Bad Luck, Good Luck

05.16.2008 | 12:35 pm

Sometimes, it seems like riding with your buddies just isn’t meant to be. Like yesterday.

I planned on riding with Dug and Brad around lunchtime. Singlespeeds, across the street from the Hogle Zoo.

And then, about two-thirds of the way to work, I looked in the rear view mirror and realized: I had forgotten to bring my bike. I had my bag — bike clothes, helmet, shoes — but no bike.

So I called Dug and Brad and told them I was out for a lunchtime ride.

Luckily, though, I had a backup plan. I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) and told him that I’d like to take him up on his offer to pick up my Superfly from Racer’s Cycle Service, and that furthermore I’d like to meet him for a ride at Corner Canyon after work for a ride.

That worked for him. I was back in business. Even better, Dug and Brad changed their plans over to the new ride time and place, too, to accommodate my forgetfulness. What great guys.

I’m Late. And Dumb.
Then, of course, I got into a meeting that went late, so that as I drove toward the place where we were beginning our ride, I had to call ahead and say, “Hey, I’m going to be about fifteen minutes late.”

“That’s OK,” Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) said.

Then, about two minutes later, a worse realization occurred to me. I didn’t remember putting my MTB shoes in my bag this morning.

At the next stoplight I rummaged through my bag.

Nope. No MTB shoes. I was officially screwed.

I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) back and told him how lame I am.

“That’s OK,” Rick said.

Which made me think: my friends are clearly cutting me a great deal more slack than they normally would, and I assume it’s because of everything that’s going on.

Which, oddly enough, made me wonder exactly how far I could push this right now before they finally say they’ve had enough. Could I “accidentally” drive my car over their bikes? Switch their brake cables so the left lever powers the back disc and the right lever powers the front? Could I put sand in their water bottles?

For now, I do not plan to find out. For now.

Go It Alone
So I apologized to Brad and Rick (Dug was still trapped in a meeting that went even later than mine) for not being able to ride with them, picked up my Superfly, and headed home. My new plan: ride up Hog Hollow, up Jacob’s Ladder, maybe drop down the Ghost Falls singletrack and then up Clark’s before back to home.

Then, when I got to the saddle of Hog Hollow, I saw a guy up ahead. Maybe four, maybe five minutes ahead.

And by “a guy” I of course actually mean, “a carrot.”

I started riding my heart out, with the intention of catching him by the time I got to the top of Jacob’s Ladder.

Luckily for me, this guy didn’t realize we were racing, and I managed to catch him right as we got to the top. He congratulated me on catching him and everything. I would have accepted graciously, but I was too busy not vomiting.

He then vanished in front of me, doing the downhill much, much faster than I ever could hope to. That’s OK, though. I’m comfortable with my downhill speed. Now that I’m in my 40’s, most people are impressed with the fact that I do any athletic activity at all. I have been released from the obligation or expectation of being a rad downhiller forever.

Chance Encounter
Then, right as I dropped out of the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder, one of my favorite things happened: I ran (not literally) into a group of friends.

Does anyone else get all excited when you’re riding alone and then stumble into a bunch of riding buddies? It’s like suddenly the ride just got twice as good!

It was Kanyon Kris, Sly Fox, UTRider, and Matt. (Isn’t it weird that all five of us have blogs?) Speaking of which, I was sporting my 2008 Fat Cyclist Jersey, which I just got in the mail yesterday (photo shamelessly lifted from Sly’s site):


You’ll be able to order yours this Monday, but I’ve got mine now. It’s my new favorite jersey — I love the way the painted look of the graphics turned out on the finished jersey, and I dare say the material is nicer and the fit is better than with last year’s jerseys. And — magically, I think — this jersey seems to have a slimming effect; my big gut isn’t particularly evident here.

In other words, envy me.

Another Lap
When you run into a group of guys like this, I believe you have a moral obligation to try to ride with them. And as it turns out, they were planning to do the Jacob’s Ladder loop I had just enjoyed so much. Would I like to join them for another lap?

