The Transcript of an Instant Message Conversation Between Dug and Me

03.6.2007 | 5:06 am

A Note from Fatty: If you’ve entered the “It’s Nice to be Nice to Dave Nice” raffle, thanks! If you haven’t, you still have time. Click here to go to yesterday’s post and buy a ticket. There are hundreds of dollars’ worth of prizes, and you’ll be helping a good guy do a really cool race.

Another Note from Fatty: As many of you know, I am currently traveling for work, and don’t have a huge amount of time to write. However, I did have a few minutes to have an instant message with my friend Dug about the race my friends did last weekend. It was an interesting story, and I thought lots of people should hear it. So I asked him to write up the story for use in my blog.

Dug — overachiever that he is — copied and pasted the transcript of our IM chat into an email message.


So, here you go. Dug’s recounting of The Desert Rampage, in all its instant message glory.

Elden: ririe [Ed note: dug's middle name is Ririe]
dug: clyde [Ed note: my middle name is Clyde]
Elden: good race?
dug: very fun, great course, great event. i had two flats and an exploded pedal.
dug: had to carry my bike across the finish line.
dug: rode the last half mile on the rim.
dug: kenny, who i hate now, because he’s so obviously on steroids, took third in SS category, brad, who i can’t bring myself to hate even though he’s also obviously on steroids, took 5th.
dug: there were about 20 in the SS category. i’ve never seen so many singles. and they lump us all together, just “Singles.” so we schmoes were racing against semi pro, expert, and the like. lots of em.
dug: sunderlage took 6th in his age group in sport.
Elden: was he on ss?
dug: no
dug: his new cool 29er hardtail. maiden voyage. he was worried about racing it for its first ride, but had no problems.
Elden: how many were in his class?
dug: not sure, lots though, very large field in all categories it seemed.
Elden: he’s strong like bull
dug: brad would have been 4th, but jamie pogue passed him at the line.
Elden: well, that’s not very respectful.
dug: no.
dug: not respectful at all. extreme lack of manners.
dug: drafted him up the finishing straight, and came around at finish.
dug: brad didn’t know he was there till it was too late.
dug: i didn’t expect to have so much fun. i enjoyed myself much more than i expected.
dug: i remember racing as being nothing but a cloud of pain. it’s been years since i’ve done anything like this.
Elden: especially with so much going wrong.
dug: i dunno, maybe because of that. the time spent fixing flats and such might have meant more oxygen to breathe i guess. although, i still avoided the DFL. two singles behind me.
Elden: how’d your pedal explode?
dug: i don’t know, never seen it happen before. i have regular eggbeaters.
dug: it just collapsed. the tines turned floppy, like the t-rex’s jaw in king kong.
dug: some spring must have exploded
dug: happened right at the beginning of the second lap.
Elden: sounds like the main spring that wraps around the axle died.
dug: okay, mr mechanic. anyway. each lap had two major climbs, i had first flat at the top (!?) of the first climb.
Elden: i like to imagine the pedal snapped with a tangy boioioioioing sound.
dug: boom, the rear tire exploded off the rim.
dug: nobody ever told me you couldn’t pump up a stan’s tube more than about 40/45. remember, kenny put stans in my rear tire after the tube kept exploding out of the tire on bartlett wash in moab last november. i haven’t messed with it since.
dug: anyway, before the race, i went to 50.
dug: like in the princess bride.
dug: “NOT TO 50!”
Elden: did it explode, spattering you with gooey stans creme filling?
dug: did explode, didn’t spatter me so much. but my surly horizontal drop out and oversized rotor disc is a rube goldberg to take off.
dug: i put a tube in finally. had two air cartridges.
dug: unfortunately, one was threaded, one not threaded. and i had the little thread-on doo hicky.
dug: i put the threaded one in, but that gives you onlyl about 20 lbs of pressure in a fat tire.
dug: i tried to put the unthreaded one in, but since it wasn’t threaded, once i punctured, it just flew away like a balloon. i never even found the cartridge. it’s under a cactus somewhere out there. make a nice home for a desert snail. are there desert snails?
Elden: you’re not using the big air cartridges?
dug: um. no. i haven’t looked inside that seat pack since moab in november.
Elden: audible laughter on the jet-propelled co2 cartridge.
dug: thanks. so i rode rest of first lap with about 20 psi in back tire. i’m not a delicate rider, so i was worried. this was a rocky, ledgy desert course.
dug: but it seemed to be working out okay.
