I am a Lifetime Achiever

02.28.2011 | 10:57 am

Last night the 2011 Bloggie Awards were handed out. In years past, I’ve campaigned pretty darned relentlessly for the “Best Sports Blog” award, but since I am now The World’s Only Sports Bloggie Hall of Famer, I figured there wasn’t much point in beating you all about the head and shoulders with repeated requests to vote for me in the sole category in which I was nominated: “Lifetime Achievement.”

So I left you in peace.

And yet, you did this for me:


What does this mean, exactly? Well, it means that I’ve been blogging quite a bit longer than most bloggers. It also means that all the begging and cajoling I’ve done in years past wasn’t just annoying, it was perhaps unnecessary.

It also means that I now am entitled to refer to myself as a “beloved celebrity ultra-megastar hall-of-fame, social media, and lifetime-achievement award-winning cycling comedy blogging sensation.” And, naturally, to expect others to call me by the same term of endearment.

I am training my children on the proper sequence of words. I’m working on The Runner too, though she seems to be putting up considerable resistance, for some reason.

I assure you, however, that in spite of the almost crushing amount of fame I endure — I was very nearly recognized by someone as I purchased bread to make sandwiches for my kids’ school lunches — and number of interviews I have granted (none so far, but the morning is still quite young), I firmly resolve not to change.

At least, I will not change in any way that I don’t deserve to change.

For example, I do not intend to change how hard I race. When I go and do the Leadville 100 this year (I’ll find out whether I got in later today, although I assume I will, since I have won a Lifetime Achievement Bloggie), I will still give it everything I’ve got. However, if I don’t finish in under nine hours (for the fifteenth consecutive time), I think I’m entitled to say, “Well, perhaps I didn’t finish in my target time, but that doesn’t erase the fact that I have won a Lifetime Achievement Bloggie!

Or when someone says something snarky in the comments on my blog, I will no longer wait a full 24 hours to cool down before posting an angry and inflammatory reply. Instead, I’ll simply say, “Well, that’s an interesting point and it might have some merit if you had won a Lifetime Achievement Bloggie.

Also, I may go ahead and hire Dug as my full-time troll combatant.

Finally, I believe that — as a Lifetime Achiever — I shall begin charging appearance fees whenever I go to anywhere. I tried this for the first time last night, at the entrance to the grocery store. Specifically, I held up a cardboard sign upon which I had hand-lettered “Will appear for money.” I got arrested for panhandling.

I offered to give the cops a discount on my appearance fee at the courthouse if they would loosen the handcuffs. I guess they don’t read my blog though –probably the only ones left in the world who don’t — because they just laughed.

They are going to be so embarrassed when they find out who they mistreated this way.


Come Ride in France with Andy Freaking Hampsten and Me

02.24.2011 | 5:23 pm

A Note from Fatty: The good folks at the Leadville Trail 100 have asked me to spread the word that if you’re following them on Facebook, the best page to connect up with them is here. And, just out of curiosity, I’m wondering: how many Fat Cyclist readers have sent in applications? And should we organize a meetup in Leadville this year? Cuz I kinda think we should.

Back in December, I did a contest where we raised money to help Andreas Knickman in his fight against bone cancer. The prize on offer was incredible: an entry in one of the tours Andy Hampsten is organizing in France and Italy this year.

We raised a ton of money, and helped Andreas out, both financially and with an incredible show of moral support to him and his family.

And then I never announced who the winner is.

Sure, I had my reasons. Which I will explain shortly. But first, I’d like to gloat just a little bit.

201102241537.jpg Gloat

Last night, The Runner and I were invited up to Ogden, to join Chuck Ibis and ANDY FREAKING HAMPSTEN for dinner.

The thing is, we didn’t go to a restaurant. Nope.

Instead, Andy and his wife Elaine cooked. A delicious Italian meal. And they gave us a really incredible gift: a five-liter tin of olive oil from their Extra Virgin Olive Oil Co.

And then we talked about biking. And food. And more biking.

And I, being who I am, just would not shut up.

Yes, that’s right: I’m sitting across the table from ANDY FREAKING HAMPSTEN and I’m monopolizing the conversation, talking about riding the Kokopelli Trail and riding the Leadville 100, and riding the trail network in American Fork Canyon.

All good rides, sure, but you’d think that maybe — just this once, seeing as how I was sitting across the table from the only American to ever win the Giro d’Italia — I’d have asked him about his stories.

Nope. I went on and on. Because I was having a hard time grasping the fact that I was in the presence of a couple of cycling legends and I was about to swoon.

And cuz I’m a dope.

