A Stupid Man Tells You How To Do Stuff

01.27.2007 | 4:44 pm

So I’ve been watching the links coming in from other sites the last couple days. I’m curious who’s linking to me because of the whole Bloggies Award contest.

I know, I know, I should just let whatever’s going to happen, happen.

But I can’t help myself.

First off, a big “Thanks” to my friends at Go Clipless, who are asking their readers to go vote for Jill Up in Alaska and me.

To my chagrin, however, according to memstreams.net, I am officially stupid.

I Embrace My Stupidity
Knowing that I’m stupid is a relief, in some ways. It absolves me of responsibility for my stupid acts. If a smart person does something stupid, you wonder why. If a stupid person does something stupid, hey, he’s just being himself.

So anyway, it’s good to know that I’m stupid.

Moving from the Old Place to the New Place
Being stupid explains also why it took so long for me to figure out that if I don’t start moving some of my favorite posts from my old site, it will never get done.

See what I mean? Stupid.

The thing is, there’s a lot of stuff over there, and no automatic way to move it. So I’ve been putting it off and putting it off, figuring I’d eventually sit down one day and have a marathon porting session.

That, of course, was stupid of me.

How to Do Everything Important
So, instead, I’m going to try to start moving some of my favorites over a little at a time. Today, for example, I moved over a bunch of my favorite — and, let’s face it, very useful and informative — “How To” articles.

If you haven’t read them before, read them now. All of them. Immediately. If you have read them before, read them again, looking for deeper meaning and nuance.

I Am Now Taking Requests
Over the next week or so, I’m going to root through the old blog and bring over my favorite posts. Tomorrow I think I’ll focus on “An Open Letter To….” Then maybe I’ll bring over all things Lance-related. Then some fake news.

If you’ve got a favorite, let me know and I’ll prioritize accordingly. If my feeble brain is up to it, anyway.

PS: If you haven’t already, do me a big favor and go vote for me — I’m the stupid one in the “Best-Kept-Secret” category.


Wherein I Confront the M&M Demon, But First Talk About A Bunch of Other Stuff

01.26.2007 | 10:59 am

I want to talk about M&Ms today, because I think M&Ms are an important topic, and deserve the focused, serious attention and respect that only I can give.

But first, I have a bunch of self-aggrandizing announcements, pleas, and reminders to make.

Vote For Me, Or And I’ll Hold My Breath ‘Til I Turn Purple
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people who nominated me for the 2007 Bloggies Awards. Because of you, Fat Cyclist is now a finalist in the Best-Kept Secret Award.

I confess, I am irrationally exuberant.

So, now that I’m a finalist, I need you to go vote for me again. Click here to vote.

Also, go tell your friends to vote. And tell your friends to tell their friends to vote. And tell your family. And your coworkers. Shout it from the rooftops.

But please don’t tell my advertisers that I’m a well-kept secret. That doesn’t jibe very well with my story of how extraordinarily popular I am and how many trazillions of people visit my site every day.

Anyway, as an incentive to get you to vote, I hereby proclaim that I will post both video and pictures of my heretofore unmentioned (in this blog anyway) talent:

I can make my face turn bright purple at will.

Yes, at a moment’s notice I can make my face turn bright purple. Veins stand out on my forehead, and my eyes go all bloodshot. It looks like I’m about to have an aneurysm.

It’s a sight to behold, and it gives me a royal headache to do, and usually people beg me to stop before I’ve taken it as far as I can, because it really does look freaky.

I think you’ll dig it.

So go vote for me. Right now. Thank you.

Results of My Son’s Science Project
A couple weeks ago, I asked you to participate in my son’s science fair project by checking your resting heart rate, drinking some diet cola, and then seeing what happened to your heart rate over the next hour.

Well, thanks to your help (as well as the fact that my son is a full-on brainiac), he got an ‘A’ for his project. I don’t know whether he won any awards for his project; those haven’t been announced yet. 

I think you’ll find his results pretty darn interesting. His results are posted on his project website; click here to go educate yourself.

