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Monthly Archives: January 2012

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An Observation

Now that I actually pay attention to what I’m doing on a bike, I shot my first video of myself yesterday to get a look at my form (it’s getting serious folks – or maybe seriously fun would be more descriptive), it makes me laugh to see an actor in a commercial making a mess of riding a bike and I can pick out the little disasters instantly.

I saw a commercial for a pill that claims to boost testosterone in men this morning.  They’ve got some actor trying to mash his way up a hill (in the setting sun for crying out loud), with the pedal sitting on the arch of his tennis shoe’d feet – and they actually zoom in on his feet as if to say with a picture:  Look how tough this guy is now that he takes his daily dose of manliness.  They may just as well have shown a runner lumbering up a hill decked out in a tank and matching running shorts (in the setting sun) running up a hill in deck shoes on his heels.  It made me chuckle out loud.

Now, if you happen to be even more of a rookie than I am and have no idea what I’m talking about, fear not!  I’m here to help.  Let’s look at good form first… (more…)

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Too serious? Time for a laugh…

So, I think I posted about six hours ago something about best laid plans.  Yeah, so I pulled into the driveway and realized that my new book that I was going to start tonight is sitting on my desk.  So I guess I’ll be starting that book tomorrow night.

Now I’ve got some free time on my hands so I thought I’d scour the internet so my fellow cycling, running and triathlon brothers and sisters could have a laugh…

The guy in the banana hammock is priceless:

How did your first time on rollers turn out?  His, not so good:

The Slow and The Moderate:

Have you ever wondered why you can ride for weeks and your tires are fine, then you leave your bike sit for a week and the tires are dead flat?

These are not the answers.

Now I don’t usually stop to check out the scenery when I’m riding.  I’m concentrating on keeping my speed up or conquering a hill or making the most of a downhill stretch.  Rules were meant to be broken.

Maybe those Canucks have the right idea…at least till my daughters are old enough to look like that.  At such a time, anyone oggling them will be dirty old men.  But then that would mean the future me would think that the current me is a di…

Oh crap, I think I just tore a battleship sized hole in the time continuum.

Sorry about that.

Oh no you didn’t…

That’s one hell of a kit, baby.

C’mon man!

How  can you tell these two are married?

If they were only dating he’d be driving.

If you don’t have a rack on your bike, improvise…  On second thought:

Dammit, that’s dedication:

That’s gotta be a $4,000 bike!  On the back of a $380,000 Lamborghini.

And finally:  117 Ways To Tell If You’re A Triathlete.  (This is absolutely hilarious)

Well now I get it…

Took my new ride for a spin today in my office and it was wonderful.  I spent some time this morning cleaning up the chain and the cassette, ordered a couple of Ultegra name plates for the shifters – which is sweet because they were only twelve bucks for the two of them.  It really looks sharp and rolls well.

Now I understand why people spend the big bucks for the nicer bikes, man that thing is great.

How to avoid looking like a rookie…From a rookie.

I laughed out loud the first time I read this article – not so much because I suffered any of the embarrassing items on this list, but because some of the items are just down right hilarious.

In fact, I thanked the good Lord that I actually had enough common sense not to fall into any of these traps…  In fact, I’ve only had two embarrassing moments on my bikes so far and one certainly wasn’t my fault.  I was approaching a stop light and a left hand turn on my normal 16 mile route.  I had been pushing hard to maintain a 20 mph average (32 km/h) including stops which requires that I maintain somewhere around 23 mph when I’m actually riding – with five stop signs and eight traffic lights, I’m going to have to stop at least two or three times.  In any event, I had a little bit of a tail wind so I was making hay while I could – I was at about 30 mph and huffing big time when I started moving to the left to make my turn.  Just as I did, the light turned and I had to stop, quickly (it’s a very busy intersection).  Being in a winded state, I forgot to clip out of my pedal and darn near went down.  I only clipped out at the last millisecond and was already leaning.

The second happened when I went mountain biking for the first time (for real) at Island Lake State Park.  Now, I really was a nube to mountain biking.  The friend I went with offered to let me ride his backup bike, which was a lot nicer than my Trek 3700 (pictured below) but I was intent on riding my bike.  It wasn’t an ego thing, more of a “I spent a lot of money getting it exactly where I wanted it, it seems like sacrilege not to ride it the first time I’m playing in the dirt” kind of dealio.  The fella I was riding with is, on the other hand, very experienced.  I made a mistake in trying to keep up with him and to make matters worse, there was another equally experienced rider behind me so I didn’t want to hold him up (not ego) or look like a nube (ego).  The three of us were going down a steep hill that had a left hairpin half way down…and the turn was all sand.  I carried too much speed into the corner trying to keep up and started to slide entering the corner.  I didn’t want to fall down the cliff that I was looking at beyond the corner so I laid it down right in front of the other guy (who miraculously managed to see it coming and stop before using my butt as a ramp, launching himself into the abyss below).  I ended up with a bruised ego, and a couple of raspberries on my leg and elbow.  Fortunately the guy behind me was cool about it.

