A Note from Fatty: Today’s guest post comes from Dan Wuori, the back-page columnist for Velo Magazine. He also agreed to write the Foreword to my (very) soon-to-be-published The Great Fatsby: The Best of FatCyclist.com, Vol. 2.
Also, he wrote the Middleword, something I don’t think many books have. I was joking when I asked him to write this, but he seemed willing, so I went with it.
Finally, I asked him to write a Backword, too. By the time I asked him to write this, I was just seeing if there was anything Dan would say “no” to. Evidently, there is not.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, Dan did have a few demands before he would agree to write these three things in my book:
- That I ask everyone who reads my blog to follow Dan on Twitter and tell you how great he is.
(Hey everyone, follow Dan on Twitter! He’s really great!)
- Pay him in 30% in Bitcoin, 30% in Dogecoin, and 30% in one-dollar bills, printed exclusively during years that are divisible by both three and seven. He seemed unaware that this did not come to 100%, and I wasn’t about to tell him.
- That, should we ever meet in person, I would salute him and greet him by saying, “Hail, Son of Krypton.”
Also, you should know: Anyone who buys the signed and inscribed copy of The Great Fatsby today, tomorrow, or Wednesday will also get their book signed by Dan.
And also, from now through Wednesday, you can use the FAT20 code to get 20% off on all your Great Fatsby pre-order purchases.
Guest Post from Dan Wuori
When Elden told me he planned to name his next book The Lament of the Purple Snipe, I told him it was quite possibly the worst title I had ever heard. But when he rang to explain that the name was a callback to a blog post about a groin injury (in which “snipe” was actually an anagram for the word “penis”), I had a change of heart – and told him it was definitively the worst.
In the end he named his bookThe Great Fatsby. It is my fervent hope that this is not another of Elden’s “clever” anatomical references..
Alright, that’s not entirely true. He called it The Great Fatsby because I thought it was funny and told him I wouldn’t write the foreword unless he did.
This also wasn’t true.
Maybe no one has ever asked you to write a foreword, but let me tell you it’s like the perfect Ocean’s Eleven-style heist. You do 1/500 th of the work and still end up in the Amazon.com search listings as if you’ve actually done something. You’d really have to be an idiot to say no. Still I told Fatty I wanted naming rights to the book, just to see who had the upper hand in this relationship.
I thought for a brief time it was me. But that was before I started writing.
I’ve been reading Elden’s blog for years. We don’t know each other well, but we both love cycling and share a certain sensibility as writers. The difference is that I’m much more content to write a magazine column once a month (over which I labor as if creating a plan to broker peace or rid the world of unsolicited Candy Crush invitations), whereas Elden manages to spew forth three times weekly with nary a proof read.
“I prefer first draft mediocrity,” he once told me.
[Note from Fatty: That is in fact an actual quote, and not out of context, either.]
But the truth is he takes this blog very seriously – and puts in a tremendous amount of time and effort to produce what you read here each week. The problem is, he expects others – namely me — to share his work ethic, which I’ve come to learn the hard way over the past several months as I’ve watched my 1/500th grow. And grow. And grow.
First there was the foreword. You know, the thing I actually agreed to write. Then he calls to say that he thinks the book needs a middleword. I thought I had the perfect out when I told him that there was no such thing and to leave me alone. But the next thing I knew I was writing a middleword. And a backwards. Suddenly I was feeling less like Danny Ocean and more like that casino owner Andy Garcia played, but whose name I’m just too lazy to Google.
And don’t even get me started on the edits. Even writing for American cycling’s journal of record, I’m not used to the kind of editorial scrutiny this guy exercises.
Can I make it little longer? Can I rework the ending? Can I add some dialogue in French so we can impress Johnny Depp? (Bonjour Johnny! Ca va?) The guy is full of demands.
And now the latest: can I write up a guest post for the blog? Well guess what? I just did.
Who’s the alpha dog now, Fatty?
(SHOP NOW: For a limited time only, if you purchase Dan Wuori’s new book Foreword, you will receive Elden Nelson’s The Great Fatsby for free. Or buy the deluxe version of the foreword for $123.96, use the FAT20 discount code and get the book, jersey, and a t-shirt for free!)
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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):
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.
A Recap Note from Fatty: In social media and the comments, a few people have asked whether my book pre-order still has the contest component going on, so I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick re-cap of the highlights and logistics of my The Great Fatsby: The Best of FatCyclist.com Volume 2 pre-order:
- What: The pre-order is a chance for you to pre-order my new book (regular, signed, inscribed, or Kindle), as well as a very cool tecno-merino wool jersey and t-shirt, (or a discounted bundle) with delivery by Christmas (as long as you live in the US).
