True Grit Epic Race Report: Part 1

03.23.2015 | 11:54 am

A Note from Fatty: The prologue to this story is here

The good thing about getting to the starting line of a race with no time to spare is that you also have very little time to fret. So with the ninety-or-so seconds I had before the race began, I did a very abbreviated version of the self-check I do before every race.

  • Do I have my helmet on? Yes. Yes I do.
  • Do I have gloves on? Yes.
  • How about cycling shoes? Brief moment of panic…I don’t remember changing into cycling shoes. Then I remember: today I put my cycling shoes on first thing. I’ve never worn anything but cycling shoes today.
  • Is my bike in a good gear for starting? All too many people don’t ask themselves this question, and as a result start their race with their bike in a ridiculously tall gear (this is not a problem when you have a singlespeed). I lift the rear of my bike and shift into third gear. That should be about right.
  • Do I have food? Yes, about ten Gu Roctane gels, and a small camelbak full of CarboRocket 333. I expect to have to refill the camelbak with whatever is available at the aid station once or twice; otherwise I’m set with everything I need for about 5.5 hours of racing.
  • Do I have sunglasses on? Yes. 

Good enough. If I have forgotten something, there isn’t anything I can do about it at this point anyway.

I breathe.

The guy beside me — who looks to be about fifty pounds overweight, as opposed to my fifteen pounds of overweightness — scoots his bike forward into the narrow slot in front of me.

I laugh in my head, considering what this guy just implicitly said about his opinion of how fast I look. I look back toward The Hammer, giving her my best “I just got totally dissed” look.

As I will confirm later, she has no idea what this look means.

Cimarron Chacon, the race director, yells “Go!” and we do. I’m at the near-back of the line, so have half a minute to wait. I’m not bothered; I know that I have a mile or two of pavement before we hit the road. 

Within ten pedal strokes I’m past the guy who moved in front of me at the starting line.

I slingshot from group to group, moving forward until there’s clear space, then I buckle down and start pushing to get to the next group, up ahead. 

Just before I get there, a group I had unwittingly been pulling along shoots around me and completes the bridge. I laugh; this cracks me up for some reason I am still unsure of. Mostly, I’m just happy to be beginning a new season of racing, I guess.

We hit the dirt, roll for about fifty feet, and wham. We’re on a short, very steep, punishing climb.

This is really good for me.

I punch the lockout — one button gets me a stiff front and rear shock — and stand up, leaving the gear where it was. I like big gears for climbing.

Less than a minute later, I’m at the top of this first little climb, and surrounded by, more or less, the same group of people I’m going to be passing — and getting passed by — for the rest of the day.

Which is where I’ll pick up tomorrow. 

PS: I know, this is a really short installment that doesn’t cover a lot of ground. It’s all I’ve got time for today, though. More tomorrow, I promise. 


True Grit Epic: The Race Report Prologue

03.19.2015 | 11:21 am

A Full Disclosure Note from Fatty: GRO Races provided complimentary entry to The Hammer and me.

I was worried.

That is not unusual; I’m always worried before races begin. But this time, I was worried for a different reason than usual: I was worried because i was afraid of the True Grit Epic course; pre-riding this intensely technical, rocky, 50-ish-mile course a few weeks ago had only underscored this fear.

I was worried that The Hammer would beat me. And while I’m perfectly happy for her to be really fast and beat everyone else in the whole world, I want to be just a little bit faster than she is, due to my fragile male ego. There, I said it. 

I was worried I would get lost. I had heard the course was tricky, and I don’t really know the trails in the area. If it wasn’t well marked, I could easily wind up riding into the ocean (eventually).

And so The Hammer and I showed up early. Partially to make sure we picked up our packets, but mostly because we woke early and had nothing better to do. 

We parked — getting an awesome spot in the parking lot, due to our earliness — picked up our packets, put our numbers on our bikes (I’d be riding the Cannondale Scalpel Team I’ve fallen in love with over the past couple months), and…still had about an hour and a half ’til our race began.

