Hewwwoh, Wabbit.

06.30.2009 | 10:43 am

Mark — SkiBikeJunkie in the comments here and in his own blog — is one of the people I met on the blog before I met him in real life. And when I met him for the first time in real life, I was not exactly lucid — I had in fact just finished riding my bike for 20 hours and was on the well-charred side of cooked.

But still, I appreciated the fact that he had waited around in the parking lot all that time, and had brought me some ice cream. And I appreciated even more the fact that he somehow knew how much I love ice cream after an epic ride. Soft-serve is the best recovery food ever. Or an ice cream sandwich. Or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Or a chocolate milkshake.

I think you get my drift.

Anyway, a few days later, Mark was visiting the area, looking for a job and a house, and I took him on a ride. He was slow — even beat from a huge ride, I still had to take it easy for him to stay close.

But things have changed a bit since then.

For one thing, he’s moved to Utah, buying a house in the cyclist commune known as Suncrest. And for another thing, he’s gone from being a slowpoke to being able to drop me at will.

Which means, naturally, that whenever I see Mark, I see nothing but a giant target (which is not to imply that Mark suffers from gigantism. He does not.). A guy who used to be much slower than me who is now faster than me? Man, that’s a slap in the face.

And then there’s the fact that while Mark’s faster than me, he’s not radically faster than me. See, Brad is now so much faster than I am that if he’s riding with me, I know it’s because he’s taking a rest day. If Brad decides to ride away at speed, the gap between us expands so quickly that there’s an observable Doppler redshift.

That redshift gag was awesome, by the way. Trust me on that. Try it on your friends. They’ll think it’s hilarious.

Anyway, my point was that while Mark’s faster than I am, he’s not so much faster that I just give up hope. He’s attainable.

Mark is, in short, now a human rabbit, as far as I am concerned.


Last Friday, a good-sized group of us rode to the summit of the Alpine Loop and back. I wore the helmetcam — I love seeing how people wince as I join a ride and they see me wearing this big ol’ skate helmet with a lens and cable hanging off the side.

Oh, and I remembered to make sure the lens cap was off, the batteries were fresh, and to lock the keypad once I had started recording. I’m learning.

And so now I have video of the group ride, and of me trying desperately to catch — or simply keep in sight — Mark. As a word of warning, the soundtrack is “Gypsy Road,” performed by the Hair Metal band “Cinderella.” This is due to the fact that Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) was talking about what a great riding song it was, shortly before he rode away off the front, never to be seen again (at least, not until the summit).

Well, what do you know. “Gypsy Road” is a great song for that video. And I apparently look straight down when I’m sprinting, which does not necessarily make great video.

PS: Seven more pounds, and I will catch that wabbit.

PPS: There seems to be an ongoing debate on whether the road on this ride was “wet” or merely “damp.” Please feel free to weigh in with your assessment, based on what you see here.


  1. Comment by Hautacam | 06.30.2009 | 11:09 am

    That road is damp.

    For a recent example of a road which is “wet,” please review the rain/hail footage from Livestrong Seattle.

    Also, ask yourself this question: What would Phil Liggett say if he was narrating your footage? He would not describe that road as “wet.” Damp, maybe, but more likely “slick,” as in “the roads around Bordeaux are still slick from this morning’s rain showers, so the run-in to the sprint finish is likely to be even more dangerous than usual, Paul.”

    For an example of a road which is “wet” from Phil’s perspective, please review the older footage (1994?1992?) of Team Z’s Ronan Pensec losing his front wheel and sliding along the road at something like 40 mph in a full rainstorm. Now, that road was wet!

    Sprinting past a car on the wrong side of the double yellow? Naughty, naughty! I hope you don’t get a call from your local law enforcement officer.

    Thanks as always for a fun post and WIN SUSAN!

    That double yellow part was totally CGI. – FC

  2. Comment by Bonzai Buckaroo | 06.30.2009 | 11:10 am

    I love your videos!!!

  3. Comment by SYJ | 06.30.2009 | 11:10 am

    Awesome…but I think I heard the Clyde on your jersey galloping during your sprint.

  4. Comment by Philly Jen | 06.30.2009 | 11:12 am

    It’s not officially wet until you decide to let a little air out of your tires prior to the descent to keep from completely flying/hydroplaning off the road.

    Bald man + hair metal = awesome

  5. Comment by Vermont Rob | 06.30.2009 | 11:14 am

    Nice video. Road is clearly damp.

