What Would You Do?

02.7.2006 | 4:09 pm

Today, I have some purely hypothetical questions. Purely.

  • What would you do if you were a mountain biker who generally relied on your riding friends to find the best trails to ride on — and then you moved to a new place, where you don’t have any riding friends, and you don’t know the area?
  • What would you do if you heard from neighbors that there’s a network of mountain bike trails within a mile of where you live? Would you go check out that network of trails?
  • But what if the neighbors who told you about the network of trails also said those trails weren’t very fun? And since, judging by these neighbors, their idea of a trail that is fun wouldn’t exactly tax you, would you bother checking out the trail?
  • And how about if, when you first moved to this new area, you had twin two-year olds, a new job at a highly-competitive company, and a wife with cancer? Would you make the time to check out that trail? Or would you more likely just barely manage to get any time riding in at all, usually in the form of bike commuting?
  • Now suppose that more than a year and a half has gone by. Your twins are now four, your wife has been cancer-free for almost a year, you’ve got a Dahon Flo you need more experience on in order to write a review for Cyclingnews, and it’s the first sunny day in what feels like a century. Oh, and you’ve also taken the day off work to watch the kids because your wife has a cold — but the kids are now at preschool for a few hours and your wife is taking a nap. Suddenly, you remember that trail network you’ve still never looked at. Should you go ride it?
  • Assuming that you decided that you should go ride that trail, suppose that for the first 200 yards, this trail is gravelly, boring doubletrack going alongside a neighborhood catchbasin. Should you keep going?
  • Imagine that you figure that as long as you got suited up and got the bike out you may as well see where this boring trail leads to. Furthermore, imagine that the trail suddenly takes a hard right onto steep, wild, butt-behind-the-saddle singletrack. Would you be surprised?
  • Consider now for a moment that you discover that why the neighbors don’t like this trail network is not because it’s too easy, but because it was too twisty and technical. Further consider that as you ride along in the middle of February, you are boggled at how much trail there is, and how good it all is. How many times would you kick yourself, and how hard?
  • Having found a terrific mountain biking park containing miles of beautiful forested singletrack within a half mile of your house 20 months after you moved to aforementioned house, would you wonder out loud to yourself if you can even legitimately call yourself a mountain biker?
  • Imagine if, after you’ve been riding for about 90 minutes, the sun starts to go down, so you have to head on home, even though you’ve only ridden maybe a quarter of the trail network. Would you be dying to go back and ride more of it as soon as humanly possible, if not sooner?
  • And finally, the big question: which emotion would hold greater sway: irritation and embarrassment at yourself for having taken forever to find a great mountain biking network right out your front door, or elation at the newfound knowledge that you have a great mountain biking network right out your front door?

Oh, and one last question: how would you feel about weighing 171.4 pounds and having a jackpot you will be giving away on Friday unless you get your act together?


PS: My “Pro Cycling Teams Unveil 2006 Hair Strategy” article has been published in Cyclingnews.com. Prudently, they edited out the Levi Leipheimer before-and-after section. Anyway, if you liked the excerpt I published here a couple weeks ago, you’ll probably like reading the whole thing (the converse is also true). Click here to read it now.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 4:57 pm

    shame. embarrassment. desultory hang-dog expressions. loss of hair from slapping yourself on your head.
    look, i can’t be everywhere at once. you live over a day’s drive from me.
    okay, whatever, i’ll come up and show you around. but this is the last time!

  2. Comment by Zed | 02.7.2006 | 5:15 pm

    Hey, come on, that just means 2006 is going to be better than 2005. It’s a reason for excitement and hope, not wasteful self-degradation. Now you get to ride some seriously fun singletrack in anticipation of Leadville.
    Besides, it teaches some valuable lessons: the only way a trail could be boring is if it’s flat or rolling hill fire road that you might as well have brought the road bike to. Rec cyclists only diss trails because they suck at riding them. And when people find out they can make money just by clicking their mouses, they don’t care how the stock market’s doing, they’ll click.

  3. Comment by Tyler | 02.7.2006 | 5:31 pm

    First sunny day in forever — I didn’t understand what to do, and had to search for 10 minutes just to find my shaded lenses.
    Hoo – ray.
    Now let’s see if it can hold up the whole week like accuweather says it will.  NPR et al this morning were speaking the R-word about tomorrow…
    Ridden on the road any time lately?  Plan to?

  4. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 6:02 pm

    fatster ( looks like faster!)
    it just took you a little while to find out that you are the Alpha
    (bike) Dog in your ‘hood. all of these people will now be coming
    to you (as if they don’t already) for trail type advice on what
    and where to ride. you can only ride in the NOW what happened
    a year ago is done.
     i must now take my brown nose and go back to work.

