Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Calories Out, the sex factor...

Nobody has taken the lemming up on the Calories In = Calories Out challenge, but on a tip from a reader today, I was alerted that having sex really isn't the calorie killer that it's been famed to be. To be honest, this news was very disheartening, now whenever your significant other asks you if they look fat in these jeans, you can't tell them it's because they always have a headache.

Unfortunately, having vigorous sex for an hour comes just at the same level as sewing, depending on which section you trust, but lower than setting the table and shaving. I tried to find a definition between light, moderate, and vigorous sex, but searching for "vigorous sex" on Google sidetracked me for hours. My guess is light and moderate don't get chosen all that often. The lemming has to wonder what this calorie list is for as he notices entries for "shearing sheep" and "Scuba Diving - as Navy Seal". Besides the obvious question of Navy Seals counting calories, the realization that this calorie counter is aimed at both Navy Seals and sheep shearers alike is both fascinating and disturbing.

But back to the sex, 137 calories per hour translates roughly to 23 calories for every 10 minutes that sexual activity lasts. Guys would say at that rate they would burn 274 calories on each encounter, whereas the ladies would say it's more likely to be around 12 calories.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Mr. Obvious Show, today's topic, high altitude

Bicycling magazine seems to get all gushy over stories of divide and conquer. Whether it be tall tales from readers about joining the local group ride on a rusty old mountain bike and showing the young pups on $5000 carbon road bikes a thing or two, or tales from their own authors about their personal conquests of overcoming other riders and leaving them crying for momma, new conquest stories are the sheep who grew the golden fleece.

When Lance announced his comeback, the heavens more than likely opened up over Bicycling mag with much rejoicing. The editors must be drooling over possible future stories such as Lance’s “look” to Ulrich before he dropped him up Alpe d'Huez, and scheming on how they are going to use that on the bike trail when some family guy on a Raleigh gets too close. Anyone who can be overcome, whether they are trying, riding with their family, or fixing a flat, is inferior and a chance to show your dominance, to be like Lance.

That said, it was with much rejoicing that I saw the latest story in Bicycling about an author moving to high altitude, going out to ride in the remote suburbs, passing a bunch of family riders, and then finally getting schooled by some apparently lost women bike messengers. If the story would end there it would be amusing enough, but he went on to contact an adviser to the Olympic Committee about loss of performance at high altitude and explain the reason for his poor performance in the article.

I couldn’t help thinking back to my favorite radio show, the Bob and Tom show, where funny little skits are used as filler between the talking and interviews of comedians. One of their little skits is Mr. Obvious. Each week Mr. Obvious answers questions from callers such as a frantic caller who stopped at a restaurant, only to have his car “stolen” by guys in black suits who gave him a card with a number on it. Mr. Obvious has to go on to explain to the frantic caller that these are valets and his car hasn’t been stolen.

If I could only arrange an interview between the author and Mr. Obvious, this is how it might transpire.

Mr. Obvious: Hello, Mr. Obvious.

Author: (frantic) Mr. Obvious, is this Mr. Obvious?

Mr. Obvious: speaking

Author: Hey Mr. Obvious, long time listener, first time caller. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Back at sea level I felt strong and I was never outrun by anyone by the fastest roadies, but now that I’ve moved to Denver I run out of breath when trying to catch riders that should be inferior to me.

Mr. Obvious: Well super, happy riding up there!

Author: Wait, wait, Mr. Obvious, I moved to Denver and now it seems like I’m slower or I can’t breathe as well, and the other day some bike messengers…

Mr. Obvious: Did you say you can’t breathe as well caller?

Author: Yes, Mr. Obvious, I moved to Denver and some bike messengers…

Mr. Obvious: Caller, caller calm down… Everyone doesn’t breathe as well at high altitude, there is less oxygen up there.

Author: But the bike messengers, they…

Mr. Obvious: No caller, it’s just a lower amount of useable oxygen at higher altitudes, everyone suffers from it, there is no reason to be alarmed.

Author: Well thanks Mr. Obvious, I tried to bug my contact at the Olympic training center again, but for some reason he has quit returning my calls.

Mr. Obvious: I, ah, don't know why that would be. Well, this is Mr. Obvious saying so long for now, and join us next time for the Mr. Obvious show.

