Pssst. Don’t Tell Anyone.

04.9.2015 | 6:22 am

Hey, Fatty here.

I’m in Austin this week, doing work things, working as workers work when they’re at work. As proof of this, I offer a photo of the colossal, inseparable wad of  keys (2), key fobs (2), key rings (3) and pieces of garbage (1) the Hertz company makes me carry around as punishment for having rented one of their cars:

FullSizeRender 1

I do not show this as a sly way to ask for your pity. No, wait. Actually I do.

(Pssst. Hey you. Stick around for a minute. I’m going to try to bore the rest of the readers away to another page, so it’ll be just you and me.)

So. Anyway. With me being in Austin, and my bikes being in Utah, there’s not a lot for me to write about today. 

So maybe you should just head on over to Red Kite Prayer or Bike Snob NYC or something. I like those sites. In fact, I think I’ll go read them right now. You should too.

Kind Regards,
Signature new

OK, is everyone else gone? You’re the only one who stuck around?


I’m going to tell you something, and it’s really important you don’t tell anyone else. (But first, I’m going to quit using these “whisper italics.”)

Early this week, I launched what I consider to be the most ambitious fundraising contest I’ve ever launched. Your choice of the best version (S-Works) of any Specialized frame — arguably, in many cases, the best in their class. Your choice of the best wheels and cockpit in the world — anything from ENVE. Your choice of the incredible SRAM drivetrains and brakes.

And a fitting and vacation — Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, or Utah — to get used to this amazing bike you’ve won.

Basically, I asked myself, “What would completely make people’s heads spin around, forcing them to have no choice but to sign up for this contest? What would be so compelling they wouldn’t be able to help but buy all kinds of gear and make a contribution to WBR to boot, just so they’d have a chance at winning?” And then I asked people and companies to help me build that contest. And they did. 

And here’s the good news for you, and you alone (since you’re the only person reading this): so far, the WBR contributions and Team Fatty Gear purchase numbers have been…moderate.

I’m not saying they’ve been bad, mind you. Hey, $7K+ worth of contributions in the first 48 hours of a contest is something most fundraisers would be happy to boast about.

Of course, most fundraisers aren’t showing off a prize that would retail at $15 – $20K (depending on what bike and wheels you choose, as well as where you travel and where you’re flying from). 

But see, that’s a good thing. For you. And for you alone. Because I have this idea, which I’m going to drop into whisper italics for, just so nobody overhears:

Buy the gear you want and / or make a donation, and then don’t tell anyone about it. 

And I won’t tell anyone, either.

Because right now, considering the hugeness of the prize and the relative moderate number of purchases and contributions made, this is quite possibly the best bet you’ll ever get on winning a mindbendingly incredible prize. 

Not to mention you’ll for sure make a big difference, thanks to the work you’re helping WBR do.

Not to mention the handmade Italian cycling gear you’ll be looking (and riding) so dashing in.

You’ll be doing something good for the world, wearing a really great-looking jersey, and…just maybe…getting the most outrageously perfect-for-you bike you can literally imagine.

Just keep it to yourself, OK? We wouldn’t want to wind up having this thing go big.


Buy Gear, Make a Donation, Win the Ultimate Dream Bike and Vacation

04.7.2015 | 7:16 am

A TL;DR Note from Fatty: This is the synoptic version of today’s contest-launch post, cuz it’s a doozy. Just be aware that this is full of spoilers.

  1. The first part of the prize is the dreamiest of dream bikes: any Specialized S-Works frame, paired with any ENVE wheels and cockpit, paired with your choice of SRAM components.
  2. The second part of the prize is a trip. Either to Utah to ride the three mesas in the St. George area and stay at the Gooseberry Yurt; or to Santa Cruz, to stay on the beach and ride the road. Or to Santa Rosa and do a private version of Levi’s Granfondo.
  3. You enter by either buying Fatty gear, or by making a donation. Either way (or any combination), each dollar gets you an entry. The contest ends at the end of April and the drawing happens soon after.

Want more details? Read the post I just spent four hours writing, smart guy.

Buy Gear, Make a Donation, Win the Ultimate Dream Bike and Vacation 

I have put together a huge prize to help raise money for World Bicycle Relief. 


But more importantly — oh so much more importantly — than the fact that it’s a big prize is the fact that it’s a big prize that is going to be really truly customized to the winner.

So what the big prize will be depends on what kind of riding you like, and how you’d want your dream bike customized, and where you would want to ride it once you got it.