It’s Not Too Late to Win the Awesome Twin Six Speedy Jersey
I’m pretty sure we’ve got a record number of entries for this week’s contest to win the Twin Six Speedy jersey, which I think means you all must like Twin Six designs as much as I do. I’m not choosing a winner ’til tomorrow, so if you haven’t left a comment for that day’s entry, go do it now.

And please bear in mind that Twin Six — like all my Ads-For-Schwag partners — aren’t doing this just because they like to give stuff away. So why don’t you go take a look at their site, see what they have to offer, and bookmark them. Next time you’re in the mood for a jersey that doesn’t look like a billboard, remember them.

Next Week’s Contest
Next week, the contest is going to be a little different than usual: it’s going to be a photo contest. Start digging up your best bike-related photos and get ready — I’ve got a great prize all lined up (and I’ll be setting up a place for you to upload your photos to my website over the weekend).

The M&M: Confronting a Perfect Food
As you are no doubt aware, M&Ms are one of the hallowed Seven Perfect Foods. The attributes of the Seven Perfect Foods are as follows:

  • Taste: Obviously, a Perfect Food must be universally regarded as delicious, to the point that any holding an opposing point of view is regarded as both a contrarian and a fool.
  • Texture: A Perfect Food must have a texture that is perfect by itself, enhances other foods when combined with them, and is regarded as wonderful even as it changes due to temperature variance. It must feel good in the mouth whether you bite down on it or let it dissolve. It must feel right whether you eat a tiny bite (or one at a time) or in giant mouthfuls. The texture of a Perfect Food, however, is not simply how that food feels once in the mouth, but when you hold it in your hands. It must be a delight to touch.
  • Aesthetic Qualities: A Perfect Food must be a joy to behold.
  • Mythical Status: A Perfect Food must have a body of lore built up around it. One must feel that one is participating in a longstanding tradition when enjoying a Perfect Food. This attribute ensures that no flash-in-the-pan upstart is regarded as a Perfect Food. A Perfect Food not only can stand the test of time, but has stood the test of time.
  • Irresistibility: When offered a Perfect Food, one cannot decline. You may try, but only with a feeling of despair, and a certain knowledge that if offered again, you will  — with great relief — accept.

There are only seven Perfect Foods in the world. People have spent their lives trying to concoct an eighth. I salute these people for their dedication to improving the human condition, yet cannot help but wonder at their folly. A Perfect Food cannot be invented or designed. Perfect Foods simply are.

I digress. Big time.

What I wanted to say was: yesterday someone left a one-pound bag of M&Ms on the “Community Property” table in the office — free to all takers. Ordinarily, this would have resulted in my finding reason after reason to wander by that table, pour a handful (O what rapturous sound, to hear a handful of M&Ms fall into one’s hand! It sounds much like applause, does it not?) and then wander back to my office, sometimes popping them into my mouth one at a time, sometimes a half-dozen at once.

The M&Ms would of course be gone before I got back to my office.

Yesterday, however, was different. I did not go to the bag. Not even once. I resisted the M&Ms. Not for ten minutes. Not for an hour.

The whole day.

I have never done this before. Ever.

I hereby declare: I now have more willpower than any human alive.

Today’s Weight: 172.6

Yeah, I Guess You Could Say I Have a Little Incentive to Lose Those Extra Pounds

01.24.2007 | 1:58 pm

A Note From Fatty: It’s not too late to win The Speedy — an extremely cool jersey — from Twin Six. Leave a comment in yesterday’s post and you’re automatically entered. How easy is that?

You know, it’s been a little while since I’ve talked about the Banjo Brothers’ Big Bad Bulky Biker Bodyfat Challenge (B7) — an eight-month long challenge where everyone is betting me they can do better on their weight and fitness goals than I can. For every participant, if they do better, I’ll give them a Fat Cyclist jersey. If I do better, they’ve got to give me something that we agreed upon.

Now, I fully understand that most people who read this blog haven’t entered in on the challenge. On the other hand, a lot of you have entered it, too.

A lot more than I expected to.

So, mostly for my entertainment, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what I can potentially win — and potentially lose — with this challenge.

What I Could Lose
Of course, there are always a few dropouts and latecomers, but right now there are 63 people who have made a bet with me and have completed their first time trial. So, suppose I did worse than everyone else who participated in this challenge. I would need to cover the cost of purchasing and shipping 63 jerseys, including a half dozen or so overseas. So, figuring $65 per jersey including average shipping costs, I am exposed to the tune of $4095.00.