I went down again under the same circumstances, too fast and trying to keep up, but with nobody behind me before I finally figured that I needed to slow it down a bit on the descents.  So I fell off my bike twice in three miles – at 41-years-old and once with an audience.

Fortunately for me, no fashion faux pas – I don’t know if the old ego could have handled that.

Aw Yeah, $240 Worth Of Puddin’

Aw yeah, $240 worth of puddin’.  It’s not new but it’s in pretty good shape.  It needed a little clean up but but I’m really glad to have a decent race bike – that fits.  I’m going to ride it a few times before I tinker, but it seems like the stem’s a little high.

To tell you the truth, I’m glad I ended up buying a Trek, I’ve been partial ever since I rode my mountain bike the first time.

I also have to add, I’m lucky to have a wife that puts up with all of this.

Now I’m ready mechanically for the start of the 2012 season and my first 100k on April 29th, it’s just a matter of keeping my shape up through the winter.  Sweet.

If you don’t know what the $240 worth of puddin’ reference means:

An addendum to eating skinny

Ah politics, one way or another, you get dragged in.

I responded to a comment yesterday on my post about eating skinny yesterday that basically agreed with what I’d written about the Australian study that purported to show that America’s obesity problem had less to do with physical activity and more to do with eating too much.  Originally I’d quit reading the article that I linked to after the first few paragraphs but the comment gave me reason to go back and delve more deeply.  It turns out, there’s quite a bit to point out, as examples of science hijacking reality then twisting it to support a hypothesis.

Take for instance, this quote from the article:  “Swinburn said that the food industry has been “extraordinarily successful” in promoting excessive intake of calories. “They’ve worked their marketing out to the nth degree. They’ve got the products that we like to eat, they’ve got the price right—in fact the price of junk food has been coming down for years and is getting cheaper and cheaper. Food is everywhere. In the 1970s, in Australia, when you went to a petrol station you used to buy petrol. Now it’s a chocolate and fast-food station. The food industry has done all they can to sell their products, and they’re doing it extremely well.”

Now, anybody who knows anything about gas station management, and it just so happens that I do to a small extent (certainly a much greater extent than Dr. Boyd Swinburn), knows that gas stations rely on food and pop sales to generate their profit and thereby keep their doors open.  A typical gas station will sell about 3,000-5,000 gallons of gas in a day and make about $0.03-$0.05 per gallon.  That gives a gas station about $150-$250 a day to pay: employees, the heat bill, electrical bill, taxes, and building cost/maintenance.   It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is not possible.  The gas station makes 10 times the profit on a can of pop than on a whole gallon of gas.  By the way, while we’re on gas stations, have you ever been upset that gas prices surge during holiday weekends because you figured it was profiteering?  I have, until I realized that gas station owners have to pay time and a half and double time for their employees just to keep the doors open…oops.  In any event, Dr. Swinburn is taking advantage of one industry’s need to make a profit in order to keep their doors open and shifting it to some mystical, dark subterfuge on the part of a food marketing cabal.  His conclusion seems to me to be ideologically bent.

The very next paragraph:  “The food industry has also mastered promotion, especially to the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society—children. “Over the past 30 years they have become very sophisticated in marketing and advertising that is particularly iniquitous in relation to kids. They are adept in the way they turn kids into liking, preferring, demanding, and pestering for the foods that they advertise.”

Having two young girls of my own, girls who absolutely know that they have their dad wrapped around their finger, know better than to hit me with commercials that they see while watching Phineas and Ferb.  Mainly because we have regular discussions about it, but also because I don’t want to be interrupted when I’m watching my favorite cartoon, but I digress…  The idea, proposed by the good doctor, that my wife and I are too lazy or inept to raise our own kids properly is at the same time, repugnant and silly.  Not only do I take my kids to gymnastics and swimming lessons during the week, I take them (with my wife) for regular bike rides in the summer, we run shorter kids races together (and occasionally at home just for fun) – in fact, I run the Teddy Bear Trot with my girls after my favorite 10 mile race every summer and I take them swimming at the local high school in the winter.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re both very healthy.  The problem is not that the manner in which I raise my kids is rare, or even in the minority, it’s in the fact that a small percentage of the population isn’t willing to do what I am.

There’s much more of course:

“ACC spokesperson Dr Matthew Sorrentino (University of Chicago), agreed that Swinburn and colleagues verified what experts in the obesity field had long suspected.

