Personal News

04.20.2010 | 7:18 am

Five years is a long time to write a blog. Seriously, a really long time. Consider all the cycling-comedy blogs you read. How many of them have been around five years? Not many.

Sometimes, in fact, I wonder if there are a finite number of funny things to say about bicycles.

I just read those first two paragraphs and realized it sounds like I’m winding up for a goodbye. I’m not. My point — which I am finally getting to right this second — is that I’ve been around long enough that I feel totally OK with occasionally talking about a few personal items, only one of which has anything to do with biking.

1. Employment

I’d been an employee of Burton Group for nearly four years when it was acquired by Gartner at the beginning of 2010. Frankly, I was pretty concerned about whether I’d get to keep my job. Gartner already has a fully-staffed and capable product management team, after all, using a much different approach than I have.

As of last Friday, however, I’ve been moved out of product management and into a brand-new position within the research team, which means I’ll be researching and writing about technology topics for a living.

In other words, I’m employed in the sweet spot of a large research company, doing something I really enjoy doing.

I’m relieved. I’m busy. I’m (relatively) secure. I’m happy.

2. Kid Stuff

When I started this blog five years ago, my oldest kid was 11; now he’s 16 (isn’t the way the math on that works out?). My twins were only 3; now they’re gangly 8-year-olds. And one of my kids has been suffering from a painful and serious illness for pretty much the entirety of that time.

That child doesn’t want to have me talk about that illness and what s/he’s going through on this blog, so I haven’t, and I won’t.

But that illness has recently reached a crisis point, and I am spending a lot of my time and energy on it. When you see a day (like yesterday) go by without a post, that’s probably why.

(Or it’s possible that I’m out on a long ride, because the weather here has suddenly gone from cold miserable Winter to fantastic beautiful Spring.)

3. I Have Been a Guest Speaker at a University

Yesterday morning, I went to a “Writing for New Media” class, and gave a guest lecture. I used PowerPoint and everything. The students were, as you’d expect, enthralled. And by “enthralled,” I of course mean “expressing mild interest or taking naps or updating their Facebook pages.”


  1. Comment by Chicken Legs | 04.20.2010 | 7:24 am

    Life happens. Its all good. Love your blog.

  2. Comment by Wes | 04.20.2010 | 7:45 am

    Keeping you and the family in our thoughts, Fatty.

  3. Comment by geraldatwork | 04.20.2010 | 7:56 am

    I hope everything works out health wise with one of your kids. Keep on writing.

  4. Comment by Matthew | 04.20.2010 | 8:01 am

    Yikes Fatty, as if your family hasn’t suffered enough. Just remember, you’ve got a heck of a lot of people in your corner.

  5. Comment by Eric | 04.20.2010 | 8:03 am

    Family before bike blog is cool.

  6. Comment by rich | 04.20.2010 | 8:04 am

    dude…at the beginning I was sure you were breaking up with us….
    I’ll be praying for your child and congrats on the job

  7. Comment by Mike E | 04.20.2010 | 8:05 am

    Appreciate the update! No matter what size they may be!

  8. Comment by Laura | 04.20.2010 | 8:09 am

    I also have a child with chronic illness. I wish you the best. Recently she has started taking short (usually 2 miles or less) bike rides with me but I love how it gives us something to “do” together.

  9. Comment by NYCCarlos | 04.20.2010 | 8:27 am

    Dude. Eric is right… family before bike blog is ALWAYS cool. Let us know if there’s anything we can do… even if you have to keep the disease and identity of the kid a secret, we’ll all be willing to pitch in in some way. All I keep wondering is when you’re going to catch a break. Keep up the great work – at home, at the office, and on the blog.

  10. Comment by Nic Grillo | 04.20.2010 | 8:29 am

    You da man Fatty. All the best to you and the fam.

  11. Comment by Randoboy | 04.20.2010 | 8:36 am

    As the Merry Pranksters used to say, “Feed the hungry bee.” It probably makes more sense on a proper foundation of LSD, but I think it means take care of life first.

    Congratulations on the job front and becoming Professor Fatty.

