An Unusually Awesome Problem

08.3.2015 | 9:41 am

A “Join Us Tonight” Note from Fatty: Rebecca Rusch — aka “The Queen of Pain” and I are doing a three-part webinar series on Leadville 100 racing strategy. Tonight at 6pm PDT / 9pm EDT, we’ll be talking about How to be a Leadville 100 Course Guru.

This webinar will be more than an hour of details, stories, splits, and strategy for the Leadville 100 course. It’s going to be both fun and practical, so be sure to click here to register, and we’ll see you this evening!

If you missed the first webinar in this series — “Be 1/2 Hour Faster at the LT100″ — you can watch it here.

A “Join Us All Next Week, Too” Note from Fatty: If you’re going to be in Leadville next week, you should join The Hammer, Reba and me for Reba & Fatty’s Leadville Experience, Fueled by GU. From Monday to Friday next week, Reba and I will be putting on rides, clinics, and parties, and book signings.

None of it costs anything. 

Come ride, learn, and hang out with us. The schedule is here.

An “Especially Be Sure to Join Us for Free Bratwurst” Note from Fatty: Celebrating the fact that the Grand Slam for Kenya will have (hopefully!) raised more than $100,000 by the time we get to Leadville, World Bicycle Relief is going to put on a free bratwurst dinner on Wednesday, 8/12 6pm – 8pm, at 201 W 8th Street in Leadville.

Come have a brat with The Hammer, Reba and me, talk about the race, and celebrate the change we’ve made in hundreds of Kenyan schoolchildren’s lives. 

As of this moment, the Leadville 100 MTB WBR team has raised close to $120,000. That is so cool.

An Unusually Awesome Problem

I have a problem regarding the Grand Slam for Kenya I need to tell you about. I’m not sure how it happened, and I’m a little bit disconcerted to have to say it. Because it’s…very weird. 

Oh, and also it’s very awesome.

OK, deep breath: here I go.

I…um…I ran out of month before I ran out of prizes.

Yep, I got to the end of July, and I still haven’t announced all of the grand prizes that go with the Grand Slam for Kenya.

But I have a plan, and I think you’re going to like it.

A Surprisingly Excellent Solution

So here’s my solution to the “I’ve got more amazing prizes than I have time to announce them” issue.

More time

Yes, I’m hereby extending the Grand Slam for Kenya to this Friday, which — coincidentally? — is when I pack and head to Leadville.

Which means you still have time to donate, if you haven’t, and you have more time to donate again, if you already have. 

Because the sheer number and quality of prizes I’ve announced is easily worth multiple donations. Seriously, I am not aware of any cycling-oriented contest, anywhere, put on by anyone, that has anywhere near the range and quality of prizes I’ve got here.

Nobody. Anywhere. Ever. I mean it.

And I’m still going to announce one more grand prize, tomorrow.

What We’ve Got So Far

A month is a long time, and the number of prizes I’ve announced is so crazily overwhelming that I have a hard time listing them off the top of my head.

So let’s recap, shall we? In reverse chronological order.

1. The MTN-Qhubeka Team Replica Bike with ENVE Wheels and Components 

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This bike. Oh my. It’s just…stunning. Glorious. A lot of you expected me to reveal this bike, and yet were all just a little bit overwhelmed when you actually saw it.

As you should be. Oh mercy. Click here for details on this prize.

2. Any Ibis You Want, Including the New Mojo HD3 or Ripley  LS

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Choice can be a very difficult thing, when you’re choosing between some of the best, most innovative mountain bikes on the market today. Which would I pick? I think I’d get the Mojo HD3. But I’d lose some sleep making that decision. So much goodness. Click here for details.

3. Tour, Ride, and Hang Out With MTB Icon Gary Fisher

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Nobody has more stories than Gary. Nobody knows the world of cycling better. Nobody is more of a visionary. Hanging out with this guy for a day is a truly priceless prize. Riding with him and seeing the new Trek factory with him as your tour guide…well, that’s all gravy. Click here for details

4. One for the Women: a Juliana Nevis

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I’ve seen one of these in action. It’s a gorgeous bike, and fully loaded. I have a feeling that whichever lucky woman wins this is going to suddenly notice that she’s wanting to sign up for a lot of XC races. Click here for details

5. Twelve Days Cycling in Southern Italy with InGamba

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This…well, this is going to be the best vacation you ever have. Riding for twelve days, with every single little thing taken care of for you, so all you have to do is…have fun. I don’t  know who is going to win this, but I am already incredibly jealous. Click here for details.

