Double-E Half Hour of Pain Ride Report

09.25.2005 | 2:32 am

This morning, I made cake. Lots and lots of cake. I made it good and early, just in case I messed up. After all, I had promised The Best Cake in the World to those who made it to the top of The Double-E Half Hour of Pain, and I did not want to disappoint.
Even more remarkably, I cleaned my bike. In principle, I am opposed to cleaning bikes — if you start cleaning them, they come to expect it and develop a diva complex — but I wanted to impress.
When the time came, I put the cake in the car and drove to the top of the climb, then descended to the base of the climb, where we’d be starting. All the people I had marked as my nemeses were there: Eric, the boss’s boss, and Raymond Chen.  I joked to the riders — there were about ten of us, all told — that I had already biked to the top of this nasty 2.5 mile climb a couple times that day, just for practice.
And with that, we took off.
Are You Just Toying With Me?
Most of the people on this ride were there just to get to the top, but as anyone who read yesterday’s post knows, I had trash-talked myself into a corner. I was going to have to do my utmost to win. (Meanwhile, I should point out, Eric the Evil had secretly offered a $20 premium to anyone who could beat me to the top. But that’s his story to tell.)
I went out hard, hoping that if I just flew off the front initially, I could quickly convince everyone that I am not to be trifled with. The Boss’s Boss (herein known simply by his name, John), matched. In fact, he matched easily. Two other guys matched, too, Nathan and a guy who shot off the front so fast and far that I never caught his name.
From there, Nathan, John and I took turns leading our chase group. Neither of them seemed particularly challenged by my pace, but I was right on the edge. I asked John, "Are you just toying with me?" He did not answer.
As we got close to the summit, I was right on the edge of cracking; I knew I would not win a sprint if it came down to that. So, after "resting" in the back of our group of 3 for a minute, I stood up and attacked, figuring I’d either drop these two guys, or I’d explode spectacularly and fall of the back. Nathan matched, and then as I faded, he bridged up to the leader.
Still, the gamble hadn’t been a complete failure. I was blown, but John was too. And I had 50 feet on him. All I needed to do now was keep looking back and make sure he didn’t recover any faster than I did.
I made the final (and only) turn, and churned up the final third of a mile, finishing a few seconds ahead of John. Of course, next time we do this climb, he’ll be familiar with it (I’ve ridden up the Zoo Climb several times, this was his first), and so I’m guessing a rematch could have drastically different results.
With the race portion of the ride out of the way, I immediately went back into what I like to call my "Spastic Mr. Rork" mode. That is, I started thinking that it was my duty to ride back down and then ride sweep at the back of the group, making sure we all got to the top. And then we’d have cake.
And that’s where things went horribly, horribly wrong.
I had made the fatal mistake of believing Raymond Chen – who I had made a special point of inviting on this ride — when he said he was a slow climber. So I didn’t even look for him as I blasted down the first half mile of the climb. [Update: Turns out I didn't just not see him. We missed each other wacky-sitcom-style. Raymond explains here.]
Sometime during that half mile, we crossed paths. I would continue down looking for him, blithely unaware. And I would continue descending, thinking at each corner, "I’ll see him around the next corner."
Eventually, I got to the bottom third of the climb, came to the conclusion that Mr. Chen had turned around and gone home, and I — slowly, slowly — began the climb again.
Meanwhile, I assume, he — along with everyone else — was at the top of the climb, increasingly angry that I had failed to deliver on my promise of the Best Cake in the World (which was safely locked in my car, mere yards away).
I Have My Cake and Eat (Lots of) it, Too
By the time I got back to the top, most everyone had gotten bored of waiting for this flibbertigibbet of a Fat Cyclist and gone down the other side, cakeless.
Eric (who’s really not so evil, once you get to know him) and Simeon were still waiting, so I opened up the car: between the three of us, we had two cakes to eat.
The thing about the Best Cake in the World is that it is remarkably dense — scientists have shown that it subtly alters nearby gravitational fields), and none of us were able to eat more than a couple pieces, leaving me with a 1.5 cake surplus.
Hey, Who Wants Some Cake?
So now I am sitting at home and, five pieces of cake later, no longer believe this is the Best Cake in the World. Somewhere around the fourth piece I hit a point of diminishing returns. I also do not believe that — having done the Zoo climb twice in one day — I could even climb a set of stairs should the need arise (luckily, my house is entirely stairless).
And finally, I believe that I shall not step on a scale for a day or two; after this much cake, I don’t want to know what it has to say.
I’ll be freezing the rest of the cake (oh, there’s still plenty; don’t you worry about that) and bringing it to work Monday. Anyone who braved the climb and then got stiffed, cakewise, please accept the humble apologies of the Fat/Dorky Cyclist, and come by and have some of this cake.
Otherwise, it will go to waste. I can no longer stand the sight of it.


