king-kelly

Hunger

Hunger

by / / 75 posts

My favorite feeling is perhaps the empty hollowness of hunger. That statement, in itself, is a declaration of the privileged life I’ve led; it is borderline obscene to boast of such a thing in a world where 842 million people don’t have enough to eat. Nevertheless, being lucky enough to have been raised in America and just competent enough to hold down a job, I find myself in the enviable position of needing to invoke “discipline” in order to experience this sensation.

All that aside, I love feeling hungry, both physically and metaphorically. Physically, being hungry brings something primal out in me; there is an edge that awakens which feels dormant when I’ve eaten. I’m sharper, more alive somehow.

When I eat or drink too much, I feel it in my flesh; I feel the lethargy that comes with food everywhere. I feel it on my back, I feel it in my limbs, I feel it in my eyes – everything is weighed down and blurred. When I am overweight, I find I can go all day without eating and hardly give it a thought. When I’m training and riding well and my weight is down, I can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never feel sated. That is the feeling of hunger to which I refer; not a desire to starve, but a physical condition where sustenance feels impossible to achieve. This is a beautiful state where everything feels alive and there is a sharpness and precision in every motion.

There is also a metaphorical hunger, which I don’t think we can achieve without the physical sort. The metaphorical sort is borne of desire and need. This is what drives us to achieve more than we normally would. Sean Kelly talks of this hunger in his book by the same name; in his opening chapter, he says he would rather fall into the any of the greenhouses below the sweeping hairpins along the descent from the Poggio into Sanremo than face defeat by Moreno Argentin. That is hunger in the metaphorical sense.

I am a better person when I feel hunger; I have drive, I have humility, I have courage. When hunger stirs, we come alive with an urgency we don’t otherwise find. Without it, there is no compulsion to act, to fight, or to endure.

// Etiquette // Folklore // La Vie Velominatus // Tradition

  1. @meursault

    I don’t think it’s borderline obscene to discuss hunger of any kind. It’s a natural function and instinct of the body. It may be obscene to over eat, which most of us probably do in the west. It takes discipline to go hungry or work at fitness and such. These disciplines are all things we should take the time to think about whenever possible. Nice words Frank, made me think.

    Ah, the old “Borderline Obscene”. Brings back memories. The best Tex-Mex porno film I ever saw.

  2. @unversio

    Granola! Any warnings against eating good ole fresh granola in place of heavier meals? I’m assuming that this choice is safe. Ordered from Bob’s Red Mill and having a box of granola delivered to my desk is different.

    Why would you order granola ? It’s like going to the LBS to get your punctures repaired.

    Pretty much anything you buy will have more sugar and more fat than what you could make yourself, and granola is pretty damn easy.

    Having a quick look at the dietary values on their website it looks to me to have as much sugar and fat as many commercially available cereals. You’d probably be better off with Kelloggs Cornflakes although I don’t have a box in front of me to compare. It’s certainly got more fat and sugar and overall calories than Weetabix or Puffed Wheat / Oats.

    It all adds up.

  3. @Gianni

    @meursault

    @TommyTubolare

    @chipomarc

    Dude seriously quit COTHO trolling under this nice article. You were told to piss off on more than several occasions on other forums and you’re here now. Do yourself a favor and wake up from the Lance nightmare you continuosly living in. Your links to Lance activities are really valid and important only to you. Wish I could recommend somebody to help you but it’s hopeless. It has been going on for so long all over the net that I begin to think you’re the COTHO himself in disguise.

    Gianni, now may not be the time!

    Heeeheee. Maybe yes, maybe no.

    Oh, FFS. Dance of the Seven Veils is it? Gianni twirling slowly, divesting himself of silk layers? Is this really attractive?

  4. @frank

    Having doped through his career (and after!) doesn’t mean he didn’t know how to diet and train.

    Just seems dangerous to me to be using someone as a dietary or training role-model when he wasn’t telling us — and we’re probably(!) not on — the full program.  If your blood and general organism isn’t boosted by injections of pharmaceuticals, you might need to put in more, or at least more of some things, via a more traditional method, i.e. eating.

    Back on-topic, I was re-reading an article about post-war riders a couple of days ago, who’d seen a World War and come from the fields or mines.  That’ll give you a hunger not too many of us know all that much about, I’d dare to suggest.

    Also, when it comes to some things, whether crap food or luxuries, moderation often leads to mediocrity, I find.  Abstinence is discipline and strength, and yes, hunger.

  5. @scaler911

    Food, starving oneself, what to eat, when, how? Y’all are missing probably the bigger point of the article, hunger to achieve a goal. The metaphorical hunger that drives us to participate in this insane, beautiful sport. The same kinda hunger to succeed, to get to and over that plateau (which can also be literal or metaphorical).

    Anyway, fab article penned at the exact right time of year, especially for those of us living above the 45th Parallel N. Find that hunger, feed it, but satiate it very rarely. We need it.

    Yep, right on. I found this a great article to come at a great time. I have set myself a very stout off-the-bike goal and if I just keep my head down, I think I can have it cleared for the Giro, which will be a perfect launch into summer cycling.

