Evidently, Taunting Someone Much Faster Than You Is a Less-Than-Effective Strategy

10.16.2009 | 9:17 am

A Note from Fatty: The “Win any Ibis, Take it Anywhere You Want, And Ride it With Andy Hampsten, Chuck Ibis, and Fatty” contest is in full swing. Details are here, and you can go enter the contest by clicking here.

I’ve asked Scot Nicol — AKA Chuck Ibis — to describe which bikes he’d take to what places. This will take the form of a mini-series, titled….

The Great Bike and Trail Pairing Mini Series

The winner of this fantastic contest will have a legitimate shot at creating one of the great pairings in history. Done right, it could a be more talked about match than John and Yoko and Bacall and Bogey combined.

It could replace all those fond (and to some, kinky) memories of Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima, not to mention Lucy and Ricky.

Could it be a strong enough choice to permanently erase Cheese Whiz and Crackers from one’s cranium?

What we’re talking about of course is which Ibis the winner chooses, and what place the winner decides to go ride said bike.

Today we begin a 4 part dissection of what could be…should our winner be up to the task.

Big Wood and a Tranny

Up in the wilds of Idaho there’s a thing called the Big Wood River. It winds through the town of Ketchum, a place most people generically call “Sun Valley.” I’ve had the great fortune to live in this Wood River Valley, and learned a lot about the trails up there.

An astute winner would seriously consider Sun Valley as the chosen spot for our rendezvous, and a doubly astute reader would take possession of a Tranny, perhaps even of the single speed variety.

They say you can access nearly one thousand miles of singletrack from the greater Sun Valley area. That’s enough for at least two or three days of exploring. On top of that, much of it is smooth like buttah.

Depending on one’s mood or level of fitness, there are rides consisting of easy middle ring climbs, or you could choose high altitude lung-busters.

Consider the White Clouds, up in the Stanley basin above Sun Valley. Our intrepid Tranny Single Speeder Seanny Boy rode his rig up to Castle Peak in the White Clouds recently and filed this photo:


Along with the photo he filed following report: “Chillin’ at 10,000’.”

Brief and too the point, Sean, thank you, we like your style. This same bike is up in Bend Oregon this weekend, doing the Big Fat Tour. You could certainly add Bend to your list, but I don’t think it carries the weight of an Antony and Cleopatra type of pairing.

Here are a few more shots to whet your appetite for some time in the Wood River Valley.




There’s just one problem. You can’t win this bike or go on this ride with Andy Hampsten, Fatty and me unless you enter the contest. Which you should do. Right now. Click here, already.

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled blog post….

Wherein I Try Running Again, In Spite of My Better Judgement

Usually, I don’t write on Fridays, because Friday is the day I dedicate to eating pie, and I don’t like anything else to interfere with that activity.

But I knew that people would be interested in my experience with running. Or at least I like to imagine that you’re interested. In fact, I like to imagine that you’re so interested in my run that to tell the truth you had a rough time thinking about anything else. It made conversation difficult and infiltrated your dreams.

So here’s how it went.

Wherein I Negotiate a Major Concession

My problems with the run started well before the run itself, and manifested themselves in the form of a paucity of correct clothing. This is a weird situation for me, because I can ride every day for three weeks without washing a single item of clothing. Although the neighbors begin to complain when I do this.

Anyway, it turns out that my running shoes are about four years old. It took a while to find them, since I haven’t used them since moving into this house. I found some shorts — you know you’re a cyclist when shorts without a chamois feel wrong — and used a Melanzana Power Dry Shortsleeve as my running shirt. Somehow, wearing something made and purchased in Leadville was comforting.

We’d be running on trail — thank goodness — so I showed up at this runner’s house, expecting we’d drive the mile and a half to the trailhead and begin there.

But she planned to run there.

“You need to understand,” I said, without even a trace of petulance in my voice, “that if we start here and run to the trailhead, I may be finished for the day when we get there.”

I am confident she did not roll her eyes. Though it may have looked that way.

So we drove. I passively-aggressively played Meat Puppets (“Open Wide” and “Another Moon,” both from Forbidden Places, both of which I love and both of which I’m pretty sure nobody else in the world loves) on the stereo, and did not make eye contact.

This Is Not So Bad

I got out of the BikeMobile, which I imagine was feeling very confused to be at a trailhead parking lot without a single bike in the bed.

I expected there would be stretching and warming up, and began to formulate my plan as to how I would pretend like I knew how to stretch and warm up. But then she just started running.

