Fall Moab ‘06, Part III: The Measure of Success

11.9.2006 | 11:47 am

You know, I could pretty much take the day off today if I felt like it. Why? This morning Dug uploaded part 1 of his video of our Fall Moab trip. I personally have already watched it five times. Yeah, I like it that much. Of course, part of why I like it is that I know all the people in the video, but the fact is, most of you know these guys by name, because they’re who I talk about. So, I’ll just point out who’s wearing and riding what so you’ll know who’s who in the video:

  • Dug: Wearing a short-sleeved white t-shirt, khaki shorts (29″ rigid singlespeed Surly)
  • Gary: My next-door neighbor, wearing long-sleeved white t-shirt and white shorts (rigid singlespeed Kona)
  • Brad: Blue, white, orange “Racers Cycle Service” jersey, baggy blue shorts (29″ rigid singlespeed Moots)
  • Bob: Long-sleeved dark blue jersey (Santa Cruz Blur)
  • Botched: White jersey, black shorts (Canondale Scalpel)
  • Tom: Long-sleeved white and blue jersey (Canondale Gemini, aka “The Pig”)
  • Rocky: reddish-orange jersey (Titus something or other, full suspension)
  • Kenny: Blue and black Gary Fisher jersey, blue helmet (29″ rigid singlespeed Gary Fisher Rig)
  • Rick M: red, yellow, and blue Gary fisher shorts and sleeveless jersey (29″ rigid singlespeed Gary Fisher Rig)
  • Rick Sunderlage (not his real name): white and black jersey (29″ Gary Fisher Rig with a suspended fork)
  • Me: Black orange, blue, gray jersey (29″ rigid singlespeed Gary Fisher Rig)


Dug says he’s going to upload a couple more video installments to cover the rest of the weekend. I’ll post them as he does.

But I’ve still got my story to tell.

The Importance of Gold Bar Rim
Almost everything in Fall Moab is subject to change. Which ride we do on Friday changes, which ride we do on Sunday changes. Where we eat changes.

But riding Gold Bar Rim on Saturday is not up for discussion. We do it every year. And we always will. And for good reason: It’s an all-day ride with something for everyone. It’s got desert singletrack. It’s got slickrock. It’s got moves galore. And it’s tradition.

I had planned to ride the geared bike on Gold Bar Rim this year, but when it came down to it, I’ve just been having too much fun on the Rig (my rigid singlespeed). Plus, there was that whole peer pressure thing. Kenny, Dug, Rick M, Rick S, Gary, and Brad were also on singlespeeds — basically, if you had one, you were riding one.

It starts with a long dirt road, punctuated with deep sand. Unlike previous years, I rode right through that deep sand. In fact, everyone with 29″ wheels did. Big advantage there. Before long, though, you leave the sand, and the rest of the day will follow a preset pattern:

  1. Ride for three minutes to the next move.
  2. Try the move until everyone has completed it or has satisfied themselves that they won’t complete it.
  3. Go back to step 1 and repeat the whole day.

Timid Fatty
A few years ago on Gold Bar Rim, I tried doing a technical double-ledge drop. This resulted in one of the best pictures that’s ever been taken of me:

This is going to hurt....

Of course, that great picture came with a cost: I got smashed up pretty good. And as a result, I’ve had an irrational fear of doing high risk moves. Not just on Gold Bar Rim maybe, but definitely especially on Gold Bar Rim. So, time after time, as everyone else was working on tricky moves, I’d content myself with watching and taking pictures.

For example, here’s Rocky doing a move I didn’t try:

Rocky doing a ledge move

And here’s Rick M, cleaning a move I didn’t try:

Which isn’t to say, however, that I didn’t try anything. Once I decide to work on a move, I’ll keep trying it over and over and over, long after everyone else has cleaned it, memorized it, lost interest, and moved on. Eventually, though, I will get it. Rocky did a great job capturing a series of me finally getting a nice ledge move, complete with an overhanging lip:

step 1: wheelie step 2: big push Step 3: ride away like it was easy

I think I tried that move nine times before I got it.

