Today Only: Look Sexy, Fight Cancer with Twin Six

05.16.2011 | 12:01 am

201105141905.jpg A couple years ago I was talking with one of the Twin Six guys about how much they do to help with the Team Fatty LiveStrong Challenge fundraising. “Yeah,” the Twin Six guy said (I’d specify whether it was Brent or Ryan, but I can’t tell them apart), “If our donations were treated as a salaried employee, LiveStrong would be our highest-paid employee. Including us.”

Honestly, when I first begged them to create the first Fat Cyclist jersey, I had no idea that Twin Six would wind up being such a crucial part of Team Fatty, nor that they would take the fight against cancer so seriously.

But they have. In fact, they consistently amaze me with not just their clothing line (which I believe all right-thinking people in the universe would agree is in fact awesome) but with their generosity and commitment to doing the right thing. During the few years they’ve been working with me in fact, Twin Six has been instrumental in raising more than $132,000 for LiveStrong.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Friday afternoon I got an email from them, saying:

Next Monday, May 16th, we’re going to donate 50% of total sales for the day to LiveStrong. Not 50% of the profits, we’re talking 50% of our gross sales. If you could help us pimp that event we’d greatly appreciate it.

Gee, fellas, I dunno. Let me think about it for a second. Hmmmm. Well, OK.

What This Means

Today — and today (Monday, May 16) only — when you buy anything at all on Twin Six’s site, half your money — not half the profits, mind you, but half the of the money you spend — will go to Team Fatty’s LiveStrong Challenge. Not just on my Fat Cyclist gear (what little there is left of it), but on everything in the site.

For those of you who like examples, here’s one: suppose you buy $100 worth of t-shirts and jerseys. Twin Six will donate $50 of that. Wow.

So, if I may be so bold, may I recommend you spend your money today, as if there were no tomorrow.

And I’d like to present a few suggestions of some Twin Six gear I highly recommend, as well as one very sneaky tactic you might want to consider for your future Twin Six purchases.

We’ll start with the sneaky tactic first.

201105142007.jpg The Many, Many Clever and Sometimes-Sneaky Uses of the T6 Gift Certificate

When Twin Six said that everything on the site is fair game for the 50%-to-LiveStrong day today, they really meant everything.

That includes the T6 Gift Certificate, which you can purchase for any amount between $10 and $500.

And this gift certificate has a lot of uses, some of which may not have occurred to you (or to the Twin Six guys, for that matter):

  • If you like the T-Shirt of the Month Program: If you get on the Twin Six email list, you’ll get a monthly notification of their limited-run t-shirt of the month. Why not buy yourself a big enough gift certificate that you can get the t-shirt of the month every month for a year?

  • Do Your Christmas Shopping now. If you plan — as I do — to do most of your Christmas shopping on, why not go ahead and buy Gift Certificates you can use later in the year when it’s time to buy those presents? As a bonus, your future self will thank your present self for doing some of that Christmas spending when you weren’t strapped with all those other end-of-year expenses.

  • If you can’t find what you like right now: Suppose you like Twin Six in general, but can’t find what you want in the size you want today. Well, just buy a gift certificate and then use it when you do stumble across the most awesome jersey, ever, on their site.

  • If you plan to buy a 2012 Fat Cyclist jersey: Each year Twin Six and I come up with a limited-edition Fat Cyclist jersey (and shorts and socks and bottles and a few other things). And we only make so many (that’s what the “limited edition” means. In a few months, you’ll have a chance to buy the 2012 version. But if you buy a gift certificate for yourself now (hey, nothing wrong with buying yourself a gift) and then use that gift certificate when the jersey pre-order begins, you ensure that half of your Fat Cyclist gear purchase — in addition to the LiveStrong donation Twin Six makes already for jersey purchases — will go to the fight against cancer. It’s legal double-dipping! [Update: We haven't settled on every item we're going to make this year, but it's a good bet that there'll be a jersey ($75), bib shorts ($95), socks ($12), a long-sleeve jersey ($95), and a few things we haven't decided on yet. Choose your gift certificate amount accordingly.]

Have I made my point on the clever uses of T6 Gift Certificates? I thought so.

Riding Stuff

You know, for the next little while I’m going to be just showing off examples of things I plan to buy as soon as this post goes live. And my tastes may not be your tastes, so you might just want to go and spend some time finding what you like over at, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll find things you like, and that no matter what you buy, half your money is going toward the fight against cancer.

