Can it be that Monday is so near?
Can it be that Monday — verily, a mere two-ish days hence! — the Latest
(And some would say greatest)
Version of the FatCyclist.com kit will be available for pre-order?
It is true!
Shout it fro the rooftops!
Figuratively, I mean
Don’t do it for real
Because the neighbors would complain
And we don’t want any trouble
I look deep inside myself
Shall I give a hint?
A glimpse into what is forthcoming?
Of course I shall!
For I am
If not a showman
But how much to reveal?
That is the question that weighs on me
Like the oppressive weight
Of one thousand cinderblocks
Or at least a very large burrito
For dinner last night
I have regrets
Shall I be miserly?
Shall I show only the merest glimpse?
Shall I tease and flirt?
Is such behavior becoming
From a man closer to his deathbed
Than to his birth-crib?
I do not know. Truly I do not.
Well, maybe I shall just wing it.
Let us begin with a hat
Yes! A cycling cap!
And not just any cycling cap
But one made of a technical fabric!
It shall wick and stuff!
And be very comfortable
Whether worn under a helmet, or alone
Let us check it out, from multiple angles, anon:
Is the hat all that is new?
Surely you jest!
(Respectful pause for the appropriate Airplane punchline)
For this year — like many years — there is a bottle
But this year, oh.
What a bottle
For I have searched many a year for the ultimate, perfect bottle
And now I have found it
It is better than the Camelbak bottle I used to love
It is better than the Specialized Purist Bottle I still love
It is the Specialized Hydroflo Purist, with a Watergate cap
And I simply cannot imagine a more perfect bottle existing
For two months
In deepest, darkest secret
I have used these bottles
And now I will use no others
These are that much better
I have yearned to tell you
But I have reserved judgment
Because I wanted to know for sure
The time has nearly come
For me to hold forth
I will explain more soon
And what of socks?
Here’s a thought
What if I were to merely show
An extreme closeup
Of one part
Of a sock
That would be kind of dorky
Would it not?
Which, you must admit
Would be in character
Yes yes you say
But what of the main event?
What of the jersey?
Shall there be no hints of the design
Of the new jersey?
Here you go
Truly, I hear you say
That’s all you’re going to show?
Will you reveal no more
Of this much-hyped jersey design?
I see your point.
It is bold!
It is stripey!
It looks better than pretty much any jersey
Worn in the pro peloton
And, I have it on good authority
It is quite slimming
Is this all, then?
And you shall see it
And may pre-order it
Beginning this Monday
At 10:00am ET / 7:00am PT
I’ve had what you might call an interesting couple of days, starting with a phone call I got from the twins (usually I work from home, but on this day was in the Salt Lake City office).
“Dad,” one of the twins said, “There’s a huge fire on the mountain behind our house. Do we have to evacuate?”
I looked out the window. Even from 30 miles away, I could see the giant plume of smoke rising into the air from the direction of home.
“I’ll call you back,” I said, and then called a neighbor to find out what was going on. Evidently, some people in my town had been evacuated. Our neighborhood was fine — for now — but it still seemed like a good idea to get some things packed up, just in case.
I called The Hammer.
“Can you get home right away?” I asked. “And let me know if I need to drop everything and get over there?”
She could, and did.
All through the evening and night, all anyone could do was stare at the mountain. The massive amount of smoke we could see during the day gave way to a snaking trail of fire we could see in the dark.
I got ready to go to bed, fairly confident I wouldn’t sleep well, but — for once — unwilling to Ambienize myself.
By morning, I was grumpy from worry and lack of sleep. And the mountain had gone from green to ashen.
And everything in the house — including, of course, the house itself — smelled strongly of smoke.
So I tweeted this:
Within a few minutes, I started getting responses to my complaint:
I read their advice and admonishment toward a new perspective with gratitude, put on a stiff upper lip, and went about my day, cheerfully enjoying my not-burned-down house, and not at all minding the fact that I’ve probably got thousands of dollars worth of damaged property to clean or replace.
Just kidding. Their responses actually made my blood boil.
Rules For Responding to Complaints
It’s really lucky (for me, and for anyone who reads this blog) that I had a lot of stuff to do yesterday, because otherwise I would have sat down and written a really angry post about how PEOPLE DON’T GET TO TELL ME THAT UNLESS MY HOUSE BURNS DOWN I SHOULD BE HAPPY.
Seriously, I probably would have written the whole thing in all caps. And I would have used a lot of words that I ban other people from commenting in this blog for.
