Learning curve?



geofitz13

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Dec 13, 2006
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I keep seeing people say that you have to train different muscles to ride a 'bent. If that is so, how long would you expect the learning curve to be? Given daily rides of 10 miles or so, with two 30-40 milers a week, how long would you expect it to take to get in shape for a century? A hilly century....
 

blazingpedals

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Oct 18, 2004
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geofitz13 said:
I keep seeing people say that you have to train different muscles to ride a 'bent. If that is so, how long would you expect the learning curve to be? Given daily rides of 10 miles or so, with two 30-40 milers a week, how long would you expect it to take to get in shape for a century? A hilly century....
It's generally acknowledged that you'll be slower on a bent for a period of time. How long that period is depends on your performance level on your upright. Whereas a 10 mph rider would only take a few weeks, it might take several years for 20+ mph riders. If you're not worried about speed, and if you're currently in shape for a century on your upright, then four 80 mile weeks would be plenty to get you ready to try it on a bent. Doing a hilly century might depend more on whether or not you could climb the hills on the new bent, and that would depend on the hills as well as your conditioning.
 

Slugster438

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Aug 20, 2006
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For the first couple weeks you ride a recumbent a certain pair of muscles in your hips tends to ache, but not so much that you cannot do anything normally.

Your speed depends a lot on the recumbent you choose--but the caution here is that the faster recumbents (the ones with the most reclined seating positions, and the highest pedals) are also the ones that cause riders to suffer the most up hills.

Even if you are slightly slower you can still ride much longer before taking a break, because the overall exhaustion level on a recumbent is much lower. A typical rider can easily go 3-4 times as far nonstop on a bent as they could on an upright bike.
~
 

geofitz13

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Dec 13, 2006
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Thanks for the input. I'm toying with the idea of getting a 'bent in April or May, training with it, and then doing the PMC (192 miles in two days) in August. Sounds like it is doable...
 

NORECUMYET

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Apr 28, 2007
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Slugster438 said:
For the first couple weeks you ride a recumbent a certain pair of muscles in your hips tends to ache, but not so much that you cannot do anything normally.

Your speed depends a lot on the recumbent you choose--but the caution here is that the faster recumbents (the ones with the most reclined seating positions, and the highest pedals) are also the ones that cause riders to suffer the most up hills.

Even if you are slightly slower you can still ride much longer before taking a break, because the overall exhaustion level on a recumbent is much lower. A typical rider can easily go 3-4 times as far nonstop on a bent as they could on an upright bike.
~
I've got to disagree with you on your comment about the faster recumbents causing riders to suffer the most up hills. I have only four days experience on my VKII and already can leave the mountain bike with street tires I have behind on hills. The bikes weigh virtually the same but I have to stand on the mountain bike to go up the same hills I can on the VKII. I think the biggest problem riders on both upright and recumbents have is excess weight on their midsections, not their bikes. Just imagine strapping 25 pounds of weight on your bike and going up a hill. Most of the bikers I see on both types of bikes are carrying that much on their bellies. I've lost thirty pounds after ordering my VKII and still have 25 to go. I would hate to think of what it would be like if I still had the 30 pounds I've lost already. I just seems nuts to spend hundreds extra for carbon fibre parts and then not worry about the excess on your mid section. Of course you know what they say about opinions. They're like, well, body parts that everyone has.
 

sebowyer

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Jun 7, 2007
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I did 90 miles on my recumbent on virtually no training - just the odd 20 miles here and there on an upright. It took a very long time, but the following day I was the only person without an aching back, wrists, neck and...other bits. Recumbents use the opposing muscles to normal cycling, I've heard, so expect not to be very fast to begin with. Also, don't try and lean forward when going up hills, as that just strains your neck without delivering anything. Try to lean back and push your lower back into the seat. By the way, I am a 220lb female who cycles, rows and swims, so weight isn't everything!:)
 

