Tragedy and Victory

11.18.2009 | 8:34 am

Please allow me to gross you out for a moment:


Pretty nasty, eh? Of course, you’re not getting the full effect without the odor, which is…pungent.

What is the substance in this photo? Well, it’s a symbol of both a tragedy, and a victory.

The tragedy is that I made ten avocados-worth of guacamole for a cul de sac party I had last Friday night, the agenda of which was:

  • Eat bratwurst, cabbage salad, and chips with guacamole
  • Play Rock Band

Now the party wasn’t tragic. The party was fun. Though I’m a little bit confused as to why everyone goes out of their way to not let me do vocals. I sound great.

The tragedy is that after the party, there was still a lot of guacamole left over. And now it’s Wednesday, and that guacamole has gone bad. Not just a little off. Bad. As in I’m pretty sure it’s started robbing convenience stores and has tattooed “HATE” on the knuckles of its left hand. On its right hand, it’s tattooed “HATE” again, to emphasize the point.

That’s bad.

In short, any time guacamole goes uneaten and is eventually discarded, the world has become a slightly sadder place. That’s the tragedy.

The victory, on the other hand, lies in the fact that I am the only one in my family who loves avocados and guacamole, so if this guacamole had been consumed, it would have been all by me.

But I didn’t. I didn’t sit on a couch with a bag of blue corn tortilla chips (my current favorite) and demonstrate my superpower to that enormous bowl of guacamole. Even though it’s November, the month I traditionally reserve for doing nothing but eating and sleeping.

That’s a victory. A big one.

PS: Today’s weight: 158, up only four pounds since my lightest in September. (And down three pounds since I bumped into the 160s, which I’m doing my best to avoid this winter.)


Reductio ad Absurdum

11.17.2009 | 8:37 am

200911171251.jpgA Mo of the Day Note from Fatty: Today’s Team Fatty Movember Mo comes to you courtesy of Michael in TN, who says:

“Just got around to manscaping my mo.”

“It’s struggling, I know. My hair is too light so it looks pretty thin.”

“The wife is not going to be happy when she sees this. Of course, if I could tell her I made it on Fatty’s blog – I’m sure that will take some of the heat off.”

Fatty’s Remark: Anything I can do to help, man.

Meet the Ibisss

I like my bikes light. I like them light, and I like them simple. A carbon fiber singlespeed, for example, is a simple, light bike.

On the dirt, the Superfly Singlespeed scratches this itch rather nicely.

But what about the road?


Some of you may recall that this summer I got an Orbea Orca with Shimano Di2 components. And some of you may remember that I already owned a really nice road bike — an Ibis Silk Carbon (the Silk SL didn’t come out ’til the following year). And really, two really beautiful carbon road bikes is more than I need.

Unless, that is, the Ibis became my singlespeed road bike.

Which it did.


Now, I’d love to be able to tell you I did the work on this myself. So I will: I did the work on this myself.

Sadly, my enjoyment of saying that is somewhat marred by the fact that it’s entirely untrue. In reality I went to Racer of Racer’s Cycle Service and said, “Make this into a light singlespeed. I don’t need or want drops. I don’t want a chain tensioner. Have fun!”

So, working with my incredibly precise directions, Racer removed the cassette, derailleurs and shifters, and found a magic gear that works with the vertical dropouts:


That’s a 42 x 17. Count ‘em. (You don’t have to really count them.)

Then he put on a CobraWing bar, with TT brake levers.


And how much does this bike weigh, complete with pedals and bottle cages (i.e., this is its actual riding weight)?

13.18 pounds.

Again, to be clear: thirteen point one eight pounds.

Sometimes, to impress other cyclists, I toss it thirty feet into the air and watch it lazily flutter to the ground. wafting lazily on the light breeze.

How it Rides

Any well-maintained bike is pretty quiet, but this bike – The Ibisss (hold the “s” for a long time when you pronounce it), I like to call it — is utterly silent.

And off the line, this bike fairly flies. You really can feel the negligibility of the bike’s weight during that initial surge.

Once in motion, the gearing is fine for flat (I’ll sometimes spin out, but only rarely) and climbing. The exception being that when I did my first ride on this bike, I climbed the North side of Suncrest, which is about as brutal a climb as I have easy access to.

I did manage the climb, but I suffered. Mightily.

Next Steps

Clearly, this is a very niche-specific bike. Really, I imagine it being really great for one thing: climbing the Alpine Loop.

Which got me thinking.

First of all, I currently have two bottle cages. Sure, they’re just little wisps of bottle cages, but there are two of them. For a climb up the Alpine Loop, I can get rid of one. Or both. Go thirsty on the climb, and beg something to drink off someone at the top.

Next, I know for a fact that with a tallish gear like what I’ve got, I’m going to do most of my climbing in a standing position. So why not just fully commit and get rid of the saddle and seat post?

