A Farewell to My Left Pinky

10.15.2008 | 8:00 am

I don’t think I’ve ever loved a road or trail the first time I’ve ridden it. No, the first ride is always a little anxious: will this road expose my weaknesses (technical downhilling) or play to my strengths (umm…)? Will I get lost (yes, I constantly worry about getting lost)?

And the biggy: Will I run out of steam before I run out of ride?

The truth is, I don’t really start liking a road route / trail until I’ve ridden it three or five times.

And I expect it’s not at all insignificant that all of my very favorite rides are ones I’ve been on for years and years.

Likewise, while I’m always excited to get a new bike, I am usually at a loss for an answer when — during the inaugural outing — someone asks how I like it. Because usually I just don’t know yet. There’s too much new about it. The geometry is new, the parts are new, maybe even the kind of bike is new.

How does the new bike feel? It feels new. I’l get back to you on how I like it after I’ve been riding it for a month.

So something occurred to me yesterday: Practically everything I like about biking has to do with familiarity and tradition.

I like riding the trails and roads I’ve been riding for years — in fact, when we moved back to Utah, my one stipulation to Susan was that I wanted to be close to American Fork Canyon.

I like riding with the friends I’ve ridden with for years. I’ve known the guys in the Core Team for a minimum of 8 years. Most I’ve known since before Susan and I had kids.

And I like events that I’ve done for years. Like the way I’ve done the Leadville 100 an even dozen times now. I don’t keep doing that race because I’ve got something to prove (though I’d definitely like to prove something). I keep doing it because I love the tradition of the event.

In other words, I like cycling because — in addition to the exercise and adventure — it is one of the best constants in my life. I like it for its familiarity and tradition.

Fall Moab
So, with that said, you should be able to guess why I’m excited for November 7-9. It’s when a bunch of us — the core team and a number of core team interns — get together for a long weekend of riding. It’s a perfect storm of mountain biking tradition: it’s the guys I like riding with, riding trails I love to ride, in an annual event that becomes increasingly storied.

And as of last night, the first part of the Fall Moab tradition happened: Kenny sent out his annual Fall Moab poster (usually based on a recent film).


Kenny is a genius.

Hard Question

I have to ask myself: is this gravitation toward the familiar a sign (ie, yet another sign) that I’m getting old? That I’m set in my ways and uninterested in trying something new?

Or am I normal (at least in that regard)? Do all cyclists gravitate to the familiar?

Here’s a way to test how important tradition in cycling is to you: Which would you rather give up: your favorite ride, or one of your fingers?

Some of you will respond, quite sensibly, "There are always new rides out there; I’ve only got the fingers I’ve got."

As for myself, I saw the question as an interesting challenge to figure out which finger I use least.


Monday Grab Bag

10.13.2008 | 10:02 am

A Note from Fatty: Everyone makes choices as to what’s important enough to spend a lot of time with, and I’ve (clearly) made a decision that this blog is one of those things.

The thing is, without my noticing it (until very recently), my life has gotten out of balance. There are people and things I have neglected, and I need to make some adjustments.

I know I’m being vague here. That’s on purpose. I’ve got my reasons.

What I’m saying is, expect kinda light posting for a bit, starting with this grab bag of non-related-but-still-interesting tidbits.

CycleDog Flies the Fat Cyclist Flag on TV
CycleDog was on the Tulsa, OK news recently, talking about why he bike commutes…and he’s wearing a
pink Fat Cyclist jersey while doing so.

Nice work, CycleDog!


About the Raffle Second Place Winner
A lot of you were wondering — as was I — why the second place winner for the raffle last week didn’t bother emailing me.

Well, it turns out she had a pretty good reason: she was in Hawaii, kicking butt at the Kona Ironman. Congratulations, Charisa Wernick, on a great race, and on winning second prize in the Ciclismo Classico raffle!

I’ll let Charisa tell a little about herself:

My blog is, http://charisawernick.blogspot.com/. I am a triathlete, in Hawaii right now. This was my 2nd time competing in the Kona IronMan.

I sell microscopes for a living – it’s a small business that my Dad and I run. (www.microscopeworld.com). My husband recently started cycling (I’ll be giving the jerseys I won to him, so THANK YOU!).

I absolutely love cycling – it’s so awesome how many places your bike can take you!

You know something I’m noticing? Every time I learn something about any of the Fat Cyclist readers, I’m fascinated by who they are, why they ride, and what they do. I seriously have no idea why I have such an interesting set of readers / friends, but I like it.

Be sure, by the way, to read Charisa’s account of her race. It’s almost enough to make me want to try triathlons. Except for the swimming part, which I continue to never want to do.

And her description doesn’t help.

About That Ride for Awareness
Last Saturday, I showed up at SLC Bicycle for Trek’s Annual WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Ride.

Rain, wind, and snow showed up, too.

My intentions were good, but my threshold for pain was low. Which is to say, while I originally intended to do the 25-mile version, I made a game-time decision to do the ten mile version, and even that seemed a little long.

