New Year’s Ride, New Year’s Resolution

01.4.2010 | 9:28 am

Every New Year’s Day, Kenny has a group ride — a mountain bike ride on the snow up to the top of Squaw Peak. It’s a four mile climb, and usually rideable, since it’s a popular route for snowmobilers.

But there were two problems with this tradition this year. First, Squaw Peak is not rideable right now. Even Kenny couldn’t make it more than a few feet past the first mile.

And the second problem was even more dire: I was not in town on New Year’s Day. So, naturally, I asked Kenny to shift his tradition to a day later.

To my amazement, he complied. Evidently, my superpower of asking people to do stuff for me and having them say “yes” is even more powerful than I thought.

And so, on January 2, a dozen of us rode our mountain bikes to the Hot Pots — a naturally-occurring hot tub — on the Diamond Fork Trail.

Part 1 of The Ride: The Sucky Part

The ride to the Hot Pots — which, to be clear, are nothing at all like Hot Pockets — can be divided into two parts: The part that sucked, and the part that didn’t.

The first part was the part that sucked.

Kenny had assured us that the snow covering the moderately-uphill dirt road had been packed down by snowmobilers and ATVs. I would dispute that assertion, and propose the counter assertion that the snow was the consistency of cream cheese frosting.

I would ride, on average, about nine feet, before finding my bike steered against my will in a random direction. Then, in another nine feet, I would find myself off the side of the road, in soft, fluffy powder up to my eyeballs.

Also, I had overdressed.

Here’s me, right at the beginning of the ride, suited up in my shorts, tights, base layer, long-sleeve jersey, jacket, wool hat, and snowboarder’s gloves.


In my mouth, in case you’re curious, is the handwarmer I was about to insert into my glove.

Now, compare and contrast my clothing choice with Heather’s:


Yes, she is wearing a little black dress. Her armwarmers go stunningly with that getup, wouldn’t you agree?

I laughed at her insanity…until about ten minutes into the ride, at which point I was peeling off layer after layer of soaked-in-sweat clothes. Riding in cream cheese frosting is hard work, after all.

Fortunately, Steve was along for the group ride, and had brought a bike outfitted with an Xtracycle, having made himself the designated Hot Pots Beverage Mule:


Steve was kind enough to take on all my extra clothes stuff. Of which there was a lot.

Part 2 of the Ride: The Not-Sucky Part

As I churned up the road toward the singletrack trailhead, I dreaded what was ahead. Certainly, in the absence of ATVs and snowmobiles to pack the snow down, it would be even worse, right?


The Hot Pots are a popular destination, and most people get there on foot. As a result, the singletrack was packed and relatively easy to ride.

If you squint, you can see the singletrack on the right side of the river. It’s nice and rideable. Trust me.

You know what the best thing about riding on deep snowy singletrack is, though? When you fall over on your side, it feels awesome. Like falling into a cloud, except you don’t then continue falling and eventually hit the earth with a splat.

So I guess it’s not really like falling into a cloud at all. Maybe it’s more like falling into really soft snow.

Yes, I think that metaphor works nicely.

The Hot Pots

I’ve always enjoyed Kenny’s New Year’s Squaw Peak climbs, but I’ve never really enjoyed the destination. You get to the top of Squaw Peak, hot from the climb, and then you’re hit by the wind as you try to talk with the group.

Before long, you’re freezing cold and just want to get down from there.

Social interactions are therefore limited.

By making the ride’s destination the Hot Pots, on the other hand, we quite literally stayed for hours, talking, eating and drinking.


When you get too hot, you jump into the cold water — by which I mean snow runoff-cold — for a moment.

It feels wonderful.

Eventually, I got pruny and cold and had to seriously consider the probability that I was going to be riding home in the dark. So I climbed out of the water to put my wet clothes back on.

And then I had to stop and stand, bent over — and still wearing nothing but my shorts — for a while. I was totally lightheaded and getting tunnel vision, and wouldn’t have been surprised to have keeled back over into the water.

