Consider My Clock Cleaned

08.20.2005 | 8:33 pm

I went on a small group ride today — just two other guys, Bret and Eric. The ride demonstrated a weird social dynamic in cyclists: we gathered together to do a ride none of us wanted to do. Specifically, we were climbing “The Zoo,” a three-mile brute of a road up Cougar Mountain.

The other weird thing I observed was myself: I knew this was a group ride, and that the right thing to do was ride as a group. But I couldn’t help myself. I kept pushing the pace, kept seeing if I could find my inner alpha male. I managed to make it to the top first — barely — completely fried. I was pleased with myself: I had meted out my effort nicely, and had emerged victorious. “Hey,” I said to myself, “the Fat Cyclist may have a gut, but he’s also got legs.”

And that brings us to a word of caution: be careful when you ride with people who are demonstrably 95% smarter than you. Ie, Eric’s a widely-respected computer language guru, I’m known for being fat and riding a bike.

Witness a snippent of conversation Eric and I had:

Eric: “I thought leg strength would be the limiting factor for me today, but it turns out aerobic capacity was the real inhibitor.”

Me: “I gotta hurl.”

Why is that important? Because while I was engaged in a one-move show of brute force (climb this hill fast, then feel free to blow up), Eric was engaged in a chess game. When we got back to the bottom of the hill, Eric said, “I know a great little loop that starts here — are you good for another 10-12 miles?”

What could I say? We started on the loop, and I held on the best I could. And for what it’s worth, Eric was right: it is a great little loop. But he cleaned my clock. After we split up, I soft-pedaled home just fast enough to avoid having pedestrians pass me.

I bet you anything, though, that Eric would claim it was just a friendly ride — no tactics at all involved.

Yeah, right.

Update: To be clear — all three of us finished the climb, and within a few minutes of each other.


My Story Is Posted

Back before I raced the Leadville 100, I pitched a story to my favorite cycling website, You can get the long version of the idea here, but basically I was going to bring a voice recorder with me on the race and record my conversations with other racers — let them tell the story of this big ol’ endurance race (100 miles on a mountain bike, 12,000 feet of climbing, all at an altitude between 9000 and 12,600 feet).

Well, I finished writing the story last Thursday and sent it in — and now it’s posted! Click here to read “Endurance MTB Socialising, Part I.”

Part II — hey, it’s a long race and I tend to ramble — should be posted tomorrow; you can bet that I’ll link to it in tomorrow’s blog entry.

A big “thank you” goes to Steve Peterson, who let me use his beautifully-done photographs in this story. Thanks also to the guys at Cyclingnews — I’ve read their site for years and years; it’s a blast writing for them now.


Pull the Trigger, Matt

My friend Matt and I went road bike shopping yesterday afternoon. We went to three different shops, and both of us finally gravitated to the Specialized Allez — in a great-looking powder-coated black. I’m astounded at how much bike you can get for under $1000 now. Matt says he’s close to making a decision.

Do it, Matt. All the cool kids are riding bikes these days. You want to be a cool kid, don’t you?


Today’s weight: 161.4 lbs. — but that was after the bike ride today, the final hour of which I had no water whatsoever. In other words, today’s weight has no bearing on reality.


Bonus “What’s Your Story” Amazingness: For those of you who have wondered what happens to your blog traffic when you’re featured on MSN’s What’s Your Story page, well, it’s kind of astounding. Thursday and Friday didn’t seem too out of the ordinary — I went from my usual 2000 or so pageviews per day to around 3500 per day. But today — wow! I just crossed 50,000 pageviews for the day and it’s only 1:30 in the afternoon. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!



  1. Comment by D | 08.20.2005 | 11:50 pm

    WOW, this is an amazing site, and you are very brave. WOW. I should do something like this. WOW. Cheers!

  2. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 1:26 am

    congradulation on your MSN and features. Loved your Tour commentary.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 2:21 am

    well good luck man, i can never stick with a diet :(

  4. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 2:25 am

    50,000 hits. You da MAN! And all of us extra observant types who caught on to you before, what are we gonna get when you hit big and stay big?

  5. Comment by Jeff | 08.21.2005 | 4:01 am

    So after I told both you and Matt I bought a Specialized Allez for that exact reason — price/performance — and love it, you still went to 3 bike stores to figure that out? That’s it. I’m not offering advice to you two anymore.

  6. Comment by Marla | 08.21.2005 | 4:07 am

    I’ve been to Leadville..that is an awesome place!!!

