Look Sexy, Be Thrifty, Fight Cancer

03.9.2009 | 11:36 pm

Summer’s coming. Soon. Really soon.

Well, actually, I guess Spring’s coming before Summer. But I promise you, Summer will arrive very shortly thenafter. Like about three months thenafter.

And that ratty ol’ jersey you wore last year just isn’t going to suffice. Why not? Here’s why:

  1. It smells terrible. Seriously, it does. Ask any of your riding friends. Or, if you don’t have any riding friends, that pretty much answers your question, too.
  2. It doesn’t fit. You’ve lost a buncha weight since last year. Or you’re planning to lose a buncha weight by the time Summer comes. Or maybe you’ve gained a lot of weight and have made peace with that fact. One way or another, you’re a different size, and it’s time to attire yourself appropriately.
  3. It’s not even close to sexy enough. Unless it’s another Fat Cyclist jersey, in which case it’s plenty sexy, but you don’t want to be sexy on only one ride between washes, do you? (And if by chance you wear your bike clothes multiple times between washes I’d like you to go re-read and mentally underscore point #1, above. Thank you. From all of us.)

image More than any of those reasons, though, is the big one: The new Team Fatty jerseys are now available for pre-order, with delivery in the beginning of June.

Again, let me make that clear: we are now pre-ordering, for delivery in the beginning of June.

I should also point out that while we always order a few extras, those few extras generally are gone within a few hours. So if you want one, you should pre-order.

And you want one. You know you do.

A Little Bit About Team Fatty

Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan is a big ol’ group of cyclists (and a few runners and even one triathalete) raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer. There are now more than 360 of us. We’re the top fundraising team in all four event cities: Austin, Seattle, San Jose, and Philadelphia, so we’d darn well better have some matching outfits when we line up at the various LiveStrong Challenges.

Show Me The Jerseys Already

Here’s the men’s short-sleeve version: 


What’s cool, though, is that for both men and women, this Team Fatty special edition jersey will also be available in sleeveless. For both men and women.


(Don’t worry, by the way: the sleeveless jerseys are professionally done — they’re not just sheared off by the Twin Six guys during one of their (all-too-common) bouts of drunken scissors rage.)

To order jerseys, click one of the below links. (All jerseys $75)

Get a Great Deal, Feel Good About Yourself

Here’s the thing, though: whether you are a card-carrying, fund-raising member of Team Fatty or not, you’re going to want to get yourself some Team Fatty garb.

Here’s why:

  • 40% of Your Fat Cyclist Gear Purchase Goes to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Yep, when you buy one of the Team Fatty jerseys, 40% of the price of that $75.00 jersey (ummm, that works out to…lessee…$30 per jersey) goes to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And since we’ll be donating that through the Team Fatty fundraising pages, you’ll be helping us stay the top fundraising team in all four cities.
  • You’ll Get An Excellent Deal. If you spring for one of the Team Fatty Bundles, you’ll get about 20% off the retail price, in addition to automatically making that 40% donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Why are the Twin Six guys so cool about giving up all their profits to fight cancer and make you look good? I don’t know, but I’m thinking of making up some kind of humanitarian award, just so I can give it to them.

Short-Sleeved Bundle

With the Short-Sleeved Team Fatty Bundle, you get a jersey, bibshorts (men) or shorts (women), armwarmers, the newly-designed socks, and the newly-designed water bottle.

Sleeveless Bundle

With the Sleeveless bundle, you get a Team Fatty jersey, bibshorts (men) or shorts (women), the newly-designed socks, and the newly-designed water bottle.


To order Team Fatty Bundles, click one of the below links.

This Won’t Last Forever

The Team Fatty jersey pre-order extravaganza is for one week only. It ends Tuesday, March 17, 5:00pm CT.

[True fact: Every time I do a pre-order, someone puts it off until it's too late and then emails me asking if I can make an exception. Please do not be this person.]

Whether you’re working your butt off raising funds or simply showing support by flying the flag, thanks for being a part of Team Fatty.


