Not a Good Sign

01.20.2014 | 8:08 am

It’s not a good sign…

…when you notice that when you ride in the drops, your knees have started hitting your belly. And you can’t raise the bar because you—in what is now quite clearly a fit of foolish vanity and lack of foresight—“slammed” the stem and cut the fork to its absolute lowest position, back when you weighed twenty pounds fewer.

…when you notice you can no longer get into the drops at all. At least, not if you want to breathe.

…when you go out to ride and notice that your bike’s tires are all squishy and soft—and you know it’s not because you got a flat while riding recently. No, it’s because it’s been so long since you’ve been on your bike that all the air has had time to seep out of your tires.

…when none of your “Summer” jerseys fit anymore.

…when none of your “Winter” jerseys fit anymore (and not because they’re too large for you).

…when you start turning down invitations to ride with friends, because you don’t want them to see exactly how far you’ve fallen.

…when you bib tights stop having a “Spanx” effect, and now simply relocate your muffin top up a few inches. And also make it nigh impossible to breathe. (Especially deadly when combined with trying to ride in the drops.)

…when you realize — as you open it — that your seat pack contains the CO2 canister and tube from the last time you flatted.

…when there is sufficient time between the precipitating event and the impact itself for you to consider exactly how bad this crash is going to hurt. 

…when you start tipping over at a standstill and you twist your foot to clip out and nothing happens and time slows down and now you’re at 30 degrees and you’re wrenching violently and your shoe won’t unclip because of either fusion or evil magic and now you’re at 60 degrees and you’ve put out an arm to break your fall even though  part of you knows that what you’re actually about to do is break your collarbone and tear your rotator cuff. And now you’re at 80 degrees and you’ve still got plenty of time to notice that everyone in a 100-meter radius is watching you.

…when you go out for a ride in the winter and start to lose feeling in your face and fingers, but can’t say anything because everyone else on the ride seems to be perfectly comfortable.

…when you go on a ride with someone during a hot day in the Summer and they start by saying, “Hot enough for ya?” Because who knows what else they’ll say.

…when you spit and realize even as it’s leaving your mouth that the whole thing isn’t going to clear your mouth—and it’s very high-viscosity, due to the gel you sucked down a few minutes ago.

…when someone else spits and you’re in the slipstream.

…when you’re in a fast, low tuck and suddenly discover what “decreasing-radius turn” means.

…when you start thinking about how much you’re looking forward to the ride ending…and you haven’t yet reached the turnaround point.


A Note from One of the WBR Bike Winners – BostonCarlos

01.15.2014 | 12:16 pm

A Note from Fatty: I am busy working on stuff that needs working on, plus it’s Winter and so I need to ration out my own bike-related observations ’til Spring. So today I’m pleased to give you a note from BostonCarlos, one of the winners in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5.

NewImageI’m BostonCarlos – Formerly known as NYCCarlos.  I’ve been a friend of Fatty since 2009.  I even got a few honorable mentions in the blog way back when (“How to be nice“)! 

First, I want to drop a HUUUUUUGE thank you on Katie and her team at WBR, and all of the awesome folks at Ibis, InGamba, Trek, Cannondale, BOOM, and Specialized.  Without you guys, these Fundraisers aren’t quite as much FUN.  

Second I want to say Elden, thank you SO much for putting this stuff together.  Without you, I wouldn’t have even known what World Bicycle Relief is, let alone how incredibly awesome they are.

Why I Donate

WBR is such a fantastic organization.  The saying goes – “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for life.” – or something like that.  WBR is teaching the men and women of Africa how to fish.  The bikes are assembled, ridden, and maintained by Africans!  They’re helping kids get to school, doctors get to patients, and small businesses get started.  

I have been fortunate enough to have bikes in my life to make my days easier and more so much more fun… it just makes sense for me to give back to those who don’t.

My New Toy

If you hadn’t noticed, this year I moved to the outskirts of Boston.  It turns out there are actually trails here!  Because of this, I’ve been looking to build my own mountain bike over the winter so I could start ripping the new terrain this spring.  When Katie e-mailed me on Tuesday I jumped up and down in my cubicle for a solid 10 minutes.  

I couldn’t believe it was true… I had WON my dream bike!  And I already knew exactly how I wanted to build it out.  I wanted an awesome Mountain bike, so it was down to the Ibis Ripley and the Boom MTB.  The Ripley is just so sexy. I had to have it.

