FattyCast Episode 2: David McQuillen, the Evil Genius Behind Sufferfest

12.9.2015 | 8:00 am

A Note from Fatty: I’m currently on a flight back from Orlando, where The Twins, The Hammer and I were spending a few days at Universal Studios and Sea World. 

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In Diagon Alley

We had an awesome time together.

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After riding Riptide Whiplash

And we did exactly nothing bike-related. 

FattyCast Episode 2: David McQuillen, the Evil Genius Behind Sufferfest


I kinda had a suspicion that I’d like doing this whole podcasting thing. Partially because over the years I’ve met a lot of people who have interesting bike-related stories and careers, and partially because I…well, I like talking with people. And when I manage to remember to focus on listening instead of making the conversation about myself, these chats are turning out to be really great.

In this second episode of the FattyCast (get it on iTunes, on FattyCast.com, download the MP3, get the RSS Feed, or use the embedded player below), I talk with David McQuillen, the creator of the Sufferfest videos and evil dictator of Sufferlandria.

I’m a big fan of Sufferfest videos; I love the way they combine humor, inspiring race footage, and workouts that are just this side of too hard. I can’t even count the times I’ve been close to quitting a Sufferfest session…then kept going, because I knew that I was supposed to be hurting this bad.

In this episode of the FattyCast, David and I talk about the how and why of Sufferfest, how David creates the videos, and the projects they’ve got coming up next.

And they blindside me into promising to do a couple of things I’m already regretting (but do not intend to pull out of).

You can listen to the Sufferlandria Episode of the FattyCast here:

And, just in case you missed the links earlier, you can get to the FattyCast in these ways as well: 

What’s Next for the FattyCast?

I’m ridiculously happy to note that a lot of people have really enjoyed the first couple episodes of the FattyCast, and so I’m working on additional episodes, sometimes with people most cyclists have heard of, sometimes with folks very few of you would recognize, but still have really great stories to tell.

I plan to post an interview per week — generally about an hour long — for as long as I enjoy doing this, or until people stop agreeing to talk with me.

I also like the idea of doing readings from my own books, and posting them intermittently as separate episodes. Most of these readings will be of one or two chapters, so won’t take more than ten or fifteen minutes of your time. 

That said, I actually tried recording me reading a chapter from one of my books…and then I deleted it, due to a couple of problems:

  1. I had a very difficult time handling the footnotes I riddle the book with. They break up the flow of the story, which is sometimes a huge problem for an out-loud reading.
  2. I sound stilted and robotic, as if I’m completely unfamiliar with the story. Which is weird (since I am the author and all), but completely true.

So I’m going to keep practicing on this, and will begin releasing them as soon as I can without absolute embarrassment.

A Note About Audio and Other Technical Stuff

I’m new to doing this, and am still learning how to edit audio. I haven’t nailed getting levels to match (sometimes I sound louder than my guest, sometimes my guest sounds louder than I do), and I’m leaving in diversions, stutters, and pauses. My reasoning for this is pretty simple: I could either wait to start doing this ’til I’m really good at it, or I can start doing it now and get better on the job.

I decided that no matter what, I’m going to mostly be a beginner at first, and figure you’ll forgive the novice nature of my editing, not to mention the raw quality of the audio. 

I guess, when it comes down to it, ten years of blogging has taught me to not be afraid of the “Publish” button. 


100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report: Rookie Mistake Edition, by Sarah Barber

12.4.2015 | 9:05 am

A Note from Fatty: I realized some time ago that none of my kids read my blog. This, of course, makes me feel very, very sorry for myself. However, it also gives me the freedom to post something regarding them completely publicly, in spite of the fact that I do not want them to know this thing.

That thing is this: Next week, The Hammer and I are surprising the twins with an early Christmas present: a trip to Florida. Yes, that’s right. We’re telling them that we’re taking them to visit their grandma in St. George and to pack accordingly.

Our guess is that they won’t even notice anything’s up ’til we get to the airport.  We’re very interested to find out exactly how long it takes them to figure out the full extent of what’s going on.

Anyway, from Monday through Wednesday, I will be posting only very short items (such as announcements of new podcasts) or no items at all, because we’ll be at Harry Potter World, among other places.

