Actions and Consequences, Part I

09.8.2013 | 11:38 am

A Note from Fatty: I’m in a real time crunch for the next two weeks, day job-wise. I’m starting early and working late. But I don’t want the blog to go dark for that long so I’m going to try something a little different: short posts that take me no longer than 30 minutes to write. Today, I’m kicking off a multi-part story with short installments; I’m interested in knowing what you think: when work demands get huge for me, would you rather have longer installments less often, or do you like this frequent-but-short post  format?

My alarm went off at 5:30am: the “Ascending” ring tone, as always.

I’ll never be able to hear that sound again without getting the unpleasant Pavlovian “time to wake up” jolt. But this time it was worse. I hadn’t been able to go to sleep until around 3:00am: job stress keeping me awake.

“Please,” I said to The Hammer. “I can’t get up yet. I need another hour of sleep.”

In the three-ish years we’ve been married, this was the first time I’d ever asked for more sleep — and hence a delay in our ride start time — so she knew it wasn’t a casual request.

“OK,” The Hammer said. I set the alarm for 6:30 and went back to sleep instantly.

That was the first thing that happened last Saturday that affected the craziness of last Saturday’s ride.  And I’m still not sure if that’s what saved us…or if it’s what put us in jeopardy in the first place.

The Next Delay

6:30 came around in approximately one hour. (I just thought I’d point that out for those of you who are unclear on the way time works.) But it seemed like less. Still, I didn’t really feel like I could beg another hour of sleep time, and I wanted to get going.

After all, we had 200 miles to ride.

Why so far? Well, we’re getting ready for the Salt to Saint race, which is now fewer than two weeks away. This is, for most people, a relay-style race (similar to the Rockwell Relay, but with a different route and slightly different rules). 420-ish miles, on the back roads from small town to small town, from Salt Lake City to Saint George. 

And here’s the thing: We’ll both be riding it solo. Oh, and have I mentioned that The Hammer, should she succeed, will be the first woman to do this race solo? 

So that’s kind of cool.

And this was our final big ride, more to give us the confidence that we could just ride our Specialized Shivs all day than for any other reason. 

We got up and I got our bikes ready while The Hammer made us breakfast: scrambled egg burritos, our traditional pre-big-ride food. We stuffed our jerseys with Honey Stinger Chews (the new Cherry Cola flavor is my new favorite) and two-bite pies The Hammer’s made from recipes in Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes. (We’re figuring that we need to stick with as much real food as possible if we’re going to be riding and eating for thirty hours, straight.)

Oh, and I brought a debit card so I could buy Coke whenever we passed a gas station. “There shall be no gas station we pass from which I do not buy a Coke!” I decreed, with great valor and emotion, at the beginning of the ride.

We got going.

And then, less than half a mile from home, I remembered something.

“Hey,” I said to The Hammer. “The last time we went out on the Shivs, your saddle was kind of loose — it started tilting back. Did I fix that?”

It was a bogus question. I knew I hadn’t fixed it.

“No, I don’t think you fixed it,” The Hammer answered.

“Let’s turn around and get that saddle tightened down, and then I’m going to bring a hex wrench to tweak it during the day in case we don’t get it just right,” I said.

So we turned around and headed home, tightened down the saddle, and were off again, adding another fifteen minutes — and an extra mile — to the beginning of our ride.

Much later in the day, we’d spend hours talking about what would have happened if I hadn’t slept in. If we hadn’t turned around and made a minor fix to her bike.

And that’s where we’ll pick up tomorrow.


  1. Comment by Scott | 09.9.2013 | 9:30 am

    My vote: short segments more frequently. (but if you need the extra sleep take it over the blog, I will forgive you!)

  2. Comment by wharton_Crew | 09.9.2013 | 9:49 am

    Short is good. I have to say that this story sounds ominous already – hope no one had a near death experience or something like that! And 200 miles in one day is crazy – like those Lotoja folks!

  3. Comment by Daniel Weise | 09.9.2013 | 9:51 am

    I’m all for the short format, frequent posts option myself.

    Loving the story so far with its sense of foreboding!


