Guest Post: My Proudest Moment on a Bike, by Sam LeFebre

04.21.2011 | 6:46 am

A Note from Fatty About How You Can Be The First Person in The World to Own the Ibis Mojo SL-R: Some bikes are just a little too beautiful for me to even try to describe. I just see them and am gripped, instantly, by bike lust.

The new Ibis Mojo SL-R is such a bike. Behold:


It’s the latest step in the evolution of the Ibis Mojo: a stiff, light trail bike. Pretty much good for everything you’d want a mountain bike for. Would you like to have this bike? Of course you would.

Would you like to be the first person to have this bike? Darn straight you would. And you might be, if you help my BFoFF (Best Friend of Fatty Forever) Chuck Ibis as he raises money for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.

Basically, you just donate multiples of $5 to the stewardship today (because today’s the last day of the contest), and then Chuck will draw a random winner from the $5 tickets purchased.

You’ll be doing something good for something you care about — building an awesome trail network — and you may just wind up with bragging rights for one of the sweetest-looking MTBs I’ve ever seen. So go donate now.

My Proudest Moment, by Sam LeFebre

I’d love to write that my proudest moment on two wheels was channeling El Pistolero as I won my first race, cleaning the famous Horsethief Bench drop-in near home in Western Colorado, or realizing my quads were half as perfect as Fatty’s. [Note from Fatty: I did not insert that line about my quads. Honest.]

Unfortunately, just thinking about that drop-in can scare me off a trainer. In my year and a half of racing, I’ve never even finished with a pack. And due to a recent knee-cracking accident on the road, my quads are about as thick as my neck.

If you’re falling behind, here’s a summary. My moment is super non-macho. It’s a rite of passage tale.

And because I’m feeling edgy, we’re gonna Tarantino this one.

The story ends with me in the dirt, gasping for air, still attached to my bike. Everyone saw me. There was no way to pretend like nothing happened. A few guys offered help up, and one sympathetically said, “Same thing happened to me. Good job bud.”

And that was my proudest moment. So let’s back it up about two hours. Cue that funny, DJ scratching vinyl, old school VHS rewind sound.

I race/raced for the University of Arizona the last couple years. (Go Cats!) This particular story comes from my very first race, The Squash Blossom Classic in New Mexico, in the Fall of 2009. I was racing Collegiate C’s with another first-timer and good friend.

We were prepared to go hard for 19 miles of perfect New Mexico singletrack with a couple hundred other people. By “prepared,” I mean we remembered to bring water and a bike. We had no clue what we were getting into.

I bonked about 12 miles in. That was about the time the 10-year old in tennis shoes passed me. He even gave me the “Lance Look-back.” We’ll meet again…

I tried to eat and drink during the race, but it’s harder than it sounds. Maybe if I had some meat-ergy snacks, things would’ve been different.

Anyway, the last 7 miles were rough. There were a couple minor wrecks that left me with nothing but gritty bottles and frustration. I was so dehydrated I stopped sweating. Bad news.

My race really started with about a mile and a half to go. The trail was pretty much downhill to the finish, and I was dawdling, trying to minimize the pain. As I cruised around a berm, I heard a spectator encourage a rider about 50 yards behind me. “C’mon, go go go! You can catch him!”

As I’d find out later, the rider behind me was a lady in the 40+ category. And she was obviously faster, since she had started 15 minutes behind me.

I like to think I’m pretty bright, so by this point I had realized I wouldn’t be toting home any hardware. I was racing for pride at this point. The race had become a duel. Just her and me.

That last 2k I busted my rear end. I quickly realized what I thought was 100 percent was more like a B+. I’ve never been in more pain or had more fun on my bike. I could hear her behind me the whole way. Spectators were yelling for both of us, wanting to see a sprint finish. As I came over the top of a quick rise with only 50 meters to the line, I glanced back and saw her about 25 meters behind me. I did my best Cav for another second or two, then coasted across the line. Victory!

You woulda swore I had just crested Alpe D’Huez in front of Eddie, Greg, Lance, Andy and Alberto. Even though I had finished 10th out of 11 in my category, I had the taste of victory in my mouth. Or was that blood?

I rolled about ten yards past the finish line, clipped out my right foot and promptly fell to the left. Right in front of everyone. If my proudest moment was the perfect storm, then this was one hell of a calm. I laid there, catching my breath, reveling in rest.

There was no way to pretend like nothing happened. A few guys offered help up, and one sympathetically said, “Same thing happened to me. Good job bud.”

I cleaned up, chugged twelve gallons of Gatorade, and took a painful trip to the Porto-john. Before the race, I was nervous. I didn’t feel like a member of the club. These people were racers. They knew something I didn’t.

But after that random guy helped me up and congratulated me, I was instantly comfortable. These were my kind of people. I belonged. And I finally knew what makes us cyclists.

We’ll shave our legs, upgrade to carbon, shiver through arctic morning rides and frighten people with tan lines, just to destroy ourselves and end up with our face in the dirt. Because once our legs stop shaking long enough to get up, we have an indescribable feeling of accomplishment and millions of friends to share it with.

My Bio: I’m a senior at the University of Arizona, studying Economics. I’ve been a serious cyclist for a couple years, but am currently sidelined with a broken kneecap. I originally hail from Grand Junction, Colorado, where the dirt is tacky and the track single. I’ll graduate in May, but have absolutely no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going. So if any of you readers are hiring, I’d love to hear from ya… Thanks for reading.


