Why RadioShack is Now My Son’s 2nd Favorite Team

08.31.2011 | 12:59 am

Note: While Fatty is cycling away in France with Andy FREAKING Hampsten, Paul Guyot is guest blogging.

Cyclists are some of the coolest people left on this earth. We all know that. In fact, let me pause here while you all give yourselves a pat on the back. Go ahead. I’ll wait…

Okay, great. We know we’re nifty folk. But I want to share an experience with you dear house guests of Fatty, that will reveal why PRO cyclists are the coolest of the cool. Though, I’m not sure about the one dude who hit the other dude with the wheel last year.

By the way, why is houseguest one word, but house guests is two? And since we’re on this train, why do people spell “yea” Y-A-Y? It’s not like it’s saving you any time. Still three letters to write or type. In fact, the E and A are closer together on the keyboard than the A and Y – thus, spelling it the proper way will actually save you precious nanoseconds over time.

But I digress.

Team RadioShack is awesome. They’re all friends of our host, and there’s good reason. RadioShack rocks. Bruyneel, well, you’ve seen it around here, the guy’s pretty freaking nifty.

Leipheimer, King, Horner, Busche, and the others have been my son’s favorite cycling team for a while. He rides a Trek because RadioShack rides Trek. He treasures his Tour Of California t-shirt that was signed by every member of the squad. (Note: THAT amazing feat would not have been possible without Fatty and the great folks he knows at TRS)

That all changed on Tuesday when – by helping out BIKE MS and the National MS Society – I was able to secure a spot for myself and my son among the 100 VIP’s who got to meet, hang out with, Q&A with, and ride with members of the Garmin-Cervelo pro cycling team.

Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They won a little bimble know as Pairs-Roubaix, had a truly amazing Tour de France, won just about every team competition out there, and are crushing it in Spain as we type. Oh, they also had 2 of the top 4 finishers at the Tour of Colorado, er… excuse me, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last week.

My son, who takes his support of pro cycling teams very seriously, was extremely excited when I told him he’d be meeting and riding 20 miles with the boys of Garmin-Cervelo. Here is a direct quote:

“Oh my gosh, dad, they are my second favorite cycling team. I love them! God of Thunder, Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Farrar, Captain America, Peter Ste… Ste… that one Peter guy who rode the Giro, and my favorite one of all, Tommy D.!”

I then informed him that Tyler was in Spain (which he knew) and that Thor would not be in KC, but that he was leaving Garmin for BMC next year anyway. Another direct quote: “Why? He did so good with Garmin, why go to a team that already has a guy like him?”

This is when daddy replied with: “I’m not sure BMC has anyone like Thor.

My 8-year-old son corrects me: “Yeah, they do. They got that one guy from Omega… Farm Whatever who is so good in the Classics and on sort of half-sprinty, half-climby stages just like God of Thunder.”

This is when daddy goes to the Internet and finds BMC has signed Phillippe Gilbert – the half-sprinty half-climby guy. Desperate to keep the Daddy-knows-more-than-son tip alive, I fire back with a “Yeah, well, looks like they signed Thor first, then Gilbert.

To which, without missing a beat, my son says, “Well, that just doesn’t make sense. Those guys both did basically the exact same thing in the Tour de France.”

“Okay, fine, whatever. Bottom line is we won’t be meeting God of Thunder.”

“I don’t want to meet him now if he’s leaving Garmin-Cervelo. They’re my second favorite team.”

And with that we are off on our four-hour drive to meet and ride with the boys of Garmin-Cervelo. My son’s second favorite cycling team.

We arrive an hour and a half early because… my son is 8-years-old. But just as I am thinking up creative ways to kill time, my son sees the team approaching, sporting jeans, Polos and non-cycling sunglasses. Christian Vande Velde engages my son, they have a brief exchange, and then I say, “Jack, do you know who you’re talking to?” My son looks between me and Christian with knitted brow. I tell him it’s Christian Vande Velde and, right there on the steps of the Garmin International headquarters, we all witness an actual human mind being blown.

How many times have we all heard some version of It’ll blow your mind? Let me just say that, until you actually see it, you cannot imagine the sheer force and beauty of it.

Over the next hour, before this event has even officially started, the Garmin-Cervelo riders are not hiding out in their bus, they are not huddled in a corner making inside-jokes to each other while trying to avoid eye contact with any non-Garmin types. No.

They are sitting around with my little boy engaging him in all sorts of conversations. Daniel Lloyd is showing him video of his son on a bike; Ryder Hesjedal is discussing how to become a better descender – “Practice. And keep pushing the limit.” “What’s that mean?” “You gotta crash a few times.“; Even Director-Sportif Jonathan Vaughters is talking to Jack like he’s one of the team.

