I’m giving up on skin-tight cycling apparel

Skin-tight troubles

There is no getting around it. I’m finally done with the self-delusion and inability to face the obvious truth. Forgive me for I am not emaciated.

There was a time not so long ago when I could squeeze into skin-tight, pro-cut, race fit cycling apparel. I was slim enough, I rode enough, I burned enough calories to keep my chest from filling out and my gut from expanding.

That time is over.

For the last five years, I’ve pretended it was still possible and hoped against all factual evidence that I could still buy jerseys and jackets and vests that were designed for bike racers. I lied to myself and made sure I never looked in the mirror once I crammed myself into these tight garments. I’m a Middle Aged Man in Too-Tight Lycra.

I deluded myself that with a month of hard rides, some core strengthening and tightening and a  little extra disciple at mealtimes, I could drop enough weight to keep buying the pro-fit stuff. I told myself that just a few beers and a few glasses of wine less and I could still wear what the bike racers wear.

Sadly, I have finally realized that time has passed.

Too many times, I’ve gotten out the tape measure, marked down my chest, stomach and hip measurements and then, ordered a size too small, a cut too tight. The excitement in the arrival of a new jersey would quickly be replaced with disappointment when I slipped it on and could barely breathe, every extra pound on painful display.

Today, I’m turning the page. I’m too old to play this silly game anymore. I’m not getting slimmer and that’s just the fact of the matter. At least not enough to ever hope I could look like a hyper fit road biker.

I’m now in a world defined by “relaxed fit.” I’m giving up and sizing up and that P.R.O Pearl Izumi vest I never wear because it’s too tight will have to be given away. That Castelli jersey at the bottom of the drawer, the one designed for tiny Italians who spend 6 hours a day on their bikes, must also find another home. The long-sleeve Capo winter jersey that is so beautiful and so too small for me will simply have to go.

From here on out, I have to live in the real world of expanded waist lines and XXL cycling apparel. I’ll never again be that sleek, razor thin, 2% body fat bike racer, the guys who past me on the road in their pro-cut gear. Me, I need a little extra room, an extra measure of stretch, the easy fit, the apparel for the ordinary guy.

And that’s okay. I’m not 30 anymore, or 40 or even 50. I was once a skinny kid with ribs showing. I had fun with race-cut cycling apparel. Now, however, my skin-tight days are over.

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