  12. Comment by R. Mandos | 04.20.2010 | 8:46 am

    You are right: there is a limited amount of things to say about cylcing. But whatever helps you (and perhaps us) bear the burdens of life, including carving out a little space in a blog to poke fun, commiserate or raise money isn’t a waste of time. After all, who would read you blog unless they had some sort of connection to above? Don’t confuse your vain, narcissitic twadle (and our) to the real job at hand. But its a blog, so I guess we need to keep it light, short and happy.

  13. Comment by MattC | 04.20.2010 | 8:48 am

    Yo Fatty….the one certainty in life is that is that things change (well…there’s also death and taxes…so I guess that makes THREE things). Surely you have changed…your blog/writing have changed…and your personal life is most assuredly in the midst of a tidal wave of change.

    By the end of the first sentence in your intro I was SURE this was a goodbye post. Dang…forgot where I was going with this…anyway, do what you gotta do. The Blog is WAAAYYY down on the priority list. It’s been a wild ride no matter how you look at it. Good luck in the new job, with the new family, with the new life! And I sincerely hope your kids illness can be contained and beaten into submission. Post when you can. I’ll still be here.

    One of your loyal minions.

  14. Comment by Kevin DallasBikr Hill | 04.20.2010 | 8:50 am

    I was updating Facebook while I read this.

    And Twitter.


  15. Comment by Mandy | 04.20.2010 | 8:51 am

    Take care of you and the family, that is most important. My thoughts & prayers are with you & the family.

  16. Comment by Woody | 04.20.2010 | 8:57 am

    I’m with Rich – I totally thought we were about to get the whole ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech! Give lots of extra hugs to that kiddo on our behalf. The cycling world has lots of love to share.

  17. Comment by mainiac_rager | 04.20.2010 | 9:01 am

    Good luck with the family stuff. Sounds like it might be time for a “best of” or guest speaker slot.

    Glad to hear things worked out with Gartner.

  18. Comment by fult23 | 04.20.2010 | 9:23 am

    Recently, I was permanently laid off from my job, and often I have been worried about my situation. Then I read a post like this and I realize how very blessed I am. Thank you for the perspective. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

  19. Comment by BikeGirl | 04.20.2010 | 9:26 am

    Don’t complain too much about university students, Fatty. I’m sitting in class reading your blog right now! :)

  20. Comment by Marilla | 04.20.2010 | 9:29 am

    hmmm…demanding public versus no comments at all? I enjoy the blog.

  21. Comment by Constantin | 04.20.2010 | 9:33 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your child…

    May all the positive energy from bikers and non bikers go to her/him and heal her/him.

    God Bless You and Your Family!

  22. Comment by Weaky6 | 04.20.2010 | 9:40 am

    Sorry I just got to reading this. I was updating my Facebook page. So much time and effort. Anyways, you are my dad hero. Keep it up brother. Gartner group and IT go hand in hand. If you tell me to buy it, I go look for the open source version that does that same thing, for next to nothing. I love biking.

  23. Comment by Di | 04.20.2010 | 9:44 am

    I find that if I ride my bike, I usually have something to say. Most of my blog posts are recaps. I also find it pretty amazing what I come up while pedaling. Sometimes, it even nearly hits me in the head – like the time that a squirrel came flying out of a tree from high above and almost nailed me during a road ride.

  24. Comment by Claire | 04.20.2010 | 9:46 am

    Glad to hear the job has all worked out well, Fatty, though very sorry to hear about the health problems of one of your kiddos. As is always the case, you and your family are never far from my thoughts.

  25. Comment by Nick | 04.20.2010 | 9:51 am

    Best of luck with the illness. Hopefully the crisis point means a turning point from worse to better. I agree with NYCCarlos, let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

  26. Comment by SuomiTri | 04.20.2010 | 10:01 am

    this post kinda feels like a “gotta post something…anything even though i don’t want to”, “i’m sorry” and “here’s my excuse” post. maybe i’m reading it wrong, but if the blog’s a burden (or no longer fun/useful/an outlet/whatever, just take a break, post once a week, have guest posts, kill the blog, whatever. worst that happens is you lose some readership. for what it’s worth, i’ve enjoyed reading every “phase” of this blog (early silliness, cancer serious, guest posts and all the stuff and changes in between), mostly because it was open, honest and interesting. the forced stuff…not so much. i guess my (long-winded) point is to write what you want, not what you think the readership wants, and if the answer is “nothing”, then so be it. Life changes, the blog may not fit anymore and that’s cool.

    if it’s just been a long [time period], sorry for the stream of consciousness poop (lecture?) above and i hope things turn for the better for you and your family. all the best.

