Book Review: Racing Weight

Book Review: Racing Weight

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I know it’s a bit misleading to call this article a “Book Review”, but “Book Review” soundsbetter than “Jump To Conclusions After Reading One Chapter and Publish Those Conclusions”.

Like most cyclists, I suffer from the belief that I’m overweight (I am).  In a world of rising obesity, I am thrown strange glances and receive accusations of “being anorexic” from my colleagues when I comment that I won’t have a cookie or slice of Birthday cake because I’m trying to lose some weight.  The fact is, despite being generally thinner and fitter than the average citizen, cyclists suffer from the same self-image problems that everyone else does.  Not only that, we struggle to lose weight just as much as our non-athletic friends.

Athletes generally lose weight through piling on more miles – a theory based on Physics and the wonderfully useful principle known as The Conservation of Mass; what goes in goes out and if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. (The Conservation of Mass is actually our best friend; it’s behind almost everything that makes bicycling possible and also being out of shape incredibly frustrating).  Owing to this simple theory, it’s generally unsurprising that there are very few diet programs for amateur athletes and as such I was thrilled to pick up a copy of “Racing Weight“, by Matt Fitzgerald, a book seeming written for just this audience.  I prepared to read it and readied myself to lose those last few (dozen) pounds.

I found the book very disappointing.  What I’m gleaning is that in order to loose weight I should “eat right,  “eat less”, “train more”, and – worst of all – “stop drinking like a fish”.  Not only that, but the book insists that I should diligently collect data on my training, diet, and weight and track it over several training cycles in order to even understand what my ideal weight might be in the first place.  Basically, by the time Winter sets in again and I’m ready to eat turkey and drink Scotch from the bottle, I’ll have some idea as to how fat I really am.

I’ll be honest: that’s not really the program I’m looking for. I was looking more for the program where I get to eat Cadbury Eggs, chips and salsa, and watch clever videos on the internet while dropping weight like a heroin addict with giardia and at the same time not losing muscle mass (it would even be nice if this diet even helped me gain some).  Isn’t there something I can inject or a pill to make myself a better cyclist? Come on, Matt, I’m getting tired of unhelpful authors.

And with that, I’m left with no option but to stick to my usual plan of eating hamburgers, drinking beer, and spending loads of money on lighter cycling equipment in lieu of losing weight.

// Book Review

  1. @Rob
    The problem with Phase II is that I don’t know what it is! It’s like the Underwear Gnomes in SouthPark: Phase I: Steal underwear. Phase II: ??. Phase III: Profit!

  2. @john
    It’s tricky for us bigfellas. That’s why I universally support any successful, large rider. Like Big Maggy and Jens. Especially when they make it over a hill.

    Your comment on severing the gun is brilliant, but that’s the trick, too – how do you loose the last 5 pounds when you’re pretty fit and avoid muscle mass loss?

  3. P.S. Fat Lampre Man is becoming cliche. Here is a newer one:

  4. @wvcycling
    We lived in the country in North Carolina for about a year and it drove the locals mad to see us out on our bike wearing spandex. They would routinely sic their dogs on us and laugh as we sped away (those were some ferocious dogs).

    What is it with dogs and bikes? One of my dogs, Mack, goes bananas when he sees me on a bike. He’s like, “DUDE! That is the coolest thing that you can go as fast as me now!”

  5. @wvcycling
    Hrm? Image code fail? http://i40.tinypic.com/2qw1zwl.jpg

    Sorry…

  6. @wvcycling
    Fat Lampre guy IS a cliche, but I failed to find a better one. Unfortunately, it appears the blog filtered out the pic – can you post a URL to the pic and I’ll snag it.

    UPDATE: Grabbed it – posted it. Seems WP is unhappy about users who aren’t logged in posting images. Must work on that. Thanks for the awesome pic. It’s fucking brilliant!

  7. @Rob
    Yeah, but that’s the point, right? I mean, sure, the non-cycling folks wouldn’t worry – or even notice – the weight, but as cyclists, it’s those 5 pounds or so that are so hard to loose but that make a huge difference in our performance. What we as cyclists call “fat” is not the same as the rest.

