How I Will Win the The Double-E Half-Hour of Pain

09.23.2005 | 7:42 pm

It started as a friendly-enough idea. What if a couple of guys who blog — one writes about heady programming topics, one writes about being fat — and ride bikes got together and co-announced they’d be doing a ride that Saturday? Well, why not?

But then I told Raymond Chen – who rides during the moments he’s not busy being a beloved programming guru — about the ride. He’s in.

And then I told my boss’s boss about the idea, and he’s in.

This has stopped being about being a fun Saturday ride. This is now about me showing that there’s more to me than being a fat jokey dork with an IQ about the square root of any of these other guys’. This is about me showing, in fact, that I am a fat jokey dork with an IQ about the square root of these guys’ who can climb.

I hereby proclaim: I am going to try to be the first to the top. I will go at 100%, full-tilt, in the red, up the Zoo climb. If you want to say you beat the Fat Cyclist, you will have to earn it.

And then we’ll eat some cake and do some more sociable-like riding for another couple hours.



Here is how I will win the climb tomorrow:

  • I will trash talk. I will use psychological warfare to demoralize my opponents. I will use unfair comparisons. I will criticize their choice of equipment. I will use ad-hominem attacks. I will use sarcasm, if I deem it necessary. Except for my boss’s boss, whom I will shamelessly brown-nose.
  • I will use diversionary tactics. I intend to get Eric and Raymond engaged in a very demanding, intellectual conversation. I will do this by posing an intriguing programming dilemma. (Please, somebody, feed me an intriguing programming dilemma, ASAP.) While they are huffing and puffing and trying to solve this gordian knot, I shall quietly ride on ahead.
  • I will pay other people to interfere with my boss’s boss. I know I can’t directly interfere with him, and I furthermore know that he’s a competitive cyclist with some serious climbing cred, so I will ask (bribe) Mo Lettvin to feign a seizure or other emergency. While my boss’s boss is attending, I will ride quietly on ahead. (UPDATE: Mo’s begged out of the ride. Maybe I can get my riding buddy Nick to cover body-checking duties.)

When That Fails…

Chances are, even with this clever multi-pronged approach to winning, I will lose. In that case, I will casually suggest to anyone who beats me up the hill that it would be very embarassing to boast about beating someone who calls himself "The Fat Cyclist" up a long climb. "Who would be impressed with such a claim?" I will ask, using the "voice of reason" I perfected years ago — my primary asset, really, in the absence of any genuine skills.

And if that doesn’t work, I will tell them that if they reveal I lost to anyone, they can’t have a piece of the Best Cake in the World. And if that fails, I’ll just lie and tell whatever story I want in this blog anyway, just like I always do.

I’ve got this thing sewn up, I tell you.


Come Join the Fun

(or what passes for fun in these parts)

If you’re in the Seattle-ish area and have a bike, why don’t you join us? I’ll tell you why you won’t. It’s because you’re chicken. There, now I’m using peer pressure on you. You’ll find a map of how to get there here. 2:30PM, tomorrow, September 24, 2005.

I will be the one wearing the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup jersey, and acting like a fun little group ride is actually a Very Important Race.


Today’s weight: 161.6


  1. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 7:50 pm

    Nice job on the weight! You are going to float up that climb tomorrow. I live in Seattle and I would join you guys, but I am saving myself for a cyclocross race the next day (and I am scared of losing to a fat guy :)). Since I just started reading your blog recently, I have a few questions:- what weight are you trying to get down to?- at that point will you change the name of your column?- do you ever run out of stuff to write about?Good luck on L’alpe d’Issaquah tomorrow, I have ridden it a few times but never right to the top (I always just go straight and miss the last part up to the dead end), it is a leg buster.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 8:09 pm

    Fatty,No nagging today, I promise (my head is in an attitude of supplication even as I type this). Why not resort to the time tested tactic of filling your opponents seat tubes with water or sand? The quick release world has made this easier than ever. Just send them in to a c-store for some of your favorite "foods" (okay, no fair using insinuation quotes either, but if I go back and take them away this parenthetical comment won’t make sense) on the way to the ride. While they are in shopping, pop off the seats and fill with the heavy material of your choice! Hey, presto! Slow Boys. The differential between your titanium-like personal strength/wieght and the now-heavier bikes should make you the hands down favorite on the climb. Good luck.

