It’s Started

09.16.2007 | 8:31 pm

I haven’t talked about it ’til now, but I got one really spectacular gift for my birthday: A Canon TX1. It’s a cyclist’s dream camera. 7.1 megapixels, 10x optical zoom, high-def video recording, automatic lens cover when it’s off. Fits very easily in a jersey pocket.

I’ve been bringing it with me most every ride lately. At least, any time I go out riding with friends (note to self: post about the awesome ride Brad and I did a couple weeks ago).

Last Monday I rode a quick “Super Tibble,” as I like to call it — a two hour loop that hits pretty much all my favorite trails in the world: Tibble, Joy, Ridge, Mud. Two hours full of perfect singletrack.

I was riding alone, though, so I made a concious decision: I’d leave the camera behind. I mean, what would I want to take pictures or video of?

I am such a fool.

First Clue
As soon as I began climbing, I knew I had made an error in not bringing the camera. The colors are starting to change, and when they change around here, they go a little nuts.

The color changes actually made me a little sad this time, though, because they made me think of Kenny missing this ride — and all the Autumn rides. You see, every Autumn, Kenny and I have the same conversation about how Fall is the best time of year for mountain biking. Nobody’s out on the trail anymore, in spite of the weather being much nicer, and the trail no longer being dusty.

And in fact, it was true. Here on the best trail for miles around, and I wasn’t seeing anyone. And the temperature was about 70 degrees. And the trail conditions were perfect: hard-packed, barely tacky. No dust. I wished he hadn’t busted his hip, at least not until the end of Autumn.

I took in the colors and kept going.

Second Clue
The first mile of Tibble Fork is brutally steep. None of it is impossible to ride, but I have threaded it all together without putting a foot down maybe five times, ever. Monday was one of those times.

I kept going, not wanting to break my string of luck, up the next steep part. Cleaned it! Then up the loose S-curve to the first meadow. Still clean! As I rode, several times quail — their neck feathers puffed out like a ruff — dashed across the trail. I wished for my camera again, though I kind of doubt I would have been able to get to the camera in time to get a picture of the fast-running birds.

Then, after miraculously making it cleanly to the second meadow without putting a foot down, I saw something awesome: a four-point elk. A big one. Now, I’m not a hunter, but I do love a good elk steak (my dad is a hunter), so I had mixed feelings on seeing this. On one hand: magnificent, beautiful animal in its element on a perfect day. On the other hand: good eatin’!

Why didn’t I bring that camera?

Third Clue
After finishing climbing Tibble (my climbing streak was broken by the crux move, and then several times on the endless move), I dropped down Joy, loving every second of the perfect state of the trail.

Then, as the trail left the alpine and evergreen forest and opened up into a sloping meadow, my trail was blocked.

By a moose.

To tell the truth, I don’t know whether this was an especially big moose. His rack wasn’t all that big. But even small moose are pretty big.

I stared at it for about two minutes, just kicking myself. I could not believe I had left my camera behind. I would have loved to have brought home video to show to Susan and the kids.

Finally, I decided it was time to get rolling again, but the moose was still there. Right in the middle of the trail. There was no way I was going to roll by and potentially startle something that big, with those long legs.

So I yelled at it.

It turned and stared at me, unconcerned.

I yelled some more.

It turned away from me, no longer interested in what I had to say.

Eventually, it wandered away, and I continued my ride. By the time I finished, I had decided I would come back the following day and do the exact same ride again, this time with the camera.

Of course, you know what happened. Lightning doesn’t strike twice like this. The next day, I saw no quail, no elk, and no moose.

That said, the trail was still awesome, and the weather was still perfect.

And I did at least get a picture of the changing colors on the mountain:



So, not a total loss, I’d say.


  1. Comment by mark | 09.16.2007 | 8:39 pm

    I miss Utah. Anyone want to buy a house in Boise?

  2. Comment by Nick | 09.16.2007 | 9:26 pm

    I have this camera too. I love it. The video is pretty cool but it’s a pain to cut and hack up to make usable movies.

  3. Comment by Lins - Aust | 09.16.2007 | 9:51 pm

    Spectacular. I live in a warm climate so our forests don’t do that sort of thing. Post more photos, please.

  4. Comment by Heffalump | 09.16.2007 | 10:42 pm

    The changing leaves is one of the things I miss about living in Utah. Out here in Oregon its beautiful, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but we just don’t get the same kind of color as you can find in the Utah canyons in the fall.

  5. Comment by In Oz during the Bush years | 09.16.2007 | 10:53 pm

    Great photo’s, it makes me miss the USA!!! I guess the upside is that I am in Spring with Summer right around the corner. Still trying to work out the endless summer thing.