You see where I’m going with this?

Finally, if this really is a climbing-specific machine (and thanks to the lack of saddle, I think I could say it is), do I really need brakes or their accompanying levers? Of course not. Sure, it might be a little risky to ride a freewheeled bike with no brakes, but I live for danger. Totally.

I estimate that with these modifications — no cages, saddle / seatpost, or brakes, this bike will come in at just about eleven pounds.

And once I sand the chrome off the spokes (rotating weight = bad!), it’ll weigh even less.

I’d Like Autumn Back, Please. Pretty Please.

11.16.2009 | 12:33 pm

I should learn to ski. Or snowboard. Or backcountry ski, which is somehow different than regular skiing — mainly because you pay more for equipment, don’t ride a chairlift, and are 98% more likely to die (the other two percent is for the people who die when doing regular skiing).

Or I could start cross-country skiing, which has all the effort of backcountry skiing without any of the fun.

I’ve got to start doing one of those things, because then I could be one of the people who, when it starts getting cold, gets all cheerful and says things like, “Bring it on! When you’re in Utah, Winter’s the best season if you’re a [insert snow-based activity here]!”

Seriously, someone said that to me as I was mountain biking on Corner Canyon Friday afternoon, just as it was starting to snow.

He even said the square bracketed part, including saying “open square bracket” and “close square bracket,” which I thought peculiar and perhaps even unnecessary.

Anyway, I need to be one of those people who says that kind of thing, instead of the kind of person who gets that kind of thing said to.

Because, as it turns out, I do not like riding my bike outside in the bitter cold and dark.

I verified this yesterday afternoon.

My Math Skills Are Suspect

Yesterday was cold. Probably not the coldest it will be all year, but cold enough that anytime I went out during the day, I suddenly would discover an utterly compelling reason for not being outside after all. Here are some of those reasons:

  • I do not really need to take out the trash, because if I put the trash here by the door, one of my kids will probably eventually take the trash out themselves, at which point they will have learned a valuable lesson in responsibility and taking initiative.
  • I do not actually need to go buy groceries after all, because there is still rice in the pantry. And there’s also a box of Nilla Wafers. Sure, the Nilla wafers are a couple years pass their expiration date and have a rather sharpish smell for Nilla Wafers, but I’m sure they’re fine.
  • I do not think the fire in my kitchen is very serious, and most grease fires — even the ones that are eight-feet high, like the one in my kitchen — usually burn themselves out in a moment or two.

By 3:45 in the afternoon, though, my cabin fever had reached parity with my cold avoidance. So I texted Dug — I now text everyone, instead of talking with them in person on the phone, because it’s much slower and less personal — asking him if he was at home. If so, I’d bring over the first season of 24 he wanted to borrow.

Dug allowed that he was at home, and that it was a good time to come over.

So I suited up. Base layer. Windfront tights. Gloves. Full-sleeve jersey. And then I rode the approximately eight miles to Dug’s house. Started about 4:15.

Since Dug lives in Suncrest and I live in Alpine, the trip to Dug’s house is all uphill for me, and I warmed up quickly. I was enjoying myself, but my enjoyment was tempered by the following observations:

  • The snow on the side of the road had been melting, but it was cold enough that I had high confidence in the likelihood of an imminent freeze. Luckily, the tires of my road bike are rock hard, less than half an inch wide, and have no tread whatsoever. So ice on the road on the return trip shouldn’t be a problem.
  • The sun was going down. Rather faster than usual, it seemed to me. As if it had conceded defeat on its mission of warming anything up that day and was anxious to just get the whole secondary mission of keeping the outside light over with for the day. And truth be known, I have still not gotten used to this “dark by 5:15pm” thing. And hadn’t exactly taken it into account when I started my ride.
  • It was cold outside. I believe I have made this point before, but some points are worth emphasizing through reiteration. This is one of those points.

As I got closer, I formulated a new plan for how I would get home. It went a little like this: Instead of riding home, I would bum a ride off Dug. After all, I’d have just given him 24 installments of indoor cycling entertainment, along with a brand new jersey. He’d be in a generous mood.

Plans Revised

I knocked on Dug’s door. Then rang the doorbell. Then did both at once, using the door as a percussive counterpoint to the melody I was tapping out on the doorbell.

And yet, nobody came to the door. As I would later find out, Dug and his family all hate me and want me to die, and therefore hid in the basement until I left.

It’s also possible they were watching a movie downstairs and didn’t hear the doorbell / knock. Possible, I say, but pretty darned unlikely.

So. Evidently I needed to ride my bike home after all.

In the summertime, this would be the best part. Eight miles of downhill. Last night, however, it was decidedly not the best part. Because it was dark. And cold. And the wet road was starting to put the “ice” in “dicey.” (I just made that little wordplay up; feel free to use it in your own conversations, as long as you give me proper credit.)

