All posts by Bike and the Fat Man

What makes a GREAT training partner?

Yes! Back by popular demand(ok one person asked) it is I, Bike and the Fat Man, here with a question for all who ride in some of the local groups…what makes a great training partner? Seems like an easy question but is it really. I personally think you first have to look at your current physical fitness (or in my case…physical limitations) and find a partner stronger or equal with you. I have lucked out in this aspect. I actually work with a few cyclist and we train together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yesterday was a great example of what you should look for in a training partner.

We were having our Tuesday training ride and it was just me and the Beast (if you are wondering who that is…look at post “we don’t die”). Needless to say, there was at one point I was drafting and realized his calves look like medival mace clubs( you know the kind I am talking…the club that has that massive metal head to it). His physical fitness is so far beyond mine as of right now, that he had to soft petal in the big chain ring just to get a pump in his legs.

This brings me to the second aspect of a great training partner…he knows he is better than you but still willing to work with you. Beast is a monster on the bike. Pulling and holding 25mph is just a good ride for him. Myself, 17-19mph is a hard workout. On this ride, the wind was in our face to start and I drafted for a while but once we got off the main drag, we doubled up and he pushed me by not letting me pull but kept me in front with him. Then when we’d get to certain points he would tell me,”OK, ready we will pick it up here.” or “Let’s sprint out of this corner”This is where it showed how much he was better than me. He might as well said, “I am better than you and let me demolish you and make you feel like your walking your bike…HAHA!!!(insert evil laugh here)

This brings me to my final point to a great training partner…encouragement! The whole time he was demolishing me…he kept saying “Great job. You are so much better then you were when we stop for winter break. Man you did well against that wind.” I can imagine in his head he really wanted to say,”YOU SUCK! GET BACK TO THE JUNIOR LEAGUE WENIE BOY! TURN IN YOUR RACING JERSEY FOR A FLORAL PRINT ONE!” But that is what makes it awesome that cyclist are a strange breed. Cyclist in general are a competative bunch. They like destroying the competition and make them hurt (and cry at times) but they are willing to work with someone who is really trying to get better.

I’d like to thank Beast for working with me, the Machine for giving me advice and answering every question I throw out there and the ABC racing team for ascepting me even though I am not ready but they know that it is a passion of mine to be the best I can on the bike.

King and Kingdom

That is what I felt like…a king in his kingdom! Let me explain…I picked up my new baby on Friday! That is right the fat man is on the road with a true road bike. She is a beauty too. The reason behind the whole king and kingdom statement is because that is the way the people at Capitol Cyclery made me feel.
I set up the appointment with Evan to come in and pick up Lucy and get fitted. It was all set for Friday. I know what you are all thinking…he was there when they opened. No I wasn’t …I was there three minutes after they opened. When I got there I was greeted with my usual…”Hey Mr. Richard”. I absolutely love that they know me by name and are always there to answer my questions, no matter how goofy the question is. When I got to the counter, Evan had everything set up and ready for me to make my final payment and Sarah (I think she has to be the happiest lady on the planet…she is always bouncing around with a smile on her face) went got my girl.
When I tell you I was treated like royalty, I felt like I was the most important person there. Now you may be thinking that it is because I was buy a new road bike. Trust me, the bike I bought is not one of the high-end bikes, it is closer to the entry level. Still they made it like I was buying one of the $10,000 bikes.
The bike fit process was awesome. They did not rush any of it, made sure that my seat was correct, my stem and saddle was adjusted properly, and when I was having trouble with the shifting, it was like I had my own personal mechanic right there…I didn’t even have to get off my bike. This guy (and you can recognize him…he is the one with the Tom Selleck Mustache) knew exactly how to fix everything and showed me things with my shifters I did not know anything about.
As I sat there waiting for them to finish putting the final touches to my baby, Mrs. Lisa comes out and talks with me. Now I will tell you, if I felt like a king in this kingdom, Mrs. Lisa is definitely the Queen in her kingdom. She walks out and you know that she is the one running the show. Unlike most Queens, she is so wonderful to talk too. (Not like I have meet many queens in my time…may be a few drag queens but…) A friend of mine came over to the shop to pick himself up some supplies and Mrs. Lisa walked us around and made us feel like there was nothing more important than making sure we were happy and that we got everything we needed.
These guys and gals at Capitol went the extra mile…they even replaced the silver cable ends with green ones to match the color scheme of my bike. That may seem small, and it is, but that is service when the small stuff doesn’t go untouched.
Now to other matters…the fat man is going into training for the Rouge Roubaix. I am going to train over the winter and into spring for this wonderful (and completely grueling) race. There are a lot of things that need to happen. First is get my weight down. As of right now, I am 226 lbs and 30 BMI (according to the WII Fit plus). I would like to be down to 190 lbs and into a large/med kit. Next is getting use to riding in a paceline with much stronger riders. That will happen with my Thursday and Saturday rides with the group at work and the race team. Then when I feel confident enough I will ask to join the team. Finally, it is getting us to the torture of training on an indoor trainer.
I am telling this all of you to keep me accountable…I figured the way cyclist are they would not let it down if I drop off my goal…we are a sadistic bunch.