  7. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 08.21.2005 | 4:24 am

    jeff – you know matt. there was no way i could just tell him. he had to find out for himself. besides, whenever you start offering advice i can’t help but tune out. surely, after 21 years, you’ve noticed?jim – you get an extra 2500 fat cyclist brownie points. for a description of how you can get more brownie points, see my lt100 story on i still haven’t figured out what those brownie points can be redeemed for, though it would make sense to be able to redeem them for…brownies. mmmmmm.gryff – thanks. the tour commentary is what helped kind of transmogrify this blog from a weight-loss journal into…uh…whatever it is now.hyperguy16 – i can never stick with a diet either. i’m pretty good at hopping from one to the next, though. i wonder if you could create an ‘uber-all-inclusive diet’ that is the sum total of all other diets. really, though, all i want is a diet that lets me eat lots of burritos with guacamole and sour cream. with lots of that new smoked tabasco: chipotle sauce. that’s the best thing tabasco has come up with, ever, as far as i’m concerned. marlyeraine – a big part of the reason i go race the leadville 100 each year is because i love hanging out there for a few days. i’m never as relaxed as when i’m hanging out in my room in the delaware hotel or eating at the boomtown brewpub — except now boomtown is bust. dangit.rosesiren1 – you mean amazing in the sense of the way the hindenberg was amazing, right? and i’m brave in the sense a fat guy who posts his hairy pale belly on the internet is brave, right?

  8. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 5:35 am

    Dude trust me come to France next June and do this trip look at it as a training goal. We’re talking Mont Ventoux, Alp Du Huez, and seeing the Tour De France riders. I’ve done this trip 3 years in a row. It’s 1650 quite reasonable because we camp. You’re way out in the French country on your bicycle having come on vacation just to cycle it’s quite spiritual. I did Bordeaux to Alp Du Huez. There’s Rome to Nice too, and the Pyrenees. Come to the next level trust me. I cycle with and seattle bicycle club. My bicycle is named Isobelle. I"m trying to lose weight myself. I stay on the bike to ride the France trip each summer. The wine, the cheese, the food it can make you cry from joy. Trust a brother cyclist any questions e-mail me. I write this from love. Best wishes, Lowell. Check out the photos at the website. Trust me.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 5:44 am

    I ride a Giant T-Mobile carbon fiber with Campagnolo Centaur component so now I’m broke. I also have a Bianchi Giro with Shimano 105 components. I’m 41 and I rode 30 miles today really fast and I never felt better on these Seattle hills. I have gotten back to the childhood joy of bicycle riding. Probably because I am single. My bicycle never fails me or leaves me taking the kids back to Ireland. Best wishes, Lowell

  10. Comment by Unknown | 08.21.2005 | 6:00 am

    If you aren’t a writer by profession, you certainly should be. You tell the most interesting stories and you really keep me interested with your "turn of phrase" and your humor. I’m not even that much of a bike fan… except that I love Lance because that was my Big Brudda’s name and I am also an intrepid cancer survivor. I can’t stop reading your "stuff" because you are terrifically entertaining, as well as intelligent. I visited your sister’s site and hers has the same qualities. I’m hooked on both of you. The only thing is… I weigh dang near as much as you do (and I’m 5′3" tall… but some of it is colossal boobs, you see…) I was thin when I got the lung cancer but because of steroids (prednisone) for the breathing problems, I’m now a Humpty Dumpty lookalike. I now refuse to take steroids and I’m riding a stationary bike for an hour a day, so maybe it will improve.Keep it coming, kiddo! It’s marvelous!Hugs from an old lady,MuseMonkey

  11. Comment by Allan | 08.21.2005 | 6:13 am

    Ever thought about buying a recumbent bike ? Check ‘em out dudes ! Rans , Bachetta , Volae , Lightning are all US made bents you might enjoy riding ..

  12. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 08.21.2005 | 6:37 am

    musemonkey – way to go with beating cancer (my wife’s done that, too) and for working off the prednisone effects. i didn’t have to take it as long as you did, but last christmastime i did have to take it for about 3 weeks. i puffed right up, sort of the same way it sounds like you did. the enchanting tale is at!1pUmGvi9idWgOodsIbhHUOQA!203.entry. thanks for the encouragement.empathy6 – bents seem like a great idea if you’re all about comfort, or going fast on the flats or have back and behind problems, but i have so far never been passed by a bent while going up a hill. and for me, biking is all about the climbs. lowell – i love the idea of a european tour, but now’s not the time for me. i’ve got twin toddlers to take care of; a long weekend is the most i’m going to be taking off for a little while. your bike sounds great; sorry about the rotten luck with the wife.

