A Note from Fatty About This Contest’s Timing: In the contest I describe below, I’m very probably giving away two very nice road bikes and a very plush trip to Austin. Here’s the thing: this contest ends at the beginning of the day this Tuesday. And since traffic’s always low on this site Friday – Sunday, and Monday’s a holiday, today is really the main and only day anyone’s going to see or enter this contest. That’s not very long.
Which means I honestly don’t think as many people are going to enter this contest as usual.
And there are possibly three grand prizes I’ll be giving away.
So you do the math: a contest that won’t have as many people entering as usual, with three times as many big prizes as usual. Is it possible, then, that your chances with this contest are better than usual?
I kinda think so.
So maybe — just maybe – this might be a good contest for you to enter. You know, maybe just $5 or $10 or $25 or so.
At the very least, you’ll have helped LiveStrong in their mission to fight cancer. And it’s possible — perhaps more possible than usual — that you’ll win something really cool. So please: go donate now.
The Davis LiveStrong Challenge is soon. Really soon. As in, a week from Friday we’ll be hanging out at the Cycling Hall of Fame (RSVP if you haven’t already: please email me with the subject line “Hall of Fame” with how many total will be in your party!).
And then a week from Sunday, we’ll be riding together. And those of you who will be there will get an opportunity to see whether you can hang with The Hammer. (Good luck with that!)
I love these LiveStrong Challenges. They’re an awesome time to get together and celebrate the good work we’ve done in the fight against cancer so far this year.
And because we have in fact done some really good work (Team Fatty – Davis has raised nearly $88,000 so far!), I’m hoping I’m going to be able to give away some really cool stuff this next Tuesday.
But I’m going to need you to help me out in order for me to be able to give away everything I want to.
Team Fatty and the Implications of the Coveted Fundraising Awards Sweep
Take a moment and look at the Fundraising Award categories for the LiveStrong Davis Challenge:
There are, as you can see, four fundraising awards. And you know what’s cool? Team Fatty is in the running for all four of them. Yes, it’s entirely possible (but by no means guaranteed) that we will win the Individual Champion Award, the Individual Messenger Award, the Team Champion Award, and the Team Time Trial Award.
We could totally sweep this thing. The competitive part of me loves this.
Why Our Award (Or Lack Thereof) Status Should Matter to You
Now, you may (or may not) have noticed that for both the Individual Champion and Individual Messenger awards, the winner gets a Trek Madone. Specifically, a Madone 5.2, like this:
That right there is a fine bicycle. A very fine (MSRP $3249) bicycle indeed. With a 5 Series TCT Carbon frame, a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and Brake setup, as well as Bontrager Race wheels, that is not just a beautiful bike (and make no mistake, that is a beautiful bike), that is a well-equipped bike.
And right now, I’m pretty sure that I’m the frontrunner to win two of them.
The thing is, I’d feel weird getting a bike (and doubly weird getting two bikes) because so many of you have been so generous in donating money in the fight against cancer.
So how about this, instead.
If I win either (or both) of these bikes, I’m going to do a drawing and give it (or both of them) away to a person (or people) who donates to my LiveStrong Challenge page between now and Tuesday July 5, at 9:00am Central Time.
Let me be clear on this: In order for me to be able to give these bikes away, I need to be the guy in the Davis LiveStrong Challenge who raises the most money, and be the guy in the Davis LiveStrong Challenge who has the most individual people donate.
I’ll go into details on the rules, but if you already know how this works, you might want to go to my LiveStrong Challenge Page and donate now.
To wrap up and restate and recap and all that: If I win a bike, I’m giving it away to someone who donates to my LiveStrong Challenge between now and July 5, 9am CT. If I win both bikes, I’m giving them both away.
Or Hey, Maybe You’ll Win a Trip Instead
For the past two years, I’ve gotten to be a part of the amazingly awesome Ride for the Roses in Austin, TX. This year, though, I want to share the experience with one of you. And since my fundraising has already past the “yellow jersey” level (the highest level there is), I get to give away this “Yellow Jersey” trip to someone.