  6. Comment by alex | 06.30.2009 | 11:14 am

    Seven more pounds? Do you mean subtracted from you or added to Mark? Of course, the former would be easier but the latter would be hilarious and evil.

  7. Comment by Mike Green | 06.30.2009 | 11:25 am

    How fast are you going on that descent?

    45mph is a good cruising speed for that downhill. For some of the straightaways, 50mph. – FC

  8. Comment by mark | 06.30.2009 | 11:36 am

    I’m, um, flattered?

    BTW, the video was awesome. Maybe just because I’m in it. But Sunday night I was watching the versus rebroadcast of “the look” when Lance dropped Ulrich on Alp d’Huez in 2001. I lost interest in the tour and watched the video instead.

  9. Comment by Di | 06.30.2009 | 11:40 am

    Gypsy Rose? Awesome!

  10. Comment by RandoBoy | 06.30.2009 | 11:40 am

    The road is dry. A road is damp when it speckles you with spew and chunks of worms (don’t ask me what draws worms to wet Tennessee roads). A road is moist when it sprays you with enough water to wash away those worm parts. A road is wet when you manage to run over a catfish swimming across it.

    Nice video. I like them long easy climbs y’all got out there.

  11. Comment by Rachel | 06.30.2009 | 11:43 am

    He does eat a lot of carrots.

  12. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.30.2009 | 11:49 am

    I have to agree with RandoBoy. There is not enough damp there to be worthy of consideration.

    In fact, here in Oregon, that much damp increases traction by sticking the dust to the pavement.

    The redshift joke was awesome, BTW. But, then you already know that my friends and I are nerds.

  13. Comment by Brandon S. | 06.30.2009 | 11:50 am

    Nice video. That was better footage than the Tour of California and could rival the footage of the Tour de France.

  14. Comment by Angie G | 06.30.2009 | 11:50 am

    Awesome video. I agree with the music choice. I actually prefer metal during my rides. Helps with the cadance.

  15. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.30.2009 | 11:51 am

    Moist; neither wet nor damp.

  16. Comment by Rob M. | 06.30.2009 | 11:52 am

    I like how you graciously let Dug pass you at the finish to make the video more interesting for us.

  17. Comment by dicky | 06.30.2009 | 11:53 am

    Was that an American Flyers reference (He’s nobody)?

  18. Comment by MattC | 06.30.2009 | 11:55 am

    I missed yesterdays post until this morning…Very sweet work Lori! If I wasn’t totally broke I’d LOVE to have a chance at an original commissioned painting…(and Angies case of wine raffle too..VERY COOL BTW Angie!!) I MIGHT have to swing a few bucks to both pages anyway…you can’t win if you don’t play! And Jodi…you’ve really stepped it up a notch (BAM!)..way to go!!

    And hey…COME ON Team SJ! I hate to say it, but we’re really NOT pulling our Team Fatty weight here so far (me neither I must admit…my work travel really killed my momentum…but I’m NOT done yet!)…and with LESS than 2 weeks now till D-day, we MUST do better! The 2nd place team (Spike the Dog) is really catching up fast…they are coming on very strong and are a real threat to our Team win. Every little bit helps…it’s all drops in the bucket.

  19. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.30.2009 | 11:56 am

    BTW, Fatty – That really is a very nice looking climb & descent.

    And that Dug! So friendly, always waving and letting you know he thinks you’re number 1!

  20. Comment by MattC | 06.30.2009 | 11:58 am

    Oh, and cool video Fatty…it’s always best to NOT be the rabbit. Amazing how you can endure the chase from behind easier than trying to stay away. Unless you are notably stronger than the chase-group/person..then it’s just great fun to give them hope, and then SQUASH their momentum with a quick sprint. Over and over. Until they give up. Now THATS fun!

  21. Comment by Rick S. | 06.30.2009 | 12:10 pm

    I know who Bob is but who is that Tyler dude who crashed on that corner? Is he as fast as Bob?

  22. Comment by KanyonKris | 06.30.2009 | 12:15 pm

    Good video.

    dug has an amazing range of expression with that middle finger. As he reads this comment he’s flipping me off in a style that says “thank you for that astute observation”.

  23. Comment by Rob M. | 06.30.2009 | 12:20 pm

    Re: Hautacam’s comment.

    Very clever and authentic rendition of Phil Liggett describing the road conditions.

    Almost perfect.

    You forgot to include a random reference about Lance Armstrong from Austin, Texas.

  24. Comment by sam | 06.30.2009 | 12:20 pm

    how fast were you guys going – you really need to a put a little mile-o-meter in the corner of that video!!