A Note From Fatty About Today’s Post: You might remember Sarah Barber. She’s a pro cyclist and super-nice person. She’s won Rebecca’s Private Idaho. She won an entry into the Leadville 100 through a contest I ran, and raced as a WBR ambassador.

And now, she’s raced the 100 Miles of Nowhere. And before I let her tell her story, let me just say that I love the fact that she found it difficult, because it’s nice to know that hardcore racer types can have a tough day, just like the rest of us. And because Sarah’s so totally self-deprecating. 


An ill conceived notion

100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report: Rookie Mistake Edition
by Sarah Barber


Well, I thought I would be able to do 100 Miles of Nowhere this year, but I made a rookie mistake with my course selection.

In some ways, it was perfect. It passed right by my house, which you know is great for bathroom stops, clothing changes, filling bottles, etc. There’s not much traffic. There are only two stop signs, both of which can be rolled California style if no one is coming because they are at places where you turn right in order to stay on the course.

And speaking of turns, they are all right-had turns, except one, so you get really good at turning right. The course was an interesting loop because it has a climbing section, a descending section, and a flat section–something for everyone, and all in just 3.7 miles.

There’s even a “technical” corner–on the descent (so you’re going fast); there’s a slightly off-camber right-hand turn that had a bunch of leaves in the road, so it was potentially slick. Plus there were some manhole covers to dodge. 

But the course selection was also my rookie mistake.

The climb was 352 feet. Not a big deal under most circumstances, but after 14 laps, you’ve climbed almost 5000 feet.

And even that is not a big deal in the middle of the summer. But in the middle of November, when I’m averaging about 3 hours of riding per week (and that’s in 3, maybe 4 rides), doing more than 3 hours in one day is kind of harsh.

Because of the climb (and because of my current level of fitness, to be fair), the loop was slow. Like 15-16 minutes. Which means I was averaging almost 15 mph.

So in 3:38, I had only covered 52.2 miles. 


That’s when I broke.

I just didn’t have any desire to ride for 7 hours. It’s blustery and chilly here. There’s football on TV. And there’s always next year.

I consoled myself with a protein bar. It tasted like failure. 

For what it’s worth, I learned enough from last year’s postings that I didn’t make other mistakes. I certainly didn’t try to ride fast! And I set up an aid station. If you look closely at the photos below, you’ll see that the bumper/brush guard of a Sportsmobile makes a perfect shelf for food and bottles.

Bumper aid station 100 mon

Also, there’s a winch in case you get really tired and need some help getting home.

Full aid station 100 mon

I don’t know if I deserve to be published on the blog since I only got through about half of the ride, but come on.

The whole thing is an ill-conceived notion, after all. ;-)  

The Race Results Monologues: A One-Person Play in Five Scenes

12.3.2015 | 2:52 pm

Ride 3 - Short Fiction About BicyclesA Bet-Status Update from Fatty: Almost two months ago, I promised to finish something I started. Specifically, I promised the publisher of Ride and Ride 2 that I would write a story for Ride 3.

Basically, I made a bet I would finish my story by a certain time.

And then I didn’t even get it truly started by then.

However, I did eventually finish the story, and I got a couple of writers I really respect (Bob Bringhurst and Paul Guyot) to review it and give me feedback. And they liked it. Or they were sick of me sending it to them so said they liked it, just so I’d let them be.

Either way, I lost my part of the bet and am perfectly happy to have lost it…because it still accomplished its purpose: it motivated me to do some writing outside my comfort zone. Or at least I sorta kinda stepped out of my comfort zone: in the end, I wrote about a place I know, and most of the things that happened in the story have also happened in real life. 

But here’s the thing: Keith’s late in finishing up his part of the bet, too. So we both lost. Except now it’s more or less finished, and so I think we can both say we’ve won, and we each need to donate double whatever it is Keith would have paid me for the story (a number neither of us ever actually discussed but I’m going to guess it’s in the dozens of dollars) and donate it to charities.

Let’s call that a win-win-win, then.

The book will be out soon. Count on me making some noise about it when it does. 