Giddy like a school girl

I know I will get some slack for this title but I think that is the only expression I can come up with for how I feel. In one week, Oct 21st, I will be celebrating my birthday (26th) by purchasing my first true road bike. Yes you have read that correctly, your friendly fat man will be joining the ranks of roadies everywhere.

If you have not read it before, I will be getting the Raliegh Revenio 3.0. She is a beauty…black with green accents and green tires…sporting the full Shimano 105 groupo compact…and…That is where all my money and research is going.

You see you don’t just buy a bike, you have to buy the accessories. You have bike computers, but not just a simple computer…you have to get the wireless heart rate/cadence/GPS/power meter/LT sensor/order take out/burgaler alarm/second wife because of the price computer. Then you need a saddle bag, but how big??? Do you go really huge like saddle bags on a Harley or do you go so small that all you have is room for a quarter to call someone who cares (wait that is what the computer is for)? Then you need to get a new pump because you have one at home but it is a Shearder valve and not a Presta valve style. Then you need to get an indoor trainer because it is coming time where the days are getting shorter, but what type, do I go turbo or roller type? Then each one of those have so many sub catergories that it would make a grad from MIT wonder what he is doing. Then you have tubes, cleaners, work stands, shoes, kits, pedals and cleats and…it goes on and on!

Makes me wonder why I am giddy…oh yeah I know…I love this stuff! When everything is bought and done…It is just you and the road, the wind in your face and the burn of pushing yourself to the point of insanity…It is pure giddiness!!

Ps. It is getting dark out there a lot earlier. Lately, there has been a few fatalities and we should remember those who have lost thier lives doing what they love doing and that is riding. Let’s be safe…get some lights if you are out pass dusk (great something else to buy)!


We don’t die…We Multiply!!!

I know it has been a while since I sent out a blog, but Ihave been very busy. I first want to thank everyone who prayed for me to get a
new job. I can say I am working making more then I have ever before. Honestly,it really isn’t the money that makes this job great (it sure doesn’t hurt though), it is the fact that I am surrounded by cyclist. From my chair in my
office, I can throw a helmet and hit three cyclist. These three guys have become my go to bike guys. We really talk about everything bike-wise.

Let me start off with the old guy of the group, the Machine. I call him that not just because of the way he rides(really have not seen him
ride yet) but because he is like a computer full of bike knowledge. He can spit out data faster than Thor Hushvod changes teams. He can tell you what cassette and chainring combo you need for any situation. The only thing wrong with the
guy is that he is bone rail thin. He makes a fat guy like me look huge!!!

Next is the first guy I meet at my first group ride, the Beast. This guy has gone from 315lbs down to a strong 205lbs. This man’s legs
look like something out of a science project. He just did a ride in Arkansas and the picture that was taken of him was him smiling at the finish line after a 104 mile ride in the hill country. This boy is not right in the head. That is why we get along so well.