Some highlights:

  • Vande Velde blowing his mind.
  • Vaughters telling my son the Garmin junior race program starts at age 12, but that Jack could give him a call at age 9.
  • My son asking Captain America Dave Zabriskie if he’d think up a cool nickname for him. Without missing a beat DZ says “How about Bucky?
  • My son asking Vaughters if he was going to be driving behind the day’s group ride with a radio yelling “Come on, come on, come on.”
  • During the Q&A Tommy Danielson telling us that during the big sprint finishes on stages, he hits about 495-500 watts… for 95th place.
  • Moments before we rolled off with a hundred others for the ride – the look on my son’s face as he said, “I’m about to ride with Garmin-Cervelo.
  • A dropped chain and subsequent red light caused us to lose touch with the peloton, and since we were in unfamiliar territory daddy had no idea which way to go, and thus, made the extremely unpopular decision of abandoning the ride. Tears were shed, complaints were lodged, and then, as we grew closer to the Garmin building and the start/finish line, a pack of about 25 riders on the return loop of the ride, rolled up on us being led by Tommy Danielson. They got stopped at a red light, and Tommy D cruised back to where we were, asked Jack how it was going, and picking up on my son’s less than enthusiastic response, asked Jack: “Hey, dude, will you ride in with me?”
  • The complete physiological change that took place in my son after Tommy D. asked if he’d ride in with him.
  • Watching from behind as my son rode in, chatting with Tommy Danielson – his favorite Garmin rider – because Tommy D. asked Jack to ride in with him.
  • Tommy D. Tweeting a photo of himself and Jack after the ride.
  • My son asking Tommy D. where he could buy the kind of water bottle Tommy D. had on his bike, and Tommy saying “Right here” and giving Jack his water bottle.
  • How each rider and the Director treated my son with respect, interest and genuine pleasure despite the fact they were all probably completely exhausted and wanted nothing more than to get this glad-handing over with and get home.

As we pulled out of the GARMIN parking lot and headed back home my son was looking over his autographed photos, signed jersey, water bottle, and new Garmin-Cervelo t-shirt and cycling cap. He paused a moment and said, “Dad, there’s a problem… I don’t think RadioShack is my favorite team anymore. Wait, maybe it’s a tie for first… no, it’s not. Garmin-Cervelo is my new favorite team. RadioShack is second.

I told him that was okay, but he was not convinced. “I don’t think Levi will care if they’re my second favorite now, but I bet Chris Horner would be mad.”

I told him that Garmin just got lucky and got to spend time with him, and that if RadioShack did the same they’d probably be back at number one. His reply: “Do you think I could meet RadioShack? They do train by Uncle Jay’s house, right?” (Note: Uncle Jay lives in Tucson, AZ)

Before I can answer he adds: “Actually, I don’t think so dad. I’m kind of friends with all these guys now. So even if I become friends with RadioShack, I was friends with Garmin first. Besides, JV said I could join their junior team early, and Tommy D wanted me to ride with him, and I have this weird feeling that Levi or Chris Horner might try to drop me on Mount Lemmon if they know I like Garmin.”

A HUGE THANK YOU TO: Christian Vande Velde, Peter Stetina, Tom Petersen, Danny Summerhill, Dave Zabriskie, Daniel Lloyd, Ryder Hesjedal, Tommy Danielson, and Jonathan Vaughters. And very special thanks to Jake Jacobson of Garmin International who did an amazing job.







Who Let THAT Guy in Here?

08.28.2011 | 11:42 pm

Greetings all. It is I, the real Fat Cyclist. Okay, actually it’s just me, a fat cyclist. Fatty’s letting me housesit for him while he’s in France riding with Andy FREAKING Hampsten.

Some of you around here know me. Well, as much as anyone can know a total stranger who they don’t know at all, but only communicate with via the backblog – that’s what the kewl kids call the comments section – of a popular blog. Oh, and “kewl” is the way the kids spell “cool.”

Because the kids are idiots.

But I digress.

Since I’m your host for the next couple of weeks, and since my single goal is having only alienated and bored no more than 60% of Fatty’s readership while here, I thought I’d better open with a Get To Know You post. It’s what my industry calls a “Meet and greet.”

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

I’m a man with little wealth and no taste. My name’s Paul Guyot, and in the interest of full disclosure… I only started cycling in January of 2010. Yep, that’s right. I’m a newbie. A rook. And a Clydesdale to boot. I have not ascended and descended mountainous mountains like Fatty and Dug and Kenny and many of you have. I have not – and more importantly, cannot – do things like Leadville or 24hr races or any of that.