What does that include? Check it out:
That’s a lotta schwag. So much, in fact, that it’s worth calling out the big-ticket items in case you missed them:
- Participant airfare
- 3-night hotel stay
- Sunday ride front starting line position
- Sunday Hospitality tent entry (that’s the VIP tent)
It’s a pretty deluxe way to enjoy the Ride for the Roses weekend. And do win it, you’ve got to be the person I randomly selected who donates to my LIveStrong Challenge between now and July 5 at 9am CT.
How It Works
To participate in this contest, just go to my LiveStrong Challenge page and donate any multiple of $5.00. For each $5.00 you donate, you will be given a row in my contest spreadsheet. You must donate between now and Tuesday, July 5, at 9:00am CT.
Once I have heard from LiveStrong whether I have won any (or both) Madones, I will go to random.org and generate three random numbers between 1 and the number of rows in my spreadsheet (inclusive, natch). The order the winning numbers will be assigned to prizes is:
- Yellow Jersey Trip
- Madone (if I win one)
- 2nd Madone (if I win two)
I will immediately notify the winner(s) by email. However, because it’s become nearly freaking impossible to notify someone by email that they’ve genuinely won something, the subject line will be something innocuous (like, “Followup to the 6/29 FatCyclist.com blog post”), and the message will tell you that I need to talk with you, and will include my phone number so you can call me back.
So watch for that, OK?
Stipulations and Stuff
- The contest starts now, ends at July 5, 9am CT
- Make sure when you donate, you use an email address that you actually check, for crying out loud.
- Donations made for prior contests don’t apply toward this contest.
- You have to promise to keep and ride this bike, or at least to give it away to someone who will keep it, love it, and ride it. No re-prizing or ebaying (even though that’s what I’m doing, but I got special permission from LiveStrong)
- Contest only available to residents of the U.S. Sorry, international readers! I swear I’ll do a contest soon that you can participate in!
- Winning one of the prizes does not exclude you from winning one of the other prizes (if there is more than one prize). It’s not probable, but it’s not impossible.
If you have questions, post them in comments; I’ll do my best to answer them either inline, or to edit this post to contain the answer.
Thanks for playing; I’m excited to find out who wins!
A Note from Fatty: Thanks to the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon folks for providing me with several photos, posted here.
Whether you’re racing on bike or foot, there are a few observations I would like to submit as axiomatic:
- Being wakened by an alarm (I use the “Ascending” ringtone on my phone, just in case you’re interested) at 3:30am is terrible; since it’s not the time you’re accustomed to waking, your first thought is, “There’s an emergency.”
- One of the very best things about doing a local race is that while you’re waking up at a horrible hour, you’re at least in your own bed. Preparing for a race in your own home — as opposed to in a hotel or campsite — is really nice.
- The two hours right before the race is much harder to cope with than the race itself.
Here’s another thing I’m learning: It’s a lot simpler to prepare gear for a running race than for a bike race. Instead of thinking about all the special equipment that goes on you (shoes, helmet, gloves) and the special equipment that you’re riding (mechanical suitability of the bike) and the special equipment you’re carrying to eat and drink, you just pretty much need to get dressed in what you plan to wear when you’re running.
Please, however: do not regard the above as me taking a step toward preferring the dark (i.e., running) side of racing. I’m not. I won’t. Ever. I promise. In fact, I promise a lot.
Are we good then? OK. Let’s talk about this race.
I Don’t Feel Over-Prepared
There are certain ways I’m just starting to realize The Hammer and I are almost ridiculously well-suited for each other.
One of these ways is that we both tend to go a little overboard in our pre-race preparations.
As we sat in a restaurant the evening before the race, we were both being quiet. Occupied with our own thoughts. Finally, I said, “You know, until I write a checklist for tomorrow, I’m not going to be able to think about anything else.”
“I was just working on mine in my head,” she replied.
Relieved, we rattled off what we planned to bring. I transcribed the list on my phone: Shorts, Shoes, socks, Tech-Ts, Long sleeve shirt, Gloves, Hats, Blankets, iPods, Gels, GPS, After-run clothes, Coats, Bagels, Race Bibs, cheese wheel, Hand warmers, Body glide.