  3. Comment by Chris | 09.23.2005 | 8:09 pm

    I see you are playing both sides of the coin here. Playing up how you will win yet at the same time creating excuses for why you won’t. For the record, I am feeling a little under the whether, my legs are still a little shot from when I rode it last week, and I will be coming from a beer drinking, hamburger eating company party to the ride. (There, now I have my complete list of excuses lined up)I’ll see you there… wearing a Tazos Tea/Starbucks jersey as seen at the MS150 even though I was on the MS team. Chris

  4. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 09.23.2005 | 8:11 pm

    Ya know, if I lived anywhere close to Seattle, I’d show up and let you and all of your friends just try to beat me to the top. You would, of course, but that’s beside the point.I would take your money to interfere with the Boss’s Boss, though.Don’t forget the proven tactics of letting 20 pounds of air out of everyone’s tire while they aren’t looking. Another favorite is to tighten down the rear brake calipers just enough to add drag, but not so much that they make noise. Remember, this will only work of the ones who don’t read your blog (recruit these guys to help divert attention instead).

  5. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 8:24 pm

    fatty, remember that time i had greg build me a new wheel, and i was gonna use it for the first time on a group hog hollow ride? the muther$%^&*@ filled the tube with water, one mouthful through the presta valve at a time.and yet.

  6. Comment by Ariane | 09.23.2005 | 8:50 pm

    Whatever you do Fatty, don’t let the boss’ boss win. Did dug beat you guys even though his tube was full of water or something… I’m confused by the elliptic "and yet." dug, you should know that in my head, you wear a leather jacket and an eye-patch, have beard stubble, and can kick cars, like hackey-sacks, at your adversaries, so it seems perfectly reasonable that this would be so.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 9:05 pm

    Here’s one…the good ole stick in the spokes…you have to be able to stay with them long enough to get an inconspicuous natural looking stick into the leader’s front spokes…then make your break. I like it because it allows you to perform in the red zone for only a little bit, and then you can ease up once they pile up. Toad’s right–the boss’ boss cannot win…

  8. Comment by Zed | 09.23.2005 | 9:21 pm

    Fatty,I’ve got to tell you you’ll be living out one of my dreams. My boss’ boss is supposedly a good climber, and I’d love to take him out to a steep climb and show him who’s boss. Wait, he’s still my boss, even if I’m the boss, right? Forget it. Anyway, good for you, dude. I think you should imagine yourself being Pantani instead of Lance in honor of the occasion. Just don’t imagine your boss is Lance. Or just imagine you’re Pantani and you caught Lance on a bad day or something. In fact, you should wear an earring to help you imagine being Pantani. You could imagine you’re Pantani on EPO, but don’t take EPO …

  9. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 9:26 pm

    Good luck. I’d try to befuddle the programmer-geeks by asking for their perspectives on the implications of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorum on the long-term potential for the development of artificial intelligence. They’ll probably stare at you blankly. Use that opportuntiy to break away and bury them.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 09.23.2005 | 9:45 pm

    a toad: shyeah. course, fatty was just a wee lad at the time, a freshly scrubbed newbie. but still fat. (no lipoma).

  11. Comment by Daniel | 09.23.2005 | 11:13 pm

    Speaking as someone who discovered your blog via a link on Raymond Chen’s, I can only say that I hope _somebody_ gets their butt kicked, resulting in an amusing juxtaposition of triumphant and maudlin postings the following day.If I wasn’t on the other side of the world, I’d turn up on my Trek and watch the fun.

  12. Comment by John | 09.24.2005 | 12:15 am

    Your tricks won’t work. Remember, I can read. See you in the morning and carb up. You will need it.

