Free Verse Friday: The Conference Room

01.11.2013 | 8:30 am

The conference room
And the snacks therein
Hold no fear for me
For I have steeled myself
I am unyielding
My goals are clear
My daily weight is public
I shall not let your bounty of treats
Derail me
I am not afraid of you
Nor your bounty of treats
You stupid conference room

And here I sit

The discussions build
Rising to a crescendo
Nobody even remembers
What the topic was
Originally on the agenda
I believe I will have
A handful of chocolate covered raisins
Which are at least partially fruit
To help me abide
Until such a time
As I can bring this unruly bunch
Back on track

Oh and you know
These pistachios are really good
And they have a lot of protein
And so do the Peanut M&Ms
When you think about it

And what shall we have for lunch?
I’m sure it will be
Or sandwiches
Or — hey, why not — burritos
Because why wouldn’t you want
A conference room full of men
To eat burritos
Prior to sitting together
For another half day
In a conference room?

Why not indeed?

And as the day wears on
I tire
And my will weakens
And eventually
I give up entirely
And my coworkers look on
In horror
And fascination
As I show them
My very worst superpower

I eat the truffles
And the licorice ropes
And the rest of the candy
And I completely kill off
The chocolate-covered raisins
And the mixed nuts
Never really had a chance
And don’t even get me started
On the salt-and-peppered

My weight is up
I am undone.

Thank you 


Back to My Roots

01.9.2013 | 8:15 am

A Note from Fatty: Thank you to everyone who expressed their support and point of view regarding the future of this blog. A couple weeks of rest from writing has done me a lot of good and I am excited to be posting again.

So this blog’s not going away. In fact, I currently have nine items in my “things to write about” list, which is more than I usually have on tap.

While I was on break, though, I did have a couple of ideas I like about things I could do with this blog, and I’ve started work on them. Once I can tell that they’re going to amount to something, I’ll tell you more. Meanwhile, it’s been a while since I’ve just written for the fun of writing, so I’m pretty excited to post whatever pops into my head.

Also, I am working on a very exciting new project to help in the fight against cancer. I think you’ll be as surprised and excited by what it is as I am. I hope to be able to reveal what it is within the next couple weeks. 

Back to My Roots

I started this blog as a way to document my efforts at dropping a bunch of weight. Along the way it’s become about many more things . . . especially as I got my weight to the point where it ought to be. 

I mean, in 2011, I did the Leadville 100 in 8:18 — a time I could only accomplish when light and fast.

And in 2012, I did the Leadville 100 in 8:49, winning the singlespeed division. I wasn’t as light, but I was still plenty light.

And then after Leadville, I just kept on doing race after race after race. I was racing and riding so much that I didn’t feel like I needed to worry about what I ate. So I didn’t. And since I kept doing pretty well, results-wise, in those races, I kept on eating as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.

The season tapered off. But I didn’t taper off my eating. 

In October, I noticed that my size Medium jerseys were no longer comfortable. So I shelved them and began wearing size Large. Same thing for t-shirts.

In November, I noticed that size Large jerseys were no longer comfortable, but I don’t have any XL jerseys, so I kept wearing Large. 

And every day, as I put my jeans on, I had started doing special exercises — squats and stretches — to stretch my pants’ waist out enough that my circulation wasn’t cut off.

I did not check my scale to see how bad the damage was. But I could tell it was bad. 

I found I was no longer comfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor, because my gut pushed into my lungs. And bending over to tie my shoes caused me to get woozy.

I began walking stairs, rather than running them — as had previously been my custom. 

Then I began using the rail to give me an assist.

No, I am not kidding. Also, I continued to not check the scale. Partially because I know my own body well enough that I could make a pretty accurate guess as to my weight. 

But also partially because I knew that once I saw the number, I would have to do something about it.

The Hammer — who raced like I did and eats like I do — encouraged me to continue to not look at the scale. “Once you do that, you’re going to have to start trying to lose weight, and starting a weight loss program right before Thanksgiving just won’t work,” she said, correctly. 