Three Podcast-Related Questions from Fatty: If you’ve been listening to the FattyCast (iTunes, RSS, Site), thanks. If you haven’t, please do. Regardless, I have a few questions:

  • How often should I upload new interview podcasts? Does weekly sound about right?
  • I’ve thought it might be kind of fun to read selected chapters from my “Best of” books as podcasts. You know, once a week or so ’til I’ve read all of both the books. Would that be cool? Or just weird?
  • I’ve done three podcast interviews now (though I’ve only uploaded one), and they seem to last right around an hour, without my really trying to make them be that length. I don’t really want to make them a lot longer than that, but is an hour too long? 

The Race Results Monologues

Scene I

[The Racer is seated at a computer, one hand on a keyboard, one hand holding a credit card.]

“I can enter up to three phone numbers to have real-time notifications sent as text messages to up to three people? Sign me up!

Scene 2

[The Racer is wearing a cycling kit, helmet still on but unbuckled, straddling a bike. Breathing hard and sweating. A finish-line arch is in the background. Talking on a telephone.]

“Hi Mom!” (Brief pause.) “Yeah, I just finished! I did great, set a new PR!” (Longer pause.) “No, in this context ‘PR’ doesn’t stand for ‘public relations;’ it stands for ‘personal record.’ I don’t really know how public relations could possibly have anything to do with anything here.” 

“Anyway, you should have gotten text messages when I started the race and a couple times along the course. Did you see them?” (Pause.) “Really, just the one from the start of the race?” (Pause.) “I’m sorry, Mom, I didn’t want you to worry. I’m fine.” (Pause.) “No, I don’t know why you didn’t get the rest.”

Scene 3

[The Racer is still wearing a race kit but is back at the computer from Scene 1. The Racer looks perplexed.]

Well, I’m pretty sure the race results were supposed to be updated in real time, but the most current race results I’m finding on the website are from 2012.” (Pause.) “And it looks like they’re a PDF, printed from an Excel spreadsheet.” (Pause.) “And the PDF has weird page breaks that make it literally impossible to tell who got what finish time.

“Maybe someone else has found the results and has posted them on Facebook or something.”

(The Racer clicks the computer mouse, types for a moment, presses Enter, pauses, clicks again.)

[Reads aloud]

“Can anyone find race results?”

“Where are the race results?”

“Is it just me or are the race results nowhere to be found?

“You can find the race results at…and there’s a URL that goes to somewhere that I never would have thought to look.”


“…And they’re the results from 2011.” (Short Pause.) “But maybe, just maybe the event uses the same timing company as they did four years ago!”

(Typing, clicking ensues for the next seven minutes, punctuated with grunted exclamations of frustration.)

There it is!”

(The Racer scrolls mouse silently, face anticipatory at first, then increasingly confused, then — eventually — angry.)

“How come I’m not here?” (Pause.) “Maybe I’m just in the wrong category.”

(More typing and clicking.)

“There I am. I guess I’m a pro now?” 

Scene 4

[The Racer is now dressed in street clothes, and is sitting at the computer.]

“Hm. Still not on the web site.”

[Lights dim as a jack-o-lantern is lowered behind the racer, then lights come back up.]

“Still not there.”

[Lights dim as the jack-o-lantern goes up and a Christmas tree simultaneously comes down.]

“Oh, there it is. Just in time to link to in my Christmas letter, I guess.”

[A clock lowers, and the hour hand spins around the dial one time.]

“And now the site’s down.”

Scene 5

[The Racer is seated on a couch, apparently watching television. New beard growth, hair loss, and faint age wrinkles shows that some time has elapsed, and that also I have just now decided that The Racer is a male. Again, The Racer is holding a phone.]

“Hi Mom.” (Pause.) “No, it’s February, of course I’m not doing a road bike race today.”

(Long pause.)

“Ah. Well, I’m glad they let you know.”

fin — 


If a Guy Called Fatty Starts a Podcast, of COURSE He’s Going to Name It the FattyCast

12.1.2015 | 4:21 pm

NewImageA “Giving Tuesday” Note from Fatty: I’m a big fan of Jordan Rapp, Pro Triathalete and good guy in general. And Jordan is a big supporter of World Bicycle Relief. Like me, he does a big annual fundraiser for WBR, called the Rappstar Charity Challenge. He’s working to raise $100,000 for World Bicycle Relief this year (his seventh year in supporting WBR). 