Friday, December 19, 2008

the lemming has to go away for awhile

Kids, the lemming has to go away for awhile, until after the first of the year to be exact. Be good to your mom while I am gone, and don't believe any of the stories the kids at school tell you! I love you all and will see you again soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the edge of my seat for the sequel

Admittedly, I read Bicycling magazine for the fodder. After getting a good laugh reading the Style Man (I secretly wish I was the Style Man), I head to the back of the magazine to see what kind of bizarre, non-bike ads were published this month. Usually there is the slightly sleezy pajama gram, the very sleezy pleasure chair (although I haven't seen that one in awhile), engraved snowflake awards, and a whole host of other weird stuff that would make one think most cyclists are closet perverts. Although many stories run through my head about how the pajama gram, pleasure chair, and engraved snowflake awards are most likely related, the one that keeps catching my eye is the Rosette Stone ad.

It doesn't pique my curiosity because I want to learn Italian, I can hardly speak English. It catches my eye because I want to know the story behind it. "He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her." How does this not make you want to go to their site and learn the story? Did they meet on the internet? Was he a bike messenger who arranged a race against her on her skateboard? Is she visiting his small village on a humanitarian mission? Was she from a small village herself and her mom keeps pressuring her to marry a small town boy? Is he going for an interview? Could this be the elusive BikeSnobNYC?

But beyond that, I want to know how this comes out? Did he learn Italian so well with the Rosetta Stone that they are now a couple? Or did his fluency of the Rosette Stone-inspired Italian impress her while his rambling on about having to pay $12 for a hamburger in the big city turn her off? Did he land the job at the supermodel agency? Did he get the grant for his hog farm? Is the rest of his life in color now or is he still black and white holding a bright yellow box? This ad really makes me want to know! But unfortunately, it's just an ad, I've been all over the Rosetta Stone site and there is no mention of the hardworking farmboy or the Italian supermodel. I've been duped, and by an ad no less.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Coach Fred, Issue No. 373 - 12/11/08 Newsletter, Issue No. 373 - 12/11/08, Coach Fred

More laughs from the Coach Fred section of this week. Being a coach, Coach Fred has to answer in the most caring and helpful way. I however, will answer in how Coach Fred is probably thinking.
Q: I have more belly than is good for me. At 45, I changed my life and started bike commuting. I've dropped some weight and 3 inches off my waist, but there's lots more to go. Is there something better than basic sit-ups and leg lifts for trimming the stomach? -- Michael R.
The lemming answer:
Michael, congrats on the weight you've lost and the 3 inches off of your waist, that is huge! But c'mon man, do you really need to email in and ask me for exercises to take inches off of your belly. Now 60 of my minions are going to email in helpful comments such as "there is no such thing as spot reduction". Holy crap, I have to have good material for my "Best of Coach Fred" you know, they're going to fire my ass if these are the only questions I can answer! I mean, what's next someone asking me a question on if they can do spinning workouts on a bike at home?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stimulating the economy, upgrading your bike instead of your body

You're feeling down and out. You mistakenly told your know-it-all buddy about the bike upgrades you hoped to do over the winter, and like a nerdy middle-schooler, he reminded you that 20 lbs off of your ass is better and cheaper than 5 lbs off of your bike. Not only that but he repeated the old and tired calories in/calories out speech, essentially giving the slam dunk defense to your proposed upgrades.

Well, that sucks, but don't despair. No need to water down your beer with tears as your heart longs for that titanium bolt kit, the lemming is here to get you those upgrades with something as simple as economics. As most of us know, the country right now is in what economists call a recession. You can use the current state of the economy to your advantage to get the upgrades that you want. You'll be helping our country, being patriotic, and making your bike lighter and faster at the same time, all without ever having to deal with the dreadful task of losing weight.

But on to the details. When we put money in to the economy we are putting the multiplier effect in to action. Essentially what that means is when you pay $499 for the carbon fiber derailleur pictured above, the bike shop then pays their employees, who use their salary to buy beer and food from the grocery store, the grocery store then pays their employees who use their salary to buy other stuff, and the cycle continues. Pretty soon that $499 turns in to $4,990 in the economy without ever having to sit in front of Congress begging for a bailout.

Since you are helping to save the economy, it would be wise to avoid small ticket items. It may seem hard to believe that just minutes ago you had given up on the idea of upgrades due to your know-it-all friend, but now you have the green light to upgrade away with seemingly no limit. It can be overwhelming with so many endless possibilities, so for ideas let's turn to none other than Bicycling magazine and it's holiday gift guide.

