Adventures on the Slippery Slope

12.8.2010 | 11:14 am

You probably think that as a beloved celebrity superstar hall-of-fame award winning beloved cycling comedy blogging sensation, being on a diet is probably quite easy for me. “I choose to now lose weight,” you probably probably think I say, at which point my people commence to preparing food that is filling, delicious, and has no calories whatsoever. They — my people — also create and enforce an exercise plan that is the perfect blend of aerobic effort and resistance workouts, guaranteed to burn fat at a ridiculous rate, while quickly and easily increasing my muscle mass, definition, and endurance.

And you would be completely right. That’s exactly how it is.

And yet.

Even with my people doing all the hard work of dieting for me, I still find myself struggling with my diet.

No, don’t shake your head in disbelief. I assure you it is true.

I will elaborate.

Day 1

On the first day of my diet, I was the very picture of a perfect dieter. I was hungry, yes. But the hunger was satisfying, somehow. As if my stomach was telling me, “You are starting down the path toward a fast, light 2011 season.”

I ate my meals — emphasis on protein and vegetables, just enough carbs that I would have energy for my workouts — with a steely resolve. I did not even consider seconds. OK, maybe I considered them, but I would then dismiss them out of hand, haughtily.

I would find myself in front of the fridge — arriving there without consciously thinking about walking there — and would then turn away in triumph. Ha! That’s another 250 calories I will not eat today!

I was going to be the best dieter ever.

Day 2

The efforts of day 1 paid off richly with my morning weigh-in. I had lost so much weight, in a single day. Clearly, I was on the right track.

And it occurred to me, as I prepared the kids school lunches, that I had done almost too well in my diet. That, perhaps, I could cheat a little bit and still have a nice, even downward trend.

I could, for example, make myself a little sandwich while I made the kids their sandwiches. Oh, don’t worry, I’d just use the heel from the loaf, and I would go light on the peanut butter. And I’d just use one piece of bread.

Oh my. I had forgotten how delicious peanut butter on white bread is. How could I have forgotten that in just on day?

I believe I will have another.

After all, cheating on the diet in the morning gives you plenty of time to work it off. As long as you’re good the rest of the day, cheating early doesn’t really count for anything.

Day 3

Hmph. I only lost a tiny bit yesterday. But hey, I’m still moving in the right direction, so we’ll count that as a win.

I had an intense day of writing at work, and found myself downstairs, staring at the pantry often. Or, more specifically, I found myself staring at the big tub of salted cashews.

I figured nuts have lots of protein, though. And they have the good kind of fat. And the good kind of salt, presumably.

And it’s not like I’m eating more than a few. I mean, I can only fit so many in a handful. And I won’t come back.

Okay, I won’t come back this time.

Seriously, this is my last trip down for cashews.

Oh forget it, I’m just bringing the tub back upstairs with me.

This day’s screwed, diet-wise, anyway. I’ll just start fresh tomorrow.

Day 4

“What? I’ve gained weight today? How is that even possible? Well, I’ll do better today.”

And I do. Really, I do much, much better. And by dinner, I am starved.

And pretty grouchy, to tell the truth

“You know what I want to eat tonight?” I ask The Runner, grouchily, when she gets home from work, equally starved.


“Either Italian or Mexican.”

You know what? When two people are really, really hungry, it’s pretty easy for one of those people to sabotage both of those people’s diets.

By the way, we went out for Mexican. Shrimp fajitas, if you must know.

And fried ice cream with hot fudge for dessert.

Day 5

Seriously? I gained three pounds since yesterday?

That does it. I am renewing my commitment. Getting re-focused. Eye of the tiger, baby.

Day 6

Rinse and repeat.

PS: My weight today is 168.0, for a net loss of 5.2 pounds.


Lose 10 Pounds by Christmas Challenge: New Sponsors, Big Prizes, (Hopefully) Less Weight

12.6.2010 | 12:57 pm

We are now into the beginning of week 2 of the “Let’s Lose 10 Pounds by Christmas” challenge. And I’ve got some very awesome things to announce. Mainly, a few awesome companies have joined in the challenge, pitching in a lot of very cool prizes.

Which is nice, since there are more than a thousand of us trying to lose ten pounds by Christmas. Which, when you add all our weigh together, is very nearly 3.5 Toyota Pria (“Pria” is of course plural for “Prius”).

