Buy the Good Stuff

10.17.2016 | 10:33 am

A few weeks ago, Dug and I went out on a lunch ride. “There’s some new trail in Corner Canyon you should see,” he said.

What he showed me was a two hour ride combining some of the greatest hits of Corner Canyon with some extraordinary new trail, first and foremost being a one-mile stretch of singletrack called “Mercer Hollow.”

“I don’t know how Draper (the city hosting the amazing Corner Canyon mountain bike trail network) does it,” I said. “New trail, every single year. And it’s so good: well-conceived, well-executed, incredibly fun. I can’t believe how lucky I am to live near this.”

“I feel a little bit like a freeloader just riding here for free,” I admitted, “cuz this must cost someone something.”

Dug’s actually in the Corner Canyon trail-building steering committee or something like that, and told me, “Foundations underwrite most of it. And there’s some fundraising dinner coming up.”

“I should sign up for and go to that fundraising dinner,” I said.

But of course, I didn’t.

Partially it was because I already had plans for that evening. Mostly, though, it was because I could see it was set up to be a long evening of standing in buffet lines, then listening to speeches and a comedian I had never heard of, then a silent auction. I’m sure that’s someone’s idea of a good time, but not mine.

Meanwhile, though, I took The Hammer on what I called “Dug’s New Loop.” Fall had just begun, so the trail was extra-gorgeous.

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Then, the next day, we went again, this time bringing The Monster and a friend of hers:

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There was just no getting around it: Corner Canyon is just world-class singletrack, right in our backyard, and it just keeps getting better and better.

So this loop — variations of which make it anywhere between fifteen and nineteen miles of singletrack with between 2000 and 3000 feet of climbing, with the trailhead about two miles from our front door — has become our go-to ride. It’s close, it’s fun, it’s great on a singlespeed. It’s about two hours of ridiculously good singletrack, about five minutes from home.

It’s so good. Maybe too good. I didn’t deserve it. I haven’t earned it. This sense of being a cycling freeloader kind of started gnawing at me a little bit. 

And then we ran into an old friend — Kris N — also riding this new trail. And he mentioned something along the same lines: he’d been thinking about that those of us who use things like this ought to contribute, in some way or another.

So — finally — I found the Corner Canyon Trails Foundation Donation page, and I donated some money. Not a lot (way less than I ought to, considering how many people in my family use these trails), but something.

Hey, it’s a start.

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100 Miles of Nowhere

This brings me to the 100 Miles of Nowhere. We’re down to the final week of registration for this event, which supports Camp Kesem, a foundation that proivdes amazing, silly, and fun camps to kids, supporting them through and beyond their parent’s cancer. 

I figured that with this being only $39.95 (with no shipping charge), we’d hit the 500 registration cap right away. But we haven’t even hit 300. So please: register now. Let’s support this wonderful foundation. (And, while you’re at it, allow me to recommend picking up your Fat Cyclist gear, which is now pretty deeply discounted at end-of-season pricing.)

The last day you can register is this <strong >Friday, October 21

Red Kite Prayer

One last thing here: I’d like to propose that if someone’s working hard to provide you really great content, it’s probably worth a few of your dollars to support that someone. I’m talking about, of course, my good friends at Red Kite Prayer. I’ve been podcasting with these guys on their podcast for thirty-seven episodes now. We’ve kind of got a thing going.

And now they’re moving to a paid subscriber model.

I think this kind of subscriber model is awesome, and I think it should be supported. I also know that it’s easy to say, “I’ll get to that later.” But don’t. Go to Red Kite Prayer and subscribe. If you have a lot of money, give them a lot. But if you don’t, set up a $3/mo subscription. That basically a dime per day, and it’s worth way more than that.

Whether it’s the trails you ride, the causes you believe in, or the stuff you read (or all three, in my case), we bike people have got it good. That’s worth paying for.

 

Take My Dreamy Dream Bike Survey

10.12.2016 | 2:36 pm

I’m still away from home, working a lot of hours…and riding very little. (OK, none.)

For some reason, when I can’t ride much, I tend to think about riding even more. And — and this is the part The Hammer needs to worry about — I start thinking about my dream bike more often. I ask myself, “If I could have any bike at all, what would it be?” 

Or sometimes I start thinking about some kind of riding I would like to try — bikepacking or track racing — and my dream bike dreaming will run down that path.

I can’t be the only one who dreams about dream bikes. Can I? 

Well, I put together this little survey here to find out. Take a couple minutes to answer it if you would be so kind (it really shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes).

There’s no trickery here — I’m not collecting any info about you, much less any personal info. In other words, you’re not going to get a call from a bike company if you happen to answer certain questions in certain ways.

Next week, once I get back, I’ll share the interesting bits of how you answer.

OK, enough caveating and preambling. Get started!