NORECUMYET

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Apr 28, 2007
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sebowyer said:
I did 90 miles on my recumbent on virtually no training - just the odd 20 miles here and there on an upright. It took a very long time, but the following day I was the only person without an aching back, wrists, neck and...other bits. Recumbents use the opposing muscles to normal cycling, I've heard, so expect not to be very fast to begin with. Also, don't try and lean forward when going up hills, as that just strains your neck without delivering anything. Try to lean back and push your lower back into the seat. By the way, I am a 220lb female who cycles, rows and swims, so weight isn't everything!:)
I don't believe I even came close to saying weight is everything. What I said was that INSTEAD of going broke with carbon fiber parts, consider losing weight. Now I'll say weight is everything since I now know I pushed your chubby little button. I guarantee you beyond a shadow of any doubt that if you were to get yourself down to the weight that your frame was so brilliantly designed by God for, every aspect of not only your athletic life but your personal and business life as well would reach levels you don't even imagine now. I say these things as a person who has experience with being in top physical condition AND as a person who was at least fifty pounds overweight. Yikes! 220 pounds! That's just plain dangerous sweetheart. It's not good for you. I do commend you in that you don't use it as an excuse to become a part of your couch. In fact I think you've got more guts than 99.9 percent of the population. Now just use those guts to change your diet. If you have anyone in this world that cares about you or depends upon you it's something necessary. I found that by eliminating sugar that my insulin levels were stabilized and my extreme appetite turned into a normal one. I used to put large quantities of table sugar in my several cups of coffee a day. Invest in a blood sugar analyzer (You know, like diabetics use) and do some tracking. When you learn to control the spikes in insulin you will bring your appetite in check and lose weight without suffering. If I can do it, ANYBODY can do it. I am more addictive then anyone you've ever met.

Diabetes, Heart disease, Stroke, ALL forms of Cancer, Arthritis, Back trouble, Sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s, the list goes on forever. All of the preceding are things that are ten times as likely to happen to you if you’re a 220 pound female. If you are average in height you’d be about 5’4”. That puts you about 100 pounds over weight. Before your next run put on a backpack with 100 pounds of weight in it. See how well you do. Now take it off and see how good it feels. Get the picture? It’s exactly the SAME THING. Fat is DEAD weight.

I don't write this to be mean. I simply know that it took a few comments I found to be rude and hurtful at the time to wake me up. That was only six weeks ago and I'm down 40 pounds now. I'm running and biking like I did ten years ago now. I feel so good I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. My sleep apnea is gone. My severe heartburn is gone. My shortness of breath is gone. There's even an area of myself I can see now that previously required a mirror. O.K. I'll stop.
 

sebowyer

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Jun 7, 2007
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Ah - there's nothing like a convert for preaching! Just like the ex-smokers are the most evangelical about the evils of their former habit, this post preaches the wonders of losing weight, in terms that only a former overweight person could.:rolleyes:

While I take note of your message about the pointlessness of buying carbon fibre parts if you weigh more than a large teaspoon, and I even agree with it, I'm afraid I do take offence at your references to "your chubby little button", the "spikes in insulin", "plain dangerous" and the assumptions that I am short and 100 pounds overweight with severe health problems. Perhaps you don't write it to be mean, but I can guarantee that, reformed or not, anyone who does have weight problems would view your comments as extremely hurtful. The fact that you were once overweight yourself does NOT give you the mandate to insult anyone whom you believe to be overweight now. I know there's a tendency in some parts of the US to allow such rudeness, but in the UK it is still extremely bad form. Fortunately I'm nowhere near the chubby, slobbering couch accoutrement that you seem to believe I am. I'm a good deal taller than you imagine and virtually all the extra weight is muscle. This is not my naive assumption - it is the opinion of my doctors, dietician and physiotherapists, not to mention my rowing coaches and sprint cycling peleton.
Perhaps you don't have healthy, fit people in America, but I doubt it. I reckon you've even seen some. If not, have a look at the British Olympic rowing team at the Sydney Olympics and tell me that Sir Steve Redgrave is "chubby", that his weight is "plain dangerous" and that he is ten times as likely to suffer from your exhaustive list of complaints. I don't reckon you would want to suggest to him that he should lose some weight. He weighs more than me.:eek:
If I start to suffer from sleep apnoea, shortness of breath, severe heartburn then I might start to think that there's a problem. Until then, I'll live with my low cholesterol, low blood pressure and carry on rowing, cycling and swimming.
I don't write this to be mean. I simply know that you made a huge assumption based on one piece of data, and used it to be offensive without the remotest clue about whom you're talking to. If you remember nothing else from this, remember not to make assumptions.:)

