An Open Letter to the Members of the Core Team, Each of Which I am Certain Will Offer Different Excuses for Why They Won’t Come Ride the STP with Bob and Me This Year

02.12.2008 | 9:54 pm

Dear Core Team,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I know you are all busy people, so I consider it a kindness that you would carve time out of your schedule to consider what I have to say.

Or, in the case of Rick M., I appreciate your assistant taking the time to read this, briefly summarizing what she reads to you during one of your thirty second breaks between meetings, and then writing me back, usually within three business days.

I have two matters to bring before you today.

Item 1
The first item I want to bring before you is a plea for you to join Bob and me as we ride the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic this July (July 12, to be specific).

I have reasons, which I consider both good and sufficient. They are as follows:

  1. We rarely do epic road rides together. We have done a lot of mountain bike rides together. We have done a lot of long mountain bike rides together. We have done a lot of road rides together. But we have not done many epic road rides together. And that’s a shame. We should do this ride, we should do it together as a group, and we should do it this year, before senility takes over and we forget who each other are.
  2. It’s in a different kind of place. Let’s face it, we’ve gotten kind of stale. When we go on a trip, it’s to Moab or Gooseberry or — sometimes — Leadville. All three of those are good places. But Seattle is an incredible city, and Portland’s very cool too. And while I’m confident Bob doesn’t know his way around Seattle even though he’s lived there for ten years, I’m equally confident that Nick does know his way around. I know, I should probably know my way around Seattle too, but I’m actually worse than Bob at that kind of thing.
  3. It’s a beautiful ride. There’s something about this ride that feels huge. You’re going point to point, between two big cities and across a state line, through untold numbers of small towns and through hundreds of miles of beautiful countryside. It’s just a great ride.
  4. There’s a certain novelty in riding at sea level after living at 4500 feet. Riding at sea level after you’ve been living in the mountains makes you feel incredibly strong. You’ll notice that you can ride at a good brisk clip while still breathing through your nose. You’ll marvel at how good you feel, even at the end of the day.
  5. There’s even more of a novelty in hearing the locals call their cute little rolling hills “big climbs.” This ride is, essentially, flat. But people act like a couple of the rolling hills are big deals. They aren’t. I intend to ride my SS road bike on this ride, and I’m going to put a big gear on.
  6. It’s astonishing to be in a 10,000-person mass start. You know how the start at Leadville seems huge? Imagine ten times as many people.
  7. It’s wild to be on a ride where there’s an aid station every couple of miles. All you’ve got to do is carry a couple of water bottles and a fifty. You can eat every twenty minutes, if you feel like it. Most of it’s free, some of it’s fundraisers for local high schools, which I think is very cool.
  8. We owe Bob. Bob travels out to ride with us a couple times a year, in spite of the fact that he’s deathly afraid of airplanes and feels acute embarrassment about his fainting spells. It’s our turn to go see him, to show him that we like him in spite of his shortcomings.
  9. Nick will be there. Nick, as you know, is a tall Australian who is happy to pull all day. Really, most of the rest of us will be feathering our brakes more often than we pedal.

Item 2
While I am confident in the persuasiveness of my points above, I am equally confident that each of you will have a meally-mouthed excuse for why you don’t plan to go on this ride. Below I anticipate and answer your objections.

  • It doesn’t sound like my kind of trip. This is just you saying that you aren’t willing to do something new. For crying out loud, break out of your rut. Try something you haven’t done a thousand times before. You’re starting to act old. What’s next, yelling at kids to get offa your lawn?
  • It’s not a race. I know, Kenny. But it’s possible to do a long ride without it being a race, and still have fun. Seriously. Try riding with us. We’re not so bad.
  • I don’t think my wife will approve. Perhaps your wife wouldn’t lord over you so completely if you weren’t such an uxorious milksop.
  • I’m busy taking the children camping that weekend. Your kids called. They said they’re sick of going camping every weekend and would like to have a weekend with the Nintendo, and without your interference.
  • I’m afraid. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Seattleites and Portlanders are remarkably tolerant, even of Utahns.
  • I can’t afford it. Financing plans are available. Reasonable terms.