I knew I needed to either feign an injury right then or follow. Panicking, I couldn’t think of a suitable injury, so I ran.

Or, more accurately, I sort of did a fast shuffle-walk, while moving my arms as if I were a speed walker. On me, this looks very athletic and graceful.

The trail was briefly level, during which time I could tell I was in serious trouble as the runner became a speck on the horizon.

But then, something unexpected and good happened: the trail turned up.

And I like climbing.

For whatever reason, running uphill felt like I was using my cycling legs, at least to a degree. Maybe the smaller steps you take when you’re going uphill, combined with the quad-focused effort of moving your body up the hill uses close enough to the same motion as cycling that I was able to get into a reasonable facsimile of a climbing groove.

So within a minute or so, I caught up.

It’s possible this occurred merely because she let me.

Regardless, a weird thing had happened: I had begun to enjoy myself. I’m going to come right out and say it: I like running uphill, on dirt.

Tactical Error

And then, I did a foolish thing: I opened my mouth. “This isn’t so bad,” I said.

“You want to go faster?” she replied.

In my head, I answered, “No, I want to lay down and start planning out what kinds of pie I’ll be eating tomorrow.”

Out loud, I said, “Up to you. I’m maybe at 30% right now.” WHICH WAS A JOKE.

“You’re at 30%?” she replied.

“Maybe 28%, but I figured I’d round up for your benefit,” I (very very stupidly) answered.

And so she turned it on. Which, when I think about it, was the only possible response.

And it left me with a choice. Chase? Or start walking?

I chased.

New Cease Fire Terms

Something that the last season of cycling has taught me is exactly where my breaking point is. I am now very well acquainted with when my body is right at the edge of what it can do, and when it’s going to crack.

So I went up to that edge and did my level best to keep up, and more or less managed to do so.

“Do I need to say ‘uncle’ or something?” I whined.

“You just need to say, ‘Alpha female, please please please slow down,’” she replied, not sounding particularly winded.

Now, I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a certain amount of pride. And just a hint of stubbornness. So I quoted Westley from Princess Bride.

“Death first.”

Which, as the run continued, increasingly seemed like a legitimate possibility.


It will always be a source of pride to me that I managed to keep the runner in sight as we ran this trail. Enough of a source of pride, in fact, that I never ever ever intend to find out if I managed this because I could, or because she let me.

Cuz it would kind of kill the drama of the event to find out that she had simply gone from one level of not trying to another level of not trying, except now perhaps not trying a little bit less.

Anyway, the trail emptied out onto a paved downhill road.

At which point, it took all of ten seconds for me to loudly beg, “Alpha female, please please please slow down.”

On pavement, downhill, I felt incredibly ungainly. There was no rhythm whatsoever to my steps. I felt like I was landing flat on my feet, with the impact going clear up into my skull.

Grace has never been my strong suit. Here, however, I was a thrashing, flailing, bumbling wreck.

“I feel like I’m pedaling squares,” I said.

“You shouldn’t feel like you’re pedaling at all,” she replied, not unreasonably.

Eventually, the pavement turned onto a dirt road that goes along a canal and back toward our starting point.

I must have looked on the pathetic side of pathetic, because several times she said, “If you need to walk, just say.”

“Death first,” I said again, but this time it wasn’t so much a proclamation of defiance as an actual statement of intent.

My “running” wasn’t much faster than walking, anyway. If any.

Eventually, we got close to the start point. She picked up the pace. I responded by failing to pick up the pace. She sprinted. I had no sprint.

She finished strong. I finished, full stop.

Sometimes, that’s enough.

PS: Today, I hurt. Quads and shins, mostly. But not as badly as I expected to. And I do intend to start running a couple times per week. For bone density, and because I simply cannot stand the thought of another winter riding the rollers, Every. Single. Day.


I am Not Sorry. (I’m Sorry!)

10.15.2009 | 8:17 am

A Note from Fatty About the Current Contest: Monday, I promised that today i would reveal who the mystery rider will be in the “Pick an Ibis, (Nearly) Any Ibis” contest. You know, the one where you could win an Ibis Silk SL, a Mojo, a Tranny, or a Hakkalugi, then choose a place where you’d like to ride it, and then meet Chuck Ibis, a mystery rider, and me for a ride there.

But really, in terms of sheer awesomeness, the part I did not reveal was the part that goes to 11. But let’s start with a hint. Here’s his legs (in the background of this photo by Arnaud Bachelard, Chuck is politely asking the dog to stop biting his knee):


What, you still don’t know who it is?

