New Year’s Day Ride — Two Weeks Late

01.19.2011 | 7:20 am

Kenny is big on tradition. Every Spring, for example, he puts on the famous (and very, very law-abiding) Ride Around White Rim in One Day (RAWROD).

And every New Year’s Day, he puts on a New Year’s Day Ride.

Of course, in order to survive, most traditions have to adapt to changing times. Like this Spring, due to a mudslide that destroyed a section of the Horse Thief climb, RAWROD is going to have to have a somewhat different route.

And last year, due to bad road conditions on the traditional route (up Squaw Peak Road), Kenny changed the ride to be up a snowy road and then packed snow single track in Diamond Fork to the “Hot Pots” — a hot spring where we could soak, eat, and get the smell of sulphur deep into our skin.


We all liked the new route so much we decided that we should do it that way every year.

Seven Degrees Fahrenheit Is Not Warm

On New Years’ morning this year, The Runner looked out the window and didn’t like what she saw. So she fired up the computer and confirmed the bad news: it was seven degrees fahrenheit outside. Which is quite chilly.

And according to the forecast, it wasn’t going to get a lot warmer that day. In fact, seven degrees was the projected high temperature for the day.

Being a man, I did the manly thing: I called Kenny (a lesser man would have merely texted) and said, “There is no way in the world The Runner and I are going biking in this temperature.”

Kenny assured us that seven degrees isn’t really that bad, and that the ride was going to go on as scheduled.

I wished him good fortune and went back to setting up my rollers.

Later, when I asked how the ride went, Kenny admitted that nobody but he and Heather showed up. And that their eyeballs froze solid. And that because it had been so cold and snowy, no snowmobiles had packed the single track down and they had to abandon the ride at the trailhead.

Hearing this, I reflected upon an amazing fact: for the first time in my life, I was elated to have missed a ride.

Two Weeks Later

Two weeks went by. The Runner and I, having checked the forecast for Saturday and finding a projected high of 40+ degrees, called Kenny and said, “Hey, how about that Hot Pots ride we were going to do?”

True fact: Kenny never ever ever (ever ever ever) turns down an offer to go on a ride.

So, starting at about 11am, a complete change of clothes in our backpacks (we learned that lesson last year) and our tires inflated to 10psi (we learned that lesson last year too), we headed out toward the hot pots.


The first few miles are on road. Or, more correctly, the first few miles are on snow that has covered the road. These miles went by fast — the road had been packed by snowmobiles. It was hard but not icy, and the line was clear.


Then there were a couple of miles of snow-packed single track, which is a very different experience from riding on dirt single track. For one thing, if you drift off the trail by even an inch, your front wheel disappears in the soft snow and you get dumped, suddenly and softly, into the powder.


I never get over how awesome it is to fall off your bike and not be hurt at all. I assure you, it’s much, much better than crashing onto sharp, embedded stones. In short, if given the option, I highly recommend falling onto soft snow.

Even though digging yourself out takes a while.

As with the road, the single track was packed and in good condition; we got to the hot pots in hardly any time at all.

A Sulphurous Feast

The Runner and I had prepared well for lounging in the hot pots. We had brought several PRO Bars, two bags of Chex party mix, and some Gatorade.

Kenny and Heather, on the other hand, had brought the following:

  • Brownies
  • Two kinds of cookies
  • Cashews
  • Grapes
  • Chips
  • Triscuits
  • Cheez Wiz (Kenny attributed bringing these to simply being obedient to Beck’s exhortation to “get crazy with the Cheez Wiz.” “How shall I get crazy with the Cheez Wiz if I have no Cheez Wiz with which to get crazy?” Kenny asked. I could not deny that he had a point.
  • Every kind of beer in the world, and some Tequila too.

This brings up an important question: with the way he eats, how is it possible that Kenny doesn’t have a gut at least as big as mine? That question is rhetorical, by the way because I know the answer: “Because life isn’t fair.”

We ate. And soaked. And rinsed and repeated.


When we got too hot, we’d jump out of the hot pool into the adjoining stream, which was exactly as warm as it needed to be to not be ice.

Of course by “we” in the above paragraph, I actually mean “everyone except me,” because unlike everyone else, I put a foot in the cold water and declined to put anything else in.

This decision was not met with what I had hoped for. Specifically, nobody expressed admiration for my independent thinking.

“I already know I’m the wimpiest person here,” I said. “This merely reinforces what everyone knew anyway.”

Nobody argued. How could they?

The “Ride” Back

Eventually — nowhere near the 9-hour record Kenny and Heather hold — we got out of the hot water, back into tights and wool, and began riding back toward the trailhead.


Meanwhile, the day had warmed up.

And the snow had softened.

