02.22.2008 | 12:06 pm

I hereby declare myself achy, cranky, foul-tempered, and sore-throated today. In short, I do not feel well. I have suspicions about why:

  • Deadwood: I just finished Season 3 while exercising this morning, and found out that the cliffhanger will likely never be resolved, because there’s no season 4. That bit of nastiness should have been printed in big red letters right on the box: “Warning: upon finishing Season 3, you will want to watch Season 4, and there isn’t going to be one. Sorry.
  • Children: I have children. They go to school, where — against my advice — they interact with other children. Often, they don’t immediately afterward sanitize their hands, face and clothing as I have instructed them. So they have brought home disease.
  • I Have angered the French. In comments in my BikeRadar article yesterday, as well as in comments in my own blog, I apparently upset some Frenchfolk (they used to be called “Frenchmen,” but this has recently found to be sexist), who felt I was being really mean by suggesting that one could successfully imitate a Frenchindividual (replacement for the now-out-of-vogue “Frenchman”) by watching Monty Python movies, eating french fries, acting haughty, and acting like winning the Bastille day stage mattered more than anything else in the Tour. In response, the Frenchfolk have compared me to people I have never heard of, used emoticons in an ironic manner, and have cursed me with a cold. Frenchfok, you have bested me and I apologize. Please give me back my health. And please, please, do not taunt me a second time.
  • I am, quite simply, sick of Winter. I just want to go outside and ride. The last few months have been a great, snow-filled Winter wonderland, but I’ve had enough.

Still, I went ahead and exercised, for two hours, while watching the only series I could find on DVD at the moment: Tru Calling.

It was the longest two hours of my life. I confess that I was tempted to gouge out my eyes, but I did not.

Could someone please recommend a good TV series — and by good, I mean “action-packed” — to get me through the remainder of the winter?

Anyway, all I wanted to say is that I’m sick, which is why I’m writing this quick two-line post today. Which, obviously, has ballooned into a longish incoherent, rambling rant.

PS: I met my weight loss goal for the week — two pounds, bringing me to 170.4. I only barely made it, though. I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to make another two-pound goal for next week, and the jackpot goes up to $150.


Memo to Johan Bruyneel: How to Get into the TdF

02.21.2008 | 5:50 am

bruyneelA Note from Fatty:I’ve got a new article posted on today. You can read a snippet of it below, or click here to read the whole thing. 

TO: Johan Bruyneel
FROM: The Fat Cyclist
DATE: 22 February, 2008
SUBJECT: Strategies for Getting into the Tour de France 

Dear Mr. Bruyneel,

First, my condolences on Team Astana not getting into the Tour de France this year. I am certain that you must be reeling from the shock and disappointment so profound as to nearly equal my own.

And yet, Mr. Bruyneel, I would urge you to not give up hope. Your team can still ride in the Tour de France in 2008, Johan (I hope you don’t mind me calling you Johan).

Simply follow these strategies.

1. Change Your Name.
For 2008, Team Astana changed management, racing philosophy, and most of the team. This, evidently, wasn’t what was needed. To convince ASO that you’re really OK, you need to not be Team Astana.

As evidence of the effectiveness of this technique, allow me to call your attention to Team T-Mobile High Road, which was every bit as messed up as Astana last year, but will be racing in the Tour de France this year.

You know why, don’t you? Because this year, they’re taking the high road, that’s why.

For your team name, I’d like to recommend "Compassionate Body Spinoffs." It sounds kind (that’s the "compassionate part"), sporting (the "body" part), and cycling-related ("Spinoffs").

Also, "Compassionate Body Spinoffs" is an anagram for "ASO is staffed by nincompoops," but that can remain our little secret.

And while you’re at it, you might want to also change the color of your uniforms. And I’m not saying that just to further the cause of tricking ASO into believing you’re a different team.

I’m saying it because Astana blue (aka "light teal") is an awful color.

2. Surrender to the French.
France and ASO really, really, really want a strong French team race in the TdF. This desire is somewhat hampered by the fact that there are no strong French teams.