dug: then, at the start of the second lap climb, suddenly, my left left foot woudn’t engage in the pedal.
dug: i didn’t want to stop, i was feeling really good, passing people back, so kept trying to feel the bottom of my foot as i rode, to see if the cleat had broken.
dug: i finally realized at the top that the pedal was the culprit.
dug: during the climb, i inadvertantly kicked myself in the hand and face a couple times as my foot would fly forward off the pedal on technical uphill ledges.
dug: i’m pretty sure i punctured my left knee.
Elden: battle of the century. dug against bike. who will emerge victorious?
dug: i also had to stop to re-align the back wheel which was turning sideways, cuz i spazzed putting it back on. you have to actually loosen the disc brake assembly to install/remove the back wheel on this bike, because the discs are from my old c-dale gemini, and are ginormous. also, i have a surly nut on there, to keep it aligned. which, ironically, i can’t figure out, so my back wheel always seems to be about an inch out of alignment.
Elden: this is, in fact, an awesome story.
dug: it’s just what happened. i was lucky to have allen wrench with me. as you know, i normally don’t carry anything but bit-o-honey.
Elden: the big lie of the singlespeed is that they’re simpler than geared bikes. trickery.
dug: yeah, i try to treat it as if it’s simpler, when, in fact, only difference is no shifting to worry about. anyway, finally at bottom of last downhill on second lap, the course gets very technical and ledgy. i was being careful, but i didn’t want to get passed either.
dug: on what seemed like the final drop-off of the downhill, i let it go too much.
dug: rear tire blew like a gun shot.
dug: totally dented the rim.
dug: i said “screw it” and just kept riding. only had a half mile to go.
dug: so i rode for almost half mile, and was getting passed a lot.
dug: the final hairpin turn is rutted and such, then there’s about 100 yards to the finish, along a spectator alley, lots of spectators there.
Elden: at some point you get to a place where you’re willing to sacrifice your entire bike, just to get across the line.
dug: yeah, i had literally already planned out my strategy for using this to tell kim that i needed to buy a new singlespeed. i was hoping the bike would just implode to strenghten my argument. so i stayed high on the idehill on the last turn, to let someone pass me.
dug: the tire and tube just rolled all the way off the rim, catching in the spokes and chain, throwing me off the bike. yes, in front of cheering crowd.
dug: tire and tube were dragging behind the bike like a cat caught in the gears.
Elden: like a giant black snake attacking your bike.
dug: so i had to stop, get off, pick it all up and drag it to finish line.
Elden: you’ve got to watch out for those giant black snakes. they’re both subtle and voracious.
dug: anyway, the whole race felt exhilirating.
dug: i really enjoyed it.
dug: i had my ipod shuffle on.
dug: clipped to my cool new swerve knickers pocket.
Elden: you were racing AND making a fashion statement.
dug: i was, i had the knickers and a bright yellow beatles tshirt. i kept accidentally hitting the back button when i would try to do a ledge.
dug: i must have listened to “my name is prince” like 8 times.
dug: at least it wasn’t enya.
Elden: because then you would have had to stab out your eardrums.
dug: brad wore black knickers he made himself from dress pants, dress socks, and a button down office type shirt
dug: it was beautiful.
dug: everybody else seemed so totally lycra.
dug: like a gay pride day parade.
Elden: though in actuality you put a lot more thought into what you were wearing they did.
dug: anyway, we missed you. it’s a really good event. good course, good organization, great weather.
Elden: wish i could have been there
dug: hang on a second, i’ll go to the garage and take a pic of the bike with my cameraphone.

Elden: holy smokes. you should have no trouble selling the new bike thing to kim.


It’s Nice to be Nice to Dave Nice

03.3.2007 | 10:41 pm

Picture yourself in this situation. You’ve picked out an incredibly difficult event to race in — something so difficult the race itself will take close to a month to ride. You’ve spent most of a year gathering gear, training, saving money, and arranging your life so that you can be away for a month.

That race totally becomes your life. When it finally begins, you can hardly believe it. You’re about to start the adventure of a lifetime.

And then, just a few days into it, someone steals your bike.

Your race is over.

And that, my friends, is exactly what happened to Dave Nice last year at the Great Divide Race (GDR).

