Been away but I’m back!

I know that its been a long time since I have been here, but I promise that its been all for a good reason. I have started my own business named Wholesome Fitness and Nutrition. The business is built to work with people that are obese and have tried without success to lose the weight. As most of you know I was once over 400 pounds and as such I have a unique perspective on what it takes both mentally and physically to lose a great deal of weight. Am I the picture of what most come to expect from a trainer? No and that’s the way I want it to be. I have walked in the shoes of a morbidly obese body and how much work it takes in body and mind take it off and keep it off.

I am also a huge fan of cycling. With that in mind I am developing a twist on the typical spinning class and its called the Tour de Maine. I will have details soon but I am very excited about it. One thing that I want to come from the Tour de Maine is a percentage going to the Obesity Action Coalition. The OAC is the only national non-profit whose sole purpose is helping individuals effected by obesity. As we all know obesity is a significant problem in the United States and Maine is not immune. I really want to see what we can do to help and it all starts with taking care of ourselves. I hope that as this project develops that many people will join me in having some fun times spinning, raise some money for a great cause, and find better wellness in the process.

More details coming soon!

Derek

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Feeling 40? I know that I am!

40, really 40? I have clear memories of being 18 and thinking that all I wanted was to be 21 and then after I turned 21, thinking that 40 was so far away that it doesn’t matter. Well back on October 13th that far far away place was sitting there right in front of me and it was odd feeling to say the least. Odd in that I cannot recall ever feeling a negative feeling regarding a birthday.

“Forty isn’t old, if you’re a tree.” – Unknown

“Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times.” – Helen Rowland

The idea that life begins at 40 was one that I never really believed in. I am alive no matter the age I am with the hope that I wake and live each day feeling like a 30 year old and not a 40 year old. Okay so I know that it’s just delusional to think that way but I believe that by doing what I can to feel younger is a good thing, but feeling younger than I am and acting younger than I am is two different things. This week I learned a lesson to know the difference.

I wish that I could say that this milestone has been one that I have enjoyed but unfortunately life’s needs, you know work, money, etc… have done all that they can to make 40 feel well like 40. Then came this past Monday when 40 all of a sudden felt a heck of a lot older! I had just got to my office and started my day when I started to feel some pressure in my chest. Over the course of the next 40 minutes it just kept getting worse. Me being me I called Alison who had to basically yell at me to get me into the emergency department. My blood pressure was very high and after some medication it began to fall. I ended up being admitted for the night and had a stress test to see if there was any damage to my heart. Thankfully there was none and we had to look at making some changes to make sure that nothing like this happened again.

After all that I have been through in my life change is something I am used to making, the difference this time around is there was no one clear change to make. Alison and I talked a great deal while still in the hospital about what changes I can make to avoid issues like I had this week or for that matter even worse. Stress of course was at the top of the list along with keeping work at work and just letting go of issues instead of carrying them around with me. Easy to say but it’s going to be difficult to execute. Only time will tell.

Maybe its divine karma, I had been spending the previous week teasing and celebrating our friend Sue’s 40th and I was the primary antagonizer. So when Sue walked into my ICU room I was waiting for her to return the favor, but she was gracious and bit her tongue.

This week has taught me that it’s okay to be 40 and accept that there are things that I will need to deal with now that I cannot wish away. To quote what mothers and wives all over the world throughout history have always said to men in their lives, “act your age”. What that means to me is to remember that I am not 25 anymore and I have to take care of myself in a more proactive way than I used to so I don’t end up back in the ER.

Lesson learned? Only time will tell, but I am confident that my wife and friends will keep me on track as will all the medications that I am on to keep my blood pressure in check. The one true way that you can tell that your getting old is by the number of pill bottles you have in your medicine cabinet, needless to say ours is filling up rapidly!

Derek

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Jerry’s Bike Barn/Team Velo Grande Time Trial this Sunday!

This coming Sunday is the first of what we hope to be many JBB/TVG time trails. We’re ready to go. Here is the link to BikeReg.com so you can get a look at the course, a cue sheet, and if you wish register to come out and race. There has been a great response to the race so far with people from every New England state and Canada. We look to have a large and competative field so come out and give it a try! Check out the race at https://www.bikereg.com/Net/16882

Derek

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What as already to be a special day turned to an EPIC one!

Alison at the top of the Kanc!

The day started as planned, we throw all of our gear and food in the car, put the bikes on the rack and hit the road. The drive between Bath and Conway was longer than I had hoped, the anticipation kept growing and the thought that just may be the route that I had planned was just a little too much, boy was I wrong!