But First, Let Me Take a Selfie

But while the “short” race — only fifty-ish miles of technical mountain biking in mid-March — was 90 minutes away, the 100-mile (two laps of the same course) race was getting ready to begin, and folks were lining up.

Including lots of people I kinda know, or have maybe met, or don’t know but follow on Twitter, or have heard of, or something.

A perfect opportunity for me to get pictures of them. With me.

First, I got a photo of Sonya Looney, the person who would eventually win the pro women’s race with an 8:12:

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Look how happy she is to be seen with me!

Then, Jeff Kerkove, possibly the nicest pro in the entire world:

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Look how happy he is to be seen with me!

And then I saw Kate from St. Louis. I had never met Kate before, but had been told to be on the lookout for her. We had talked for a moment before the race, but I hadn’t realized that she’d be riding the 100-mile race. On a singlespeed. 

For what it’s worth, I had considered doing the 100-mile version of this race…and had then come to my senses and rejected it as too hard.

But Kate from St. Louis — who had just finished getting her PhD and had therefore not had a lot of time for studying — was lining up for the full 100 miles. 

Right at the very second her race began, I got a photo of us:

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Look how happy she is to be seen with me! (Kate’s race story is great, by the way. Read it here.)

Plenty of Time

With the 100-milers gone, I still had a ton of time to kill — a full hour — before the race began. Some of my best friends trickled in:

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From the right, that’s Cori, Kenny, Brad, and…me. They sure seem happy to be seen with me!

I could tell that this was an important race because even Big Bikes Thom of DirtWire.TV was there reporting it. 

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Look how happy he is to be seen with me!



Separated at birth?

OK, let’s move on.

Things were not as cheerful in the outhouse line, which was moving verrrrry slowly. 

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I was sure glad I had plenty of time!

Until There Is No Time at All

Finally, it was time to get lined up for the start. The Hammer and I wandered back to our truck, put on our helmets, Camelbaks and gloves, locked the truck, and were about to ride to the starting line.

When someone came up to us and said, “You’re not allowed to park here. You’re going to need to move your truck.”

My head spun around. The race would be starting in ten minutes. Now I needed to move my truck?

“What?” I said. “There are no ‘no parking’ signs anywhere near here.”

“We forgot to put them up,” he replied. 

“There’s no available parking anywhere near here,” I said. “And my race starts in ten minutes! Where am I supposed to put my truck?”

He didn’t answer; he had moved on to evict the next person.

“I’ll take your bike and go to the starting line,” The Hammer told me. “You go find a place to park.”

Absolutely positive I wouldn’t find a place to park before the race began, I jumped into the truck and began driving, hopelessly looking for a place to park. Amazed and freaked out that after two hours of dawdling, I was about to not make the start.

Three blocks away from the starting line, I finally found a spot on the side of the road. I did the fastest (and possibly poorest) parallel parking job in my life, jumped out, and began speed-walking back to the starting line.

The national anthem started playing on the loudspeaker.

I began running. Now I could see the starting line arch again.

The national anthem ended.

I was almost there. 

“One minute warning!” the race director said over the PA.

I was there. But I couldn’t see The Hammer. I walked back through the line, searching, searching.

“Thirty seconds!”

I saw her. Ran to her. Grabbed my bike. Gasping from panic and my sprint to the starting line.

“You’re in the second wave,” The Hammer told me. “You still have two minutes ’til you go.”

Two minutes. Suddenly two minutes seemed like a vast amount of time. 

I gave The Hammer a kiss and moved forward into my corral (she’d be starting in the next wave), my heart still racing.

I was ready for this race to begin.


03.18.2015 | 11:53 am


A “Don’t Forget to Buy a Jersey” Note from Fatty: The 2015 Fat Cyclist gear pre-order is in full swing. But this isn’t just a pre-order. No indeed. This is a full-on awesome way for you to make a huge difference in people’s lives, because 50% of the proceeds of everything in this pre-order is going to World Bicycle Relief.

