Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuscobia ride, some thoughts about my training and diet

I attempted the Tuscobia 75 bike race last week. Short version: I had a great time, but my body was really only good for 45 miles on that trail, not 75. My Surly Ice Cream Truck performed flawlessly, but in the end, my lack of training and extra pounds on my body made it difficult for me to finish the entire distance. Here are a few images:
It started out pretty cold first thing in the morning before the race, but by the time I started rolling, it was into single digits above zero.

This was my first snack and water break, at around mile 10. The trail was plenty scenic.

The Tuscobia Trail looks a lot like this most of the time. When I could find bike tracks to follow, it was pretty easy and fast. Where snowmobiles had obliterated bike tracks, it was squishy and slower.

A few commenters asked about the results of my diet and training. I more or less followed the diet advice in Grant Petersen's book Eat Bacon Don't Jog, and I was successful at dropping about 15 pounds in a month. If you haven't read the book, you should, but the jist of it is that a person should eat mostly "good" fat calories, limited protein, and almost no carbohydrates of any kind. This method works wonders for me. Anyway, when the holidays hit, I quickly realized the true limitation of this approach - it's profoundly antisocial. When you eat this way exclusively, only a few fat-filled bites will keep you full and not thinking about food for several hours. You don't need many big meals, and you certainly don't feel like eating three squares a day. Unfortunately, our culture holds that eating large meals is an important family/social thing, especially around the holidays, and, for the most part, these meals offer few options for a person who lives on 80% fat calories, and they also tend to offer lots of desserts. So I fell off the wagon, mostly for social reasons, during the month of December. By the time of Tuscobia, I was down about 10 pounds from my peak weight. I had done little riding aside from my daily commute. So my weight loss and training was lackluster, and during the race, I just didn't have the muscle stamina to keep pushing through the snow after 6+ hours. One effect of being on the low-carbohydrate diet is that I didn't experience anything resembling bonking. Because I ate only low-glycemic food leading up to and during the race, my energy level seemed constant. I had to drop out because my muscles and joints were in pain, not because I was out of energy to keep moving.


Cindy Olson said...

been rigorous with this diet too Jim -feeling good, sane, and losing weight. People with our metabolic makeup can either "always be hungry" or "always be fat" by eating any other way.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who haven't drank the fat bike Kool-Aid, 45 miles on soft snow in single-digit temperatures is an amazing feat. (Hell, 45 MINUTES in those conditions is impressive.)

Maybe I'll try the Petersen diet approach someday, but not until they come up with an Antabuse-type pill that makes you throw up at the taste of carbohydrates.

ed/stus bro said...

hay jim your an inspiration, but ill wait till it warms up a bit

Elmer Carlson said...

What a great effort! 45 miles 6+hours in those conditions is a GRAND effort, live to fight the Dragon
again:-) Your Thots on eating/drinking during the holidays is spot on! Been on Grants diet outline mostly for 10 days and beginning to feel like my old self again. those of us that must eat few carbs and fat/deep greens know of what we speak. Look forward to meeting you someday, enjoy your industry and energy.
Happy Trails>Elmer

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