I was informed this morning that it's now six months since I got off my arse and started losing some weight. I was 107.3kg at my first official weigh-in, in January this year. What's happening now?
Well, I weighed in this morning and I came out at 87.9kg. So that's tantalisingly close - only 600g - to 20kg lost in six months, officially.
I blame the Tour de France for not making it under on this weigh-in, since the late nights have cut into my riding time and occasional TDF treats of camembert wheels and fast food don't help much with the diet.
I've actually been saying "nearly 20kg" for a couple of weeks now, and despite a couple of setbacks with a nasty viral infection and a couple of bike crashes, my fitness is well on the way up.
I did Narrowneck track back in January, as my first proper off-road trail since I got started, and it took me several hours. MapMyRide shows 1:49 riding time, though I walked basically all the climbs on it - including the relatively shallow gradient from the lookout back to the Fire Control Tower - meaning the real time was probably more like 2:30* or, probably, more.
Yesterday I rode it again, and got an 'official' time of 1:29. I started a km and a bit further in due to fading light, and finished the ride at tippy-toe low speed due to an uncharged headlight, but this time I rode every climb on the way out, and every climb on the way back, save for the real steep monster which I walked because I basically couldn't see to ride it. I think in good light I could have shaved 15-20 minutes off that time, and could possibly get it under the hour mark, from the Golden Stairs car park, in good conditions. The firetrail I did earlier in the day (Mount Hay) went at a nice round average of 20km/h, which is my very-best- case stretch target for October's Kanangra Classic 100 race (In reality, it's more likely to be between 5 and 6 hours riding time)
So you could say I'm a lot fitter than I was in January
I'm also quite a lot skinnier. None of my jeans fit any more. In fact, I can now get into a pair of size 36 jeans I bought optimistically about six years ago and never wore. And I can do that without undoing the buttons. I've had to punch two new holes in my belt and I'm due to punch another any time now. Nearly all of my t-shirts are too big, too, and I'm starting to welcome the shrink-in-the-wash effect rather than cursing it.
Oddest thing though, I think, is that my shoe size has changed. In February, I broke my old, faithful pair of Beck MTB shoes, size 43 and only wearable without socks. So I went and bought a new pair of size 44 Shimano XC50s, which fitted nicely with thin socks. A month or so later, I had to adjust the strap closures to give more bite, as they were starting to feel loose. In June, I bought a new pair of trail shoes. Size 42 and comfortable. My XC50s are now at the limit of their adjustment and need replacing. Even allowing for stretch, they're just too big. My feet have shrunk. Where I was somewhere between a 43 and 44, I'm now, it seems, back into the 42-43 range, which is back where I was before I got a desk job. I didn't expect that in January.
So, the target for the next six months? First job is to consolidate my weight in the 80-something range, do a whole load more riding and eat moderately well but not crash diet. Heading into October and my first MTB Marathon event I hope to be mid-to-high 70s, or very low 80s, depending on how my riding fitness shapes up. Ultimately, my target weight will be determined by how well I'm performing on the bike - last time I took my sport seriously, as a rock climber in my early 20s, I fluctuated from low 60s to low 70s and found my best weight to be in the higher end of the range, but MTB is a different discipline to rock climbing, and endurance mountain biking is something slightly different again, and I don't quite know what my ideal would be.
One thing's for sure, though. I'm going to need new jeans. And shoes.
* The version of MapMyRide I used in January had a tendency to auto-pause the workout if travelling below about 4km/h, so walked sections didn't register as part of the data. These days, after several updates, it looks like they do.