Yes, that’s right, you’re simultaneously getting some outrageously nice, Italian-made cycling clothes and you’re making it possible for a child in Africa to get to school, get water, and improve her job opportunities.

That’s pretty darned cool.

Click here for details on all the gear, or click here to go right to my gear catalog.


Like I do about thirty thousand times per day, I was checking my phone, deleting email that I had no intention of reading.

This email consists mostly of press releases about Kickstarters for revolutionary bike products, inquiries about advertising on the site, and pitches for “guest posts.” 

Almost none of this email, sadly, is offers to give me bicycles for free.

“Almost” being an important key word in the above sentence.

So this email caught my eye: 


Like many people, I had in fact entered a contest sponsored by RideBiker Alliance and Cannondale a few weeks ago. But I don’t win drawings. No. I’m the guy who tells other people they win.

So this had to be clever spam. Or some other kind of scam. Right?

Still, there was a phone number, and — after checking to make sure the area code wasn’t to some kind of offshore number where I’d be billed $17.95 per hour — I called, acutely aware for the first time that probably every single person who gets a “you won” email and phone number from me must go through the same set of suspicions.

But it was real. The guy on the other end of the line — who sounded as excited as I always feel when winners call me to find out if this is real — assured me that I had in fact been selected at random to win my choice of a Cannondale Scalpel or FS-I. 

I got off the phone and walked into the kitchen, stunned. 

“I’m pretty sure,” I said, “that I’ve just won a bike.”

And then I spent the night trying to decide which of these two bikes — the Scalpel 29 Carbon 3 and the F-SI Carbon 2 — I wanted more.

And to be honest, I am still not absolutely positively certain. I’ve given a tentative response, but have another day or two to change my mind. I welcome your suggestions in the comments.


I confess to harboring doubts. Even after the phone call, I thought it was possible that I had been fooled. That I had been tricked into revealing personal information I shouldn’t have and now was about to have my bank account drained. (Our family’s just a little sensitive on this issue because we actually were victims of identity theft on a pretty serious scale just a few months ago.)

But then, yesterday afternoon, friends started forwarding this email to me, along with the note “DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST WIN A BIKE?” 

Screenshot 2015 03 17 16 53 15

So yes, it’s officially official. The guy who gives away bikes (I no longer have any idea how many bikes I’ve given away in the lifetime of this blog, but would guess the number is close to 25 or 30) in drawings for good causes…just won a bike, in a drawing, for a good cause.

Karma is awesome.

I’m Keeping It

As you no doubt know, I’m an athlete ambassador for World Bicycle Relief for 2015, and so right now I’m putting pretty much everything I think of through the “how can I use this to help WBR?” filter.

For example, WBR athlete ambassadors get — as a very awesome perk — to pick out a bike to keep. But I’ll be giving that bike away as part of a contest (more about that soon).

So, as you can imagine, upon finding that I was about to get a brand new Cannondale Scalpel or F-SI, I asked myself, “Should I give this away, make it part of a contest?”

And then I remembered: several times, people who have won bikes from me have suggested that they were going to re-contest their prize bikes. And each time, I’ve asked them to please not do that. That when a bike manufacturer gives me a bike to give away, the thing they hopefully get out of that is great publicity from a happy winner.

So — winner’s guilt out of the way — I’m very happy to say that this bike will not be part of a contest. It’s mine. I’m keeping it.

And I’m incredibly stoked to get it and ride it.

One Down, Four to Go


The RideBiker Alliance is a pretty amazing program: get people and companies to work together to support bike clubs across the US. And Cannondale is being very awesome about supporting RideBiker by giving away five bikes with them (mine was just the first!). In fact, they’re giving one away in conjunction with the next four US Cup Pro XC races.

So allow me to recommend you take a moment to learn more about RideBiker, and to enter the contest:  Click here

PS: I seriously am still considering how amazingly surreal this is.

