A “Go Big” Note from Fatty: In yesterday’s post, I asked you to help me help my friend Dustin keep a promise, by donating to my fundraising page for the Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink. Click here for more details on that. Or just click here to donate.
Today, I’ve got an awesome additional way you can help me help Dustin get to his $20,000 goal. And this time, you’ll get some great gear out of the deal.
It’s what I’m calling the “Go Big” event at Twin Six. Specifically: today only, Twin Six will donate 50% of its gross for all size XL and larger (both mens and womens) t-shirts, jerseys, and shorts to the Team Fatty fundraising page for the Tour de Pink.
Yep, Twin Six is putting both the “Team” and “Fatty” in “Team Fatty:” half of what they take in, they donate. For size XL and bigger.
So, if you’re size XL or bigger — or you know someone who is — today’s the day to go shopping. You’re going to get awesome stuff, and half your money will go to an outstanding cause.
Allow me to make a few recommendations for items I consider worth taking a good hard look at:
- The Argyle (Yellow): It’s on sale for $46, which means if you buy an XL or XXL, you’re getting a great deal and making a $23 donation. Nice.
- The Masher (Womens): On sale, $46, and available in XL. A steal of a deal with a side benefit of making a great donation.
- Cars R Coffins: I love this jersey. $75 means you’re paying normal price, and you’re also making a sizeable donation: $37.50. Wow. XL available. Or how about a Cars R Coffins t-shirt? $12 of your $24 goes to the Young Survival Coalition. Sweet! Available in XL and XXL.
- Greaser Tech T: I love the Twin Six Tech-T’s, but they’re usually a little pricey. But this one’s on sale for $26, making it a great deal on a shirt that’s awesome for MTBing or running or nacho-eating. And $13 gets donated. XXL and XXXL available.
- CX T-shirt. Already on sale for $16, this beautiful t-shirt’s a no-brainer if you wear an XL or XXL. And the fact that $8 of your $16 goes toward fighting cancer makes it even less than a no-brainer. An anti-brainer, if you will.
I guarantee you, I’ll be buying a few things myself.
A “Hey, That Bottle’s Not So Ugly Anymore, Is It” Note from Fatty: Last week, I wrote a post describing how I was unhappy with the look of this year’s FatCyclist.com bottles. Well, since then the fact that these are the best bottles I have ever owned (brilliant valve, easy lock, easy-to squeeze bottle) has kind of warmed me up to them, and I have no intention of returning or giving away any of the ten I got for myself.
That said, these are not exactly what they should be, and so here is what you should do if you bought one or more of these bottles:
- If you just don’t want it: Send an email to email@example.com and they’ll work with you to return the bottle and get a full refund.
- If you’re OK with keeping it but would like a little something special from Twin Six to put them back on the top of your favorite companies ever: Use the coupon code teamfatty when purchasing any full-price item (or multiple full-price items) at TwinSix between now and the end of the year. You’ll get 30% off on that purchase. You can buy multiple full-price things and get all of them at 30% off, but you only get to use this code once, so use it wisely.
I’m pretty sure that between these two options, we’ve got everyone covered.
Disaster On the Way to La Berarde
The day started with an interesting lesson. Before we began our 2000-foot descent to The Bourg, from which we’d be climbing 4500 feet up to La Berarde, Andy Hampsten did a little seminar several of us had been asking about.
He talked about how to descend faster.
It was all useful info, but Andy predicated it with, “Don’t try anything I’m talking about today. Practice on the roads you know best; the one’s you’re most comfortable on.”
We begin the ride down the mountain road from La Grave. I am in no hurry, and plan to be in no hurry the entire day; I am saving myself for the following day — our final day of the tour — when we’ll be climbing the Col du Galibier. Both sides of it.
So when we catch up with a garbage truck also going down the mountain road, I ask The Hammer if it’s OK for us to just slow down; there’s no way we’re going to get around that truck on this road, and I’d rather cruise down this beautiful mountain without the sight and smell of a garbage truck right there.
We ride downhill nice and easy, turning on our lights when we go through tunnels.
Then, coming out of a tunnel and around a corner, we see it: a bunch of cyclists crowded around another cyclist, who is laying on the ground.
Even before we get close enough to tell who it is, we can tell from the Cinghiale jersey that It’s someone from our group.
We quickly dismount and walk over. It’s one of the guides.
