RideWithGPS: Jim’s RidewithGPS.com Ride Library

Strava: Jim’s Strava Profile

Favorite Ride (to this point):
French Creek, Ridge Road, Not Flat to Dutch Flat

Several years ago, I realized being overweight and out of shape was not what I wanted to be for the rest of my life.  I needed to change my lifestyle by improving my diet and starting to exercise regularly.  At first, I started going to the gym on a regular basis and my energy level improved and I started slimming down.  After several months, I realized going to the gym was not the right answer as I was getting bored with the workouts.  I started looking for other activities and mentioned this to a co-worker who suggested I try cycling.  At nearly 300 pounds, I was skeptical about cycling and I had never had any interest in an endurance type activity.  Fortunately, I decided to give it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it.

About a year later (April 2013), I decided to take cycling to the next level, joined Cycle Folsom and started the Gruppetto series.  The experience was fantastic.  I learned many important cycling skills required for riding safely in a group.  After completing the Gruppetto series, I started riding with the Peloton group and was dropped within a few miles.  It was frustrating.  It was tempting to ride on my own, but I figured I needed to keep showing up and trying.  Many times a CF rider would drop back and keep me company or I rode with another slower rider.

Slowly, but surely, I was able to hang on longer and the gaps were not as big which allowed me to rejoin the group at regroup points.  Furthermore, I found other riders with the same abilities to make the rides challenging and fun.  Other CF riders provided continual encouragement and advice.

In 2014, I completed my first century and rode over 5500 miles.  I also learned the value of setting goals (another tip from experienced CF riders) and, by the end of the year, I had planned my goals for the next year – 2015.

For 2015, I wanted to achieve the Death Ride.  With 15,000+ feet of climbing and nearly 130 miles, this seemed like a daunting event.  But, I needed to set a tough goal to help drive myself to higher levels of fitness.  CF’s Train for the Tours series of progressively harder century rides combined with regular training rides provided a great training base.  Furthermore, the TftT rides provided the mental training to realize you could push yourself much harder and further than you ever thought possible.  The Death Ride was an incredible experience and it was one of the most challenging physical accomplishments I have ever done.  Without all the support and encouragement from CF, I would not have been able to do it.  By the end of 2015, I had ridden over 6000 miles and completed my 12th century.

As a ride leader, I try to post and host rides that are suitable for newer riders.  From my own experiences, I know the transition to Peloton rides can be a tough experience.  I will make sure the posted pace is enforced and I will try to ensure the group rides in a safe manner.  I encourage everyone who is serious about riding to stick with it and ride regularly.  If you put the effort in, CF members will help you and you will improve.  You will also find CF members are friendly, passionate about cycling and encouraging.