I am a pansy.

The good news, though, is others across the country showed up for the ride, raising money and awareness for one of the most common forms of cancer there is.

And a couple people sent me photos. Here’s Ro and Laurie, after their ride in Ventura (Ro drove 1.5 hours to get to the ride — way to go, Ro!):


And here’s Clay’s twin girls before their ride in Stillwater:


I think Clay will agree with me: there’s nothing better than to be a dad of twin girls (at least at this age — I reserve the right to reassess once they’re teenagers).Big props to Trek for supporting the fight against cancer (and for making that the focus of their current home page).

The 2009 Fat Cyclist Jerseys are Shipping

10.10.2008 | 6:32 am

A Note from Fatty: You need to go on a ride tomorrow, right? Well, why don’t you go on Trek’s Breast Cancer Awareness Ride? I’ll be at the ride starting at the SLC Bicycle Co, wearing my awesome new 2009 Fat Cyclist jersey. I plan to bring a few more of these jerseys to give away. If you’re inthe SLC area, why don’t you register and come ride with me? And if you’re not in the SLC area, why don’t you register and go ride starting from the Trek dealership near you?

As many of you have commented, the 2009 Fat Cyclist jerseys have arrived from manufacturing. Those of you who pre-ordered are starting to get them. Once all the exchanges are taken care of, so that everyone who pre-ordered has a jersey that fits, we’ll put the rest up for sale. Probably in late November.

My opinion is these are the best-made, most-comfortable Fat Cyclist jerseys yet. And now they’re manufactured in the U.S., even.

My twins think they make fantastic PJs.


Of course, I was only able to get them to smile for the above picture if I promised to let them pose how they wanted for another.


I have no idea where they get their goofy sense of humor.

PPS: the hidden-behind-the-center-pocket message is awesome. And so true!

(Some of) The Winners

10.9.2008 | 12:33 pm

In my entire life, I believe I have won exactly zero raffle-style drawings. Random numbers seem to avoid me, for some reason.

So I can’t help but get excited when I get to tell someone else that they’ve won something big — I know it’s as close to winning a drawing as I’m ever going to get.

This morning I got to send out email to the three winners in the Ciclismo Classico Cycling Trip in Italy or France raffle. The thing is, one of the winners — the second place winner, in fact — hasn’t yet responded. So, if you entered the contest, you might want to check your email. You may be a winner and not even know it yet.

Meanwhile, let’s meet the winners who have responded.

Minehaha Canvas Grocery Bag Pannier Third-Prize Winner: Steve Campbell
Steve, of Seattle, WA, wins the Minehaha Canvas Grocery Bag Pannier, a case of Usinger Brats, and a 2009 Fat Cyclist jersey. Here’s what Steve has to say about himself:

First off thanks, it already felt good to give money to a worthy cause.

The last thing I won was a trip at a minor league baseball game about thirty years ago, and that includes all of the criteriums I entered in college.

My wife Katherine and I have been married 3 years. We decided to tempt fate this year and buy a tandem (aka the divorcycle). This has been great because now Katherine wants to go for rides, and I might be able to fulfill my lifelong dream of getting a speeding ticket on a bike.

I also own two other road bikes. I’m hoping space in the garage will open up for a third bike someday. It’s the one sport I’m where I feel like I’m actually above average, and unlike golf and tennis I get better at it the more I do it.

Congrats, Steve!

David Hartley Grand Prize Winner: David Hartley
David, of Cape Town, South Africa, gets to make the very difficult decision of racing in the Dolomites or riding the routes and seeing the stages of the Tour de France. I don’t envy him having to make that choice.

No, that’s stupid. I totally envy him.

Here’s some of what David has to say about winning:

I will have to do some more reading up and decide which trip to take, though right now I’m leaning towards Italy. I’ve got to admit that I just donated because it was a worthy cause. The possibility of winning something was just a bonus!

I’ve been riding for about 10 years, and have amassed a good collection of bikes: 1 road and 2 mtb. I’m afraid that you have not convinced me about a single speed bike yet!

dilbertI just returned from a mtb holiday in France, Les Get, playing around in bike parks. Probably one of my best holidays. I’m currently being
counting the pennies to try get back next year and also do some road riding, so now I’m super stoked! I may have to sneak in some mtb afterwards.

As an electrical engineer I, of course have just been seen doing the engineer’s victory dance. Work colleagues are looking at me strangely.

All I ask, David, is that you send some pictures of your trip to post.

Chest Thumping, Etc.
The coolest thing of all about this raffle, as far as I’m concerned, is that in one week, you all raised around $20,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

That’s remarkable.

Huge thanks again go to Ciclismo Classico, for being extremely generous in donating a cycling tour this way. This probably goes without saying, but I will anyway: I’m a big fan of supporting companies that do the right things for the right reasons like this. At some point in my life I’m going to go on a cycling tour, and you can bet it will be with these guys.