  4. Comment by andy@wdw | 09.9.2013 | 9:55 am

    As much as I hate encouraging you to give us more gripping cliff hangers, going without my daily Fatty fix is worse. I vote for more but shorter posts, with the reminder that Team Fatty understands that your health, your family, and your real job always come before us. :-)

  5. Comment by leroy | 09.9.2013 | 10:03 am

    In keeping with the proprietor of this blog’s instruction to provide detailed ride reports (and to add content while he is busy), here is my report for this past weekend.

    I rode a Fondo in full Fat Cyclist kit. The Fat Cyclist kit caused strangers to smile and wave, others to take photos of me, and another rider on the roll out to whisper “Make Fatty proud.” My dog refers to this phenomena as “gilt by association.”

    During the ride, I did my best to make Fatty proud by eating:

    – 2-1/2 sandwiches (PB&J)
    – 1 Brownie (perfectly chocolate)
    – 1 energy gel (too chocolatey)
    – Fruit (sliced peach, sliced orange, banana)
    – 1 gelato (vanilla)
    – 1 flying insect (species unknown)

    My strategy worked well except for the gelato. I attacked too early, not waiting to hear the full list of available flavors. I missed the pistachio. Rookie mistake.

    I also finished within the top ten in my age group on the timed climbs. My dog told me he was impressed that there were 10 riders my age.

    I’m not sure I understand what he means. My time would have given me a higher placement in the group of riders younger than me and a top ten finish in the group younger than that. There were more than 240 riders in these three groups.

    I think my dog is just jealous he missed the gelato.

    The weather was perfect. Not like yours.

    I should hire you to guest-post for me, Leroy. You have a gift. – FC

  6. Comment by Kel | 09.9.2013 | 10:11 am

    Short is great…. always leaving us in suspense. Take care and happy cycling!

  7. Comment by GenghisKhan | 09.9.2013 | 10:15 am

    Short and frequent with precipice-like cliffhangers at the end and a priority for your health, wealth and well-being!

  8. Comment by Turn The Damn Cranks | 09.9.2013 | 10:16 am

    This calls for free verse!

    Longer or shorter?
    Frequent or rare?
    Give Fatty advice?
    Do I dare?
    Longer and frequent seems best by far.
    But does shorter and frequent beat long and infrequent?
    This is a problem for great minds.
    Which mine is not.
    Nevertheless, opine I shall.
    Frequent is always better, pal.

    Thank you.

  9. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 09.9.2013 | 10:19 am

    Bring ‘em Fatty!

  10. Comment by SteveB | 09.9.2013 | 10:21 am

    Cliff Hangers! I love being left in suspenders.

  11. Comment by Linda | 09.9.2013 | 10:32 am

    vote short!! I can get away with reading shorter ones at work easier :)

  12. Comment by Anonymous | 09.9.2013 | 10:34 am

    My vote: Shorter, daily blog posts.

    By the way, I’m guessing this adventure has something to do with the torrential rain that hit your hood on Saturday.

  13. Comment by Josh | 09.9.2013 | 10:36 am

    My vote: Shorter, daily blog posts.

    By the way, I’m guessing this adventure has something to do with the torrential rain that hit your hood on Saturday.

    Weather does play a part. But not the only part. – FC

  14. Comment by MattC | 09.9.2013 | 10:38 am

    I’m ok either way Fatty…though I have to say that more frequent short posts give us a fresh playground to ‘comment’ (knowing you’re busy we amuse ourselves)… which is a good thing to have cuz there are a few of us out here who are kind’a chatty…(Yes, I’m talking to YOU David!…which is kind’a funny in a pot calling the kettle black ironic sort of way).

    With that said, I hereby change my vote from either/or to shorties.

    MattC says it; that settles it. – FC

  15. Comment by Jim Tolar | 09.9.2013 | 10:40 am

    Dang it, FatMan, I hate endorsing the many&short option because it just encourages you to hook me early (succeeded) and then drop me (also succeeded). But if it’s that or nothing, I choose that.

    200 miles on 3 hours of sleep? Gaaaah.


    I know, but it’s good practice for a couple weeks from now, when I’ll ride 30 hours with no sleep. – FC

  16. Comment by Steve in NoVA | 09.9.2013 | 10:41 am

    I have an addiction to reading your blog. So frequency is preferred. Gotta get my fix!

  17. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 09.9.2013 | 10:56 am

    I vote for short!!! Reading everyday starts my day off always with a smile!!