My Super-Secret Strategy for Being Fast This Year

03.9.2009 | 2:53 pm

How do you know you’ve gained some pounds over the winter? Frankly, it’s just not easy to tell. But if you notice any or all of the following, it’s possible you’ve gained some weight:

  • You find yourself unwilling to get on the scale.
  • Your comfortable clothes, aren’t.
  • Your fat pants fit a little tight.
  • Your bike shorts function as an increasingly effective tourniquet.
  • You find that your favorite riding position is no longer possible, what with new obstructions and such.
  • You have to loosen your helmet straps, because your head is thicker. Oh, and maybe your neck is, too.
  • You suddenly find yourself drawn not to climbs, but to flat rides.
  • Your “sucking in stomach” pose shows approximately the same amount of stomach as you used to show before striking the “sucking in stomach” pose.

Now, ordinarily I would pass these symptoms off as belonging to someone else, but not this year. This year I am proud of my largeness. Why? Two reasons.

  1. I am at a personal all-time high, weightwise. 188 pounds (OK, I was higher at one point when I was on steroids, but that was cheating). I believe one should always take pride in setting a new record.
  2. This is all part of my brilliant plan to be incredibly fast this year.

How Being Fat Is A Brilliant Racing Strategy
The problem with being a featherweight cyclist is that it takes more time to get a workout. You’re so light that hill climbs are practically no effort at all; you never get to experience the glorious feeling of exhaustion that can only be brought on by hauling 50 pounds of lard up the mountain.

I, on the other hand, get that kind of workout every time I get on my bike.

So you tell me: who’s getting the more intense workout? Who’s muscles are working harder? Who’s developing a set of quads powerful enough to leg-press a cement truck?

And, not least of all: Who’s legs are not only fighting gravity, but the squoosh of knees into stomach with every turn of the crank? And I’ll have you know: that squoosh is not trivial (although in the interest of full disclosure I should point out that there is a corresponding de-squoosh on every downstroke, wherein a measured 72% of the energy expended in squooshing the knee into my stomach is returned to the knee).

Step Two
Now that I have succeeded in part I of my brilliant and well-considered plan, some of you may think that I need to lose that weight.

The problem is, if I lose it too gradually, I run the risk of losing the power I have gained along with my magnificent girth.

Which is why I am not losing any weight at all right now. Instead, I will lose it all really fast, later.

I will let you know how I plan to do that when I figure it out myself. I’m man enough to admit that there are minor aspects of my plan that are not yet perfect. Still, I consider this a trivial detail and am not concerned about losing the weight. How hard can it be?

In short, 35 pounds of flub I’m carrying around right now isn’t a tragic failure of willpower.

It’s a strategy.

PS: It’s good to be back.

PPS: Tomorrow I unveil the Team Fatty jerseys for pre-order. And yes, I said “jerseys,” not “jersey.” And no, I don’t just mean that there are men’s and women’s versions. I. Am. So. Mysterious.

“Because It’s There” Is a Stupid Answer

03.8.2009 | 4:00 am

In 1924, a New York Times reporter asked George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. Mal (his friends call him “Mal”) replied, “Because it’s there.”

It’s a witty, quotable line, as evidenced by the fact that a krazillion people have since tried to sound witty while quoting it.

Unfortunately, unless you’re George Mallory and it’s 1924, giving “because it’s there” as your reason for doing something is not witty. It’s stupid, and it’s a lie. Please do me a favor and never say it again, especially if someone asks you why you bike.

Think for a moment. There are a near-infinite number of things that are “there.” If your reason for doing something–endurance mountain biking, for example–is because it’s there, you must also eat every single Big Mac on inventory at the local McDonalds, because they are there, too. And you’re going to need to learn to riverdance, because that’s there too. And look, just over that hill: there are some yaks that need shearing. And if I remember correctly, nobody’s manned a mission to Mars.

In short, you’ve got a lot of stuff to do if you’re going to use “because it’s there” as your primary criterion for doing something.You’d better get hustling.

My Reasons
Since I’m going to be all snippy about giving bogus cliches as my motivation for biking, I suppose I’d better have some actual, real reasons for why I do endurance rides and races.

