We’ve crossed the halfway point in my journey to better health and it’s all downhill from here.

Yeah right. It only gets harder from here to continue the momentum and reach my goal. Here’s my latest update:

The Successes

This weekend belonged to me and my bicycle.

As I mentioned last week, I was going to be joining three of my colleagues to compete in the corporate challenge at the annual Pottstown Bike Race. The race was scheduled for Sunday afternoon so I figured I should get a warm-up ride in on Saturday.

screenshot from Endomondo app showing a 12 mile bike ride
I wasn’t entirely happy with my pace, but it was better than my last trip on the SRT.

On Saturday morning, I towed my bike to Hamburg for the 12-mile trip along the Schuylkill River Trail. It was my second visit of the summer, and I definitely felt better this time, completing the ride in 56 minutes.

That’s worth 519 calories, according to Lose It.

Sunday was the real adventure.

cyclists racing through the streets of Pottstown as fans cheer them on
The real racers at the Pottstown Bike Race were flying around the one-mile course.

Attending the Pottstown Bike Race for the first time, I was blown away by the skill of the competitors in the actual races. In races that were 20-, 30- or 40-laps, they were turning lap times of less than 3:00 around the one-mile course. My average from the previous day was 4:40.

Of course, this was just the corporate challenge so no big deal, right?

two men and two women pose in matching blue shirts on a podium with a banner behind them that reads "Valley Forge Sports"
We weren’t the fastest team – we weren’t even fast – but we had team spirit!

Wrong. The other teams were serious about this race with some of the riders actually competing in the pro races throughout the day. In a four-lap relay, we were lapped. It would have been twice if not for the race director sending us early.

As the closer for our team, I was still waiting at the start line when the top two finishers crossed the line. Out of six teams, we were sixth, though I’m pretty sure there were a few spectators who walked the course faster than us.

selfie of a man in a headband in front of a sign that reads "Perkiomen Trail"
Not satisfied with my lap around Pottstown, I decided a ride on the Perk Trail was needed to complete the day.

But we had a good time, and I was motivated for riding at a more leisurely pace so after the race, I drove east to Graterford, just a few miles north of Collegeville, for a ride on the Perkiomen Trail.

waters of the Perkiomen Creek flowing over a bed of rocks
The trail follows the Perkiomen Creek from Green Lane to Valley Forge.

The trail follows the Perkiomen Creek as it flows from Green Lane in the north to Valley Forge in the south, a 22-mile ride one-way. I was content with a shorter loop from Graterford north to Schwenksville.

A field and power lines run parallel to the Skippack Trail
I took a little detour to check out the Skippack Trail before returning to the Perk.

Officially, it’s a rail trail that traces the path of the old Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. But in practice, it’s more complicated than that as the trail takes several detours – around homes and buildings. Sometimes it doubles as a sidewalk.

But it’s a fun ride nonetheless. In the five miles that I rode (10-mile round trip), the trail crosses over the Creek three times and alternates between crushed gravel and pavement more than I could count.

mural of a steam engine next to a train station with the words "Welcome to Schwenksville"
Welcome to Schwenksville.

The town of Schwenksville is a little oasis for riders along the trail. It’s about three miles north of the halfway point of the ride, a community that offers both a small restaurant and a bike shop abutting the trail.

Photo of a bicycle shop with a scultpure of a bike rider, hands in the air, jumping off the side of the building
Perkiomen Bicycles is one of several bike shops along the trail.

A few miles farther south is the Central Perkiomen Valley Park. It’s your typical community park, but it also has a few perks for trail riders, including a repair station and restrooms.

Railroad crossing for a miniature railroad with a pair of maroon signs with gold letters - one reading "Pennsylvania" the other "Live Steamers"
The Pennsylvania Live Steamers keep the area’s railroad history alive.

One of the coolest sites on the trail though is right at the Graterford Trailhead. The parking lot connects with that of the Pennsylvania Live Steamers – a club for miniature steam engineers that operate in various scales. The trains weren’t running, but the site of the replica station and full-size caboose harkened back to the days when locomotives traversed this same route.

The Challenges

Thursday and Friday were not good days for me. There were bagels from Panera in our breakroom at work so my snack was heavier than usual, leading to me finishing the day 116 calories over my budget.

plate of tortilla chips with a bowl of kale guacamole
Kale guacamole was just the start of my lunch at True Food Kitchen.

Friday was worse. I had a large lunch at the new True Food Kitchen in King of Prussia. While the foods served there were developed by a nutritionist, it was a lot of food (more than I would normally order because it was free as part of their preview days).

If you’d like to read about my meal, you can check it out on the Crave Montco website.

selfie of a man with a waffle cone with ice cream topped with M&M's, strawberry syrup, whipped cream and a cheery
Don’t judge me.

And on Sunday, after a weekend of pedaling away the calories, I treated myself to a waffle cone sundae from Sonic. I’m still not sure how I ate it without making a mess in the car, but I was proud of myself for not.

The Results

Current Weight: 169.8
Weekly Weight Loss: -0.0
Total Weight Loss: -19.6

Well, it seems like my old pattern is back. One week on, one week off. Two weeks ago, I recorded no weight loss. Last week it was close to two pounds. Now it’s back to another wash.

I’m confident that next week will show the fruits of my labors.

The Week Ahead

It’s hot outside. Very hot. But work doesn’t stop because of the heat. Julie is away in New York City for a few days and I am tasked with weeding our vegetable garden so I’ll record some exercise in the evenings.

Then on Saturday, I will be again taking my bicycle for a spin, this time with my friends the Heffelfinger family as we head to Jim Thorpe a ride on the Lehigh Gorge trail.

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