You've Got To Start Somewhere

When I was a kid I rode everywhere. I LOVED RIDING. So it seemed pretty reasonable to me that as I was exploring ways to get healthy and turn the corner that cycling should be part of the mix at the least. I am turning 40 in a few weeks, and I want to be healthier in my 40’s than I was in my 30’s. It’s a promise I’ve made to myself and I am determined to keep it.

I’ve spent the better part of 2019 trying to make a plan for getting in shape. You can call it procrastinating - and I suspect there was definitely some of that, but I’d also call it preparation. I needed to LOVE whatever it is that I decided to do. I NEEDED to love it. I was desperate to lock into something that hooked me and was able to keep me consistent with working out. I tried running, and It just wasn’t something I could stick with as you can see.

There’s a lot of “rest” here…

There’s a lot of “rest” here…

While trying to run off and on over the Spring and Summer, I started to research cycling. I quickly realized there was a whole world of technology out there related to bike riding - I was INSTANTLY excited and dove into research mode. Initially, I was convinced I should get a Peloton bike. But then I (and maybe more specifically my wife) saw the price tag and just couldn’t handle it - not for something I was not convinced I was going be able to stick with. I have enough gym equipment I don’t use, goes the argument, and it was hard to disagree with that. I had to find an alternative. As I continued to explore this new world of technology I took stock of what it was about the Peloton that actually had attracted me to it. I wanted to find something I could use that replicated those things without the price. In the end, I settled on the gamification aspects of exercise, and the community. THAT is what I loved about this new world and needed to be able to find in whatever I landed on.


This brings me to Zwift. Zwift is a gamified cycling platform with community and social networking features built-in. I pretty much had found EXACTLY what I was looking for. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I dug in and learned that you use Zwift by connecting a normal bike to what is called a bike trainer that sends data to the program and controls an avatar on the screen as you ride through environments in the “game” My head exploded. I HAVE A BIKE. I HAVE A COMPUTER. I LIKE GAMES. I was halfway there! To YouTube I went, where I discovered a whole Zwift cycling community of YouTubers like Shane Miller who almost exclusively talk about indoor cycling using Zwift - Shane if you end up reading this, thank you so much for your great videos! As a content creator, I appreciated the quality. As someone who needed to know what to do, you basically became my source going forward as I navigated this new and exciting world!

I dove headfirst into researching trainers. This is what I needed next. I absolutely had a price I needed to stay under and was still not entirely convinced I would be able to stick with it so I couldn’t afford to blow the bank on a high end trainer that just ended up being sold at best or collecting dust at worst. After watching a LOT of video, and reading a TON of reviews and trying to balance out how much money I had vs. what would engage me. I ended up purchasing a Tacx Vortex trainer. It had the right balance of cost and quality I was looking for. It was made by one of the best companies in this business - and I knew if I enjoyed their products, I could always go up with them.

My bike is not ideal, its a mountain bike. Its killing my hands right now and my butt is really sore riding on it. I am toughing it out. Here is my current setup


To say this is not ideal is, I think, an understatement. But… you’ve got to start somewhere. I can’t keep waiting for the perfect moment to get in shape. I had to just start. The bike isn’t ideal, the basement is not finished, the laptop is sitting on an empty box - who gives a damn. You’ve got to start somewhere I this is where I am starting. But here's the thing… I’M FREAKING HOOKED ON THIS.

I can’t keep waiting for the perfect moment to get in shape. I had to just start.

I love it. Seriously. I’ve been dreaming about riding my bike through volcano’s. I am watching Shane’s videos every night to learn more. I am already doing research on what equipment I can get next - obviously, I need a new bike but I’ve been looking at some small things too like an iPhone bike mount so I can have the Companion App within reach. Folks, I am pumped about this.

I’d like to continue to document the experience. I am a pretty overweight dude, trying to make some dramatic changes to change his life. As an entrepreneur and content creator, I know a compelling story when I see one and I hope my experience resonates with others to encourage them to give this a go. I’d also like to connect with other Zwifters. PLEASE, reach out to me - add me on the program and hopefully once I get to a point where I can ride for longer than 30 minutes, I can join you. Honestly, I don’t have a good amount of knowledge yet on how you add people to Zwift as friends so this is me - let’s connect!


In the end, this journey so far has been a TON of fun. It has the perfect balance of exercise, gamification, technology, and eventually community, that I am looking for. I know that this is just the beginning of this new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. I had to start somewhere, and I’m ready to go! Ride on!

Mike WashburnComment