OK, maybe this will help:


Yes, that’s right. If you win this contest, you will get to ride with Andy Freaking Hampsten. The winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia. And two-time winner of the Tour de Suisse. And now the owner of Cinghiale Cycling Tours.

He’s a legend. An honest-to-goodness cycling icon. And good guy.

And you can ride with him (and you will note that I have cleverly arranged so that no matter who else wins, I will get to ride with him too) if you win this contest.

And then there’s the not-minor fact that you could be doing this ride with Andy Hampsten on your new Silk SL:


Though Andy’s totally happy to ride dirt or a combination of road and dirt with you instead, if that’s your thing.

On Monday, when I leaked to Mark (I’m terrible at secret keeping) that it’s Andy who will be the mystery rider, Mark said, “The coolness factor of this contest just doubled.” I believe that is probably true for anyone who really loves cycling.

Of course, if you read BikeRadar, you’ll notice they somehow found out about Andy Hampsten (from Mark, perhaps?) and published it yesterday. Since this leak directed all kinds of traffic toward the contest, I’m all for it.

So, those of you who have been on the fence about this contest (though frankly I don’t know why you would be on the fence about this contest), go enter now.

And now, on to today’s actual post.

I Am Not Sorry. (Sorry!) Really, I’m Not Sorry. (So Sorry.)

I am sometimes reluctant to take people new to cycling on rides with me. No, not because they’re new and will slow me down. I expect that. That doesn’t bother me at all.

But it clearly bothers them a lot.

Most people — neighbors, friends, family — I take out on rides spend between 30% and 90% of their talking time apologizing for slowing me down, making me wait, and in general not magically being as good of a cyclist as I am, even though I’ve been doing this for close to two decades and it’s their first time out since puberty.

“It’s totally fine,” I will usually begin.

“I’m riding with you for the company, not to race, so don’t worry about it,” I will later say.

“Seriously, I’m having fun. Stop worrying,” I will plea, eventually.

“OK, one more ’sorry’ from you and I’m slashing your tires,” is generally my final tactic for trying to stop the apologies. Which causes nervous laughter, mainly because I can — at will — summon a gleam of madness to my eyes. Next time you see me, ask me to do it. It’s an awesome party trick.

For the longest time, I have had a hard time understanding why people will continue to apologize, when I’ve made it clear that I don’t need — or want — an apology?

But now I understand. Because I’m scheduled to go running with someone — a strong runner, someone who regularly runs marathons — today (I’ve got this notion that next season I might do some Xterra races).

And I find myself apologizing already.

I find that I am saying the exact same things to this runner that my non-cycling friends and neighbors say to me when we ride.

I say, “I’m really going to hold you back.”

And, “I hope you already got a workout in today, because you won’t get one when we run.”

And, “I won’t so much be running as moving my arms as if I were running, while I actually shuffle lamely.”

Please note, I have said all these things before the running has even started.

So I’ve been gazing introspectively and deeply into my soul, asking myself the age-old question: “What is wrong with me?” After all, I know this runner knows I am not a runner. I know she knows I will be slow. I know this will be an easy, no-effort outing for her, after which she will almost certainly go get her real run for the day in.

And yet.

I think, though, I now get why new cyclists apologize to me when we ride. It’s for the same reason I’m — against my will — preparing a lengthy list of apologies to use.

It’s because, secretly, in my heart of hearts, I hope to hear, in response to my apology, “Well, you know, actually you’re a natural. I wasn’t going to say anything because I didn’t want to swell your head, but you are pushing me. I am absolutely at my limit, and am starting to cramp up. I honestly do not believe I can hold the blistering pace you are setting.”

And so on.

Which is a useful thing to know, really. So the next time I ride with someone new, I’m going to wait for that first apology, and then say, “I can’t believe you are apologizing! You are doing great! Seriously, you used to ride competitively, right?”

And, in the off chance that the runner I’m about to be crushed by reads this, I’d appreciate it if you’d memorize either or both of the above quotes and use them as appropriate.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

PS: Sorry I’m going to be so slow!

Fight Cancer, Win Just About Any Ibis You Want, then Ride It with Chuck and Fatty Wherever You Want

10.13.2009 | 12:17 pm

“What,” I sometimes ask myself, “would be the most insanely cool contest I could ever come up with?”

Give away a bike? Done that. A lot.

Give away a trip? Done that, too.

Take a winner on an awesome ride of their choosing? Hmmm. Haven’t done that, though it’s certainly a good idea.