I don’t know this guy, or this guy, or even this guy.

I’m just a chubby dude who used to be much more chubby before I traded in late night love affairs with fried food for morning rides and Honey Stinger products. After years of physical and nutritional apathy, my brother – a cycling coach for Carmichael Training Systems – gave me a road bike for Christmas, and changed my life. I went from being addicted to laziness and crinkle cut chips, to being addicted to suffering and Gu gels.

In a year, I dropped over thirty pounds, but more importantly saved my life. To inspire those of you who are just now dipping your toe into the Cycling is Life pool, let me share this:

On October 9th, 2009, I had a complete physical. After looking at the results of my blood work and everything else, my doctor proclaimed me “Pre-Diabetic.” He informed me that if I did not lose a significant amount of weight, and start eating better, I would be diabetic within a few months and have to go on medication.

On December 2nd, 2010, after my first year of cycling, I went to the same doctor and had another complete physical… I won’t bore you with all the numbers, but they were significantly better. So much so, that my doctor said in one year of cycling and eating better, I had reduced my risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly 25%, and my risk for diabetes by over 50%. I still have a long way to go to become Leadville Fit, but I’m on my way and I’m loving the journey.

This year I upgraded from my Christmas gift bike to a Trek Project One, and while I am in no way worthy of the bike – either physically or ability-wise – I love it. Like, love it in a bordering on creepy way. I keep it inside my house because I feel it is too good for the garage. I find myself looking at it a lot. Like, late at night when I’m sitting in the brown leather chair I’m in right now, watching Apple TV (God, but I love my Apple TV), or writing (as I am right this very moment), and I will just look over and stare at the P1. And then I usually smile. And imagine being out on a ride somewhere, suffering up a climb, or surpassing 50mph on a descent.

Then I stare at the bike some more and think how cool it looks. And that thought leads me to thinking about how cool I must look when I’m out riding it, and that’s when my world implodes. Because I imagine uber-fit, Rapha-clad hipsters rolling by me on their steel Vikings thinking, “Look at that carbon-loving dufus too lazy to use down tube shifters.”

Or is it doofus?

That leads me to walk to my balcony, stare out at Manhattan and say, “Who am I?”

Then I remind myself that isn’t Manhattan, it’s just a suburb of St. Louis, and I should really remove WALL STREET from my Netflix queue.

But I digress.

A lot of my inspiration early on came from Fatty and this blog. It also led me to Livestrong which I supported lightly and ignorantly until this year when, in one those fusilli of fate things, my family and I unfortunately needed the help and services of Livestrong. They were amazing and I will support them heavily the rest of my life. Which leads me to this…

Donate To My Livestrong Challenge Austin Page and Win a New Trek Livestrong Bike

I’m riding the Livestrong Challenge 90+ miles ride in October and Trek has graciously agreed to give away a bike to one lucky winner. But if we raise $10,000 Trek will give away TWO of these completely awesome bikes!


As in all of Fatty’s giveaways, you will receive one chance for every $5 you donate. Winners will be chosen by Fatty using his nifty Random.org thingy.

Donate here for a chance to win a cool bike, and to just be a cool person.

So that’s the abridged version of me. Insert yawn here.

I love cycling, to the point that I have now fallen in love with the suffering. I love Livestrong. I love Fatty, but you know, in a real manly way, like when those cool MMA guys hug each other with that forearm-to-chest slap-the-back hug type of way.

In the days to come I will be discussing a myriad of topics, some (hopefully) even bike related. Okay, most. If there’s anything of particular interest to you that you’d like me to discuss on this blog, drop a comment to let me know. Remember, with Fatty gone, we can do WHATEVER we want!

Just don’t break anything.

Guest Post by Cole Chlouber: A Sixteen-Year Debt to Settle

08.26.2011 | 7:00 am

A Note from Fatty about Today’s Post: Cole Chlouber is a good friend of mine and a guy I feel like I’m fairly similar to. We both chased the sub-9 buckle at Leadville, both went the single-speed route for years, then both finally got the Sub-9-hour time we were seeking. So when I heard he was going to do the foot version of this race, I wanted to hear the story of how it went. I figure you will like it too.

First Try

Sixteen years ago as a 21-year-old know-it-all I took Leadville on, or rather, the Leadville Trail 100 ate me up and spit me out!

Under-trained and unmotivated for the challenge, I set off to run the Leadville Trail 100 aside my father, and hero, Ken Chlouber. I awoke to run the epic mountain course only to find rain on race day. And did it rain, for 12 hours.