The result of this was that, every few feet, or or another (or more often: one and another) of us would get off the dead-center of the trail, at which point he or she would endo into deep, wet snow.

Seriously, I think our cumulative crash count must be near 100, 60 of which I can claim as my own. And mostly, these crashes didn’t hurt at all.

There was, however, one searingly painful exception.

I had just veered — for the umpteenth time — off the trail. Unlike most times, I hadn’t tipped completely over. Instead, my right foot came unclipped and — simultaneously — the crank, driven by the weight of my left leg — spun around backward and whacked me in the right shin as I crashed crotchfirst onto the top tube.

If you’d like to simulate the pain I experienced, simply go find a ball peen hammer and a professional kick boxer, then, on the count of three, hit your shin with the hammer while the kick boxer delivers a good hard kick to your groin.

So yes, you could say — quite accurately — that I groaned with pain.

You could also say — equally accurately — that I screamed like a little girl and very nearly threw up from the wave of nausea.

“You OK back there?” The Runner called back, unaware of my acute misery.


“Yes,” I managed to shout, in a high voice. “Go on, I’ll be with you in a while.”

Some kinds of pain must be dealt with alone.


It turns out that Life Flight was not necessary, and in fact later, when I peeled off my tights, I was disappointed to note that the horrible gash I was certain my pedal had given my shin was in fact a nick, about as bad as you might get when shaving.

But I bet you there’ll be an awesome bruise. It’s just taking a while to show.

And — my very serious injury notwithstanding — we agreed that we really ought to do this again before next New Year’s day.

As long as the weather’s good.


  1. Comment by fult23 | 01.19.2011 | 8:04 am

    You guys out there are crazy! I love it! Back here in the midwest, I just stick with stationary and/or trainer. Maybe one day I will get a base layer suitable for such wintry rides.

  2. Comment by Skip | 01.19.2011 | 8:09 am

    Fatty, If you love riding in the snow so much, you should come up to Canada and ride here! I can’t guaranty hot tubs, but nothing beats being chased by skidoos (’cause you have to ride on their trails)!


    Check out the photo!

  3. Comment by owen | 01.19.2011 | 8:38 am

    that looks like a lot of fun! a group of us do a New Years mtb ride every year as well and usually its in snow – great way to get a jump start on the year.

  4. Comment by Squirrelhead | 01.19.2011 | 8:49 am

    That sounds like a great tradition! I am curious, what kind of layers do you wear to keep warm. I am new to cycling in the cold weather and I am slowly building up my cold weather gear.

  5. Comment by Squirrelhead | 01.19.2011 | 8:56 am

    Also, what is the update on your weight loss/Superfly build?

  6. Comment by Florian | 01.19.2011 | 9:01 am

    Hey fatty!,
    do you use studded tires for snow rides?

    Here in Austria we started a nice winter-tradition of a weekly night-ride. These days the roads and trails are covered by ice rather than just snow. I made the switch to a studded tire and the difference is amazing.
    Doesn’t help if you veer off into the deep snow however. And for that matter, also doesn’t help if you decide to jump crouch-first onto your top tube…

  7. Comment by Jenn | 01.19.2011 | 9:05 am

    Isn’t that the WORST, when you don’t have an actual war wound to show off as the result of your pain?! Feel free to post pics of that bruise…here’s hoping it develops nicely for you, Fatty.

  8. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.19.2011 | 9:18 am

    were ya’ll skinny dipping?

  9. Comment by Connie | 01.19.2011 | 9:37 am

    In the second pic, it looks like you have a person stuffed in your backpack and they’ve managed to kick their feet free.

    Sounds like y’all had a blast! I wouldn’t have got in the cold water either, FWIW….

  10. Comment by skippy | 01.19.2011 | 9:52 am

    Look like SI has caused Livestrong a few problems ?

    Cancer sufferers deserve to be supported regardless of media hype & innuendo !

  11. Comment by Demonic1 | 01.19.2011 | 10:06 am

    I noticed both Kenny and Heather are riding Niner bikes did they opt for gears or SS?

  12. Comment by John | 01.19.2011 | 10:11 am

    Sounds and looks like it was worth the wait! Great story, I’d like to be able to do something like that someday. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Comment by Team Coffee Nook | 01.19.2011 | 10:31 am

    Are you sure the cumulative crash count was not attributable to “every kind of beer in the world, and some Tequila too?”

  14. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.19.2011 | 11:22 am

    I could have used a soft pile of snow when I endo’ed on the Zen trail yesterday. Turns out rock is not so nice to land on. So very glad I wasn’t seriously injured.

  15. Comment by Scott | 01.19.2011 | 11:55 am

    As for falling in snow…

    And you wonder why so many of us are hung up on this skiing thing?!?