[pullquote1]Next is the Hammer! Not because of the way he rides, or works, or plays…it is just because every group needs one guy named the Hammer.[/pullquote1]
It is biking’s unwritten law. You can not have a group of guys ride bikes and not have a Hammer in the group. The Hammer is a lot like me. Not so much on the small side, not the fastest on the bike, but we will not give up. This is the guy who I am joining forces with to petition the US Cycling for a Cat 6 or 7. Maybe we can get a time trial from our car to our lazy boy…I would beat everyone!!!

I mention these men because it seems that now I have become a “cyclist”…They are cyclist everywhere. Just last month I took my
Mom to her doctor appointment and the doctor rides for the St. Landry parish group. Just at the facility I work at, we have about 100 employees there and I know of 10 that ride. (and that number is growing)

I think I will call our group the “Schlumberger Blue Crew”. Our chant will be “The Schlumberger Blue is coming foryou…We don’t die, we multiply”


Happy riding people!

A bit geeky and sentimental

[pullquote1]I found my baby…a Raliegh Revieno 3.0.[/pullquote1]
Yup, I made the plunge and have Captial
put my bike on hold. Let me explain how I came to putting this bike in my
repetoire. I started off looking for plush bikes…meaning a bike I could do
endurance rides on but if I want to push for the line it will give me everything
it has (or the little I have to give). So I started reading reviews and checking
all the local bike shops in the area. And boy did I have a list to go on.

I started out with a budget of $2000…I didn’t want to go over that. Then I
wanted to go carbon fiber but that quickly changed. It wasn’t the price, because
there are a ton of bike that are carbon fiber in the $2000 range, it was the
feel. I felt that I would bend those bikes in half when I would throw my leg
over them. I could just read the headlines…”Man stabs groin with top tube of
bike”. Then Evan at Captial suggested going with a higher end aluminum frame
with carbon forks. I like that idea cause I read a great deal about some alloy
bikes that were great for the plush catergory.

So I went home and did more research and found quite a few well within the price
range and bikes that weigh in at 20lbs. Which is great because a 20lbs bike
would shave 11lbs off the current bike I have. So back to trying out bikes. I
whittled down to the three bikes I liked…the Scott Sportster 20, the Trek 2.1
and the Raliegh 3.0.

I got to try a Sportster in San Antonio when we went for vacation. It was
great but I didn’t feel it was right. Then I tried the Trek (hoping I’d feel
like Lance but felt more like Pee Wee Herman). Then I threw my leg over that Raleigh.
Wow!!! The look, the feel, my butt hugging the saddle…I felt I could go 100
mile and still sprint for the finish. It was solid under me and for the price
($1150), the components (shimano 105 groupo), the weight (20lbs)and the patience
of Evan(I came a bunch of times and He still smiled at me), I was sold. Now in
just a few monthes that baby will be mine.

A few blogs back, I mentioned that I call my bike Lucy in honor of my Dad and
this new one will be called the Lucy 2. We all ride for some reason or another,
and I am no exception. My Dad passed away just over 2 years ago from lung cancer
(no he was not a smoker). My Dad adopted me when I was 1 years old and he knew
that I was going to be his only child. My Dad was the strongest toolpusher any
rig has ever seen. When you looked at my dad, you thought he would kick your
butt just for looking at him, but it was farther from the truth.

Now, why do I call my bike Lucy after my dad? My dad looked alot like Kenny
Rodgers (you would swear they were brothers)the same peppery hair and beard,
same height, just a close resemblance. My dad favorite song by Kenny was
“Lucille”…and there you go Lucy.