And finally, a giant thanks out to Brad Stratton, who had the idea for this raffle and did all the heavy lifting in pulling it off, all as a very meaningful tribute to his mom and her fight against cancer.

Popcorn 2.0

10.8.2008 | 11:55 am

A Note from Fatty: I misunderstood when Brad is going to do the drawing for the winners of the Italy / France Cycling Trip with Ciclismo Classico. That is, I thought he was going to do the drawing this morning, but he actually won’t have time to download all the names and choose the winners until tonight. Which means you have a few more hours to donate and possibly win the cycling tour of your dreams.

A “Come Ride With Me This Saturday” Note from Fatty: I think it’s very cool that Trek is doing a Breast Cancer Awareness Ride this Saturday. There will be rides starting at Trek stores all across the US and Canada. All proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Click here to learn more, to find out where you can join a ride, and to register. For what it’s worth, I’ll be at the ride starting at the SLC Bicycle Co, wearing my awesome new 2009 Fat Cyclist jersey. I plan to bring a few more of these jerseys to give away. If you’re inthe SLC area, why don’t you register and come ride with me? And if you’re not in the SLC area, why don’t you register and go ride starting from the Trek dealership near you?

I am always so happy when Autumn arrives. I love the cool mornings. I love the way the air feels. I love that every ride I do is strictly for fun. No training allowed.

Above all, though, I love eating with wild abandon, telling myself that I’ll get back on track “after the holidays.”

Yeah, I’m already starting my holiday eating. I like to start early.

And so it was that last night I looked forward to a delightful evening of watching the Presidential debate, while eating my favorite TV-watching snack.

Well, I’m not afraid to say that I was mightily disappointed in the debate itself.

I mean, where was Ross Perot? You can’t have a debate without Ross Perot! Stupid two-party system and its exclusionary ways.

We’ll get ‘em in 2012, Ross. Just you wait and see.

New Favorite
While I was justifiably angry that my candidate had been shut out of the debate (thus virtually guaranteeing there would be no flipcharts or colorful metaphors), I did have some comfort: I had a big bowl of my new favorite snack all ready to go.200810081103.jpg


You know, it’s even fun to say. Try it: “Edamame” (Ed-uh-MAH-may).

Now, say it again, over and over, in a singsong voice: “Edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame, edamame!”

Hoo, that’s living. I tell you.

To tell the truth, I don’t know whether I’m the first or last person in the world to fall in love with edamame, so I’m going to be cautious and guess that at least a few of you haven’t tried it yet.

In other words, I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about edamame, and the wonderfulness thereof.

What it Is
Edamame is — very simply — not-yet-ripe soybeans, still in their pods (they look like peas in the pod), boiled in saltwater.

This description, of course, completely fails to make the sale.

What Edamame really is, of course, is popcorn, but better.

Why I Love Edamame
I have a love-hate relationship with popcorn. I love that it’s a fun finger food. I love how easy it is to prepare. I love to grab it by the handful, then eat it in big mouthfuls, or one kernel at a time. I love that it’s salty. And buttery.

Mmmmm. Buhhhhtter.

I hate, though, what those little kernel slivers do. At best they’re going to wedge between your teeth, forcing you to get out innumerable sharp implements to clear away the debris. At worst, those little slivers wedge up between your teeth and gums, which — by an admittedly casual reading — means that movie theaters are in violation of the Geneva Convention.

And then, after eating popcorn through the duration of a film, you feel ill and slightly ashamed.

Edamame has all the benefits (with one notable exception), and none of the problems of popcorn.

  • It’s easy to prepare: Just boil some water, throw in some salt, and then throw the edamame in for about five minutes. Then, take out the edamame and shake a bunch of sea salt (my sister Jodi got me some Maldon Flaked Sea Salt for this purpose, and it’s about the best thing ever) on it, making it salt-tastic.
  • It’s fun to eat: The pods crack when you boil them, so getting the edamame out is easy. Just pinch one of the beans, and out it squeezes. I find that if you squeeze them just right, they shoot hilariously across the room, possibly blinding lookers-on. That’s their problem. People should know to wear protective eyewear when I’m eating.
  • It’s salty. I think this may have something to do with the fact that I both boil the edamame in saltwater and then salt the pods afterward.
  • It’s delicious: Actually, I don’t think the edamame itself has much of a taste at all. But it’s a good salt-delivery vehicle. Which is a lot like being delicious. Maybe it’s time I admit I have a problem.
  • You can pretend it’s good for you: When you’re eating edamame, you’re eating protein, and hardly any fat at all. Of course, you’re also getting 10^7 times your recommended daily dose of salt, but if there wasn’t something bad for you about it, it wouldn’t be a snack, would it?

You see, the only way edamame falls short is in its lamentable lack of buttery flavor.

Hey, waitasec. I just realized: I could add butter. Just because nobody else does doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

I am a genius!

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