However, in one moment of lucidity, I did produce some Fat Cyclist-related merchandise for Andy, and even got him to put on one particular item:


I’m pretty sure that Andy is — with the exception of Dr. Lammler, of course — the only person who has ever worn this t-shirt who knows the exact extent to which this statement is true.

Oh, by the way, if you’d like to have one of these shirts for your very own, Twin Six still has some. Men’s here, women’s here.

Meet the Winner

So now I’d like you to meet the winner of the trip for the bike tour with Andy: Laura, from the San Francisco Bay area:


Here’s what Laura had to say about winning:

I’m 40 yrs old, an orthopaedic surgeon, and I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. Been riding bikes forever (never been fast but I keep trucking).

My husband and I have been doing self-guided bike trips with friends the last couple years. Last year, we rented a villa between Radda in Chianti and Castellina, and rode out and backs each day for a week.

I’ve been following Fatty’s blog for quite some time since I have a very prominent family history of breast cancer; his stories of Susan hit close to home. When I saw he had a fund raiser on for a kid with osteosarcoma, I had to donate. Really didn’t think I’d win!

OK, so now the reason I haven’t mentioned the winner of the Andreas Knickman contest until now. It’s because The Runner and I have been trying to figure out whether it’s possible for us to join that winner on the tour she selected.

Well, we’ve figured out the timing, my Mom has agreed to watch the kids, we’ve pulled together the money, and we are doing it.

So, we’ll be joining Laura for the Alps & Gorges trip in France August 27 – September 4.

Oh, and there’s a good chance Chuck will join us, too.

So yeah: we’ll be riding L’Halpe d’Huez with ANDY FREAKING HAMPSTEN this Summer.

Or at least, in the same general vicinity.

So, Why Don’t You Come Join Us?

Last night, I asked Andy if that tour’s full yet. It’s not. In fact, there are 10 slots still open. So, if you’ve got the time and money and think it might be fun to come ride with ANDY FREAKING HAMPSTEN and Chuck Ibis and Laura and her husband (sorry guys) and The Runner and me, well, I can’t imagine a more awesome thing in the world than having Team Fatty totally own this tour.

(Full Disclosure: I’m saying this ‘cuz I want to. I have no financial interest whatsoever in this or any other Cinghiale tour).

There’ll be tough rides — amazingly tough, actually — but I can vouch for the people. Seriously, this is going to be about the dreamiest dream vacation ever.

And Andy’s a darn good cook.

How To Understand Motorist Signals and Gestures

02.23.2011 | 7:12 am

A “Hey Check Out the New Banner Photo” Note from Fatty: Jo Ann from Western NY sent in the new banner shot, which was taken by Ron George. Thanks for sending that photo in, Jo Ann!

I’ll be changing the header photo on an irregular basis now. Any time you have a photo you think belongs in the header, email it to me, with the subject “Header Photo.” Thanks!

You are a cyclist, and so, naturally, you are sometimes frightened by the multi-ton vehicles — I call them “cars” and “trucks” — with which you must share the roads. And you should not be ashamed of your fear or confusion. After all, did you know that if you have a collision with one of these cars and / or trucks, the odds are you’ll sustain as much damage as the other vehicle?

Or quite possibly more!

Well, it’s true. And did you know that many — if not most — of these cars and trucks are, roughly speaking, ten gazillion times faster and heavier than you?

Well, that’s true too!

And — just one more little fact here — were you aware that, due to the inequity in size and speed between cars / trucks and bicyclists, there is a often a perceived animosity between these two categories of vehicles?

Yes, true again!

Of course, you’re no simpleton. No fool. You weren’t born yesterday, or probably even during a year that began with “2.” So you may well have already been aware of the above tidbits of information.

But here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know: practically every single one of those cars and trucks actually has a human occupant inside — a living, breathing, human being. A regular person, very much like you or me — except for you and I are getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors, while the person in a car is breathing recycled air, is paying huge amounts of money for the nonreplenishable fuel propelling them, and accelerates / decelerates by barely moving their toes.

But otherwise: yep, people just you and me! I know. Take a moment to let that sink in.

OK, now that you’ve wrapped your mind around the fact that those cars (and trucks!) are filled with people (yes, people!), ask yourself: is it really possible that those people (!!!) — folks just like you and me — could really be so angry at us just because we have more fun getting from place to place than they do?

Of course not! That question was rhetorical, silly!

The truth is, the animosity and aggression and downright evilness you sense from certain car pilots is nothing more than a misunderstanding. Once you get to better understand the intentions behind the automotive pilot’s actions, you’re going to feel much, much better about sharing the road with them.

I’ll give you some examples.


What happens: A car honks at you as it goes by, startling you and very nearly (or actually) making you crash.

What you think it means: “That jerk thinks it’s funny to make me swerve and crash!”

