How to Suddenly Feel Really Light and Fast

05.17.2006 | 11:26 pm

The ol’ Ibis Ti Road just hasn’t been doing it for me anymore. I’ve been riding it all through the winter and have been bothered by how heavy and slow it feels. So I’ve been thinking about a new road bike. Something fast. Something nimble. Something light.

There’s just the small issue of paying for it. And the surprisingly-less-small issue of justifying it. After all, my bike stable has grown a lot lately; I now have two mountain bikes, a road bike, and the fixie.

So, hoping to eek one more season out of my nine-year-old road bike, last night I de-winterized it, meaning I took off the fenders (hey, I’m moving to Utah anyway), removed the lights, and swapped out the Armadillos for some nice svelte road tires. The bike probably lost two pounds in zip tie weight alone. Probably.


Here Comes the Sun

I had to get up extra early this morning to take out a bunch of furniture for the Salvation Army to come pick up (I’m sure you’re interested, so the furniture included two couches, two toddler beds and mattresses, two desks, a bunkbed, a chest of drawers, a bookcase, a nightstand, a coffee table, and two barstools). By the time I finished putting all this in front of my house at 6:30am, I noticed something wonderful: the day was already sunny and warm.

Warm enough for shorts and short sleeves.

Time to go for a ride.


How to Fall in Love with Your Bike All Over Again

Today’s ride was a perfect storm of nice changes. I’ve lost a bunch of weight in two days using the Stunt Diet™ (and due to Pasta Day the day before, I was carbo-loaded to the gills), I wasn’t bundled up with tights and a long-sleeved jersey, and my bike was about four pounds lighter than it’s been in several months.

I flew.

Suddenly, I love the Ibis again. When not saddled with the winter/rain gear, it’s a smooth, fast, light bike (I know eighteen pounds may sound like a heavy road bike nowadays, but it still seems light to me). It’s nimble; it’s comfortable all day. My right arm doesn’t go to sleep when I’m riding the Ibis, which is a good clue that I need to do some fit adjusting on my fixie and mountain bikes.

My advice to you if you’re considering a new road bike? Before you do, try this:

  1. Weigh it down with a bunch of stuff: fenders, a burly light setup, and bombproof tires.
  2. Ride the bike around for long enough that you forget that it didn’t used to be that heavy and awkward. Three months, at least.
  3. Go back to your old setup.
  4. Ta-Da! Your old bike feels new! Look at all the money you’ve saved! Send some of it to me!

Stunt Diet™: Day 1 Winner

So, how’d the first two days of the Stunt Diet™ go, you ask? They went exquisitely well, thank you for asking. Yesterday, I weighed in at 166.6 pounds, a one-day loss of 3.8 pounds. Frankly, that’s a little bit unexpected, so I’m not at all surprised that most of you didn’t even come close. One person, though, nailed it, exactly:

You omitted one key fact that is necessary to generate an accurate answer.  Therefore my weight estimate comes with some maths involved.  I’l give you 2.8 pounds plus an extra 0.4 pounds for each hour of riding.

Big Mike in Oz

Well, on Monday, I rode 2.5 hours, so Mike’s math brought him to an exact match. Which means I get to send a 64Mb USB Flash Memory Drive to Australia. I’d complain about postage if it were anyone else, but Mike once spent a fair chunk of his own change to send me a package of peanut butter Oreos. Email me your address, Mike, OK?


Stunt Diet™: Day 2 Results, Day 3 Progress

Yesterday was Pasta Day in the Stunt Diet™. There was considerable speculation that I would gain back everything I had lost in the first day.

But I didn’t.

I lost another 1.2 pounds—I weighed in at 165.4 pounds this morning. I didn’t cheat the whole day, because there are few things in the world I’d rather eat than penne pasta with a spicy tomato sauce and lots of onions. I could do another Pasta Day tomorrow.

Today is Nothing but Fruit Day in the Stunt Diet™. My wife has been incredibly nice about helping me on this day by cutting up a couple cantaloupe and dozens of strawberries. Between that and several bananas and four grapefruit (so far) today, this episode of the Stunt Diet has been downright delicious.

But I am still so hungry.


The Incredible Shrinking Man Lends a Hand to UltraRob

I don’t know if he found out about Rob’s need for crew by reading my blog, but Tom Stormcrowe (The Incredible Shrinking Man) is going to crew for Rob Lucas as he races the RAAM. What a great adventure.

