Thursday, 30 June 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.


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