I Do Not Like The People I Ride With

07.14.2009 | 11:55 am

I haven’t talked much this year about how much weight I’ve lost, nor have I talked about how much fitness and speed I’ve gained.

That is because, quite simply, I haven’t lost much weight, and I haven’t gained much fitness.

But I have improved a little. Enough that I am no longer on the fence between XL and Large jerseys; size Large fits comfortably (but I am nowhere close to a size Medium). And enough that I have started doing my “I am Ullrich” chant on the climbs again.

Of course, it’s easy for me to start thinking of my modest losses and gains as giant, quantum leaps in power and speed.

Which brings us to this morning’s ride.


Yesterday afternoon I sent out an email to the group of people who regularly show up for the early morning mountain bike rides at Corner Canyon. I proposed we meet at the usual time (6:30) and at the usual place (the top of Clark’s), but that we mix up the route a little bit: down the Hogg’s Hollowe chute, back up the Hogg’s Hollowe climb, then Jacob’s Ladder with a possible Ghost-Falls descent and Brock’s climb.

The thing is, I climb Hogg’s Hollowe three times or so per week, where I meet the Suncresters and North-of-Suncresters, who climb up Clark’s. We meet where our respective climbs cross and then go from there.

As a result, Hogg’s Hollowe is the climb I know better than any other. And today, they would be climbing it with me. This, I thought, would be a good opportunity for me to put my stamp of authority on the climb. Ha.

After a surprisingly non-bloody descent down the Hogg’s Hollowe chute (with a group of more than five, it’s rare that nobody wrecks), we began the climb. Brad and Rick went to the front and picked up the pace.

Briefly, I considered taking my rightful place at the back of the pack. But decided against it. I got behind them and held on as best as I could.

About halfway up, Brad dropped back to chat with other riders. Which left me hanging on to Rick’s wheel for dear life.

Then Rick spun out on a gravelly ledge, putting a foot down. I passed, and promptly entered my pain cave, from which I would not exit until the top of the climb.

But it was worth it, because it was working. I was leading.

I. Was. Leading!

And then Brad rode up to my side, casually took a camera out of his jersey pocket, and snapped a picture of me, as he rode one-handed. Later, he would say, “Nice work, Elden. You were going so fast I nearly had to put my camera away!”

Yes, that’s right. I am now so freaking fast that I am almost able to force Brad out of his dawdle zone.

Fear me.

PS: By popular request, Brad’s photos. Here’s me, ahead of Rick for the first time in my life:


And here’s me, wearing my WaltWorks jersey while riding my SingleFly. Sorry, Walt! Sorry, Gary!


PPS: These are actually really good photos. Thanks for taking them, Brad.


  1. Comment by Mir | 07.14.2009 | 12:05 pm

    LMFAO. This is fabulous. I took my 7yo daughter on a group ride on Sunday because while I did want her to meet new people, especially other women riders, I was also afraid of how I’d ride without the excuse of “staying with my kid.”

  2. Comment by Steve | 07.14.2009 | 12:05 pm


  3. Comment by rich | 07.14.2009 | 12:11 pm

    That was hilarious! I too hate the people I ride with….they enjoy making me suffer and then pretending (at least I hope they’re pretending) that it wasn’t difficult for them at all….
    Good stuff Fatty!

  4. Comment by Bill | 07.14.2009 | 12:11 pm


    If we are were as comfortable with our zone as you are and the humor that could be found in it – the world would be a better place!

    It is like the golf course where everyone takes 1 hour to line up a double bogey put because that is what the pros do – No they don’t make as many doubles in a year as we do in a day on the course!

    No we won’t ever be as fast as AC or LA or LL but at least we can admit it and beat our kids until they get old enough to return the favor!


  5. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.14.2009 | 12:13 pm

    LOL–thanks for the chuckle, though sorry it had to be at your expense. We gonna get to see the pic Brad took?

  6. Comment by Bandit | 07.14.2009 | 12:22 pm

    I hate when others make me see reality. I am often in the no-mans-land middle zone. Can’t keep up with the fast guys, but leaving dropping the back of the pack.