  27. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 04.20.2010 | 10:41 am

    There is something not quite right about a 40 something guy trying to teach college kids about new media.

  28. Comment by Heidi | 04.20.2010 | 10:45 am

    And here I was thinking, geez, I’m gonna miss Fatty… And then – Psych! Whew.

  29. Comment by Veteran Sculler | 04.20.2010 | 10:48 am

    Hey Fatty

    I’m a University lecturer (just like you !).

    I’m new to my job, so my Head of School sent me on a Teaching course (PGCert in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, since you asked).

    As part of this course we were required to write a blog on our practice.

    Guess who I used as a model for good writing ? (And by the way you got an A+)

    Keep on blogging ….

    Paul W (Kingston on Thames, UK)

  30. Comment by anne h | 04.20.2010 | 10:56 am

    We will always be here when you do post. Good thoughts coming your way. And kudos on your new position.

  31. Comment by Carl | 04.20.2010 | 11:05 am

    Well you have a lot of experience writing about products you have researched on your blog… so you were a natural for that position.

    I’m very sorry to hear that one of your kids is sick. If we can help in anyway, let us know.

  32. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.20.2010 | 11:11 am

    So, the University kids were mostly awake? Wow, dude, you really do rock.

  33. Comment by Uphillbattle | 04.20.2010 | 11:47 am

    Prayers for whichever child of Fatty is suffering. I hope things get better/become manageable for him/her. Having a painful chronic illness is not any way to spend a childhood. (I am an adult with such a disease and it is something I would would not wish on my worst enemy)

  34. Comment by Fatterthanyou | 04.20.2010 | 12:23 pm


    I’m so sorry to hear about your child’s illness.

    How you are able to work, exercise, successfully parent and entertain hordes of (awesome and beautiful) readers is an inspiration to me.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    BTW, your kids deserve you more than we do. Please accept this as permission to take whatever time you need for them. In the meantime, we can try to live vicariously through someone else’s cool adventures.

  35. Comment by Abbie | 04.20.2010 | 12:28 pm

    Hugs and warm thoughts to your child. Be good to yourself.

  36. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 04.20.2010 | 12:29 pm

    Congrats on the new role!

  37. Comment by GJ Jackie | 04.20.2010 | 12:50 pm

    Hugs, hugs and more hugs to you and your family. Take all the time you need, whenever you need to.

  38. Comment by Rich (not the usual Rich)... | 04.20.2010 | 12:57 pm

    I’ve never commented on your blog before.

    I don’t know you personally.

    But… Man you have had a rough turn of life recently! I have learned a lot from you about how to conduct yourself when going through life-changing crises. Thanks for your humor, your openness, and your honesty.

    I have a Son who had a serious illness, only for about 15 days – but it was life-threatening, and I know the stress you are under.

    Write when it feels good. Those who “get” this blog get it. This isn’t a blog about cycling. It’s a blog about being a decent human being – that’s why it’s been so successful. So keep being a good new Husband, and a great Dad, and fill those of us who only sort of know you in when you have the time.

    Many of us are praying for you.

    God bless you and your kid.

  39. Comment by XCTiger | 04.20.2010 | 1:41 pm

    If we haven’t left you by now, I doubt we ever will. Take whatever time you need and deal with what is important. We’ll be here when you get back. Probably commenting on our own comments, or posting our own ride stories.

  40. Comment by Sylvia | 04.20.2010 | 3:22 pm

    Hi Fatty, I have known several children with serious and painful medical issues who have benefitted greatly from interactions with peers at the Hole in the Wall camps. If you haven’t already looked at them, check it out.

  41. Comment by Greg @ Greg Rides Trails | 04.20.2010 | 3:28 pm

    Yeah, that is a long time. Kudos man, and keep it up!

  42. Comment by Lizzylou | 04.20.2010 | 3:36 pm

    You notice that about the weather too? One day it was miserable winter, and then all the sudden it was over like that… bringing pollen and miserable allergies to counteract the nice weather.

    Best of wishes to s/he. They are in our prayers.