Then I see his leg. And I realize that I can see into it. All the way to bone.
“I think I’m OK,” said the guide. “I don’t think anything’s broken. I think I can move.”
“No!” say several of us, at the same time. Carlos, a heart surgeon, explains further, “Trust me on this. Your leg’s broken.” He doesn’t tell the guide what all of the rest of us can see: that it’s a textbook compound fracture.
And I’m suddenly really glad that, among our tour group, we have an EMT — Shawn — and a doctor. (It would have also been awesome to have the trip winner, Laura, with us, because she’s an orthopedic surgeon; she had gone ahead with an earlier group, though.) They get the guide covered and comfortable as possible.
I keep thinking how good it is that there are people around who know what they’re doing, because I certainly don’t.
Then we stand around and wait for the ambulance.
Meanwhile, the guide seems pretty amazingly lucid and happy, though we have to keep telling him that no, it is not okay for him to try to get up.
And a good thing, too, because once at the hospital, he’d find that he had a broken tibula and fibula, a broken clavicle, and a broken hip. Which is to say, for the next little while, he’ll have the unhindered use of one of his limbs.
We try to piece together what happened. Nobody really knows exactly, but it seems that as the guide came around a bend, he saw traffic ahead was stopped. He grabbed his brakes and went down, probably bouncing or slamming against those concrete barrier blocks you see in the picture above.
It seems weird and wrong to call anything about this kind of accident “lucky,” but there was definitely at least some good luck in how he crashed. Because he at least crashed and slid, staying on the road.
His bike, on the other hand, must’ve taken one good bounce, because it was not on the road anymore.
Nope, it had gone over that concrete barrier and continued on its own:
I know, at first that photo just looks like a shot of trees and bushes down below. But if you’ll look a little closer, you’ll see the bike, which had free-fallen for at least 50 feet. Probably closer to 60.
A couple of people went and recovered the bike. The titanium frame looked surprisingly good (I wouldn’t swear to its rideability, though). The fork, on the other hand, was a different matter:
Did that happen on initial impact, or after the fall? No way to know, really.
It seems like it takes forever for the ambulance to arrive. Eventually, though, it does.
With the morning’s disaster over with, we’re confronted with a question: what do we do now? Continue with the ride as planned, or call it a day?
Some people want to keep riding, some want to head back to the hotel.
In a low voice, I tell The Hammer I don’t understand why the question is even being asked. Of course we should keep riding, I say. It’s not like our odds of getting hurt go up because someone else got hurt today. And it’s not like our going back to the hotel is going to help the guide get better any more quickly.
The Hammer tells me not to be stupid. Yes, I’m pretty sure she said — and I’m using the quote marks here because I’m quoting her — “Don’t be stupid.” And then she explains that not everybody reacts to trauma the same as I do. And my way of dealing with stuff isn’t the only right way to deal with stuff.
On to La Berarde
In the end, some of us continue on the ride, some of us don’t. Shawn, Laura , Carlos and I head up in a group.
And I’m so glad we did, because I’m pretty sure it’s the most beautiful ride of the trip so far. The climb is steep and loaded with switchbacks, and the river is an astonishing turquoise color:
There are dozens of small-but-beautiful waterfalls on the opposite side of the canyon from us (you can see them if you click the image below for the larger version):
And we come across a church with what has to be the most incredible view in the world.
I just can’t get over how these little villages are built right against cliffs like this:
4500 feet of climbing later, we make it to the town of La Berarde, where the van is waiting for us, with a picnic in place. A good thing too, because by the time we got there, I was a whole new kind of hungry. Here’s The Hammer, drinking an Orangina and eating the only pastry I did not eat:
In fact, I got so into the groove of eating that I didn’t stop until well after I should have.
You know what doesn’t feel great? Knowing you’re going to have to get back on your bike when you’re overstuffed, that’s what.
We descend back to the Bourg, then start our almost-daily climb of 2000 feet back to La Grave. “I feel like Wonder Woman,” says The Hammer, right about at the moment I am about to ask her to maybe slow down a little. She is riding so incredibly strong.
Somehow, by the time we get to La Grave, I am hungry again. Our daily total? 64 miles and 6473 feet of climbing. About normal for this trip.
The Hammer and I stop at a roadside cafe and get ice cream and a Coke.
As we sat there, I remember asking myself, “Could I possibly be happier than I am at this moment?”
And I don’t think I could have been.