Well, naturally.

We took the climb fairly easy, which was good for me since I had already done it once in my red zone that day. And then Fox — not wearing a helmet, grrrr — blasted down the singletrack. Kris and I took turns in second place.

And then, evidently, we all went home and blogged about the experience (I’m last to post). Weird.

So I wound up getting a great ride with a group of good guys after all — just not the ride or group I had expected to at the beginning of the day.

Considering how addle-brained I am right now, I’m just grateful I ever found the trailhead.


  1. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.16.2008 | 1:07 pm

    Addle-brained *right now*?

    Interesting temporal framing there, Elden.

    It’s okay. You’re right though. Everybody will cut you some slack.

    Until it appears that you’re a little bit less fragile, like .00001%.

    Then again, maybe your friends live in glass houses and you’re enjoying the rock-throwing exemption. That’s how I usually avoid ridicule… my friends are generally as stupid as I am, at least from time to time. That, and they are a lot nicer than me, which helps.

  2. Comment by bikemike | 05.16.2008 | 1:08 pm

    hey Elden, i live with being addle-brained all the time. it’s a blessing and a curse.

  3. Comment by UtRider | 05.16.2008 | 1:19 pm

    It was great fun riding with you. I need to start practicing my brat eating skills to ensure I’m competitive at the tri next month. Hopefully I can make up for my slowness on the bike with the vastness of my stomach!

    All the best to you, Susan and your family.

  4. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.16.2008 | 1:25 pm

    Sorry your ride didn’t work out with the Core Group, but it was good to ride with you on that fine day. I guess we’re the Peripheral Group, or B Team, or some such. ;-)

    Such the gentleman, but the facts are these: In my usual overestimation of my ability I went 2nd after Fox on the downhill, but seeing Elden on my tail after the first 50 years I waved him past – it was clear he could go faster and it’s just wrong to slow down another rider.

    Fox never wears a helmet. I think it’s a religious belief.

  5. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.16.2008 | 1:35 pm

    years = yards. Doh!

  6. Comment by GooneyRiders | 05.16.2008 | 1:47 pm

    I once lent my mountain bike to a Brit to use for a weekend. When got it back, I kept crashing on the downhills. Full-on endos, sliding all over the place, scars to prove it. I blamed it purely on me riding like an idiot.

    Turns out, Brits ride with their brakes reversed and we’d forgotten to switch them back to the ‘normal’ direction after I got the bike back.

    You’d think that after years of riding, I’d pick up on the fact that my brakes were reversed while actually on the ride. I didn’t. Talk about addle-brained.

  7. Comment by 29er | 05.16.2008 | 2:03 pm

    We’re all jealous of your new jersey!

  8. Comment by Boz | 05.16.2008 | 2:14 pm

    I took the long way home to get some off road in yesterday and didn’t run into anyone. I think they all hid as I approached. On bike to work day I should have sen someone, doncha think?
    But, I’m sure there are more riders in your area this time of year, what with the warmer weather and all. Global warming is ignoring us so far this spring.

  9. Comment by barry1021 | 05.16.2008 | 2:19 pm

    Like your new shades Fatty, you no longer look like something from outer space or from The Bee Movie


  10. Comment by cheapie | 05.16.2008 | 2:25 pm

    haha! the new jersey doesn’t show your gut? it’s because you’re sucking it in!!! i’m not mocking you, i just recognize the pose. you look the same as i do in every pic in which i’m wearing a jersey.

    btw, isn’t the superfly an amazing bike? i just got bake from a few days riding in NC on mine and i couldn’t be happier with it. and didja see any pics from LA’s recent store grand opening event? he had a bunch of industry people out for a ride on his ranch. care to guess what MTB he was riding? yup. a superfly.

  11. Comment by David | 05.16.2008 | 2:50 pm

    Hogle Zoo! I used to go there all the time when I lived in Salt Lake as kid. I haven’t thought about that place in a long time.

