Fight Cancer, Win a Cycling Trip to Italy

09.30.2008 | 12:53 pm

image If you could pick any place in the world to ride for a week, where would that place be?

The correct answer, by the way, is "Italy."

And, thanks to Ciclismo Classico, you may very well be riding in next year’s Maratona dles Dolomites.

This is, without question, one of the most awesome prizes — a $4000+ value — I’ve ever had on my blog. And all you need to do to get a chance at winning it is to donate $5.00 (or more) at Brad Stratton’s LiveStrong Challenge page.

What You Can Win
Ciclismo Classico is donating one slot in their weeklong Maratona of the Dolomites Tour for the week of June 29 2009. That includes accomodation and most meals, use of a bike, support, and an entry in the Maratona dles Dolomites, the largest amateur cycling event in Europe. And it ain’t easy to get an entry into this race.

So you won’t only tour in Italy, you’ll get to race in the Dolomites.

Folks, this is about as dreamy as dream vacations get.

By the way, if you win and the date of this particular tour doesn’t work for you, Ciclismo Classico will let you pick another 12-or-more-person tour to go on instead, as long as you go sometime in 2009. Sweet!

For more info about the Maratona of the Dolomites Tour, click here. For info about what’s included (and what’s not), click here.

Oh, and I’ll throw in a 2009 Fat Cyclist jersey, too, as long as you promise to send photos back of you wearing it during your trip.

Other Prizes
Of course, only one person’s going to win the Ciclismo Classico grand prize, but we’ve got cool second- and third-place prizes, too.

Not too shabby, eh?

image How to Win
I’m doing the Maratona of the Dolomites giveaway in much the same way I did the Ibis giveaway: you get virtual raffle tickets by donating to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, via Brad Stratton’s LiveStrong Challenge page.

This time, though, there’s a twist.

Like last time, $5.00 gets you one raffle ticket. But this time, as you donate more, you get additional — bonus — tickets. Here’s how:

  • $5 donation: 1 ticket
  • $25 donation: 5 tickets + 1 bonus ticket
  • $50 donation: 10 tickets + 3 bonus tickets
  • $100 donation: 20 tickets + 8 bonus tickets
  • $250 donation: 50 tickets + 25 bonus tickets
  • $500 donation: 100 tickets + 60 bonus tickets

The more you give, the more your chances improve. Click here to donate now.

All the money goes directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation — nobody’s skimming anything off the top.

When Is The Winner Announced?
This contest goes for One Week Only. I’ll choose winners randomly on Wednesday, October 8.

Why This Matters
Of course, it’s really cool that Ciclismo Classico is donating a trip, and it would be really cool if you won it. But the reason we do these raffles goes way beyond that. We’re having fun, but we’re also fighting cancer. And the Lance Armstrong Foundation is doing a great job in advancing this fight.

I’m doing this raffle with Brad because his mom is engaged in a very hard battle against cancer right now. I can identify with his need to do something to help. Not just help his mom, but help anyone and everyone who’s trying to win this fight.

Thanks very much joining in.

PS: A big thanks goes out to Brad for seeking out Ciclismo Classico, and to Ciclismo Classico for stepping up to the plate with an outstanding prize.


I Am Handily Defeated By My Sexism

09.29.2008 | 7:17 am

I don’t approve of sexism. I don’t want to be sexist. I try to not be sexist. Really, I do. But I sometimes fail. And I fail to not be sexist (take a moment to untangle that linguistic snarl if you would) more often when I am on my bike than anywhere else.

I have examples.

When racing, if a guy passes me I will only pursue if I think there’s a reasonable chance I can hang on. If a woman passes me, on the other hand, I will pursue no matter what.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s so I can club her and drag her back to my cave. Or to demonstrate my great skill at beating my chest and throwing leaves in the air. 

I just don’t want to be passed by a girl, that’s all. I’m sure I’m the only guy like this.

When riding with women, I generally don’t treat them any differently from men. They’re just part of the ride. However, I do seem to be more easily affected by trash talk.

