Furious Fred

04.5.2012 | 10:41 am

Yesterday was the kind of day I’ve been waiting for all Winter. Shorts and short sleeve weather. Warm, but not hot. Absolute, total weather perfection, on the heels of what’s been an amazingly dry couple of weeks.

It was time for me to head over for my first outing at Corner Canyon. Find out which trails are clear, and which aren’t.

It was time to go mountain biking.


There’s something special about having terrific mountain biking you can get to from your front door (just ask pretty much anyone who lives in the Suncrest neighborhood). And there’s something special about getting back on a trail — after a long absence — you’ve ridden hundreds of times.

So hopefully I can be forgiven for jumping the curb and riding over my neighbor’s lawn in order to get to the trail two seconds faster than I otherwise would have.

I was riding alone, because The Hammer can’t go outside during the daytime for the next couple days for medical reasons (which I assure you is going to drive her crazy). Knowing she would want details on the trail condition, I paid attention.

The climb up Hogges’ Hollows was dry for almost the entire climb, though what little Spring runoff there’s been has cut a deep new trench down the center of the road; the old line is gone forever.

That’s OK, though. A new line is already forming. Obviously, I’m late to the party with this being my first climb of the year up the Hog.

I get to the Saddle, and am amazed. It’s not muddy at all. Every trail I see in every direction looks good. Instead of having to cobble together a ride by working around the routes closed due to mud, I can take my pick of rides.

So I start by heading down Ghost. It’s beautiful. Perfect. The trail is just barely tacky — just enough that my tires get perfect traction, without ever collecting anything at all in the tread.

I smile the whole way down. There’s no descent in the world more perfectly suited for a rigid singlespeed.

I see four or five other cyclists — some going down, some climbing up — as I descend. Everyone looks as happy as I feel. Someone asks me about how Ghost is; I tell him it’s perfect. I ask him about the condition of Clark’s; he says it’s clean.

Nothing but good news all around, so I drop all the way down Canyon Hollow, with the plan to climb Clarks.

Furious Fred

I’ve talked about Clark’s trail before. It’s a hard climb, and it’s going to hurt, no matter how you ride it.

If you take it easy, it hurts a little for a long time. If you go hard, it hurts a lot for a slightly shorter amount of time.

On this day, I went for the “hurts a little for a long time” route. I wasn’t necessarily soft-pedaling. I was just enjoying the fact that I was on singletrack on a beautiful day.

This is me climbing Clark’s. But it’s not a recent photo. I just wanted to show this picture again, to remind myself of what what I look like when I’m not a big tub of goo.

Another rider, however, was very clearly not just out enjoying the ride. For whatever reason, he had apparently decided he needed to take this climb balls-out (not literally).

I could hear him coming up behind me, breathing hard.

In his mind, I’m sure he was Lance Armstrong. Making me Pantani. On mountain bikes for some reason.

The trail was wide enough that I could move over to one side and let him by. Which is what I did, and then — as he passed — I said, “How’s it going?”

He was panting too hard, though. Standing and rocking his bike while breathing fast and loud, he barely scraped out a “Hey.”

He was looking straight down at his front wheel. Giving it everything he had to give. Which, I suppose, is why he didn’t see the tree that had fallen across the trail.

The tree that was leaning just perfectly at his forehead height.

Yep, he rode — still at his passing speed, so giving it pretty much all he had — right into the tree. Smacked his head right into it.

Briefly, his bike continued on without him, then decided to wait up.

He, meanwhile, landed and then remained on his butt for a moment. His clock cleaned.

Then he spun around to face me and yelled, “What the hell was that for?!”

I was astonished into speechlessness. Somehow, he blamed this on me? Then in a split second, I understood it all. First, I was witnessing the “fight or flight” response to being attacked in action, and this guy had apparently gone for the “fight” option.

Second, he somehow had linked his accident with me. In his concussed mind, I had — immediately after being passed by him — taken out a brickbat and swung it with all my might at his noggin.

To clarify the situation, I (wordlessly, because I was still speechless) pointed at the tree he had just ridden into, full-tilt.

“Wow,” he said, understanding dawning in his eyes. He continued, “I didn’t even see that.”