I look forward to your commitment to ride the STP with Bob, Nick and me. Your reply, forthwith, is appreciated in advance.

Kind Regards,

(The core team likes to pretend I am not as famous and important as I am, and as such, prefers to call me by my given name. I humor them.)

PS: I don’t do a lot of blog recommendos, but I’m a big fan of “PuddinRider,” who is a frequent commenter here as “SoreLegs.” He’s a rider who is just beginning cancer treatment and is blogging about it with humor, intelligence, and courage. I’ve added him to my blogroll and recommend you go pay a visit.


  1. Comment by UncleFred | 02.13.2008 | 9:53 am

    1st Woo Hoo,

    Anyway, if you can’t persuade the Core-team to ride the STP how about the Lighthouse Cycling Tour in Puerto Rico in February 2009? It’s nice and warm, there’s plenty climbing, the food is great and the Puerto Ricans are great to ride with, plus there’s a fast group for Kenny!!

  2. Comment by Lifesgreat | 02.13.2008 | 9:55 am

    Did I read the ride stats correctly on their site? 30 miles of total climbing and 1900 feet of total elevation? Sounds like my kind of climbing!

  3. Comment by KT | 02.13.2008 | 10:02 am

    Wow, the core team is comin’ back to the NW! Woot!

    Maybe I’ll volunteer or something for this ride, and wear my WIN jersey to show the Fatty love.


    O’course, that doesn’t sound good. Susan, I wasn’t hitting on your man or anything. :)

  4. Comment by eclaire | 02.13.2008 | 10:10 am

    guess what, i’m writing this wearing my *new* fat cyclist t-shirt!!! it is awesome. and form fitting, since i have NOT managed to loose 3 pounds this week. (damn you scale, wait, maybe you’re broken) but i will not binge out because not only is my fat cyclist tee awesome, so are my other sale items from twin six! hah, just wanted to gloat everyone else, who is NOT currently wearing their fat cyclist t-shirt.
    if i was part of the core group, i would definately do the STP. i used to live in oregon, and not to criticize other states like the one i live in now,(phhht illinois) oregon is the best! go treehuggers and birkinstocks! anarchists and riding in the rain! oh wait, my wife just told me i couldn’t do the ride. well my husband, really. c’est la vie. bye, gotta go look in the mirror again. that fat cyclist t-shirt you know…

  5. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.13.2008 | 10:31 am

    I’m going to get my research team to start crunching the numbers right away; a confidence interval and P-value will be coming as soon as Deep Blue spits out the numbers.

  6. Comment by daemonv | 02.13.2008 | 10:38 am

    As the Dan V of Seattle who won a bike from you, and who was planning on trying STP as well… I hope to see you there. I will buy you food.

  7. Comment by T1mm0 | 02.13.2008 | 10:39 am

    I love it when bloggers introduce me to new words… two in the one sentence is fantastic. And they are both such great words! “uxorious milksop”. I shall hereby begin to use them regularly to describe my friends when they don’t want to go mountain biking.

  8. Comment by Don ( | 02.13.2008 | 10:46 am

    What ever happened to the RATUSALOT? Is the core team going to do that ride this year, and if so will it effect the STP? I just had to throw that out so you don’t forget.

  9. Comment by Don ( | 02.13.2008 | 10:47 am

    Yes, I know… It was only a joke, I know, I was only kidding.

  10. Comment by Scott | 02.13.2008 | 10:53 am

    Oh man, I love the description of the hills on the STP, especially the “Big Hill”. Watching people spinning out up it in the granny gear of their Dura-Ace triple while you plow up it in your big 53T is just classic.

    The crazy part is the both Seattle and Portland have good hills within city limits, hills that will make even those bred in the Rockies work hard. Apparently the road warriors just avoid them like the plague.

  11. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.13.2008 | 11:35 am

    I registered for STP a week ago. I’ll be riding with some friends, one of whom lives in Seattle – the rest of us will be driving up from Utah. We’re doing the 1-day (200 miles) ride, which I assume you are also. Hopefully I’ll see you guys there (but in a crowd of 2,300 1-day riders, it will take some luck).

