Nick’s BC Bike Race Report

07.9.2008 | 10:39 am

A Note from Fatty: Nick Abbott is a good friend of mine — a member of the Core Team, Seattle (via Australia) Division. Back when I lived in Seattle, Nick was the guy I always did the big rides with — 7 Hills of Kirkland, STP, RAMROD. And Nick’s made the trip out to Leadville twice (and soon to be three times).

There’s no better company for a long ride than Nick.

So, when Nick and his buddy Tony Meleg did the BC Bike Race last week — as Team Fat Cyclist — and I couldn’t make it, I had to settle for photos and a race report. Reading it now, I’m even more envious.

Here’s his report and photos. Enjoy! 

Last week I took on the BC Bike Race with a Seattle buddy, Tony Meleg. Interesting race — dubbed ‘The Ultimate Single Track Experience’ – 550 Kms of racing – lots of Pros, International teams and hard core multi stage racer types. Tony and I were in the Men’s 80+ category (me 40, him 42) along with about 44 other teams of two — Elden lent us the Fat Cyclist name. I wore Pink (orange on one day) – Tony wore Orange (his son’s favourite colour).


By the Numbers
Here are some rough stats for our team:

  • 40 hrs of racing
  • 20th in our class
  • 2 flats
  • 1 front derailleur destroyed
  • 1 broken chain
  • 1 rear cassette busted

It was a very cool race — very well supported. Sure, we had a few hiccups, mainly due to heat, but they were soon fixed up.

Here are a few cool details about how a race like this works:

  • One bike shop (Obsession:bikes) brought a crew of mechanics and worked thru the night, every night repairing broken bikes. They charged MSRP for gear – plus some labor. They were moving thru the XTR and XO gear like it was Christmas – they sold out of 29er tyres on day one – they were very cool.
  • We slept in a tent city of 250 tents, put up and pulled down by the crew every day – these were 4 man tents, with 2 of us in each – very comfy
  • They had a mobile shower truck for us – little waiting – but we were camping at Hockey stadiums for the most part – so we used the locker rooms – very civilized
  • Food was catered by professionals – a film catering company on the Island (and they were the best) – and another company did the mainland food
  • Food was GREAT – dinner and breakfast – great, fresh, lots of it – see photo of menu below.
  • We got a wakeup call each day by a guy with a rubber chick and a megaphone – WAKE UP RACERS – SQUAWK – SQUARK

Kudos to my wife Sarah, for putting up with the training, the chatter and the commitment of the race – then driving five hrs, with the kids, and waiting another three to see us cross the line – and then waiting at each aid station on day seven.

Day Zero
we assembled at the Shawnigan Lake school about 45 mins out of Victoria on Vancouver Island. The school was like a cross between Bushwood Country club in Caddyshack and the Hogwarts school in Harry Potter. Great grounds and building – we registered – picked up our swag, dropped off our bikes and assembled for the pre-race briefing. We were told the rules (no rider rides alone -  no more than 2 mins from your team mate at all times – what emergency gear was mandatory (bandages waterproof jackets, 2 liters of water, bandages and a whistle) – and what to do in an emergency. Off to bed (I had a nice B+B with the family, Tony was in the dorm) and an 8 am start on Day one.

Day One
91 K Shawnigan Lake – Cowichan Lake District – arrive back at school – usual assortment of shaved legs, expensive bikes, swagger and bravado that you find at any big MTB race. There were real pro’s here as well – Tinker Juarez,  Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk – assorted Olympians and so on.

My kids had some great supporter signs.

DSC_0299 DSC_0298

8am approached and we were off.


First, we did two or three quick laps of the school ground – including a hundred yards of recently mown, knee deep grass that tangled and ripped derailleurs from a number of bikes.

As usual in a race, everyone went out hard. In this race if you can’t finish a stage both you and your partner get an NOR (Not Officially Ranked). I saw two teams NOR in the first 15 mins. A dislocated elbow and a piece of wood in the knee (the guy tried to do a Rambo – he pulled half of it out – but the rest required a trip to the hospital).

The day flew – we had hike a bike, some big steep hairy downhill, some new single track  – it was the hardest day I had ridden up until then for a whole number of reasons. It was also one of the most fun. 91 kms, 100 + degrees.