  6. Comment by buckythedonkey | 09.17.2007 | 12:15 am

    What no what-a-shame-I-left-my-camera-at-home alien abduction story?

    Looks beautiful, you lucky devil.

  7. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 09.17.2007 | 1:28 am

    The colours are changing in Queensland too. Today on my ride I was red and sweaty instead of blue and shivering. It got to 92F today so Einstein here did a 2 hour ride leaving home at noon. I drank 2 full bidons and still lost 4.6kg (10.1lb) in 2 hours which I replaced directly out of the shower nozzle when I got home.

    Global warming… pfffft.

  8. Comment by Trapper Dan | 09.17.2007 | 4:02 am

    I have the same issues with my camera. It takes nice video but I don’t have decent software to edit it. Does anyone know of an easy to use shareware to edit video?

    Being a hunter myself I would have been drooling over the thought of elk and moose steaks.

  9. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 09.17.2007 | 4:35 am

    Can empathise with the no camera. I mentioned before got hit by an Alpaca while riding home on a busy urban road and no camera. Carry my camera all the time now and have not been hit by one since.
    So did you make the cake and enjoy the birthday with Sue? More importantly did Sue enjoy it?

  10. Comment by SyracuseStu | 09.17.2007 | 5:04 am

    I’ll have the “fall is the best time to mountain bike” conversation with you. Colors get mighty nice up here on the east coast, too. There always seems to be a point in the fall where it is like you are riding through a tube of color….fallen leaves on the ground and still plenty on the trees. The trail is merely a suggestion and a memory. And the crunch or rolling tires on those leaves is like white noise for my mind. Seems to just quiet whatever is going on in there.

  11. Comment by Boz | 09.17.2007 | 6:01 am

    Our’s haven’t started to change yet, but the riding was great this weekend. We have spectaular colors here in DulMin, but they get going in a couple of weeks. People come from along way to see ‘em, so I consider myself lucky to live here.

  12. Comment by Rick S. | 09.17.2007 | 7:09 am

    Elden- Was this the same day you called me at work and told me to call in sick? Doh!! I’m such a loser.

  13. Comment by Jer | 09.17.2007 | 7:25 am

    The leaves are indeed going a little nuts! I rode the blackhawk loop (Payson canyon) and the leaves there seem to be changing through a whole spectrum of un-natural hues of pink, orange, red, and gold; spectatular! I agree this is by far the best time to be on a mountain bike in Utah!

    Fatty, When you ride the super Tibble, are you on your wepon of choice or on your single?

  14. Comment by chtrich | 09.17.2007 | 7:29 am

    You make me want to go ride. I think my butt has healed from Lotoja.

  15. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.17.2007 | 7:45 am

    Looks absolutely fabulous! I agree that fall is the greatest. I was deer hunting with my 15-y-o son yesterday (lotsa huntin’, no findin’) when we came to the McKenzie River trailhead. Groomed cycling and hiking trails starting on the Santiam Wagon Road (Oregon, in the Cascades) goes around Clear lake, and down the McKinzie River about as far as you like.

    We both agreed that we would turn in our rifles and camo for mountain bikes about then.


  16. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.17.2007 | 8:01 am

    Here is the trail I was talking about.

  17. Comment by | 09.17.2007 | 8:10 am

    If I didn’t know better I would say that you are biting my posts. I’m just kidding. I noticed that this weekend too. I pointed out to my friend that the leaves are JUST starting to change and, before we know it, snow will fly.

  18. Comment by Caloi-Rider | 09.17.2007 | 8:14 am

    I love fall mountain biking.

  19. Comment by mocougfan | 09.17.2007 | 9:12 am

    B4 Lycra. Your Alpaca story is one of my all time favorites. I tell people about it all the time.

    PS…the Katy Trail ( here in Missouri is beautiful. The leaves are changing and it is very beautiful. I see foxes, turkeys, deer, many types of birds, etc all the time. No moose here tho. But it is 225 miles long. Sure wish I’d won that fantastic backpack!!!

  20. Comment by poweredbywaffles | 09.17.2007 | 9:18 am

    why is it so beautiful there? i have no moose where i live. i have no elk. why am i paying so much to live here?

  21. Comment by Mike Roadie | 09.17.2007 | 11:02 am

    OK…..I have to admit it…..down here in South FLA we have no colors (other than green), no hills and no changing colors. Yes, we can ride all winter, but it’s still 90 degrees here now!

    The shots are beautiful, and I’m jealous!

    Side note: we are running down to the wire before the Ride for the Roses comes around! And we still need YOUR help! Everyone please help in the campaign to honor Susan, FC and all of our friends and family in their fights against cancer! Together we CAN and will make a difference! THANKS!!!

    Please help today!