Somehow, without meaning to, I seem to have developed a serious gambling problem.

Perhaps not surprisingly, my wife is cooperating with and supporting me in this diet to an heretofore unheard-of degree.

What I Could Will Win
But let’s not dwell on what I could lose. It’s much more fun to think about what I’ll win.

Cuz, you see, I could win a lot. Specifically, I could win a lot of cool stuff. And a lot of weird stuff. And a lot of food.

Here’s what I get if I beat every single person in this contest:

  • DVDs: Season 6 of 24, my choice of a season of whatever show I want from 3 different people, The Tour Baby, Chris Carmichael Training System DVD set,
  • Bike Clothes: AZ Tri Girl jersey (you know, I think I’ll give that to my sister), bike club jerseys from 3 different people, Paris-Brest-Paris 2007 jersey, Vintage USPS team kit, UC Davis Triathlon Team jersey, , University of Kentucky jersey, Twin Six Argyle jersey and matching socks, Tour of Utah King of the Mountain jersey, signed by Neal Shirley and Bob Roll, Twin Six Deluxe jersey, a British jersey, a British Virgin Isles Mountain Bike Club jersey, Oakland Firefighters cycling team kit, a smaller Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup jersey, a replica 1981 Coors Classic Leaders Jersey, a MinusCar T-shirt, a new pair of Pearl Izumi bike shorts. What will I do with all these jerseys, you may fairly ask. I plan to cover my office walls with them, as trophies to my mighty victory.
  • Other Clothes: Smartwool Midweight solid crew t-shirt, Penn State U College of Medicine sweatshirt, allowing me to walk around like I’m a doctor or something, and two t-shirts for my wife from some fancy-schmancy local artisan. I’ll wear the Smartwool shirt, I’ll hang the sweatshirt up with the jersey trophies, and I’ll let my wife decide what she’s going to do with the t-shirts.
  • Gift Certificates to my LBS: Six people have offered me gift certificates worth a total of $410 to either my local bike shop or Performance Cycling. I think I’d rather take all my business to my LBS: Racer’s Cycle Service. 
  • Race entry fees: Next year’s entry fee to the Leadville 100, Nest year’s entry fee into the Triple Bypass. Awesome. I’ve always wanted to try the Triple Bypass.
  • Bike parts: Mary bar and grips, new tires for my SS, KurtKinetics Power Computer, and a White Bros ENO SS freewheel. (I had to look up what most of these are.)
  • ITunes Certificates: A total of four people have offered me a total of $215 toward my iTunes habit.
  • Donations to charities in my name: $50 to CureAutismNow.org, $100 to Amy Gillett Foundation, and $100 to the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. Which makes me wonder: do I get to claim the tax deduction?
  • Food: A whole fresh salmon from Pike Place Fish Market and some chocolate chip cookies (hopefully in separate packages), Two live fresh lobsters, and 15 pounds of Mesquite smoked brisket. After consuming all this, I’ll be all set to launch the 2008 challenge, since I’ll be back up to my old weight. 
  • Shot Bloks: Two people have offered up Clif Shot Bloks, for a total of $125. That’s enough shot blocks for about two seasons, I think. I wonder how well they keep?
  • Stuff I can’t even pretend to categorize: Traditional Chinese Medicine pack and some freshly baked goods, an eTrex Legend GPS, $70 to spend with a night out with my family, a framed original photo of Hinault, and my hotel bill from next year’s Fall Moab. I love the idea of being out on a ride, having someone in the group getting injured, and I whip out my Traditional Chinese Medicine pack. “Wow, that bleeding looks pretty bad. I think what you need is some emergency acupuncture.”
  • Stuff from Australia: A jersey from an out-of-the-way Australian bike shop, kangaroo steaks, vegemite, a stuffed kangaroo toy, Australian chocolate (is Australia known for its chocolate), something cool and Australian, as soon as BigMikeInOz can figure out what it is.

What We’re Trying to Do, Collectively
So, guess how much we’ve collectively set as a weight loss goal.

Nope, more than that.

