Friday, September 21, 2007
He was alone on this road. The rest of the LOTOJA riders were far behind him. They had tried to keep up. One even attempted to suck his rear wheel. But they were left in his dust. Besides, his rear wheel sucked anyway.
As he climbed, the cyclist wondered why the other riders had fallen behind in a group. It seemed too easy, pulling ahead of everyone as soon as he reached the hill. Something wasn't right. He pulled a fish taco out of his jersey pocket and chewed it as he struggled up the hill. He tried to think about something else - the weather, his cadence, the five text messages The Historian had sent him that morning - but he knew something was wrong.
Then he spotted them. Ninja! A least a dozen of them ahead of him, swords drawn.....
OK, so this isn't Uncadan's account of LOTOJA. To read his story, go here.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Obesity breeds negativity. I have some understanding of this, since when I was morbidly obese I carried some of these negative feelings towards those people who lost weight. Back in my 385 days, someone in my office lost 60 pounds, and I asked him how he did it. "I walked a couple of miles a day, cut back on my portions, and drank only water" was his answer. I was polite and thanked him on the outside, but I deeply resented his answer, and him, on the inside. He made it seem so easy to lose weight! How dare he succeed! He didn't have all these things preventing him from losing weight such as (insert excuses here.)
As I began to shrink, the resentment I bore also shrank, and it quickly disappeared. Later, after I had lost a lot of weight, I approached my co-worker and explained my feelings and apologized for my ill-will. He accepted it will a good grace, because when he was fat he had feelings like that about people who lost weight. Once he accepted responsibility for his weight, those feelings melted away.
The best definition of FFID I've come across is from a poster to alt.support.diet, "Dally." The item below is taken from a number of her newsgroup postings. She wrote:
Fat F[riend] in Denial. Someone who claims they can't lose weight because of [insert whine of your choice]. You can lose weight. You've just got to do what it takes. And it takes eating less and exercising more.
If I say, "why don't you go for a run?" and you say, "That won't work for me because... " I totally agree that you are not a FFID ....
I'm specifically speaking about any RESPONSE to the statement "eat less and exercise more" where "That won't work for me" is the starting sentence.
Believe me, it's a sure-fire signal that I'm about to get trapped in a life-sucking moment with a FFID. I flee when I hear this.
Fat Person: "How did you lose your weight? I wish I could do that."
Dally: "You can! You can do what I did. I ate less and exercised more."
Newly Revealed FFID: "That won't work for me because..."
Dally: "Oops, pardon me, I think I hear my mommy calling me! Gotta run."
That's the hallmark of a FFID. He's fat, he's tried, oh well, nothing works, it must be his lot in life to be fat. Nothing he can do will change it.
A further definition, with examples, comes from a Christian low-carb diet message board (posting has been edited):
FFID always have a plausible reason for why they do not stay on plan.
Playing a passive aggressive yes-but game with themselves and others is another favorite pastime of FFID. Mr. A why don't you try XYZ? Yes, I think that is a good idea, but that won't work for me because of (fill in the blank).
FFID have a planned escape (failure) route mapped out to explain why they cannot stay on plan and have a practiced excuse-explanation-good reason why they must not be held accountable for their actions. They're allergic, sensitive, warned by their doctor-lawyer-brother-sister-newspaper-voice in their head-whatever to do something different. And since they do not want to follow their plan anyway the proffered escape clause is grabbed and used as a shield against any criticism as they march jubilantly into failure.
A FFID will meticulously weigh a serving of greens while piling on a ton of cheese and salad dressing. Well, they are lowcarb aren't they? No one is going to get fat eating green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. It is the junk you pile and pour over the greens that keep you fat.
A FFID will bend your ears for hours over how they feel but can't spare five minutes to tell you what they are doing. A FFID can take all day to explain and excuse their failures but can't give up 10 minutes to weigh and measure their actual food consumption.
FFID can be emotional vampires that suck your emotions dry as they drag you into their fantasy and failure.
Many fat people take offense at the term FFID. I would have had I known about it in my 385 pound days. But then again, I was a FFID at that time, and had been one for years. I used many excuses for not losing weight - genetics, set point, etc. Anything to shift responsibility for my weight from me. Once I accepted responsibility for my obesity, my days of being a FFID ended. I am now a recovering FFID. I may never be entirely cured, but I am on the mend.
Please note, I don't say that I ceased to be fat when I ceased to be a FFID. I was, and still am, a fat man. But I am a fat man who takes responsibility for his weight. FFIDs always find some reason to not take responsibility.
Also, note that FFID is not a synonym for fat or obese. If a person wishes to be overweight, and is happy being overweight, I am happy for them. That is a lifestyle they are choosing. It's not one I would choose, but as long as they are happy with their choice, they are not a FFID. The FFID is not happy with being overweight, but they won't take the responsibility for their unhappiness. There's always an excuse.... and everyone always gets to hear about it.
Monday, September 17, 2007
The rides part is easy - the organized rides I enjoyed this year should be just as much fun next year. Girls with Gears in April, Indian Creek in June, the Delaware Double-Cross in July, Lancaster Covered Bridges and Brandywine Dog Daze in August, and the BCP Scenic Schuylkill Century and MS City to Shore in September. And I'll probably find more rides to add to the calendar.
