How to Control the Weather

04.2.2010 | 10:29 am

After work today, The Runner and I are headed to Saint George. We are going there to road bike and mountain bike a lot, and even to run a little bit.

Mostly, though, we are going there because we are sick of wearing tights.

The Anti-Tights Manifesto

It has been a long, cold winter, and I am sick of it (including the fact that it snowed here most of yesterday and continues to flurry today).

Sure, I’ve actually gotten out on my bike quite a bit, but only because I have been willing to layer up. Shorts. Wool base layer. Long sleeve jersey. Jacket. Beanie. Thinsulate gloves under heavy gloves. Wool socks. Neoprene shoe covers.

And, of course, tights.

How I have grown to hate wearing tights.

Oh, I know I shouldn’t. I should be grateful for tights, and the way they make it possible for me to go out riding even when it’s ridiculously cold out. And the truth is, a good modern pair of tights — like my Bontrager RL Windfronts (full disclosure: I paid retail for these at a local bike shop — no blog-related hijynx here) — allow me to even be reasonably comfortable.

But I still hate wearing tights.

Oh, I’m fine with them at the beginning of the winter. I even like the feeling that I’m somehow cheating the winter.

But as the winter drags on, the tights come to represent the defeat of one of the things I love the very most about road cycling: the feeling of flight.

If you love road riding, you know what I mean.

When you’re wearing nothing but shorts, a jersey, and low-cut socks, riding a road bike feels as close to flying as you can while still being on the ground. You’re incredibly light. Your clothes are so thin and close-fitting that they may as well not be there. You feel the wind on your arms, face and legs (one of the top three reasons to shave your legs, by the way).

With tights on, all of that’s gone. You’re warm, sure, but your isolated from the air around you. You’re riding, sure, but every turn of the cranks is just a little more binding, a little less free, than it is in the Summer.

And while the weight gain that comes with tights (and everything else, but I choose to pick on tights) is honestly not all that much, it’s enough. You feel heavier. Sluggish.

It’s better than not being on a bike at all. But if I were to create a spectrum with riding rollers at one end and riding in shorts, no socks, and a sleeveless jersey at the other, riding in tights would be distressingly close to riding the rollers.

So, by this time of the year, if it’s even remotely close to warm enough, I leave the tights off for the ride. Even though my legs immediately feel the painful bite of the wind, I’m glad to feel that bite.

How to Control the Weather

As I believe I’ve mentioned, we’re headed to St. George for the weekend. Through some magic of Utah-ness, this three hour drive practically guarantees a 15-degree-warmer climate.

And I have not packed tights. Nor has The Runner.

We are absolutely committed to a weekend of sun. Of riding in shorts. Sans tights.

It’s April. Time for some warm days.

Tights are not an option.

PS: Next week is Spring Break for my kids. I’m going to take a break from this blog for that week too, to spend more time with them, as well as to hopefully finish a blog-related project I’ve been working on for months. I’ll be back April 12.


Big News Today

04.1.2010 | 7:42 am

I’ve got two big pieces of news to reveal today.

The first is no surprise to anyone who’s been following my blog for a good long time: my blog is five years old today. Which means that — at an average of four posts per week, each an average of two typewritten pages long, I have now written approximately 2080 pages for this blog.

Even when you factor in the fact that only 4% of it is any good, that’s still 83 pages of stuff worth reading.

Which, I guess, is not all that much good stuff to write over the course of four years.

Suddenly, I’m finding myself wishing I hadn’t done that particular bit of math.

Luckily for me, there are some other people who haven’t done that math either, because they probably would have reconsidered and then I wouldn’t be able to reveal my second big piece of news, which I — for contractual reasons that will shortly become clear — am going to simply reprint in its entirety below:

Competitor Group Announces Acquisition of
Includes Rights to Back Catalog, Future Content

The Competitor Group (CGI), the leading media and event company in the endurance sports industry, today announced the acquisition of, expanding and solidifying its cycling and triathalon coverage into the rapidly emerging and hotly competitive “online sport satire” arena.