I started the ride down.

By the time I got about a third of the way down Suncrest, my fingers hurt. By the time I got halfway down, my eyes had stopped working properly. By the time I was two thirds of the way down, I had started moaning. And by three quarters of the way home, my reaction time had slowed, my face was so brittle with cold that a light tap with a ball peen hammer would surely have shattered it.

Yes, really.

I was so muddled from the cold — and sure, the dark might’ve had something to do with it — that I was no longer sure of where I was. Certainly I must have gotten lost, I thought, because this was taking way too long.

Home Again

But — as streetlights started coming on — I got home. I left my shoes on as I went in the house, because I knew there was absolutely no way I’d be able to get those shoes off with my fingers like this.

So I sat on the floor. And discovered — not for the first time — that the only thing worse than having your fingers numb with cold is when they have warmed up just enough to get feeling back.

Which, I think, is a superb explanation for why, five minutes after I got home, I was rolling around on the floor, weeping in pain.

And as I rolled, I found myself thinking one thing, very very clearly: “I will never ever ever do the Ititarod. Ever. No matter what.”

Eventually, the pain subsided, and a seven-hour-long hot shower (I have an enormous hot water heater) left me feeling just fine.

But I think I may need to buy some warmer gloves before I go riding again. Or better yet, I’d like the weather I had last week — the weather that had me riding in shorts and short sleeves — back.

Because I don’t think backcountry skiing is on the menu this year.

The Men (and Woman) of Movember

11.13.2009 | 10:51 am

This weekend, we reach an important threshold in the month of Movember: the halfway point. If you’re a member of Team Fatty’s Movember club, your mo should be well on its way to being thick and luxurious.

Here’s mine, as of right now.


This photograph, naturally, prompts the following observations:

  • My mo can be, at this point, considered complete. It’s as thick as I want it, and the hairs are as long as I want them. In other words, my mo is going into maintenance mode for the rest of the month. Yes, I can evidently grow a fully-formed Tallahassee mo in under two weeks.
  • The 2010 Fat Cyclist jerseys are here! And they look awesome. More photos on these another time.
  • I’m becoming pretty good at taking self portraits with my phone.

I’d also like to point out that my mo has significantly changed how I am perceived in public. People yield their place to me when I buy groceries. Women cast sidelong glances at me, clearly considering how they can best approach me (none have actually approached me yet, but I consider that a technicality). My children obey me, often after I have asked them only two or three times.

The mo has power.

Do me a favor and help me in my Movember quest: Donate here. Together, we’ll fight cancer, through the medium of growing embarrassing facial hair.

The Mos of Team Fatty

I am, of course, not the only Team Fatty member growing a Mo. In fact, there are currently 116 of us. Here are photos — along with my sparkling commentary — of a few of us.

200911130845.jpgAlex S

Alex says, of his mo, “Being a single college student, I am, by definition, always on the look out for attractive women. So far this year has been relatively fruitless.”

“Enter the Mo.”

“After I started growing the ’stache, pretty girls seem to be popping up like pinch flats in a rock garden. Needless to say, Mo isn’t high on most girls attractiveness scales (there have been studies… it’s science). But it’s alright, I hate cancer enough not to care that the Mo is messin with my game (we’ll pretend I have one), though I have devised a brilliant plan for after November. It involves a stick on Mo and some patience, think of it as a fishing lure….”

Fatty’s Remarks: Alex’s mo, after two weeks, has approximately the same density, length, and darkness I get with my daily 5:00 shadow. I salute his efforts, however, and would like to offer him the following advice: grow a mo that is more clearly ironic. Currently, your mo lacks levity and makes you look a little bit like a sad porn star. Which I guess could be seen as a good thing, in some circles. But not in others.

200911130852.jpgRobert A

Robert is a man of few words, saying simply, “Here is my mo pic – taken by my 3-year-old, of all people!”

Fatty’s Remarks: Robert’s 3-yr-old is a pretty darned talented photographer and has taken a really nice photo of Robert. Further, Robert earns brownie points by wearing his new Fat Cyclist jersey for his photo.

Regarding Robert’s mo itself, the pedestrian “Original Tom Selleck mo in infancy” style of the upper portion is offset by the soul patch / flavasava below. Unfortunately, Robert’s soul patch is not quite symmetrical, with the upward slope of the right side (viewer’s POV) being considerably more gradual than the left side. I understand Robert’s dilemma in this respect, however. Constant trimming of a mo for symmetry’s sake can often lead to eventual complete de-mo-ization of the hair in question. It’s a conundrum, it is.

SeanMo111209.jpgSean Y

Says Sean of his Mo, “Yeah, I know I look like Morgan Spurlock now… but in fact he was part of my mo’ style inspiration.”

