Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Before you even BEGIN reading this post I'll just give you a warning....you'd best get comfy and hopefully get a cool beverage in your hand (and even better would be having a cooler nearby with extras...as you're gonna need em'!)

And so, ON with the story!

The BIG weekend (that I have been waiting for since LAST July) is over and done. In the history books. Finito (not that I know how to spell Finito, and neither does spell-check it appears). It was a HUGE success by any measure. The weather was GREAT! Not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, no rain, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even a dust devil. Just a fabulous weekend for a ginormous brew-ha-ha with thousands of people and bikes, in an amazingly bike-friendly city.

But the weather nor the town isn't the story here. Team Fatty is. To put it simply, we ROCKED! The overall fundraising for the event was down a bit this year. I believe Davis brought in just over ONE MILLION dollars in 2011. This year it was down to just over $900,000 as of Sunday morning as we gathered for the ride.

But consider this: Team Fatty raised over 10% of that total! Yes, we were over $90,000 as a team. No WONDER they take such good care of us! And to be fair, Fatty raised well over $50,000 of that. Which is pretty darn impressive. A guy with a blog. Isn't that something? He is constantly amazed and astounded at what this has become.

As to the weekend events, Greg and I drove up Friday morning (he drove north a bit over 2 hours to my place, then WE drove the 5 hours to Davis, which is right up near Sacramento). We get there in time to check into the hotel (what I call "Team Fatty Central", as a lot of our team stays there every year). Angie, our adopted sist'a (aka Rocket-Girl) calls and will arrive late as usual (claiming traffic once-AGAIN.... alert: lame excuse!) The Hall of fame shin-dig is supposed to go down at 6pm. She has again reserved the entire Cycling Hall of Fame just for Team Fatty. As in: we OWN the place! (OK, here's where I cut you some slack Sist'a for being late AGAIN).

So....She suggests that Greg and get over to the HoF to help David who is already there and setting up to cook Brats for us lucky Fatties. So we walk quite briskly over to the HoF from the hotel (prob a 10 minute speed-walk), and haven't been there very long at all when Sist'a calls back yet AGAIN that she is somehow at the hotel...the traffic magically parted like the red-sea and her trip is over. So we briskly retreat back to the hotel and help unload bikes (she had stopped by Santa Rosa and picked up the loaner bikes for Fatty and the Hammer on the way down). Then we jump in Angie's Big Red Diesel Truck and time-warp over to a safeway. It's quite a thrilling ride to be in the BRDT when Sist'a is running late. Curbs are not an issue. Traffic clears from her path in fear. Greg and I hang on and nervously crack jokes as the big diesel engine roars.

We get the necessary supplies for our HoF evening (all of this is Angie's treat btw...she is MOST generous!) and time-warp back to the Hof. Greg and I are still in an adrenaline rush from surviving a NASCAR-truck event and we quickly unload the supplies. Most of the team is there as it's well after 6 by now. But we are heroes cuz we have the beer and wine AND cake (again, ALL Angie!). Yes, cake. Team Fatty thrives on stuff like that (duh!).

Here is David preparing the brats with Fatty standing by with a suspiciously empty plate.
If you ever read the comments at Fatties, his commenting-handle is davidh,marin (and his wife's is wife#1...I'm sad to say that I haven't got to meet her yet as she doesn't come down to this event). He is a wonderful person and just a joy to chat and hang-out with. Also SUPER-DUPER generous, as he wouldn't take a dime for his brats and fixin's. AND, he rode a tandem with a friend for the ride. 

Here we are inside the Hof having our private tour.
I talked about this last year but will embellish it even more this year, as it is just SO fascinating to me. This is the 6-day race display.  Here is the information that's posted about this most amazing of all bike races:


Created in England in 1878 with little fan-fair, the six-day race did not find it's niche in the cycling community until New York's Madison Square Garden decided to hold it's own in 1891. With cycling enthusiasm at an all-time high in America in the 1890's, MSG's six-day race became one of America's most popular sporting events.