It was some of the most technical sections I had ever ridden: cramps in quads, hamstrings and calves all at once. If there was anything else to cramp it would have. We did 6:38. I broke a derailleur and ripped the side wall on my tyre, had to replace some bearings on my rear wheel, and bent my cranks- I had one big trip over the handle bars where I think I did the most of the damage to the bike (except the bearings and tyre) – also had an issue with a rib that made an audible POP as I reached for something later that day.  All this on day one.

The heat was really nasty – we pushed hard, and got through the day – Tony was really strong and was the main reason we got through it. Good thing we pushed as hard as we did – the heat caused more water consumption than the organizers planned  – aid station two ran out of water just as we were leaving – that held up people for 30 mins while more came.

We pulled into camp dirty and hot – but glad to be there.


Day two
80K (Cowichan Lake District – Port Alberni) was nasty. 125 k of fire road in 100 degree heat. We went out way too hard, super fast pacelines – about 1 kph faster than I was comfortable with so I spent all my energy trying to stay on. We hit 60 k after 2 hrs, and things were looking good, then I cracked at about 5 hrs – I was really struggling with the heat and was typically hitting the wall at 5 hrs or so. Day two was pretty boring – not the ultimate single track experience.

Day three
(Port Alberni – Cumberland ) was supposed to have more single track and less fire road. Another 80 clicks, with about 25 single, pretty good day, we went out more slowly.

I had trouble keeping food down and eating. I think the two previous days had taken their toll. I was puking bananas when I tried to eat – all I had all day was a ‘Salty peanut bar’ and some water – I also think I made the mistake of having Cliff Shot blocks on an empty stomach – bad all around.

We were shooting for 5 hrs but got slowed at the end with some new freshly cut single track that was a little too new for 75 k into a hot day. Six hours was the final time. I was (again) so hot that that I had to get hosed down by the medics.


Highlight for me – 300 feet  of ladder, 5 feet off the ground, with a 30 foot 4 inch wide log – cleaned it on first attempt.

Ate pizza, sausage roll, bag of chips, nachos, fries, a curry and even a few beer and ice cream to reload.

To bed early and up at 4:30 for two ferry rides to start day three – 60K and more single track.

Day four 
65 K (Comox Valley – Powell River – Earls Cove – Sechelt) was the best so far – for this and the next few days we followed power lines, up and over ridges – great trails both up and down, minimal fire road. WE had started the day with two Ferry rides to get back to the ‘mainland’ – although this part of Canada is only accessible by boat or air. Ferry was great fun – late (11am) start and a good day – no injuries yet – a few scrapes on me, nothing on Tony. But the rest of the racers were starting to look pretty battered. Lots of blood, stitches, taping and so on. I even saw a guy ride with his arm in a splint (we had seen him walking the last 5 kms the day before with his arm in a sling – his partner pushing both bikes)

Each day was better than the one before it. Day 5 65K -  (Sechelt Gibsons to Langdale Ferry) finished with had the best single track descent I have ridden – 10K or so of swooping downhill – barely pedaling – but really challenging with some ladders and technical downhills. The day was made up (like the others) with some brutal climbs and great downhill sections. Another Ferry at the end of this stage – with some very aggressive cut off times to make sure that we got on the boat. A lot of people missed this cut off (including our friends Volker and Alfredo) and were given NOR for the race.

Day six
was a loop in Squamish – one of the centres for biking in the North West. It was a combo loop of two races ‘The Gear Jammer’ and the ‘Test of Metal’.

Amazing trails both up and down – by this stage I was having trouble keeping my head in the game. One minute I would be cleaning technical ascents or descents – the next I would be riding off the trail on a flat piece of easy stuff – starting to get really weary in the head and legs.

I had a couple of pretty sold falls early in the day which also played with my head a little. I rode some REALLY technical stuff early in the day – and I walked some technical stuff in the afternoon.  Interestingly, the 29er showed some of its flaws – great on the technical climbs, and on the steep descents – but on the tight technical twisty stuff or the ever present switchbacks – the turning circle is just too big.

Our families came and met us at the finish in Squamish which was great – and we had booked a house in Whistler for a few days – so we had a good night’s rest out of the tents and sleeping bags, and a great feed before the final day.


Day Seven
was a brutal ride from Creekside to Whistler, only 47K, but some of the nastiest climbs of the week – we were rewarded with (I think) some of the best downhills of the week as well. I had my head on right this day and rode 90% of the technical descents. One memorable trail was ‘A River Runs Through It’ a classic Whistler trail – We pushed pretty hard (I broke a chain and somehow a cassette) and finished right on five hours. All our kids were at the aid stops and the finish – they had a blast and it was great to have some moral support at the aid stations – we blew through the final aid without stopping, which was a bit rough given the kids had waited a few hours to see us – but we were so close to the end.

All in all a great ride – met some great folk on other team – lots knew the fat cyclist blog – lots knew Racer’s store (when I was wearing a t-shirt) – lots recognized the Pink Jersey.

Will I do it again?
If I had the time I would – but it is a huge commitment both cash and timewise – and a big hit on family – so I think I am done – but let’s see next year.



Special Dark: 2009 Fat Cyclist Jersey Unveiled [UPDATED]

07.8.2008 | 8:24 am

Look, I know you’re just going to scroll right by this introductory text and go look at the pictures of the new Fat Cyclist Jersey.

I don’t blame you. Heck, I’d do the same thing myself.

So for now, I’ll just give you some general info (which you can ignore), and I’ll put the details later in the post.

  • The new black: I told Twin Six I wanted to do a bold, sharp design for the 2009 jersey. And I wanted it to be something Johnny Cash or Batman would wear.  
  • Sexy: This is the sexiest jersey we’ve done so far. Independent lab tests prove, in fact, that this jersey — in addition to being 20% more laterally stiff, while retaining its vertical compliance — will make you 28% more attractive to whichever gender you prefer. And that’s a lot.
  • Attainable: The 2008 Fat Cyclist jerseys sold out in less than one day. This time you’ll be able to pre-order them so you won’t have to worry about the size / gender combo you want being gone.

And now, let’s take a look at the jerseys. As if you haven’t already.

Click any of the images below for a larger view.

Men’s Front

Fat Cyclist 2009 Jersey: Men's Front

Men’s Back
Fat Cyclist 2009 Jersey: Men's Back

Women’s Front
Fat Cyclist 2009 Jersey: Women's Front

Women’s Back
Fat Cyclist 2009 Jersey: Women's Back

And Now, The Details 
I can’t stop myself from looking at this jersey. I love the big Clydesdale silhouette in the back. I love that Twin Six found a way to put both the “201″ and the “WIN” on the sleeves. I love the pink accent stitching.

I really, really hope you are as much in love with this jersey design as I am.

And now, here are the questions I think you might have and the answers I have for the questions I think you might have.

  • When can I pre-order one? You’ll be able to pre-order these jerseys next week: July 14 – July 20, from the Twin Six site. I will provide links and reminders as the time gets close.
  • How much will it cost? Jersey prices (along with everything bike-related) are going up across the board, but we’re holding the price at last year’s price — US$70.00 — for folks who pre-order.
  • Where does the money go? My profits from this jersey go toward my wife’s cancer treatment, as well as toward doing fun stuff with her and the kids.
  • When will the jerseys arrive? They’ll arrive — and be shipped immediately to you — in early November. Just in time for Cross season, if that’s your thing, and in plenty of time to give as a Christmas present.
  • What if I don’t pre-order one? Can I buy one later? Yes, we plan to order extra jerseys to sell to people who don’t pre-order. Of course, you won’t be guaranteed to find the size / gender combo you want if you do it that way.
  • What about armwarmers, shorts, and stuff like that? As you can probably tell, this design will go great with any of the black stretchy clothes you’ve already got, but we are looking at armwarmers, shorts, cycling caps, and other stuff that could specifically go with this jersey. We can’t say yet exactly what we’ll actually sell. We’re not being coy; we just don’t know.
  • What does the pink “WIN” mean? For those of you who are new to the Fat Cyclist Jerseys, “WIN” is the goal I’ve got for my wife, Susan, in her battle against breast cancer. Of course, when you wear it, it represents whatever you want.
  • What does “201″ mean? 200 is the traditional minimum weight for the Clydesdale riding category in cycling. This jersey goes up to 201.
  • What’s the text on the inside of the collar? “Team Fatty Fighting For Susan.”
  • Why no orange version? This jersey would in fact look great with orange accents, but this year I want everyone riding in a pink “WIN” jersey.
  • Will this jersey make me look simultaneously fast, witty, and slimmer? It sure will.
  • Seriously, is this the most awesome jersey you’ve done so far? Yes. Except I didn’t do it. Twin Six does all my jersey designs. They’re the awesome ones.

If you’ve got additional questions, ask away. I’ll try to either answer in the comments section, or — if a question seems pertinent enough that I think everyone should see it — I’ll update this post.

Note that I may disappear from question answering for a good chunk of the afternoon — Susan and I will be having a consultation with the radiation oncologist, and he doesn’t take kindly to my blogging while meeting with him. Pfff.

So: whatcha think?

UPDATE 1: Answers to Common Questions
Thanks for all the positive feedback. Here are a few answers to some common questions.

  • What’s sizing like? For men, the jerseys fit about like a similarly-sized t-shirt, but a little snugger. If a Large t-shirt fits you tight, for example, you may want to go with an XL jersey. For women, plan to buy the same size jersey as you would a women’s t-shirt.
  • Why not a full-length zipper? Because full-length zippers aren’t hidden, and with this design, the shiny plastic stripe going down the length of the jersey, paralleling the much more tasteful off-center stripes, would be tres gauche.
  • Any secret messages hidden behind the back pocket? Perhaps.
  • Can people outside the USA buy these jerseys? Yup, and thanks to the weak dollar they’ll seem laughably affordable to you. Shipping costs vary, but is generally not insane.
  • Will you also be updating the T-shirts? I wouldn’t be surprised.

UPDATE 2: How Did You Come Up With This Design?
Many people have asked me: “How do you and Twin Six collaborate to arrive at these fantastic jersey designs?”

OK, actually nobody at all has asked me that, but somebody should have. So I’m going to answer it anyway. I think you’ll find it an interesting process.

  1. Initial Design Meeting: I usually call Twin Six and say something like, “Hey, we should do a really cool Fat Cyclist jersey.” They’ll ask if I’ve thought about what I’d like to have on the jersey, to which I’ll reply, “Oh, all the stuff that made the last jersey awesome, but make it look totally different but still recognizable. And it needs to be even cooler than the last jersey.” For some reason, Twin Six’s telephone connection is very poor and they’ll often accidentally lose my call at this point.
  2. First Design Round: After a few days, Twin Six sends me a batch of around twenty designs, any one of which would be excellent final jersey designs.
  3. First Round Feedback: I open PhotoShop and take all of my favorite parts from each of the designs, combining them into one glorious jersey design. I email this back to Twin Six, then wait patiently by the phone for their call, offering me a job as the new lead designer.
  4. Feedback Acknowledgement: Twin Six acknowledges that they received my “hilarious” design. I’m not sure what they mean by that.
  5. Second Round Design: Twin Six sends me a new set of 5 – 10 designs, each incorporating many of the elements I asked for, yet somehow subtly shifting them so they are now magical.
  6. Second Round Feedback: By this round, there is usually one jersey that is pretty darned close to perfect, as far as I’m concerned. So of course I make a few suggestions, like, “What if we made the jersey out of hemp?” Twin Six applauds my creativity.
  7. Third Round Design: This is the same jersey as in second round design, but incorporating the ideas that are not ridiculous and / or impossible.
  8. Design Approval: I gasp upon opening the email with the jersey design. I call Twin Six, offering to name my next child “Twin Six,” or, if they prefer, I’ll rename each of my twins “Six.” The guys at Twin Six politely decline. And then the phone connection goes bad again. Weird.
  9. Photo Comp: Twin Six sends me a photorealistic mockup of the jersey design. Yes, it’s true: those cool-looking jerseys above do not yet exist in reality. They’re PhotoShop magic. I have no idea how Twin Six does this.
  10. Profit! Someone who watches South Park told me to put this step in here because it would be funny. I’m not sure I get the joke.

UPDATE 3: How’s Susan?
We went to the Radiation Oncologist today, and — as expected — Susan will be starting radiation to her right hip next week. More details:

  • They scanned her hip today; the radiation oncologist marks this scan up with what parts get radiated.
  • Thursday Susan goes in and gets some tiny tattoo marks on her hip. They use these tattoos to help line her hip up precisely with the radiation machine (aka “Giant Microwave”).
  • Friday they do a practice run to make sure everything’s in place.
  • Monday she’ll begin the actual radiation treatments. She’ll be getting 15 total treatments: 5 times per week for 3 weeks.

We’re very hopeful this will go a long way toward reducing Susan’s right hip pain and hopefully reducing the risk of a hip fracture.

My Assessment After 3 Days of the Tour: AWESOME!

07.7.2008 | 10:32 am

I admit, I was skeptical at first. Now, however, I have seen the light. This is awesome. I just can’t get enough of it, and I can’t wait to see how it ends!

In fact, I’m going back to the computer for more, right now. It’s just that good.

I am, of course, not talking about the Tour de France, which has provided just under four minutes of excitement in three days of racing. Seriously, after two stages, exactly no time at all separated the top 20 racers?

They’re going to need a bigger podium.

What has got me so enthusiastic, then? The new game my 14-year-old son has created has got me enthusiastic, that’s what.

It’s so good, in fact, it may well keep your mind off the mindless tedium of this year’s Tour. I think it’s going to suck you in. I know it’s got me hooked.

Here it is: “The Fat Cyclist Rolling Adventure.” Try it out:

Finish The Game First, Win a Fat Cyclist T-Shirt
Here’s the thing: there are 11 objects you have to collect to finish the game. So far, I have not been able to collect them all. If you’re able to collect them all, you’ll get a secret message. Send me an email with the text of that message, and if you’re you’re one of the first three people to do so, you win a Fat Cyclist T-Shirt.

How’s that for awesome?

Pay Per View
My son made this game because he wants to be a game programmer when he grows up and needed a project. I think he’s well on his way toward success and think he deserves to get paid for his work.

So we came to an agreement: He gets a dollar for each non-trivial comment about his game.

Enjoy the game. I’m sure my son will be watching the comments like a hawk.

PS: Does anyone else find Thomas Voeckler incredibly irritating? I’ve never seen anyone make such a production of earning and holding the King of the Mountain (polka-dot jersey) position…before there were any mountains. That dude’s getting on my nerves.

PPS: New Jersey Design Unveiled Tomorrow! Twin Six and I have been batting around designs for the 2009 Fat Cyclist Jersey. As of today, we have locked down an incredibly cool design. How cool is it? I’d put it two notches above Fonzie and maybe half a notch below Johnny Cash.

Yeah, it’s that cool. It’s my favorite one yet. I’m looking forward to showing it off.

I’ll be posting pictures tomorrow, and we’ll be making it available for pre-order next week. This means the jerseys will get here in time for Cross season and Christmas.

Oh, and I think you’ll agree that this design would go nicely with matching shorts, arm warmers, and possibly a cycling cap. I’m not sure which of these things will actually happen, but I think you’ll agree it would go nicely with all of them.

An Open Letter to

07.2.2008 | 4:07 pm


First of all I just want to say: I’m a big fan. Especially around Tour de France time each year, when I follow your Live Race Coverage almost religiously. Your coverage is accurate, clear, and up-to-the minute.

But it’s also kind of dry.

What you need, CyclingNews, is some "color commentary." You know, a couple of guys who can add some personality to the play-by-play. A couple of guys who aren’t afraid to say what they’re thinking. A couple of guys who can type really fast, nonstop, for four hours straight.

I’m talking about, of course, my friend Dug and me.

You see, CyclingNews, I recently went back and watched an incredibly dramatic moment from the 2003 Tour de France: Stage 9, Bourg d’Oisans to Gap. Here it is on YouTube:

Pretty wild, isn’t it? But your stage reporting is…um…terse. So, Dug and I took the liberty of adding our own commentary. Kind of like we were Bob Roll, but there are two of us, and we work for a lot less money.

