I’d Ride, if I Could Just Get Out the Door

07.17.2009 | 8:34 am

I know people who are able to wake up, take care of business, get dressed, get their bike ready and be riding within ten minutes.

I am not one of those people.

Today, for example, my preparation to bike to work actually went really well. Here are the steps I took. The times are guesses, but probably pretty close to reality.

  • 7:00am: Wake up (no alarm clock)
  • 7:01: Assess whether there’s a good reason to not go riding
  • 7:01: Bio break
  • 7:04: Sit on bedroom floor, wondering who I am and why I’m sitting on the floor
  • 7:09: Get dressed to ride
  • 7:11: Grab messenger bag (cleverly packed last night) and kiss wife goodbye:
  • 7:13: Top off tubes
  • 7:14: Fill water bottles
  • 7:15: Figure out how to route headphones and carry new iPod (birthday present from wife, currently loaded with Anansi Boys audiobook)
  • 7:17: Bio break 2
  • 7:24: Put on bike shoes and helmet
  • 7:27: Out the door

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Mr. Disorganized

Like I said, today was a good day. I took half an hour to get on my bike on a good day. And most days aren’t that good. Here’s a more typical itinerary for me getting going on a ride.

  • 6:00am: Wake up (with alarm clock)
  • 6:01: Bio break
  • 6:02: Go find where I left the messenger bag previously
  • 6:04: Empty messenger bag
  • 6:06: Find clothes for work
  • 6:14: Get dressed to go riding
  • 6:15: Try to remember whether I already have a towel at work
  • 6:16: Go get a towel
  • 6:17: Look outside to see if maybe it’s raining or something
  • 6:18: Go find bike clothes
  • 6:20: Put on shorts, jersey, one sock
  • 6:21: Look for another sock
  • 6:29: Decide that today’s warm enough that I don’t need to ride with socks at all
  • 6:30: Head into garage to get bike ready
  • 6:31: Top off tubes
  • 6:34: Lube chain
  • 6:36: Look for gloves
  • 6:40: Decide that today’s warm enough that I don’t need to wear gloves
  • 6:41: Head back inside to fill water bottles
  • 6:42: Start looking for different water bottles; current one is funky-smelling
  • 6:45: Back into the garage to put on helmet and glasses
  • 6:46: Back into kitchen to wash sweat off glasses
  • 6:48: Back into garage to put on shoes
  • 6:49: Take off shoes just after I put them on, in order to go back inside for bio break 2
  • 6:50: Bio break 2
  • 6:59: Back into garage to put on shoes
  • 7:00: Back inside (without taking off shoes, and hoping my wife won’t see) to fetch cell phone
  • 7:01: As long as I’m inside, I may as well check email before heading out, just in case anything crucial needs taking care of before I head into the office
  • 7:12: Back into garage to go, for real this time
  • 7:13: Back into the entryway to grab my wallet
  • 7:14: As long as I’m inside, maybe I’ll grab a Clif bar. I may get hungry along the way:
  • 7:15: Actually get on my bike and leave

I swear, it’s amazing I ever get out at all.

PS: This post rescued from my Spaces archive.


Summer Reruns for a Few Days

07.16.2009 | 12:02 pm

Hey, I’ve reached some kind of threshold. Between fretting constantly over the pain Susan’s enduring (it’s worse than it has ever been before but I’m just not able to go into it right now), taking care of my family, some behind-the-scenes work for Team Fatty, and trying to get myself into decent enough shape that I won’t embarrass myself at Leadville, I am maxed out. Cooked. Fried. Toast.

Can toast be fried? How about if you batter it and then deep fat fry it? That sounds good.

Anyway, I’m going to take a short blog vacation. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be moving a few of my favorite older posts from my old Spaces archive, planning to do that ’til next Thursday. So unless you’ve been following this blog way longer than is healthy, it should still look like I’m writing new stuff.

When I come back, I intend to be tanned and rested. Sure, it’ll be a weird cyclist’s tan, but still.

Guest for the Summer

07.15.2009 | 10:57 am

A couple of days ago, a guest arrived. He’ll be staying for the summer. Everyone, please give a warm welcome to the Diamondback Sortie Black.


But you can just call him “Sortie.”

Evidently, when I posted a video of Ricky and me riding Grove Creek on our fully-rigid bikes, it was just too much for Diamondback. They contacted me, saying, essentially, “You’re doing it wrong.”

And the Sortie, apparently, is the right way.

So they sent me one to play with for the summer. After which, I will return it in a much-more-used condition.

A Little Bit About the Sortie

I have to admit, the Sortie (especially the ultra-upgraded, limited-edition “Black” edition I’m currently gloating over) is a very sexy bike. Here are a few of the parts I’ve drooled on:

  • Knuckle Box suspension with Fox Float RP23 rear shock
  • Mavic Crossmax SLR wheelset
  • Hayes Stroker Gram disc brakes
  • Truvativ Noir cranks
  • SRAM XO shifters
  • Fox 32 Float RLC 130mm Air Fork

The rest of the bike is similarly hotted up, resulting in a mountain bike with 5″ of travel, front and back, that weighs 26 pounds out the door.