A few months ago, I was playing with my daughters and I was out of breath so fast,
hell when I would lay down the pressure on my stomach would cause me to
breathe so heavy that you could hear me in the next room. It was then I
remembered my dad in the hospital. There was a night about a week before he died
that I stayed with him over night. It wa horrible to see my dad slowly taken
away by this disease. He was crying saying how he wanted to stay longer to spend
time with his grandkids. That memory stuck with me as I layed there with my
labored breathing. I knew I had to do something and my laziness was not going to
stop me. So I tried different things until I got Lucy…and the rest is history.
I am stronger and I have lost over 30lbs so far and counting. I don’t breath
like I am an elephant and the best thing is that I have my kids wanting to ride

They both have bikes now and I will end with this…Kaelyn, my 5 year old, was
riding her bike in the driveway as I was sitting watching them. She came up to
me and said, “Daddy I think my legs are strong enough now?” I asked her for
what. She said “So I can jump on the trampoline high enough to see Poppy (my
dad) in heaven.” I said yup I think so. Through my tears I heard her saying, “I
see him Daddy! I love you Poppy! I miss you so much!”.

David Richard

Why do I ride?

[pullquote1]Why do I ride? Well first off it is for the health benifits. That’s what started it off. [/pullquote1]
When tubby here was playing with his girls, I could not catch my breath
after just 10 minutes of playing with them. I said enough is enough, so I
researhed on things I could do because of my surgeries. Cycling seemed like the
best option. My wife first got me a stationary and about a month later I picked
up my first bike. Now I went from 260 down to 234 lbs (if you read my last post
you will notice that it is 4 lbs up…darn you good tasting chicken, sauage and
gizzard gumbo…darn you all 8 bowls of it).

Why do I ride? I know only other cyclist will appreciate this but it
is when you ride by yourself and everything is gone but you. I get lost in my
prayers, thoughts and pain that I am bringing to myself. It is the smell of
the fresh rain air when the sky is dark and rain is on the horizon. On the
flip side, it is also how you can ride with friends and when you are talking
it is everything that interest you (what new bikes come out, best tasting
gels, how boudin balls are the perfect cycling fuel, how you get that rash
between your…everything is interesting). Plus the push you get when you
ride with a group. It is excellerating.

Why do I ride? I feel it is prolly the same reason a golfer golfs, a swimmer
swims, a football player wants to make the best play possible, or why a runner
runs…why do I ride?…because in my minds eye, it is the perfect sport.

My First Group Ride

Writers Note: Yes, I have moved. It was great posting at Cajun Cyclist but Alex asked for me to post here…so here I am. Figured it would not over load their site with my dribble. Before anyone ask, no I do not use Jed as my endurance trainer (but would if I could) so this is just merely entertainment for his site. This post is meant to be light-hearted and fun. I will at times, I will review certain products and give my best fat man unbias opinion but the majority of the time it will be my view of the world of cycling from a big guys viewpoint. I am posting two older post from Cajun Cyclist, then next week I will be posting new stuff. Thanks David

I want to give a little info before I get into telling you about my 1st group
ride. Yes, I am the fat man, but I am going down with a quickness. I went from
260lbs on June 6th, down to 230lbs on July 22nd. My bike (Lucy, named in honor
of my Dad, will give info on that later) is a beast. It is a GMC Denali hybrid
that is a whopping 31 lbs. When Matt at Precision Bikes cheched the weight, it
made the ceiling make popping noises.

Now you know a few facts, let’s get into the group ride. First and foremost, it
was awesome, but it didn’t start that way. When I first got there, there were
guys coming out with cool looking team jerseys, bikes that drool over in
magazines and at Mark’s place, and they were all under 200 lbs. All the
excitment that I had the night before was steadily running into dread. There was
no way I was going to keep up with these guys.

[pullquote1]I made up my mind, I was going to bail out with dignity. In other words when everyone took off, I was going to slide out the back.[/pullquote1]
Just then I noticed a
little group of 3 that wasn’t leaving with the others. Found out that this was
the beginners group I was hoping for. Meet Rhonda, Jen and Elijah.