Below, we’ve taken your reporting, and added our own comments, exactly as we would have five years ago when this actually happened.

CN: 16:39 CEST, 175.5 km/9 km to go – Vinokourov’s attack is good, catching and dropping Casero and closing in on Parra and Jaksche, who are now together.

Vinokourov powers up to Parra and Jaksche and attacks immediately. Jaksche tries to hold him, and does.

Fatty: Well, what do you know. Vino’s attacking. How unusual.

Dug: I’m pretty sure he just gave Armstrong “The Look.”

Fatty: I guarantee you that Armstrong is going to sue Vino for trademark infringement. Nobody gets to give people "The Look" but him.

Fatty: I’ll bet you anything that Vinokourov’s a doper.

Dug: Why are Armstrong and company chasing so hard? I mean, who is this Vino guy? Isn’t he from Kazakhstan?

Hey. I just had a great idea for a movie about a guy from there. It’ll be a big comedy hit..

CN: 16:42 CEST    176.5 km/8 km to go - Armstrong and Heras are leading the peloton in pursuit of Vinokourov and Jaksche, who can’t hold the charging Kazakh any more. Vino has 20" with 1 km to go until the summit.

Vino crosses the top of the Côte de La Rochette, as Armstrong steps up the pace behind. Beloki, Ullrich, Basso, Mayo, Zubeldia all go with him. Armstrong’s pace making is good, but he’s still got 10 riders with him.

Dug: Really? Only twenty inches? That’s not much of an attack, if you ask me.

Fatty: You know what? I think Beloki ought to check his tire. It looks a little soft to me. And I think the pavement looks kind of oily.

Dug: No, I’m telling you, Beloki is a master descender.

Fatty: Hey, Basso just chucked out a banana peel. That doesn’t seem right.

Dug: No, I guarantee you: Armstrong couldn’t pick a better wheel to follow.

Fatty: How about that Basso? Betcha he’s a doper.

Dug: I’m pretty sure Ullrich just emptied a bottle full of cooking oil onto the road. Is that legal?

Fatty: Betcha Ullrich’s a doper, too.

Dug: Oh, this is terrific stuff. It’s like the old days, when riders would do anything to win. I once saw Merckx put a live scorpion down a competitor’s jersey.

CN: 16:45 CEST,  177.5 km/7 km to go -  Vino hits the descent with a 16" gap to Armstrong’s group, as the yellow jersey himself leads the chase. Beloki is also helping, as he is in second on GC. Bettini is on the back of the group, that contains all the top riders. Even Jaksche is hanging on.

Vinokourov took the points on the climb ahead of Armstrong, Beloki, Zubeldia and Mayo.

Fatty: If Beloki really wants to win, he ought to take the corners really fast. I understand hot pavement is awesome for improving traction.

Dug: Mayo seems a bit, well, temperamental doesn’t he?

Fatty: Totally. I bet you anything he’s a doper.

Dug: I expect great things from Mayo. You wait and see. He’ll be a great TdF GC contender for years to come.

Fatty: Did you notice that Armstrong is riding with tires that have surprisingly robust tread today?

Dug: Like cross tires.

Fatty: Yeah. Weird.

Dug: Seems like a bad move. What could possibly be the advantage?

Fatty: It makes no sense at all.

CN: 16:47 CEST    178.5 km/6 km to go - Beloki and Armstrong are leading the chase behind Vinokourov, who is flying with 6 km to go. This will be a close finish, but there is a 20" time bonus on the line… Look out for Bettini.

Dug: What kind of name is “Beloki” anyway?

Fatty: Yeah, it sounds like a sound effect. Like the sound a body makes when it hits the pavement at high speed, breaking bones and tangling with metal in the process. I’d rather have a last name like “Winsalot.”

Dug: Is Betinni officially a midget? he’s like 4 feet tall.

Fatty: I think they prefer to be referred to as “Adorable People.”

Dug: Is he riding on 20” wheels?

Fatty: Hey, you know how you can tell when Vinokourov is going to attack?

Dug: Tell me.

