V to the Vth Degree

La Vie Velominatus isn’t a part-time gig. La Vie means the life, and The V is my life. Otherwise, I’d be Some V Velominatus, some of the time.

Even when I’m not riding my bike, like the last two weeks (for reasons which don’t really matter, and offering them only renders them excuses), I live La Vie through other avenues. Every day, no matter what I’m putting out, the only thing I’m putting in is V. I’m a Vegan. And like everything else that La Vie encompasses, it takes commitment.

Choosing to not eat meat, dairy or animal products usually elicits reactions ranging from surprise to condemnation. When it comes to riding a bike, being a V-tarian has benefitted me no end. Animal protein and fat doesn’t help one to spin pedals for hours on end. The proof is in the (dairy-free) pudding. This summer just past and the build-up to Keepers Tour was my best patch of form for a long time. Granted, it may not be entirely due to my diet, but it certainly didn’t hurt me. My endurance was excellent, I laid down plenty of V, felt light and strong on the climbs and recovery wasn’t a problem (malted, hopped beverages always work). And the riders on KT will attest to that fact. Never have I thought “if only I ate meat I’d be a better rider.” It works for me.

We all make choices in our life, and how to live it. I’ve made mine, and am sticking to them. And if for some unfathomable reason that offends you, then that’s for you to deal with, not me. I’m living La Vie for me (and the animals).


Article: Cav, R Millar, Yates, DZ, Tjallingi

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74 Replies to “V to the Vth Degree”

  1. @Nate

    @DerHoggz Spot on. I like my meat but it’s quality before quantity. We had a local butcher open in the neighborhood recently and when meat is on the menu that is where it comes from.

    Very interesting write-up, Brett. I’m kinda in the same camp as @DerHoggz and @Nate, I think – I eat meat very rarely (about once every second week, at a guess), but when I do, I’ll pay good money for the best quality I can get – and it actually means something to me that it’s locally produced (and preferably from animals that have had at least a semblance of a life – yes, I’m that much of a softie, at least off the bike…) 

    One thing that has really started to freak me out about the meat-industry (and it IS an industry) is the use of antibiotics as preventive medicine (or so it is claimed) but also, more importantly, as a growth promotor. Have a strong feeling that one day in the near future, this will be the final straw that turns me off meat altogether

  2. @minion

    My father in law works for Foster Farms (which for non-Americans is where a metric to the nth shit ton of our chicken comes from).

    He oversees the “grow out ranches” where the chicks go from fluff balls to dinner in 43days. I went to work with him one day to check it out. Crazy amount of chickens on those ranches. And it’s able to be called “natural” because they’re not in cages, tho they are packed into those barns pretty tight.

    Then, as a bonus, I went to the processing plant where they went from alive to chicken nuggets in something like 8min. And the worst part was that absolutely nothing is wasted. What doesn’t get turned into food for us, gets mixed with and fed back to the chickens.

    I didn’t eat chicken for a couple months after that, and now only raise my own.

  3. @scaler911 as you know I worked in the meat industry for 5 years. Went from a live cow to steaks. my main issue with the animal cruelty take is no one ever cares about the people working the line. I’ve mentioned this to Brett before. I’m all for transforming the way the industry Operates. Read The Jungle, it hasn’t changed much.

  4. @RedRanger

    @scaler911 as you know I worked in the meat industry for 5 years. Went from a live cow to steaks. my main issue with the animal cruelty take is no one ever cares about the people working the line. I’ve mentioned this to Brett before. I’m all for transforming the way the industry Operates. Read The Jungle, it hasn’t changed much.

    Oh yeah, The Jungle, amazing book.  Had to read it in high school and I have not eaten a hotdog since.  Although the VMH meakes a mean Tofu-Pup! 

    I grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont and the only meat we ever ate was what we butchered ourselves from our stock of less than 100 cows and the two pigs we raised each year and the deer we shot and the fish we caught.  We did not have much money so it worked well to be able to have it all from the farm and surrounding land as we could not really afford to buy meat at the store.  Very healthy stuff.  We would always sit around and say, “Who are we eating tonight?” and be like, “Oh this is Daisy, she was a good cow”.  Maybe that is why I am so warped?

    Now the meat my family eats is 95% from the local Farmers Market.  Way more expensive but oh so worth it.  The flavor is not even comparable to store bought meats, esp the chicken.

  5. veggie tales or whatever floats your boat is fine

    I am not prejudiced to kill a vegetable either, so i equally kill chicken, pork or beef and enjoy them all

    The crux of the arguement it appears to me to be that we all want to perform like the Ferrari’s we are, and what we feed ourselves undeniably does contribute directly to that.

    Listen veggies, you can eat as much processed crap as the rest of society, and that is a big problem.  Organic and local farming (like i do for me and mine) makes a difference, in health and wellness.  It hasn’t made me a damn bit faster on the bike and i don’t climb better, but I feel good, and know where my chicken and turkey come from, as they range in the back yard now.  Just cut brocholi, lettuce and the miss’s is picking strawberries right now.