Individual cyclists from around the world would ride around the track for as far as they could go for six days straight. Riding up to 400 miles in an entirely sleepless day, riders would eat their meals on their bikes from whatever they could balance on their handlebars or hold in their hands.

In a New York Times article it was reported that Charles Miller's diet in the 1897 race consisted of "three pounds of boiled rice, one pound of oatmeal, one half pound of barley, five dozen apples, a few grapes, an orange or two, five dozen pints of kamisa, twenty quarts of bottled milk, and three gallons of strong coffee."

America's cycling governing body at the time, The League of American Wheelmen, customarily held Sunday's as nom-racing days. Therefore most six-day races began a little after midnight and ended on Saturday nights.

To help ensure fans had every opportunity to see all the racing action and for promoters to ensure their star entertainers got proper rest, some events had an informal stop time each night for riders. This helped make the evening sessions the most entertaining sessions of the week with it's sprint finishes and bone breaking crashes. It was not uncommon for the 15,000 seat MSG to sell out it's evening sessions.

Even with it's informal stop time, some riders would take the opportunity to gain laps on their competition  who left the track, but not without a price. While no rider had to leave the track at the agreed upon time, it was largely frowned upon by other riders. Even to the point where some riders would re-enter the track and cause the offending rider to crash to make sure his evening was complete.

Wednesdays and Thursdays were commonly the hardest days of the race. These were the days exhaustion would set in, muscles would cramp, riders would want to quit and trainers would  encourage riders to continue. Miller was again quoted after winning the 1897 race saying "About Wednesday it was a hard job to keep at it. All I could see was the black mark ahead of me and a dim wall around the track. Every little obstacle, even a railhead jammed me fearfully, seeming to shake my bones apart.

In 1898 the New York State Legislature passed a new law protecting cyclists from riding for more than 12 hours a day. This lead to the two-man team six-day races at the turn of the century, reaching it's height in the 1910's and 1920's.

While the last six-day race at Madison Square Garden took place in 1939, MSG's mark in cycling history lives on. Today the Madison, named after the Madison Square Garden races is a fixture in all major cycling events around the world. No longer consisting of six-days, the Madison still utilizes the two-man team format. Up to 30 teams can compete at one time during today's Madison, with one team rider racing and the other team rider resting on the track. Winners are no longer determined by the number of laps completed, but by the number of points won. Certain laps are designated as sprint laps with points awarded in order of placement.

And now you know as much about the historical 6-day races as I do!

Can you imagine being a solo rider in a smoky building riding a bike for SIX DAYS STRAIGHT? It's beyond my comprehension. Talk about the iron-men of cycling!

Here we have Davis Phinney's race leader jersey from the Coors Classic race. I can only ASSUME everybody has seen the movie "American Flyers" w/ Kevin Costner (many times I hope, as I have!). That movie was filmed DURING the actual race! The actors rode right in with the racers, and there were 2 helicopters: the one for the race, and the one filming the movie. They actually changed all the banners and such for the movie so that the race was called "The Hell of the West". I think this picture is interesting because if you look close, the "7-ELEVEN" was cut out of a team jersey (I'm guessing) and hand-stitched into the red leaders jersey, probably fairly quickly! You can see the hand-stitching if you click on the pic and get a larger size. And also there are many many little slits in the jersey..front and sides. I have no idea for sure, but think they might have been done on purpose for cooling? (I believe this is a wool jersey).

At the Saturday Award banquet. We were all called up on Stage while Fatty gave his speech. Then he was awarded all the awards except for one (they made a new category this year: "Small but Mighty", which can only be won by a team with less than 25 people. I guess the other teams are tired of us winning everything year after year). Here you see Fatty with all the trophy's, while Lisa (aka THE HAMMER) looks on and is now likely blinded by my flash (Sorry Lisa!)