    Cycling goals and really any sporting goals come easy, it’s the work goals that are harder. But hey, riding bikes is kids stuff and work, well, that is what you avoid until you have to grow up.

  6. @frank

    @Puffy

    @chipomarc

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sStK1KG8lnA

    COTHO’);” class=”comment-link”>COTHO ” Sometimes you have to miss a meal”

    Huh? I don’t know how old that video is, but we know better now. You eat enough carbs to fuel your training with a small deficit. Note: small, 500 Cal max my coach keeps telling me. Don’t eat enough, your peformace suffers in the same way he describes it suffering when you bonk. Take it too far, and you start loosing muscle! Skipping a whole mean? No way! Not unless you ate too much the meal prior.

    This is such total bullshit. Your body burns the easiest fuel it can find; it won’t start on muscle until you’re in a hunger camp.

    By this reasoning no one would ever lose weight or starve to death.

    He’s right, Frank, but not in the way that you think he’s wrong. When you train, you damage muscle. Your protein intake is what allows repair and rebuilding of the muscle damaged through hard work. Over tie, the body adapts by adding muscle to deal with the high workload. When you deny the body the calories to recover (especially by limiting proteins), you run the risk of losing the muscle damaged in training. It’s not being used for metabolism – as you say, the body won’t burn muscle for fuel until you are already in dire straits – but it can still be lost.

    I’m not sure that’s what he meant, but I’d like to think so. Skipping meals and riding oneself into the ground improves the threshold for suffering, or rather for cracking under suffering, but also limits performance. Try the experiment – ride the same roads with plenty of fuel and on fumes. Generally speaking, you will perform better, generating more stress for your body to adapt to, with eating than without. I’m not saying we should all get fat, but we shouldn’t overdo it either.

    If you haven’t, Check out Allen Lim’s work. He explains things much better than I do.

  7. @Marcus

    @meursault

    I don’t think it’s borderline obscene to discuss hunger of any kind. It’s a natural function and instinct of the body. It may be obscene to over eat, which most of us probably do in the west. It takes discipline to go hungry or work at fitness and such. These disciplines are all things we should take the time to think about whenever possible. Nice words Frank, made me think.

    Ah, the old “Borderline Obscene”. Brings back memories. The best Tex-Mex porno film I ever saw.

    Once again, by post #  51 the discussion goes completely (and hilariously) off the rails.  Thanks Marcus!

  8. Last year during one of his Eurosport gigs King Kelly was asked about his fighting weight. I was amazed when he said that he was 12-13 kilos heavier now than he was back in his prime. Kelly is no blob, he’s still in good shape but it brings home the importance of leaving the table still hungry. It will save you money too; in these parts a “hungry hooer” is someone who is carefully with money. Eating clean and a bit of willpower is a lot cheaper than light wheels, carbon stems and titanium bolts. As I think Kate Moss once said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

  9. @ChrisO They claim that that prefer not to add anything, especially when it comes to Wheat Germ. I like it as the main reason for ordering Granola, Muesli, etc. from Bob. I’m curious why you would care where my Granola came from anyway.

  10. @ChrisO Protein Plus

  11. Inspired to start again reading Racing Weight and then perhaps “unlearn what I have learned” this past year.

  12. I hunger to eat right whenever possible, hence Bob’s Red Mill:

    [ Facebook ] We know it’s important to you and we are proud to say that Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods is officially enrolled in the Non-GMO Project. We have always been committed to identity-preserved ingredients and worked closely with farmers to ensure our raw materials are not bio-engineered, but this strengthens our commitment to our values and to you, our customer.

  13. @eenies

     As I think Kate Moss once said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

    No, that was me that said that.  I was referring to Kate Moss though, she feels excellent.  Truly outstanding.  Really, you’ve got to try it for yourself.  Way better than she tastes.

  14. FWIW (with apologies for continuing the focus on physical rather than metaphorical hunger), my experience with weight loss has been interesting (to me, at least). When I was  97 kgs (sorry, ‘Mericans, I dunno what that is in lbs) I dropped to a steady 83kgs by riding 4 or 5 times a week, cutting out beer and never eating dessert or sweets (lollies). Then when injury and work kept me off the bike and a thorough-going reacquaintance with beer and ice cream had seen me head back perilously close to my previous weight, but I was still not riding (yes, poor form, but Oprah-esque confessionals of this nature require honesty), I took a different tack: drop dessert and sweets again, drop pasta, rice, potato and bread, but don’t drop beer. The result: a consistent weight of 80 – 81 kgs. (All blood tests good – no systemic issues/deficits apparent. The doctor has, though, suggested no more weight loss.)  Ron’s (?) prescription for then matching caloric intake to anticipated depletion (based on nature and duration of exercise) is then not a headache, as it is not complicated by a desire to also use the exercise for weight loss.