6 AND 7. Any Trek Project One You Want

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This prize is so nice, we’re giving it away twice. And it is very nice indeed. We’re talking about any top-end Trek Project One bike, built up with your custom paint job and top-end SRAM wheels and components. I can’t believe that two people are going to win this prize. That’s just nuts. Click here for details.  

How Much, Again?

To sum up, that’s five amazing bikes we’re giving away, and two incredible trips. Seven grand prizes in the Grand Slam for Kenya.

And tomorrow, I’m announcing one final grand prize: another top-end bike, from another amazing bike maker.

All told, when you donate, you are entered to win any of a half dozen dream bikes, and two unbelievable trips.

And you’ll be changing a life for the better, in a meaningful, immediate way.

With all that in mind, could you not donate? No, don’t answer that. I’m not interested in that kind of jibber jabber. 

Instead, just go donate, and then come back tomorrow to find out what the next big prize is.

PS: Prize rules are here, and details of the contest are here. And, once again, the donation page is here.

 

Win a MTN-Qhubeka Team Replica Bike with ENVE Wheels and Components!

07.30.2015 | 10:49 am

A Note from Fatty: If you can see where I’m headed just by looking at the pictures below, feel free to go to this page to donate without further ado.

Guys, I have something I want to show you. This:

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Honestly, I just don’t have many words that can do justice to this bike, so let me instead show you another picture:

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This is the Cervelo S5 Aero Road Bike, Team MTN-Qhubeka edition, completely outfitted with ENVE wheels and components

S5 TdF final MTN Qhubeka by Jens Herrndorff photography  3 von 12

And it is beautiful. Like, unbelievably beautiful.

S5 TdF final MTN Qhubeka by Jens Herrndorff photography  5 von 12

And my friends at ENVE Composites — a proud sponsor of Team MTN-Qhubeka, are donating one of these incredible bikes as a grand prize in the Grand Slam for Kenya

Equipped with ENVE wheels, ROTOR rings, cranks and power meters, KMC chains, Shimano Dura-ace Di2 drivetrain and brakes, Ceramic Speed bearings and a Sella Italia saddles, this is, without question, the most exclusive, amazing bike I have ever had in a contest. 

It is just like the bikes the pros in Team MTN-Qhubeka rode, with the exception that ENVE will also provide the cockpit for the bike.

In other words, the bike we’re giving away as part of the Grand Slam for Kenya will be nicer than the ones the pros rode.

How does that make you feel? A little bit like this? 

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Friends and Family

It  makes perfect sense to have this bike as a prize in Grand Slam for Kenya. After all, Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s program in South Africa that provides bicycles to people in need.

Check out the Thompsons — WBR Ambassadors and Friends of Fatty — riding with Team Principal Doug Ryder, Polka-Dot Jersey phenom Daniel Teklehaimanot, and team honcho Tyler Farrar:

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It’s been an amazing month, both for the Tour de France and for World Bicycle Relief. 

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I don’t think there’s ever been a question of whether the cause is good enough to warrant donating in the Grand Slam for Kenya.

But if there’s ever been a question of whether the prizes in the Grand Slam for Kenya warrant making a donation…well, I think that question has now been definitively answered. 

Click here to donate. And good luck!

PS: On a personal note, I want to express huge thanks to ENVE for providing this bike. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed.

Win Any Ibis You Want: Grand Slam for Kenya Grand Prize

07.28.2015 | 1:13 pm

I love watching friends and family win. Especially when it’s a surprise win. Whether it’s doing unexpectedly well in a race, getting a raise (or employee of the month, as my son just did), or finding a great relationship match. 

I know their success has nothing to do with me, but I still feel proud, and honored to even know them.

It’s a little weird to have this feeling about a company, but I do. I’ve thought of Ibis as a friend for…well, pretty much ever since I started mountain biking, and long before I ever started writing about riding.

For the past several years, Ibis has been doing really fantastic work. Making bikes that are beautiful and incredible at what they’re made for.

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But lately. Uh, wow. Lately, Ibis has been innovating bikes that have just caught everyone’s attention. To the point that if you want one of their incredible Mojo HD3s you’ll have to get in line.

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Same thing’s true of their brand new Ripley LS (Long and Slack):

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That’s not hyperbole. Ibis has been designing bikes that are so amazing they simply cannot keep up with demand.

