Youth and Obstinacy Versus Age and Experience: Who Will Get the Daisy?

05.6.2011 | 10:51 am

201105060937.jpg A Big Thank You from Fatty, Johan Bruyneel, and WBR : A couple of days ago, Johan and I ambushed all of you with a surprise registration period for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, with the proceeds to benefit World Bicycle Relief. Well, we raised just over $4000, which is enough to buy 30 bicycles for people in Africa. That’s a whole classroom-full of kids’ lives changed for the better, because a bunch of you were willing to do something simultaneously silly and noble.

It’s at times like this that I really love doing this blog, and love the people who read it and get involved even more.

Group hug, everyone.

A couple of weeks ago, I — along with a big group of friends — went to Moab to ride around the White Rim. It’s a tradition. An annual wake-up call to those of us who have somehow fooled ourselves into thinking that we’ve made it through the winter in pretty good shape.

As I have mentioned, I didn’t do so great at the ride. As in, I hardly got started.

201105060946.jpg So tomorrow — along with a much smaller group of people — I’m going to do it again. And since the forecast has the day pegged as sunny and warm (though windy), I’m determined to do the whole ride this time, with a smile on my face, a song on my face and — if needed — a daisy on my handlebars (the talisman carried by the person riding sweep for our group rides around the White Rim).

And you know what? I’m perfectly happy to ride with the daisy on my handlebars. I am. I’ve got nothing to prove, after all.

But I don’t think it’ll come to that. Not for the whole day, anyway.

The Strength (and Naivete?) of Youth

Tomorrow, the group riding around the White Rim will consist of The Runner and I — both of us have done countless rides of this difficulty and duration — and The Runner’s sons (ages 21 and 23), neither of which have done any one-day rides of this distance or duration.

And yet, they seem remarkably unconcerned.

Their arguments are compelling, amounting to things like this: “Well, if Mom can do it, it can’t be that hard.”

Or the equally compelling argument: “We’re young and stubborn. We’ll get through just fine.”

They sound so confident. So self-assured. So young. They almost have me convinced.


What they have neglected, in their calculations, is the fact that their mom is not exactly an ordinary mom. No, she is The Runner, not to mention a certifiable hardcore cycling badass who eats century bike rides for breakfast.

Furthermore, they might have forgotten that their mom has earned aforementioned badassery by doing countless endurance rides and runs for more than a decade.

So tomorrow should be interesting.

Will youth and determination win the day? Or will mom get a really awesome early Mother’s Day present in the form of her two prime-of-their-lives sons confessing (in whimpering, exhausted, and contrite voices) that she — at approximately twice their age — is stronger, tougher, and faster than they?

I have my suspicions (and, let’s face it, biases) but intend to be as objective as possible. I’ll be interested in reporting my findings of the days events, with both words and photos.

And I have made sure to pack the daisy.

PS: Yes, this is my way of talking trash.


An Open Appeal to Someone With a Really Expensive Camera

05.5.2011 | 12:48 pm

201105051001.jpg A Note from Fatty About Registering for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, World Bicycle Relief Edition: You have until 6:00pm (ET) today to register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, the proceeds of which will go to World Bicycle Relief. Check yesterday’s post for details.

Consider this: your registration buys just about half a bike, and that bike changes a life in a big way. And if, by chance, you register for both the LiveStrong and the WBR versions of the event, well, you get doubleplus good karma. Or your money back.


An Open Appeal to Someone With a Really Expensive Camera

I love super-duper slow-motion videos of everyday stuff. Like seeing someone get slapped in the face:

Or seeing someone get a soccer ball in the face:

Or seeing someone getting a water balloon in the face:

OK, it’s possible, I suppose, that I have chosen three needlessly violent examples here. To level things out a bit, here’s proof that non-evil things are at least moderately awesome in slow motion:

Did you know that spaghetti always breaks into multiple pieces when it snaps? Because I did not know that.

Oh, and water drops and fire and bubbles and other stuff are all fun to watch in slow motion, too.

But there’s something missing from the world of slow motion video. And I’ll bet you can guess what it is, what with the nature of this blog and stuff.

Bikes and Slow-Mo

I don’t know why — I suspect communists, but that may just be because of all the “duck and cover” exercises I did as an elementary school student — but there seems to be a serious lack of super slow-motion video of bikes on the Internet.

