Why the GranDonut Race Matters

09.27.2012 | 7:24 am

In an hour or so, I need to get in a car and head to the airport; I’m on my way to Santa Rosa for Levi’s Gran Fondo. And, more importantly, for the first-ever GranDonut race, which you probably have never heard of, because I haven’t really been talking about it here on my blog, nor on Twitter.


Yeah, I know. I tend to latch onto things and not let go. But there are some very good reasons why. And I’d like to make my closing argument here, in the hopes that maybe you’ll donate to either Team Fatty or Team Levi. Or both.

The Causes

I’ve kind of been focusing a lot on the silly part of this race, mostly because this is indeed a very silly race. But here’s the thing: this ridiculous race is all about raising money for some amazingly good causes, some of which you’ll be really familiar with, some of which you won’t.

Forget Me Not Farrm: This farm is the Leipheimers’ pride and joy: a farm to help kids who are victims of abuse and neglect heal from trauma. The farm teaches these kids how to value and care for living beings, develop respect for all life forms, and create a compassionate way of behaving and relating to others that is the antithesis of their violent experience.

LiveStrong: I’ve seen this organization up close, both as a recipient of their help, and as a person who has helped them raise money for general cancer support and very specific programs like Camp Kesem. LiveStrong is making a difference for good to thousands and thousands of people who are fighting cancer. I’m incredibly proud to help them out, and am grateful to those of you who join me.

VeloStreet : VeloStreet works to improve cycling resources throughout California and in Sonoma County in particular.

The Prizes

But as you know, it goes against my nature to ask you to donate your money without giving you a shot at some pretty cool prizes.

The big one, of course, is a trip to the 2013 Levi’s Gran Fondo. That’s not a trivial prize, nosirree. Especially when you consider that you’ll get to bring someone along with you. Airfare, hotel, ride registration, the fancy-schmancy VIP dinner: the whole thing. Pretty darned sweet.

And there are other awesome prizes that will be given away, too: two complete gran fondo kits, two signed (by Levi) Gran fondo jerseys, two Gran Fondo helmets, and two Gran fondo Messenger bags.

Pretty sweet.

The Stakes

I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t think Levi has ever taken a good hard look at what he has to do if he loses this race.

Let’s recap, shall we?

If Team Levi (consisting of Levi Leipheimer, Patrick Dempsey, and Rebecca Rusch) loses, he must:

  • Wear a propeller beanie for the rest of the Gran Fondo, including during the ride.
  • During the live panel for The Levi Effect — which will be broadcast hither and yon for the whole world to see — say something along the lines of,You’ll have to excuse me, I’m a little winded. I just got my ass handed to me in a bike race with Fatty of the awesome fatcyclist.com blog.”
  • Consent to a live interview on the Fat Cyclist blog sometime during the year of 2013, discussing a topic of my choosing.

The item I’m really focusing on here is the first one: the propeller beanie. If Team Fatty wins, Levi has to wear a beanie for the rest of the Gran Fondo events.

Yesterday, in order to be prepared for this eventuality, I procured the following:


I am going to so enjoy having Levi walk around in that.

The Race Itself

Of course, the race itself is going to be pretty awesome. It’s evolved into a relay race, with the two teams being Team Fatty (Kristin Armstrong, Tom Danielson, me) and Team Levi (Levi Leipheimer, Patrick Dempsey, Rebecca Rusch).

The pre-race trash talking on Twitter has gotten pretty awesome, and includes photos of Levi, Tom, and Rebecca all training for the big race:




Of course, all of these people are going to learn a valuable lesson: don’t let a guy with the nickname “Fatty” rope you into a race that features eating as the most strategic component:


You see the difference between their faces and mine? They’re clearly goofing off, having a bit of a laugh.

I, on the other hand, am dead serious. I’ve got the eye of the tiger, baby.

Not to mention the stomach of the hippopotamus.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

By the way, these racers seem to have not noticed that the rules on the course length and type, not to mention the type of bike to be ridden are rather . . . vaguely expressed.

I wonder why?

Oh, I’m sure there’s no reason.

Just In Case You’re Going to Be There

The race itself will be at 2:00pm on the northwest corner of the Finley Center parking lot, in Santa Rosa, CA. It’s free to attend, so if you can show up, you should show up. And please cheer me on.

Note, however, that there will be a press conference at 1:00pm prior to the race. You should come to that, too, because there will be very important and serious questions both asked and answered there.

Follow Me This Weekend

Penultimately, allow me to recommend that you follow me on Twitter. See, I plan to be posting photos and short pithy statements all during the big event, starting today and going through the weekend.

Sure, a lot of that will eventually wind up here on the blog, but it’s kind of fun to see what’s going on as it happens.

Plus, you can suggest things to me in something like real time, and I’m easily influenced by peer pressure.

One Last Plug

There. That’s my case. Go ahead and donate to either team — Team Fatty or Team Levi — but please donate.

But bear in mind that as the guy who both defined the race and wrote the (strategically vague) rules, I would be very astonished indeed if I lost.

I’m just saying.