  18. Comment by Liz M. | 09.9.2013 | 11:11 am

    I vote for whatever works best for you, Fatty! Although I am very sorry to hear you have a time crunch at work in your final days before this big event. Fate has a bizarre sense of humor sometimes.

  19. Comment by ScottR | 09.9.2013 | 11:27 am

    Hey, if shorties are the way to get our Fatty fix, long live the shorties.

  20. Comment by Kristina | 09.9.2013 | 11:36 am

    Another vote for short but frequent. I generally check your blog at what I think is around noon your time; you pretty much always have your post up by then. And even though I KNOW that, if there’s no post, I check back repeatedly to see if maybe THIS time, you’re posting later in the day.

    If you post short daily sections of a story, maybe I can read those and stop compulsively double-checking!

  21. Comment by Trey Jackson | 09.9.2013 | 11:45 am

    Short and frequent please!

  22. Comment by Drew | 09.9.2013 | 11:50 am

    I love the ride report/story focus this blog has taken in the past while. Love it.

  23. Comment by barton | 09.9.2013 | 12:12 pm

    The dreaded, “Just one more hour” has kept me off the bike a lot this summer (because it always turns into 3 hours, and by then the roads/trails are packed with people and I start to lose my voice saying “on the left”). Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.

    Cannot wait to read about your 200 miler. Shall we start calling you a radonneur?

  24. Comment by MattC | 09.9.2013 | 12:24 pm

    Hey…I thought you said you were going to be BUSY! Apparently you have enough time to be reading blogs (comments)…GRIN! Just bustin’ ur chops Fatty (now get back to work!)

    Can hardly wait to read about your 30hr ride. Just can’t imagine that. You are (will be) DA MAN! (and hopefully you will have photographic evidence showing us the change in your ‘appearance’ throughout the 30 hrs).

  25. Comment by Cody | 09.9.2013 | 12:36 pm

    Short and sweet please. What with a day job of my own, it’s much more accessible that way! (rather than just bookmarking all of the stories and waiting to the weekend)

  26. Comment by Lea | 09.9.2013 | 12:56 pm

    Short, frequent posts are preferred. I agree w/ Cody’s comment.

  27. Comment by Heidi | 09.9.2013 | 12:56 pm

    Short and sweet, please. Hey, that’s just like me!

  28. Comment by Patty in Portland | 09.9.2013 | 1:01 pm

    What they said. :-) I have nothing to add, except that I go into Fatty Withdrawal when you have to post infrequently. I mean, how can I keep getting inappropriate ambitions without you?

  29. Comment by Saso | 09.9.2013 | 1:16 pm

    Short and frequent, builds up the suspense.

  30. Comment by centurion | 09.9.2013 | 1:18 pm

    Short, sweet, and everyday.
    I too rode a Fondo yesterday. And I saw a guy riding in full Fatty kit. Small Fatty world. I didn’t think it was a wisper. Maybe I was out of breath already?

  31. Comment by Jeff Bike | 09.9.2013 | 1:26 pm

    It sounds unanimous, Looks like sort and frequent are by far most preferred. Addict fixes and self entertaining, we are an interesting lot!

  32. Comment by KevinM_IN | 09.9.2013 | 2:12 pm

    My vote is short but frequent posts …. And Fatty …. Get your rest, don’t let stress of work spoil a ride.

  33. Comment by ifarrell | 09.9.2013 | 2:15 pm

    Wait…. You are going out for a 200 mile ride, and you don’t normally bring a multi tool with a hex wrench???!!!???

  34. Comment by Papa Bear | 09.9.2013 | 2:33 pm

    Ooooh, ominous. I can’t wait for the next installment. Also, if stress is getting to be too much, you should go do something physical. Like ride a bike or something. Just saying.

  35. Comment by TexasPudge | 09.9.2013 | 2:42 pm

    Hey Fatty,

    Any word on when the kits will be shipping?