Serious Thoughts for the Weekend (and Next Week Too)

10.7.2016 | 10:30 am

Hi there. I’m going to be traveling for work for all of next week, and kinda doubt that I’ll have time to update my blog (though if I can, I will, so maybe check in once or twice during the week).

Before I go, though, there are three things I want to bring to your attention. All of them are important.

Screenshot 2016 10 07 10 16 04

Thing 1: 100 Miles of Nowhere Registration

As of right now, 219 of you have registered for the 100 Miles of Nowhere (exciting pie chart showing which t-shirt colors are most popular so far at right). To those of you who have taken the time, thank you

If you have not yet taken the time to register, please do. It’s way less expensive than it ever has been before ($39.95, with free shipping in the US and only $5 shipping outside the US).

It’s a fun, silly event, and — most importantly — it really makes a difference in the lives of kids who have a parent who is fighting (or has fought) cancer, by supporting Camp Kesem

If you haven’t registered because you don’t think you can do this kind of distance, register anyway and do whatever distance you can. Stretch yourself; don’t worry about the rest.

If you haven’t registered because it’s getting cold and you don’t want to do this inside, register anyway and ride in the Spring. I’ll still post your race writeup when you send it.

If you haven’t registered because you feel like I’m always asking you to donate and you’re all donated out, register for this one; I’m not going to be doing fundraisers as often as I used to — one or two per year, tops.

And in short, go register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. I’d love to see registration fill all the way up to the cap of 500 by the time I get back on the 17th. Regardless, the last day you’ll be able to register will be October 21.

Thing 2: Listen to The Paceline  

I’m loving doing The Paceline (The Podcast on Two Wheels, whatever that means) with Patrick Brady and Michael Hotten of Red Kite Prayer. Every episode is fun, but this one…well, I feel like it’s important. We get a little more serious in this episode than we usually do; we consider the question of why there are no openly gay men in pro cycling.

You can listen above, get details at Red Kite Prayer, or subscribe on iTunesAndroid, or via RSS

Thing 3: Listen to the CyclingTips Podcast

I didn’t plan it this way, but for some reason this week, I wound up talking about important issues in both The Paceline and the CyclingTips podcast. Anne-Marije Rooke and I talk about prize money in cycling, and the ridiculous disconnect between how much men and women are paid. We talk to a race promoter who’s taking some important steps, as well as a woman racer, to get her perspective. 

 

Listen above, get details at CyclingTips, subscribe on iTunes or by RSSStitcherSoundcloud,  Google Play, or download it directly.

For both these podcasts, I’d love to know what you think.

See you in a week! (or hopefully sooner.)

Gloves Fatty Loves (Plus Two Very Helpful Glove-Related Tips)

10.5.2016 | 1:23 pm

A 100 Miles of Nowhere Registration Update from Fatty: I’m really excited to be raising money for Camp Kesem, one of my favorite charities — they provide free, weeklong camps for kids affected by a parent’s cancer. My twins have been every year since Susan passed away and it’s the highlight of their summer. 

If you haven’t registered yet, please do. Just click here for details, and then click here to register

In addition to all profits being donated to Camp Kesem, your $39.95 gets you an awesome event t-shirt, in your choice of colors — like this red one (which is the color The Hammer and I chose):

Red mockup

And it also gets you an awesome race plate, like this one:

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Yes, 5150 is the number everyone gets this year. It seems fitting.

Of course, I’ve been curious how many people have signed up, and what color t-shirts they’ve chosen. So far (and I’m going to be honest and admit disappointment here) 163 people have registered. Here’s a colorful pie chart to illustrate how many people have chosen specific t-shirt colors. In this chart, each color represents the color of a t-shirt. The number represents the number of t-shirts chosen with that color. The pie represents the fact that I like pie.

Screenshot 2016 10 05 11 35 39

I find it interesting that white is almost entirely shut out.

Also interesting: the percentages of men and women who have signed up:

Screenshot 2016 10 05 11 44 11 

What does this mean? Maybe one or both of the following:

  • More men than women read my blog
  • More men than women can identify with the idea of  riding around in circles or otherwise expending a lot of effort without getting anywhere
Regardless of your gender, please: sign up. Camp Kesem makes a big difference in kids’ lives, and I’ve gone out of my way to make this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere affordable. 

Gloves Fatty Loves

Gloves get short shrift in cycling, even though they’re one of your three riding contact points (feet, butt, hands). Maybe that’s because when gloves are bad, they’re less obviously bad than shoes or shorts. Like, if your shoes don’t fit right, that can be ride-ending. If your shorts or saddle or chamois are no good, you can wind up so sore that you’ll be off the bike (and everything else) for days.

But if your gloves don’t fit, you just take them off for the rest of the ride, or deal with the mild discomfort for a couple hours.

The thing is, though, while bad gloves won’t necessarily ruin a ride, a good pair of gloves can really improve all your rides. 