Fatty: If it’s been at least 3 minutes since his last attack.

Dug: I’m telling you, he should be checked for rabies. Seriously. I think he’s foaming at the mouth.

Fatty: Beloki’s looking good. That guy’s a solid rider.

Dug: Someone should tell those fans alongside the road that you’re not supposed to spray Pam all over it.

CN: 16:48 CEST, 180.5 km/4 km to go – This is a very technical descent, and Vino has lost a couple of seconds to Armstrong’s group on it. But he’s still clear. One mistake will cost him the stage.

Beloki loses it! Armstrong has to go down the grass embankment, taking a short cut. He amazingly gets back onto the group. Beloki is out though. He locked up his brakes just before a corner, and landed heavily on his hip.

Dug: Woah!

Dug: I mean: Woah!

Dug: Did you SEE that girl on the side of the road? She was HOT!

Fatty: Get up, Beloki. Shake it off. You’re fine. You think this race is going to win itself?

Dug: Merckx would be back up already. In fact, Merckx would have taken Armstrong down with him, bitten him, then taken his bike and ridden off.

Fatty: I’m just glad there’s a cyclist’s code, where everyone always stops to help an injured rider.

Dug: Yeah, look for Vino to slow up any second.

Fatty: I think Armstrong is just riding around in that field looking for first aid supplies.

Dug: How on earth did Armstrong manage that little cross country jaunt? No normal human being could possibly have ridden down that field, jumped off the bike, climbed over that embankment, and gotten back on the road. It’s like he’s had special forces training.

Fatty: I only hope they replay this moment on TV over and over for all eternity so that it gets burned into my psyche and I can never ever ever descend down a fast mountain road without having the image of Beloki go all ragdoll play through my brain.

Dug: What’s weird is that Tyler Hamilton pulled three muscles just witnessing the crash. And maybe broke a collarbone.

Fatty: Hamilton. Pfff. That guy’s totally a doper.

Dug: I’m pretty sure I heard Beloki’s femur crack from way up here in the booth.

Fatty: Merckx would have made a splint from one of his teammate’s top tubes and would be on the attack now.

CN: 16:50 CEST, 181.5 km/3 km to go - Beloki has two teammates with him, but is still lying there. That was a hard crash.

Vino has 3 km to go, and is certainly not going to wait for the rest.

Fatty: I don’t think the crash was that hard.

Dug: Yeah, Beloki is just milking it.

Fatty: If Armstrong had fallen, the entire peloton would have come to a complete stop out of respect, then withdrawn twenty paces to await instructions.

CN: 16:51 CEST - Ullrich, Hamilton , Armstrong, Zubeldia, Mayo are all working hard to try and catch Vinokourov. Behind them, Beloki still hasn’t got back up.

The gap to Vino is now 30."

Dug: Beloki STILL isn’t up?

Fatty: I think he may be napping.

Dug: What a baby.

Fatty: No doubt about it. He needs a good talking to.

CN: 16:51 CEST, 183.5 km/1 km to go - Vinokourov has 1 km to go, and is on track for a great stage win in a dramatic finale.

Armstrong will thank his lucky stars that he avoided that crash somehow.

Dug: Armstrong has lucky stars?

Fatty: Oh, that Vinokourov is such a doper.

Dug: No yellow moons? No blue diamonds?

Fatty: I’m beginning to think that beloki’s podium finish is in danger for this tour.

Dug: Seems like he could have at least crossed the line.

Fatty: Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be back next year, stronger than ever. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

CN: 16:53 CEST, 184.5 km/0 km to go - Vinokourov crosses the line, absolutely delighted with his win. Behind him, Bettini flies to take second place in front of Mayo and Armstrong.

Vino will move up to second on GC behind Armstrong, with Mayo in third now at 1′02.

Beloki has been taken away in an ambulance after locking it up on that last descent. A sad exit for him for this Tour, which held a lot of promise. But Vinokourov put them under a lot of pressure with his attack. Armstrong’s handling skills were pretty impressive to avoid that, and he was lucky there were no fences when he went cross country. Hamilton even patted him on the shoulder when they passed him after he’d got back in the pedals.