For those of you who have entered the challenge, today you need to leave the following in the comments section:

  1. Your starting weight
  2. Today’s weight
  3. How much you’ve lost (yes, I know I could figure out 3 by subtracting 2 from 1, but I don’t want to do that much math).

And now, let’s take a look at what cool new prizes (in addition to the prizes I’m already giving away) some lucky losers (i.e., people who lose at least ten pounds by the final weigh-in) will get.

Win a Trek 7.3 FX

What would a Fat Cyclist giveaway be without a bike to give away?

My good friends at Trek will be giving away one Trek 7.3FX — a perfect bike for this contest. Check it out:


I asked Travis Ott why they this bike is a good match for this contest. Here’s what he said:

The Trek 7.3 FX is the most popular fitness bike in America. Outside of starvation, it’s probably the best way for your readers to reach their weight loss goal. And way more fun than starvation.

This bike is all about allowing you to ride longer. IsoZone Grips kills road vibration while giving you an ergonomic grip. Hardcase tires help prevent flats. A comfy Bontrager H1 saddle supplies you with a nice perch.

This bike has an MSRP of $659.99. It’s an awesome bike for working on your weight loss goal, riding around town, and rediscovering what you already knew as a kid: that bicycles are more fun than anything else in the whole world.

And someone who loses ten pounds in this challenge is going to win this bike.


201012061034.jpgWin a Ton of Stuff from Performance Bicycle

I’m sure you’re familiar with Performance Bicycle — the big catalog / online bike retailer. Well, Performance has stepped up in a big way, volunteering a veritable cornucopia — nay, a sleighful — of prizes for some lucky “Lose 10 Pounds by Christmas” Challenge winners.

Behold what they’re offering up, and be amazed:

Crank Brothers Cobalt XC Wheelset


This may be the sexiest set of mountain bike wheels I’ve ever seen. Strong. Light. Blue. With a value of at least $949, this definitely qualifies as a grand prize. Performance will be giving one set of these wheels away.

Ascent Adjustable Magnetic Trainer

This super-smooth Ascent adjustable magnetic trainer is a perfect tool for helping you lose weight and maintain your fitness over the winter. Performance will be giving away one of these away to some lucky Challenge winner.

Performance Clothing Kits

Suit up in Performance gear: a set of Performance Team Short Sleeve Jersey and Performance Team Bib Shorts. (For the days when your Team Fatty gear is dirty, you know.) Performance will be giving away FIVE Performance Clothing kits to lucky Challenge winners.

Scattante Spyder Road Helmets

The Spyder has i ntegrated high-tech carbon and aluminum construction, world-class ventilation and a comfortable fit. Performance will be giving away TWO of these sleek Spyder road helmets.

Axiom Spark Headlight/Taillight Combos


The Spark 3.0 USB headlight puts safety first when the sun goes down. Three ultra-bright LEDs provide 3½-6 hours of steady light for quick commutes and rides around the neighborhood at night. Built-in power and light setting indicators eliminate all guesswork. Meanwhile, with four ultra-bright LEDs, four different light modes, battery/light setting indicators and tool-free mounting, the Spark 4.0 LED tail light is the perfect companion for commuters, road cyclists and trail enthusiasts.

Performance will be giving away TEN of these light combo setups!

Scattante Eclipse Eyewear

Whether you’re in bright sun, flat light, low light, or anywhere in between, these stylish cycling glasses with three interchangeable lenses and 100% UV protection manage light with precision and accuracy. Performance will be giving away FOUR pair of these glasses.

Scattante Mira Eyewear

Sharp lines, aggressive styling, advanced ergonomics and vented lenses come together in these compact, performance-driven, cycling glasses. Performance will be giving away FOUR pair of these glasses.

Performance Fitness Packs

Load up on some energy food, courtesy of Performance. This package consists of one Performance WideMouth 24oz Bottle and one box of nutrition bars — your choice of Clif Bars, Mojo bars, Builder’s Bars or PowerBar Pure & Simple Energy bars. Performance will be giving away an amazing FIFTEEN of these prizes!