But what if I gave away an Ibis? And what if you got to choose what kind of bike you win? It could be a road bike (the Silk SL), a mountain bike (a Mojo or Tranny), or a cyclocross bike (the Hakkalugi).

And what if it were spec’d to the nines, whichever way you go?

200910131125.jpg And what if I hand-delivered – along with the Ibis Honcho and Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer Scot Nicol (aka Chuck Ibis) — that new bike to you at some awesome cycling destination that you get to pick (but which Chuck and I get veto power over)?

And then what if we all went on a ride together?

And then, just for a little air of extra mystery, what if a cycling legend — whom I will not name at this time, but will announce this Thursday — joined us for that ride?

Would that kick butt?

Why yes, I do believe it would kick butt. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it would kick mucho butt indeed.

Well, that’s the next big Fat Cyclist fundraising contest, with – as usual – all money going straight to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

And I think this is one you’re going to want to enter.

Let’s Think About the Bikes for a Moment

Usually – by which I mean “always,” as far as I know – when someone does a bike giveaway, they have a certain bike in mind. You either win it, or you don’t. If you’re a roadie, maybe a new MTB doesn’t really trip your breaker. Or vice-versa. Or maybe as a hardcore cyclocross guy you’ve been wondering when someone’s going to give away anything but the lowest of the low end cyclocross bikes.

Well, this is the contest of your dreams, buckaroo. Consider the following hotness, if you will, and begin to obsess about which you would choose if you win (click any of the photos to see them up close and personal):

MTB: The Ibis Mojo SL


The Mojo may be the most beautiful mountain bike in the world, and now with the SL, it’s seriously light, too. And still practically bombproof. Though I do not recommend detonating explosives around it, because really, what would that accomplish?

If you don’t know about the Mojo, you will learn in the coming days. If you do know about it, well, we don’t need to say any more, it’s a Mojo SL.

I think I saw about 10 of these at the 24 Hours of Moab. All the riders looked happy. And strong. And not fatigued. And I think they were better looking than the other riders.

Road: The Ibis Silk SL


I ride and love an Ibis Silk SL, which I currently have built as a 13-pound road singlespeed. Yeah. It climbs pretty well. Built as a regular ol’ road bike, you can get it to around 15 pounds, easy. And it flies. Except not literally. Cuz that would be scary, and not safe.

We raffled one of these off last year, and our winner – Matt Kreger — has done it right, riding in Livestrong rides, centuries and just commuting to his job.

Although in typical Ibis fashion this bike is understated and classy, it’s sexy as all get-out. Choose from clear gloss – showing off the carbon weave – or British Racing Green or a rich Red. Me, I’d go with the green, if I got to pick. Again.

MTB: The Ibis Tranny


It’s a carbon fiber hardtail. It’s a geared bike. It’s a single speed. It’s a travel bike.

It’s all of the above. And so much more. It’s the Ibis Tranny.

It’s probably the coolest bike you’re never heard about. But you’re going to hear more in the days ahead.

Cross: the Ibis Hakkalügi


This is the best-named bike in the entire world. The Hakkalügi used to be a steel bike, but the elves at Ibis magically changed it to a carbon frame. For you purists out there, sorry. For you weight weenies out there, you’re welcome. We used to say “Steel is real.” Now we say “Steel is real…heavy.”

Chuck says if the winner chooses this bike, he’s got some amazing rides-part dirt, part paved-that will be unlike any ride you’ve ever done. Unless you regularly ride with Chuck that is, then it will be the same old same old.

I want this bike so bad.

Where Would You Go?

If I were going to pick somewhere in the U.S. to go ride, I think I’d pick somewhere in Colorado. Crested Butte, maybe. I haven’t ridden there, and I hear it’s incredible.


Chuck won’t shut up about it.

But Chuck’s lips keep flapping and then he starts thinking maybe he’d like to go riding at Thunder Mountain.


Or in Sonoma County (his backyard).

Or maybe you’d like to go to Moab. You could do worse than go MTBing there with a couple guys who have been dozens and dozens of times.

Or maybe you’d want to go somewhere else. Somewhere I haven’t thought of, but which would be really awesome.

It’s fun to think about, isn’t it? And I suspect it’ll be fun to do, as well.

A Little Bit About the Mystery Person

I’m not telling you who the mystery cycling icon is strictly because I’m coy and don’t want to give everything away quite yet. But I will tell you this. If you think it’s Lance Armstrong, you’re wrong. However, it is someone who is a beloved former pro road cyclist with a resume that is pretty darn stratospheric, and you will be over the moon to meet and ride with him. Yes, that’s a clue: our mystery rider is a male. Which rules out Jeannie Longo.

