Monday, March 31, 2014

Realizing a dream - it's never too late.

A picture of what I used to look like and a photo of how I look now.
Hi, I'm Lanza!

I'm living proof that there is no such thing as a lost cause. I am 46 years old and for the first time in my life I feel good about myself, how I look and am embracing life with enthusiasm!  I love who I am!

There was a time, not long ago, when I weighed over 300 lbs! I was sedentary, depressed and was resigned to living the rest of my life in an overweight, pain-ridden body.

When gas prices started spiking three years ago, I decided it was NUTS and way too expensive to drive the mile and a half to work every day.  That's when I decided to revisit my childhood love of bicycle riding.  
I bought an ancient cruiser bicycle, added new components to the bike, and started commuting to work. 

The decision to start bicycle commuting touched off a chain of events that allowed me to completely transform my life. The regular bicycle riding encouraged me to change the way I felt and thought about myself. As I changed my mind about who I was and what I was capable of, my mind opened up to new possibilities.  I committed to a diet and a healthier lifestyle and it wasn't long before I lost more than 130 lbs. and was taking my bike on longer journeys. (The story of my weight loss success and a little bit about my returning to bicycle riding can be found on my other blogs: here and here.) 

Me after a rainy-morning bike ride, training for the trip!
When I was a kid I loved riding bicycles and was fascinated when I found out that people actually took long trips and even went camping with their bikes!  I used to dream about one day hopping on my bike and seeing new places, camping under the stars and having adventures while on a bicycle.

As I started riding better bikes and taking longer rides, my interest in bicycle tourism was
re-ignited.  About the time I started thinking about going on a trip, a copy of Prevention Magazine fell in my lap and one of the featured articles in the magazine was all about companies that specialize in bicycle touring.

The week I read the article, back in July of 2013, I decided to go for it! I signed up with Woman Tours, a company that hosts tours all over the world for women only.  Because I am a history enthusiast I chose a tour that will take me along the Natchez Trace and other parts of the state of Mississippi. 

If anyone had told me two years ago how much my life would change or that I would be touring a different state on a BICYCLE, I would have laughed at the impossibility of it all.  Back then, I thought I was a lost cause. I felt my life was colorless and I was doomed to leading an unremarkable life. 

That all changed when I hopped a bike and felt that tingling thrill in my stomach from going downhill for the first time in over 20 years. I truly believe I saved my own life when I started pedaling again. Today, I am anticipating the coming trip with a nearly incandescent excitement.... not only that, I am already anticipating more trips in the future and am even thinking about cycling overseas in 2015!

The first tour starts in nine days (HOORAY) and this blog is my online chronicle of my cycling adventures.