I love hearing that. It’s like hearing that your brother just graduated from college and now a bunch of companies are having a bidding war on who gets to hire him. Sorta.

And I love that in spite of this overwhelming demand, Ibis is still setting aside a place in line for you, if you are lucky enough to win this grand prize in the Grand Slam for Kenya.

Yep, you can pick a Mojo HD3, a new Ripley 29 (or Ripley 29 LS), or any other Ibis bike you like — like the Tranny I rode at Leadville last year. Or the Hakkalugi Disc.

But let’s be honest, you’re probably gonna get the Ripley or the Mojo. Hey, I don’t blame you.

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Magic Wheels Included

I am, in general, not someone who really notices tiny little differences in bike hardware. Can I tell the difference between a carbon seatpost and an aluminum one? No.

Can I tell the difference between a flexy handlebar and a really stiff one? Nope.

Can I tell the difference between any kind of cranks? No. No I cannot.

But I can tell the difference between Ibis ultra-wide 41mm rims and regular wheels. They climb better. They descend better. They corner better. 

They do everything better. 

And this bike is gonna include a set of these amazing wheels. 

Between the wheels and your incredible Ibis frame, you are going to instantly be a better rider.

Instantly.

I mean it.

XX1, Guide, Reverb…Holy Cats This Is a Great Bike

This isn’t just a frame with wheels, either. We’re going to set this Ibis up pro, with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain and the incredible new Guide brakes. A Rock Shox Pike fork and Reverb dropper post will complete your setup.

All told, you’d pay around $9000 for this bike. And it would be money well-spent.

It is going to be the most amazing bike you have ever owned.

But of course, you’ll want to donate first

You’re Running Out of Time

The Grand Slam for Kenya ends this Friday. If you’ve been waiting to see whether there’s a bike (or a trip) in this contest you want, now you know. 

Every $147 you donate changes a life. Thanks tons for donating, and — since I’m ineligible to win this bike myself (my first choice) — I hope you win.

Good luck!

Perfect, Part 2: 2015 Crusher in the Tushar Race Report

07.27.2015 | 12:12 pm

A Note from Fatty About the Upcoming Leadville 100 Webinar: Hey, Reba Rusch — The Queen of Pain — and I are doing a really cool webinar series on final prep for the Leadville 100. You should attend, even if you aren’t doing the Leadville 100 this year. Why? Because it’s good info for pretty much any kind of endurance racing. Plus we’re very entertaining. 

Here are the links for registering: 

More details about each of these sessions here.

A Note from Fatty About Part 1 of This Race: Part 1 of this race report is here.

I am not as light as I have been the past couple years. In fact, I’m about five pounds heavier than I was last year. 

This is a source of concern to me. By which I mean, I whine about it nonstop to The Hammer: “I cannot believe how fat I am this year.” She rolls her eyes and tells me I look fine, I’m racing fine, and I worry too much.

She has a point. I am, as near as I can tell, stronger than I have ever been (thank you TrainerRoad!). Even with this stomach that’s just enough bigger that the shorts I wore comfortably last year…I’m wearing uncomfortably this year. 

Even so, I worry. I worry a lot. As I turned up onto the ten-mile-long dirt road climb, I worried that thanks to the head start Ben, The Hammer, and Lindsey had (four minutes for Ben, eight minutes for the women), I’d never see them during the race. I worried that this five pounds was going to drag me down, down. And I’d be the slowest I’ve ever been in this race.

I worry, as it turns out, way too much.

I Like Climbing

Within a few hundred yards of the ten-mile climb, I realized something that I actually already know, but tend to trivialize until I’m actually in a race.

I am good at climbing. Really good.

Part of it comes from living in a place where, straight from my driveway, I can put together a near-infinite number of rides with 10,000 or more feet of climbing (road or mountain).

Part of it comes from having grown up in Alamosa, Colorado, at an altitude of 7500 feet.

Part of it comes from having ridden a single speed most of the time for the past few years. I know that spinning a fast cadence is the way most people get to the top of a mountain, but for a guy with stumpy legs, high-torque / slow cadence seems to work OK.

But I’d say most of it comes from the fact that I love how it feels. The pain of climbing: well, I don’t necessarily mind that feeling. The raggedness of my breathing: I like it. The metronomic repetitiveness: it’s my friend.

Most of my waking hours, I’m thinking and creating and problem-solving and worrying and writing and stuff. Even when I’m on a bike, most of the time, my mind is still going.