And of course, along the way we’re going to raise a fantastic amount of money for World Bicycle Relief. I’m going to talk more about the cause and how the contest works in a minute.

But first, let’s talk about the prize. Because I am so excited about it — both for what the ride is, and how it came together.

Screenshot 2015 04 06 21 44 10

The Frame

The first question the winner of this contest is going to need to ask is, “Which of all the absolutely top-end bikes Specialized makes do I want?

That, however, may be too narrow of a question to start out with. You may want to broaden it to, “Do I want a mountain bike, or a road bike?”

If you want a road (or Tri bike), your answer might be the S-Works version of several amazing frames: The Tarmac (my choice), the Roubaix (The Hammer’s choice), or even the Shiv (both The Hammer’s and my choice).

Screenshot 2015 04 06 21 44 51

Or maybe your answer is “mountain bike.” In which case maybe you should get  the S-Works version of the Epic. Or the Stumpjumper (on which both The Hammer and I have had our respective fastest Leadville times). Or the Enduro.

Really, you couldn’t go wrong with any of these; the “S-Works” version of their frames means it’s the lightest, strongest, best version of that bike that exists. (And also, these are just examples; maybe you want a Crux or an Amira or something else…and that’s just fine.) 

And now, for just a second, I’m going to ask you to join me in patting my own back. Because the Specialized frame you’ll be getting…well, I’m giving that to you, in a way.

Screenshot 2015 04 06 21 45 36

How? Well, one of the really amazing perks WBR Ambassadors get is a bike from Specialized. But, between the two of us, The Hammer and I already have eight Specialized bikes. (And we love each of them. A lot.)

So I checked with WBR and asked if they’d check with Specialized and see if we could convert the bike I’d be given into an awesome prize for someone reading the contest. 

And Specialized, being an incredible WBR supporter, not only said “yes,” but  upgraded the bike donation beyond what I would have been given to the top-end S-Works version.



The Wheels and Cockpit

In my most recent post, I talked about how much I love ENVE wheels and components. This is not even remotely hyperbole. My Tarmac SL4 has ENVE wheels, bar, and stem. And it is — and has been — the most perfect bike I have ever owned (the wheels have not needed to be trued even once in the two-plus years I’ve ridden them). It’s simply my own true dream bike. 

The same goes for my Specialized Stumpjumper singlespeed, with ENVE XC wheels, stem and bar: it’s just a perfect bike. Beautiful, light, and incredibly strong wheels. 


Seriously, I don’t believe there are better bike wheels made anywhere in the world.

You are going to love them as much as I do, whether you get super aero road wheels (like the SES 6.7s) or all-purpose racing mountain bike wheels like the M50 Fifty. Or something else.

ENVE has you covered.

And if you need a little help and conversation picking out wheels, I will be happy to spend countless hours on the ENVE website, obsessing over matching your bike to the perfect wheels for you. 

And I bet we can get Jake at ENVE to weigh in with an opinion, too.


The Components

I don’t even know where to start with SRAM. For one thing, they are outrageously generous with their support of World Bicycle Relief, and that wins them quite a few brownie points. 

But more importantly, have you seen how freaking amazing the XX1 drivetrain is? It’s changed everything about how I think about shifting gears on mountain bikes. Specifically, I no longer think of it as a dark art that sometimes works, but only if I’ve been a really good little boy. 

Here’s my point. SRAM is going to hook you up with a world-class, top-of-the-line drivetrain, and brakes, and everything else you need to go with your incredible road or MTB machine. 

You are going to be in bike heaven.

But we aren’t done yet.


Where Do You Want to Go?

What’s the point of having an amazing new bike if you don’t have an amazing new place to take it out for your first ride?

Oh, I think we can help you there. And — like with the rest of this contest — what you like is going to factor into what the prize is.

Suppose you choose a mountain bike, and you’d like to ride some of the most amazing trails you could ever imagine, against a beautiful desert backdrop.

In that case,  we are going to fly you to Salt Lake City, where your built-up bike will be waiting for you at Bountiful Bikes.


There, Taylor Felt is going to spend a couple hours with you fine tuning the fit of your new bike to you, using Specialized’s Body Geometry Fit System. And as someone who has had a bike fit using this system (as has The Hammer), I assure you: your bike will fit perfectly after Taylor is done.

Then we’ll swing by ENVE HQ, to show off your bike and get a tour of the place.