    In two months, when I peak, I’ll be right there, though.

  8. @Rob

    with my old 753

    Please tell me you’re rockin’ some downtube shifters. Please, please, please.

  9. @Joe
    The image of Jake sitting on the turbo trainer with you yelling about Rule #5 in a megaphone and quizing him on campy groups has been flashing through my head all day.

    Are you going to teach him about toe clips, too?

  10. @wvcycling

    At least his cell phone won’t be getting wet in the rain.

  11. @wvcycling, @Marko
    WTF is he wearing? I thought it was a jersey, but looks like a v-neck t-shirt. It’s hard to tell with the way his neck dangles over the top of the shirt what is going on at the collar. Can’t see a zipper, but it’s anyone’s guess what’s going on there.

  12. @frank
    Not sure but he appears to be in compliance with Rule #33 (the first part)

  13. @Marko
    He is also in compliance with Rule #24 if weighing a metric ton is the same as using the metric system.

  14. Yeah, but that’s the point, right? I mean, sure, the non-cycling folks wouldn’t worry – or even notice – the weight, but as cyclists, it’s those 5 pounds or so that are so hard to loose but that make a huge difference in our performance. What we as cyclists call “fat” is not the same as the rest.

    As one who did not really have to pay attention to my weight (until health + age issues) it was always fun to meet up for the first spring races and tell some insecure shlub that he looked “heavy” or “did you gain a lot this winter?” and they would completely freak.

    with my old 753

    Please tell me you’re rockin’ some downtube shifters. Please, please, please.

    Are you shitting me? I just broke down and changed the 7-speed to 9 and the Campy downtube shifters work a charm!

  15. @frank Sorry screwed up the quote thing above – wheres the “edit” button???

  16. @Rob
    I tried to edit it for you, and I fucked it up, too! SHIT! Lost the bit about coming East…what was that again?

    Seems the limitations of this comment box are being realized. Must work on that, too.

  17. Marko :@Rob
    So we’re talking about Phase 2?

    Yes!
    And there but for the grace of Jaysus go I… I feel for those 2 gents pictured above, I mean they most likely were animals in the day and now all they can do is squeeze into some kit and bask in memories (and they are sort of cute – I didn’t say that).

    As to Gnomes-underwear and phase 2, as Marko has stated else where see Rule #5.

  18. @Rob
    As for the 753…we need pictures, STAT. It’s funny, the myths created around cog spacing incompatibilities. So many configurations work that we are told by the manufacturers should not. Like, for instance, the spacing on the 7, 8, and 9 speed cassettes are all pretty much the same and can even be swapped between Campag and Shimano.

    It’s all Shimano’s ploy to totally integrate (STI stands for Shimano Total Integration, in case I haven’t mentioned that before.)

  19. @Rob
    Douché on Rule #5!

    My favorite bit about the Lampre guy is the floppy leg grippers due to the girth in the waiste not being designed in proportion to the girth of his guns.

  20. @frank Thanks, and it was just if you are comming East at PEAK time lets mix it up!

  21. @Rob
    Actually, contemplating a Forth of July East Coast Extravaganza!

  22. @Frank
    Toe clip training for Jake will be accomplished at the same time he learns to track stand…no handed…whilst rolling a joint. I may throw a few loose floor tacks around the bike to focus his concentration.

    Regarding 3d Fitness, I’ve been pushing the boundaries this evening and will post in more detail tomorrow. I will require several pints and some pie related products for lunch before the program is finished. It’s been gruelling but nothing worthwhile comes easy.

    I imagine N.Carolina must be at the frontline of the eternal battle against slow cooked swine derivatives. Tough work.

  23. frank :@Rob
    Actually, contemplating a Forth of July East Coast Extravaganza!

    It is ON!! I will be at my summer training camp (read the ranch house in the deep woods on a lonely country road), and you and the beautiful Ms. have an open invitation to come and bust yer legs in the hills of the Columbia/Northern Dutchess County, NY-MA-CT, Tri State area. The views of the distant Catskill and Taconic/Berkshire mountains are stunning.

