Seven Perfect Instants

06.6.2007 | 10:17 am

Some Jersey-Related Notes from Fatty: First, congratulations to “Rexinsea,” who guessed that I had spent $1462.50 on postage for the jerseys. This guess was only $8.65 off the actual total ($1453.85). Nice work! Rexinsea, email me your address and the size of jersey you want.

Next, several of you have asked if all the original jersey orders have been shipped. They have. I sent out all the US-bound jerseys a week ago (except for a few new orders and size exchanges, which I shipped yesterday); they should all arrive within the next couple days. I shipped all international orders Monday. They should arrive about two weeks from now.

And finally, I wanted to thank those of you who have bought a jersey (original or pink), t-shirt, or socks, have sent in cards, comments or email, or have posted encouraging things on your own blogs. In particular, today I see that Shelley, an American expat living in Rome, is asking her readers to help out. I tell you what: bad stuff happens to good people, but that’s when you find out how good people can really be (Another example: someone just anonymously hired and paid for a cleaning service to come to our house every week, magically making our lives much, much easier in an instant). Thanks, people.

What is an Instant?
Today I want to detail seven perfect instants most cyclists have experienced. But first, you’ve got to understand what I mean by “instant.” An instant is an incredibly brief moment. So while your first Springtime ride in buff, tacky alpine singletrack was almost certainly perfect, it was not a perfect instant. Perfect ride, probably. Perfect memory, certainly. But not a perfect instant.

A perfect instant is a moment that hits you suddenly and often unexpectedly. It’s there and then it’s over. And if you don’t think about it, you may lose it.

I don’t know why I’m flogging this description so shrilly. Sorry.

Seven Perfect Instants
Unlike the Seven Perfect Foods and Seven Perfect Climbing Songs, I am more than happy to admit the possibility that seven is perhaps too small a number for the quantity of perfect instants that can happen on a bike. In fact, the number of perfect biking instants may not be finite. By all means, list your own.

Here, though, are my seven:

  1. A Perfect Carve: You’re flying down a nice, straight downhill, rolling at a fast-but-not-freaky 35mph. You’ve got to make a left turn, but you don’t have to stop — you’ve got the right of way. You could hit the brakes, but instead you bring the inside pedal up and just lean for all you’ve got. Your bike tracks smoothly, Your tires grip fine, and you exit the corner as fast as — feels like faster than — you went into it. Tell me you aren’t grinning. You know why you can’t tell me you aren’t grinning? Because you are grinning, that’s why.
  2. Certainty of Success: When trying a technical mountain biking move, I have had to suspend the “three tries” rule, oh, krazillions of times. Friends are usually good about letting me wear myself out trying the same move, over and over and over, ’til I eventually give up. But then, once in a while, everything lines up just right. Right as I get to the crux of the move, I somehow know I’m going to clean it. I don’t know how or why I know it, but I do know it. That moment of clarity — that I’ve somehow done it right and will shortly be celebrating at the top of the move — is the very essence of a perfect instant.
  3. Disaster Averted: Have you ever brought too much heat into an exposed corner, panicked, locked up your brakes, and then — just as you were about to plummet to your certain demise — managed to ease up on the brakes just enough to get your wheels to start turning again? You stop skidding and roll out of the corner, safe, with the rubber side down. The adrenaline kicks in. You are alive! And, evidently, invincible.
  4. Disaster Converted: One moment I will never ever forget is the time I was bombing down the Powerline trail in the Leadville 100. The trail is riddled with erosion trenches, and I managed to drop my front wheel into one of them. Of course, the front of the bike stopped immediately, and the endo that should have immediately followed should have planted my face firmly into the ground. Instead, unbelievably (but believe it anyway, OK?), I managed to click out of my pedals as the bike flipped over, stepped over the handlebar, and landed on my feet, coming to a shuffle-stop. My bike slid to a stop just a foot or two behind me. I picked it up and continued on, no more than a couple seconds lost. No damage to me, no damage to my bike. Perfect.
  5. New Cleats: You know how your mountain biking cleats — especially Eggbeaters and Time ATAC cleats — wear down over the course of the season, until they’re nothing more than unrecognizable blobs of brass? It happens so gradually that you don’t even really notice the increased pedal-to-shoe sloppiness until it’s pretty much too late. But then, when you finally replace your cleats and step into your pedals the first time, it’s like you’ve just bought a brand new bike. That solid click tells you you’re locked in solid and ready for anything.
  6. Last Summit: Nobody’s making me do tough climbs. I’m seeking them out. I’ve got what’s coming to me. But still, every time I reach the top of a hard climb, the relief that 1) it’s over and 2) I made it is just about enough to bring tears to my eyes. Except I’m far too manly to ever actually cry.
  7. Not Empty After All: You’ve been chasing someone in your group. You’ve been doing fine, staying right with him, but now you know it: you’re completely blown. Then, just as you’re about to sag and let him go, you notice that he’s dropping his pace — he’s cooked, too. Knowing this, you stand up and power by him. Turns out you’ve got a little bit more in you than you thought.

