The B5 Challenge – Care to Join Us?

January 4th, 2006

Today marks the kickoff of the B5 Challenge, the Big Bulky Biker Bodyfat Biathlon.

My initial weight is 287. I rolled an 8:50 in a three mile time trial.

Rocky, Fat Cyclist’s brother-out-law, weighed in at 187.6, and rolled an 8:28.

We both made lots of excuses for why we suck. Frankly, his excuses are better than mine. But we’re both pathetic. Our goal, is to become a lot less pathetic. I want to lose 45 pounds by May 1st, and improve my time trial to a sub 8:00. Rocky wants to lose 17.6 pounds. Before photos are enclosed below the fold.

Funny enough, on the way to the weigh in, our Ozzie Psychlist BIG Mike chirped up with his goals. He was inspired by our challenge, to set similar tough goals for himself. Then it struck me: why not open up the Big Bulky Biker Bodyfat Biathlon to our readers?

It’s pretty simple. You need to be a bicyclist, either experienced, returning or new. You need to set a weight loss goal for yourself, and ride a 3 mile time trial, stat. Ya see, it’s nice to lose weight, but we want you to be a better biker. So you can’t just lose weight, you need to do it in a healthy enough manner that your time trial performance improves.

You set your weight loss goal as of June 1st (i.e. “down 25 pounds) and tell us what it is, and provide your time trial time at that time. Every month, on or about the first, you email me your weight. Hopefully it’s going down. At the end of the time period, you ride the 3 mile time trial again, and you take a final weigh in. Your grade will be the sum of (percentage of weight loss goal achieved) + (percentage of time trial improvement). For example, if your goal was to lose 20 pounds, and you lost 10, you’d score “50”, as in 50%. If you rode a 10 minute three mile initially, and dropped a minute from the score (9:00) then you would score “10” for a 10% improvement. Your total score would be 50+10, or 60 total. The winner will be the person with the highest aggregate score of weight loss goal, plus TT improvement.

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Now here’s the thing. We aren’t going to have sandbaggers here. If you weight 250 and your goal is to lose 10 pounds, we don’t want you. That’s too easy. If you weigh 165, and want to lose 15 to improve your climbing, and you’re a 5’11” stickboy already, we’ll consider it. Any close call goals will be passed upon by a committee of Fatty, Rocky, and BIG Mike. We want to keep the competition fair. Likewise, we don’t want to see any 14 minute TT’s, unless you weight 325 pounds and haven’t ridden in years, have one leg, or are blind and rode the TT with a white cane because your guide dog was laid up with gout. We want you to stretch, folks.

What’s the prize? Well, you shouldn’t care. Excellence and competing hard against yourself (and other fat bastards) is its own reward. But for those of you who haven’t reached self-actualization yet, Fatty, through his excellent sponsor Banjo Brothers, will put up some nice swag. Or failing that, when the Banjo Brothers blow up bigger than Surly and ditch all the rest of us including their sponsored blogger Fatty, I’ll put up a nice prize worth not less than $30. You will also win massive recognition from Fatty with a mention on his blog, which is the highest trafficked bike blog in all of Christendom and the Caliphate, as far as I can tell.

The other thing you might take away from this is what BIG Mike took away – some folks to compete with in a friendly manner, to challenge each other on and to enjoy some good online fellowship with some like-minded bicyclists. You might find this helpful in keeping (or developing and then keeping) a do-able New Year’s resolution, getting healthier, and having some fun.
If you are interested in competing, email me pronto at Um, just remove the part that fairly obviously doesn’t belong in that email address. Do it fast though, because the competition is limited to 25 souls, and Fatty will be posting this announcement within a day, and his blog is heavily trafficked by cyclists who have similar goals and are likely to jine up. 25 souls that will be slimmer and faster on June 1.
Now, on to the pictures.

Here is a picture of Rocky. You will notice that he is already pretty thin.

Here is a picture of me, from the front.

Me, From the Front

Hey, not too bad, right? No way I’ll lose 45 pounds. I just need to tone up, right?

Weeeeell, not exactly.
Ooooh, Look.  It's a Hairy Barrel With Legs
Yikes! What a blob.