I’ve ridden with a lot of gloves, and have settled on three pair that take care of practically everything for me.

Hey, maybe you’ll like them, too.

But first, here’s some actual practical and useful glove tips I’ve gathered over they years.

A Quick Tip About Using Your Phone With Long-Fingered Gloves

I have mentioned before that all my gloves are long-fingered gloves. Indeed, it’s possible I have gone on about this fact at great length and with more intensity than perhaps I actually needed to. I’m not going to re-litigate that issue, but it’s probably worth mentiong this fact for those of you who might wonder why all the gloves I love are long-fingered. I just don’t own a pair of fingerless gloves. 

But how do you work your phone with long-fingered gloves?”  I hear you ask. Well, here’s a little tip, which I revealed in a recent episode of The Paceline (listen to it!) but will recount here: 

If you lick the tip of a gloved finger, you can then use that finger with your touch screen phone. 

It’s true. Try it. Sure, it leaves your phone screen a saliva-smeared mess, but people are a lot less likely to borrow it that way.

Another Tip for Keeping Your Gloves Together in the Wash

Most gloves have a velcro closure strap. That’s a nice thing, but it can cause problems. Specifically, when you throw your gloves in the wash, the velcro grabs on to some other clothing item (usually the inside of a jersey, in my experience). It then disappears, effectively hidden by attachment to something else. 

I don’t even know how many times The Hammer, The Monster, and I have temporarily had gloves get orphaned this way.

But then I figured out this clever trick: keep gloves together — and off of everything else — by velcroing them together.

Like this:

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Now the gloves stay with each other, instead of attaching themselves to stuff they have no business being attached to.

Our glove orphanage rate has gone way down since we’ve adopted (ha!) this technique.

Bonus Tip: You can attach gloves together like this to keep them together when stored in a drawer, in your luggage for traveling, or whereever else you move and store them. It’s a lot less easy to lose a pair of attached gloves than a single glove.  

OK, now on to the gloves I love.

Specialized Ridge

These are the gloves I love and wear more often than any other glove. I go through, in general, about two pairs per season, just due to constant use.

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The padding is perfect for short rides, long rides, and general road and mountain bike use.

And the latest iteration of these gloves is their best yet. The back material is substantial, but wicks perfectly. The grip is padded exactly the right amount and in the right places. The velcro straps are easy to grab and peel off.

They’re comfortable for about 80% of the range of weather I’m willing to ride in, from about 50F on up.

I put them on and don’t ever think about them again for the rest of the ride, which is exactly how much you should have to think about a glove.

Specialized LoDown Gloves

When I ride a singlespeed, I use my upper body a lot. I stand for about 90% of my climbing, which means I’m putting a lot of energy through my core into my arms, which eventually translates into rowing my handlebars.

That’s a lot of effort going through my hands. And to be honest, padding in my gloves just gets in the way, folding and pinching in uncomfortable places on my palms.

I’ve learned that a good set of unpadded gloves is really nice to have for my SS riding.

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And the Specialized LoDown are definitely a good set of unpadded gloves. They just pull on (elastic wrist instead of velcro closure) and stay on, fitting like the Ridge, but without any padding (and with a bit thicker, heavier of a backing material.  

 

I don’t really know if singlespeeding was the intended purpose for these gloves, but for me, they’re just right for this kind of riding. 

Plus, they’re cheap, costing closer to $20 for a pair than the $40 or so you can expect to pay for most gloves.

Giro Pivot

I don’t ride a lot in the serious cold. When it gets ugly out, I prefer to just head down in the basement and do a TrainerRoad session. 

But for coldish rides, the Giro Pivot is just wonderful

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For one thing, they are warm, thanks to the fact that they do an incredible job of keeping the precip out. They’re well insulated, but not so thick and heavy-feeling that you can’t feel your brakes or shifter triggers. I can even still reach a hand into a jersey pocket with these on, grab a gel, open and eat it, and put it back in the jersey — all without taking these gloves off.

Giro’s done a remarkable job with these gloves of striking a balance between making their gloves warm enough, without making them too bulky to ride with.

I don’t claim to have a lock on knowledge of best gloves in the market, and I’m curious about what other riders use and love. So if you’ve found a kind of glove you think is great — whether in general or for a specific kind of riding or time of year — let me know in the comments.

Now Open: 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere

10.3.2016 | 9:56 am

Update: I’ve updated the description so it describes the (very simple) shipping costs for both the 100MoN and jerseys, etc. Specifically shipping on everything is free in the US, and a flat $5 shipping fee outside the US. 

Hi there, and welcome to my post announcing registration for the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere. If you already know the drill and just want to go to the registration page, click here.