The 2012 Leadman Tri 250 Race Report

09.25.2012 | 9:51 pm

I was in Bend, Oregon for the Leadman Tri: Life Time Epic 250. The day was beautiful, and The Swimmer, The Hammer, and I had spent the morning walking around and enjoying the town and race venue.


As I was sitting in the mellow, outdoor pre-race meeting, hearing about how the race was set to go — how all the details had been taken care of, and the way this first-year event felt like it had been going on for years — it occurred to me:

I should feel happy.

But I was not happy. I was panicking.

Why was I panicking? I was panicking because I was looking around, and quite clearly was the least fit-looking person within a mile radius.

I leaned in and told The Hammer and The Swimmer the same thing I had told them a dozen times already that day: I am going to be destroyed by every single one of these people tomorrow.

They rolled their eyes, looking eerily similar as they did so. “You’ll be fine. Riding bikes is what you do.”

“Not this kind of riding. Not this kind of distance. Not this kind of bike,” I replied.

I had a point, in a way. I had ridden a time-trial bike a grand total of four times in my life thus far, and the next day I’d be racing against the fittest-looking group of triathletes I’d ever seen.

On the other hand, I had a pretty amazing bike, too. Behold the Specialized Shiv, newly outfitted with the incredibly fast and aero — and, let’s face it, gorgeous –  Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheels:


The way you see it here — as built up in the hotel room just before I took it to the transition area — is the way I planned to ride it. Which is to say, I kept it as aero as it was designed to be.

Notice any bottle cages or bento boxes or anything strapped or taped to the bike? Nope, you don’t. The internal bladder — called the “Fuelsalage” — would be what I drank out of, and I’d be carrying enough Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels (fourteen altogether) in the back left and right pockets of my jersey to supply all the calories I’d need.

I wanted my bike to be as aero as possible, especially since I’m really new to riding in this position and unable to get very low at all (note how high the aero bars are) for very long without my back starting to hurt.

We drove out to Cultus Lake, where I’d be dropping off my bike for the night and The Swimmer — at 16, the youngest participant in the 250-mile race — would be swimming about three miles the next day.


The lake was exactly what you’d imagine a mountain lake ought to be; evergreens were everywhere and the water was incredibly clear.

The Swimmer suited up, to test out how she felt in the wetsuit:


The thing is, the water was supposed to be icy-cold: 58 degrees. Which The Swimmer quickly verified:


A few minutes in the water was enough to get her feeling comfortable, though, and she knew she could do the distance — she swims that far — or more — pretty much every day, as part of the high school swim team.


While The Swimmer swam, The Hammer and I relaxed on the dock and talked with another athlete who had just finished his own pre-race shakedown swim. As it turns out, he was with the US Air Force, and told us that Life Time was waiving the entry fee for all military athletes. I’ve never heard of another race promoter making that kind of offer before, and think Life Time deserves massive kudos for that kind of generosity.

Once The Swimmer finished up her swim, we got one last photo of Team Fatty at the Swim / Bike transition:

The changing tents are in the background. Beautiful trees like this are what I’d be seeing, more than anything else, the next day.

We got to bed early. We had a big day of racing ahead of us.

The Race Begins

We were up by 4am, grabbed our stuff, made some bagel sandwiches, and headed out to the bus, feeling that weird sensation that comes only with racing: sleepiness, combined with nervousness, combined with anxiety, combined with excitement, combined with the need to pee, pretty much constantly.

For some reason — maybe he got lost? — our bus was very slow, so we could tell that by the time we got to Lake Cultus, we’d have only a few minutes before the race began. So The Swimmer changed into her wetsuit while riding in a school bus.

Those of you who have ever struggled into a wetsuit know exactly how impressive of a feat that was.

The racers then stood around on the dock for a moment before swimming out to the first buoy, where their wave of the race would be starting.


I assumed they’d be treading water out there. As it turns out, though, the water was not particularly deep.


Yup, they were all just standing. Which means, I suppose, that you could just walk across (this part of) the lake.

And then they were off.

The Swim

Swimming is a hard kind of race to spectate, mainly because everyone looks exactly alike. So The Hammer and I were standing out on a pier, trying to figure out which swimmer was The Swimmer, and completely unable to do so.

Meanwhile, though, The Swimmer was doing great. The race organizers had put buoys out very frequently, so sighting wasn’t even a minor problem. Plus, the water was so clear The Swimmer could easily see the feet of the next racer ahead of her.

After the first lap (of two), swimmers had to come out of the water — so race officials could verify they were lucid — and then head back out.


“I’m so mad,” she said, as I ran alongside her during her quick run up and then back down the dock.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I overshot the last buoy and swam too far,” she said, as she dashed back into the water.

She had added between three and five minutes to her time by doing this, so the fact that The Swimmer finished her ~5K swim in an outstanding 1:15 is even more impressive.

The Swimmer didn’t waste any time getting to the transition, either. She ran to where I was waiting, suited up and ready to go:


Then I removed the timing chip from her ankle and strapped it to mine:

It was still cold outside, so I opted to start the ride wearing armwarmers and gloves. At the right side of the picture, you can see my Shiv, ready to roll.

“See you in about seven hours!” I shouted, and ran to the end of the transition, where I would begin my 140-mile ride.



