Do you know what I do when I am feeling sorry for myself? I eat.
For about a year I basically took off my food filter and just thought: sod it, I am a man living on my own I can play Xbox in my pants and eat whatever the hell I want. Some nights for dinner all I ate was cake. Sometimes I just had a bowl of cereal. Sometimes I didn’t bother and just ate Haribos to save on the washing up.
But I still went running, so what’s the harm?
Well, the upside of this little lifestyle experiment was it made me feel better and I completed GTAV. The downside was it turned me into a fat bastard. I went from a middle weight to a heavy weight in a year. Even running 20k a week. I went from 86kg to 96kg (that’s 13.5st to 15st). Which just goes to show that exercise on it’s own is worthless if you eat shit every night. Lesson learned.
So, on a drunken night-out with some friends I stupidly agreed to do Cycle Tour Du Lac Leman – a 180km circuit of Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva to all you heathen). I agreed to it for two reasons. Firstly, I used to be really into cycling and I had kind of fallen out of love with it and secondly I had turned into a fat bastard.
This wasn’t as straightforward as it seems. Firstly my bike was single speed. Rather than open a shop that just sells toast or grow a massive bloody beard I instead – in a misguided attempt at early Hipsterism back in my London days – took away my bloody gears. In Switzerland that is like turning a fondue fork into steak knife. So I had to get a friend (who really knows his shit about bikes) to return it to it’s former, fully geared glory. He is like a bike McGyver and managed to magic my bike back to some resemblance of usability.
Secondly, I had to sort my diet out. No more booze. No more complex carbohydrates. No more bread. No more sugar.
Complex carbohydrates? Well, I kind of prefer brown rice. I quite like quinoa. Pasta is difficult as it is a quick, delicious meal. But, okay, done. No more lasagne though. Shit.
Bread? Really hard as having a sandwich is such any easy lunch. Toast. Toast! TOAST!! Breadless burgers? Ah, the bun was just the vehicle really… So, I embraced rye bread and ri-fucking-vita. (called Wasa here – don’t know what they were thinking in that product development meeting…).
Sugars? Aw man, that’s a toughie. I love chocolate. I live in Switzerland. But, fuck it. I don’t wanna be a fat git.
Booze? Fuck that, I need some joy in my life.
The upshot of this regime is that I started cycling again. But in Switzerland, unless you are Gandalf you are going to have to climb a hill. A big hill…classed in most other countries as a MOUNTAIN. At the height (geddit?!) of my ‘training’ I climbed 800m in a morning. That is really hard btw. Anyway, if some of you want to get into cycling then here are some bullets:
- Get a decent bike You can argue all you want that it’s the legs and not the bike but the simple fact is that if you’re riding a bike that weighs as much as a washing machine and has gears that were designed in the last century then it ain’t gonna be a whole lot of fun to ride. My bike is shit, but it’s quite light so worst case scenario I can carry the bloody thing up the hill. I am saving up for a new one…it’s slow going though.
- Wear lycra Yep, you look like a prize bell-end but it’s way more comfortable and it stops chaffing. The chaffing is in areas that you don’t want chaffing in. You can use anti chaffing wax but putting it on feels weird as only waxing your tenders can.
- Hydrate Bring water, preferably with some kind of electrolyte in it. I just put orange squash in because I can’t be arsed buying the stuff in bike shops…mainly because bike shops are usually full of wankers tutting that you haven’t got full Ultegra and your bike is made out of – gasp! – aluminium.
- Use drugs I can’t get hold of growth hormone or horse semen (or whatever pro cyclists put in their water bottles) so I drink triple espressos before I set off and eat a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Caffeine + sugar = massive boost to performance…at least temporarily. Totally get where Lance was coming from.
- Set your own pace It doesn’t matter how steep a hill you are climbing some lycra-wanker is going to pass you and say ‘bonjour!’ without being out of breath. Just breath and curse them and their kin, their pets and their friends and then assume that they have the lightest bike on earth because they are a rich lycra-wanker. If you pass someone make sure you control your breathing and say ‘bonjour!’ in a relaxed way as you pass them. It’s childish, but it helps you think that the people passing you are doing the same thing and honestly, I don’t pass people very often.