Tom’s already got a pretty sweet deal going with the Banjo Brothers, so I don’t know if he’d want a messenger bag, but I definitely want to send him a USB Flash Drive. Email me your address, Tom.


Why Do I Suddenly Have a Bunch of Flash Memory Drives to Give Away?

Yesterday, I went over and visited in person with some of the MSN Spaces people. They’re always interested in learning about the people who read and write these things, so they gave me several 64Mb USB Flash Memory Drives to give away, along with an MSN-branded polo shirt and three copies of the book Share Your Story: Blogging with MSN Spaces. All you’ve got to do to win something is have an interesting answer to one of the questions I’ll be asking tomorrow.


  1. Comment by bradley | 05.18.2006 | 1:47 am

    I was thinking it would be a good idea to add some Hershey bars to your diet. You know, one day of hershey’s. And not just the little guys, and by little I don’t mean the minis. Know, this diet would include all the mondo-sized bars you can eat in a day. They’re too thick for smores, so you may as well just eat, eat and eat some more chocolate. Feel free to add this to the trade marked Stunt Diet.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 05.18.2006 | 2:48 am

    I’m commenting from my palacial suite in lovely Moab, Utah after a challenging and rewarding day of mountain biking and eating.
    Congratulations on the success of the stunt diet. I’m still waiting for your explanation of what "eat like a normal person" means to you.
    Slickrock at 8:00am tomorrow.

  3. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 05.18.2006 | 2:49 am

    Hey Elden, I sent you email from both of my primaruy addresses, my back addres has been having server problems. Thanks, by the way!

  4. Comment by Donald | 05.18.2006 | 2:58 am

    When your bikes start pushing important things out of the house like the wife,kids, pets, ECT. you have too many. Untill then, shop on!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Comment by nick | 05.18.2006 | 3:54 am

    You can send BigMIke’s in oz flash drive to me, he owes me big time after i told him about RAI channel. I bet he can speak better Italian then me by now. I would like to say more but i just remembered a strange smell under the spa i meant to investigate yesterday.

  6. Comment by Carl | 05.18.2006 | 6:21 am

    I just can’t believe you dumped the bar stools!  Tiki torches and bar stools are just things you never get rid of.  Ever.  Not to forget that bikini model poster you kept all 4 years of college and is now, hopefully, hanging securely in your garage.

  7. Comment by craig | 05.18.2006 | 1:17 pm

    You are doomed come saturday and sunday. 
    It is going to be impossible to eat all the different foods you will be craving by then without exceeding 7000 calories or so per day. 
    But anyway, good luck. 

  8. Comment by Zed | 05.18.2006 | 3:40 pm

    Right on, Elden. That target weight’s looking more realistic every day.
    Botched- are you in the middle of your Kokopelli adventure or something? How’d you go from swamped at the office to mountain biking paradise so quickly? Oh, right, it’s that vacation thing again, huh?

  9. Comment by Unknown | 05.18.2006 | 3:57 pm

    make it a true "STUNT-DIET",
    eat a tofu-yougurt burger, whilst
    doing a 12 foot drop-off into a no-handed
    mineral water splash.
    he he.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 05.18.2006 | 6:16 pm

    Whoops, sorry.  Jumped the gun a little on that question/answer quiz thing.

  11. Comment by Kelly | 05.19.2006 | 12:35 am

    Stop me if this joke has been used already:

    "So, for the stunt diet, can I send in my stunt doub…" ok. You heard it. Sorry. I thought I could get away with it.

    On a totally different topic, I took your advice (from waaayyyy back) and have submitted some work and got…rejected.


    The good news is that I tried it. (I’m giving a fake smile here. It’s
    hilarious.) And I can say that I at least got some rejection now. So.

    And…I’m blogging elsewhere now. But I’ll be back to win stuff from you. Free stuff rocks.

  12. Comment by The Dana Files | 05.19.2006 | 2:08 am

    Okay, so I really want to take up cycling…but I don’t own a bike.  And I don’t have a ton of money to spend.  Any suggestions for me?  I’ll need to attach a baby seat to it, as I have a 2 year old.