Young and anxious, I was out too fast (for my ability) and by Winfield I was done and way too close to the cutoff. My father looked at me, pressed his fingers to his lips and said he’d see me at the finish line — a line I was not prepared to reach.

Time Passes

Over the years, I became fairly good at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race but the fact that I had started this journey and not put an end to it had plagued my soul year after year, for sixteen years.

It is funny that my father claims we “forget the pain,” but for me it seemed to be something I remembered well. It haunted me and the haunting was only growing stronger.

The goal always seemed so far that I always considered it unreachable. I had started to prepare a year or so back but quickly went back to the comfort of the bike race, a challenge I always knew was within me and had only challenged me in that I knew I could be faster.

The problem was that year after year as I’ve heard my father give his motivational, hair-raising speeches only to know in my own mind I was cowering from a challenge I knew one day I would have to put an end to. “Dig deep.” “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone.” “You are better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can.”

Wow, how these words echo through me over the years, how silently I have been haunted by my own father’s creation while hiding behind my bike, and for me, a safe challenge. My father is my greatest inspiration, strongest encouragement and biggest hero, but I also never felt I could fill this challenge, I never felt I could measure up to his creation that I had mistakenly started and never felt I could put end to.


While we all believe in the greatness of our parents, mine are truly the most amazing people I know. Just about a year and a half ago I had found myself depressed with work, stalled out in my athletics and craving change to feel alive. I decided it was my time to “Dig Deep” and I started to correct all that haunted my spirit.

I needed to change everything that was safe in my life, I needed to shake life up and leave safety behind…for the first time. I went home and told my fiancée I wanted to leave a ten year career of corporate charitable giving and was going to apply for a position with Life Time Fitness.

Oh yeah, and I told her we were going to trade Colorado for Minnesota.

She’s my biggest support, but even she was nervous about how far my mind was taking me from the safety that I had created around us.

Being who she is, she was more than supportive of my wacky idea, and off we went in search of a life I had to resurrect for my well-being. While the career change went well (I had injected myself into a career with Life Time Fitness, supportive of athletics and a less dormant life), I still hid behind the bike to keep some form of safety.

As the year grew I felt alive, I felt the passion of the run eating away at me and it was time to fully embrace what truly living meant to me. And on some levels, it meant failure could be reality but not trying was not being alive.

So, not to bore poor Elden’s audience, it is time to get on with my review of a second attempt of my Leadvillle Trail 100.


Enough is enough., it is May 31st 2011. I’d bought new running shoes days before and it was time to strap them on, relearn the art of running and find inspiration to create the success I craved. My first run was 16.4 miles. I was reading anything I could. Born to Run by Chris McDougall, and Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich.

I read many other books but having a history with these authors, they rang the most true with what my goals where. As the year grew I got to speak with Marshall a bit and the Leadville Trail 100 Doc and Leadman, Dr. John Hill. There were many others I picked the brains of along the way but I used these individuals to tailor my plan to run 100 miles in less than three months.

I kept interest by trying new shoes to keep running fun and wrote reviews about the shoes. I ran a marathon distance on the weekends and ran five to eight mile runs during the week at a higher tempo pace. I felt I wasn’t giving myself the proper time to prepare but knew I had a good base from the bike and knew I could wait no longer, so my journey was underway.

Natashia, my fiancée, had given me the green light to tackle my dreams, my father and the above-mentioned individuals gave me the bare essentials for success and my Dad gave me the heart to know this was the window of chance I had to follow. And that path is the one I went down.

Second Start

August 20th was here and I was sprung awake by my father opening the door and telling me it was time to make my way to the start of the Leadville Trail 100.

Surprisingly, I felt a peace over me after living through days of anxiety in preparation for this very day. I was able to eat a good breakfast and it was out the door for the start line. It was 4:00am on a pleasant morning and the gun went off.

Almost surreal, I moved down the trail, leaving Leadville and was mechanical and asleep on my feet for the first fourth of the race. This advice was crucial and offered up by my father. As I ran around Turquoise Lake in the dark I listened as others were chatty. I knew this was not the thing to do so I never engaged conversation myself.

As the sun came up I was on Sugarloaf and finding the Rocky Mountain beauty I had traded for the Midwest.

photo courtesy of Zazoosh

Coming down Powerline I ran within myself and kept the pace reserved, something that had been my demise sixteen years earlier. The beauty made me miss having Natashia at my side but she was with me in spirit and that also helped harness feeling a need to be aggressive with my pace.

As I came to Fish Hatchery I came onto the flat roads that would be a challenge. Still mechanical with thought, I was taking 200 calories an hour with GU (which I managed to do the entire race) and just the right amount of fluids.

