Oh, Now I Remember

05.11.2009 | 11:19 pm

A Note for 100 Miles of Nowhere Racers from Fatty: 200905112217.jpg Team Fatty (Philadelphia) member Clay Frost recently observed a glaring problem in the 100 Miles of Nowhere: there are no race bibs. Cleverly, he has had several printed up, and you can get one — even if you’re not actually in the race, which is confusing but cool — for the measly price of $5.00, donated to Clay’s LiveStrong Challenge account. This is a genius idea, frankly, and I hope you’ll get yourself a bib (pictured here) and wear it proudly on race day. And be sure to send me a photo.

By the way, you can’t have bib #001. That’s mine, because I — as the only entrant, sure — won last year’s race.

To get your race bib in time for the race, click here to go donate $5 at Clay’s LiveStrong Challenge page. Right now.

As part of your donation, Clay will have your address, so you shouldn’t have to do anything else to get the bib. Thanks!

200905112234.jpgAnother Note for 100 Miles of Nowhere Racers: Neil C wins the “Jumping the Gun” award by having already completed the 100 Miles of Nowhere — two weeks before the event actually began. I would like to compliment Neil on his fortitude, his intensity, his speed (almost exactly nine hours), and his apparent ability to bend the rules of space and time.

Based in Rochester, MN, Neil rode a 0.95-mile neighborhood loop on his Specialized Epic MTB enough 106 times. A 75-foot climb on each lap meant that Neil climbed 8000+ feet during his ride.

Says Neil, “It took until after mile 80 for any of the neighbors I didn’t know to say anything.” And then he warns, “This was extraordinarily boring.”

But in a good way, right, Neil?

Oh, Now I Remember

Every winter, my perception of road cycling somehow gets warped. I’m pretty sure this has to do with all the time I spend on the rollers. After months and months of riding my road bike in place, I somehow start to think that my cumulative distaste for the whole ride-in-place thing includes the bike itself.

Somehow, I manage to think of riding the rollers as the same thing as riding the road.

Thus, by the time good weather arrives (and I have definitely become a fair-weather rider during the past few years), I have no interest at all in taking the road bike out. “Let it stay upstairs with the rollers where it belongs,” I think.

And I ride my mountain bikes, exclusively, for weeks on end.

Eventually, though, there will be some external circumstance that forces me to get out the road bike: usually a hard rain at night, followed by a beautiful morning. Too muddy to hit the dirt, but too perfect a day to not go for a ride.

Oh well. I may as well haul out the ol’ road bike.

Annual Revelation

And then, every year, I rediscover the fact that road bikes are every bit as wonderful as mountain bikes. I would say, in fact, that this annual revelation is emphasized by my low expectations, and what I’ve come to expect a bike to feel like.

Suddenly, I rediscover exactly how smooth a road bike feels. Those hard skinny wheels carve corners with an elegance a mountain bike was never meant to have.

Oh, and the power: compared to a mountain bike, when you pedal a road bike, you just leap forward. The difference is startling, at first. And exquisite.

And then there’s the simplicity I feel when on a good road ride: the focused, clear feeling of doing exactly one thing. It’s not a feeling I get often on mountain bikes.

What’s most amazing to me, however, is that I somehow forget over the winter how incredibly exciting a road ride can be. For the group I ride with at least, mountain bike rides are often social occasions. On the road, however, every ride becomes a race. And then there’s the downhill on a road ride: if you open yourself up to it, it feels very nearly like how I imagine flight must feel.


Once I have remembered that I love road riding — somedays more than mountain biking, some days less, but on average just the same. They’re so different, but complement each other so well. I sometimes think about how lucky I am to have discovered both. Or really, to have discovered cycling at all.

The fact that I spend so much time riding bikes, and so much time writing about bikes really makes it obvious, but I still think it’s worth saying once in a while, with no intended comedy or irony, as directly and simply as I can:

Whether on road or mountain, I love riding bikes.


  1. Comment by BikeCopVT | 05.12.2009 | 12:58 am

    “I love riding bikes”, I second that. I actually get paid to ride my bike from time to time. Can it get any better?