    I’m excited to do this ride! I used to work and ride with most of the guys I’m going with, but we’ve scattered the last few years and it’ll be fun to do a long ride together. I visited Seattle once and wished I had my bike – it looked like a fntastic place to ride. I’m sure I’ll get my fill with 200 miles of it.

  12. Comment by RosieRider | 02.13.2008 | 12:12 pm

    Okay, so, for the record, it’s the GROUP HEALTH stp. I say that with full disclosure, I’m on the Board of group health. Check us out. Which is yet another reason the Core Team should do the ride — we’re what health care should be like, everywhere. Among that incredible support are lots and lots of GHC medical professionals. And you’ll usually see our CEO and many key executives on the ride as well — including a strong presence in the one-day group. (Though not me, if I do it again this year I’m a two-day kind of gal.)

    Commercial over. Sign up.

  13. Comment by Blake | 02.13.2008 | 12:21 pm

    Heh, I’m riding the two-day with my 12-year-old son this year, after finding excuses not to ride for the past five years. We’ll be hard to miss on a pink tandem :), and I’ll be wearing my Fatty jersey the first day. You’ll probably be down the road before we start, but say hello if you see us!

  14. Comment by Bob | 02.13.2008 | 12:22 pm

    RosieRider, please cease and desist. I hope no one ever says “Group Health STP.” It’s the “STP” or “Seattle to Portland.” Just like the AT&T Cotton Bowl is just the Cotton Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is just the Fiesta Bowl. Besides, after Group Health, I want to say STD instead of STP, and that could lead me down the wrong pathway.

  15. Comment by Ant | 02.13.2008 | 12:49 pm

    Fatty I feel your pain. I am SOOO sick of fellow ‘cyclists’ finding convenient excuses to weasel their way out of various cycling events. There is no middle ground on these issues, either you ride or you don’t. There needs to be participation, for the good of the species and the good of their souls.

    Where is the commitment I ask you?

    Some of the clangers that have been bandied about in the last 12 months:

    “I don’t like riding in team events” (code for ‘you guys really s**t me and I couldn’t stand being in close proximity with you for that long, but I am happy to go to the pub with you on Friday night and have you buy me beer’)

    “I don’t like riding in large commercial events” – really. You need to accept that as a cyclist (or a faux cyclist as some of these people are turning into) they you are in a whole new league of consumerism, and that as penance for this, you need to be surrounded by people with much blingier shinier bikes than yours, on a regular basis. Or maybe you’re intimidated by people in lycra.

    “I don’t need to prove to myself that I can do that” – yes you do. You’re just a big scare-dy cat I reckon. What, scared I’ll beat you?

    Really, some of these people are a waste of a good bike. That NRS you’re riding that I lovingly helped you handcraft? Probably time to trade it in for a Kmart Huffy Special.

  16. Comment by Rick S. (Not my real name) | 02.13.2008 | 12:57 pm

    Is the plan to drive or fly? This is my question.

  17. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 02.13.2008 | 1:08 pm

    This is going on my list of rides to do someday. It sounds really cool! Can’t wait to hear the epic ride report.

    Oh, and I’ll be perfectly trained for riding those big climbs at near sea level from my mountain training here in central Florida. Did I hear sarcastic laughter? I’ll have you know that I ride Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain several times a year and boy do they get my heart rate up there! :-)

  18. Comment by bikemike | 02.13.2008 | 1:16 pm

    just tell them you train on Sugarloaf Mtn. and Mount Dora, that’ll strike fear in ‘em.

  19. Comment by rexinsea | 02.13.2008 | 1:38 pm

    Excellent! You guys should do the one day. You’ll love it for sure. Sign up soon; the event sells out very fast. Not sure I’ll make the STP this year but would love to show you some nice riding around the city if you get in early.

  20. Comment by Fish | 02.13.2008 | 1:45 pm

    Your friend and mine, Mr. Jon Sabrosa, did that self-same ride with a couple of others on fixies. I’m just saying.

