Weekend Predictions

04.24.2008 | 10:57 am

In two days (that’s 48 hours for those of you who use the metric system), I’ll be riding in Kenny’s 2008 RAWROD — Ride Around White Rim in One Day.

I can hardly wait.

This will be the first time I’ve tried doing the ride on a single speed. And it’s the first time I will attempt a 100-mile mountain bike ride as my first century of the year.

I predict that I will suffer. But that’s not my only prediction. Nosirree. The fact is, I have been doing this kind of ride for so long that I already have a good idea of how the day’s going to turn out, to the extent that I can confidently make the following predictions about the ride:

I predict the wind will be a problem. The weather forecast has Saturday as mild, slightly overcast, and a high in the low 70s (not metric). That’s excellent, but the forecast also predicts 15mph wind. Luckily, this wind will be at our backs at the beginning of the day. Unluckily, it will be in our faces the second half of the day…as we ride through the sandiest part of the ride. I’m sure, however, that the wind won’t blow sand into our faces.

I predict the sand will be a problem, but moreso for some than for others. The way we’re riding this loop, we’ll be in the sandy part of the ride the second half of the day. And the sand can be troublesome, especially when your legs are cooked. It will be interesting to see how many people riding 26″ bikes have to walk through sandy sections, vs. those of us on 29″ bikes. And by “it will be interesting,” I of course mean, “it will be fun to gloat.”

I predict that I will be kind of jumpy, giddy, chatty and goofy for the first 25 miles. It never fails. I get a massive adrenaline surge at the beginning of long rides and I get this big grin and am just so darned enthusiastic that people who haven’t had their morning caffeine tend to find me irritating.

I predict I will take it out too hot. I always know I shouldn’t go out at top speed, but then I can’t help myself and I just fly, entirely convinced that my legs are going to feel this good the whole day. Oddly, they never do.

I predict that I will be entirely non-jumpy, non-giddy, non-chatty, but still goofy (but in a different way) for the final 25 miles. Once the initial rush has worn off, I settle down and am actually a pretty good riding companion for 50 miles or so. I’m talkative, but don’t demand (nor require) conversation. I’m just happy to be there, and feeling good about the ride. Then, for the final 25 miles, I become a sullen, hateful being, full of spite and bile. Do not talk to me, because I will not have pleasant things to say. I have said 99% of the swear words I have ever uttered during the final 25 miles of big rides.

I predict that I will ride alone for at least part of the day. This weekend, Dug, Brad, Kenny and I have vowed to ride the whole RAWROD together. I love to think that this will actually be the case, but I have a hard time imagining it. At some point I’m going to bonk and will actually get angry if people try to stay with me at my bonked-out pace. And I’m not the only guy who prefers to suffer alone. At various moments, others in the group are going to suffer, and will want to suffer alone. I’ve learned that when someone wants to suffer alone, it’s best to let them. Because that way if they die, you get their stuff.

I predict that I will wish I had brought an iPod. I understand that many women are able to talk continuously for ten hours. I don’t know any guys who can (not saying they’re not out there, just that I haven’t met them…and also, that I don’t want to meet them). At that point, I”m going to wish I had brought an iPod.

I predict that I will be angry at my past-self for having such poor self-discipline. During the big climbs, as I have to push my bike up the hill, I am going to mentally — and possibly literally — flog myself for not having dieted properly before this ride. “If you would have exercised some self-control,” I will say, accusingly, to my past-self, “You would be riding your bike up this pitch, instead of hiking it.” Sadly, my past-self was too busy eating carne asada burritos to hear what his future-self was saying. Too bad, because my future-self has a good point.

I predict I will wish I had ridden my SuperFly. Not only because of the gears, but because of the suspension. My left wrist feels OK right now, but not great. After ten hours of riding a rigid singlespeed over incredibly choppy terrain, I suspect I’m going to be a little sore in a few key places. And by “a few key places,” I of course mean “everywhere.”

