What Should I Ride at Leadville This Year? How About I Let YOU Decide?

07.25.2016 | 1:25 pm

A Tuesday Update from Fatty: So far, the numbers have been a little…shall we say “lopsided”…as to how I should focus my efforts at Leadville:

Chart 1: How Should Fatty Ride?

This incredibly skewed result is, I should point out, thanks to a very major donation. That said, even without that major donation, the results would still be strongly favoring me being The Hammer’s domestique this year. The contest is still young, however, and this vote could still be overturned with either a major donation or many small donations.

I think it’s amazing that not a single person has voted that I should race singlespeed, for myself.

Regardless, I will abide by the result of this vote, and plan to bring both my geared and singlespeed hardtails to Leadville. And unless things change drastically, it looks like I need to choose a 34×20 gearing for my singlespeed, with an eye toward pulling The Hammer.

The Hammer Vs. Monster question is much closer:

Hammer vs Monster

Based on how readers are voting with their dollars, people believe that this mother-daughter battle is going to be close.

I’ll update again tomorrow…when I post a new episode of the Rockwell Relay Race Report. Because, yes, we’ve crossed the $2500 story-hostage threshold. Thank you!

A Note from Fatty About the Rockwell Relay Story: The Rockwell Relay Story is being held hostage. It will be released as soon as I have raised the $2500 I have promised to NICA. Read on to find out how you can help read part 13 soon. 

A Note From Fatty: I’m planning to do three fundraisers this year. Right now begins the first — for The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). I’m really excited about this one because I love what NICA stands for, and because of the very cool prizes I will be offering, and because I’ll be doing some very fun and weird things for this contest.

These fun and weird things are:

  1. I will give you the opportunity to win something based on a future event.
  2. I will give you the opportunity to make the two most critical decisions regarding how I approach the Leadville 100 for me, and I will abide by those decisions whether I want to or not.
  3. I want this fundraiser to succeed, but The Monster needs it to succeed. She’s racing the Leadville 100 in a few weeks in a charity slot for NICA. So when you donate, you’re making me happy, you’re NICA very happy, and you’re making The Monster extra double-happy.
I’ll explain all of this a little later in this post. But first, you need to read why The Monster is fundraising for NICA as she races the Leadville 100 this year. 

All or Nothing
by Melisa “The Monster” Rollins 

I am—and have always been—an “all or nothing” kind of girl. If you have been following my past year of riding and racing, you wouldn’t find this too hard to believe.

To fill those of you in who haven’t been following, I didn’t particularly start off my endurance biking career easily. In March of this year, I finished my first-ever mountain bike race, the True Grit Epic: fifty brutal miles of the most technical trails in Southern Utah.

A little later, I raced the Six Hours of Frog Hollow. Then, just over a week ago I finished my third monstrous mountain bike race, the Crusher in the Tushar [Story on that coming soonish. - FC], and am looking forward to next month where I’ll be racing the Leadville 100.

OK. I lied.

True Grit Epic was actually my second ever mountain bike race. My first was just under three years ago, when I decided to try joining and racing with my high school’s NICA mountain biking team.

The NICA race happened to be held just a few miles away from my house, and because I can’t even count on two hands the number of bikes in my garage, I figured I might be able to wrangle up a bike for an hour or so.

Though it was fun, my day ended in a massive wreck:

Three years ago

That, to be honest, is probably not a surprise for those of you who have followed my story. Things haven’t changed much:

Three months ago

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Three days ago

At the time, I decided that this sport would be placed in my designated “nothing” category.

For the time being, my “all” would go elsewhere.

My All

During high school, almost the entirety of my identity revolved around playing soccer. If there wasn’t a ball glued to my feet, it could have only meant one of two things: the administrators at school had taken it away for disrupting the hallways, or both of my legs were broken [Her legs were never actually broken; she’s just being dramatic. - FC].

While friends were out enjoying their teenage years on Friday nights, I was down at the park practicing until my feet blistered.

Timpanogos High School is known for two things: its 95% pass rate on the country-wide AP Calculus test, and its high number of soccer girls whose hands are decorated wit state rings.

Desiring to be a part of this crowd, I ramped up my practicing, and made it my number one goal to be a part of this team. This meant two-a-day practicing for the entirety of the summer, and the best fitness I had ever had. Because of this, it wasn’t much of a surprise that I ended up making the team, but the number of minutes I spent on the field during games might shock you.

This number was zero.

No, I did not bust an ankle or a knee or a collarbone. I just simply “wasn’t good enough” to be put in the game.

And back then I just took this message from my coach without a second thought. I didn’t obsess over the fact that I was putting in twice the amount of time as any other girl on the team; in fact, it made me work harder.

Only now—after placing my dedication into a different sport—do I realize how wrong this was.

Only now am I really appreciating that there has been an organization all along that encourages people to participate no matter what their level. One that includes everyone in the competitions, and where everyone can feel like they contribute to the team’s success.

This organization is NICA, and this sport is mountain biking.

No One Gets Left Behind

I only participated in one NICA race, and every one of the coaches knew my name and cheered me on at the end of the event. Not once did they tell me— or anyone— that they weren’t good enough to participate in the race; they did not punish hard work with time outs.

And this matters. I love NICA’s “no one gets left behind” philosophy and it makes me really happy to see them succeed.

NICA people are good people—and their numbers are growing quickly—but because they are a non-profit, they are having a hard time keeping up.

That’s why this year when I go to Leadville, I’m going to be racing on behalf of NICA. I am also going to be fundraising for them.

And that’s where I need your help.

[And it’s also where I — Fatty — step back into the picture.]

The Contest

Since this contest is happening right before my annual biggest race of the year — The Leadville 100 — and is what The Monster is fundraising for in order to gain entry into the race, I wanted to center the fundraising / contest question around two questions that are the absolute dead center of most of the conversations we are having at my house.

In just a moment, I’ll talk about those questions and how you can help settle them — predictively in one case, and definitively in the other — for us while doing a lot of good for an organization that is making a tremendous difference to a lot of kids in the US.

But first, let’s talk about the prizes you can win by participating.

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Grand Prize 1:Ultimate Cycling Wardrobe from DNA Cycling

I don’t even know how to describe what a huge fan of DNA Cycling I’ve become. The quality of pretty much everything they make just blows me away.

And for the first grand prize I’m giving away, the CEO of DNA, Joe Sepulveda, is going to give you a call, talk with you about what kind of riding you like to do, where you ride, how you like your gear to fit, get your measurements, and then personally set you up with all the cycling clothes you could possibly need for the kind of riding you do.

Jerseys, socks, shorts, jackets, vests, bibs, knickers, gloves, everything you need for a complete, beautiful cycling wardrobe. 

You’ll note that I’m not getting super specific about exactly what this gear entails. That’s because the ultimate cycling wardrobe would be different for a mountain biker than for a roadie. It would be different for a man than a woman. It would be different for someone who lives in Florida than for someone who lives in Alaska.

But I will tell you this: Joe’s going to open up his candy shop, and you are going to get all the gear you need for the kind of riding you do in the place where you live.

Imagine: a prize that is literally crafted for you. How awesome would that be?

Well, someone will find out.

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Grand Prize 2: A Year’s Supply of GU Energy Gel / Roctane

One of the important reasons The Monster is doing so well in this, her first year of racing, is that she’s a serious student. When The Hammer and I give her guidance on endurance racing, she listens and takes us seriously. As a result, she’s managed to leap over a lot of rookie endurance racing mistakes.

In particular, she’s wholeheartedly adopted our race nutrition strategy: A GU energy gel  or GU Roctane energy gel, every half hour. 

Here in the Fatty Family, we’re all very sold on how GU works. And some lucky winner is going to find out for themselves, by getting a committed cyclist’s year’s supply (12 boxes, with 24 gels per box)  of GU / GU Roctane energy gel.


And I will be happy to even provide suggestions on which twelve flavors to get, because I recently ordered twelve boxes of GU / GU Roctane for my own family (of course, for three actively racing cyclists, this won’t last close to a year):

  • Cherry Lime Roctane: This, would be an amazing sherbet flavor and is my second-favorite GU flavor of all time. I love the little punch of tartness the lime gives it.
  • Salted Watermelon: This is The Hammer’s favorite flavor of all time, and my fourth-favorite flavor. Salty is good, and these taste a lot like Jolly Rancher Watermelon candies.
  • Chocolate Coconut Roctane: This is incredible: it tastes just like a Mounds bar. Just like it. It’s the most candy-like flavor of all the GUs. It’s my third-favorite flavor of all time.
  • Cucumber Mint: I was amazed to find that I really love this. It’s mild, it’s different, it’s refreshing. It’s not on my top-five list, but it’s definitely going in a jersey pocket anytime I’m on a four-plus hour ride and at some point am going to need a gel that tastes clean and minty and refreshing.
  • Strawberry-Kiwi Roctane: A classic. 
  • Pineapple Roctane and Lemonade Roctane: I’m always so happy when I pull a yellow GU out of my pocket during a ride, because I know it’s going to be either Pineapple Roctane or Lemonade Roctane. And both are tied for being my fifth-favorite GU flavor. 
  • Sea-Salt Chocolate Roctane and Caramel Macchiato: I am not sure why, but these are my absolute favorite GU flavors when the weather’s cool (below 70 degrees), but I don’t really go for them when the weather’s hot (85+ degrees). I’ve asked other people about this, though, and I’m pretty certain this is a “it’s just me” kind of thing.
  • Big Apple: It’s tart and delicious and perfect. 
  • Vanilla Orange: This is The Hammer’s favorite flavor of all time and is probably my sixth-favorite flavor. Either way, it’s a creamsicle, and there’s nothing bad in the world about it.

Strangely, my favorite GU flavor in the world — Root Beer — is being discontinued, and so is not on this list. But since I still have Cherry Lime, Salted Watermelon, Chocolate Coconut and Cucumber Mint, I’m not too broken up.

The value of this prize? $720.00. That’s a lot of gel, and is guaranteed to be the most useful prize you ever win.


4 First Prizes: GU Stroopwafels

GU has just started shipping GU Energy Stroopwafels, and they are so good (as an important member of the press, I got some before they were released to the public). They come in four fantastic flavors: Caramel Coffee, Salty’s Caramel, Wild Berries, and Salted Chocolate.

These are just amazing — the best thing to eat when you’ve just killed yourself on a big climb, need some calories, and want to reward yourself for the effort with something truly delicious. 

Plus they stay nice and flat in your jersey pocket, helping your figure stay all nice and bulgeless.

Four lucky winners will win a box (16 Stroopwafels per box) of Stroopwafels, in the flavor of your choice.

So if I have done my math correctly — and I have — that’s six extremely awesome prizes you can win in this contest.

And you don’t even know how the contest works yet. So let’s correct this problem right now. And then you can get out your Paypal password (or wallet or whatever) and hopefully win one of those fabulous prizes.

Contest Question 1: What Should Fatty’s Goal At Leadville Be This Year? 

At the end of my race last year — my fastest ever, with a finish time of 8:12 — I vowed to try to finish in 2016 in under eight hours

As I get close to race day, I know that’s unlikely to happen. I’ve needed to emphasize other things: job hunting, interviewing, getting settled in my new employment, and a new constant companion — a chronically painful hernia.

So for me, this year I’m just grateful to TrainerRoad that I’m in any shape at all. That in spite of all this, I am in good enough shape that I can still race.

But the sub-eight-hour dream is out the window for this year. 

Which leaves me in an interesting quandary: what should be my objective in the Leadville 100 this year? I can think of three good possibilities, all of which sound interesting, and could give me a great sense of satisfaction at the end of the race. 

  • Race it as originally planned. I have a beautiful geared hardtail — a Felt Nine FRD frame built up with Enve M 50-Fifty wheels, a Rock Shox RS-1, and a SRAM XX1 drivetrain. It is, I believe, the best no-compromise XC racing hardtail a person could own for the Leadville 100. And I could race it with all my legs, lungs and heart to see if, even in my not-so-great shape, I can still finish in under nine hours. I think maybe I could.
  • Race singlespeed. I love riding and racing singlespeed. And now my lightest, fastest singlespeed — my Stumpjumper singlespeed — has been upgraded with an RS-1 fork (can you tell I’m sold on the RS-1?), making me faster on the downhills than I’ve ever been. Could I win this category again? That of course depends on who else shows up. But I could at least make an attempt at the podium.
  • Be The Hammer’s Domestique. The Hammer is the Leadville 100 women’s singlespeed record holder with a time of 9:50. This year, she hopes to set a new PR, which (unless there’s someone else faster than she is) would also be a new women’s SS record. And if I committed to riding with her, encouraging her and giving her a draft when I could, I think make a difference in her finish time. With my help, I think she could do it in under 9:30, to be honest. And also, we’d be adorable racing our matching singlespeeds.

Which will I do? Well, that will be up to you. How? By voting, of course. Specifically, by voting with your dollars

How? Simple. Below, just specify which you think I should do: race with gears, race singlespeed, or race for The Hammer. Then choose how much you’re willing to donate. The more you donate, the more votes you get (and as you’ll notice, the more you donate, the cheaper each vote is).

And here’s the thing: I hereby commit that, provided we fundraise at least $2500 for NICA here, I will abide by the results and will do as is specified here. As in, I will treat this vote as binding.

OK, let’s do it: 

What Should Fatty Focus on at Leadville?
How Many Votes Do You Want to Place?

Question 2: How Close Will The Hammer’s and Monster’s Finishing Times Be?

There’s a friendly ongoing discussion at our house: how fast is The Monster? She’s  been riding in earnest for less than a year, but has done ridiculously well at each of these races.

  • In her first race (True Grit Epic), The Monster finished just a few minutes behind The Hammer.
  • In her second race (6 Hours of Frog Hollow), The Monster finished ahead of The Hammer.
  • In her third race (Crusher in the Tushar), The Monster finished about an hour behind The Hammer.

Of course, The Hammer is The Hammer, and has not just years of base fitness, but also race savvy and endurance. So I personally think that The Hammer will finish right at an hour faster than The Monster (9:30 vs 10:30).

The Hammer thinks she’ll finish a little further ahead. The Monster thinks they’ll be closer than that.

I’d like you to settle this dispute, by voting below (as with the other contest, the more you donate, the more your vote is worth): do you think The Hammer will be at least an hour faster than The Monster, or will The Monster be less than an hour slower than The Hammer? 

Honestly, I can imagine it going either way. Let’s see how the voting goes…and then we’ll test that whole “wisdom of crowds” thing after the race.

Is Hammer MORE or LESS than 1hr Faster than Monster?
How Many Votes Do You Want to Place?

How Prizes Are Drawn

For every vote you buy, you’ll also get a chance on my magically random spreadsheet. It’s that simple. Then, once this fundraiser is complete, we’ll do random drawings for the total number of chances/votes. No matter which contests you vote in or how you vote, you’ll be eligible to win in all of the prizes.

So: while the voting part is fun, it’s all to help NICA, and no matter what you’ll still have a chance to win. And I will email you when the contest ends, which will be August 8, the first day I’m in Leadville this year.

Updates Soon, and Frequently

I suspect that people will be interested in how the vote is going, long before the results are final. And that’s cool. I will do updates on where the results stand at least once a day, and more often than that when results change dramatically. 

Oh, and finally: yes, I was serious about holding my Rockwell Race Report hostage ’til we hit the $2500 mark. 

Hey, I’ve got to use the leverage I’ve got, right?

Thanks for your donation!


Part 2 of the Race Report About That Boggs Funduro Thing

05.8.2015 | 9:35 am

We were sitting at the beautiful Riviera Ristorante: Greg, Jeff, Levi, me. Each of us had ordered something from the specials the waiter had mentioned; they sounded that good.

Now we waited.

Now we strategized.

“What order should we ride in?” I asked. Then, partially answering my own question, I said, “Levi should obviously go first.”

“Then you,” said Jeff. “I go third.”

“That sounds good,” said Levi.

“OK, what next?” I asked. “What’s our next tactic in our team strategy?” 

“Uh, go really fast?” Levi offered.

“And don’t fall down or get lost?” Jeff added.

“Is that all we’ve got?” I asked. “That’s the entirety of our strategy?”

“Hey, is that the new Apple Watch you’re wearing” Levi replied. OK, so it wasn’t really a reply. It was more just the next thing he said.

“Yes it is,” I said. “Here, try it on and let’s get your heart rate.”

So here, for the record, is Levi’s heart rate while waiting for dinner, immediately after an intense race strategy planning session:

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“My resting heart rate has never been very low,” explained Levi.

For comparison, here’s Greg’s heart rate, taken six minutes later:

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Oh, and because I know you’re curious, here’s mine, right now:

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Evidently, I’m feeling pretty mellow as I type this (even mellower than I was feeling nine minutes ago, apparently).

Also, because I know you’re interested in every little detail in my life, I had the ravioli.

Plans, Altered

All that was really left to do before heading off toward Boggs (I don’t know why this forest is called “Boggs,” but it really is; it’s not just a silly nickname because of someone hilariously misspelled a forest that happened to contain a number of bogs) the next day was to go grocery shopping.

We just needed to decide whether to do that shopping the following morning, or take care of it that evening, after dinner.

For reasons that I shall never even attempt to understand, this was the most hotly-debated topic of the evening. Here, allow me to show you, via a pie chart:

Screenshot 2015 05 08 08 58 40

After considerable and intense discussion (which I stopped following after the first couple minutes, due to being happy to do whatever, whenever), we agreed that we would get together the following morning to do the grocery shopping.

At which point we parted ways, Greg giving Jeff and me a ride back to our hotel, Levi headed elsewhere.

Two minutes after we began driving, Levi had caught us at a red light.  “Let’s do the shopping tonight,” he shouted.

So we headed to a grocery store. One of those grocery stores that  specializes in products that are similar to products you might find at a regular grocery store, except they’re marginally better for you and three times more expensive.

Guys Should Not Shop

The three of us (Greg, sensibly, wanted no part of this) got a grocery cart. We began walking up and down aisles, everyone too polite to actually put something in the cart, for fear it would meet the others’ disapproval.

Ten minutes in, we had put in bananas. And nothing else.

It began to look like this could take a while.

Finally, I said it. “I’m afraid to shop with you, Levi. I’m afraid that the overlap between what I consider food and what you consider food is an empty set.”

(No, I didn’t actually use those words. Figuring out how to phrase it this way took me twenty minutes.)

“Get whatever you want. I’m going to get whatever I want,” Levi replied. “One of the reasons I still ride every day is so I can eat how I like.”

Relieved, I grabbed a jar of Creamy Jif peanut butter.

Levi recoiled. “You’re not seriously going to get that, are you?”

I allowed that until now, I had in fact intended to get it.

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Levi warily regards a pasta salad.

“It’s full of corn syrup!” Levi assured me, and we swapped the Jif out for a natural peanut butter, which remained unopened for the weekend.

Eventually, we bought chicken meatloaf (which was really good), enough water that we could each drink a gallon per hour for the entire eight-hour race, ten pounds of sliced turkey, five pounds of provolone, and some white bread. 

I consider the white bread my greatest victory. 

Oh, and I snuck in a jar of Nutella toward the end, too.

The Next Morning

“Jeff,” I said, as we ate breakfast the next morning, “Now that Dad’s not here, we need to re-grocerize.”

“Yeah,” said Jeff. 

Which is how we finally came to be in possession of a large bag of chocolate chip cookies, a twelve-pack of Coke Zero, another twelve-pack of Coke, and a four-pack of Starbucks Doubleshots.

Now we were ready to make the trek to Boggs.

Except I was far from ready. So far. So very very far. 

And in the next installment of this story, I’ll explain why. 

Meet Tim W

05.4.2015 | 11:59 am

I got back from California about one o’clock this morning; I spent last Friday – Sunday in a mountain bike racing paradise.

I do not ask for your pity, but I do ask for your understanding as today I do one very important thing, which I shall conveniently list for you:

  1. Introduce you to the winner of the World Bicycle Relief fundraising contest, with the Specialized S-Works bike of your choice, outfitted with ENVE components.

Now that we have a plan, let’s get started, shall we?

Meet Tim W

I got up early on Friday, excited to build the spreadsheet for the drawing. I take this job seriously…and with no small amount of pleasure. I know that a lot of you would participate in these fundraisers even if there weren’t prizes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fun to give out.

Then, when I got to Boggs forest and met Dave Thompson — my co-ambassador for WBR — I had him use random.org to pick a random number based on the rows in the spreadsheet.

Here’s that moment, captured forever (courtesy of Dave H):

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The number? 2940. 

And that number corresponded to Tim W, who has been contributing to fundraisers I’ve been doing for years. Here he is, with his lovely wife Deedee:


I called Tim (many of the entries had corresponding phone numbers) and left a voicemail:

“Hi Tim. This is Fatty. If you like really nice bikes and vacations, you should give me a call back.”

And then I sent him an email saying essentially the same thing.

Then I went racing.

Later that evening, Tim called me. “Is this a prank? Is this real or are you punking me?” he asked.

“It’s real,” I said. “What bike are you going to pick?”

“I don’t know yet,” Tim said. “I need to do some serious thinking.”

However, since Tim does live in Northern California and loves visiting Utah (once, during a vacation they were taking to Zions National Park, Tim and Deedee came and watched The Hammer and me race a couple laps of 24 Hours of Frog Hollow), he does plan to visit Utah. 

So that much is certain. One tough decision down, one extremely tough decision to go!

I asked Tim to send me an email telling me a little bit about himself: 

I could not believe the message that I received Friday night. I returned what I thought was a prank call, to get Fatty on the other end. He informed me of the fantastic luck I had. I was the winner of his latest fundraiser for WBR. My name is Tim. I live in Livermore, CA. and have been following The Fat Cyclist for years as well as participating in his fundraisers, never expecting to win, just knowing they were always for a great cause.

I do not race but ride quite a bit recreationally. The bike will be way beyond my abilities, whatever I get. Now I have some decisions to make.

Thank You Fatty for the entertaining blog posts that you do, keep up the good work, as well as Thanks to WBR, Specialized, ENVE and SRAM. 

I think that’s really well put.

Now, for all of you who are not Tim W, please take a moment to leave a note of congratulations to him, as well as bike / component mix you think he should get (i.e., what you would have gotten).

And don’t worry, folks. You may not have won this time, but the Grand Slam is coming. And the quantity and quality of prizes is going to be outrageous.

A Post-Contest Note

05.1.2015 | 9:36 am

I don’t have a ton of time to write today; I’m headed out to race Boggs with Jeff D and Levi Leipheimer.

Believe me, there is nothing in the world that makes you quite as self-conscious as grocery shopping with Levi Leipheimer.


Anyway, the contest is over, and I’m working on the spreadsheet right now. You’ll be excited — as I am — to know that we raised $25,168 with this contest!

I’m taking care of making final adjustments to the spreadsheet, and then, as seems only proper, I’ll ask my fellow WBR Ambassador and co-owner of this contest Dave Thompson to pick a random number (using random.org) corresponding to the numbers I’ve assigned everyone in the prize spreadsheet.

And then, this evening, once the day’s racing is done, we’ll send out an email to the winner.

So, start watching your email tonight, OK? 

Of course, I have no idea whether I’ll get Internet, so if you don’t hear from us, that doesn’t mean all is lost.

Let me conclude with a big giant Thank you. Your generosity in this contest will put bikes under 171 students. With an average of three people being affected by each bike, that’s 513 lives you’ve just made better. In a measurable, meaningful, practical way.

So: on behalf of the 513 people who are going to have chances they never would otherwise had, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Once again, I am pretty much overwhelmed by the fact that I have the nicest, most generous friends a person could ever ask to have.

Want to Go Riding in Santa Cruz?

04.30.2015 | 7:06 am

A Note from Fatty: Today is your last day to enter the “Buy Gear, Make a Donation, Win the Ultimate Dream Bike and Vacation” contest. If you buy some Fat Cyclist gear, or make a donation to WBR, you could be the one to any Specialized S-Works bike you want, outfitted with top-of-the-line ENVE and SRAM components.