In a few minutes, though, I cleared up and got dressed, at which point I was — for the katrillionth time in my life — left to ponder the miracle of wool. It’s soaked and cold, having hung out in the near-freezing air for hours. You put it on, and it warms you up.

I need to buy more Smartwool base layer clothing for Winter riding. That is the best stuff there has ever been (Full disclosure: I have never been given any free stuff by Smartwool, have no relationship with them and have always either bought it myself through retail channels or sometimes been given it as a gift from friends and family).

Oh, here’s one more picture of Kenny lounging in the Hot Pots. For the ladies.


Yeah, he’s looking at you.

The Shame and the Resolution

During the ride to the Hot Pots, I ran across a number of people who asked how far it was ’til the Hot Pots.

I had to admit: I had never been there.

Yes, that’s right. There’s a mountain bike trail — about forty minutes from my house — leading to a natural hot-springs soaking pool, and I had never ridden there before.

I’m just stupid. That’s all there is to it.

And the thing is, the Diamond Fork trail is just a single example of my problem, which is: there is so much excellent riding to be had starting from my home that I tend to ride the same trails over and over.

I’ve never mountain biked in Payson off the Nebo Loop. I’ve hardly explored the riding outside Salt Lake at all.

To be honest, I haven’t been anywhere near as adventurous in discovering the incredible variety of bike rides around here as I should have been.

I’ve been a comfort zone rider.

Which leads me to my New Year’s Resolution: This year, I am going to leave my comfort zone. I am going to find new stuff — both road and mountain — that I haven’t ridden, and I’m going to explore it.

And I’m not going to limit this resolution to riding, either. In some ways, I’ve been coasting — sure, I’ve had my reasons, but still — for a long time.

2010 is the year I’m going to take some risks.


  1. Comment by TimRides | 01.5.2010 | 8:52 am

    Assuming you mean “risks” as in “trying new stuff”, as opposed to “trying as many dangerous and deadly things as possible”, then of course you should take some risks. That’s what makes life interesting!

    Happy New Year, Fatty!


  2. Comment by T Foster | 01.5.2010 | 8:59 am


  3. Comment by MOCougFan | 01.5.2010 | 9:04 am

    HA!!!! I’ve actually ridden to the Hot Pots before you. I liked it as well.

  4. Comment by The Wessiah | 01.5.2010 | 9:07 am

    Payson canyon has some truly marvelous rides, many of which can be added together for super rides, you will surely enjoy. I am biased because its where I grew up and started biking but in my opinion its the best place around

  5. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.5.2010 | 9:14 am

    Awesome! Trying new things keeps us young, interested, alive, adventurous, joyful… I’ve been driven to do the same this year. I want to take advantage of my 30’s and stay in great shape, so trying new things keeps me motivated.

    Have fun!

    BTW, I’m so jealous of the Hot Pots! Riding + hot tubs = awesome.

  6. Comment by AngieG | 01.5.2010 | 9:22 am

    Come on out to Cali in October and ride the King Ridge Ganfondo! Challenging climbs (notice the “s”, multiple climbs), beautiful scenery and the greatest post ride festivities EVER!!

    Let me know if your interested and I’ll see what I can do to get you a spot. Shouldn’t be hard as you are a world famous, megasuperstar, well loved, celebrity, cycling blogger.

  7. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.5.2010 | 9:22 am

    Can I come visit? I’m THOROUGHLY jealous of your location now! The alcohol laws in Utah were a deterrent up til now, but you’ve shown me the light…

  8. Comment by kingsbridgedr | 01.5.2010 | 9:36 am

    THAT’S AWESOME!! Looks a lot like the riding around here right now… 14F and snowing for a week! Not easy riding for sure. You should try Cross Country skiing… they tell me its easy!

  9. Comment by Dan in Sac | 01.5.2010 | 10:00 am

    Awesome! (Austrian accent) Dooo it!