    Around the week of Sept 20. – FC

  36. Comment by rich | 09.9.2013 | 2:51 pm

    I vote you quit your job so you can focus more on us and our needs….it IS afterall about us you know…
    If that’s not really an option, I guess more, shorter posts is better than the waiting…

  37. Comment by UpTheGrade SR CA | 09.9.2013 | 2:52 pm

    My vote: Whatever works for your life at the moment FC – I really appreciate the humorous cycling insights and anecdotes you bring me daily, but I can amuse myself reading from the archives if you’re too busy sometimes.
    My humble weekend story:
    I got an early ride in on Saturday as part of my conditioning build up for Levi’s Gran Fondo (doing the full Gran route this year), and coming down a steepish hill, I came screaming around a bend to find a large stag taking a defiant position in the middle of the road (I wasn’t going that fast, I was just screaming in fright). I was imagining myself impaled on the stag’s multiple prongs as my back wheel fishtailed around and I wrestled to slow the bike and maintain control. I was almost upon him and he hadn’t budged, as I picked a side and went for it. Simultaneously, he picked a side and went for it. Fortunately for me, we picked opposite sides and slid by one another. It wasn’t even a place I would expcect to see a deer, and a car had passed me just shortly before (perhaps that had statled the stag into the road?) Anyway, I am now an even more nervous decender than before, but luckily a live one, and the lucky stag doesn’t have to wear me as a Fat Cylist ornament.

    Hope to see you at the Fondo, or Tour De Donut if you and Levi are doing that this year. Good luck to you and the Hammer on your insane 30 hour ride.

  38. Comment by DavidV | 09.9.2013 | 3:01 pm

    I am down with whatever you can give us!

    I’d love a review from The hammer about the Feed Zone stuff. What recipes she uses, etc.

  39. Comment by Dale Huzar | 09.9.2013 | 3:16 pm

    I love the cliff hanger format!

  40. Comment by AKChick | 09.9.2013 | 4:20 pm

    I like posts so shorter posts are okay with me. Thank you for doing that. I know how it is to be busy and try to find time to write. I’m going on day 7 of work in a row with no relief in site until 4pm Thursday when my proposal is due (you notice I took 10 minutes to read the post and to comment though?). :)

    Also, love cliffhanger!

  41. Comment by AKChick | 09.9.2013 | 4:21 pm

    Also @leroy is AWESOME SAUCE!!! Oh please guest post for Fatty when he is unavailable. You are a hidden gem!!!

  42. Comment by Tes | 09.9.2013 | 4:22 pm

    I agree with Rich.

  43. Comment by Jenni | 09.9.2013 | 4:44 pm

    short and frequent, indeed.

  44. Comment by Li-Chin's Hubby | 09.9.2013 | 4:46 pm

    Short format please, thank you.

  45. Comment by roadrash | 09.9.2013 | 7:02 pm

    @UpTheGrade: Glad to hear your Deer zigged when you zagged. I had a similar experience with a defiant Moose in the middle of a descent in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I still remember what the Moose smelled like as I hurtled past: Mangy and wet.

  46. Comment by Justin L. | 09.9.2013 | 8:30 pm

    I will take shorties, can’t go a whole week without your entertainment. I will go to the website several times a day, bored wondering why you are not posting

  47. Comment by Mike m | 09.9.2013 | 8:46 pm

    Shorter post more often.

  48. Comment by Jerry Pringle | 09.9.2013 | 9:29 pm

    Anything that is best for you – I enjoy the cliffhangers, so more often is a more fun. Thanks!

  49. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.9.2013 | 9:51 pm

    shorter, frequent.
    MY weekend ride:
    -Up at 5:30 am, NO extra sleep. Left home at 6:30, with message for the family to follow with bike rack & picnic – I knew they would all sleep in without my micromanageharassmant. They did.
    -Rode towards the beach (80 miles away), over the Coast Range in the fog.
    -Sun on the coast side. Yay!
    -Pipped at the line – Family caught my breakaway at mile 69.
    -Lunch at Rogue Brewery. yum!
    -Rock hopping to end of Newport, Oregon North Jetty – with boys & dog while wife napped – rubbery Legs!
    -Dinner over open fire.
    Good day.

  50. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.9.2013 | 10:54 pm

    Short’s good, it fits you.

  51. Comment by Global Grammar Society CEO | 09.10.2013 | 3:09 am

    I grant you permission to write “less than two weeks.”
    Time is an uncountable noun, despite our attempts to divide and corral it.

    Also, great suspense! Your writing skills give you the potential to give the whole day job away, should you want to sleep in a bit more.

