Bike MS: Central Ohio Challenge, 95 Miles, 2015

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IMG_0999  Most of you already know that I had been planning to ride in the Bike MS: Central Ohio Challenge (COC) again this year.  The COC isn’t just a challenge of endurance; it’s a challenge to fight the damaging effects of Multiple Sclerosis and end it forever. This was to raise funds to aid in the effort of the over 15,000 people living with MS, in Ohio alone.

This also supports 24 researchers currently working on 25 projects. These projects are conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Athersys Inc, Ohio State University, and Kent State University. Total funding for these efforts is $8,975,200! The funding covers projects from July 2012 through June 2019. As of the beginning of the ride, I had only raised $100, with a minimum of $150 needed to participate. I had paid my entry fee, made a $ 35 donation and raised $65. Any balance would be applied to my credit card, which I had to sign for prior to riding. My riding partner, who I also rode with last year, heard I was short of my goal, and put in $50 after the ride. He had already raised his funds. Donations are still accepted through August for those who considered donating or still wish too.

We had rain for the days leading up to the ride, with the possibility of a window of sunshine on ride day. Saturday morning was in the low sixties when I got up at 5 am, (yawn). Coffee, oatmeal, fudge PopTarts, (pure sugar carb), a shower and I was off for registration.

As my wife and I headed out, the sun began to rise, what a beautiful sight it was! We were blessed with perfect riding conditions for the day. As we pulled into the parking area, my wife and I were greeted by my friend Mike, whom I had finished the ride with, the year before. I went inside, picked up my packet, bib number, and T-shirt and headed back out.IMG_20150711_065356_967

Mike was anxious to get on the road, due partly to the fact that it would be hilly terrain and he had some medical issues since our ride last year. The course was open at 7 am and we were to be finished by 5 pm that same day. I had heard that there were 250 entrants, with courses that were 35, 50, and 95 miles in length. We would have rest stops with water, Gatorade, fruit, snacks and toilets, every 15-20 miles, a lunch stop at about 50, then two more stops before we would cross the finish line. IMG_20150711_091610_377    The stops were set-up well and always a welcome relief. A chance to grab a banana, a Special K brownie, (one of my favorites on this ride), chips, cookies, a drink, and look at the mapped route. Once refueled and stretched, we would mount back up.

IMG_20150711_085235_171    We went through rural towns, such as Woodstock, (Ohio remember), and past soybean and corn fields. We saw some beautiful country along our route.IMG_20150711_094545_084    One of our stops was setup next to a true farmers market.    IMG_20150711_105650_898    It doesn’t get anymore Americana than that. As we headed on towards Bellfontaine, home of the First Concrete Street in America, and highest elevation in the state, we began to hit the hills. IMG_20150711_095201_239    This looked like it was going to be a steady climb, and as we topped the first crest, we saw that there was more to this than met the eye. IMG_20150711_095244_338    We made it of course, but the elevation changes were taking a toll on my friend. We ended up in a group of four other riders, who had also committed to the 95 mile course. It was soon becoming apparent that the higher points were now upon us. IMG_20150711_110534_403     Some of these hills were now demanding that only the strongest of cyclists would pedal to the top. IMG_20150711_112212_283  The views were spectacular however. IMG_20150711_112033_921    At one point, on a stretch called The Corkscrew, I dropped into my easiest gear and the chain bound up between the frame and gears. Being clipped in to the pedals at this point is not a plus. Down I went. I unclipped, got up, brushed some gravel from my knee and got back on. A little pride bruising and some soreness, but I was okay. I was committed to own this hill, just as my friends were committed to finishing the course. I don’t know if you can imagine the amount of pride I had, to be a part of the group of riders that would finish this ride dead last. We all knew it, the motorcycle escort had been behind us for some time. We all knew inside of us that what we were going through was nothing compared to what those who suffer from MS or have lost a loved one because of it, go through everyday.

My friend kept telling me to ride on without him because he didn’t want to hold me back, but I had told him that I would cross that finish line with him. We both knew my average speed and his were different, our age span is twelve years, I work out daily and am at 13% body fat. Throw a pacemaker into the bag of tricks and you get the picture. It wasn’t happening.

I rode back down the corkscrew and then back up it, coaching my fellow riders on. They of course said I was nuts and going the wrong way. All I could think of was Tom Petty, “I won’t back down”.

We made it up that hill and every smaller one after that. It wasn’t too long before the scenery became a little flatter and started to become more familiar. The scenery was truly remarkable. IMG_20150711_135702_328     One of our last stops was at a covered bridge, of which Ohio has many.

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To bring this to a close, We had conquered what we set out to do. My friend asked for some personal trainer advice and I gladly gave him some. I also told him that I hoped that we would conquer next years course together as well. It wasn’t a race, it was a ride. It was a time of sharing, camaraderie, some pain and some laughter.

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We crossed that finish line together, and I look forward to writing a similar story next year at about this same time.

This story goes out to my friend Mike and his pursuit to raise awareness towards MS, my friend Amanda who suffers from MS, and my newest supporter and sufferer of MS, Danny. I thank each one of you for what you do and endure.

In fitness, Bob

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Breakfast and Bicycles

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IMG_20150710_105559_936      Today should be a rest day for me, since tomorrow I have my 95 mile ride for MS. However, being slightly hard headed, thanks Dad, I just had to get in a quick ride today.

It is overcast in Columbus, Ohio with storms moving through, hopefully tomorrow brings sunshine and, ahem, humidity. This morning I rode across the local reservoir, Hoover. From this lower level there are steps leading up to the top of the dam, so I ran up them with my bike in hand.

Now for the breakfast part of this post. Tomorrow’s breakfast has been pre-made, due to the fact that I will be getting up at 5 am to warm up, stretch, shower, dress, eat and head out to pick up my packet and be on the course between 7:00 & 8:00.

IMG_20150710_081213_984      My breakfast will be mostly carbohydrate to fuel for the ride. I prefer steel cut oats since you use only 1/4 cup for a serving and they are a long burning, low glycemic food. I pre-make this in a pint jar and can grab it whenever I’m ready.

IMG_20150710_080612_600      The first thing I did was to mix the dry ingredients together. They are; 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbsp Pb2 (powdered pnut butter), 2 Tbsp chia seeds, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Next I added 3/4 c Almond Milk and stirred well. Then I added 1/2 a banana and mixed it in. Then I put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator until morning.

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I have posted on refrigerator oats before, and the variations are limited only to your taste preferences. I did happen to find a package of fudge Pop Tarts in the pantry that I will devour for the pure delight of entitlement.

In fitness, Bob

Riding for Multiple Sclerosis

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There are only two weeks left until I ride to support Multiple Sclerosis. I am riding the 95 mile route this year and would appreciate any support you can give. Just click below where it says Donate To Me.
Thank you!

Progress: 23%

Goal $150.00Achieved $35.00

Fundraising Honor Roll

Robert Rice
$35

Weight Loss Specialist

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I just finished and passed my WLS exam, and am now a Certified Weight Loss Specialist through the N.A.S.M. This helps me deal with physiological and psychological issues that clients may experience, and are associated with weight loss.
A major part of keeping my certification current as a Certified Personal Trainer is continuing education. Personal trainers do NOT have to be certified in all states, and Ohio is one of them. I would not let just anyone teach me proper self defense, exercise, investing, or any number of skills simply because they can. My life, money, time, and body are valuable.

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In fitness, Bob

Planks, or, How Long Can You Hold This?

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I want to share with you a story of mental strength over physical fitness. Most of you have heard that you have to overcome your physical barriers with the proper mindset. Whether or not you call this determination, willpower, dedication, perseverance, or just mind over matter is up to you. The result is the same.

This story involves something I never gave a lot of thought to, and an eight year old boy that never spends time in his thoughts of physical willpower because, well, he is eight years old and doesn’t really have too.

My wife had entered her third 5k run and asked if I could pick up her number and shirt for her. I told her no problem, since it would give me a chance to network the fitness exhibits at the Columbus Convention Center, downtown Columbus, Ohio.

The Cap City Marathon was sponsored in part by Ohio Health. They had a booth set up as did many other vendors. I had just finished listening to a speech by author and fitness advocate, Julie Wilkes. When she wrapped up she announced that there would be a planking competition. I wanted to watch that but got caught up chatting.

Just as I got to the Ohio Health booth, they were announcing the winner of the plank challenge. It had barely lasted three and a half minutes, with three contestants. I thought to myself, “I can do better than that”, but I missed out. I turned to the guy next to me and he was wearing a ‘Trainer’ shirt from a local gym. I told him I was surprised he wasn’t in it. He replied, “Yeah I should’ve, I can hold a four and a half minute plank”.

