My Race Plan for This Afternoon

05.28.2008 | 11:44 am

This afternoon, after work, I plan to pay $38.00 to race in the Third Annual Stan Crane Memorial XC Race. This race was supposed to be last Saturday, but was postponed due to a whole lot of rain on Friday night.

I admit that I was happy when the race was postponed, though I think I might have been even happier if it had been canceled outright.

Why would I have been happy for this race to be canceled? Well:

  • The race is on a course that I ride — for free — between two and four times a week.
  • I do not have a chance of winning the overall, nor of placing well in the overall.
  • I do not have a chance of winning in whichever category I could race in (I’ll be racing on a singlespeed, but will probably enter the Sport category).
  • I do not have a chance of placing well, no matter what category I race in.
  • I’m very embarrassed to say that a size Large jersey fits me kind of tight around the middle. This is doubly embarrassing when you consider that a size Medium fit me nicely this time last year.

And yet, this afternoon I will race.

Should it ever become necessary, feel free to use the above as prima facie evidence in a trial designed to demonstrate that I am either insane or stupid. Or insanely stupid.

Level of Effort
Really, the question I have to answer for myself before I begin this race — and will probably ask and answer differently again multiple times during the race — is: “How seriously should I take the race?”

I see several possible answers, which I will put in another bullet list.

  • I could cruise it. This is the sensible option. I’m not going to place well, so why knock myself out?
  • I could give my all. Hey, if I’m going to pay to race, I may as well treat it like a race, right?
  • I could tell people that I’m just going to cruise it, but then give my all with the secret and unrealistic hope that I will do well in the race. Then, when I don’t do well in the race, I can continue to maintain that I was just crusing it.

Of course, I would never consider that third option. It only occurs to me in a hypothetical sense, or perhaps it’s something I have observed in others, but would never do myself.

No, I think I’ll go with that first option: just cruise it. That’s my final say in the matter.

Though it would be kind of cool if I somehow managed to do really well in spite of the fact that I’m just cruising it. I mean, maybe I’ll have a really good day or something.

Even when you’re just cruising a race — as I am — smart tactics can make a big difference in how you finish. Here are the tactics I intend to employ in this afternoon’s race, in the form of yet another bullet list.

  • Category is crucial. I’m tempted to race in what I assume will be the much smaller single speed category, thereby ensuring my category placement will be much higher (because last place would probably still allow me to say, “I came in fifth in my category”). However, racing in the Sport Men 40+ category lets me proclaim that while I did indeed finish last of everyone in the category, I was riding a single speed, which everyone knows is much harder. If I had ridden my geared bike, I’ll be able to say, I’d have podiumed. For sure.
  • Category is crucial, part 2: The single speed category starts five minutes before the sport category. If I raced in the single speed category, this means I’d have to endure the humiliation of every age group of sport racers passing me. Since Sport Men 40+ starts after single speeds and younger Sport racers, I’ll only have to endure the humiliation of being picked off by the 50+ and 57+ men. And the Beginner men. And the Beginner Women.
  • Victory is How You Define It. I hereby define victory for this race as “finishing before Dug.” Yes, Dug, that’s right. You’re the only person I care about beating this year.
  • Accentuate Your Strength, Neutralize Your Weakness. The problem with me trying to beat Dug is that he’s about three times faster on the downhill than I am. My plan is to do whatever it takes — and I am not above nefarious means — to be ahead of Dug when the downhill section begins. You see, the downhill is entirely singletrack. And while I am a much worse downhiller than Dug, I am good enough to prevent him from getting by me. Getting on the downhill two seconds before Dug in this race could easily stop him from beating me by ten minutes in this race.
  • Declare My Intentions to All and Sundry. During the race, any time I am passed, I will say, “I’m just taking it easy today.” I have not yet decided whether I will say the same thing on the off chance that I pass somebody. Though I kind of like the sound of it.
  • Drink CarboRocket. It will help me hydrate, endure, and win. Plus it tastes great! (You owe me five dollars for that plug, Brad.)

I’ll provide pictures and a race report tomorrow.

Although, I want to make perfectly clear, I’m just cruising this race.


  1. Comment by Badder | 05.28.2008 | 11:51 am

    I personally like the third option.