No doubt, you’ve noticed that there are a lot of warmth-related clothing items in that list. That’s because both The Hammer and I have been camping in the mountains before, and therefore know that it would be closer to freezing than not-freezing once we arrived at the start line and waited around for an hour or so.
Strangely (at least to us), it seemed like we were in the minority in thinking about how nights in the mountains tend to get cold. When our bus dropped us off at Tibble Fork Reservoir, it seemed like most of the racers were standing around in their tank tops and shorts, clutching themselves and bouncing up and down, trying to stay warm.
We put on all our clothes, wrapped ourselves in our blankets, and sat down, feeling comfortable, smug, and rather too smart for this crowd.
Naturally, however, I was only comfortable on the outside. On the inside, I was a bundle of nerves. No, make that two bundles of nerves, because I was nervous for the race itself, and because I had to give a speech soon. And I didn’t have any notes to crib from.
Clearly, there was only one thing to do: go to the bathroom.
I walked over to the line of porta-potties and, just as I was getting near, one of them opened up and a person stepped out. Before the door could close, I stepped in and took care of the things that needed taking care of.
I stepped out, feeling better. At which point I realized that I had just completely cut the line for the toilet. As in, probably cut past a ten-deep line.
Sorry, ten (or so) people I line-jumped. I was honestly so preoccupied I didn’t see you. Or so I claim.
A Brief Aside About Starting Line Porta-Potties
I’m going to get to the race itself soon — honest, I am — but I want to make another observation that I believe all experienced racers (bike, run, tri or otherwise) will agree with:
No race promoter, in the history of races, has ever provided enough porta-potties at the starting line of the venue.
My theory is that, every time a race director contacts a porta-potty vendor, the race director says, “I have a [bike / running / whatever] race coming up that’s [distance X] long. How many porta-potties should I rent, and where should I put them?”
The porta-potty vendor then punches in relevant data into a computer program, which spits out a total, as well as how far apart they should be.
Unfortunately, the computer program was designed by someone who has either never been to a race, or who has been to a race, did badly, and now holds a grudge.
So, race promoters, here’s a thought: when the porta-potty vendor tells you how many potties you should have at the start line, triple it and you’ll be about right. If that means an extra $5 on my registration fee, that is just fine.
Now, back to the race. Or at least to the part just before the race.
Fast Start, Good Company, Wet Feet
A few minutes before the beginning of the race, I was handed a microphone and told to say a few words. So I — more or less — gave the speech I had thought about the night before (and published when I woke up early that morning), but scrambled. As in, I’m pretty sure all the parts were there, but the order was a little bit haphazard.
OK, a lot haphazard.
But people were still cool about it and seemed to realize that — like them — I was amped up and wanting to get started, so they applauded. I gave back the microphone and got into my place in the starting line.
We then had an on-time start, which — for a first-time promoter, doing a first-time event — is a seriously impressive accomplishment.
The Hammer and I started together, with the plan being that I would do my best to hang with her in the canyon, but that after that (and before that, if necessary) she should feel free to take off and pursue a fast time.
Weirdly, though, I was the one who pulled ahead. Gravity agrees with me, I guess.
In moments, I heard laughing and talking behind me. Girl talk sounds. It was The Hammer, chatting with Jilene and RabidRunner.
The three of them caught up easily, and — briefly — I was unnerved. I was hanging with the Power Trio of running women. I had no business being with this group.
Then Jilene and RabidRunner pulled away, and The Hammer and I ran together. The buzzer on my new Garmin 610 [Full disclosure: I bought this myself and got no special deal on it] went off, letting me know we had done the first mile. I looked at the time: 7:08. I had just run a seven-minute mile.
“That’s downhill for you, I guess,” I thought to myself, but worried that I was setting myself up for an implosion the likes of which songs are written about.
OK, I just checked. I guess nobody writes songs about implosions. But they should.
During the second mile, The Hammer and I ran past where we got married. Unfortunately, the romanticness of this moment was overshadowed by the fact that we were tiptoeing across a flooded road at that moment. The river is running high right now.
