Talking With WORLD CHAMPION 24-Hour Solo Racer Madeline Bemis

03.10.2016 | 12:15 pm

A “Thanks, And There’s Still Fat Cyclist Gear Available” Note from Fatty: I’m incredibly thankful to all my readers who responded to my March 8 post by buying FatCyclist gear. At this point, a lot of it’s sold out (the hoodies, long-sleeve jerseys, and arm warmers are all gone, for example), but there is still quite a bit available — some in a few sizes, some in most sizes. Here’s what’s still around:

  • Short-Sleeve Jerseys, both Relaxed-Fit and Race-Fit. The relaxed-fit jerseys are great for early season riding, the race-fit jerseys are flat-out amazing for summer riding. As you’d expect, the race-fit jerseys are closer-fitting than the relaxed-fit. To help you calibrate against the Twin Six fit, right now at 166 pounds, I barely fit into a large Twin Six jersey, fit comfortably into a Medium Relaxed Fit jersey, and fit comfortably into a Large Race-Fit jersey. Does that help?
  • Vests: These are unisex, and most sizes are available. At this price, if you don’t already own a vest, you really ought to get one. If you do already own a vest you ought to get a good one. Like this one
  • Race Bib Shorts: These were such a killer deal that most sizes sold out very quickly. However, there are a few sizes still available for men, and most sizes available for women. If you’re a woman and have never had a pair of good bib shorts, this is your opportunity to find out in a very inexpensive way why most serious riders stick with bibs.
  • Ladies’ Shorts: These are the only bike shorts (as opposed to bibs) The Hammer will ever wear, and she (5’7”, 120-125lbs) wears a Small, while she wears a Medium in most women’s bibs. So you might want to calibrate down a size when buying these. (For what it’s worth, someone asked me if there is any reason a man couldn’t wear these shorts, so I tried a medium pair on. The legs were too short, and the chamois felt all wrong, so I recommend against it.)
Remember the free shipping (in the US) on all of this still stands, and if you buy at least $100, I’ll toss in a t-shirt (if there’s a size match to what you’re buying) or a cycling cap for free
 
Talking With WORLD CHAMPION 24-Hour Solo Racer Madeline Bemis

On New Year’s Day of 2016, I posted a conversation I had with Madeline Bemis, a 17-year-old with a dream of racing in the 24-hour world championships in New Zealand. If you haven’t listened to it, stop. Before you listen to this episode of the FattyCast, you’ve got to listen to the first chat I had with Madeline.


Anyway, a lot of people, including FatCyclist.com readers, got behind Madeline’s dream, getting her to her fundraising goal and to the starting line. 

Now Madeline’s back, and this high school world champion has an awesome story to tell.

Screenshot 2016 03 10 11 16 53

You should definitely not miss this episode of The FattyCast, on iTunes, Stitcher, FattyCast.com, or on my fattycast.com/rss feed.

Or just listen / download it here:

And while you’re listening, be sure to read Madeline’s race writeup, and to check out the cool video of the event.

 

Help Fatty, Get a Killer Deal on FatCyclist Gear

03.8.2016 | 2:27 pm

A Note for People Who Tried Ordering After We Overloaded the Server: We’re back; please try again!

A Note from Fatty for People Who Want to Get Right to the Point: If you’d like to skip straight to the bottom line, here it is: FatCyclist gear is all 50% off, with free shipping and a free t-shirt or cycling cap for all orders over $100. While supplies last, natch. Click here to shop now.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’m at a personal crossroads right now, and that I would be telling you more about what’s going on this week.

And I will. I’ll tell you everything, as soon as I know everything. Because things are changing fast, and what I think I know keeps changing. I have a lot to figure out. Some of it’s exciting; most of it’s scary.

However, I do know a few things already, and I’m going to ask you to help me out. So here’s what I know so far:

  1. My financial situation is in crisis. 
  2. I have a full range of 2015 FatCyclist gear in inventory.  It is the best-made, most comfortable cycling gear I have ever sold. By a lot.
  3. I think there’s a way for me to do a couple of very exciting things — I want to write Fight Like Susan, and I have a super-secret charity project I’ve been putting a lot of time into — but right now I need to take care of some near-term issues. 
  4. By “near-term issues,” I mean, “Before I can go forward, I need to dig out of a hole.”

