11.30.2009 | 8:53 am

Today’s post may be unsafe for work. I’m not sure. Depends on your work, and whether you have someone looking over your shoulder who is very offended by the very thought of certain anatomical realities.

I can safely say, however, that if today’s post had photos, it definitely would be not safe for work. So, a promise from the outset: today’s post will not have photos.

You’re welcome.

With that out of the way, I need to do some disclaiming. Today’s post requires that we acknowledge a part men have that women don’t. Yes, you are correct: today I will, in fact, mention the portion of the male anatomy that is often called a “penis.” Although, to make you more comfortable with this post — I understand some people find the word “penis” offensive and prefer to not ever hear or see the word “penis” at all — I will not use the word “penis” throughout this post. Instead, I will use a codeword for “penis.” The word I will substitute for “penis” throughout this post is “snipe,” which I have chosen because it is an anagram of the word “penis.”

By the way, “pines” is also an anagram of “penis,” but I chose not to use it, because it is plural, which would be confusing. Also, it could be considered unnecessarily metaphorical, not to mention boastful.

So, “snipe” it is. And I’m going to stop putting quotes around the word snipe, because hitting the quote key twice per word so often is a lot of work.

Also, one final disclaimer: I am not just talking about any snipe. I am talking about my snipe. So, if you find you are capable of reading a story about a generic snipe but not about an actual snipe belonging to a beloved, multiple-award-winning cycling blog celebrity, you have two obvious options:

  1. Stop reading.
  2. Pretend I’m actually talking about someone else. A fictional someone, even.

You also have an easy third option, which is to read this post and then send me an angry email, saying you simply cannot fathom how I would dare to write about my snipe. But since I am about 1900 email messages in arrears at the present time, your message may not receive the attention it deserves, at least not in a timely manner.

And now, at long last, on to the story.

My Third-Most Painfully Memorable Crash

Among the strange-but-true axioms of mountain biking is this: Slow crashes can be every bit as painful as fast ones. If you’re not moving in the horizontal plane quickly — or at all — your body can take the vertical brunt of your fall in one place.

Thus, while my most painful crash of all — rocketing off the road and down a boulder-strewn embankment — was definitely fast, my second-most painful crash happened at approximately zero miles per hour: I stalled out and fell over sideways while attempting a technical move on Porcupine Rim, and separated my shoulder on impact.

And my third-most painful crash — which is the subject of today’s post and to which I swear I will eventually get around to talking about — was low-speed, as well.

The reason for the crash was quite ordinary, as was the crash itself. Namely, it was an uphill endo.

Specifically, I was climbing Tibble Fork. About a mile and a half up the trail, there is an eight-inch ledge where an exposed root crosses the trail. On its own merits, there’s nothing especially difficult about this ledge. But, since you’ve just done an incredibly difficult 1.5 miles of climbing by the time you get to that ledge, the level of difficulty for cleaning it rises significantly.

Anyway, as I approached the ledge I wheelied to put the front tire over the root and onto the trail beyond.

But not high enough.

My front wheel hit the root solidly, bringing the front of the bike’s momentum to a halt. The front wheel magically became a fulcrum at that moment, levering me up and — partially — over the bike.

I then, naturally, crashed down heavily, landing with my center of gravity — located at that moment at my snipe, alas — on my bike’s stem.

Eventually, I hit the ground. And commenced to writhe. The pain was so overwhelming that I really, honestly, thought I had severed my snipe’s ancillary componentry. I had waves of nausea. I groaned. I expressed interest in dying, right there, just to be done with it.

Looking back, perhaps I should upgrade this crash to second-most painful. I’m pretty sure that, at the moment of impact at least, it hurt worse than separating a shoulder.

After some time — minutes? hours? days? — I found that I no longer wished for death, and found furthermore that I could stand without feeling like I would heave.

And in fact, after verifying that my snipe and all associated hardware were present and — amazingly — intact, I finished the ride.

The Next Day

Aside from some expected soreness, my snipe gave me no special reason to pay attention to it for the rest of the day. And so I did not. Pay it special attention, I mean.

Overnight, however, a change occurred.

The thing is, though, while the change was as startling as it was obvious, it was located in such a place that I could not exactly show it off to strangers in the street. At least, not without legal consequences.

However, there was one person who I knew would appreciate what had happened. And so I called Dug into my office — we both worked in the same building, on the same floor at Novell at the time, and as you may expect accomplished a lot every single day — and said, “You have to see this.”

Then, I made appropriate disclaimers about how what I was about to do should be in no way construed as anything untoward, nor should any undue significance be attributed to said action.

After which I of course showed Dug my snipe.

Which was completely, entirely, and utterly the deepest, darkest purple imaginable.

I had planned to ask Dug whether he thought maybe I should go see a doctor, but I then thought better of it, because Dug was collapsed on the floor, laughing so hard he could not breathe.