    Win Susan!

  2. Comment by Nix | 05.12.2009 | 1:36 am

    Well put Fatty, agree. Cycling is pure pleasure.

  3. Comment by Bandobras | 05.12.2009 | 1:51 am

    And of course we should never forget that the original reason for paving roads was to make life better for cyclists not cars.
    Descending a nice sweeping downhill at about 40 miles an hour on smooth pavement is in fact as close to heaven as we’re likely to get this side of the grave.
    The only downside is getting the bugs out of your teeth after wards.

  4. Comment by Kino | 05.12.2009 | 2:13 am


    ‘Whether on road or mountain, I love riding bikes.’

    As a genuine fat cyclist, not to mention old and slow,
    you have encapsulted my reason for riding in this single sentence. I don’t care how slow I am, how technically poor my riding is and how many times or by whom I am scalped whilst out riding, I ride whether on road or on mountain because I simply love riding bikes.

  5. Comment by eliel | 05.12.2009 | 3:06 am


    You have eloquently captured how I feel about cycling.

    Just like you, “whether on road or mountain, I love riding bikes” and reading your blog just makes me giddy about cycling.

    And congrats for scoring “bib #1″ wow! you know, a certain lance wore that same number six times in six tour de france. but i know you can do better.

  6. Comment by Jim | 05.12.2009 | 3:33 am

    I only ride bikes for the hot chicks. But whatever floats your boat, man.

  7. Comment by Fuzzy | 05.12.2009 | 4:08 am

    As a rider whose stats show that 95% of my riding is on the road, I couldn’t agree more Fatters, though my N+1 ambitions do mean I want to even out the percentages somewhat. I ride road all year round, in all weathers. I commute to and from work exclusively by bike and I love the look on the faces of my colleagues and nearby motorists when I walk into the buildin or am stopped at a red light, sopping wet with a BIG grin on my face- “are you mad?” the look asks. “No, I’m riding my bike” the grin replies.

    As for descending on smooth tarmac, there is nothing more satisfying than drafting the tail end of a truck or car at 45mph then sprinting past on the hill, accelerating to 50mph + giving the driver a brief look as you pass, which says “Sorry buddy but, you WERE slowing me down!”

    Luv ‘n Stuff
    Fuzzy from the UK

    WIN Susan.

  8. Comment by cheapie | 05.12.2009 | 6:09 am

    done. now do i send my address info somewhere?

    No, Clay should have it as part of your donation. Thanks! – FC

  9. Comment by highwaymunky | 05.12.2009 | 6:10 am

    Hear Hear!
    Well said Fatty, As a once stalwart mountain biker now all bike convert (except recumbant’s… that’s just weird) Both are equally joyous in their own ways.

  10. Comment by MikeonHisBike | 05.12.2009 | 7:42 am

    I totally agree with you on the joys of road cycling. Even though there are many health benefits to cycling the main reason we all ride is it’s FUN. Let’s go have some fun.

  11. Comment by Rantwick | 05.12.2009 | 7:52 am

    Fatty, some people forget how to drive in snow over the summer, but you, you forget the joys of the road bike over the winter! Being into bikes like that is what makes this site, you and your readers such a pleasure to visit. Keep sharing the bike love…

  12. Comment by chtrich | 05.12.2009 | 8:33 am

    Once I get out on the road I fall in love with it so much again that I often forget how much I love mountain biking. Until I get another ride on the mountain bike that is.

  13. Comment by Neil | 05.12.2009 | 8:43 am

    @Fatty: It was boring in a good way, of course! I’m just glad I remembered to grab the MP3 player before leaving home. Had I not had that it would have been an even longer day.

    @Clay: Awesome! Donation sent your way. Wish I would have had the number on Saturday, but it will still look good hanging on the wall.

    And how apropos that today’s post is about a road bike, of which I lack a decent one. It is going to take a lot to convince me to do another century day on the Epic; great bike but just not a road machine.

    Also, if I never climb that hill again, it will be too soon.

  14. Comment by Nathan | 05.12.2009 | 9:01 am

    Great Post, Fatty.