Your turn.


  1. Comment by Eufemiano Fuentes | 06.6.2007 | 10:49 am

    The moment , after cleaning that climb you thought you couldn’t make, or bombing that descent you thought would rattle your teeth out, you realize that all you need is a rigid singlespeed.

    It’s an eye opening event.

  2. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 06.6.2007 | 10:52 am

    Kudos to whoever thought of the cleaning service! That was generous, and a nice touch.


  3. Comment by cheapie | 06.6.2007 | 11:22 am

    when i run a 5k or ride the iceman challenge ( i like the instants that occurs when you finally release the hounds for the last time in the last sprint. for the last several hundred feet you’ve been gaging your effort and the amount that’s left in the tank trying to determine when you should put the hammer completely down and leave nothing on the trail. when you accelerate for the last time and know that this is it, this is the end and you can give it everything you’ve got without worrying about having to recover for the next climb or piece of the run is just about my favorite part of racing.

  4. Comment by AMG in Texas | 06.6.2007 | 11:34 am

    My perfect instant is when I tell the wife I am going on my bike this afternoon and she says “OK” instead of pointing out the multitude of home projects left to do or start. :-)

  5. Comment by Big Boned | 06.6.2007 | 11:35 am

    The moment the sun reaches above the horizon Sunday morning as you race the 24 hours of Moab solo (or any 24 hour solo). All your doubts, worries and cares evaporate in that instant and you know that you’ve got this one in the bag. The temperature somehow magically rises about 15 degrees in that instant too.

  6. Comment by dug | 06.6.2007 | 11:35 am

    when you’re racing for the fee station (or whatever you’re racing for), you’re in a perfect draft behind another cyclist or three, pushing 50 mph, and at just the right moment, you come around, stand and push the pedals like you’ve never broken a chain at speed in your life, and you take the sprint by a half wheel.

    also the moment you stop at the gas station after a long hot mountain bike ride, and you get a 44oz diet coke, and take that first unbelievably satisfying sip. it’s like crack.

  7. Comment by Seth | 06.6.2007 | 11:38 am

    While accelerating through a downhill turn is thrilling it’s going the other direction that I love. You’re settled into a nice LT pace on a climb, a switchback comes up and with out breaking pace you put a little more power in the pedals and accelerate though the turn. Quick, smooth, pain. I love that feeling

  8. Comment by Brewinman | 06.6.2007 | 11:42 am

    That moment, right after you commit to a big downhill or drop-in, of weightlessness, followed by the rush…

  9. Comment by Brewinman | 06.6.2007 | 11:45 am

    Oh, and the Monster Burrito and lots of cerveza after an epic ride. Sublime…

  10. Comment by Bob | 06.6.2007 | 11:55 am

    I was going to write about winning a sprint after drafting off a faster rider, but Dug already mentioned this. Ironically, the only time I’ve ever won a sprint like this is when I drafted Dug coming off Hog’s Hollow and won the sprint to Gary’s house.

    Then I was going to mention popping open a beer in the parking lot after an epic ride, but Brewinman beat me to it.

    Here’s one that I don’t think is mentioned: downhilling s-turns without braking, when you know you probably should be braking, but you’re having too much fun carving turns. That weight shift between each turn qualifies as an instant.

    One more: Finding a crux move on a new trail.

  11. Comment by rexinsea | 06.6.2007 | 12:12 pm

    GREAT subject – I’ll daydream about my top hit intants all day and maybe tomorrow as well. As they say, the first thought might be the best – mine?

    The moment I know I just nailed a series of rolling and curvy single track turns. When I’ve ridden high on the brumes, felt my wheels grip solidly on the trail and thoroughly enjoyed the centripetal force generated in each curve.

    How can I go back to work now? I’m drooling all over my keyboard.

    Second? Could it be the pleasant yet brief conversation I had with a fellow commuter/ fan on the first day I proudly wore my Fat Cyclist jersey? (last Friday) You’ve created quite a community Fatty. Keep up the great thoughts about our sport.

    I’m honored to win your postage contest and glad to see the website was reasonably accurate for my assumptions on the postage. I’ll be using this jersey to spread the Fatty love to a friend that can’t afford one.

  12. Comment by LMouse | 06.6.2007 | 12:14 pm

    I got nothin’.

