I Have a Prepared Statement I Would Like to Make

03.16.2010 | 12:00 pm

The ride plan was simple, really. We wanted to find out what the Ironman bike course felt like in its entirety. So we’d park at the reservoir, do the 22-mile ride to the beginning of the two-lap part of the ride, do the two laps, and then — even though this was not part of the course — we’d ride back to the reservoir.

A 140-mile road ride, give or take. Ambitious, but not ridiculous.

There was just one snag: the weather forecast for St. George that day was odd: “Windy,” it said. Honestly, I don’t recall ever seeing a weather forecast saying that before. “Sunny,” sure. “Overcast,” “Rainy,” “Snowy,” absolutely. But never “Windy.”

The weather forecast, as it turns out, was inaccurate only to the extent that it should have read, “Windy as hell.

I imagine hell as a very windy place. Don’t you?

As soon as the ride began, The Runner and I — as a survival technique — started taking turns drafting, in a decidedly un-TT-like fashion.

By the time we had ridden the first half of the first lap of the course, I noticed we were averaging 12.5 miles per hour. I did some math for what that meant, finishing-time-wise, and didn’t like the answer I came up with.

I checked my math. I was not wrong. If the wind held (or got stronger, which seemed likely) and we stuck to the original plan, it’d be close to dark before we finished the ride.

I said as much to The Runner, who replied, “I’m determined to finish this ride.” Which was good enough for me.

Until it wasn’t.

The Right Thing to Say

At Veyo, about 20 miles from finishing the first loop, we stopped at a convenience store. At that point we hadn’t gone far enough that either of us should be cooked, but I was cooked. And The Runner looked tired, too.

But I did not say anything. I had already asked for an “out,” and was declined. I, being a macho, macho man, would tough out the ride, no matter what.

And then we began the ride toward Saint George and the beginning of the second lap. This section is primarily downhill, and should be an excellent place to recover.

But the wind was coming at us, hard, from eleven-o’clock. Meaning it had all the power of a nice hard headwind plus the exciting challenge of a brutal crosswind.

I did more math. And the math looked bad. I arrived at a conclusion: I really really really did not want to do the second lap.

But how to tell The Runner this? I used the ample time I had — courtesy of a murderous headwind / crosswind — to think of a convincing argument.

Here is what I came up with:

I am so tired. I don’t think I can handle a second lap. What do you say we just cut it short and head back to the truck?

I didn’t like that, though. Saying “I am so tired” is an admission of weakness, and as a man, I am contractually obligated to never ever (ever) admit weakness.

So I formulated another speech, this time focusing on a logical approach:

You know, we’re going eleven miles per hour right now. It will be dark in four hours, and if we do a second lap, we have seventy more miles to ride. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to finish this ride in the wind and the dark and the rain.

No good. She’d already know all of that. She didn’t need me shepherding her.

I crafted a casual dismissal of the second lap:

Really, I think we’ve got a good idea of what this course has in store for us. I don’t think it’s going to be necessary for us to ride it again.

I liked this approach at first, but as I practiced saying it in my head, I realized she’d see right through it.

I considered the pathetic approach:

I’m in my small ring, going downhill. I don’t think I want to do this again in the dark and rain. And I’m cold, I’m tired, I hate the wind, my nose is running, and this just isn’t fun anymore and I want to go home. [Then start crying for effect]

In addition to this approach being pathetic, it was in fact also the most honest approach, and I was just about to go with it.

Then The Runner said, “There’s no way we’re doing a second lap today.”

And my speeches — my wonderfully crafted and extremely persuasive statements — suddenly became unnecessary.

And my relief was as exquisite as it was poignant.


  1. Comment by Eric P | 03.16.2010 | 12:12 pm

    Nothing is more manly than a direct declarative statement.

  2. Comment by Greg @ Greg Rides Trails | 03.16.2010 | 12:15 pm

    Haha, awesome! Except now she knows that you were going to totally wuss out… but that’s marriage, right? Honesty and vulnerability. Or at least, that’s the idea…

  3. Comment by M | 03.16.2010 | 12:23 pm

    Her prepared statement was very good!

  4. Comment by George | 03.16.2010 | 12:37 pm

    Fatty – You married a smart woman!

  5. Comment by MattC | 03.16.2010 | 12:38 pm

    Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus…it’s simply amazing how a woman can just come right out and SAY the obvious, and it’s readily apparent and correct and beyond argument. But when the GUY has something to say as to why we should abandon/shortuct/etc, we have to come up with some kind of reason/excuse that somehow holds our manhood intact, all the while imparting the blame onto something OTHER than us. And it never works! My inner demon won’t let me quit if SHE doesn’t. It always comes to the woman to say ‘Uncle’…but somehow through the freakish laws of nature, they are NOT actually saying Uncle…apparently only guys do. But nobody said life was fair.

