Tag Archives: Diet

Comic Sarah Hendrickx on cycling 520 miles, burning 6,000-7,000 calories a day and eating 75 pain au chocolats

Suntanned Sarah Hendrickx yesterday on Skype

A sun-tanned Sarah Hendrickx yesterday on Skype

“I’ve got a terrible cold, so I’m going to cough and splutter and sniffle through this” I said when I started talking to Sarah Hendrickx on Skype last night. “But now you’ve cycled all those hundreds of miles, you must be very healthy.”

“Oh, not healthy,” replied Sarah. “My knees. They were bad before I went and they’re no better.”

“And your bum?”

“My bum’s recovered now,” said Sarah. “Thanks for asking.”

“You bicycled back yesterday evening?” I said.

“No,” said Sarah. “A British Airways flight from Barcelona.”

“How many miles did you do eventually?”

“I cycled 520 and I caught a train for 200 or so in the middle, because I wouldn’t have had time to finish.”

The last time comedian Sarah Hendrickx was heard of in this blog, she was on an 800 mile cycle ride to Barcelona having only previously ever cycled for 38 miles. For her, the journey was “a personal, physical and mental challenge” because, years ago, she “got stuck up the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and ended up going a bit mental and getting agoraphobia. So this is me going back to sort it all out and become a brave person.”

It was also research for her upcoming Edinburgh Fringe show Time Traveller.

“You triumphantly cycled into Barcelona?” I asked her yesterday.

The second victim of bike-killer Sarah Hendrickx

The second sad victim of the European bike-killing comedian

“No,” admitted Sarah. “I conked out 60 miles outside… Eleven spokes broke on my wheel, due to weight and general abuse, just treating it really badly. I was going off-road; I was trolling around like a lunatic. I just busted it, basically. I probably had about 120 kilos on it what with my weight and the tools and the clothes and camping gear. I had racks on the back with saddlebags over the top like an old donkey.”

“But you enjoyed it?” I asked.

“I did,” enthused Sarah. “I absolutely loved it. The cycling and being out on your own day after day in the sun was fantastic.”

“You said before you went,” I reminded her, “that you’d never really been on your own for three weeks. Didn’t the loneliness drive you up the wall?”

“During the day when I was biking it was fine,” Sarah explained. “In the evenings, I didn’t know what to do with myself really. But I was exhausted, so I mostly slept early. Sitting in too many restaurants on your own is a little bit bleak.”

“Last time we talked,” I said, “you had encountered a Norman Bates type psycho hotelier. Did you meet any others en route?”

“No, but I met a couple of very keen Belgian cyclists. I was older than them and cycling faster than them. A lot of the road cyclists in France and Spain were wearing all their gear – the Lycra and stuff – and they would clap and cheer me when I went past. There were a few other people touring round on holidays on bikes, but no other women on their own.”

“You were really going to Barcelona to exorcise your personal demons, weren’t you?” I asked.

Sarah outside Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Sarah outside Sagrada Família in Barcelona, where she was exorcising personal demons

“That was the point. Absolutely.”

“So what happened?” I asked.

“That’s in my show,” laughed Sarah, “so you can piss off. Come and see the show.”

“Is it going to have an uplifting ending?” I asked.

“Of course it’s going to be uplifting,” replied Sarah. “It’s going to be fabulous! There’s going to be singing. It’s gonna be great!”

“You’re going to be singing?”

“Yeah. Yeah. I’ve got lots of good things to talk about, but I’d have done the trip without the show. In your life, you end up thinking this sort of ‘different stuff’ is difficult to do, but you just have to take that one first small step. Once you’re in it, it’s easy: you’re just getting on with it. But it’s that’s the first transition bit people struggle with.”

“So what are you doing next year?” I asked. “Cycling up Everest?”

“I thought Afghanistan might be a nice little cycle route,” laughed Sarah. “There’s nothing like a few landmines to keep you on your toes.”

“Could you write a book about this last trip?” I asked.

“I don’t think there’s anything interesting enough for me to fill a whole book, but there might be something about the concept of having little adventures. Anybody can have an adventure, regardless of their budget or physicality. There are things that anybody can do.”

“So no concrete plans for next year?” I persisted.

“Well,” said Sarah, “I’ve been talking to my other half about cycling from the Spanish border to the Italian border right across France… or across the Pyrenees.”

“Is your other half proud of you?” I asked.

“Very proud of me,” said Sarah. “I think most people thought I wouldn’t do it. They were surprised I stuck it out, didn’t get fed up, didn’t just sit in a corner and cry. They were like: Bloody hell… She’s still going! Her bike’s broke and it’s pissing with rain and she’s still going.

“You managed to destroy two bikes, didn’t you?” I asked.

“I did,” said Sarah. “I got caught in a number of thunderstorms. I got stuck up a mountain in a thunderstorm with a broken bike that I had to push up the mountain. That was fairly bleak. But it was all character-building stuff.”

“So you’ve undergone a sea change?” I asked.

“No,” laughed Sarah. “I’m still an anxiety-ridden, panic-attacked person. That hasn’t changed in the slightest. I’m just a bit browner-skinned and capable of riding 500 miles I didn’t know I could do before. And I don’t want to go to work ever again. Cycling round France for a living would be absolutely marvellous. I think you should go somewhere yourself, John, and have a little adventure.”

“It smacks of doing healthy things,” I said. “If I eat healthy food, I come out in a rash.”