Now it gets a little interesting, I’ll get to the eight year old in a minute. One of the Ohio Health people asked if we would like to do a head to head, and I said I was in. Well, they ended up recruiting nine participants for the challenge. The best time by the way was from the day before at six minutes, fifty seconds.

We all got into position on our forearms and toes and when the time keeper counted us down to zero we were up in a horizontal plank position. (For those of you not familiar with a plank, it is an a show of core, or abdominal strength. You tighten your muscles so that you are straight as a board. Most people would be happy with a three minute hold. No sagging or butt in the air.) And for the record, the world record is four hours, twenty six minutes, set by a Chinese Swat policeman from Beijing.

We were counted off at each fifteen second interval and it wasn’t long before participants started dropping . Every muscle in your body begins to tighten up, you start to shake uncontrollably, and you succumb. Most of the plankers dropped before the six minute mark, and it wasn’t long before it was just myself and a young lady next to me. I cheered her up when I said the trainer on the end had dropped.

As we approached eight minutes, she said she couldn’t keep up, I told to make it to nine. Honestly, I couldn’t believe we were both still in this thing. At nine minutes, she dropped. I had won the challenge and beaten the best time from the day before. I had found a renewed strength.

I could hear the time keeper saying I had won and could stop, but I wasn’t done. This was now a test of my mind telling my body what it would do. I was beginning to tire and could feel my legs trembling. I concentrated on my breathing to make sure my muscles had some oxygen. As the time keeper hit twelve minutes, I dropped. I was finished. This is where the best part is though, read on.

As I was given a tee shirt for my effort, this boy in the audience was telling his mom that one of the plankers was on her knees and should’ve been out. His mom told him to do it better. So this kid challenges his mom. We start cheering them on and they begin.

The time keeper started counting them through and at about a minute and a half, mom drops. At that point I got down on the floor to cheer the boy on. The same boy that had cheered me on. I told him he could do it. I said “You are capable of doing anything you put your mind to.” I told him I knew what his body felt like at that moment, that he wanted to quit but that he wanted to beat the earlier record of almost seven minutes. As he hit six minutes, the count was every ten seconds, at six and a half minutes he looked at me and asked how much more. I told him only twenty seconds, to push through and fight it. He passed the six minute, fifty second mark and stopped at seven minutes.

IMG_20150502_190112     The pride in that boys eyes meant more to me than any accomplishment I did. He performed a feat of mental strength that he didn’t even have the muscular endurance for. When he finished, his mom wanted a picture of us together. I gladly obliged and asked for one myself.

Don’t ever let yourself succumb to the self talk of being denied an opportunity to at least attempt to overcome whatever your obstacle is. The mind is very powerful, harness it and use it.

In fitness, Bob

Good food

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1) I started my morning off with 2 farm fresh eggs, (not store bought), 4 ozs. white chicken, 2 Tbsp. green chiles, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. I also had a pink grapefruit and a protein shake. This is not my daily a.m. meal however.

I was reading a post from fellow blogger Kelly Toups about living close to Whole Foods and thought I would share a similar story. Living in the “Cowtown” of Columbus, Ohio, I am fortunate to be able to drive ten minutes to the country. Fresh produce, fruit, eggs and other offerings are an easy find for me.

IMG_20140925_092024_015 My wife and I enjoy going to farmers markets, and scouting out bargains. Last weekend we scored on seconds, (blemished), of Honey Crisp apples, sweet corn, cabbage, and tomatoes. The apples don’t last the way I go through them but we can, vacuum pack and freeze, or dry whatever we possibly can. IMG_20140925_092907_855 It is interesting and sad to hear negative comments about blemished food that is perfectly good, nutritious and marked down significantly. Some people are turned off to think corn may have a worm or fruit might be bruised. I don’t know about you, but I carry a couple of my own battle scars. We however have no problem enjoying the bounty that fall has to offer. I came upon a miss-sized mushroom order once at a produce outlet and my wife and I learned how to can mushrooms. Not only did we save a bunch of money but we learned something.

I hope you have an opportunity to visit a road side stand or farmers market and pick up your own choices of fresh food. The flavor is accentuated when you become more involved in the process and accomplishment of designing your meal around your purchase.

In fitness, Bob