One of The Hammer’s SuperPowers
The second mile went by. 7:28. Wow. The third mile: 7:12. Frankly, I didn’t know what to think. I had hoped for sub-8-minute miles in this very-downhill canyon, but this was wildly unexpected.
And then, as we were midway through the fourth mile, The Hammer announced, “I’ve got to pee.” (The Hammer was one of the people who didn’t get to use the porta-potty before the race started.)
This was a dilemma.
Ordinarily, it would not be a dilemma; I’d just slow to a walk as she surged ahead, and would keep walking ’til she caught me.
But on this race? I didn’t want to stop. I just didn’t know if I’d be able to recover the kind of pace that I had established (and seemed to be maintaining). So I said, “I don’t want to stop. I’m going to slow down a little when we see porta-potties; you go on as fast as you can and then catch me.”
And that’s what she did. She literally broke into a sprint as the aid station came into sight. By the time I passed the potty, she was inside with the door closed. Thirty seconds later, as I turned to look back, she was already back on the road.
One minute after that, she was back with me and we resumed our pace.
Our time for the fourth mile? 7:39. Which means The Hammer — if needed — can do a sub-8 mile including a pee break.
How many women do you know who can do that? For that matter, how many men do you know who can do that?
Go, Go, Go
We ran along together, and I began to realize I was having the best run of my life. Part of it was the elation I felt at being able to hang — during a race — with The Hammer. Part of it was the incredible realization that, even though I was going faster than I had ever run before, my lungs were not being taxed. I was taking big strides and letting gravity do the work.
Part of it was the comfort of being on a very familiar course. While I had only run in this canyon one time before, I’ve ridden it hundreds of times. It’s my favorite place to be, and I always knew exactly where I was and how much more was left of the canyon.
Part of it was seeing several groups of cyclists coming up the canyon, including a couple who called my name and gave me five as we crossed paths (and one guy who was even wearing a Fat Cyclist jersey — thanks, Jason!).
Part of it was that we could see the pace runner for the 1:35 group, and we were gaining on her.
We finished mile 5 in 7:01. Then, amazingly, mile 6 in 6:35. Mile 7 in 6:44!
Where were these times coming from? How was it possible that I was running this way?
Gravity. That’s how. Check out the elevation profile for this race, as reported by my GPS:
I had pulled ahead of The Hammer. I didn’t know by how much, but figured that in the same way she knew she should pull ahead if and when she could, the improbable converse of that equation also held true.
We broke out of the canyon with 5.5 miles to go. I knew that one of two things was bound to happen: I was either going to explode spectacularly within the next few miles, or I was going to finish a long time ahead of my best projection.
Go Some More
I ran along, no longer in a canyon but on a bike path winding its way through a golf course. My eighth mile shows I’ve run a 7:18.
I hear a voice.
“I’m just ten feet behind you, hang on a second!”
It’s The Hammer. While I thought I had left her far behind me, I have in reality gapped her by the enormous amount of ten feet.
I ease up for a second and we’re back together. I tell her the philosophy I’ve been evolving for the past mile or two. “This is the best run I’ve ever had or will ever have. I am going to absolutely turn myself inside out and get the fastest time I can today. If that means I’m sore or injured or puking my guts out the rest of the day and into tomorrow, that’s fine. But I really want to do good at this race.”
“That’s fine,” replied The Hammer. “I’m having only a so-so day, so let’s run together.”
We continued knocking out sub-8-minute miles. We run past Kenny and Heather, who are volunteering for the race, directing racers at intersections. Heather took this awesome picture of us:
Honestly, I’m just waving to Heather, although it may look like I’m warding off paparazzi. Or trying to spread my arms for maximum lift. Regardless, gotta love the cyclist tan lines on our legs, don’t you?
Anyway, at mile 11, we hit the only climb of any substance at all for the day, which gives us our only 8+-minute mile of the day — and that’s an 8:03.
As we hit the final mile, The Hammer says, “We’re finishing this together, right? No last-second surges?”
“Absolutely,” I reply, remembering the awesomeness of our Ironman finish. “We finish this holding hands.”
And then, with about 200 yards to go, The Hammer thunks me on the chest. I look to my left, thinking she’s directing my attention to one of my many fans. When I look back, I see that The Hammer has broken into a sprint.