    Can we talk about shins again?

  13. Comment by Mocougfan | 06.6.2007 | 12:24 pm

    I did a 60 mile road ride last week. My personal longest. When I got home my wife smiled and asked how many miles I did. I told her 60. The smile changed to intsant admiration and respect. My chest stretched out a bit. Definately a cool instant.

  14. Comment by spbarnes | 06.6.2007 | 12:25 pm

    This never happened to me until pretty recently…it is THE BEST.

    You have been climbing through varied terrain, and your legs are

    totally spent. Down a short stretch, flat for a while, and then yet

    another climb. Afraid you can’t possibly make it up one more.

    But you do. And the one after it, too. You keep getting more and

    more tired, but you know that it doesn’t matter. There energy may

    get lower and lower, but there is always a little more. And always a

    little more than you thought there would be. It is the feeling of being

    an athlete, not just some clown with a machine.

  15. Comment by mateo | 06.6.2007 | 12:31 pm

    the instant you finish rolling on a new length of white handlebar tape…is lays perfectly, curving around the breakhoods like a caress…you just can’t wait to get your hands on it and ride. bought the pink men’s jersey today, thanks for letting us into your life Fatty, all the best to you and your family!

  16. Comment by aussie kev | 06.6.2007 | 12:34 pm

    the ultimate feel good – attaching any new piece of carbon fibre to you machine !!!!!! – better than sex ????? ( well nearly !!!)

  17. Comment by aussie kev | 06.6.2007 | 12:35 pm

    the ultimate feel good – attaching any new piece of carbon fibre to you machine !!!!!! – better than sex ????? ( well nearly !!!)

  18. Comment by Stan | 06.6.2007 | 12:39 pm

    I got my jersey last week. And I wore it for my ride on Sunday. Here’s a picture:

  19. Comment by fatty | 06.6.2007 | 12:56 pm

    stan – great photo! i also like the shark horn on your bike.

  20. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.6.2007 | 1:07 pm

    >>>The moment , after cleaning that climb you thought you couldn’t make, or bombing that descent you thought would rattle your teeth out, you realize that all you need is a rigid singlespeed.

    Right, Eufemiano. That, and a 55 gallon drum of EPO on a Burley trailer, mainlining the sucker into your left aorta with a 3/8ths” garden hose.

    What do I have for good moments? Well… most of my turns are perfect carves anymore. It’s called handling drills, people. Live ‘em, learn ‘em, perfect ‘em. I never have a certainty of success because if I’m doing something tricky, I either shut off the brain and do it, or I crash. Can’t be certain, if the brain ain’t workin. Disaster averted usually isn’t a great moment for me because it trips my fight/flight mechanism, and anybody who knows me knows that mechanism operates on a oneway switch. So if anybody else is involved in a close call, I’m in a big rage, which is really bad. New cleats… feh, who cares. Last summit, I hate hills. Something left in the tank? Something left in the tank is a cool feeling, but it’s less cool since I started racing a lot and training fer real, because I’ve gotten to know what my tank is like when it’s empty. Yeah, me and the empty tank are good buddies. I tend to know exactly when I can run on fumes, how much is left, how quick it self re-fuels… so I’m rarely surprised and consequently rarely thrilled.

    My great moments?

    That one moment on an early morning ride, when the legs are warmed up, it feels like there’s no chain on the bike, and I roll up over this one hill, to this wheat field on a plateau, and the sun is just coming up, and you can see the long strings of light playing in the dust and dew over the field. It’s magic, and I feel it a couple times a year, makes me remember why I ride.

    The instant on an epic road ride – say a long randonee – where you’re just refueling and riding, and it hits you that you’ve gone longer than you’ve ever gone before, climbed 15,000 feet, and you can literally just keep going forever, as long as you ride within yourself and keep throwing logs – or in my case turkey sandwiches, chips, and lots of sports drink – on the fire.

    The racing moments: In a race, bridging up to a group that is hammering in echelon, throwing up along the way, then sticking, recovering, and finishing with that winning break. Being way out of position in a crit going into the last lap, hammering as hard as you can, then pulling off a marginal pass using the sidewalk, some grass, a bit of gravel and bouncing off a big pile of dried dog crap to get yourself positioned perfectly for the sprint. (Yes, you know you’ve become a road racer when you willingly drop into the gravel at 30+ MPH on 700×23s to pass somebody). Giving a courtesy to a competitor who is a gregario in the pack – “I’ll slide in, bro. Take the wheel.” Getting the courtesy back later – “Hey, you want the last of this Cytomax Al? Your bottles look empty.” Surprising somebody. (“Hey, where’d that fat guy come from on that hill?”)