  21. Comment by sans auto | 02.13.2008 | 1:52 pm

    STP? You strike me as the RAMROD type. Or if you’re tough enough you could do both, it makes for a good double header… or so I’ve heard.

  22. Comment by mbonkers | 02.13.2008 | 1:57 pm

    I would highly recommend the one day option if you are going to do it. I’ve participated in the two day the last two years, and won’t be doing it again any time soon. Too many riders that are dangerous in groups. I was in a paceline that had the first three people go to the hospital after a bad wreck, and nearly avoided it myself. One day riders are more spread out, and generally more competent. One day riders also have much shorter lines to wait in at the food stops. 10,000 people makes for interesting crowd control.

  23. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 02.13.2008 | 1:59 pm

    Dear Elden

    I was hoping to become indoctrinated into the core team by virtue of attending this “epic” road ride. I was sure, based on your habits and friends, that by “epic” you meant something like; we’re gonna hit every steakhouse and beerhouse we ride past.

    Then I clicked the link and discovered that “epic” refers to 200 miles of riding. As a trackie I must respectfully decline. 200 miles is more like a monthly total. But they’re all quality miles.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    kinds regards


  24. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.13.2008 | 2:44 pm

    Well if Big Mike isn’t going, I’m not going.

  25. Comment by Bob | 02.13.2008 | 3:01 pm

    I agree with Big Mike, although for me 200 miles is more like a yearly total.

    Hmmmm…Now I wonder how far I’d get on a 35lb Kona dualie.

  26. Comment by bradk | 02.13.2008 | 5:03 pm

    July 12 is my 40th birthday. I’ll be having a surprise party on my behalf and expect your attendance.

  27. Comment by Jeremy | 02.13.2008 | 5:15 pm

    Seriously? 1900 climbing feet? I say you do this one instead.

    it actually has some climbing.

  28. Comment by Tyson | 02.13.2008 | 5:48 pm

    325Km in one day? Crazy roadies..

  29. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.13.2008 | 6:22 pm

    Fatty, you wisely took the offensive in heading off objections, but your initial assault has been overwhelmed with a massive barrage of counter-attack excuses. Hopefully I can strengthen your front line with these reinforcements:

    - If your so-called friends abandon you in your STP quest, you’re welcome to join our group. We promise good conversation and comraderie on the ride and travel to/from STP. I’m not saying the core group could be replaced, I’m just sayin’… ;-)

    - Brad K: Dude, trust me, you don’t want to be anywhere near your family when the big 4-0 rolls around. See, they think it’ll be fun to mourn your over-the-hill-ness with black balloons, a tombstone cake and a roast where they get to make fun of you. To avoid this fun-at-your-expense, be far away riding your bike that day. So is it YOUR birthday? Shouldn’t YOU get to decide how you want to spend it?

    Core group: This skirmish has been fun, don’t escalate this to a war – it could get ugly with things like manhood being called into question. ;-)

  30. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 02.13.2008 | 6:39 pm

    Rick S. (NHRN)… Please re-read the whole post carefully and get someone to help you with the big words. They’re not flying or driving, they’re riding.

  31. Comment by LindaLoo | 02.13.2008 | 7:05 pm

    Fatty-Thanks for link to PuddinRiders blog. I have been toying with the idea of becoming a Bone Marrow Donor for sometime and after coming to “know” Susan and Sorelegs the time is now. It was very easy to do so online, would urge anyone interested to go to the National Bone Marrow website and read about the process. I am ALWAYS thinking of Susan and will now add Sorelegs to my thoughts.

  32. Comment by LoPhat | 02.13.2008 | 8:41 pm

    I’m was thinking about doing STP again this year, but now I’ll need to reconsider…

    To those that mention RAMROD, yeah, it’s a great ride, but you can’t actually plan on getting a group of people signed up for it.

  33. Comment by Born 4Lycra 43 11 N 2 32 W | 02.14.2008 | 3:29 am

    Great stuff Lindaloo.

  34. Comment by Sthenic | 02.14.2008 | 5:21 am

    If I recall correctly, there was ice cream at the last stop of the Deathride. Not to mention – all the food you can eat along the way.

