My Super-Secret Strategy for Being Fast This Year

03.9.2009 | 2:53 pm

How do you know you’ve gained some pounds over the winter? Frankly, it’s just not easy to tell. But if you notice any or all of the following, it’s possible you’ve gained some weight:

  • You find yourself unwilling to get on the scale.
  • Your comfortable clothes, aren’t.
  • Your fat pants fit a little tight.
  • Your bike shorts function as an increasingly effective tourniquet.
  • You find that your favorite riding position is no longer possible, what with new obstructions and such.
  • You have to loosen your helmet straps, because your head is thicker. Oh, and maybe your neck is, too.
  • You suddenly find yourself drawn not to climbs, but to flat rides.
  • Your “sucking in stomach” pose shows approximately the same amount of stomach as you used to show before striking the “sucking in stomach” pose.

Now, ordinarily I would pass these symptoms off as belonging to someone else, but not this year. This year I am proud of my largeness. Why? Two reasons.

  1. I am at a personal all-time high, weightwise. 188 pounds (OK, I was higher at one point when I was on steroids, but that was cheating). I believe one should always take pride in setting a new record.
  2. This is all part of my brilliant plan to be incredibly fast this year.

How Being Fat Is A Brilliant Racing Strategy
The problem with being a featherweight cyclist is that it takes more time to get a workout. You’re so light that hill climbs are practically no effort at all; you never get to experience the glorious feeling of exhaustion that can only be brought on by hauling 50 pounds of lard up the mountain.

I, on the other hand, get that kind of workout every time I get on my bike.

So you tell me: who’s getting the more intense workout? Who’s muscles are working harder? Who’s developing a set of quads powerful enough to leg-press a cement truck?

And, not least of all: Who’s legs are not only fighting gravity, but the squoosh of knees into stomach with every turn of the crank? And I’ll have you know: that squoosh is not trivial (although in the interest of full disclosure I should point out that there is a corresponding de-squoosh on every downstroke, wherein a measured 72% of the energy expended in squooshing the knee into my stomach is returned to the knee).

Step Two
Now that I have succeeded in part I of my brilliant and well-considered plan, some of you may think that I need to lose that weight.

The problem is, if I lose it too gradually, I run the risk of losing the power I have gained along with my magnificent girth.

Which is why I am not losing any weight at all right now. Instead, I will lose it all really fast, later.

I will let you know how I plan to do that when I figure it out myself. I’m man enough to admit that there are minor aspects of my plan that are not yet perfect. Still, I consider this a trivial detail and am not concerned about losing the weight. How hard can it be?

In short, 35 pounds of flub I’m carrying around right now isn’t a tragic failure of willpower.

It’s a strategy.

PS: It’s good to be back.

PPS: Tomorrow I unveil the Team Fatty jerseys for pre-order. And yes, I said “jerseys,” not “jersey.” And no, I don’t just mean that there are men’s and women’s versions. I. Am. So. Mysterious.


  1. Comment by Carl | 03.9.2009 | 2:57 pm

    Welcome back!

  2. Comment by graisseux | 03.9.2009 | 3:04 pm

    I know all about the squoosh. The squoosh makes it incredibly hard to breathe. The squoosh actually makes it impossible to stay in the drops for more than five seconds at a time without blacking out. My knees squoosh my belly so hard on the upstroke that I choke off all the air to my lungs and basically give myself the heimlich twice with every turn of the cranks. I hate the squoosh.

    on the positive side, if you start to choke, just keep pedaling. – FC

  3. Comment by dug | 03.9.2009 | 3:04 pm

    35 lbs. dude, you can’t just keep gaining and losing 35 lbs every year. remember how when you’d squinch up your face, your mom would say don’t do that, cuz your face will eventually be stuck like that?

    remember that?

  4. Comment by aussie kev | 03.9.2009 | 3:06 pm

    i dont think i have reached my all time high yet !!!!


  5. Comment by Jamieson | 03.9.2009 | 3:15 pm

    Welcome back – Can’t wait to see what the jerseys look like.

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a bet about who was losing weight this year?

    yep. still working on that. i figure that if i gain a whole bunch before i start the bet, it’ll be easy for me to get an early lead because the newest weight gain comes off easy. Ha. – FC

  6. Comment by Nick | 03.9.2009 | 3:26 pm

    not to burst your bubble, but I think the Twin Six guys may have pre-unveiled the jerseys. They look pretty cool. I’m just not sure whether to buy one based on my current size or the size I’m going to beat myself down to by Livestrong Philly.