That said, I personally believe I have pretty awesome taste, so here are a few of the riding-type items I love (and plan to buy) over at Twin Six, right now.

The Wool Motor : OK, I should come clean about this one right away: I already own this jersey, and I love it. It’s ultra-comfortable, the wool is light, and the design is classic and beautiful. Plus, I gotta say I’m a fan of the orange, black and white color scheme. It goes with a lot of my stuff.

The Cat 6:
For one thing, grey and black look very stealth, and the splash of red (along with the much bigger splash of red on the back) gives it just a touch of attitude. For another thing, it’s a classy-looking jersey. For a third thing, it’s a great inside joke for those in the know. For a fourth thing, you can complete the kit with bibs, socks, and a cyclist’s cap.

The Speedy London: I like the way this jersey looks from the front, but I love the way it looks from the back. And hey, you may as well get the matching socks.


The Cross: This is another one of the jerseys that I have a hard time telling whether I like the front or back better. And honestly, for this one, I think I’m gonna have to show both. So here’s the back:


It’s just a beautiful, distressed-looking jersey that happens to have a little bit of history tied to it. Everyone should have one of these.


The School Girl: I’m definitely getting The Runner one of these. I just am, that’s all.


The Betty: Another one for the girls. I’m pretty sure it looks awesome.

Cotton Stuff

Twin Six isn’t just about on-bike clothing. Nosirree. They’ve also got an incredible selection of cotton awesomeness (mens and womens), making it entirely possible to be wearing Twin Six apparel every moment of your waking life.

Which I highly recommend.

Here are a few of the T-shirts I recommend you check out. And by “check out,” I of course mean “purchase.”


Riding Sweep: My favorite Fat Cyclist jersey ever. It’s funny because it’s true.


Speed Demon : It’s how we all feel, and what we all wish we looked like. Alas.


Fly: Tells the world what it feels like to ride better than words ever could.


Peace: I don’t think I could say this better than the catalog copy, and besides it’s so darn easy to just copy and paste once in a while: “No matter what issues you fight for, or flag you stand behind, bring a little peace to your part of the world with a two wheeled timeout, every day.”

Dark Stuff

In a poorly-illuminated, out-of-the-way corner of Twin Six sits the “Dark” section, where black is both the new and old black. I’m only telling you about this part of the site because I trust you won’t tell anyone else.

The Crank (Dark) : Is it a description of who you are or what you do? In my case, it’s both.

The Metal : Simultaneously understated and overstated. People will be mesmerized when they look at the back of your jersey. Also available in women’s style, as well as long sleeve (both mens and womens) and as a jacket. And arm warmers. And socks. And bibshorts: both men’s and women’s. Clearly, Twin Six is committed to this whole “metal” thing.

The Objective

Twin Six says they’d like to be able to donate $10,000 as a result of today’s event. Personally, I think that’s shooting a little low. I think $15,000 is a more likely number, which means $30,000 worth of sales in a single day.

To do this, it’s going to take more than just those of you who normally visit this site. You’re going to need to tell your cycling friends. And non-cycling friends. So Facebook it. Email it. Tweet it (Use the below button to make the tweeting easy:)

And more than anything else, spend some money at Twin Six. Show ‘em you love their stuff, and appreciate what they’re doing in the fight against cancer.


Miscellany and Mysterious Clues

05.13.2011 | 11:59 am

It’s a little-known fact that on Fridays, nobody reads this blog. Nobody. At all.

For a while, I used to write something on Fridays, thinking that people might read it on Saturday, and then I realized that nobody reads this blog on Saturday, either.

Seriously. You are in fact the first and only person who is or will be reading this blog entry.

Which is lucky for you, because I have some interesting tidbits of information, as well as a considerably more-interesting tidbit of non-information, for you and you alone.

201105131120.jpg Tidbit the First: Size Doesn’t Matter After All

On Wednesday, I reminded you that if I don’t get down to my racing weight (158 pounds) by June 3, I’m giving away my still-boxed Superfly 100, along with the (still not-used) Bontrager XXX wheels I bought for this bike.

That’s of course an intriguing possibility for those of you who also would ride a bike with a 17.5″ frame, but for those of you who might need a different size, this contest might seem a little less interesting.