I’ll say who he is this Thursday.

Let’s Recap

  • The winner gets an Ibis bike of his or her choice, color and size is your choice.
  • We’ll fly you to the best possible riding spot in the US, according to you (and ratified by us).
  • You’ll get to ride with Chuck, Fatty and a Mystery Hottie.

Wow. I mean, really. Wow.

The Details

Entering this contest is easy. And here are the rules.

  • The contest begins now (October 13) and goes through Midnight (MDT) October 20.
  • For every $5.00 you donate at this LiveStrong Challenge Page, you get a chance at winning this incredible bike / trip / ride with Chuck and Fatty and the Mystery Man. Just click here to donate, make your donation in multiples of $5.00, and you’re automatically entered.
  • If you are a member of Team Fatty Austin, every $5.00 you raise on your OWN LiveStrong Challenge page between now and the end of October 20 gets you a chance at this prize.
  • The date of the trip depends on finding a day that works with your schedule, my schedule, Chuck’s schedule, and the Mystery Man’s schedule.
  • Where we go: This has to be somewhere in the U.S., with reasonable access to an airport. And Chuck, the Mystery Rider, and I seriously do have veto power. If we don’t want to go somewhere, we won’t. But if you can make a case for mountain biking in Ohio, more power to you. We’ll listen.
  • You can select any Ibis bike, except the Mojo HD.
  • We’ll box the bike after the ride and ship it by UPS to you. If you want to get it sooner than we’re willing to pay, or if you want to fly it home with you, you’ll need to cover those costs.
  • If you live outside the contintental US and win the bike, it is your responsibility to get into the US; we’ll fly you the rest of the way.
  • Customs and taxes for the bike are your own problem.
  • The prize for this contest is exactly the things listed here. If it’s not explicitly mentioned, it’s not part of the prize. In other words, your hotel is your own problem. As are your meals. Although we might foot the bill for burritos afterward. Because we’re like that.

Why This Matters

Why are we doing this monster giveaway? Well, we have reasons.

  • Ibis is a dangerously cool company, and loves to do things creatively and differently. I like that.
  • Chuck Ibis is – in addition to being a mad genius – an extremely good guy.
  • Everyone hates cancer, and when a really cool people get together – Ibis, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Mystery Cyclist whom you are really really really going to want to meet – get together, we can do more in the fight than any of us can alone.

So, go donate now. This is the big one. The Grand Finale. Seriously. Go.

24 Hours of Moab Race Report

10.12.2009 | 11:46 am

A Note from Fatty: Tomorrow I’m kicking off a huge new contest to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. As it often does, this one involves a bike, but this time it involves a lot more than a bike. Check back tomorrow for details!

I had good intentions. I was going to liveblog and post pictures frequently and everything.

Really, I was.

But maybe it’s the sign of a good race that once 24 Hours of Moab began, I just wanted to ride hard during my laps, relax afterward, and not spend my time typing.


I’ll try to make it up to you now.

The Most Mellow Pre-Race Jitters, Ever

Originally, Team Fatty was going to be Me, Kenny, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name), and Brad. Brad, however, got so deeply immersed in designing a new flavor of CarboRocket (hint: do you like nachos?) that he had to step down. Taking his place was Nick Rico, a co-worker of Rick’s who’s been riding mountain bikes — he’s been riding single speed, but 24 Hours of Moab would be his first ride ever with a rigid fork — for only one year. I’ve ridden with Nick several times though, and knew he’d be plenty fast — he’s been a strong roadie for years and years.

Everyone, meet Nick, from a picture I took when he was not expecting me to:


From this picture, you may deduce a number of things:

  • Nick has the longest hair of anyone on our team: 1/4″. Which makes me wonder: if you are a guy and you ride enough, are you bound to eventually either get a buzz-cut or shave your head entirely? I sure noticed a lot of guys at this race whose hair — or lack thereof — was dictated by suitability and comfort for wearing a helmet.
  • Nick has the legs for this kind of ride.
  • My nickname for Nick — Guns McCoy — is a good one.

Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and introduce everyone else on the team. Here’s Kenny, wearing his Daisy Dukes, which he would in fact wear for the first lap of the race.


Kenny — foolishly, I think — volunteered to be the first rider on our team, which means he was volunteering to do the run in the Le Mans-style start. More on that in a moment.