    Probably around 40-45 on that day. Slower once we get to the working downhill. Maybe 35 – 40mph. – FC

  25. Comment by Jeff L. | 06.30.2009 | 12:40 pm

    Gotta agree with Hautacam: that was not wet. The Seattle downpour/hail storm was wet. My shoes are still drying (ok, not really). That looked more like humid, in comparison. I am jealous of that road. I don’t have anything around here that combines such beauty with a nice smooth, open road.

  26. Comment by Grayduncs | 06.30.2009 | 12:44 pm

    Not wet or even damp really. At most it was mildly moist in parts.

    Meteorological considerations apart, great video.

  27. Comment by Rudi | 06.30.2009 | 12:52 pm

    Damp, no question.

    Wet roads feature pooling and/or sheeting water, which clearly wasn’t the case.

    Damn, I miss living in Utah when you post videos like that.

  28. Comment by stl sam | 06.30.2009 | 12:53 pm

    Arm warmers in July? You lot have it too good with your long climbs and snowy peaks.

    BTW, “Gypsy Rose” isn’t a bad pick for that ride. Next time try any live version of “Timmy Tucker” or “Recreational Chemistry” by moe.

  29. Comment by David | 06.30.2009 | 1:31 pm

    By looking down when you sprint, you’ve shown us that you also sprint with your hands on the hoods.

    It’s true. In fact, I don’t use the drops ever. – FC

  30. Comment by Rantwick | 06.30.2009 | 1:49 pm

    I was kind of hoping that you had a friend that was attainably faster that did have gigantism. That would have been so cool. Now I’m all bummed out.

  31. Comment by Dan J | 06.30.2009 | 1:52 pm


    Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it is at the Alpine Loop! Wow! My buddy and I mt biked there a lot 10 yrs ago and I forgot how much I miss it. Gulp, I think I have a lump in my throat!

  32. Comment by Rob | 06.30.2009 | 2:10 pm

    Dude, Hair metal? One word…………..Awesome!
    Rock On!

  33. Comment by dug | 06.30.2009 | 2:21 pm

    someone should point out to rick s that “damp” is beating “wet” by like a trillion to, well, NONE.

    someone besides me, i mean.

  34. Comment by Mike Roadie | 06.30.2009 | 2:21 pm

    That road is basically dry.

    Don’t you guys have actual car traffic on your rides??????


  35. Comment by bikemike | 06.30.2009 | 2:35 pm

    someone out there needs to seriously start a road/mtn tour company. love the shots of where you guys ride…insane.

    guestimate, how many different road rides do you have just riding from your houses? i don’t even want to know how many dirt rides there are.

    envy is a sin, right?

    Well, there are 4 (I think) ski resorts in riding range, each with a good road approaching. And there are lots of combinations. My road riding limit has more to do with lungs and legs than good riding combinations. Seriously, this area is a cyclist’s paradise. I wasn’t kidding about the cyclist commune at Suncrest either, because they are well positioned for both the north and south stuff. If they’re willing to climb 1300 feet afterward I mean.

    And the amount of good mtb trail — um, pretty much unlimited. – FC

  36. Comment by dug | 06.30.2009 | 2:35 pm

    mike roadie, this was a friday morning, we entered the canyon around 6:30am. not exactly prime traffic time. by friday around 5pm, there is a line of cars half a mile long waiting to get past the fee station. gotta pick your ride time carefully to get clear roads.

  37. Comment by obra369 | 06.30.2009 | 2:45 pm

    I’m working on the 2009 Tour of Utah (August 18-23) but I live in Oregon. I flew down for some meetings two weeks ago and we drove the stages, including the Alpine Loop. It was great to see some footage of the ride from a cyclists point of view, not just a rental car. It took me awhile, but while I was down there I finally put it together – Utah, Alpine Loop, Tibble, hey, Fatty must live around here somewhere!

  38. Comment by Corey | 06.30.2009 | 2:55 pm

    Here in Colorado we don’t have a classification for ‘damp’ it’s either bone dry or underwater…no in between.

  39. Comment by Rick S. | 06.30.2009 | 2:55 pm

    Dug- I’d be willing to bet that if people were asked to ride this section of road at 50MPH and THEN tell us if the roads were damp or wet that day, the response would be much different.

    But I’m willing to accept that the roads were damp. (But I still think they were wet)

  40. Comment by leroy | 06.30.2009 | 3:11 pm

    Great. Just great.

    I stretch this morning’s commute from Brooklyn to Mid-Town Manhattan into a 50 mile ride with a little downhill on the northern New Jersey/New York border and think I’ve had a nice morning.
    Then I come here and just get jealous.