    The moment you have the realization that among other cyclists, you can chat and BS all you want when you ride, but none of it is really necessary… they get it. They don’t need to be told.

  21. Comment by Mehera | 06.6.2007 | 1:19 pm

    Who knew that a bunch of cyclists could wax so poetic about their sport? Almost enough to make me want to try it. But I suspect the great times don’t happen until you have already endured a lot of pain and struggles.

    Is this a moment? You are outside in some wild beautiful place and you have the fleeting realization that “at this moment in time, there is nowhere on the planet I would rather be!” Rare and profound.

  22. Comment by cloud19th | 06.6.2007 | 1:20 pm

    spbarnes, you should try the Horribly Hilly in Wisconsin, you described it so well! :-D
    I was near the end of the 100k route last year, climbed atop a ridge, and whoa! as tired as I was there was an amazing instant when I glanced down at the ‘puter and saw I was going 23-24 mph (that’s really fast for me, anyway). what happened? who was I? That was cool. It hasn’t happened since, either.
    The instant you get off the bike onto some soft grass after a long ride, it feels .. pillowy. But then a wobble a couple steps and the feeling’s diminished.
    Eating (almost) anything after 70+ miles is really, really good. It could be watermelon that’s been kicked around in the dirt, but it’ll taste like the sweetest, most succulent watermelon EVER!

  23. Comment by Eric | 06.6.2007 | 1:43 pm

    On every ride, it seems, there is one moment when everything seems to align just right: you’re feeling good and riding strong, loose and comfortable on the bike, you crest a rise or come around a bend and there is some beautiful view of a farm, a valley, the mountains or whatever, and you just smile because your so damn happy to be there, doing that.

  24. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.6.2007 | 1:49 pm

    The perfect instant… when my team mate rolls past me a kilometre from the end of a race grinning and says “hop on”. I love having an organic steamtrain for a leadout man.

  25. Comment by Jeremy | 06.6.2007 | 1:53 pm

    My “instant” will be the first time my “pez dispenser like” shot block feeder thingy works properly.

  26. Comment by mark | 06.6.2007 | 1:54 pm

    Going to the bike shop to get some less than $10 bits to fix something or other, spotting a full carbon/dura ace bike, lusting over it, and then dismissing it as too expensive. Then getting home, telling your wife about said bike, and having her ask you “will your bike be good enough for [insert name of big ride]? Do you want to get that one?”

    Yeah, that actually happened to me Monday. I love my wife. Didn’t get the bike (yet), but I still love my wife.

  27. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.6.2007 | 2:07 pm

    Coming into a set of rollers I know on an organized century. Recognizing that a big effort on the next downhill gets me over the crest at 20+ MPH, while the rest of the suckers that coasted down & underestimated the false summit halfway up will be crawling in the little wheel – behind me.

    Another perfect moment when what I have forseen (above) really happens.

    Big turn on a group ride coming up, group ahead yelling “slowing!”, I accelerate into the turn, carve it fast and pass the lot of them near the apex, going away. That makes me smile.

  28. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 06.6.2007 | 2:15 pm

    This may be quite lame, but one time I had to hand off a bottle during the feed, but Bob was two guys deep so I kind of went on my tiptoes and dropped the bottle over the first guys head and I heard a satisfying soft *thud* as it dropped into Bob’s hand. Yeah!

  29. Comment by Bent022 | 06.6.2007 | 2:33 pm

    Recently I was climbing a small hill when I noticed it had become very quiet, no cars to be heard at all. Then the birds began chirping and I took a moment to just look around. It was a great morning, no wind, no fog, plenty of sunshine, but not hot yet. It was amazing…it was a perfect instant; then I looked up to the cloudless blue sky and saw 6 turkey vultures circling above me.

  30. Comment by LanterneRouge | 06.6.2007 | 2:37 pm

    You know how you feel when it’s Sunday afternoon and your wife drags you to the mall to return the shoes she bought the day before when she dragged you to the mall and spent six hours picking out the perfect pair but suddenly less than 24 hours later they are not only not the perfect pair but, “God, honey how could you have let me buy these monstrosities?” Many of you fellas will recall, that time in your married life when you wanted to spend every moment with her not understanding the mental and emotional damage that could be visited upon a man when he gets between a woman and a 10% discount. Well the perfect moment is on that Sunday in the mall when you get the first whiff of the Cinnabon store, kiss her on the cheek and say see you in a couple hours. The moment is enhanced if you happen to know that there is an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel store nearby as well.

    Mmmmm, Cinnabon.

  31. Comment by Kathy | 06.6.2007 | 2:46 pm

    Nice shins, Stan! Oh, and nice jersey too.