  16. Comment by Dan O | 01.19.2011 | 1:58 pm

    Sweet – looks like an awesome ride. Fun tradition.

  17. Comment by bikemike | 01.19.2011 | 2:14 pm

    so, did you get out of the hot pot water and just wait for your under things to freeze and put your cycling clothes on over the top? just kidding, but i did want to put that mental picture out there for everyone.

  18. Comment by rokrider | 01.19.2011 | 2:51 pm

    I can only find a claw hammer and an amateur kick boxer. Will that still work?
    does the cold help keep the swelling down?

  19. Comment by Debora | 01.19.2011 | 3:04 pm

    That looked like you guys had an awesome day!!! So very jealous.

  20. Comment by Brandon | 01.19.2011 | 4:25 pm

    You need to come ride the same trail with me in the summer time, day or night. Great single speed climb and downhill.

  21. Comment by Jenni | 01.19.2011 | 6:12 pm

    I really really REALLY want to do this ride someday.

  22. Comment by Sansauto | 01.19.2011 | 7:18 pm

    I have a scar on my knee that is the perfect imprint of the hex bolt on the bottom of my pedal that whipped around and hit me. I can determine the size of wrench I need based on the scar, it’s pretty cool.

    I don’t miss much from UT, but I miss riding Squaw Peak in the snow, and I would love to ride up to the hot pots.

  23. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 01.19.2011 | 8:37 pm

    I feel your pain. The shin WhAcK. It’s been a month ago for me and still hurts to bump. Those hot spring LQQK amazing. I’d love it.

  24. Comment by phil | 01.19.2011 | 8:48 pm

    I’m surprised you don’t have a fat bike… it sounds fitting… and may help in the snow too!

  25. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 01.19.2011 | 9:58 pm

    I thought I’d clicked into Jills blog by mistake then. Snow biking looks like great fun.

  26. Comment by Nic Grillo | 01.19.2011 | 10:11 pm

    Man, that looks like fun! Unfortunately I’ll have to settle for another road ride in 73 degree weather. It’s rough out here in L.A.

  27. Comment by roan | 01.19.2011 | 11:50 pm

    N(ice)!! What was the temp ? I put the studded tires on but here the snow is so fleeting.
    Demonic1 the Niners must be ss, check out the handlebars.
    Fatty what a way to warm up ! (referring to the top tube). I’ve found that the path may be well traveled but you better have a good place to put down a foot down when stopping, doesn’t count as a crash but getting back up again is quite a task.

  28. Comment by Richard | 01.20.2011 | 12:43 am

    Meanwhile in Perth, WA, it was a chilli 40 degrees Centigrade.

  29. Comment by Carl | 01.20.2011 | 2:47 pm

    I used to have a riding buddy like Kenny… it took 2 years for my brown fingernails to disappear after they were all frost bitten from riding on a -20 degree (wind chill) day.

  30. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 01.20.2011 | 6:16 pm

    Awesome. Makes me wish there was snow here in Florida.

  31. Comment by Pushup100 | 01.20.2011 | 6:32 pm


  32. Comment by The Former 550+ Pounds Cyclist | 01.24.2011 | 12:34 am

    Some ultra awesome piccys there man

  33. Comment by Mickey Found a Trail | 01.26.2011 | 4:50 pm

    That really does look like a ton of fun. We took our beach cruisers on a hiking path this weekend and I loved it. With the right weather gear riding in the snow looks like a blast (especially the soft landing part). Awesome !

  34. Comment by Derek ence | 01.28.2011 | 8:33 pm

    No way! Ken jones is an old college buddy of mine I haven’t seen in years….

  35. Comment by Matt | 01.29.2011 | 8:23 pm

    Looks like a great day out there!

  36. Comment by Chad | 02.2.2011 | 3:25 pm

    I agree. It looks like you guys are naked.

  37. Comment by dmoto | 02.3.2011 | 8:27 pm

    mmmm…..Diamond fork!!! Anyone do the behind the waterfall crawl? I haven’t been to the hot springs since 1996 or so when I moved to Alaska. Just wondered if the old bathtub above the waterfall was still there?

    and ah, oh yeah…Fatty, you needs a real FATTY:

  38. Comment by mobile application design | 03.31.2011 | 2:33 am

    Nice blog, beautiful pictures and amazing comments. I will stop by often for more of your intriguing articles.

  39. Comment by mobile website development | 03.31.2011 | 2:33 am

    I agree with your analysis, it really make sense the way you explained everything. Thanks for sharing your thought on this, I really enjoyed reading it.

  40. Comment by droid application development | 03.31.2011 | 2:35 am

    I agree with you. You have given to us with such a large collection of information. Great work you have done by sharing them to all.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.