2015 Fat Cyclist Gear Available for Pre-Order!

03.16.2015 | 12:18 pm

A Note from Fatty: If you just want to get straight to the ordering already, click here.

NewImageThis is an exciting time to be a Friend of Fatty. For one thing, this is the year I’m actually officially a World Bicycle Relief Ambassador, so 50% of all 2015 proceeds are going to World Bicycle Relief. We’re going to put a lot of kids on bikes.

And that matters. Because every bike we buy changes at least a few peoples’ lives. Right away, and in a big way. I’ve seen it. I believe it. And I’m excited to be a part of it.

Which makes this a really great year to go with WBR colors — red, black, and white — for all FatCyclist gear. 

This year, I’m also stepping up my FatCyclist gear quality game, having my friends at DNA Cycling bring their top-quality, Italian-made cycling clothing to the Fat Cyclist community. 

I spent a lot of time testing out different fabrics and fit, and I think you’re going to agree that this is the best-made gear I’ve ever sent…at prices that are still in line with what I’ve charged before.

Greater Range in Sizes and Patterns

Instead of a single jersey pattern with sizing topped out at XXL, this year I’m offering two different kinds of short sleeved jerseys: a casual, relaxed-fit jersey, and a race-fit jersey. Both are technical, both are well-made. I’m getting one of each, to be honest. 

But the race-fit jersey if made to be skin-tight, and it’s incredibly lightweight material. It’s going to be your hot-weather, wicktastic, race-your-brains-out jersey.

Meanwhile, the relaxed-fit jersey is going to be what you love as your go-to ride anywhere, anytime jersey. And to be honest, it doesn’t show off extra pounds quite as explicitly.

Regardless of which you choose, there’s men’s and women’s sizing, and a huge range (XXS – 5XL) of sizes. Check out DNA’s sizing charts for info on what’s going to fit you. 


The pre-order for all Fat Cyclist gear starts right now, and ends April 6. 

Products will begins shipping at the beginning of June.


Got a question? Post it in the comments and I’ll answer it (if I know the answer). Or email me at

NewImage RELAXED FIT Short Sleeve Jersey$84.95

You don’t want to be vacuum-packed into your jersey? I totally get that. I’m the same way, most days. This jersey has a comfortable, relaxed fit, making it great for long rides and mountain biking, and just as your go-to good looking jersey.

But just because this jersey doesn’t try to be your second skin, don’t think it isn’t a well-made, high-tech jersey. It is. It’s outrageously high-quality fabric, it de-sweatifies you, it’s made in Italy, and it’s sweet as…well…pie. And it comes in both men and women fit. Nice!


  • Fabric: Hydro Fit
  • Respire Moisture Management
  • Ergo Stretch Performance
  • Front Comfort Banding
  • Relaxed Fit
  • Full Hidden Zip
  • 3 Full Back Pockets
  • Silicon Grippers for Men’s Jersey (ladies jersey does not include silicon gripper)
  • Men’s and Ladies Cuts Available
  • Audio Port

RACE FIT Short Sleeve Jersey$99.95

A form-fitting jersey shouldn’t be this comfortable, according to most clothing manufacturers, as well as the laws of physics. And yet, it is comfortable. And it’s ridiculously light. Like, this will almost certainly be your lightest, most comfortable jersey.


You will wear this jersey so often, in fact — and not just when racing, but when training — that your racing buddies will begin to wonder whether you burned all of your other jerseys.

The cut and fabric of this jersey is, in short, the reason I fell in love with DNA Cycling. Both men’s and women’s fit.


  • Fabric: Light Weight Air Flow
  • Respire Moisture Management
  • Front Comfort Banding
  • Race Fit
  • Full Hidden Zip
  • 3 Full Back Pockets
  • Audio Port

Race Bib Shorts$124.95

The chamois matters. Oh yes, it matters so very, very much. And the chamois these bib shorts comes with by default is really good. Seriously, it’s really, really good.


But I upgraded it anyway.