We are, all told, trying to lose 1895.2 pounds. That’s this close to a ton.

So, on average, we currently weigh about 204 pounds, and we’re — on average, again — trying to lose about 30 pounds, getting down to about 174 by the beginning of August.

If you ask me, we’re pretty darned ambitious. And that’s pretty darned cool.

Just in case you’re wondering, my own goal is just a tiny bit higher than the average: my goal was to go from 179.8 to 148 — a loss of 31.8 pounds.

Biggest Goal
You want to know who’s really made a big goal, though? JamesDemien, that’s who. He’s set a weight loss goal of 80 pounds. That’s 11.4 pounds per month.

Give it up for JamesDemien, folks. That’s an audacious goal, and I hope like crazy that he beats me in this challenge.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the smallest goal was made by IronMama, who is trying to lose twelve pounds. The only reason I let her in on the bet is because I found her name — IronMama — extremely intimidating.

So, How’re Things Going So Far?
This grew to be something much bigger than I originally planned on it being. And much, much cooler. I’m on track with my diet, and more focused on doing well than I ever have been before.

More importantly, though, I’m on track with my training. My coach, Robert Lofgran, is giving me great workouts that actually make my time on the trainer / rollers enjoyable. It really helps to have a stated purpose for each workout, instead of just see how long you can tolerate turning the cranks. I feel like I’ve got good progress toward a good base, and have grand visions of having my best cycling year ever.

In other words, anyone who beats me at the B7 challenge is going to have had to earn it.

Today’s weight: 173.2 (Which means my  B7 score is currently 21, for those of you who are keeping track)

Answer a Dumb Question, Win the Coolest Jersey in the World

01.22.2007 | 1:15 pm

A Special Note from Fatty: Today’s post is going to bounce around like a pinball machine. First, I will talk about three cool things. Then I will use a weak transition to rathole on a spurious philosophical question. I will follow up this spurious question by launching an extraordinarily cool contest. Then I will conclude by reinstating a neglected tradition of my blog. Please hang tight. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The First Cool Thing
Back when I was asking people for Christmas gift ideas, a few of you pointed me toward Twin Six. I checked out their site, and basically fell in love with their work. These guys design the awesomest-looking jerseys anywhere.

I liked what they were doing so much, in fact, that I started hounding them relentlessly, hoping I could get them to join the Fat Cyclist Ads for Schwag program. To do so, I did all of the following:

  • Begged: I wheedled and cajoled. I whined. I whinged (using a British accent for the sake of credibility). It’s possible I blubbered. I was shameless.
  • Lied: I told them that there are thousands and thousands of Fat Cyclist readers, instead of admitting that after writing each lonely post to myself, I then go to work reloading the page 7,000 times per day and writing a bunch of comments to myself under dozens of pseudonyms.
  • Used Jedi Mind Tricks: This was not as effective as in the movie. My disappointment was severe.

To my delight, Twin Six eventually broke down and agreed to join the Ads for Schwag program. Which means that as of right this moment, you can go to Twin Six by clicking on the shiny new ad they’ve got at the top of the sidebar area. Go check them out. You’ll see why I was willing to grovel.

The Second Cool Thing
The second cool thing has a lot to do with the first cool thing. Namely, as part of the Ads-for-Schwag program, Twin Six has sent me a jersey to give away. In fact, they sent me a size XL “Speedy.”

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve tried it on.

I’ll continue to be honest with you. Their size XL fits like a roomy size L. It fits me just fine. I want to keep it. But I’m not going to, because I have a heart of gold. Instead, I’m going to do the right thing and give it away.

I’ll have more info on how you can win it a little later in this post.

The Third Cool Thing
The third cool thing is that I, for the first time in the history of ever, did not gain weight during the weekend. My wife and I went out to eat on Friday — my “free day,” and then I went back to eating reasonably on Saturday and Sunday.

Which means that instead of spending today and tomorrow repairing the damage I did to my weight over the weekend, I can continue to move forward.

I am so pleased with my newly found self control.

How did I do this, you may ask? Simple, really.