I am always so relieved once a race begins, because all the fear and doubt and guessing and second-guessing disappear. I’m — finally! — doing what I love doing, and I’m doing it as best as I can.

If that makes me faster than some people, great. If that makes me slower than other people, well…that’s not as great, but it’s not like I can do much about it.

I spooled up to speed with a few quick standing strokes, then settled into what passes for an aero position for a guy with very little flexibility or experience on a TT bike.

A huge rush of adrenaline surged through me, and my speed rocketed to 28mph. A small part of my brain told me to hold back; it was a long race and I had only just begun. I ignored it gleefully. I love going fast and, right then, I had the energy for it.

I’d pay my dues when they came due.

Within a mile, I passed my first and second person. Within five miles I had passed ten.

Yes, I was keeping count of how many I passed, as well as of how many passed me. Except nobody had passed me. Yet.

Whoops, there went the first one, with the distinctive “whommwhommwhomm” of a disc wheel letting me know he was coming.

And then he slowed down. So I re-passed him.

And then he re-passed me, but much more definitively, and disappeared ahead of me.

Taken from my Strava of the ride, here’s what the map of the day looked like (click the map to see a larger version of it):


As you can see from the elevation profile, the first seventeen miles is relatively flat. That seventeen miles leads to the bottom of the red line on the left side of the map. Then we turned around and headed back up the same road, turning right 26-ish miles into the race.

Except a few racers didn’t go that route. Not realizing that there were different course markings for the 125K version and 250K versions of the race, a few racers doing the long version of the race skipped fifteen miles of the out-and-back part of the race, and instead took a left turn at mile nine, eliminating miles 9 – 26 (fifteen miles) of the race: about a half-hour’s-worth of riding.

I am pleased to announce, however, that I was not one of those riders. Indeed, just to assuage any anxiety you may have that this story is going to include me missing turns or cutting the course, I am pleased to tell you that none of this happened. Indeed, for the entire day, I experienced a surge of joy as I saw the mile markers every five miles, noting that they lined up precisely with my own GPS readings.

You’re relieved, aren’t you? (So am I, by the way.)

By mile 25, I had passed forty people. I made a resolution that I would try to keep my number of people passed higher than my mileage for the entire ride.

This was a ridiculous resolution, by the way.

Quick Stop, No Stops

At mile 40-ish, we came upon the aid station with our “special needs” bags. My bag had in it, just for your information, a peanut butter and Nutella bagel sandwich, two spare tubes, four CO2 cartridges, and nothing else.

I needed none of those things. All I needed was to get rid of my arm warmers and gloves.

I rolled to a stop, by which time an extremely fast volunteer had my bag out and open. I stripped and stuffed the stuff I no longer needed, thanked the volunteer, and took off.

Grand total of stopped time: 10 seconds. Maybe. And that was the only time I would put a foot down for the entire 136 miles (no, I never had to pee during the race).

Every half hour, my GPS would chime and I’d open and suck down a Honey Stinger gel. I’ve learned to be religious about this; I’ve discovered that if I am extremely consistent about getting 300 calories down every hour, I don’t bonk.

I’d stuff my used gel packets into my center jersey pocket. At the end of the day, here was the contents of that pocket:


But the gels only account for 200 calories per hour, so where does the rest come from? Well, that comes from energy drink (Heed in this case, I think), and I’ve learned to not be picky about what kind, because you never know what kind or strength of drink you’re going to get at events.

I was, however, extremely proud of how I was storing my drink. Whenever I was getting low, I’d slow down at the next aid station (aid stations were never more than ten miles away), grab a bottle on the fly from a volunteer, and then squirt the drink into the Fuelselage in my Shiv and drop the bottle.

A few seconds later, I’d be back up to speed.

Almost as if I knew what I was doing.

So Happy

When you’re racing, you sort of feel obligated to suffer. “Well, I paid good money to go as hard as I can; I’d better do my level best to make sure I’m hurting 100% of the time and not having any fun,” is something I might as well tell myself when racing.

But you know what? As I flew along, riding in a beautiful corridor of evergreens or past yet another pretty green lake in a mountain valley, I found myself thinking, “I love it here. I love what I’m doing. This is an incredibly good day.” Just a huge wave of happiness.

I was loving the view, the course, the level of effort, everything. The volunteers were amazing and helpful (All were encouraging, none ever missed a handup, and none ever gave me a bottle of something I didn’t ask for). The course was so well-marked that I never felt concerned I was off-track.

Everything was going great. And I was going fast. So far I had passed 60 people, and had been passed by only two.

And then, just as I was about to engage in a protracted bout of chest-thumping, I’d realize that after I finished the bike part of this race, I’d be done. Meanwhile, everyone around me had already swum a few miles and would have to run a half-marathon.

That would moderate my smugness by at least a little bit.


In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that for the entirety of this race, I was absolutely, positively disgusting to behold.

Something was going on with my nose. Something horrible. Specifically, it was running, nonstop. And mixing with sweat. And creating snotulae (plural of “snotulum“) on a scale heretofore unseen in the history of cycling. And probably the universe, too.

