It’s Week 9 of Food Blogger vs. Fat, and in this week’s update, I take my bike for a couple spins and eat a little too much at a wedding.


This was the week where I finally took my bicycle out for a spin.

three signs for the Schuylkill River Trail - the largest one proclaiming "Welcome to Schuylkill County"
Six miles of the SRT is complete heading north from Hamburg.

On Sunday afternoon, I met my brother in Hamburg for a ride on the Schulykill River Trail. A six-mile stretch of the SRT leads north from Hamburg, mostly paralleling Route 61 into Schuylkill County.

The 12-mile round-trip takes me about an hour. The grade is slight – uphill heading out and downhill coming back (a lot better than trying to do it the other way around).

historic metal trestle railroad bridge
This historic bridge now carries riders and walkers along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Less than a half-mile into the ride, the trail crosses a historic trestle, carrying riders over the Reading and Northern rail line.

The trail and rail continue along the same route through Port Clinton, where the railroad’s passenger cars sit idle at the station.

view of a single train track through a chain link fence
At one time, this bridge led railroad tracks over the railroad tracks.

Shortly beyond Port Clinton, the trail slips out of Berks and into Schuylkill County for the rest of the ride.

After six miles, the trail comes to a sudden stop. A pair of picinic benches and a chain link fence mark the northern-most point of the trail.

abandoned railroad bridge over a river in disrepair
I don’t think I’ll be crossing this bridge anytime soon.

On the other side of the fence, a long-abandoned railroad bridge lays in disrepair. It stands as a reminder, both of the trail’s railroad heritage and of the signficant work that still remains to make the completed Schuylkill River Trail a reality.

I had a second opportunity to bring the bike out on Friday afternoon.

water ripples in the Tulpehocken Creek
The Tulpehocken Creek was flowing well on Friday afternoon.

After closing the office early, I had a few hours to myself before Julie arrived home so I decided to go for a quick ride along the Union Canal Trail.

Starting off at the Berks Leisure Area (the small picnic area near the Country Meadows retirement community and the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead), it’s a roughly 7.5-mile round-trip to Reber’s Bridge and back.

Endomondo screenshot showing a 7.64 mile bike ride
Not bad for an unexpected afternoon ride.

I averaged 12 miles per hour along the ride – a steady five-minute mile pace, though it was much faster on the downhill return trip.

As far as calories, the two rides were worth 489 and 326, respectively, setting me in excellent shape for the week.

The Challenges

As mentioned in last week’s blog, Saturday was spent attending a wedding. Weddings are hit-and-miss on the food. This one was a hit.

The buffet – always dangerous – included chicken francaise, eggplant rollatini, penne pasta and several more entree options. There was also a desert buffet, and of course, wedding cake.

plate with chicken breast, pasta with red sauce, red potatoes and asparagus
Portion control is very difficult at wedding buffets, but I think I managed.

Based on my calculations, I ate about 1,100 calories. It was one of my heaviest meals since beginning my diet.

But it was all worth it. Especially for the eggplant rollatini, an amazing vegetarian friendly dish of fried eggplant stuffed with ricotta.

After that, the week went according to plan and I have been under my calorie count ever since.

The Results

Current Weight: 175.0
Weekly Weight Loss: -2.0
Weight Loss Since Start: 14.4

It was a fantastic result, and one that I needed going into this week.

The Week Ahead

This is the craziest week of my year. Memorial Day and picnicking is just the start. Tuesday is my birthday, and I am going to celebrate the only way I know how: with a trip to Shady Maple.

If that weren’t enough, I have Fightins tickets for Wednesday night. And Thursday night, I leave for my twice-a-year trip to Dover International Speedway for NASCAR weekend.

That means three days of walking but also three days of eating less-than-healthy. This week’s weigh-in will have to wait until Monday. That’s when we’ll see how much damage was done.

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