What Christmas list would be complete without the dimpled Zipp Zed4 tubular wheelset? At just $4,772, you can put the money in to the economy and be nearly ten multiplier steps ahead of someone less patriotic who buys just the $499 Campagnolo carbon derailleur. But you can't put just any tires on bling like this. That's why Bicycling recommends the $141 Strada Soie silk tubular tires. In my fantasy land these tires are made by virgins who raise the silk caterpillars from little pupae on a strictly organic diet. They sing to the caterpillars as they lovingly spin the silk in to tires with birds chirping around them. The completed tire is kissed as hearts fly in to the air before shipping them off to market. You can't put a price tag on tires produced by happy virgins and undefiled caterpillars!

So in a long and roundabout way, that's how you get your upgrades, tell your friend about the multiplier effect. And when he says the multiplier effect works if you buy a gym membership as well, tell him no money gets multiplied if 24Hour Fitness uses it to install escalators.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weight training for cyclists, do train like a bodybuilder PLEASE!

Ahh, the offseason, the time of year when the focus is shifted from biking to activities that have cross in the name and have nothing to do with biking. Crosstraining, cross-racing, crossdressing, and cross-examining the training plan. Cross-examining the training plan as the cold grasp of winter closes in would not be complete without wondering how to integrate weight training in to the quest to be faster. Each fall the minions make the great migration to sites such as RoadbikeRider to climb the mountain and beg for the regurgitated annual advice on how to train with weights. A betting man would be wise to take a bet on if Chris Carmichael will have a piece on weight training in the upcoming issue of Bicycling magazine.

Advice will vary, but all the publications seem to agree that cyclists should not make the mistake of training like a bodybuilder. Conspiracy theory or lemming-mentality, it's because of this that the lemming must jump off the bandwagon. Please, those of you that are going to hit the gym this winter, do train like a bodybuilder. All year long we cyclists are hitting our legs hard and doing nothing for our arms. What results is big ol' legs, a huge head, and tiny flat shoulders. Perfect if you are a professional cyclist, bad if you aren't making money as a rider and are trying to land dates.

One of the popular cycling publications had an entire article on a survey of women and the body types they found attractive. The writers were frankly surprised that women didn't prefer the huge head, tiny shoulders and arms, and ripped legs of a cyclist's body. Frankly the lemming was surprised to hear that someone was frankly surprised to hear that women do not overwhelmingly prefer the physique of cyclists.

The grand poobah of cycling, Lance Armstrong, knows this. Look at him on the podium, then look at him after he retired. He didn't maintain his tiny, flat shoulders and arms, the dude is ripped, and he now has shoulders and arms to complete the package. He didn't care if he gained 10-15lbs, he knows he can still crush Chris Carmichael in a mountain bike race. That's how you date an Olsen twin(s) and hang out with Matthew McConaughey folks!

Of course there are those of us who say we wouldn't want to date an Olsen twin while our wives are listening, and really don't have interest in hanging out with Matthew McConaughey. For those of us life is about balance, and doing 3-4 months of "curls for the girls" in the gym this winter isn't going to wreck our weekend cycling career, it's probably going to enhance the rest of our life. So throw some pullups in there too, eat some protein beyond your 4:1 recovery drink, do train like a bodybuilder this winter!

Tyrannasaurus-like arms

Big legs, tiny arms, now extinct

Unproportionate forearms
Can crush a can and shoot spinach 2 feet in the air and catch it in his mouth

Always has to fight another guy for his chick

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Trek Y-Foil, born from jets

Anyone who has watched the Tour de France has been inundated by the Saab, born from jets commercials. The sheer amount of repetition is comparable to having water dripped on your forehead in the middle of the night while the Real Slim Shady is piped in to your cell, however the commercials represent genius in marketing.

With truths which may or not directly correspond to reality they play on people's emotion and attempt to instill a feeling of superiority which Saab would have you believe only comes from their jet born cars. A feeling that if you own a Saab, you yourself can play volleyball with Maverick and the IceMan. After which you'll race your Saab beside the runway as a jet takes off before going to hook up with your teacher, while the less fortunate pack up their sluggish cars and drive the kids to soccer.

The 3900lb, 110hp Saab 900, born from jets. 0-60: unknown

Saab was obviously not the first to do this, enter the Trek Y-Foil. Never has a bike taken the charity bike circuit by storm and developed a recreational racer following like the Y-Foil did in 1998. The Trek Y-Foil just looks fast, and nothing says "My bike has cobwebs on it, but I've got some cash to blow and I need all the help I can get when I do the MS150 this year" like a Trek Y-Foil. Couple that with some expensive aero wheels and a big ol' spare tire and you've got yourself a winning combination, if Maverick and the Iceman rode bikes, they would ride a Y-Foil.

The Trek Y-Foil, probably also born from jets