A “We Won!” Note from Fatty: Congratulations to Team Fatty-Seattle on winning both the Team Champion and Team Time Trial awards! This means our team raised more money ($71,398 as of this moment) than any other team, and that our fifth-ranked fundraiser raised more money than any other team’s fifth-ranked fundraiser.
Extra-huge kudos go to Team Fatty-Seattle co-captain “ClydeSteve” Steven Peterson, who raised $15,735 while still finding time to manage the team. ClydeSteve, thanks for working so hard and consistently in this fight. You’re an inspiration.
A “Don’t Forget to Join the Fight and (Hopefully) Win a Bike” Note from Fatty: With the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge in the bag, let’s turn our sights toward San Jose. The contest for the SyCip hand-built bike, tricked out with Shimano and PRO components, is still going strong. Read here for details on the bike, then click here to donate for a chance at the bike. The contest ends this Thursday, so donate now!
The FattyFly SS Is Go
I’m very happy to report that my FattyFly SS (which I affectionately refer to as the “FFSS”) has been built. I’m even happier to report that the FFSS weighs in at 17.6 pounds (or, for those of you who use metric measurements, 1.257 stone).
I of course wanted to get out on a ride on this bike as soon as possible, which I did on June 10. Brad met me at the saddle on Corner Canyon, where he pointed out that I have waaaay crossed the line of excessive color coordination, then graciously took this photo of me and FFSS:
“Six pounds (0.428 stone),” Brad kept saying. “That’s how much less your singlespeed weighs than mine.
Of course, I have around 12 pounds of blubber that Brad doesn’t have, which explains why he still kicked my butt on all the climbs.
Enough Rain Already
And then it started to rain. Not during the ride, but afterward. And for pretty much every moment since. It’s been unseasonably cold and rainy here in Utah County, making mountain bike rides few and far between.
Seattle, you know I love you, but you can have your weather back.
Looking at the forecast for the weekend (rain, followed by more rain, followed by thunderstorms), The Runner and I agreed: we needed to get out of town. Moab would have been nice, except for one problem:
How about St. George? high of 83 with only a slight chance of rain? Sold.
So Saturday afternoon — after successfully marrying off The Runner’s eldest son (whom I have not yet nicknamed in this blog and so shall heretofore be referred to as “Travis”), The Runner and I headed out to St. George, where we’d meet up with Kenny and Heather for a day in the sun.
The original plan was for us to get in a good long mountain bike ride, since all four of us are going to be racing in Leadville in a couple months. Kenny proposed a Hurricane Rim / Gem / Goolds (sp?) loop, which should take about five hours, and which sounded great.
There was just one problem, which we heard about when we stopped at the bike shop where Dave Nice works: it had been raining in St. George, too, and part of the trail we wanted to ride would be a sloppy mess.
So Dave volunteered to take us out to and be our tour guide at Rockville Bench, a twisty mix of desert singletrack and slickrock.
Which made a fantastic place for me to show off my Dicky’s Death March jersey, which I obtained from the super-secret T6 Dark section of Twin Six’s site, and which I am pleased to say makes me look both handsome and slim:
(photo by Dave Nice)
I wear this jersey whenever I want to seem as cool as Rich Dillen. Which is to say, almost always.
Did I love riding in the warm sun? Yes I did. Did I love my new bike? Yes I did.
After dropping Dave back off at the shop, we headed out for another ride — this time on Hurricane Rim.
The first part of this all-desert singletrack ride is climby, with some steep, technical switchbacks that are not easy at all to do on a singlespeed.
I say that, of course, as a pre-excuse for what comes next. Namely, that I fell as I tried to grind up one of those switchbacks.
Just fell over on my side. Graceful as a sack of spuds.
After falling, I quickly executed my standard post-fall procedure:
- Look around to see who saw me fall, so I can adapt my hilarious excuse / explanation to their particular sense of humor (I’m a full-service excuse maker). In this case, it was just Kenny, and he’s already heard my best stuff, so there was no point in saying anything but “Ow.” Which I did, and with conviction.
- Extricate myself from the bike. This was not that easy, since the foot that was still clipped in was under the bike, and the bike was uphill from me. So I utilized the “thrash around like a landed fish” technique of getting away from the bike.
- Get up and continue riding.
It was step 3 that was a problem; there was something wrong with my bike. Here, take a look at this photo and tell me if you can see what is amiss:
If your answer was “white grips on mountain bikes get dirty very quickly,” you are correct, but that’s not really the problem I was thinking of.
The problem I was thinking of is that my front brake mount had snapped. Broken.
Kenny and I then made a brilliant field repair:
(photo by Heather Gilbert)
Really, the only thing wrong with this repair was . . . it didn’t work. Specifically, the brake stayed in place as long as you didn’t touch the brake lever.
So I strapped the brake lever to the downtube instead, figuring that the front brake is redundant anyways.
Situations In Which a Front Brake is Not Redundant
And for the climbs, I was just fine without a front brake. In fact, I’d go so far to say that when you’re climbing, applying the brake feels counterproductive.
And when you are going in a straight line downhill at a moderate pace? Having nothing but a back brake is plenty.
But imagine — just imagine — you’re heading fast downhill into a hairpin turn. First, you reach for your front brake, as is your habit. For the fiftieth time that day, you quickly realize there’s nothing to grab there. So you apply the back brake, which is fine.
And you keep going.
For the first time ever, you realize there’s quite a bit of truth in that axiom about 70% of your stopping power being in your front brake, what with you slowing down at roughly 30% the rate you usually do.
“Oh look, there’s the apex of the hairpin,” you say to yourself, as you slide right by it.
(Note to Hurricane trail maintenance people: sorry I left skid marks going right through pretty much all of your hairpin turns yesterday.)
The thing is, even a (very expensive) repair is worth its cost when you get to spend a day in the sun riding your mountain bike, when you would have otherwise been trapped indoors in the rain.
But now I’ve got to figure out what to do with this broke brake. I am considering the following options:
- Call Racer’s and tell him what happened. This is the obvious solution, and will result in him ordering me a new brake body, which will cost approximately “a lot.”
- Call Racer’s and tell him it was a JRA break. “So I was just braking, and — *snap*! — the brake mount just pops off. This was obviously a lemon, Racer. See if you can warranty it.” The beauty of this excuse, of course, is that Racer will never have heard it before.
- Repair it myself. You know, I think I could epoxy the mount back together. And then maybe I could use some superglue to reinforce it. And then some duct tape, just to be sure. A couple rivets wouldn’t hurt either. Then I’ll wrap the whole thing in velcro.
Oh, and I’d love to have your repair suggestions as well.
PS: Obligatory group photo!