  32. Comment by sans auto | 06.6.2007 | 2:57 pm

    pulling out of a pedal on a fixie. It left me sitting on the top tube right behind the stem with my left foot bouncing off the front wheel. My right leg was still going in circles. When I got my left foot to stop bouncing off my wheel I was surprised that I hadn’t crashed yet. My right leg was still going in circles. I then realized how difficult it is to push yourself back onto the saddle without being able to really use the pedals to push yourself off the pedals. My right leg was still going around in circles. When I finally got back on the saddle I was again surprised that I hadn’t crashed. My right leg was still going around in circles. Then I realized how hard it is to clip in while you’re going 20 mph and you can’t stop pedaling.

  33. Comment by LanterneRouge | 06.6.2007 | 3:03 pm

    cloud19th, are you doing the HHH this year? If you see a guy wearing a FC jersey that may be me. Come by and say hello if you get a chance before the start. I say before the start because I expect to be dropped by almost everyone within the firs 6 miles.

  34. Comment by Rider34 | 06.6.2007 | 3:21 pm

    The perfect moment? When you realize that your lower legs are perfectly tanned. Sorry Fatty!

  35. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.6.2007 | 3:33 pm

    Sans, that’s the best argument for not riding a fixie i’ve ever heard.

    Perfect moment: Cleaning/surviving the unexpected move. Mostly happens (for obvious reasons) on a new trail. An example: Kenny, Maddox, and I were riding a trail I’d never been on. I was closely following Kenny during a fast technical descent, when he swerved right, and I launched off a big boulder that was stuck into the ground on one end. Quite a thrill.

    Another time, I was on a familiar trail buzzing along a fast flat twisty section when there was a newly fallen tree across the trail. I noticed it too late to stop so I bunny-hopped as hard as I could. With the adrenaline pumping I felt like I could have hopped across the grand canyon.

  36. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.6.2007 | 3:36 pm

    OK I guess mine could be “Disaster Averted.”

  37. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 06.6.2007 | 3:39 pm

    It may not meet FC’s definition of “instant”, but the first few pedal strokes on a just cleaned and lubricated bike after being covered in crud after the last ride. The lack of noise, grating and resistance to pedal strokes is one of the joys of bike riding.

    I agree with the new cleats too.

  38. Comment by VeloCC | 06.6.2007 | 3:41 pm

    in order to get in better shape, loose weight and become a better MTB racer, I started training with a coach. Last month, he had me do hill sprints on my road bike. 3 sets of 5 climbs, max effort, 60 sec seated and 30 sec standing….PAINFUL!!! (I had to find a good hill first, long enough or steep enough. The second time I opted for steep and I barely made it up that hill…)
    Even more PAINFUL…
    Well, my “instant”: the first 40 seconds or so of my next XC MTB race. I sprinted off the start line and gained the first position on an uphill grass field and held that position till I crossed the finish line.

    Owning more bikes than my hubby:)

    Playing bike polo in a snow storm.

  39. Comment by Jose | 06.6.2007 | 4:22 pm

    -Pedaling on smooth new pavement like if it is butter.
    -Waiting at the top of a hard climb for the rest of the people that you left behind.
    -Opening the box of my new Salsa Dos Niner (that happened this afternoon) sweet! I am so excited, i don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.
    - Watching my 3-year old son pedaling his bike and learning how to stop, Priceless.

  40. Comment by bikemike | 06.6.2007 | 4:42 pm

    coming down Mt. Mitchell, in North Carolina, in the rain and fog. both brakes locked up, knees tucked in on the top tube, butt off the back of the saddle. still doing 40 plus mph and hoping and praying you don’t slam into the rockface side of the mountain.
    finally making it down to the bottom of the park entrance and realize you didn’t die.
    yep, that’s a good one.

    oh, yeah, then you head into Asheville and go to Waffle House for waffles.
    we must all have waffles forthwith.

  41. Comment by mgr | 06.6.2007 | 5:52 pm

    As a commuter, not a mtb or road racer, the “moments” are more prosaic: When the light turns green just as you get there. When the rider coming the other way waves back. When your wife sneaks a baggie of chocolate chip cookies into your pannier that you discover at lunchtime. When the rain ends and the sun breaks out just before your ride home.

  42. Comment by RoadRash | 06.6.2007 | 7:08 pm

    I’ll add these to Botched’s list:

    Perfect Disaster Averted instant #1: Flying down a steep hill in Cape Breton, N. S. On a fully loaded touring bike. Round a tight bend in the narrow road. There is a full grown moose in the middle of the asphalt. Split second decision… Go left or right? No time, momentum carries bike left. Moose edges forward right. Strong scent of moose as I squeeze thru on left shoulder. Heart stops racing about 5km down the road.