You see, Rocky and I are not evenly matched physically. I think I’ve explained that I resemble an NFL down lineman (I am often mistaken for the Redskins great guard Joe Jacoby). Rocky resembles something like a human whippet, at least compared to me. This is why we aren’t competing head-to-head, but instead developed that goofy percentage algorithm to allow what we think is an even competition.
Sorry about the headless photos, BTW. I do have to take minimal steps to preserve my relative anonymity. Besides, if I showed my face, you’d realize that I’m actually Leonardo DiCaprio (I’m sure you all know that I get fat between movies), and the web site would be totally swamped with 13 year old girls speaking AOL speak in the comments. And we Totlee don’t wt tht 4 u.

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site, and may be deleted, edited, ridiculed, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. Thank you.
  1. January 4th, 2006 at 23:44 | #1
    Al, program is in email now! I sent it from my yahoo address. I also included my back address for friends and family in the text.
  2. Ray
    January 5th, 2006 at 00:07 | #2
    Forget all the diet nonsense, just count the calories and keep it under 1,000 per day. I just lost 25+ pounds in 5 or 6 weeks doing that and have held it there in the weeks since. For the first week or so nothing happened then the weight just started fading away. And after 5 or 6 weeks of near starvation (!!!!!) the stomach shrinks or something and it becomes much easier to continue just eating less. Good luck and good health.


  3. January 5th, 2006 at 01:13 | #3
    Ray, Is that the new "Lindsay Lohan in Ethiopia" diet? The World Health Organisation recommends 1200 calories per day for sedentary women and 1500 calories per day for sedentary men for safe weight loss. That's sedentary, as in bed ridden or at absolute maximum, drive to the office and fly a desk all day.

    We're all aiming for healthy weight loss and fitness gain, not malnutrition.

  4. January 5th, 2006 at 05:18 | #4
    Thanks for the tip Ray. I think I'll stick to the Bicyclist Diet. That one says

    1) Go out ride, getting sweaty for at least one 1 hour ride each day.

    2) Because you like riding, have fun.

    3) Ride for a couple hours each day with friends on weekends.

    4) Because you like your friends, and all of you like riding, have some fun.

    5) Eat 2500 calories a day give or take.

    6) Because your size means you will burn it off with 1500 calorie per hour vigorous riding, make sure to eat some nice treats like croissants, pastries, or cookies after a ride along with your fruit. Or nice pasta with dinner. Which is having fun.

    7) Marvel at your 5 pounds per week fat loss.

    Because the 1000 calorie a day diet omits steps 2, 4, and 6 I have trouble sticking to it.

  5. January 5th, 2006 at 10:42 | #5
    I agree. That low-cal stuff sucks. That's my ex-wrestler side speaking.
    So, I don't think I'd qualify for the contest. I need to get from 144 (my current weight, give or take) down to 138 by July. The summer heat's going to take some of that off for me. On the flip side, my TT'ing could use some work, but I'd have to wait until I have clear enough roads to ride on to do it. I rode 3 miles to work on the mtb this morning, and I think it took me fifteen minutes. But then, it also feels like 6 degrees out (I think the actual temperature is 16) and I couldn't feel the snot dripping down my face. I think I'd have gone faster if there wasn't a layer of ice on the road and I didn't have a laptop strapped to my back.
    Nonetheless, I'm not sure the committee would approve of my piddly goal ...
    Just a thought: Maybe you should compete by power in the time trial.
  6. Sean Bannion
    January 5th, 2006 at 11:16 | #6
    I like your diet better, Al. I'm up for this but can't do it until I hit DC. See you in 2 1/2 months on the C&O trail?
  7. January 5th, 2006 at 22:46 | #7
    I'm totally signing up. This is very cool.
  8. Katie
    January 5th, 2006 at 23:03 | #8
    Not to meddle, but wouldn't it make much more sense to judge the competition by body fat percentage rather than overall weight?

    juuust a thought. =)

  9. Rocky
    January 6th, 2006 at 00:02 | #9
    Oh now, you see what happens? You open this thing up to a bunch of monkeys and suddenly it feels like a family reunion. "Hey, what about this?" or "Let's do it this way."

    Truth be told folks, there is a tremendous amount of science involved in this contest. Science, think tanks, committees, beta testing, focus groups, and more science. And then, like five minutes of Excel Spreadsheeting as a manifestation of all that science.

    Either play by the rules, or make your own game. Does that sound harsh? And do I look like I have an inordinately large melon? Does that jersey make me look fat?

    Caloi--I think that riding speed drops exponentially with dropping temperature. I plead cold weather. Yup. That's it. It was in the 20's when I did my tt.