Here’s how I’m planning to build it out: SRAM XX1 components, XX brakes, and RISE wheels with a Rockshox SID XX Fork (120 mm travel), Reverb seat post, and Truvativ Noir T40 flatbars.  I’ve already been in touch with Scot Nicol (holy crap… I’ve been in touch with THE Scot Nicol!) and I can’t wait to get on my new Ripley and ride!

I Have Not Gained Any Weight Recently

01.13.2014 | 2:32 pm

I am very pleased to announce that I am doing extremely well keeping off all the weight I dropped last Winter. Honestly, I could not be more proud of myself. I’m pretty sure, in fact, that I haven’t put on a single pound since the end of my big weight loss effort.

It’s possible, indeed, that I’ve lost an additional pound or two. I’m not entirely certain, since I haven’t weighed myself since last September, when I was up about ten pounds from my target weight.

I’m sure I’ve dropped all of that weight, though, because that was just weight gained from inflammation of my muscles from all the racing I did last summer.

Seriously, you do a big ol’ 24-hour race and your body will put on fifteen pounds, easily.

Sure, I was a little weirded out that the twenty pounds I had gained was still with me a couple of weeks later, but a big race like that has long-lasting effects.

The thing is, when you’re racing all the time during the summer—which I definitely was—your body really needs to replenish itself. With all the training I was doing, it’s only natural that I ate more, too.

Now that I’m not racing every weekend—and haven’t been for about three months, I should probably ease up on that whole “replenishing” thing. Sometime soon. Probably. But you know, this is my off season and I deserve to treat myself a little bit.

(These nachos are delicious.)

It’s true that I have recently needed to go shopping for new clothes. But this is not because the clothes I bought last spring after losing a lot of weight no longer fit. At all. Even after doing special stretching-out-the-waistband calisthenics.


I bought new clothes because my sense of fashion has shifted, and I like to wear the latest thing. For example, I currently like wearing pants that are two inches looser than the pants I have put high up on a shelf. 

Also, during the winter I like to wear my larger-sized jerseys, although I can quite easily fit into my smaller ones, too. Although I am at a loss as to why I seem to suffer from previously-undiagnosed claustrophobia when I wear these smaller jerseys. As well as shortness of breath, for some reason.


You can be certain that I continue to ride, and with the same alacrity that I exhibited through the summer. Which is one of the important causes of my continued slimness and fitness. However, I expect to—sometime in the near future—send a strongly-worded email to each of the companies responsible for manufacturing my stems and handlebars. Why? Well, evidently all of my bars and stems have begun to sag, causing my torso to go lower on the bike, which means my legs push into my (very slight) stomach when I ride.

This kind of failure of materials is very upsetting to me.

Still, my anger is tempered by my positive attitude and cheerful demeanor, for I am extraordinarily pleased at how well I’ve succeeded in keeping the weight off this winter.

Thanks More Than a Million (Grand Slam: Power of 5 Wrapup)

01.2.2014 | 11:16 am

I need a word that expresses gratitude better than “grateful.” A word that conveys my thanks more than “thankful.” I need a word that describes my awe that exceeds “awestruck.”

Because I am that impressed. Grateful. Thankful. Awed. And so forth.

What We’ve Done During This Fundraiser

Since the beginning of the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5, we’ve raised this much money:


$173,604 is an astonishing amount (and yes, “astonishing” is too small a word for how I feel about this). It’s even more incredible when you consider that this amount of money is getting matched. Which means, basically, that together we can say we’re responsible for $347,208 raised during the month of December.

That’s more than a third of a million dollars. And—more importantly—that’s 2591 bicycles we’re putting out there. And since a WBR bicycle improves the lives of 5 people on average, that’s 12,955 people whose lives we’ve improved. 

And that’s just during the month of December.

What We’ve Done This Year

This wasn’t the only fundraiser we did for World Bicycle Relief this year. Back in July, we did a fundraiser where we gave away a Trek Madone. We raised $39,928 during that fundraiser…which was very generously matched by Trek for a total of $79,856. 

When you add July and December up, Team Fatty is responsible for raising $427,064 for World Bicycle Relief in 2013. And that’s 3187 bikes. Which affects 15,935 people. 