    Perfect Disaster Averted instant #2: Chugging up the last rise of La Manga pass, Colorado Hwy. 17. Just before the summit, hear a very loud crack. Look down and see my rear rim has cracked down the middle. No way to fix this. Thumbs out, time to hitch a ride. Old Dodge pickup truck with a kindly driver offers a ride. On the down side of the pass, drive around a blind curve. Whoa – nothing but gravel. No advance warning, no way to bailout. If rim had not cracked, I would have been road chili or worse.

  43. Comment by Born4Lycra | 06.6.2007 | 7:23 pm

    The package arrives. The top is unpacked and laid out. I pull it over my head poke my arms down the sleeves, pull the top down and it fits nicely. Instant no 1. Then immediately onto the computer confident of my size I order the pink top and do my bit for Sue is Instant no 2. Then out riding in Oz the second most likely country to see an FC top I see another rider with one Instant No 3 and hopefully a chat follows.
    Back to yesterday I’m a little concerned you have had to pay that much in postage (Congrats Rexinsea) especially as now with the pink top we are trying to raise funds to assist you. Is there an obvious way we can redress the situation. Ideas anyone?

  44. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.6.2007 | 7:39 pm

    When you are riding with the guy you always ride with who, upon seeing a hill ahead, accelerates and climbs the hill at a pace you can’t even think about as he has always done for two years…but instead of getting dropped you hang…hang…and then find you can pass him on the hill and go blasting down the other side. Then you get to wait for him to catch back up and spit “where the f*ck did THAT come from?!?!?!” THAT is a perfect moment.

  45. Comment by MTB W | 06.6.2007 | 7:40 pm

    The perfect instant will be when I rip open the package from Fatty with the jersey inside, heart beating rapidly like a little kid as I tear open the package and try it on for the first time. Priceless! Enough to bring tears to my eyes (if I were to cry, which I won’t, at least not with anyone looking).

    Riding in the rain when it suddenly stops and the sun comes out at the same time. It makes me stop and enjoy the moment. Even more perfect is that rarity when the rainbow pops up at the same time.

    That feeling of weightlessness when you hit a bump and catch that perfect air, even if only for a split second. The type that leaves a big smile on your face.

  46. Comment by Another Wisco rider | 06.6.2007 | 7:48 pm

    First long ride:

    Having been passed on the uphill, then _coasting_ past three riders on the downhill. All I kept thinking was, “Damn, 230# can actually do somethin’ for ya.”

  47. Comment by TimK | 06.6.2007 | 8:16 pm

    Barking back at a large, loose dog that is running from it’s yard towards me and the two folks on my wheel and seeing the dog fall over itself in order to turn tail and run. One of these days it’s not going to work, but until then it’s nice to feel like the bigger dog.

    My FC Jersey got it’s proper christening this evening. I had my most spectacular crash in a while when a sapling about the width of my forearm reached out and tapped my bar end while I was shooting through an awesome little half-pipe type ravine. I think these jerseys were made to be muddied, they look sharp even when dirty.

    Anybody else been asked if the horse is a Ferrari symbol? F.A.T. Ferrari Athlete Type Cyclist. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  48. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 06.6.2007 | 9:04 pm

    Congratulations to Rexinsea!
    That is an awful lot of stamps.

  49. Comment by Sean | 06.6.2007 | 9:33 pm

    Disatser Converted strikes close to home. I still remember my first endo real like it was yesterday. Silt covered rock garden, dead stop, over the bars and somehow landed on my feet. Many many endos have followed and there’s only been a few where I didn’t pull off the magical feat. Don’t ask me how, it just happens.

  50. Comment by b | 06.6.2007 | 10:45 pm

    Perfect moment?

    On my bike rolling out of the driveway or carpark…

  51. Comment by Weean | 06.6.2007 | 11:05 pm

    Another commuter moment:

    When you crest the hill about 1/8 mile before the lights just as they’re turning green, and you know you can over/undertake all those cars and blend just a few vehicle lengths before passing through the lights. Quite often lately this has also been assisted by a tailwind (against the prevailing) which means I can keep it in the big ring through the short but steep uphill section on the other side. Bliss.

  52. Comment by Tim D | 06.7.2007 | 12:43 am

    I’ve done the step over the bars bit, only the bike also flipped over, back onto its wheels and chased me down the hill. My friend Ian fell off laughing.

    Best moment – After screaming down Loughrigg Terrace, just a little beyond being in control, you stop at the little saddle at the bottom. On your left is Grassmere, on your right Rydal Water. Beautiful!