  5. Comment by Jim | 02.7.2006 | 6:23 pm

    Fatty, can you give us a hint as to where this is located?  I used to live in Woodinville until my economically imposed exile 3yrs ago.  I’d like to know where this is because there’s a good chance I’ll be back for good in April.  I liked the trails on Novelty Hill until they were covered up with subdivisions.  I didn’t know anything about trails on the Plateau (of course neither did you).  While in Woodinville, we were amazed by all the walking, biking, and horse trails everywhere.

  6. Comment by allan | 02.7.2006 | 6:29 pm

    elation,elation,elation. great thing about mtn. biking. it forgives you when you come back after an absence. especially when one has a plate as full as yours was.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 7:00 pm

    Do exactly what I did yesterday when I found the most fun, exciting, switchback-dips-and-see-saw-filled park a five minute ride away within sight of my house:
    Ride it until it got too dark, then come home and frighten your relations with a huge, disturbingly maniacal grin and incoherent babbling when they ask you how your ride went.
    Then do it again the next day.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 7:03 pm

    And I had you pegged as a smart guy.  Geez, Fatty.  I have been making excuses for 20 months now why I can’t come to see you.  NOW I have a reason.  Not that seeing you was a bad thing on its own.  But the added bonus of tight, twisty singletrack.  Now YOU have to come up with reasons why I can’t come.  You know, the brother-in-law thing, overstaying one’s welcome, yada, yada.
    Actually, I fault dug.  If he were a better friend…  And what about Bob?  Isn’t that a movie title?  Anyways, shame on you.  All.

  9. Comment by craig | 02.7.2006 | 7:06 pm

    That is about the coolest thing that could ever have happened to you, cycling related of course.  I would be thrilled.  Better than christmas presents. 
    Anyway, too bad they took out the other too pictures from the article.  That levi ‘after’ picture was fabulous.
    For some reason, all of your cycling news stories seem funnier on your blog. 

  10. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 7:22 pm

    Great news about the new trail.  I think you should feel ashamed and embarassed for an appropriate period of time (I think three days will suffice).  At the end of this punishment, forgive yourself and enjoy the trails as often as possible.
    One question – is the banjo brother’s link also a sponsored link (in that it contributes to the weight loss pot)?  I would much rather go to the banjo brother’s site than the weight loss super fad diet web sites.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 7:32 pm

    What would I do?  I’d panic for an hour or two until I got tired of panicking.  Then I’d buy a two quart bottle of Makers Mark, drink it, pass out while staring at the ceiling, wake up in my underwear and a pool of vomit, wondering where I am, realize where I am, load up my pickup truck with some food, lots of guns and ammunition and a machete and a tent, and head for the hills with my woman, my kid, some other violent and semi-educated kinfolk, my trusty dog, and some good ol’ boys in a semi-truck full of hogs. 
    Admittedly, that isn’t a bicycling-oriented answer.  But you ask "what would you do" in like 50 different contexts, and I figured there was no way to answer all the questions you asked, so I chose to offer an all purpose answer that probably works in a lot of different contexts, not just in the context of mountain biking, obliviousness, cluelessness, regret, and obesity.   
    And if I was faced with your situation and the above measures didn’t fit the situation, I’d still buy the Maker’s Mark, get drunk a little more slowly, and just wander around my locale in my underpants speaking in the vernacular of pirates.  Arrrrrrrgggghhhh, matey! 

  12. Comment by Susie | 02.7.2006 | 7:40 pm

    Everything comes in it’s "own" time.  You weren’t ready to know about those trails.  You had other things to be concerned with (and rightly so) and didn’t have the time and energy to devote the "proper" time to these trails.  Your small children and sick wife would have either not seen you much during the last 20 months because you would have shirked your husband and fatherly duties or you would have done the "said" duties and been pissy about it.
    Now is the time to enjoy them.  Go do that!!!

  13. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 02.7.2006 | 9:18 pm

    dug – technically, the drive can be done in one day. come on over here; you’ll love riding the see-saw, ladders, and log moves. and i’ll buy lunch.
    caloi – 2006 is already shaping up to be a better year. while i’ve got weight to lose, i’m much better off than i was this time last year. and i am riding a lot; i’ve got a good base.
    argentius – i’m on the road much more often than not. let’s get together and ride some saturday.
    bikemike – brown-nosing is always appreciated. thanks.
    formercascadecyclist – it’s Soaring Eagle Park. if you’re going to be in the area, email me and i’ll show it to you. in return, maybe you can show off some of your favorite woodinville trails?
    allan – fair enough. i’ll go with elation. at least until the rain starts again.
    mtbgirl – i believe i did exactly that.
    rocky – get over here. it turns out that the NW is a not-half-bad to mountain bike. and your comment was very boldly put, i might add.
    craig – there was definitely a christmas feel to "discovering" this trail.
    al – i really and genuinely expected that you, of all people, would go and answer all the questions, one by one. Yarrgh.
    vansSusieQ – what’re you doing being wise on this blog? we don’t go in for smart, reasonable responses here.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 9:20 pm