What it really means: The pilot of the automobile is struggling with feelings of insecurity, and has been for quite some time. Upon seeing you, these feelings have resurfaced, triggered by jealousy at your confidence, your athleticism, and your dashing lycra outfit.

Naturally, the car pilot’s first instinct was to pull over to the side of the road and weep at their own inadequacy and envy. Fighting down these ugly thoughts, the driver has instead chosen the high road: to instead give you a friendly greeting.

Unfortunately, this inner struggle took a little while to resolve itself. As a result, the person in the car didn’t honk until they were right beside you. Hence inadvertently startling and (hopefully nearly) injuring you.

Still, it’s the thought that counts.


What happens: A car swerves very close to you.

What you think it means: “That joker is either not paying attention to the fact that I am here on the road too, or thinks it would be funny to run me off the road!”

What it really means: The automotive pilot (sometimes called a “driver”) wants you to know that because they take your safety very seriously, they want you to know they’re in total control of the vehicle they’re operating. Hence, they are engaging in highly complex and sophisticated maneuvers designed to demonstrate the high level of skill they have with their automotive contrivance.

They’re showing you that their control over their car is so complete, so total, that they can execute what would otherwise be a foolhardy and potentially murderous action with total confidence. And that, therefore, you should feel totally safe, because the person behind the wheel (car drivers control their bikes with wheels, strangely) is not just a good driver, but an expert driver.

Kind of like the way the Blue Angels fly really close together, in tight formation. “Hey,” you should think to yourself, “If the driver can come within a hair’s breadth of killing me and still be smiling, this must be a rare driver indeed, and one in which I can put my complete trust!”

Isn’t that nice to know?


What happens: The driver throws a beer bottle at you as they go by.

What you think it means: “That driver has just assaulted me with a deadly weapon. I’m pretty sure that’s a felony!”

What it really means: “Hey, you look really thirsty, and it just occurred to me that drinking while driving is dangerous, illegal, and stupid! Here, please take this beer, both to help me save me from myself, and because I suspect you might like some refreshment!”


What happens: The car driver makes a one-fingered gesture as they go by.

What you think it means: “This person, who has never met me before, has just insulted me for no good reason!”

What it really means: Did you know that in some remote cultures you have never heard of before, raising a single finger to the sky is regarded as a brief-but-earnest prayer, imploring mother nature to give those in the area good luck and excellent weather conditions for cycling?

It’s true!

So when a driver does this, consider it a thoughtful — and frankly, touching — beseeching of the higher powers on your behalf.

And please remember, in the cultures where such a gesture is considered a prayer, it is also considered rude for the beneficiary of that prayer to abstain from giving a similar prayer on the original supplicant’s behalf.

And you wouldn’t want to be rude, would you?

PS: Hey, I’ve started actually using my Twitter account. It’s a not-half-bad way to find out when I post something new. It’s also a not-half-bad way to find out what else I’m thinking about during the day. You know, stuff that sometimes makes it into the blog eventually, and stuff that doesn’t. Further, I promise not to tweet stuff about where I am or what I’ve just eaten. Unless I’m either at or have just eaten something very interesting. So: Follow me.

The HelmetCam Gourmet: A Self-Critique

02.22.2011 | 12:05 pm

201102221032.jpg About a week ago, I had an awesome idea. I thought to myself, “Hey, people are always telling me how good my guacamole is, and asking me how I make it. I should do a blog post about how to make guacamole.”

Then, I had an additional idea: “Hey, I haven’t done a video with my helmetcam for a while. What if I wore my helmetcam and just narrated while I made guacamole?”

At the time, it seemed like a can’t-miss idea. Me! Wearing a helmet! While cooking! And being funny!

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, here’s what went wrong.

First of all, the way I think is probably much better suited for writing than for extemporaneous talking. When I write, I edit a lot on the fly — by the time I get to the end of most sentences, I’ve had an idea of how the beginning of the sentence might work better. A couple of tweaks later and I’ve got a perfectly usable sentence.

That doesn’t work quite so well when you’re talking off-the-cuff. Oh sure, when I get to the end of a sentence I’m saying, I still have the idea of how I might improve the beginning of that selfsame sentence, but it’s kinda too late to fix it, what with my having said it and all.

Next, guacamole — while almost certainly the most amazingly delicious use of what is almost certainly one of the three most perfect foods on the planet — is kinda gross-looking when filmed from above, without special lighting, by a guy who has no experience making food look good on film (or the electronic equivalent thereof).

Third, I forgot to use my radio announcer voice, and so what you hear is my actual, normal, nasal voice. I’m so sorry.

Fourth, yesterday was not a school day, and so I had to contend with my kids in a couple of different ways.