Last Summer, for example, a group of us were riding the Nebo Loop. We were on the 20+ mile climb, and Sam, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name), and Dug had dropped me. "Fine," I thought to myself, "I’ll see if I can hang with Lisa and her friend."

So I did, and I could. I was riding at what felt like the perfect pace to me. And since it had been a while since I had ridden with Lisa — a good friend and neighbor for more than a decade — that was a bonus.

And then Lisa’s friend — sorry, can’t remember her name right now — said, "I can’t believe you have to ride with the girls."

Yep, just like that.

I couldn’t think of anything to say. The only possible redeeming response I could conceive of at the moment was to stand up and ride away, as fast as my legs would take me.

So I spent the rest of the ride in no-man’s (and no-woman’s, too) land, unable to catch the lead group, and unwilling to drift back.

You have no idea how difficult it is for me to be such a dork.

I recently got a chance to make a sexist fool of myself at Interbike, too. No, not in that picture with the booth babes. That wasn’t a sexist picture; that was a silly picture. If seven-foot-tall men in bear costumes had wandered by at Interbike, I would have gotten my picture with them, too, and for the same reasons.

Here’s where I’m being sexist:


What? You don’t think I’m being sexist here? You think I’m just riding a trainer? Well, that means you need to see me from a different angle:


You see how I’m being sexist here? Still no? OK, here’s a closeup of the same picture, this time of the screen (click the image for a larger view, if you need to):


You see, I’m trying out RacerMate’s VeloTron DynaFit Pro trainer, which puts you on a simulated course, then shows all kinds of interesting stats.

And there, on the screen in front of me, is…a woman.

So, even though I am in street clothes, even though people are staring at me in disbelief, and — above all — even though the woman is just videotaped, I am racing my heart out.

After a minute or so of this pursuit — during which the videotaped woman stubbornly stayed in front of me — I gaspingly asked the guy at the booth, "What does it take for me to pass this woman?"

"You can’t," he said. "It’s a videotape. When you go faster, so does she. You’ll pass her at the same point on the climb no matter what speed you’re going."

Oh. Yes, well. I suppose makes sense. In which case, I realized, I no longer cared about passing the woman.

In other words, it didn’t matter to me whether the woman was real or not…just whether I had a chance at demonstrating my manliness to her.

I slowed down and climbed off, realizing three very important things:

  1. I am part neanderthal. A bigger part than I would like to admit (even though I just did).
  2. A simulation-style trainer like this would be more fun if you could race actual people instead of a video where you pass people at certain points regardless of their speed (It looks like Tacx does this with the Fortius Multiplayer. Gee, I wonder if they’d like to loan me one?).
  3. I was sweating profusely. Actually, Kenny was the one who noticed this first. "Man, you are soaking through your shirt," he observed. "You’d better go towel off."

More important than any of that, though, is that I now have photographic evidence that when I feel like it, I can ride at a sustained 454 watts.

At least, I can when in the defense of my male chauvinist pig-dom. Which I’m sure is unique in the universe of male cyclists.

My question is: do women do the same thing? That is, do women (real ones, not the ones in virtual reality simulations) attack when guys go by?

I kind of suspect not. But I kind of hope so, because that would make me feel 30% less stupid about myself. Which would be nice.

Meeting Friends of Fatty

09.26.2008 | 11:33 am

I had three main purposes in attending Interbike this year:

  1. Talk at the Web 2.0 panel
  2. Goof off
  3. Write about goofing off

I also had a sub-agenda to start a rumor that I am also Bike Snob NYC, but I couldn’t seem to get any traction with that.

Along the way, I saw a bunch of very cool stuff, and met a lot of very cool people.

And — call it vanity if you must, since that’s what it is — I really, really enjoyed it whenever someone came up to me and said they like my blog and conveyed that their thoughts and prayers are with Susan. In many cases, it gave me a chance to — finally — put a face to a name (or, as happened several times, I would have no idea who the person was until they told me the handle by which they post).

