I am thrilled to announce that for the first time in my life, my chest measurement is smaller than my hip measurement, an accomplishment I’m not sure many men around the world would be proud to admit. A Cyclist has no use for an upper body, we’re not going about lifting things with our arms; we are the sort of people who do all our lifting with our legs. We just need enough to hold the handlebars and pull from time to time while chewing the bar tape; beyond that, upper bodies are little more than extra weight and I’ve got more of that than I need already.
When I boasted about this tremendous feat to a few work colleagues, none of them showed any appreciation for my accomplishment whatsoever. Mostly they looked at me askance, not unlike how my dog looks at me when I’m talking to her in complete sentences. I could sense them resisting the temptation to start rotating their heads until they fell over like she does. The most any of them could muster was joking about how I must look at the beach, at which point I returned the favor of not having a clue what they were on about. Honestly, I’m much more worried about looking good in my skinsuit than I am about looking good in my mankini.
The first thing one observes when meeting Pro Cyclists is how tiny they are; they look like normal folks on TV but when you see them in real life they look like birds with a gland problem. Alpine ski racers also look like normal people on TV, but when you see them in person you realize they are thrice the size of a normal person, plus two. Either of Bode Miller’s arms are bigger than my right gun, the bigger of the two.
Kate Moss said that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Apparently even Kate Moss couldn’t go her whole life without saying something sensible eventually. Being light on a bike is an amazing feeling, and we sacrifice all socially acceptable aesthetics in this pursuit. To be skinny is also to look good on a bike; hunching over a top tube chewing our handlebars isn’t a terribly flattering posture to begin with, one not made any more appealing with a gut protruding into the void.
I’ve never heard a Cyclist say they are happy with their weight, or that they feel they are skinny enough. No matter how skinny we are, we are still too fat. Most Cyclists greet each other with a little pinch on the arm to gauge one another’s weight – the first intimidation of the ride or the first bit of morale, depending on which side of the pinch you are. “Cyclists’ Sizing” is a phenomenon where a rider needs to wear their bibshorts a size bigger than their jersey. This is the maximum body image goal of the Cyclist, to have massive guns and a tiny torso.
I’m on the train, but I’m not there yet. To hasten the journey, I fancy the 5am Spanish Turbo Session in full leggings, long sleeve jersey, and casquette in order to kick start my metabolism in the morning. And then I skip breakfast and lunch. And dinner, if I can manage it. I prefer to cut calories out of my food diet than out of my drinking diet; success is all about setting attainable goals.