  1. The B7 Challenge: I’m getting a little panicky at the thought of what would happen if I lost to everyone in this bet. So panicky, in fact, that I’m finding it increasingly difficult to rationalize lapses in my plan.
  2. I got some good advice: I talked with Sans Auto, who it turns out has a Masters degree in Eating Right (MER). He told me I that I already have a good grasp of what are the right things to eat, and that I should try out “Intuitive Eating” (not sure that’s the exact term). The idea behind that is to eat a reasonable portion, and then wait for fifteen minutes before considering whether to go get seconds. If you’re hungry, go get more. If you’re not hungry (which is not the same as “not full”), don’t get more. It makes perfect sense, of course, but it’s not what I normally do.
  3. I use the crockpot, the rice cooker, and the George Foreman Grill constantly: By having something ready to eat when I get home, I’m not snacking when I get home from work. By making big batches of food, I have leftovers for lunch. The George Foreman Grill is useful for similar reasons, but in a different way. If you plop some salmon in a marinade and leave it in the fridge while you’re at work, when you come home you can use the George Foreman Grill to have it cooked within fifteen minutes. Finally, I use the rice cooker to make lots of brown rice, which is incredibly filling, tasty, and has the carbs I love and need.

All this boils down to: I’m fixing bad habits by learning how to make good, healthy food within the lifestyle I’ve got. It’s not a diet. It’s an adjustment. And it’s working at about the right pace: two pounds per week.

The Philosophical Question
OK, so I’m wising up, foodwise. But I know myself well enough to realize that even if I hit my goal weight of 148 pounds by August, at some point I’ll let my old habits resurface, and by Thanksgiving I’ll be wearing my fat pants again.

So while I was writing my most recent post — the one where I wonder whether it would be worth it to do laser hair removal so I don’t have to shave anymore — I started thinking: “What if there were something I could do that would make it so I wouldn’t ever have to worry about diet again?”

Then, of course, people who had actually done the laser hair removal thing weighed in, and I realized that the cost in time, pain, and money was just too much for me. Which brings up the question:

“What would I be willing to endure to stay at my ideal weight without dieting?”

It’s an intriguing question.

Here’s what I would be willing to do:

  • I would take a daily pill
  • I would take a daily injection
  • I would have outpatient surgery
  • I would eat a shoe (not daily)
  • I would endure a painful — but not debilitating — electric shock, daily
  • I would pay $100 / month

Here’s what I would not be willing to do:

  • I would not have major surgery
  • I would not eat something that tastes as nasty as okra or brussel sprouts
  • I would not take a 5x/daily pill
  • I would not take a 3x/daily injection
  • I would not do anything that made it obvious to casual onlookers that I was cheating to lose weight (e.g., if this magic pill made me turn pale green, I would not do it)
  • I would not be OK with side effects that leave me headachy, nauseous, or otherwise yucky-feeling

The Contest
So, to win the very cool Twin Six Speedy jersey (back of jersey shown here), tell me:

What would you be willing to endure to stay at your ideal weight without dieting? What wouldn’t you endure?

As always, in order to keep me from having to actually judge which comment is the winner, I’ll choose a quasi-random comment. What do I mean “quasi-random?” I mean that I choose comments randomly, but if I think the comment is not remotely interesting, I quietly reject it (i.e., I don’t send you an email saying, “Hey, your comment was stupid! So you didn’t win a jersey! Ha! Ha! Hahahaha!”) and pick a different random comment. So be interesting.

I’ll choose a winner this Saturday.

Today’s Weight
Back when I started the Fat Cyclist blog, I included my current weight every time I posted. It was a great way to hold myself accountable. A while back, I stopped, ostensibly because I had reached my goal, but in reality because I didn’t want anyone to see the startling speed at which my weight can rise.

Well, it’s time to start holding my feet to the fire again.

So, today’s weight: 174.2

The Allure of Never Shaving Again

01.18.2007 | 10:37 am

Note from Fatty: It’s not too late for you to help my son with his science project, thereby entering yourself in a lottery for fabulous prizes! Click here to find out how.

My legs are hairy again. This is not the result of a conscious decision to become a soul rider. This is not a practical result brought on by my inability — due to my winter gut — to reach the bottom of my legs.

It’s just laziness. It’s been more than ten days since the outside temperature  has risen above freezing — not exactly shorts-wearing weather. What’s the point of shaving?