  • I had told the twins I’d be filming in the kitchen and so I needed them to go to a friend’s house or go play outside or something. This backfired beautifully; they kept coming inside to tell me what they were doing, which friend’s house they were going to next, and so forth. If I ever do a director’s cut of this video (very, very likely), I’ll include (and commentate) the part of the video where I yell at the kids to please, please, please, stop coming in and yelling, and to just go outside for ten minutes and let me get through this.
  • I had a vivid mental picture in my head of how ridiculous I looked — talking to myself about how to make guacamole, while wearing a mountain biking helmet — and how uncomfortable I’d be trying to explain myself to any of the three teenagers that might wander into the kitchen.

Fifth, I take guacamole very seriously indeed, and so had very few hilarious things to say. Instead, I listened to myself in horror as I found myself giving an earnest rundown of how to make guacamole.

Wherein I Force Myself to Continue

Halfway through making this video, I nearly stopped. I didn’t, though, because I considered two things:

  1. If I don’t ever try new things just because I think I suck, I’ll never get good at anything new.
  2. Thanks to the miracle of electronic media, I could always just delete the whole thing if I decided I just couldn’t bear to put it on the blog.

And so I watched the video, and then edited it. Thinking, the whole time, “Well, it’s not quite bad enough to abandon the project.”

[Note to self: A good way to tell that a project should be abandoned is if you have to repeatedly tell yourself that the project isn't quite bad enough to abandon.]

After about 45 minutes of editing work, I had a video. Here it is:

Why put it up, when — obviously — I’m not exactly a fan of how it turned out? A couple reasons:

  1. It was an experiment. While it didn’t turn out great, there’s a chance that something I learned will be useful in another project I do. Or in a project someone else does. Who knows?
  2. This blog was built on a foundation of self-humiliation. So this fits right in.
  3. There’s a fair chance that someone will make and enjoy some guacamole after watching this video. In which case I will be partially responsible for an increase in the amount of happiness in the universe.

Start Getting Ready for the 2011 100 Miles of Nowhere

02.17.2011 | 7:39 am

Hey, remember how I got LASIKs a few months ago? Well guess what? i AM NOW COMPLETELY BLIND.

Ok, that’s not true. But my left eye doesn’t see a lot better now than it did pre-surgery. So today I’m headed under the blade-o’-light again to see if this time things go better.

I’m headed over to Al’s House of BBQ and LASIK in twenty minutes. I’m very, very excited.

Sadly, though, this means I don’t have a ton of time to write right now, and I’m supposed to lay off the computerin’ tomorrow, too.

So I’m just going to quickly go through a (fairly short) laundry list of a few things I’d like you to consider, weigh in on, and otherwise hobnob about for the next couple of days.

Item The First: The 100 Miles of Nowhere

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Fourth Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere. Well, it’s definitely going to be on, and I’m tentatively planning on June 4 as the “race” day.

Related to that, I’m happy to say that Twin Six will be designing the T-Shirt (again). I wanted to get your thoughts around other aspects of the race.

  • Call for Sponsors: Do you work for or know a company that would like to be a part of the most ridiculous event ever created? Considering that you’ll get lots of good coverage in my blog, you’ll be doing something good in the fight against cancer, and you’ll get your product out in front of hundreds of people, maybe you should want to sponsor the 100 Miles of Nowhere. If you’re interested, email me. Pronto.
  • How important is the swag bag to you? Which is to say, if I said, “First 500 people to register get a swag bag, everyone else gets a t-shirt and a nameplate,” would you register even if you didn’t make the first 500 cutoff?
  • What can we do to make this more of a community event? My original 100 Miles of Nowhere was just me, alone in a room. Since then, it’s become much more entertaining, with people winning it on cul-de-sacs, unicycles, and aircraft carriers, just to name a few extremely strange divisions. It’s become a fun thing to do with people you like (or hold a grudge against). So what can I do to make it a way for you to include more people, and raise more money?

I look forward to your ideas. This is gonna be fun.

Item The Second: I Want Some New Header Photos

I’ve been using the same photo in my blog header for so long now. And while the “Approved by UCI” logo gives it a touch of new hilarity, I’d really like to start rotating some new photos in.

So, do me a favor. Email me your bike-related photos you think might make a good blog header. Use the subject line “Header Photo.”

What can you win? Um, nothing. Sorry. You just get the satisfaction of having your photo be at the top of my blog for a while. And photo credit for sure. And — if you like — a link to your site.

Oh, and please don’t send me anything you don’t have the right to loan me (You of course retain ownership of the photo; you just need to have the rights to let me use it).

OK, I’m off to get lasified. I’ll be back Monday.

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