Wishing you the best in your newly-discovered thinness (and I do mean that),

Sebowyer.
 

NORECUMYET

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Apr 28, 2007
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sebowyer said:
Ah - there's nothing like a convert for preaching! Just like the ex-smokers are the most evangelical about the evils of their former habit, this post preaches the wonders of losing weight, in terms that only a former overweight person could.:rolleyes:

While I take note of your message about the pointlessness of buying carbon fibre parts if you weigh more than a large teaspoon, and I even agree with it, I'm afraid I do take offence at your references to "your chubby little button", the "spikes in insulin", "plain dangerous" and the assumptions that I am short and 100 pounds overweight with severe health problems. Perhaps you don't write it to be mean, but I can guarantee that, reformed or not, anyone who does have weight problems would view your comments as extremely hurtful. The fact that you were once overweight yourself does NOT give you the mandate to insult anyone whom you believe to be overweight now. I know there's a tendency in some parts of the US to allow such rudeness, but in the UK it is still extremely bad form. Fortunately I'm nowhere near the chubby, slobbering couch accoutrement that you seem to believe I am. I'm a good deal taller than you imagine and virtually all the extra weight is muscle. This is not my naive assumption - it is the opinion of my doctors, dietician and physiotherapists, not to mention my rowing coaches and sprint cycling peleton.
Perhaps you don't have healthy, fit people in America, but I doubt it. I reckon you've even seen some. If not, have a look at the British Olympic rowing team at the Sydney Olympics and tell me that Sir Steve Redgrave is "chubby", that his weight is "plain dangerous" and that he is ten times as likely to suffer from your exhaustive list of complaints. I don't reckon you would want to suggest to him that he should lose some weight. He weighs more than me.:eek:
If I start to suffer from sleep apnoea, shortness of breath, severe heartburn then I might start to think that there's a problem. Until then, I'll live with my low cholesterol, low blood pressure and carry on rowing, cycling and swimming.
I don't write this to be mean. I simply know that you made a huge assumption based on one piece of data, and used it to be offensive without the remotest clue about whom you're talking to. If you remember nothing else from this, remember not to make assumptions.:)

Wishing you the best in your newly-discovered thinness (and I do mean that),

Sebowyer.
Apparently, folks in the U.S. are not the only ones that are so easily offended. Sorry trying to compare me to a “civilized Brit just doesn’t mean bupkis. I responded to what you wrote, and that was that you are 220 pound female. I don’t know about Britain but here in the states unless you’re almost seven feet tall as a female, YOU ARE A FAT, FAT, FATTY. YIKES!

I’m sorry if the truth hurts but the hardest lessons to learn are also the most valuable. Did I used to be fat? Not by your standards. I’m a 5’10” male that used to weigh about 225. Now I weigh 175 and I’m close to where I’d like to be muscle and fat percentage wise.

I don’t wish to try and backtrack through all the posts but I did read my comments that you find so offensive. You have what many in the Western world now have. I call it “youhurtmyfeelings-itis.” Or, “you pushed my chubby little button and I’m going to tell on you.” (Or in the U.S. “I sue your ass.”) You failed to comment on my guess that you’re probably about 5’ 3” so I suppose I hit it pretty close. 5’3”, 220 pounds, and you’re in great shape huh? O.K.