Looking up one could tell it would be another perfect weather day. This was a great sight as the day before and after were not so rewarding. The road section was nearing an end as I was passing Treeline in good form but realizing I was now over the mileage of my longest run. The nerves started to worry but I quickly revisited the calm thought process I would need for success.

Big Test

I was now on the trail section and lost in the beauty that surrounded me. Before I knew it I was entering Twin Lakes and readying myself for where I’d fell apart so many years ago, I was prepared to hit Hope Pass.

Off I went, through the river crossing, across the prairie and up the base of Hope Pass. Then reality hit. My feet grew tired, doubt started to fill my mind and the climb was much more demanding than I’d remembered.

photo courtesy of Zazoosh

I kept moving, putting one foot in front of the other. I was not as fast on the assent as I had wanted to be and felt sluggish. I felt like it was all getting ready to implode, once again, on Hope Pass. My mind was just calm enough to help me up towards the tree line of the pass.

Zoom, here comes Ryan the South African, then it was Dylan the Aspen runner, than another after another. For some reason this lifted my spirits and I regained composure as I started down the Winfield side of Hope.

photo courtesy of Zazoosh

Before I knew it, the first crossing of Hope was over and I settled in to tackle the two miles of road that lie between myself and Winfield.

Forty(ish) minutes later I hit Winfield and Dr. Hill was there, along with my family, to keep my spirits high.

Elation and Despair

Scared of the distance ahead, it was time to cross Hope Pass the second time. I was entering a new place as I’d never made this point in the race. My father was amazed at my speed but I was feeling nauseous and the nerves were starting to get to me.

And then it happened. About a half mile up Hope I came to life, and off I roared up the pass, nothing would hold me back! I pushed hard as I summated Hope in possibly my best time ever. Running fast, but still within myself, I came off Hope and back into Twin surprising my family and all there watching in support.

photo courtesy of Zazoosh

Picking up my pacer, Jennifer, we left Twin Lakes and I was feeling pain. Pain like I’d never felt before. Oh no! I’d done it, I went too fast and was scared to death I wouldn’t recover from the damage I’d done.

Jennifer kept me calm and we were walking the climbs at a brisk pace, even with my nausea and mental damage I’d created. We hit the single track headed for Treeline and bam, it all came back to me once again. What’s going on? I felt as if I had not run a step and off we went into a decent run.

And then bam, we hit the road to Treeline and I was back to my bad place. Jennifer kept the encouragement high, telling me my pace was fine and I’d banked enough time to “walk in.”

Walk in? What a horrible thought!

We had over thirty five plus miles to go and the amount of time it would take to walk in was a miserable thought at best.

Treeline and Powerline

Somehow we managed to run/walk and hit Treeline. My family and a fresh pacer — my High School best friend Jonathan — were all there, waiting on me. Jonathan’s family and other family friends were also there but I didn’t realize this until about five miles later. Was I really that out of it? Absolutely.

Jonathan and I now hit the dreaded paved roads towards Fish Hatchery but he kept me going. Before I knew it the hatchery had come and gone. Wow, I am now realizing we are seventy six miles into this thing, I may have a shot!

Better yet, we were hitting Powerline and I was actually anticipating this would be my good section, as this time, I didn’t have to push a bike up the stupid pass!

Boy was I wrong.

Powerline was eating me alive, much worse than Hope had, a marathon before.

Out of It

Knowing I chose Jonathan as a pacer due to his ability to motivate me beyond what most can, we soon summited Sugarloaf and were moving down toward the Hagerman Road. I was feeling very out of it at this point and that may be how we had gotten off the horrible night’s climb.

Into the trees we went headed for May Queen and it was hard to follow the trail. Tunnel vision was upon me and I was stumbling, yet managed to stay on my feet.

As we hit May Queen I was haggard and the blisters I had felt from mile seventy were starting to get to me. We made it into May Queen and my family was there in support. I was beat and broken but pushed onto the Turquoise Lake trail, ready to get this thing done!

I had thirteen miles left, how long could it take? These words proved to be my famous last words. I stumbled, fell, cried, whined, yelled…Nothing was helping and this quickly proved to be my slowest section.

Hours later we found my family, but I had thought we were at the end of the lake. We were not. We were at the boat ramp and still had mileage to cover before ending this miserable, darkened, rocky trail.

At this point I was crushed but my knowledge to pick Jonathan for the section proved right. Once again, Jonathan drug my spirit through the space and time and we hit the road once again.

I hated the road but it was much more pleasant than dealing with the trail through the night.