- The Contest Part: Depending on what you buy (the description for each item lists how many chances that item includes), you automatically are entered to win your choice of any Ibis bike, which will be equipped with top-of-the-line SRAM components.
- The Charitable Giving Part: 25% of all profits will go to World Bicycle Relief. And that 25% gets anonymously matched, so WBR winds up getting 50%. Which is kind of mindboggling.
- When: The Pre-order goes through December 3.
- Where: Click here for the complete list of items. And thank you.
Thankful, 2014 Edition
2014 has been an exceptional year for me.
That is not, by the way, how I wrote the introductory sentence on the first or second time. Originally, I said “hard year” and then tried “challenging year.”
But I like “exceptional year” better, and I’m thankful for a lot of it.
I am thankful for patience. There have been a lot of things that have kept me up at night this year—some of them blog-related (yes, sometimes I fret about this blog), some of them family-related, some of them career-related.
Ten years ago, any one of those things would have had me worried sick for days. I guess I’ve seen enough now, though, that I’m able to keep focused and keep moving forward, affecting what I can, accepting what I can’t.
I don’t know if I can claim much in the way of wisdom; I’ve never gone out of my way to seek wisdom out. But I think I’ve become a little more patient—both with people and events—and I think that’s a pretty fair substitute for wisdom.
I am thankful for health and strength. I am 48.5 years old now, and I predict that I will, sometime within the next two years, turn 50. I think that ought to freak me out, but it doesn’t (this may change without notice of course).
Why? Because at 48.5, I’m faster, stronger, tougher, and healthier than I was at 28.5.
I get sick very rarely, and when I do, it’s never been anything serious (I don’t think I’ve ever even had the flu).
The bicycle—and my love for the bicycle—has given me this gift of health, and as someone who has seen what true illness is, I am thankful for my health.
I am thankful for my friends. I’m at the age where everyone’s busy, all the time, and it’s easy to not do much with your friends. I missed the Core Team’s Fall Moab trip this year because I needed to work on The Best of FatCyclist.com Volume 2, and I’m still disappointed. That said, I feel like some of us reconnected this year, and I’m very thankful for that.
I’m thankful for the generosity of Team Fatty. I do very little projects, and for some reason all of you magnify them into things that are very big. You’ve changed thousands of lives; I love being a part of this.
I’m thankful for my kids. And by “my kids,” I mean both kids and stepkids. I didn’t realize that it would take a while before we all found a place in the family, and I won’t claim that everything feels seamless yet, but I feel really fortunate to have any part at all in all seven of these fantastic people’s lives.
I’m thankful for Lisa. Sure, on the blog I usually call her “The Hammer,” but in real life she’s Lisa, and I count myself very fortunate to be married to someone who loves the people and activities I love too.
I hope you’ve had an exceptional year too, and I hope you have plenty to be thankful for. I’d love to read about what’s on your mind.
A Note from Fatty: I’m happy to announce that my second Best of FatCyclist.com book, The Great Fatsby, is nearly finalized and going to the printer next week.
I’m even happier to announce that I’m genuinely happy with how it’s turned out. It’s about 350 pages (fifty or so pages more than the first volume), the intros, edits and annotations actually make the reading experience better, and Velo’s Dan Wuori has an awesome Foreword…and Middleword…and Backword. Yes, really.
To check out the book—and the beautiful tecno-merino long-sleeve jersey also on pre-order—by Christmas, click here. Thanks!
As a Serious Cyclist, I Demand You Take Me Seriously
I’ll thank you very much to not mock my lifestyle, for I am a very serious cyclist. I have made incredible sacrifices to get to where I am today. I want you to respect them for what they are, and to see me as the dynamic, steel-eyed figure I see myself as.
You want examples? Oh, I’ve got examples. You may want to sit down, though, because these are going to rock your world.
The overarching theme to my cycling is that I suffer. When I am riding my bike up a mountain pass (I do not trifle with things so mundane as hills), I evoke the image of a figure both heroic and tragic. “Who is this man?” passersby would wonder, if only there were someone to see me. “Who is this man who attacks the mountain with such cold fury? Such power? Such wrath melded with stoicism?”
People in the metal coffins they call cars—mere sheep, I despise them!—pass and look at me with what must be envy. I do not deign to return their gaze; they are mere sheep.
Instead, I ignore them and focus my energies—every nanogram of effort I can muster—into the pedals. “What emotional furnace drives him to push his body to its limits so? Is he paying penance? How is it possible that one man can exert such an extraordinary force of will?”
And lastly and above all, “Why does he suffer so?”
That is what they would say about me if they could look into my soul, if they had the capacity to understand how serious I am about cycling.
But they do not say any of these things. How could they? They do not (could not!) understand.
This is one of the reasons I hold them in contempt.
Look at me. No, don’t be afraid. Take a good long look. Is there anything about my appearance that does not indicate I am very serious about my cycling?
My bib shorts are of the highest quality; the chamois alone is the product of more R&D than the automobile (a hybrid, I assure you) I drive when I am not on a bike. (Which, I assure you, is rarely.)
My glasses match my helmet, both of which match my jersey, which is as form-fitting as it is light. By the way, I resent my helmet, because my idols did not wear them and I consider them an insinuation that my bike handling skills are not sufficient to successfully resolve any situation that might arise.
Have no doubt that everything I own goes well with my shoes, and my socks are the proper length dictated by the most recent issue of Peloton magazine (which is the only magazine I find adequately serious for my cycling needs).
My legs are freshly shaven, as are my arms.
My face is studiously neutral. I have cultivated this expression so it appears this way at all times. You will never know whether I am about to attack or to be dropped.
My game face is my only face. I take my cycling that seriously.
Riding With Others
You say that you also ride a bike, and that we should ride together sometime? Well, I admire your audacity; I’ll give you that. But we could never ride together until I know a few key facts about whether you take cycling seriously enough to ride with my group.
First, I need to know whether you intend to wear that helmet with the visor clip on the ride. You know that’s a mountain bike helmet, don’t you? And that this will be a road bike ride? Don’t embarrass both of us by showing up with that.
Can you hold a speed within one one-hundredth of a mile per hour, without looking at a speedometer? Everyone in my group can. Can you hold your line within one millimeter (as a serious cyclist, I measure everything in metrics)? If you can’t, there’s no place for you in my group.
Under what circumstances do you ride in a paceline, and under which is an eschelon preferable? What is the correct duration of a pull? How do you signal that you want someone to pull through? When did you most recently shave your legs?
I need to know all of these things. Fill out this form, make 15 copies, and I’ll get back to you. My very serious riding compatriots and I will think very seriously whether you are worthy of advancing to the next stage of the group ride interview process.
Tell me everything you know about Eddy Merckx. It’s important to me that you can speak about him in reverential enough tones and that you are fully versed in his life and racing statistics.
You don’t know that much about him, because he retired from cycling before you even knew professional cycling even existed? Obviously, you don’t take your racing history very seriously. If you can’t be effusive about someone who last raced about forty years ago, I don’t think we have that much to talk about.
Fortunately for you, I have studied him at some length and will be happy to lecture you endlessly about the golden age of cycling.
I resent that you think, by being very serious about cycling, that I somehow do not have fun. I have exactly the right amount of fun. Two days ago, I did intervals specifically engineered to increase my capacity for fun: eight repetitions of thirty seconds of fun at my absolute limit, followed by two minutes of recovery.
I can show you the the data from the event, if you’d like. I think you’ll find that I am 2% more fun than I was this week last year. That’s significant progress.
Besides, I do cyclocross. Cyclocross is fun. Last Sunday I raced a cyclocross event I peaked for. I wore a skinsuit for maximum aerodynamics, heckled other people within acceptable limits, and lectured all around me about how cyclocross is better in Belgium.
And then I drank a beer. Beer is fun.
As long as it’s a serious beer.
A Note for Kindle-Loving Friends of Fatty: I know that a lot of people these days prefer to read their books as e-books. In fact, I am one of those people. So it bothered me that I couldn’t figure out a way to make it possible to pre-order an e-book version of The Great Fatsby and still be entered in the contest to win the Ibis of your choice, not to mention have 25% of the profits go to World Bicycle Relief.
Well, I woke up at 4:00am today with an epiphany. Now I know how to do it, and it’s not even all that hard. Well, it will require some work on my end, but it’s do-able.
The catch is, to keep the logistics from being entirely insane, I need to make Kindle the only e-book format this pre-order will work with. I’m OK with that; it seems like an acceptable compromise.
So, starting right now, you can pre-order a Kindle version of this book. Just click here to pre-order, and you’ll get a code emailed to you on December 10 to download the book.
Or, if you’re giving the Kindle version of the book as a gift, you can specify their name and email (and a gift message if you like) and the code will be sent to them on December 10. Easy.
I was on one of those long rides last summer, the kind where you’ve been out for a couple hours and have another few hours to go. You’re on a road you’ve ridden many times before and there’s not much new to see.
It was the kind of ride that lets your mind detach a little bit. To wander.
And while I was thus wool-gathering, a question occurred to me—one that has grabbed me and gnawed at me ever since.
If I take me as I am, then subtract the bicycle, what do you have left?
It’s not an easy question to answer. It’s not even an easy question to interpret. But I’ve been considering it from a few angles.
How Big a Part?
I started listing the ways the bike is a part of my life.
- It’s more or less the only way I (enjoy) exercising. I ride a bike probably six days a week.
- It’s how I stayed stable and centered when Susan was ill, and after she died.
- It’s how I met The Hammer.
- It’s how my wife and I spend our time together. Sure, we occasionally go to a movie or restaurant, but more than anything else, we ride together.
- It’s what I spend a couple hours each day writing about. Right now, for example.
- It’s what I think about. When I’m not on a bike, I check bike blogs and news sites and bike manufacturer sites and racing sites and think about my next ride and think about racing.
- It’s how I make a difference. For whatever good I’ve done in the world, a huge chunk of it can be attributed to the bike. I raise money with bikes, I give bikes away, I go to charity rides, and I encourage all of you to do the same.
- It’s what my friends do. Almost without exception, my best friends in the world…all ride bikes. And not casually, either. It’s what we do together. Most of us started in the same company (WordPerfect) long ago, but the bike gives us a reason to stay in touch and do something together.
- It’s how I make friends. I’ve made a lot of friends through this blog. A lot of these friendships now transcend the bike, but the bike is still a part of all these friendships.
- It’s tied to an important personal anniversary. Every year I do The Leadville 100. It’s more than a race to me, it’s a big chunk of who I am and how I think about myself.
That is…a lot. And I’ve spent some time thinking about how my life would be different—how I would be different—if bikes were somehow subtracted from my life.
In a Non-Bike Universe…
Imagine a world where, for whatever reason, the bike simply does not exist. At all. Never has. How would I be different?
Would I still exercise? Would I have been able to be as good as I was to Susan? What would The Hammer and I do together? Would we have ever connected at all? What would I be writing right now (or during the past ten years)? About something different? Anything at all?
Would I have ever become passionate about fundraising?
I don’t know the answer at all to some of these questions. I can guess at others. I think I’d still exercise—before I had cycling, I played racquetball a few days each week, and I rollerbladed (yes rollerbladed) to work and back each day, about eight miles each way. Don’t judge, that’s where my quads came from.
But I think exercise would just be something I do—not something I love, not one of the defining characteristics of me.
Maybe The Hammer and I would have gotten together; after all, our first date was a run, not a ride. But because we each are faster / stronger than the other in one of these two events, we have great balance and understanding of the other. I don’t know how our relationship would be different without the bike, but I do know it would be massively different.
I wrote—a lot—before I ever took up biking; I’m sure I’d be writing something. Maybe Random Reviewer would have survived if I hadn’t been focusing on bikes so much. But probably not.
More importantly than any of these one activities, though, is who I’d be if there were no bikes. Would I have experienced the catalytic moments that have made me do so much fundraising? I kind of doubt it, to be honest. I don’t by nature go seeking things like that out.
Because of the bike, they’ve come to me and I have helped a lot of people make the world a better place.
Of course, there’s no way to check this. No way to verify who I would be in this universe. But I think about it, and I can’t help but be incredibly glad and grateful for what the bike has given me, for what it has made me into.
If Bikes Were Taken Away From Me
The other way I could interpret this question is, “What if I couldn’t ride?” In other words, what if something were to happen to me and I could no longer ride my bike?
It’s incredible, really, how physical my reaction is when I consider this question. I become literally queasy. My anxiety level jumps to the level of near-panic, and I feel smothered. Believe me when I say that I’m not exaggerating here.
I think this is because while a “universe without bicycles” thought experiment is mildly interesting, this second interpretation of the “Who am I without bicycles” question is a little too real of a possibility.
What if I had an accident? What if I had a disease? And because of whatever the circumstance is, I just couldn’t ride anymore? Ever again?
Yes, there it is again: that feeling.
Regardless of whether I think about bikes too much, they’ve become such an enormous part of me that it affects me physically to consider myself without them as a part of my life. It’s like considering what my life would be like without air. That sounds like hyperbole, I know, but take a look at how I described how I feel: it’s not that different from how I’d describe what it feels like to be held under water.
Still, it’s worth thinking about for a minute, because it’s instructive. To consider how important something is in your life, consider the universe without it. Then, make it personal: consider it being taken away from you.
And then, be grateful for it.
Now it’s your turn. Consider the question, “If you take yourself as you are, then subtract the bicycle, what do you have left?“
I’ll be very interested to read your responses.
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