  1. Comment by AO | 09.25.2005 | 3:57 am

    I admit it: I’m addicted to this blog. I only say this b/c I’ve been checking in regularly for the last few hours hoping for an update on today’s events (can you say: LOSER?!?). So you didn’t win this friendly, "non-race" ride, but at least the boss’ boss didn’t either! Good job.If I send you my address will you ship me a slice of the cake? Please.Andy

  2. Comment by Unknown | 09.25.2005 | 4:30 am

    by the way, you should know that me and the folks i ride with when you’re not around have named the technique of getting-to-the-top-and-then-riding-back-down-to-ride-up-with-whomever-was-slower-than-you an ELDEN. it is the most hated of maneuvers, the basketball pick-up equivalent of soundly beating a team, then nonchalantly saying "ya wanna mix em up?" if you ever do it to me during fall moab 05, i will hit you with a rock to stun you senseless, then squeeze your head until it pops with a satisfying, you know, pop.

  3. Comment by Chris | 09.25.2005 | 5:17 am

    AN ALTERNATIVE RIDE REPORT, group suffering is more fun!(But first things first…. Dug, it is good to now have a name for that maneuver. My wife taught me really early on not to pull an "Elden.")My usual riding partner, Marty, and I got a late start. We were coming from a company (ski instructors (anybody want to teach skiing this winter?… I can hook you up)) picnic about 8-9 miles away on Mercer Island. We had to sprint (up hills, into a headwind, in the snow, both ways) just to get to the bottom of the Zoo on time. (Thus my excuse for why Elden *did* beat me up to the top.) We got a quick break reading Eric’s ride notes and $20 offer as we got set to head up and off we went. Whereas Elden’s intimidation tactic was to talk trash yesterday and then launch himself off to a fast start Marty and I (unintentionally) took the approach of wearing matching jerseys (Team Tazo) to make it look like we were serious team riders. But as we bear a resemblance to each other (he is tall and skinny and I am less tall and more skinny) our tactic failed as most people just assumed we were related and dress alike to be cute. Though Elden was fast off the line Marty and I had an ace up our collective sleeve. My wife and son and Marty’s girls were riding support and stopping to cheer us on. It worked… sort of. It is nice to have someone cheering you along as you suffer… and they were not spitting in the other riders faces a-la the Germans and Lance. I never did catch Elden until we were returning to the stop sign. But this is where my common sense took over while Elden’s failed. Sure enough he headed right down the hill (I call this a hill in the loosest of terms, my wife calls it a wall) while I stood there and watched him. My wife who drove to the top watched him go. She had seen all the riders make it to that point and was rather surprised to see Elden blast right past them all and head down to the bottom again. (A note to Elden’s wife from my wife, your husband is deranged for even thinking about riding this twice. He should be committed and if you need support she is there for you.) Oh well. We waited for Elden to reappear but the second time (hell, the first time was bad enough) must have been hard and he never reappeared. So, feeling slighted by missing out on the cake (Elden, I live near you, I haven’t given up hope yet) a few of us took off for the bottom thinking Elden was there. No luck. But, better luck than Elden. At least we were at the bottom, he was apparently climbing back up a second time. Loon! So, kudos to Elden, Eric, John, and Nathan, (though not necessarily in that order) you are steely eyed, mountain climbing, bicycle studs. Eric and Elden, thanks for organizing the ride and taunting us all into joining you. Elden, a note, at the top as we were all sorting out who was who. My wife figured out who the Boss’s Boss was (John) and commented that you had clearly made a "career limiting move" by beating him to the top. His exact quote was "yeah…. he’s so fired." Sorry to be the messenger.

  4. Comment by Christina | 09.25.2005 | 6:18 am

    It sounds like you had fun today, although I’m not entirely sure. Today, I ripped out what I’m sure was miles of sod from my backyard, by hand. 7 hours of this. I know for sure I did NOT have fun. I did, however, eat tasty food very quickly in between sod-ripping segments. I ate raisin bagels slathered with cream cheese, homemade lasagna slathered with sauce, homemade biscuits and gravy slathered with gravy, and watermelon. Oh yeah, and an ice cream sandwich. Each time I ate, I ate very fast, like when you haven’t eaten for too long a time period and you’re desperate to get the food IN, IN, IN! I think it’s b/c I was burning off so many calories de-sodding manually as opposed to intelligently (rent a machine that does this). Maybe that’s why you ate so much cake. You burned off a lot of calories doing doing the ride twice. You’re too considerate a ride leader. I would’ve just eaten the cake and looked at the reindeer.~The Beast Mom

  5. Comment by Raymond | 09.25.2005 | 7:05 am

    Sorry, FC – I missed the turn onto SE Cougar Mountain Drive; after turning onto 168th Pl NE I realized my mistake and turned back, but that must’ve been when you were on your way down.

