Ringcycles Wins Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Contest

07.7.2014 | 7:58 am

A Note from Fatty: Greetings from Emerald Isle, North Carolina!

IMG 9162

I’m on vacation right now — on the beach with The Hammer, the kids, my mom, her husband, my four sisters, their husbands, their kids, and in some cases their kids. All of us — thirty-one of us! — in one huge house right on the beach (this photo was taken from the deck off my bedroom), kind of jammed in together and having a great time.

I plan to be be posting this week, but you know, I might be kind of tardy and lazy sometimes. And other times I might feel like writing a ton. You never know with vacations.

But I will say this: Sometime this week I’ll be launching registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. And we’ve got a date: October 18 (though of course you can do yours earlier or later…that’s the beauty of the 100 Miles of Nowhere). And for the first time ever, instead of a t-shirt, there will be a 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey. This will be in place of the normal annual Fat Cyclist jersey. Why? Because I started thinking about it and thought to myself, “I wish I had a 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey to wear.”

So, more information on that, soon. Really soon. Like, Wednesday, I think.

Next, I’m waaaay overdue on posting about the Fat Cyclist / Beeminder Weight Loss challenge. Luckily, my friends at Beeminder are more responsible than I am, and have written a very awesome wrap-up of the contest. Which is below. Enjoy!

(And now I’m off to go order a pair of Rapha bib shorts for the winner.)

Ringcycles Wins Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Contest


Greetings not-so-fat cyclists! We’re pretty much beside ourselves with how the first annual (oh presumption!) Beeminder Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Competition turned out. When we say we’re beside ourselves we mean that literally — Beeminder is a husband-and-wife team and we hack on it day and night shoulder-to-shoulder. Ok, but also figuratively beside ourselves. This thing had everything: drama and suspense on the leaderboard, you all lost a ton of weight, and we raised just over $4000 for The Hammer’s World Bicycle Relief fundraising.

And when we say you all lost a ton of weight we mean that literally too. (We’re very literal. It’s a programmer thing.) To be exact, you lost a total of 1912 pounds, or 14 pounds per person.

Let’s back up for those just tuning in. In March Fatty announced a new kind of weight loss contest using Beeminder where the objective would be consistent progress, not about how much you could lose or how fast. There’s a shorter version on the Beeminder blog. The extra short version is that you create a Yellow Brick Road to your goal weight — totally up to you to pick it — and then you get points each day you weigh in based on how closely you hew to your chosen path. Importantly, you get fewer points for losing weight faster than you intended. As for what good the points were, we’ll get to that.

To limit the contest to those who were ready to take it seriously, Fatty decided on a $20 ante to charity. That’s where most of the $4000 we raised came from — more than $3000 of it. As for the rest of it, well, this is the crazy part. Losing weight too fast cost you points. But actually failing to lose weight? That cost you money. Not the first time, that one’s free, but each subsequent time you derailed, as we call it, from your Yellow Brick Road, you coughed up ever greater penalties: $5, $10, $30, $90, etc. Normally those penalties are Beeminder’s revenue. For this contest we donated half of them to World Bicycle Relief.

Of course the top competitors never went off track. And that brings us to the exciting part. I hope you’re imagining a drum roll right now. Ringcycles eked out a victory with a near perfect score of 304 points. His prize is a pair of Rapha Classic Bib Shorts, courtesy of Fatty himself.

The contest started out slow, the pack holding together like a peloton. But the competition thinned over the course of the first few weeks, and eventually we got down to just a handful of people vying for the top slot. Mukrider and Actionplant held out longest with perfect scores, but eventually slipped. Ringcycles started out with a couple datapoints below the road so didn’t appear as a top contender at first, but then his subsequent rock solid consistency eventually paid off. Nobody else ended up as close to a perfect score (306 points).

Honorable mention goes to third place, Dena, who had some serious medical issues to contend with but anticipated them almost flawlessly. When her doctor put her on a clear liquid diet, she adjusted the steepness of her Yellow Brick Road accordingly (you’re always allowed to do that with Beeminder, the catch being that any changes have a one-week delay). The most impressive part is that she’s still forging ahead now that the contest is over. Check out that graph!

That brings us to our final plea. The contest was structured to encourage you to lose weight steadily, following the path you set out for yourself, i.e., staying on Beeminder’s yellow brick road. We wanted to encourage sustainable weight loss, rather than just dropping weight like The Hammer dropping Fatty on the descent at Frog Hollow.

So even though the contest is over, we want to encourage you to continue minding your weight. If you’re now at your ideal weight, set your yellow brick road flat, and keep weighing in, to ensure you don’t squander all this progress. You can even set your road to slope up during vacations or holidays if you’re ok with gaining weight during those times. The pattern we’ve seen over and over is that as soon as you stop minding your weight, it starts creeping up.