Whenever it occurred to me, I asked Kenny to get a photo of me with folks. So here we are:









And I’m pretty sure a few of you got pictures with your own cameras. If you don’t mind, email them to me, so I can add them to this post.

I’ve got a few more Interbike-related things I want to write about in the next few days, but for right now it seems like a good way to kick off the weekend is to say thanks for reading my blog, and — more importantly — for supporting my wife and me. I’m an extremely lucky guy to have so many friends.

PS: And an extra-huge thanks goes to Kenny, who did a great job with the photos, had more than his fair share of ideas of what we ought to go look at next, and was generally fun to hang out with for five days.

PPS: And an even huger thanks goes to my ma-in-law, who did a great job of taking care of Susan and my family while I was gone.

Fatty Attends a Press Conference With Lance Armstrong

09.25.2008 | 11:50 am

I went to my very first-ever cycling related press conference yesterday, wherein Lance sat down and talked to the cycling press. Here he is, talking:


The following things happened at this press conference:

  • Lance told us everything he already talked about in New York yesterday. Namely, he’s going to Astana, his main objective is to campaign against cancer, and he can’t guarantee that he’ll win the Tour next year.
  • Greg Lemond was in the front row, and jumped in with the first question, and then wouldn’t shut up. He tried to turn this conference into an ad-hoc trial / referendum. It was stupid and obnoxious, and it wasn’t the right time for that kind of ambush. As soon as I get home tonight, I’m going to steam the decals of my Fillmore.
  • Eddy Merckx was also there, as a surrogate for his son Axel, who could not be there due to family medical reasons. I am pleased to say that I behaved exactly like the consummate journalist I am, by begging for a photo with Eddy.


I hereby declare this press conference a huge success.

I am TOTALLY the Star of Interbike

09.25.2008 | 12:44 am

A Note from Fatty: Be sure to check out the photo my sister got yesterday on her blog.

I am now a grizzled Interbike veteran, and so I would like to offer you a piece of advice to those of you who have not yet ever visited Interbike, but hope to someday.

When you first step onto the expo floor and you see all the carbon and Ti and aluminum and steel and gears and cables and tires and wheels and pedals, do your utmost not to throw your hands in the air, squeal, and run around in circles yelling "I’m in heaven I’m in heaven I’m in heaven I’m in heaven!" until you fall over.

Because others will not necessarily appreciate your candor, that’s why.

But that’s how you’ll feel. Seriously, it’s a bike geek’s dream, and there’s enough there for you to see for days and days and days.

And then, when you realize that you only have a couple of days to see months and months worth of bike-related wonderfulness, you will be tempted to run up and down the aisles as fast as you can, grabbing information at a breakneck pace, an idiot grin on your face.

Yeah, don’t do that either. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

So, anyway, after I finally got Kenny to calm down and get his shaking under control, we went and checked out some of the most awesome stuff there is to see.

With a definite emphasis on not looking at complete bikes.

Fatty is Starstruck
I’m pretty sure I’ve made my hero-worship of Scot Nicol / Chuck Ibis a matter of public record. So it shouldn’t surprise you at all that the first place we made a beeline for was the Ibis booth, which is a Streamline trailer, so that I could finally get a picture of me with Scot.


For some reason, he declined to autograph my chest. Jeez, how uptight can a guy be?

I then waxed nostalgic about the only bike I’ve ever truly regretted selling — my Ibis Ti Mojo. Scot agreed that I was stupid, which didn’t help me feel any better.

But the cool thing is, Ibis is in fact doing a special run of the Ibis Ti Mojo again. I’ll have to look under the couch and see if I have a few thousand dollars there.

Booth Babes, Part I
Then, as I was talking with Scot, all man-to-man and stuff, some booth babes walked by.

Kenny’s attention was diverted.

"Hey, would you mind posing for a picture with the Fat Cyclist?" Kenny asked.

Well, of course they would be happy to.

So here we are.