Yesterday I talked with my good friend Travis Ott, and told him about this little problem — i.e., I felt like I was unfairly limiting the people who might want to enter the contest to a certain height.

“Is the bike really still in the box?” Travis asked.

“Yep,” I answered.

“You are a sick puppy,” he replied, having never before witnessed such strange behavior — i.e., buying a dream mountain bike and then letting it set unopened and unused for several months.

“Yep,” I answered, even though Travis had not asked a question.

“OK,” he agreed, “If you lose the contest and have to give up the bike and the winner needs a different size, I’ll trade out for a different size.

So there you go. If what’s been holding you back from this contest is the fact that a 17.5″ Superfly 100 would be too small — or too large — a frame for you, that’s no longer a problem.

Go ahead. Click here for details, and then click here to donate. At the very worst, you’ll have helped LiveStrong with the fight against cancer. And at the best, you’ll get a Superfly 100 MTB, in your size.

Tidbit the Second: You Might Want to Check This Blog Early on Monday

The reason I didn’t post yesterday was because the post I wanted to write started growing and growing and growing. I fell in love with the story I was telling and decided that instead of cutting it short or posting it in two parts, I’d just finish writing it during the weekend and post the whole thing on Monday.

Then, yesterday late afternoon, I got an email that made me — once again — change my plans. Based on the email I received, I have decided to push the post I started yesterday and will finish during the weekend to Tuesday, because I now have a time-sensitive post I need to put up first thing Monday morning.

And by first thing Monday morning, I mean that for real. I’m going to set the auto-post thingy on my blog so that it will publish at 12:01am PT on Monday, at which point I believe it is fair to say that it is truly Monday morning, everywhere in the US.

In case you’re wondering, no, it’s not earth-shattering news about the world of pro (or amateur) cycling. It’s just something really cool and I recommend you read it fairly early in the day on Monday.

Tidbit the Third: Yann and the Awesome Sycip

One thing I have always been irrationally excited about is the amazing fact that when I do bike contests to raise money for the fight against cancer, the winners are (almost) always incredibly excited to have an awesome and beautiful dream bike (and it doesn’t hurt that showing this excitement encourages the companies who have given up their product to support these contests).

Yann, an outrageously good guy, is the latest to be in love with the bike he won: a hand-made bike from Sycip, outfitted with top-notch components from Shimano.

Here’s Yann with his one-of-a-kind beauty:


And it’s definitely worth checking out some of the detail work Sycip did, like the dropout:


And the fork:


And the headtube and downtube:


Nice. Very nice indeed.

In fact, it kinda makes me get all excited to do another bike contest soon.

PS: No, Monday’s post will not be me launching a new bike contest. I just am getting excited to do one soon, that’s all.

Evidently, My Body Wants to Give You My $6600 Superfly 100

05.11.2011 | 12:51 pm

201105111215.jpg One week and one day ago, I made a rash decision: since my tactic of not allowing myself to open my Superfly 100 ’til I got down to the (for me) near-racing weight of 158 pounds had not worked, I would force the issue by setting a deadline and a very, very severe penalty:

If I don’t get down to 158 pounds by June 3, I will give this bike — and the extremely nice (and pricey) Bontrager XXX carbon fiber wheels that I bought for this bike — away.

All told, that’s around $6600-worth of bike (size 17.5″), all brand-spanking new.

Sadly for me — and fortunately for anyone who has donated at my LiveStrong Challenge page — my weight loss has not gone all that spectacularly. Here were my original “weight loss trajectory” goals:

  • May 10 (1 week): 166 pounds (4 pounds lost)
  • May 17 (2 weeks) 163 pounds (3 pounds lost)
  • May 24 (3 weeks) 161 pounds (2 pounds lost)
  • May 31 (4 weeks) 159 pounds (2 pounds lost)
  • June 3 (final) 158 pounds (1 pound lost)

This seemed like an achievable goal, and I set about achieving that achievable goal with alacrity and no small amount of vim. And maybe even a little vigor.


The sidebar to this blog tells the tale, but suffice it to say that things haven’t gone quite as well as planned. Which is to say, as of yesterday — by which time I should have lost those “easy” first four pounds, I had lost . . . ummm . . . nothing.

In point of fact, as of yesterday, I had gained a net of 0.4 pounds since the beginning weigh-in.

Things do not bode well for me.