  7. Comment by Shawn | 07.14.2009 | 12:22 pm

    Sounds like one of the guys I mountain bike with who seems to do every ride we do twice as he rides out ahead, then comes back to make sure the rest of us haven’t died somewhere along the trail. Someday, I’ll keep him to only 1.5 time the distance the rest of us ride.

  8. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 07.14.2009 | 12:30 pm

    Very funny, but I agree with Genghis — where’s the picture that Brad took?

  9. Comment by Big Boned | 07.14.2009 | 12:43 pm

    Suitably scared in Virginia.

  10. Comment by Kt | 07.14.2009 | 12:56 pm

    ROFL, that was good. At least you make it up hills at a fairly good clip, I’m usually relegated to way in the back trying to not die.

    I’m getting better…. and my partner knows not to come back down the hill to ride up it again with me. Well, unless he wants to feel anger-beams shooting out of my eyes at him.

  11. Comment by Kt | 07.14.2009 | 12:56 pm

    Oh, and is Hogg’s Hollow now spelled Hollowe?? What’s up with that?

  12. Comment by Di | 07.14.2009 | 1:02 pm

    I started riding by myself again, for two reason:
    1 – I got very frustrated being at the back of the pack, and
    2 – I get a more sustained and challenging workout riding by myself.

    The cool thing is that I can make it up some pretty icky climbs that others can’t, mostly because I know those climbs. :-)

  13. Comment by sam | 07.14.2009 | 1:04 pm

    that’s mean!! But very funny!!

  14. Comment by Angie G | 07.14.2009 | 1:11 pm

    Too Funny Fatty. I am usually at the back of the pack going up, but the front of the pack coming down. Being a true Fat Cyclist, I tell all my skinny riding friends that our speeds don’t equal unit we reach terminal velocity,until then you better watch out. :-)

    I too would love to see the photo.

    Win Susan!!!

  15. Comment by mrbalky | 07.14.2009 | 1:13 pm

    IMO, that sounds like a very strong friendship. Very few people in the world would I say that to, or who would say that to me.

  16. Comment by Rick S. | 07.14.2009 | 1:20 pm

    You were hammering this morning. Brad is a freak. At one point, I thought I saw Brad making a ham sandwich during the climb.

  17. Comment by Rob | 07.14.2009 | 1:23 pm

    LOL….Classic. Without friends to mock you….life would be very boring.

  18. Comment by Blackdog | 07.14.2009 | 1:29 pm

    BK cracks me up. I am so glad I do not ride with you guys. I could just see him dropping peanuts on the trail in front of me. Saying something like you can do it Jumbo.

  19. Comment by Weiland | 07.14.2009 | 1:32 pm

    Where’s the picture? Are you in focus or a blur?

  20. Comment by Jamieson | 07.14.2009 | 1:40 pm

    Sounds like a good way to ride. Nice shots and great looking day for a ride.

  21. Comment by PennyPue | 07.14.2009 | 2:05 pm

    I too want to see the pic. Could Brad just post it somewhere for us?

    Hehe. I wear a pink Fatty jersey.

    Fear me.

  22. Comment by Boomer | 07.14.2009 | 3:42 pm

    Another lone rider in granny-gears here…feeling your pain. We slowpokes would do wonders for your ego.


  23. Comment by Jessica | 07.14.2009 | 3:57 pm

    I’m a middle-aged, overweight mom and because of your site I’ve been thinking about getting my first-even bike. I remember riding a neighbor’s bike as a kid but I’ve never owned one and I think it may be time to get up off my wide butt and give it a try.

  24. Comment by Aaron | 07.14.2009 | 3:57 pm

    I would say you’ve improved more than “a little.” You are flying right now. And on the bright side, you’ll have me to ride up Hogg Hollow with, and lately I’ve been making you look really fast.

  25. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.14.2009 | 5:11 pm

    I don’t know about Walt, Elden, but you have nothing to apologize to Gary for, appearance-wise. Not as long as he wears that goat beard.