Dug: Hamilton TOUCHED Armstrong?

Fatty: I just saw the replay of where Hamilton touches Armstrong’s shoulder. HAMILTON’S ARM COMPLETELY FALLS OFF.

Dug: That’s going to adversely affect his sprint.

Fatty: Oh well. Anyway, that was a pretty good stage.

Dug: Yeah, I suppose.

As you can see, CyclingNews, we have a great deal of insight to add to your race coverage. We look forward to working with you as you cover the Tour de France this month.

Kind Regards,


The Fat Cyclist

Eight Hours Later

07.1.2008 | 7:32 am

Susan and I spent eight hours at the doctor yesterday. And to my amazement, I am not at all resentful. That’s probably because Susan only spent probably an hour or so in the waiting room (I spent considerably more time in the waiting room, but that’s fine — my job is to drive, listen, and ask questions).

The rest of the time, she was either being scanned, having scans read, or talking with the bone cancer surgeon. (Note to people who like details: Susan doesn’t have bone cancer, but since the cancer has metastasized to her bones and we’re looking at surgery, this surgeon was still a good person to talk with.)

Here’s how the day played out. I’m not going to go into details about how long each part took, because I don’t remember. All I can say is that this list covers what happened from 11am to 7pm.

  1. We drive to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We talk about how all our “together time” is spent driving to and from doctors. We also stop at the new Barbacoa grill close to where we live. Now we have an alternative to Wendy’s and Subways, and it’s a place I really like. Yay! I’ll be fatter soon!
  2. We arrive at the Huntsman Cancer Institute 15 minutes early — traffic was light and finding a parking spot was easy — and sign in.
  3. They take Susan away to go do X-Rays.
  4. I watch an episode from Dexter: Season 2 on my iPhone.
  5. Susan comes back. She reads her Kindle, I watch my iPhone. We both put on signs that say “Geek.”
  6. They bring us into a room.
  7. I go back to watching, Susan goes back to reading. We both know that being in a room doesn’t mean the waiting’s over.
  8. The doctor comes in. We give him the discs for CT scan, the bone scan, and the MRI we got last week. He says he’ll be back in half an hour or so; it takes a while to download these.
  9. We go back to watching / reading. I’m very glad I have five episodes on my phone.
  10. We stop watching / reading and start talking about whether we can cope with another hip surgery.
  11. The doctor comes back in. He says we have three options: 1. We can just do radiation. 2. We can carve out some of the bad stuff in her hip and replace it with high-tech surgical bondo. 3. We can do a complete hip replacement. He says he leans toward option 1, because it doesn’t look like Susan’s hip is in immediate danger of breaking. We both suddenly feel much, much better about the day.
  12. The doctor sends us over to another building to get a CT scan of Susan’s hip. Then he wants us to come back so we can make a decision about what to do immediately. The same day. Is this some kind of crazy alternate universe where patients come first?
  13. We drive the mile over to where Susan’s getting her scan. It’s non-contrasted, because the doctor doesn’t want to see what the tumors look like this time; he wants to see what the bone structure that remains looks like.
  14. They take her back immediately. No wait. At all. Seriously, is this the Twilight Zone?
  15. Five minutes later, she’s out. I didn’t even have time to get my iPhone out and start watching a show.
  16. We go back to the doctor and wait while he reads the CT scan results. I am now on my third episode of Dexter for the day. They should give everyone who is going to spend a lot of their lives in doctors offices iPhones and a big ol’ credit on iTunes.
  17. The doctor shows us the CT scans on a big computer monitor. They mean nothing to me. Rorschach blots. But the doctor says they confirm what he thought: surgery isn’t necessary at this time. We should start Susan on radiation on the hip — breast cancer is generally very responsive to radiation — and come back in three months if things get worse, or in six months if things get better.
  18. We go home. Relieved. Big time.

So: radiation, not surgery. It’s funny how your metric for what constitutes good news changes: “Oh boy! You have to go get heavy doses of radiation every day for four or five weeks to shrink the cancerous tumor in your hip!”

But compared to another hip replacement: you bet it’s good news. Great news, in fact.

PS: Tomorrow, more pre-TdF shenanigans.

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