One Word

08.17.2005 | 10:51 pm

Yesterday, I wrote a whiney little post about how I needed a new carrot – something to keep me focused and give me a short-term reason to lose weight. I got lots of good advice. Steve Medcroft, though, had one word for me:


About five years ago, I tried a couple of cyclocross races, using my mountain bike. Now, racing a muddy, short course while occasionally jumping off your bike and hurdling a barrier at your absolute maximum heart rate for 45 minutes doesn’t sound like fun. It doesn’t look like fun. But it was a lot of fun.

So today I did the following:

I talked with a coworker, Anne, whose husband (Rich) is heavily involved with Seattle cyclocross. He, in turn, sent me a bunch of links and getting-started advice for cyclocross racing in Seattle.

Then I called my local bike shop; it turns out that one of the people who works there — Mal — races cyclocross. She had tons of useful info and said she’d be happy to help me pick out a good bike and would bring in her own cyclocross bike tomorrow to show me what she races herself (sure, it’s her job to help, but I could hear that she had the zeal of the true believer — she loved the idea of getting fresh meat on a cyclocross bike).

Then I called Racer and asked him what he recommends. He says it’d be cool to support a local manufacturer, and that he’s ridden and liked Redline.

Then I called my wife and told her that my annual bonus would be in my next paycheck…could I use it to by a ‘cross bike? She said yes.

Suddenly, I’m all twitchy and giddy: New bike! Mud! Hopping like a goofball over little hurdles! How could I not be excited?

Between the cyclocross bike, the track bike, and the Matt Chester fixed gear utility bike (along with the Fisher Paragon and Ibis Ti Road I already have), 2005-2006 may well be my most bikeful year ever.


Goonster recommended I try a randonneuring event, and I admit I’m intrigued — I like self-supported endurance riding, though to this point most of my real endurance rides have been on mountain bikes. But the name "randonneur" freaks me out. I imagine myself showing up at the ride and getting laughed at when everyone discovers I have no idea how to pronounce "randonneuring." Or "brevet." And while I’m OK with the idea of no aid stations, having to use a map to find my way around the course scares me. I’m more easily confused and lost than just about anyone I know. I imaginge the following conversation as typical:

Me: "Do we turn left or right here?"

Seasoned Randonneur: "Look at your map."

Me: "I am looking at my map. Do we turn left or right here?"

Seasoned Randonneur: "You’re not very self-reliant, are you? You know, self-reliance is the mark of a good randonneur."

Me: "That does it. I’m getting out my GPS."

Seasoned Randonneur: "No, GPS technology is specifically not allowed in the Randonneur by-laws."

Me: (Starts to cry)

Seasoned Randonneur: "OK, quit blubbering. I’ll tell you which way to turn, on one condition." 

Me: "OK. Name it."

Seasoned Randonneur: "Show me that you can correctly pronounce ‘randonneur,’ preferably with a French accent."

Me: "Randy newer."

Seasoned Randonneur: "Stupid American." 

Me: (Starts to cry)

Today’s weight: 169.2. So I was pretty much spot-on with my guess yesterday. Time for me to get back on track. I’m re-instituting the Fat Cyclist Sweepstakes. Your first chance to win is Friday.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 08.18.2005 | 4:06 am

    Funny Stuff.Nobody cares how you pronounce anything, as long as you don’t whine too much about your saddle sores. Seriously, Seattle International Randonneurs (SIR) have a reputation for putting on the smoothest, no-BS, can’t-go-wrong events. No need for map or GPS, just read the cue sheet. Supposedly the cues for the 600 km fit onto one sheet. "Turn right onto Rt 59. Ride 127 miles. Left at traffic light onto Main St." Something like that.Not that I want to talk you out of buying new toys for playing in the mud, mind you . . .

  2. Comment by Unknown | 08.18.2005 | 4:41 am

    you don’t need a cross bike to race cross. it’s extremely satisfying to beat some decked out cross head while you ride a 35 lb mountain bike. but on the other hand, that wouldn’t really be you, would it? on the other hand, if you’ve got the green light to spend, why not?

  3. Comment by Jim | 08.18.2005 | 12:25 pm

    One more ride to try, not an organized ride. There is a "triple" down by Crystal Mountain: Crystal, Suntop, Noble Knob. There was a funny write-up on a couple of years ago. Probably in the 80mile range with loads of fire-road climbing and single-track descents. Park at Camp Sherman off of 410.

  4. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 08.18.2005 | 3:00 pm

    thanks for the suggestion, fcc. i’ll find it and try it out.

  5. Comment by Huw | 08.18.2005 | 4:16 pm

    I’ve only done Audaxs (short? radonees: 100 – 150 km) here in the UK, and they’re great fun. An excellent way to see new scenery, push yourself a bit, and have a sense of achievement at the end.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 08.18.2005 | 11:07 pm

    You’re setting a weight goal 2 days away?! That oughta motivate you to… hmmm… get dehydrated? :)In general, would it make sense to track the moving average of your weight over the past week?Cascade Triple Crown: a couple of BBTC riders are doing it this weekend. the postings–your weblog is my favorite recent find.)

  7. Comment by Unknown | 08.18.2005 | 11:11 pm

    P.S.: Here’s another off-road event that you could do any time: ride the John Wayne trail between North Bend and the Columbia river. > Ride Over the Cascades (ROC), Sunday August 28th. > It’s a 145 mile mountain bike ride from Vantage to Redmond (Red Hook Brewery), > primarily on the Iron Horse Trail but also with some surface street sections. > We have 1 and 4 person (relay team) categories. > Our website address is‘ve heard people comment that doing this east-to-west is crazy because you ride into the prevailing wind; doing the other direction should be easier. Riding the unpaved rail-trail is more work than riding the shoulder of I-90, but then it also doesn’t have traffic whizzing by at 70+ mph.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 08.24.2005 | 12:58 pm

    This is one of the funniest blogs I have ever read on here. I am enjoying it immensely.


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