But I had a ride planned, and a barbecue to do. And a stage of the Tour de France to watch (the first one, incidentally, that I did not accidentally learn the winner of before seeing the stage).
And so now that I have time to write, I’ve cooled down. I am much, much less likely to foam and spit as I make my point. Which is good, because I am a prolific foamer and spitter, when sufficiently provoked.
But I’ve still got some points I’d like to make.
Here’s the thing: bad things happen to people. Some of those bad things are really, really bad. And some of those bad things are only mildly bad, or — when you’re lucky — only barely bad at all.
Regardless of how bad that something that happened is, people want to communicate it. Why? For a bunch of reasons. Maybe just because it’s interesting or exciting — when something bad happens, there’s often the upside that you at least have something new to talk about.
Or maybe because they want sympathy. Or maybe because they want help.
“You Should be Grateful / It Could Have Been Worse”
Now, when someone complains to you, you get to decide how you’re going to react. You can sympathize. You can offer assistance.
Or you can deny the validity of the complaint by asserting that the bad thing that happened isn’t really bad at all, because something worse could have happened instead.
I’d like to assert that this “It could have been worse” response sucks.
Suppose, for example, you and I were having a conversation and you mentioned that your child was fighting a nasty cold. I could reply, “Well, it could be worse. Your child could have triple pneumonia, horrible breath, and leprosy all at the same time.”
The truth is, for pretty much any given problem, it could be worse. But that’s not what’s at issue, is it? When someone tells you about a problem, chances are they could come up with a way things could get worse — and in fact, the worry that it might get worse could be weighing on their mind.
OK, another example. Suppose I told you, “There was a big fire near my house, and now the house smells terrible and it’s really going to be a hassle to make it stop stinking of smoke.”
You could reply, “Well, you should be grateful your house didn’t burn down.”
And yeah, I suppose I should be grateful for that. And I should — while I’m at it — also be grateful all of the other catastrophes that could happen on any given day don’t happen. For example, no tornado struck. I should be grateful for that. A ravenous gang of rabid honey badgers did not attack the dog. I’ll be grateful for that, too. And there was no plague of locusts, and no door-to-door salespeople stopped by yesterday. And Aldo Nova didn’t decide to release a new album and subsequently claim my basement as the place where he’s going to rehearse for his upcoming world tour.
I’ll make time to be grateful for those things, too.
But you know what did happen? A big freaking fire soaked my house in smoke all night.
So, unless you actually did lose your house to fire, probably the best response is not to point out how much worse it could have been. Instead, maybe just say, “Wow, I’ve been wondering where that smell came from ever since you got here. That explains why I’m fighting the urge to roast a marshmallow right now.”
The Practical Part
So after I spent the first part of this post saying I’ve cooled down, I went ahead and attacked the poor people who told me that unless I’m currently sitting in a pile of ashes I have nothing to complain about.
Why’d I do that?
Well, because I think it’s worth reminding people: bad things happen to people, and then people complain about those bad things. If you want to help, offer actual information or assistance, like this:
You know, actually be part of the solution, as opposed to trivializing the problem.
Or just listen and say, from time to time, “Wow. That sucks.”
And if Aldo Nova is currently singing in your friend’s basement, feel free to say, “That sucks bad.”
PS: Angie left a comment I think is worth excerpting:
As for the folks who suggest it could be worse; I think that maybe they are doing this not because they don’t want to hear your complaint, but because they care about you and can’t do anything else to lessen your pain, so they try to point out the positive of the situation in hopes it will help you feel better.
I think this is probably exactly right. Like many people, when stressed I forget that people are generally not out to get me. I still think it’s OK to complain, but I need to remember that just because someone says something that doesn’t help doesn’t mean that they don’t want to help.
A Note from Fatty: The 2013 FatCyclist kit pre-order begins Monday. Whether you want to show of that you’re part of Team Fatty or just like letting the world know that you are as exactly as likely to be eating pie as riding your bike, I highly recommend that you prepare to place an order.
I’ll be giving little hints throughout the week as to what you can expect from the new design. Today’s, though, may be the most revealing: Pink is back. As, obviously, is black. I’ll let you speculate as to what part of the jersey I’m showing is, though.
As always, Twin Six and I offer FatCyclist gear primarily as a get-it-while-you-can thing. If you don’t pre-order it, chances are you’re going to do without. So you might want to go ahead and get out that fancy smart phone of yours and set yourself a reminder to come back here Monday.
During the rest of this week, expect more sneak peeks into the design of the 2013 offering, as well as what items will be available as part of the 2013 kit.