  6. Comment by Drew | 03.16.2010 | 12:39 pm

    Fatty speaks the truth.

    Traffic? Feh, no problem. And I’ll ride in the rain until I grow gills, I’ll ride in the heat until I burst into flames, I’ll ride in humidity until I have a cajun accent, and I’ll ride up mountains until my legs explode. All of that can happen and I’ll still say it was a fun ride. Five minutes in the wind and I weep uncontrollably and consider taking up something more fun, something with a name like “sharksketball.”

  7. Comment by bikemike | 03.16.2010 | 12:45 pm

    “Windy as hell”…welcome to every day riding in Florida. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll have a headwind going out and it’ll switch on you and have headwind coming home. Wonderful days those are.

  8. Comment by GenghisKhan | 03.16.2010 | 12:49 pm

    @MattC–By way of good-natured and hopefully moderately humorous correction, I believe that men are from Jupiter (to get more “stupiter”) and women are from Mars (to get more candy bars…).

    At least, that’s how I learnt it… ;o)

  9. Comment by MattC | 03.16.2010 | 12:49 pm

    Oh…I forgot to mention, you’re welcome Fatty (for the borrowing of OUR wind)…being as everybody knows that the CA Central Coast is the BIRTHPLACE of the winds! Welcome to my world!

    I have clipon aerobars on both road bikes…being as I can count on my fingers the days in a year with light to no wind. No matter which way I ride, it seems I always come home into a headwind. Evil, Vile stuff that Mr. wind is. I don’t use the word HATE lightly, but I can truthfully say that I HATE the wind!

  10. Comment by MattC | 03.16.2010 | 12:53 pm

    @Genghis…no problem’O on the mild correction..thanks. But if I was from Jupiter, then I’d certainly be a MUCH stronger cyclist than I seem to be (due to the masive gravity of Jupiter). I think even MORE accurate is Men (me specificly) are from some tiny asteroid, lost in space (unable to ask for directions) and women are from Antares (a HUGE sun).

    I guess it’s been a LOOONNNNGGG time since I read that book.

  11. Comment by Zeke Yount | 03.16.2010 | 12:57 pm

    Hmmm, so if Men were from Jupiter, which makes them stronger due to more gravity, does it then follow that Fatty’s quads would be even larger? Inquiring minds want to know…

    - Zeke

  12. Comment by Jeff | 03.16.2010 | 1:04 pm

    Yes, I imagine Hell to be a very windy place. And never a tailwind – always a head- or crosswind.

  13. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.16.2010 | 1:07 pm

    And people say procrastination is a bad thing. Look how it saved you.

  14. Comment by dave1949 | 03.16.2010 | 1:17 pm

    The longest uphill always has an easy coast down. God made the world that way.
    The longest toughest headwind often has no reciprocal.
    ie wind is from the Devil.

    Best to avoid evil as much as possible, cutting the second lap may well have saved your souls.

  15. Comment by Colt | 03.16.2010 | 1:20 pm

    That up hill out of Veyo is brutal, but the down hill trail portion out of Snow Canyon is really nice. FYI I lived there for 25 years, its never not windy in Veyo.

  16. Comment by Kathleen Lisson | 03.16.2010 | 1:23 pm

    The Runner is a smart athlete. Give up the epic ride today, but live to triathlon tomorrow…

  17. Comment by AEL | 03.16.2010 | 1:25 pm

    Never seen “windy” on the forecast? Musta never been to Kansas, Fatty. Usually they save that for days of 30mph+ Not many mountains to climb around here but battling that wind makes us strong.

    Just think how easy, sans wind, that second lap will feel on race day (assuming you didn’t get kicked too much in the swim and you forget about the half-marathon ahead of you).

  18. Comment by Lucas | 03.16.2010 | 1:27 pm

    Ahhh yes, the wind… here in coastal New England, the wind is a fact of life. Pray for a tail-wind, get a head-wind; and the lovely thing is that every day around 2pm the wind either builds, dies, or switches… that headwind riding into work? yeah, it’s now a headwind riding home.

  19. Comment by Dr. Brett | 03.16.2010 | 1:44 pm

    Yep, I think Dante mentioned it being quite windy at least in the higher circles of Hell. We get a lot of “Windy” mentioned in the forecast here in the spring of flat North Texas. I feeel your pain.