  12. Comment by Emily | 05.16.2008 | 3:36 pm

    I hope you have a hitch rack and not a roof rack– otherwise, with this level of addle-brainedness it won’t be long before you drive a bike into the top of your garage. (And with bikes as nice as yours that would be nearly criminal!)

  13. Comment by bonnie | 05.16.2008 | 4:09 pm

    I just read your web-site from Pioneer Woman’s. Just want to tell you how sorry I am about your wife. I sat reading with tears running down my face. Mostly I was feeling sorry for myself, as I have a son who is mentally ill and got some bad news myself today. Then, I had an overwhelming peaceful feeling come over me. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and think of others who have struggles too” was the conversation I had in my head. So, I don’t know you but my prayers are with you and your wife and your children. May you have peace and comfort in your life, especially in the weeks to come. Also, I was so impressed with Lance Armstrong to send your wife such a nice vote of encouragement. You hang in there!!

  14. Comment by geckonia | 05.16.2008 | 4:44 pm

    My riding buddy bailed on me today too…. So I decided to ride alone. But… I have a call in to another riding pal for a night ride tonight. Which means, like you, I will be riding the same trail I just rode, except with Laura (her real name) and some moonlight. Hope my day ends up as good as yours did!

    PS I thought about Susan on my earlier ride today. Hope she is doing well.

  15. Comment by Not a cyclist..... | 05.16.2008 | 4:48 pm

    I suspect that the jersey does not contain the magical property of being able to conceal one’s paunch, but that Fatty has developed the ability to really suck in his gut!! My BF has become an expert in this arena, and has a much much larger gut (he doesn’t know about this blog).

  16. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 05.16.2008 | 5:35 pm

    If you were truly motivated to ride with your friends you would have McGyver’d your feet to the pedals with gaffer tape and then just pulled a track stand whenever they stopped for a rest or a chat.

    “And — magically, I think — this jersey seems to have a slimming effect; my big gut isn’t particularly evident here.” – And just as magically, your lips are turning blue. You weren’t breathing were you?

    Don’t feel bad. Lycra + Camera = dizzy spells for me.

  17. Comment by Don | 05.16.2008 | 8:02 pm

    You muse and your jersey. I am SO getting one this time. How do they run a bit big or a bit small?

  18. Comment by Born 4Lycra 43 11 N 2 32 W | 05.16.2008 | 10:15 pm

    Well spotted B21 – I was all ready to make the comment re: new glassess checked the other comments and rats you beat me to it.
    It might be the class of the model but up until I saw it being worn by FC I preferred last years style – now I’ve changed my mind. Hopefully working through the difficulties of time zones etc new pink FC top (male version) here I come.
    Actually before I finish FC you mention different fit does that mean size may vary as well or is it once an XL always an XL?
    Love to Susan – Bollocks to Cancer

  19. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.17.2008 | 1:17 am

    Shiny new bike!

    Shiny new jersey!

    Great friends……….

  20. Comment by Swedoz | 05.17.2008 | 3:58 am

    Addle brained. Hmmm. Judging from your previous posts I think this is not a new occurrence but no arguing that you’ve a much better reason about now!

  21. Comment by matt | 05.17.2008 | 6:48 am

    Would ya share your brat recipe. Speaking of downhill you did really well on that new spiffy bike, for being a 40 something year old.

  22. Comment by judi | 05.17.2008 | 7:41 am

    You look really good Fatty – and you don’t even look fat at all. You look happy. Awesome to run into friends to ride with.


    We’re ordering our jerseys Monday. :)

  23. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.17.2008 | 9:26 am

    > Switch their brake cables so the left lever powers the back disc and
    > the right lever powers the front?

    If any Brits make it to the Triathalon with their bikes you can give this arrangement a try – this is how our bikes are rigged in the UK.