The climbing moves are my favorite. The thing is, with a singlespeed, you can’t shift into the granny gear and finesse your way up at 0.5mph. You’ve got to jam up pretty hard. The great thing about this approach is it forces you to commit. The bad thing is if you fail, you crash quite a bit harder. Here’s me climbing a wall (thanks again to Rocky for the photos):

Approach... ...climb... ...ride away.

You can bet, though, that I didn’t even attempt the scariest (in my very wise opinion) kind of move of all, though: a wheelie drop across a gap. Here’s Dug, bravely attempting the move (he’s not even close to getting it this time, though he eventually does clean it):

And here’s Kenny, in mucho mucho trouble:


After I took the above picture, Kenny fell into the crevice, then fell forward. I was certain he was going to break a leg. But he didn’t.

Thus Far, I Lack Souvenirs of the Trip
As the ride wore on, I started noticing something: everyone but me was scraped and bruised up. A couple people had borrowed a couple inches of duct tape off my seatpost, to be used as bandages (yes, duct tape makes a fine bandage). Tom, typical of the group, was sporting a fine bruised and bloody elbow, gained in a fall so bad that he lost all feeling in the left side of his body for a while:

Tom shows off his souvenir

I, on the other hand, was hardly scraped up at all. All I had to show so far was a barely-skinned knee. In fact, I hadn’t even dislocated my shoulder even once during this trip.

What a pansy I am!

By the time we got back to the car, I resolved: on the last day of the ride, I would try every move. I would not worry about consequences.

One way or another, I would have something to show for this trip.

The Best Restaraunt in Moab
After the ride and a shower (nothing in the world is quite so nice after a long day in the saddle), we headed out to La Fiesta Mexicana, a newish (just a couple years old) restaraunt in Moab.

This place is, without question, the best place to eat in town. Here’s why:

  1. They serve Mexican food. After a long day of riding, nothing is as good as Mexican food. Except maybe Italian. No, I’m going back to my original position. Mexican wins.
  2. They serve good Mexican food. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the best Mexican food I’ve ever had — because it isn’t — but it’s good. Moderately authentic. Really good salsa, too.
  3. They serve a lot of Mexican food. Their portions were enormous. I got the Chicken Fajitas, and could not finish them all, even after a long day of riding, when my appetite is at its most powerful. The burrito Botched ordered was so big it took a couple of people to carry it in.
  4. The service was extraordinary. Really, really nice, helpful, and attentive staff.

In short, if you go to Moab, you must eat at La Fiesta Mexicana. I hereby decree it as law.

Tomorrow: I make good on my promise to find technical glory, either through completing moves or crashing while trying. Or both.


  1. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.9.2006 | 12:29 pm

    I watched the video thinking, “Hey, Fatty isn’t in much of this thing.” Then I read further and discovered “Hey, Fatty didn’t do much worth filming.”

    I hope you did do some actual riding later in the weekend or else I think you should drop “Cyclist” from the blog title.

    Either way I keep coming back, because that’s what addicts do.

  2. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 11.9.2006 | 12:35 pm

    AAAAHHHHHHGGGGGGG Dug reveals my secret identity!!

    Hey, we didn’t do the double rock drop! I *really* wanted to see you do that move.

    The carne asada burrito at La Fiesta weighed approximately 7 pounds. Each one of the pieces of carne could have passed for a steak. And yet, it didn’t stop me from eating nachos and oatmeal at Denny’s later that night.

    Did anyone get a picture of dug’s exploding eel tire?


    P.S. The moments that get caught on digital media wind up being a bit surprising. The toughest moves weren’t represented and the funniest wrecks were missed. I think next year Fatty should hire a film crew to follow us around the entire time we are on our bikes.

  3. Comment by TidusBlue | 11.9.2006 | 1:21 pm

    You should rig up a Helmet Cam..

