How I Lost 2.2 Pounds in One Day

02.28.2008 | 9:50 pm

Yesterday morning, I realized I had a big problem. Specifically, I had spent pretty much the entire week losing the weight I had gained while I had family in town all last weekend.

In short, I needed to lose 2.2 pounds by today if I didn’t want to pay up $150.00.

And here I am, at 168.4 pounds, exactly where I need to be. Check out the photo:


So, how did I manage to lose 2.2 pounds in the course of one day? Here’s how, listed by estimated contribution to weight loss.

  • I hardly ate anything yesterday. A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a little plate of spaghetti for lunch. Another little plate of spaghetti for dinner. That’s all. 0.4 lbs.
  • I left my water bottle at home. When I rode yesterday — it’s about 50 degrees (F) outside — I didn’t even bother bringing a water bottle, and I didn’t rehydrate afterwards. This was stupid, and it’s not even close to real weight loss, but it — more than anything else — got me where I needed to be for this morning. And for those of you who might be tempted to call this cheating, please bear in mind that I explicitly allowed this kind of behavior in last year’s B7, and gave up a jersey because of it. The thing is, I now have to be extra good in the long term to make up for my short-term trick. Water weight loss works tactically, but not strategically. 1.2 lbs.
  • I shaved my legs, head, and face. Since my head, legs, and face are kept shaved anyway, I suspect this didn’t do much for me. Still, every little bit counts. 0.0002 lbs.
  • I exfoliated. But just in case some of you are tempted to think that I’m a sissy for exfoliating, you should know that my method of exfoliating involves taking a belt sander to every square inch of my body (I use 60 grit sandpaper, for those of you who are curious).  0.1 lbs.
  • I turned up the thermostat: Further employing the weight-loss-through-dehydration-to-dangerous-levels technique, I turned the thermostat up to 92 (F) last night when I went to bed. I awoke with singed toe hair, as you can see in the above photo. I think this technique would have been more effective if I hadn’t already wrung pretty much every drop of water from my body during the day. 0.05 lbs.
  • I trimmed my fingernails: Not much work to do here, since I compulsively trim my fingernails whenever I’m idle, which generally means I take care of this task at stoplights. My truck floor is littered with fingernail bits. Really. Anyway: 0.0000837 lbs. (approx.)
  • Had a good cry: More dehydration, with the added benefit that since tears are salty, I lowered my sodium level and therefore my body’s ability to retain water. What did I cry about? Easy: I cried about the fact that there were freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies in my house and I couldn’t eat even one. That is tragic, as anyone who likes hot chocolate chip cookies will attest. 0.2 lbs. (I cried a lot) 
  • I filed down my calluses: Again, with the belt sander, but with a heavier grit sandpaper (25 grit). In retrospect, this wasn’t a good idea. It turns out those calluses were really useful. 0.03 lbs.
  • I trimmed my eyebrows. Not surprisingly to anyone knows me, this accounted for more hair weight than on any other part of my body. My eyebrows are so thick they’re a measurable source of aerodynamic drag, and are downright dangerous when there’s a strong crosswind. I think I must be part Russian. 0.6 lbs.
  • I spat, 420 times. It’s going to take me a while to recoup all this water weight I lost. 0.3 lbs.
  • I exhaled, fully. What, you think air doesn’t have mass? 0.1e-3 lbs.
  • I flapped my arms while on the scale. But I did it gracefully, like a gull, so as to avoid having my arms add to my downforce when they were on the upswing. This is a very difficult and beautiful motion. 0.03 lbs.

Next Week and the Week After That
I’m going to be in Houston most of next week for work, and then I’ll be at Disneyland with my family the following week. My goal for next week is to gain only one pound, which will bring me to 169.4.

PS: The jackpot goes to $200, though the weigh-in will have to be on Saturday, since I’ll still be in Houston on Friday.


Time Management for Cyclists

02.27.2008 | 3:11 pm

A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article at today. You can read a snippet it below, or click here to read the full article.

It is common knowledge that if you want to be a rider of any consequence, cycling must be the only thing you think about, ever.

Sadly, there are those who — bizarrely — think that there are other things in the world that approach the importance of cycling. These people are often called “family members,” and — for reasons that have never been made clear to me — they believe they have some sort of claim on your time.

And since — for the time being, anyway — you live in the same house as your family, there’s probably going to be a little awkwardness if you simply ignore these people and go about the very important business of riding of and caring for your bicycles.

How, then, can you get in all the quality bike-riding time you deserve? By using the time-tested time management (also called “manipulation” or “being a weasel”) techniques described below, that’s how.