    On the other hand, if any Brits make it to the Triathalon without their bikes, you can lend them one of yours, send them down something plentysomething technical and write a limerick to commemorate the wreck.

  24. Comment by vincenzo | 05.17.2008 | 5:45 pm

    Fattie, you have convinced me of my folly and am lamenting the lack of mountain bike arsenal in my garage. Now all I have to do is convince my wife that another bike will fit the mess of parts and bikes in the garage. Cheers to good rides!

  25. Comment by MAJ Mike | 05.17.2008 | 7:03 pm

    Great that you salvaged goodness from badness. Those things are good.

    Totally unrelated issue…

    The Army has “invited” me to spend the next 4 months in El Paso, TX. I’m a casual roadie who, because of rumors of good trails on Franklin Mountain, just bought a basic hardtail mtb. Any starter advice would be welcome at


  26. Comment by Ant | 05.17.2008 | 8:29 pm

    Yay for suprise rides!

    I just worked out the time difference between Australia and CDT in the US – 15 hours! So I’ll need to be awake at 3am Tues morning to order my Fat Cyclist jersey.

    Oh dear.

  27. Comment by steve sax | 05.17.2008 | 8:35 pm

    “reversed” is the way motorcycles have been for a long time. Right does the front brake.

    Italian style as well as Brit.

    Is that why my friends don’t like to borrow my bikes?
    All mine are right = front. I would think all you
    right-handed (some of you are SOOOOO one-handed) types
    would prefer that setup once you got used to it.

    But you have to switch ALL of ‘em, all at the same time.
    Had an exciting stop on the fixed gear once when it
    was the only unmolested bike…

  28. Comment by bp | 05.18.2008 | 5:45 am

    Happy to be your carrot. I like vegetables. It was nice to see you again. I didn’t want to mention the big C because it seemed like you were really enjoying your ride. My thoughts are with you guys. Finally riding after all your plans and it was such a great night. You earned the carrot chaser award.

  29. Comment by Don | 05.18.2008 | 7:38 pm

    So did Oakley follow through on the letter for glasses? I’m with you Born4, I wear a large in everything else so Im hoping that would do in Twin Six world.

  30. Comment by Di | 05.18.2008 | 9:53 pm

    “Does anyone else get all excited when you’re riding alone and then stumble into a bunch of riding buddies? It’s like suddenly the ride just got twice as good!”

    Yes! You know, I’m 31 and I am totally scatter-brained. I forget stuff all the time. I don’t care how thorough I am, something will be forgotten. I can’t wait to see what I’m like when I’m 80. I’m sure I’ll either be incredibly entertaining or incredibly annoying. We’ll see. ;-)

  31. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.18.2008 | 11:25 pm

    Time for one of these in FC colours?

  32. Comment by Swedoz | 05.19.2008 | 5:13 am

    Fantastic – managed to nab a pink jersey as well as an orange one for when pinky gets too dirty.


  33. Comment by regina | 05.19.2008 | 6:13 am

    envy on board but I have my calendar set to noon to order MY NEW JERSEY. and yes it is great to go out alone and then find people you like to ride with, I think it is a little like finding a five in a pocket you had long forgotten about. Same happy little feeling. :)

  34. Comment by chtrich | 05.19.2008 | 7:09 am

    How come whenever I’m going up AF canyon in the morning I’m all alone. I don’t see anyone else going up or down. However, when I head back down I pass a lot of people going up. I must have to be to work earlier that everyone else. :(

  35. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.19.2008 | 8:54 am

    I am sorry, Fatty, but that gut-sucked-in pose is one I would recognize anywhere. By experience.

    T6 jerseys run small, IMO. They explain in their lit. that they are looking for a fit 1/2-way between racer tight and “club jersey” loose. But for my money, they are on the small side. I think most people who consider themselves “Fat Cyclists” ought to order one size larger than usual. They run a mite short as well.

    But I would be interested in what you meant (unless it was just a joke) about the fit being different, Elden.


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