After that, we’re off to Hurricane, UT for a weekend at the famous Gooseberry Yurt, where my friend Kenny will act as your guide, mountain biking the three most amazing mesas you can imagine.

NewImageAnd you’ll have company: me (of course), and Dave Thompson, a Best Friend of Fatty, grillmaster extraordinaire, and fellow 2015 WBR Ambassador. 

And that’s not all Dave is contributing to this fundraiser. He’s the one who’s buying your plane ticket. 

Yup, we’re teaming up for this contest. We’re each giving up a little something to make this the most amazing contest we can.

And we are not done yet.

Because we understand that maybe you will want a road bike. And while you’re still welcome to come to Utah to pick it up and ride (in which case I will be happy to show you some of the best of what the Tour of Utah covers), maybe you might like to spend your first few rides on something a little more…coastal.

Like Santa Cruz. Or Santa Rosa.

Yes, if your preference is to get a road bike (or if you’d rather MTB in CA than in Utah), we will have your bike built close to one of these cycling meccas, get you fit there (in Santa Rosa, the top-notch NorCal sport will build your bike and fit you for it), and meet you there for a couple days of riding.

Here’s Dave, taking in the amazing scenery midride in Santa Cruz:


Oh, and here’s the view from the spot Dave’s got picked out to stay, should we go riding in Santa Cruz:


I have to say, he makes a pretty good case for that place.

Here’s the bottom line: I am going to work with Specialized, ENVE, and SRAM to get you the bike of your dreams. Then Dave and I are going to make sure you get it built and fit, and then take you on some incredible rides — whatever kind of riding you like. Mellow, fast, technical, relaxed, whatever sounds awesome to you.

Basically, we are going to set you up with the most amazing bike plus vacation we can, using all the resources we have.

So. To me it looks like the total prize value for this trip is around $15,000-$20,000, between the bike, the trip, the fit, the place to stay, and incidentals.

Have we got your interest?


Why This Matters

Here’s a set of questions worth asking: 

  • Why am I willing to give up a bike? (Trust me, I’ve been dreaming of a Specialized Crux for a looooong time)
  • Why is Dave willing to buy plane tickets or rent a cottage on the beach?
  • Why is Specialized willing to give me one of their top-end frames, at a value between $3500 and $6000?
  • Why is ENVE willing to give me around $7,000-worth of wheels and components?
  • Why is SRAM willing to open the doors to their candy shop, setting you up with around $2000-$4000-worth of parts and components?

The “why” is pretty simple. We’re cyclists and bike companies; we love bikes and what they can do for anyone. Every single one of us is a believer in what World Bicycle Relief does and how they work.


I’ve been to Zambia and seen how a bike, given to a schoolchild, makes it possible for that child to stay in school. To get water for the family. To get a better job. To have a better life.

A Buffalo Bike in the hands of a healthcare volunteer means the ability to see more patients, to get them the attention and meds they need. To literally save lives.

These bikes — these tough, black, strong, beautiful, heavy, black bikes — improve people’s lives instantly. These bikes change the trajectory of their lives permanently.

If you’re looking for a charity that uses what you love to make a real difference in the world…well, here it is.

How The Contest Works

In keeping with the theme of choice in the rewards contest, how you enter is up to you. 


The first way is by buying any gear from my catalog site. You can buy a jersey, shorts, a vest, arm warmers, socks, a hoodie…anything and everything.

Each dollar of your purchase automatically gets you an entry into the contest.

So yes: If you buy a Race Fit Short Sleeve Jersey, Race Bib Shorts, and a pair of socks, you not only get an amazing kit that shows your support of Team Fatty and WBR, you also get 238 entries in the contest (237.85 actually, but I round up). 

So, if you’ve been kinda on the fence about pre-ordering Fat Cyclist gear this year…well, this might help nudge you in the right direction.

The second way is to simply donate at my Donation page. There, you can donate in the following increments:

  • $10 Donation
  • $25 – 1 Wheelset
  • $50 – 1 Mechanics Toolkit
  • $147 – 1 Bike
  • $735 – 5 Bikes
  • $1,470 – 10 Bikes

Of course, you can buy multiples of each or any of these options…so if you wanted to donate $100 (and get 100 entries in the contest), just get two of the $50 option. Easy!

And yes, you can mix and match: If you buy a t-shirt ($19.95) and donate $25 (enough to buy a wheelset), you get a total of 45 entries in the contest.

