I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I have Richard Simmons' autograph.
Wait, don't throw the magazine down in disgust-yet. Let me explain. A couple years back I was coming home from some meetings in southern California and was standing at the Alaska Airlines ticket counter in LAX when I heard some screams somewhere behind me. I looked over to see what the commotion was about and there were three or four women surrounding this guy. I turned back around and the ticket agent said, "Hey there's Richard Simmons." I turned back around, and sure enough, those women had him surrounded.
I got my ticket, headed to the gate and had to pass Mr. Bubbly himself to get there. I was polite and said "Hi" as I approached to pass him. He stopped me and asked me my name. I told him and he asked me what I was doing and I told him I had been to some snowmobile meetings-I don't think he was too impressed or was ambivalent at best. Anyway, he told me he was headed on a cruise with some women who were wanting to lose weight (while on a cruise?). Of course, he's wearing those goofy shorts and a tank top. I am not making this up.
I had my ticket jacket in my hand and he asked if I wanted his autograph-which is what all the women were asking for while surrounding him. What was I going to say, "No thanks, I think you're a little weird. And I think you deserve what you get when you're on Letterman and the Jay Leno show?" No, I was nice and said "Sure." I wouldn't so much as call it star struck as I would dumb struck.
So, there you have it.
As is mentioned in Fronts & Forecasts, I don't think snowmobiling is on Richard Simmons' list of approved exercises. But anyone who rides the West knows what a workout snowmobiling can be-and we're dang sure not doing it in a tank top and goofy shorts.
Anyway, we're always talking in SnoWest about how the sled manufacturers are going to great lengths to lighten the sleds we ride in the mountains, you know, because light is right.
Well, what about lightening the riders? That's one variable the sled makers can't do much about. So I've come up with some ideas on how we can slim down to somewhat mirror what's happening to the machines we ride. I was going to come up with some clever saying playing off of a Richard Simmons theme but I already used one in Fronts & Forecasts and I don't think I can stomach another one.
So we're just calling it Lane's Crash Diet, since I seem to crash more than my fair share on snowmobiles.
Get rid of the leather suit. It already weighs a ton. But then get it wet and the suit weighs more than a boatload of Richard Simmons' "clients."
On the other hand, though, get stuck and try to dig yourself out while wearing a leather suit and you'll lose pounds by the minute. Maybe that one's a toss up.
Go titanium. Make sure if you have to have some sort of surgery that requires metal to be placed in your body that your doctor uses titanium, not steel. It's lighter.
Think match weight. Act like a high school wrestler on your way to the ride. Wear three layers of sweats and a stocking cap and run the heater full blast for the hour-long drive to the mountains. Eat Starbursts and remember to bring your own cup to spit in (nobody wants you drooling on the floor of their Super Duty).
Personal hygiene. Toe and fingernails can use a good trim before each ride. If you're a backyard mechanic, wash all that heavy grease and oil off your hands. Hair grows back-think Bic and wax.
Check your boots. Some boots are heavy leather pieces with thick rubber soles. The moon boots we wore in grade school weighed much less-depending on if you had Wonder Bread plastic bag liners or not.
Be forgetful. You know, like your wife's birthday or anniversary. Then you can just say you're a little light-minded. Oh, that won't work . forget it.
Always load and unload your sled without starting it. This serves three purposes: First, by dragging your sled on and off a trailer, you're going to sweat off a few pounds. Second, by doing all that lifting, you're going to tone your muscles. And finally, by not starting your sled, you're going to save those precious ounces of fuel for your ride.
And as an added bonus, be sure to run your sled empty, leaving a five-mile walk back to the truck . again, that should help you sweat off even more weight.
Pack light. Obviously, things like Twinkies and Ho Hos are much lighter than cheese and beef sticks. And instead of an energy drink, bring a diet soda. That's got to be light.
Ride fast. I heard somewhere that a fast was like going without food. And going without food seems like a good diet. So by riding "fast" it's got to be some sort of a snowmobile diet.
Install NOS on your sled. We all know that heavy objects sink in the snow . yet the sleds with NOS seem to be able to stay on top of the snow. So logical deduction tells us that NOS must make things lighter.
Wear a modular helmet. Obviously, not many sledders like to be associated with someone wearing a modular helmet. So by wearing one, you likely won't have any friends. This means you will likely have to eat meals alone. And nobody likes to eat meals alone . so you will be more apt to skip a meal or two.
Well, there you have it-Lane's crash diet. And as for the Richard Simmons thing, I'm glad I finally got that off my chest. I feel lighter already ... now where's my modular helmet?