    Although the 100 Miles of Nowhere sounded… fun… I did a road century instead, and was disqualified due to exceeding the maximum loop size. How your race officials found me I will never know.

  15. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.12.2009 | 9:34 am

    I’ve had the same thoughts/feelings about MTB and road riding, but you expressed it much better than I could. Well done.

  16. Comment by MrTeamPhillips | 05.12.2009 | 9:39 am


    I couldn’t agree more on the “I just love riding bikes”. Why can’t we all just get along? Its all good.

    I rode my mountain bike for the first time this year last Thursday and had a similar reaction. I need a little off-road time as I’m doing a single speed race on May 31. I’ll be pack fill but it should be fun.

    Sent Clay my $5.00 maybe the cops won’t take me down for doing laps in the neighborhood. I’m thinking Neil deserves bib 1 next year as he completed the race first.

    WIN Susan.

  17. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.12.2009 | 9:46 am

    I somehow forget over the winter how incredibly exciting a road ride can be…

    Fatty, there is an EASY cure for this. Take your road bike out in January and ride it on hills on the ice. It is SO exciting (not in a good wya) that you will NEVER forget it!

  18. Comment by Neil | 05.12.2009 | 9:49 am

    @MrTeamPhillips: There is no way I could take #1 from Fatty. No way. None. Now…. if #2 were to show up in the mail, I wouldn’t be unhappy. :)

    Also, got a couple pictures up here:

  19. Comment by Philly Jen | 05.12.2009 | 9:52 am

    Feat of Clay! After I stopped laughing my Assos off, naturally I snapped up a bib. (Is Team Fatty Philly loaded with brilliant and clever people, or what?)

  20. Comment by jwbikes | 05.12.2009 | 10:11 am

    My dreams of the Triathalon to nowhere, 102 miles of nowhere (trainer) and 26.2 miles of running in place (treadmill) followed by a minimum of 1.5 hours in the hot tub, came to an abrupt end last Wednesday as my house burned down and took the Hot Tub with it. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the Fire Marshal said it started with my bicycle jerseys (all three Fatty’s and two more Twin Six jerseys) spontaneously combusting. Proof that anything associated with the Fat Cyclist makes you faster is that it only took 45 minutes. So I am down to a Biathalon to nowhere. Such dreams crushed on the eve of competition only makes you stronger. At least my podium smells like barbeque.


  21. Comment by WheelDancer | 05.12.2009 | 11:52 am

    I don’t ride my road bike during the winter except once or twice on the trainer when outdoor riding and cross country skiing are impossible. I add the third flavor of biking, commuting, to my list as that makes my day and helps me through the tough spots just like the Sweetie.

    Commuting on the bike helps me stay in the ’smell the roses’ lane and when you add it to road and mountain biking it just doesn’t get any better.

  22. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 05.12.2009 | 12:04 pm

    My luxury body loves to ride a bike. Did you know I am an ex-elite rider, and things such as that?

    I love riding my bike and making U-turns in my Jeep at the bottom of Alpine descents. My perfect turn was ruined when three overweight idiot cyclists flew by. I thought I had it all on video, but…

  23. Comment by Rob M. | 05.12.2009 | 12:20 pm

    I made my donation. Great idea, Clay.

    Just wondering if, on May 23, the comments section of this very prestigious, twice award winning, blog could be used for postings by “ride” participants. Sharing this experience with others might help alleviate some of the boredom that Neil experienced.

    You know, like the Pros do in the Grand Tours.

  24. Comment by VA Biker | 05.12.2009 | 12:50 pm

    Saw Neil’s link and photos. Photo no. 2 at his blog would indicate that spring does indeed occur at a latitude north of 43° before June. Who thought that?!

    As for Elden’s sermon, I offer an affirmative, “Amen!”

  25. Comment by MOCougFan | 05.12.2009 | 2:22 pm

    Amen brother.