  4. Comment by fatty | 11.9.2006 | 1:56 pm

    note to anyone who’s interested: dug’s video records the first known instance of a Bit-O-Honey being used to repair a loose crank bolt.

  5. Comment by UltraRob | 11.9.2006 | 2:13 pm

    I agree that Mexican is the best food after a ride. It’s also the best food for the night before a ride. We need to get them to stop serving over cooked pasta at Leadville and instead serving Mexican. I think everybody would be faster.

    Gold Bar Rim isn’t my favorite ride. It’s probably because I’d rather keep moving than trying to clean something although it’s fun once in a while. I would rather ride Porcupine Rim. There’s nothing like descending until you can no longer grip the bars and you still aren’t to the single track at the bottom.

  6. Comment by dug | 11.9.2006 | 2:15 pm

    no question that the best of the best always happens when the camera is off. we’ll be missing elden’s never-to-be-forgotten 15 second slow motion fall, my face plant, tom free-falling down the canyon drop on bartlett’s but somehow pulling it out, and a few pants-less celebrations to top it off.

    but ya can’t carry a camera all the time. it’s about riding.

  7. Comment by Boz | 11.9.2006 | 2:25 pm

    The music for the video just adds more to the meaning of the ride-theme poster. Still, I would have loved to have been there. Fatty’s right, Mex rules, especially when you’re reallllllly famished. Even Taco Bell. Sometimes. Late at night. After cocktails.

  8. Comment by Minette | 11.9.2006 | 2:42 pm

    Too bad that chicks are right out for Fall Moab, or I’d offer to be the photographer next year. Someone would have to pull me around on a Burley, of course.

  9. Comment by Argentius | 11.9.2006 | 2:45 pm

    Okay, so my roadie ass is missing what’s happening here.

    I see a bunch of guys riding bikes around slowly for a little while, and then they try to hop up on rocks with them. Most of the time, they fail, but sometimes they make it. Sometimes they go down the rocks, just to be different.

    Without sarcasm, this time, am I correct that, at least on a day like you’re showing us, mountain biking is more about technical finesse (and, what it looks like, often leg strength) than it is about VO2 and the like?

    Don’t baggy shorts get caught up in the saddle as you’re going into and out of technical moves?

    How much different does a rigid, 29″ mountain bike like your Rig feel and perform than, say, a cyclocross bike?

  10. Comment by MTB W | 11.9.2006 | 3:18 pm

    I was out in Moab this past weekend but missed the FC crew. Didn’t realize the “crew” was there until I saw the post a few days ago. Cool pics/video! It makes me want to go back ASAP, but that will have to wait until spring when weather improves. I ate at that mexican restaurant Fri night – FC isn’t lying, it was good. But the marg’s were basically sugar water (Utah’s weird alcohol laws got me again!).

    Haven’t tried the Gold Bar Rim yet; I’ll add it to the evergrowing list. Looks like a great big playground. However, Porcupine is still my favorite – the loooong downhill with great scenery, dropoffs and technical portions can’t be beat.

    Yeah, I found baggy shorts get in the way of technical riding when you have to lean forward and then back again. Moab is a different type of riding than classic dirt singletrack and can’t be compared. But classic dirt singletrack, particularly in a race, is definitely about VO2 (or lack thereof).

    MTB W
    Dug, do tell us about FC’s free fall and your face plant!