So, why don’t you become French? It’s surprisingly easy. Here’s how:

  • Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail Several Times. Everyone knows this is the best way to pick up an authentic French accent.
  • Be Haughty. Despise everything. Smile enigmatically.
  • Eat: French fries, French bread, and French dressing.
  • Act like you really really care about winning on Bastille Day, as if it were the absolutely be-all and end-all of the race, instead of what it invariably is: a flat stage of no consequence.
  • Lose a lot. OK, I admit, that’s just mean of me.

    Click here to continue reading "Memo to Johan Bruyneel" over at

  • Tour of California

    02.20.2008 | 6:41 pm

    I’m feeling all guilty for not caring about this big pro stage race here on U.S. soil. So could someone please tell me who I should be rooting for at the Tour of California and why?

    Otherwise, I’m likely to continue forgetting to care.

    Exclusive! Details of Shimano’s Acquisition of Pearl Izumi

    02.19.2008 | 11:53 am

    BROOMFIELD, CO (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – Shimano American Corporation announced earlier today that it is acquiring Colorado-based Pearl Izumi, Inc.

    Many news stories have noted that management of Pearl Izumi would remain independent. No details, however, have been revealed as to product lineup and brand changes at Pearl Izumi.

    Until now.

    Company Name
    The first change that will be made is to the company name, which will now simply be “Shimanzumi.”

    “We’re very excited by this new company name,” said Shimanzumi’s Marketing Director, Geoff Shaffer. “It’s very fun to say.”

    “Shimanzumi, Shimanzumi, Shimanzumi!” continued Shaffer, by way of proving his point.

    Clothing Levels
    Shimanzumi clothing will be aligned with component Shimano mountain and road group levels. Selected features of the new clothing lines are as follows:

    • Dura-Ace: The lightest, sexiest cycling clothing available for the road cyclist. As precise as it is elegant, it will make Assos look sloppy in comparison. The only reason gold thread is not used in Dura-Ace jerseys is that it is too heavy. In order to keep your Dura-Ace clothing working properly, Shimanzumi recommends having it maintained by a certified Shimanzumi mechanic every three rides.
    • XTR: XTR clothing will be much like Dura-Ace, but will come out two years later.
    • Ultegra: Ultegra cycling clothing will fit as comfortably as Dura-Ace, will weigh only trivially more, will cost less, and will in fact be more durable. However, it will be imperceptibly less sexy-looking, and your riding friends will know that you don’t consider yourself as deserving the very best.
    • LX: The 2010 LX clothing line will be nothing more than the 2008 XTR clothing line, with different silkscreens applied.
    • Tiagra: The Tiagra clothing line will fit and feel just fine, until your friend persuades you to try on a pair of Dura-Ace shorts, “just to see how they feel.” From that point forward, you’ll never be happy with your Tiagra shorts again. This is by design.
    • Alivio: The Alivio clothing line will be made of burlap bags that have been specially treated to combust in sunlight and dissolve in water.

    New Color Schemes
    All Shimanzumi clothing will be black, grey, and silver. No exceptions.

    Shimanzumi Total Integration
    Shimanzumi clothing is designed to be worn together: shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, and gloves. While it is theoretically possible for cyclists to ride while wearing other brands of clothing mixed in, it is not recommended.

    The jerseys have been made two inches shorter, for example, to accommodate the fact that the shorts have been made to go two inches higher. As long as you wear both, you’ll have excellent midriff coverage. If, however, you wear Shimanzumi shorts with a Castelli jersey, your warranty is void, for starters. Also, Shimanzumi clothing has been found to cause rashes and chemical burns when mixed with other clothing brands.

    You’re just better off discarding your existing clothing and going forward with an integrated Shimanzumi setup. It’s inevitable anyway, so you may as well embrace it.

    New Markets
    The Shimanzumi alliance is uniquely positioned to cross over into additional sport markets. Specifically, look for wicking, lighweight, form-fitting hip waders to come out in 2009. Followed by a fishing vest made of high-tech fabrics in 2010, with extra-deep pockets and elastic arm gathers.

    Yearly Revisions
    Shimanzumi will implement a planned obsolescence strategy into its clothing line, where every three years, an entirely new clothing line with new sizes and exponentially more complex clothing parts are shipped. They will be lighter and fit 15% more precisely, at which point you can expect to be scorned for wearing your previous-generation Shimanzumi clothing.

    Enthusiasm and a Precaution
    Says Shaffer, “We’re very excited by the new directions and opportunities this melding of two great cycling companies affords us.”