Be Faster Than Me, Get a T-Shirt That Proves It
My relationship with riding bicycles is very simple: I love it. Mountain biking, road biking, track, cyclocross. Other kinds (like BMX and — why not? — recumbents) which I haven’t tried yet, too. I like them all. Simple.
My relationship with triathlon is . . . well, more complicated. If you’re one of the three or four (depending on whether my mom could get her dial-up modem working that day) people who read this blog back when it was very young, you might read that I once wrote a ridiculously provocative open letter to triathletes, imploring them to all stop it and try something else.
Later, I would make an outrageous, unfounded claim: that without really training, I could do an Ironman. Which, eventually, led to me being called out on the carpet, as it were, and I did an actual Ironman. After which I swore I would never do another triathlon.
Apart from those two, though, I’m totally done with Tri. Just through with it. Except, of course, I’m really not.
And you’re not, either.
In fact, I think you might want to join me in the next Tri I do. And if you — or your team — is faster than I am on the bike leg of the race, you’ll get a t-shirt that will make you the envy of the western world. Or something like that.
Meet the Life Time Leadman Tri Epic 250
You may know that I have something like an obsession with the Leadville 100. As in, I’ve done it fifteen times and am signed up to do it my sixteenth time about a month from now.
Well, Life Time Fitness, the company that puts on that race, recently got ahold of me and asked, “Hey, you want to try something a little different, but still ridiculously hard, and in a really amazing place?”
“OK,” I said, without even asking what it was I had just agreed to.
Well, it turns out that Life Time is promoting a new triathlon series, called The Leadman Tri Epic 250.
The first one, this year, will be raced in Bend, Oregon. Check out the distances, and you’ll see where the “epic” part comes in:
5k Swim (that’s 3.1 miles), as opposed to a mere 3.86k swim in iron-distance triathlons.
223k Bike Ride (138.5 miles), as opposed to a childish 112 miles in iron-distance races.
22k run (13.7 miles), which is just over half the length of the run in iron-distance races.
You see how that’s kind of interesting? A longer swim, a much longer ride, but a shorter run than an iron-distance triathlon.
Why? Well, for a pretty good reason, actually. A lot of people have great endurance and would love to prove it in a big ol’ race, but don’t want to put up with the incredibly debilitating pounding that a full marathon delivers to your body.
Plus — kinda like the Leadville 100 — if you can finish this event in under eleven hours, you get to bring home a nice little souvenir:
But I still haven’t talked about the “Faster than Fatty” t-shirt yet, have I? OK, I’m about to.
How To Get A T-Shirt I Do Not Want You To Have
When Life Time told me about this race, I had to admit that I wasn’t ready to do the whole thing, and — especially with the huge bike-centric race schedule I’ve got set for myself this year — there was no way I was going to get to the point where I could do the whole race.
“That’s OK,” they said. “We have a cool relay category (all proceeds from this category go to the Boys and Girls Club of Central OR, by the way), too. Put together a team, and race that way.”
Of course, it took me exactly 3/1000ths of a second (should’ve taken less, but I’m not as quick as I used to be) to figure out who Team Fatty will be at the Leadman Tri:
Yep, I will once again participate in a triathlon with The Hammer (my wife, who is no slouch at running) and The Swimmer (The Hammer’s daughter, who is a star on her high school swim team).
But this time, we’ll be working together.
Oh, and if you manage to beat my time on the bike leg of the race (that’s your bike split time, and doesn’t include transition to or off the bike), you can win another little trophy you might want to show off to your friends. Here’s the front:
And here’s the back:
The Hammer and The Swimmer have each indicated that they want one of these t-shirts. But they don’t get them.
There’s only one way to get this shirt: do the Leadman Tri: be faster than I am on the bike leg of this race. You can do this either by yourself — doing the whole Leadman Tri — or as part of a relay team.
Fatty will be completing the 223k bike leg in a relay of this epic first-year event (his partners will be completing a 5k swim and a 22k run).
Through this unique promotion, anyone that beats Fatty’s bike split will be able to wear the accomplishment on their sleeve – literally. These lucky few will be awarded a “Faster than Fatty” limited edition t-shirt.
Now, if anyone has seen Fatty in the Leadville 100 MTB movie, Race Across the Sky, we all know he’s fast… on dirt. Well, we’re about to see how that translates on pavement against an army of triathletes and roadies now gunning for his shirt.
While LeadmanTri Bend features a Half (125k) distance, the offer is only available to solo and relay participants in the Full (250k) distance.