Which is kind of a funny thing to say, because how bizarre would it have been if he had seen it, but had decided to ride into it anyway?

He then said, “That thing really cleaned my clock!” Which is what I was thinking, too.

Apparently no longer interested in seeking revenge against me for his hitting his head against a tree, he offered to let me go on ahead.

Hoping to see him crash into other stationary objects further up the trail, I declined.

PS: I should probably point out that in the “Furious Fred” section of today’s post, I am writing from the point of view of the other guy. Which is to say, it was actually me who clobbered the tree with his head. Otherwise, the story is accurate.


  1. Comment by NYCCarlos | 04.5.2012 | 10:48 am

    Best twist ever. Thanks for the laugh big guy!

  2. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 04.5.2012 | 10:53 am

    Does this mean your helmet fits better or worse now?

  3. Comment by Meredith S | 04.5.2012 | 10:57 am

    I hope the Hammer didn’t turn into a vampire…

    Thanks for the chuckle today Fatty!

  4. Comment by mnweisman | 04.5.2012 | 11:13 am

    Way to charge the hill! I read your blog almost every day, it always brings a smile to my face and sometimes an audible chuckle from my cubicle desk.

  5. Comment by Darien | 04.5.2012 | 11:21 am

    Humor = intact.

  6. Comment by Kent | 04.5.2012 | 11:27 am

    The Hammer put that tree there! That will teach ya to go riding on a day in which she can’t.

  7. Comment by Justin l | 04.5.2012 | 11:32 am

    That was funny!!! Sorry, but it was I laughed hard. That’s okay though, I pulled out the trek fuel today and hit the local hill. For some reason they think that cows are needed for grazing to keep the fire danger down, well one of the cows thought it was funny to chase me. Not funny, being on edge. I came across some turkeys well go figure being on edge little guy scared me and had me pedaling for my life. I am thinking I like dodging cars rather then animals.

  8. Comment by zeeeter | 04.5.2012 | 11:35 am

    I think the bump to the head has resulted in the swapping of the Fatty we knew and loved with his equally hilarious alter-ego. Now we will have to determine which one we’re reading on a daily basis. Assuming he’s no longer Fatty in his mind, maybe we should start referring to his alter-ego as Blobby. Apparently the alter-ego website http://www.blobcyclist.com is available?

  9. Comment by Mark | 04.5.2012 | 12:25 pm

    Yeah, that was good stuff. Laughed out loud at my desk. With my boss on the other side of the cubicle wall.

  10. Comment by ArjanH | 04.5.2012 | 12:26 pm

    LOL …. Classic!

  11. Comment by Gabi | 04.5.2012 | 12:31 pm

    Way to go! I also hit my head cycling this week so I feel your pain.

  12. Comment by Jolene | 04.5.2012 | 12:31 pm

    Great story. I can picture it so vividly I’m still laughing!

  13. Comment by TK | 04.5.2012 | 12:43 pm

    This is the second best twist ever. The first best twist ever was your 2011 RAWROD report. Both made me chuckle out loud.


  14. Comment by centurion | 04.5.2012 | 12:55 pm

    Well what do ya know? I also did a helmut test yesterday. Except, I just hit a low hanging vine, and it didn’t knock me off my bike. It was a shocker when there was a sudden WHAM on the top of my head.

  15. Comment by ClydeinKS | 04.5.2012 | 12:56 pm

    Excellent twist – and better looks from my co-workers and clients!
    Hope the new Cardo BK-1 is still intact and functioning well. I’m guessing it doesn’t have a black box function built in so we can relive/witness the incident?

  16. Comment by Kukui | 04.5.2012 | 12:58 pm

    That was awesome! Thank you, Fatty, I really needed that one today..! =)

  17. Comment by Darrin | 04.5.2012 | 1:11 pm

    Wait, so Furious Fred was actually some other dude, which means that when he said he had talked about Clark’s before and linked the blog entry, the previous blog entry was really some other guy who posted as Fatty. Maybe there is no Fatty at all. Maybe Fatty is Furious Fred on the front and Racing Ralph on the back. Maybe we’re in some parallel universe caused by the impact of helmet to tree. Maybe C-A-T spells dog. Whoa.