At the beginning of the day, I thought my prodigious snotulum production was due to how cold it was. But as the day continued on (warm enough for short sleeves, though I left my jersey zipper all the way up the whole day), I continued to produce snotulae at a ridiculous rate.

Eventually, I gave up even trying to wipe them off. I just let them grow, stretch and fall off as they liked.

Here’s a really nice picture of how my nose looked at the end of the day (you’ll have to click the photo to expand it to see how gross it really is):


Attractive, right?

The Big Climb

Up until about mile 40, it was really rare for me to drop below 20mph. In fact, I spent most of my time riding at around 24 – 25mph, just pleased as punch that I could go that fast, for that long, on this bike.

Have I mentioned that I really like the Shiv and the C50’s?

Then, beginning around mile 40, the road turned uphill. But not seriously.

At mile 55 to 65, though, the uphill — Mt. Bachelor — became serious. That was good news for me, because I love climbing, and during that climb I brought my “passed” count up to 78.

And there, right at the summit of the climb, was ClydeSteve, handing me a Coke. Making him the greatest Friend of Fatty who has ever lived.

Then I turned right to circle back round; I’d be having to do that climb again.

I had a feeling it’d be quite a bit more difficult the second time.

So Lonely

A strange thing happened as I began the screaming-fast descent (top speed of the day: 54.6mph) from Mt. Bachelor: I stopped seeing racers. Really. For the rest of the race — the second half of it — I saw grand total of two racers.

Other than that, all I saw were volunteers.

Clearly, I had found my place — whatever place that was — in the race. The place where I’d no longer be passing people, and where nobody would be passing me.

In fact, after mile 70, I would pass only one more person, and one person would pass me (the person who passed me flew by, leaving me to think he must’ve been a fast guy who had been taking care of a mechanical problem or something for a while). My final count:

  • Number of people (including racers doing the 125K distance) I passed: 79
  • Number of people who passed me: 3


It was now just a matter of keeping my speed up and putting in the miles. I went into robot mode, concentrating on turning circles. Or, at the worst, rounded rectangles.

Meanwhile, unmercifully, the chorus to Madonna’s “Material Girl” played through my head, on infinite repeat. Punishment for listening to the 80’s station on Sirius XM the day before.

And that’s how mile after mile went by.

Except for one brief, painful moment.

I had just passed the Special Needs aid station (where I refilled my Fuelselage for the second time during the race) for the second time at about mile 90, when — from out of nowhere — a spot near the top of my left shin exploded in intense, acute pain.

No, not literally exploded. Figuratively. Still, it hurt. A lot.

I looked down to see what had happened. Had I been shot? Had a shard of glass flipped up and embedded itself?

All I could see was an angry red welt, rapidly swelling up: a wasp sting, probably. And it hurt like crazy.

Strangely, being able to focus on an immediate, acute pain like this helped divert me from the general pain and fatigue I had been feeling from riding; I stepped up my pace.

So from now on, 3/4 of the way through every endurance race, I’m going to bring a needle and stab it directly into my knee or forehead or elbow or something. You know, just to give me something to divert my focus with.

I recommend you do exactly the same. It’s clearly a sound racing strategy.

Big Climb, Big Descent

You’re going to find this hard to believe, but when I had speculated it would be harder the second time climbing Mt. Bachelor than the first time, I was right.

It was harder. Quite a bit harder, in fact. But I ground out the miles as hard as I could, not worrying about how I’d feel once I got to the top.

I didn’t need to worry, because in my mind, mile 120 was the finish line, effort-wise. Because after that, It was all downhill. Which meant that as I cruised downhill for fifteen miles — often going too fast to bother pedaling — I got to wonder:

  • How many people had beaten me on the bike split?
  • Were there any relay teams who were beating us? Were we even on the podium?
  • Would my nose ever stop running?

Surprise Finish

As I dropped into the valley where Bend is located, the brilliant clear day gave way to a wall of hazy brown smoke: it’s been a bad fire season. I was glad I had spent the day above this, seeing as how I had been breathing as fast as I possibly could for the past several hours.

I got into town. I was going through roundabouts. I hit the mile 135 marker. Five miles to go, I told myself. Maybe they’re going to send us on a tour of the city for the final five miles.

And then, a 136 mile marker. Curious. To this point, there had been mile markers only every five miles.

But then I was directed past the Deschutes Brewing company (which has a very distinctive smell) and into the finishing chute for the second transition.

Huh. The bike ride was four miles shorter than I expected.

My gratitude knew no limit.

I dismounted and let The Hammer take the timing chip anklet off my leg, wrap the anklet around her ankle, and dash off:



I had just ridden 136 miles, with around 6400 feet of climbing, in 6:23, when my target time had been seven hours, even.


So was I happy with my time?


I should say so.

The Big Finish

The Swimmer and I now had about 1:45 — The Hammer’s estimate — ’til we’d be seeing The Hammer finish. “You should go back to the hotel and shower,” The Swimmer advised. “You have time.”

“Nah, I’m good,” I said. “Let’s just hang out here and wait.”

“No,” she replied, looking (and let’s face it, probably smelling) at my sweat- and snot-covered shorts, jersey, and — especially — nose. “You should definitely go shower. Now.”