  1. Comment by Kate | 04.21.2011 | 7:07 am

    That was a great story and written in the style of Fatty himself. Are you sure you are not a Fatty impersonator?

  2. Comment by nh_joe | 04.21.2011 | 7:20 am

    Don’t we all wish we could clear the drop in to Horsethief Bench? At least with my wimpy 3″ travel hardtail, I’m willing to walk down!

  3. Comment by Angie | 04.21.2011 | 7:40 am

    Great story. It really crystallizes the feelings we all have.

  4. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 04.21.2011 | 8:04 am

    We have ALL fallen over to the wrong side! Once during a century ride, my friend and I were stopped at a traffic light. She was riding circles around me (literally) as I stood there with one foot down. Suddenly, she bumped into my rear tire and I started tipping over to the clipped-in side. I instinctively grabbed at the jersey of the total stranger standing next to me, but I went down anyway. The stranger managed to stay upright. It was kind of hilarious.

  5. Comment by Debi | 04.21.2011 | 8:10 am

    Great reading. It’s a wonderful story. There is definitely something special about the camaraderie among cyclists.

    I’m sorry about your knee. That’s no fun. I hope you can get back in the saddle again soon and I hope you aren’t having painful withdrawals from cycling. Wishing you a speedy recovery and the best in your job search.

  6. Comment by NYCCarlos | 04.21.2011 | 8:26 am

    Great story! Good luck with the job hunt! very smart to add that little tidbit at the end…

  7. Comment by Dave T | 04.21.2011 | 8:38 am

    Great story I had the same thing happen to me at a road race years ago. It was my first time with clip in pedals, I came to a stop, track stand followed by a lot of fumbling to get out of the pedals followed by the fall to the ground. I be leave someone from the crowd also said it happened to him as well.

  8. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.21.2011 | 11:34 am

    thanks for a good story, Sam!

  9. Comment by Brett | 04.21.2011 | 11:35 am

    awesome, best one yet.

  10. Comment by Mike | 04.21.2011 | 11:38 am

    I love it. I been there. Nothing’s better than feeling so exhausted you can’t move!

  11. Comment by AngieG | 04.21.2011 | 11:40 am

    Great story Sam. The exercise in mental toughness is what makes cycling so beautiful.

    I too have had my can’t unclip stories, but recently I was riding in an 8 hr MTB race as part of a 3 person relay team. With all the rain we’ve had in California the single track was closed and the route was moved to the jeep roads. As a roadie and admittedly not very strong on the single track I did a little mental fist pump. Thinking, ” Yeah this will be just like a road ride but on dirt” LOL, maybe not. The jeep track was in worse shape than the single track so all the racers (500 of us) were taking the same line. With all the laps it became just like single track.
    On a descent coming round a corner I moved over to allow one of the pro’s to pass and got off in some gravel and BAMM just like that I was lying in the dirt with my bike. I too got the Lance look back and the “You Ok” as everyone passed me. Thankfully the only thing broken was my computer off my bars. Otherwise I got back up and continued on, albeit scratched and bruised.

    Good luck with the job search also.

  12. Comment by melicious | 04.21.2011 | 12:08 pm

    Very good story!

    And the Ibis is freaking beautiful!

  13. Comment by Dan in Sac | 04.21.2011 | 12:26 pm

    Fun, fun, fun. It brought back some of my own humbling race memories and still the exhiliration I felt afterwards. Thanks.

  14. Comment by skippy | 04.21.2011 | 12:32 pm

    AT Start of the Giro del Trentino today :

  15. Comment by Paul F | 04.21.2011 | 1:22 pm

    I love my Mojo SL. I had to pay for mine, unfortunately. Whoever wins this will be one lucky bastard…


  16. Comment by Gneal | 04.21.2011 | 5:06 pm

    tried to donate, but the donation page is down….I guess I will let someone else have the Mojo.

  17. Comment by DoubleUc | 04.21.2011 | 6:33 pm

    enjoyed the creative writing…hhhhmmm
    follow your heart…it wont lie to you.
    maybe you should start a blog

  18. Comment by roan | 04.21.2011 | 7:29 pm

    Tough week at work but I check in here everyday. Guest writers are worth their salt because it is nice to hear about the trials and trails of those riders like me. Not that there’s anything wrong with super stars but this week has been quite good for the soul of anyone willing to get on a bike. TGIF(atty)& dreaming of road seven.

  19. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 04.21.2011 | 8:36 pm

    Sam, we’ve all been there! And hopefully we’ve all had the chance to be the one offering a hand and a pat on the back to others in the same spot. Hope the knee heals soon!

  20. Comment by Sam - guest blogger | 04.21.2011 | 9:28 pm

    I just want to thank everyone for the great compliments. I’m so glad you all enjoyed my story, and I want to wish everyone happy riding. And I actually do have a blog that started when I studied abroad last semester. But I have fallen off a bit in updating it…

    And since I submitted this story over a month ago, the knee is healed! I’m just embarking on comeback 1.0. Hopefully, there will never be a 2.0. Fingers crossed!

    Keep the rubber side down,

  21. Comment by mark | 04.25.2011 | 3:46 pm

    That Mojo is super nice, until you go to install the bottle cage and realize that it has to go on the underside of the Downtube. Chuck Ibis, if you’re reading this, please, please, please make a Mojo that has a front triangle that will take at least one bottle cage on the inside.


  22. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » I’ve Never Suffered as Badly as When… | 10.13.2011 | 9:32 am

    [...] done this once before, with the topic “My Proudest Moment” (see here and here and here and here and here). This time, the topic [...]


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