Cooler than Fonzie

09.20.2007 | 6:08 am

I do not like Las Vegas. It’s too hot. It’s too crowded. It’s too creepy. The entertainment doesn’t entertain me. At all.

I used to have to go, once a year, for Comdex. While pretty much every other tech nerd I knew counted the days ’til they got to go to this weeklong software orgy, I would look for excuses to stay home.

Examples of contemplated excuses follow:

  • “I think I’ve been poisoned.”
  • “My goiter is acting up.”
  • “I had a vivid dream that the Armageddon starts this week, and it begins in Las Vegas.”

None of these excuses were successful, and I always wound up going.

What irony, then, that for Interbike — the one show I’d actually be excited to go to, even though it’s in Las Vegas — I actually have a genuine ironclad reason for not going: It’s end of quarter, and I am buried neck-deep in a project that actually affects the future of my company.

Oh well, maybe next year.

Unbelievably Cool
Of course, all the bike and bike accessory companies are rolling out their wares for ‘08 at Interbike. Which means my favorite companies have got some cool new stuff to show.

In particular, Twin Six has some new jerseys coming out that I absolutely must have. First, there’s the Speedy ‘08:

I really, really dig the retro, home-made look of the jersey, where the stripes, the lettering and the “6″ have the color of the jersey show through, like the silk screen was running out of … um … whatever stuff they use to silk screen onto shirts.

The other jersey out of their ‘08 collection I am absolutely going to add to my collection is The Cross:

This jersey makes me think that the next Fat Cyclist jersey — should I decide to do one — will be black and red.

Rewarding Awesomeness
Twin Six has more cool new jerseys and T-shirts coming out for ‘08. You should go to their site and check them out.

And then, you should consider this: Twin Six is not a huge multinational company. They just seem that way because they keep doing everything right. They’re actually just two guys in Minneapolis, doing their part to make cyclists everywhere look cooler than we actually are.

So here’s what I want you to do. Go visit your local bike shop and talk to the guy there who’s going to Interbike. Tell him you would really like to be able to start buying cool jerseys from his shop, and that he ought to make sure he takes the time to swing by the Twin Six booth and talk with your good buddies Brent and Ryan (yeah, you’re on a first name basis with them). Tell him to tell Ryan and Brent that Fatty sent him.

And then you can feel good about yourself for the rest of the day, knowing you’ve done your part to rid the world of cringe-inducinggoofy novelty jerseys forever.

PS: Speaking of jerseys, the original Fat Cyclist Jerseys are now officially all sold out. If you didn’t get one, you don’t get one. there are only four three of the original orange-and-black Fat Cyclist Jerseys left for sale in the whole world:

They’re all size LargeTwo of them are size Large, and one is Medium, they’re ready to ship, shipping’s free, and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

Click here to order one (Twin Six is out, so you’ll have to order from me). First come, first served. I don’t expect these to last through the day, so if you take some time to contemplate, you’ll probably miss out.

You can still get the pink WIN edition (Unisex sizes only — women-specific sizes are all sold out) from Twin Six. Stock’s starting to run low in some sizes, though; if you want one, you should get one.


Exceptionally Well

09.19.2007 | 6:03 am

That’s what the doctor said about how Susan’s responding to the chemo treatments. Since her last scan back in July, the larger tumors in her lungs have decreased in diameter by 40 – 60%. Some of the smaller ones have shrunk to the point where they’re practically gone. The tumors on her liver are showing similarly good results.

The doctor — who just got back from Italy on a cycling tour, where she proudly wore her pink “WIN” Fat Cyclist Jersey – says that there’s normally a tapering off effect with the tumor shrinking, but Susan’s continue to shrink at the same rate.

The progress has been good enough, in fact, that the next scan will be a PET scan, which can measure change more accurately than the traditional CT scan, since some of the tumors have shrunk enough that it may be hard to measure much (or any) change with a CT scan.

What Does this Mean?
Well, it means a few things. It means that we keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing, because it works. I.e., we continue to take a page out of the Lance Armstrong handbook and do exactly what the doctor tells us to do.

It means that by the time the chemo reaches its “best response” stage, where it’s shrunk the tumors to as small as they’ll get, that the tumors will be very small indeed — and some of them may be gone altogether.