PainAuChocolat_LucViatour_Wikipedia

She didn’t just have a sweet roll, she ate her own body weight

“Well,” Sarah said, “despite cycling for six or seven hours every day and burning 6,000 or 7,000 calories a day, I did manage to put on weight. I have eaten my own body weight in pain au chocolat and Orangina on the basis of thinking: I’m burning calories – I need to eat! I need to eat!

“I was eating eight pain au chocolats a day for snacks. I think I was mainlining pain au chocolats. It was an excuse to eat as much as I liked and not get markedly fatter. So the Hendrickx Diet you mentioned last time we talked is not a goer or, if it is, I’m not the poster girl for it.

“But it was fantastic. You could pretty much eat what you liked and nothing really atrocious would happen because you were exercising so hard.”

“And now,” I said, “you have to get back to doing boring administrative things for your Edinburgh Fringe show?”

“I think it’s mostly there,” said Sarah. “It’s in the Programme. I’m one above Sarah Millican, so I’m hoping for some of her cast-offs or people who get confused by the whole bulk of the Fringe brochure.”

The two Sarahs vie for attention in the Fringe Programme

The two Sarahs vie for attention in the Fringe Programme

“You wrote your blurb for the show several months ago,” I said. “So what are the selling points you only now know you have?”

“At the moment,” replied Sarah, “I’m trying to write a sub-line for the poster, which will be something like One Woman – 800 Miles – Two Bicycles – 75 Pain Au Chocolats. I suppose it’s about looking for your lost courage, looking for your nerve because we all get a bit safe and dull in our lives and want to know Have I still got it?”

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UK comedian Lou Sanders has three moments of madness and Sanderson Jones finally proves he is an android

Lou Sanders last night started quite calmly

Lou Sanders starts her act last night seemingly quite calm

Last night, I went to Sanderson Jones’ regular new monthly comedy night All Your Internet Are Belong to Us.

It was billed as “a night of digital comedy – a night of comedy that is either about the web or is tech-enabled”.

And, indeed, the audience seemed to include an unusually high proportion of computer programmers, GIF-creators and the like.

One of the acts had had to bow out due to other commitments and had been replaced by Lou Sanders.

She had not had time to prepare a suitably geeky routine so decided, in an utterly incomprehensible moment of insanity to go completely OTT.

There was a lot of thrashing around and some vomiting

There was quite a lot of thrashing around and some vomiting

She started – started, mark you – by eating a capful of ground cinnamon. As she pointed out, this Cinnamon Challenge has reportedly killed some teenagers who tried it. The result on Lou was almost instantaneous, involved a lot of falling on the floor and, good as my iPhone is and not being in the front row, I was unable to catch one of the exact moments when Lou, on all-fours, puked up some foul brown concoction.

She followed this by reminding the audience that, if you mix Mentos and Diet Coca Cola in a bottle, the result is said to be an explosion.

Lou Sanders ill-advisedly drinks Coca Cola

Lou Sanders ill-advisedly starts to drink some Coca Cola

So she was going to see what happened if she put Mentos in her mouth and drank Coca Cola from a bottle.

The result was not quite an explosion.

But was not something you should try at home.

“What am I doing with my life?” Lou then asked the audience, adding: “My mum must be so proud I’m in showbusiness.”

The result of drinking Coke with Mentos

The explosive result of drinking Diet Coke with Mentos sweets

Following the comedic rule of three, she then decided on a third ‘challenge’.

“Does anybody know about the Cracker Challenge?” she asked.

“Usually, I don’t eat wheat or gluten or sugar. I can’t eat wheat, so I’ve just got rice cakes. I’ve a feeling I should have done this one first because, well, you’ve had the explosions. So this will just be a woman of a certain age eating crackers on the stage and passing it off as entertainment…

Lou Sanders and the rice cake challenge

Lou Sanders starts a perhaps misbegotten rice cake challenge

“I’ve got a degree, you know…” she said as she started to stuff ten large, disc-like rice cakes into her mouth without any water. The result was not pleasant for her; you couldn’t really say it was pleasant for the audience; but you could certainly say it was entertaining.

She continued to speak throughout. What she was saying, I suspect not even she knew.

Lunacy of this high an anarchic level is exactly what is missing from the currently rather tame British comedy circuit and may, with luck, be catching.

Tom Rosenthal regrets following Lou Sanders’ lead

Tom Rosenthal regrets following Lou Sanders’ act

Top-of-the-bill comedian Tom Rosenthal somehow successfully managed to follow Lou Sanders’ act, but then gave in and also tried eating cinnamon. The result was much the same as before though without, as far as I could see amid the writhing and falling, any actual vomiting.

The evening was rounded off by Sanderson Jones who, whether intentionally or accidentally, managed to talk himself into a logical corner in which he, too, had to eat a capful of cinnamon.

Inexplicably, Despite a short period of bulging eyes and a somewhat surprised look on his face (his beard may also have had an erection) it seemed to have little effect on him.

Sanderson Jones proves he is an android

Sanderson Jones proves he is an android

I am rather concerned that the rather scary, inhuman picture of him on his Facebook page may – just as the cover of Abbey Road revealed that Paul McCartney had died – be a subtle message to comedy fans and his family that Sanderson Jones is, in fact, an android.

When I was a researcher on the children’s TV show Tiswas, I twice booked on the show a man who ate worms. He was not a professional act, just a man who liked the limelight and, I presume to a certain extent, liked eating worms. The third time I tried to book him for the show, the person who answered the phone told me he had died.

The three main lessons of yesterday evening are simple.

See Lou Sanders before she dies.

Never get involved in a gross-out contest with her.

And Sanderson Jones is an android.

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