  1. Comment by Joy | 07.7.2014 | 8:10 am

    I hope you all have a wonderful vacation! Sounds like quite a group! I’m beyond excited for the 100 Miles of Nowhere and really hope I get in. I’ve only been riding for 6 weeks so this will be a huge challenge. But I’ve been so inspired by all of the stories (especially Noodle’s!) that I have to try! Thanks for putting the 100 MoN together again this year, FC.

  2. Comment by wharton_crew | 07.7.2014 | 8:35 am

    Fatty, is hurricane survival part of your bucket list? Hope you avoided the storm that hit NC last thursday. Also, I’ve found the PERFECT 100 MoN route: a round-about that is almost exactly .5 mile. 200 loops – it’ll be like NASCAR meets Fatcyclist. A jersey would just be the icing on the cake. I’m hoping to find some sucker (erm…charitable cyclist) to ride this with me.

    If you’re in the Dallas area, let me know if you want to team up!

  3. Comment by Joy | 07.7.2014 | 8:53 am

    Wharton_crew, I’m in the Dallas area too. My (sort of) planned route is 10-ish miles, but yours sounds very Noodle-ish. Which is a big compliment. :)

  4. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 07.7.2014 | 9:27 am

    Yay! Thanks again everyone! Pro tip: mouse over the links. :) Also, maybe go help The Hammer raise the last $1k towards her $20k goal!

  5. Comment by Corrine | 07.7.2014 | 10:36 am

    Congrats on everybody who lost weight! Way to go. I’m excited the 100 MoN will happen but I will have to do it earlier due to the fact that we are usually cross country skiing on about 6 inches of snow by mid October. I have a “gulp” very Noodle-ish route planned up and down my dirt road. I’ll have to do it on my mtn bike and it’s 2.5 miles of average 8% grade uphill followed by going back down. 20 times up and down my road. It will definitely be a challenge and any other Fairbanksans who want to join me, let me know. My house is in the middle of the route which is good and bad. Will probably have to do in mid to late September.
    Fatty, have a great vacation!

  6. Comment by yannb | 07.7.2014 | 10:43 am

    Great job everyone. Happy to be part of the group, although didn’t lose the intended weight by the deadline, I think I am finally about to hit it this week.

    As for the 100 MoN, going to start planning this year’s route and looking forward to the jersey, wore my tshirt this morning on my run.

  7. Comment by Andy@wdw | 07.7.2014 | 11:22 am

    Hooray for 100MON news!! Now I can obsess over it at full speed! So exciting! Plus mid October is usually Perfect cycling weather here in Florida! Plus, plus I cannot wait to see what the 100MON jersey looks like! So excited!!!

  8. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 07.7.2014 | 1:21 pm

    October is perfect timing for the 100MON, and a 100MON jersey is a perfect idea for the ride! We’ll be watching for the announcement.

    Looks like you have picked a great place for your family reunion / vacation. Have a ball!

    Are bicycles involved this week, or are you taking a bike-free vacation? It is hard to imagine you or The Hammer going for a whole week without riding something.

  9. Comment by NC-fatty-fan | 07.7.2014 | 2:54 pm

    Welcome to NC! I hope you brought the bikes as there is some great riding out of the Emerald Isle area – and surrounding! If not therre are tons of other activities to keep you and the Hammer busy. Cheers!

  10. Comment by Doug (way upstate NY) | 07.7.2014 | 3:52 pm

    North Carolina bound myself in two weeks.ORAMM looms…….

  11. Comment by Noel | 07.7.2014 | 4:14 pm

    Welcome to NC Fatty! I love Emerald Isle, it’s the beach I basically grew up on. You should have brought the Shiv with you. That run up (and back down) the Bogue Banks is fun a TT bike. Not quite as epic as the rides you guys do but it’s flat and fast.

    Looking forward to the MoN!

  12. Comment by NancyJBS | 07.7.2014 | 6:15 pm

    October 18… the day I return from Italy after the Best Bike Tour in the Universe: InGamba Tours Chianti region. Perhaps a few of you recall that I won this tour in Fatty’s Grand Slam for Zambia, The Power of Five contest last winter:

    Maybe I’ll shake off the jet lag for a week before running our version of the 100 MoN: The Dark 100. The sun sets at 6:38pm on October 25 in Minneapolis and we have until almost 8am the next day before it rises again. It COULD snow. Who wants to join us?

    Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler?

  13. Comment by NancyJBS | 07.7.2014 | 6:22 pm

    The only reason I’m doing this is because, evidently, David Houston is asleep at the switch. I may get struck by lightning or worse, Fatty might delete this comment.