Now I know for an absolute fact that you’re a fatty. You would have never responded the weigh you did if you weren’t. (Get it? The weigh you did. Hardy harr harr har harr. Dang I crack myself up.)

Get over yourself El Chubbo and lose some weight. If my “hurting your feelings” was the straw that broke the twinky’s back then I’ve done my good deed for the day.

You can write ‘till the cows come home (notice the bovine similes. Yes they’re similes not metaphors.) about what great shape you’re in but we’re not buying it. You may be in great shape for a fat chick, but not great shape for someone that would like to consider themselves a competitive athlete.

So, put the twinky down, throw away the clothes with elastic wastelines, and get to business girl. Stop trying to tell yourself that it’s perfectly O.K. to be Hefferesque. ( A Heffer is a cow by the way ) It’s not O.K. It’ll kill you. Hurt feelings won’t.

P.S. Just think how much you’ll save on talcum powder. And I do hope you don't get any of the health related stuff that comes with obesity. That's why I'm so vocal on the issue. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy being a total smartass.
 

thetmqdoc

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Jul 20, 2007
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geofitz13 said:
I keep seeing people say that you have to train different muscles to ride a 'bent. If that is so, how long would you expect the learning curve to be? Given daily rides of 10 miles or so, with two 30-40 milers a week, how long would you expect it to take to get in shape for a century? A hilly century....
I would say a month at the longest. I went from a giant ocr limited to a bacchetta strada. The biggest setback was the inferior components on the recumbent. But for a full carbon with high end components like the ocr it would be 5k.

After one month I can keep up with the upright guys on the hills during a group ride and I weigh 225. I lift and train legs alot though. With this in mind I don't feel I use different muscles while riding the recumbent although perhaps this is a mistake. I just feel my quads burning after cranking the hills. The key to hills on a recumbent is to stay in as big of gear as possible on short hills and keep spinning. Once you keep shifting down and spinning you will soon find yourself at 10mph.

The biggest disadvantage I see on hills is gravity. When you stand up and pedal you are assisted by your body weight and gravity while pressing down, not so on the recumbent. I don't think you could ever condition your legs enough to beat the advantage of standing up. Rather you just condition your legs better than the upright rider to even the advantage.


tmq
 

blazingpedals

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Oct 18, 2004
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Geez, norecumyet, you need to chill out. Sebowyer didn't ask for your opinion about her weight. Her point was you don't need to be rail-thin to cycle, and I agree. This article seems to back up the opinion. The good thing about getting a lighter bike is that the effects are immediate. You can always lose weight besides and get a double benefit.
 

Elkhound

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Jun 7, 2007
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blazingpedals said:
Geez, norecumyet, you need to chill out. Sebowyer didn't ask for your opinion about her weight. Her point was you don't need to be rail-thin to cycle, and I agree. This article seems to back up the opinion. The good thing about getting a lighter bike is that the effects are immediate. You can always lose weight besides and get a double benefit.
I'm thinking of getting one myself, and need some advice:

1. How difficult is it to balance on a 'bent if you are used to a diamond frame?
2. What are the relative advantages of the three configurations?
3. Underseat or overseat steering--what are the reletive merits?

And what about hills? Living in WV, hills are a major concern.
 

NORECUMYET

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Apr 28, 2007
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Elkhound said:
I'm thinking of getting one myself, and need some advice:

1. How difficult is it to balance on a 'bent if you are used to a diamond frame?
2. What are the relative advantages of the three configurations?
3. Underseat or overseat steering--what are the reletive merits?

And what about hills? Living in WV, hills are a major concern.
I don't know if I'm the best person to answer these questions. I don't want to scare you away from a bent. I fell over the first four or five times I tried to take off on my bent. After that I fell over several times for no apparent reason. Yes it is very different than a DF but it depends greatly on what kind of bent you buy. The first bent I tried was a SUN EZ-1 and I had no problem riding it at all. I ended buying a Velokraft VK2 PRO and that was not easy to ride. Once I got about 100 miles logged on it however I became pretty comfortable. It's just like anything in life. If it's worth having it's worth working for. Think about it. Do you scuba dive like a pro the first time? Can you fly a plane without a whole lot of training? Maybe these aren't good analogies but I think you get the point.