Hornswoggled, I give it everything I’ve got, manage to catch her, and we do in fact cross the line together, holding hands.
1:36:56. Nine minutes faster than my stretch goal. Four minutes faster than her stretch goal. Only one minute slower than what I thought (and mistakenly reported) was her stretch goal.
I turned to her and ask, “What was that for?”
“Didn’t you see?” The Hammer replied. “There was a couple trying to pass us at the finish line. I couldn’t let that happen.”
And that, my friends, is why The Hammer is The Hammer.
Here’s something that’s amazing: The American Fork Canyon Half-Marathon was a first-time event, put together by a rookie race director with a rookie team.
And they knocked it out of the park. And I’m not just saying that because I was involved in promoting this race. I’m saying it because it went off without a hitch. The race went beautifully and on-time, results were being posted on the fly, and they were serving french toast, fruit, and Italian ice for racers at the finish line.
People were hanging around afterward, relaxing; having fun. This wasn’t just a big success as a race, it was a big success as an event.
You watch: Next year this thing’ll fill up even faster; it’s going to become one of the premier races of the area. Not least because it raised $55,000 for local cancer survivors to use to help pay for treatment.
I have to say, it’s nice when — once in a while — everything goes just right.
PS: If you’d like to geek out over the details of our race data, you’ll find it here.
PPS: And, obviously, I’ve uploaded the race over at +3 Network, which means that by doing this race, we each earned $3.54 for World Bicycle Relief. Nice!
OK, first just a little bit about the title of today’s post. I originally called it my “Friday Laundry List,” thinking that because during most weeks on this blog I’ve started having enough smallish items I want to talk about that I don’t have a full-post’s-worth to say…about.
Wow, I really got
last lost on that last sentence. Someone do me a favor and rewrite it for me, OK?
Anyway, “Friday Laundry List” doesn’t sound very exciting. And I have some stuff I want to bring up that is considerably more exciting than a laundry list to talk about. For example, pretty much anything in the world is more exciting than a laundry list.
I’m meandering again.
My point is, I added “of AWESOMENESS” so that you’d want to read what I have to say in today’s post. Because if something’s awesome — even a laundry list — you’ll want to read it. Right?
OK, let’s begin with the things I want to talk about
Thanks for Your Help
Yesterday I asked for help / guidance preparing for a 20 minute presentation I needed to give to the local cub scouts. And you all delivered; thank you! My presentation went fine. A few highlights:
- I rode on rollers, which the kids thought was very cool.
- I insta-flated a tube (not inside a tire) with a CO2 cartridge, which the kids thought was very cool.
- I passed around some Shot Bloks (which everyone liked) and some Clif Shot (which nobody liked).
- I taught Jenni’s ABC (Air, Brakes, Chain) pre-ride checklist, which everyone thought was easy to remember, and I got everyone to chant it.
- I told the story, including gory never-published photos, of Kenny using his head as a brake. Both kids and parents were impressed.
And again, thank you everyone for your help. Seriously. I’m lucky to have readers who are willing to pitch in and help me do something waaaaaay outside my comfort zone.
The American Fork Canyon Half Marathon is Tomorrow
Tomorrow is the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon. The Hammer and I have pre-run part of the course, and pre-ridden the other part.
It’s a beautiful course. A nearly perfectly downhill course. And thanks to the canyon wind in the morning, it will be a wind-at-our-backs course.
It should be, in short, a very, very fast course. Perhaps a course where a person like me might be able to log a time that is much better than I have any right to log.
And so, with that in mind, I am going to break with my tradition of saying I have no expectations for this race and announce that I do in fact have a goal. And a stretch goal. Behold:
- Goal: 1:50 (8:24 pace)
- Stretch Goal: 1:45 (8:01 pace)
That’s fast. And honestly, I think the stretch goal may be too much of a stretch for me. But I’m going to give it a shot.
The Hammer also has a goal and a stretch goal, as follows:
- Goal: 1:45 (8:01 pace)
- Stretch Goal: 1:40 (7:38 pace)
Goal : 1:40 (7:38 pace)
Stretch Goal: 1:35 (7:15 pace)
Obviously, we will not be running together.