Determine how much you should be prepared to give up
When you negotiate for time to ride, you must be prepared to give something up in return. The trick is in understanding how to give up as little as possible. Use the following as a guideline:

  • Ride during business hours, when you wouldn’t be home anyway: Do not give up anything for this. In fact, why even bother revealing that it happened at all?
  • Short ride (which may or may not turn into a longish ride) after work: Make a phone call on the way home from the ride volunteering to pick up dinner, so your partner doesn’t have to cook (and so you can eat immediately upon returning home, because you’re starving).
  • Long ride (4+ hours) during the weekend: Volunteer ahead of the ride that you’re planning to spend most of the day working around the house, but would like to start the day by getting in a "good-length ride." This is, of course, code for "long ride," but it’s crucial you don’t actually call it that.
  • Long weekend away with the riding buddies: Flowers and chocolate.
  • 4+ day cycling road trip: Flowers, chocolate, and jewelry.
  • Month-long trip to go pre-ride the Tour de France: Anything asked of you, since the only negotiation tactic open to you in this case is pure, outright begging.

Good Deeds: Timing is Crucial
I don’t even need to tell you the value of pre-emptive good deed-doing as a finding-time-for-cycling technique.

However, if your sense of timing is off, you run the very real risk of sabotaging yourself, and your act of "kindness" will be for naught. (Oh, you could say that the act of kindness is its own reward, but neither of us really buys that.)

The simple, important rule of "good deeds as a form of currency to be spent on permission to go on a ride" is: do not, no matter what, mention the ride you want to go on while you are performing the good deed.

If you do, your significant other will draw a line connecting the dots so fast, you’re likely to be sliced in half by it.

Instead, wait a minimum of six hours — nine is preferable — before mentioning that you’d like to go on this ride. And when you mention this ride, do not bring up the good deed you did. Both of you know a transaction is happening, but neither of you should acknowledge it. Kind of like when you give a copy a $50 to get out of a ticket. You’re each pretending you’re doing something nice for the other person because that’s the kind of people you are.

You abandon the charade at your peril. I say this with the wisdom of experience.

Click here to see the rest of "Time Management for Cyclists" at

I Do Not Have a Problem

02.27.2008 | 10:35 am

Hrmph. Grrgth. Whhuh? What’s wrong? Why are you waking me up already?


What are all you people doing here? I didn’t invite you over. Susan, did you invite these people over?

You did? Why didn’t you tell me?

An intervention? An intervention?!

Why in the world would you have an intervention for me? I am the very soul of moderation. No drinking, no drugs. Seriously. Ever. Not even once. Unless you count caffeine.

You’re not doing an intervention based on my caffeine use, are you? Because I’ll cut back. I always drink a lot of Diet Coke in the winter, to make up for the lack of sunlight. I’ll cut back in the summer. I promise.

Oh, this isn’t about the caffeine? The caffeine intervention is next week? Okay, well at least now I know, so I can block some time in my calendar. This is very inconvenient, you know. I have to be at work ninety minutes from now, after all.

So what’s this intervention about, anyway?

No. No no no no no.

I refuse to accept that.

My bike spending is not out of control. I have exactly the number of bikes I need, and not one more.

Okay, okay, I probably should have talked to you about buying the Superfly before I bought it. But I was feeling kind of sad because the day had gone so badly, and the weather’s been so lousy this winter, and I wanted something to cheer me up. And then I saw this bike and I really really loved the way it looked and I just had to have it, and I totally have it figured out how I’ll pay for it — not a dime will come from the checking account, I swear; I’m selling one of my other bikes and paying the balance with the money I’ve made from the BikeRadar articles.

I was going to tell you about it, really. I just was waiting for the right moment.

What do you mean I’m proving your point?

No, your learning about the new bike by reading about it in my blog probably wasn’t the best way for you to learn about it. I admit that.

No, I don’t see this as “just the latest incident in what’s become a disturbing pattern.” It’s not like I’ve been going out and buying bikes willy-nilly.

What do you mean “That’s exactly what it’s like?” Buying one bike doesn’t make me irrational and impulsive!

OK, sure. Fine. I did buy the Waltworks a couple months ago to replace the Rig. And if you must, you can say that they’re both 29″-wheeled singlespeeds. But the Waltworks is special. It’s a beautiful, handmade steel singlespeed. It’s a dream bike!

Yeah, if you want to nitpick, you’re welcome to point out that I just barely bought the Filmore. But I really wanted a single speed road bike, and it’s not like it cost me a huge amount of money.

No, it’s not just like the Pista I replaced it with. The Pista had track geometry. And it was a fixed gear. They were nothing alike.