And that’s a crying shame.

I think you’ll join with me in wishing you could see, right this second, some or all of the following:

  • Road sprint: In a bunch sprint at the end of a road stage, sprinters are applying huge forces to their bikes and selves. What do the handlebars look like as the sprinters wrench on them with all their might? How about the frames? How about the sprinters’ legs and arms? I imagine that — even with claims of 70% more rigid frames every single year – that there’d be some pretty impressive wobble in the frames. Oh, and lots of slow motion spit, too.
  • Carbon MTB flex: As I rattled down Hog Hollow — a rocky doubletrack — on my FattyFly yesterday, I wondered to myself: what was going on with my bike? With every rock I hit, what was going on with the wheel? Were the spokes flexing? How about the rims? How much were the tires compressing? Since my frame and fork (and seatpost and handlebars) are carbon — which is really just a fancy plastic — would slow-mo reveal they ripple like jello as I took hit after hit? I would love to know.
  • Fatty Flex: Oh, I guess I might as well admit that I’d be interested to see precisely how much my arms (and, alas, stomach) jiggle would be evident as I descended a rocky trail.
  • MTB Suspension: What does the suspendy part of a suspension fork look like as you fly down a washboard road? How does it look when you land and bottom out after a big drop?
  • MTB Wheel Taco: I once saw a guy drop down a steep gully, with the intent of riding up the other side. Unfortunately for him, when he reached the uphill part he had too much momentum too far forward and his front wheel crumpled. Unfortunately for those of us watching, it happened too fast for us to see aforementioned crumpling. I would love to see, in super slow-motion, the way the tire blew off the rim and then the whole front wheel just imploded. In fact, I’ll bet the guy who crashed would attempt to replicate the crash if he were told it would be filmed at 4000 frames per second..
  • Mountain bike crash: I don’t just want to see what happens to a bike when there’s a crash. I want to see it all. What does a roadie look like when he hits the deck? I’m pretty sure there’s a helmet bounce, but what does it look like really? How high do you bounce? How far do you slide? And what does it look like, frame by frame, as your legs, chest and arms get cheese-grated by a gravel road? OK, on second thought, maybe I don’t want to see this one.
  • Helmet crush: I’ve destroyed three helmets during my cycling career (should I put “career” in quotes there? Probably.), which means helmets have saved me from serious injury three times. That’s pretty impressive. I’d love to see what the helmet looks like as it absorbs the energy that otherwise would have gone to your skull. (Fine, you can use a crash test dummy for this one).  

The Problem, and The Solution

The only reason I don’t go out with my high-speed camera and start recording all these things (I’m pretty sure I could get volunteer riders for me to film) is that high-speed video gear is kinda expensive.

Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of expensive, from what I understand.

Plus, those cameras aren’t exactly point and shoot. You’ve actually got to know how to use them. Which would be a problem for me.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. Someone who reads this probably has access to — and maybe even knows how to use — these special high-speed cameras. Or if you don’t have access to the cameras, maybe you know a guy. Who knows a guy. Whatever.

The point is, there are people out there with high-speed cameras, and at least some of you have got to be sick of filming while your friend pops yet another water balloon. Email me. I’ll get my friends together. We’ll make awesome videos.

Cuz really, I just have to know what a fully-rigid carbon MTB frame looks like when it’s bombing down a rocky field.

PS: For those of you wondering whether I’m on track to keeping (or giving away) my still-boxed Superfly 100, I am now posting my weight every day at the bottom of the sidebar on this site. Since I’ve lost less than a pound in the first three days, I’d say I need to step up my efforts somehow. Which means that maybe if you’ve been on the fence about donating, perhaps your chances aren’t so bad after all. And don’t feel bad about betting against me. Hey, if I don’t lose the weight, I’m going to give the bike to somebody. It may as well be you, right?

Guest Post: Ride the 100 Miles of Nowhere With JOHAN BRUYNEEL

05.4.2011 | 9:01 am

201105040637.jpg A “Last Chance and a New Cause to Register” Note from Fatty: A few days ago, I told Johan Bruyneel he ought to do the 100 Miles of Nowhere with Team Fatty. He was interested, so I closed the deal by suggesting he could do it for a cause near and dear to his heart: what if he did the 100 Miles of Nowhere, but with the proceeds of his ride going to a cause he’s passionate about: World Bicycle Relief?