  43. Comment by Kermitsgirl | 04.20.2010 | 3:55 pm

    With all you have going on and you still write for us! We are truly the lucky ones Fatty so don’t sweat the small stuff…

    Keeping you and yours in my prayers and grateful for every word you write.

  44. Comment by dawn from Houston | 04.20.2010 | 4:44 pm

    I’m glad you are not ending your blog, since I have to post somewhere when I win my 100 miles to nowhere race in my category.
    Sick kids, I hate it, it rips at your heart. From going through the experience with my now 12 year old, I know there is nothing worse than seeing you child in a hospital bed and knowing there is nothing you can do to make it better. I’d love to send a card or something to brighten your child’s day, but since s/he wishes to keep it private, please let her/him know that we (the adults) wish we could through it for him/her.

  45. Comment by GeorgeNotHincapie | 04.20.2010 | 5:13 pm

    I can’t say anything that has not already been said. I don’t pray, not at all, but today I promised a prayer to someone else in distress. You will be my second prayer tonight.

  46. Comment by ckcycling | 04.20.2010 | 8:39 pm

    If you ever need any finincial help with your child’s illness, I and probably everyone else will ride like hell to raise money. Best to you and your family. Keep riding, keep blogging, keep being fat.


  47. Comment by BamaJim | 04.20.2010 | 9:01 pm

    Glad to hear about the job, always a concern for a good family man when things are unstable. Praying for your child, and the rest of you. Keep up the good work.

  48. Comment by Richard | 04.20.2010 | 9:08 pm

    You are an inspiration.

    Man hug.

  49. Comment by lMnop | 04.20.2010 | 9:25 pm

    As a parent of a child who had cancer, I can only imagine how hard it is…I am also a fellow biker…well a female fellow biker…but no off-roading. I ride to work each day as long as it isn’t raining…which it did today and I am grouchy!

    Keep bloggin’….I finally have my husband reading :)

  50. Comment by Barb | 04.20.2010 | 9:39 pm

    Family comes first. Period.

  51. Comment by fattyfan | 04.20.2010 | 9:48 pm

    Fatty, you are a hero to many of us – not the superhuman, nothing can stop him kind, but the real-life, doing what needs to be done kind. In these last five years, my oldest has become a 10-year-old, and my twins became and are now five. Many of us identify with you, your humor and your trials as well. With one of my four undergoing radiation treatments right now, I know how tough it is to spread out the energy to all the kids, not to mention the spouse and life in general. Keep doing what you do, in whatever measure necessary, ’cause that’s why we love Fatty. Thanks.

  52. Comment by Nevada | 04.20.2010 | 9:53 pm

    Appreciate your sharing and your example. My child has a painful disabling condition and my wife has breast cancer. It’s been good to just see that it remains possible to care, cope, ride and laugh.

  53. Comment by Betsy | 04.20.2010 | 11:56 pm

    Holding your child in my prayers. Family first. Hang in there Fatty and Runner!

  54. Comment by Saso | 04.21.2010 | 12:44 am

    Keeping my fingers crossed for your child.

  55. Comment by steve rooney | 04.21.2010 | 12:54 am

    family first always
    blog when you can, and when real life interupts so be it, we can wait just you keep cyclin rubber side down,
    Per Ardua

  56. Comment by buckythedonkey | 04.21.2010 | 2:03 am

    Allez, unnamed child! WIN!!

  57. Comment by Wil Hayes | 04.21.2010 | 3:18 am

    I agree with the others. There are limits on what you can say about cycling but not on what you can say about life and isn’t that really what this blog is about? How you deal with the obstacles and joys you find on the road of life.

    We love you “Fatty”. God bless you and your family.

  58. Comment by Sara | 04.21.2010 | 4:39 am

    “Few things in life remain the same.”

  59. Comment by Gordon from Melbourne | 04.21.2010 | 6:01 am

    If I ever get to the US of A I’m not standing near you or any of your family in an electrical storm. You guys just don’t get a break.

    I have a chronic arthritic condition which I now know that I have had for about 15 – 20 years (I’m 43 so do the math). I don’t have kids but have a very supportive wife and after another visit to hospital and my second ambulance ride she said to me that she will look after me no matter what happens. That meant a lot. So, getting to the point and to stop talking about me …. where was I …. oh yeah, look after that dud kid.