I know, of course, that once the weather turns decent again, I’m going to want the smooth legs of a cyclist.

Which means I’m going to need to buy a pair of sheep shears. Or maybe I could just use the weed whacker.

Then, once I’ve hacked down the fur, I’ll have the fun maintenance chore of shaving every other day. I should shave every day — I generate stubble that is more abrasive than Russian toilet paper (popular joke in Finland: Q. What’s the difference between Russian toilet paper and sandpaper? A. Sandpaper is that rough on only one side!) — but that’s just too much work.

So it should be no surprise that, as I was driving to work (yes, driving — no way am I bike commuting 20 miles in these temperatures) and saw a sign advertising laser hair removal, that a little light went on.

What if I never had to shave again? What if I got all my leg hair removed permanently?

Nightmare Scenario
The thing is, every ad I’ve ever seen for laser hair removal features a woman’s legs. Timid soul that I am, I have thus far been reluctant to call one of those places and start investigating this idea, because I imagine the conversation might go like this:

Me: Hi, I’m interested in learning more about laser hair removal.

Them: Oh, are you calling on behalf of your wife? That’s a very thoughtful gift.

Me: No. This is for me.

Them: Oh, I see. You must be interested in having the hair removed from your back. Many gross middle age men like to do that, thinking that somehow they will look less disgusting if they don’t have hairy backs.

Me: Um, actually, it’s for my legs.

Them: Oh, I’m sorry, sir. Earlier I mentioned you having a wife; I didn’t realize then that you are a transvestite. I apologize.

Me: Wh? I’m not a transvestite!

Them: Oh, we don’t judge people like you, sir — I mean ma’am. I mean, what would you like me to call you?

Me: Look, I just want to permanently remove the hair from my legs because I’m a cyclist. Cyclists don’t like hairy legs.

Them: Rrrright. So, “Mr.-or-Ms. Cyclist,” would you also like information on how we can permanently remove your beard stubble?

Me: *Click*.

You see why I’m afraid to call?

10 Questions
So, presuming I manage to drag up the courage, here are the things I would like to find out about laser hair removal for cyclists:

  1. Am I alone in this? So, is this something a lot of male cyclists do, or am I the first one to consider lasering away my leg hair?
  2. How high should I go? In your professional opinion, should I laser away just to my shorts line, or all the way up to my hips?
  3. Should I go even higher than that? Hey, as long as I’m on the table, could you cut me a deal on getting rid of that back hair?
  4. How much will this cost, anyway? How do you charge? Is it per square inch? Per hair? Is there an additional charge if you promise that you’ll never tell anyone about this conversation?
  5. How much will this hurt? Would you compare this to being snapped with a rubber band ten thousand times, to a road rash incurred at 40mph, or somewhere in between?
  6. How long will this take? How long does it take to laserify the big ol’ hairy legs of a middle aged man? How much extra time if you throw in the back? How much extra if you use the laser to laser-remove hair on one of my arms in the form of the message, “I Believe Tyler”?
  7. How many times am I going to need to do this? My hair is thick, dark, and highly resistant to poison, acid, and intense radiation. I assume that most of it will come back after the first time you laser me. So how often will I need to come back before I can throw away the Mach III forever?
  8. Does any hair grow back at all? Once you’re done, will I still grow some leg hair? How much? Will I still have to shave every day? Cuz that would suck.
  9. What if this doesn’t work and I’m horribly disfigured? Suppose the laser bores a 1.5″-diameter hole clean through my leg? Will you give me a full refund, or just store credit?
  10. Are there any really, really freaky side effects? I worry that if my legs can no longer grow hair, that all that hair that would otherwise come out of my legs will just build up inside of me, until I explode, making a hairy, embarrassing mess all over the place. Or maybe all the energy my body would have otherwise expended on growing hair will instead turn into fat. Or what if instead of lots of little hairs growing nice and slow, I started growing one really thick hair, really fast? Can you guarantee that wouldn’t happen?

Did I miss any important questions? Please feel free to ask them, and I’ll include any I find interesting when I call.

You’ve got to admit, though, it’d be kinda cool to not have to shave anymore.

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