Fall 'coffee rides' meet tubby guy

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November is the time of year for mellow coffee rides and mountain biking in Thatcher Woods. It is the time to sleep in a little, which is not easy for bikers used to getting up at 5 a.m. for the morning workout.

Sprints with the group are slower and shorter. There is a lot more talking and a lot less grunting.

Another byproduct of this relative inertia is Fall weight gain. A fringe benefit of those six-hour rides during the summer was that we burned a lot of calories. Maybe that is why the après-cycling summer coffee at Starbucks always included sweet blueberry scones and apple fritters. 

These same treats are on display after our Fall “coffee rides,” but now they are menaces. 

One friend reduced all weight loss attempts to this formula: calories in and calories out. My typical Fall calorie calculation goes like this: workout less and keep eating the same as when I worked out more. The results show. Pants get tighter. Buttons pop. Who is that tubby guy in the mirror? 

It seems like only yesterday — well, actually a month ago — that I was relatively trim.

My skinny cycling friends are full of advice. Eat slooooowly. No butter. God I hate advice from skinnies on how to lose weight. I know what I have to do. 

So, one evening this week I set up the trainer in the basement by the TV and attached my tri-bike. The next night I road it for a half hour and it was not fun. And the next night I road for 40 minutes and it still was not fun, but I could visualize a winter routine beginning to form.

And I have stopped buying the chocolate muffin every morning at the Marion Street El stop. I am trying to eat bananas (yuck) and apples instead. I am really trying not to eat the mid-afternoon Hostess cupcake, and sometimes convince myself that the trail mix with the M&M's is a better option.

And I know the worst is still to come. Thanksgiving and pies and Christmas parties and cakes and shrimp cocktails and that really good Stilton cheese. And a heady Shiraz and Prosecco and maybe a little grappa.

And I know that my only defense against this cascade of calories and weak will power is to get on the bike and suffer and ride and run and then swim at FFC. And really swim and not just intend to swim but sit in the hot tub for 20 minutes and then head to the showers. 

I've got my work cut out for me. 

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