The third way is free. You can have an entry into this contest by sending me (email, subject line: Ultimate Dream Bike Essay) a 200-word essay on your favorite three things about me. You may enter as often as you like, because I love hearing people’s favorite things about me.  However, each essay must be unique, topical, and in reasonably-formed English. In other words, no auto-generated text. And don’t think I can’t tell. 

And be sure you get the subject line exactly right, or the email rule I have to gather these entries won’t work on your entry. And that would be sad.

Questions You Might Have

I don’t know for sure whether you might actually have these questions, but it seems possible, because I had these questions, and figure you are exactly the same as me. 

Q. When does this contest end?
A. It ends the last day of April, at the end of the day. I’ll do the drawing in the first week of May.

Q. I purchased Fat Cyclist Gear before this contest started. What happens to me?
A. Your purchase is automatically retrofitted into this contest. Congratulations, you may have won and you didn’t even know you were playing!

Q. I purchased Fat Cyclist Gear before this contest started…and now it looks like you’re extending the pre-order. Am I going to have to wait longer to get the stuff I ordered?
No, you won’t. We’ve ordered everything from the pre-order, and just did a bunch of multiplication-style math, adding on additional stuff in the proportions we think are smart.

This means that your pre-order stuff will still get here in late May as originally promised. And since we added stuff on speculatively, there’s a very good chance that if you order during this contest you’ll still get your stuff in late May (but it may be later if we have to extend the order again). 

Q. What if I win, but I am more of a casual cyclist and don’t want / need a super-nice high-end bike.
When we did a contest similar to this last year, it turns out that the winner, Heidi, liked hiking more than biking. And so we turned the prize into a weekend of hiking in Zions National Park.

If you don’t want the bike, I’ll bet you know someone who does. Or if you don’t, Dave and I will give NICA a call and we know for sure there will be someone there who can put it to good use. Either way, you’ve still got a great trip to a beautiful spot. Our objective is not to impress you with our riding skill and tear your legs off (unless that’s what you want).

And if you’re a woman and don’t really want to spend a weekend with a couple of smelly men, we can arrange to have you ride with The Hammer and / or Amy (Dave’s wife) instead. 

Our objective is to give you the bike / vacation combo that is what you want. And we’ll tweak and twist what the prize is ’til it’s perfect for you.

Q. You and Dave are working on this fundraiser together, but you each have separate fundraising pages for WBR. Where is the money earned by this fundraiser going — to Fatty’s page, or to Dave’s page?
To Dave’s page. I expect to do the fundraising for my page in July, when I kick off the Grand Slam for Zambia. 

If you have any additional questions, post them in the comments and I’ll be happy to get to them, either right in the comments or by amending this post.

Thanks very much for your help. I know that Dave, Specialized, WBR, SRAM, ENVE, and I are all very excited about this contest. It was an exciting project to have so many companies and people come together and give something toward something we all truly believe in.

Click here for Team Fatty gear, or click here for the donation page.


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.

20% Off! Black Friday – Wednesday Deal on The Great Fatsby Pre-Order

11.28.2014 | 10:20 am

We’re down to the last few days of the pre-order of The Best of FatCyclist: Volume 2 – The Great Fatsby. And also—I know this will come as a big shock to a lot of you—beginning with today, everyone is putting everything on sale!

And I didn’t want to feel left out.

So, for the last few days of The Great Fatsby pre-order (now through Wednesday), you can use the FAT20 promo code to knock 20% off your pre-order. 

Screenshot 2014 11 28 07 29 38

Not just on the book, either. On everything, including the bundles, which are already nicely discounted.

Which means, for example, that you could buy the Great Fatsby Super Bundle—a signed and inscribed book, the long-sleeve wool tec-merino jersey, and the t-shirt—for $123.96

Which, if you’re not too good at math, means that you’re getting the signed and inscribed book and the t-shirt for free. 


And just in case you are wondering, yes, the FAT20 promo code will work on your whole order (with the exception of the $10 WBR donation — a $10 donation is still a $10 donation).

But Wait! There’s More! 

Even with the 20% discount, you’re still getting the cool stuff that makes this pre-order really awesome (besides the fact that you’re going to be getting around 350 pages of my very best work, newly edited and footnoted practically into oblivion).