I predict I will resent people who pass me. Even though this is not a race, I still tend to take it personally when someone passes me. I especially hate it when they say something friendly as they go by. On the other hand, I hate it just as much when they don’t say anything at all. My recommendation to my fellow riders? Don’t pass me. Wait your turn, and we’ll all get around the Rim together. Oh, and don’t crowd me, either. Stay 20 feet back at all times.

I predict I will resent people who are pulling me but going too fast. Especially during the headwindish part of the ride, I intend to tuck in behind people, and never take a turn pulling. I’m not sure right now how I’ll rationalize that as an OK thing to do, but I figure I’ll come up with something. When these people start pulling away, I presume I will come up with a sarcastic remark, which I would utter…if only I had the wind.

I predict I will take a lot of pictures at the beginning of the ride. At the beginning of the ride, everything looks like a photo-op.

I predict I will take no photos whatsoever during the final 25 miles of the ride. By the end of the ride, everything looks like just another cliff, just another bike, just another sandstone arch. Whatever. Let’s just get this over with, OK?

I predict I will get sunburned. I’m pretty good about getting sunscreen on me. But I always miss a spot. Usually the tip of one of my ears. That will look awesome.

I predict I will vow to never do this kind of ride ever again. I am willing to go out on a limb for this prediction. As I climb Horsethief road, the giant switchbacking climb that never ends right at the final five miles of the ride, it will become astonishingly clear what a stupid idea bicycles in general are, and what an even stupider idea this ride in particular was. This certainty will come with the clarity of an epiphany that cannot be denied. Which makes me wonder how I manage to come out and do the ride again every year.

I predict that even when things get really bad, a small part of me will be happy, because good stories need conflict. Even as I’m bonked out of my brain, I’ll be composing the paragraph that makes it sound like I’m suffering nobly, somehow. However, if it’s someone else who bonks, it will be the occasion for great comedy.

I predict I will be grateful it’s over. It’s amazing how quickly the pain subsides when you finish a ride. There have been times when I actually have started giggling with relief as I realize I have finished. I know, middle-aged men shouldn’t giggle. I’m not saying I’m proud of the giggling, just that it happens.

I predict that by the time 3 days (72 hours, for those of you who use the metric system) has elapsed, I will be excited about going again next year. Which just goes to prove that I’m stupid.


  1. Comment by dug | 04.24.2008 | 11:10 am

    the good news is the sand in the clockwise direction is easier, more downhillish.

    also, bring your ipod. i will feel better not talking to you if you have an ipod on.

  2. Comment by tobeistobex | 04.24.2008 | 11:11 am

    ***I predict I will take no photos whatsoever during the final 25 miles of the ride.***

    re-think this. after 3 hours into a head wind you may want to put your feet on the ground for a minute or two. The excuse, try not to act like you are totally out of breathe and say ” this is nice I want to take a few picture”

  3. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.24.2008 | 11:47 am

    I’d totally ride with you kenny and brad, but i don’t think those guys can keep up with me, and I hate to be slowed down on long rides like this.

  4. Comment by tim | 04.24.2008 | 11:50 am

    have fun in the sand and the sun.

  5. Comment by JAT in Seattle | 04.24.2008 | 11:54 am

    Why don’t you take the iPod and leave the camera behind? All those Photo-Ops won’t help you hang with the core-group members, and when you eventually get dropped anyway you’ll have something to make that last 25 miles less hideous.

    I’m just sayin’.

  6. Comment by Mike Roadie | 04.24.2008 | 12:04 pm

    Man, that’s a lot of predictions….are you planning to recap and keep score on how many came true?

    I know you’re always looking for a little more motivation, whether it be to get in the mood to hit the trails or jump on your bike or to amp up your fundraising efforts. Our latest treat is the 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge PSA Video that will surely get you in the mood to pick a fight with cancer. Go to the Livestrong Challenge website to see it.

    Take the iPod!!!!!


  7. Comment by Orbea Girl | 04.24.2008 | 12:14 pm

    FC: I just want to clarify something you wrote: “many women are able to talk continuously for ten hours”. Who are these women? Do they both talk and ride at the same time? I have never met any woman able to cycle and talk continuously for ten hours, and frankly I don’t want to. On the other hand, I know plenty of men who can ride and talk for ten hours no trouble.