    Oh well, it looks like thunder storms are coming through NYC so at least I’ll get to enjoy wet roads home.

    You are making me re-think this whole living in NYC thing. Honestly, if it weren’t for the Broadway musicals, who would live here?

    Best to you and Susan!

    (Tried the shot blocks from your Race to Nowhere this AM. Pretty good.)

  41. Comment by Byron | 06.30.2009 | 3:27 pm

    Great video! It (unfortunately) reminded me how much I miss riding the Alpine loop, as I get ready to head out on a 40 mile trudge through the flat, uninspiring cornfields of Indiana. :(

  42. Comment by b_banks | 06.30.2009 | 3:30 pm

    Gypsy “Road” dude……………

  43. Comment by tim | 06.30.2009 | 3:58 pm

    great vid, great ride, not sure about the tunage :)

  44. Comment by David B | 06.30.2009 | 4:13 pm

    Those are great roads. They look like my favorites around here. Out of curiosity, what tires are you using?

  45. Comment by GenghisKhan | 06.30.2009 | 4:15 pm

    Leroy–it’s the musicals keeping you in NYC?! Come home Leroy, come west to Utah… (Heck, maybe just come west!)

  46. Comment by leroy | 06.30.2009 | 4:53 pm

    Okay, it’s not just the musicals.

    April in Paris is delightful, but you haven’t smelled anything until you’ve smelled NYC in August.

  47. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 06.30.2009 | 4:58 pm

    That’s a great ride, love the video. The road is damp.

  48. Comment by kentucky joe | 06.30.2009 | 5:07 pm

    wait a minute…you guys have group rides at 0630 on friday mornings???? does everyone “work” from their cycling offices in utah!!!! ..nice ride, great video although I think we all need another core team member to wear the helmet cam so we can see you in full sprint…I’m just sayin’

  49. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.30.2009 | 5:34 pm

    That head down sprinting thing is exactly why Motorola never picked you up in the early 90s. You’re just a barricade cartwheel waiting to happen.

  50. Comment by LuckyLab | 06.30.2009 | 5:36 pm

    Damp, if that. C’mon, Fatty, you used to live in the Northwest. Just enough to make you think twice about going fast but not enough to actually slow you you down BECAUSE OF THE WATER (not your own nervousness). No way I call that truly wet.

    Go San Jose! Hold it down and take it out over that second place team with room to look over your shoulder!

    The wet / damp debate is a Dug / Rick Sunderlage thing. For myself, I was never nervous about the road condition on this ride, so never considered the wet / damp question until it was brought up. – FC

  51. Comment by Hamish A | 06.30.2009 | 5:42 pm

    Awesome, AWESOME soundtrack. Not enough hair metal is used in cycling videos.

    Is it just me that thinks every rider in this years TdF should have a helmet cam and they’re all broadcast simultaneously with the viewer selecting who they watch? I think that’d be cool, but if they’re banning radios then I doubt headcams would be acceptable. Darn UCI.

    I’d have to go with the official Top Gear (from the BBC) rating for the road conditions: Mildly moist.

    GREAT video Fatty, thanks for sharing.


  52. Comment by bob | 06.30.2009 | 5:51 pm

    that road is clearly moist.

  53. Comment by Eber | 06.30.2009 | 5:59 pm

    pretty sure Mark’s calves suffer from gigantism

  54. Comment by ChefJT | 06.30.2009 | 6:37 pm

    Great video. Loved the action, music and subtitles. Dug is the second guy I’ve seen wearing Mechanix work gloves (at least I think he was). Never saw this until recently. Is this some cool, new rider thing that I can only hope to aspire to?

  55. Comment by Triflefat | 06.30.2009 | 6:48 pm

    Kanyon Kris tells us that dug has an amazing range of expression with that middle finger, but ignores the dexterity required to do it with either hand AND at full tilt. A true ambidexter.

    As for the road conditions, Paul/Phil would have perfectly summarised the situation. “The weather is something of a damp squid”

  56. Comment by ToddBS | 06.30.2009 | 7:20 pm

    I’d call the road moist. (Doh! Looking 3 posts above I see someone got it already. Bah, I’m leaving it for posterity).

    And passing the truck… priceless. Did anyone wave to the driver as you went by?

  57. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 06.30.2009 | 8:19 pm

    Awesome ride! I think I need to move to Utah, too. I died when you guys passed a truck! Kick ass!