    Its about falling for the marketing and shit out there that you can eat shit and feel and be well.  You can’t.  Processing foods, (listen veggies) mostly carbs are literally foreign bodies much of the time.  Corporate owned farms and their marketing of this crap and delivering modified foods to market are what are seriously growing our obese population.  theres so much out there to read on this, its mind boggling

    nonetheless, that is something that we can all kick to the curb

  6. The Jungle?  Warped?

    Y’all want to change your relationship to food (and almost everything else) read Cows by Matthew Stokoe.  Better yet, don’t as I do not want any of the Velomonati to associate me with that writing.

  7. Really enlightening the variety around here, not a day goes by without further education. Just as kit appears many feel justified by supporting locally grown butchery, I’d implore anyone consuming tofu or other soy products to research where they come from, if you’ve not done so already. GMO crops, such as glyphosphate resistant soy, can only be good for Monsanto, rather than the naturally evolved soy plant, and therefore what goes through us. It appears the mighty dollar can cause a shit ton of fun, no matter how socially responsible we’d like to be!

  8. “Erebus,” the first book by Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter, had a similar influence on me. A very dark, disturbing, experimental novel drawing on his experience working at a Winnipeg abbatoir. Long overlooked and out of print, unfortunately.

  9. Reminds me of an old joke:

    How can I tell if my friend is a vegetarian?

    Don’t worry, he’ll tell you.

  10. @il ciclista medio

    @Rob My thoughts as well pretty much.

    My wife is from a certain part of Asia that has the longest lifespans of anyone on the planet. This doesn’t come from snacking on dried hoofed meat or XXXL take aways.A lot of their food is locally sourced and they take great pride in stating that this vegetable is grown by a certain local farmer for example.
    Through this our families diet has changed significantly over the years to a more plant based one, with animal protein as a flavouring rather then the main course. All of us are the better for it and it certainly hasn’t affected my cycling life.

    Interestingly in her home country they they drink like fish as well from what I have seen; so the morale of the story..eat less land animals, more vegetables and seafood and drink way more booze to live longer

    That was the most fundamental cuisine experience for me when I was in Vietnam and two islands of Japan: “meat” (fish, pig, cow, et al) were an added bonus, the meat…was something stock like rice or rice noodles. My body is happy on stuff, I find.

  11. @Apex Nadir

    Reminds me of an old joke:

    How can I tell if my friend is a vegetarian?

    Don’t worry, he’ll tell you.

    That’s pretty strong, but I don’t know how I feel about your handle.

  12. @Query

    Who took that photo of Dave Mckenzie? It isn’t attributed.

    There ya go mate…

    A great look into the life of a big Pommy git vegetarian Pro here… 

    “The hotel we were staying at obviously had no idea of how to feed a bunch of vegetarians, judging by the food we were getting. Every meal had a serious amount of egg in it as a main ingredient, so they must have had a shed load of chickens working double overtime in the kitchen! The French team were getting rather red looking chicken every night, which brought us to the conclusion these chickens must have been keeling over from egg laying exhaustion.”

  13. @scaler911 Yarp. In Aus there are 3 or 4 large industrial operations (very slick, plenty of money for lobbying, supply supermarkets, fast food, bakery chains etc) and a few thousand small producers who do it for local supply/true organic. Just like any gathering of rugged individualists, they struggle to organise themselves effectively, so labelling and legislation knd of suck. The downside is the conditions the animals are kept in. Come out of the egg male? Powdered chicken. THe conditions the animals have to be kept in to be prosecuted is also, fucking abysmal, hence no eggs for me and very little chicken.

  14. I’m a macro biotic, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore who loves bacon. Cook up some good food and I’ll eat it. Unless it’s asparagus; then you can have my share.

    As to the rest of you, enjoy your meals in any way, diet or fashion you like. And if you don’t drink beer, it leaves more for the rest of us.

  15. Surprising to see so many V-getarians here. And so many of those that aren’t, consume their meat carefully and selectively. It appears that the population actually committed to sports is usually more careful about what they eat, and not only in terms of calories and nutritional value.

    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 5 years old, my mother joined later. Coached by a vegan ultra-runner and a vegan elite cyclist and son to the vegetarian national Ironman champion, I’m quite confident that this decision doesn’t hurt my performance one bit.

  16. @Chris

    @brett Nice article. Do you eat fish and sea food, I can’t remember from talking to you about it at the Keepers Tour.

    Very rarely, and only if there is no option (like if you go to someone’s house for dinner and they think that being vege means you eat fish). Or if you entrust someone like @rigid to order a pizza and he thinks that “vegetarian” means “meat lovers”…

  17. @Jamie

    @minion Ah, I see you’ve read Mr. Stokoe’s work.

    That was probably the world’s quickest google search. Does he get called Pynchon-esue at all? (When he’s not being called fucking disgusting)

  18. Stokoe sounds way more disgusting than Pynchon.

    Disgusting English Candy Drill, anyone?

  19. For an interesting alternative, you might want to read “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” by Loren Cordain and Joel Friel. I’ve been doing it for 3 or 4 months. I’ve never felt better. We eat only free range meat.

  20. interesting read, the article as well as people’s opinions on various diets.  been a vegetarian for several years and honestly, it’s just not something i even consider any more.  people ask me why occasionally and it makes no sense to tell them the original reasons, because the truth is it’s just who i am now and that’s not gonna change.  preaching to people about why they should or shouldn’t be vegetarian is silly and a waste of time.  the more important matter is to try and eat healthy, regardless of diet.  from the looks of it, most of us here agree on that; which is, frankly, what i’d expect.

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