Try, Try Again
A lot of people have already banded together and helped get Dave a new bike. That’s very cool. Now Dave is getting ready to try doing the Great Divide Race again this year. He’s doing the training, he’s getting the gear, and now he needs money for food, bike maintenance, and the occasional hotel room. Basically, he needs about $2500.

And I think we should help him out.

Oh, and you can win some very cool prizes if you do.

What You Can Win
Here’s how it works. Buy a virtual raffle ticket for $5.00, and you get one chance at winning one of the prizes listed below. Buy two raffle tickets, you win two chances at winning a prize. Buy three tickets, you get three chances. Get the idea? The more raffle tickets you buy, the better the chances are you’ll win something — and there’s no rule that you can’t win more than one prize.

Sooooo, tell ‘em what they can win, Johnny.

  • Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack and $50 Gift Certificate to Penn Cycle: A while back, I wrote a review of this backpack. I loved it. I still love it. And now you can have one and love it, too. And, because the Banjo Brothers are cooler than they have any right to be, they’re throwing in a $50.00 gift certificate to Penn Cycles, where you can get pretty much any bike-related item you want. These two items are worth $130.00 togehter and will be treated as a single awesome prize for some lucky winner. Sweet!
  • Twin Six Jersey: Any style, any size. Which Twin Six jersey design is your favorite? The Argyle? The Speedy? The Deluxe? They’re all so cool that it’s hard to choose, isn’t it. Well, if you win this prize, you’re going to have to make that choice. You may lose some sleep over it, but it’ll be worth it.
  • 5 Boxes of Trailblaze Bake-at-Home Energy Bars: Not one but two lucky winners will get five boxes of what I consider to be the most delicious energy food on the market today. If I won this prize, I’d definitely go with three boxes of the chocolate chip flavor and two boxes of the Cranberry Walnut (and then mix in a handful of chocolate chips of my own). Warning: Trailblaze Bake-at-Home Energy bars are highly addictive. Eat at your own risk.
  • Free Coaching: Lofgran coaching will give away a month’s free coaching and a free set up consultation if you’re interested in long-term term coaching, or a set up consultation with a one month training schedule free. Either way, that’s worth more than $100.
  • Twin Six T-Shirt: Any style, any size. What? I thought Twin Six had another prize up higher in the list. Well, it turns out they just can’t help themselves. They give and they give and they give.
  • Vicious Cycles Two-Day Socks: Day one: wear the gray half on the outside. Day two, switch left and right feet and the black half is on the outside. Kind of like two pairs for the price of one! Two winners will proudly sport the Vicious Cycles logo around their ankles.
  • Ergon grips: I just got a set of the R1 grips for the Weapon of Choice; now three lucky winners will get a set of these high-zoot grips for their MTB. Actually, these are too advanced to be called “grips.” They should be called “handlebar management systems” or something. You’re going to dig them.

Bonus Gift for Entering
Every single person who buys a raffle ticket will get a email address of their choosing and a 2Gb email account as a “thank you” for helping out. You know what I’d ask for as my email address if someone gave me a free email account? Something like one of these:


‘Course, that’s just me. You get to pick whatever you want. As long as I don’t think it’s obscene or something.

OK, Time To Buy Raffle Tickets
How easy is it to buy raffle tickets to support Dave on his GDR this year?

Real easy, that’s how easy.

Below, just enter how many tickets you want and click Buy to go to the checkout page, where you can pay with Paypal (which lets you pay either with your own account or with a credit card). It’s all secure and stuff.

Number of $5.00 Raffle Tickets:

The raffle will go on ’til the Saturday, the 17th of March, at which point I’ll let the winners know how what they’ve won and how much money we pulled together for Dave.

Some Fine Print
All the prizes are donated (thanks, Ads-for-Schwag partners!), so there’s no cost-of-prize overhead. Every penny I collect from this raffle will go to Dave.

Note to all my non-U.S. readers: The Ads-for-Schwag advertisers are generous, but none of them are super rich. Which means that while they’re cool with donating nice prizes, they aren’t cool with paying for shipping all over the world. Which means that prizes — with the exception of Lofgran Coaching, which is available to anyone, anywhere — are only available inside the U.S. Which means that if you’re not in the U.S., you can still donate, but you aren’t going to win anything. (If this bothers you, you can rectify the situation by finding me an Ad-for-Schwag partner in your country.) Of course, you’ll still get a email account, and that’s something, right?