What We’ve Done Since The Beginning

The fundraiser we just concluded is the fifth we’ve done for World Bicycle Relief. I think it’s worth taking a look at what we’ve accomplished with all of these fundraisers:

  • Riding With the Shack: Back in 2009, we raised $69,834 for WBR (along with an equivalent amount for LiveStrong) when Johan Bruyneel said if I raised $10,000 each for WBR and LiveStrong I could ride with the RadioShack training camp for a day.
  • Grand Slam 1: In the first Grand Slam for Zambia, back in 2011, we raised $158,791 for World Bicycle Relief.
  • Grand Slam 2: Thanks to the matching program that was introduced last year, the $173,826 we raised became $347,652.
  • Trek Madone Project One Giveaway: We raised an amazing $39,928, which was matched by Trek, for a total of $79,856.
  • The Power of 5: And of course the fundraiser we just completed brought in $173,604, which is matched to $347,208.
You know what that totals out to? I’ll tell you.

This is, as my accountant might say (if I had an accountant), “quite a bit.” 

That’s 7,487 bicycles bought, and 37,438 people whose lives are changed for the good.

Because of us.

And that is pretty awesome, to put it mildly.

But What About the Prizes?

One of the funnest parts of doing these fundraisers is giving out the prizes. In this case, that’ll be five bikes and a cycling trip to Italy. Having six prizes kind of messes up my whole “Five” theme, but I’m OK with that, and I expect you are too.

Well, World Bicycle Relief is—right this moment—working on getting the spreadsheet built and ensuring it has everyone’s donations recorded, along with any bonus chances that are awarded because you donated $134 (or more). 

Then, on January 7 (per the rules), they’ll do the drawings and will start contacting the winners. It’ll take some time, because the first person contacted has to choose the prize s/he is taking before the second person is contacted, and so forth.

So if you don’t get an email on January 7, don’t be disheartened. There are nothing but grand prizes in this contest, so even being the last person to be contacted isn’t going to be an exactly bad thing.

Thank You

I owe a lot of people thanks for their generosity, both with their time, products, and money.

  • Frame Sponsors: An incredible set of prizes makes it fun to donate. And so many companies were so remarkably generous. Huge thanks to Ibis, Trek, Specialized, Boom, and Cannondale for donating frames. I love seeing all these competing companies join forces to accomplish something so great. 
  • Trip Sponsor: Having InGamba donate a sixth prize—a cycling trip to Italy—was as big a surprise to me as it was to you. I love this kind of surprise.
  • SRAM: Every frame in this contest is going to be completely built up with SRAM parts. That’s worth tens of thousands of dollars. Having the components, wheels and other parts donated made it much more affordable for the frame sponsors to participate in this fundraiser.
  • Katie Bolling: The development director of individual giving for WBR did about 80% of the heavy lifting for this fundraiser. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere near as smoothly or awesomely without her. In fact, considering my current level of busy-ness, without her it may not have happened at all.
  • Those Who Match: I don’t know who promised to match all of the money donated, but that is an incredibly generous move, made doubly awesome by not revealing who you are. Thank you, whoever you are.

Finally—and most of all—I want to thank you. A fundraiser doesn’t do much if people don’t read, donate, and spread the word. So many of you did all of these things.

“Thank you” doesn’t feel like a big enough word for what I want to say to you. There really needs to be a bigger, better word for when people do something so awesome. So generous.

Until I know what that word is, though, I’ll just say “thanks” again. For reading, donating, and for being my virtual friends. You make me glad I take the time to write this blog.

PS: If you’re an athlete and want to do more for WBR, maybe you should consider applying to be a 2014 Team WBR Ambassador. Click here to learn more.

PPS: I will be out of town and unable to write for the next 1.5 weeks. I’ll be posting again January 13. 

BOOM: The Fifth and Final Bike in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5

12.29.2013 | 4:06 pm


Back in November 30, I introduced the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5, benefitting World Bicycle Relief

And now, here we are, a month later. And it’s been quite a month. 

Specifically, during this month, more than a thousand of you have donated, with the average amount per person donating being about five dollars more the cost of a Buffalo Bicycle ($134). Which means—in case you’re feeling a little groggy due to the holidays and are therefore not doing math especially well— that we’re really close to $140,000 raised. 

And during that time, I’ve announced four amazing bikes and an amazing trip. I’ll recap exactly what those are a little later in this post. 

But right now, I want to introduce the fifth—and final—bike in the Grand Slam: Power of 5: The Boom Carbon MTB


That is a seriously good-looking bike, designed by a small family company that is absolutely fanatical about riding power and handling. 

Hey, let’s take a closer look at that frame.