But when I’m climbing — climbing something really really difficult — that is all I’m doing. I wouldn’t call it meditative, per se, but I would call it focusing, simple. 

And of course, it makes me happy when I pass people. 

Oh Hi There

About half a mile into the climb, I passed Cory (Ben’s dad). He yelled encouragement. I nodded my head, unable to understand how anyone might be able to have enough wind to actually yell anything at all.

Next, I saw the group of fast guys I couldn’t quite hang with on the flats. “Hey, I really appreciate the huge pull you took,” I told the guy in the Half-Fast kit. “I swear I wanted to jump forward and take a turn; you were just too strong and rode me off your wheel.”

“You did take a pull,” he said. “You were the guy who got the train going.”

Hm. That hadn’t occurred to me. “Thanks again,” I said, appreciating his generous perspective.

Something like that can put you in a good mood. 

I said, “Hey,” or “Hi,” or “Nice work” to as many people as I could as I climbed. Lots of people said it back. The atmosphere was incredibly friendly. Everyone being nice to each other, even as we did our best to not be bested.

Then: The Hammer. I could see her up ahead. I quieted down, so she wouldn’t know it was me catching her. Then, as I got to within about five feet, I said, “That is one fine-looking ass.”

“Aw, that’s sweet,” said Ali Knutson, who was riding alongside The Hammer.

“I love you, baby,” The Hammer said, as I kept on going.

“Aww,” said Ali, and probably everyone else in the area.

The Hammer and I can be just a little bit nauseating, I hear.

Ben

I kept working. Going right at the pace I know I can climb without self-destructing. I said hi to my niece Lindsey as I went by.

And then: Ben. Ever since I included Ben in a blog post back in April, our rides together have been…purposeful. To the point that I really didn’t know whether I’d be able to catch him in this ride.

But now that I had caught him, I had a great idea: he and I should work together to be faster in this race. I slowed for just a second so he could grab on.

As it turns out, I hadn’t really needed to back off at all. He was already there. And he hung on, too — the first person I had come by who had been able to do so.

That kid’s gonna finish sub-9 at Leadville on his first try this year, mark my words.

Somewhere — maybe on one of the brief downhills, maybe on the short flat section, I lost Ben.

That’s OK, though. I was about to the big ol’ descent on the scary 13-mile gravel road — not something you could really work together on anyway.

I’d see Ben again. Sooner than I would have thought.

Which is where we’ll pick up tomorrow.

LT100 Racers: 3-Part Webinar from The Queen of Pain and Me

07.23.2015 | 12:53 pm

Rebecca Rusch — AKA The Queen of Pain — and I were recently talking about how the final few weeks before the Leadville 100 totally start consuming all your thoughts and time.

It can be a really intense and anxious time for people who have entered the race and dedicated pretty much all our waking moments to it for eight months or more.

We came up with what I think is a terrific idea:

What if we did a series of three webinars during this run-up to the race, designed to address the questions, challenges, and hopes Leadville 100 MTB racers all have on our minds?

And that’s what we’ve done. 

Reba and I are teaming up to provide a free set of three webinars to help you get ready for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race during these last few weeks before the event. These webinars are designed to help you finish faster, use the course to your advantage, and have the peace of mind that you haven’t left something important at home.

While free, these webinars do require you register, so be sure to sign up for each (and if you can’t attend live, don’t worry, they’ll all be recorded and uploaded for on-demand viewing both here and at http://www.rebeccarusch.com/leadvilleexperience/). 

Knock Half an Hour Off Your Time: Top Ten Racing Tips (Wednesday, July 29, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET) Two weeks before the race last year, Reba started working with The Hammer to help her get her fastest time ever, knocking an incredible forty minutes off her previous best. These same strategies will work for you, whether you’re hoping to finish before the time cutoff or get the coveted big belt buckle. Click here to register.

Know the Course
(Monday, August 3, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET) Sure, you know about Columbine and Powerline, but there are tips and tricks you can use on every single section of the course to stay focused, fast, and safe. We’re going to talk through each part of the course, describing what to do, what to watch out for, and what your split times should be for common finish targets. Click here to register.

Final Checklists
(Monday, August 10, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET)
You’re on your way to Leadville. Don’t forget anything important! We’ll talk through the absolute essentials for you and your crew (if you have one), from bike to clothes to food to tools. We’ll also be providing actual checklists for you to use and adapt. Click here to register.

Reba and Fatty will be happy to take and answer your questions during these live webinars. We look forward to chatting with you soon! 

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