[Update: I misheard and misreported The Hammer's goals, originally, making them pretty much unrealistic. These have now been corrected.]
Speaking of The Hammer…
If, like me, you find yourself interested in all things related to The Hammer, you should read RabidRunner’s Ragnar (I used to say “RAGNAR” ’til I recently found out it’s a name, not an acronym) race report.
It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you’re left feeling a little bit unsatisfied after reading this laundry list.
Don’t Forget to Upload Your Workouts!
Did you know that Team Fatty on the +3 Network now has 472 people and has raised $5,727? That’s 47 bikes! We are setting fire to the place!
Help keep up the momentum. If you haven’t uploaded / recorded your workouts, do it today. Now, in fact.
And if you haven’t signed up to be part of Team Fatty on the +3 Network, raising money for World Bicycle Relief, you should. It won’t cost you a thing, and you’ll be doing a lot of good for some kids who need help. Learn how to sign up here.
I have never been so nervous as I am today. I’m panicked, really. I can’t focus on anything. Can’t work. Can’t hold the thread of a conversation.
You see that paragraph up there? I’ve been working on it for two hours.
I am, in short (5′7″), a wreck. And I could really, really use some help.
But first (partly because I cannot seem to stay on topic today, partly because I thought I’d experiment with “teasing” in my blog today), I’d like to talk a little bit about the Davis LiveStrong Challenge that’s coming up really really soon now.
Team Fatty at the Davis, CA LiveStrong Challenge
The Davis, California LiveStrong Challenge is July 10. That’s coming up soon. And while we’ve got 98 people signed up as part of Team Fatty, I’d love to have more. Click here to register and help us help LiveStrong raise money for the fight against cancer, whether you’re going to be able to join us in California or not.
Note that if you’re planning to be at the event, you need to have raised a minimum of $200.00. And you really should try to be at the event. It’s a great ride, with a great group of people who care about the same things we do.
Plus, there’s the comedic aspect of watching me turn myself inside out trying to get to the finish line as quickly as possible so I can give as many Team Fatty riders as possible a hug (or manly handshake) when you finish.
We’re Going to the Cycling Hall of Fame! Literally.
This year, as a pre-event get-together, Team Fatty has reserved the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame for the evening, where we’ll get to eat fancy food and look at all the amazing stuff there.
And hobnob. We will definitely hobnob.
Here’s what you need to know about the where, when, and how much it’ll cost:
- When: Friday, July 8, 6:00 – 10:00pm
- Where: 303 3rd Street, Davis, CA
- Cost: $20 / person
- Hall of Fame Website: http://www.usbhof.org/
I need to get a headcount of who’s going to be coming to this. Please email me with the subject line “Hall of Fame” with how many total will be in your party, OK?
Huge thanks to Angie Gibson, who has taken care of logistics for this.
Where Should You Stay?
Honestly, I haven’t chosen a hotel yet, though the LiveStrong people have told me that the following places should all be within biking distances to the venue:
If anyone’s got a suggestion / preference, I’d love to hear it.
One More Big Contest?
What if, leading up to the Davis LiveStrong Challenge, I did one more big contest? One where I didn’t give away just one bike, but instead gave away three? Or maybe five?
That would be cool, wouldn’t it?
And maybe also a trip (flight, hotel, etc.) with the Yellow Jersey treatment to this year’s Ride for the Roses. That would be a nice additional prize, I think.
Stay tuned. And if you’re fundraising for the Davis LiveStrong Challenge, start fundraising hard. Because the money you raise now counts toward the contest I’ll be announcing soon!
OK, Now Please, Help Me
Unwisely, I took a phone call about a week ago. It was from the local Cub Scouts Cubmaster.
Evidently, I agreed at that time to spend twenty minutes tonight talking to the Cub Scouts about bikes and bike safety.
I honestly have no idea what I should do to make this fun, or interesting, or compelling. I fear, in short, that I am going to suck. Bad.
There has to be someone who reads this blog who knows how to make this subject interesting, and can give me some pointers.
So please, do. I need advice / help.
And I need it now.