Let’s go back and I will tell you what the original plan was. We were going to complete a 35 mile route that had a road called Bear Notch out of Bartlett, NH that is known as one hell of an awesome ride. The road is just under 10 miles long most of which is pointed towards the sky at an average grade of 6%. Another reason to ride this particular road is because back in 1997 Alison and I were driving up this road, pulled over to admire the foliage and heard what turned out to be our wedding song. This road was meant to be the highlight of the day. It offered both a challenge and a reminder of times gone by.

!


With all that ahead of us what could possibly happen? Don’t even try to guess because I didn’t even see this coming. Let me get you to the point where we are about 18 miles into the ride and about 3 miles into the climb of Bear Notch Rd., I started to see that Alison was feeling good, her nerves had passed and her pace had been set. She was climbing. Wait I mean she was CLIMBING!!!!! Like anyone who has never faced a head wall there were nerves that set into her gut but well into the climb I could see it all fade away. Her pace slowed and was even. Her breathing became shallow. In short she was both teaching this hill and her self that she simply could; she can climb. Oh and I was good too and that was not a given, after all the TVG motto is, “We go down hill with the best of them”. In this case we were not only going up with the other riders but we where catching them! NO SH*@ I mean it! After we reached the summit we plunged into the valley where we came to a stop sign, if we go left then we head down hill back to Conway, BUT if we go right we head up the Kancamagus and several thousand more feet of climbing. Honestly, I was feeling awesome, I was up for the climb and given what I was seeing from Alison I was not surprised that her response to my question of, “decision time?” was an immediate response of, “going right”.

“Okay,” was all I could say, but the feeling that I had was something else. I felt pride, I felt courage, I felt love, and honesty a little bit of lust. The choice to go right and not left was truly epic, it’s not like she didn’t know what she was in for she knew and she said, “F-you Kanc, I am Alison take it and like it!” and so she did. We spent the next hour and fifteen minutes climbing the Kanc and it was wonderful. I felt so much pride, I felt like a coach, I was impressed. There was a point as we got above tree line that I knew it was going to get harder so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a gel packet, tore the top off, shifted into a harder gear, and road up beside her, I said “take the gel and suck it down,” she did and soon thereafter she dismissed the idea of giving up. Alison then made a comment that there was no way that she was going to stop. Holy crap this is awesome! As a side note, I was feeling awesome! I was climbing better than I ever have before! I was happy, to say the least. Then out of nowhere there it was, the sign telling us that we were at the top. After a few pictures and a reminder that we have almost 20 miles of descending ahead of us, we were off. I was in HEAVEN! I was riding at well over 30 miles per hour and tickling 40 mph. I was fist pumping both because I was having fun and because of the pride that I had for my wife and for myself. What a ride!!!!!! I mean it when I say, EPIC!!!!

So here I sit, looking back on a day that will always live in my memory of accomplishments both as a cyclist and a husband. Even with all the memories that I will have from today there are only two that will embed themselves into my fabric and those are the words “going right” and the moment after we got back to the car when we gave each other high fives, hugged, and shared an “I love you”. Now that’s a day to remember.

Check out our day on Garmin Connect via this link

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Race #13 of the Maine Time Trial Series is open! Lets Get Going!

Check it out and sign up for what will be a great race that is new this year. Check it out at www.mainettseries.com or even better register at https://www.bikereg.com/Net/16882

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Day 1: Gettysburg

There is a Morin family camping tradition and that is if we camp it rains, so when I woke up on Tuesday morning to the pitter patter of rain hitting the roof of the camper I was not surprised. Resigned to the fact that the day was going to be a wash-out I set out to working really hard at doing nothing. We sat, we talked, we made plans, we napped, and we relaxed. So overall day one was a success, different but good none the less. Day two: battlefields by bike!

D

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Time to rest

As I walked out of work yesterday after another twelve hour day I was hoping for a sense of excitement to rush over my body as a way of expressing that a long over due vacation had begun, but it didn’t. As I drove home in the rain, which felt appropriate given the week I had , it all felt just wrong. I wanted to be excited about taking my first vacation in over two years, in that moment however I was anything but.