201012061137.jpg CarboRocket: CR333

My friend Brad — inventor and honcho of CarboRocket — has recently come up with a new sports drink: CR333, the half-evil endurance fuel. Brad has done multiple endurance events using nothing but this stuff as both his source of water and fuel.

It’s half-black magic, I tell you. Like it’s half the number of the beast or something, with 333 calories per serving.

CR333 is the most potent, complete and effective endurance fuel on the planet. Use it as your stand-alone race and training fuel. No need for messy gels, gooey gummies, expensive bars or clumsy food. Just drink and go and go and go.

Brad will be giving away 5 containers of CR333, each of which normally retail for $36.99.

201012061141.jpg Easton Snowshoes and Poles

Last — but certainly not least — Easton Mountain Products will be giving a pair of snowshoes and poles to some challenge winner.

From the Quick Cinch binding, to the Virtual Pivot and articulating frame, the Trail™ model snowshoe has all the standard ARTICA™ performance features. Trail is ideal for the casual hiker needing high quality and superior performance.

The ATR-70 Adjustable Trekking Poles, meanwhile, have feather light 7075 aerospace aluminum construction, Three-tier Rock-Lock™ clamps, adjustable comfort strap, and dual-density grip.

Why stop using your favorite mountain bike trails just because there’s snow on them?

What If You Want to Join the Challenge Late?

So maybe you didn’t join the Challenge last Monday, but now you’re looking at the head-spinning quantity and quality of schwag on offer and you’re thinking that maybe it’s time you lose that ten pounds by Christmas after all.

Is it too late for you to join?

Nay, I say. Nay, it is not too late to join. Just leave a comment to today’s post with your current weight and the fact that you are starting now.

But here’s the thing: while you have less time, you don’t get to lose less weight.

Like I said before, this is a ten pound challenge. If you want to win, you’ve got to lose ten pounds by December 23.

No exceptions.

Doing Something Good

A number of you have commented that you’d like to make this into a fundraiser — turn this challenge into an opportunity to do something good for the cancer community.

I couldn’t agree more, and am working on something special.

More on this when I have it nailed down. Stay tuned.

My Weigh-In

I’ll have more to say on how my first week went tomorrow, but — in the interest of keeping things honest — my weigh-in today had me at 169.2 pounds.

That’s a loss of exactly four pounds from my initial weigh-in, which means I am exactly on-track with my plan.

Yee ha.

Stuff That Came In the Mail: Clean Bottle

12.2.2010 | 11:37 am

If I were a bike bottle manufacturer with an innovative new product, and I were looking for some cheap bike-related publicity, you know what I would do? I would check out

And then I would immediately cross it off my list of blogs to send a bottle to.

Why? Because, it turns out, I’m a little bit cranky about bottles. A little bit skeptical. A little bit jaded.

I am, it turns out, the guy who wrote The Water Bottle Manifesto five years ago, back when this blog was young. And I’m the guy who — during Random Reviewer’s brief, glorious existence — wrote a kinda scathing review of the Gel-Bot bottle (which I stand behind, thanks).

So, if you knew all those things and you were the inventor of the Clean Bottle — a bike bottle with a screw-bottom as well as top — would you send me a bottle?

‘Cuz I wouldn’t.

But the folks at Clean Bottle — foolishly, perhaps — sent me one anyway. And so I’m going to write about it. Whether they want me to or not.

Why The Clean Bottle ExistsIMG_1674.jpg

Why would you have a bottle with a screw-bottom, as well as a screw-top? Well, for one simple reason: to make it easier to clean.

If you can unscrew the bottom of the bottle, both the bottom of the bottle and the body of the bottle near the bottom should be easier to clean.

Dry Facts About the Clean Bottle

Before I get into my subjective thoughts about this bottle, let’s go through a few things that aren’t subjective:

  • How much it holds: 22oz. The bottle is the same height as 24oz bottles, but holds a smidgen less, probably because of its unique bottom. I love that I just got to use “unique bottom” in a sentence, by the way.
  • BPA-free: Yes. Which is good, I think.
  • Cost: $9.95 direct from the maker, but if you buy 3, you get a fourth free. If you spend at least $45, you get free shipping.
  • No threading compatability: None of the tops from any of your other bottles will work with this bottle. For what it’s worth, none of the tops of any of your bottles (including the top from the Clean Bottle) will work with the bottom of this bottle, either. Which means you cannot have a two-headed bottle. Which means you cannot make a bottle built for two. Alas.
  • Dishwasher safe: Yep. ‘Cuz If it weren’t, it would have to be renamed the “Extraordinarily Inconvenient to Clean Bottle.” (Once I get into the subjective part of this review, I’ll have more to say on this, by the way.)
  • Number of times the Clean Bottle “Bottle Boy” was shown on-camera in the 2010 TdF: 4,328. And referred to by Phil Liggett each and every time. I’m pretty sure Phil and Clean Bottle are BFF.

