(Click to view larger version)
Seriously, if you’re in the area, come on by Sunday, March 14, between 6 and 9 and say “Congrats, Fatty and The Runner.” Or words to that effect.
Give us a hug. Have some chips. And maybe we’ll bust out Rock Band, too. My Billy Idol impression is awesome.
PS: The “Help Fatty Help Kellene Help Dallas Get a Kidney” contest ends Monday. Get contest details here, and click the button below to donate.
Not everyone can ride a 54cm bike (or two, or three). But who doesn’t love a giant plateful of something homemade, sweet and delicious?
These special treats will even be walked under several bridges on their way to the post office for an extra dose of troll magic. The winner will also receive the ceremonial trophy pictured at right.
Also, as of this morning, we’ve raised $19,484.89 (the amount isn’t in a round $5.00 increment because Paypal takes a small cut of each donation). That is going to help a lot.
For more details on the prizes, click here. To donate and enter the contest, click the button below:
And remember, the contest ends Monday at midnight, so don’t delay entering!
And again, thank you.
Cheating in the Water
Last Friday, The Runner and I got something pretty awesome in the mail: Aqua Sphere Icon wetsuits, designed specifically for the swim portion of the Ironman (Full disclosure: I did not pay for these).
I had been wondering for a while whether a 2.4-mile swim was within my reach; trying out the wetsuits seemed like a good excuse to find out. So on Saturday we went to a local olympic-sized pool, grabbed a lane, and got swimming.
You know what these wetsuits are? They are swimming miracles. That’s what they are. Suddenly, my legs stay on top of the water, whether I’m kicking or not. Which means that suddenly, I’m cruising through the water faster, with less effort.
I swam 2.5 miles (that’s 40 laps — I did the last .1 mile to show the pool it hadn’t beaten me) without particular difficulty. Took about 85 minutes.
By putting on an outfit, I had gone from being a really bad, blunt-instrument-approach swimmer to being a pretty decent swimmer. With no change at all in my actual swimming ability.
In fact, thanks to this suit, I was able to slack off on my swimming technique even more. Just to see what would happen, I stopped kicking altogether for several laps, just letting my legs float there, having my arms do all the work. This would be a terrible idea without the suit. With the suit, I moved along just fine. In fact, I now plan to use my legs as little as possible during the swim part of the Ironman, seeing as how I’ll be using them quite a lot during the other two legs (ha!) of the race.
Meanwhile, The Runner, who has spent considerable time developing actual good swimming technique, did not get the same kind of benefit from the suit. Which is to say, these suits seem to really level the playing field. Which is great for people who are rotten swimmers — e.g., me — and not so great for people who have invested considerable time and effort in being good swimmers on their own merits.
The one thing both The Runner and I noticed about the wetsuits is how incredibly warm the insulation makes you. This, I’m expecting, will be my favorite thing about the suit when I begin swimming in the cold water of a reservoir on May 1.
In the heated indoor pool, however, the insulation left me feeling like I was swimming in a hot tub. Except larger. And with fewer bubble jets.
It was hot like riding in Arizona. But not a dry heat.
Here’s how I looked afterward:
No matter how often I look at this photo, I just can’t get over how darned sexy I look. Especially my wetsuit-compressed gut and my visible-through-the-wetsuit belly button indentation.
Fatty = Sassy.
The Problem with Wetsuits
Make no mistake: I am incredibly grateful for my wetsuit. Thanks to it, I have a prayer of finishing the swim portion of an Ironman alive and still able to turn over the cranks. Furthermore, this particular wetsuit is awesome. Wearing it, I can move my arms and legs as freely and comfortably as I do without anything at all on (no photo of that, for which you can be grateful).
But it feels kind of unfair to allow the use of these suits. While a wetsuit gives everyone who wears one an advantage over anyone who doesn’t, it seems to me that they give poor swimmers proportionally more help than they give excellent swimmers.
Now, since I’m a lousy swimmer, I’m OK with that. But then I consider: what if there were a set of bibshorts that somehow moderated gravity, making you weigh 145 pounds, no matter what your previous weight was. Further, those shorts force you into a nice aerodynamic riding position and assist your upstroke, so you have a better, smoother cadence.
Well, yeah, I’m pretty sure I’d want those shorts. But they wouldn’t help me as much as they’d help The Unholy Roleur. At least, not during the climbs.
As it turns out, an unearned advantage is most enjoyable when you’re the one who didn’t earn it.
But I’m still really glad I have this wetsuit.
PS: I’ve been interviewed and podcastified by helpabikeshop.com. Check it out here.
This is my sister, Kellene:
She’s the one on the left.
Or, if you’re a frequent follower of the blog, you might more easily recognize her this way:
There, that rings a bell, doesn’t it?