    Also, check if said dud kid has any warranty period left, you may be eligible for a replacement.

    I was also waiting for “but we can still be friends”.

    Gotta get the lights charged for the ride to work tomorrow. Melbourne days are getting shorter and shorter but still pretty damn warm.

  60. Comment by MOCougFan | 04.21.2010 | 6:50 am

    Thanks for the 5 years FC. Can’t think of many work days in those 5 that haven’t begun with me pulling up your blog. Thanks for keeping it up.

  61. Comment by Bridget in Minnesota | 04.21.2010 | 9:23 am

    Like everyone of your faithful readers, I will be praying for your child, your other children, The Runner’s children, The Runner, you and Susan.


  62. Comment by VA Biker | 04.21.2010 | 11:31 am

    Elden, I haven’t left a comment in awhile, but wanted to tell you that whatever you need to do is A-OK with this FC reader (like my opinion matters?). Family first, blog stuff a distant second, or third, or fourth…

    I wish you the best with your family health issues.

  63. Comment by Haven (KT) | 04.21.2010 | 12:09 pm

    Don’t worry about having to entertain us all the time, we can keep ourselves occupied while you attend to bigger things.

    SuomiTri said it quiet well, as did Eric (way up near the top!)– family before bike blog, and it is cool.

    Good vibes and thoughts headed to your family, especially the sick child.

  64. Comment by good blog queen | 04.21.2010 | 1:48 pm

    Hey! I was one of those students you spoke to! And you’re my first post! It’s part of a project for class to start a blog, and so I wanted to write about all the interesting blogs out there so people can filter through the trash and find the good stuff. Anyways, you were so darn charming, I thought I’d start with you! check it out on my website

  65. Comment by Zed | 04.21.2010 | 7:38 pm

    I’ve been reading since September ‘05. I’m sure you know this since I remind you of it frequently. Thanks for the memories, Fatty. And don’t worry about taking time off the blog. It’s not like you’re getting paid big bucks for doing that.

  66. Comment by Trey | 04.21.2010 | 8:37 pm

    Hi Fatty. Thank you for coming and speaking to my “Writing For New Media” class. Not only was I paying attention, I didn’t even update FB during class. I had already read your blog when our instructor mentioned you in class, so I was definitely anticipating your appearance in my class. Thank you for not disappointing! Keep blogging. You had me scared for a minute.

  67. Comment by Sasha | 04.21.2010 | 10:43 pm

    Fatty, there isn’t anything I can write that hasn’t already been said by other readers. One of the things I love and cherish most about your blog is your (for the most part) awesome readers and fans. I love the sense of community we have and you are the reason for that. Please don’t worry about us. Take care of your family. If you have time to blog, so be it. If not, that’s okay too. And as several commenters have mentioned, if there is anything we can do to help said child, let us know.

    God Bless!

  68. Comment by Shiny Flu | 04.22.2010 | 3:15 am

    A blog doesn’t need daily or twi-daily or tri-daily updates. You take care of who needs it most – that’s not us! You get in there and do what needs doin’.

  69. Comment by Marlys | 04.22.2010 | 5:58 am

    Thank you for sharing your personal stuff. I am happy for you regarding your new position. Prayers go with you for your child’s health. Just know we all understand and want you to keep writing whenever you can. Always keep your fantastic sense of humor.

  70. Comment by Jenn | 04.22.2010 | 9:52 am

    Smooches on you and yours, Fatty. Please let us know if there’s anything at all that we can do.

  71. Comment by MattC | 04.22.2010 | 10:28 am

    Hey Fatty…while we are all giving our best wishes, prayers and what-not for your ill child, is there any update on your nephew Dallas? Just curious how he and Kellene/Rocky are doing, being as you brought him to our attention back in Feb…because, well…we are all kind of like family, in that strange internet ‘never met’ kind of way (tho I did get to actually meet both you and Kellene down in Austin last year…my brush with greatness!)

  72. Comment by TrapperDan | 04.22.2010 | 2:24 pm

    Write on………. when you can. We’ll wait.

  73. Comment by Cindy | 04.25.2010 | 9:03 am

    I have a chronically ill child, too. Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis. I do two things to cope. I run. I started a support group for our region 6 years ago. So we are now the most connected state in the nation when it comes to JRA.


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