    Perhaps I will have peaked enough to revive the “Legendary 10 Hill Route” a 100km leg breaker that includes infamous climbs like McGee Hill @19%, Schultz Hill @16% etc. etc. The boyez and I have not done it in 10 years so it would be a great excuse!

  24. @frank @Rob
    Douché on Rule #5!

    ++1

    DOUCHE – What a great word!

    @Joe
    Joe when my wife throws me out can I come and work at the 3D FLC? You just threw in some skills I happen to have perfected long, long ago and I know I could be a great role model for the students. . .

  25. There is, of course, the occasional cyclist who, through extensive prior demonstration of adherence to Rule #5, has earned the lifetime right to wear lycra whhatever weight he may choose to be –

  26. @Geof

    the occasional cyclist who, through extensive prior demonstration of adherence to Rule #5

    I beg to differ; not prior demonstration of but more like a fucking Founding Father! Dude pretty much laid the groundwork for all the Rules.

  27. @frank

    As evidenced by the lower pic above, he is tutoring on what appears to be Rule #45 followed by Rule #46.

  28. Eddy, even in his current ageing state, could kick all our asses.

  29. frank :
    I beg to differ; not prior demonstration of but more like a fucking Founding Father! Dude pretty much laid the groundwork for all the Rules.

    I concur. My earlier post showed insufficient regard for the seminal (settle, boys) role of The Legend in relation to The Rules. This was unintentional. I apologize unconditionally.

    And I think should have said “one” rather than “the occasional”.

  30. @Marko
    Right on! (You are the master at recognizing this shit.)

    If I were to venture a guess, I would think the conversation started something like this:

    Eddy [pointing at the guy he’s fixing]: G’Day. How the fuck are ya? This is a little pussy who dies his hair white because he has to compensate for breaking Rule #45 and Rule #46. Harden the Fuck Up, little pussy! Now let me retrieve the allen set I’ve been carrying around non-stop since the introductory scenes of “A Sunday In Hell” and fix your bike, little pussy!

  31. @Dan O
    Would but for the honor of having that happen, I would die happily. He would just sit there, atop is orange bike, and say, “Here, this is how you go fast. Like this.” And then take off and be confused that we got dropped.

  32. @Geof
    You are forgiven for this oversight, Velominatus. Incidentally, congratulations on reaching Level 3.

  33. Here’s a clever video featuring just the diet you might be looking for:

  34. @mike
    That’s great – I love that the before/after pictures of him are the same. Legend.

  35. Here’s a question I just got on my “health assessment” questionnaire for lowered insurance co-pays. What is wrong with this question?

    “How many days in a usual week do you do moderate activities for at least 10 minutes at a time, such as brisk walking, bicycling, vacuuming, gardening, or anything else that causes a small increase in your breathing or heart rate?”

  36. @Marko
    Love it! Better move the fridge a little further away from the television. Brisk vacuuming?

  37. @Steampunk
    I know, WTF! I always put it in the big ring and Rule #5 it while vacuuming and I garden well for my weight. What pussy soft-pedals a hoover? And when is Dyson coming out with a carbone model?

  38. I like that they list “at least 10 minutes” like 10 minutes of any of those activities are going to do a bit of good for you in the long run. Way to make the lowest common denominator feel like they are doing “well”.

    Everything I’ve ever heard is that 30 minutes of vigorous activity is a daily minimum to see any sort of health benefits, but we all know most Americans need far more than that…

    Though I guess you could consider your 10 minutes of vacuuming sort of like interval cross training.

  39. frank:
    Basically, by the time Winter sets in again and I’m ready to… …drink Scotch from the bottle

    OK Frank, let’s see what kind of man you really are. Ice or no ice?

    BTW, this is what I like:

  40. No ice, obviously. And not just any Balvenie; nothing but the Port Wood touches these lips.

  41. @frank
    Absolutely no ice. Just bought, and brought, some 18 year old Glenlivet to a party tonight and a friend and I were watching who used ice or not. No ice for the real men!!! Although, I must admit, I am more of a bourbon fan (esp Pappy Van Winkle) than a Scotch fan!

