A “Buy Something Good, Do Something Good” Note from Fatty: My friends at Twin Six are doing their part in the fight to improve the lives of those living with cancer. 50% of all sales today will be donated to LiveStrong. Not half the profits, not half of everything over a certain point, half of all sales. Which — just for example — means if you buy their extremely cool-looking Yellow Cabby jersey for $75, LiveStrong gets $37.50. That’s awesome. Or maybe if you wanted to pick up some Fat Cyclist gear — a hoodie, say, or a t-shirt. Half your purchase would go to LiveStrong. That seems decidedly appropriate, doesn’t it? And hey, if you don’t know what you want just yet, you could buy a T6 Gift Certificate today, and half of that money goes to LiveStrong. Could the Twin Six guys be any more awesome? No. No they could not.
(The one-day promotion is now over; thanks everyone who bought stuff!)
MoRaTraG Must Be Stopped
I consider myself a fair man. A tolerant man. Even a good-natured man. If you were to meet me on the street, you might — as we held a pleasant conversation and I pretended to be interested in what you have to say — think to yourself, “Why, this beloved, award-winning, book-authoring, Internet celebrity cycling megastar is just a normal guy who is interested in what I have to say!”
Which is just precious of you. Really.
With my “niceness” credentials thus unimpeachably established, I would like to now state that there is an organization that makes me furious. I start thinking about this organization, and my blood boils and I see red. My blood pressure surges. Sometimes I get pounding headaches.
My goiter throbs. Occasionally, I pass out. Frankly, I’m feeling a little bit dizzy right now.
There. I just took a pill. It should help me settle down in a moment.
[Ten minutes elapse]
OK, I’m fine now. I can continzhurrrrr.
[98 minutes elapse]
I’m awake again. (Note to self: adjust dosage.) Where was I?
Right, I remember now. There’s an organization, my friends, pervasive to all forms of cycling, that exists for no other reason than to mess with cyclists’ minds. To make us suffer needlessly. It revels in our confusion, and celebrates our discomfort as a victory. It laughs each and every time one of us cries. This organization hates cyclist.
No, I mean the organization besides the UCI.
I am talking about, of course, the Manipulation of Roads and Trails Guild (MoRaTraG) pronounced “MORE-uh-trag”).
This covert society operates with no purpose other than messing up your expectations for a ride. It wants you to feel stronger than you actually are on one ride, thus giving you unreasonable expectations for your next ride. Then, the next time you get out on a bike – boom – you have no energy whatsoever. It wants you to feel like you’re on top of your technical game one instant, and a bumbling fool pinned beneath your bike and unable to clip out without using the Jaws of Life the moment after that.
In short, the MoRaTraG is a bunch of jerks.
Allow me to detail their various heinous activities, through the use of serious-yet-immenseley-entertaining anecdotes, each carefully crafted for you to find yourself nodding your head in agreement.
Offense 1: Trail Difficulty Revisions
When I first started mountain biking, there was an incredibly steep, technical jeep road I made my mission to conquer. Most lunch hours, I’d head out to what we called “Lower Frank” and would try – over and over – to clean that pitch. I had this idea that since I had seen Dug and Bob clean it, that until I could at least work my way up that hill I would be nothing but a hindrance to them.
After about a month, I did it. I rode up that move without putting a foot down. I was incredibly proud, and justifiably so.
Then, sometime last summer I decided to find that move and see if, now that I have more than fifteen years’-worth of riding experience, I could now clean that pitch on a singlespeed.
I wasn’t optimistic, but I thought it was worth a shot.
So I rode out to where the move should be, but I couldn’t find it. There was a jeep road there, yeah, but it was certainly not a move. It would be more of what I’d call a “short, easy climb.”
Clearly, MoRaTraG had been here. They had lessened the gradient of the climb, as well as made the embedded rocks much smaller and easier to roll over.
My pride at having conquered my first move all those years ago vanished. This thing isn’t something I could brag about. Not anymore.
Thanks a lot, MoRaTraG.
Offense 2: Early Season Gradient Revisions
MoRaTraG seems to be most active in the Winter, because when Spring returns and I get a chance to ride my favorite roads and trails for the first time in months, it’s obvious that these jokers have been hard at work, because every single climb has been jacked up.
And by “jacked up,” I mean what I say quite literally. Gradients on my rides – road and mountain — have all been increased by 30%, sometimes more. I can tell this is the case because rides that were fun and easy last autumn are now so steep they’re making my ears bleed.
I think they do it with hydraulic jacks. However it’s done, it’s just plain rude.
Offense 3: Variable Technicality
What makes me really mad, though, is the way MoRaTraG goes out and screws around with trails. Like, I’ll be out riding one of my favorite lunch ride loops — a combo of Hog Hollow and Corner Canyon – just riding along, enjoying myself.
I’ll be flying down Ghost and – for reasons only they know – MoRaTrag will have clearly been at work, cleaning up the runout following a little jump. I’ll land so nicely my confidence will go through the roof; I’ll instantly vow to hit it really hard next time (and I think we all know how that will turn out).
Then, coming down Jacob’s Ladder, I’ll be carving my way around a hairpin turn – same as I have hundreds of times – and wham. I’m on my side. No warning whatsoever. I look back and – sure enough – MoRaTrag has placed an embedded rock, smooth and flat, right in the trail. Right at the apex of the corner, where I’m most likely to slide out.
And obviously it wasn’t there before, because I’ve gone around that corner a hundred times without falling. They put that rock there recently, and they did it just to be mean.
I don’t know what it is about those guys. But they’ve got to be stopped.
PS: If you’ve ever wanted to hear me be interviewed and talk aimlessly and endlessly about whatever pops into my head, you should check out the interview I just did over at Bicycle Lab.