It’s kind of sad, really, how the one on the left had to kind of crouch to not be 8" taller than I am. Also, it’s kind of sad that it’s impossible to tell what their outfits are promoting. Seriously, you can’t tell, even in real life. Kenny tells me that he spent a good ten minutes staring at these girls and he still doesn’t know what their outfits were about. And finally, it’s kind of sad that I blinked as the photo was taken.

Not that any of you noticed that I blinked.

Booth Babes Part II
Kenny and I were very interested in a very innovative quick release skewer setup called "Clix." Instead of having to loosen the skewer by unthreading it, you just pull out the spring loaded tab. It’s fast and easy and really nice, especially for folks who have to remove wheels all the time — like I do any time I mount my bike on the truck’s fork-mounted rack.

In addition to its actual merits, Kenny was interested in seeing if he could win the speed wheel change competition Clix had going on — whoever during the course of the show could remove one wheel and then put another on would get $500.00.

Kenny took about nine seconds, which — at least at the time — put him in second place.

And of course, as a top scorer, Kenny was required to pose for a picture with the Clix booth babes.


Imagine, if you can, his disappointment.

When at Interbike, you can tell yourself you’re just objectively looking at all the bike wares there are to see, but that is of course a lie. There is some part of you that is at the show to look for something you want for yourself. In my case, that item is an adult-sized Big Wheel.

In Kenny’s case, it was an all-carbon bike saddle.

Kenny was not disappointed.

He found the Selle Italia SLR C64, and was unable to resist licking the glossy 85g miracle.


Kenny’s that way about carbon fiber. It’s a curse.

Oh, and I found the thing I was looking for, too.


But I didn’t lick it. That’s not my way.

I Am A Very, Very Important Panelist
Of course, the day wasn’t all goofing off for me. I sat in on the Web 2.0 panel, where I gave away a whole bunch of Fat Cyclist t-shirts (pretty sure I gave away about 60), to distract folks from the fact that I had nothing meaningful to contribute to the conversation. Here’s me, sneaking a look at my iPhone because somebody had asked me something about my site stats and I couldn’t remember what numbers I had most recently made up.


"Uh, yeah, it’s just like I said: I get 20,000,817 hits per day."

And here’s the rest of the panel.


And you know what’s really cool about this whole panel thing? Andy Freaking Pemberton (second from the right in that photo), publisher of VeloNews, gave me his business card after the panel. Which just goes to show: he hasn’t ever read my blog.

OK, really I did make what amounts to what I consider to be one really good point in the panel, which I will reiterate here: Web 2.0 is just a fancy and obscuring word for "neighborhood." Use the same techniques you would use to be a good neighbor when you build your site — be available, helpful, interested, interesting, and fun — and you’ll be just fine.

I’d tell you what the other people said during the panel, but I was too busy looking for opportunities to interrupt them and make the conversation be about me.

Oh, Oakley
Kenny and I capped off the day with a stop at the Oakley booth. There, Alyssa showed the upcoming-but-still-in-development replacement for my beloved Racing Jackets:


I’m afraid I might have gotten a little strident with regards to this news, seeing as how I replaced my seven-year-old Racing Jackets with yet another pair of Racing Jackets.

So I’m kind of slow to change. Fine.

Anyway, I told Alyssa that I demanded I be made a beta tester for these new glasses, seeing as how I’m all emotionally invested in them and stuff.

"Sounds good," she said, edging for the nearest exit.

But before all that happened, we all took turns vamping it up with some of Oakley’s finest.

Alyssa tried on some men’s glasses:


And then Kenny tried on some Bono glasses:


And I went for the recently-reissued Frogskins.


I am, after all, a product of the 80’s.

First thing tomorrow, Kenny and I are going to the press conference Lance Armstrong is doing, wherein he will give us details around his return to pro racing.

And then, of course, I will give you the straight scoop. Including, quite possibly, pictures.

After which, Kenny and I are going to go goof off on the convention floor some more.

I confess, I am having fun.

PS: Over at, I talk about my delightful experience with the Rock Racing booth.  

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