Twenty: A Photo (and Video) Essay

11.19.2015 | 7:45 am

Somehow, I had become that guy

We were on the second day of The Core Team Fall Moab (Fiscal 2016), Twentieth Anniversary Edition, and I was splitting my time between complaining about the trail and suffering in silence, which is even worse than complaining.

Yeah. I was that guy.

How had this happened?

Well, that’s easy. We were on a trail that was way too technical for me (which I had known before we had embarked on this ride), so I was walking about 70% of this ride-in-sarcasm-quotes.

Sure, I had tried to solve the problem before it began. Indeed, I had, in the spirit of proactiveness, proposed a variation on the ride that is more suited to me. One with more climbing and conversational riding, and with fewer twenty-foot drops down the Cliff Walls of Death.

I had been summarily overruled: “Sure, ride whatever you want, but this is what we’re doing.”  

I capitulated. And as a result, I had endo’d four times during the day, along with two other crashes. 

But hey, at least I was with my friends — many of whom I’ve now been riding with for twenty years, more or less. And I had to admit (except when I was being grumpily petulant) that’s pretty awesome.

And since there was no possible way I was going to be doing these Monster Drops of Doom, I could at least be the guy who took pictures and the occasional video.

Which I did. Sometimes with good results (and sometimes with no results at all, which I’ll explain later).

I shall now show you some of those pictures and videos, along with appropriate commentary.

How It Started

If there’s a center to the core team, it’s Bobby G Bringhurst. 

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The day before the drive to Moab, I picked him up at the airport (he lives in Seattle), and we went to Racer’s, where he picked up his Gary Fisher Rig, a fully-rigid steel singlespeed.

“You should know,” I told him, “that in the past year or so, we’ve pretty much all independently flipped the switch: we’re riding SRAM one-by-eleven drivetrains. All of us have moved to front suspension, and many of us have moved to full suspension.”

If there’s ever been a certain sign of aging, that was definitely it.

Luckily for Bob, I have a couple bikes and am, more or less, the exact same height as he is. Which meant Bob would have the option of riding a fair number of geared bikes, all of which had front suspension, and one of which had full suspension.

We loaded several bikes onto the Bikemobile, picked Dug up, and headed to Moab. 

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Yes, the Bikemobile (now eight years old), as currently outfitted, can easily carry six bikes (without destroying any of them if I accidentally pull into a garage).

Dug brought a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies he had just made. True fact: Everyone who has ever tried them acknowledges that Dug makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

I ate most of the cookies before we even got to Moab. It’s the off-season, after all, and I still have a ways to go before I’m forced to start wearing XXL jerseys.

Photos and Videos of Middle-Aged Men on Bikes

Here’s a question for you: when you have a largish group of people meeting up at a place several hours away for a ride, what are the odds that everyone will get there at more or less the same time, ready to ride?

Furthermore, what are the odds, during a three-day weekend of riding, that everyone will continue to show up on-time and be ready to roll when it’s time to roll?

Whatever the odds are, that’s what we did. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we’ve all been riding a long time and know what it’s like to have to wait at a trailhead…and to be the guy who is waited for at the trailhead.

In other words, we showed up, got our bikes out, and rode. For all three rides of the weekend. No drama, no fiddling.

Maybe that’s a small part of why everyone in the Core Team is still in the Core Team. 

Bob, seeing which way the wind was blowing, borrowed a Cannondale Scalpel, which I have not yet returned to Cannondale (I’m currently working from the premise that if I don’t say anything to them for a while they’ll forget about me).

We headed out to ride near Amasa Back, going up the new Hymasa trail  and down Cap’n Ahab. Wonderful trail, all around.

Bob put everything into popping a wheelie. This photo is at the apogee of said wheelie.

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Brad observed, with scorn in his voice, “Never have I seen so much effort put into such a miserable little wheelie.” 

This is Brad, looking scornful. And also: infuriatingly thin.

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Brad, it should be noted, did not get the memo about carbon and gear shifts. He did, however, get the memo about front suspension, and that’s something.


Cori is the newest of the members of the Core Team. Here he is, drinking a beer in the middle of a ride…while reinforcing the point by wearing a jersey with a beer logo on it.