Kellene is — without question — the most helpful, giving person I have ever met. Last year, she lived at my house more often than she lived at her own home in Colorado. She took care of Susan, my kids, and my house so I could continue to work and keep my sanity.
At the same time she was helping my family, Kellene was also helping raise money to help the family of a friend of hers in Colorado — Justin Nye — who was fighting cancer, so they could pay their medical bills. By doing a dinner and auction with local businesses putting up most of the spiffs, Kellene helped raise more than $20,000 to help this family out.
To top it off, Kellene spends time each week tutoring disadvantaged kids.
This is just how Kellene is. She’s pretty tough and she doesn’t want anything in return for what she does.
But right now, she needs some help. And I’m hoping you’ll help me help her. And if you do, You might win one of two very cool bikes — or one fairly uncool bike.
This is Dallas, Kellene’s son:
He’s 22 years old right now, but has been dealing with kidney problems since before he was sixteen, when he went into acute kidney failure. He was in and out of hospitals for eighteen months while doctors tried to figure out what the problem was. They never diagnosed it, and when he was eighteen, Rocky — Dallas’ dad — donated a kidney.
And things were good for about five years. Dallas worked in the oil fields to save money to move to the city of his dreams: NYC. He’s been there for two years now, where he’s gotten his real estate license and has built a small firm dealing with apartment rentals and leases in lower Manhattan.
The kid’s the American dream, I tell you.
But then — right at the beginning of this year, Dallas’ kidney started failing. A biopsy came back with — finally — a diagnosis: a rare, very aggressive form of Crescentic IGA Nephropathy. Which means he has an autoimmune disorder that produces antibodies that attach to the kidney and ruin the filtration system.
So Dallas has been in the hospital more often than not since the beginning of the year. He’s undergone chemotherapy to stop the production of cells that were producing these antibodies. He’s undergone seven rounds of plasma pheresis — a treatment that removes all the plasma from your blood and replaces it with donated plasma.
The good news is, this has worked. The bad news is, it’s worked too late — Dallas’ kidney is toast. Dallas has started dialysis and needs another kidney. Three members from Kellene’s family will be tested (I wanted to, but Kellene says I currently have other fish to fry), and we’ll go forward from there.
And meanwhile, the bills are getting scary.
Help Kellene, Win My Madone or My Sortie
Kellene and Rocky have medical insurance, but it’s not going to cover everything. Not even close. Optimistically, they are going to be on the hook for $50,000, and very likely much more.
So this is my chance to do something to help. And I’m asking you to help me.
I’m going to have a contest to win three bikes. Now, since this is to help out a relative, not a cause, I felt a little bit weird asking companies to donate product.
So this contest is to win three of my bikes. And I think you’ll find they’re not half-bad bikes to win. Except one of them, which definitely feels like a consolation prize. But still: free bike!
Let’s start with the road bike, shall we? You might recognize this bike:
It’s the Trek Madone, powered by SRAM Red components, I won for my ride with Team RadioShack. It’s been ridden exactly once.
It still has the Fat Cyclist sticker on the headbadge and “Fat Cyclist” scrawled in Sharpie on the seatstay. It’s an awesome bike (54cm) with an awesome story to go with it. And you can win it.
(And by the way, both Johan Bruyneel and Trek have given me the thumbs-up for giving this bike away.)
The second bike you can win is my Diamondback 2009 Sortie Black (size: Medium):
It’s an all-mountain, 5″-suspension bike that has been upgraded to an almost ridiculous extent, the result being that it weighs only 26 pounds.
That’s a decent weight for a hardtail. Go here for more details on this bike, which is in basically new condition. Or go to the Diamondback site for info on the 2010 version of this bike.
The third bike you can win is…my three-year-old, heavy-as-lead Lemond Fillmore singlespeed road bike with bullhorn bars and TT brake levers!
This is a total bottom-end, steel-framed singlespeed road bike. But it’s in perfect working order. And the fact is I put a lot of miles on it last year, and have it to thank for getting me into good shape. I developed a good, smooth cadence by riding a lot of miles on this thing on the flats, and I got stronger by trying to haul it up mountain passes.
Oh, and it would take very little work to convert this into a fixie, if that’s your thing.
How to Enter
This contest works much like other contests I’ve run. For each $5 you donate, you get a chance at the prizes. In this case, however, your donations give you a double chance, since both bikes will be awarded from the same donation list.
In other words, when you donate your $5 — or $10, or $25, or $50, or whatever — you’re getting chances at all three bikes with each $5 you donate. Theoretically, at least, one person could win all three.
It’s easy to donate. Just click the button below, then enter the amount you want to donate and fill out your credit card info.
Note: the Paypal email address is bwright [at] gllblaw [dot] com, and your receipt will show a donation to Brad Wright. This is correct; Brad is the person administering the nonprofit that the funds will go through.