And yeah, that photo’s about 3/4″ away from being NSFW.

Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) was the second racer in the Team Fatty lineup. Rick may be the single most competitive person I have ever met. He contests every summit. Every sprint. Which makes him a good person to have on your team:


Oh, and while it may appear in this photo that his legs are 18′ long, rest assured that in real life they are no longer than 16′.

And here’s me, showing off the team jersey, with my bib pinned on.


By the way, that green shirt I’m wearing is my “Going to Moab” shirt. For the past three or four years, I have worn that shirt every time I travel to Moab. Makes me easier to recognize. No, I don’t have a special reason. Some traditions don’t need a reason.

I was nervous for the race — it had been at least ten years since I had raced the 24 Hours of Moab, and I couldn’t really remember the course. Plus, everyone kept looking at us like we were nuts when we said we were racing in the Singlespeed Rigid category.

But it was a slow-burn kind of nervous, because even after the race began, I had a couple hours before it was my turn.

So meanwhile, I sat in my camp chair, enjoying the perfect weather — sunny, a slight breeze, and around 74 degrees.

Every time I thought about the fact that I would not be doing the run at the beginning of the race sent a little wave of relief through my mind.

The run was Kenny’s problem.

The Beginning of the Race

It’s weird that the most spectacular moment of the 24 Hours of Moab doesn’t happen on a bike at all. In order to alleviate the massive traffic jam that 365 teams would cause trying to get to the singletrack funnel at the start gun, the race has a Le Mans-style start, which means that someone from all 365 teams has to line up and run about 75 yards (guessing here — I’m terrible at judging open distances) to a tree, go around it, and then run to pick up their bike and go.

Here’s a small sample of folks waiting at the line.


Some people wear outrageous costumes, in keeping with the party atmosphere of the race. There was a team that wore wrestling masks, there was a team that wore matching pink tutus and wigs, and there was this guy, who I thought of as “The Guy Who Puts ‘Glad’ in “Gladiator.”


When the gun goes off, the chaos and dust from all the running is awesome.




I love that for the first several seconds, The Gladiator actually was out front of everyone. I love even more that the next morning, while I was out on my final lap wearing tights, a base layer and a jacket, I came across this guy also riding a lap…and he was still wearing this outfit. Although his mohawk had wilted considerably by then.

Oh, I’m sad to say that amidst the chaos, I could not find and photograph Kenny running in his Daisy Dukes.

My First Lap

Like I have mentioned, it had been a long time since I had raced — or otherwise ridden — the Behind the Rocks trail in Moab, and I’ve never ridden it on a single speed, much less a fully rigid single.

However long it’s been, it was plenty of time for me to forget how technical the course is. There’s lots of sand. There are some serious ledges — some you’ve got to climb, some you’ve got to descend — and there are a number of places where all but the most accomplished riders (hint: not me) had to dismount and portage their bikes down and up what feel like sandy cliffs.

That said, I had a ball. I rode right at my limit, but managed to not go past it and blow up. I managed a number of tricky rocky sections I saw others walking. And my big wheels and soft tires — at 22psi — made it so I was able to climb and descend through the sandy sections that others were getting bogged down in.

I didn’t crash, I didn’t get passed a lot, and I did pass a lot of people. Still, since I wasn’t wearing a watch or bike computer, I had no idea whether I was doing the team proud or ruining our shot at the podium.

I finished my first lap, handed the team baton over to the exchange official, swiped my RFID card to make it official, Nick swiped his card and got the baton from the official (this has to all be done in the correct order, and became increasingly difficult for me to remember as the race went on), and took off.

My first lap took 1:15:47 — about two and a half minutes slower than Kenny’s first lap which included a two minute bunch mass run. And I was just over a minute slower than Rick’s first lap. I couldn’t decide whether to be happy or sad about that result. On one hand, I really had put everything into that lap; I couldn’t have done it better or faster. On the other hand, I was slower than my teammates. On still yet another hand, I wasn’t a lot slower, and the race was young.

Taking all this into account, I decided to be moderately pleased with myself, and puffed out my chest. Moderately.

Here’s me, finishing up lap #1. Thanks for taking and sending me the photo, KanyonKris!


Oh, and sorry I flipped you off while you were taking the shot.

Second Lap: Cold and Dark and Fun

With our team doing about 1:15 laps, my second lap wouldn’t begin ’til 7:39, and it’s fully dark by then. I knew I’d be slower — fatigue from the first lap and my fear of the technical course would see to that. Rick came in — his lap partially in the dark — not much slower than his first lap, though — 1:20 versus 1:14.

