Elden Nelson is an “award-winning, beloved internet cycling superstar celebrity blogger“. (He is also overwhelmingly modest.) He is the Fat Cyclist. But just as he shared with the Livestrong Challenge folks how he has much in common with Lance Armstrong, I can say I have a few things in common with him.
- We both ride Gary Fisher mountain bikes. Most of the time. Sure, his is a rigid, singlespeed Superfly, and mine is a fully-suspended HiFi, but they both have the double-mountain logo on the headtube.
- We both write in online journals. His is read by thousands of people weekly. Mine is read by… my wife. Maybe somebody else?
- * We are both avid supporters of the Livestrong cause. Of course, he founded Team Fatty and raised almost $780,000 alone. I donated about $25 and wear a polo shirt from time to time. I have worn a wristband every day since 2004, if that means anything.
- We both competed in the 100 Miles of Nowhere and won our divisions.
- We both, at one time in our lives or another, have been fat.
That, in a nutshell is why FatCyclist.com exists. Elden was looking for some accountability and posted his weight online with some goofy stories. Of course, it transformed into so much more when his wife developed breast cancer not once, but twice. And now FatCyclist.com is huge. Sadly, his wife’s battle with cancer is over — but don’t say she lost. Somehow, despite only starting to read the blog this year, I got emotionally tied up in Elden’s story, certainly in part because my uncle was fighting cancer at the same time Susan Nelson was. And in fact, I was on my way to my uncle’s funeral when Susan passed.
And now that introductory thought has taken me light-years away from the original direction of the post. Let’s refocus this thing.
This past Saturday, I competed in the first round of the Keweenaw Cup, a two-day cyclocross festival up in Copper Harbor, Michigan. The weather was truly awful, which made for perfect cyclocross racing. One of the organizers was snapping pictures, when I saw this one, I was not happy. It’s not so much that I hadn’t noticed this happening. In the photo gallery below, I’ve posted another picture from a ‘cross practice session that reinforces the concept. (There are pictures from a beach day that makes it incredibly clear, but nobody really needs to see that!) It’s just the straw that broke the camel’s back: I am a fat cyclist.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not tremendously fat. I think it’s hard to be an avid cyclist and be truly overweight. Even just commuting into work is enough burned calories to keep you from gaining exorbitant amounts of weight. But there has been a confluence of events that has brought the “fat cyclist” paradigm about. First, the weather during October has been terrible. We have nearly set a record for the most rain during October since measurements have been taken. It’s one thing to go out in the rain when you are being paid, or during the spring when you are completely desperate to not be in the basement. It’s totally another when you have been training for nine months and you’d be just as happy to be sitting on the couch by the fire and watching TV. I’ve also been really tied up by my Ph.D. classes and activities. Church activities have also kept me off the bike. A week might go by between serious bike rides. There have been days when I haven’t even gotten to commute by bike. Finally, I always struggle with reducing my eating as I reduce my training load each fall. I keep eating like I’m riding 10 hours a week, even when I’m riding 2 hours. And so, this morning, I tipped the scales at 195 pounds, including pajama pants. That is altogether too much. I think, for me, an ideal cycling weight is right about 175-180 pounds. So that’s the goal. A safe 2 pounds per week requires 10 weeks to lose that weight. It’s 9 full weeks to the new year, so by January 1, 2010, I should be well down into the 180’s, if not near the goal.
I want to buy new pants, I want to buy new cycling gear, I want to go fast on a bike. I want to be a Fat Cyclist, not a fat cyclist. It will happen. Now is the time. And I will take anybody who reads this along with me. From today on, there will be nearly daily posts with my weight and what I did to achieve my goal.
Here we go.