And what if, furthermore, I opened registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere for one more day, so his friends and fans could sign up as well?

I proposed this because I’ve been thinking about World Bicycle Relief (WBR) a lot lately; the way a bicycle — something I love — can immediately improve the life of someone is just amazing. And I love the mission of WBR: to give away 50,000 bikes. That’s 50,000 lives improved, in a big way.

So of course Johan said yes.

So, for today and tomorrow (registration closes at 6pm ET on Thursday) only, I’m opening up registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere (men register here; women register here). All proceeds from registrations today and tomorrow go to WBR.

I’m Doing “100 Miles of Nowhere
Guest post (also on Johan’s website) by Johan Bruyneel  201105040739.jpg

Doesn’t make much sense to you? Well it shouldn’t.

So when The Fat Cyclist aka Fatty asked me to join him, I needed some explanation. The brief story is that Fatty has an international following – from his home in Utah to the other 49 states to countries to the North, South, East and West (and if you don’t believe me, he has the web metrics to prove it).

A few years ago, Fatty wanted to put on a ride benefiting LIVESTRONG where people from all over the world could participate. But with Fatty fans scattered throughout the world, that would be nearly impossible. So he created “100 Miles of Nowhere” allowing participants to “come together” and ride 100 miles from their own home on the rollers, trainer, or a very small course (like around the block or up and down a hill). Sounds very “Fatty like,” right? That’s what I thought too.

On a side note – I think … No actually … I’m certain the last time I did 100 miles on the rollers was when I was a professional rider … And I did that because it was my job!

Now since I like Fatty and he’s got one of the biggest hearts I’ve met, I agreed to suffer with everyone else. Fatty then suggested that since I agreed to participate that we should do a registration spin-off benefiting World Bicycle Relief. The only thing he wasn’t too sure of was if he could get more event t-shirts and race plates for the incoming number of registrants.

I’ve heard people say “Fatty for President” in the past and let me tell you, Fatty doesn’t disappoint. He managed to get Twin Six to donate and make even more event t-shirts! Bike Monkey agreed to the same for the race plates.

Which means that Fatty is reopening registration (last chance!) from Wednesday, May 4, 11:00 AM ET USA to Thursday, May 5 6:00 PM ET USA with all net proceeds from the $80 registration fee going to the Bicycle Education Empowerment Program (BEEP) of World Bicycle Relief.

And if you don’t know about WBR and BEEP, watch this video of my trip last year to Zambia.

So now my challenge to YOU!

Will you join me and Fatty for “100 Miles of Nowhere”?
How many World Bicycle Relief bikes can we put in the hands of school boys and girls in Zambia??
How many lives can we change forever?

WBR just announced that in March they gave their 10,000th WBR bike to a school child in Zambia. Amazing! But the goal is 50,000 WBR bikes to school children so there’s A LOT more work to be done.

Now I realize that everyone needs motivation to ride 100 miles on the rollers. (Does anyone really enjoy it?!?!?) So for those that register by Thursday, May 5, 6:00 PM ET USA, you’ll be entered into a random raffle drawing to win a Team RadioShack signed jersey by the riders of the 2011 Giro d’Italia squad. (Giro d’Italia squad)

Here’s how to register. It’s easy.



Fill out all the information and pay the $80 registration fee. Twin Six will then send you the t-shirt and race plate (YES – they will ship internationally) and the proceeds will go directly to providing World Bicycle Relief bikes to school children in Zambia.

And once you’ve done all that, tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter (we’ve made it easy for you).

THANK YOU and let’s make “100 Miles of Nowhere” lead to Zambia!!

Johan Bruyneel


“100 Miles of Nowhere” is a Fatty owned event, which means he makes the rules …. So straight from the owner, race director, commissaire, himself:

- The “official” date of the race is Saturday, June 4.
- And, thanks to the flexibility of the event — i.e., it’s just you, really — if June doesn’t work for you, you can do it another day.
- And also, the “100 Miles” part is more of a guideline than a rule. For example, if you would rather ride 50 miles, that’s fine with me. So is 25.
- Or if you’re a runner and you want to do a marathon on the treadmill, that would be awesome. If you’re a swimmer, swim five miles. I’m not picky.
- And of course, the very best thing about the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that you are going to win your division. You just need to make sure your division is specific enough that there’s no chance anyone else is in it.