PS to All B7 Challengers: It’s March now. Time to do your monthly weigh in and time trial. Speaking of which, I just did mine Saturday, and here’s where I stand:

Weight Loss Score: 59
Time Trial Score: 16

Starting Weight: 179.8
Weight Loss Goal: 31.8
Current Weight: 161
First Time Trial: 19:15
Current Time Trial: 16:14

The thing is, while these are good numbers, there are people who are doing even better — looks like I’m going to have to give away a few jerseys! Read more about how the Banjo Brothers’ Big Bad Bulky Biker Bodfyat (B7) challenge is going over at the forum.

Friendly Advice to My Friends Who Will Be Racing the Desert Rampage This Weekend

03.2.2007 | 11:53 am

Hi Guys,

First off, let me just say that I wish, with all my heart, that I could be heading to Southern Utah and racing with you this weekend. You know there’s nothing I love more than a good roadtrip.

Alas, I have other responsibilities. I’ll be traveling for work for the next two weeks, and just couldn’t bring myself to ask my wife if I could also be gone this weekend.

It is this kind of wisdom, my friends, that has kept me married for nigh on 20 years.

Since I cannot ride with you, however, I wanted to take a few minutes to offer you some practical guidance for your race this weekend.

Helpful Advice
Many people arrive at a race thinking that if they just ride their bikes like they always do — only faster — everything will work out just fine.

These people are fools.

If you want to have a successful racing experience, be sure to follow these simple rules:

  • Make sure your equipment is in tip-top condition. Is the chain lubed? Plenty of air in the tires? Shifters (if applicable) and brakes in good shape? Wheels true? All of these things are important, unless you’re Dug. In which case, since you haven’t even scraped the mud off your bike since the last time you rode it (five months ago), you should pick the bike up and slam it onto the road a few times, just to knock the big clods off. Maybe check to see if the chain has rusted solid. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
  • Dress for success. The fact that you’ve never won anything before doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t win this weekend, so picture yourself on top of the podium, and then select a jersey you’ll be proud to show off during your moment of glory. If any of you want to borrow my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup jersey, just swing by my house on the way out of town.
  • Bring plenty of water. I know that this race will last only an hour or so (or two hours, for Rick Sunderlage [not his real name]), but you should never underestimate the importance of staying properly hydrated. Here’s a rule of thumb: for every minute you’re racing, you should consume five ounces of water. So, for an 80-minute race, that means you ought to carry 400 oz (just over three gallons) of water. For convenience and speed, You may want to tow a 5-gallon drum full of Gatorade in a B.O.B. trailer. Don’t worry about this slowing you down; everyone will be bringing that much to drink.
  • Bring plenty of food. Top nutritionists agree that during a race you should consume one calorie per second, which comes out to 3600 / hour. This is not as easy as you might think. The best way to avoid a calorie deficit is by continuously eating sticks of butter during the race. Oreos work great, too.
  • Use proper passing techniques. While not likely, it’s at least possible that sometime during this race you will want to pass somebody. If this happens, yell “TRACK!” nine times, in rapid succession. Then — and this is important — yell “On your left!” or “On your right!” The confusing thing is, my friends, if you yell “On your left!” it means you want them to move left, because you want to pass them on the right. Don’t worry, though. Everyone racing knows this. (Note: It’s vital to have a clever quip at hand for when you pass an opponent. I recommend saying, “I am much faster than you!” in a Peewee Herman voice.)
  • Don’t be ashamed to ask for directions. With all the people in this race, it’s easy to get disoriented. Don’t be ashamed if you feel the need to pull over and ask a bystander whether you are on the proper course. Be sure to follow up by asking whether you are going in the proper direction.
  • If you fall, stay put! If, in the unfortunate likelihood — for Brad, almost a certainty — of an accident, stay right where you land and wait for police and emergency medical personnel to arrive. I repeat — and I cannot stress this strongly enough — no matter how angry other racers get because you’re laying right in the middle of the course, do not move. Even though you feel just fine and think that you could easily get back on the bike and finish the race, stay seated and wait. Don’t make a bad thing worse by trying to move yourself. You may be injured much worse than you think. (Note to Kenny: If you fall, yell “I broke my hip! I broke my hip!” because you probably did. You may also want to yell at the other racers to get offa yer lawn.)
  • Be prepared. Yes, I know this is the Boy Scout motto, but it should be everyone’s motto. In particular, I recommend you be prepared by having ready an interesting and compelling excuse for why you lost. Don’t wait until you’ve actually lost to start getting this excuse ready. Begin now and try to have it as fully-formed as possible by the time the race begins. You can then flesh it out — add details and events from the actual event — during the race. When you tell your story, it’ll seem practically believable!