Here you see yours truly holding the Team Champion award (hey, I'm part of the team!). It's kind of like when a team wins the Superbowl, or the Stanley Cup...ALL the players get a chance to hold it.

Sunday morning, 7am. The starting line. Team Fatty has been busy. Turns out, Team Fatty likes pie...
who knew?

Fatties gathering in the start-chute before our Team Picture. 

This is Joe. He was our wonderful host at the Cycling Hall of Fame AGAIN. He is VERY knowledgeable about the history of cycling, and is a real nice guy too! If you EVER get the chance to swing thru Davis, I'd suggest you leave about 2 hours for a tour. And tell him Team Fatty sent you!

After our team photo under the start/finish banner we backed up in the chute. Here is what it looks like. They don't mess around...everybody who starts and finishes crosses under this. You feel like you won the Tour de France! And no matter what time you finish, there are TONS of people clanging bells, clapping, shouting, whistling, and the announcer reads your name over the PA. It's AWESOME!

Dave and his son Rob. They are doing the 40 mile ride (I think). Rob was in a bad car accident years ago and Dave (his dad) built this special bike that they both can ride together. They did the ride with us last year also. We have some WONDERFUL people on our team!

We're on the road now, maybe just a mile or so out, and us Fatties have already spread out the field. I took this shot over my head (that's my helmet you are looking over). That is Fattie's head in the silver helmet just behind me, and his wife Lisa (aka THE HAMMER)to the left of the picture (and some guy from another team in black coming up behind her).

Our paceline is loosley forming. Directly in front of me is Andrew (in the white w/ pink logo Fatty jersey). This is the only time we saw him, he pulled out of our 'fast group' and went on ahead (you can see the highway patrol car ahead in the distance, at this very moment we are the very front of the race (ride). Andrew went on ahead and the HP car had to speed up, and he followed the car the ENTIRE way without stopping, clocking in at 95 miles in 4:17 (which is just AMAZING!). He then went back out on the course twice and rode in other groups of Fatties. He is my hero!

This is what it looks like behind our fast group just a few miles out of town. Nobody (except that one guy, and he wasn't with us very long). I'm at the tail-end of the 'fast group' just now, and seems that I was in that spot a LOT for the 45 miles I was able to hang with them. I was a wheel-sucker EXTRAORDINAIRE!

Our paceline is still together, but we've lost a few already. That's Greg directly in front of me, and Hammer to his left. I think Fatty is at the front doing the pulling in this shot.

I really like this shot...we rode right past a big line of these flowering hedges.

 We're almost half-way now, and this is Mike. He and I are alone in this shot, having dropped off the back of the 'fast group'. Not long after this shot even Mike dropped me. However, there is a story here that must be told, or everybody would just be thinking that I was weak or something.

You see, I had purposely dropped off the back of the Fast Fatties as I had a hunch there was danger lurking ahead. My spider senses were a-tingling and I had to act. So I let them all go while I sorted out just what it was that had my hair standing on end. It was around mile 62 that my hunch was proven right. Using my keen vision I spied a band (herd, flock?) of WILD BOARS just off to the side of the road, lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting riders. Our Fast Fatties must have slipped by before they were organized, but now they were a very unruly looking bunch, and obviously a HUGE danger to the other riders!

Knowing that I had teammates coming up from behind, I bravely slowed down, pretending to be near cramping. The ruse worked, as the boars LEAPED at the opportunity for a tasty snack. I made a great show of repeatedly pretending to be in distress, and the boars were literally nipping at my heels. The course suddenly turned left, but I knew that I needed to lure them away from my friends, so I continued on straight on Meridian Rd, all the while continuing to heroicly ride slow enough to keep the boars focused on me so they wouldn't turn back. I continued this life and death game of wounded-bird for the next 4 miles, where I finally encountered the freeway.