By the way, I don’t see anything about radios, so I guess they are allowed!!

Wherein I Get Desperate to Lose Weight And Give You a Chance to Win My Superfly 100

05.3.2011 | 10:07 am

Back in December, I made a serious effort at getting into the 160s, by doing a contest where a whole bunch of us tried to lose ten pounds by Christmas.

It didn’t work. Not for me, anyway.

201105030942.jpg So, in January, I tried another motivational trick: I bought myself the mountain bike I’ve really, really been wanting to ride and race this year: The Gary Fisher Trek Superfly 100, but with the provision that I would not build that bike until I got to my racing weight (158 pounds). (Go ahead, click that picture to the right to see the larger version of the bike. It’s beautiful.)

So far, that hasn’t worked. As of this morning, I still weigh 170.4 pounds.

Honestly, I am getting desperate. Race season is close, and the bike I’m ridiculously excited about remains in a box.

So, today, I’m going to do something extreme. Specifically, I’m going to take that carrot I got for myself (the Superfly 100), and add a little stick. And a deadlilne. Namely, if I don’t get down to 158 pounds one month from today (June 3, the day before my extremely climby racing of the 100 Miles of Nowhere), I am going to give this bike away to someone.

Here, I’ll say it again, in large, bold, red, italicized text, just to drive home the point and attract the attention of people who might have skimmed over that previous paragraph:

If I don’t get down to 158 pounds by June 3, I am going to give my brand new, never-been-built, valued-at-$4929 Superfly 100 to some lucky winner. (17.5″ size, just in case you’re wondering)

201105030957.jpg Oh, and just to give me an extra little incentive, I’m going to throw in the (also brand new) wheels I’ve bought to upgrade this bike, which I am now going to switch back into big red bold italics, so I can be as shrill as possible about what I am potentially doing to myself:

If I don’t get down to 158 pounds by June 3, I will also give away my brand-new Bontrager XXX Lite TLR Disc 29s ($850 per wheel, for a total of $1700) as part of the Superfly 100. Which means this bike has a value of $6629.

Yes, that’s right. This isn’t Trek giving away a bike. I haven’t found a sponsor who is going to do this for me. This is me, the guy who makes about enough writing this blog that it almost-but-not-quite pays as much as getting a second job at a fast food restaurant.

I have one month to lose 12 pounds. Or I’m giving this bike — the full suspension bike I would rather have than any other mountain bike on the market right now — away.

Here’s how you can be part of the action.

The Rules

If I don’t get down to 158 pounds by my morning weigh-in of June 3, I will give my still-undridden Superfly 100 to a person who has donated at my LiveStrong Challenge page. Every $5.00 you donate buys you a row on my spreadsheet, and I’ll pick a row from that spreadsheet at random on June 3.

If, however, I do get to 158 pounds by June 3, I keep the bike and the wheels. And of course, LiveStrong keeps the money you donated.

So there’s a little bit of a risk here for you. It’s not a bad risk in any case, because — even if I manage to lose the weight — you’re still donating money to help LiveStrong in its critical mission of helping those who are fighting cancer.

I will ship this bike to anywhere, inside the US or out. Although if you’re outside the US, paying the Customs is your problem. Fair enough? Yeah, I kinda thought so.

Oh, and here’s a rule for me: I’m not allowed to cheat by using sudden-death dehydration techniques, whereby I lose a big chunk of weight on the last day of the contest by riding for six hours without a drink. I’ve got to lose the weight honestly. Toward that end, from now until June 3, I will report my weight daily.

So. I’ve got one month to lose 12 pounds. More to the point, I’ve got one month to lose the same 12 pounds I’ve been wanting to — and failing to — lose for the past five months. Do me a favor by really holding my feet to the fire now. Donate some money and maybe you’ll get an extraordinary mountain bike out of the deal. Or, maybe you’ll see me get to keep my bike and know that you were part of why I (finally) got down to racing weight.