  20. Comment by markg | 03.16.2010 | 1:48 pm

    Fatty, you are my hero. If only I would learn to shut up until my wife makes the right decision, my life would be sweet bliss.

  21. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.16.2010 | 2:32 pm

    I dislike wind so much I think I will disconnect the “Killer Headwind” fan on my rollers.

  22. Comment by Roses | 03.16.2010 | 3:08 pm

    Chicago is the Windy City. I see Windy in the forecast all the time but like AEL said only for 30+ mph days. Listening to it at night caused me to have nightmares when I first moved to the outskirts of Chicago.

  23. Comment by MattC | 03.16.2010 | 3:25 pm

    Gosh…seems like everybody has as much wind as I do…(except Fatty unless he travels)…how about we ALL gather up a years worth of wind and send it to him. Fatty….just think how strong you’ll be after battling nothing but headwinds of approx. 9289 mph for a whole year.

    I’m sure Hell is a place of all uphill with headwinds and crosswinds (at the same time)…and you ride forever with NO convenience stores, no water in your bottles or food in your pockets…just a never-ending supply of OLD mayo packets (and not even real mayo…Miracle Whip). And one of your cleats is damaged and won’t click in anymore, and your chammie is old and paper thin. And you’re riding a Huffy…from 1982. And the pavement is not pavement…cobblestones as far as the eye can see. Oh…and the only music your IPOD will play is Air Supply – All out of Love…over and over and, well..you get it (and for guys, there’s always a woman ahead of you that you can never seem to gain on).
    Hmmm….it seems I already live with a few of these categories…scary!

  24. Comment by Beth | 03.16.2010 | 3:59 pm

    Then The Runner said, “There’s no way we’re doing a second lap today.”>>

    I like her; just boil it down to the bare facts; no sugar coating and nothing to argue with. No pride damaged and an earlier escape to a nap and dinner.

  25. Comment by Charisa | 03.16.2010 | 4:20 pm

    NICE speech!

  26. Comment by cece | 03.16.2010 | 4:44 pm

    Here in New Mexico all we have in the spring is wind…and since we have the BOX…which make it excellent for hot air ballooning…we always have a head wind coming AND going! I HATE THE WIND more than just about anything!

  27. Comment by Marilyn | 03.16.2010 | 5:31 pm

    The guys I ride with just keep telling me that riding in the wind will just make me stronger. I do like the thought of becoming a stronger rider but at the same time they are out there with me battleing the wind so it is also making them stronger which just makes my life hell trying not to get dropped by them but than the advantage of being a girl comes into play and I know like you were saying the other day how you guys like to look at us girls in our kits so that is my saving grace. “Ride like the wind”

  28. Comment by Josh | 03.16.2010 | 5:41 pm

    Potentially my favorite FatCyclist post of all time, and there have been an awful lot of good ones.

  29. Comment by Heidi | 03.16.2010 | 6:10 pm

    Guess we know who wears the bike shorts in YOUR family!

  30. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 03.16.2010 | 7:48 pm

    I understand Hell is worse than just windy – everybody has a bike with just one important part missing – the chain.

  31. Comment by Fat Cathy | 03.16.2010 | 8:33 pm

    My personal hell would be the last lap of a 1K TT where you have a headwind the entire lap. And that lap lasts an eternity.

  32. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 03.16.2010 | 8:59 pm

    I knew the Runner was super smart!

  33. Comment by Bee | 03.16.2010 | 9:44 pm

    I recall one fateful ride on the rolling hills of Virginia where I battled a headwind for 30 miles. I was so cooked when I got home that I left my bike in the hall, called in sick to work, and flopped on my couch- one foot hanging off onto the floor. It was (seriously) about two hours before I could crawl into the kitchen to get fluids. I think I called friends to bring me food that night- when I had a full fridge and a reputation for being “the cook” in the group. If death had been an option, I might have accepted.

  34. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 03.16.2010 | 9:57 pm

    Wind knows how to punish a bike rider. I swear it can change directions sometimes to continue to be a head wind after you turn around.

  35. Comment by Nathaniel | 03.16.2010 | 9:58 pm

    Elden, it seems like you are quite the illustrious blogger! You weren’t lying when you said that your blog had reached critical mass for you to start thinking about spinning something off. In any case, I’m glad I met you on the ride from Racer’s, and I look forward to meeting you and Lisa again.