“Wait ’til New Year’s Day, after all the holidays are past us. Then we’ll get back to the diet.”

“OK,” I said, relieved, and dished myself up another serving of mashed potatoes.

Things got really bad after Christmas. I knew I had one week ’til all the candy I had been gifted would be off-limits, so I made a point of eating all of it during that one week.

Boxes and boxes of candy. Really.

On New Year’s Eve, The Hammer made taco soup. I added many spoonsful of sour cream, fistfuls of cheese and crushed chips galore. Knowing this was my last hurrah.

Except of course for the homemade donuts we made later that night. I, in spite of still being uncomfortably full, ate two. I think I was proving a point, which was that I can eat more than anyone thinks I can. 

As if that point continues to need to be proven. As if, further, there were any doubt regarding that point.

Finally, though, it was New Year’s Day. I told The Hammer, “I’m pretty sure my weight is 184,” as I mechanically walked to the scale and — for the first time in half a year — stepped on.


A maelstrom of thoughts barraged me:

  • I am fatter, by far, than I have ever been since marrying The Hammer. If I were her, I would demand a refund.
  • I am a pound lower than my estimate. Which is kind of like having lost a pound. Which is something to celebrate, right?
  • I am going to have the slowest year of cycling ever if I don’t lose some weight
  • I am right back where I was when I started writing my blog
Things Done In A Particular Order 

Knowing that I needed to take this seriously and make a commitment that I would not back out of, I did what any modern social media-ized person who wants to lose some weight would do, in the following order:

  1. I decided what weight I wanted to get down to. That was easy. 158 pounds by the beginning of the season. 153 pounds by August.
  2. I decided how long it should take to lose that first 25 pounds. I did this by using the very scientific method of saying, “three months sounds about right.”
  3. I added a weight tracker to the sidebar of my blog, which I will update (and have been updating) daily. Check it out; you’ll see it right there.
  4. I took “Before” pictures, both front- and side-views. I am not presenting these for you to view, because I like you too much. Also, I am observing the time-honored tradition of not showing off a “before” photo until you have a decent “after” photo to show along with it. Which gives rise to the question: what do you suppose is the ratio of “before” photos to “after” photos in the universe? (My guess: 20:1)
  5. I tweeted about my current weight and announced my intention to lose weight. And I announced this weight loss resolution on January 1, which makes me the biggest Twitter cliche in the whole world.

The Bet Is On

All of this went according to plan. However, a wrinkle in my plans occurred shortly after I tweeted my intentions:


Hmmm. Interesting. A weight loss contest, where each of the contestants starts from the same place and is working toward the same goal, on the same timeline. 

We commenced to negotiating, and wound up with the following terms:

  • We both have until 3/30 to get to 158lbs.
  • If BOTH of us get to 158, we both win and are happy, and should probably reward ourselves by buying something nice (like a pair of really expensive bibshorts). 
  • If ONE of us gets to 158, that person is the winner, and the loser must buy the winner a pair of ASSOS bibshorts of the winner’s choosing.
  • IF NEITHER of us gets to 158, we each must purchase a pair of ASSOS bibshorts for Jim, a guy I’ve never met in person but follow in the blog universe, as well as on Twitter. I put this rule in here so that if both of us fail we still suffer the consequence of having to buy someone else a pair of very expensive bibshorts, compounded by the agony of knowing that this guy didn’t do anything to get even one pair, much less two.
  • I’ll tweet my weight daily, and will include a running track of my weight in my blog sidebar. Adam will keep me apprised of his weight by tweeting it daily.

Why Assos?

You may be wondering why the contest centers around Assos bibshorts. The reasons are pretty good, actually.

First, because I have a little history with Assos, and thought it would be funny to center a contest around it. I’m sure Dr. Michael Lämmler would approve.

Second, because I would actually really like to try out a pair of Assos bibshorts. I can’t even tell you how many times people have approached me and said, “I know you hate Assos, but their shorts are the best.” The thing is, though, I don’t hate Assos. I’m totally neutral on them (a little Switzerland joke there), because I’ve never had any Assos item (except the chamois creme, and a too-large jersey, signed by Alexandre Vinokourov [yes, really]).

If you read what I’ve written about Assos, I’ve never attacked their products. I have done it was a teardown on their ad. I have done a teardown on Velonews’ craven advertorializing for Assos). But I haven’t attacked their clothes. In fact, I’d like to try out their shorts, just to see if they’re as great as people tell me.

That said, I simply cannot see myself paying that kind of money for shorts. I just can’t.

So, if I win this contest, I get a pair of Assos bibshorts for free, which seems pretty awesome. And if I lose, I have to spend the money on a pair of those shorts, but then don’t even get to wear them. 

Are you beginning to see the strength of this incentive?

No? Oh well. 

My Weight Loss Strategy

So here I am, 1640 words into a blog post about my new weight loss plan, and I haven’t even mentioned how I plan to lose weight. 

That’s because I’ve talked about that strategy before: Egg whites and avocados. Hey, it works for me.

However, there are a few things that are worth mentioning here in conjunction with this plan.

  1. I now put a little bit of cheese on the egg whites. I read somewhere that this doesn’t affect weight gain or loss. Honestly. And it makes the whole thing taste so much better.
  2. Sometimes instead of avocados, I include a yolk. Just to mix things up a bit.
  3. I’m using yolks for disaster prevention, too. Sometimes, when I can feel that my hunger is escalating beyond a dull rumble to a consciousness-dominating roar, I go ahead and cook myself a batch of eggs with two egg yolks, then still add avocados. If I fight back the hunger now with some extra good calories now, I head off the certainty of a binge later.
  4. Dinner is different: I’m having regular dinner with my family. Last night we had salmon, saffron rice and peas. Tonight, spaghetti and meatballs. Tomorrow night, chicken fajitas. I do not allow myself more than a fist-sized amount of carbohydrate in the dinner meal, though. I am not cutting carbs out of my diet, just cutting way back.
  5. I go to bed early and get plenty of sleep. This has a few different benefits. First, whenever I’m sleeping, I’m not eating. Second, if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m irritable and grouchy, and I know that I tend to eat more when I’m grouchy: angry eating. And third, if I get enough sleep, I put more into my exercise.
  6. I expect things will go badly at some point. Right now I’m totally focused and dedicated, just like I am at the beginning of any big weight loss effort. This time, though, I’m anticipating the certainty that at some point I’ll fail. I’ll have a bad day or will be at some conference where we go out to eat and my willpower completely implodes. I am specifically allowing five of these events during this project. Which means that when I have a bad day, I haven’t failed. I’ve just used one of my three tokens. This is a useful way to counteract the “Oh well, I’ve screwed up, may as well give up” impulse.
  7. I expect things to go really badly this week in particular. I’m stuck in a conference room from early morning to late afternoon, with a nearly infinite number of snacks. Including many that I find pretty much irresistible. I was pretty good (about a 6 on a 1-10 scale) on the first day of the long meeting, but I don’t honestly have much in the way of weight-loss expectations for the rest of this week.
For exercise, during the winter I’m spending an easy hour on my Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Trainer (that’s what The Hammer got me for Christmas) or rollers, then going out with the family, walking the dog (often marching in the snow, which is a pretty good workout). As the weather gets better, I’ll step up the intensity. Right now, I’m just burning calories and rebuilding a base. 

Or possibly I’m just feeling too lazy to really go hard at it.

Hey Kids, Try This At Home

In the past I’ve done weight loss competitions as part of this blog. The problem is, they take a lot of work, and I am indescribably lazy. Or hungry. Yes, right now I’m definitely more hungry than lazy. Either way, though, I’m not going to orchestrate a big weight loss competition this year.

However, if you would like to — in the comments — post how much you’d like to lose, maybe you’ll find someone who would like to join you in a head-to-head competition, for a prize you determine. At which point, you’ve got yourself some brand new motivation to start losing some weight. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat another five eggs, while furiously avoiding making eye contact with the ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD I really want to eat.