  • Because I can. I made it to my 30th birthday with the firm belief that I have no athletic ability at anything at all. Then I discovered that while I am not necessarily fast or technically capable, I can turn the cranks over nearly indefinitely. It’s my gift.
  • Because I like it. Endurance rides make me happy. I like planning them. I like starting them. I like being with friends when I’m riding them. I like finishing them. Now, there are big chunks of time during any given endurance ride when I’m completely miserable, but the fact that I’m miserable but am not giving up makes me happy. This is probably perverse, but there it is.
  • Because I like to tell stories. Long before I started this blog, I wrote stories about my long rides and sent them to friends or posted them on a web site I created because I like having people read my stories.

Your Reasons
So, why do you ride the way you ride? If you’re a downhiller, why do you downhill? If you’re a roadie, why? If you’re a trackie, why do you like to go around in circles?

I want to know. Really, I do.

PS: This post rescued from my Spaces archive. Originaly posted 18 August 2009 2006.

Dignity, and the Lack Thereof

03.7.2009 | 4:00 am

Monday (Labor Day), Kenny and I rode the Mt. Nebo Loop: 112 road miles, 7,717 feet of climbing. It’s quite possibly the best road loop in Utah, and Kenny and I picked a perfect day for it. The weather was mild, the mountain was beautiful, traffic was negligible, and we had a tailwind on the 40 miles of flat road at the end of the ride. (You can look at the climbing, speed, distance and other data for this ride at http://eldennelson.motionbased.com — Click on Mt. Nebo Loop.)

Really, it was just about perfect.

Except for just one thing.

About 2/3 of the way up the 22-mile-long climb, I noticed that my left shoe was sliding around on my left pedal. Which meant the cleats were loose. I knew without even bothering to look that I’d need a Phillips screwdriver. What I also knew without bothering to look was that I had no tools with me whatsoever. Kenny didn’t have any either.

So, I did the obvious thing: I started looking for a vehicle parked on the side of the road, one that looks like it might have a screwdriver. A truck, for example, would be a good bet. A Porsche Boxster would be a less-good bet.

Before long, I happened on a truck on the side of the road. There was nobody in it, though. I continued on until — surprise! — I saw a guy sitting on the side of the road about 20 feet from the truck. I could immediately tell that he was trying to spot elk. How could I tell? Camouflage, binoculars, and elk hunting season might have something to do with it.

“What luck,” I thought to myself. “This guy’s right by his truck and is doing nothing in particular! I’ll bet he’ll be happy to loan a cyclist a screwdriver.”

So I rolled up to him, slowing to a stop, and saying “Hi” to catch his attention.

And it’s a good thing I got his attention before I came to a stop, because if I hadn’t, he wouldn’t have witnessed the following sequence of events:

  1. I came to a complete stop, still clipped in.
  2. I started tilting, slightly to my left.
  3. I swung my left foot out, to clip out of my pedals.
  4. My cleat and pedal remained firmly attached to one another.
  5. I continued tipping to my left.
  6. I tried more desperately to unclip.
  7. I stayed clipped in.
  8. I crashed heavily on my left side, three feet from the man in camouflage.
  9. I said, “Oof!”
  10. I struggled to get from under my bicycle for an eternal minute, eventually removing my shoe so I can separate myself from the stupid thing.
  11. I asked the incredulous-looking man if he could loan me a screwdriver.

Evidently, three of the four screws that fastened my cleat to my shoe had come out, so that the cleat pivoted freely around the final screw.

Luckily, the man did have a screwdriver. I tightened the one remaining screw into the cleat, then removed one of the screws from my right shoe’s cleat and moved it over to the left shoe. And thus was I able to salvage the ride, though not my dignity.

You know what, though? I can’t help but wonder how the hunter tells this story. I imagine it begins with, “So I was just sitting there minding my business when this stinky, sweaty pansy in skin-tight shorts rode his bike right up to me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fear for my safety. Then the guy just fell over on his side for no reason whatsoever and started wrestling with his bicycle.”

Then he and his friends would speculate for hours — and rightly so — on what this strange event meant.

PS: This post rescued from my Spaces archive. Originally posted 09/06/06.

Local Cyclist Attacked: Exclusive Interview

03.6.2009 | 4:27 am

A Note from Fatty: Yes, the following really happened. Thanks to Dug for conducting this interview, and to Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) for confronting the unknown.