  8. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.24.2008 | 12:16 pm

    >>>>I predict that I will be kind of jumpy, giddy, chatty and goofy for the first 25 miles

    Well, I predict that you are *that guy* who makes everybody else wish they’d brought an I-Pod

    >>>>by “it will be interesting,” I of course mean, “it will be fun to gloat.”

    I predict that hubris comes before a great fall. Whom the gods would humble, they first make blog about how they’re going to kick ass on the weekend ride. Consequently, they’ll need a helicopter and a couple rescue jumpers to rescue you out of waist-deep sand.

    >>>>I predict I will wish I had ridden my SuperFly

    I predict that as you are consulting your hand & wrist surgeon next Wednesday, that you will regret not having ridden your superfly. I further predict you will tell us about this, and wonder aloud why it is you did so.

  9. Comment by Rocky | 04.24.2008 | 12:31 pm

    I predict that if I had been invited on this ride, as I was in days now long gone, I would come up with marvellous and inarguable excuses why I could not be there, all of which are directly related to many of the predictions that you have so adeptly presented here today. I have a hard time forgetting physical suffering.

    The Ipod is light and is good for at least a couple of hours of relief. Don’t make the mistake of not taking it along. It will be a good distractive companion for miles 75 – 95. The last five miles have to be reserved for giggling, right?

    I hope it goes well.

  10. Comment by Richard | 04.24.2008 | 12:33 pm

    Definitely take the ipod and dump the camera. Afterall, the camera is just extra weight and why would you want to remind yourself of this grueling ride. To sneak a rest, you can stop and use the ipod to pretend you are taking pictures.

  11. Comment by chtrich | 04.24.2008 | 12:35 pm

    I predict that I’ll wish I had been along for the ride.

  12. Comment by andrewc | 04.24.2008 | 12:43 pm

    you should just ride 75 miles and skip the unhappiness of the final 25.

    nice saab born from jets ad btw. is bullriding on next?

  13. Comment by mark | 04.24.2008 | 12:49 pm

    “I predict I will wish I had ridden my SuperFly”

    I considered riding the single so as to avoid being the “dork on the geared bike with suspension.” You have reinforced my decision to have both suspension and gears.

    I’ll bet someone could make top dollar if they showed up at mile 75 and offered to rent fatty his own bike for the last 25 miles.

  14. Comment by cheapie | 04.24.2008 | 12:59 pm

    i really don’t understand why you’re not taking the superfly. you can easily lock out the suspension and you’ll be much more comfortable riding with gears. i understand the simplicity of a SS, but for a century like this? superfly all the way no matter how many cool points you will lose.

  15. Comment by svandiver | 04.24.2008 | 1:01 pm

    “I predict I will be grateful it’s over. It’s amazing how quickly the pain subsides when you finish a ride…”

    It sounds like this ride is like childbirth. I swore up and down, during the birth of my first child, that I would never have sex again, much less another child. I have two children, so that tells you how the mind and body work together. Have fun.

  16. Comment by KanyonKris | 04.24.2008 | 2:26 pm

    Fatty has an out with the bike. When he’s had enough he’ll simply approach some gullible sap like me and the exchange will go like this:

    “I love riding this rigid single speed!”

    “Really? Looks like a rough ride and a lot of work.”

    “You couldn’t be more wrong. Due to it’s lighter weight it floats along almost effortlessly.”


    “Yeah, wanna give it a try?”

    “Really? You’d let me ride your bike?”

    “Sure, just swap me for a few miles.”

    “Wow, that’s so generous! Ya, let me give it a go.”

    Then Fatty mounts the cushy full suspension bike and sprints away, not to be seen again until the end of the ride back at camp.

  17. Comment by Fish | 04.24.2008 | 2:37 pm

    There’s nothing quite like the nervous anticipation I get before RAWROD.

  18. Comment by Philly Jen | 04.24.2008 | 3:06 pm

    So, like, I can’t get past that banner ad today. “fitnessSingles: Where Relationships Workout.”

    Work. Out. Please.

