The 22 Stone Cyclist Wades In..

A post from someone not me, in revenge for me posting on his blog…..

Driving to work this morning it occurred to me that whilst my personal life has taken many twists and turns in the last couple of weeks, my cycling and weight loss life has become somewhat stagnant. I’m training hard for a season of time trials, which whilst I’m seeing ever so slight increases in cycling fitness, my weight loss has ground to a resounding halt rather in the same way a gigantic cruise liner would if it collided with an iceberg. The silence echoes around the bathroom every time I stand on the scales. Based on this quite frustrating state of stagnation, finding the material to write about and impetuous to blog is quite difficult, especially as I feel I have nothing of any importance to say to anyone. So, during one of our usual aimless and futile MSN conversations (which let’s face it, is about the only type of conversation you’ll get out of me anyway) Carrie and I decided to do a Blog Swap. Like a Wife Swap, but without the hormones, crying and irritating TV presenter. This, ladies and gentlemen, is our gift to the cycling blogosphere, the Blog Swap. (Carrie, should we trademark “Blog Swap”?)

First of all, I should introduce myself. I’m James, aka the 22 Stone Cyclist (go on – have a look: http://www.22stonecyclist.com/). I’m 33 years old, and whilst some consider that young, my 33 years has been nothing short of eventful. i’m adopted – the result of an out-of-marriage affair. I was sent away to school at the age of 8. I was systematically bullied all through school. I played rugby for North Yorkshire. I got myself super fit and 13 stone, mountain biking 20-30 miles a day. I came to Uni, discovered beer, women, cigarettes and music, and the weight came on. I’ve had bad relationship after bad relationship. And now, at the age of 33, I’ve just broken off a 4 year relationship with my fiancee. I’ve gone from 22 stone 4 lbs to 15 stone 8 lbs in just over a year, and have discovered a love of racing. The net result is what some have described as “a loveable rogue” – a colourful person with a past. Therefore, you can take it for granted that I am not the kind of person to associate with just *anyone*. I don’t have time for sheep – people who follow trends, fashion and just do what they think everyone else wants them to do. I also don’t like people who try to be different for the sake of being different. I like genuinely *different* people. I like the square pegs in the round holes. I like the people who frustrate you with their greatness and ability to stand out, rather than those who frustrate you for just “being”. I surround myself by charismatic individuals who bring something different to the party. I love square pegs.

Carrie is a square peg.

I’ve know Carrie for some months now, after she added herself quite unceremoniously as a friend of mine on Facebook and started stalking me on my blog (in a non sexual or threatening nature, although I’m sure that would have been fun also). She then joined the Vags, and has been a permanent fixture in the Saturday Easyride ever since. Why is it that I like Carrie? Well, it’s simple. I see a little bit of me in her. I understand that cycling is a male dominated sport, and most of these males are skinny, god like beasts with legs like The Terminator and the body fat of Paris Hilton after a rather strict diet. Carrie and I have neither. We’re… pleasantly plump. We don’t fit into the cycling stereotype. I think we can both admit that I don’t look as good in lycra as Lance Armstrong and Carrier doesn’t look as good as Lizzie Armistead. That’s just fact. But what we both have is the same grit and determination as any cyclist we know, and in fact in some cases more so. Carrie turns out every week, regardless of weather, on a bike better suited to commuting and touring (although I know she has some carbon in the wings) and mixes it with people half her size on superlight race bikes. I do the same. Every week is the same – an opportunity to prove just how far we’ve come, and to demonstrate a future potential. I have no doubt in mind that Carrie, once the excess weight is shifted, will be an extremely competent club cyclist, maybe even a time trialist.

I know some consider me to be inspirational. That’s fine, I can cope with that. I don’t agree with it, but I can cope with it. The truth is, I’m lucky. Even at 22 stone, the doctor couldn’t believe my heart rate and blood pressure. Underneath the fat is a fit person dying to get out (yes, just the one). I knew this, and had known it for a long time. Carrie is different. No one knows what’s under there. No one knows the full potential. This girl just decided to hop on a bike because her husband has bikes. She turned up at a Vag’s club ride because I suggested she should. And now she’s looking at young, thin, fit men and asking herself how long until she can beat them. So you ask me now, who’s inspirational?

I guess I’m using up my free ticket to blog share heaven praising Carrie because I am notoriously bad at doing it in person, and on a regular basis. Like Carrie said on my blog, I’m not perfect. And I never pretend to be. I know I have flaws, and one of them is telling people what they mean to me and congratulating them when they need or deserve it. So here’s mine. Carrie, YOU are an inspiration. You do what a million others can’t, and a whole load more simply won’t. I’m proud to have you as a friend, a fellow fatty, a blogger and a Tyneside Vagabond. Well done.

Now can I keep that US Postal jersey please? Everyone agrees it brings out the blue in my eyes…Β 

(If I ever get that pearl izumi sesame street jersey I so dearly want then you’ll get the US Postal jersey. deal??)

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8 Comments on “The 22 Stone Cyclist Wades In..”

  1. redbikes Says:

    I’ve been following this blog for a while and I’d no idea you’d dropped nearly 7 stone. – wow!!

    As a result of this post i’ve now got to go and Google this Lizzie Armistead!

  2. Christine Gilligan Says:

    OMG Carrie (and James)- Hello to Carrie. what a fantastic piece of writing and I applaud you both for sharing your thoughts and emotions so publically. I would not be able to. James, I think I am a sheep, but hopefully a wolf in sheeps clothing… Look forward to your Blogs and look forward to seeing you sometime this year and sample your “obsession” XXX

    • notthewowy Says:

      hey christine, so nice to meet you, sorry I didnt get back earlier. I went to the pub to commiserate. πŸ™‚ Ive heard a lot about you and really look forward to meeting you. really. πŸ™‚


  3. Ok, having read James Blog first and called him Lazy for getting you to Blog for him, here I am on your Blog reading him writing for you. I’m a simple Brummie who’s easily confused. What is this? The Blog equivalent of car keys in a bowl?


  4. I can understand the kid bit, wifey tells me I’m a big kid all the time.

    I never have time to be bored though, wifey sees to that, must give it a try…


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