OK, fine, they’re almost exactly alike. Have it your way. I’m not going to get into this with you.

Oh, you just leave the Ibis out of it. I had to buy that bike; I had to replace a broken old road bike. No, that’s not the reason I bought the Lemond Victoire I replaced the Ibis with.

Wait a second. I guess you’re right. I had forgotten about the Victoire. Fine. I bought the Ibis because I love Ibis bikes and think they’re sexy, alright? Is that what you wanted to hear?

Fine, fine, let’s go back to the bike I just bought. I know, to you it seems crazy that I would buy a bike that I was virtually guaranteed I could have as a free loaner.

I didn’t want a loaner, though. I don’t want to ride somebody else’s bike, and I don’t want to give up my bike after three months. And besides, I don’t want to deprive Racer of a sale. He’s my friend; I should be supporting his business, not trying to circumvent it.

Sure, I’m still going to do all those crazy things Travis Ott, Fisher’s Brand Manager demands. I want to be the first guy around to have two Superflys. That way I can let friends ride one.

Oh, stop crying.

Look, if it will make you feel better, I’ll promise not to buy any more bikes for at least a year.

Well, except for the one last one I’ve got on order, but it’s already paid for, pretty much.

Well of course I was going to tell you about it. It just wasn’t the right time. It’s kind of a super-secret bike — a single speed with 29″ wheels.

No, it’s not like the WaltWorks. It’s not like anything I’ve ever had before.

No,  I don’t think it’s time I admit I have a problem. I can stop buying bikes anytime I want.

Hey. Put that straitjacket away.

Fourth Time’s the Charm

02.26.2008 | 10:00 am

Back in November, I took a completely pointless fall, wherein I hurt my wrist. Now we’re at the end of February, and my wrist still hurts pretty much all the time. For example:

  • By the time I was halfway through the second lap of the Frozen Hog, it hurt enough that I could no longer stand while pedaling.
  • It hurts by the end of a 90-minute session on the trainer.
  • It hurts when I type.

So late last week, I went to the doctor. I got my cholesterol levels tested again (still high, but not as high as the first test, since I fasted before the test this time), and got an X-ray of my wrist.

The X-ray says my wrist is fine.

So yesterday, I went to get an MRI of my wrist done, at 8:00 a.m., figuring that by doing this early, I’d still be able to get in a full day of work.

There was no line — another of the benefits of starting early. The technician had me lay down on my stomach, with my left arm stretched out in front of me and my wrist fastened down.

Into the tube I went, uncomfortable, but willing to spend half an hour in there because I want answers.

Ten minutes later, they pulled me out. “The machine had a problem and I need to reset it,” the tech said.

Back into the waiting room I went.

Try, Try Again
Fifteen minutes later, they called me back in and sent me into the tube…again.

After a couple minutes, the tech’s voice came over the intercom: “We’re still having some problems, but we’re going to leave you in there and see if we can get this thing working.”

Fine. Let’s just get it over with, I thought, hugely grateful that I have no claustrophobia issues at all.

I tried to go to sleep, but my superpower (I am Instant Nap Man) failed me. Too uncomfortable.

Half an hour later, they pulled me out. “Sorry,” they said. “The machine won’t work. We’ve rescheduled you at an imaging center at 12:00.”

On the positive side, they did give me a couple of movie passes by way of an apology for wasting my time. Which makes me think: what kind of place has a bad enough fail rate that the keep customer-pacifying movie passes on hand?

Fail, Fail Again
So, I had two and a half hours before I needed to be at the imaging center. Long enough that I may as well go and try to get some work done, but short enough that I didn’t have any chance of accomplishing anything before it was time to turn around and come back.

So, at noon, I showed up at the imaging center, where they promptly had me change into scrubs, and then sat me down in a cold room, barefoot, watching the local news channel — a station so bad I have gone to the effort of learning how my remote control works, just so I could program it to automatically skip over that channel.

I sat there for a full hour.

A nurse then came over and said that, as I knew, they had squeezed me into their existing schedule that day, and that they thought they would be able to fit me in at noon, but it turns out they could not.

Could I please come back at 2:30?

“Sure,” I said, now completely convinced that I was being surreptitiously filmed for some kind of Candid Camera-ish show (for those of you who are young, “Candid Camera” is the TV show “Punk’d” is based upon, but with more originality, less meanness, and a lot less celebrity navel-gazing).

So I had an hour and a half to kill. Just enough time for me to drive back to the office and then turn around as soon as I got to the parking lot.

Or, on the other hand, enough time to go to Racers bike shop and hang out for a few minutes.