  10. Comment by mikE | 01.5.2010 | 10:02 am

    A Pugsley would make that ride even better. The sucky part would unsuck and there would be less falling, but when you did fall, it would still feel like falling into a cloud that really feels like falling into soft snow.

  11. Comment by Fuzzy | 01.5.2010 | 10:06 am

    Nice ride report Fatty. Once again I am thinking the word Git! whilst I think about your locale….

    Cyclin Missy,

    Just like you, I want to take advantage of my 30’s. The trouble is, they finished 18 years ago and I just can’t find that little widget I need to finish my time machine.

    Luv ‘n Stuff
    Fuzzy from the UK

  12. Comment by Jenni | 01.5.2010 | 10:18 am

    Technically speaking, how was the ride there? Is this something say, a beginning (read: no experience whatsoever) mountain biker could do?

    And be careful there Fatty, you and your friends are looking remarkably like a group of hippies- disrobing and jumping into the hot springs. Me and the other hippie/treehuggers have accepted you into our clan. Whatever shall your new name be?


  13. Comment by GJ Jackie | 01.5.2010 | 10:21 am

    Great resolution, Fatty. Remember when you rode the Monument in GJ? Better late than never, since your next new ride could end up being your favorite ever.

    If variety is the spice of life then I’ll take mine HOT. We go to Moab over a dozen times each year. Five years ago we gave ourselves the challenge of finding a new biking or hiking trail on every visit. We’ve never failed and continue to find awesome new trails. Allez!

  14. Comment by GenghisKhan | 01.5.2010 | 10:24 am

    Good luck with the risks–if you need one to add to your list, try balut eggs. They look tasty!

  15. Comment by Dr. Brett | 01.5.2010 | 10:32 am

    No Surly Pugsley?

  16. Comment by Global_explorer | 01.5.2010 | 10:39 am

    I’ve got the same thing at my home near Seattle. I sit in my bathtub and when I get too hot, I run down the trail to the water and jump into Puget Sound to cool off.

    Okay, it’s not the same. I admit it. I’m jealous.

    Happy New Year, Fatty!

  17. Comment by Willie Nelson | 01.5.2010 | 10:50 am

    I wish you guys woulda done this the year I came along for the New Years Squaw Peak ride…

    The hot springs are more better for sure!

  18. Comment by Jorge | 01.5.2010 | 10:53 am

    >>>2010 is the year I’m going to take some risks

    I hope that does not mean that you’ll be riding
    a recumbent.

  19. Comment by Frank | 01.5.2010 | 10:59 am

    nothing like a hot tub in the snow.

  20. Comment by justin | 01.5.2010 | 10:59 am

    So today I’ve read the most recent posts covering Bubby’s and the Nebo Loop, two places I’m intimately familiar with. What are the odds? Maybe they’re decent when a Payson boy moves to NYC, perhaps.

    Happy New Year, Fatty!

  21. Comment by greg b | 01.5.2010 | 11:07 am

    Why not make all the pictures click-able for full size? Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. What gives?

    Sometimes my source images aren’t big to begin with. If I’ve got a high-quality photo, I make it clickable. If someone sends me a low-quality image, I don’t. – FC

  22. Comment by j.boomer | 01.5.2010 | 11:16 am

    We used to do that ride all the time when I was in college. Some of the best rides I have had were up Diamond Fork in the snow. Thanks for bringing back a lot of good memories.

  23. Comment by Chris Horner | 01.5.2010 | 11:21 am

    Fatty, don’t buy a recumbent. Some risks aren’t worth it. Although you could grow the recumbent-riding-requirment of well groomed beard in about a day and a half based on your Movember performance.

    Keep the rubber side down! That’s my plan this year!

  24. Comment by Katie Ham | 01.5.2010 | 11:26 am

    It was great thing to do but just take care, you looks that you enjoy your ride

  25. Comment by Banger | 01.5.2010 | 11:45 am

    Two people have already said it. Pugsley. However, I’ll add this. Pugleys (or Pugli if you will) have a saying on the chainstay, Fatties Fit Fine (FFF). Which means that if the bike has room for multiple Fat Cyclist (which is what I am now assuming the saying means) there would definately have been room for you and your extra clothes.