This time, I got the point.

Luckily, our hotel was only a short walk from the race venue; I had plenty of time. And The Swimmer had a cold extra-large Coke waiting for me when I finished.

The world was good.

“I had an idea,” The Swimmer told me as we walked back toward the venue. “We should join my mom when she runs across the finish line. You wear your helmet, and I’ll wear my swim cap and goggles.”

Maybe it was because I was still addle-brained from the ride, but I was easily convinced. “That’s an awesome idea,” I told her.

So we waited for The Hammer, but we didn’t have to wait for long. Right on schedule, she came up the running path, and we jumped up and grabbed her hands:


Then we ran together across the finish line:


It was a beautiful, perfect, ridiculous, hilarious moment.

Together, we had done the Leadman Tri in 9:27 (for those of you noting that the clock in the picture above shows 9:33, remember that the Relay teams started in the third wave, six minutes after the gun time). This made us the second relay team to finish; an all women relay team had beat us by fifteen minutes, thanks to an extremely fast swim time and a bike time — on a straight-up road bike, no less — that was twenty-five minutes faster than the fastest pro woman’s bike time.

In fact, her bike split was only eleven minutes slower than the awesome pro triathlete Matt Lieto’s bike split, and he was on home turf, fully kitted out on a TT bike with a TT helmet. No way can I compete with that.

Team Fatty — a 40-something married couple and a 16-year-old girl — would have to be content with second place. Which is just fine.

Awards are Awarded

As is usually the case after a big race, I couldn’t sleep that night. I just lay there, listening to my elevated heart rate, then wasting time tweeting my favorite movie quote of all time:


Then I went to the Milliseconds race timing website, to see if I could figure out how many people had won the Faster than Fatty challenge, thereby becoming eligible for this glorious t-shirt:


By my count, fourteen people had won this shirt, including most of the pro men, the age-group winners in the various men’s categories, and one woman: the woman in the relay team that beat us.

The next day, we hung out at the awards ceremony, which doubled as a breakfast. Which brings an important observation to mind: every award ceremony should serve a free breakfast.

We then got our picture with Matt Lieto — who had just taken fourth in the pro men category — partially because he’s just an incredibly awesome guy and blisteringly fast whether he’s swimming, biking, or running, but also because I kind of wanted to butter him up because I figured I could get him to give us a place to stay when we come out to Bend again, just to ride and oherwise hang out there.


Because Bend, Oregon is a wonderful place. The kind of place where a guy with a love of the outdoors could live.

The Next Day

So Monday, I called Life Time Fitness up, just to chat. You know. And somehow — I’m not sure how — the topic of next year’s Leadman Tri came up.

“Hey,” I said. “That was a really great race. You guys should be proud of it.”

“And you know,” I continued, “If you’d like to bring me out again to do another ‘Faster than Fatty’ challenge, I think I could make that happen.”

Because, as you know, I am a generous, warm-hearted person, and am always looking for ways to help others succeed.

Or it’s possible I loved the race and really want to go do it again.

This Donut Race Has Gotten Completely Out of Control

09.24.2012 | 3:28 pm

A Note from Fatty: Before I begin, just a little housekeeping here. I am swamped with work and family stuff today, so don’t have time to give the race writeups — for the Leadman Tri and the Breck Epic — the attention they deserve. I think I’ll be able to get the Leadman Tri story up tomorrow; watch for it then. Watch for it, if you’d be so kind.

When I started this race against Levi Leipheimer — a mini-version of the Tour de Donut — I really expected it to just be me, Levi, and a chance to have some fun and raise some money for some really great causes.

It has since gotten way, way bigger than that.

At this point, it is now a team event, consisting of the following two teams:


Team Fatty will be made up of the following individuals, some of whom you may have heard of once or twice before:

Kristin Armstrong: Kristin Armstrong has two Olympic Gold Medals in the Time Trial (2008, 2012), three World Titles, five National Championships and countless other victories. The 2012 Olympic Games were the final races for Kristin, although her name will long live on in the record books as the most decorated female cyclist in US history.

Armstrong currently makes her home in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Joe Savola. Between her athletic career highlights spanning two decades and several sports, she also managed to succeed as a college graduate and a project manager at an ad agency. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in sports physiology from the University of Idaho. Always one to give back to the sports that have given her such success, she is a dedicated swimming instructor and coach. She serves as an ambassador to the YMCA of Boise, and tries to provide support and inspiration to the millions of Americans who suffer from arthritis.

Kristin has made it clear she will not eat donuts as part of this event. Instead, she will eat Dr. Lim’s rice cakes. I am still working out how this will factor into my team’s strategy.

201209240946.jpgTom Danielson: Tom is a kick-butt pro cyclist, riding for Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. I could list his accomplishments, but it’s a lot easier to just link to them and then summarize: he’s ridiculously fast and wins a lot.

Tom was born in ‘78, making him the youngster in the team. It is my assumption that he will eat many donuts. In fact, it is my expectation that he will take inspiration from the wild abandon I intend to bring to the donut-eating portion of the donut-eating contest, and make it his personal mission to match me, donut-for-donut.