  11. Comment by dug | 11.9.2006 | 3:44 pm

    minette, once an attendee of fall moab, always an attendee. you’re always on the invite list.

    argentius, this is a unique kind of riding. when we’re riding up american fork canyon, up tibble fork, for example, it’s ALL about the vo2. when we go to moab, it’s all about the PLAYGROUND. also, everybody at fall moab rides road more than half the time. trust me when i say, kenny and brad on the road are ALL about the vo2.

    baggy shorts-wise, it’s a personal thing. we all go through phases. when i started riding, i swore i’d wear nothing but sandals and t-shirts (well, and shorts). at some point, i wore nothing but lycra. now i compromise. on dirt, i wear lycra shorts under baggy cargos and a sleeveless jersey under a t-shirt. it’s more an attitude thing than anything else. and no, i never once get my shorts caught on the seat. maybe i’m not doing hard enough stuff.

    mtb w: wish we had run into you. porcupine is a classic. have you ever gone backwards? it’s a whole different ride, and even more fun. the best part is the singletrack anyway, and what’s more fun than climbing super technical singeltrack for five miles, then turning around and bombing it? nothing, that’s what. we haven’t done it as much since most of us have switched to singlespeeed. but we should.

    and face plant-wise, elden already described it on his day-one write up. but tom’s free fall descent can’t really be described. but i’ll try. we were on bartlett wash, and out back, there’s a very narrow draw between two large slickrock domes, where water drains during rainstorms. very steep, couple rollovers, and twisty, with 50 foot walls on either side, ending in a platform, and a 50 foot drop-off. many of us got our asses of the back, and road/slid down. tom somehow got a little forward, and had to let go of his brakes halfway down to keep from going over the top. he actually got a little air over the middle roll-over. we were all certain he was headed right over the cliff at the bottom. my eyes were closed, so i can’t even tell you how he didn’t go over. but he didn’t.

  12. Comment by Born4Lycra | 11.9.2006 | 3:48 pm

    Very impressive looks like a heap of fun – you are all mental (meant in the nicest possible way)

  13. Comment by Brett Taylor | 11.9.2006 | 7:05 pm

    You guys need to take a helmet camera (as someone already mentioned). Oregon Scientific just came out with a new one for $129 (http://www2.oregonscientific.com/shop/product.asp?cid=20&scid=77&pid=709).

    Damn that video makes me miss riding in Moab, but Virginia is a long ways away from UT.

    Oh, and while I do like Mexican after a ride, we almost always ended up at Eddie McStiffs. After a hot day of riding, their lime ale always goes down smooth.

  14. Comment by Brett Taylor | 11.9.2006 | 7:06 pm

    Oh yeah – and I’ll second Ultra Rob – Porcupine is my absolute favorite ride.

  15. Comment by Jsun | 11.9.2006 | 8:11 pm

    Funny stuff, – a bunch of middle aged men riding around in circles on kid’s toys trying to prove they haven’t lost it or can still find it – I’m envious

  16. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 11.9.2006 | 11:15 pm

    On the clothing stuff Dug is extremely right. I wear tights, but under the baggy shorts for oh-so-many reasons. It’s really comfortable too.

  17. Comment by Gewwez | 11.10.2006 | 3:50 am

    r u riding that stuff with spd’s?

  18. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 11.10.2006 | 6:38 am

    Gewwez, only I, BotchedExperiment, use the antiquated Shimmano pedals known as SPD.

    But that wasn’t really your question right? You’re asking if everyone is wearing clipless pedals, and yes, everyone uses some sort of clipless pedal system.

  19. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 11.10.2006 | 7:40 am

    Botched, man I believe that’s another way of saying suicide. Riding clipless over a rock garden. And I’m thinking I switched back to platforms because it was ¨dangerous¨ in traffic.

  20. Comment by Tim D | 11.10.2006 | 8:28 am

    I could do it in anything other than SPDs (not that I could probably do some of those moves with SPDs). I tried a double jump at a bmx track the other week, riding my son’s bike. I very nearly had a nasty accident and my feet were everywhere.


  21. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Fall Moab ‘06, Part IV: Redemption on Slickrock | 11.10.2006 | 10:52 am

    [...] Fat Cyclist It’s like reality TV. Except it’s real. And there’s no TV. « Fall Moab ‘06, Part III: The Measure of Success [...]

  22. Comment by b | 11.13.2006 | 1:29 am

    Mate – that is a fantastic video. Thanks very much.

    Good music too.

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