I hope you find this advice both practical and valuable. Good luck at the race, guys!

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist

PS: Today’s weight: 162.0

PPS: Thanks to everyone who nominated me for the VeloNews site of the day. The editor’s sent me an email begging me to cut it out, so I think I’m now either a shoo-in for site of the day, or banned for life.

How to Name Your Bicycle

03.1.2007 | 12:07 pm

As an international cycling lifestyle / comedy blogging superstar (you have no idea how massive my demographic is, but trust me: it’s easily 80% as big as the speed chess lifestyle / comedy market), I am frequently approached with requests from my readers.

Some want money. Some want my autograph.

Some — most, really — want advice. Well, most of them want money and advice, but I can tell that what they really want is the advice.

It was just such a person who recently sent me the following email:

Dear Fat Cyclist,

You are very smart and handsome. Also, you have an electric wit and impeccable taste.

I have a question for you, Mr. Cyclist: I have a bike I love very much, and would like to show my commitment to and affection for this bike by naming it. So I ask you: What should I name my bike?

Oh, and also: Could you please give me $10.00?


One of your countless (adoring) fans

There are two interesting things about this letter. The first one is that I actually wrote it myself. The second one is that it poses a question most — if not all — cyclists ask themselves: What shall I name my bicycle?

Today, I shall walk you through this important and complex topic.

Preliminary Research
Before you name your bicycle, you need to engage in some serious introspection. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I willing to accept the responsibility that comes with naming a bike? If you name a bike, you’re essentially saying it is no longer an inanimate tool. Now it’s a child, a friend, or at least a household pet. If you’re just going to ride it for a season or two, don’t name your bike. Your casual infidelity toward your bike will not go unnoticed by your bicycle, and it will tell other bicycles. Word will get around.
  2. Why do I want to name my bike? Are you saying something about your riding ability (or lack thereof)? Are you making a joke, or (much worse) a pun? Are you being intentionally whimsical? If you can answer “Yes” to any one of these questions, maybe you shouldn’t name your bike. Instead, maybe you should just wear a funny hat or other attention-getting device.
  3. Can I remember the name I have selected for my bike? If you can’t, maybe you should think of a different name.

Name-Choosing Techniques
Once you have carefully performed your preliminary bike-naming research, you can use the following techniques to select a name:

  • Name your book after a favorite movie, book, or song: People understand pop culture references, as long as they’re no more than mildly obscure. If you use too obscure of a reference as a name for your bike, it makes you look like an elitist snot. Also, you’ll get sick of explaining the reference, no matter how gratifying it is to make it clear you know something others don’t. (Note: Movies are an especially useful vein for bike naming, because they allow you to name future bikes as if they were sequels, even if the movie had no sequels. I, for example, look forward to naming a bike Deer Hunter 2: This Time It’s Personal.)
  • Name your bike after a famous person: If you’re going to anthropomorphize, you may as well go whole-hog and make your bike into a famous person. I recommend naming your bike Richard Nixon. When people ask why, look at them like that’s the silliest question you’ve ever heard, and then say, “Think about it.” If they come up with a good explanation, accept that as correct. This way, you never have to be the one to think of how your bike is like aforementioned celebrity.
  • Name your bike after a color, prefaced by an adjective: “Big Blue.” “Angry Orange.” “Hateful Pink.” If you do this, you are required to use the actual color of the bike as the color in the name. Calling a green bike “Petulant Brown” is just asking for trouble. Unless you’re color blind, in which case it’s a pretty good joke.
  • Name your bike after a weapon: The Howitzer. The Arrow. The Hammer. These are all good names. If you’re a girl, you get 13 extra sexiness points for naming your bike after a weapon. I don’t know why, but it’s true. Look it up.
  • Name your bike after a beloved pet or a childhood (imaginary) friend: But only if you want to be ridiculed for the rest of your life.

These are your instructions. Please use the comments area to tell me what you either have named or are going to name your bike, and I will do my best to provide additional guidance as to the quality of your bike name.

PS: Today’s weight: 161.0

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