My Misfortune is Your Fortune, Plus You’ll Be Joining the Fight Against Cancer

To be fair, my weight today is 168, but I kinda think that’s mostly due to the fact that I rode my rollers for about 90 minutes yesterday without taking a drink, and then never sufficiently rehydrated (I wasn’t intentionally avoiding drinking, it’s just that Firefly is so good that I forgot to drink anything.

So. Here’s my new weight-loss timeline:

  • May 17 (2 weeks) 166 pounds (4 pounds lost)
  • May 24 (3 weeks) 162 pounds (4 pounds lost)
  • May 31 (4 weeks) 159 pounds (3 pounds lost)
  • June 3 (final) 158 pounds (1 pound lost)

Ambitious, yes? Perhaps a little too ambitious? Honestly, I hope not, and I have started taking this diet thing a lot more seriously, because I have a lot to lose in very little time.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason, if I fail, that you shouldn’t benefit from my failure while also helping LiveStrong in the fight against cancer.

You can read the details here, but the basics are easy: Go to my LiveStrong Challenge page and donate some amount of money, in multiples of $5.00. For each $5.00 you donate, you’ll automatically get a number in my magical Excel spreadsheet. Then, if I don’t get to 158 pounds by my June 3 weigh-in (and I don’t get to cheat by using dehydration or other tactics, and I don’t get to round down, so my weight has to be 158.0 or lower), I’ll choose a number at random (using to pick the number), and that person wins the bike and the wheels.

And I pay for shipping. (But if you’re outside the US, you pay for customs.)

Oh, and for those of you who feel bad about the idea of taking a bike from me, consider this: At this point, unless I manage to lose the weight, someone is going to get the bike. It may as well be you, right?

And more to the point, whether you win or not, you’re helping in the fight against cancer. So even though you’re betting against me, you’re doing so in the name of the cause that matters most to me. So we’re still friends, even if you get my bike.

In fact, we’ll be friends especially if you get my bike, cuz I’ll probably want to come over and borrow it sometimes.

So. Donate now. And wish me luck as I try to (finally) lose this weight!

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Your Family

05.10.2011 | 12:36 pm

A Note from Fatty About a Cool Way to Do (or Just Watch) Your 100 Miles of Nowhere: NYC Carlos, one of the most awesome Friends of Fatty, has taken out a Parks permit and rented the Kissena Velodrome from the City of NY, June 5th, 8am – 5pm for anyone in the area who wants to be join him and some of the Philly Fatties for 100 miles of Nowhere. And if you’re not riding the 100MoN, they’d appreciate spectators too.

201105101226.jpg I’m a very lucky person. I’ve got a wonderful wife and great friends, and we all like doing the same kinds of things (biking and eating, not necessarily in that order). In particular, The Runner and I ride and hang out a lot with Kenny and Heather. After all, all four of us ride, both mountain and road. The Runner and Heather are both medical professionals. Kenny and I are both bald and very, very handsome.

Really, the four of us have a fantastic friendship.

So it’s a shame that, just a few short weeks from now, we’re all going to learn to deeply loathe each other.


Because, on June 10-11, we’re signed up to race The Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George together.

Oh, you don’t understand why I think this race will demolish our friendship? Allow me to explain.

201105101035.jpg Meet The Rockwell Relay

The Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George (which I’m just going to call the Rockwell Relay from now on) is a four-person, 516-mile relay race from Moab to St. George, Utah, from June 10 through June 11. While one teammate bikes to the next checkpoint, the other three carpool to that checkpoint and wait for the baton handoff.

Which means, essentially, that each of us will get three turns at biking around 45 miles, while spending the balance of the 30+-hour race in a minivan with the other racers on our team (Team Fatty, natch), under the stress of race conditions, fatigue, the cascading stench of multiple riders and their increasingly stinky gear and selves, and — this is the biggy –sleep deprivation.

What could possibly go wrong?

Honestly, though, I’m really very excited to do this race. For one thing, while I’ve done endurance relays before — the 24 Hours of Moab — those relays are always around and around and around and around in a circle. This race, on the other hand, will take us from one cycling Mecca to another, and — at least during daylight hours — we’ll get to see some parts of Utah I’ve never seen before.

And since we’ll be racing in what I assume is the relatively obscure “Coed 140″ category (where the combined age of all racers is between 140 and 199 [176 in our case]), we may in fact have a pretty decent chance of owning our category.

