Epic Taper

08.9.2011 | 10:15 am

A couple weekends ago, I was with my half of my big ol’ extended family — sisters, their husbands and kids, as well as parents and their spouses — on a vacation at Bear Lake, UT.

Naturally, The Hammer and I brought bikes along.

What was different, though, was that the twins brought their bikes along, too. See, they’ve got themselves 26″-wheeled mountain bikes now, and that has made an enormous difference in how much ground they can cover, not to mention how much they enjoy biking.

On one of the mornings, we took them for their first ten-mile bike ride, along a nice quiet road and bike path at the edge of the lake. Ten miles, of course, sounded pretty intimidating to them before we began, and so they were a little bit startled when it went by fast and easy; they weren’t tired or sick of it at all.

The Hammer and I started talking with them a little about how if they work at it, maybe in a couple of years they’d be able to ride a hundred miles.

The twins fell in love with that idea.

And so, last weekend, we started working on that goal, by heading out on the twins’ first twenty-mile ride: ten miles along a bike path out to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon, and then ten miles back.


This route was ingenious, for the following important reasons:

  1. It’s well-shaded, thanks to a lot of trees.
  2. While there isn’t much climbing, what climbing there is (600 feet over ten miles) happens on the “out” part, so that by the time you hit the turnaround point, you’ve actually done way more than half the work.

Oh, and since we’ve got a race coming up, having the twins along was also a great way to ensure that neither The Hammer nor I turned an easy ride into a sufferfest.

Easy Start

First, let me make an observation that every parent who has ever raised a child will agree with: age 9-11 is wonderful. The kids are big enough to be independent, but young enough that they still like you.

Which is to say, The Hammer and I got zero pushback when we suggested going on a long bike ride.

Here’s the three ladies just a mile or two into the ride:


And one with the twins and me:


A quick aside here: believe it or not, that snazzy-looking bowling shirt I’m wearing is actually a biking jersey the good folks at Club Ride sent me, with three rear pockets full of Salted Nut Rolls and everything. A very nice jersey for when you’re not in the mood to look like a bike geek.

The twins quickly fell in love with how quickly miles went by, and asked how far we had gone every few minutes — not so much in a “how much furrrrrrtherrrrr?” way as in a “We are rocking this ride” way.

A Difference Emerges

As any parent of twins will agree, watching the dynamic of your twins as they grow up is one of the most awesome experiences a parent will ever have.

In my (identical, by the way) twins’ case, it’s fun to watch how they are so similar to each other, but are finding ways to be different. They both draw, but in different styles. Both are prodigious readers, but one loves to write, too.

And one of them loves to race ahead:


While the other likes riding along at a mellow pace.


Just so long as the invisible rope that keeps them from ever being more than 50 feet apart never gets stretched.


Breaks Are Good

About five miles into the ride, we stopped for our first break at Bridal Veil Falls:


Then, a couple miles later, we took a break to take a hike to another waterfall:





And then a stop at the turnaround point in Vivian Park to eat some salted nut rolls.

And then a stop halfway back to where we started, to buy lunch.

And then — almost too easily — we were back.

Twenty miles. Easy-peasy. Keeping it fun was the key. Who’d have thought?

Evidence of Success

We stopped on the way home and bought gelato for everyone. After all, we had just been out for four hours in 90-degree (or warmer!) weather.

As we ate, one of the girls said, “I think we should ride forty miles next time.”

Honestly, I don’t think she could have said anything that would have made me happier.

PS: After we got home, we cooled down by riding our bikes to a nice little spot about a mile from home and doing this:


Yeah, not a bad day.


  1. Comment by mtnbikechk@hotmail.com | 08.9.2011 | 10:25 am

    LIfe is good, life, is very, very good.
    and so two new riders are born…..

  2. Comment by Zach | 08.9.2011 | 11:11 am

    Okay, so that last picture looks like something completely ridiculous to do while tapering for Leadville, but I digress.

    WHERE IS THAT? I have to take my kids there! (We’re West Jordan natives, so it’s not far from us if it’s a mile from you.) I want to go rock-water-sliding in an insane fashion!

    I believe there will be an an opportunity for Friends of Fatty to join me at the sliding rock in the near future. – FC

  3. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 08.9.2011 | 11:18 am

    It brought a tear to my eye to see how much the girls look like their mom and to see their pure joy in riding bikes. That looks like the best taper EVER.

  4. Comment by Paul A. | 08.9.2011 | 11:19 am

    I think you should rename this post “Epic Tan line”. I thought mine was pretty good, but you sir have an epic tan line.

  5. Comment by roan | 08.9.2011 | 11:21 am

    Honestly, this is your best blog posting yet. Warms more than the heart, this reaches deep into the soul. Even bring a tear of joy from my memories.

  6. Comment by fult23 | 08.9.2011 | 11:24 am

    Have you ever thought about riding shirtless from time to time? It is more difficult to carry salted nut rolls, but it would do wonders on those tan lines!