  • Chances at winning the Ibis bike of your choice: I don’t know if anyone else is giving away the Mojo HD3 that everyone is raving about (seriously, everyone is going nuts about this bike). Or you can get my personal choice, the Tranny 29. Or a Ripley 29. Or a Hakkalugi Disc. Whatever your pleasure, SRAM will gear it up with absolute top-end parts.
  • Chances at getting into the Leadville 100. That’s right, you and I could be hanging out and freaking out over racing the hardest-to-get-into, highest-in-America mountain bike century there is. That would rock.
  • 25% of the profits go to WBR: That is a serious donation. And the cool thing is, that 25% donation is going to get matched, dollar for dollar, turning it into a 50% donation. Killer.

Screenshot 2014 11 28 08 44 24

Curious About the Jersey and How It Fits?

One of the things I’m really excited about in this pre-order is the Team Fatty Tecno-Merino Wool Long-Sleeve Jersey.

it’s an incredibly comfortable and beautiful jersey—something you could wear both on and off the bike.

Wear it with a base layer or right against the skin—either way works great.

And I’ve got a size for most everyone: all the way from XXS to 5XL. Those of you who haven’t been able to get a FatCyclist jersey before because I haven’t had sizes small or large enough…well, now you can.

And they’re made in Italy. Yeah. 

And with the FAT20 code, you can score one for under $100 now. Yes, a long-sleeve, high-quality, Tecno-Merino jersey for less than $100

But quite a few of you have wondered what size will fit you. And I wondered the same thing. So The Hammer went to DNA Cycling, my partner for these jerseys, and tried on a couple of jerseys with the same cut. These should hopefully help you make a decision.

For reference, here’s a little bit about how tall and heavy The Hammer and I are right now (and yes, we’re definitely moving into our off-season weight):

  • Lisa (aka The Hammer): 5’7”, 128lbs.
  • Me: 5’7”, 168lbs. (Yeah, yeah, I’ve put ten pounds on since September.)

Here’s The Hammer wearing a size Medium: 

IMG 0860

As you can see, it’s a loose fit, even though she’s got a t-shirt underneath. She could easily wear a Small for a closer fit, which is probably what she’ll get for herself. That said, sizing up to a Medium means she can wear it more as a comfortable, loose-fitting sweater. 

(Unfortunately, DNA didn’t have any of the Small in stock, so I can’t show you how those would fit her)

And here I am, wearing a Medium: 

IMG 0865

I’m wearing this right against the skin. It fits perfect for riding: not tight, but close-fitting.

If I were just wearing this casually, I’d want a size Large: 

IMG 0870

Still fits great, but a more relaxed, looser feel. 

Oh, and just to give you a feel for what the back of the jersey looks like: 

IMG 0863

There are three traditional jersey pockets, as well as a zipped additional pocket in the back for your phone. That little white rectangle in the bottom center is reflective. 

And here’s a close-up of the color and texture of the wool, as well as the nice easy-pull zipper (the zipper pull is on the left, in case you care):

IMG 0903

Using the FAT20 promo code, you can get this jersey on its own for $99.96, with a signed copy of the book for $111.92, or with the Great Fatsby t-shirt and signed, inscribed copy of The Great Fatsby for $123.96.

Meet Dan Wuori

One last thing here: Dan Wuori, the hilarious genius behind the back page column in Velo magazine, has written the Foreword (along with a Middleword…and a Backword…which I’ll get to in another post) for The Great Fatsby. If you buy a book with a signed inscription today, I’ll get him to sign the book as well

Which, honestly, raises the value of the book to that of a fully-tricked-out Yugo. Easily.

Why Am I Doing This?

I haven’t traditionally done discounts, and I am a little bit nervous about this one. But here’s the thing: I’m self-publishing this, and the more books I order from the printer, the less each costs. At this point, I haven’t yet hit the 1000 book price break.

Which means that sales aren’t as awesome as I’d like them to be. Which bums me out just a titch, because I am outrageously proud of this book. It’s about 350 pages (yes, longer than I originally anticipated, thanks to a lot of footnotes) of what I consider to be some of my very best work.

And from a purely selfish, contest-oriented perspective, the lower sales combined with the fact that I’m giving away a bike and an entry into Leadville,  means that this might not be a bad thing for you to jump on, because your chances of scoring a bike in this contest are probably somewhat better than they usually are in my contests.

Regardless of whether you buy one thing, lots of things, or nothing, I do want to thank you for reading this blog. It’s been an awesome (almost) ten years.

Guest Post: Hiking with Heidi, Winner of the Gooseberry Yurt Vacation Contest

09.25.2014 | 9:00 am

Screenshot 2014 09 25 08 50 03

A Note from Fatty: A few weekends ago, The Hammer, the twins and I got to spend a couple of days hiking and camping with Heidi, the winner of the contest The Hammer ran as a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief. 