Sensing an opportunity, I blitzed over the overpass in an awesome burst of speed and power. At the bottom of the overpass the lane turned sharply left as it was about to merge with the freeway. It as there that I LEAPED off my bike into the bushes with surprising agility, and moments later the frenzied pack of hungry wild-boars flew past, so intent on their prey that they didn't see that big truck in the right lane. They were all immediately turned into shredded pork by the 18 wheeler.

Knowing that my team was now safe, I turned around and rode the 4 lonely miles back to the course. All alone, I dropped my head and soldiered on into the crosswinds, having lost about a half-hour of precious time in my heroic struggle with nature.

Not long after I was back on course a group of Fatties flew by, having no idea I had just saved their lives. I quickly jumped into their paceline, but moments later I thought I saw another boar peeking out of the brush, so I again pretended to be cramping up and pulled out of the paceline. I stopped by the side of the road, putting on a nice show like I had a cramped hamstring, all the while intently scanning the area ready to burst into flight. Alas, no boars came out, seems like a false alarm.

Alone again but quite proud of my protective instincts, I continued on towards Davis. Just a mile or 2 ahead the Fatty group that I had just left was stopped waiting for another rider. I calmly slipped back into the group and made small talk as we waited, staying alert for any further wild-boar danger. A few minutes later the rider arrived and we departed once again.

We had a nice paceline giong, however we were now in the portion of the route where the shorter rides all have converged in the closing miles with the 100 mile route. We flew along, each taking pulls as we dazzled the lesser riders with our high-speed prowess and technique. At the final SAG stop over half of the group stopped for a quick break, while the rest of us flew on, knowing we only had ten more miles to victory. Sensing there was no further danger to the team I felt free to fly with the others. We were down to four now, but our pace slowly increased in anticipation of the tasty pie's awaiting us back at the Team Fatty tent.

We entered the outskirts of Davis, blazed around the few remaining turns, and suddenly we were there. The FINISH line. As we shot across the line there was a cacophony of ringing bells and adoring fans. The announcer humbly shouted something about how awesome we all looked as we flashed by his podium, but it was all a blur to me, almost dream-like. Ahhh yes, another GREAT day in the saddle, another GREAT day for Team Fatty.

It was now time for PIE!

And that is how I choose to remember those last 40 miles.

 Here is our tiny group of four that I finished with.

 Here is David (davidh-marin is his commenting name).
He is also my hero! 
(and btw: he rode the 100 on a tandem...earning further hero status).

A few of us hanging around well after most everybody else had gone. I just didn't want it to end!
And Finally!
After showering up, our small band of Fatties met for a final dinner on the town. 
Clockwise from the left, we have Lisa, Fatty, Angie, Rob, Christine, Greg and I.
Christine probably doesn't know it, but she has been sort of adopted by our little wacky group. She seems very quiet and reserved, but is really fun to be around. She and Angie rode together most of the ride, further entwining her into our little mob of fun. And Rob (his comment name is Zeeter) is an absolute HOOT to be with! AND btw, he's just completed (or soon to complete) his US Citizenship, as he's originally from South Wales.
And I'm pretty sure you know all about Fatty and Lisa.
That they don't run and hide from us is pretty encouraging!  

And now you know "the REST of the Story". It was once again just about as much fun as a person can possibly have. I was SO glad that Greg was able to come up again, as we just don't seem to get very much time together. And meeting up with our friends from all over the country from prior Fatty teams, and all our new ones just pushes the good-time needle right off the scale. I truly look forward to MANY MANY more fun-filled and DOING GOOD THINGS years with Team Fatty.


The end.


  1. Where IS everyone?!! Is everybody's TOUR TALK PANTS at the drycleaners?! Well, scrounge in your couch cushions for some pennies & go get 'em out! The Tour starts tomorrow!