Or at least to surpass Levi Leipheimer in his donut-eating consumption. That shouldn’t be too hard, frankly, because Levi is getting on in years and is likely to get a stern warning from Odessa along the lines of, “Remember the last time you ate a dozen donuts and what all the extra expense with the plumbing that caused.”

Me: I am a beloved, award-winning celebrity cycling megastar blogger, and have demonstrated that I can, without trying particularly hard, put away ten donuts. My biggest concern about being on my own team is that, while eating all thes donuts, I will look over Kristin’s way and see the look of disappointment in her eyes, and that will spoil my appetite.

That said, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in this whole group who has any experience at all with a donut race. And I’ve podiumed, too.

Team Fatty’s average age is 39.6.

201209241412.jpgTEAM LEVI

What Team Levi lacks in youth (average age: 42.6, three years older than the average age of Team Fatty), it more than makes up in thickness of hair.

Except, of course, on Levi’s part.

Here are the people on Levi’s Team:

Rebecca Rusch: Rebecca has won the Leadville Trail 100 four times in a row and is the current and former course record holder for the event (In 2012, she broke her own record).

In addition to three 24-hour solo mountain bike World Champion rainbow jerseys, Rusch is the current World Champion for Master’s XC mountain biking, the 2011 National XC single-speed champion, and a three-time national champion in 24-hour team mountain biking. She has won Idaho’s Short Track state championship (twice), and a Cyclocross state title.

patrick_dempsey1_300_400.jpgAn accomplished Nordic skier, she’s won the Masters Cross Country Skiing World Championship, in addition to taking the top prize at Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships.  

She can also crush rock with her bare hands and punch holes through brick walls. When she was a teenager, she made trouble by pushing buildings over.

I fear Rebecca.

Patrick Dempsey: In addition to acting, Patrick Dempsey is an avid cyclist and in fact has his own cycling event: The Dempsey Challenge, an event to benefit the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing.

It has also been noted, from time to time, that Patrick is a handsome man. As such, is Patrick willing to gorge on donuts in a manner that can only be described as grossly unattractive? I think not.

[A personal aside: My sister has been known to stalk Patrick. For this, I intend to apologize, but not 'til I get him to sign something for her (cheapest birthday present, ever!) ]

TDF_2011_Levi-Jens.jpgLevi Leipheimer: Levi Leipheimer is, quite simply, mean. He will do whatever is necessary to win, and that clearly includes eating more donuts than would be considered safe or sane.

Normally, this would be a cause for concern, but the reality is that there are some extenuating circumstances that make me worry much less. Specifically, I know that I can eat more donuts in two minutes than Levi can eat in a month.

In fact, for the hell of it, I just ate my own body weight in donuts. It was easy.

Meanwhile, note that all three of the teammates in Team Levi have their livelihoods depend — to one degree or another — on not packing on the pounds.

Feel Free to Speculate

So, who will win this contest? Frankly, I don’t think there’s any question. Team Fatty will win.

However, your opinion may vary. In which case, feel free to speculate in the comments.

Whichever way you go, though, be sure to donate to my team or — if you think my reasoning is not sound — to Levi’s team.

Why? For two reasons:

  1. Because you could win some very cool schwag, or even a trip to Levi’s Gran Fondo next year. Read the details here.
  2. Because you’ll be contributing to three worthy charities: LiveStrong, VeloStreet, and Forget me Not Farms.

But seriously, it’s going to be a blowout.


09.20.2012 | 1:22 pm

As you may know, Levi Leipheimer and I will be having a race / grudge match a week from tomorrow: Friday, September 28 (at 2:00pm at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa, CA (corner of College Ave and Stony Point Road).

If you haven’t read that post, you probably should. Just so you’re all caught up to speed and stuff, so the other readers don’t have to explain what’s going on when we get to the good part of the movie.

Anyway, I’m not afraid. In fact, I think it’s pretty clear that folks have high confidence that I will actually win what is rapidly becoming known as The Race of the Century. After all, check out how much money I’ve raised by people betting on me winning, versus how much Levi has raised by people betting on him for the win.

Not bad, huh?

But things have just gotten crazy. Or, well, crazier. Check out the little conversation that happened on Twitter today between Levi, me, and Rebecca Rusch — the four-time women’s Leadville 100 champion and record holder.















And, well, we thought that was the end of that. Too bad, because it really would have been fun to have Rebecca join us.

But then Levi invited another of his friends. Here’s the conversation as it unfolded:







To which I would like to now publicly respond: “What am I, chopped liver?

Please do not answer that. It was meant rhetorically.

Meet the New Racers

So, there are now a total of four racers in the Donut Race the day before the Gran Fondo. You already know who I am, because I am very famous, having recently played a very important part on a popular television show recently. Here’s a photograph of me, acting and interacting with my fellow actors and stuff:


Clearly, I am very famous.

What may surprise you is that Patrick Dempsey, who will also be participating in what I now choose to call The Great Pre-Fondo Donut Race, is also an actor.

Here’s a picture of him:


Like me, Patrick likes riding bicycles, and is an actor. Clearly, we are very much alike.