And if you’re too tall or too short to ride these bikes, may I suggest you donate anyway and then give someone who these bikes would fit an awesome surprise.
When to Enter
You need to enter now, because this contest is going to be short — less than a week long! The last day to donate is Monday, March 1, at Midnight MDT. I’ll be emailing the winners Tuesday morning and announcing them as soon as I hear back.
And Rocky will be in charge of mailing the bikes out, because — trust me — you do not wanting me boxing up a bike and mailing it to you. Not if you want it to arrive in rideable shape, anyway.
I’ve said, many times, that the very best thing about this blog is the generosity and kindness of the readers who are willing to help me out. So — once again — thanks for helping me pay back a little bit of the huge debt of gratitude I owe my sister Kellene.
A Note from Fatty: A big thanks to Dug for helping me “research” many of the allegations in this news piece.
PARIS (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – Floyd Landis, former Tour-de-France champion and longtime sporter of scruffy facial hair, has recently found himself facing a France-based arrest warrant for hacking into the French anti-doping agency AFLD.
Pierre Bordry, head of the AFLD, asserts that “Landis, under cover of the night, wearing black cycling tights and black long-sleeved cycling jersey, snuck into our lab, where — using the mad computer skills he developed in the Computer Hacking Class he took at the local Mennonite Technical College — he proceeded to download all of our most sensitive data, and uploaded all kinds of malware and trojan horses and tasteless, photoshopped images of Thomas Voeckler.”
“Quite clearly, this was Landis’ work,” continued Bordry. “As evidenced by the way he wrote “Floyd wuz here” and “Metallica ROOLZ” on a whiteboard near the computer where he was working.”
“Also, he left candy wrappers, PBR cans, and cookie crumbs all over the place,” continued the AFLD head. “Landis is — in addition to being a doper, hacker, and ninja-like break-in artist — a total slob.”
And today, additional allegations have come to light, casting a still-darker shadow on the already well-shaded cyclist.
More Seriously Illegal Doping Problems
Bordry asserts that, far from merely doping himself, “Floyd Landis also made other people dope. He was sneaking EPO into Basso’s juice, giving Iban Mayo HGH under the pretense that it was mayonnaise, and secretly sneaking all manner of noxious concoctions into Tyler Hamilton’s herbal remedies.”
“We are confident, in fact, that Floyd Landis is responsible for every single doping incident that has ever happened. And for several which have not happened yet,” continued Bordry, his voice quivering with emotion.
Concluded Bordry, “Floyd Landis is the root cause of all doping in the whole universe and must be stopped at once.”
Still More Allegations
Landis’ offenses are not limited to cycling-related activities, according to French authorities. In addition to doping, Landis is guilty of and / or wanted for questioning in France for the following offenses:
- Being the originator of the term “Freedom Fries”
- Owning several McDonald’s franchises in Paris
- Disliking very thin pancakes
- Knocking down and ridiculing a mime, simply because the mime was wearing a beret
- Being possibly descended from Henry V
- Claiming to not consider Amelie to be the best film ever made
- Wearing excessively gauche attire
- Drinking beer while eating fish, instead of going with a nice white wine
- Causing the French defeat in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
What This Does NOT Mean
According to Bordry, none of this has anything to do with circumventing the conclusion of Landis’ suspension from ranks of professional cyclists and keeping Landis out of France — and hence, from ever making another attempt at a Tour de France win. “Of course we realize that we are investigating Landis for a crime to which another person has already confessed,” said Bordry. “But we want to be absolutely certain.”
When asked why this warrant has not been distributed outside of French territory, Bordry remarked, “That is an excellent question, and I hereby issue an arrest warrant for you, should you ever enter France.”
A Note from Fatty: If you read my post on the H2O Audio headset from a couple days ago and are considering buying one, you can get a 20% discount on anything from the H2O Audio website – including the Interval 3G Waterproof Headphone System – including the by entering the discount code FatCyclist20 at checkout. (Full Disclosure: I do not get any of the proceeds from any of these sales — this is just something nice the H2O Audio people are doing because it looked like a lot of you were interested.)
For the first few years of my cycling life, I wore bike shorts with an elastic waist. This was OK, though I never really cared for the way the elastic cut into my waist, while my belly flopped over the band.
And then I tried my first pair of bib shorts, after which I quickly discarded all my elastic waist shorts.
Yes, bib shorts are really that much better. For one thing, they keep the chamois snug against your nethers. For another — much more important — thing, they keep your stomach compressed, giving you the same benefit William Shatner had in the first Star Trek series. Which seems only fair.
Also, they look dapper.
And in short (ho ho!): I love bib shorts.