But other goals? That's going to take some thought.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
At Spring Mill, 20 miles into the ride, I pulled over and consumed two blueberry toaster pastries in a nod to the Bike Forums 50+ Blueberry Pie Ride, an annual event every third weekend in September. I was back in Audubon by 10:00 AM. Having secured 32 of the desired 100 miles, I plotted my next move. Finding a men's room took priority. After some searching near Audubon, I decided to head to Betzwood in Valley Forge Park, the next stop on the SRT. Having 'un-hydrated' and refilled my water bottles, I continued south.
At Norristown, seat of Montgomery County, I turned off from the trail and took the connector route to the Norristown Farm Park. The Farm Park is a working farm run by the county on land formerly owned by Norristown State Hospital. The connector required me to ride in traffic through Norristown Borough about a mile and a half. It was well-worth the hassle of dealing with motorists, since the seven miles of park trails had some rollers, which made a nice change from the nearly-flat SRT. And since I live in farm country myself, I felt at home riding with rows of corn on both sides. I'll have to go back sometime.
After a few miles, and some walking of hills, I turned around and headed back to the SRT. Once there, it was on to Conshohocken, where I purchased more Gatorade from a small store in a converted train station. The woman who runs the place loves cyclists, and there's always anywhere from three to a dozen riders gathered on the benches in the little courtyard outside the store. Once again I 'un-hydrated'.
Having emptied me and refilled my water bottles, I noticed I was both hungry and feeling queasy from a lack of real food. It was 1:00 PM, and I hadn't had anything aside from two toaster pastries, two Cliff Bars, and water mixed with Gatorade since breakfast seven hours before. I rode into Conshohocken and picked up a turkey sandwich from a gas station, along with a small bag of pretzels. The trip for real food was almost more trouble than it was worth, since I had to ride on Fayette Street, the 'main drag' in Conshohocken, where it crosses the entrance ramps for Rt. 23 and the Schuylkill Expressway, the main highway from the suburbs into Philadelphia. I hate driving the 'Sure-kill', and I didn't like riding near its mouth.
Fueling done, it was back south to Manayunk. I was at 52 miles. I knew I wasn't riding 100 miles today. But 75, as suggested by MTBLover here on Bike Forums, was doable if I could ride a metric century. As I reached Manayunk I decided to ride the Canal Towpath, but once I reached it and rode about a mile I realized that gravel wasn't the best choice of surface for my bike. So back I went up the trail. I rode part way with a family of three on Huffys. They were amazed that I was riding 75 miles that day, and that my bike was so fast compared to theirs. One of the group was a ten year old boy, and he and I had an extended conversation on bike repair.
By now, I was tired. I was dismounting every five miles or so to drink. The temperature had warmed up to about 75 degrees, and I was still wearing tights and a long sleeved jersey. My back had begun to bother me at about mile 30, as usual, and as usual in the same spot, beneath my elevated right shoulder. My legs were sore, and my left hamstring and hip flexors were annoyed at what I was asking of them. My left knee was sore. And my butt was complaining each time I sat on the saddle. Leaving home without any of what cyclists call "Vitamin I" (Ibuprofen) wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. But I pushed on.
North of Conshohocken I turned onto the connecting Cross County Trail in an attempt to add miles and ride fresh pavement. The CCT travels about a mile and a half through some wooded areas before it enters the retail district of Plymouth Meeting. Not having the desire to go shopping at IKEA that afternoon, I turned around. On the way back to the SRT, I rode with one of my fellow members of Team Copaxone. Ken, a five year veteran of the MS City to Shore, gave me tips on pacing myself for the ride, and we talked about our team captain. As always, I gave Dan credit for making a cyclist of me, as well as for bringing me onto Team Copaxone. As we approached the SRT, Ken said goodbye, 'dropped the hammer', and I was back alone on my homeward journey.
I stopped again just south of Norristown and left a voice mail message for my team captain and bike mentor Dan, advising him I'd just hit 70 miles, set a new person record for miles and speed, and that I was going for 75. Back on the bike, back up to Audubon, and I arrived at my car with 75.03 showing on the bike computer. A few trips around the parking lot brought it up to 76.30, and I called it a day. I had toyed with attempting 80 by riding a couple of miles down the SRT and back, but I was tired, and there was nothing left in my legs and my water bottles.
So the ride was a mixed bag of results. I set new personal records for speed - 11 MPH over 76 miles, with much of the ride being considerably faster; distance - 76 miles is 7 miles further than my previous longest ride; and stamina - not that there were many hills, but the hills I did walk were because I needed to give my butt a break, not because I couldn't climb them. I didn't get 100 miles in, but 76 is certainly respectable, and more than I ever thought I'd be able to do. (When I took up cycling and was signed up for the MS ride in January, I thought 25 miles was the most I'd be able to ride in September.) 100 miles in two weeks is certainly within belief, and within my grasp. And more importantly, I partly redeemed myself, in my mind, from my "failure" on the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia Scenic Schuylkill Century the week before. Success and failure mean different things to different people. If my ride was a soft bike tire, some would say it is half-flat, and some would call it half full. I'm sure some folks think my 76 miles of a century was a failure. I don't.