Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Are What You Eat: The "Other" Salmon

This Saturday, July 2nd, the Tour de France bicycle cycling race will begin. As it happens, I'm supposed to write about this bicycle cycling race for the "Bicycling" magazine website, so with only two days to go I figured I might as well look into who's actually competing in it. In this sense, I am heading into the unknown--just like Alberto Contador:

So will Contador win the Tour again? Well, that depends on two things:

1) Is he too tired after winning the Giro of Italy?


2) Can he win without meat?

Yes, that's right, after falling victim to the steak that bites back last year, Contador has given up the red stuff:

Contador Gives up Meat

Contador says he has stopped eating meat since testing positive for clenbuterol on last year's Tour de France, a result he blamed on contaminated steak.

The 28-year-old favourite to win this year's Tour, which gets underway on Saturday, also said in an interview published on Wednesday that his Saxo Bank team will have its own cook this year.

"No, I have not eaten meat again," he told sports daily Marca when asked if he had eaten meat since traces of clenbuterol were discovered in a test on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour, which he won.

You've got to admire Contador for not only sticking to the tainted steak story, but also going so far as to give up meat altogether in order to make it seem more convincing. It's like the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry had to wear glasses all the time so he wouldn't offend Lloyd Braun. Still, I'm not buying the part about Saxo Bank hiring its own cook, since that sounds expensive. I'm pretty sure when they say "cook" they just mean they're giving one of the mechanics a copy of "Babe's Country Cookbook: 80 Complete Meat-Free Recipes from the Farm" and telling him to get to work:

Babe says, "Don't eat the little piggies."

Meanwhile, a fellow Tweeterer informs me that Dave Zabriskie is attempting to do Contador one better by riding the entire Tour De France on a vegan diet:

This might be newsworthy, except for the fact that as part of his "vegan" diet Zabriskie "plans to eat small amounts of salmon two days per week," which means his diet is about as vegan as Babe's ass is kosher.

Now, when it comes to eating, I say eat whatever as long as it's not endangered, makes you happy, and keeps you regular. Want to join the "nose to tail movement?" Good for you. Want to go vegan because you can't stand even the thought of a human hand tugging on a bovine udder? Perfectly fine. Want to eat the heart of your human enemy while it's still beating so that you may absorb his powers? Well, you probably shouldn't do that, if only for sanitary reasons.

But regardless of what you eat, you don't get to call yourself a vegan if you eat salmon. That's it. Once that pink flesh passes your lips you're out of the squat and banned from the coop. Turn in your hemp shoes to the smelly guy lying on a mattress he pulled from a Dumpster, and don't let the door with the punk show flyers all over it hit you in the ass on the way out. That's all there is to it. If you need a fancy, pretentious name for yourself, then I guess you can call yourself a "pescetarian." (That's someone who only eats Joe Pesci.) But all it really means is you're not a vegan; you're just another lox-munching schmuck.

Anyway, apparently Zabriskie is being mentored by another pretend-vegan athlete:

Zabriskie also consulted with a professional motorcycle racer, Ben Bostrom, also a vegan, who advised Zabriskie to include small amounts of fish a couple of times a week because of the incredibly large load he puts on his body during training. "He told me, don't get too hung up on the word 'vegan'," says Zabriskie. The fish, Zabriskie says, helps his body absorb certain vitamins and iron.

Again, I don't care what people are eating, but the word "vegan" means what it means. Don't get too hung up on the word "vegan?!?" Getting hung up about stuff is what being a vegan is all about! He's as bad as these minimalists who only have 15 things...except their accessory chargers. And their toiletries. And the fully-equipped luxury condo and summer house they share with their wife. Certain areas of life need to remain black and white, and the profoundly irritating self-righteousness of veganism is one of them. I mean, what if you replace the word "vegan" with "clean," and the word "fish" with "EPO?"

Zabriskie also consulted with a professional motorcycle racer, Ben Bostrom, also a clean rider, who advised Zabriskie to include small amounts of EPO a couple of times a week because of the incredibly large load he puts on his body during training. "He told me, don't get too hung up on the word 'clean'," says Zabriskie.

Or, what if you used "virgin" and "sexual intercourse?"

Zabriskie also consulted with a professional motorcycle racer, Ben Bostrom, also a virgin rider, who advised Zabriskie to include small amounts of sexual intercourse a couple of times a week because of the incredibly large load he puts on his body during training. "As he caressed me, he told me, don't get too hung up on the word 'virgin'," says Zabriskie.

