In January I entered the Banjo Brothers' Big Bad Bulky Biker Bodyfat (B7) Challenge, featured on the Fat Cyclist's blog. The idea behind this was to challenge the Fat Cyclist (who is really not very fat at all) to a bet as to who would lose the most weight by August 1, 2007. If you beat him, you get a Fat Cyclist jersey and if he beats you you have to ante up a suitable prize. I offered him an autographed copy of Peter Nye's excellent book on the Six Day Bike Races in America (see my review on this blog), along with a copy of Tim Krabbe's wonderful novel, "the Rider." The formula for determining the winner is weight loss + 3 mile time trial improvement and the Fat Cyclist has even come up with a little on-line calculator to determine your score.
After a few months of watching everyone shed weight like falling snow, I was feeling disappointed that I was not keeping up in the least. But patience is indeed a virtue and I have moved from nowhere to mid-field to third place to, possibly, the top of the current podium in the passing months. I have dropped from 191 pounds to 169, and from 15 per cent bodyfat to 10. I feel great and my cycling has improved markedly, especially in hill climbing. Even if the Fat Cyclist beats me at this point, I will gratefully pay up as this has been a pretty cheap way to lose weight! And it has been fun as the entire group of perhaps 40 contestants has shared the pain and the gain since January in exchanges on the blog. I even have a sidebet with Tom in Pennsylvania, the winner to pay for beer. And believe me, beer has not been as high on my list of consumables for the last six months as I would have liked. Nor pizza. Nor pastry.
What has been the secret to my success so far? Years ago, I read a magazine article about losing weight. It was called "Half the Man I Used to Be," and the author had gone from nearly 300 pounds to 175. He said that losing weight is easy and any 5 year old can learn how to do it following a two-part process. Which is: a) eat less and b) exercise more. It all comes down to this. Of course, he did not talk about things like willpower and focus and all that but he was entirely right. I have been keeping track of everything I eat at www.fitday.com and although it is a pain to do the entries, reviewing them has been most educational. All kinds of food are the Enemy in that they will give you lots of calories and no food value. Better to load up on vegetables and fruits and feel full than the empty calories of sugar and white flour. I also consume a lot of smoothies as I discovered that my protein intake was too low for a person training seriously for cycling, so I have been buying protein powder, frozen fruit and soymilk in big quantities.
The Special Edition FC Jersey
Returning to the Fat Cyclist, his blog has been very motivational for me and it was sadness that we all learned that his wife, Susan, is battling breast cancer. As I grow older, I am shocked to realize the number of people that I know or have known that have suffered from cancer in different forms. I have worn a LiveStrong wristband for years and it reminds me of people gone and people who will make it through this terrible illness. The Fat Cyclist has a new version of his orange-and-black jersey: this one is in pink and black and is a special edition and will raise money for his wife's treatment, for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and for a trip to Italy when she is strong enough to go. I'm buying a jersey and I hope that lots of other people will as well. They are made by Twin Six and you can get them through here for late June delivery.