01.4.2008 | 10:56 am

I woke up this morning at 6:00 — time for my daily ride on the rollers (currently watching season 6 of 24 on the DVD).

I’ve become smart about how I get started on my early morning exercising: the key is to have everything all in place the night before, so I don’t have to do anything before I get started in the morning. The logic of this — for me, anyway — is impeccable. If I have any excuse whatsoever to not exercise at 6:00am on a winter morning, I am going to take it. This means that, last night, I took care of:

  1. Making sure the bike’s tires were inflated to 110psi.
  2. Filling two water bottles and putting them in their cages.
  3. Putting the correct DVD in the player.
  4. Laying out shorts, jersey, socks and shoes on the floor by the rollers.

I Feel Fine
With everything in place like this, it’s pretty easy to roll out of bed, get dressed (still in the dark), and start riding. And for the first half hour or so of the first episode of 24 I watched, everything was fine. The show requires little or no concentration, is action-packed, and is as comfortably predictable as an old pair of shoes.

It’s as if 24 were designed to be exercised to.

I Chafe
[A note from Fatty: I'm about to give you more information than you may want to have. I apologize in advance.]

But by the final fifteen minutes of the show, I was starting to suffer. My legs felt fine, but my butt and my . . . um . . . well, let’s just go ahead and call it my “penis” . . . were unhappy. Just a little sore, you know. I’ve had worse.

I climbed off the bike at the end of the episode, grabbed the remote, and started the next episode.

By the time I was a third of the way into the episode, I could barely watch. I felt like I was having my nether regions sanded with each turn of the crank. I had no idea why. This was my most comfortable pair of shorts — my DeMarchis — which have never given me any trouble before.

Did I have a rash? Had I somehow been sitting wrong? Had the washing machine skipped the rinse cycle, leaving soap in my chamois? I considered each of these possibilities. None of it made sense.

By the time I finished the second episode — yes, I finished both episodes — I felt like I was bleeding. Later inspection would show that I was not, but still.

I climbed off the bike — slowly — turned off the DVD player and the TV, and sat down to take off my shoes.

And that’s when I discovered the problem.

I had just ridden on the rollers for 90 minutes with my bib shorts inside out.


New Year’s Resolutions, Musings, and Addle-Brained Notions

01.3.2008 | 7:08 am

I have recently been notified that I am currently in violation of Blogger Bylaw 21.9.18:

“Every blogger, must, during the first week of each calendar year, provide one — or, preferably more — of the following:

  • A recap of the previous year, featuring what was presumably your best blogging work during aforementioned calendar year. This is useful to readers who have a difficult time deciding for themselves what they like.
  • A set of predictions for the upcoming year. This is a valuable way to describe what you would like to have happen, with no corresponding accountability for when none of those things happen, since everyone will have forgotten all about your predictions a year from now.
  • A set of goals for the year, none of which you should intend to actually accomplish. This may seem like it is in direct contradiction to Steven Covey’s famous edict, “A goal not written down is only a wish,” but the truth is, a wish is still just a wish, even if you write it down. And blogs don’t really count as writing, anyway.

Evidently, I’m already on double-secret probation for never having done one of those chain-letterish “Describe five things nobody knows about you and ask five other bloggers to do the same” entries that bloggers tend to start doing when they’ve run out of things to write about.

I’m advised by the Bloggers Governance Council that if I don’t want my blogging license revoked, I’d better go ahead and adhere to this rule.

Since, however, it’s simply too difficult for me to pick out just twenty or so excellent posts from my nearly infinite brilliant posts last year, I’m going to give that one a pass. Instead, I hereby list my resolutions and predictions for 2008, in the order which they occur to me.