At Racers
While at Racers, I bought a Superfly.

At 2:30, I arrived at the imaging center, no longer expecting that I would get an MRI, but kind of curious as to what the next reason for delaying would be.

And so, of course, they promptly ushered me in and did the MRI. I found this machine interesting — instead of a tube, I was under a large convex circle, not nearly so confined. I expect that people with claustrophobia problems would find this much more agreeable than traditional MRI machines.

Also, instead of going in on my stomach, my arm stretched in front of me, they had me lay on my back, my arm at my side.

I fell asleep pretty much instantly, wakened every so often by the voice in the intercom telling me how much longer I had left.

Guess my Ailment, Win a Fat Cyclist T-Shirt
And so now I’m waiting to hear the results. I’m really, really hoping that it’s something that can be fixed, both quickly and easily, with very little recovery time.


I tell you what, though: let’s make a contest out of my waiting game. I’ll describe the pain I’m having. Whoever first correctly diagnoses what’s going on get’s one of the cool new Fat Cyclist T-shirts. Men’s or Women’s, your choice.

Oh, and also I’ll start bugging you for other medical advice.

So here’s what’s going on with my wrist.

  • The pain is worst on the left and right sides of the wrist.
  • When I make a fist, the palm side of my forearm — just below the wrist — bulges out.
  • Flexing the wrist — even without lifting any weight — hurts, especially when I bend my hand side to side at the wrist.

If you need additional information, ask in the comments section and I’ll answer the best I can.

I await your diagnosis with both interest and trepidation. And also with a big Diet Coke with Lime, but that’s not really relevant.

I am Both Jealous and Not Jealous

02.24.2008 | 9:09 pm

At 2pm local time today, the Iditarod began. 350 miles on snow. In Alaska. In the winter. Self supported.

Every couple hours, I find myself thinking, "So, I wonder how Jill from Up in Alaska is doing? For example, I had this thought while:

  • I played "Rock Band" with my family. It turns out the video game can’t tell that I’m in fact a miserable singer. I can routinely hit 97% at Medium level, even on songs I don’t know. I haven’t tried the Hard or Expert settings yet. (I also do OK on the bass guitar at Medium, though I have to stay at Easy on lead guitar, and even Easy eludes me on drums).
  • I played Uno with my family. My family’s hit an important milestone: all four of the kids are now old enough to understand and enjoy playing Uno. Which means Susan and I don’t have to split up and do different activities, one of us doing something with the boys, one of us doing something with the girls. It’s a big deal.
  • I stood in awe at the sheer number of people in my house. Through a strange coincidence, my father, mother, three of my sisters and their families, two of my nieces, and all the kids from my son’s birthday party all wound up at my house during the weekend. At one point, there were 28 people in my house.
  • I looked out the window at the strange weather: In the course of an hour today, heavy clouds turned to wind, then rain, which turned to hail, which turned to snow, which turned back to rain, and then back to wind and then just drizzle for the rest of the day.

I keep going to the Iditarod website, looking to see if there are any updates. And I’ve been reading Mike Curiak’s website (Mike is doing an even more extreme version of the event — basically doing it totally self-supported), fantasizing about the ambition, intensity, and just general fortitude that this kind of event requires.

And a big part of me is fantasizing about doing this kind of a race. I think about how I’ve never quit a race, even when things have gone badly wrong. I think about how when most people get despondent and exhausted from lack of sleep, I become cheerful.

I think about how I used to ride my bike through the arctic — yes, literally — winter in Rovaniemi, Finland. Without a hat. Cold bothered me less than it does most people.

Certainly, I’ve got what it takes to do the Iditarod, then, don’t I?

No, I don’t.

Because if I did have what it takes, I’d be doing the race. But I’m not. And I know that I never will.

Why not?

It’s not the distance. I’d be willing to ride that far. I’d relish it, in fact. I’m great at turning the cranks for an indefinite period of time.

It’s not the training. I’m at my best when I have something to look forward to.

It’s not the preparation. I love experimenting with and refining my gear.

What is it, then?

  • It’s the danger. I’ve got four young kids and a sick wife. Now’s not a convenient time for me to die.
  • It’s the wilderness. I know people who love looking at maps. I know people who are able to use a GPS to get themselves where they want to go. I know people who know how compasses work. I am not any of those people. No question about it: I’d be the next guy Jon Krakauer wrote a book about.
  • It’s the cold. I’ve ridden twice in the snow this year. I had fun both times, but I didn’t find myself wishing I could spend a week outside.

In short, I have to admit: I lack the spirit for this kind of adventure.

I am the J. Alfred Prufrock of mountain biking.

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