Things I Like About the Clean Bottle

The Clean Bottle website claims they went through “54 prototypes, 2 patent applications and 3 years” to develop the bottle. That’s a lot of development and research for a bottle.

And there are a lot of things to like about it.

First of all, the bottle fits snugly in every bottle cage I tested it in, both road and mountain. You shouldn’t run into “ejected bottle syndrome” too often.

Next, the valve works well. Which is to say, water comes through it easily, and it doesn’t dribble (although I’ve haven’t had the bottle long enough to tell whether a dribble will develop). It’s easy to pull open with your teeth, and pop back closed in whichever way you choose (personally, I like to close the valve by ramming it against my forehead).

The plastic body is a good thickness; it’s easy enough to squeeze that you can get plenty of drink in a single tug, but not so flimsy that you wind up squeezing out half your drink as you try to pull the bottle out of the cage.

And finally, there’s some nice attention to detail. Check out the photo below (click here for a larger version):


You can see that both the top (on the left) and the bottom (on the right) caps have a gasket, making it so that the bottle screws on very securely, and no fluid leaks out either end.

Now I’m Going to Stop Being Nice

With all those (nice) things said, I have no use for this bottle. First of all, I think it’s got an irony problem. Which is to say, I think this bottle is going to be a lot harder to keep clean than any other bottle.

Take a look at the screw-on bottle top and bottom in the photo above. Now imagine it’s really dirty, thanks to your negligence (shame on you). You think that gap between the inner ring and outer ring in both the top and bottom cap is going to be easy to clean out? (Answer: no).

How about the crud and mold that have made their home under the gasket? (Answer: no)

How about, finally, the very fact that you have double the number of hard parts of the bottle to clean?

You see, that’s the heart of the matter. Honestly, it’s very easy to clean all the way to the bottom of a normal bottle. You just throw it in the dishwasher and let it run. But if you forget the bottle and it gets gross, it’s not the bottle body that becomes problematic, it’s the bottle cap. All the gunk that collects in the cracks and crevices.

And since this bottle has more cracks and crevices (and a gasket) per cap than most bottles, and then has twice as many caps as regular bottles, this bottle may in fact be the second most-difficult bottle to keep clean, ever.

And I have to ask: if you have gross bottle bottoms, do you also have gross drinking glass bottoms? Because cleaning the bottom of a drinking glass requires pretty much the same effort and tools as cleaning the bottom of a water bottle.

Your Loss

My second grievance with the Clean Bottle is the same problem I have with socks: when you lose a part of the set, the whole thing becomes useless.

Well, actually, that’s not so much of a problem with socks if you’re willing to wear mismatched socks. Which I am. In fact, the likelihood of me wearing matched socks is exactly the same of me pulling two matching socks at random out of a drawer.

I digress.

By making the parts of its bottle fully exclusive (the body doesn’t work with any other caps, the caps don’t work with any other bodies), Clean Bottle is expecting you to keep all three parts of your special bottle together.

And if you lose any of the three parts, the whole thing is useless. Sure, the Clean Bottle website says if you lose a part it’ll “get your Clean Bottle working again” (I don’t know if that’s for free or fee), but I know myself well enough to know that I’m more likely to just chuck the whole thing.

So my second problem with this bottle: more parts to assemble and lose = greater likelihood I’ll lose something, and a lower likelihood I’ll spend the time necessary to collect and assemble the parts.

Summing Up

Clean Bottle seems to be well-made and works well as a bottle. But by introducing more parts and adding complexity to those parts, Clean Bottle may actually compound the problem it was designed to solve.

Plus, I’m still a little miffed about not being able to put a drinking cap at each end of the bottle.

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