And much like a certain beloved award-winning celebrity cycling lifestyle ultrablogger, Jordan has some extremely nice prizes to give to folks who donate.

You’ll find the details in his posts at SlowTwitch.com, but the short version is that you can win entry in an Ironman or half-Ironman. Or a pro athlete experience session in the Specialized Wind Tunnel.


Or a financial analysis from Raymond James. And if you’re one of the first 100 people to donate $147 today, you’ll for sure get a WBR-Rappstart Charity Challenge beanie.


And that would be pretty dang cool.

Best of all, your donations are matched (not just today, but through the whole month). Help Jordan as he makes a big difference in a lot of lives by clicking here to donate today


If a Guy Called Fatty Starts a Podcast, of COURSE He’s Going to Name It the FattyCast

It was only a matter of time, right?

Only a matter of time until I decided that my writing isn’t punishment enough for you. That I need to make you listen to me talk, practically endlessly. Or at least for about an hour, practically every week.

In other words, I’m happy to announce that as of today, I am launching the FattyCast. My own podcast. And I’ve got to say, I’m really excited about it.

I’m going to explain the what and the why of the FattyCast in just a moment, but  first let me give you the how.

First of all, if you’ve got an iPhone or iPod or iPad or iMac or other iThing, you can subscribe by iTunes. Here’s a handy button for you to press so you can just automatically get these chats on a weekly basis:


I’m concerned that this button is too subtle and that you won’t be able to find it. Oh, and I really would appreciate it if you’d leave a review.

Second, you can get to the FattyCast by just going to FattyCast.com, where you can find, listen to, and download my podcasts.

If an RSS feed is more your style, you’ll find the FattyCast at http://fattycast.com/rss

Third, if you’d rather listen here or download the file for offline listening, I’ll always be including my latest podcast in this here blog. For example, here’s the first one, featuring Mike Dion:

Click to Download MP3

Finally, I’m new to this and have a lot to learn. So please let me know if there are other ways you’d like to be able to get this podcast, or ways I can make it better.

What and Why Is The FattyCast?

The FattyCast is not FatCyclist.com in audio form. See, FatCyclist.com is where I pretty much talk about myself: my stories, my races. Me me me.

The FattyCast is where I’m going to talk with people about cool stuff they do with bikes. Whether they’re making a living with bikes or have done an interesting race on a bike or are funny or inspiring or have a cool experience to relate or whatever. 

Basically, whenever I would like to spend an hour listening to someone tell an interesting story about something bike-related, that’s going to be FattyCast. Because I want to share what cool things people are doing.


Episode 1: Mike Dion of Inspired to Ride

The first episode of the FattyCast is an hour-long conversation with Mike Dion, the filmmaker who has recently released Inspired to Ride, an incredible documentary about the inaugural self-supported road race along the Trans-America roadway.

It’s a great movie, telling an incredible story. And I had a fantastic time talking with Mike about what it’s like to be behind the scenes, with two two-person crews, filming a race that spans thousands of miles (hint: they put more than 11,000 miles on a rental car).

Give the podcast a listen, and then learn more about the movie at InspiredToRide.it

Bonus: If you decide to buy a copy of the movie or anything else on the site, use the code TEAMFATTY to get 15% off the price. Nice! 

The Year After Next Year Starts Today

11.30.2015 | 12:57 pm

Tomorrow, the lottery opens for the 2016 Leadville 100. At my house, that’s kind of a big deal. I’ll be signing The Hammer and me up for it pretty much the moment it’s possible to sign up.

2016 will be my twentieth LT100 (although it will hopefully be my nineteenth finish). And as you might guess, I’m already thinking about it.

Thinking about how I’ll be fifty years old when I race this year. 

Thinking about how I want to do my fastest LT100 at age 50. 

Thinking about what I will need to do in order to make that happen, and the kind of help I’m going to need to ask for.

And thinking beyond this year, to…well, to something new.