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Cori is — I’m just being completely honest here and hope my fellow Core Team members will not be angry at me for saying so — the most entertaining person in the world to be around during a ride. He is fearless on a bike, and he whoops and hollers in unfeigned joy as he rides. 

Here are a few videos of Cori during the weekend. First, here’s Cori about to kill Ricky as Ricky takes a video of Cori (in other words, I did not take this video; Ricky did):

And here’s Cori hitting a big ol’ three foot drop at speed (again, video credit goes to Ricky):

Of course, Cori is not completely immune to sensible decisions. Here, he gets to the precipice and changes his mind. 

Catching that in slow motion is probably the best thing I have ever done.

After that fall, however, Cori started reconsidering, and decided he would try again. Which forced Brad to be the voice of reason; Brad planted himself at the base of the rollout and refused to move, making it impossible for Cori to kill himself. Only when Cori gave up and came down another way did Brad stand up and move out of the way.

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Cori owes you his life, Brad.

Kenny Jones 2: This Time It’s Personal

When you last heard from my friend Kenny, he was busted. But he’s not anymore. He’s riding again. But something’s different: he’s suddenly riding a big ol’ full-suspension bike (a Pivot Mach Something) with gears and 27.5” ENVE M60 Forty wheels

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And how is he riding? Just fine:

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To show his confidence in Kenny’s recovery and squishy new bikehood, Ricky volunteered to lay at the base of this drop, for Kenny to (hopefully) shoot over:

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To my disappointment, Ricky did not volunteer to continue lying there as I attempted the same trick. 

Which just goes to show: Ricky’s not stupid.

Here’s more Kenny, this time in slow motion and going down something that’s freakishly technical in actuality but which doesn’t look all that impressive thanks to poor camera work:

Oh, here’s another (completely candid and not-posed) picture of Kenny, as he acts as guide to our group, pointing out important trail features on a convenient map:

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The Bifurcation of the Core Team

I’m very very very sad to reveal to you at this point that apart from the videos I showed you already, I don’t have a lot of other cool trick move photos of Brad or Cori. And I have no cool trick move photos at all of Rick, Ryan, or Brad.

No, wait, that’s not perfectly true. I do have this cool video of Ryan, riding a wheelie on Kenny’s bike:

But most of the pictures of Rick, Ryan, and Brad that look like this:

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And this one of Ryan:

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And this one of Dug and Brad socially media-ing, while Bob does windsprints up the slickrock, for some reason:

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Why is this the case? Bifurcation. 

Yes, bifurcation.

See, pretty much the whole weekend, The Core Team would repeat the following process:

  1. Start together.
  2. Kenny, Brad, Rick, Ryan and Cori take off like there’s an emergency or they like going fast or something.
  3. Bob, Dug and I ride at the back. 
  4. Kenny, Brad, Rick, Ryan and Cori get to some place where they imagine it might be interesting to try a couple of moves. They then do these moves, taking no photos. 
  5. Bob, Dug and I arrive about the time the other five have finished up, have eaten, rested, and are ready to go.
  6. Dug quickly executes a move or two while Bob and I look on.
  7. We continue.

Thus, I have numerous photos of Dug and Bob trying lots of moves, like this:

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And this:

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And this:

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The photos I have of the others, on the other hand, mostly look like this:

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Oh, and here’s me:

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I may be slower and less capable than my friends, but I am still very heroic-looking.

I’m already excited for Fall Moab (Fiscal) 2017. I think I’ll bring my recumbent.

And my walker.

PS: Bob has posted his recollections from several conversations held during Fall Moab in his blog. Many but not all of these conversations are safe for work. 


  1. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 11.19.2015 | 9:34 am

    There’s not a ‘fat’ cyclist in the whole group! I’ve become convinced the moniker actually refers to one’s head.

    (Spelling error: ‘Corit to kill himself’ )?

    Envious of where you get to ride, and love how you share with the rest of us.

    Thank you! Spelling error fixed. – FC

  2. Comment by Bobby G | 11.19.2015 | 10:21 am

    The pictures and videos didn’t quite capture how difficult some of those downhill drops Cori, Kenny, and Ryan were pulling off. One of the off-camber moves had to be taken with speed, and they had to skim off the side of a tilted wall right before dropping off a ledge. Amazing.