  6. Comment by Robert | 09.25.2005 | 1:59 pm

    I’m sad that I missed the double E ride. It was my day to watch the twins. I thought about putting them in the Burley and doing the ride anyway, but I didn’t want to embarrass anyone.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 09.25.2005 | 6:44 pm

    Hey! The cake is awesome! I added some raisins, too! I am in awe of your hill climbing prowess. It is my hope that one day I will lose the moniker of HillSlug. As long as I keep eating this cake, I don’t see that happening.

  8. Comment by Ariane | 09.25.2005 | 6:48 pm

    Way to go, beating the boss’ boss, fatty. Did you guys continue after the Zoo? Could you? I am frightened by the Zoo. And you did the Zoo times two. Okay, this becomes over-Seussian. I shall stop.I’d take some cake off your hands, but I am still whittling away at "The Cake: East Coast Edition." You’re right about it being dense, but that’s only while you’re eating it. Once it hits your stomach, it inflates to thrice its original size. Like soybeans, or those sponge dinosaur pill-capsules.

  9. Comment by Caren | 09.26.2005 | 2:56 am

    I was enjoying a piece of the Best Cake in the World (aka World’s Greatest Chocolate Cake at our hose – slightly modified with nuts on top) wondering how the Alp d’Zoo was going…wondering if you were going to be able to back up that trash talk or or have to come up with other reasons why the finish turned out like it did. Sounds like the weight loss is paying off!The WGCC is awesome…even when it isn’t warm it still has that wonderful warm texture of chocolate gooey-ness! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the weight gain!!! And yes, ours is also going to work tomorrow!!BTW – my husband learned on our first ride that "Elden’s" (as Dug so lovingly – he did say it with love didn’t he? – informed us they are called) are not acceptable in our relationship (at least on bike rides!) drink lots of water and the scales won’t complain too much!

  10. Comment by ~ Blue Star Mom ~ | 09.26.2005 | 3:54 am

    I cracked up over this!

  11. Comment by Zed | 09.26.2005 | 2:13 pm

    It’s still a dream come true, FC. Way to gracefully blow up!!!

  12. Comment by Fat | 09.26.2005 | 3:35 pm

    Sounds like you had a good time. You can send some of that cake my way! lol Have a great day.~ Fat Chick

  13. Comment by Unknown | 09.26.2005 | 3:38 pm

    I have experienced an "Elden", too. If I ever ride with him again, and if Dug has not popped his lipoma (head), I will have to. Punk.Hey Fatty, how about a photo of this Zoo ride?

  14. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 09.26.2005 | 4:14 pm

    rockhead – in fairness, you have to admit that there’s frequently justification for coming back to get you. the number of times i have found you dehydrated and passed out in a ditch can be counted on one hand, but we’re getting pretty close to needing a second hand.hillslug – i like the idea of including raisins in the cake. if i can ever get past the gag reflex when i think about that cake i’ll have to try it.chris – thanks for filling in the gaps with your alternative ride report.nikared – i’d send you a piece of the cake, but there’s just one problem: i’m far too lazy.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 09.26.2005 | 4:50 pm

    …and just be forewarned that the next time you come back to find me passed out in a ditch, just as soon as I am cognizant of my surroundings again, and when the purple spot have dissipated, if Dug has not popped your lipoma head, I will have to….

  16. Comment by sam | 09.26.2005 | 6:49 pm

    Again you hurt by causing me to laugh so hard.

  17. Comment by Unknown | 09.26.2005 | 7:02 pm

    Congrats on beating the Boss’ Boss! A small victory for the rest of us pions… :)p.s. I love that term "career limiting move"… LOL!

  18. Comment by Jeff | 09.28.2005 | 7:40 pm

    Yesterday I learned something else NOT to do on the Zoo Hill ride: When descending, do not follow your intuitiuon and turn DOWNHILL (left) onto Lakemont. Seemed great until I hit Newcastle and the Golf Club, at which time I realized I was completely turned around. So, a nice extra 1 mile climb back uphill on a day when the extra time could not be afforded. Apparently I, too, am a fool. I also couldn’t find any cake at the top…


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