Doing Something New

While doing this race is anything but new to me, it is new — and intimidating — to most of the people who try it. And that’s awesome. People should do new, scary stuff. Whether it’s racing, or trying mountain biking, or getting in shape when you haven’t been in shape in years, or writing, or drawing, or singing, or…or…anything

I think it’s awesome to stretch yourself. To do something new.

As Exhibit A in the “Do Something New” sweepstakes, I’d like to present this very cool print by Cole Chlouber, an artist and a friend:

Thumb IMG 1026 1024

I first became acquainted with this artwork when I saw a photo of it on Facebook, at which point I reached out to Cole and told him I needed a copy (I got #16 of 50) and also said, “Hey, I didn’t even know you’re an artist; I feel stupid for not having known that.”

Cole replied along the lines of, “Until recently, nobody knew.” But now we do. Cole’s putting himself out there. And that’s awesome. 

Something New For You

Maybe you’re thinking of putting yourself out there, too. Like, maybe trying to race the LT100. But maybe you’ve got some concerns. Like, is it even possible to get in to this race? And how can you get ready for it, once you’re in?

Well, I can probably help with both of these questions.

First, getting in to this race can be very difficult, if you just try your luck at the lottery. To be honest (but completely unscientific), it seems that about 15% of the people I hear about entering the lottery actually get in. That’s not terrible odds, but not great.

But there are a few surefire ways to get into the Leadville 100. Most people just don’t know about them. 

  • Camp of Champions: This is perhaps the simplest way to guarantee yourself a slot in the race, and is a pretty good value. For $2000, you get an entry in the race as well as four days of race course recon, with access to LT100 legends Dave Wiens and Rebecca Rusch. David Houston and Dave Thomas have each gotten into the race this way, and they’ve each told me that they were glad they went.
  • World Bicycle Relief: I have it on good authority that World Bicycle Relief is going to have charity slots available this year…and that there are some pretty famous people who are going to be a part of it. (And I’m not just talking about me, either.) If you take one of the coveted Team WBR LT100 slots, you’re going to have to do some serious fundraising, but it’ll be worth it.
  • Charity Slot: If you want to make this race be about something larger than yourself, you can get a guaranteed slot in the race by raising money (at least $2000) for one of the race’s charities, or for one of your choice. 
  • CEO Challenge: If you’re a C-level honcho at a company that makes at least $5million a year, you can fork over $2K to get into the race, hobnob with other executives, get VIP treatment, network, get an un-earned spot in the blue corral, and otherwise make me gag. 

There are also several qualifier races you can use to get in, which are definitely not surefire, but are a good backup plan if you don’t get into the lottery. 

And if all that fails, you can boost your probability of getting into the race the following year by volunteering this year. 

Let me know in the comments if you’re planning to try to get into the LT100 this year…and if so, whether you’re going with the lottery or some other strategy for getting in.

Sharing What We Know

In the past nineteen years of racing the LT100, I’ve picked up a few things. Last year, Rebecca Rusch and I did a little webinar series (episode 1, episode 2, episode 3) to help folks get prepared for the race. 

They seemed to do a lot of people a lot of good; while in Leadville, dozens of people came up to us, thanking us for putting these on.

So, this year, we’re going to do more of these webinars. But this year, we’re going to start much earlier in the year, while you still have time to train and practice fueling smart. And we’re going to bring on guests. Like, seriously smart and knowledgeable guests who can help you hit your goal, whether it’s to finish in under thirteen hours, twelve hours, or even nine hours. 

Stay tuned for more on this. 

Something New For Me Too

This year, I plan to be fast at Leadville. Really fast. Sub-8 fast. And that’s a little bit new. 

But my truly new thing for 2016 isn’t even about 2016. It’s about 2017. And it’s already started.

For my twentieth finish of the LT100, I’d like to also have it be my first Leadman finish. Which means, yes, that I will need to do the LT100 run the week after I ride the LT100. 

I’m going to need to do some training if I want that to happen. And…I’ve already started. Specifically, I’m doing four-mile trail runs.

Yeah, I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m going to make that happen. But hey…I kinda want to stretch myself a little bit.

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