Our Race Strategy

Really, our strategy for this race is simple: Have Kenny go out first to build up a nice, big lead. Then the remaining three of us will slowly let that lead erode over the course of our turns…until it’s Kenny’s turn again. Then he’ll get to build that lead back up.

Rinse and repeat. Three times. Simple!

Actually, we’re still discussing what order we should do the relay. Here are the stats for the distance and climbing each racer will do over the course of our three turns:


So, yeah, Kenny will probably go first, because he’s the fastest and strongest climber — true even though he rides this incredibly heavy, single-speed road bike that is geared way too high.

I’m likely to be Cyclist 2, mainly because I’m densely packed (i.e., fat) for my height and therefore build a ton of momentum on the downhills and can knock smaller objects (i.e., other riders) out of my path once I get a head of steam.

The Runner’s probably going to be Cyclist 3, because she is a TT machine and can rip the legs off anyone on long, gradual climbs, the flats, and on descents.

And Heather’s probably going to be Cyclist 4, because she’s happy to do whatever.

Of course, that’s just our on-bike strategy. Our in-van strategy is equally important, and consists of the following sacred rules:

  • One must always roll down the window prior to farting. This is rule #1 and cannot be violated.
  • Treats must always be shared.
  • Nighttime hours are quiet hours. Unless the conversation is interesting. Or the song playing on the radio is really good and has to be cranked loud to really be enjoyed.
  • No snoring. I’m looking at you here, Kenny.
  • No peeking. Hey, we’ve all got to take turns changing, and a lot of those changes are going to happen in the back of the van. So all eyes forward during these changes. I’m looking at you here, Kenny. But not literally.

As team captain, I also reserve the right to create additional rules on the spot.

Things About Me I Expect Will Start to Grate on My Fellow Racers

As a beloved and award-winning hall of fame cycling blog megasuperduperstar, I of course am a pleasure to be with. Always. And yet, I can’t help but worry that some of my charming mannerisms might start to irritate my teammates after they’ve been in a van with me for 25 hours or so. These behaviors include (but are not limited to):

  • Suddenly falling asleep while driving.
  • Singing very loudly to keep myself awake while driving
  • Yodeling to keep myself awake while driving. This is extremely effective and I wonder why so few people do it.
  • Needing to pee every twenty minutes.
  • Sleeptalking
  • Accusing others of farting when I am in fact the culprit
  • The “pull my finger” gambit. I’m just kidding, of course, because that joke never gets old.
  • Chewing with my mouth full. Oddly, this behavior grosses me out in others, but doesn’t bother me at all when I do it myself.
  • Suddenly bursting into tears when fatigued.
  • Eating Funyuns. I love Funyuns, and can’t understand why anyone would think they’re an incredibly stinky snack.
  • Smelliness. I’m just kidding here, again. My sweat doesn’t smell. At all. And I certainly don’t start to stink after I’ve been sitting in dank, sweaty clothes for hours.

201105101224.jpg Hey, Come Ride the Relay With Us, and Get Free Stuff

Are you local? Maybe even just kinda local? As in, maybe you live in the Western half of the U.S.? If you are, why don’t you alienate some of your friends and/or family and register, too? Then we could hang out together at some remote checkpoint in the middle of the night as we wait for our respective teammates to roll in. That would be awesome.

Oh, but there’s more. If you register a team and answer the “Did someone refer you to the Rockwell Relay” question with “Fat Cyclist,” everyone on your team will get a free pair of Rockwell Relay socks, not to mention a free Mexican dinner at the Torrey, Utah checkpoint. That should make the ensuing several hours in your team van more entertaining, right?

Plus, $20 out of every person’s registration fee goes to teamgive, a charity to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of rare neurological diseases in children.

And in conclusion, I’m really looking forward to racing the Rockwell Relay, and regret in advance destroying the good relationship I have with my teammates.

PS: Tomorrow’s the last day you can enter the contest to win a Pereira custom SS 29er and a trip to Portland to get fitted for the bike, not to mention help Jeff Bates in his fight against cancer. Click here for details, or buy your ticket directly here:

100 Miles…The Convenient Way

05.9.2011 | 11:52 am

I’d like to be able to claim that forgetfulness is something I’ve recently developed, as one of the more entertaining (to others) aspects of middle age.

