Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good indicator of health and metabolism

Cadel Evans is a bike racer I should like. He’s the top pro with which I probably have the most in common. We’re about the same age, about the same height, and we both started out mountain biking before focusing (for racing purposes at least) on the road.

Here’s the thing, though. I can’t stand him. All I know of him is what I read in the press. And he doesn’t like the press, so he makes no effort to help his own cause. Seems as if he’s constantly making regrettable statements like this:

... I don't read articles about myself (those few that I do are rarely more than 50% correct), and really, I pay more attention to the liquids and solids I flush down the toilet (good indicator of health and metabolism) each morning than what most critics say.

I would have had no problem with this statement were it not for the parenthetical “good indicator of health and metabolism.” I mean, who doesn’t want to compare one’s antagonist with excrement? Short of comparing one’s adversary with Hitler, there are few better methods of ending an argument abruptly, albeit perhaps not in one’s own favor.

But really, I did not want to know that Cadel studies his own poo for clues about health and metabolism. I know zoologists and vets are big on that when trying to figure out how healthy animals are, but human beings are generally pretty good about describing ailments and allowing themselves to have their blood pressure and heart rate checked. So digging around in one’s own poo seems a bit much.

That being said, it’s not the least bit surprising that Cadel is obsessed with his own bowel movements. The cultural phenomenon that is Dug’s blog suggests that many, if not all, of us are perhaps a wee bit fascinated by the topic. Some have tried to postulate that Dug’s is a blog about nothing. But that’s simply not true; there’s a theme. Some just aren’t ready to admit it.

I’ll admit that bowel movements are cause for some degree of preoccupation in my own life, especially on race day. There’s simply nothing good about having to go during a race. Sure, peeing is no problem. We all overhydrate before the race, and so we’re pretty good about neutralizing when the pressure builds so we can cast off some ballast. Provided it can be done standing up.

But when the ballast casting involves sitting down, you’re on your own. Which can be a real problem when race organizers recommend arriving to the start at 5:00 a.m. There’s almost no way to get things moving at that hour. And when the race profile looks like this:


If the race is 170 miles long, you know you could be in for a very long day. 9,544 feet of climbing seems like no big deal compared with the thought of hauling around some unwanted cargo all that time. It could mess you up for days.