To this day, I fear uphill endos more than any other kind of bike crash.


Thankful, 2009 Edition

11.25.2009 | 9:15 am

I am thankful for my kids. They are, in spite of what they have gone through for the past five-plus years, pretty much normal. The boys are both taller and smarter than I am, and help me out in very practical ways. The girls are happy, creative, and are beginning to show some real personality differences, while still maintaining their “twinness.”

I am thankful for the people who took care of my family and me. If it weren’t for my family, the core team, and my neighbors, I would not have come through this last year as intact and sane as I (think I) have.

I am thankful for Team Fatty and LiveStrong and readers of this blog. You gave me a sense of purpose during what would have otherwise been an aimless and purely painful time. Together, we turned something horrible into something big and noble. Thank you.

I am thankful for bicycles. I sometimes ask myself how a machine so inherently simple could have such a permanent grip on my mind and soul? But I never ask myself that question when I’m on a bike, because when I’m riding the answer’s perfectly obvious.

I am thankful for singletrack, and for pavement with wide shoulders. And also for doubletrack and jeep roads and pavement even without shoulders. But especially for singletrack and wide-shouldered pavement. And doubly especially for really smooth pavement.

I am thankful for the letter “L.” Without L, it would be impossible to have a wonderful life. Instead, you’d have a wonderfu ife. Which would not only not be wonderful, it would be downright ridiculous.

Finally, I am thankful for bacon. And avocados. And nonstick cooking surfaces. And apples. And eggs. And worcestershire sauce. And bratwurst. And onions. And peanut butter. And Oreos. And cheese. And steel-cut oats. And bananas. And potatoes. And butter. And sour cream. And salsa. And Cholula. And white bread. And Nutella. And Diet Coke with Lime. And black angus beef. And charcoal briquets. And Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. And Kenny’s homemade bread. And rotisserie chicken. And Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard. And mayonaise. And gnocchi. And pumpkin bread. And Mexican food in general, with a special mention going out to tortillas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful, Part I

11.24.2009 | 8:20 am

Tomorrow I plan to write my annual list of things, people, and events that I’m thankful for. Today, though, I want to write about one particular event and something that didn’t happen that from time to time (yesterday most recently) pops into mind, completely unbidden (and, honestly, unwanted).

And every time I remember it, I am incredibly thankful things worked out the way they did.

This happened back when I lived in Orem, Utah. I was driving home in the family minivan, going up Gold River Drive, as I did pretty much every day.


I was driving pretty slow — there were a lot of kids in that neighborhood.

Then, I noticed, behind a car — parked just about where you see the one in this photo — one of my next-door-neighbor’s kids. He was just standing behind that car, not walking anywhere.

But he looked skittish to me. Like he might bolt right in front of me, across the street.

So, as I got close, I tapped the brakes, slowing down just a little bit. Just in case he did run.

Which, as it turns out, was an incredibly fortunate decision, though not for the obvious reason.

The boy didn’t move at all. However, the instant before I pulled past the car parked on the right side of the road, the boy’s sister shot out past the front of that parked car on her Big Wheel.

Right in front of me, and right past. She had just zoomed down the sloped yard — between the trees — on the right side of the road, across the sidewalk, in front of the the parked car, and over over to the opposite side of the road.

I never saw her until she was right in front of me, and then she was past. I missed her by maybe two feet. Maybe just one.

The kids’ mom, who had witnessed the whole thing, called out to me, laughing. “I’m glad you’re watching out for my kids!” she yelled.

She didn’t realize that I had never seen her daughter, and hadn’t slowed down for her at all. I had tapped my brakes for a completely unrelated reason — her son looking a little bit like he might make a break for it.

She didn’t realize that I had just not run over her daughter in front of her because of a very lucky accident.

I drove the remaining 50 feet to my house, parked the van, and went inside. Where I sat down on the floor, with violent shakes and nausea. Considering what had almost happened.

And so thankful it hadn’t.

Three Axioms

11.23.2009 | 11:27 am

200911230714.jpgA Note About Ordering Fat Cyclist Gear: Twin Six has been working their butts off to get all the 2010 Fat Cyclist pre-orders out the door. If you haven’t gotten your pre-order yet, you will sometime this week.

So if you didn’t pre-order, your chance to order is coming this Friday, 8:00am CST. The remaining stock of 2010 jerseys and shorts will all be for sale, along with the newly-designed 2010 Fat Cyclist T-Shirts, which will feature the cool design you see to the right.

You should know that there are not a lot of extra jerseys; if you delay, you’ll likely miss out.

You’ll find all the Fat Cyclist Gear over at Twin Six starting this Friday, at 8:00am CST.