Fatty’s Remarks: Actually, I had no idea who Morgan Spurlock is until I searched on his name, and then I said, “Oh, the Supersize Me guy.”

And now I know who Morgan Spurlock is, but I contend that you look nothing like him. However, I will say that when I first saw your photo, I did say, “Holy smokes! Kevin Spacey’s joined Team Fatty and is growing a mo!”

With regards to your actual mo, I applaud the shape and length, but am going to recommend Rogaine to help you with density.

But back to the Kevin Spacey thing. Seriously, check out this photo of Kevin Spacey side by side with you. To augment the likeness, I have added your mo to his photo.


Separated at birth? Well, obviously.

photo(2).jpgDave B

Dave is not just a man of few words. He is a man of no words whatsoever. However, from this photo we can still learn quite a bit about him. For example:

  • We can see that his sense of irony is quite high, based on both the mo itself and the arching of his eyebrow. A word of caution on that raised eyebrow, Dave. If you keep it raised pretty much full time, eventually your forehead will have permanent wrinkles in that pattern. Trust me, I know.
  • We can see that Dave is a very short man, requiring a stepstool to get to the sink in his kitchen.
  • Based on personal experience, I’d say that Dave has about three years left ’til he radically alters his hairstyle, in the form of a combover, hair plugs, or shaving his head.
  • We can see that Dave grows mo hair every bit as thickly and quickly as I do.

Nice work, Dave.

MoHusted.jpgHenrik H

All the way from Denmark, Henrik H says, “Don’t open this picture in front of children or easily scared pets. You have been warned. I guess I’m not able to grow a proper mustache, it’s looks like I’ll end up with a crazy Joaquin Phoenix type of beard. Or perhaps a Sam Elliot, now that’s a proper mustache!”

Fatty’s Remarks: Holy smokes! Ze Frank has grown a mo and joined Team Fatty!

I mean, seriously, I didn’t honestly believe that Sean is Kevin Spacey, but Henrik is the absolute spitting image of Ze Frank. Down to the bugged-out eyes and everything.

I’m a little bit conflicted on Henrik’s mo. For one thing, it’s not a mo at all. It’s a beard. You’ve got a good canvas there, Henrik, now it’s time to begin the painting.

For another thing, I don’t know who Sam Elliott is.

stache_Charisa.jpgCharisa W

Charisa says, “I know, I know, I’m a girl so I had to have some help with my “stache” — but I think it looks pretty darn good!! I have a bit of trouble when riding my bike though — sometimes it tries to fly off my face. I’m sure you can’t relate to this, but it’s a bit frustrating!”

Fatty’s Remarks: I recommend a good strong epoxy. That will keep the mo in place. Trust me on this.

I’ll bet it’s a real pain to eat soup with that thing, though. And the aero drag has got to be a problem on race days.

Finally, you may want to consider trimming that thing. It’s getting a little bit out of control, frankly.

Otherwise, full marks. Both the color and the fluffiness of that mo are exceptional. That is a mo to be reckoned with.

PS: Happy Friday the 13th!


Fiscal 2010 Fall Moab, Fruita Edition: The Video

11.12.2009 | 8:16 am

200911120712.jpg A Note from Fatty: Meet Ted A, today’s Team Fatty Movember Model. I like this photo not only for the Mo Ted’s got started, but for the clues to his life he’s helpfully provided in the background. For example, the toolbox. And the beer. And the flowery curtains.

Says Ted, “Here’s the beginning of what promises to be an eye-popping marvel of bristly goodness.”


Fiscal 2010 Fall Moab, Fruita Edition: The Video

I love having a helmetcam. My VIO POV 1 makes it easy to get record hour upon hour of video (Disclosure: I have no relationship at all with VIO, and bought my VIO POV 1 on, getting no special discount for it). I was tired of using the BMX brain bucket I bought as my first helmetcam mount, though, and last week bought a new helmet for the purpose.

Unfortunately, the positioning of the lens still needs a little tweaking. I can see that now. It points up a little too high, making it so it films too much sky. Which washes out a lot of the shots.

Still, I like this video. Especially since people seem to have become so used to the camera on my head they no longer think about it.

Leaving them free to dance in the parking lot without concern of whether it’s going to make the reel.

Yeah, it made the reel.

PS: This video surprised me in one way. I really, truly, and honestly remember there being a rock wall to my left when I crashed, but the video shows very clearly that there was actually no cliff to my left at all — the rock I hit with the left side of my handlebar was free-standing. It’s funny how inaccurate memory can be.

PPS: For those using iPhones or other non-Vimeo-using-browsers, I also uploaded a version of the video to Youtube, which you can see here — at least, until they pull it or strip the soundtrack.

PPPS: KanyonKris has made a good video too, with lots of footage from the first day’s ride, before I got there. See it here.

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