I haven't seen anyone say that they wish they didn't buy their bent. It's really a different and comfortable way to ride. Not to mention fast, fast, fast. And fun like a roller coaster too. I can't answer to your numbers 2 and 3 questions. I just don't have the experience to do so. I have to repeat though. I doubt you would ever end up wishing you didn't buy it. They also have a very high resale prices. Good luck and have fun.
 

winkyb

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Aug 7, 2007
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blazingpedals said:
Geez, norecumyet, you need to chill out. Sebowyer didn't ask for your opinion about her weight. Her point was you don't need to be rail-thin to cycle, and I agree. This article seems to back up the opinion. The good thing about getting a lighter bike is that the effects are immediate. You can always lose weight besides and get a double benefit.
Blazingpedals norecumyet mite should be glad that Sebowyer lives on the other side of the pond.With all she does she mite just kick his butt.I wounder how he lost that much weight that fast and how long it will stay off.I know I have lost 20 pounds over the summer but the main thing I was after was to move it from my middle to where it was of some use.Between my two bikes and a trikke not a ( miss spelling ) I ride 125 to a 150 miles a week.
By the way I think I am getting my bent legs.

Wink
 

blazingpedals

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Oct 18, 2004
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Elkhound said:
I'm thinking of getting one myself, and need some advice:

1. How difficult is it to balance on a 'bent if you are used to a diamond frame?
2. What are the relative advantages of the three configurations?
3. Underseat or overseat steering--what are the reletive merits?

And what about hills? Living in WV, hills are a major concern.
1. I don't rate bents as more difficult, just different. As I like to say, uprights are balanced to steer, whereas bents are steered to balance. What this means is, they're totally different! At low speeds, using 'body english' to remain rubber-down is not practical for a recumbent, so track stands are not possible, and stall speeds, the point where the rider cannot balance anymore, are higher.
2. I count CLWB the same as LWB. The advantages of LWB are: more frame to hang stuff from, longer wheelbase makes for a more compliant ride, also often allows the seat to be lower. Fairings tend to be less expensive due to simpler mounting hardware. Low bottom bracket models are easier for beginners to start/stop. The advantages of SWB are: handles more like an upright, generally lighter, easier to transport and store. SWBs more often have high bottom brackets (pedals) for higher performance at the expense of a steeper learning curve. Those are generalizations, and exceptions abound.
3. USS is relatively unpopular for 2-wheelers because it is usually less aerodynamic and limits where you can hang computers and other dashboard stuff. Proponents are usually in one of two camps: either they have severe hand problems or they simply enjoy the alien factor of having something different. Onlookers often don't understand USS and think the bike is being steered by thought waves or something. OSS is much more standard and allows a normal dashboard with shifters and brake levers mounted in standard, easy-to-comprehend positions.

Hills may be an issue. WV has some steepies, which is where recumbents DON'T shine. Since you can't stand and pedal when on a recumbent, steep hills require a low gear, and a low enough gear and speed may bring balance issues into play unless you're on a trike.
 

NORECUMYET

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Apr 28, 2007
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winkyb said:
Blazingpedals norecumyet mite should be glad that Sebowyer lives on the other side of the pond.With all she does she mite just kick his butt.I wounder how he lost that much weight that fast and how long it will stay off.I know I have lost 20 pounds over the summer but the main thing I was after was to move it from my middle to where it was of some use.Between my two bikes and a trikke not a ( miss spelling ) I ride 125 to a 150 miles a week.
By the way I think I am getting my bent legs.