    Also, wool rocks.

  26. Comment by my middle name is fred | 01.5.2010 | 11:47 am

    Fatty – I have to agree with you re: Smartwool. While that stuff is expensive, it is absolutely worth it. And, no, I don’t work there or have any relationship with them either. As I type here in my office, I’m wearing Smartwool socks, shirt, and sweater. Totally sold on the stuff.

    I also echo the comment about trying nordic skiing. It’s fantastic cross-training and helps to keep those “vestigial cycling arms” from atrophying completely to nothing. I imagine the nordic skiing in Utah is superb. Plus, like cycling, nordic skiing gives one an excuse to geek-out a bit with equipment.

    Happy trails!

  27. Comment by Marlys | 01.5.2010 | 12:06 pm

    Awesome pictures of the ride Fatty. What a great group you have.

    Take the risks, be brave. I am doing the same. I have vowed to myself to make this decade better that the previous and find my own joy. Happy Trails!


  28. Comment by skippy | 01.5.2010 | 12:13 pm

    the day is already better after reading your latest blog.
    living in the zillertal,austria i have been biking the various roads and climbs but since i have been off the bike, walking i have found so many other tracks and in the spring will ride some of them.riding from 570m to 1800m is available so the variety is amazing!1993 i passed through salt lake after 12 ft of snow so i enjoyed skiing in snowbird, solitude and other resorts so i know a little of your local. i was supposed to be on business then but how can you pass by the snow that falls in your area.come visit where i will give a more detailed account of my adventures and exploits!

    Fatty i am looking forward to more of your exploits triggering fond memories, thanks .

  29. Comment by Haven (KT) | 01.5.2010 | 12:22 pm

    Smartwool is the best product ever. I love Smartwool. I don’t work for them, and I don’t get free stuff from them, but I think I buy enough of their stuff to be an unofficial spokesperson. Love love love.

    Sounds like you guys had fun!!

  30. Comment by Jenn | 01.5.2010 | 12:47 pm

    What an amazing spot Fatty! I am totally jealous! And I am with you on the Smartwool gear. It’s fabulous. I am wearing a layer right now at work under my biz clothes. I keep that company in business practically. So I will be very, very jealous when you start getting free Smartwool stuff. Just thought you should know that.

  31. Comment by Trail Dog Craigers | 01.5.2010 | 12:48 pm

    Here, Here,

    I concur Fatty. I will now show my complete and total un-originality and conformist ways by saying that I too shall make it my resolution to do the same! (thanks for the great idea – unfortunately, everyone that reads my blog reads your’s too so they’ll all know what a hack I am).

  32. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.5.2010 | 1:05 pm

    If you guys like smartwool, you’ll love swobo’s merino woll products (… I’ve never gotten anything free from them either, but I LOVE their stuff. Never smells bad, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, itch free(after the first ride), and fits like a glove. LOVE LOVE LOVE their stuff.

  33. Comment by adam | 01.5.2010 | 1:48 pm

    I’m with everyone else – Smartwool rules. It’s pretty much the most comfortable substance known to man. Cotton socks feel weird after wearing their wool socks for a few days – just much less comfortable. Now if they just sold things in 3 packs so you could get enough to last a few days without spending your entire food budget!

  34. Comment by Spiff | 01.5.2010 | 1:53 pm

    Like Dr. Brett, I’m surprised you don’t have a dedicated snow bike. Use your superpower to see if Surly will give you a Pugsley. Or better yet, ask Moots for a snow bike like they built mikesee.

  35. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 01.5.2010 | 2:50 pm

    2010 is the year I’m going to take some risks.

    Go for it. There’s an ointment for the rash if you overdo it.