I’d like to, but I can’t. Because I’ve always been forgetful. In fact, in my late 20’s, when I first started biking and going on biking trips with friends, I became pretty well-known for my exhaustive “to-bring” lists. Before going anywhere, I’d write down everything and anything that I thought I should be bringing on the bike adventure. By the time I got to the evening before it was time to head out, I’d have something much more reliable than memory or common sense: a thorough, categorized (things to get from the garage, things to get from the kitchen, things to get from the bedroom) list.

During the past several years, my list has become simpler: food, bike, bike clothes, bike gear (helmet, shoes, gloves, glasses, bottles), tools and tubes. I have a bag or box for each of these items. When those bags and boxes are full, I must be ready to go.

By having a simple and consistent routine (and, yes, a checklist for critical things), it’s been a long time since I’ve forgotten anything.

Until last weekend.

As usual, I packed everything into their appropriate bags. Helmets, shoes, gloves, glasses and tools in one bag. Clothes (including bike clothes) in another. Food and bottles in one more.

But I made a mistake. Specifically, when it was time to load the energy bars, chews and gels into the food bag, I deviated from my normal routine of leaving the bag in the center of the room (I like to call it “the staging area” because it sounds very left-brained, and I sometimes wish I were left-brained), and instead brought the bag to where I keep all the energy food stashed. You know, divert from the routine a little, to save time.

Thus, when it came time to take everything out to the truck and I — like I always do — carried everything that was sitting in the center of the room to the truck, the bag containing all the food and bottles for The Runner and me remained where it was.

And in short, we all prepared for our outing to do a 100-mile one-day ride around the White Rim in 85-degree weather, except for not having anything to eat or drink.


The Runner and I didn’t discover my little (!!!) goof until about 10:30pm that night in our Green River hotel room, as we started doing final prep for the following morning: putting our individual piles of what what we’d be wearing and bringing the next day.

“Where’s the food?” The Runner asked?

“Grey Banjo Brothers tote bag,” I replied. But even as I said it, a mental light went on, and I knew for absolutely certain where that bag was. I.e., sitting atop a chair in the nook in our bedroom, conveniently close to the shelf where we keep our energy bars. And not very conveniently close to Green River.

I went out to the truck to verify what I already knew, and then came back to our room.

“We have no food. We have no bottles,” I said.

The thing is, Green River isn’t exactly a big city with lots of 24-hour grocery stores. No. And our route to White Rim wouldn’t bring us by a grocery store in the (very early, before a grocery store would open) morning, either.

So we refactored our plans a little. “Looks like we’re going to be eating convenience store food for 100 miles,” said The Runner, in what I’m happy to say was a totally non-accusatory voice.

Half an hour and $31.74 later, we had acquired the following:


That — along with the two Subway sandwiches, the water, and the half-gallon of chocolate milk we had in our ice chest — should take care of a couple people for 100 miles, we figured.

A Side Note to the Good Folks at Gatorade

Until this trip, I had not realized how perfectly the twist-top gatorade bottles fit into a bike bottle cage. Now that I have, though, I’d like to extend my kudos and gratitude to the good folks at Gatorade, because considering they were a “no other option” option, these bottles worked just fine. Clearly, they were designed to fit snug in a bottle cage, and they worked great.

I’m probably the last person on earth to realize those bottles were meant to be used in bottle cages, aren’t I?

Riding With Youngsters

We got up early and drove to the top of the Horsethief climb, the same place we always start the ride from during one of Kenny’s annual RAWROD trips. The Runner, her son The IT guy and I would be starting the ride from there. Zach — The Runner’s eldest — and his wife and their little boy (yes, I am a grandpa, or at least a step-grandpa which is close enough) would drive the sag wagon truck and meet us at Musselman Arch, where Zach would get out his bike and join us for the ride.

You know what’s nice about small groups? Agility. For whatever reason, a group of three people can get rolling much more quickly than a group of 30. By 6:45am, we were rolling.

Unlike a couple weeks ago, the day started warm and beautiful. I wore arm warmers, but only for the first half hour. After that, it was shorts and short sleeves. I tell you what, after a long and cold winter and a cold, wet spring, it is so nice to be out in the sun in the desert.

We got to the first stop — Musselman Arch — in good time, everyone comfortable, everyone feeling good. Everyone glad to be spending a beautiful day in a beautiful place doing a very cool thing.

I swear, sometimes I love mountain biking so much it makes me almost unbearably cheerful.