    A few thoughts occur to me as a result of this. (1) It may not be for everyone. Listen to your body.  And get it checked with comprehensive blood work after a while to ensure it is not doing you harm.  (2) I rarely feel hungry. Presumably because protein and fat satiate far more effectively than carbs.  (Occasional hunger is fine.  But diets which make people constantly hungry strike me as foolish in the extreme.) (3) Dinner and lunch are easy, as is dining out – I just don’t eat the rice/potato/etc, and have additional broccoli/etc instead – but it does take a while to get used to tuna or egg for breakfast. (4) It helps set a tone in the family of moderation when it comes to things like sweet drink and the other sugary crap kids like. That is no bad thing.  (5) Most importantly, I have not had to give up beer.  This is good, because I love beer, and my brother runs a brewery so my beer is relatively cheap. It seems I can eat carbs or drink carbs but not do both. Conceived of in those terms, it is a simple choice.

  15. @V-olcano

    I’m not suggesting you skip a meal after riding; you have to recover and provide your muscles fuel to do so. What I’m saying is this fucking bullshit that’s floating out there that if you don’t eat four fucking power bars on your ride, your body will eat muscle instead of fat.

  16. @unversio

    @ChrisO They claim that that prefer not to add anything, especially when it comes to Wheat Germ. I like it as the main reason for ordering Granola, Muesli, etc. from Bob. I’m curious why you would care where my Granola came from anyway.

    Go for the muesli instead, which is what I thought you were referring to. I didn’t realize they make a granola. The muesli rocks and has no sugar, to @ChrisO’s point.

    @G’phant

     It seems I can eat carbs or drink carbs but not do both. Conceived of in those terms, it is a simple choice.

    Great to hear from you again matey. Welcome back. Question whose answer eludes me in your excellent prose: are you or are you not actually riding your fucking bike now?

  17. @frank Next order: Old Country Style Muesli, Gluten Free Apple Blueberry Granola, Natural “No Fat Added” Granola, Whole Wheat Farina [cereal], Golden Flaxseed [gluten free] w/ clear containers.

  18. @frank Kelly was a badass, and racing was so much better before team race radios.

  19. @frank

    @V-olcano

    I’m not suggesting you skip a meal after riding; you have to recover and provide your muscles fuel to do so. What I’m saying is this fucking bullshit that’s floating out there that if you don’t eat four fucking power bars on your ride, your body will eat muscle instead of fat.

    That pretty well hits the nail on the head. I agree completely, and I think @Puffy would too. That’s all I was getting at – you were both getting to the same place via different roads.

  20. @unversio

    @ChrisO They claim that that prefer not to add anything, especially when it comes to Wheat Germ. I like it as the main reason for ordering Granola, Muesli, etc. from Bob. I’m curious why you would care where my Granola came from anyway.

    I don’t care a fig where your Granola comes from – you were the one plugging avuncular suppliers of breakfast cereals.

    My general point was that anything you buy from anywhere is more likely to have more sugar and fat than anything you make yourself. Whether it’s “all natural” or “nothing added” is irrelevant.

    Many supposedly healthy or low fat foods are packed with sugar – muesli is one of the worst, as people buy it thinking they are doing the right thing and would actually be better off with something like Cornflakes.  When you spend a bit of time in the supermarket picking up and comparing the dietary values of different items it’s quite an eye-opener.

  21. @V-olcano

    Impossible to say, really. You lot don’t read the articles, I don’t read the posts. It’s our contract.

    Or, as the VMH used to say, “You jump to your conclusions, I’ll jump to mine.”

  22. @frank Full medical assessment (stress ecg and everything – we  do it every few years) at the end of next week, to see what basal fitness is like when I am truly unfit, then yes. Just in time for winter.  Brilliant.

  23. @ChrisO

    @unversio

    @ChrisO They claim that that prefer not to add anything, especially when it comes to Wheat Germ. I like it as the main reason for ordering Granola, Muesli, etc. from Bob. I’m curious why you would care where my Granola came from anyway.

    I don’t care a fig where your Granola comes from – you were the one plugging avuncular suppliers of breakfast cereals.

    My general point was that anything you buy from anywhere is more likely to have more sugar and fat than anything you make yourself. Whether it’s “all natural” or “nothing added” is irrelevant.

    Many supposedly healthy or low fat foods are packed with sugar – muesli is one of the worst, as people buy it thinking they are doing the right thing and would actually be better off with something like Cornflakes. When you spend a bit of time in the supermarket picking up and comparing the dietary values of different items it’s quite an eye-opener.

    I’ll essentially stick to Kellogg’s Protein Plus — and stay on my guard in the supermarket.

  24. @PeakInTwoYears LOL, I had to google the dance of the seven veils.

  25. Frank, stellar pull, absolutely spot on.  Since reading this a week or so ago, I have been drilling it down and thinking about quite a lot. Drawing on such metaphors and the corollaries do obscure deeper meanings, and there is a beauty in that when intended, ball racking when not intended.  My wife has a healthy disgusting disdain for my hunger of my passion, she maybe is like most and doesn’t get it as I turn things in 1/8 turns methodically in order, or prep the night before like a disciple, read like its gospel and scream at the TV when fucking Sagan blows the group to smithereens, when I’m vicariously envisioning my next ride…sorta. I’m starving for it.

Leave a Reply