J'ai gagné le Tour de Crosstown 2016!

Everyone knows that today the finish line for Le Tour de France was crossed on Les Champs-Élysées in Paris... And if you haven't seen some of the videos I highly recommend checking out the onboard camera views and the landscapes! Quel beau pays

I'm happy to let you know that today I won the Tour de Crosstown 2016 which is the cycling competition at Lifetime Crosstown inspired by and concurrent to Le Tour de France. There were about twenty cyclists competing to see who could earn the most points -- by attending cycling class bien sûr. I earned the maillot jaune with 23 points and my next closest competitor had 16 points (with the peloton far behind). But that's just part of the story.

Tour de Crosstown 2016

For some time I've been coming to Life Time Fitness at Crosstown for yoga (in Josefina's class) and playing racquetball with my friend David. The cycling studio is right next to the racquetball courts and there's been a class on Saturday's at the same time we usually play. I told David that it looked like fun and he said, having tried it, that it is fun (and a big workout). In early June David got busy and then had an injury that has kept him off the court ever since. So one Saturday morning I decided to try cycling.

I borrowed a heart rate monitor (but had no idea what it was for) and tried to bike along in my regular gym shorts, shoes and a t-shirt. Despite being a cycling newbie I was immediately captured by Alison's music and enthusiasm. She's dancing on her bike and you can't help but lock in the beat. Of course that's just after she tells you to dial up the resistance... and the sweat just pours out!

I admit that workout hit me pretty hard, but I had to come back and try the 5:45 am Wednesday EDGE cycle class (gulp). Despite what sounds like a crazy impossible time to get out and on a bike it actually works out super well. This plan requires one to up-level one's organization and after the workout I can assure you that you're fully awake and charged for the day!

Soon I invested in my own heart rate monitor. Then I realized it would work so much better if I had a metabolic assessment to tune my aerobic and anaerobic training zones. While I signed up for the assessment I decided to work with May as my personal trainer. In addition to helping me with my upper body (complementing the cycling) May is a nutritionist and has helped me dial in this critical facet of training. Even though I'm still working to tune my diet around my workouts, I've already learned a lot by using My Fitness Pal and, most importantly, I have a whole new attitude about food.

Pour les curieux, la nutritioniste maison s'est absentée en France pendant le mois de juillet.

Soon I would invest in bike shoes, jerseys and shorts and begin to push myself into the proper zones during workouts and fuel my body properly afterwords. All these changes have led to dramatic weight loss \o/

A few of you know that the past two years have involved a lot of personal hardship. Upon reflection I have come to appreciate that things in my life that I can actually control are a massive opportunity. I decided that fixing my exercise and nutrition were the opportunities I want to focus on. A note for for my Debian friends... I'm sorry to have missed you in Cape Town, but I hope to join you in Montréal next year.

So when the Tour de Crosstown started in July I decided this was the time for me to get serious. I want to thank all the instructors for the great workouts (and for all the calories I've left on the bike): Alison, Kristine, Olivia, Tasha, and Caroline!

The result of my lifestyle changes are hard to describe.. I feel an amazing amount of energy every day. The impact of prior back injury is now almost non-existent. And what range of motion I hadn't recovered from the previous summer's being "washing machined" by a 3 meter wave while body surfing at the beach in Hossegor is now fully working.

Now I'm thinking it's time to treat myself to a new bike :) I'm looking at large touring frames and am currently thinking of the Surly Disc Trucker. In terms of bike shops I've had a good experience with One on One and Grand Performance has come highly recommended. If anyone has suggestions for bikes, bike features, or good shops please let me know!

I would encourage everyone here in Minneapolis to join me as guest for a Wed morning 5:45am EDGE cycle class. I'm betting you'll have as much fun as a I do.. and I guarantee you will sweat! The challenge in waking up will pay off handsomely in making you energized for the whole day.

Let's bike allons-y!