And then something unexpected happened: I had a wonderful time. It had been years — since before the twins were born — since I’ve gone night riding, and I had completely forgotten how different and exciting it can be. I knew I could set my Princeton Tec Switchback 3 lights on high beam for the entire ride — they’ll go for six hours at high, and I only needed an hour and a half or so.

When you’re riding at night, your universe becomes very strange. On one hand, the giant vistas Moab is famous for disappear; all you can see is what your lights show you. On the other hand, if you look up, you see the stars — and away from the tent city on a clear night (which it was) you could really see the stars. I think I took almost an entire second to appreciate the stars during my night laps.

Ledges look steeper. The distant trail becomes invisible and therefore unimportant.

In short, riding at night has an immediacy that takes some getting used to, but is a lot of fun.

Full disclosure here: Princeton Tec outfitted Team Fatty with Switchback 3’s for free, so have your grain of salt if you like. But the fact is these lights are terrific. They were trouble free, burn for a long, long time, cast a big, even light pattern, and can be charged in a car or through AC power. I was very happy with them, and everyone else on Team Fatty had a similar experience.

I finished my lap feeling a weird mixture of elation and exhaustion. While my legs and lungs hurt, I had just had 1:26 (about ten minutes slower than my first lap, which is reasonable) of fun. Yes, I had fun, during a race. Incredible!

Third Lap: Same as the Second

Except for the fact that it started at 1:24 in the morning and was a lot colder outside, my third lap was nearly indistinguishable from my second. The time difference? Nine seconds slower.

I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team (that’s definitely Kenny), but I think I could now lay claim to being the most consistent.

I Love Campers

Until this race, I have never used a camper. I am now a convert. Being able to change in a warm, well-lit, enclosed place, then being able to lay down on what amounts to a couch for a couple hours is wonderful.

Thanks for the loan, Ricky M. And good luck cleaning up your camper. That thing is a mess.

Fourth Lap: Where Am I?

My fourth lap started at 7:31 in the morning, by which time it’s fully light. By then, I had gotten so used to riding this course in the dark that I was startled at what the trail looks like in broad daylight.

There’s something about having the sun come up after you’ve been up riding all night. Even though you haven’t slept (well, maybe I got an hour or two in there), you feel better. And knowing that this would be my last lap, I did everything I could to leave everything on the course. I was occasionally passed, but I passed people more often. Including — even on my single speed — on downhill grades (I was glad I had changed my gearing to 32 x 18 for this race).

This was strictly a race for my own satisfaction. By this point it was clear we could not, barring a major problem on Stomparillaz’ part — win our category.

But it still felt good to push myself as hard as I could, and to surprise people with an “on your left” as I went by, climbing stuff on my single that people were walking with geared bikes.

If you take a look at our results versus Stomparillaz‘ (the team that won the SS rigid category), it becomes clear why they beat us: They were consistently faster.


In the end, we were just happy that we kept them close enough that they couldn’t quite lap us.

Podium and Aftermath

I needed to get started toward home before the awards ceremony began, so we got our medals, put our stinky Team Fatty jerseys back on, and got our own podium picture:


So yeah, we kind of promoted ourselves to top podium position here, where by rights we should have been standing a little to the left. Sorry, Stomparillaz!

And in the interest of full disclosure I should probably mention that since there were only three Singlespeed Rigid teams out there racing, we were going to get on the podium pretty much no matter what. However, one thing I am proud of is that we took 27th overall out of 365 teams. That’s not bad.

And now, a day later, my legs actually feel fine. It’s my arms that are cooked. The “rigid” part of “rigid singlespeed” class makes a difference on a rocky, technical course like this.

And only maybe a quarter of my stuff is unpacked.

An Open Letter to Myself About 24 Hours of Moab

10.8.2009 | 8:30 am

A Note from Fatty: Drew Carey has made a couple of impressive commitments:

  1. If he gets 100,000 followers on his Twitter account by November 9, he’ll donate $100,000 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
  2. If he gets 1,000,000 followers on his Twitter account by the end of the year, he’ll donate $1,000,000 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

So if you have a Twitter account, go follow Drew. And if you don’t have a Twitter account, go sign up and then follow Drew.

Oh, and you can follow me, too. Though I’ll sometimes forget about the existence of Twitter for days and not update, I will occasionally let something interesting slip in Twitter before it shows up in the blog.