Salt Lake City, September 17 – Today we interview local cyclist and alleged “hero,” Rick Sunderlage (not his real name). Last Thursday evening, Sunderlage, a resident of Draper, UT, stopped in the Corner Canyon area below Lone Peak for a quick mountain bike ride on the way home from work. He planned to climb the new Boulevard Trail to the Hog Hollow saddle, climb to Jacob’s Ladder, and descend Jacob’s and the Squirrel Trail down to his vehicle.

Fate, however, had other plans for Sunderlage. A relaxing ride quickly turned into something else—an encounter in a rainstorm with a ferocious, mythical beast.

Rick, tell us a little about yourself.

Well, there’s not much to tell, really. I like to ride bikes.

Are you any good?

Ask around. I’m kind of a big deal.

Ha, ha, okay then. Anyway. Tell us what happened Thursday evening.

Sure. So I’m on my way home from work, it’s about 6pm. I’m thinking, I just want to get a quick climb and descent in before dinner, you know, just stretch the legs a bit. I park at the bottom of the Boulevard, a nice winding, brand new singletrack that climbs from Corner Canyon to the Hog’s Hollow saddle.

Are you sure you don’t mean Hog Hollow? I mean, have you actually seen a hog up there? You know that the hogs don’t actually own . . .

Dude, chill.

Yeah, sorry. Anyway. You’re climbing the Boulevard, in the trees, just enjoying yourself.

Right. Just climbing, all alone, no big deal. Suddenly . . .

Did you say “suddenly?”

Yeah, why?

Well, seems like you’d have had some warning. Nothing really happens “suddenly.”

Seriously, chill. Let me talk.

Um. Okay. Sorry. Go ahead. Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever. . .

Whatever. Anyway. I see a very large white animal on the trail ahead of me, and I figure it’s a horse, since I’ve spent the last ten minutes dodging nice fresh horse crap all over the trail. But as I get closer, I realize it’s a mountain goat. Now I know you’re going to say, “Mountain goats don’t come down to 5,000 feet, least of all to 5,000 feet a quarter mile from several well-populated neighborhoods.” But don’t you think I was thinking the same thing? Of course I was. I was thinking “No Way, a mountain goat all the way down here? Cool.”

That is cool.

I just said that.

I know; I just wanted to . . .

Just let me tell it, okay?

You chill.

No, you chill.

Just tell the story.

Shut up. Okay then. So, like I said, mountain goat, right in the trail, like fifteen feet in front of me. It’s huge, and has quite a rack.

hee hee.

Dude, grow up.


So after we stare at each other for what seems like forever, the goat just turns and walks up the trail. I just get back on the bike and start climbing again. About five minutes later, I come around a pretty tight corner, trees all around, and suddenly, and yes, I mean SUDDENLY, I hear very loud snorting and huffing, and something moving very fast. The freaking mountain goat had climbed the trail ahead of me, hidden around a corner, and was ambushing me.

Shut up.

Seriously. He’s charging me at a full sprint, head down, huge rack of horns coming right at me. So I jump off the bike and swing it around in front of me and I start yelling like crazy.

What did you yell?


What did you say when you yelled?

Really, just shut up and let me talk.


So the goat runs right up to me, and actually runs into my Gary Fisher Rig, which I’m holding between us. I’m thinking I’m dead, that my only hope is the goat gets his horns tangled in my bike and I can get away. But as soon as he hits my bike, he stops, and just stares at me. After I yell some more, he gives me a long stare and then takes off into the scrub oak and I can see him circling around behind me.

Like he’s stalking you?

Right, he’s following me. I get back on my bike and just keep climbing. And by now, it’s raining like crazy, so I can’t see or hear that well. I feel like I’m being stalked by the damned Chupacabra.

Really? The Chupacabra?

Yeah. You know, the goat sucker.

Oh, I know what the Chupacabra is.

Anyway, the Chupacabra is after me. I get to the saddle, and decide, maybe it’s best not to head to Jacobs and the Squirrel, so I just turn and take a good long look around to see if the goat is still after me, and I head down. I never saw him during the entire descent, but I fully expected him to jump out from around every corner and knock me off my bike and trample me.

You know the Chupacabra isn’t real, right?

All right, that’s it. We’re done.

PS: This post rescued from my Spaces archive. Originally posted 9/18/06.

« Previous Page« Previous Entries     Next Entries »Next Page »