, I was walking then.  I'm not that slow on the bike!

Today, I upped my mileage and did 10 miles and burned 640 calories.  The last three miles were tough, but I felt so good when I finished.  I love how I feel when I get off the bike.  I don't know why I haven't ridden more often.  Here are my Thursday screenshots.

Do you ever cycle for fitness?

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