I don’t know why we expect things not to change. They always do. As a new dad I’m well aware that the only things under the sun that don’t change by themselves are nappies.
I only wish they would!
I’ve learned, of late that one thing that has a habit of changing, at a speed of great rapidity (much faster than my cycling) is my waistline. Said circumference has expanded (somewhat) and so I’ve entered the battle of the bulge.
(It’s just been pointed out to me that as a male cyclist in Lycra I could have used a less innuendo-packed phrase. Well I’ve done it now, so we’ll all grow up and stick with it.)
Let me give some context. I’m a cyclist of the enthusiastic (but not necessarily ‘very good’) variety. I got into cycling in order to lose weight. It’s a familiar story, one that I won’t bore you with – it culminates in me losing five stones.
Was I pleased?
I was thrilled! If I had a little more coordination of limb I’d have done cartwheels. I don’t, these days such a manoeuvre would probably have ended in a trip to A&E.
With my newly lithe body – I say this ironically, I went from 22 ½ to 17 ½ stones (I’m 6’5”) – I found cycling a thrilling and rewarding activity. I live in Devon and enjoyed exploring the local countryside on two wheels, a particular favourite being long days out on Dartmoor. If you know the area you’d probably recognise me, I’d be the one drenched in sweat taking ‘a little lie down’ by the side of the road. I’ll never be a pro-cyclist. In fact, I’ll never be anything other than proficient, so I was glad to complete my own personal Tour (in this case spelt ‘Tor’).
I don’t know about you, but there really is something freeing about being somewhere beautiful, propelled by nothing other than your own steam. I find cycling – when not having altercations some of our less thoughtful four-wheeled friends – a calming activity. The perfect time to think and blow off the cobwebs. During this time, while being far from thin, I was keeping on top of my weight. Spending a lot of time in Lycra meant I did my darnedest not to appear like the Michelin man.
You can hear it coming, can’t you? The ‘but’. Something happened that rocked this happy set of circumstances in my cycling life. Something cataclysmic that send me head long into my current battle with the bulge. What was it?
The event in question was the birth of my son, Samuel.
Now don’t get me wrong. My son’s birth and the surrounding activities it has generated have been some of the best (and most tiring) moments of my life. They have, however, left precious little time for bike-based activities. Finding time to blow my nose seems to be an impossibility at the moment, so you can image how cycling fairs.
Let’s put it this way, my bike misses me.
As the weather begins to change, my thoughts have turned to my favourite two wheeled occupation. I had a bit of a talk with myself – never the most fun of activities, I heard it all before – and made the vow to get out of my bike more. As part of this vow I decided to treat myself with one of the lovely shirts from the good people at OnTor. I’m not a native Devonian, but I’m fiercely proud of my adopted county. I won’t lie to you, I was excited about the arrival of this little gift, from me, to me.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened next.
The shirt arrived as expected. Is there anything better than the soft thud of a present you’ve bought yourself landing on the doormat? Actually, thinking about it, that’s probably not a good sound if what you’ve purchased is crockery. With barely hidden joy I ripped open the packaging, to reveal the beautiful green of the OnTor shirt. I pulled it on and realised that I’m now slightly, no… ‘significantly’ larger than my previous XL size. As a cyclist I’m used to tight clothing, but this was too revealing.
The problem wasn’t with the shirt, it was with me. I’d somehow overindulged in my new state of fatherhood and the weight had crept up on me. So here I am at the beginning of my battle. My target is to lose enough weight to comfortably fit into my lovely new jersey.
Will I beat the bulge?
Of course I will!
I’ll be wearing that OnTor shirt, riding up the tors before you know it.
Just you wait and see.
Stay tuned for more…
Chris McGuire is a Devon-based writer, cyclist and new Dad, follow him on Twitter @McGuireski and at https://outofdepthdad.wordpress.com/about-out-of-depth-dad/