Mitch Thrower, New Media Officer for The Competitor Group, said, “We are pleased today to bring Elden “Fatty” Nelson on board to our increasingly rich and diverse publishing properties. With his large repository of existing content and the moderate likelihood that he will continue — occasionally at least — to write something of at least mediocre entertainment value about cycling or triathalons, we figured we’d better scoop him up before Bicycling magazine did.”

Nelson — or “Fatty” as he likes to call himself in order to give a patina of likeability to what would otherwise be a fairly unlikeable person — will primarily retain the duties he has already given himself — e.g., write his blog, with some posts being re-published in the online versions of VeloNews and Triathalete Magazine.

There will be some differences, however.

“First, we will be un-revealing Fatty’s name,” said Thrower. “With the recent revelation of the name of another cycling blogger nobody had previously heard of, we think it would be wise if we can get everyone to forget the name of the author of To that purpose, we have a group of editors currently scrubbing his site of his name and image, replacing them with circumlocutory remarks and photos of Elvis during his fat years.”

“After everyone’s forgotten who Nelson is — in a couple weeks, we estimate — we’ll shock the world by revealing that Fatty is actually Elden Nelson. And thousands of people will be excited to know that someone they’ve never heard of is in fact someone they’ve never heard of.”

“This will be somehow meaningful,” said Thrower.

The scrubbing of Nelson’s identity, however, will not be the only change to the blog.

“We’re adding a new tagline to Nelson’s blog,” asserted Thrower. “Something like, ‘He’s like BikeSnobNYC, but he’s from Utah!’ Or maybe ‘He’s like BikeSnobNYC, but we promise he won’t say anything our advertisers don’t want him to!’ Our agency creatives are still working on it.”

Some content will also be removed from the site.

“There are a few less-than-savory posts that have appeared in over the years,” said Thrower. “These, frankly, have no place in a Competitor property, and will be replaced by Patrick O’Grady cartoons.”

“Have you seen those drawings he does of crazy ranting cyclists where their jerseys fit so tight that their bellies show?” continued Thrower. “Those crack me up!”

Nelson’s duties will also be expanded into occasional publishing events. When, for example, Lennard Zinn takes his once-every-seven-years vacation, Nelson will assume his responsibilities.

“Zinn has done a fantastic job of singlehandedly writing the entirety of VeloNews for the past two years,” said Thrower. “Sadly, he has slept an average of 0.001 hours per night during this period, and is beginning to hallucinate badly. We believe that Nelson, as one of three people in the world capable of turning out an entire magazine’s-worth of content in a month, can take his place.”

“We fully anticipate a serious drop in the quality of our technical content, but we figure that if we only do this once every seven years or so people will forgive us. Plus we’ll extend the useful life of Lennard Zinn by an estimated fourteen years.”

As a member of CGI, will have access to its deep editorial resources, and will benefit accordingly. Readers will have access to up-to-the-minute race results for both road cycling and their favorite triathalon events. There will also be many, many pictures of bicycles. And of professional cyclists riding bicycles.

All of these pictures will be taken by Graham Watson, who has not slept once in the last nine years.

Finally, Nelson will have the responsibility of writing all new April Fools posts for VeloNews. “We’re very serious cycling journalists, and it’s not easy for us to be funny,” said Thrower. Just check out our pathetic offerings for today. A bike touring site? ASO bought by Disneyland? Contador having a repetitive stress injury due to doing that fingerbang thing all the time? We’re pretty sure Nelson can do better than that,” said Thrower. “And besides, Bike Snob turned us down.”

When reached for comment, Patrick O’Grady said, “Bluster bluster cantankerous blustery outrage,” predictably.

About The Competitor Group

Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), headquartered in San Diego, CA, is the leading media and event entertainment company dedicated to the endurance sports industry of running, cycling and triathlons. CGI is comprised of the following brands: Competitor Publishing, Elite Racing, Inside Triathlon, the Rock ā€˜nā€™ Roll Marathon Series, Triathlete Magazine, VeloNews and VeloPress. CGI owns and operates 25 national events delivering more than 250,000 professional and amateur participants in 2009. CGI publishes four magazine titles with a combined monthly circulation of approximately 650,000 and plans to launch an endurance community web presence under in Q2 2009. Further information about Competitor and its media properties can be found at

I can hardly wait to start my new life as a CGI-branded blogger!

PS: Do I even need to say April Fools this year?

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