  7. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 03.9.2009 | 3:26 pm

    I like the Shatner-esque ending to the post. good times

    Win Susan!

  8. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.9.2009 | 3:35 pm

    Putting lipstick on a pig? Where have I heard that idiom before?

    epic adam’s blog, i’m guessing. he’s big on metaphor. -FC

  9. Comment by Jim | 03.9.2009 | 3:37 pm

    I would be cautious about using that knee squishing thing. As you noticed, 72% of your energy gets released on the downstroke. That means with each pedalstroke, 28% of the energy is retained in your gut.

    This explains why the buttons exploding off your pants sometimes lodge in nearby trees and brick walls.

  10. Comment by blinddrew | 03.9.2009 | 3:53 pm

    188lbs? i remember those days…
    Like you i put my weight gain down to strategy, but for me it’s, ahem, “bulking up” to move onto the blind side of the scrum. that is my excuse and i am sticking to it.
    Welcome back!
    And this time i WILL get a jersey!

  11. Comment by Anthony | 03.9.2009 | 4:10 pm

    Thanks Fatty! I feel a lot better about the whole winter weight gain now.

  12. Comment by Mariah | 03.9.2009 | 4:10 pm

    Welcome back Fatty, I hear ya on the whoosh. We missed you.

    actually, the whoosh is a secondary symptom of the same thing that causes the squoosh. – FC

  13. Comment by Boz | 03.9.2009 | 4:14 pm

    Your current weight is my target weight. Go figure.

  14. Comment by je | 03.9.2009 | 4:22 pm

    T6 leaked the jerseys

  15. Comment by Mary | 03.9.2009 | 4:39 pm

    missed you though the re-peat posts were good filler. I sincerely hope that the jello has made it through your system, and *that* experiment is over and done for

  16. Comment by Dee | 03.9.2009 | 4:45 pm

    If I try desperately to look at the bright side of winter weight gain, I suppose the extra junk in the trunk makes the saddle a smidge more comfy. ;)

    that is true, but — sadly — only up to a point. and i’m past that point. -FC

  17. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 03.9.2009 | 4:46 pm

    welcome back sir.
    It has been wonderful to relive the past, but live is so much better.

  18. Comment by WheelDancer | 03.9.2009 | 4:52 pm

    Welcome back Fatty!

    I wish 188 were my highest but it’s not. I don’t exactly know what my high is since I stopped getting on the scale when I was certain that the odometer was about to flip over 200.

  19. Comment by donbiker | 03.9.2009 | 5:26 pm

    I have a permanent solution to the squish. I moved my handlebars up and back.

    at some point, that solution’s going to give me trouble reaching the handlebars. – FC

  20. Comment by Aaron | 03.9.2009 | 5:39 pm

    I see you and I have the same strategy for speed. Except, I could only HOPE to weigh 188 some day.

  21. Comment by Marianne | 03.9.2009 | 5:45 pm

    Well Fatty, I went to the cardiologist today for a routine checkup and he said, “oh, you’ve gained 8 pounds since I saw you a year and a half ago.” That aspartame jello is starting to look good…..

    Will be on the lookout for the new jerseys!

  22. Comment by Julie | 03.9.2009 | 5:54 pm

    Welcome back!!

  23. Comment by g | 03.9.2009 | 6:12 pm

    I know grammar/spelling/punctuation sticklers are considered to be the pond scum of the blog world, but that would be WHOSE muscles, and WHOSE legs.

    You’re welcome.

    please feel free to not point out my spelling, punctuation and grammar errors in the future. – FC

  24. Comment by Don | 03.9.2009 | 6:25 pm

    Ooooh! Now I just need to come up with the buck sixty.

  25. Comment by sk8ermom3 | 03.9.2009 | 6:36 pm

    Aha, this is exactly my strategy for skating. It’s like training with a 40 lb sack on your back. Not too many people are willing to do that kind of work. I figure that by the time I ACTUALLY lose the weight, my technique will be nearly flawless, and in the meantime, I get more of a bang for my buck during training… LOLOL

  26. Comment by Todd Olson | 03.9.2009 | 7:20 pm

    Welcome back! Glad to see you are living up to your blog title. Hope everything with your family is going well. Looking forward to the plan fleshing out (pun intended.)