  36. Comment by Alyson | 01.5.2010 | 2:59 pm

    Awwww, am now really green with envy! A hot springs half way thru a ride would even get my husband out the door!:-)We have no snow in Seattle this year and it sucks big time! Am not saying that I am delibrately unemployed in order to enjoy the snow, but it would have been nice if it had snowed, like the 3 prior years when I was employed! Sigh:-) The rain doesn’t bug but the gloom does!

    Hey, how goes the running???? Please tell me you hate it!! lol:-)
    ok, off to search for SmartWool online, just to make unemployment that little bit more exciting!lol:-) Take care Elden ~ keep blogging!

  37. Comment by Alyson | 01.5.2010 | 3:04 pm

    PS. Tell Kenny that a bald, handsome man in a natural hot spring, is an aphrodisiac to females over 35!:-)

  38. Comment by Alex | 01.5.2010 | 3:12 pm

    I am just going to assume that Kenny has on the Daisy Dukes again.

  39. Comment by BellaCroix | 01.5.2010 | 3:14 pm

    More photos of Heather please! Heh.

  40. Comment by steve | 01.5.2010 | 3:21 pm

    “You know what the best thing about riding on deep snowy singletrack is, though? When you fall over on your side, it feels awesome. Like falling into a cloud … ”


  41. Comment by Steve | 01.5.2010 | 3:38 pm

    It’s weird how Kenny’s eyes seem to follow me around the room.

  42. Comment by GenghisKhan | 01.5.2010 | 3:43 pm

    Hey, is it just me, or is Kenny channeling Jeff Bridges in Iron Man?

  43. Comment by Fat Cathy | 01.5.2010 | 3:47 pm

    ok, that has done it. I’m gonna have to find a job in Utah. Anybody out there need a programmer?

  44. Comment by Brent | 01.5.2010 | 4:02 pm

    You continue to make me home sick for the West

  45. Comment by Kermitsgirl | 01.5.2010 | 5:47 pm

    I don’t know what I like better – Smartwool or Kenny in the hot pot…

    Ummm…how about Kenny in some Smartwool in the hot pot! Just too much for my little heart to take!!

    I’m a newbie here. Look forward to your comments every day Fatty – a bright laughy spot in an otherwise dull day.

  46. Comment by Charisa | 01.5.2010 | 7:03 pm

    Ironman might be a good out-of-comfort-zone experience :)

  47. Comment by Zed | 01.5.2010 | 7:26 pm

    In recent years, I’ve had a personal policy of never doing the same race twice. New races always mean new scenery. (Although I wouldn’t mind going back to the last couple of races I’ve done—they rocked!)

    You ought to do the Intermountain Cup series, if you can squeeze it in.

  48. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.5.2010 | 8:50 pm


  49. Comment by BamaJim | 01.5.2010 | 9:36 pm

    Hmmm, my new year’s day ride looks a little mundane at this point, though probably about as cold.

    So, you don’t take any compensation from smartwool, gary fisher, et al, but how about the Utah Office of Tourism? If you’re not, you should be.

    Happy New Year

  50. Comment by Jason Crane | | 01.5.2010 | 9:50 pm

    Wasn’t my experience of “riding” Livestrong Philly on my Xtracycle punishing enough without having you post a photo of Steve riding a drink-laden Xtracycle up a mountain in the snow?

    Have mercy, man!


  51. Comment by Joel P. | 01.5.2010 | 10:34 pm

    Sounds like an excellent resolution to strive for. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it for myself since I also am a creature of habit in my riding and life in general. Here’s to an interesting 2010.
    Joel P.

  52. Comment by Pinkrrt | 01.5.2010 | 10:36 pm

    Ok enough about “hot pots” and smartwool. let’s get serious here is Kenny a “taken” man????? That would be enough to convince me to leave Austin and head to Utah!! Oh matchmaker,matchmaker make me a match find me a find, catch me a catch!!

  53. Comment by Kathleen | 01.6.2010 | 7:25 am

    I received a thank you yesterday from World Bicycle Relief for participating in the Fat Cyclist challenge. With a sticker!! I was so stoked!

