Col du Galibier is for Sissies

07.14.2005 | 7:55 pm

Maybe it was the perfect weather. Maybe it was the weight I’ve lost. Maybe it was the excitement of having headline my Tour de France Personality Test. Maybe it was Tour de France fever. Whatever it was, I felt incredibly good on the ride home from work. When I got to Inglewood Hill — 1.5 miles, 10-12% grade — I decided that instead of dropping to my granny gear and slowly churning my way up, I’d just lay it all out. So, in fourth gear, I attacked. Never you mind that there was nobody in sight to attack. I attacked anyway.
I never dropped below 8mph up the whole hill, and spent most of the hill in the 9-10mph range.
I’m sure that for truly fit cyclists — especially the featherweight climber types — that’s nothing to write home about. For a Fat Cyclist, though, it was major, since I usually range from 6-8mph the whole way up.
But Wait, There’s More
Still feeling good and pretty darned pleased with myself, I got home and told my wife that I wanted to keep riding. As a stroke of genius, though, I told her in such a way that I would actually be making her life easier, as well as being a Good Dad. Namely, I told her that I was taking the twins out for a ride in the trailer. Obviously, I got instant approval.
Usually, I tow the girls around the trails in the neighborhood — I’m lucky enough to live in an area that has a forested trail right out my door. There’s one hill, though — it’s short, steep, and gravelly — that I always run out of gas on when pulling the trailer. Yesterday, I cleaned it.
Time to look for a new challenge.
But Wait, There’s Still More
"What if," I asked myself, "I tried Inglewood Hill while pulling the trailer?" I had considered it before, but never tried it — that hill is hard enough on its own, pulling up an extra 100 pounds (2 girls @ 40lbs each + 20lb trailer) would be too much.
But yesterday, I felt invincible.
The descent down the hill made me glad I was on my mountain bike — I don’t think the brakes on my road bike would have been enough to keep us in check, much less stop us.
As soon as I started the climb, though, I could tell I was in trouble. I had already ridden 40 miles that day, including an intense climb at an intense pace. I was fried. I was — again — glad I was on the mountain bike; the gearing is low enough that I was able to drop to granny and s-l-o-w-l-y churn my way up.
And that’s when the heckling started.
"Dad, this is booooring," I heard from behind. "Go faster." I stood up, went up a gear, and for a minute, was able to bring up the pace. Then I was cooked and sat down.
"Dad, this is too slow! Go faster!" I guess it’s a pretty good indicator of who’s not the boss by the fact that I didn’t even turn around and pretend to lay down the law. I just stood up, went up to second gear, and told myself that I would get to the top as fast as I possibly could.
I made it. It was undoubtedly the most intense interval session I have ever had. And, after my legs recover, we’re going to do it again. Even if the girls do find it boring.
You want an HC climb, Mr. Fancy Pants Pro Peloton guy? Just drag an extra 100 pounds up the hill you normally think of as "pretty challenging." And do it while a couple of 3 year olds taunt you for being so slow. 
Why the Lack of Dramatic Tension?
As I alluded to in yesterday’s entry, I have what you might call a self-discipline problem. Ie, I can’t stop myself from checking to see how the day’s stage went. Last night I totally regretted already knowing Vinokourov won, though. That would have been such a great stage to watch if I were in suspense — a long breakaway by a Tour favorite on a mountain stage, with a sprint finish at the end? Are you kidding me?
But since I already knew that Vino won (this is two days ago now, so I don’t feel like I have to give spoiler warnings here), the lead group wasn’t much fun to watch. And since there were no attacks in the peloton– is everyone that cowed by the Team Disco? — there simply wasn’t much to watch. So I got through the five hours I had recorded in just under 45 minutes.
I’m so efficient.
Today’s Weight: 169.4. You want suspense? I’ll give you suspense. Specifically: can I lose 1.5lbs in one day, thereby avoiding having to do another Fat Cyclist Sweepstakes payout?


  1. Comment by Unknown | 07.14.2005 | 8:56 pm

    Sounds like an awesome hill workout! Do you ever ride with either of the girls on a trail-a-bike? That makes for a fun hill workout as well, especially if they decide to shake their handlebar back and forth like my daughter does when she gets bored (which is about 5 minutes into most rides).

  2. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.15.2005 | 12:30 am

    Haven’t started with that kind of third wheel bike with the girls. It’s a twin-specific political problem, see. If I take only one of them out, the other calls "no fair!" As a result, all their presents are the same, they go everywhere together, get the same amount (and flavors) of ice cream, etc.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 07.15.2005 | 1:54 am

    they make a "tandem trail-a-bike"……….. :~D

  4. Comment by Unknown | 07.15.2005 | 3:09 pm

    Your TdF pieces are brilliant!!!! My favorite (so far) is the Voekler super-secret stage win — a true pièce de résistance.

  5. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.15.2005 | 5:36 pm

    thanks, JB! Nice to have you commenting again.

  6. Comment by Jodi | 07.15.2005 | 6:35 pm

    Uh…. I think you’re funny too and I comment too and I’ve never gotten a "thanks for commenting" comment from you. Go weigh yourself so I can get a gift certificate you fat bastard.

  7. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.15.2005 | 7:00 pm

    That’s because I’m afraid of you, Jodi. I’m afraid of all my sisters, but I’m more afraid of you than I am of the others. And that’s saying something, since Christy could order a military strike on me.From now on, I will reply to all your comments. Further, I will always reply to your comments in the form of iambic pentameter. Unless the muse insists upon free verse.PS: Actually, I’m not really afraid of Kellene. Just you, Lori and Christy. And I’m not very afraid of Lori, either. What is she going to do — paint me to death? Ha!

  8. Comment by Robert | 07.15.2005 | 8:33 pm

    Fat Cyclist: What are the names of the puncture-proof tires that you really like? I need new tires. Oh, and when are we going to do Tiger Mountain? It’s a good ride. Really. It’s a lot like Moab Rim, only without the steep sections or technical moves or red rock or juniper bushes.

  9. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 07.15.2005 | 10:16 pm

    Specialized Armadillos: practically bulletproof, though they have an extremely harsh ride.Let’s ride Tiger Mountain right now. Drop what you’re doing. Let’s go.

  10. Comment by Matthew | 07.17.2005 | 9:10 am

    Do the twins rent themselves out as management consultants? Sounds like they have the motivational style down pat!


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