I have an idea that will help me take some next steps: sell the FatCyclist gear inventory. And sell it fast

And that made me think: what if I didn’t worry about making a profit on this gear, even though it’s pretty much Rapha-quality? What if I knocked 50% off the price?

And what if I shipped it for free (at least in the US)?

And then, I reasoned, what if I got fully stupid and gave a free FatCyclist t-shirt or FatCyclist cycling caps (until I ran out) to anyone who buys at least $100 worth of gear?

I know, that’s insane. But it’s fully true. Click here and see.

The Basics

I wrote a description of all the gear back when it was up for pre-order, so you can of course check that out. But here are a few updates I have to give after having ridden using DNA gear for a season:

  • Relaxed-Fit Short Sleeve Jersey: fits looser than the Twin Six jerseys and is not as long, which means it doesn’t bunch up around the zipper when you’re hunched over and riding. Now $42.99
  • Race-Fit Short Sleeve Jersey: This fits close and is of very light material. It’s my very favorite summer jersey. If you don’t have one, you should order one (but maybe size up). Now $49.99
  • Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: This is the best cool-weather jersey I have ever owned. It is so comfortable, and it looks so good. It was a good deal at $120, and it’s a ridiculous steal at $59.99.
  • Race Bib Shorts: I went out of my way to select these shorts in combination with this chamois, because they’re both ridiculously good. Until I had DNA bib shorts, I always just wore Rapha shorts. These…well, I promise you’ll be so much more comfortable than in cheap shorts. Except now these are cheap, at $62.50.
  • Ladies Race Shorts: I have never tried these on, but The Hammer — who ordinarily sticks with bibs — likes these enough that she insisted I make them available. $47.50. 
  • Vest: It weighs practically nothing, looks great, and does exactly what a vest should. Now $49.99
  • Arm Warmers: You can never have too many of these, especially because of how versatile they are, and the way they’ll go with practically any kit. I recommend sizing up. Now $17.50.
  • Hoodie: I love hoodies in general, and this one in particular. I wear it about three days out of seven. I’m wearing it right now. Honestly I can’t believe I’m clearing them out at $24.99.

If you do the math, this means you can put together a super-high-quality bibs+jersey kit for right around $100. Total, including shipping (which is free in the US, just in case you forgot). And if you do spend more than $100, I’m going to throw in a Fat Cyclist t-shirt, just for the heck of it.

And once I run out of t-shirts (or if I don’t have a t-shirt in the size of the jersey or hoodie you’re ordering), I’ll throw in a Fat Cyclist cycling cap instead. An once I run out of those, they’re gone. And that’s what I’m shooting for.

How it Looks

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve just made the most compelling case possible for ordering FatCyclist gear. Except I haven’t shown off photos of how great this gear looks. Checkitout:

Thumb IMG 3406 1024
My niece and nephew-in-law, staring deeply into each other’s eyes. Why? Because Fat Cyclist gear makes you beautiful and thin and loveable, that’s why.

Thumb IMG 3787 1024
Dave Thompson runs happily up the Leadville 100 Powerline trail. Why? Because FatCyclist gear makes you happy and thin and fast. 

Thumb IMG 0078 1024
The Hammer and me at Levi’s GranFondo. Why? Because FatCyclist gear makes every ride a day at the beach.

What’s Next

I am very busy right now. Just so you know, I am finalizing the design for next year’s Fat Cyclist gear, and I hope you will buy it, too. It will make it  possible for me to pay bills and keep my kids in school.

I am also working on my outline for Fight Like Susan, and putting together a pre-order of this book. You’ll see it soon. If you’re all willing to help me with these things, I’ll have enough money that I can spend two or three months writing, instead of scrambling for a job.

And if things go well on these fronts, well…I’ll hopefully have enough momentum that I can launch a charity project I’ve wanted to do for years.

But first things first.

If you were holding off on a Fat Cyclist kit for price reasons, now’s your chance. If you got one and liked it, maybe get another, because then you won’t have to wash clothes as often. 

I’ll have more to talk about soon. Thank you for your help.

Big Dreams and Doing the Hard Thing: Talking With Hollywood Big-Shot (and Friend of Fatty) Paul Guyot

03.7.2016 | 11:39 am

NewImageSometimes, I write for my readers. Those are the fun posts. Sometimes, I write for myself. Those are the important posts, and also generally wind up being the stories that my readers like the best.

The new episode of The FattyCast — a conversation with TV and movie writer/producer (and occasional Fat Cyclist guest blogger — here and here, for example) Paul Guyot (Twitter / Web) is the first podcast I’ve ever done that really fits into the “for myself” category. 

But I don’t mind if you listen in. 

Crossroads

At the risk of stealing my podcast’s thunder, I’m going to tell you a little bit about this conversation, and I’m going to drop a few hints about why it’s important to me right now.

Originally, when I scheduled a podcast with Paul, my plan was to talk with him about biking, his impressive weight loss, and about the new TV show he was pitching.

And the first time we talked, we did talk about all of those things. And it was…OK. But neither of us was really happy with it. Both of us felt a little bit like we hadn’t really gotten to the conversation we ought to have had.

So I erased the recording and we scheduled another one.

And this time, Paul talked about how 2015 was a real crossroads year — about relationships, about forgiveness, about discovering what he is truly capable of.

He talked about how he had a big dream, but also had bills to pay…and a really good, practical offer for steady work.

He went with his dream. And it was hard, and scary, and a lot of work.

But in the end, he had multiple networks competing for his dream. He’s fought his way to the starting line, and he’s now positioned to build something extraordinary. 

And the thing is: I’m at a crossroads, too. I’m in the place of needing to make some big decisions.

So this was a remarkable conversation to have.

Much More

This is a long conversation — about two hours. We talk about  the transformational moment you realize you’re going to be a cyclist, and how we both vividly remember that moment. 

We talk about Paul’s son and a remarkable ride with Team Garmin…including a really touching moment with Tom Danielson.

We talk about what it’s like to pitch a TV show to big networks. 

We talk about inspiration. We talk about forgiveness. We talk about the weird, uncomfortable politics of Hollywood.

And we talk a lot about the really amazing show — based an amazing, little-known, and very relevant part of American history.

So, make the time. Listen to this one. You’ll find the FattyCast on iTunes, Stitcher, FattyCast.com, Google Play Music, and with the RSS Feed: http://fattycast.com/rss

You can also listen to on this page, or just click here to download

PS: I’ll have more to say about my own crossroads in the next day or two.

100 Miles (erm, KM) of Nowhere Race Report: Ode to Friendship Edition

03.4.2016 | 10:18 am

A Note from Fatty: This story from SherpaTurtle (originally posted on her own blog) is a terrific multi-person story from a loyal 100MoN racer. Enjoy!

This year marked my fifth 100 Miles of Nowhere, although this year, like most I’ve been in a country where KM are used instead of miles and so once again I participated in a 100 KM of Nowhere instead.

The time was set to meet my friends at Camp Aguinaldo, a military base inside metro Manila at 4:00 AM. I arrived slightly early and was immediately informed by the guard that I would not be allowed on base until after 5:00 AM. I messaged Ty and Keith to let them know at which point I received this response from Ty:

Ty Message

That’s Ty for, “that’s cool, I’m running late anyway, but should be able to make it there by 5:00.”

From Keith I heard nothing, which is Keith for, “I’m not awake yet so 5:00 AM is better.”

Lito and I waited at a Shell station for the guys to show up. For some reason my friends and I always meet at Shell stations before starting our bike rides. Eventually Ty and Keith both showed up and 5:00 came around and we made our way to the base.

Camp Aguinaldo is a Philippine Armed Forces base inside metro Manila (technically in Quezon City). It’s a convenient location for triathletes living in Manila to train since it’s located inside the city, it has a lap pool and roads that are mostly devoid of traffic. Along with me for this adventure were my great friends, Keith, Ty, and Lito. 

NewImage

My version of their stories are below.

Winner of the Bamboo Bike Single Speed Division

A few years ago I spent entirely too much money on a custom-made singlespeed bamboo bicycle for an ex-boyfriend who really didn’t deserve it. When the relationship went south, I was tempted just to leave the bike outside and let somebody take it. One day I told that to my driver, Lito, who promptly replied that he was somebody.

While the bike was made for someone 6 foot 2, Lito, who is maybe 5 foot 8 has figured out a way to make do with it. He doesn’t get to ride it very often. He lives in Rizal, where there aren’t very many flat roads and the singlespeed isn’t geared great for going up or down a mountain.

The best part of doing the ride at Camp Aguinaldo is that Lito would be able to do as many laps as he felt comfortable doing, at a pace he was comfortable riding. Lito was able to complete 11 laps for a total of 33 KM and took the medal for most mileage completed on a bamboo singlespeed.

NewImage
Lito, the winner of the bamboo bike single speed division.

Winner of the “I’ll Just Do a Triathlon in the Middle of this Event” Division

Keith and I had been training for a triathlon that would take place at the end of November, my first. The group we’ve been training with was doing a tri simulation (in reality a full triathlon) that morning at Camp Aguinaldo.

So Keith started the 100 KMoN with us and then after an hour he swam 750 meters, biked 30k and then ran a 10k. Keith had intentions of getting back on the bike after the triathlon and finishing with us, but decided to take a nap in his car instead.

In my opinion, that was the better option.

NewImage
Keith, winner of the I’ll just do a triathlon in the middle of this event division.

Winner of the “Forget this hill, I’ll just take a short cut from now on” category – Ty

Ty had been riding pretty strong and at about 60k he was a lap ahead of me. At 50k I had decided to stop taking a left at the top of the hill, riding down it and then riding back up. Opting instead to just take a right, cutting the hill out of my race entirely.

Unfortunately, it also cut about a km out of the lap, which meant more laps, but that seemed like a reasonable tradeoff to me at the time.

At about 60k, I caught Ty on his lap and he saw what I had done. He decided to make it his last lap climbing that hill too. Up until that point, I had been winning the “forget this hill, I’ll just take a shortcut from now on” category, but with Ty switching categories, now he was in the lead.

He was able to solidify his win in this category by stopping his race at 90km when his phone battery died…and therefore so did his Strava. He figured if he couldn’t Strava it, it didn’t count. This enabled Ty to beat me by almost half an hour.

NewImage
Ty, winner of the forget this hill, I’ll just take a short cut from now on category. Photo courtesy of Ty Enriquez.

Winner of the “I didn’t even know I was in a race” category – Toby

You didn’t know Toby was in this race, did you? Well, neither did Toby. Toby is my spinning instructor and I ran into him (not literally) while he was running and I was riding up the hill. Toby was out for a run with his friends and had no idea he had stumbled into a race. What makes his win all the more impressive is that he didn’t even find out about it until 2 weeks after the race was over.

This just goes to show that you should always assume you are in a race.

Winner of the “Only person to actually finish 100KM” – me

I finished the 100 km in about 4 ½ hours. It was the longest I have ridden without taking a break. I was worried that if I stopped, I wouldn’t want to start again, so I just kept going. Given the lack of climbing and the lack of stopping, this was a pretty slow pace, but I finished and thereby won the “only person to actually finish 100KM” category.

The time riding gave me a lot of time to think and while on this ride, I realized, this ride was much like my first 100 Miles of Nowhere in that it was bittersweet for me.

My first 100 Miles of Nowhere — an actual 100 miles (not kilometers) — was my first 100 mile ride and was also the only other 100 Miles of Nowhere that I have done with friends. It was a cold and windy day in early May and we rode seven laps on a 14+ mile loop from Iowa City to a town called Hills, which is remarkably flat. The wind was wonderful riding towards Hills allowing us to pick up great speed with little effort.

Riding towards Iowa City, however, was a different story. My friends and I banded together with the stronger riders riding out front and the slower riders like me drafting behind. I honestly am not sure I could have finished if it wasn’t for my friends. About 10 of us started, we picked up a few friends for a lap or two throughout the day and 4 of us finished about 11 hours after we started.

In fairness to those of us who finished, we stopped in Hills every lap for a beer or some food, which added a lot of time to the ride.

The ride was bittersweet though because about a third of the way through the ride I found out my grandmother had passed away. She had been sick for a while and was only a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. But my grandfather had died nearly 30 years previously and her last remaining sibling a couple of years prior and she was at peace at the end, ready for what comes next.

When I found out while stopped for lunch I had a choice to make: stop and mourn or continue riding and spend some time remembering the good things she had taught me. I decided to ride on, I spent a lap of the ride riding by myself and remembering.

And why was this 100 Miles of Nowhere bittersweet? At the end of December, I moved back to the United States. This ride marked the last with these friends, in this place, which I had several hours to think about as I rode.

Finding the words to express how much these people and this country have meant to me has been very difficult, which is likely why it took me a month to write this and another two months to post it. And as I used my first 100 Miles of Nowhere to remember my Grandmother and the lessons she taught me, I used this one to ponder the relationships I’ve had with these people I’ve had a great fortune to call friends over these past years.

I first met Keith in 2007 when he was a manager for one of our teams. He has since moved on to other work and we remained friends on Facebook, but I had not seen him in person in several years when in 2013 I ran into him at a biking event in BGC, a city inside metro Manila.

Keith is a lot like me in that we will agree to do anything and gut it out through determination alone and probably celebrate with a beer afterwards. We started biking together frequently after re-meeting in BGC and he was quick to introduce me to his other biking friends, which included Ty.

NewImage

Ty has been gracious enough to allow us to start and finish bike rides from his house because he’s close to a route that’s relatively flat and the jeepneys and trikes on route are used to bikers. When we finish, there was always a feast waiting for us that his mother has cooked.

And while all food is delicious after a long ride, I can attest that Ty’s mom’s cooking is phenomenal, even when I haven’t just ridden a bike because they always send me home with a ton of leftovers.

NewImage

Finally, there is Lito. Lito was assigned to drive me on a short 1 month trip to Manila in 2012. When I went back for 2 weeks a few months later, I asked for him to drive me again. When I moved back out in 2013, I requested he drive me full time.

So technically it could be said that Lito is my driver, but he’s also one of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to get to know. He listens to me complain about the Manila traffic jams or someone that has made me mad at work without judgment, or at least without expressing judgment.

At the end of 2013 when I went through a personal crisis, he let me cry in the back of his car without comment. He accompanied me on a hike of Mt Pinatubo shortly after, which was a turning point in me getting my head back together. He has been there for me in things as small as getting the pedals off my bike to as great as making sure the giant, flying cockroach that found it’s way into my backpack one morning, found it’s way back out before I went to work that night.

I am thankful for the time I had on this 100 Miles of Nowhere to contemplate these friendships. It gave me time to remember how blessed I have been to have the opportunity to live abroad and experience a different culture in a way that is difficult to do on just a vacation.

And while I could see this 100 Miles of Nowhere was a goodbye to the city and the people I’ve come to love, I am trying to think of it instead as an “until next time.”

Kathryn Bertine on The FattyCast, Me on the Paceline

03.3.2016 | 11:20 am

I’m such a fan of the amazing things that are happening in women’s cycling right now. Which, just in case you didn’t know it, automatically means I’m a huge fan of Kathryn Bertine: pro cyclist, author, filmmaker and activist.

NewImage

Kathryn Bertine’s one of the strongest voices in women’s cycling. Her documentary, Half the Road, has opened eyes and doors about this neglected half of our sport.

But her achievements have come at a cost.

In the latest episode of The FattyCast, Kathryn and I talk about risk, reward, politics in the peloton, advocacy, her new team and her role in it, her next book, and how hard it can be for pro cyclists to keep a roof over their heads.                 

It’s an inspirational, honest, and very open conversation with a strong cyclist who’s making a difference. You won’t want to miss this episode of The FattyCast. 

So: check it out on iTunes, or Google Play Music, or get the RSS Feed (http://fattycast.com/rss). Or just listen / download it here:

And while you’re at it, be sure to read the book that made me a fan of Kathryn’s writing before I ever admired her work in women’s cycling: As Good As Gold. It’s a fun, funny, and eye-opening read…especially in a Summer Olympics year.

Fatty and Red Kite Prayer, on The PaceLine #7 

I have really been enjoying working Patrick Brady and Michael Hotten of Red Kite Prayer on a second weekly podcast: The Paceline (subscribe on iTunes here).

The latest episode is especially good, because I talk a bunch on it. Specifically, we talk about: 

  • Cycling words we could do with out — and I go off the rails and start talking why I think we should eliminate the word “doping” from our vocabulary.
  • Tipping the Mechanic: Yes, we actually talk about one of my blog posts and whether bike mechanics should be tipped, and more specifically to what degree (and with what substance) they should be tipped. It’s like this weird alternate universe where I’m a serious, thoughtful person who somehow believes he has something to say.
  • Bike Wheel Sizes: In which I suddenly have a genuinely brilliant flash of inspiration. Seriously. 
There’s more. Lots more. And — I am not making this up — The Hammer has said she really likes the Paceline. It’s a good show, it sounds good, and the three of us have great bike-related conversations together. Check it out:

« Previous Page« Previous Entries     Next Entries »Next Page »