  26. Comment by Grant | 07.14.2009 | 5:41 pm

    Using my expert (read: opinionated) eye on the second, I submit that your saddle is too low.

    Raise it slightly, and you’ll smoke these guys!

  27. Comment by John | 07.14.2009 | 10:20 pm

    next time your pal tells you he is going to take a photo of you before he takes it, STAND UP QUICKLY. It makes you look less like Bibelobis (ie. the Michelin Man).

  28. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.14.2009 | 10:37 pm

    Way to make the break to the front and hang on! TdF watching is making me feel like I can do anything. Looks like you can!

  29. Comment by Paul | 07.15.2009 | 6:02 am


  30. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 07.15.2009 | 6:02 am

    I recently had the experience of being out in front of a mate for the first time. Then suddenly my illusion was sanpped when I realised he was actually lapping me. Difference is I don’t have a photo like yours to enjoy the moment.

    Jessica (about 5 posts up)jump right in the water’s fine and we are fabulous people!

  31. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 07.15.2009 | 6:25 am

    On a recent group ride, one of the women shot past me and said that I was riding strong. I felt like my heart was going to explode. I decided to trust her judgment and feel good about myself anyway. LOL

  32. Comment by MattC | 07.15.2009 | 7:42 am

    I think cycling is full of the ‘little moments’. When you FINALLY clean some obstacle that has been stopping you. Or beat the guys in a sprint. Or FINALLY beat someone who regularly cleans your clock on a climb. You have to enjoy the moment, cuz it won’t last and you will be crushed like a bug for it (by your friends). Thats what friends are for…to constantly remind you that you’d best enjoy the little moments cuz they are far and few between, and you will pay dearly for each one. And like a books cover, it is a huge mistake to ‘look’ at someone think you can beat them. Big guys can crush you as well as a tiny guy. Maybe what I’m sayin here is that golf isn’t so bad.

  33. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 07.15.2009 | 8:38 am

    Back in the old days, mountain bikes had one gear. Then, man realized the efficiencies that could be achieved by adding multiple gears. That was followed by front suspension, which helped the mountain biker control the bike on rough terrain. Which was then followed by rear suspension that allowed older riders (you and me, Elden) to keep our parts in tact and keep riding into our golden years.

    Then, retro bikes became trendy. Seemingly reasonable people (you, Elden) started purchasing rigid, steel, single-speed mountain bikes. Lastly, they began complaining about not being faster on uphills and wrecking too often of downhills. (Yeah, I know, Brad rides the same setup as you, but some people are superhuman. He doesn’t count.)

    Technology is your friend.

  34. Comment by Philly Jen | 07.15.2009 | 8:56 am

    Matt, did you just say “golf isn’t so bad”…?

    I’m still not persuaded that I want to take up an activity that is “FLOG” spelled backwards.

    Besides, I’m already involved in a sport that involves wearing funny-looking shorts, thanks.

  35. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 07.15.2009 | 8:57 am

    FRUSTRATING! I feel you Fatty. Just when you think you’ve made some gains – BOOM – back in your place domestique! On Saturday I was holding the wheel of my buddy Randy for dear life up Snoqualmie Falls, he could have stood up and left me (he’s done 19mph on that climb) but chose to see how hard he could make me work by just notching it up slowly. I held on. At the top, RPE at 11, my other buddy Greg pulls around me and he and Randy just start chatting away! I’m breathing so hard I can’t blink – and they’re discussing Iron Man Coeur D’Alene!


  36. Comment by buckythedonkey | 07.15.2009 | 9:30 am

    check out this Month’s Cycling Plus magazine. Page 113 features a shot of a huge host of cyclists. Right at the front, two blokes in Fat Cyclist jerseys. Nice!

  37. Comment by Esri Rose | 07.15.2009 | 3:47 pm

    I thought you said you were fat…?

  38. Comment by Evil Cyclist | 07.16.2009 | 10:02 am

    “I Do Not Like The People I Ride With”

    There is hope for you yet! Just expand your vision to something more, well, universal….

    -Evil C.


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