Dear Fatty,

I just thought you should know that you are going to be heading out tomorrow for the 24 Hours of Moab. And while it looks like it’s just one race, it’s actually a lot more than that. It’s more like you’re doing six or seven races, since that’s how many times you’ll be going out. And it’s a big self-supported camping trip. And it’s in the sandy desert, which is really hard on bikes. And half of the race is at night, which means it’s going to be cold and dark part of the time.

And, in your case, the logistics are even more entertaining because you’ve got to arrange for what the kids are doing — going to Grand Junction to stay with Grandpa — in addition to all of your own stuff.

In short, Fatty, you’ve got a few things to consider for this event. I just thought I’d write and let you know what some of those things are.

How to Race

While your team will be racing for 24 hours, Fatty, you will not be. You will be racing for 12 miles, then having a longish break while your three teammates take their turns doing a lap.

So I hereby give you permission to open it up on the laps. Race each lap like it’s the only one you’re going to do.

However, I do not give you permission to try to ride Nosedive hill. Because while you think you are technically strong now, in reality you are not. And when you are in race mode, you are not thinking that way anyway.

In short, ride out of your noggin, but only to the extent that you remain upright.

What to Bring

And now we arrive at the important part of this letter, Fatty: the list of stuff you need to remember to bring. Your readers will very likely find everything from this point forward this either the most interesting and useful, or most boring and useless, post you have ever written.

Luckily for you, this is their problem, not yours.

For The Twins

The twins will be staying with Grandpa, who will be taking them fossil hunting, fishing, and to church. So:

  • dresses + shoes
  • hiking shoes
  • socks: 3pr ea
  • warm weather clothes
  • cool weather clothes
  • coats
  • food: the weird stuff that they always want that Grandpa for sure won’t have on hand
  • Art stuff for in the car
  • Books for nighttime reading
  • Brush, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste
  • PJs

Camp Stuff

You’ll be spending much more time at the camp than racing, so you may want to consider bringing the following items, which I am not listing in any particular order, since you have the least-organized mind in the whole world:

  • A camp chair
  • Hygiene stuff: think about others! Deodorant (!!!), toothbrush, toothpaste, about a million baby wipes, Purell by the quart, Listerine
  • a blanket
  • a sleeping bag
  • Wood
  • hats for sun, hats for cold
  • Stuff to eat. Spam, maybe?

Bike Stuff

Since this is a bike race, you may want to bring your bike stuff.

  • 2 bikes, both the Singlefly and the Waltworks. Aren’t you glad you have 2 high-end rigid singlespeeds? Redundancy is your friend.
  • Lube
  • Floor pump
  • Lock and cable
  • Tubes
  • Tools
  • Bottles. Lots and lots of bottles

Night Stuff

I know, Fatty, that you would prefer to do this 24 hour race as a noncontiguous pair of daylight races. This is not how it’s going to happen. You’re going to need stuff to help you see around.

  • Princeton Tec light setup (which has arrived and is super-sweet. Thanks, Princeton Tec!)
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight
  • Lantern


You know what happens when you keep eating and changing clothes over and over during the course of a 24 hour period? You accumulate trash and stinky clothes, that’s what.

  • Trash bags
  • Dirty clothes bags

Cooking and Food Stuff

Your big secret this year — for how you’ve lost weight while still feeling like you have a huge amount of energy on the bike — is simple. Eggs. Specifically, lots of egg whites. You should probably post about how many egg whites you’re currently going through weekly and how you prepare them. Because they seem to be magic. Anyways:

  • 2 Dozen Eggs
  • Frying pan
  • Pam
  • Loaf of bread
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cholula
  • Shot Bloks
  • Peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Knives, forks, spatula
  • Water
  • Carborocket
  • Ice chests, duh
  • bins

Clothes for On the Bike

What? Not riding naked? Chicken.

  • Helmet
  • Helmet cam
  • Batteries for helmetcam
  • Lots and lots of gloves, all different thicknesses. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to try to shift with those gloves on?
  • Glasses: bring everything you own that says “Oakley” on it
  • Under-helmet beanie
  • Shoes: Specialized and Sidis
  • Every jersey, jacket, vest, and pair of shorts you own, basically.
  • Tights
  • Socks: thin socks for day, wool for night

Clothes for Off the Bike

  • Thermals
  • shorts
  • light shirts
  • heavy shirts
  • jacket
  • coat
  • pants
  • sandals
  • heavy shoes
  • beanie
  • hat for sun

You sure need a lot of stuff. Good luck on this race, Fatty.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist

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