    Thank you, Fatty, for the hilarious blog, and all the great things you do.

    Awesome New Year’s ride, especially after just getting home from your NYC whirlwind. Way to get 2010 started right!

  54. Comment by Heather | 01.6.2010 | 8:29 am

    So glad you’re back! Missed your blog over the holidays but enjoying reading it every day again. My motto for 2010 is “Scared No More.” This is the year I too leave my comfort zone and start taking some risks…pursuing some dreams. Feel free to use it as your motto too. Although I think you’re already pretty fearless from where I sit but…we’ll be Scared No More in 2010!! Go FATTY!!

  55. Comment by Gelareh @ Orange Truffle | 01.6.2010 | 8:52 am

    WOW that looks like fun :)

    I am training for a ride in April in flat land TX nothing as exciting as your ride.. but I am really looking forward to it :)

  56. Comment by Paul | 01.6.2010 | 9:42 am

    AWESOME. so jealous. and I *love* the little black dress. hah!

  57. Comment by bankman247 | 01.6.2010 | 2:18 pm

    I have made the same resolution. I will spread my riding out this year and hit new trails!

  58. Comment by Jeff | 01.6.2010 | 4:33 pm

    If you think Smartwool is great, you’re going to cry when you refinance your house and get your hands on some Icebreaker… you’ll never want to see a poly shirt again in your life.

  59. Comment by spiritualspokes | 01.6.2010 | 4:35 pm

    We would all do well to keep a sharper eye out for the “New Stuff” in our lives and locatlities…and give it a go! Thanks for the inspiration!

  60. Comment by Andrew | 01.6.2010 | 5:06 pm

    Fatty – I’d be happy to take you on the Blackhawk trail. It’s pretty much brilliant, a heck of a ride.

    Though be forewarned that I’m a far fatter cyclist than you. I think last year we did it in 5 hours total (broken down that equals 3 hrs riding, 1 hr. eating, 20 min. photography, and 40 min. naps).

  61. Comment by Heather G | 01.6.2010 | 5:40 pm

    hey, does anyone know where I can get an LBD made from smartwool? that cotton was a little bit breezy…

  62. Comment by dpcowboy | 01.6.2010 | 6:46 pm

    Falling into snow is always fun until you are forced to chase…then it isn’t fun anymore!…It was 70 degrees here today….my dog Honey and I went for a trail ride, about ten miles, and we were both happy. Snow is coming, though, I can feel it.

  63. Comment by Sara | 01.6.2010 | 8:12 pm

    OMG! Sorry Fatty, but does Kenny have a blog? :)

  64. Comment by Marilyn | 01.6.2010 | 8:17 pm

    That is my plan for this year also. I am going to do livestrong philly again but I am really going to try to get to Austin this year and that is my big goal. 2011 is to go biking in california. I made my goal for 2009 of getting in 8000 miles which was not bad for my second year of cycling. This year new places to venture and more people to meet along the way and life is good.

    I will have to check into this smartwool stuff with riding yesterday is 18 degree weather was a little cold.

  65. Comment by Uni-Tom | 01.6.2010 | 11:37 pm

    Nice! I’m so glad to see those hot pots are still there. I hiked out there a couple of winter nights during college in the 80s, but someone told me later that they were gone…either due do damming or water-pipe diversion. I mourned the loss of them, but never checked up to see if the story was true. I love how you can adjust the temperature of your personal space just by shifting closer to where the cold creek water creeps in.

  66. Comment by Matthew | 01.7.2010 | 2:23 am

    Quite nice indeed. If I had a natural hot spring within cycling distance of my home I would probably have my mail sent there; the hot spring that is. Good looking group you have there, Fatty. And I am sooooo jealous.

    Safe cycling to everyone in 2010.

  67. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 01.7.2010 | 4:26 pm

    The best January 2nd ever recorded by a bunch of Utah cycling fanatics! Looks like loads of fun.

  68. Comment by Doug Gage | 01.8.2010 | 8:30 am

    You need one of these for a ride like that.


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