Why? Because while I was testing out different shorts, I went on one ride where I was suddenly certain I was wearing some $400 bibs. “That’s the Cytech Multi D Comp chamois,” the DNA guy told me.

“This is what we’re using,” I said.

“It’s a little more expensive,” the DNA guy said.

This is what we’re using,” I said. And we are. And you’ll be so glad I made this decision.

These are made in Italy, they fit beautifully, and they feel like they cost about three times as much as they do. And let’s cap this whole thing off with this: both men’s and women’s sizing.

  • Fabric: Performance Lycra / Shield
  • 4 cm Elastic Compression Technology
  • Smart Panel Design
  • Suspension Braces
  • Radio Pocket
  • Cytech Multi-D Comp Chamois

Women’s Shorts: $94.95

Some women don’t want to wear bib shorts. And who am I to argue. These are the same shorts that the DNA women’s pro cycling team wears. 

2ECC46F7 CEDE 42F8 BD28 E7D08A147CFB

And if they’re good enough for the pros, they’re probably good enough for you. 

  • Fabric: Poly Merino Tec Blend
  • Respire Moisture Management
  • Ergo Stretch Performance
  • Relaxed Fit
  • Chamois: DNA HD Ergonomic Chamois

Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey$119.95

Here’s something that’s never made sense to me: long-sleeved jerseys that aren’t any thicker than short-sleeved jerseys. This long-sleeved jersey isn’t like that. It’s fleecy. It’s warm. It’s gloriously comfortable: a little bit looser than race cut — so you can fit a base layer underneath — but not so loose that it flaps around and lets the wind in.

Screenshot 2015 03 16 10 17 55

If you’ve got cold-weather riding ahead of you this Fall and / or Winter, get one of these. Especially if you have a fat bike, because then you’ll have a Fat Cyclist jersey on as you’re riding your fat bike, and I’m almost certain to RT your selfie. Because how could I not?

Screenshot 2015 03 16 10 18 23

  • Fabric: Roubaix Thermal Fleece
  • Ergo Stretch Performance
  • Full Zip
  • 3 Full Back Pockets
  • Silicon Grip
  • Back Reflective Safety Panel
  • “Fight Like Susan” Under-Pocket Detail

Arm Warmers$34.95

I’ve worn some pathetic arm warmers in my time. They look like they ought to keep your arms warm, but instead they just slouch, guiltily, toward your wrists. Which is just as well, because it’s not like they were doing any good on your arms anyway.

EE4F3F91 20AA 4143 8B99 473638886DE7

These arm warmers, on the other hand, are the same Super Roubaix fleece-lined fabric as the long-sleeve jersey I’m so excited about. And they stay up. And they go really really well with the Fat Cyclist jersey. As well as with pretty much everything else you own (Fashion Tip for Ladies: try them with a strapless gown!).

  • Fabric: Super Roubaix
  • Silicon Grip


You’ve killed yourself climbing to the summit, and you’re sweating up a storm. Now it’s time to ride the downhill, which means all of that sweat plus wind is going to instantly give you hypothermia. Which sucks quite a bit.


Except you were smart enough to score this vest, which rolls up nice and small, easily fitting in your jersey pocket on the way up…and saving your bacon on the way down.

  • Wind & Water Resistant Front
  • Hydro Back Fabric
  • Silicon Grip
  • 3 Back Pockets
  • Two Way Zip
  • “Fight Like Susan” Under-pocket detail

5” Performance Cycling Socks$12.95

Of course you can wear these while riding your bike. And you will. But these socks are so snappy that you’ll find yourself wearing them to your place of business. These will, in effect, become your business socks. And you know what that means.


  • Double welt top for comfort and fit
  • Arch support reduces foot fatigue and increases circulation
  • Smooth toe-seam adds comfort
  • Mesh instep aids in breathability
  • Flat-knit construction for an ultra-lightweight fit

Cycling Cap$14.95

This is what I wear instead of having hair. But I have it on good authority that you can wear this even if you have hair.


This traditional Italian cycling cap is made in Italy, which makes it a lot more traditional Italian than most traditional Italian cycling caps.

Oh, and it’s 100% cotton, and one size fits most.


It’s cotton. It’s a t-shirt. It has men’s and women’s sizing. Black because black goes with everything, and it’s slimming.


Plus, there’s the undisputable benefit that when you’re wearing a black t-shirt and working on your bike and you get your hands all greasy, you can wipe your hands right on that shirt with absolute impunity


Team Fatty + The Power of Bicycles. Rock on.

Hoodie: $49.95

Some days, you won’t be able to wear your Fat Cyclist jersey or Fat Cyclist t-shirt. 


On those days, wear your Fat Cyclist hoodie over whatever else you’re wearing. 


Problem solved.

  • Two-tone, marled black yarn
  • 8.3-ounce, 60/40 cotton/poly fleece
  • Black drawcord and inside trim 
  • Metal zipper

Starting Line Affective Disorder

03.11.2015 | 6:41 pm

A Note From Fatty: I know, I said I’d have the full reveal for the 2015 Fat Cyclist gear this week. As it turns out, however, having a full-time job sometimes takes all of my time. All designs are done; I just have to get the online catalog copy written up. Which I will do as I travel to the True Grit Epic (and back) this weekend. So check back first thing, Monday AM. Thanks!

To look at me, you would think I am the very picture of health. I appear robust, possibly excessively so. I am normally gregarious and communicative, happy to exchange pleasantries with friends, family, and strangers alike. More often than not, I sleep soundly and through the night, waking only between five and nineteen times to pee, a number well in line with well-hydrated athletes of a certain age.

I spend eight hours a day at my normal job, during which I put about 2.5 hours of work in, and 5.5 hours of aimless internet surfing. Which I think (based on the fact that you are almost certainly reading this during work hours) you will agree is pretty much normal.

Yes, to witness me on a normal day you would think I am an average man of near-average height and above-average appetite, performing normal activities in a normal way.

And you could not be more wrong. Because I live with and suffer from a dread disease: Starting Line Affective Disorder (SLAD), an ailment all too common amongst cyclists (and other athletes…but I don’t care about them).


The symptoms of SLAD are as terrible as they are pervasive and distressing.

They include:

  • Overactive Urinary Tract: In a typical day, the typical kidney filters approximately 120 – 150 quarts of blood, producing 1 to 2 quarts of urine. When a cyclist affected by SLAD approaches the starting line of a race (or even a non-racing cycling event), the kidneys will produce this same amount of urine per minute. This means you will begin to feel the need to go to the bathroom…before you finish going to the bathroom.
  • Disorientation: Do you belong at the front of the line of the racers, or more toward the back? Perhaps you should work your way toward the middle. Yes, you are a mid-pack racer. No, looking around, the people standing around you are clearly faster-looking than you are. Well, some of them are, anyway. Maybe you should move forward in the line. No, better move back. It’s not like this is going to make any difference in your finishing time in the race anyway. Or maybe it will. Why is everyone starting to look irritated at you?
  • Sudden Realization That One Has No Business Whatsoever Being Where One Is: You get the sense you’ve made a massive mistake coming here today. Look at everyone. They all look so calm, like they race every day of their lives. They’re talking about race strategy, about plans and tactics. Meanwhile all you have is a bottle full of Gatorade and a prayer that the course is well-marked, because you have no idea whatsoever where the turns are. 
  • Accelerated Bowel Activity: Exactly the same as “Overactive Urinary Tract,” except much poopier. And also, more urgent. And harder to conceal, should things go badly. Which they will, very soon, if whoever is currently in the porta-potty doesn’t get a move-on. (Illustration mercifully omitted.)
  • Tachycardia: Racing of the heart. You’re anxious, it’s perfectly normal to be anxious. When you’re anxious, your heart races. This is all perfectly normal. Everything’s going to be just fine. No really, it really is. Fine. Just FINE. Unless your heart jumps out of your chest. Which it seems totally hell-bent on doing, by the way. NO REALLY YOU’RE FINE. Are they ever going to start this stupid race? 
  • Tachy-Talky: The inability to stop talking about the race to anyone in the general vicinity. How much you’ve trained for it. What you’re worried about. What you’re excited about. What the seven different weather apps you just check say about the high temperature and strength / direction of prevailing winds. What your strategy is. How you’ve customized your bike for this race. Detailed descriptions of the insane customizations you’ve seen on others’ bikes. All at 480wpm.
  • Hypo-Talky: The near-complete inability to talk at all. If you open your mouth, you might throw up. What’s there to talk about anyway? You can’t pay attention to these chatterboxes; you’re too distracted. 
  • Sudden Memory Gain: Oh no. The CO2 canister you’re carrying is empty. And you left both your bottles back at the hotel. And you forgot to check your air pressure until right now. And you hate this jersey; the last time you wore it during a race it rubbed your nipples raw. How is it possible that you are remembering all of these things now that it’s too late to do anything about them?
  • Amplified Emotional Response: This is the single most beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” you have ever heard in your life. And these people: they’re all good people. They’re just like you: here because they want to give everything they’ve got. Hundreds of people, all gathered to do their best at something — that is so inspiring. Oh, and now you’re tearing up. 
  • Delusions of Speed: OK, you haven’t really trained as much as you ought to have, leading up to this race. But didn’t someone say that racing is 90% mental? Yeah, someone definitely said that. So if you really put your heart and mind into it, you can have a fast day. Maybe you’ll win, in fact. Why not? Just give everything, and then give a little bit more. And don’t give up. Why would you give up? You’re not a quitter. You’re the guy everyone looks at and says, “That guy is much faster than I expected him to be.” 
  • Regret: No, that’s not true. You’re not going to be miraculously fast. You’re not going to be fast at all. You’re going to be slow; you’re going to lose. You’re going to be DFL. And you know why you’re going to be DFL? Because you didn’t train hard enough. And because you ate too much. It’s not like you didn’t know this race was coming, either. You knew it was coming and you were a pig anyway. And now you’re about to pay the price, plus interest, in public humiliation. (See “Sudden Realization That One Has No Business Whatsoever Being Where One Is.”
  • Irritation: Oh, for pity’s sake. It’s now ten minutes after the hour. If I’d known you were going to start ten minutes late I would have gone to the porta-potty one more time. Just start the race, already.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may suffer from SLAD. In fact, you almost certainly do. Furthermore, if you don’t think you do, you’re either fooling yourself or just really irritating.

I, for example, suffer from all of these symptoms, from time to time (and most of them every time I race).

But don’t despair. There is a cure.


Actually, I was just kidding. There isn’t a cure.

Well, I guess you could stop going to races. But that’s a stupid excuse for a cure and I choose to dismiss it with a roll of my eyes and a poorly-concealed smirk.

The outlook for a cure is bleak, to be honest. Some say that you can reduce the symptoms by racing more often. That you acclimatize to race starts and eventually build up antibodies that resist SLAD. 

As someone who races most every week of the summer and has raced most every week of the summer for several years, I am happy to say that this is complete nonsense. 

The only cure for SLAD is the starting gun firing, at which point most SLAD symptoms immediately vanish…to be immediately supplanted by another disease, commonly known as Racer’s Madness

What to Do If You Are Diagnosed With SLAD

If you suffer from the symptoms of SLAD, you should immediately contact a doctor. Or you could just go ahead and self-diagnose, the way most of us do for most things nowadays.

Once you know you have SLAD, acknowledge it. Embrace it, even. Stop hiding, shamefacedly, from your fellow racers. Stop  pretending you’re not freaked out and about to jump out of your skin. 

Only if we all learn to embrace our SLAD can we ever hope to move beyond it. 

Oh, and also, be sure to get to the venue in plenty of time to make three consecutive trips to the porta potties.

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