Next , meet Rebecca Rusch:


Rebecca is a hardcore pro mountain biker. Like me, she has won her category in the Leadville 100.

I’m really excited that I have so much in common with the new racers in this event. I’m sure they’re very excited to get to know me, so I can give them valuable advice in their various professions.

Now a Team Event

With four people in the Super-Fabulous Donut Race of Pre-Fondo Excellence, we were faced with a question:

How does this affect the race format?

The answer is simple: One of the new contestants will be on Team Fatty , and the other contestant will be on Team Levi. And this brings up another question:

Who will be on which team?

A fair and honest method for determining who is on my team and who is on Levi’s team. That method will be revealed at a future time, because I am a hopeless tease. And also I’m not sure Rebecca and Patrick (both of whom of which I suddenly find myself on a first name basis) will go for what I have in mind.

How does the race change?

Not surprisingly, I have an excellent answer to that question, which I am making up even as I type this.

  • Race Becomes a Relay: The race shall be raced as a relay, with each person on each team racing three laps, for a total of six laps per team. (Six shall be the number, and the number shall be six. Five is right out.)
  • Donut Eating: Prior to embarking on her or his lap, the racer may enter The Donut Zone, where she or he may eat as many donuts as she or he likes. Each donut will be worth a certain amount of time deducted from the team’s total time. Any barfing, hurling, or otherwise upchucking of donuts will result of all time for the donuts eaten in the Donut Zone during that lap to be re-added.
  • Racing: After completing the course, the racer hands the team baton to her or his teammate, who then may proceed on the next lap.

Pretty darned easy.

GF Kit-8_2_1 (2).jpegThe Prizes Remain Awesome

If you haven’t already — and maybe even if you have already — donated, you should. I’ll explain what you might win in a second, but first, the links:

For every $5.00 donated, each donor will win a chance at fabulous prizes, to be provided by BikeMonkey.

The Grand Prize shall be an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2013 (not the 2012, obviously, because it will be too late for that) Levi’s Gran Fondo, including registration in the ride, airfare, hotel, attendance at the VIP dinner, and the small-group ride with Levi. This prize will be given to a person drawn at random from the pool of people who donated to the winning racer.

The First Prize shall be two entries into the 2013 Gran Fondo, along with participation in the small-group ride with Levi. This prize will be given to a person drawn at random from the pool of people who donated to the winning racer.

Runner Up Prizes shall be drawn from both the pool of people who donated to the winning and losing racers, so that everyone will have a chance to win something, even if you did make the mistake of voting for Levi. Ha.

The prizes will include the following:

  • A complete Gran Fondo kit
  • Another complete Gran Fondo kit
  • A Gran Fondo jersey, signed by Levi Leipheimer
  • Yet another Gran Fondo jersey, also signed by Levi
  • A Gran Fondo Specialized Propero II helmet
  • Yep, another one of those Gran Fondo helmets just like the other one
  • A Gran Fondo messenger bag
  • Ditto on that previous one.

Where Does the Money Go?

100% of the money raised by your donations will be split between the following really great foundations:

  • Forget Me Not Farms – Local farm for at-risk youth to connect with animals and nature in a therapeutic and healing way.
  • VeloStreet – Dedicated to improving cycling resources in Sonoma County and throughout California
  • Livestrong – Working to connect those living with cancer with medical, community and financial resources.

Things Could Continue to Change

This is such a strange race. It continues to evolve and become more interesting minute by minute. I gotta say, I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out.

Thanks for playing along, and I hope you win. And now, one more time, the donation pages:

I Hereby Challenge Levi Leipheimer to a Bike Race

09.18.2012 | 1:38 pm

A Note from Fatty: Just to make sure you don’t lose interest and fall asleep before you get to the end of this post, you should note that toward the bottom of this you’ll find a cool way to win a trip to the 2013 Levi’s Gran Fondo. So if you want to just get straight to the donating and potential winning, here are the links you need:


Sometimes, I really think I should just abandon social media altogether. I just don’t have a knack for it. I mean, I finally have time to catch up on the latest big stage races — Tour of Utah, Tour of Colorado (or, as it’s correctly titled, “The Super Duper Pro Wacka Wacka American Tour Challenge of Bravery and Stuff”) — and I notice that in spite of his advancing years (Fact: Levi Leipheimer is the first person in the world to concurrently hold a pro cyclist license and an AARP membership), Levi did pretty darned well.

So, being the kind of person I am, I decided to tweet a sincere and heartfelt congratulations to him, figuring that the person he has on staff who knows what the Internet is would read it to him, and then Levi might mail me a card and a $5.00 bill on my birthday.

But instead, the following happened. Read on, and find yourself as shocked and dismayed as I am:






















You see what I mean? I go and try to be kind to a senior citizen, and suddenly I’m roped into racing him.

This puts me in an awkward position, because his AARP status notwithstanding, Levi is in fact a professional cyclist, while I am merely a hobbyist cyclist / beloved and award-winning blogger / highly-regarded IT analyst / reigning singlespeed champion of the Leadville 100 MTB race / father or stepfather to more kids than in the Brady Bunch.