Which means that I’m exactly the right person to answer the following email:
On my ride the other day I spied something I’d never seen before. A cyclist riding in bib nicks only. Of course I quickly checked his bike for signs that he was a triathlete, that strange sub-set of cyclists which you’ve quite rightly pointed out in the past are dangerous and to be avoided. But there were none. So it’s quite obvious from that comprehensive check that we can rule that option out. So there you have it. Someone riding in bib nicks only. OK. And shoes and helmet – he wasn’t totally crazy.
As you can well imagine, this left me somewhat confused. Like most people, I feel much more comfortable when I can pigeon-hole people in accordance with my own misconceptions and biases. But here was someone who defied all classification because I realised that I didn’t have any rules of thumb, codes or standards to apply.
In such a disturbing dilemma and time of distress you are the only one I could think of to turn to. A kind of Agony Aunt, or as I’d prefer to think of it Modern Guru. At least for all things cycling, but more probably for everything, such is your insight and breadth of experience.
So, dear Fatty, what is the correct dress for a road cyclist? Is it acceptable to only wear bib nicks when it’s really hot and steamy? If so, does that mean it’s also ok to ride just in regular nicks with no jersey?
Is wearing no socks the start of poor cycling dress – the first step on the slippery slope to cycling dress purgatory?
Help me oh wise one. What is the correct etiquette?
Thanks for your question, Paul! The short answer to your question is that this rider was exactly right to be wearing nothing but bib shorts (or “bib nicks” as you Australians adorably put it) on his ride. But the circumstances in which bib shorts — and nothing but bib shorts — are appropriate goes much, much further than merely on the bike.
I shall enumerate.
Let’s begin by addressing the question at hand. The truth is, bib shorts are so attractive that it’s a shame to cover them with a jersey. And really, why would you want the extra weight? Besides, if you have a hairy chest (and / or shoulders and / or back) you ought to share that with the world.
One caveat, however: bibs do not provide quite as much protection as a jersey in the case of an accident. Not that a jersey protects you from a hard impact, but it can reduce road rash to a degree.
For this reason, you should always wear a jersey over your bib shorts during the rides where you expect to crash, much as you should wear a helmet during those rides.
For extra-attractive awesomeness, I especially recommend wearing a Camelbak over your bibshorts when mountain biking. I guarantee an interesting set of tanlines.
What many people do not realize is that bib shorts also make terrific swim suits! And in fact I think you might find that you would not be the first person to wear such an outfit, as demonstrated in the below photograph.
Really, all you need to complete your look is a parasol, and perhaps a waxed moustache.
Note: Be careful of the chamois, which can hinder movement and become somewhat uncomfortable when soggy.
Something most people don’t realize about bib shorts is that they are awesome for more than just athletic activities. I hope that it is not revealing too much to say that I also wear bib shorts when I eat, especially when I am sitting on a couch, eating chips and drinking a favorite beverage.
Why? Simple. By pulling the front part of the bib short forward, I have a ready-made kangaroo pouch of sorts, one that will hold at least 3/4 of a bag of chips. Depending on my mood, I will stuff the bag into the pouch, or simply pour the chips down into the opening.
Either way, I’ve got easy access to my chips, and the chips stay with me when I move.
Let me make it clear, though: the pouch is not the only thing the bib shorts will hold. Consider, for a moment, Twizzlers. Or Red Vines. (I don’t want to get into an argument right now over which is better.) You can easily stick several of your favorite red licorice into each shoulder strap, giving you unprecedented access.
And really, this is just the beginning. With all that lycra, the places to hold your favorite foods and beverages close to your body is only limited by your imagination. And by how tight your bib shorts are to begin with, I suppose.
Try eating and watching TV with your bib shorts on. You’ll thank me.
One place where I do not recommend wearing your bib shorts without a jersey, however, is when participating in a Triathalon. The reason for this is simple: triathaletes have their own clothing rules and customs, and it is important that we observe and obey these.
Hence, if you are going to wear bib shorts when participating in a triathalon, you should also wear a half-shirt. That’s what I’m going to do in the St. George Ironman in May, and I am going to look hot.
Here’s what I’m going to look like:
In the interest of accuracy, I want to point out that my bib shorts do not do quite as good of a job in holding my muffin top in as shown in this photograph.
And my quads look about thirty times as awesome.
Other Questions Answered
Paul also wanted to know whether it is allowable to wear regular shorts without a jersey. The answer is — again — “yes,” but with a few caveats: it is permissible to wear regular shorts without a jersey only if
- You have 8% or lower bodyfat
- You have no hair on your back or shoulders
- Your skin is not so pasty white that bystanders must wear special eyewear or risk damage to their retinas.
I should point out that owing to one or more — or all — of the above criteria, I have never worn cycling shorts without a jersey.
« Previous Entries Next Page »