Rhonda started out by giving me pointers on how to ride group, hand signals,
call outs etc. We started out at a nice click (13-15 mph) and was enjoying
talking with everyone. As me and Rhonda was talking, we noticed we were dropped
a good bit, so we pushed to get up with our 2 man breakaway. Then IT came. They
called it a hill, I call it a small mountain. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad but
still ate my lunch and put my lungs on the floor.

Before I knew it we were by the Farm golf course and really enjoying ourselves.
Plus, they were right, riding in a group makes you push harder. There was one
time I hit 26.9 mph. Of course it was downhill and with a tailwind…but it was
my accomplishment.

All in all, it was one of the best times I had on my bike. Next Sat. guys I will
be joining you for breakfast.

Southern Comfort

[pullquote1]There are many dangers out on the road when we ride and each region has its own set of potenial hazards. First, let me start with the north and the coastal regions. [/pullquote1]

Sure you have the chance to be mauled by a bear or a mountain lion up north (would not be much fun), but what scares me most is pea gravel. Just think, with those big mountains come big descents( I love descents by the way). You coming down doing about 40 mph and hit a patch of pea gravel, I promise you will look like a bear mauled you by the time you stop skidding on your backside.

Now on the east and west coast, there is always a chance of alligators or the occasional surf board coming out a car (dude you dented my board with your head!!!) but what scares me most is retired transplants from up north. They still drive like they are in New York or Chicago but don’t have the motor skills to adjust fast enough. Plus those blinkers are so aggravating (Turn it off)!!!

I have been hearing on the radio how some of the northern states have been having a “heat wave” for 10-20 days. Here in southern Louisiana we call that fall. Plus the animals down here think they have more rights to the roads then the cars do. If you are not dodging dead animals the live ones are vicious. The other day, I came across a water moccasin on stretched across my side of the road. Thinking it was dead , I was going to bunny hop over it until the snake woke up. Needless to say, it took about a day to take the saddle out of the orifice that sucked it up.

Still about 3 weeks ago, I came across a set of cats crossing the street, or what I thought was cats. The family of skunks were not pleased with me, but I came away unscathed.

All this is scary but what scares me most down here is trail rides. Yes, trail rides. If you are unfamiliar with trail rides, let me explain what it is. It is backwoods drunken revelry with added bonus of large animals that are mostly out of control. There is usually a buggy being drawn by horse or tractor proceeded by a peloton of horses and drunk riders. The buggy can usually only hold three people, not because it is small but that it is holding that many ice chest and bbq pits. Nothing like fire and a small wooden buggy to build confidence in people. If you come across one of these turn around, I learned this the hard way.

I was running late on my ride, so I was out at 10am (keep this time in the back of your mind). Well as I was coming around my usual route, I started running into horse patties. You have never experienced bike handling like trying not to hit a multitude of horse crap. This should have clued me in but I am a slow learner.

I was going a good click (18 mph) and came up the trail ride rather quicker than I expected (and the closer I got the more crap I had to dodge). Lesson number two from this, don’t try to pass a trail ride while riding a bike. I figured I was going a good bit faster then them and nothing was coming, let me pass them. When I had got up to them I had dropped into a lower gear, to slow down but keep pedaling. I make my move.

Lesson number three and four, horses have great hearing and drunk people cannot drive a wild beast. As I make my move, I noticed that one horse was a little skettish and the “experienced rider” had a beer in one hand, a whiskey bottle in the other and his “little cajun friend” was driving the reins. So my thought was jump into a higher gear and blast pass this guy, my mistake. My gear change made its normal click-clack noise and the horse jumped, and not in a good way. How that horse heard my gear change is beside me because the radio on the buggy was blasting Richard LeBouf “Who Stole My Monkey?” so loud it was creating a wind tunnel. The horse jumped right in front of me, I actually had to get into the horse peloton just not to get ran over.

I will tell you it is not fun having your face right where those horse patties come from. I was lucky enough to get all the way to the other side of the road and peeled off when the next road came up.

Please take these lessons to heart…It will save your butt and sanity. Trust me!