When I got home our dogs who had been left home alone all day went nuts when I got home, barking, and howling like hungry ravenous wolves, I cracked a smile! When I opened the door and saw them running around Paco with his little Tweedy Bird toy in his mouth and Pete chasing close behind, I smiled and laughed. It is in that moment that the rush washed over me, I AM on vacation, it was no longer a hope, a goal, or a someday, it was real! After taking care of the dogs and making dinner I waited for Alison who had gone to spend the night at her fathers house, to call. As soon as I sat down on the couch I was done it was time to let it all go and rest. After speaking to Alison and getting the dogs through a thunder storm I crawled into a cool empty bed and found a comfortable position and state of mind, closed my eyes and feel asleep.

When I woke up to the sun this morning I felt good, full of anticipation. In a few minutes I am going to take my first bike ride of my vacation and wait for Alison to return. Before we know it we will be headed to Gettysburg to be followed by up state NewYork. We will be posting pictures and videos over the next two weeks and be sharing the sites and sounds of our vacation.

In the end all I can say is its time to reset, time to remember why I work so hard, time to do what makes me happy, to rest.

See you from Gettysburg!

Derek

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Sun, wind, hills, more wind, more hills, etc….

I may not look that bad off but I am still trying to remember why I do this!

Last Sunday was the first race of the season in the Maine Time Trial Serise up in Rockland. The sun was out and it was great. Last year it was about 20 degrees colder and raining, so the fact that the sun was shinning brightly and it was 55 degrees already made it a steller day. With team members present and with modest expectations in place we set off. The race is a 15.2 mile out and back course with a tail wind and flat to downhill first leg. The second half of the race is into the wind and had a lot of climbing. I had a great warm up, which is something I have promised myself that I would be better about, and then head out to the start. When I got to the start I was feeling really positive about what was to come so as I rolled off the starting line I was very excited. The first half of the race was really great. I was able to keep my pace high but not use too much energy before I got to the turn. I was able to pass four riders that started in front of me and was only passed a couple of times by better riders.

As I made the turn I was feeling good, then I made the turn and thats when the wind and hills decided that this fast pace was going to come to an end! The second half was painful and much slower than the first. As I came up on the finish I was out of breath and VERY happy that the race was moments from ending. In the end I came in 9th in my age group and 31st overall.

My goal for this year is simple, improve. Thats it simply improve. So this race for me was a victory. I was able to improve my time over last year by over a minute adding almost an entire mile per hour. So this year I am one for one. A good start! I will be adding my garmin info for all to see the pain. We did something new as well. I wore a camara on my helmet and I will be posting that as well. Its really fun to see whats its like to race.

Derek

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Winter? Spring?

Does anyone know what season it is? I mean it was an unusual winter for sure but the last month has felt like Mother Nature has become schizophrenic! I am not complaining but I am a big believer in karma and I am holding out hope that we don’t end up with a cold and wet summer.

Another side effect of this weather is the fact that my fathers bicycle shop has been very busy for this time of year and has him feeling great about a profitable year. Yesterday I was in the shop with him and there was what seemed like a never ending line of repeat and new customers, it was great for him!

Its Easter weekend so that means Paris-Roubaix is being run and I am really excited to watch the carnage from start to finish. However before I do that I am going to suit up and go out for a ride on this rather Spring like day.

Derek Continue reading

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A Love Affair Gone Missing

I used to look at my bikes with affection, but last year I looked at them as tools, something cold. It was at that point when I realized I was miserable.

That moment had been building from late 2010 when I believed that I was the next formerly-fat, great-white-hope in the world of amateur cycling. In Maine. I was a pure example of working harder, not smarter. Can I learn from it? I guess only time will tell.

I’m still trying to figure it out, but I know that at some point I made cycling a job. I forgot that this thing that I love so much is supposed to be fun, not work. That realization actually took some time to sink in and when it did, it hurt. It hurt a lot. I was so angry that I had gotten so far off track.

I look back and remember the journey that I have taken to get here and the love affair that has developed because of it. After letting the fact that I am not going to be the next Tour de France champion resonate I started to think about who I really am. I am a 39 year old man, who is a physically fit cyclist, who happens to race a bicycle. I will never be a champion or a prodigy.

As winter turns to spring, I look forward to another year of riding and racing. I was out on a ride with Alison recently and was having a great time. Wait that isn’t accurate. I was having a blast! I promise that as important as racing my bicycle is to me, I will NOT forget to take time to have fun. I will remind myself that I am privileged to be able to enjoy riding. I will remember my feelings of freedom that I had as a child and go for a long ride with Alison out in the countryside. I will be in the moment and be in love with what I am doing and who I am with.

Warmth and love has returned, and it’s comforting.

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