  53. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.7.2007 | 5:04 am

    Tim D, been exactly there hiking, our friends have a place between Under-Loughrigg and Skelwith Bridge. It isn’t a bad spot to get to after a long day’s walk in the hills. I would have to agree with you, it’s pretty breathtaking.

  54. Comment by David | 06.7.2007 | 5:44 am

    I have just started back in to biking again after a long sabbatical involving the consumption large amounts of very bad food and no exercise to hold off the effects of the ballooning of my, well you can fill in the blank. I use to be a swimmer and took up biking on the road after high school, so I was in fairly good shape.

    I got back into riding when I bought a used Schwinn Mesa Mountain Bike for $100’s just a few months ago. I know I like this bike better than the road bike because it I feel I can go anywhere I want. With my road bike I did not have that freedom and the time I did not know that is why I did not enjoy biking as much. I do not get the speeds on my Mesa as I did with my Fuji but I can go fast enough to get my thrills.

    On my rides now and then my perfect instant is when you have been working against a hard wind, the kind that in a gust it damn nears stops you, for about 10 to 12 miles. Your legs are burning and you’re just not sure you will have enough to get home. The instant is moment when you are riding with the wind at your back, building up speed and for that one brief second you suddenly in the draft of the wind. It’s the moment that you do not have any air resisting your effort in moving forward as you accelerate. I kind of feel I am one with my space and that peace fills you giving strength to you to make it home. As suddenly as it came the moment leaves with the breeze of the wind back on your face.

    I don’t get to ride with anyone, except for my son who is only 11 years old. I mainly ride the trails around town, but still I get that instant every now and again and it keeps me riding. This, for those who are curious, has helped get my ballooning posterior shrink.


  55. Comment by barry1021 | 06.7.2007 | 6:06 am

    This, for those who are curious, has helped get my ballooning posterior shrink.


    Nice story David, but, um, none of us WERE curious. Well, except maybe for the Man himself, who seems to have a unique interest in the body parts of other men.


  56. Comment by Highwaymunky | 06.7.2007 | 6:06 am

    My Great Instant is going down a track & field I’ve been shaken to bits on dozens of times on my old fully rigid MTB but hitting the 1st time on the new bike with some lovely front suspension, expecting shock and pain….. suddenly realizing that i can can fly(and my arms won’t fall off).

    The Sun just rose on a whole new world for me. Beautiful.

  57. Comment by Bob | 06.7.2007 | 6:37 am

    I thought of another instant. Clipping in to your pedals in the parking lot just before doing the first ride of Fall Moab.

  58. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 06.7.2007 | 6:40 am

    “then I looked up to the cloudless blue sky and saw 6 turkey vultures circling above me.” -Bent022

    Oh that’s great! lol

  59. Comment by Samd | 06.7.2007 | 6:43 am

    1. On the Cheesegrater downhill, max braking due to puckerage, front wheel slides left. There’s this deep rut on the left, a non-recoverable wheel catcher for sure. I start preparing for the endo and for whatever reason the front wheel never drops in but instead hovers over the rut for an instant then magically levitates back to the right, back to the safe line. Brakes had been on the whole time.

    2. Finishing a ride in the DARK, going fast enough to hurt when the front wheel drops into a hole. No reaction time but for whatever reason I’m suddenly running as fast as my feet can plop plop plop between the boulders. I stop and go back and get the bike. I don’t know if it was over the bars, highside or if my bike or body suddenly became tranparent to the other.

    3. Doing the Downieville Classic. Flying on the downhill portion. I was going into a turn way too hot and I’m surprised to see that it’s an S, threading the needle through some trees. I prepare for impact, semi-thankful that I’m headed toward the smallest one, 4″ diameter at handlebar height. It might give a little, right? Front tire slides by it, handlebar will impact between left brake lever and stem. Suddenly I’m exiting S turn, no clue how disaster was averted.

    4. Springtime drizzly ride when I summit and am suddenly in the clear, look down on the cloud cover I rode through. It’s as if I’m on an island surrounded by white.

    5. The times that I actually had to pay for my mistakes on the bike that make 1 – 3 above all the more noteworthy.

  60. Comment by kenny | 06.7.2007 | 6:56 am

    It happens to me every year on the second Saturday in August. I’ve been racing my bike hard all day. I’m feeling spent as I crest the last hill coming up the avenue into Leadville. I see the Lt100 banner, the bleachers full of people cheering, and the red carpet finish. I know what to expect, but gets me everytime. My eyes swell up and it gets even harder to breath. Elden, I’m sure we share this same instant, but this year you’ll be making that crest into town knowing that you’ll be finishing under 9.