  52. Comment by KenKoz | 09.10.2013 | 4:27 am

    I vote for the smaller, daily ditties. In order to help you out, here is a ride story from the Ohio Tour de Donut (sorry for the length):

    Here is my ride story from last Saturday’s Tour de Donut (Ohio version) that took place in and around Arcanum, Ohio. This was my second time, and I cajoled my wife, Yvonne, into participating as well. Race start was scheduled for 8:30, and we left the house after packing up at about 5:30 (well, I packed up. I woke Yvonne up at 5:05 with “what time did you set your alarm for?” Her response: “I didn’t.” My response: “Oh.”

    For a 32-mile ride with donuts, I don’t need much in the way of food with the exception of a bar and a lot of water. Yvonne made me stop at McDonald’s on the way, and sausage McMuffins were enjoyed. Luckily, they didn’t “come back” to haunt us.

    This ride has close to 1500 people in both the Donut and Mini-Donut (16 miles) races. There is a costume contest and a kid’s race prior to the start, with the local high school band playing the National Anthem, and I think there is a ceremonial “first donut” eaten, but I was too far away from the start to see it.

    Start of the race. It took us 2 minutes to get to the start, but luckily we have timing chips, so no big deal. I ride a bit more than Yvonne, but she is one of those people who can just start a physical activity and be great at it. She refuses to wear cycling shoes, but has no trouble keeping up except on the hills. There is only one small “hill” on this ride that goes in and out of the first donut stop. We hit that donut stop pretty quickly while averaging around 18mph, which is very good for me.

    Last year I ate 12 donuts and almost spewed during the last 5 miles. This year, I only ate 3 donuts total and felt a lot better. Yvonne ate one per stop. As we were heading south over the latter part of the course, the wind picked up a bit, but you can’t complain with blue skies and 65 degrees for most of the ride.

    Not a lot of suspense with this ride – eat donuts and ride your bike. We obviously were not big donut eaters this year, but I did see that a tandem couple put down 26 of them. Yow. These are fairly large, yeasty, donuts with a lot of glaze. 26 seems almost impossible.

    How did we finish? Not bad, but nothing special for me, but Yvonne, even with only eating 2 donuts, finished 38th with her “donut adjusted time,” and 43rd overall (32nd in her age group – 19 to 50). My finishes were 201 out of 608 overall, 63 out of 211 in my age group – 51 and over – and a donut adjusted finish of 85 out of 211. Our times were 2:06 overall, and we spent 18 minutes eating our donuts (so around 1:48 actually riding – 17.1 mph average). That proved to be our undoing as we actually lost time when eating instead of improving our positions. Next year, I’m going to up the donut total to 6 and hopefully only use 10 minutes to do it. That should move us up a few places. A little more “training” should be in order.

    These Donut rides are great fun, as most of us have read with Fatty’s stories about the Utah version. I heartily recommend trying one if you are at least the bit curious. The URL for the Ohio race is

  53. Comment by Libby | 09.10.2013 | 9:53 pm

    I’m vote is for the Fatty Shorties (not to be confused with the FC fashion collection).

    My big–and only big-ride of the season is this Saturday. The Gran Fondo Niagara Falls. While I hope to ride on more than 3 hrs. sleep, I will be riding on very little training since Aug. 9 (the Salt Lake fractured wrist) but have been officially cleared to ride with said fractured wrist. There is one mondo hill about 75km into the 124km ride-Effingham it’s called and there is a KOM jersey at stake for the fastest up it. I’m just hoping I’ll last to see and try-er-conquer it. I suggested that they give the jersey to one of the 6+hrs. pack who actually ride up the entire hill without stopping or walking partway. We know one of the elite riders will get it, so why not something for us wannabes? At least it would be a carrot for us!

    If those of you in the eastern States hear a loud wheezing and whimper coming from the north, don’t fret, it’s just me and I’m working my way up THE hill.

    I bought my Roubaix (“it’s red so it’s fast”) for this ride so I just HAVE to ride-right?

    BTW there is another book by those two dudes- “The Feed Zone Cookbook-Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes”. Both have tasty stuff. Our drink of choice is by Skratch Labs…an Allen Lim company (

  54. Comment by Tom Stephens | 09.12.2013 | 2:00 pm

    I don’t even have to read the stories to tell you the more often, with less content is my preference.


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