I may have added a few extra words there, but I think you see my point. Being a vegan is like being a virgin: you either is, or you ain't. As far as I'm concerned, Zabriskie can eat all the salmon he wants. But he doesn't get to call himself a vegan, and he's officially out of contention for the maillot hemp traditionally given to the vegan riding highest on the GC. Nor does he get to wear a vegan tattoo:

(Vegans often opt for wrist placement since the word "vegan" is incompatible with knuckle tattoos.)

One rider who would never play fast and loose with the definition of veganism is the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork--or, as one reader informs me he is now called, "Bret:"

"If it rains take the bus," you say? Well not Bret! He trains for that century even when it's cloudy and drizzly:

Bret is clearly logging some serious miles. I don't know which charity ride he's training for, but I'm pretty sure he's going to dominate it.

Meanwhile, in the comments to yesterday's post (Critical Mass guy is still emailing me by the way), commenter "Mikeweb" linked to a distressing article:

I'd love it if we never had to read about a serious bicycle accident. However, as long as we do, it would be nice if the reporters could at least not always go out of their way to immediately mention whether or not the rider was wearing a helmet:

Ray Deter, 53, owner of d.b.a. New York in the East Village and d.b.a. Brooklyn in Williamsburg, was not wearing a helmet when he was hit on Canal St. as he headed to work.

What is the point of this, apart from unnecessarily heaping additional blame on the rider? He may have turned heedlessly as the article says, but whether or not he was wearing a helmet at the time has nothing to do with that decision. It's like the "Vegan Times" reporting on the incident and writing, "The victim had eaten a hamburger earlier in the day." It's a tacit judgment, and it's a device reporters love to use when writing about cycling.

Also, it takes two to have a collision, but I guess we just have to assume the 24 year-old in the Jaguar who keeps his weed in the car was driving safely (on Canal Street, where nobody ever speeds)--and also wearing his helmet, since the article doesn't say anything to the contrary.

On a much happier note, I've been waiting and waiting, and finally someone has reviewed the Mario Cipollini bike:

There were a bunch of words in the review, but these were the only ones I noticed:

a peach
tube shapes
curving around the rear
oversized, tapered
seriously aggressive position
riding position
feels close
massively oversized
great fun to ride hard
overbuilt and stiff
remarkably good
spend all day
aggressive position
always in an ‘attack’ position
a lot of pressure on your lower back
not easy to sit up

Whew! I feel dirty.

Slap a noseless saddle on that and you may never experience "down time" again.


«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 254 of 254
Anoymous Coward said...

podium. Nice legs ant1

leroy said...


J. Scott. Mouth so GOOD. said...



ce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Scott Mouth so GOOD> said...

I blame my ant200th FAIL. On a poorly timed lead out.

crosspalms said...

Woo-hoo! Ant1!
And I agree, a lot of people just don't like being told what to do, whether it's helmets, seatbelts, smoking, what to wear to work, you name it.

ant1 said...

gadgiiberibimba - i guess when lives are involved (and the subject is often brought up after an especially brutal accident makes the news) people get more emotional. when one can use the "how many people have to die before..." argument, things tend to get a little ugly.

mikeweb said...

Sooo, I heard there's some sort of bicycle race starting tomorrow...

Nibbles said...

I heard they are all required to wear helmets in that race tomorrow.

Yet another piece of the big puzzle falling into place.

ce said...

kfg, actually I haven't noticed my black helmet causing additional cranial heating. I spend most of my free time reading and commenting on bike blogs and forums and buying bike parts online rather than actually riding and I find this really helps with the heat.

Occasionally I do get out on my bike in this "Sunburnt Country" and I sometimes wonder if in an empirically scientifically statistically kind of way my life expectancy would increase if it was my practice to wear a nice big sun hat rather than a helmet. I suppose I could fit a broad brim to my helmet, but there would be all sorts of helmet mirror compatibility issues. Full face helmets could be the answer, though I can't imagine our government going as far as making them law. It would just be too great an imposition on personal freedom, and it would interfere with CCTV facial recognition technology.

Etherhuffer said...


leroy said...

I heard there was a Hot Dog eating contest at Nathan's in Coney Island this weekend.

No blood testing either.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Thanks A.C,
managed to sneak a shot past the guards at the MOMA,
as you can see.

gadgiiberibimba said...

Let's call the position opposed to the pro-helmet position "helmet skepticism" and the folks who advocate it "helmet skeptics."

Then, my question can be phrased as this: "What psychological mechanisms can account for the ardent blogging of helmet skeptics?"