The Finish

Soon we were at the final three miles of the Boulevard. I was crushed and broken, the blisters were burning, my legs wanted to snap…but, this was going to happen! Jonathan pushed and pushed as he knew where we were onto a great time. Glad he did, I had no idea we were on planet earth!

The last three miles were a big struggle but we had done it.

We had hit the pavement of the streets of Leadville and cresting our final hill.

At last!

An end to what had started sixteen years earlier, there was the finish line and we charged in, crossing the line with my family.

photo courtesy of Zazoosh

This was an end to the one thing in life I had quit and it felt surreal. We crossed the line in twenty five hours and eight minutes.

The award ceremony was a blur and before I knew it I was back in the arms of my Natashia and home in Minnesota.

I cannot thank everyone enough for their dedication to me and my goal. This story nowhere nears the thanks I need to give to those I have and have not mentioned in my success.

I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings and I hope I have inspired all of you to chase the true meaning of being alive.

News Flash: WADA Expands Scope, Changes Name

08.25.2011 | 7:59 am

An “I Can’t Believe This” Note from Fatty: You’ve done it. $134,240 raised, as of this moment. You’ve raised enough to buy 1000 bikes for kids in Zambia. No, make that one thousand and one! Everyone, thank you!

In addition to the most important thing — that 1001 kids’ lives are going to be changed for the better — this means that someone is going to join Johan, The Hammer, and me in Zambia.

Oh, and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t wind up being 1111 bikes for kids in Zambia. The contest remains open; we continue to appreciate your donations! – FC

A Note From Fatty About What You Should Expect On This Blog For the Next Couple Weeks: To tell the truth, I have no idea what you should expect on this blog for the next couple weeks. No, that’s not exactly true. I know that you should not expect me on this blog, because I won’t be writing it.

That’s because I’m going to be in France. Riding my bike. With Andy Freaking Hampsten and Chuck Ibis, for crying out loud.

Yes, really.

However, unlike some cycling comedy blogs, when leave I don’t just leave. No. I love you too much for that.

Instead, I have asked Paul Guyot, a huge (not literally) Friend of Fatty and a writer / producer for Leverage, to write this blog for me for a couple weeks. Paul’s guest-posted here before, and honestly, my biggest concern is that after having him write here for a couple weeks, I won’t be welcome when I return.

But what does Paul get out of this?

Well, Paul gets a little help in his fundraising for the Austin LiveStrong Challenge. During the two weeks Paul is guest-posting, he’ll have at least one Trek LiveStrong bike to give away. Have you heard of the LiveStrong bike? Well, here, check it out:

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To get a chance at winning this bike, just donate a multiple of $5.00 to Paul’s LiveStrong Challenge page anytime between when he begins guest-posting (August 29) and when he finishes guest-posting (September 9). Every $5.00 you donate gets you a chance at the bike.

Oh, and this is cool: If more than $10,000 is donated to Paul’s LiveStrong Challenge page during the contest, he’ll give away two bikes instead of one.

This contest open to US residents only, OK? Sorry about that; we just don’t have a way to get a bike to a winner outside of the US.

A Note from Fatty About Tomorrow’s Post: Be sure to check in tomorrow; I have a guest post from Cole Chlouber, a friend of mine you might remember from the Leadville Q&A liveblog I did at the beginning of this month. I’ve asked him to write up his story about doing the Leadville Trail 100 run.

Mainly because the idea of doing that race terrifies me and intrigues me, in pretty much equal parts. And because I am pretty sure that someday The Hammer is going to want to do that race and I want to know what we’re in for.

OK, now, finally, on with today’s news.

News Flash! WADA Expands Scope, Changes Name to WADARARA

201108250710.jpg Montreal, Canada (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – Noting substantive progress in the war on doping in cycling, the World Anti-Doping Agency today announced that it was expanding its scope of operations, as well as revising its name.

“I’m pleased to announce,” said John Fahey, President of the until-very-recently-named WADA, “that nobody dopes anymore. At all. In fact, for the past few months, mostly we’ve been hanging around the office, wishing we had something to do.”

“And that’s when it struck us,” continued Fahey. “Our mission, until now — while very admirable and noble — has been entirely too narrow. We shouldn’t simply be in the business of eliminating doping from the world of cycling — and, I suppose, other sporting activities, though we honestly don’t care if athletes in other sports dope, just so long as cycling is squeaky-clean.”

“We should be,” emphasized President Fahey, “in the business of eliminating any performance-enhancing item from the sport of cycling.”

“And that is why,” concluded Fahey, “I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, we are changing the name of our agency from ‘World Anti-Doping Agency’ to ‘World Anti-Doping and Rock and Roll Agency.’”