  26. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 05.12.2009 | 4:47 pm

    Me too! Good to have you on the road bike bandwagon again :-)

  27. Comment by Doozyanner | 05.12.2009 | 6:18 pm

    I love riding. Downhill on a roadbike is heaven. (Except when you get to the bottom of an unfamiliar hill and realize there’s a stop sign AND the symbol painted on the road is telling you to turn left. Braking with the right hand while signaling with the left…causes the back tire to skid. But you knew that.)

  28. Comment by bubbaseadog | 05.12.2009 | 6:45 pm

    road biking is my church i mean you really feel close to your maker screaming down a hill mtn or bridge especially if you look down and see your front quick release flopping in the wind . yeah thats when you get close to the almighty and have a little church right then and there. win susan

  29. Comment by Jamieson | 05.12.2009 | 7:33 pm

    Will we have to wear the bibs at the Philly race so we can show just how off base we are?

    So 100 miles in a straight line this Sunday, and then Saturday 100 miles in a small circle. I’m going to need help.

  30. Comment by jeff | 05.12.2009 | 7:45 pm

    “Whether on road or mountain, I love riding bikes.”

    Amen to that!

  31. Comment by dougg | 05.12.2009 | 7:48 pm

    “left the lens cap on”
    Now that’s funny!!!

  32. Comment by Kris | 05.13.2009 | 4:38 am

    Riding my road bike in England is often quite like mountain biking as the country roads often feel like a wide single-track with 8 foot hedges on either side of the road and a strip of pavement barely 6 feet wide. Not to mention sometimes the pavement quality is rubbish.

  33. Comment by CampyD | 05.13.2009 | 5:30 am

    So, since everyone is going to win their category this year, will all returning entrants next year get 001?

  34. Comment by MattC | 05.13.2009 | 8:36 am

    Ahh Bubbaseadog…I’ve only done that ONCE (skewer flipping in the wind)! And it was not pretty let me tell you…cuz I’ve always filed off those blasted “lawyer tabs” on all my forks (so I never have to adjust the stupid skewers)…flip it and the tire comes off…put tire back on and flip it…done…no spinning to get the right tension…EVER! However…if your wheel falls off during a ride (and you do a clumsy superman move over the bars after your fork augers into the trail), don’t blame me! File the tabs at your own peril! It’s not the flying that hurts anyway…it’s that sudden stop afterwards.

  35. Comment by Frank Fine | 05.13.2009 | 8:50 am

    Hey Fatty,

    I was like you and got a little bored and complaicent with the Road bike thing.

    Then I got a Recumbent. What a hoot! I can go farther and faster and have more fun than I ever did on a standard road bike. I’m riding up to a cottage this weekend (110 miles) and I expect to take 8 hours.

    You have got to at least try a ‘bent! You think downhill on a road bike is something, try it lying on your back with almost no wind resistance! I got up to 56mph on a not very steep (but long) hill last year. That matches my age.

    you know, you’re right. it’s not fair of me to keep trashing bents without giving them a shot. i’ll have more to say about this soon. – FC

  36. Comment by Clay | 05.13.2009 | 9:55 am

    Tons of donations for the bibs coming in. Thanks for the support; this is definitely the icing on the ridiculous “100 Miles of Nowhere” cake. The first round of bibs will be mailed out tomorrow, be sure to get your donation in soon, so you have your bib in time for the all important race day photo.

    Thanks Again! WIN Susan!

  37. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.13.2009 | 11:13 am

    you know, you’re right. it’s not fair of me to keep trashing bents without giving them a shot. i’ll have more to say about this soon. – FC

    Not fair? I thought that was the point! Or, is being not fair about ‘bents just because you can get a chuckle at the expense of bearded, rear-view helmet mirror wearing ‘bent pilots the essence of what you have to say later?

  38. Comment by skippy | 05.13.2009 | 11:45 pm

    I like “BikeCopVT” get paid to ride my Fisher mountain bike a few thousand miles a year on patrol. That is way cool! I am also just like Fatty in that I am always lured to ride the mountain bike and not the road bike. I have only ridden the rode bike twice this year. It is always a drudgery to drag it out, but for some reason when I finally do I really enjoy the speed compared to the slogging around on “fatty” tires.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.