    Every time I do, my fellow riders complain about the glare. – FC

  7. Comment by fult23 | 08.9.2011 | 11:26 am

    Also, my 5 year old son ran a full mile last night in training for his first 5K next year “with Daddy”! Isn’t great to have a positive influence on your children?!

    Awesome; congrats! We’re talking with the twins about working toward doing a half marathon in DisneyWorld when they turn 13. Thirteen at age thirteen, get it? – FC

  8. Comment by longmontrunner | 08.9.2011 | 11:28 am

    As the father of 15-month old, identical twin girls — this post gets me (even more) excited about the future!

    The fun begins once they’re out of diapers. – FC

  9. Comment by NYCCarlos | 08.9.2011 | 11:42 am

    Got twin nephews that are close to 2 years old… soooooo pumped to get them on balance bikes next year. Very excited for 9-11 to see them actually get to ride with me.

  10. Comment by Lisa | 08.9.2011 | 11:44 am

    That looks like a fantastic day to me. What a scenic bike trail!

  11. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.9.2011 | 12:07 pm

    Nice. Looking forward to doing the same with my yung’uns. BTW, where’d you get gelato in the Provo Canyon area?!

  12. Comment by RedNBlondies | 08.9.2011 | 12:29 pm

    This has to be one of my favorite Fat Cyclist posts ever, especially the pictures!

    I agree about the age. My girls are 11 and 12, of the Irish twin variety. I’m currently deployed with the military, and what I miss the most is going for rides with them. Our longest thus far has also been a 20 miler. It doesn’t matter that even I have to slow down for them (my blog moniker could be the Slow Cyclist), or that I can’t do my century rides with them (yet!). Every minute of our rides together are golden memories.

    Thanks for sharing these precious moment with us. Oh, and your girls are absolutely beautiful!

  13. Comment by KM | 08.9.2011 | 12:33 pm

    Looks like a great time was had by all. As a curiosity, what size/model of Trek did you get your twins? My kids are almost 9/10 and harrass me monthly about getting “real MTB’s.” I’ve not found anything in my LBS for kids (although Jamis makes a cool looking kids bike) that can keep up with growth. My son will just grab his BMX bike and ride it on singletrack, he’s a rigid SS rider at heart. Although he hates climbing….that might be genetic though.

  14. Comment by Janey | 08.9.2011 | 1:07 pm

    What beautiful women you have in your life!!

  15. Comment by Dave | 08.9.2011 | 1:35 pm

    Congrats on a Great Day Out. If you get a chance catch up with Doug (see link: http://www.osohigh.com/LT_100_ALS_Blog.html) at Leadville. He has the same joie de vivre that you have and I find him as engaging to read about as you. Good Luck.

  16. Comment by Six | 08.9.2011 | 2:15 pm

    I am incredibly happy for you Fatty. This post will put a smile on my face all day.

  17. Comment by Nic Grillo | 08.9.2011 | 2:17 pm

    That is awesome! Congrats to the twins on a job well done! I can’t wait to get my little ones out there in a few years!

  18. Comment by KT | 08.9.2011 | 2:34 pm

    Aww! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful family moment!

  19. Comment by Kyle | 08.9.2011 | 3:16 pm

    Just got my 8 year old girl a Trek 24″ after only one month on a Sports Authority 20″. She was riding so well I had to give her some relief. The 20″ bike was steel and easliy weighed 4 or 5 lbs more than my Ibis (that I won on some guy’s blog 2 years ago-thank you very much). Now she has better gearing and way lighter,and she is KILLING it. I can’t beleive what she is doing now. She fell on a rocky section, got up, dusted off and said she wanted to try it again. I was stunned and thought to myself, holy crap, I’ve raised a mountain biker.

  20. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.9.2011 | 5:07 pm

    Great post Fatty! What will you do when they drop you on King Ridge at Levi’s? Retire?

    Time to arm those kids with Garmins, +3 accounts, and license to ride. Not only will you raise money for WBF, you’ll know where they’ve been. Teen-age is just a blink away, as my own 10yr old daughter is showing me.

  21. Comment by Liz | 08.9.2011 | 6:04 pm

    Nice! My son is ten, recently got his first adult bike and his range is now similar to your girls. We are enjoying family rides, too. We have some pretty trails here, but none ending in a waterfall! We ARE envious.

    I showed him the cyclist “taxonomy” in Bike Snob’s book last night and after reading it, he proclaimed he wanted to ride cyclocross!

  22. Comment by Chris | 08.9.2011 | 6:29 pm

    Honestly, one of the best post you’ve ever written. I know that’s saying a lot when it comes to a world famous blogger and biking mastermind but nothing beats family, especially on bikes.

  23. Comment by Kent | 08.9.2011 | 6:50 pm

    I love Greenway riding with my kids, 7 & 9. The 7 year old loves his bike and has managed four miles on the the beginner mountain bike trails. He pushes when he needs to, but is a fearless descender. He has a 20″ wheel mountain bike that is waiting for him to grow into. My Daughter did her first 5k last year at a church event, more did than ran, but we still had a ball and finished hand and hand. Memories!