Heidi is awesome. Also, she dyes yarn for a living. If you’ve never known that yarn can be beautiful (I didn’t, for example), you should check out Heidi’s Etsy store: Grant Creek Yarns

Heidi agreed to write up the story from the weekend, giving me a nice little day off (for about the first time ever, I have had to do exactly no editing to this guest post).

Also, Heidi’s post gives me a great chance to remind you that I’ve got a new contest going on right now — a chance to come race on a team with Levi Leipheimer and me. This contest — which benefits Forget Me Not Farm — ends a week from today, so you better go donate soon.

Heidi’s Guest Post: The Gooseberry Yurt / Hiking Zions Weekend

Hi, I’m Heidi, the lucky winner of the Gooseberry Yurt Vacation, here to report on our grand adventure.

I was absolutely delighted to win this trip, and spending a weekend hiking in Zion was right up my alley. Lisa and Elden were brave souls to open their lives up to a complete stranger from Montana. I was tickled to hear that Elden’s twins would be able to join us; the more the merrier, and it was fun to hear their take on things.

Due to the timing of my flight along with the long (beautiful!) drive, it would have been fairly late by the time we reached the yurt. Rather than unpack and set up in the dark, Lisa switched up the plans and we spent the first night at an elegant home about an hour from Zion that was made available by her friends. There I learned fascinating, possibly little-known facts about Lisa and Elden: Lisa was a contestant on The Price is Right (we watched the video!), and Elden makes a kick-ass cup of French press coffee.

We packed a lot into the weekend. I had never been to Zion, and Lisa was excited to show it off. On Saturday morning, we hiked four miles up to Observation Point, gaining 2,100 feet in elevation. The website for Zion describes it well:

“Spend a few hours trudging up a steep mountainside to one of the best viewpoints offered by the list of Zion’s classic trails. This challenging path is complete with dizzying drop offs and eye popping scenery looking down into Zion Canyon. The maintained path zigzags its way up the steep mountainside beside familiar reddish Navajo sandstone before venturing through Echo Canyon, a deep gorge filled with water gnawed sandstone pockets. Near the top of the trek you will see white rock; this layer is known as the Temple Cap formation. Beyond Echo Canyon walls drop sharply, giving way to spectacular views. At the trails end, looking down into the canyon is a spectacular display of stone sculptures contrasted by the bluest of skies – thanks to the clean air of southern Utah.”

There was so much to see, and the views kept changing along the way.

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Lisa pointed out that the four one-mile sections up alternated between comfortable and steeper/more challenging. It reached 93 degrees in the park that day, and I had to call breaks to catch my breath on the final mile (but I think the twins secretly cheered when I did). Lisa, of course, looked fresh as a daisy.

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Here is the stunning view that awaited us at the top:

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After lunch, we were ready to walk up the Narrows River. It was fun to watch so many people of different ages, shapes, sizes, and nationalities bobbing and laughing in the river. I was glad I took Lisa’s suggestion and used one of the walking sticks left by earlier waders, otherwise I might have ended up in the drink.

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After picking up some fantastic brick oven pizza from the Pizza Wagon in the town of Hurricane, we headed to the yurt. It’s quite a ride in! It was later than anticipated, so we were fortunate to have an almost-full moon to light our way. The yurt is a camper’s paradise with very comfortable accommodations. (Thanks so much, Kenny and Heather! I’m sorry you weren’t able to join us, I would have loved to meet you.) Elden built an admirable fire; s’mores were consumed and we enjoyed a camp song the twins learned at Camp Kesem. The next morning brought a quick rainfall and Elden snapped a shot of this gorgeous rainbow:

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Yup, it was pretty tough having to wake up to that view… Absolutely amazing. What a great place.

We returned to the park and hiked to the three Emerald Pools. Late in the season, they were lower than Lisa had ever seen them, but they were still very beautiful.

And then wham, bam, it was time to hit the road and get me back to the airport for my return flight to Missoula.

I can’t thank Lisa, Elden, and the girls enough for accepting me into their pack for a weekend and sharing this wonderful adventure with me. I was made to feel so welcome, and I came away with some lovely memories. Many, many thanks.

As a reminder for how my weekend came about… World Bicycle Relief made an excellent decision in choosing Lisa to be a Team WBR Ambassador. Lisa has surpassed her original fundraising goal of $20,000; her current total stands at $23,726, enough to buy 177 bikes. So many lives will be changed!

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