  27. Comment by SDM | 03.9.2009 | 7:44 pm

    Man, that’s a lot of Jello. Welcome back…

  28. Comment by Rob L | 03.9.2009 | 8:02 pm

    Nope, not challenging you in the derby portion of the event. :P

    200 Lbs??? JEez, I keep trying ot hit that mark, I’m parked at 204.5. But it’s still better than last spring, I was running 216′ish.

    Jello rules!

  29. Comment by Philly Jen | 03.9.2009 | 8:04 pm

    Went to T6, love the jerseys.

    Folks, if you’re riding or running with Team Fatty in Philly (ahem — in the humid torpor of late August) I’ve got two words for you: short sleeves!

    You have the right to bare arms. Don’t worry, we’ll bring plenty of extra sunscreen for anyone in sleeveless Fatty gear.

    If you go topless in Fatty bib shorts, though, you will have to bring your own paint roller to SPF yourself.

  30. Comment by Sara | 03.9.2009 | 8:08 pm

    I didn’t even know that I was strategizing over the winter…

  31. Comment by eric | 03.9.2009 | 8:20 pm

    Hey, lipo can’t be that expensive.

  32. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.9.2009 | 8:53 pm

    the new jerseys are very cool. i only must decide on jersey or bundle. welcome back, fatty

  33. Comment by Mark-in-Boise | 03.9.2009 | 9:06 pm

    FC, Do not worry about the extra weight gain this winter. You plan on getting on the bike again right? Right, so just make sure you do that as often as you can. Next, cut back on the jello, and the next thing you will be a svelete 150! Really. But you knew that already didn’t you?

  34. Comment by Mike | 03.9.2009 | 9:19 pm

    Welcome back Fatty! Can’t wait to see the new attire!

  35. Comment by paxnovel | 03.9.2009 | 9:23 pm

    Nice to hear your voice rather than the echo. Long time lurker, first time poster. Had to stop tuning for a longish while after I lost a friend and my sense of humor, like my buddy’s sense of smell got lost in the chemo fog. I bought a fatty hat, and what? checked out. So lame. Sorry buddy, it was the best I could do for a while. And this was after tuning in to your posts for so long; they helped me through many worry-filled non-cycling day/night/who-even-keeps-track-anymore day.

    Win Susan!

  36. Comment by USAFANARC | 03.9.2009 | 9:30 pm

    The new jerseys look incredible! I already have the ‘08 jersey with the bibs and armwarmers, so I’ll probably just pick up the sleeveless jersey (I’m glad it still matches the bibs!). However, I also want the socks! Are the socks going to be available by themselves? I noticed they are currently only listed with the bundles.

  37. Comment by BikeCopVT | 03.9.2009 | 9:35 pm

    Fatty, good to have you back.

    Win Susan
    Elden won!

  38. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 03.9.2009 | 9:36 pm

    I know that people usually reserve the term ‘bundle of joy’ for cute babies, but I’ve uttered that phrase several times today whilst drooling over the T6 Fat Cyclist bundle.

  39. Comment by Blackdog | 03.9.2009 | 10:08 pm

    I look at it as the other guy. I know there is a skinny guy in the middle. The other guy just sort of took over. The other guy gets beat up by the squish.

  40. Comment by Susie | 03.9.2009 | 11:02 pm

    I, for one, am not going to take the sneak peak at the jerseys…i’ll wait for your post tomorrow.

    You will be posting tomorrow…right? :-)

  41. Comment by ladeeluk | 03.9.2009 | 11:13 pm

    Glad to see that you’re back. I can’t wait for the jersey preview. Looking forward to rocking it for this years’ LIVESTRONG challenge up here in Seattle. I, too, am carrying an extra 15 due to steroid meds and can’t help but agree that the power-weight ratio has become interesting for me. Much faster on sprints and much less so on climbs, but then again, I’m working so much harder than my lighter counterparts so I’m actually getting a better workout… =P Sweet.

  42. Comment by gewwez | 03.10.2009 | 9:00 am

    easy as pie! just load your back pockets and bike with stuff so your total weight remains the same, then take it all off on race day and ride them all to the ground

  43. Comment by bubbaseadog | 03.10.2009 | 2:56 pm

    just got a new 6 carbon 6 from cannondale .need to be about 20 lbs lighter ….stomach keeps gettin in the way so i sympathize with you brother so i guess instead of a broterhood we now have a squoosh-a-hood. may we all ride comfortable some day some susan and go lance.

  44. Comment by Barbara | 03.10.2009 | 7:29 pm

    The squoosh is really bad when doing yoga.

  45. Comment by scoty in salida | 03.10.2009 | 7:44 pm




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