  24. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 08.9.2011 | 7:08 pm

    Wow, your girls are so beautiful. What a great post. Congrats Fatty for having such a happy and blessed family.

  25. Comment by Colorado Mama | 08.9.2011 | 7:41 pm

    Nothing better than having that kind of family fun. Oh, and your cooking at the extended family gathering was just as good as always. Warms my heart all the way around.

  26. Comment by AK_Chick | 08.9.2011 | 8:45 pm

    I LOVE IT!! That is SO awesome! The twins are starting to really look like Susan. What great kids both you and the Runner aka Hammer have. The twins are awesome and I’m right with them – 40 miles! It’s funny because once you’ve ridden 100 miles in one day, anything less just isn’t that intimidating anymore.

    I love reading posts like this almost more than your funny posts about your various (mis)adventures. But, not quite as much. Maybe about the same.

    Keep up the good work! And don’t do that 40 mile ride before Leadville. :)

  27. Comment by Carl | 08.9.2011 | 9:38 pm

    Great post. My 11 year old son likes to ride with me if it involves getting on a dirt trail somewhere. I keep telling him what great cross training it is for hockey.

  28. Comment by sdcadbiker | 08.9.2011 | 10:49 pm

    Man, that is so cool! As a father of two I can appreciate how you feel. However… “Ooh Daddy, what big wheels you have!”. How come the twins are suffering on 26ers when the big guy has 29″?

  29. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.9.2011 | 11:54 pm

    Nice post, Fatty. this brings back memories of me with my youngest son. When he was 9 he would ride a 15-miler with me on a department store full suspension DH bike – out of the saddle the entire way to keep up – (keeping it fun is sometimes a little different with boys!). After he got his first “good” bike – a Giant 26″ MTB, he was unstoppable. He started commuting (42 miles round trip) with me, because his school was just a couple miles from my work. Those were precious times, leading up to the time you met him at Ride for the Roses at age 17, where he was riding a very nice Specialized Elite and kicking my butt on the 100 mile course!

  30. Comment by Alison | 08.10.2011 | 1:02 am

    Nice tan, lol!
    Good job girls!

  31. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 08.10.2011 | 4:40 am

    Very nice.

    My 9 year old son, Noah, has decided that he wants to ride in a Live Strong ride next year. So he is working to get up to 20 miles. He uses my old Garmin Edge 205 on his bike and has been tracking his miles (and uploading to his +3 account). Its been a lot of fun.

  32. Comment by bike repairs reigate | 08.10.2011 | 5:03 am

    That looks like a fantastic day to me. What a scenic bike trail!

  33. Comment by Christina | 08.10.2011 | 7:14 am

    Oh! That is so awesome! My five-year-old completed his first Bolder Boulder this spring, which is a 10K. I love that kids are just set on having fun and finishing something. It was hard to say who was prouder when his finisher’s certificate showed up in the mail…

    Beautiful girls and beautiful pictures!

  34. Comment by Bike Nazi | 08.10.2011 | 7:52 am

    What a good way to get your girls into biking. It’s such a fun sport and it’s great to see when kids fall in love with it too. You wrote a post in the past about your sons not wanting to ride because it was something you did, so I’m glad the girls like it!


  35. Comment by roan | 08.10.2011 | 8:12 am

    I’ve commented earlier & since have passed your blogsite to several people because…well this one is special.
    Having reread this post I need to order that bowling shirt from Club Ride. I’ll mention your name (Fatty) in hopes of getting the 3 rear pockets filled with Salted Nut Rolls, with my luck they’ll send a shirt with the pockets full of ’spare pins’.
    Thanks for the tip.

  36. Comment by Janet B | 08.10.2011 | 8:54 am

    Sweet story. I’ve got tears in my eyes.

  37. Comment by Gerry | 08.10.2011 | 12:23 pm

    You’re living the Dream Fatty. These are my favorite posts.

  38. Comment by Casey | 08.10.2011 | 2:40 pm

    Awesome post. I haven’t seen SLiding Rock in over 30 years but I’d recognize instantly. Next time I’m in UT in the summer…

    Great effort with the keikis. I’m afraid I’ve pushed a little too hard and now ride alone quite a bit. Offering money to ride with me has only brought hints of cooperation. DANG!!

  39. Comment by Heidi | 08.10.2011 | 5:46 pm

    Beautiful, happy girls – good work, Fatty!

  40. Comment by John | 08.11.2011 | 1:34 pm

    you have a beautiful family, Fatty. great job on the girls. you’re doing it right. and you are 100% accurate that 9-11 is the best ages. I have a 15 and a 17 yo… I dont think much more needs to be said. :)

    your going to do great this weekend! take it easy and I look forward to hearing about your race.

  41. Comment by Grego | 08.12.2011 | 3:01 am

    I’m on T minus 6 weeks to our first child – evidently T minus 8 years (or so) until his/her first 20 miler!

    Great post Fatty, good luck with Leadville from Hong Kong.


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