  13. Comment by Lindsey | 09.24.2005 | 12:31 am

    As much as I’d love to show up and ride with you guys (going for a bike ride with RaymondC and EricGu seems like going golfing with Wittgenstein and Godel, or something equally incongrous), my cold isn’t totally gone and my 8-month-pregnant wife Lindsey has threatened to kill me if I go and get sicker and then infect her again. The sad part is I believe her.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 09.24.2005 | 2:07 am

    Doesn’t suprise me that a "just for fun" ride turned competitive. If cross-country particle beam transportation were available, I’d show up, but it would be for the cake.

  15. Comment by EricGu | 09.24.2005 | 2:31 am

    When I was a young boy, I remember competing in such pursuits. But as I got older – and matured – I found that true joy resides in companionship rather than a desperate display of overcompensation.

  16. Comment by EricGu | 09.24.2005 | 2:34 am

    When I was a young lad, I would seek out competition.But as I grew older – and matured – I found that the true reward is companionship rather than desperate overcompensation.

  17. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 09.24.2005 | 4:20 am

    cam – i think the weight loss is mostly from reduced muscle mass as i train less during the off-season. what i should really be doing each week is a density goal. but i don’t have the gear (actually, my scale is supposed to tell me what percentage my fat is, but it varies wildly from day to day and i think mostly measures how wet the bottom of my feet are).answers: – 158 for the off-season, and then 153 for next year’s race season. – never. – once or twice a week i run out of ideas. then i just start typing anyway and something usually occurs to me. i’ve been biking long enough that i’ve got a big reserve of nonsense in my skull, if i just give it a minute to bubble up through the molasses i have where most people keep their brains.jimserotta – i have a feeling that mr. krass (my boss’s boss has identified himself, so now i can too) is going to put the hurt on me, and he’s indicated he’s bringing some fast friends. i’m holding out hope, though, that none of them will think they have to try very hard to beat a Fat Cyclist on a climb, and i can surprise them with decent climbing strength, or at least give them bad directions on how to get to the top.chris – you’re a wiley one, identifying (and thereby nullifying) my own trash talk strategy. however, your subsequent anti-trash-talk technique needs work. i shall crush you, and steal your jersey.dug – i do indeed remember that climb. it was one of your proudest moments. as i remember, you didn’t realize your tubes were full of water until told, which calls into question whether low rotating weight is all that important. or it might just indicate that you’re both a strong rider and as dumb as lint.bgoab – you know way too much about this topic for your knowledge to be purely theoretical.a.toad – i won’t let him win. he, however, won’t let me win, either. the thing is, he’s 15 pounds lighter than i am (same height), in better shape, and can shoot laser beams from his eyeballs. i’d be lying if i said i’m not concerned.rockhead – man, you’re just making the boss’s boss angry. don’t get him fired up or i’ll never have a chance.caloi – i don’t know about your boss’s boss, but mine just recently told me a story about a big hillclimb race he did, and his big disappointment of the thing was that he couldn’t quite stay with the pros. regardless, i will honor the memory of pantani tomorrow by proudly having male-pattern baldness.ralph – did you just make that up, man? that was good stuff.boss’s boss – dangit. i keep forgetting about the reading thing. i am, sir, of course merely kidding about trying to beat you on this climb. also, have i recently mentioned how handsome and intelligent you are?mo – you take care of that "cold," man. maybe have some CHICKEN soup. snap!dan – please allow me to assure you that, win or lose, i will claim that i won.sue – i believe OLN is covering the event, so be sure to record it.e#1 – i don’t know which flummoxes me more: your zen-style trash talk, or the fact that you posted it twice with minor variations. either way, your wisdom would hold greater sway over me if your genius weren’t of the evil variety.

  18. Comment by ~ Blue Star Mom ~ | 09.24.2005 | 7:06 pm

    I have a post on her.. have added her to my Soldier’s blog list and went over to comment in each of her three posts so far.Yes this is where my is, with our soldiers.Thanks for the heads up.

  19. Comment by P | 09.24.2005 | 10:55 pm

    this is my first time here and i laughed right out loud. you’re funny!i had a lipoma on my shoulder. i liked telling people (especially kids) that it was my twin that never developed.(mayo on your peanut butter?)patresa


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