201108250716.jpg “Or ‘WADARARA,’ for short,” interjected Dick Pound, who had suddenly materialized at Fahey’s side. “Which, by the way, is pronounced, ‘Wah-Dah-RARRRRRRR-ah.’”

“Oh, I should also announce,” said a visibly surprised Fahey, evidently not expecting Pound’s dramatic appearance, “that Dick Pound has come out of retirement in order to supervise operations in the Rock and Roll Regulations Division (RARRD) of our agency.”

“Which is pronounced “RAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRd,” explained Dick Pound.

Asked why Pound had been selected, Fahey replied, “Mostly because we all kind of missed having an excuse to say ‘Dick Pound’ from time to time. You would be amazed at what a morale boost it gives us.”

“Dick Pound,” repeated Fahey, with a smile.


When asked why WADARARA would seek to regulate the listening habits of cyclists, Dick Pound explained, “Our mission has always been to level the playing field of cycling. It has recently become clear to us that the right song played at the right moment can give one cyclist an unfair advantage over other cyclists.”

“If, for example,” explained Dick Pound, “two otherwise equivalent cyclists ride an individual time trial and one listens to John Denver while the other listens to Rage Against the Machine,” studies show that the rider who listens to Rage Against the Machine will win every single time, and often by a substantial margin. Especially if the song ‘Renegades of Funk’ is in the playlist.”

“As an interesting aside,” noted Dick Pound, “The cyclist who listens to John Denver is likely to not finish the time trial at all, but will likely pull over to the side of the road at some point along the way and begin admiring the landscape and perhaps take off his shoes and wander barefoot in the grass.”

“It’s quite a disturbing spectacle to behold, I can assure you,” said Dick Pound, meaningfully.

“In any case,” continued Dick Pound, “We do not feel it is fair for foreign substances such as rock and roll to play a part in who wins, and who loses, a race. Thus, from this point forward, no cyclist — at any level — is allowed to listen to rock and roll.

Asked for clarification, Dick Pound explained, “Cyclists don’t gain an unfair advantage from cycling under the influence of rock and roll merely when competing; they can reap the same general benefits by training while listening to rock and roll. This simply cannot be allowed.”

“And since it’s entirely possible,” said Dick Pound, “that any given cyclist may some day become a racer, we must therefore forbid all cyclists from every listening to rock and roll. Beginning now.”

Enforcement Tactics

When asked how they plan to prevent cyclists from listening to rock and roll, Dick Pound replied, “It’s really quite simple. Initially we’ll just assume that everyone is honest and will ask them to not listen to rock and roll.”

“As the program matures, however, we’ll begin sending agents out on the street, looking for cyclists. When we see one, we’ll use special-purpose scanners to see if they have any kind of device that would allow them to listen to music. If they do, we’ll demand to see the playlist, which we will validate against our frequently-updated database of known rock and roll bands.”

“Finally, at some point in the future (hopefully by December of this year), we will begin going door to door, confiscating any rock and roll-capable device from anyone who also owns a bicycle.”

“Incidentally, we plan to fund this program via a brisk business in selling second-hand electronics.”

Reaction from the Cycling Community

The cycling community had no comment to make on today’s announcement, because they were not allowed to.

My Head Just Exploded at the Awesomeness of This

08.24.2011 | 12:31 pm

An “I Can’t Believe This” Note from Fatty: You’ve done it. $134,240 raised, as of this moment. You’ve raised enough to buy 1000 bikes for kids in Zambia. No, make that one thousand and one! Everyone, thank you!

In addition to the most important thing — that 1001 kids’ lives are going to be changed for the better — this means that someone is going to join Johan, The Hammer, and me in Zambia.

Oh, and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t wind up being 1111 bikes for kids in Zambia. The contest remains open; we continue to appreciate your donations! – FC

I planned for yesterday’s post to be the last one about the Grand Slam for Zambia project. Honestly, I did.

I figured I had said everything I had to say about it. I’d made my case. I’d showcased the prizes. I’d said what I was going to say, said it, then said what I had said.

And in short, I was finished.

And then a couple of things changed. And now I find myself needing to post about some unexpected and extremely cool new twists in the Grand Slam for Zambia project.

Spend the Day in San Francisco With Gary Fisher, Riding Your New Trek Allant

This is Gary Fisher.


He is a cycling icon. He is smart, and interesting, and funny, and fabulously eccentric. He is the kind of guy you would just about kill to be able to spend an afternoon with, riding bikes around a really amazing city — you know, like San Francisco, California — talking as you visit his personal favorite restaurants and bars.