  13. Comment by Jonathon | 08.21.2005 | 6:47 am

    Great Blog, Found it on the MSN Home Page! From a fellow "Fat Cyclist" on a mission to get back into cycling shape! Your site is funny and an inspiration. My weight had slowly gone up over the years and I decided drop the pounds and to go back to the one activity that I enjoyed more than eating! In April, I bought myself a new mtn bike. Loved going on the dirt trails with my mtn bike. Even got friends and relatives to start riding too. However it was fustrating to see all these roadies pass me on the paved paths. So I was thinking about getting a road bike. Two weeks ago, I was riding my mtn bike up the incline on the Dunbarton Bridge maxed out, when another " Fat Cyclist" on a road bike passed me with the elegance of Lance tackling the Alps. That sealed the deal. I went out and tried the Specialized Allez Sport Triple and the Specialized Sequoia Elite. I liked the Allez, however the Sequoia’s relaxed fit was better for this "Fat Cyclist". It also helped that it was on sale too! Been alternating my daily circuit with my mtn bike and sequoia and the pounds are melting away!Again Thanks for the Inspiration and Keep Up The Good Work!

  14. Comment by Evadlas | 08.21.2005 | 10:12 am

    Could you write your height in centimetres and weight in kilos??? Just for those of us who have advanced into the new millenium and don’t use imperial measurements anymore!!!

  15. Comment by kris | 08.21.2005 | 2:46 pm

    Wow, 50,000 hits!? I knew that I was riding with a notable blogging, George Hincapie sunglass wearing, climbing machine from Utah. Now you’re a super famous blogging, George Hincapie sunglass wearing, climbing machine from Utah. Congratulations on the success, and much more for you. Thanks for the kind words in the Cyclingnews story. It’s nice to have the words "big pull" associated with your name on a cycling website, but now I’m going to be the guy everyone looks at in the breakaway of the local Cat 4 races to pull everyone along. Yeah…….reeeeeaaaaal nice. I’m going to go by the alias Buck Naked from now on.I have to confess, though, that I DID in fact bonk spectacularly on Columbine earlier. When you asked that on the North Face, I didn’t know it was you and lied through my teeth because nobody wants to hear a sob story there, or anywhere during the race, but I’ll gladly give it now, like it or not.Over the first two mtn passes of the day, I could tell the legs weren’t there like last year, and that something was horribly wrong. I couldn’t so much take a sip or bite of anything other than water because it would trigger a gag reflex. As we got higher and higher up Columbine, I started to see spots (more than last year at least) and could feel my lungs filling up with something. By the time we got to the second hike-a-bike portion at the top (the one that jogs to the right, then goes up through some brush) I was in full on survival mode, and practicing the endurance cyclists mantra of "keep moving forward at all costs". At the top, some nice volunteer lady asked me in I was okay, and I’m not sure if I formed real words at that point, but she didn’t raise too much of a stink. I was focused on making the 12 hr cutoff at that point, but going back down that monster put the juice back in the legs. When we turned left in the open at the bottom and the wind hit us in the back, I KNEW I was going to beat 11 hours. Then after our rush from the North Face back to the Fish Hatchery, I figured 10:15 would be attainable. After enduring Powerline, I felt really good on St Kevins this time, as opposed to last year. When I hit the top I thought "I could really get close to getting under 10 if I REALLY get after it. Aside from getting married and the experience of my two children, knowing that I was going to get under 10 hours ranks right up there with the other accomplishments of my life, as sad as that sounds. It’s people like David that keep me turning the pedals everyday. If they can fight on, so can I because I don’t have a thing wrong with me.Anyway, after I unleashed those profound words about not bonking, and I heard you introduce yourself to the guy with us, the first thing I thought was "man, I hope he doesn’t put that line of BS in his story". Sure enough, my words of wisdom are immortalized.Really, though, thanks for the kind words and keep up the great writing. Your work makes a lot of people smile every day. Keep thinking about sub 9, it’s only 357 days away!

  16. Comment by kris | 08.21.2005 | 2:46 pm

    That post of mine under this was HUGE!! Sorry about that.

  17. Comment by Matthew | 08.22.2005 | 4:53 pm

    What can I say? Need to modify FCs rules for indoctrinating new cyclists to the fold to include:"what I think is an affordable bike is an expensive bike"Thinking the groovy grey Allez is in the offing though…now to get my trigger pulling finger ready to go!


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