    * From my perspective, there were 7 fit riders cruising along effortlessly, and I was bringing up the rear at what was for me a race pace. My training regimen needs to be adjusted. I’ll swap out windmills for squat thrusts.

    * If there is a center of the core team, it’s Dug. Or Kenny. Or maybe Rick. Or you. But not Brad.

    * While Ryan did a “wheelie,” I did a “poppa wheelie.” Those are two different and distinct moves, and one is not “better” than the other.

  3. Comment by Jimbo/Rumpled | 11.19.2015 | 11:08 am

    Hard to believe that super fast world famous blogger Fatcyclist is one of the slow ones in a group.
    What races are all those guys winning?

  4. Comment by AKChick | 11.19.2015 | 11:11 am

    LMAOROF! So much awesome in this post. :)

    I agree with DavidH – there are zero, zilch, zip fatties in this bunch (though there may be a few fat heads). :)

    Can you fix this?

    “As a result, the photos I have of But while I do have numerous photos of Dug and Bob trying lots of moves, like this:”

    I’m curious what the photos you have of are. :)

    Thanks for sharing!!! I wish I had a group of friends I could meet up with in the fall to ride. Cept it would be on the road cause all that stuff you guys ride completely freaks me out. :)

    Yeah, sometimes I’ll be working on a sentence in one paragraph, then get interested in a different sentence somewhere else. Happens a lot in photo-heavy posts where I can’t see a lot of the text at once. – FC

  5. Comment by AKChick | 11.19.2015 | 11:13 am

    Crap, not enough latte yet this morning. Can you say bad grammar? I’m curious what you’re trying to say about the photos (or the lack of photos and who and what didn’t get photos) in that sentence. :)

  6. Comment by Corrine | 11.19.2015 | 12:04 pm

    Wow, even though you are a bunch of middle aged guys you are still pretty studdly. Don’t let it go to your heads! Crazy riding!

  7. Comment by ricky | 11.19.2015 | 12:07 pm

    i say this every year and it still holds true – this was the greatest fall moab weekend of all time, with the greatest group of fellas of all time. i want to go back. thanks for being a great sport and indulging us. also, thanks for absolutely shelling us on the road ride from the base of the portal to the highway intersection – i’m still paying the price for trying [and failing] to hold your wheel.

    Next year, I demand that one of the rides in Fall Moab be all about sheer power and endurance (and not being at all about skill), so I can feel better about myself. – FC

  8. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 11.19.2015 | 1:01 pm

    The few times I’ve ridden in that part of the world (Fruita, CO) I swear I’m going to get a MTB. Then I come home and have to deal with roots, mud, steep, rutted… you get the idea. No wonder Bobby G. flies out there. Awesome photos and riding.

  9. Comment by Eric | 11.19.2015 | 1:44 pm

    This looks awesomely terrifying. I’ll stick to easier dirt trails where I won’t break every bone in my body if I fail.

  10. Comment by Christina | 11.19.2015 | 2:20 pm

    I like these posts.

  11. Comment by Aaron | 11.19.2015 | 3:36 pm

    Great post! Could you share more pics showing how you’re carrying the bikes on the BikeMobile above? I need to lug 4+ odd shaped bikes of varying sizes around. I have ideas, but looks like maybe you have it figured out.

  12. Comment by spaceyace | 11.19.2015 | 4:01 pm

    If it makes your middle-aged self feel any better, I’m many years younger than y’all and wouldn’t dream of looking at trails that technical, much less riding them. Fun to watch though!

    Incidentally, I’m passing through Moab soon and have time to stop for a half day and ride…any recommendations for good trails a very non-technical rider can handle?

  13. Comment by MikeL | 11.19.2015 | 4:46 pm

    To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet: “We are growing older now but not up..”.

  14. Comment by MattC | 11.20.2015 | 6:16 pm

    Yeah….Ryan is one of “those guys” (who can wheelie for more than .2 seconds). We (the other 99.998% who can’t) hate you Ryan.

    Looks like a fantastic weekend Fatty and Core-Team! Thanks for sharing! Makes me want to get out and RIDE! (which I will do first thing TOMORROW).

  15. Comment by John Cattrall | 11.29.2015 | 1:04 am

    Nice photos! I found learning this kind of stuff on a hard tail was really invaluable in terms of teaching you how to land a drop smoothly.


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