    Who ya got? Cadel, Wiggins, Wiggins, Cadel? And the usual suspects - Gesink (geshuntite) Nibbles (Nibali), Sammy Sanchez, Bambi (Menchov), & hopefully, Levi, CVV, Ryder, Klodi. And let's not forget Frankie, oh wait, HE won't be "able to keep his FORM"... If this is not Frank's attempt at sandbagging then he has slid even FURTHER down in my estimation & as ya'll know, he was not that high up to begin with!

    Meanwhile - more negative crap about RSNT. Well, if it's true & riders/staff are not getting paid, there is NO EXCUSE. None. And geeze, Thumper - why oh WHY did you have to keep running yer mouth off about the TDF nonselection & everything "wrong" with the team?! Now, no more Thumper for the rest of the year!

    My BIGGEST Tour wish is for CVV to land on the podium. I want that more than anything. Even more than I DON'T want Wiggins to win! Sorry, even though I did root for him last year in the Vuelta, Wiggins has been so arrogant & smirky since he left Garmin that I just do NOT want him to win! Podium would be bad enough.

    And I'd love to see Levi on the podium too as his time is running out. Don't know how his team will function as GC support since they've traditionally be a sprinter/stage hunting team though so it may be a crap shoot.

  2. Meanwhile, I've been in Olympic Trials heaven all week & tomorrow, I think my head MAY EXPLODE! Just. Too. Much! At the Swim Trials tonight, Michael swims in the 200 IM semi (don't know if same semi as archrival Lochte but I hope not!) & then Saturday, Michael swims in the 200IM Final & the 100 Fly semi. Plus, there's the other swim events too, with you know, OTHER swimmers. :)

    And out there in West London (god, does it ALWAYS rain like that in Oregon?!!), the Track trials continue. Or it may be the ROWING Trials by now... Last night some Bieber-guy won the Steeplechase & it was only his 4TH steeplechase ever! (Hmmmm, I'm thinking we have NO shot at a medal in London! ;) And tonight thru Sunday continues the Gymnastics Trials. Oh & the X-Games, which I totally forgot last night!)

    And I'll start the day off tomorrow with the Tour at 8:00 AM.! Whooo-hoo! What a day!

    So, come on everybody, start chattin!

  3. 5AM wake up call in California tomorrow - Matt, you getting up for the live feed? This is the time of year when I get up at 5 and go to bed at 9! Plus we start racing Tour of Austria on Sunday, also, where Jakob, Busche and Ben King will all be riding. We have a strong team for that race, too. And it all means watching and writing until almost noon every day, then regular work. Fun!

    I will respond to SB about the money issue with RSNT by saying I can only speak for myself, but I've never heard one single word or complaint from another staff member or a rider that they weren't getting paid and I personally have never had late payments from this team. Now when we were Astana we were always bitching to each other about it, so I have my doubts that the press got it right.

    On another more serious note, a very sweet gal named Susan lost her home in the Colorado Springs wild fire. She works with the press in the Colorado race, plus she's also covered Missouri and California. Less than two years ago her daughter and son-in-law died in separate car accidents two months apart and Susan took in her four grandsons ages 7 to 15....now they have lost their home. I'm asking other friends in the area to let me know if there is a way to help (gift cards maybe) so I'll post on here in case some of you want to help too.

    AND I never filled you in on my cousin's case, so briefly he is home in a wheel chair with 24-hour care. He improves some all the time, but it will be a long, long, LONG row to hoe. The gal that hit him had no license, lied about who she was, was on prescription meds, etc....arrested and still in jail because she can't post bond. Three attorneys have quit her case because she will not take the plea offered to her (and I don't know what that is). Gary's medical bills for 2-1/2 weeks in ICU were $250k and that was just the Santa Barbara portion of his care.

  4. I was wrong about the way Susan's daughter and son-in-law died, but you can see her and her precious grandsons on this CNN video now. Grab the Kleenex first.


    And count your blessings, because whatever you are going through pales in comparison to this little family.