  • Prediction: I will give away lots of great stuff. Lots of t-shirts, bottles, jerseys, food, messenger bags, and more. I love giving stuff away, and I’m going to keep doing contests.
  • Goal: I will send prizes on time, or at least semi-promptly. While I love giving stuff away, I don’t love boxing stuff up and making the trip to the post office / UPS store / wherever. As a result, by the time people get their prizes from me, they’ve often forgotten they won anything. This year, I will figure out a way to get prizes to people within a month of when they win them.
  • Prediction: I will give away something monstrously cool. In fact, I’ll predict even more specifically: in 2008, I will give away at least one bike. As a side goal along the same line, I’m going to try to find a way to give away at least three.
  • Goal: Do something really good in the fight against cancer. Probably corresponding to these bike giveaways, I’m going to try to raise at least $10,000, which I’ll split between the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, both of which I know, firsthand, are doing a lot of good for those fighting cancer.
  • Goal / Prediction: I will mostly do what I always do. I am going to fight the urge to do a bunch of weird new stuff with this blog. Fat Cyclist has always been about the love of bikes and biking, and the love of food and eating, and the telling of stories about these things. That’s what I’m going to keep doing.
  • Prediction: I will train less, eat more, and will set a new personal weight record. Last year, I lived like a monk and exercised like a mad fool. The result of which was that I still couldn’t finish the Leadville 100 in under nine hours, and I still never even won a sport-class local race. This year, I don’t feel any particular motivation to race or train a bunch. I’m going to eat what I like and ride for fun. So there. 
  • Goal: Come up with a cool lose-some-weight contest: Lots of people participated in and liked the B7 contest last year. However, lots of people who weren’t doing so well dropped out, at no penalty to them. As far as I can tell, nobody who was doing well dropped out. What a wild coincidence. This year, there will be a B7-like contest, with a few new rules that penalize sandbagging and bailing out.
  • Goal: Do a Fat Cyclist trip: This year, I’d like to meet anyone who’s willing to ride with me and make the trip to Gooseberry Mesa. I bet I can get Brad to host on his property. We’ll figure out the when sometime soon. 
  • Goal: Look into a Best of Fatty book: I’ve been writing this blog for almost three years now, and between posts and comments, have well more than 3000 typed pages of content. I like the idea of gathering the best posts (and comments) and seeing if I can find a publisher. What do you think?
  • Goal: Ride Tibble at least 20 times: This is my favorite trail in the world. I’m going to find a way to spend a lot of time with it.
  • Goal: Ride American Fork canyon to the top of the Alpine Loop at least 30 times: Right out my front door, I have access to this remarkable mountain pass. It’s beautiful, challenging, and — depending on how hard you push yourself — remarkably painful. I look forward to riding it at least 30 times between Spring and Fall.
  • Goal / Prediction: Do something bizarrely stupid: Every once in a while, I like to test myself with something that I know I won’t enjoy, just to see if I can force myself to do it. Right now, I’m thinking maybe I’ll do a century on the rollers.
  • Goal: Find a way to incorporate biking with the girls into my training: My twins love biking with me. If I find a way to make that love a part of my own rides, I’ll have biking partners for life. If I don’t, I am a fool.
  • Goal: Find a way, somehow, to get my boys to like biking: With my boys being 12 and 14 and not caring even a little bit about bikes, maybe it’s just not going to happen. But I’m going to make a push for it this year. 
  • Goal: Do the stuff I told Travis Ott I would do in order to get that Superfly: A while back, I asked Fisher Bikes brand manager Travis Ott to give me a Fisher Superfly. He said he would, but gave me his own set of conditions. Most of those conditions are going to have to wait until Spring, but I still plan to do them.
  • Prediction: I will buy larger pants: With the give-up attitude toward dieting I’m bringing to this season, I’m going to need to buy larger clothes in general, but especially pants.
  • Prediction: I will launch a new kind of “open letter to…” It will be bizarre, and it will be soon. In fact, I’ll do it next week. I have no idea whether it will be funny.
  • Goal: Do a site redesign. I’m not the only one getting sick of the purple and orange, am I? 
  • Goal: Write more about food: I’ve been paying far too much attention to the “cyclist” part of “Fat Cyclist.” I can’t even remember the last time I wrote about cheese, and I don’t think I’ve ever written about my love of curry or my ability to drink an entire bottle of Cholula in one motion. That’s just sad. (Note to self: videotape and YouTube-ize me drinking a bottle of Cholula.)
  • Goal: Shave my head more often: Currently, you can tell what day of the week it is by looking at my head. If I’m shiny, it must be Sunday. If I look like I’m in the military, it must be Friday. I shall henceforth shave my head on Sundays and Wednesdays.  
  • Prediction: I will complete the most awesome bike stable ever. I have a couple bike stable updates coming soonish. You’re all going to be so jealous!
  • Goal: Find a home for the teeter:  I loved building the teeter, but I have got to get rid of it, or a neighbor kid’s going to die. Anyone know of a home for a top-notch bike teeter in Utah? Free!
  • Goal: Be thankful for my readers: I shall continue to take you for granted, but I will at least try to be nice about it. 

Squaw Peak for the New Year

01.2.2008 | 12:49 pm

A Note from Fatty: I am so sore today I can barely sit down. It’s not my legs. Not my butt, either. I’ll explain where, and why, shortly.


Yesterday was Kenny’s Second Annual New Year’s Day Squaw Peak Ride. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Squaw Peak, I’d first like to apologize for the offensive nature of the road’s name. It is not my fault. 

Next — also for those of you who aren’t familiar with Squaw Peak — I’d like to describe Squaw Peak. It is a 4.3 mile road, with somewhere between 1800 feet (during the summer) and 9000 feet (during the winter) of vertical gain.

During the summer, Squaw Peak is a nicely paved (except for the occasional oil slick) road. During the winter, it’s covered with several feet of snow.

And yesterday, at 10:00am, it was just evil-cold. James Bond Supervillain cold. Someone said that it was 10 degrees out, though he did not specify whether that was in Fahrenheit or Kelvin. With wind chill factored in, I’m pretty sure it was kelvin.