  13. Comment by Jason | 05.19.2006 | 3:41 am

    Dear Eldon,
    I noticed you ran into a problem considering how to justify the purchase of a new bike. It reminded me of an article I read a while back on excuses to use while building a complete and successful home based bicycle collection.  Luckily I’d saved it and I hope your readers could make use of it if they were to find themselves in a similiar predicament.
    I notice you cant attach files here and theres a limit as to how many chars you can use so I’ve broken it into two peices.
    Jason Sullivan

    New Bike Excuses
    First of all, let us consider the psychology of a person as their partner brings a bike home. It is important to note that the first bike is greeted with considerable enthusiasm by the partner, and they may even brag about it to their friends. The new bike will be great for riding to work and getting exercise. It is important to let your partner know that this is a road bike and to fully be able to exercise, ride on the poor roads in your area, and to ride on the great woods trails a mountain bike is going to also be necessary.
    "Why can’t you ride in the woods with the same bike?" they say. "I really think you could if you wanted to."
    You will then need to explain the difference between a road bike and an off-road bike and your partner will finally agree that you probably do need another bike.
    Now that’s the typical situation the new collector faces. He or she will start with a base of two bikes, their partner granting them the benefit of the doubt that two bikes are actually needed. After the second bike, the argument that you need a new bike will be dismissed by your partner with an upward roll of the eyeballs and a big sigh. We are talking only third bike here, remember, nothing more. If you are newly together, upward-rolling eyeballs and big sighs may seem formidable obstacles, but they’re really not that serious. Go buy the bike and bring it home. The eye-roll and big sighs will let up after a few days. Now comes the biggie – the Fourth Bike.
    With the mere mention of your need for a fourth bike, the partner skips right over the eyeball-rolling and big sighs and goes directly to a recital of your deficiencies of character, weird quirks, and all sins committed to date. They will bring up such matters as saving for retirement, the fact they are still wearing the clothes their parents bought them in high school, the threatening note from the electric company, etc. "And you want another bike!" they will finish, the sarcasm flickering about the room like sheet light.

  14. Comment by Jason | 05.19.2006 | 3:42 am

    Make that 3 peices
    Bike Excuses Part 2

    The fourth bike is the tough one, and in the face of this assault, there is always the temptation to sneak the fourth bike. That’s a mistake. Your partners knowing you purchased a fourth bike is essential to further development of your bike collection. Here’s why. After you bring the bike home and show it to your partner, they will shake their head and say, "I don’t know why you need all those bikes." Note that they don’t say four bikes but rather the vague and general all those bikes. Henceforth, they will think of your bike collection not in terms of specific numbers but as a single collective entity – all!
    To thoroughly grasp this important concept, suppose your partner is looking at the bikes. You and all your bikes, they might say, possibly with a very tiny tolerant smile. What they fail to notice is that there are now five bikes! Once the psychological barrier of the fourth bike is crossed, the bike collection can be expanded indefinitely with the partners not noticing, provided you use some common sense and don’t add too many bikes at once. Two to three a year is about right, spaced at decent intervals.
    There is one pitfall in this strategy – the area the bikes are stored in. Although your partner will never bother to count the bikes, they will notice three empty spaces. Therefore, you must make sure that there are always three empty slots, even as your collection expands from four to forty bikes. If you plan on enlarging your collection, select a storage area that can be expanded by adding on new sections, so that there are always three or more empty slots. It works.
    But how do you get all those bikes into the house without your partners knowing, you ask. Actually, it is all right if every few years you simply walk right into the house and say, "Look, dear, I bought a new bike." "Neato," they will say. "I’m ecstatic. Now tell me, what did you want to buy another bike for when you already have all those bikes? Ill bet you haven’t ridden most of them in the past five years."
    Ride them? Yes, a partner will actually say that. They will not be able to comprehend that you needed the bike because you needed it. They will not understand that you need the bikes just to be there, to be your bikes, to be looked at and fondled from time to time. They will not be able to fathom that your need for bikes is like a need for the wilderness. Even though we don’t use all of it all the time, we need to know its there. Probably it won’t do any good to tell them that, but it’s worth a try.
    Stating the simple truth often works in explaining an occasional bike purchase. But why take unnecessary risks? Go with your best lie and get the bike stashed in your expandable storage area as quickly as possible. Oddly enough, there are a few really good lies for explaining the purchase of a new bike. There’s the classic "A Fantastic Bargain," of course, in which you will tell your partner that the bike you just paid $600 for was on sale for $27.50. If their eyebrows shoot up in disbelief, you mention that three men in white coats showed up at the bike shop and led the manager away before he could slash the prices on the rest of the bikes. Indeed, you say, you could have picked up five more brand-new bikes for a total of eighty-five dollars, but you didn’t want to take excessive advantage of a crazy person.
    The "Play on Their Sympathy Ploy" works well on young, inexperienced partners. It goes something like this: Rush into the house wiping tears of joy from your cheeks. Then cry out, "Look, look! A person at work sold me this bike. Its identical to the one my grandfather gave me on his death bed. Gramps said to me, I’m givin’ you ol’ Betsy here, because every time you ride it, you will remember all the good times you and I had together." Oh, how I hated to sell that bike to pay for mothers operation! But now I got one just like it! Or maybe its even the same bike! Do you think it might actually be the same bike?