News Flash! Rapha Announces Functionally Elegant and Poignantly Beautiful 2013 Team Sky Kit

01.7.2013 | 8:39 am

The Indescribably Beautiful Island of Mallorca (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – “Rapha and Team Sky are proud to present the first Team Sky clothing products of the 2013 season,” according to Rapha’s Communications Director, Chris DiStefano. 

“In fact,” continued DiStefano, “‘proud’ is a trite, crass understatement of how we feel about these, the most beautiful and comfortable and perfect bike clothing that has ever been draped across the back of some almost preternaturally fortunate (but, lest we denigrate the utter perfection of the Rapha brand, let us append ‘yet still unworthy’ to ‘fortunate’) — rider.”

His eyes misting over, DiStefano proceeded to describe the indescribable: The Team Sky Rapha product line.

“How do I even begin?” asked DiStefano, rhetorically, seeing as he had in fact prepared a 148-slide presentation (using Apple Keynote, naturally, because PowerPoint is gauche).


“Well,” said the Rapha representative, struggling to be heard over the chorus of angels, “perhaps we could start with the Team Sky Pro category, which is the very pinnacle of haute couture for the discriminating professional cyclist.”

“The jersey – if something of this quality can be called a mere jersey – is made of a special fabric that is lighter than the breeze at the dawn of a summer morning.”

“It is so aerodynamic that if you climb upon your bicycle, yet do not pedal, you will nevertheless begin to move forward — wind direction and incline status notwithstanding.”

Continued DiStefano, “Every size fits every person perfectly, because it would otherwise be a travesty for both the wearer and the Rapha brand, and we will not have our good name besmirched by having an ill-fitting jersey with its name upon it appear anywhere, ever. Full stop.”

DiStefano paused to cast a melancholy-yet-stoic look off into space. Photographers took many photos, all of which are now posted in the better museums across Europe.

“Beyond this, the jersey imbues the rider both with the appearance of confidence and with actual confidence itself. But not that smarmy confidence you see affected by the faux-beurgeoise. Non. Your confidence will be of the sort that is terse, yet affable.”

“When wearing this jersey,” said DiStefano, self-assuredly, “you will think winning thoughts, and those around you will not be able to help but think winning thoughts about you.”

“And, of course,” confided DiStefano, “they are two orders of magnitude more beautiful than any man-made object heretofore observed in this or any previous generation.”

“Finally,” said DiStefano, before moving along to slide 2, “This jersey completely obliterates any untoward odor the wearer may produce, replacing it with the fragrance of cinnamon, vanilla, and motor oil.”

“Let’s move on to the Team Sky Pro Bib Shorts,” said DiStefano, at which point he — voice brimming with pride and emotion never before so richly expressed in the history of humanity — talked about the never-before-heard-of features in these beautiful and tasteful clothes, ranging from its slimming properties to the fact that the wearer finds that he never needs to fart while wearing the shorts (the female version of the shorts lacks this property since women don’t ever fart anyway) to the ability of the shorts to anticipate that you are about to begin sweating and accelerate its wicking properties accordingly.

DiStefano then described the Team Sky Long Sleeve Pro jersey, the Team SkyPro Base Layer, the Team SkyWiggo Pro Base Layer (sublime!), the Team Sky Pro Race Cape, the Team Sky Pro Bib Shorts, the Team Sky Women’s Pro Bib Shorts, the Team Sky Merino Drawstring Hat, the Team Sky Cap, the Team Sky Pro Socks, and the gloves, adorably known as “Team Sky Pro Mitts.”


Replica Clothing – For When Only The Nearly Best Will Do

“And that’s just the pro-level gear,” enthused DiStefano. “Which leads us, naturally and elegantly, to the Team Sky Replica clothing we are announcing.

The assembled press corp, which had hoped it was time for a no-doubt excellent lunch, sat back down, reverently.