Oh, I loves me some unit-of-measurement comedy.

Anyway, about 25 of us started the climb right around 10am. What was interesting — at least to me — was how many 29″ singlespeeds were in the group. I’d guess that more than half of us were riding this way.

The first mile or so was on pavement — snowplows clear the road up to the gate. As we rode along, my fingers, toes and nose were so cold, I started thinking up persuasive excuses for why I could turn around and go home. Acute hypothermia? Enlarged goiter? A seizure?

Or should I do the unthinkable: admit that I was cold and not having any fun?

No, that would be insane.

We passed the gate and onto the snow pretty much as a group. I knew it wouldn’t last. Still, we got high enough that we were no longer in the shadow of the mountain, and the wind died down.

Evidently, this was a cue for the fast guys to take off.

I was not numbered among them. I knew I wouldn’t be. For one thing, I did not have the eye of the tiger. More importantly, however, I do currently have the mass of one.

I rode on. Or, more accurately, I sometiimes rode, but mostly marched. The snow was soft; finding a good, rideable line was nigh impossible. I thought enviously of the guy with the Surly Pugsley I saw at the beginning of the ride. That said, the Pugsley (and its rider) stayed behind me for the entirety of the ride, so I guess it wasn’t that much of an advantage.

I Cannot Believe My Eyes
Person after person passed me on the way to the top, until I was passed by a guy named Pat. I managed to catch back up to him, and he and I rode / marched the second half of the climb together.

Pat was a great guy to ride with — funny and easygoing — which made me think: here’s another great guy riding a similar bike (he was on a 29″ SS too) on the same ride as me, at the same speed. How is it possible I’ve never ridden with this guy before?

Here we are, marching the final stretch (this picture and all others in today’s post courtesy of Brad Keyes; click here to see more pictures he took during the ride):

Who’s that on the snowshoes just behind us? None other than Adam Lisonbee. Evidently, he’s just as fast hiking up as we were “biking” up.

A minute later, my friend Bill Friedman got to the top. Now, I admit that I was warmed up — even sweating — by the time I got to the top of Squaw Peak, but Bill is clearly insane:

Seriously, Bill. It’s time to admit you need help.

And here’s most of the gang at the top of Squaw Peak.

That’s a pretty excellent photo, I have to say.

We All Fall Down
During the climb, my glasses fogged constantly, until I finally just put them in my jacket pocket. At the top of the climb, I unzipped the pocket and put the glasses back on.

Please note that I did not say, “I then zipped up my jacket pocket, which incidentally also contained my car key.”

I expected the downhill to be tricky, but at first it was entirely impossible, at least for everyone in the group. I’d try to get on the bike and it would sink to its hubs before I could get going.

Eventually, we started riding again. And, immediately, we all started falling. The snow was so soft it was like trying to steer a barge. Through freshly furrowed soil.

On the plus side, however, when the snow’s this soft and you’re falling this often, you usually aren’t going very fast when you turf it. And when you do, you just *poof* into the snow, usually laughing.

A Bad Call
I did make one rather foolish choice, however. One of the times I was heading for a crash, instead of just tipping over like I had so many times — probably ten or more — before, I did a quick clip out and straddled my top tube, trying to stay upright.

This was a grievous error.

My weight plus my speed made both my feet posthole, while my bike still floated on the top of the snow.

You know, no matter how many times you rack yourself, the intensity and suddenness of the pain always catch you off-guard.

I gave myself a few minutes to let the nausea subside before I climbed back on the bike.

Needle in the Haystack
Really, the whole way down (exceot aforementioned racking) was just a big goofy romp. I had a ball. I think everyone did.

I got to the bottom of the hill, rolled up to my truck, and went to unzip the pocket of my jacket…only to find that it was already unzipped.

I knew even before I fished around that it wouldn’t be there. I had fallen so many times I had lost count; the key could have dropped out of my pocket during any of those falls. No way would I ever find it.

I resolved myself to an afternoon of unpleasant logistics. Susan’s not able to drive yet, so I’d need to get a ride home, find a neighbor to drive back to my truck, and then drive home. Probably an extra two hours of driving, all told. Not the end of the world, but not the way I’d want to spend the afternoon (and for sure not the way Susan would want me to be spending the afternoon).

And then KanyonKris rolled up, asking, “Did anyone lose a key to a Honda?” It turns out that one of his crashes had been in the exact spot of one of my crashes, and he had found my key — and my granola bars. An awesome little piece of good luck for me. Kris, next time we ride together, I’ve got a Fat Cyclist bottle for you.

I drove home — by the time I got there, I was shaking and shivering more than at any time during the ride.

You know what may be the best part of a ride in the snow? The hot shower afterward.

PS: If you were planning on nominating me for the 2008 Bloggies but were planning on reading this story first, click here now to go nominate me. Thankyouverymuch.

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