Monday, January 25, 2010

Hey Fatty!

I, like any red blooded internet-er, enjoy me some blogs. One I check on a (near) daily basis is the Fat Cyclist. The blog started out many moons ago as a way to hold himself accountable for his weight gain/loss. It is mostly cycling anecdotes, fictitious letters to cycling luminaries/companies, and a killer mashed potato recipe. A handful of years ago his wife was diagnosed with cancer so the blog became a release valve for the stresses associated with that in addition to the usual cycling stories. He also started raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through it. Last year he hit almost $1,000,000. His wife passed away this last year and it was amazing to see the support he got.

Anyway, he is funny and emotional and the story is compelling and he's from Utah and blah, blah, blah. It's a blog I like.

Tash and I were on our way out of IKEA a few weeks ago and I saw a guy in a black jacket with the Fat Cyclist logo on the front.

It was the Fat Cyclist himself.

I looked around a second when someone said "Hey Fatty!" before I realized that I said it. I yelled "Hey Fatty!" at a complete stranger, across a parking lot. He turned around and smiled and I flubbed something about how I read his blog. We shook hands, he said thanks for reading, and we parted ways.

A couple of things about our meeting:
1)I'm a little embarrassed that I was so excited to meet a guy who lives in the the next county south, and who I could have met on a bike if I wasn't as lazy as I am instead of at IKEA.

2) Not only is he not fat (which I did know since I read his blog and he is vain and posts pictures of himself all the time), but he is short. I'm not exactly a man of great physical stature (I'm relatively short and I'm jiggly in the middle), but I am taller than he is by a couple of inches.

Or so says Tash. I was distracted by the majesty of his internet celebrity to notice.

This now takes over the top spot in my famous person sightings (I've only had two, I saw Connie Chung and the Salt Lake Airport and Perry Ferrel on the beach in California).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yep, it really happened.

I've been waiting to post about this till I was sure it wasn't a dream. It has now been a few weeks and the object of dream worry is still sitting in my house so I'm pretty confident I'm awake and that it isn't a joke.

As I'm wont to do, I'll tell the long version.

Mid-November, Logan and I were g-chatting and before we got to the usual topic (bikes) he asked if I knew why Tash had called him the night before. I did not know the reason, nor was I aware that she called at all. Then he sent me a link to a full Wasatch Touring kit on KSL classifieds and asked if I liked it. "Si" I said. It was cool. That night, Tash asked what size cycling jersey I wear.

Now, I'm not the sharpest tool in the Clifford family shed, but when my brother and wife are making calls to each other, then they both ask me about cycling clothing within the span of a few days, well, I knew something had to be up.

The next time Logan and I spoke (which was about bikes) I persuaded him to admit that Tash was going to get me the Wasatch Touring kit. And he did. I was excited. And did my best to play like I didn't know what was going on.

So you can imagine my surprise when Christmas Day came and the box with my name on it contained this

(The picture isn't 100% accurate. Mine has an upgraded saddle and crankset, and the tires Vittorias.)

A brand new, full carbon (made by the fine folks who manufacture carbon frames for Felt and Giant, among others), Ultegra/105 equipped Motobecane road bike.

Now, some of you may be thinking, "ok, a bike." But here is the thing, we have a dozen bikes at our house, guess how many of those bikes I bought new. One. I saved up my paper route money and in 9th grade (yes, I still had a paper route in 9th grade) bought a Bianchi mountain bike. At nearly a grand it was the biggest purchase I had ever made. My road bike - the one I rode in LOTAJA, and up our canyons countless times, and all over - I bought off my boss at Gart Brothers. It was a late 80s/early 90s 7-speed steel bike with downtube shifters. It weighs more than the aforementioned mountain bike, which is a serious faux pas in the cycling world. Going all the way through my bicycle linage, this is only my second new bike. Ever. A pretty thoughtful gift to say the least.

My first real ride was a quick 28 mile ride down south. I got some hills, some flats, some corners (both climbing and on the flats). I was surprised with how smooth and responsive the ride of carbon was. Having an extra three gears in the back didn't hurt either. I only had my camera phone, but you get the idea

I won't go as far as to say it is a fast bike, a bike is only as fast as the person riding it. But while I am not fast at all right now, it was a great ride. I have some big riding plans this year (well, one plan really, and that is to ride - a lot. Maybe even till my legs fall off.). With this new, beautiful machine I'm sure motivation will not be a limiting factor.

Now if only we could do something about the snow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

To the Dangerzone!

A week or so before Christmas, at our official Planning Center eat-stravaganza (aka Christmas Lunch) we were talking beards.

The boss's wife doesn't like them, so he never grew one, now it's peppered (salted?) with enough white that he doesn't want to grow one - he doesn't want to look older any more.

Boss #2 has a goatee, and feels like a full beard makes him look like a chipmunk with acorns in his cheeks.

I beamoaned the fact that while my dad looks like a yeti when he stops shaving for a week and my brothers (both older and younger) can grow decent face socks, I am cursed with the whiskers of a 14 year old. While I could grow a mean John Taylor neck pillow,

it's patchy at best on my cheeks, and I've always been wary that the mustache part would be dangerously close to pervert territory.

So as I cried in my hummus about the sad state of my facial hair my co-workers consoled me. Boss #2 said that since I have never gone past 4 days of growth I don't really know how it would look, it could fill out. Since we were at the front end of a three week period devoid of meetings and a managerial mandate to avoid slacks had just been issued I thought now is as good a time as any. So I got the permission/encouragement from the boss men to look like a homeless man for the next few weeks to see if my facial hair would pull through.

It has now been about a month, and the first few weeks were rough. I almost shaved every time I stepped in the shower (I shave in the shower, it opens my pores and softens my hair. What my whiskers lack in quantity, they make up for in stiffness). But I endured.

Last night at dinner at my dad's house my little sister said "Christopher! you look like Kenny Loggins!"

I think she had this Kenny in mind

not this Kenny

But I'll take either.