And you won’t just win a bike, either. You also will win a trip to — your choice — Utah or California, where you’ll receive your built-up bike, get custom-fitted for it, and then spend a weekend riding with my fellow WBR Ambassador Dave Thompson and me.

For this last day, I brought out the big guns. Specifically, Dave is going to describe if you choose to have your biking weekend in his neighborhood, Santa Cruz.

If You’re a Mountain Biker…

The Santa Cruz area offers a wide choice of rides, from beginner to the “sick edit” category.  

On the beginner side I would recommend Wilder Ranch: it offers some very nice trails through open meadows and trees that range from easy to moderate difficulty with nice views of the Ocean as you climb from the sea up into the mountains.  


Moving up the scale Demo Forest, located high up in the Santa Cruz mountains, offers moderately difficult climbs and a variety of singletrack decent options. One of the new trails, the Flow Trail, which is more than half complete, has a nice smooth descent through the redwoods with high banked turns, gentle rise and falls with no drops or big surprises.  

The Braille trail has loads of steep sections complete with jumps and teeter totters.  The nice thing about Demo is all the single track options start at the same place on the top and end at the same fire road on the bottom so you can easily ride back up and ride as many of them as you’d like. 

The most challenging is a short drive away and one of my favorite spots, Henry Coe Park.  The only problem with Coe is the climbing is a bit steep.  I took Carlos there a few weeks ago and we did a 32 mile ride with a bit over 6k feet of climbing. Carlos said it was the hardest thing he has ever done.  There is no real easy way to ride in Coe so I would only recommend this for the advanced rider or the young (like Carlos).  Coe is 87,000 acres so rides range from a short 10 miles to as far as you want to go. A nice collection of single track descents through forests of oak and Manzanita followed by brutal fire road climbs but with nice scenic views well worth the suffering.  

If You’d Rather Ride Road

In and around the Santa Cruz area there are many road rides to choose from.  One of my favorite easy rides is a bike/walking trail that winds along the bluffs of Santa Cruz with spectacular views of the ocean.  The trail starts in Santa Cruz, by the Boardwalk and takes you up to Wilder Ranch about a 12 mile ride round trip and almost dead flat. You are almost guaranteed to see surfers and sea lions as you pass the lighthouse.

For more difficult and longer rides all you need to do is head east up any of a number of great roads that climb up through the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz mountains.  


One of my favorites is Eureka Canyon, a small less traveled road that climbs gently up through the forest to Summit Road. From there you can take the optional additional climb up to Loma Prieta avenue were you are rewarded with spectacular views of the ocean, see pic “Loma Pieta”.  

From there you can head north along the top of the Santa Cruz mountain range and descend back down into Santa Cruz by a couple of options, depending on how long you want your ride to be.  There are so many great roads to choice from a day in the Santa Cruz mountains can be as long and hard as you want.  

Then there is also the beach. I’m sure we could get our hands on a few fat tire bikes; that would make for some fun.  

Something for Everyone

As for non biking, all these areas are also great for hiking and also range in difficulty accordingly.  There are also several good wineries in the area and the Monterey Bay aquarium is only a short drive away.   

As for the beach house we have rented this place — The Black Pearl — for the past several years:


Who doesn’t want to stay in a place with a pirate name?

It is walking distance to the harbor, several good restaurants and the house is overlooking the ocean. 

A Final Word From Fatty

No matter what bike you choose, or which components, or which place to go riding, this is a ridiculous prize, and having Dave along guarantees it’s going to be a great time. Dave — along with the whole Thompson family — is one of the nicest, best people you will ever meet.

Whoever wins this prize — which ends today — is going to be incredibly lucky. 

But you can’t win if you don’t enter. And how do you enter? Well, buy some Fat Cyclist gear, or make a donation to WBR. It’s that easy. You’ll be doing some good for the most practical, effective, instantly-life-changing charity in the world. You’ll be getting the best gear I’ve ever offered (if you’re buying gear, that is). 

And you just might win an incredible bike and vacation.

Good luck!

PS: I’m flying to San Francisco in 20 minutes, to meet up with Jeff D, who won another of my contests. I think it might be only fitting to have him do the drawing for this winner tomorrow.

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