“The main cause of the obesity epidemic in this country is the wide availability of high-caloric foods and the fact that we are eating way too many calories in the course of a day. Exercise has much less impact.”

As I demonstrated yesterday, because of my level of activity, I need high calorie content food – I can’t maintain my weight without it, so the question becomes why must I be harmed?  In fact, without high calorie content food, I would actually be required to overeat just to maintain my weight.  How ironic.

“Sorrentino said that about 90% of weight loss is achieved by cutting calories; only about 10% of weight loss is achieved by significantly increasing physical activity”.

I debunked that statement myself, without a PhD or blaming someone else of course, I would suggest therein lies the problem – I’m not blaming anyone.

“There needs to be a population-based approach to teach people how to count and cut calories, choose whole foods instead of packaged foods, and increase their awareness of just how fattening going out for dinner can be.

“Studies have shown that when you go out to eat, most individuals will eat on average 500 more calories per meal than they would eat at the same meal at home. There are now huge varieties of fast food, in packages and in fast-food restaurants, and they are usually calorically dense, full of carbohydrates, and sweetened, so they taste good and you want more. Years ago, you had to prepare food; now they’re all prepared for you.”

First of all, let’s decode “population-based approach to teach people how to count and cut calories” because decoding is required.  You would assume based on that statement that this would mean some program, possibly in our schools that teaches kids the importance of a well-balanced diet or that adults are complete idiots because they don’t know that a salad has fewer calories in it than a Burger Value Meal with a large fries (and a diet cola).  I wonder what something for the adults would look like, because we obviously don’t have that…ahem.  The problem lies in the fact that most people know better, they just don’t care.  We do, of course, have that for the kiddies too.  They learn about food every year that they’re in school.  The problem is more than that because obesity has grown even with the implementation of that ongoing program.

So how does the government, that so often loves to take responsibility for “the population”, make people care?  “Population based approach” would then come down to the government (State, Local or Federal), forcing the population to complyDon’t agreeI’ll live.  The end result is that I can’t take home enough for lunch the next day from a dinner at The Gourmet Wok because somebody else has to eat their entire meal (if you’re ever in or around Flint, Michigan check it out – they are absolutely the best around in my opinion).  In reality, what we need is for people to put their money (or time) where there mouths are.  In other words, if you feel it necessary help your community by setting up a class and even charging admission for your time to teach people how to eat, by all means do that.  I am, but I can’t divulge what those plans are because it’s just not ready yet, but I can say, it’s big.  What we don’t need is the fat hand of government forcing us to comply with what some doctor (or group thereof) deems utopia for all based on sampling only a third of society.  This has its limits of course and I don’t advocate no government at all, but jeez folks, these yahoos can’t even balance a check book for crying out loud (hell, they can’t even get within the same ballpark lately), they have enough to worry about until they can get within a hundred billion dollars or so to leave my plate alone.  Some would argue that politicians should be able to talk and chew gum at the same time, but they’re so far off, I’m doubting it.

This statement demonstrates how right I actually am:  “Promoting physical activity has been the favored approach to solving the problem of obesity by politicians and the food industry, said Swinburn. “It’s relatively uncontroversial, there are no commercial competitors, it’s a positive thing to do, so politicians, egged on by the food industry, heavily promote the physical-activity side of the equation.”

So, politicians egged on by the food industry?  The food industry is protecting my right to eat what I want, where I want and when I want.  The problem lies in the definition of “want” as I stated yesterday.  Maybe the politicians can pass a law defining what want is.  I’d bet that takes more than a thousand pages.

UPDATE:  I almost forgot running into an article by the LA Times in which they discuss the failure of switching the school lunch menu to healthier food.  From the mouths of babes:

The juniors pull three bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and soda from their backpacks.  “This is our daily lunch,” Iraides says. “We’re eating more junk food now than last year.”

Whoops.

Thank you sir, may I have another?

 

That’s one more ride in the book for the week that I could have skipped just as easily.  I’m beginning to believe that I don’t have the attention span for spinning – I never get bored riding but I’m at my wit’s end after ten minutes on a trainer.  I have to work on that.  In any event, this was my fastest spin yet.  I’ve really gotta get a computer so I can track the distance and my speed properly.

A funny thing happened when I hit 40-years-old that is pertinent…  I’ve been running for ten or eleven years now, I’m as fit as an ox (well, maybe something a touch smaller, but you get the point), I’ve passed every physical I’ve ever had with flying colors, my vitals are awesome and I’ve never felt better…  But I still get that little nagging voice in the back of my head that says:

“You know what, son?  You really shouldn’t be pushing this hard at your age”.

This is not one of those that I can brush off as usual, or at least I haven’t found the STFU that works yet.  I keep hoping that over time that little jerk will give up.

If any of you out there have any info on combating this, please leave a comment.