  35. Comment by Big Boned | 02.14.2008 | 5:42 am

    What a coincidence, I’m riding a double on the other side of the country on the same day:
    This one begins and ends within a couple miles of my house in DC and the wife is thinking that I’m spending too much time and money flying around to other events I’m doing this year.
    You’ll have 12,000 on your ride. I doubt I’ll have 120. To make matters worse, most of them are Tri-geeks so I’ll either be pulling or riding alone (who in their right mind would draft a tri-geek?).

  36. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 02.14.2008 | 8:20 am

    lol RATUSALOT! I’d forgotten about that. ha ha

    I’m so glad Bob has survived his fainting spells! Perhaps others in the core group have the same problem and are unwilling to out themselves by making the long trek up to Seattle/Portland,so they make up other excuses like camping. . .

  37. Comment by Lori | 02.14.2008 | 8:36 am

    Come on guys! You owe it to Fatty to ride with him. He is always praising your abilities in this blog. No, wait – he does diss you guys a lot. But he is always a great ride partner, challenging everyone. No, wait – he is always bringing up the rear. But he… But he… Well, he is begging and I hate to see a grown man beg.

  38. Comment by Bluenoser | 02.14.2008 | 10:57 am

    Big Boned,

    Amen to the drafting the tri-geek. Two friends on the floor hurt in group rides last year alone.

    just the facts tri-folks… just the facts.

  39. Comment by Rob | 02.14.2008 | 11:17 am

    Reason #10: Bacon Maple Bar at Voodoo Doughnut at the end of the ride?

  40. Comment by mgr | 02.14.2008 | 11:27 am

    I did the STP in 1993 (me and 10,000 of my closest friends, heh); just prior to the ride a friend loaned me the money to buy a 1992 Giant Excursion – Shimano Deore components, full fenders, rear rack – since it was the previous model year’s version, it was half price, $400. I’m still riding the same bike, though I’ve replaced the saddle and handlebars with less comfortable ones since then. I’m kinda dumb that way. Anyway, I took it in for a tune-up a couple years ago and the mechanic said, “Hey that looks just like the rig I rode in the STP a few years ago!” Small world.

    You youngsters have fun!

  41. Comment by judi | 02.14.2008 | 12:43 pm

    I wish I could do that ride! It sounds really great. I have read about others doing that ride and hear it’s wonderful.

    Fatty – how sweet of you to post Puddin’s site. He’s a good guy. I have been reading his blog for a while too.

  42. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.14.2008 | 12:47 pm

    I think I will be riding the one-day, and possibly my son with me. See you and Bob there, (as well as any of the core team that recind their feeble excuses) Elden.

  43. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.14.2008 | 12:50 pm

    You know there is actually a lot of good climbing in the PNW, though not usually the length of climbs as found in the Rockies. But this really is a flat route, I am surprised anyone gives consideration to any of the rises on it.

    Personally I don’t feel like I have climbed unless I have summited Mt Hood in the snow, at least.

  44. Comment by Frank | 02.14.2008 | 7:48 pm

    Fatty, do you really maintain a low-fat high fiber diet? Just a month or two ago you were eating mashed potatos loaded with cream and butter and at halloween you were scarfing out on all of your favorite candies. You regularly make note of your passion for baked goods and sweet reeses of all varieties. You even once did a comparison of the various types of reeses, and rated them based on very strick criteria. I’d say based on what you tell us that you probably eat very healthy only about 6 months out of the year, maybe less, since once you lose weight and start riding a lot when the weather gets better, then you eat whatever you want. Am I right? or am I right? Sorry dude, but I would tell any good friend the same thing. Just trying to support you. Hopefully, with the medication you can still enjoy the things you love to eat from time to time.


  45. Comment by ming | 02.16.2008 | 11:16 am

    i live in seattle. ive done stp 1 day, its a hoot, 1 day is defo the way to go, start out in your old stomping grounds of sammamish and make it an even 400k for the day! someone did the stp in two days ON A SKATEBOARD.

    im doing the death ride again this year, stp was a one hit wonder for me.


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