  18. Comment by melicious | 04.5.2012 | 1:18 pm

    Ha, I enjoyed your tale and especially the twist! I saw your comment on Twitter, which confused me a bit when I started reading the tale on the blog, but ultimately added to the joy of the twist! Hope your noggin and helmet are OK. I, too, had a head meet fallen tree on trail moment last summer. Only in my case I did see the tree but didn’t duck low enough considering I was also going slightly uphill. Best wishes to The Hammer, too.

  19. Comment by Don | 04.5.2012 | 1:36 pm

    It was Levi, he put that tree there.

  20. Comment by KM | 04.5.2012 | 1:46 pm

    That’s was a great entry! I loved it. We’ve been riding here for a few weeks and I too had a close call with a downed tree on the first ride of the year except mine almost impaled me and a couple other guys before someone took a saw too it. Great twist!

  21. Comment by KanyonKris | 04.5.2012 | 1:48 pm

    Hogges’, hehe. Cue dug in 3..2..

  22. Comment by Angie G | 04.5.2012 | 1:57 pm

    OMG!!!!I can totally relate. Everytime I ride my Mtn bike I end up in the dirt. Give the Hammer by best!

  23. Comment by Anonymouse | 04.5.2012 | 2:22 pm

    Fatty — What’s up with last week’s weigh in? How did you do? Who won the prizes? And should we sign up for the 100 MON if we aren’t sure we are going to beat you? Or will there be a chance to sign up late for weight challenge folks who don’t win a free entry?

  24. Comment by Sarah | 04.5.2012 | 2:35 pm

    This story made my day. I mean…I hope you’re feeling ok. Heh heh heh.

    Plus, I get to imagine the Hammer with a “condition” of the sort penned by Joss Whedon.

  25. Comment by GenghisKhan | 04.5.2012 | 2:45 pm

    Okay, I’ve just read the word “twist” more times than the rest of my life combined–I don’t even know what it means anymore, but I like the surprise ending! Very Keyser Söze.

  26. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.5.2012 | 2:51 pm

    So, who did you pass? An imaginary Fred even more, er, Freddish than you are claiming to be?

  27. Comment by RANTWICK | 04.5.2012 | 2:56 pm

    Do you now have a bump on your head? That would be great, because then you could consult my phrenologist, Mordecai McBumpanoggin. He’s the best.

  28. Comment by ScottR | 04.5.2012 | 3:16 pm

    Don wins the internet – it had to be Levi. :-)

  29. Comment by Suz | 04.5.2012 | 3:46 pm

    I’d like to take this opportunity to point out to my husband that I am not the only one who blames the nearest person for my own accidents.

  30. Comment by Kristina | 04.5.2012 | 4:31 pm

    You’ve made me laugh many times, but that was the best. Ever. I had to hold my breath to muffle the sound, and wipe the tears out of my eyes.

    Hahahaha… I’m still laughing. Great post. And such a stressful day today. Thanks!

  31. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 04.5.2012 | 4:42 pm

    LOL! Wow! I’m glad you are OK after the major head trauma! Thanks for sharing that story.

  32. Comment by Cookster | 04.5.2012 | 4:57 pm

    Fatty you have trained your bike well. Did it wait for you in an upright position or did it to sit down with you in the dirt?

  33. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 04.5.2012 | 5:18 pm

    Fatty- You say the photo is an ‘old one’ but you seem to fill out that jersey quite well!

    And for that tree… I’ve met you, it must have been one really low tree.

  34. Comment by JRA Ben | 04.5.2012 | 6:09 pm

    Hey Elden,

    I’m picking up a buddy at the SLC airport on Thursday morning on my way down to St George for a week of riding. How do I find this trailhead? I need to do a ride on Wednesday evening the 11th or very early Thursday morning.

    Ben in Seattle

  35. Comment by Trailer Park Cyclist | 04.5.2012 | 6:23 pm

    On my daily beer run, there is a low hanging branch that I roll under at full speed, proud of the way I duck just enough to look cool. I really graze that branch and on good days give it a high five but now I realize that piece of live oak is just waiting. Thanks for the heads up. (Was that a pun?) yer pal, tj

  36. Comment by spinecho | 04.5.2012 | 6:43 pm

    You totally had me – your post was the best part of my day!