I hope this phrasing makes evident that there is something to explain here. Why engage ardently in vocal helmet skepticism, when you could just ride around without a helmet without engaging ardently in vocal helmet skepticism?

wishiwasmerckx said...

I've stayed out of the helmet debate because I find it tiresome, but the argument of the anti-helmet forces distills down to "If the helmet can not protect me in the extreme situations, why bother at all?"

This is stupid.

Pink Lobster said...

Anecdotal evidence alert: I am an occupational therapist at an acute rehab unit where I've seen about 15 serious bicycle trauma accidents in the last 3 years (it's a small town). ALL OF THEM, regardless of helment use, had head injuries that took a long time to heal- cause that's how head injuries are. Only the 3 people who weren't wearing helmets had craniotomies, though. In 6 months to a year the brain swelling goes down enough they can put the skull flap back in... and then you can stop wearing that goofy soft helmet every second of every day that you are not lying down.

That said, none of those accidents were car on bike. They were all civilians or freds losing control of their bikes. Albeit some going very fast. Anytime you are getting hit by another object you're just increasing your odds of lots of nasty injuries (ever seen anyone with "flail chest"? Look it up) and of course no helmet helps against stupid drivers.

Recent tragic bike accident in Santa Cruz, young many killed after midnight in a hit and run. None of the articles mentioned if he was wearing a helmet (yay Santa Cruz), but they did mention that he didn't have a tail light. So quick, let the blame apportioning begin!

Pink Lobster (almost 200?)

Anonymous Coward said...

@Marcel - Chapeau on sneaking the shot past the guards. Well played.

Paul Bowen said...

Anon@10:36 I'm no expert (perhaps one of the young people can help) but I think is a website rather than a blog.

And it's certainly not mine. That's such an odd thing to say I wonder what motivated you to write it? Perhaps you're a helmetist and you take the complete lack of any evidence that I have ever had anything at all to do with it as conclusive proof that I own the site lock, stock and barrel? Which beery phrase brings us full circle, kind of.

Paul Bowen said...

@gadgiiberibimba: They started it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul Brown. Shut the fuck up!

gsport george said...

I have three helmets.

A full face BMX helmet, a hard shell skate helmet with soft foam, and a lightweight expanded polystyrene helmet.

Which should I wear?

When I wear the full face, I am less likely to get a head injury than any of the other scenarios, but when I do come off I am MORE likely to get a neck injury. I will also probably take more risks. And I am very hot and inconvenienced.

When I wear the skatehelmet, I have minimal protection against severe impacts and I take a few more risks, when I do come off I am MORE likely to get a neck injury, and I am somewhat hot.

When I wear the lightweight cycle helmet, I have minimal protection and when I do come off I am MORE likely to get a neck injury and need to buy another expensive helmet.

Generally, I dont wear a helmet, I minimise the risks I take and I do fall off on a fairly regular basis (off road).

If I was convinced that the chance of me being protected from a significant head injury by wearing one of these helmets was greater than the chances of me sustaining a significant neck injury because of it, I would probably wear it.

Last time I looked into the matter it was somewhat the reverse and an Australian court ruling tends to support this view...

Save the Darwin awards for people who take no exercise, drink to excess, smoke, drive large mileages on our roads, eat fast food on a regular basis, live in areas with bad air pollution, dont wear sunblock etc etc etc. and leave the rest of us to exercise our own judgement.

mikeweb said...


I never thought to sneak a shot of that piece, but I did definitely of the Vincent Black Shadow, more for the literary association.



gadgiiberibimba said...

@ Paul Bowen They started it.

If you'll look at my post at 10:14, you'll see I have a bracing analysis of why they started it, if they did. What I want to see, then, is an analysis of why you continue it, unless you like my analysis, which I'm not sure I do.

luciferyellow said...

Why do football players and even baseball players wear helments? And don't tell me it's a "different type of impact"

ant1 said...

luciferyellow - different type of risk?

luciferyellow said...

Ant1 - so it's only worth it ("it" being protecting against head injuries) if it happens frequently (which I actually think it does in cycling). I always thought that's how insurance works: You hope you never have to use it, but you are glad to have it if/when something happens. I understand that different people have different outcomes in their own personal risk vs. cost analysis (and I am not going to tell anyone "you HAVE to do it); having that said, I am often surprised how skewered these personal cost-benefit analyses are, and how much effort goes into eliminating the cognitive dissonances.

But really, I am just trying to stoke the fire and get this thread to 300+ comments...

Velocodger said...