Musselman Arch

Musselman Arch is the traditional first stop for White Rim-in-a-day riders. For one thing, you’ve covered a nearly a third of the distance (though not a third of the effort) for the day and it’s a good chance to refill bottles.

For another thing, you’ve got to take pictures.

Here’s The Runner with her two sons:


The IT Guy is on the right. The Runner’s in the middle. And her eldest son — who shall henceforth be known as Kid Rock on this blog — is on the left.  

The grandson in the background, chasing a lizard. As is proper.

Of course, I wanted to get in on a group photo, too:


Isn’t it awesome that I’m the tallest one there?


Oh. Um.

Anyway, it’s traditional to get pictures of people standing on Musselman Arch.


Sadly, I neglected to get photos of The Runner as she hollered at her sons to cut it out when they were jumping up and down on the arch.

Oh, and I did a cool 360-degree, zoomable panoramic shot while standing on top of the arch itself using my iPhone and the free PhotoSynth app. Check it out (you’ll need to have the Silverlight plugin to see it):

Simple + Awesome

Based on my Friday’s post, I feel like I’m almost obligated to talk about either how The Runner and I crushed her young, brash sons. Or, if necessary, how her young brash sons defied our expectations and rode like the wind.

But the truth is, it was a group ride, and we rode together. Nobody tried to bury anyone. I was impressed that The IT Guy is doing really well with his Leadville training — I think he’ll finish in under twelve hours, which is awesome — and was impressed that Kid Rock was able to ride as much as he did, considering that he hadn’t been biking much at all and in fact borrowed a (much too large) bike for this ride.

The Runner was just digging having her boys around, having fun doing what she loves to do.

We stopped often, refilling our bottles and loading up on snacks. I felt great and considered the possibility that maybe I should always eat convenience store food while on long rides (though with today’s weight being 173.6 (?!?), I have since reconsidered).

And whenever Kid Rock’s wife stopped the truck, their boy would bound out, immediately becoming a dinosaur. This, then, is a dinosaur, stalking its prey.



Later, at Vertigo Void, I had the grandson lay down and peer over the edge (blatantly ignoring The Runner’s direct forbidding of this action).

“That’s pretty cool,” said the five-year-old boy as he stared down into a pretty good approximation of infinity.

I tell you, kids these days are so hard to impress.

Where Is Everyone?

As the day wore on, The Runner and I wondered: where was everyone? It was a beautiful spring day. There was wind, but it was bad only for an hour or so. But not a single riding group ever overtook us, and we ran across maybe two other groups going in the opposite direction.

The lack of people around reinforced one of the things White Rim always conveys to me: a sense of being a really small part of something really, really big.

Here’s another panorama shot — just kind of out in the middle of the ride — that might help show you what I mean:

Gah! What happened to the Runner’s legs?!

Finishing Strong

There’s a lot of sand to ride through in the last ten miles of the White Rim, and usually it takes a ton out of me. This time, though, I seem to have learned the trick of riding through sand. I just stopped trying to make big turning motions, stopped trying to pedal hard, stopped trying to plow my way through.

And I floated along over the top, with hardly any trouble at all. Even in the biggest, deepest sand pit, I rode right through.

Everyone else kinda got cooked by the sand, however, which is too bad, and not just because The Runner discovered exactly how fluently her two boys can curse. It’s too bad because after riding through the sand, the last thing you’ve got to do is climb up Horsethief. Which is one mile long, and about 800 feet of climbing.

By itself, it’s a hard — but not horrible — climb. After 99 miles, it’s just brutal.

Kid Rock took over driving; with about 40 miles under his belt for the day, he had demonstrated he could pull a pretty serious ride out of his butt.

The IT Guy, however, had something a little more impressive to prove. He was about to finish his first 100-mile MTB ride.

He started up the climb a minute or two before The Runner and I. And it just happened to work out that we passed him (yes, The Runner finished the ride first of everyone, thereby proving everything I said in my previous post), my odometer turned over to 100 miles.

“You just road a hundred miles on your mountain bike!” I enthused. “How do you feel?”

“Not very happy,” he gasped.

A few minutes later, after he finished the cliimb (without, I might add, putting his foot down a single time), I got a photo of him.


That is one salty, tired, red-eyed IT Guy. Who has just ridden 100 miles.

Those of you who have done it know: completing your first offroad century is a big deal.

And it’s a lot of fun to see someone else do it, too.

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