200911230732.jpgBuy A Garmin-Slipstream Bottle, Fight Cancer

Early this year, I poked fun at Team Slipstream-Garmin here. They responded by…becoming an incredibly generous partner with Team Fatty in our fight against cancer, sponsoring the 100 Miles of Nowhere race.

And now they want to do more in that fight.

From now until December 15 — plenty of time for Christmas delivery, in other words — Garmin-Slipstream is going to donate 50% of the gross of their sales from their Podium Bottles to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Yes, that’s right. 50%. Basically, all the profit.

Why the Huntsman Cancer Institute? Because I asked them too, for one reason. And why did I choose the Huntsman Cancer Institute? Well, those of you who have been with my blog for a while know that they took incredible care of Susan when she needed to have her hip replaced.

And they don’t just take care of people with cancer. The Huntsman Cancer Institute does a lot of vital research for cancer treatment.

So, here’s the deal: Click here to go buy Garmin-Slipstream bottles — they’re the Camelbak Podium bottles I prefer over any other kind of bottle. Buy some for yourself, and maybe buy some for your riding friends — a fourpack of bottles makes a really great gift for a cyclist. Plus, when you buy four or more, they’re $8.00 each instead of $11.00 each.

Regardless of how many you buy, Garmin-Slipstream will donate half your purchase to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. That kicks butt.

And while you’re at it, check out the other Garmin-Slipstream holiday special offers. There’s some good stuff there.

Three Axioms

There are surprisingly few absolute truths in the universe, and fewer still absolute truths in the world of cycling. This fact, which I just discovered upon making it up, startled me because it implies that cycling is a subset of the universe, as opposed to the entirety of said universe. Which I find disconcerting and unpleasant.

I’m rambling. It happens.

The point to which I am leading is that with the paucity of touchstone truths in the universe, one should make a note of whatever important truths one discovers.

And, to my delight, I have discovered three such truths in recent days.

I will now educate you.

1. If You Don’t Use It, You Will In Fact Lose It. I feel a little bit bad about leading off with this truth, because it’s something you may have heard before, except for the “You Will In Fact” part, which makes it original and copyrightable.

I’m pretty sure that this cliche (because until I added the “You Will In Fact” part, it was nothing but a cliche) originally meant that if you don’t use an acquired skill or capability, your proficiency at said skill will degrade over time, until you reach a threshold of no longer having that capability at all.

Which is probably true, but not very interesting.

I now assert, however, that this axiom (yes, I’ve promoted it from cliche to axiom, concurrent with my copyrighting aforementioned axiom) applies to stuff. Specifically, if you don’t use something, you’ll forget where it is.

This happens to me twice each year, as I go from wearing summer cycling clothes to winter cycling clothes. I simply cannot find the winter gloves I bought for riding last year. Nor the insulated tights. Nor the high-tech beanie that fits snugly between my helmet and head.

I haven’t used it. Ergo, I’ve lost it.

As I get older (which seems to be happening more or less all the time), I’ve noticed an acceleration of this axiom, which makes me think there’s a corollary in order:

Corollary: as time passes, you will lose more stuff more quickly.

To illustrate, I have two pair of Oakley biking glasses I really love: My Flak Jackets, and my Jawbones. The Flak Jackets are terrific, but I prefer the Jawbones. So I use the Jawbones more often.

After using the Jawbones exclusively for about a week, I wanted to use the Flak Jackets, just to mix things up a bit.

But I cannot find them anywhere. (I’m not dead certain why I typed “anywhere in that last sentence.” It seems that if I can’t find them, the “anywhere” part is unnecessary. I.e., if I can’t find them in most places but can find them in one or more other place(s), then the whole “I can’t find them” statement falls more or less apart. I need to be more careful with my language, I think.)

And in short, I have not used them, and therefore have in fact lost them. QED.

2. If You Can’t Talk, You’d Better Be Racing, Cuz You’re Not Having Fun. Brad and I were riding a couple weeks ago, going up Clark’s, in Corner Canyon. The whole way up, we were riding a good, hard pace — but we were talking, too. At one point, Brad asked how I was doing. “I’m having fun,” I replied. “I can still talk, but just barely.”

At which point, Brad uttered this axiom: “If you can’t talk, you’d better be racing, cuz you’re not having fun.”

The enormity of this truth stunned both of us. Seriously, the ability to converse on the bike seems to be the dividing line between riding for fun and riding to prove something.

Try it for yourself: Go on a ride with someone. At first, ride at such a pace that you can talk. Consider whether you are having fun.

Then, ride hard enough that you can no longer talk.

After a couple minutes of this, ask yourself the following question: “Am I having fun?” Compare the amount of fun you are (not) having with the fun you were almost certainly having when you could talk.

I submit it will be less.