  36. Comment by belayslave | 03.16.2010 | 10:07 pm

    I live in So. UT and ride the Veyo loop often. I’ve even ridden it fixed. You were partially right weeks ago when you said that the course was fairly easy…except most visitors don’t know how brutal that course can become when it’s windy. The nice recovery you planned for the downhill is non-existant. In fact, you probably made better time going uphill. FYI – it’s windy on that downhill more often than not! Good thing you learned that before race day! Good luck I’ll be cheering you on.

  37. Comment by Sasha | 03.16.2010 | 10:25 pm

    Loved the blog! However, one of my most favorite things is reading everyone’s comments and stories. I have to say that reading about all the headwinds makes me feel better. We always seem to be windy in Anchorage. Fortunately, we don’t have tricky headwinds, just plain old honest headwinds. I usually encounter them on the return ride unfortunately. I hate hills far more than I hate headwinds though. I’ll take a headwind over a hill any day. That’s how much I hate hills.

  38. Comment by jonmholmes | 03.16.2010 | 10:52 pm

    Good thing the Runner took pity on you and covered for you. Yanking your mancard before the first anniversary might have been too much for her to consider. I’d only hope my wife would do the same if a similar scenario arose in my direction. Remember, these women carry babies and have said babies and endure this typically on several occasions throughout a given lifetime and this is typically done by choice. Better believe she’d nailed another lap with intense fury, but as the famous lyricist and marital well-being sage, Tammy Wynette, wrote,

    “Stand by your man
    And show the world you love him
    Keep giving all the love you can
    Stand by your man”

  39. Comment by Jenn | 03.17.2010 | 1:45 am

    @Sasha – I’m with you on hills v wind. We moved to our current home just before winter and I’m just starting to explore – yesterday’s ride left me with burning quads and a blistering headache because (who knew?) life gets extremely hilly just about two km east of here. From now on (or at least until further in the season) it’s “Westward ho” around here! Wait…that sounds like I just called myself a ‘ho…

  40. Comment by Jenn | 03.17.2010 | 1:51 am

    Also – as always, thanks for the laughs, Fatty!

  41. Comment by Theo | 03.17.2010 | 1:53 am

    Did a little race down in Cape Town, South Africa this past weekend. Nothing serious, 110km around the Cape with 29000 other finishers (LA rode with the Elites). Catch, it was windy, AGAIN. In 2009 we had a 70km/h wind along the route, gusting up to 110kn/h in places, caused mayhem. Could not happen again. Ha Ha, it did, not 70km/h, but only about 40km/h this time, but when you need to push had going downhill (normally at far over 50km/h) and you are now only doing 14km/h, well it sucks. So yes, I do feel with you, there is nothing nice about riding in the wind, maybe in snow or sleet, but we don’t get that down here. Thanx for trhe great Blog, keeps us inspired….

  42. Comment by buckythedonkey | 03.17.2010 | 2:25 am

    I think your day with The Shack may have done you some harm. You appear to have assumed the role of the Runner’s domestique… ;-)


  43. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.17.2010 | 5:42 am

    Lesson to be learned here: it is never a good idea to do a second lap. What more can you learn than from the first lap?

  44. Comment by Doug | 03.17.2010 | 6:42 am

    And THAT is how you know you were meant to be together!

  45. Comment by Drdave | 03.17.2010 | 7:37 am

    Who ever said, “he who hesitates is lost” obviously never had to buck a good headwind. Wise choice!

  46. Comment by Minh Nguyen | 03.17.2010 | 8:08 am

    You should’ve responded, “No, I’m liking this! Let’s do 3 more laps!” That way for sure she was going to say no and then you would’ve gotten extra man points!

  47. Comment by MattC | 03.17.2010 | 8:30 am

    @Minh….you’ve got to be careful with the bluff…becasue she may call it and say COOL…Lets GO! And then you in deeper Kim-chee than you were just doing 2 laps! And any excuse to bail now after suggesting MORE laps will now be even MORE lame. Besides, women are very intuitive and will see thru the pathetic bluff and call it most every time. At least that’s my experience. Or I’m just a very sad bluffer.

  48. Comment by Sara | 03.17.2010 | 8:39 am

    She da man! :)

  49. Comment by stanaconda | 03.17.2010 | 8:42 am

    @Mike Roadie… I did the Ironman Wisconsin last year. I found the hills to be A LOT different the 2nd time around. It is a long day. Don’t go out too fast. Or too windy.

  50. Comment by Dr Codfish | 03.17.2010 | 9:51 am

    Without missing a beat a REAL man would have responded with something like: “Are you sure hon? ’cause I’ll gladly take a second helping if you want to do this thing again.” Just take care not to be too insistent, because gawd forbid she should take you up on your offer! Maybe moderate a little:”yeah, you are probably right, but if you want to go around again I’m totally there for you.”