  15. Comment by Jason | 05.19.2006 | 3:42 am

    Bike excuses part 3
    Warning! Don’t try the "Sympathy Ploy" on your partner if you have been together for longer than five years, unless you want to see a person laugh themselves sick. Its a disgusting spectacle, I can tell you.
    The "Fantastic Investment" lie will work on occasion provided you lay the ground work carefully in advance. "That ol’ Harvey Schmartz is a shrewed one," you say. "He bought this classic Lightening Whizzer for six hundred dollars as an investment. Three weeks later he sold it for eighty-seven thousand dollars! Boy I wish I could lay my hands on a Lightening Whizzer. Wed sell it when we retire and buy us a condo in Aspen and tour Europe with the change."
    After you’ve used up all your best lies, you are left with only one option. You must finally screw up your courage, square your jaw, and make up your mind that you are going to do what you probably should have done all along – sneak the new bikes into the house.
    Here are some proven techniques for bike-sneaking:
    The Surprise Party – You arrive home and tell your partner that you have to go to a surprise birthday party for one of your riding partners and picked up a special cake on your way home. "Oh, how clever!" they will exclaim. "A birthday cake shaped like a bicycle!" This is also known as "The Bike-in-Cake Trick."
    The Lamp – You buy a lampshade and attach it to the seat of a new bike. "Look, sweetheart," you say to your partner. "I bought a new lamp for the living room." They gag. Not for this living room, they growl. "Take it to your bike shop and don’t ever let me see that monstrosity again!" A variation on this ploy is to tie picture wire to the new bike and call it a wall hanging (this works especially well with antique bikes).
    The Loan – A riding friend shows up at your door and hands you your new bike. "Thanks for loaning me one of your bikes," they say. "I’ll do the same for you sometime." Make sure your accomplice can be trusted, though. I tried "The Loan" with a friend one time and he didn’t show up at my door with the bike for a month, on the day after first snowfall, as I recall.
    Spare Parts – Disassemble the bike and carry it home in shopping bags. Mention casually to your partner that you picked up some odds and ends from the junk bin down at Joe’s Bike shop. If there is a question about the frame, you can explain that you found it at the dump when you were taking the trash. Works like a charm! (By the way, does anyone know how to get all those tiny bearings back into a freewheel?)
    -Originally by Knapp Hudson of Portland, Maine

  16. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 05.19.2006 | 7:00 am

    I wonder if I could offer my weight loss algorithm to my Biology Professor in place of sitting the final exam which starts in less than 328 hours.  That subject is based on a 1400 page text book, which means I have to memorise it at the rate of 4.5 pages per hour for the next 2 weeks without sleeping or attending to any other matters (although I could probably go to the toilet – it’s a good place to read).

  17. Comment by barry1021 | 05.19.2006 | 12:28 pm

    Did we start a contest for the longest comment and I missed it? Was Al’s answer-42!-the right answer to the question-
    How many minutes will it take the average reader to read No Name’s three part note?? Whew, impressive, my fingers cramp if I type that much.
    Big Mike, we are sensing great nervousness on your part about this bio exam-being a former matriculator of some distinction, I have one word for you

  18. Comment by Unknown | 05.19.2006 | 2:10 pm

    B21, matriculated with distinction. I absolutely believe that you did, indeed distinguish yourself. . .


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