Wink
Regarding how I lost it so fast, and so on. First of all I've been extremely fit and of a low body fat/muscular build for all my life with the exception of about an eight to ten month period. During this period I was laid off from a twenty-six year job and actually enjoyed doing absolutely nothing but watching the idiot box and snacking. So, the weight I lost quickly was weight that was put on very quickly as well. I understand that has something to do with it. Secondly, I went from eating approximately 3500 to 4500 calories a day of fifty percent junk to less than 2000 per day and went from completely sedentary to riding twenty five miles a day and lifting weights. (Remember, I've got all day to do whatever I please.) I've gotten back to the point where I've not only equaled my performance running but have even surpassed it. (How fast I can run 3 miles is my benchmark of just how fit I am cardio wise. I'm down to a little over 6 minutes per mile for three miles. Nothing for a lot of guys, but very fast for me. I was previously at 7 per mile for three miles even twenty years ago.) I'm just about to hit 47 years old by the way. I doubt I'll gain any of it back. It was much harder to get back in shape than I thought it would be so I doubt I'll let myself go like that again. Especially now that I've found by extreme experimentation a great performance enhancing diet that fuels me beyond where I thought I'd ever go. Out went the protein powders and supplements. In came fresh vegetables in a wide variety, low fat milk in fairly large quantities, and lots of cold-water fish such as salmon. I even go for a bag of M&Ms before a "time trial". WOW. It's working really well, and I'm still losing weight. I'm now averaging 2500 calories a day. Once again, still losing. It's loss on a slow road however, about 2 pounds a week now. I do also have periods of my weight being on a plateau for a few weeks at a time. I understand is this is quite normal.

Now to change the subject. I know that if you didn't see every post that was written between the heavyset woman and myself it could and does look like I'm just a really mean and nasty person. If I remember correctly however, she started off the whole series by making a point of letting us all know that she was a very big girl but being big is perfectly O.K. Hell, not just O.K., but something to be celebrated. In fact, it's the same as being born black, or Latin, or Germanic, white, Jewish, or any other "race". I'm sorry it's not. It's a lifestyle choice, and for virtually all that choose to have it, it's a very dangerous one at that. I wasn't going to attempt to be politically correct so that this girl's self esteem could remain artificially high. For some reason it's become perfectly O.K. to radically lambaste a smoker, but almost against the law to mention that someone needs to lose some weight. Don't worry folks. It's coming. It won't be much longer before chowing down a big mac becomes as unacceptable as lighting up in a restaurant. In the U.S., if Hilary gets her way, we'll all be on state sponsored medical care and detriments to health like smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and speeding will cost you in higher premiums. If you don't think that slippery slope will lead to penalties for eating too much fat, sugar, and salt, you've got another thing coming.

Being overweight is no different than smoking cigarettes. At least statically speaking that is. There are numerous recent studies that seem to prove that being overweight carries with it the same or higher risks of cancer that smoking does. In addition, obesity also carries with it one of the fastest growing epidemics in America. That epidemic is Diabetes. I'll even go so far as to say that our terrible U.S. diets are probably responsible for the drastic increases in Autism, A.D.D., Depression, certain types of cancer, and numerous types of heart disease. The list is much longer than what I've written by the way.

To finish my response with a confusing jump, congratulations on your weight loss. It can be a very difficult thing to do. The rewards however are too numerous to list. For a while now I've come to the conclusion that the only really important thing in life is make every day count. So if you truly are happy and healthy by not putting limits on your intake, then more power to you. If however, performance is what floats your boat, then I guarantee that your boat will float higher and faster if you slim your fat ass down.

I of course don't know diddly squat. I just learned this morning that my fifty six year old, in fantastic shape and buffed up brother has passed away from heart failure. (I just went running with him a few weeks ago and couldn't even come close to keeping up with him.) He never did anything detrimental to his health but unfortunately had romatic fever as a boy and this was more than likely the reason for his unexpected passing. He did everything right. Worked hard, saved his money, stayed married, took care of his kids, did EVERYTHING by the book, and still died VERY unexpectadely. I'm left with a pretty empty and confused noggin'. I'll miss you big brother. "Only the good die young." Guess I'll live forever. It's not fair is it?