And for those of you who want to know what the t-shirt looks like, here you go: 

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And in case you’re having a hard time reading that GPS screen, here you go: 

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And here’s how adorable you’ll look wearing this t-shirt, as modeled by these slightly embarrassed-looking (but still smiling!) youngsters who have literally been backed into a corner for this photo:

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So, if you must, go ahead and skip on to the order page. But that would mean you’d miss my very clever movie-preview-style beginning of my registration announcement, which starts now:

2016 100 Miles of Nowhere: Registration Starts NOW

(Deep, Resonant, Menacing Voice): Now…just when you thought it was safe to stop training. The 100 Miles of Nowhere is back. And this time, it’s personal.

(Deep, Resonant, Menacing Voice, But Now With a Hint of Uncertainty): OK, actually it was already about as personal as an event could be, seeing as how most people ride it alone, in a basement or in their neighborhood. 

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(Same Voice, But Now With Renewed Confidence): But there’s no denying…that’s pretty darned personal. Because it’s a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves. (Or with a friend. Or with twenty friends.)

What and When is the 100 Miles of Nowhere?

OK, enough announcer voice. Let’s talk about the event, starting with the obvious question: what is the 100 Miles of Nowhere? It’s a very strange thing where you pay $39.95 (NEW LOW PRICE! INCLUDES US SHIPPING ($5 Shipping Intl)! BUY NOW!) for the privilege of riding your rollers, trainer, or a very small course (like around the block or up and down a hill) for 100 miles. The profits from your entry go to Camp Kesem — camps all across the U.S. dedicated to giving kids of parents with cancer a week of carefree fun, at no cost to them.

I did the first 100 Miles of Nowhere back in 2008, by myself, back before I knew it would be annual at all. Now in its ninth year, hundreds of us — from all around the world — do it.

Then, people send me their race reports — some folks talking about their successes, some about their challenges. Some talking about their amazing and incredible efforts:

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Others write about their simple and courageous attempts at going a distance they’ve never tried before. 

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I love all these stories and publish as many as I can on my site.

This year, the “official” date of the race is Saturday, November 11 through Sunday, November 12. Because we’re super-flexible here at 100MoN HQ. In fact, thanks to the flexibility of the event, if that weekend doesn’t work for you, you can do it another day. And that flexibility extends to whether you ride it alone or with a group of friends. It extends to the time of day: Morning? Fine. Afternoon? Awesome. After you’ve got the kids in bed and finally have some time for yourself? Perfect.

Once in a while, I hear from people who love a different sport — swimmers and runners, mostly, though I keep hoping for a rock climber. If you want to do  a marathon on the treadmill, that would be awesome. If you’re a swimmer, swim five miles. I’m not picky.

Black

And of course, the very best thing about the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that you are going to win your division. You just need to make sure your division is specific enough that there’s no chance anyone else is in it.

In short, the 100 Miles of Nowhere has become a community event for a great cause, even though we all do it alone.

Paradoxes are awesome.

How To Register, And What You Get 
Registering for the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere is ridiculously easy. You just click here and select your gender (for your t-shirt sizing), your size, and what color of t-shirt you want

Yep. As you may have guessed from all these t-shirt photos, this year you get to choose what color you want. 

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Which means that there are a total of 78 different possible t-shirt size/color combinations this year. I recommend you get one of each.

Crazy, I know. But a bunch of you let me know that you are sick of black event t-shirts. And I didn’t really know what to get instead. So I went with…everything. Black, grey, white, blue, red, and yellow

I also listened to your feedback and am having handlebar race plates made. Why? Because I agree. The fact is, my handlebar race plates are my favorite, most meaningful kind of race souvenir. Check out what the back wall in The Hammer’s and my garage looks like:

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I just stand and look at those race numbers sometimes. They take me back. I don’t want to not have a race number for this year’s 100MoN to put on the wall. 

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But the t-shirt and the race plate are all you get this year. No bags or food or bottles. Just a t-shirt and a race plate. 

Why? Because that’s making it possible for me to make this year really affordable. Just $39.95, and that includes shipping in the US, with only $5 shipping added outside the US

At that price, I really expect to sell through the limit of 500 entries pronto.

So I wouldn’t dilly-dally if I were you. 

Good luck, and let me know in the comments when you’ve registered! 

Bonus End-of-Season, Pre-Christmas Fat Cyclist Gear Sale

While I’ve got you putting the 100MoN registration in your cart, allow me to tempt you with a nice little upsell: All FatCyclist gear is deeply discounted. 

And just like the 100MoN registration, shipping is now free in the US, with international shipping only $5

These are, quite simply, the best-made and best-looking jerseys I have ever had. I mean, look:

Fat Cyclist Black Gray Jersey

And look at this, too:

Fat Cyclist Blue Wns Jersey

These are great jerseys, at the best price I will ever sell them at. And shipping’s a bargain. I recommend you support your friendly neighborhood Fatty (me) by picking one up today, while you make your 100MoN order

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