  19. Comment by Duane | 04.24.2008 | 4:02 pm

    ride the SuperFly.

  20. Comment by Jeremy | 04.24.2008 | 6:05 pm

    If you do not ride the Superfly, don’t complain about the pain after the “ride”.

  21. Comment by Rick S. | 04.24.2008 | 6:21 pm

    I predict Dug will snore. I’m packing some Ambien.

  22. Comment by Marge g | 04.24.2008 | 7:22 pm

    Fatty – to add credence to your predictions, today a group of us GJ ladies (friends of your sis but not as fast) road our bikes near Moab over the Sovereign Trail bucking 30 mph winds for four hours. A n d yesterday we road the Fisher Mesa Trail chomping thru a crotch deep snow field the first 500 yards (but we did it), and then road another 5 hours in the wind. Have fun this weekend — it’s another great adventure.

  23. Comment by Little1 | 04.25.2008 | 1:41 am

    as to your last prediction — stupid is as stupid does

  24. Comment by ibisss | 04.25.2008 | 5:09 am

    Yeah, leave the ipod at home. What you want to bring is the walkman, with about a dozen tapes, so you don’t get bored of the same songs over the course of the ride. No need to thank.

  25. Comment by sans auto | 04.25.2008 | 6:30 am

    “I predict the wind will be a problem” I was down there last weekend and the the wind was really pretty calm for the first part of the day and then it picked up in the afternoon to a bit more than breezy. It only broke 2 of the 4 poles on our tent, so it wasn’t too bad. I had never seen a tent lie flat with the poles in it before.

    So that means that your tailwind will be just more than non-existant and your headwind will be enough to blow you backwards. Switch directions!

  26. Comment by daddystyle | 04.25.2008 | 7:07 am

    Duh, ride the superfly, is’nt that what it’s for. 100 miles or 150 k is a long way on a ss.

    Me, I would have been there but I WAS NOT INVITED.

    Take the camera, I can ride vicariously. When I ride with the kids next week [club ages 10-15] I can regail them with tales from Fatty.

    Have fun, ride on

  27. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.25.2008 | 7:14 am

    “I’ve learned that when someone wants to suffer alone, it’s best to let them. Because that way if they die, you get their stuff.”

    so true.

  28. Comment by nccycling4fun | 04.25.2008 | 7:30 am

    “I’ve learned that when someone wants to suffer alone, it’s best to let them. Because that way if they die, you get their stuff.”

    I think that has got to go on the next Fat Cyclist T shirt!

  29. Comment by Robb | 04.25.2008 | 10:00 am

    good luck Elden!

  30. Comment by Robb | 04.25.2008 | 10:00 am

    good luck Elden!

  31. Comment by judi | 04.25.2008 | 11:19 am

    Fatty – AHEM – I am a woman and can’t hold up a conversation for more than an hour. So what does that say?

    Have a great time riding!

  32. Comment by KT | 04.25.2008 | 2:01 pm

    Fatty, I’m a woman and can’t hold up a conversation for more than about 45 minutes– especially if it’s with people who are stupid, uninformed, wrong (as in, I respect your opinion but you’re wrong) or if I have to keep coming up with topics because the silence has gotten uncomfortable.

    I would rather ride in silence than be forced to have conversations with people. That way, I don’t have to diguise the huffing and puffing that would give away that I’m out of shape.

    Hey, I’ve got a good excuse right now: I’ve got a sinus infection and a very sore throat. You can’t expect me to keep riding through this, can you? :)

  33. Pingback by RocBike.com | The RocBike Review » Links of the Day: 25-26 April 2008 | 04.26.2008 | 7:46 am

    [...] Weekend predictions (Fat Cyclist) [...]

  34. Comment by joel | 04.29.2008 | 4:52 am

    “I have said 99% of the swear words I have ever uttered during the final 25 miles of big rides.” – As have I, but mainly because the number of them that come out at that point is so massive that it throws all previous totals out the window.

    I can sympathize with any discomfort you may have had. I flew to LA for my first triathlon (sprint) in 2 years. Short version – I was 254 of 256, and 256 was my older brother being nice to me…


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