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Out There: Serious Answers To Your Silly Questions

This week Competitor Magazine columnist Susan Lacke answers questions from readers.

How many cupcakes per mile does it take to fuel the average triathlete?

Written by: Susan Lacke

Happy Thursday, folks! Susan here. I’m battling a cold and a major case of Writer’s Block this week. It’s hard to be witty with those two afflictions. That said, I figured it was time to answer some reader questions. Here you go:

How do I get faster? – Marc, California

You’re in the wrong place, buddy. Ryan Hall’s column is two pages over. If I knew the secret to getting faster, I wouldn’t be a humor columnist.

What is your idea of the perfect run? – Crys, Pennsylvania

I like not dying. Finishing a run alive always makes my day.

Long and hilly runs are my favorite. I’ll take two hours of long slow running over 30 minutes of speedwork any day. It’s sadistic, but there’s a mountain near my house with over six solid miles of climbing – that’s my happy place. I swear, beneath all that huffing and puffing and “oh<bleep>pleasekillmenow,” I’m smiling.

How many cupcakes per mile does it take to fuel the average triathlete? – Al, Wisconsin

Long answer: Speed, grade, genetics, V02, and effort all play a role. The average triathlete burns about 100-120 calories per mile. More calories are burned on the run than in the swim or bike. But it’s hard to tolerate food on the run, it’s important to pack in as many calories as you can on the bike. If you’re eating 400-calorie cupcakes (for the sake of argument here, we’re going to say “without sprinkles” – they just make things messy) we can assume the average triathlete would need to eat ¼ of one cupcake per mile. Portioning the cupcake into quarters and consuming every mile will ensure a steady stream of calories so the athlete can avoid the inevitable bonk. Note: Wetnaps are essential for the cupcake-eating triathlete. I don’t care if you peed yourself on the bike – nobody likes to high-five a chocolate-frosted hand.

Short answer: Math is, like, HARD. Chocolate Outrage Gu tastes like cupcake frosting. Eat. Yum.

If you miss the turn when there’s a pair of signs IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and two cops with their lights on, is it the Race Director’s fault? – Dan, Arizona

What a ridiculous question, Dan! Of course it is. Next time, don’t forget the monkey in a fez. Everyone stops to look at a monkey in a fez.

Why do I always get saddle sores on the right and not on the left? I put ride glide on both sides. – Katie, Virginia

For this, I went to a real expert – my bikini waxer. I trust her with all things hoo-has. She suggests you get a proper bike fitting, make sure your chamois doesn’t have any seams or strange lumps on the right side of the padding, and exfoliate using tea tree oil after workouts. She also says to stop vajazzling before long rides – contrary to what you may have heard, Lance Armstrong did not win the Tour de France with a crystal fleur-de-lis “down there.”

I’m a runner. Will becoming a triathlete increase my chances with the ladies? – Bill, Arizona

The fact that you’re even asking this question makes me wonder where your chances currently stand with “the ladies.” But the answer: Runners are already pretty hot. But if you aren’t getting any tail with the sport, consider adding the swim and bike for a little smidge of extra bad-assedness. Just don’t ruin it by stealing her Lady Bic to shave your legs.

Thanks for the questions, guys! Keep ‘em coming. While you’re at it, don’t forget to upload your fun-run pictures to the Competitor Facebook Page for the chance to win Competitor swag – the contest ends April 1!

See you Out There!


Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Look for her first print column in the March issue of Competitor, and follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke.