Sneak Peek for Monday (Was: the Weekend)

03.6.2015 | 12:23 pm

A Note from Fatty: I’m still working on finalizing the design for some of the 2015 Fat Cyclist gear, and also I’ve got a lot of workish stuff to take care of today. And also I think probably a lot of you didn’t see this last Friday or during the weekend.

But here’s a little extra something for those of you who had visited — what the shorts will look like:

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And yes, there will be women’s bibs too. And women’s shorts. And women’s jerseys. 

And a lot more. 

Meanwhile, check the comments; I’ve answered a lot of questions. And if you have additional questions, ask away; I’ll be checking several times today and will be as non-cagey with my answers as I can be.

Sneak Peek

I’ll have more to show on this next later this week, but a lot of people have been asking about when / whether there’s going to be  new gear this year. 

There is. And (as of this morning), the jersey design is final:

2015 FATCYCLIST.COM Jersey: Front View

I love this design, and I’m very excited to have the World Bicycle Relief logo on the jersey this year, in honor of The Thompsons and me being WBR Athlete Ambassadors this year.

I’ll have a lot to reveal next week, and may even reveal some very cool surprises (like, for example, the way Dave Thompson and I are cooking up a contest together, with an outrageous grand prize).

For now, though, I’m just going to let you spend some time getting used to the awesomeness of the FatCyclist and WBR logos sharing colors and space on a jersey. 

PS: Just in case you’re wondering what the pattern on the bottom part of the jersey is, here’s a detail view:

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The Clipless Pedal Monologues

03.4.2015 | 1:15 pm


A “Great Ride, Great Cause” Note from Fatty: As you probably know, I’m a big fan of BikeMonkey. They put on the amazing Levi’s Gran Fondo, as well as Rebecca’s Private Idaho, as well as Boggs.

As you may (or may not) know, I’m also a fan of fundraising for good causes. Especially when those good causes are for good people (which they pretty much always are). 

And right now, a good Friend of Fatty — Angie Gibson — is working with BikeMonkey to help raise money for a friend’s medical treatment. By creating an awesome ride: Hermano, a 71.4-mile roadirt adventure in Northern California. 

If you can join the ride, do. And if you can’t join the ride, you can still help. Why don’t you kick in a few bucks? Thanks!

The Clipless Pedal Monologues

About twenty years ago — a few scant weeks after I had been persuaded to trade in my rollerblades for a mountain bike — I swapped out my flat pedals for clipless pedals.

I have not stopped conversing about these pedals ever since. Sometimes out loud. Usually in my head. Frequently with (at least) a hint of panic.

And always to myself.

Day 1

OK, right foot’s in. That wasn’t so hard. Let’s go. 

I’m moving. I’m riding with clipless pedals! I think that means I’m an advanced rider now. Except I haven’t found where my left foot needs to go to get it to connect up.

There it is. 

No, that wasn’t it after all. I’ll move my left foot forward a little bit. Huh, it won’t slide. Maybe I’m in after all.

Nope, I can lift my foot off the pedal. Not clipped in.

Why are these called “clipless” pedals anyway? Everyone says you “clip in,” so there’s obviously a clip somewhere in this contraption. Their name is the actual opposite of what they are. That doesn’t bode well for their functionality.

I just felt a scrape — metal on metal. I think my cleat must be touching the pedal. Push…down…harder…and….

I’m in! I’m clipped into my clipless pedals!

I just need to remember when I get to that stoplight: twist my heel out. Before I get to the stop. Not up. Out.

Slowing. Twist! Good, my right foot’s out.

And I’m stopped. And…I’m tipping left.

Twist out! No pull up! Pull up! Up! Up! Up! Why won’t my foot come off my pedal!?


Damn it. I needed to twist out. Not pull up. I knew that. 

Everyone said that would happen. That it happens to everyone.

But I don’t think it happens to most people so publicly. I’m laying here, on my left side. In the road. At a stoplight.

And my bike is on top of me, in such a way that I cannot twist out of this stupid pedal. 

This, I think, must be how an upended turtle must feel. 

Day 2

OK, you’re coming to a stop. You’re stopping. Twist out with all your might. 

You did it. You did it. It’s going to be OK. You don’t need to put training wheels on your bike after all. 

Day 5

Shouldn’t there be an upside to these things? So far, they just make me fall over a lot.

Day 30

Pull up. Pull up. Up. Up up up. Wow, you really do get a lot more power when you pull up. I just need to keep practicing, and soon I’ll have an upstroke that’s automatic.

(Five Minutes Later)

Huh. I seem to have stopped doing an upstroke. When did I do that? Sometime during the past couple minutes, I guess. 

Up. Up. Up. Up.

(One Minute Later)

Seriously, I’ve stopped doing the upstroke again?

Day 75

I just put my foot down, and I didn’t think about it. I just came to a stop, twisted my foot out of the pedal, and put it down and I did it without planning the motion for the previous thirty seconds.

This is a big deal. I think I’m getting the hang of these. Finally.

(Five Minutes Later)

OK, left foot on cleat and push. Nope, didn’t place the foot correctly. 

I wonder if I’ll ever just clip in without thinking about it.

Day 750

Up. Up. Up. Up. You’d think I’d have made the upstroke a habit by now.

Day 3500

OK, push down. Nope, not far enough forward. You’d think that after doing this for ten years I’d know exactly where to put my foot to clip into my pedals, every single time.

Day 5000

Huh. I just realized that I’m pulling up. I have an upstroke habit. And it only took me fourteen years to develop it.

Day 7000

Push in. Nope. Wrong position. I’ll get it on the next rotation. Nope, didn’t get it that time either. There you go.

Well, it’s not like I’ve been trying to learn to clip in right for twenty years or anything. 

Except I have.

Day 7001

Whoah, waah woh…


So I guess this is what an upended turtle (still) feels like.

Snow Day

03.2.2015 | 12:12 pm

You’ll have to excuse my absence for the past several days (and for the next couple of days). You see, I’ve been getting job and family stuff taken care of so that The Hammer and I could head out on our annual anniversary trip. 

You see, tomorrow is our five-year anniversary. Yep, five years.

Five years ago

Every anniversary, we head out to Zion National Park and stay in one of the cabins at the park lodge for a few days. We mountain bike. We road bike. We hike. We run on pavement. We run on trails.

We pretty much do what we love doing together. For us, it’s a perfect vacation. A perfect vacation which requires a huge number of very different kinds of shoes.

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Yes, this is really all the shoes we brought along on our trip. For a fun exercise, see if you can determine the brand and name of each pair of shoes, as well as what activity each pair of shoes is for and to whom each pair belongs.

Right now, however, neither of us is wearing any shoes, because it’s snowing in Zion National Park. A blizzard, basically. Stay-inside weather.

So, not a bad time to sit by the fire and tell you about yesterday’s unexpectedly awesome hike.

Screenshot 2015 03 02 10 30 48

Friends to the Rescue

The Hammer and I reserved our cabin and arranged time off from our jobs months ago, so we watched with increasing dismay as the weather forecast for Southern Utah has turned unseasonably cold and unseasonably wet. But we loaded road and mountain bikes for both of us anyway, as well as shoes for pretty much any occasion.

And a good thing, too. Because our bike shoes have remained unused, and our bikes have remained locked up to the truck, getting colder and wetter as our trips progress. 

On our first day here, though, The Hammer got me out on a run on the road up the canyon to the end of the “River Walk” trail and back to our lodge. We’d guess that it’s about a nine-mile run, though — thanks to a very narrow canyon, The Hammer’s GPS had some trouble getting us a reading, leading to what I consider the most awesome Strava track of all time (check it out soon, cuz The Hammer says she’s going to be deleting it within a couple days).

But the weather didn’t look good for the next few days, and there was just no way I was going to do a big run every day of the trip. I’m just not conditioned for that.

And then Kenny and Heather rescued us, by crashing our anniversary trip.

“Let’s hike the East Rim Trail,” they said. Eleven miles, point to point. None of us had ever done it before, but on paper it looked like a lot of fun.

Paper, as it turns out, didn’t remotely do this beauty of a hike justice.

East Rim

Zion National Park is famous for its cliffs and red sandstone beauty. So it was just a little bit surreal to start our hike in a snowstorm, with the red cliffs covered in snow and us dressed like this:

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What was really great about it, though, was how the snow completely changed the experience of hiking in Southern Utah. The color palette changed from being dominated by reds and browns to white and green.

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A half foot of powder wasn’t enough to make for really slow going, but it was enough to soften and mute our footsteps.

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Somehow, being able to see snow clinging to the walls — and resting at the bottom — of Jolley Gulch made it even more vertigo-inducing.

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Here’s Kenny, contemplating whether rolling a giant snowball off a cliff counts as trundling.

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There’s something really wonderful about hiking with a group of people who are all more-or-less the same temperament and fitness as you. We chatted and laughed the whole time, staying warm by staying in motion. Taking quite a few pictures on the go, but rarely stopping for more than a minute or two for another group selfie.

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What was kind of amazing was how, as we descended 2500 feet in about six miles, the depth of snow gradually decreased, and then disappeared.

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In the end, this trail connects with the Observation Point trail, where all the recent rain has made the moss on the rock walls grow vivid green:

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Total time, about 5:15. A longish, but by no means brutal hike. So unlike what I’ve ever experienced  — or would expect to experience — in this area.

Unexpected awesomeness is sometimes the best kind of awesomeness.

And that’s not even taking into account the “Big Ass Double Burger” with sweet potato fries I ate at Oscar’s afterward.


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