Yum. That is a gorgeous-looking bike, and you know that it’s going to ride like a dream. A very sexy carbon dream.

Or, more specifically, a very sexy carbon dream completely loaded up with top-end SRAM wheels and components and a Rock Shox fork.  


Boom Is Outrageously Awesome

It goes without saying that a small bike company like Boom that would gladly volunteer to give up a frame for this fundraiser is awesome.

But here’s the thing.

Boom isn’t just giving up this frame to help World Bicycle Relief. In fact, for every single bike Boom sells, they donate $134—the cost of a Buffalo Bike—to WBR. 

And they do it just because they love bikes and the vision WBR represents—not for PR or marketing. In fact, Katie at WBR tells me that it was a long time before WBR even knew why all these checks were coming in from this little company.

I love this kind of quiet generosity. Huge kudos to Boom for doing the right thing for the very best of reasons.

How to Donate and How You Can Win

It’s simple to donate and enter the contest for these five dream bikes and the dream cycling vacation to Italy (and yes, no matter when you donate, you’re entered for the drawing of all of the prizes). Just go to my WBR fundraiser page and make a donation. 

For every $5.00 you donate, you’ll get a chance at winning these five bikes. So, please donate in multiples of $5.00.

As a bonus, though, if you donate the cost of a WBR bike — $134 — you’ll be given an additional (you guessed it) five chances

And the really amazing thing here is — in addition to your donation possibly netting you an amazing bike or trip — your money is doubled. Which is to say, for every dollar you donate, a very generous group of individuals is matching you. 

So your donations have twice the power they normally would. Which is completely amazing.

Time is Running Out

This contest goes through the end of December. That’s Tuesday. At that point Katie Bolling at WBR will do the drawing. She’ll draw the first name, contact the winner, ask her/him which prize s/he wants, and then move on to the next name and prize. This goes on ’til all six prizes are given away.  

The key thing to note here is that the contest is almost over. It ends at the end of Tuesday. If you haven’t donated yet, you need to do that now. 

Oh, I’ve Got a Semi-Self-Interested Reason I Want You To Donate, Too

As you may know, The Hammer has kind of been destroying the field in her single speed mountain biking pursuits lately. 

For 2014, though, she’s interested in racing with a geared bike. And I’d like to support her in that endeavor. Toward that end, I have scraped together enough to buy her this:

IMG 7892

Buying that pretty much cleaned me out.

SRAM, however, has told me that if we reach the crazy-lofty $155,555 goal I semi-jokingly set for this fundraiser, they’ll build up The Hammer’s frame in much the same way they’re building up the prize-winners’ frames. An XX1 drivetrain. RISE wheels. A Truvativ Noir bar and Stylo T40 Stem. And so forth.

So, in the end, by donating you’re not just helping WBR save the world. You’re not just getting a shot at one of five bikes or a dream vacation. You’re not just getting your money doubled.

You’re also helping The Hammer crush the competition in her MTB racing this year. So thank you for that.

A Recap of What You Can Win

So let’s review the five bikes you can win in The Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5, shall we?

First, there’s the Ibis Ripley.


The Ripley is an extraordinary, innovative, and highly-sought-after MTB that is perfect for XC racing, endurance, or all-mountain. It may be the most versatile MTB ever made.

Next, there’s a Trek Madone Series 7, customized through Project One:


This is Trek’s best-of-breed road bike, and it is gorgeous, light and fast. And you can customize the look of the frame through Project One, meaning this bike is going to be beautiful in the way you want.

Third, there’s the Cannondale CAAD10


Seriously fast and light. Nice.

Fourth, Specialized will let you choose between an S-Works Tarmac…


or S-Works Roubaix


Which is the better choice? Well, I went with the Tarmac. The Hammer wants a Roubaix. Maybe you can help us break the tie.

And fifth, there’s the MTB we revealed today: the Boom.


But don’t forget, there’s the surprise prize: the cycling trip to Italy with InGamba


Honestly, I don’t envy the people whose names are drawn; it’s going to be really difficult to choose which prize to take.

No, I’m just kidding, because actually I really really envy the people whose names are drawn.

But here’s the thing: You probably won’t win. Most of you won’t. Your odds are less than 1%, really. 

But even if (when!) you don’t win, you’re still making life better for people who really need it. You’re making a different instantly, and in a huge way. And your money’s getting doubled, which is amazing. 

And after all, somebody’s (six somebodies, in fact) got to win. Right? 

So please, click here donate

Thanks, and good luck!

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