Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Cat 6 racer...

Cycling, like all sports, has a hierarchy. You are measured based on what category you are in. In the world of bikes, there are 5 categories. If you are a Cat 5 racer, you are making a commitment to the bike, and you wish to try and make this something bigger than just staying in shape. Cat 4 you have succesfully won a few small time races and have qualified in some TT's to move on up the ladder. At Cat 3 you have gained sponsorship with the local bike shop and may not have had to pay for the jersey and shorts you are wearing. Cat 2 you haven't paid for any of the clothing you are cycling in and the bike you are on is some sort of Trek knockoff, yet it still only weighs about 15 pounds. Cat 1 you are training to try and be selected from your team to support the captain during the Tour de France.

But like many things, there is a grey area. An area reserved for those that don't quite want to make cycling their life, yet they sneer and scoff at those that buy high end bikes and then proceed to pedal them at a mere mortal 15mph.

These people, including myself, are the Cat 6 racers. What makes you this type you ask? If you agree with the following, welcome to the club:

1) You know that wearing a full team kit yet not shaving your legs is ridiculous. You vow never to wear anything that correlates nicely together, however it is acceptable to buy the Columbia team jersey if and when you find it on sale. But only if it is the model from 2 or more years ago.

2) You obsess constantly about food and drink choices for your long rides/events, yet not only did you have to pay for them, you didn't once look up what "Sodium Benzoalecylisate" does to your anaerobic capacity.

3) You know what "anaerobic capacity" means, yet you haven't been scientifically tested for it.

4) You know what the test for anaerobic capacity entails.

5) While training for the big event, you cut back on the snacks and completely cut out carbonation and what not, yet that slice of cake or donut is just too good to not eat.

6) You've never once thought about weighing the portions you are eating.

7) When people see you, they first notice that your tan lines are strange and foreign to them. Only when you put on your helmet, sunglasses, and jersey does it come crystal clear why the lines are the way they are.

8) Of course everyone knows Leipheimer, Armstrong, and Contador, but you are curious to see how Ryder Hesjedal does in next year's TDF.

9) 100 miles is "epic".

10) You vow to never, EVER, get passed on a hill climb by a recumbent rider.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Perhaps one day...

I know this will come as a shock, but I have very little training or experience with writing.

I'll give you a minute to recover from that shock.

Better? Good. It's true though. The closest thing I ever took to formal education in writing was a creative writing class way back in junior year of high school. It was honors but only because you had the option of going that route, and for some reason I wanted to take the more challenging option. But other than that, I just sort of wing it when it comes to writing. Throughout my education, I always wrote papers the day before they were due. No matter if it was 3 pages or the dreaded 20 page paper, always the day before and usually after supper. It's just the way I do it. I let inspiration guide the whole thing and just sort of put the first thing that pops in my mind down and make it fit as I go. The English teachers and grammar sticklers are cringing right now, to which I reply: bite me you prudes.

Which brings me to the point of all this. A while ago I was talking with some of my peeps and we were discussing dream jobs, or at least what we would like to do if given the opportunity. Personally, I would like to write for some outdoors affiliate. No preference as to what. Ducks Unlimited, Cabelas, Outdoor Magazine, whatever. I would like to research and then put my spin on something and share it with the readers. I think it would be fun. I could hang my hat on that.

But until then, I'm stuck where I'm at, which isn't terrible, but it has nothing to do with the best duck decoy layout when it's party cloudy and the wind is blowing from the SW. In case you're wondering, I am particularly fond of the horeshoe layout.

Perhaps one day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Right Direction...

Thank you State of California for finally, hopefully not temporarily, pulling your head out of your ass. Hopefully other states not already tolerant will follow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Fat Cyclist

The internet sucks. I mean really, the majority of it is garbage. I heard a stat somethere a while back that somewhere around 30% of the internet space is devoted to porn. And wasn't there a story a while ago of some lady being killed after responding to a babysitting ad on craigslist? It's like the news these days: there's more bad and you hear about more negative stuff than you do about the inspirational, the good stuff. They seem to use the positive as filler between all the negative. It's one of the reasons I've stopped reading the newspaper and watching the news. That and I don't understand some of the big words they use.


However like looking for that perfect rock amongst all the other ones to skip across the water, if you look around long enough and keep an eye out, you'll find a good thing amongst the internet archives. About 5 1/2 years ago, I made such a discovery. Along with about 2 zillion other people. If you want a laugh while at work, you need to go check out Even if you don't ride a bike, it is a great read each day a new post is up.

I won't sit here and give you a whole biography about the guy cause I've never met him. But through the years of reading, I, much like all the other people who regularly read, got to know him. He shared his life with tasteful discretion: enough to allow us to live the trials with him, but closed just enough to maintain his own thing with his family.

A few years ago his blog took kind of a dark turn. He revealed to all of us that his wife of many moons relapsed with breast cancer. She fought it off once before only for it to come back with vengeance. Over the next few years, we all lived each day of Fatty's fight as his wife went through treatment. We pulled and breathed a sigh of relief with each victory of the fight, and we dreaded and winced at each harsh blow the cancer turned out along the way.

It was truly amazing to me. A man who had the courage to share with a bunch of strangers this fight and doing so tactfully. You never felt sorry for him, you truly felt like you were a friend helping him along the way. Throughout it all he maintained his humor; and somehow his sanity.

He also inspired. Not only did his stories help those who were going through the same battle with loved ones, but he decided to do something about it. He joined forces with the famous LiveStrong foundation and together with a whole bunch of people literally around the world, he and his teams raised over $700,000. It was truly awesome to watch unfold.

I wish this story had a happy ending to it, but life is not always fair. One year ago today, Fatty's wife Susan lost her fight to cancer. She left behind not only her husband, but 2 boys and 2 twin girls. And the entire FatCyclist nation as well. Life moves on, whether we want it to or not, and after one hell of a punch Fatty is back up on his feet and continuing his one man crusade against this unfair and often cruel entity.

And the blog is bright again. We will never forget the story we were all privelaged to read. I thank Fatty for ratcheting up my faith in humanity by showing that strangers can truly do great things for each other. And I urge all of you the next time you have a free moment to take some time and get to know this incredible man as well. His website again is Read the current stuff, but also look at the archived stories as well. You will NOT be disapointed. And if you ever feel like giving a few bucks here and there, LiveStrong is a great foundation to give to. The statistics don't lie: Cancer will affect everyone in some way or another during their lives.

Thanks for the stories Fatty!
Site Meter