Gary will show you his personal favorite bike shops in a bike-crazy town. He’ll take you by art galleries. You’ll get your shoes shined. You’ll learn about and see the bike advocacy happenings in San Francisco.

And you will eat. Some more.

And in general, you’ll spend the day with Gary Fisher, cycling legend, hanging out in his native habitat.

And you’ll be riding your new bike. Which will be this:


Or this:


Whichever style you choose, it’s the Trek Allant, a stylish, practical commuter / townie bike. Could there be a more perfect bike for you to cruise SFC with Gary Fisher? I don’t think so.

So, to sum up, we’ll fly you out to San Francisco (if you live outside the US, you’ll need to take care of getting to the US on your own; we don’t have unlimited budget here), put you up in a hotel, set up your bike, and then you and Gary will head out on the town.

And I will beg you to please take lots of pictures and do a guest post on your day. Because I would really really really love to be the winner of this contest and wish I were eligible, but I kinda suspect that people might suspect foul play if it turns out that I did in fact win this contest.

How You Can Win

This prize will be given out if and when The Grand Slam for Zambia project has raised enough to buy 900 bikes. That’s $120,600, which is $9,435 more than we have raised at the moment I write this.

To enter and get a chance at winning this or one of the many other prizes I mentioned yesterday, go to the Grand Slam for Zambia donation page and make a donation. For every $5 you donate, you get a chance at winning a prize. And if you donate enough to donate a whole bike for a kid in Zambia — $134 — you get an extra three chances.

But the last day you have to donate is Sunday, August 28. So don’t put it off. Click here to learn the rules, and then click here to donate.

Johan’s Coming to Africa

As if the “Hang Out With Gary Fisher for a Day” prize, combined with all the other prizes, weren’t awesome enough, how about this: Johan Bruyneel just posted on his blog that he will be coming along on the trip to Africa. Here’s what he says:

As many of you know, Eva and I had the opportunity to go to Africa last year and it was truly a life altering experience. Fatty and The Hammer (as he affectionately calls his wife … Don’t know many men who call their wife “The Hammer”) are going to Africa as a thank you for all their leadership in spreading the World Bicycle Relief mission. And assuming we reach the 1,000 bike milestone / $134,000 by end of day Sunday, a lucky donor of the Grand Slam for Zambia will randomly be chosen to join Fatty and The Hammer on an all expenses paid trip to Africa.

But as much as I’m excited for Fatty to experience first hand the great work he’s done, I also want to see for myself the progress being made in Zambia. So Fatty, if it’s ok with you – Eva and I will be joining you, The Hammer and a lucky donor (we hope) this Fall in Africa. We’ll be together for a little over a week, so I hope you have some good stories to entertain us all!

Which means, if (when!) we hit that Thousand Bikes goal, whoever wins isn’t going to just spend several days in Africa with The Hammer and me, learning and helping and putting Grand Slam for Zambia stickers on bikes.

You’ll also be spending those several days with Johan Bruyneel, the Sports Director over more Tour de France wins than pretty much anyone, ever. The guy Phil Liggett called arguably the best director of all time.

And he’s also a really great guy.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a couple hours with Johan, and that was long enough to make me a fan. If you win the trip to Africa, you’ll be spending days with him.

That should be interesting, don’t you think?

Who Gets Which Prizes?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Grand Slam for Zambia project has become a bit of a prize magnet. Honestly, I’ve lost count of how many prizes there are, and I’m incredibly glad it’s not my responsibility to do the drawings and contact the winners. WBR has agreed to take on that task.

Here’s how it works.

  1. WBR will format a spreadsheet to have every donation on it, using my ‘magic spreadsheet of prizes’ template.
  2. They’ll choose a winner.
  3. They’ll contact that winner and ask which prize s/he wants from the available prizes.
  4. The winner chooses a prize, and that prize is scratched off the list.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 ’til all the prizes are gone.

As you might expect, this will take a while. Once it’s all nailed down, though, I’ll list the big prize winners and a little bit about them.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I get to be the guy who does the fun part of this contest, and that I don’t have to do the hard part?

I think I may have mentioned that.

Anyway, I think I may have also mentioned that this contest is almost over. If you want a chance at winning the trip to San Francisco to hang out with Gary Fisher, or the trip to Paris to see the Tour de France, or the trip to Africa to hang out with Johan and me and see what WBR is doing to improve the lives of kids there, or any of the many other prizes, you’ve got to do something: Donate.

Specifically, I recommend you donate $134. By doing this, you have bought a bike. Which means you have changed a kids life, for the better, in a huge way.

Which means, whether you get a prize or not, that you are a winner. Big time.

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