    Yr Pal Dr C

  51. Comment by Dr Codfish | 03.17.2010 | 9:57 am


    “Because, after all, he’s JUST a man.”

    Thanks for the reminder Tammy

    Dr C

  52. Comment by Bill | 03.17.2010 | 11:21 am

    RIP Tom Boonen 1980-2010

    You lived life to the fullest!

  53. Comment by centurion | 03.17.2010 | 11:21 am

    Listen to the woman.

  54. Comment by Haven (KT) | 03.17.2010 | 12:29 pm

    MattC, your description of Hell is startlingly accurate, except you forgot one extra tidbit:

    The pavement is not pavement, it’s cobblestones– unless it’s chip seal, miles and miles of chip seal, and then miles and miles of cobblestones. Nary a smooth and restful piece of pavement or dirt in sight.

  55. Comment by MattC | 03.17.2010 | 12:39 pm

    Haven…how about Chip-seal ON TOP of the cobblestones? That would suck big time…we havesome roads here that we lovingly refer to as cobblestones..I can’t imagine actual cobblestones being much worse, however I’ve never actually ridden any…(but I have to believe it’s rather miserable). We don’t see much chip-seal around here, but I got the chance to ride some last Oct in the Austin LiveStrong…wasn’t too impressed…but I’ve ridden worse.

  56. Comment by Marin D | 03.17.2010 | 12:58 pm

    Yes, that was some nasty wind that blew up through St. George. We got in Las Vegas too and I thought it was going to blow us away. Hope other than the wind, things were lovely! Oh and Congrats on the wedding! How exciting.

  57. Comment by Decker | 03.17.2010 | 1:23 pm

    Yeah…”Windy as hell” is a normal forecast for North Texas. And it gets brutally hot here as well. A pure slice of hell! :)

  58. Comment by Yitzhak (Isaac) Ben-Moshe | 03.17.2010 | 1:32 pm

    I forget who said it, and I hate quoting w/o attribution, but here goes: “Hills build strength. Headwinds build character.”.

  59. Comment by geraldatwork | 03.17.2010 | 2:39 pm

    I can see who is in charge of this relationship. Jus sayin.

  60. Comment by MattC | 03.17.2010 | 2:52 pm

    Yitzhak….if good creates good, and evil creates evil, and if headwinds are evil, then the only character headwinds will create are evil. I’ve certainly had my shout-outs at the wind (aka Forest Gump…where Lt Dan is up on the mast during the hurricane shouting at God). When it’s REALLY windy you can’t even hear yourself shout! But you feel slightly better for it.

  61. Comment by Velopie | 03.17.2010 | 3:09 pm

    Bill –

    Why do you say RIP “Tom Boonen” in your comment above?

  62. Comment by JB | 03.17.2010 | 3:32 pm

    I’m still laughing about hobo sports drink….and yes I am going to brew some of that up the next time I am out and there is a store opportunity

  63. Comment by kevine | 03.17.2010 | 10:57 pm

    Blow your nose and wipe your man water with some weakness paper and finish the ride.

    Jeez and to think we all thought you were “manly”!

  64. Comment by Dr. J | 03.17.2010 | 11:24 pm

    I too have ridden this loop, to help get an idea for the ironman course for a friend. I went solo, and had no idea how bad the wind got in that area. At the bottom of the hill leading into Veyo (sp) I had to stop and ask some construction workers for some water. When I told them I was riding up the hill to Veyo, they looked at me like I had just told them I was planning on being the first male to give birth. I also stopped at that convenient store at the top and the lady working there just laughed when I asked her if it was always that windy. My conclusion for my friend was that if it was windy on the ironman, fein an acute appendicitis and stay in his hotel. Good Luck!!

  65. Comment by Janneke | 03.18.2010 | 4:31 am

    See, women always know when enough is enough. No excuses needed.

  66. Comment by Richard | 03.18.2010 | 6:16 am

    That is one of those “That is why I married her” moments.

    Each one is unique and personal but for married blokes it is good to file those away for future reference.

    I don’t normally do marriage advice so you can have that for free.

  67. Comment by david | 03.18.2010 | 6:30 am

    always finish the mission.

  68. Comment by Constantin | 03.18.2010 | 6:49 am

    If I were to name the Hell of Winds then it would be Scotland!
    I was almost swept away from the mountain by those hurricane-like winds.
    It happened twice: once on a hill near Edinburgh and once on the plateaus of Cairngorms mountains. “Windy as hell…”


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