3. If Your Recipe Contains Eggs, Cheese, and Bacon, It Cannot Fail. Yesterday, I made quiche. Now, people over 35 always make a crack about “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche,” but those people are usually dumb, and also have not tried my quiche.

Here’s how my quiche is made: get a pie crust, add a lot of cheese, a lot of bacon, and a lot of tomato, avocado, onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Push it all down to make it fit in the crust. Make an egg concoction out of eggs and half-and-half. Pour over the cheese / bacon / vegetable pile.



As I enjoyed this quiche, it occurred to me that I could have made an equally delicious batch of scrambled eggs with the same ingredients. Or an exquisite omelette. Or a casserole.

The fact is, the only difference between all these things is what shape they take as they’re cooked. The truly important thing is that they all have eggs, cheese, and bacon, the perfect triumvirate of comfort food. As long as you use a lot of all three, it’s going to come out delicious.

Corollary: sour cream should go on top.

PS: If, when making quiche, you let some of the egg goop bubble up and over the pan onto the bottom of the oven, for the love of all that’s good in the world, please remember to scrape that stuff off the bottom of the oven before using again, or you will find out whether your smoke alarm works. If you don’t die of asphyxiation, I mean.

PPS: Anyone have a good idea for how to make everything I own stop smelling like smoke?


11.19.2009 | 8:34 am

This will, I’m sure, come to many of you as a shock, but: I like Oreos. I really like them. I like them so much, in fact, that I generally don’t buy them, because the temptation is simply too strong to eat them.

OK, that’s not true. I do buy Oreos. All the time. But I’m just buying them for the kids, as a treat to put in their otherwise Very Nutritious Lunches which I prepare for them.

OK, that may not be true, either. Well, the part about buying Oreos is true, and I do put some in the kids’ lunches. But I generally will eat an Oreo or two as I put them in the kids lunchboxes.

Or perhaps I might eat three (the official serving size). Or so. Hey, why not?

Oh, because three Oreos has seven grams of fat and 160 calories?


Well, I suppose that’s a fair point.

An Excellent Solution

It was with this fairly phenomenal number in mind — 7g of fat in just 3 cookies — that I recently found myself considering something unusual at the grocery store: buying the Reduced Fat version of Oreos.


30% less fat than the original Oreo? Sounds good. Which means only (ha!) 4.5g of fat in my three cookies.


The thing is, I have a well-defined philosophy on dessert, which I have named Fatty’s Dessert Philosophy:

Fatty’s Dessert Philosophy
Let dessert truly be dessert
. If it’s really high-fat, let it be high-fat. If you’re concerned about calories and fat, eat less. But don’t compromise the taste and texture of dessert. Seriously.

There is a minor problem with this philosophy, however, which can be found in the “eat less” clause. Specifically, it finds itself in direct conflict with Fatty’s First Axiom of Junk Food in Pantries, which goes as follows:

Fatty’s First Axiom of Junk Food in Pantries
Any junk food in a pantry, especially cookies — and doubly especially Oreos — in easily opened and accessed packages, will be consumed. Promptly.

So, back to the grocery store (remember?). I decided that by buying the Reduced Fat Oreos, I could combine Fatty’s Dessert Philosophy with Fatty’s First Axiom of Junk Food in Pantries to my weight-gain-fighting advantage. To wit: since Reduced Fat Oreos wouldn’t taste as good, I’d want to eat them less, and might in fact not eat them at all. At which point they of course become not merely reduced fat, but entirely fat free.


Wherein The Universe Gets Knocked On Its Ear

There was just one small problem with my Very Clever Solution. And that small problem would never, ever ever (ever!) have occurred to me. And I’ll bet it hasn’t occurred to you, either, because it’s just never happened before.

The Reduced Fat Oreos taste better than the original Oreos.

Not “as good.” Not “similar.” Better. Do you see the problem?

Allow me to illustrate.

Here, we have two stacks of cookies. The Reduced Fat Oreos are on the left, the original Oreos are on the right.


In this circumstance, the stack of Oreos on the left are in fact a better (less awful?) eating choice, due to having 30% less fat.

Sadly, the above photo does not reflect reality. Thanks (and I mean that “thanks” very sarcastically) to the excellent taste and mollifying “Reduced Fat” combination, Fatty’s First Axiom of Junk Food in Pantries actually gets cubed. “They’re less-fattening and they taste better?” I find myself asking.

Which leads to the second illustration, once again with the Reduced Fat Oreos on the left, and the original Oreos on the right:


Do I really need to explain what’s happening here? OK, fine. As it turns out, while an individual Reduced Fat Oreo does in fact have less fat than an individual original Oreo, that happy fact tends to be only marginally helpful when you eat a dozen.

Please, somebody help me.

PS: I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure that once you’ve made one additional change to the Reduced Fat Oreo, as follows –


– the whole “Reduced Fat” thing may no longer apply anyway.

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