  61. Comment by Susan (another one) | 06.7.2007 | 7:39 am

    When after a long ride on unfamilar territory, I download the info off my Garmin and discover a new PB in something, speed, grade, miles whatever.

    I’ve discovered that keeping the screen away from things like mph or grade make for these pleasant surprises plus keep me from freaking out when I crack 40 mph.

  62. Comment by usimpto | 06.7.2007 | 8:44 am

    My favorite moments come when riding the trails near my home in Indy and coming up on a slower guy. When I let him know I’m passing and then hear him try to keep up with me afterward, only to be dropped, I can just feel how annoyed he is to be passed by a chick!

    I’ve been reading (and, yes, lurking in) your blog almost since the beginning, Fatty, living vicariously through the stories of your rides in Utah. Best of luck to you and Susan.

    Can’t wait to get my pink lemonade jersey!

  63. Comment by David | 06.7.2007 | 8:58 am

    Susan (another one)

    I have a Garmin as well and I was wondering if you ever have lost satellite reception under high tension power lines? I road a trail that all but a section showed up where my tracks were laid on the map, and because I did not have it mounted on my handle bars at the time I was not sure where I lost the reception. All the rest of my tracks show up on the map but not a small section.

    Barry: Sorry did not mean to creep anyone out or give the wrong impression.

  64. Comment by Taocat | 06.7.2007 | 9:21 am

    I had a “Disaster Converted” similar to yours on one of my first night rides. I was flying down the trail, got high on a bermed corner and grabbed way too much front brake, sending me into an endo. I hurdled the bike, landed on my feet an in a strange (and perfect) instant of reflex managed to reach behind me and catch my bike by the seatpost. The guy I was riding with came up and asked “what happened” – I was after all, standing in the middle of the trail holding my bike by the seatpost…I wish I had it on film…

  65. Comment by Susan (another one) | 06.7.2007 | 10:05 am

    David, I have a little tunnel where I lose reception, but wires haven’t interfered thus far.

  66. Comment by SpikeBlue | 06.7.2007 | 10:23 am

    Hurtling down a particularly long and steep downhill, glancing at your speedometer which says “55 mph”. Nothing sweeter.

  67. Comment by Tim D | 06.7.2007 | 12:20 pm

    Al, I almost put something to the effect that the Loughrigg Terrace section is unridable in the summer due to all the bloody hikers! If you’re ever over and need a MTB guide, give me a shout.

  68. Comment by Rick S | 06.7.2007 | 6:21 pm

    When you are chasing a carrot up a steep climb (Suncrest) and you get close enough to see that it’s a 60 year old guy in jeans riding a mtb. The moment you catch, stand up, and stomp on your pedals while flying by him.

  69. Comment by Congo | 06.7.2007 | 11:46 pm

    When you and the (road) chain gang pull up to your favourite cafe, lean the bikes outside and click-clack inside on your cleats (don’t slip on the tiled floor – that is not a perfect instant). The actual instant is when you take the first sip of that expresso or machiatto (no soy milk grande decafs please, we’re Colnago and Bianchi riders).

  70. Comment by cloud19th | 06.11.2007 | 12:47 pm

    Lanterne Rouge–
    a-yep, I’m in again this year. I don’t even start at the front to be dropped, I’m that uncompetitive :-P so chances are better that I’ll see you. I hope the road construction isn’t bad. I’ll be in pink, though not sure if the FC pink jersey’ll be here in time.

  71. Comment by John Daigle | 07.29.2007 | 9:23 pm

    In high school, I was riding this century for some charity or another with the bike club. And for this huge distance it was all slightly uphill, against this hellish headwind. The rotation at the front was pretty much instant, you would pound against this thing like you were pushing a ton of wet concrete and then just disappear in an instant to the back of the pack. We were going about 10 miles an hour, if that.

    Then we turned around. And 3 guys got dropped. Then two more. Finally it was just me and one other guy left with this insane tailwind at our backs, taking these monster pulls and practically coasting on the back.

    We rode for almost 20 miles at about 30 miles an hour, over 34 at one point. And it felt practically effortless. So, my perfect moment is having the perfect tailwind on the good side of a false flat, with a decent paceline and home in sight.

  72. Comment by Angie | 01.27.2011 | 1:31 pm

    On the first nice day of spring, especially when such a day comes after a cold, rainy spell… You’ve been watching the weather for the last couple days and the growing excitement that you can ride again is sweeping across the riding community. You head out on the road, alone or with others… it doesn’t matter…. and in the course of the ride, you pass other cyclists coming toward you in the other direction. You suddenly realize that every rider you’ve passed has been grinning from ear to ear, just like you.


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