  10. January 6th, 2006 at 09:43 | #10
    Good call Rocky. It was in the high 20's when I did my TT. And don't come down here trying to get all fahrenheit on my celcius.
  11. January 6th, 2006 at 10:31 | #11
    All right, I'll play by the rules. But I'm sticking with my ten-minute time trial from yesterday. It's too cold to go fast. My face'll freeze. I'll be preparing for my next TT by hanging out in a large meat freezer (you know, like those altitude training guys). We'll show 'em what we can do when we're warm, eh, Rocky. You know, in like July or something. Totlee ...
  12. dkirkavitch
    January 6th, 2006 at 10:57 | #12
    Hey Al,
    Read about your challenge on fatty's site. I'm in the need of a challenge to get the weight off for spring riding. Any openings left? I am quite confident the committee will agree I am pathetic enough to be included(5'9", 200lbs). I was at my max. 253 4yrs ago and want to get down to 175 by this summer.
    TT are tough to do this time of year in Central Washington (state of course). I commute every day and am riding what I affectionately call the "Tractor" an old Marin with studded tires(Man is it slow). However, I will do a time trial on this to get started. And yes, come June 1st I'll pull out the same rig finish the challenge.
    Thanks again, I didn't know what I was going to do before B5. DK
  13. January 6th, 2006 at 11:03 | #13
    How could I not do this? The initial email was sent just moments ago. I'll get back with the rest following my time trial.
  14. January 6th, 2006 at 13:45 | #14
    There are still openings as of 1:45 Friday, Eastern subStandard Time.
  15. January 6th, 2006 at 14:11 | #15
    Right, I'm all over this like a rash, man. Dunno about all your poundage and mileage wotnot, I'll have to do some conversion... I'm 198 now, and need to be 175. Familiar theme?

    I have no idea what I could do in a 4.828032 kilometer time trial. Is a flat course assumed?

  16. January 6th, 2006 at 15:27 | #16
    Okay, everybody who has commented here who hasn't already sent me an email, please do it so I can send you the ground rules.



  17. January 6th, 2006 at 17:46 | #17
    For a person of average activity, it takes 14 calories to maintain 1 pound for a day. A sensible way to diet is to multiply your weight times 14 to get the number of calories to maintain it and then subtract maybe 500 calories from that and increase your activity level.

    When someone starves or gets inadequate calories and nutrition, it shuts down the metabolism and it also will burn muscle rather than body fat.

    It helps to eat a lot of fiber and limit white sugar and white flour and ALL fast food, but no food "group" should be eliminated. We need a wide variety of foods and our bodies REQUIRE good fats in order to function well and, strangely enough, eliminating them from the diet won't help you lose weight. I think it's something like 30% of caloric intake, but don't take my word for it.. you can look it up somewhere, I'm sure.

    I wish all of you the very best and really wish I could join you. I have 30 pounds of steroid weight that is mostly belly fat (doesn't THAT sound attractive!) gained fom the cancer treatment but I don't have enough lung power to be active enough to exercise enough to lose it AND they keep shooting me full of deltasone again and again. I do ride my exercise bike an hour a day (when I'm not sick) and I do the stepper for 15 minutes but right now the only thing I can do is light hand and leg weights while I loaf around in my recliner.

    Because of you guys, maybe I will challenge myself to be able to ride a real bike, with or without oxygen, by June 1, to the end of my block and back. Now I have to find a real bike.



  18. January 6th, 2006 at 22:52 | #18
    I like Kent Peterson's diet haiku:

    Eat what you enjoy
    Ride twelve thousand miles per year
    You will not get fat

    I only have the first line down.

  19. BotchedExperiment
    January 7th, 2006 at 13:16 | #19
    Al-- Wow you look . . . imposing. I once knew a guy who lost a *bunch* of weight and turned into an absolute pedal mashing monster that no one could keep up with on the flats. I guess carrying 300 pounds around everywhere is a pretty good leg workout!

    If there's still room, I'd like to join up. I don't need to lose much, but I have never been able to lose more than a few pounds.


  20. Tony
    January 9th, 2006 at 09:44 | #20
  21. dkirkavitch
    January 11th, 2006 at 11:37 | #21
    Hey Al,
    I've been trying to e-mail you since last Friday. I can't get it to go. Is anyone else having the same problem or is it just me?(Yes, I did remove all of the capital letters.)
  22. January 30th, 2006 at 11:49 | #22
  23. February 1st, 2006 at 06:56 | #23
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