    Maybe that says what kind of person I am. :-)

    Don’t we all bust our ass trying to catch somebody and then try and make it look like we out for a light spin as we pass them.

  2. Comment by mark | 05.28.2008 | 11:56 am

    Fatty, mountain bikes are for enjoyment. Road bikes are for suffering. Just cruise it and have fun. And push Dug into the scrub oak.

    And then encourage people to donate to the Huntsman Cancer Institute by going to


  3. Comment by FliesOnly | 05.28.2008 | 11:57 am

    Sounds like the perfect plan. Whatever else you do, remember to NOT over do it…since you are, after all, only cruising it.

    I especially like your strateajury for defeating Dug. It’s practically fool proof…simple in it’s design, yet so well hidden so as not to be “noticed” by Dug as he tries in vain to pass you on the descents.

    Good luck.

  4. Comment by 29er | 05.28.2008 | 11:57 am

    My category starts LAST. With a shorter course for you stronger dudes I am more afraid than ever of being “race roadkill” somewhere in the twisty singletrack or down barbecue alley. See you at the race!

  5. Comment by b_banks | 05.28.2008 | 12:02 pm

    I’m ready for a beat down, see you there!

  6. Comment by chtrich | 05.28.2008 | 12:03 pm

    cruise and don’t lose.

  7. Comment by je | 05.28.2008 | 12:03 pm

    Just go kick whatever arse you’re capable of kicking at that particular moment and finish with a smile — hopefully one with mud caked onto the teeth.

  8. Comment by Matt | 05.28.2008 | 12:04 pm

    You could always be the feed station dude.

  9. Comment by UpNorth | 05.28.2008 | 12:06 pm

    Stop talking about Option 3. The more you talk about it, the more people are going to start to think – hey, is that what she is doing?

    Keep it on the down low man.

  10. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 05.28.2008 | 12:08 pm

    I am going to hammer it, that is until I decide to cruise it. Which may be very early. The sad thing is when I think I am hammering, I get passed by cruisers. I hate those type of people (Kenny).

    I did notice that they shortened the SS race to 1.5 laps instead of 2. That means only once up the big dirt road climb. Unless they change it back at the start line.

    What you ought to do is say you are cruising it. Then hammer it. And everyone says, “wow, Fatty’s taking it easy and he still did really well. And on a single no less! Imagine if he had bee trying!”

    Oh and I will be debuting my 2008 Pink Fat Cyclist Jersey.

    See you there.

  11. Comment by Emily | 05.28.2008 | 12:11 pm

    Your best plan would be to be a woman. I have twice won my category in MTB races simply by being the only woman registered.
    I will admit this strategy might be hard for you to pull off at this late stage. Depends on how bad you want the podium.

  12. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.28.2008 | 12:29 pm

    Good dissection of the racing thought process.

    I’ll be there to go as hard as I feel like going. If I happen to pass some people, cool. If I come in last, not so cool, but so be it.

    I’m still not sure why I’m racing today. Boredom? Masochism? Race T-shirt collecting obsession?

  13. Comment by Bob | 05.28.2008 | 12:38 pm

    Good Luck.
    The only race I’ve ever entered was through the jungles of Diego Garcia and I was proud of the fact that I finished last. There were only 30 of us and the way I see it I still beat the 5 that didn’t finish at all. Besides I was just cruising too.

  14. Comment by Heatherann | 05.28.2008 | 12:38 pm

    I liked the third option, then you’re covering all your bases. LOL
    If you’re paying for the race I’d go all out. At least that way it will get you done and home sooner, even if you don’t podium.
    Good Luck!

  15. Comment by cheapie | 05.28.2008 | 12:48 pm

    there is another option. enter a ridiculously high category under the guise that the start time is much better for your busy schedule. that way, when you DFL in the elite group, nobody will think less of you.

    well, not until they compare your times with the group you would have otherwise raced with.

  16. Comment by Lowrydr | 05.28.2008 | 12:56 pm

    So what happened to the Super Fly you were so hopped up about? Now your doing the SS cat. and it’s only 1.5 laps, that explains alot.

    So go out there and have fun while just crusin it. You may just wind up beating some others yet. And thanks for getting up to the Fatcyclist catagory again. Makes me feel better for the 5# gain over last week-end.

  17. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.28.2008 | 12:58 pm

    This weekend I’ll be riding with a group of (mostly) beginners tackling the hills of Lake Tahoe. We are sea-level, flat-landers; so needless to say, we’ll be cruising it. Don’t let the labored breathing, bulging eyes and heavy sweats fool you!!!

    Throw out the watch and have fun…..just don’t let Dug beat you!

  18. Comment by DougG | 05.28.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Why not invent your own category? With all of the different category’s out there now, (29′ers, singlespeed, hardtail, full suspension, full rigid, bearded, non-bearded, smoking, non smoking, spandex shorts, baggy shorts, etc etc) What happened to the days when you raced against everyone? I’m sure you could come up with one that your the only competitor, that way you’ll win for sure.

  19. Comment by bikemike | 05.28.2008 | 1:29 pm

    pre-load the heck outta carborocket.switch Dug’s rear wheel with his front wheel. sshhhh, he’ll never know.

  20. Comment by bubbaseadog | 05.28.2008 | 1:31 pm

    some gotta win some gotta lose mgood time fatty dont need the blues….go have fun you need it.

  21. Comment by chtrich | 05.28.2008 | 1:43 pm

    Nice one DougG. I like your way of thinking.
    My category would be something like;
    37+ but 38-. Ridden less than 15 times this year, but still thinks they could race for some unknown reason. Never entered a mountain bike race before, eats large bowls of ice cream at 10:30 p.m. and wonders why they weigh so much.
    I think I could win this category.
    Fatty, what happened to the B7 2008? I really need some motivation. :-)

  22. Comment by Caloi Rider | 05.28.2008 | 1:58 pm

    Yeah, that’s how I can safely say I came in second to a professional at my first snowshoe race. Never mind that it was just the two of us in the 5k division and that the pro beat me by about 20 minutes.

  23. Comment by Wild Dingo | 05.28.2008 | 1:59 pm

    You forgot one important strategy: you’ll be wearing a fearome Fat Cyclist “WIN” jersey which will intimidate all your competition who will automatically assume you will win and therefore give up as well as get out of your way so you can pass them while you’re cruising. OR: you can add fire to your strategy by wearing a short wrap around plaid mini over your chamois, a blond wig pony tail (or tails), some bright lipstick and blush (maybe some falsies under the PINK Fat Cyclist WIN jersey) and then join the startline at about 1 minute before the start, wheeling your bike to the front of all the racers (not the crowded back) by saying “excuse me. Pardon me. Ladies first…” And plopping your bike right in front of all the guys at the start, who’s mouths will be gapped open in looks of shock. When the guns go off, their minds will be on “WTF?” instead of “get the hole shot.” What the heck, it’s worth a shot.

    And finally as a last attempt maybe you can ask the promoters if you can get some automatic placing upgrades by using big words like “prima facie.”

  24. Comment by Me (still Kenny's neice) | 05.28.2008 | 2:09 pm

    Of course you’ll only cruise it! Even cruising it, the mighty Fat Cyclist will beat all he choses to! And on the off chance that he doesn’t beat whoever he choses too, he can calmly state that he didn’t want to beat them anyway. Such is what award winning bloggests can get away with.

  25. Comment by Caloi Rider | 05.28.2008 | 2:10 pm

    Hey, Fatty, you might also try wearing a t-shirt and loose shorts (belt optional). Nothing says “I’m not taking this race seriously” like forgetting to wear lycra.

    If you wanted to take it a step further, try platform pedals and sneakers.

    Good luck!

  26. Comment by Mocougfan | 05.28.2008 | 2:22 pm


    Cruise it and enjoy it. Push when you want, yap the rest of the time.

    Chtrich….your fatter han me and I’m gonna beat you up the first hill in Bypass. How’s that for motivation Ice Cream boy.

  27. Comment by Orbea Girl | 05.28.2008 | 2:27 pm

    I’m with Emily on this one. Works for me everytime. I am either first, because I was the only one to turn up, or, at worst, only first in my age group.

  28. Comment by Don | 05.28.2008 | 2:40 pm

    So are you just going to cruise it this race, Fatty?

  29. Comment by Don | 05.28.2008 | 2:40 pm

    Can’t wait to see the pictures.

  30. Comment by KT | 05.28.2008 | 2:44 pm

    I like BikeMike’s idea. But you gotta be subtle about it; maybe distract him with the oldest trick in the book: Point in a random direction and cry, “Look! It’s the oldest trick in the book!” and when he’s trying to figure it out (looking where you just pointed) switch his wheels. And steal his water bottles. :)

    Have fun, Fatty. My birthday is Friday and I’m going to spend the weekend in Leavenworth WA at non-relatives-of-me wedding. No riding, either. :(

  31. Comment by Boz | 05.28.2008 | 2:49 pm

    You should really find out who’s washing your jeseys in super-hot water. Or is that just another sand bagging tactic, saying the medium jerseys are size large. Or do the Twin 6 jerseys run small? Mine don’t, but maybe yours are mis-labeled. Couldn’t hurt to check.

  32. Comment by sans auto | 05.28.2008 | 2:50 pm

    When I ran Cross Country in high school I had a friend who would call for his dog and ask spectators if they had seen his dog throughout the race. Of course he didn’t have a dog. I think this could work for you.

  33. Comment by dug | 05.28.2008 | 3:12 pm

    you know things are getting weird when your goal is to beat an old fat man. setting the bar a bit low aren’t we?

    my race will not be complete until you are upside down in the scrub oak. even if it’s after the finish line. or before the start.

    now i’m off to big five sports to pick up an air soft gun. what color jersey are you wearing?

  34. Comment by Denise | 05.28.2008 | 3:17 pm

    I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the pictures!

  35. Comment by bikemike | 05.28.2008 | 3:30 pm

    hey Dug, switch Elden’s front wheel with his back wheel. ssshhhh, he’ll never know.

  36. Comment by Mark | 05.28.2008 | 3:38 pm

    You’ll rip it tonight. Riding a ss in the Sport 40+ group is pure genius. If BK’s experience is any indicator you’ll be on the podium for sure. Hey, speaking of which, I got crazy this weekend and bought a Rig. Only thing is, it came with a Bontrager carbon rigid fork on it. To say that the fork intimidates me is an understatement. If you want to trade the suspension fork on your Superfly I’d be happy to make up the difference in cost. Let me know. Good luck tonight. These are your home trails – defend them with honor!

  37. Comment by Barb | 05.28.2008 | 3:47 pm

    Have fun Fatty! And don’t beat yourself up about the jersey size. You’ve had some things going on lately ;-)

  38. Comment by ricky | 05.28.2008 | 3:48 pm

    Whoa, big guy. I set the table for you yesterday when I took Kenny out and beat him badly. I dragged him up Crank’s Loop (or is it Crank Loops?) and yanked him down the descent. He was so beat up that I doubt he’ll even show tonight. So, with him out of the way and Dug’s pending mechanicals (hey, just going off the stat sheets), the race is yours. Stinglespeed category. Don’t blow it! Oh, if Brad gets anywhere near you, spray him with CarboRocket.

  39. Comment by PeterUK | 05.28.2008 | 3:50 pm

    Fatty…do what I do, every time someone breezes past you start rubbing your right knee and go “ouch” and remember whilst pushing your Bike to the start line walk with a pronounced limp…you can even drag your right foot if the competition is really good.fellow riders will admire you just for making it to the finish.
    By the way, I’m not Peter from the UK, my name is Brian for anyone in Socal reading this…

  40. Comment by Lori | 05.28.2008 | 3:53 pm

    Easy there, Fatty! You just might make Dug cry if his blog post is to be trusted!!

  41. Comment by monkeywebb | 05.28.2008 | 5:00 pm

    In the only 5k I’ve ever run I came in second. In my category. Out of two.

    And I say you cruise it.

  42. Comment by je | 05.28.2008 | 5:08 pm

    Just realized something. Technically, the race was supposed to be on Monday — Memorial Day — and the rain was Sunday night and all day Monday.

    It was rain that ruined my plans, too.

  43. Comment by David | 05.28.2008 | 5:10 pm

    doesn’t matter, as long as you ride a wheelie across the finish line…

  44. Comment by bikesgonewild | 05.28.2008 | 5:59 pm

    …speaking of races, i like to believe that in that eyetalian race that’s going on, they battle for a pink jersey to support susan…

    …just sayin’…

  45. Comment by Willie | 05.28.2008 | 6:17 pm

    Why do you need a spot drink, why take th eextra process junk into your bodie when it can be re-fuel by real food?
    I hope my question does not sound rude, but seems liek you like to advertised this stuff alot.

  46. Comment by Travis | 05.28.2008 | 7:37 pm

    try the go for last race, cruise it, then when you finish higher on the list, you’ll certainly feel better!

    also, my Fat Cyclist T-shirt arrived this morning… yeahhhhhhhh.

    Trek are having a launch party for a shop here in Beijing on monday, now I know what I’m going to wear!

    (the cat says thanks for the bag it came in!)

  47. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.28.2008 | 9:44 pm

    You’re missing the most important tactic of all mountain bikers, Elden.

    You need to accuse *everybody* who passes you or finishes better of being a sandbagger.

    If a Beginner Junior passes you, he should be racing men’s. If a women’s Beginner passes you she should be racing sport. If a men’s Sport racer beats you, he should be racing expert. If an expert beats you, he should be racing pro. And if a pro beats you, that sandbagging bastard should have been out of the country preparing for the next world cup race.

    You, of course, are not sandbagging. If anybody asks, you’re racing up a class from where you normally do – Open Clydesdale.

    Maybe that works in your neighborhood anyhow, assuming you have enough Clydes to have multiple classes. Most of the Clydes where I live also race expert, and are distinct from the other experts only because they weigh 50 pounds more, are 6 inches taller, and request beer handups during races. They are not slower unless there are actual mountains in the race, so that class is no refuge. So I take the only respectable way out, which is to race Athena Class. Sure, people think I am in the Single Speed class due to the Terry Skorts and sportsbra I wear, but with my man boobs and shaved legs I can “pass.” As a woman. I still don’t actually literally pass anybody on the course but at least I can sometimes finish on the same lap as the leaders, as long as the big girls aren’t railing it too hard. Yet I still get those nagging questions about why a mountain bike chick like me would have shaved legs and reek of Old Spice, but I ignore the playa haters and just focus on beating the Women’s 70+ Masters, and the >10 Disability Kids riders. It ain’t easy but I find if you’re willing to sink low enough, eventually you’ll find your own level.

    Good luck in the race!

  48. Comment by randomhigh | 05.28.2008 | 10:23 pm

    “I’m just cruising this race”… you almost had me convinced there ;) did you foam a little at the mouth and go pedal to the metal once the race started? hope you beat dug at least! (sorry dug but how can FC not win with his fool-proof tactics?)

  49. Comment by Paul W | 05.29.2008 | 1:26 am

    Hey Elden

    There are obviously fewer degrees of separation between us than I thought.

    I’m honoured to consider myself one of your cyber-friends, and in my alternate life I’m a rower. This is not the ‘rowing’ you recently described as a uphill cycling style, but what on your side of the pond you describe as ‘crew’.

    See (and check out the Huskies racing with pink Ws )

    Anyway – to get to the point; I’m now old enough to be classed as a Veteran (I think the US translation is ‘Masters’), and I’m very familiar with the ‘I’m just cruising’ tactic. Rowing has an added bonus; although you’re travelling backwards, you can see anyone behind you, so if you can coincide ‘Guy’s, I’m going to take it easy today’ with a few surreptitions rowing strokes, you can start the race with the opposition in sight, and behind you !

    I’d recommend Stephen Potter’s books on ‘Gamesmanship’ – but you’re racing single speed in an open category, so I can see you’re an expert already.

    Thinking of you and yours

    Paul W

  50. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.29.2008 | 4:39 am

    Open Single Speed Class = Hike & Bike

    I’m not knocking it, just saying it’s a great way to work on your walking-up-hills skills while you spend time with your bicycle.

  51. Comment by Miles Archer | 05.29.2008 | 8:42 am

    Fifty bucks says you give up on cruising after a 1/4 of the race and go for it hard.

  52. Comment by iamsdm | 05.29.2008 | 12:42 pm

    Seriously, there shouldn’t even be a medium “Fat Cyclist” jersey. It’s like Jumbo Shrimp..either big or little, not both. Wear the large proudly and have a blast…

  53. Comment by Discount Cruise Cruise Plan | 06.3.2008 | 5:23 am

    There is a silent debate raging about the benefits of booking a discount cruise through a real live travel agent or going online and booking through some of the major internet booking sites.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.