  58. Comment by Lucky Cyclist | 06.30.2009 | 9:08 pm

    I had given up on the road riding this year. But now that you’ve finally chosen some good music for one of your videos, I am motivated, nay….inspired. Too bad I’m currently such a little piggy.

  59. Comment by Knotty | 06.30.2009 | 9:18 pm

    Stats for that ride? ie. Distance, vertical for that climb? Great video. Have been toying with my headcam recently too. Want to mount direct to the frame/fork/seatpost, but the shake/vibration makes for crappy footage… a work in progress.

  60. Comment by VA Biker | 06.30.2009 | 9:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Nothing quite like a slightly damp (or moist, if you will) road ride!

    Elden, I’m glad you appreciate what you’ve got; you KNOW it’s good.

    I might have passed the truck on an unmarked road, if I was 100% sure it wasn’t going to left hook me during the procedure. I did a lot of slow vehicle passing in Switzerland a couple of years ago. Not a big deal there, it would seem, just watch out for the crotch rockets screaming up from behind…

  61. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 06.30.2009 | 10:23 pm

    Noting that Fatty never rides in the drops (I never have either)can anyone answer a question that I am never likely to be able too as it involves racing, gear changing and going fast. How do the Campag boys go changing gears while winding up towards a sprint finish. I was just wondering that’s all.
    Actually I did go down into the drops once it took me two days to get back and I’ve never tried it again since. Have to wait to see the video at home as work does not like vimeo.

  62. Comment by brenda bowens | 06.30.2009 | 10:53 pm

    Utah looks so beautiful. But I live in Cali where I can ride outside almost all winter long. the video was great.I love watching them. Hi to Susan from northern Cali

  63. Comment by chtirch | 06.30.2009 | 11:05 pm

    what time is the ride this Friday and can I join?

  64. Comment by Philly Jen | 07.1.2009 | 6:32 am

    @ Leroy — I’ll see you, and I’ll raise you a couple of P.U.s (Putrefaction Units) on the aromas of late summer.

    Dude, trust me, you’ve got nothin’ on the Schuylkill River.

  65. Comment by sparkyr | 07.1.2009 | 7:30 am

    “It’s true. In fact, I don’t use the drops ever. – FC”

    Dude – I think you’ve just solved a few ounces of the 7 pounds lost equation. Got a hacksaw?

  66. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.1.2009 | 7:45 am

    @Leroy — lipstick on a pig, lipstick on a pig…

    @Cyclin’ Missy — passing cars is bit of a gas (Hmmm, is there a bad pun in there somewhere). I dropped a few cars coming down a neighborhood road on my SS yesterday! Gots to love da gravi-tay!

    @Sparkyr — I’ll second that!

  67. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.1.2009 | 7:46 am

    Oh, yeah, I’ll throw in a vote for moist!

  68. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.1.2009 | 8:49 am

    I can never make up my mind about being inspired to chase down someone faster than me or being bummed that no matter how fast I pedal I don’t shorten the distance between us.

  69. Comment by MattC | 07.1.2009 | 10:25 am

    Fatty…is your helmet-cam image-stabilized? I just can’t figure out how it’s so smooth. And your helmet mount, do you descend sitting upright? Cuz your view is spot-on both climbing AND descending. But if you never use the drops, I guess your position is relatively the same. I’ve got a cheap-O cam (won’t say which one) but it seems ok…but when bar-mounted it vibrates like mad and the resulting vid is pretty much unwatchable. Then the helmet mount…whenever I change my position (hoods, flats, drops) the view changes accordingly. ALSO…do you actually carry the cam on your helmet the entire ride? I carried it on my helmet last night for about a 15 minute downhill..and by the botttom it felt like I had a bowling ball up there (the cam only weighs 6.5oz per our postal scale). You must have very strong neck muscles or a high tolerance for pain.

  70. Comment by bubbaseadog | 07.1.2009 | 7:09 pm

    yall dont do road very often but when you do wow!!!!win susan

  71. Comment by mark | 07.1.2009 | 9:44 pm

    @chtrich: 6:15 at 4-way in Suncrest; 6:45 at the mouth. It’s a no drop ride. :)

  72. Comment by Sylvie | 07.3.2009 | 1:43 pm


  73. Comment by Groover | 07.4.2009 | 4:30 pm

    Great little movie and I agree, the music makes for a great soundtrack. Love the descent.

  74. Comment by A. Julie | 07.17.2009 | 10:14 am

    Freaking great video. I want to do that ride. (I’m in Chicago. It’s flat here. You would be Much Faster.)

    ++ for the redshift joke.



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