And either way, you’ll have helped me raise money for the fight against cancer. So click here to donate now.

I am Listening to My Body

05.2.2011 | 2:57 pm

201105021353.jpg A “Help a Cyclist in His Fight Against Cancer, Win a Trip and an Incredible Bike” Note from Fatty: Jeff Bates has worked for 20+ years in the bicycle industry. He’s fighting melanoma, and needs some support.

Bates’ friends have stepped up in a big way, organizing one of the most awesome bike giveaway contests I’ve ever seen. Specifically, by donating $10, you get a chance at a fully-custom, handbuilt Pereira singlespeed bike, decked out with an incredible set of components: Enve, Chris Ching, Shimano, and Rock Shox.

All told, this bike would retail for $7200 or so.

But that’s not even the whole prize.

Because in addition to getting the bike, the winner will be flown to Portland to be fitted for the bike (and for a bike tour of the city).

I mean, I thought I put on great bike contests, but this one is off the charts.

Click here for details, or buy your ticket directly here:

I am Listening to My Body

Saturday, I meant to go on a long ride. You know, something to start reminding myself that I am a cyclist, as opposed to someone who enjoys looking at bikes and reading about cyclists on the Internet.

But when I woke up, I saw there was five inches of new snow on the ground. And I was still achy and sore from the previous day’s effort. So I made an executive decision.

“It’s a rest day,” I decided. And, when asked by others why I wasn’t out riding, I elaborated: “I’m listening to my body.”

I suddenly realized how incredibly smart this extremely valid-sounding reason for not getting out on a ride made me sound. Like I’m supernaturally in-tune with my capabilities and limitations. Like I’m cleverly avoiding an over-use injury, or perhaps am (just barely!) dodging the Chronic Fatigue bullet.

In short, my body told me not to go out on a ride on a day when it — coincidentally — was cold and wet outside, and I heeded my body’s sage advice.

What’s really amazing, though, is that since then I have found my body speaking more clearly and loudly to me since then.

For example, I made Chicken and Tortilla Soup (I’m really close on finishing my own recipe for this and will post it when my confidence is absolute) in the crockpot last Saturday (during the time when I would have otherwise been on a long ride). I felt good about this, because I was cooking something really healthy.

Then, when it was time to serve, it occurred to me: this soup would be so much more delicious if it had a big dollop of sour cream in it. And a handful of cheese. And a fistful (which is like a handful, but more fist-shaped) of crumbled tortilla chips. And half an avocado.

“Wow,” I thought, “That’s a lot of extra fat.”

But you know, I didn’t just want to add all those things. I really really wanted them. Like, my mouth was watering and everything.

And then I realized: my body was trying to tell me that I’ve been starving it of the calories and fat it needs, and that I should listen to my body.

Which I did.

In fact, I’m pleased to say that I had two helpings. And then I made strawberry-and-Oreo milkshakes for the family, because I figured that if my body wanted fat, who am I to deny it?

The following morning, when the alarm woke me, I was groggy and gassy. I staggered to an upright position, but it was clear — from the way I kept nodding off while trying to put on my bike shorts — that I was still sleepy.

“My body’s trying to tell me I need more sleep,” I mumbled. Clearly, I needed to go back to bed. Which I did.

I swear, it’s almost like my body’s been calling me on the phone for months and months, and now that I’ve finally picked up the phone, it’s telling me all sorts of interesting and helpful things.

Unfortunately, my body doesn’t seem to realize that the things it’s been telling me have been causing me to fail utterly in my quest to get to racing shape and weight for this summer.

More to the point, as of this morning, I weight 170.4 pounds. Which is 12 pounds more than what I need to weigh before I can build up my SuperFly 100.

So, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stop listening to my body. I think I’m also going to have to do something a little more extreme than say, “I can’t build up my SuperFly 100 ’til I get to 158 pounds.” Because the fact is, the 100 Miles of Nowhere is coming up fast (i.e., June 4), and I’ve got a 13,000-foot day of climbing ahead of me.

Then, one week later, I’ve got The Rockwell Relay, and I’m not very excited about the prospect of being the slow guy on my team.

So, tomorrow I’m going to announce a new contest. One which, I believe, will get me to my new weight.

And my body will just have to get used to me not listening to it anymore.

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