Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 17

Welcome to my week 17 update. My bike got another heavy workout this week, but so did my stomach. Read all about my trials and triumphs from the last seven days:

The Successes

Last week, I talked about my weekend of bike riding (and ‘racing’) – a full 22 miles across two days.

I beat that on Saturday with a 24-mile ride through the Lehigh Gorge with my friends, the Heffelfinger family.

Out on the trail with Matt Heffelfinger.

We were taking the bike train, a special offering by the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad in Jim Thorpe. At the station, we loaded our bikes onto one of two flatbed cars, then grabbed seats on one of five passenger cars at the back of the train.

Reading and Northern 2582

Engine #2532 waiting to carry us from Jim Thorpe to White Haven.

The train departed Jim Thorpe at 9:30 a.m., pulling us 25 miles north to the town of White Haven and the entrance to the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The trail running through the park is part of the larger Delaware & Lehigh Trail network that extends from Wilkes-Barre in the north to Bristol, Bucks County, in the south. There are still a few on-road sections, but when completed, it will be a continuous 165 miles.

In White Haven, hundreds of riders funneled off the train and onto the trail.

Our ride was on the longest continuous section of trail along the route, and one of great contrasts.

As we began our ride, we were crowded together with the seemingly hundreds of other riders who debarked from the train in White Haven. And for the first five miles or so, we remained in close proximity.

Peeking out at the Lehigh River.

Throughout the ride, our trail hugged the Lehigh River, the second-most popular place to be as we passed kayakers, whitewater rafters and fishermen throughout our ride.

One of three noteworthy waterfalls along the ride.

Along this northern section of the ride are several waterfalls where riders and other trail-goers gathered for photos. Water streamed into the gorge from the cliffs on our right, passing under the trail to empty into the river.

The Lehigh River from our final bridge along the trail.

As we approached Jim Thorpe, we emerged from the tree cover and railroad tracks of the Reading and Northern and Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway replaced the cliffs on our right.

#2532 again, this time carrying the riders on the 12:30 train.

The second bike train of the day left the station at 12:30 and we were just three miles away from our destination when it came rumbling past us.

This section of the trail terminates in the public parking lot for the town of Jim Thorpe. I pulled up to my car after completing 24.2 miles in 1:54, burning approximately 1,000 calories in the process. The ride was almost entirely downhill so we were able to make great time, and I spent much of the ride in high gear on my 27-speed hybrid bike.

I felt great after the ride and felt like I could have kept going.

Not bad for a morning’s work.

Earlier in the week I had spent two evenings pulling weeds (about 283 calories burned each time) and two hours of my Sunday was spent cleaning the house (372 calories burned). Neither are as exciting as a 24-mile bike ride, but it all adds up.

The Challenges

Already building that 1,000-calorie bike ride into my daily allotment, I knew that I would need a hearty breakfast. There are not a lot of places to grab breakfast closer to Jim Thorpe so I decided to stop at Hamburg at the good old Cracker Barrel.

I’m not mad about starting my day with Cracker Barrel French toast.

French toast and hash brown casserole amounted to as many calories as I would burn, but that was perfectly alright with me because it left me with a full day’s worth of calories to play with for lunch and dinner.

Believe it or not, I played twice. I left two pegs the first time and only one on my second try.

What didn’t work out so well for me was finding a place to get lunch on the way home. I ended up in Tamaqua at a Burger King eating a 600-calorie chicken sandwich. I regretted it almost immediately, but my options were few.

This was my second fast food of the week as I had already had some Chicken McNuggets and fries from McDonald’s on Friday night (though, at 573 calories, it was actually less than the sandwich from BK).

Another cookout at Normandy Farm. I couldn’t resist…

And Thursday night was a little bit of an indulgence for me as well. You may remember a month ago my visit to Normandy Farm in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, for their Crab Fest. I was back again this week for the Summer Luau, enjoying pulled pork from the whole pig roast, pulled pork sweet chili, sausage, a cornbread biscuit and coleslaw.

I really couldn’t resist the dessert.

And of course, I had to have dessert. There was a make-your-own s’mores bar, ice cream samples from Whole Foods, dessert shooters and a variety of fresh-made cakes.

I had two slivers – chocolate and raspberry – and they were incredible. Each had a hard chocolate outer shell and were layered with cake and filling. It put me over my calorie limit for the day, but I did not care at all.

The Results

Current Weight: 168.6
Weekly Weight Loss: -1.2
Total Weight Loss: 20.8

It’s another milestone this week as I broke the 20-pound barrier and almost made up for my stagnant week last week. Going over my calorie intake a couple times didn’t hurt because I had three strong days. I actually finished the week more than 1,000 calories under my target so I was almost surprised that I didn’t see a greater loss at the end. Still, nothing to complain about here.

The Week Ahead

If you’re tired of reading about my bike rides, I apologize in advance. This weekend, I’m taking my bike (and my dad) to our hunting cabin upstate. We’re already planning out our ride.

I’ll also have my fishing gear in tow which should be an adventure all its own.

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