  22. Comment by rexinsea | 09.17.2007 | 11:38 am

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing the photo’s. We don’t have the leaves changing up hear in the Pacific NW just yet. It might be one of those years they just go brown and fall off. I hope not.

    I agree, fall is the best time to ride, crowds are lower, temps are nice, trails are clear and in great condition. Enjoy it!

  23. Comment by AMG in Texas | 09.17.2007 | 11:52 am

    Fatty, what is the video size when you put that camera in video mode?? I dropped my wife’s camera on our trip to Aruba last saturday and now it doesnt work anymore. Sounds like a good replacement camera for her (aniversary gift). I mentioned to my wife as we were packing for Aruba that we should take the Fat Cyclist jerseys we have (pink ones). She told me, “You can rent a bike if you want, I will be on the beach”. Sad to say we dont have any “Team Fatty was here” pictures as we were on the beach. But, seeing our photos that did survive the camera drop, we would really be described to a tee with those shirts!

    Have you ever heard of a Snorkeling outfitters rule that they only take good looking people out with them? They say that if they dont enforce that rule all the fish get scared off!!

    We did the sunset cruise instead.

  24. Comment by fatty | 09.17.2007 | 1:28 pm

    amg – you can record video at 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, or 320 x 240 — depending on how fast you want to chew through your SDHC cards. I always record at highest quality and bring an extra memory card if i think there’s any chance i’ll fill more than one up (so far i never have).

    clydesteve – if you’re hunting deer, why don’t you just come over and sit on my front porch. the neighbors and i would consider it a favor if you’d get one or two so our gardens / trees / flowers would stand a chance.

    poweredbywaffles – that’s an excellent question.

    jer – i always use the geared bike on Tibble. i have no prayer of staying on my bike if i use the single.

    rick s – yes it was. don’t feel bad, though, there’s always tomorrow. i mean that literally. tomorrow at 4pm, let’s ride super tibble.

    nick – i don’t have any trouble at editing and combining movies from this camera — i’m using adobe premiere; what are you using?

  25. Comment by mocougfan | 09.17.2007 | 2:02 pm


    I think it’s terribly rude to brag to the world that your going to ride super tibble tomorrow at 4pm with Rick S. First, because you live in Utah and can ride super tibble, and Second because you can do it at 4pm. Do you have a job? Sheesh.

  26. Comment by mark | 09.17.2007 | 2:30 pm

    Tomorrow at 4 pm I will be sitting in a conference room in San Diego. Not sitting on the beach in San Diego. Not riding in the hills near San Diego. Sitting in a conference room. After that, I will probably go to dinner at a restaurant where I dare not eat anything lest I undo the minimal results of all my hard work this summer. I hate business trips.

    I would say that you suck for riding tomorrow at 4 pm, but at least someone is riding. Have fun.

  27. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 09.17.2007 | 2:35 pm

    Great photos. We don’t get colours like that here in Oz. I’ll be using that first photo as my computer wallpaper for a few days (if that’s ok with you ?).

  28. Comment by lmouse | 09.17.2007 | 3:13 pm

    We get some pretty Fall colors here in the bay area, too, but they usually stick around until well into the Christmas season. Which is a little wierd, I have to admit.

  29. Comment by | 09.17.2007 | 4:08 pm

    So just to make sure I fully understand where you are going… You’re telling me I not only need a better camera, but now I also need a mountain bike?! Sheesh!

  30. Comment by fatty | 09.17.2007 | 7:10 pm

    mocougfan – weirdly enough, i get paid for getting my job done, not for sitting around for a certain number of hours each day. crazy concept, i know.

  31. Comment by fatty | 09.17.2007 | 7:10 pm

    mike from melbourne – course that’s ok. in fact, i’m totally flattered. thanks!

  32. Comment by Rocky | 09.17.2007 | 9:25 pm

    Moose understand yelling. So much so that often, if yelled at, they respond by attacking. Yup. They are the agressive member of the deer family. THAT would have been some video – Susan and the kids watching AND listening to first the charge of a juvenile moose, and then said moose stomping the sense out of some unsuspecting fat cyclist.

  33. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.17.2007 | 9:30 pm

    Fatty – Yep, deer. Fact is, we could shoot one down in our field right now, but the season is not yet open in lower elevations. We were doing the “High Cascade Hunt” which is a special season during the 1st 2 weeks of September. However, the deer around here will all disappear, come October.

    They are hunting for Bob then, I think.

  34. Comment by miles archer | 09.18.2007 | 6:15 am

    The one and only time I put my camera in my jersey pocket, it got steamed up enough to make the pictures look terrible. If I do it again, I’ll put it in a sandwich baggie. Perhaps you don’t sweat so much. Anyway, you might consider using a baggie prophylactically.

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