Let me say that again: This 5″-travel mountain bike weighs 26 pounds.


Which means I do not have to become a shuttlebug to start enjoying this bike.

Leap of Faith

I have spent long moments just staring at this bike. It’s a beauty. It’s also pretty much the exact opposite of what I’ve been trending toward lately. Consider:

  • Wheels: 26″ (my other mountain bikes — all four of them — have 29″ wheels). I am going to need to go to a bike shop and buy some 26″ tubes.
  • Suspension: 5″ [!!!] (3 of my other four mountain bikes have no suspension at all, and the other has a front shock, which I’ve been thinking about ditching)
  • Gears: This has 27. Right now I’m used to one.
  • Bottle cages: 1, which means I’m going to have to dig out a Camelbak if I’m going to go on a ride longer than 90 minutes…or 60 minutes in the heat of the day. Honestly, this is my biggest disappointment with this bike. I’m kind of off Camelbaks lately.
  • Weight: 26 pounds is light for what this is, but it’s still 8 pounds more than the mountain bike I’ve been riding most lately.

So far, the only riding I’ve done with this bike is straight into curbs, just to see how the bike handles them. And frankly, I’ve been a little bit freaked out, because the bike just kind of absorbs the curb. I don’t even have to stop pedaling, lift the front wheel or anything. Just ride through it, as if it weren’t there.

This opens some interesting doors for some of my favorite downhills. Like Jacobs Ladder. Or the Suncrest Freeride Trail. Or, of course, Grove Creek.

And that’s just the beginning.

I worry, though, that when I take the Sortie out, it will prove the bike version of the Peter Principle. Specifically, I have become a pretty fair descender on a rigid 29″ singlespeed, partly because a very simple, unfiltered bike lets me know precisely when I am approaching the limits of my skill.

I think this bike, on the other hand, will still feel like I’m in control, long after I’m not.

Tomorrow, I’ll find out.

PS: Feel free to use the Comments section to tell me you envy / hate me.

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.

Weekend of Awesome

07.13.2009 | 12:23 pm

My weekend was full of awesomeness, all centered around the LiveStrong Challenge. I am pretty sure, for example, that Matt Chapek’s — Team Fatty-San Jose Co-Captain — speech is the awesomest thing I saw this weekend. Watch it.

Matt’s speech makes me really, really glad that he was the one up there, and not me. Clearly, he was born for that.

Although to be honest, I’m not sure what was with all those bald head caps and muscle poses at the end of his presentation.

Oh, wait a second. Now I get it.

Group Photo

But you know what? I think there may be something even more awesome than that video (click to see the larger version):


That’s Team Fatty-San Jose, standing at the front of the starting line of the San Jose LiveStrong Challenge.

And why are they at the front of the line? Because they raised more money to fight cancer than any other team there.

Congratulations, Team Fatty!

Oh, and be sure to read Ryan’s race ride report from the event, if you want to know what it’s like to spend the day in a breakaway group.

Surprise Awesomeness

Those of you who pay attention to the Team Fatty LiveStrong ticker I keep on the right side of my blog may have noticed something unusual between Thursday afternoon and now.

Specifically, we went from $370,000 to $411,000.

$40,000+, over a weekend.

How did that happen?

Well, The Pioneer Woman happened, that’s what. Ree — a longtime Friend of Fatty — asked her readers to pitch in and help us in our fight with cancer.

And did they pitch in? Um, yeah. In just over three days, 1,551 Pioneer Woman readers donated, for a total of $28,632. Which puts Team Fatty-Philly within spitting distance of $100,000.

That’s not awesome. That’s beyond awesome. That’s awesometastariffic. Ree’s readers rock. (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them may prefer country.)

(Oh, and by the way, Team Fatty-Philly, since The Pioneer Woman and her readers have given us an incredible head start, I think it would be really cool if we could get past that $100,000 mark by tomorrow. Don’t you?)

So, one more time (and don’t forget to echo me in the comments): Ree and Pioneer Woman readers: thank you for helping us as we fight cancer.

PS: This whole Internet – blog thing is turning out to be a pretty darned good neighborhood, isn’t it?

PPS: Congratulations to Jessica of Virginia, who won the Nikon D80, lens kit and copy of Photoshop CS4 in Pioneer Woman’s giveaway. Here’s how Jessica says she plans to use her new camera and software:

I have a gorgeous little 8-month-old baby that is about the most photogenic thing ever, so I will no doubt be taking copious amounts of photos of her and me together — and then using the Photoshop to erase some of my baby weight in said photos (hehe). Also, my four cats and two dogs think they are the center of the universe and usually plop down in the perfect ray of sunshine to guarantee a pretty cat/dog picture!

Hey Jessica, don’t forget to buy a bike trailer for that baby, too. OK?

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