It means that probably around January, Susan will be able to take a break from chemo for several months. She’ll need to have some surgery right away at that point to suppress estrogen production (the kind of cancer Susan has feeds on estrogen, so we can slow the cancer’s growth by eliminating all estrogen), and then she can start recovering, growing back her hair, and getting her energy back.

And we can start figuring out when we’re going on our trip to Italy.

A lot of you have taken a lot of time to comment, email, send cards and gifts, pray, meditate, and otherwise support Susan and me. I really believe that your generosity has made a big difference in how Susan’s doing.

Thank you.

And: huzzah!

New Thing

09.17.2007 | 8:18 pm

I think I mentioned — in passing, in the comments section — a couple of days ago that I have something new coming up.

Well, now I can say what it is without fear of jinxing myself: I’ve got a weekly column at Click here to go to my first installment. And, if you feel like leaving a comment at the bottom of the article — yep, has comments enabled — that would be very cool of you. I’d like the BikeRadar folks to know that they pick up a pretty engaged and interesting bunch of people by having me write for them.

I’m writing for BikeRadar because I think they’ve got themselves a good site, they’re interested in doing things a little bit new and different, and because they asked me to.

Plus, they pay me a huge amount of money. Your eyes would totally bulge out if you knew how rich I am now. I just paid off the house, after writing this one article. Next, I’m going to fill my swimming pool (which I need to have made) with Nutella.

How Will This Change the Blog?
Not at all, except for maybe I’ll start acting kind of snobby and dismissive of everyone now. I mean, more than I used to before.

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.

Ode to Breakfast Cereal

09.14.2007 | 4:19 am

From time to time, I will consider the “Desert Island” question as it applies to a particular food. There are, for me, a surprising number of foods which I would be pretty happy eating exclusively for the rest of my life. Peanut butter sandwiches? Check. Burritos (provided they come from one of my favorite taco shops)? Check. Fish tacos? Checkity check! (I really love fish tacos)

There is only one food, however, that actually kinda wish I’d get desert islanded with: Breakfast cereal. I love breakfast cereal. I would gladly eat it day in and day out, every meal for the rest of my life. If there were a desert island with nothing but breakfast cereal to eat, I would move to that desert island and then build a fort complete with a parapet, from which I would defend myself from any ne’er-do-wells who think I might want rescuing.

Preemptive Dismissal of Naysayers
Oh, I know what some of you are thinking. “Breakfast cereal isn’t just one food, like a peanut butter sandwich. It’s a whole aisle in the grocery store.”

To you, I say, “Pfff.” This is my desert island fantasy, and in this fantasy island (which is much different than Fantasy Island, because I want nothing to do with Mr. Rork or Tattoo on my Island of Breakfast Cereal Delight), there is a mysterious, enormously large cache of my favorite breakfast cereals. Oh, and also there’s a milkman who drops off five gallons of 1% milk every week. And there’s a nice, working fridge.

Oh, don’t roll your eyes. It’s no sillier or unrealistic an island than Lost. Quite a bit less silly, actually.

The Best of All Possible Cereals
Originally, I planned to call this post “7 Perfect Breakfast Cereals,” but then I realized my love for cereal doesn’t really break out that way. There are about 5000 kinds of cereal, most of which are delicious.

That said, there are two breakfast cereals which somehow stand out from the field, rise above the noise, and are otherwise objectively perfect.

  • Honey Bunches of Oats: It’s got flakes! It’s got oats! It’s got crunchy clusters of sugary goodness! It’s purportedly low in fat and has 9 essential vitamins and minerals! This cereal is so delicious I would happily eat it six times per day, which may explain why a box of it never lasts through the day at my house. Note: The original is the best. The others — with Almonds, with Strawberries, with Peaches, with Bananas — are like drawing a fancy hat on the Mona Lisa: not necessary, and probably not an improvement.
  • Reese’s Puffs: These are actually best as a snack. But mercy, what a snack. There are other peanut butter cereals out there (Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, for example), but none of them come close to this one. How does Reese do it? That dude’s a genius, I tell you.

I am prepared to hear arguments for other cereals I should try, provided you are willing to vow, under threat of severe ridicule, that your favorite breakfast cereal is every bit as good as my favorite breakfast cereals.

Also, I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who doesn’t like breakfast cereal, just so I can observe and pity you, much as I would a two-headed calf at the county fair.

PS: I hereby declare that Autumn has begun one week early. Monday I shall provide proof. In any case, let the annual weight gain commence! Huzzah!

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