Wow- I started out being a little bit nonplussed I had missed BSNYC yesterday, but after reading the helment debate I'm kinda glad I did. I only want to add one semi-relevant point; lifestyle choice criticism is to be avoided I believe, for example, you're not wearing a helmet, you can cost me money. Maybe true. You are driving a big fat SUV when you say this and my kid has asthma and he's where does that all end? With the self-righteousness scale going 'way into the red, that's where. Can't we all get along?
P.S. I'm wearing my helmet in the shower from now on.

ant1 said...

luciferyellow - that's assuming there is some cognitive dissonance. how do you justify not wearing a full face helmet when you ride on the road? it's probably not very different from the justifications people use to not wear a helmet at all.

Etherhuffer said...

@Doug, good point. Its the "Self Righteous Brigade" or the Virtue Crew or whatever that always points out " I do good so I should have insurance, but those smokers shouldn't " Virtue is not a good starting point for public policy on health, but it is a salient point for personal behaviour. Better we all have insurance and slowly educate and mildly cajole better behavior than just sit on a high horse and bray about our virtue and others lack of it. Harumph.

luciferyellow said...

Ant1 - I'll gladly concede that it is all relative and that there is a lot of cognitive dissonance eduction going on in my life to justify most of the decisions that I make each day. In the specific context of a full-face helmet, I'd say that I trust the ability of surgeons to restore a broken jaw, nose or cheekbones, and even if they can't, I can probably live with that. However, loosing function of my brain (which I know for a fact can't be repaired) is a much scarier thought. So in my personal risk-benefit analysis my face and my brain do not get assigned the same values.

ant1 said...

some would argue that a full face helmet offers much better brain protection than a regular road helmet.

Nibbles said...


Oh yeah? I would like to see some meta-evidence of THAT!!!

How come those knights in the olden days wore giant cooking pots on their heads? Good old, pre-enlightenment superstition.

luciferyellow said...

Ant1 - as I said, it's all relative. I don't want to get into the "well, then you should also wear a helmet in the shower"-type of argument, but I think (road) helmets provide the minimum of protection, while at the same time causing a minimum of discomfort. If I were to practice tricks on a BMX on a halfpipe (or were to jump into my bathtub from a spring board), I'd probably invest into a full-face helmet, too.

ant1 said...

that's all i'm saying too, it's relative and it varies from person to person. there's no right amount of protection for a certain activity. it all depends on the person involved, as well as a million other factors. the "anti-helmet" crowd isn't wrong. neither are those on the "pro-helmet" side. one's person perfect balance of risk and protection can be far from another's. there's no reason to call people who ride without a helmet stupid (not saying you are, it's just a recurring theme in the helmet debate). we should all be more tolerant of other people's decisions. and like snobby says, supportive of whatever type of riding they do.

Nogocyclist said...

My take on the helmet debate since everyone else stated theirs is:

If you are taking a bike ride, a training ride, racing etc wear a helmet. The only problem it presents is having to buy it in the first place. If you wear a decent helmet, you don't even realize it is there. No matter how much insurance against injury it offers, it offers some, and cost very little for protection that could make a lifetime of difference.

Now for the real dispute, use of a helmet by commuters. There is a cost of inconvenience to a commuter. For example how many women want to spend the day in the office with helmet head! Just going to the store, you have to worry about what to do with the helmet.

So, my advise is, on short basically safe commutes, wear one if you want to, or don't if you don't. In those other situations I mentioned above, just wear the helmet.

Pebes said...

Horry shit! lotta comments.

i look like the kid from the brake-light video. so whether i do or don't wear a helmet- i always LOOK like I'm wearing that shit. and lemme tell you, bitches love that shit.

Joe said...

recognizing anonymous coward's Billy Crystal line. very funy. cheers

Paul Bowen said...

Hey Anon @ July 1, 2011 12:06 PM. My friend Paul Brown says no, go fuck yourself.

Michael said...

Really? No one's gonna mention the topless woman in the Citi banner ad?


Andrew said...

Bike Snob,

I'm a relatively new reader, but I need your expertise.

I was enjoying a cliff bar gel pack thing when I noticed it said 90% organic. Is 90% organic the same as a vegan who eats fish? I mean c'mon, either it is or isn't, right? Or am I wrong? I don't know enough about organic stuff.

Anonymous said...

Here what i found -> vision correction

Ferdinand said...

I think COntador now knows how to select a good steak.

Sent from my Blackberry torch

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Fixie Bikes said...

Wow, that's a morbid cookbook.

Fixie Bikes said...

A vegan winning something? I'm impressed.

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