  42. Yes, ice is acceptable in whiskey but never in scotch or bourbon, as far as I know.

  43. Ice or no ice are both perfectly acceptable for scotch. So sayeth I.

    Cyclops–I am holding my almost empty bottle of 15 year old Balvenie even as I type this. I’ve also enjoyed the 21 year old, but now this Velominatus Budgetatus may be sipping his last Balvenie for a while.

    @Buck Rogers
    Let me know when you’re settled in San Antonio. I’m looking forward to driving over and getting in a Hill Country ride with you. Of course, you are welcome to bring the Glenlivet for any post-ride debriefing. I won’t object.

  44. @Cyclops, et al
    Y’all are making me thirsty. I’ve been nursing some Glenlivet for awhile (no ice in my scotch, thank ye). I also usually stock Bulleit Bourbon — great stuff, highly recommended for the discerning V. Bugetatus. Most recent pickup is that old classic, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, which, along with Bourbon, I pour on the rocks. It’s not as good, but there’s no arguing with the name on the label.

  45. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Jeff: Absolutely! I’ve built a decent little bourbon collection while I have been in TN over the last 2 years. I have some AMAZING 23 year-old Van Winkle bourbon that is just as smoothe as a freshly shaved pair of legs. I will be there at the latest by Sept 1st and we’ll have a ride and a little post-V bourbon tasting!

  46. Like me glate glandaddy, Philip McCrevis used to say…

  47. frank:
    No ice, obviously. And not just any Balvenie; nothing but the Port Wood touches these lips.

    Here, here. Oh, wait, sorry Oli. Hear, hear.

  48. My sister was married last year at an exclusive country club here in town (doesn’t hurt that my dear ‘ol mum works there). Since I was taking the role of my late father in walking her down the aisle, and due the fact that my mom is an employee, I was given free reign to order any liquor I wanted from the bar (free of charge), while everyone else had to ‘suffer’ with the standard beer and wine selection.

    You better believe I drank the most top shelf scotch and whiskey they had. As a dedicated velominatus budgetatus, I generally limit my liquor purchases to bottles in the $15-25 dollar range. I can’t even remember the names of what I drank, but god they were all very good. I remember many of them were smokey and had strong peat flavors. Good times, good times…

  49. Actually Gentlemen if I may interject. Every self respecting bar in Scotland has a little jug placed on the bar with water in it. The purpose of which is to pour a “dash” of water in one’s Scotch. A wee dash mind. Not in order to water down the scotch but to chill it ever so slightly in order to bring forth all the delicious aromas and taste. In much the same way that red wine needs to be served at the right temperature (which is not room temperature if the room is 78f!!)

    For that reason I believe it is not neccessarily a crime for one to have a single wee cube of ice in lieu of a dash of water. Try it once, one small cube..let the ice melt and the scotch chill ever so slightly for five minutes, then drink it. I think you’ll be pleasanly suprised.

    BTW chaps if you love your Port Wood finishes one could do worse than to try the Glen Morangie in a Port Wood finish..wonderful stuff.

  50. @paolo

    Actually Gentlemen if I may interject. Every self respecting bar in Scotland has a little jug placed on the bar with water in it. The purpose of which is to pour a “dash” of water in one’s Scotch. A wee dash mind. Not in order to water down the scotch but to chill it ever so slightly in order to bring forth all the delicious aromas and taste. In much the same way that red wine needs to be served at the right temperature (which is not room temperature if the room is 78f!!)

    For that reason I believe it is not neccessarily a crime for one to have a single wee cube of ice in lieu of a dash of water. Try it once, one small cube..let the ice melt and the scotch chill ever so slightly for five minutes, then drink it. I think you’ll be pleasanly suprised.

    BTW chaps if you love your Port Wood finishes one could do worse than to try the Glen Morangie in a Port Wood finish..wonderful stuff.

    And it’s worth noting that Scotch can be bought cheaper in the US than in Scotland. Taxes, taxes, taxes . . .

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