  37. Comment by BamaJim | 04.5.2012 | 7:34 pm

    That is funny! My recent wake up call was a snake falling from a tree and landing on my head and shoulders. If I had quicker reflexes I probably would have crashed, but managed to bumble my way through.

  38. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 04.5.2012 | 9:49 pm

    @JRA Ben
    Check out the hyper link at the top of Fatty’s blog. Draper Utah seems to be the place and Corner Canyon Park seems to be the destination. Check out the park may at: http://www.draper.ut.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={CB9EF7F0-A2DE-4FEA-8A71-B5C4105CF97D}

    And to say I’m envious of your trip is an understatement.

    Hope you’ll make a post, or a guest blog.

  39. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 04.6.2012 | 5:27 am


  40. Comment by maya | 04.6.2012 | 6:34 am

    haha-really good story -liked your twist in the postscript:)

  41. Comment by T Foster | 04.6.2012 | 7:46 am

    Really laughing out loud and my co-workers think I am ready for the nut house.

  42. Comment by roan | 04.6.2012 | 8:35 am

    YEP ! ’bout the same only I missed the tree. Some jerk caused my rear wheel to slip into a motorized offroad tire rut. I corrected the insult but a tree was suddenly in front of me. Corrected that too but the ground sucked my front wheel sending me over the bar, over the pile of rocks. Took awhile gasping for air and thinking, “Could be worse” and I was wondering where the wheel bumper went until I remembered I was the last rider. Broke my lower r. leg, but got a free horseback ride out.
    PS: Enjoyed this post Fatty…er…F’ Fred.

  43. Comment by Jacob | 04.6.2012 | 9:20 am

    So you temporarily accused another rider of smiting you? That’s hilarious. I hope your okay and don’t have any real concussion issues.

  44. Comment by Jacob | 04.6.2012 | 9:21 am

    Dangit. I hope you’re okay. You are not able to possess an okay.

  45. Comment by rich | 04.6.2012 | 9:49 am

    Awesome post! Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning….
    Hope yer noggin and helmet are ok and hope all is well with the Hammer

  46. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 04.6.2012 | 11:15 am

    @JRA Ben I seem to have only posted the link for Draper City. Check this one for the Map: http://www.draper.ut.us/vertical/Sites/%7B9B0E25D7-5E8F-45BF-AFAB-8658E160BEA4%7D/uploads/%7BE5DC55FF-E7E9-44BA-866F-D7DBADABD895%7D.PDF

    Note they seem to be very fond of ’swtchbacks’

  47. Comment by AKChick55 | 04.6.2012 | 11:34 am

    HILARIOUS! LOVE IT! I’m glad I read this at home yesterday cause I was hysterical with laughter. :) Had to come back and re-read today, it was that good!

  48. Comment by Saso | 04.6.2012 | 1:56 pm

    Helmet camera footage of this would be so AWESOME.

  49. Comment by Levi | 04.6.2012 | 4:55 pm

    I resent all the implications that I put the tree there.

    Levi (from Lehi)

    ps. funny stuff!

  50. Comment by Levi | 04.6.2012 | 5:00 pm

    @JRA Ben

    Here is another site that has the trails for Corner Canyon. http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/ then choose Trails/Select by Region/Salt Lake Valley/Southern/Corner Canyon (Lower) – At the bottom is a list of the other connecting trails. Watch out for trees. :)

  51. Comment by Greg | 04.7.2012 | 4:12 pm

    That was an epic read! I’m new to the site and love your stories thus far. I look forward to reading more!

  52. Comment by Angie | 04.8.2012 | 6:15 pm

    Fatty, I laughed out loud twice. My husband in the next room wanted to know what was so funny, so I read it to him. Lol! Thanks for brightening up my night.

  53. Comment by evil3 | 04.12.2012 | 11:46 am

    While reading this, I was able to put this into my mind….so I got video of the events without even being there.

  54. Comment by Kole Wilbur | 04.15.2012 | 8:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.


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