    Do you KNOW what you threw down here, @cyclingjimbo?

    “Are bicycles involved this week, or are you taking a bike-free vacation? It is hard to imagine you or The Hammer going for a whole week without riding something.”

    Where is @Davidh-marin,ca when we really need him?

  14. Comment by Celina | 07.7.2014 | 9:16 pm

    Hooray for MoN news… and a JERSEY?!?! AWESOMESAUCE! Looking forward to it, and Oct is a great time for me – after Pedal the Cause and before the Susan G. Komen 3-Day :)

  15. Comment by leroy | 07.7.2014 | 9:56 pm

    My dog thinks a 100 MoN jersey is a great idea and graciously volunteered to ride as my lead out if I lend him the registration fee.

    I don’t mean to brag, but he assures me I have a talent for going nowhere fast.

  16. Comment by AKChick | 07.7.2014 | 11:05 pm

    Oh @Leroy, if I were in your neck of the woods, i would so jump onto that nowhere fast peleton!

    @NancyJBS If I were in Minnesota, i would totally join you. :)

    I’m not as far north as @Corrine but our weather in October is pretty nasty. Not sure what my plan is – do it on the 18th, earlier…not sure yet. If it snows, I’ll just break out the fat tire bike. Unless it snows a lot in which case i could ride my spin bike (it has Google maps so I could replicate riding a short course somewhere in the neighborhood). Have to wait and see.

    Also a 100 MoN jersey? SQUEEEE!!! I’m so excited!!!! Are we raising money for Camp Kesem again? WBR? Can’t wait!!

    Also, Fatty – take the week off! :)

  17. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 07.7.2014 | 11:43 pm

    @NancyJBS 6:22pm Working

    @NancyJBS 6:15pm. How does one get to Minnesota?

    @Doug Bohl @BostonCarlos Care to drink Chianti Minnesota with me in October?

    @Wife#1 Can I go?

    Maybe I should put these in a different order.(?)

  18. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 07.8.2014 | 1:44 am

    @Ringcycles If I was half the man I am,(which is what would be required to get close to that weight) I would ‘punch’ you for dropping down to 135.6.

    Since that’s not possible I’m going to ask my 13 y.o. daughter to do it for me.

  19. Comment by lg air conditioning | 07.8.2014 | 3:12 am

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  20. Comment by bykjunkie | 07.8.2014 | 3:37 am

    Congrats to the winner!!

    I hope you enjoy ENC! Sorry there are no hills for you to climb(sand dunes do not count)! The bridges you went over to get there were my climbs. Historic New Bern and Beaufort are nice and relaxing with great food!

  21. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 07.8.2014 | 5:04 am

    @Davidh and Nancy, Chianti in Minnesota? How about a Leinenkugel?

  22. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 07.8.2014 | 7:05 am

    @Davidh – “@NancyJBS 6:15pm. How does one get to Minnesota?” – You can’t get there from here.

  23. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 07.8.2014 | 8:09 am

    @Doug(way upstate NY) No pastries!

    @cyclingjimbo ‘like’

  24. Comment by Jeff Bike | 07.8.2014 | 10:16 am

    Emerald Isle, North Carolina beach, I think you need to do some Fat Tire bike time. You know just to say you did it.

  25. Comment by Heidi | 07.8.2014 | 11:15 am

    Congratulations to Ringcycles!

    Wishing the Fatty Clan a wonderful NC respite.

  26. Comment by UpNorth | 07.8.2014 | 12:53 pm

    @NancyJBS – thank goodness I’m not the only one thinking what you are. Whew. It’s great to have company down in the gutter.

  27. Comment by SteveB | 07.8.2014 | 4:06 pm

    Perhaps they’re riding ‘Noble Steeds’:

  28. Comment by Liz M. | 07.8.2014 | 6:30 pm

    Congratulations to Ringcycles and thanks to Beeminder! I didn’t win, but couldn’t be happier with the result. I lost some stubborn pounds that had been hanging around too long. I still have a few more to go so I’m continuing with it. I can’t believe how helpful this contest was. Thanks so much.

  29. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 07.8.2014 | 10:30 pm

    Squee! So good to hear that, Liz!

  30. Comment by Doug (way upstate NY) | 07.9.2014 | 3:17 am

    @davidh: Leinenkugel’s is so not a pastry…….

  31. Comment by Libby | 07.9.2014 | 2:50 pm

    As someone else’s wife #1 I give you permission to go to Minnesota in October….hopefully it won’t snow. The cavet is Wife #1 also goes to MN with you.

    NancyJBS: do the ride in Italy! (aren’t you just riding in a big circle over there? That pretty much nowhere).

    Congrats to Ringcycles: 135lbs. Congrats! My hubs hasn’t seen that number for a few decades.

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