Today, another oldie from Dr. Spalm. We will return to your scheduled program shortly. In the meantime, have a locally made brewski and be amused, horrified or enlightened by Dr. Spalm.
Dr. Spalm - I am an organizer of a local racing team. We have a bunch
of riders and cover all categories, from first-time racers to
experienced and fast folks. After an unfortunate and nauseating
experience last year, I am interested in instituting a new rule that
would limit the purchase of skin suits to those team members who are
really skinny enough to not gross people out. Any suggestions?
Open-minded, but not THAT open-minded
Dear Mostly Open-Minded:
you for the opportunity to address this issue. A few years ago Dr.
Spalm was actively petioning Wal-Mart to stop selling white cotton/lycra
stretch pants to women that should NOT, under any circumstances, be
wearing such garments. These poor women apparently did not own mirrors,
nor were they aware that to cut costs, these pants had a limited amount
of fabric that was forced to stretch extraordinary distances to cover
their subjects. As such, these pants became lattice-like and
see-through and not movie star "how could I have not known that when the
paparazzi took flash pictures these intimate body parts would be
"accidentally" exposed" see through, but instead "Omar the Tent-Maker
had 3-packs of these panties with teddy bears on them" see through.
Let's just say that Wal-Mart was steadfast in their stand that women of
ALL sizes should be able to wear cotton/lycra stretch pants, but
thankfully they have fallen out of fashion.
So, where does that
leave us with skin suits. You might consider some simple objective
tests, such as a percentage body-fat test or a BMI index rating. You
might also consider pointing out to these large, or more likely,
extra-large, riders that their speed on a bicycle is not being limited
by the aerodynamics of their clothing as much as the extra weight being
supported by their bike frame. However, these might all lead to
uncomfortable conversations in which reality is unpleasantly imposed on
the dreams of these undertrained and overfed riders. Instead, I suggest
that you tell them the skinsuits are not made in their sizes and if
they persist in finding factual information to the contrary, the best
option is to lose their orders and ask them to wait until next year when
team clothing is re-ordered.
Lastly, I would like to make it
clear that Dr. Spalm is not opposed to extra large riders (Chapeau mon
ami, Rider 3), but is merely opposed to skinsuits (or white cotton/lycra
stretch pants) on these generously-proportioned and jolly riders.
Spalm - After the usual middle-age process of having kids and getting
ahead at work, I have put on a few pounds and need to get active again.
I really want to do a triathlon, but the only bike I have is a mountain
bike I bought at Costco. Do you suggest I ride that or buy another
bike? I really like the looks of the time trial bikes.
Trying to Tri
Dear Very (Trying that is):
am not sure how to answer you. It leads to a number of questions I
have. Putting aside the question of why anyone would want to do a
triathlon, my answer would be either a) Are you serious? (said
ironically), or b) Are you serious? (said seriously).
thing sillier than trying to train for and complete a triathlon on a
department-store style mountain bike would be buying a special purpose
time trial bike before you have started riding or training for a
triathlon. Actually, maybe the reverse is truer. I'm not sure.
is my suggestion. First, go ride the bike you have. Ride it as fast
as you can for approximately the distance you plan to ride in the
triathlon. Immediately after completing this distance, if you then feel
the strong urge to hop off the bike as fast as you can and start
running, preferably a marathon, then maybe you're right that triathlons
are appropriate for your future.
As a second test, I suggest that
you sit down at a bar with some appropriate beverage in front of you.
Briefly consider the distance the drink sits in front of you. Now, put
the drink at least two bar seats away from you and then reach out to try
to drink from it from this position. If you find that this new
position is preferable to your starting position, then a time trial bike
might be a good option for you.
Lastly, regardless of these
tests, if you find that you can't ride a bike in a straight line, you
probably are a born triathlete. Good luck.