    “If, however, you get a slight tear in any article of Shimanzumi clothing, discard it at once and buy a replacement. Shimanzumi clothing is not designed to be patched or otherwise repaired. Contact your nearest cycling clothing service center at once for a replacement.”

    I Admit: I am Giddy

    02.15.2008 | 11:10 am

    The day following the Leadville 100, there’s a 10k running race for charity. It’s a great cause, and it’s a short distance, and as far as I know, nobody takes it very seriously as a race.

    And yet, in the eleven years I’ve done the Leadville 100, I have never done this 10k. My reason is simple: I am too beat. I am sore and tired and in no mood for any more exercise shenanigans.

    Which makes my new — as of last night, in fact — obsession even more foolish than it otherwise would be.

    I want to race the Brian Head Epic, the first MTB Epic stage race in the U.S.

    The Essentials
    Here’s the idea in a nutshell: four long days of mountain biking, with each day being around 50-60 miles.

    Each day starts in or near Brianhead, so I wouldn’t have to pack my stuff and move it each day. Just get up, do the ride, eat, sleep, and repeat.

    I think it’s really funny that I began the previous sentence with the word "just."

    As I am prone to do when I get all excited about something, I wanted more information, so I called the race organizer, Tom Spiegel. Here’s what he says the four days will be like.

    Day 1: Drive out to Navajo Lake, about 25 miles from Brian Head (there might be shuttles available). Ride 25 miles on fire road, then 32 miles on the Virgin River Rim trail. Which, I am compelled to point out, is some of the most incredible forested singletrack in Utah, and therefore in the world. This is the kind of trail you come do just because you love mountain biking.

    Day 2: Start in Panguitch, then out to Casto’s Canyon via Mt. Dutton. Back to Panguitch. 60 miles. I frankly expect it will be this second day that will be the hardest for me. I’ve never done two giant rides on back to back days before. I will likely have gone out too hard on the first day, and will be tired on the second day. I’m going to tattoo "Pace Yourself" on the back of my hands. Which won’t do any good because I always wear gloves when I ride, but still.

    Day 3: Start at Brian Head and do about 2/3 of the traditional Brian Head Epic 100. Not the full 100 miles of the race, as VeloNews reports, for which I am grateful (for those of you wondering whether it’s VeloNews or me that’s right on this contradiction, I’m the right one).

    Day 4: Down to Parowan and back up, which is about 4500 feet of descending, followed by about 4500 feet of climbing, in 50 miles. So the race ends with a massive grunt of an interminable uphill, just the way it should.

    I have to say, I have not been so excited for a race since my first Leadville 100. That is not hyperbole, either. I’m always saying that my great gift in mountain biking is to keep turning the cranks. This will be an awesome test of that gift.

    More Details
    Here are a few extra details from my conversation with Tom Siegel:

    • Cost: The entry fee will be $400. This, to me, seems like an incredible bargain, for a four-day race.
    • Prizes: There will be cash prizes for the pros, and every finisher gets a jersey and a medal. I, for one, look forward to wearing that jersey.
    • How many people? Tom’s hoping for between 200 and 400 people. Beyond that, you’ve got a singletrack conga line situation in several places on the course.
    • Support: There will be fully-stocked aid stations along the courses each day. And — not settled, but possible — breakfast and dinner each day, too. Which makes the $400 even more of a bargain.
    • Who’s the Title Sponsor? Sho-Air, an airfreight forwarder, which also sponsors an MTB racing team.
    • When’s the race? August 21 – 24.
    • Where can I find more info? Team Big Bear will be posting info up on their website around the third week in March, once they get more logistics nailed down.

    I’ve talked to Kenny; he’s excited for this race. I’ve talked to Rick Sunderlage (not his real name); he’s excited for this race.

    And I, for reasons I simply cannot fathom, am incredibly excited for this race.

    Suddenly, I feel a greater urgency about my training and diet. I’ve got a four-day epic to prepare for.

    Anyone else thinking about it?

    PS: I beat my weight loss goal for this week by 0.6 pounds. I’ve set a goal for next week of another two pounds. The jackpot for next Friday’s weigh-in (i.e., the amount you can win if I don’t meet my goal) goes up to $100.

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