DiStefano went on to describe how Rapha Team Sky replica clothing is both the best cycling clothing that money can buy, yet is not quite good enough for the pro category. Said DiStefano, “Is there anything better? No! Is it good enough for our “pro” category? No! Is it good enough for you? Ha! Better should you ask whether you are good enough for it, because I assure you that you are not!”

“And yet,” said DiStefano, his voice softening, “We condescend to let you purchase it, because we believe that even proles like yourselves should have something to strive for.”

More. Infinitely More.

Now — nine hours and nearly a third of the way through his presentation — DiStefano reluctantly acknowledged that the hour was growing late and he would pick up the following day, unless everyone was as captivated as he by the glorious bounty that was the 2013 Rapha / Team Sky collection.

“No, please don’t stop!” shouted all in attendance, completely enraptured (many weeping) by the hundreds — if not thousands — of unbearably tasteful articles of clothing emblazoned with the Sky logo. “We wish this revelation of clothing items to never end!”

Gratified by his audience’s appreciation of what was, after all, the crowning glory of human achievement, DiStefano continued on. 

“The Team Sky bounty from Rapha does not end there!” said DiStefano, to deafening, protracted applause, leaving him to describe the Team Sky Supporter, Team Sky Womens, Team Sky Kids, and Team Sky Accessories clothing lines.

“In all, the number of products in this line of clothing is as close to an irrational number as it can be, and still be a positive integer,” said DiStefano. “I would tell you more about how many items this actually comes to, but — alas — the human numbering system is not as elegant and perfectly formed as each and every Rapha product, and thus I cannot express it.”

“This does not mean, however,” continued DiStefano, his face brightening, “That you cannot attempt to purchase each and every one of these products. In fact, if you do not, I feel very, very sorry for you, because of the huge and dark hole in your life that would otherwise be filled with Rapha loveliness.”

More Features Than You Deserve

As exquisitely conceived and well-appointed as the 2013 Team Sky Rapha clothing line is, it is not how you feel or ride that is the main benefit of Rapha wear. 

No. Not even close.

The real benefit you will immediately notice is how you will be observed and photographed as you wear your Rapha Team Sky clothing, as well as how those around you behave. 

When you write about your adventures, you will write things like this:

“I glowered purposefully ahead, my mind just becoming aware of for the attack my gut had known about for all too long,”

Or this:

“I gazed abstractedly into my third espresso, my ennui a startling counterpoint to the stark rage I had shown in the saddle not an hour earlier.”

In other words, it’ll be like you’ve turned into Bill Strickland or something: understated, wistful, and introspective, yet still piercingly insightful. As if you’ve just spent the afternoon sharing meaningful conversation and playing chess with a wizened old man, an espresso never far from your grasp.

To accompany those very Rapha-like words that will surround your life, you’ll suddenly discover that photographs of you gain a starkly palpable beauty. 

Here are typical photographs taken in Mallorca of Team Sky in their new Rapha gear, along with captions describing the poignant truths within: 

“Shall I ride? Or shall I weep? Cannot I do both? To ride is to both give the world beauty and to take that beauty in; still, my soul aches. I am grateful I have such clothes as these to soothe my troubled heart.”

“Is this my body? Or is my body me? Which is to say, is there more to me than this finely-tuned organism? If not, what reason is there for me to keep it warm with this beautiful and tasteful jacket? Am I more than an animal if I pursue comfort? I do not care! This jacket is AWESOME!

My body is as relaxed as a panther at rest, while my eyes betray the coming storm.

“I do not see the world in color.”
“Nor do I, and the field to our right is barren.” 
“We are so fortunate to be wearing Rapha. It is the only good in this world . . . and perhaps the next.”

Most gloves, in the absence of hands, are lifeless. Husks. Shells. The opposite is true for Rapha gloves. Mitts too.

Rapha Sky EbH 2
Whence my happiness? My winnings? My adorable espresso? None of these. My happiness stems from my Rapha clothing and nothing else. 

Some Team Sky Rapha clothing is available now, and more will be available in the coming months, should Rapha choose to grace you with it.

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