Obviously, in order for the race to be fair, there needs to be a balancing effect applied to the rules.

Hence, I am pleased to announce the following:

Fatty VS Levi: The Race

On Friday, September 28 (the day before Levi’s GranFondo), at 2:00pm at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa, CA (corner of College Ave and Stony Point Road), Levi Leipheimer and I will engage in a three-lap race. Or it might possibly be five laps. Could be seven laps, too, I suppose. But four is right out.

Just Levi Leipheimer and me. Mano-a-mano, as it were.

In order to ensure that the bike race is fair to me, the race will have an eating component in it. Specifically, the race will — much like the Utah Tour de Donut — be a three-lap race, with an opportunity after the first and second lap for each participant to eat as many donuts as the participant chooses.

For each donut eaten, the participant will have a certain amount of time — to be determined on race day by BikeMonkey, and proportionate to the course distance — deducted from his total race time.

The person who finishes with the final adjusted course time wins.

[Note: In order for this race to be fair to Levi Leipheimer, racers may choose to substitute one of Dr. Lim's rice cakes for a donut. Or a bottle of Ensure. ]

What Is At Stake

If I win this race, Levi must do the following:

  • Wear a propeller beanie for the rest of the Gran Fondo, including during the ride.
  • During the live panel for The Levi Effect — which will be broadcast hither and yon for the whole world to see — say something along the lines of, “You’ll have to excuse me, I’m a little winded. I just got my ass handed to me in a bike race with Fatty of the awesome fatcyclist.com blog.”
  • Consent to a live interview on the Fat Cyclist blog sometime during the year of 2013, discussing a topic of my choosing.

If — as remote as the possibility seems — Levi wins the race, I will do the following:

  • Wear a jersey of Levi’s choosing during the Gran Fondo
  • Submit to a painful and humiliating headlock and noogie
  • Provide a commentary audio track for “The Levi Effect” video when it comes out

How You Can Get In On the Action

I suspect that practically everyone will agree that it is a foregone conclusion that I will win this race. Certainly, I am of that opinion myself.

However, I can imagine that some people might — whether it be because of naivete or simple foolishness — disagree.

People will therefore have the opportunity to put their money where their collective mouths are.

Two donation pages be set up at the Gran Fondo site:

For every $5.00 donated, each donor will win a chance at fabulous prizes, to be provided by BikeMonkey.

The Grand Prize shall be an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2013 (not the 2012, obviously, because it will be too late for that) Levi’s Gran Fondo, including registration in the ride, airfare, hotel, attendance at the VIP dinner, and the small-group ride with Levi. This prize will be given to a person drawn at random from the pool of people who donated to the winning racer.

The First Prize shall be two entries into the 2013 Gran Fondo, along with participation in the small-group ride with Levi. This prize will be given to a person drawn at random from the pool of people who donated to the winning racer.

Runner Up Prizes shall be drawn from both the pool of people who donated to the winning and losing racers, so that everyone will have a chance to win something, even if you did make the mistake of voting for Levi. Ha.

The prizes will include the following:GF Kit-3 (3)_9_1.jpeg

  • A complete Gran Fondo kit
  • Another complete Gran Fondo kit
  • A Gran Fondo jersey, signed by Levi Leipheimer
  • Yet another Gran Fondo jersey, also signed by Levi
  • A Gran Fondo Specialized Propero II helmet
  • Yep, another one of those Gran Fondo helmets just like the other one
  • A Gran Fondo messenger bag
  • Ditto on that previous one.

Where Does the Money Go?

100% of the money raised by your donations will be split between the following really great foundations:

  • Forget Me Not Farms – Local farm for at-risk youth to connect with animals and nature in a therapeutic and healing way.
  • VeloStreet – Dedicated to improving cycling resources in Sonoma County and throughout California
  • Livestrong – Working to connect those living with cancer with medical, community and financial resources.

What If You Want To Watch The Race?

Frankly, this race is going to be a bit of a blowout. I really just don’t see how there’s any possible way Levi could beat me. But you know, it might be interesting to watch, just so you can see me absolutely and completely dominate this event.

So, if you’re gonna be in Santa Rosa on the 28th — like, if you’re going to be doing the Gran Fondo or you just happen to really like Santa Rosa because it’s a great town — you can come watch the race.

Where: Finley Center in Santa Rosa, CA (corner of College Ave and Stony Point Road)

When: Friday, September 28 (the day before Levi’s GranFondo), at 2:00pm

Admission: Free

There will be schwag tossed out, there will be prizes (like maybe an opportunity to go to the premiere of The Levi Effect later that day), and there will be some very interesting opportunities for people who think they deserve a chance at this race. But you’ll need to bring your checkbook if you want to race. (All money will go to the charities listed above).

There will also be some very cool — and fast — surprise guests. I’ll say no more, for the time being.

Even though I want to, really bad.

And for those of you who can’t be there, I’ve asked the BikeMonkey folks to bring some video cameras to the race. We’ll put it on the blog sometime soon after. So you’ll get to see it.

As many times as you want.

PS: You should totally donate on my page, because I’m going to win, and you definitely want to be on the winning team.

« Previous Entries     Next Page »