    Fatty, from guessing over time where you live, sounds like you found the trail network we call "The Beav."  I’ve been riding out there for years, and helped build a couple of trail segments (The Bone is my personal favorite).  Like any network I suppose, there used to be even more trails but housing developments and the Plateau Club golf course gobbled some great segments up. Best season to ride the Beav: Fall-the nettles are gone (you’ll know more about this after a May/June visit), the leaves are down, and the roots tricky. Fall night ride, even better.

  15. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 02.7.2006 | 9:45 pm

    Shame and humiliation.  When has a proactive thinker like yourself ever heeded the advice of anyone, let alone an obviously ignorant and probably incompetent neighbour. 
    Take it like a man.  You’ve wasted a year of your life.  Now you just have to ride that trail for 2 hours before and 2 hours after work to make up for lost time.

  16. Comment by eugena | 02.7.2006 | 9:55 pm

    Don’t worry about it the late discovery. It could be worse, you could still be ignorant about the trail haven…

  17. Comment by Unknown | 02.7.2006 | 9:57 pm

    Money? If I’m the winner, I’ll be so happy that you’re still fat.

  18. Comment by Susie | 02.7.2006 | 10:42 pm

    I know I’m sorry.  I lost myself for a minute.  Let me try again.
    What an ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Comment by TIMOTHY | 02.7.2006 | 10:45 pm

    Just make sure that you’ve learned your lesson – NEVER accept anyone else’s 
    review of a trail – any trail whether good, bad or ugly needs to be 
    experienced first hand.  This is one of the Cycling Commandments.
    ("Thou Shalt Experience All Trails for Thyself and Accept No Other Reviews
    as Truth.")
    I was reminded of this when I moved to Montana.  People would tell me
    things like "Oh that road has too much traffic".  Well, I moved here from
    the central coast of California.  EVERY road had a lot of traffic.  Montana
    only has 900,000 some people in the entire state – everything is relative -
    I don’t consider 1 or 2 cars every 3 minutes "heavy traffic".

  20. Comment by Zed | 02.7.2006 | 10:59 pm

    I only trust reviews that give details about the trails.
    There’s a big difference between a review and an evaluation. When someone assigns value ("this one’s awesome" or "this one sucks") to the trail, they’re ignoring the fact that different trails fit different people, and what they loved/hated won’t necessarily be loved/hated by everyone else. Never mind the fact that if you’re having a great day, you’re going to love the trail more. If you’re having a rotten day, you’re going to think it’s a rotten trail.
    Just describe the trail and let me decide if it’s my kinda ride.

  21. Comment by Unknown | 02.8.2006 | 12:45 am


    You had plenty of good reasons to pass it up before. Be glad you’ve got
    the chance to experience it now — better late than never, right?

  22. Comment by James | 02.8.2006 | 1:15 am

    Dont worry about it big fella. Its just one of life’s little leasons. Just when you think you have everything sorted and figured, and you might actually might know a little about a topic, something comes up and, bam, you think I really am an idiot – for good and bad. (helps to keep your feet on the ground) Like they say, you learn something new everyday. Just enjoy now that you know that track is there. 
    I cant believe cyclingnews cut the Levi before and after pics. They where gold!

  23. Comment by Kelly | 02.8.2006 | 2:11 am

    I think this begs another question here:
    How many times would you kick the neighbors for being pansies? And would you ever let your twins play with their kids?

  24. Comment by tayfuryagci | 02.8.2006 | 9:44 am

    I would be sad. Then I would kick myself to a bloody pulp.

  25. Comment by Unknown | 02.8.2006 | 7:04 pm

    It’s the ELATION stupid!  This is a gift that keeps on giving.  You will forget about your stupidity soon enough but will always have an awesome trail nearby.   20 months?  what a bonehead….
    Anyway, I don’t really care how much you or I weigh, but I am definetely at least 10 lbs too fat, and I need money. 

  26. Comment by Jeff | 02.8.2006 | 10:00 pm

    Let me guess:  Is this an alternative entrance to Beaver Lake?  (I’m guessing you’re too far from Ames Lake Tree Farm.)  … Hypothetically speaking…

  27. Comment by Shari | 02.20.2006 | 6:39 am

    Elation! I always save the embarassment for aftermidnight!


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