Posted by: fizzhogg | September 19, 2010

4 rides, 1 flat, 2 bike shops, 109 miles

This week I rode four times. I did not know it until I came here to post that I’d ridden 109 miles… the exact distance I have to ride for El Tour… in one day. Nay, in one single ride.

So, yeah. I rode 109 miles over four out of six days. And 63 days from now I’ll have to do the same in basically the same time it takes to make Thanksgiving dinner.


Anyhoo, back to the here and now. On Sunday of this week – my weeks start on Sunday because that’s how my calendar does it. Sunday my daughter had a soccer match at some fields near where I used to ride quite a bit – the Lake/River trail of posts gone by.

So I decided I would ride over there (about 7 miles from the house) and then spend a couple of hours on the UM, then meet the fam at the soccer fields. Everything went perfect. The weather was perfect. The Unfat Machine was perfect. My bulbous Jensian figure was riding perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I decided to attempt something so heinous I have yet to even write about it.

Hog Hollow.

Loyal readers know about Chad. And The Road Formerly Known As The Pyrenees. And the Tour de Cure Hill. And the Other Side of the TdC Hill. I’ve typed ad nauseam about them, speculating their grades and lengths and categories, blah, blah, blah. I’ve never dared utter the name Hog Hollow.

I have no idea the grade or length of Hog Hollow. It’s longer than Chad, but shorter than the Other Side of the TdC Hill. It’s grade is Chad-like in some places and Other-like in some. I know the last twenty meters look and feel like it’s a 10% grade. But all that is not what makes Hog Hollow a killer. It’s the switchbacks. No less than three of them, and all right smack in the middle.

The cherry on my suffer sundae.

The reason I’ve never written about Hog Hollow is because I was ashamed. I tried to climb it once, back in June. I made it about, oh, twenty meters. And then the Unfat Machine and I made that walk of shame that all Hill Slugs like myself have been forced to make. Cars driving by, other cyclists asking if you’ve flatted… “No, I’m just a big fat ass.”

But Sunday was different. Not only did I ascend Hog Hollow, but I did it 2 hours into my ride. Yes, I had already covered 31 miles when I came to the base of the Hog. I looked up at it and said, “Heck yeah. Jens would do it while popping a wheelie.” So I did it. And I suffered. But again, thanks to Hova and the PT, I was able to tell myself “You climbed Mt. Lemmon. This is nothing.”

And I did it. And I was so happy that I rode for another hour and twenty minutes. I rode 50 miles Sunday. I could have gone more. A lot more. But I had a soccer match to attend. It was my best day ever on the UM. Better than the Tour de Cure. Because I didn’t have to go at all. I had nothing pushing me but myself. Never give up.


I was so amped about my Sunday morning ride, that I decided to attack the same route on Monday. I was cruising through the corn fields aimed toward the Hog when one of my Voigtian Armadillos flatted! Ack! Doh! Not my bullet-proof Armas! And not while I’m nearly six miles away from my car.

But I was. The walk back was not as shameful since I was able to say “Yeah, I flatted.” Though, shame did course through my body momentarily when the old man in the old minivan rolled up and said in a crotchety, snippy old man voice, “What, can’t fix your flat tire?” Instead of saying, “No… I’m a newbie fat ass with no knowledge of changing a flat,” I just said, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got air.”

I logged 13.5 miles on Monday, but at least 3 and a half of those miles were walking the Unfat Machine. Memo to me – remember that the 2Kin2K10 goal will not be met unless we ride 2,003.6 miles.


So my favorite local LBS is gone. Ghisallo. Out of business. Doors closed and locked. Store empty. No forwarding address or info. Just gone. Like the Colts out of Baltimore. It sucks on many levels, but mostly because they were less than a mile from my house. And gave me free stuff. Hmm… maybe I’m seeing dots being connected.

So I had to find a new LBS. And I did. Only it ain’t so local. It’s The Hub Bicycle Company in St. Louis. About 15 miles from my house. But they fixed my flat, even showed me how to do it myself next time, and told me my Jensian Armadillo was still good to go. The Hub gets my business from now on. Ron, one of the owners, rocks.


A quick, high cadence ride of 20 miles.


I drove downtown – where the famous Gateway Arch stands sentinel over the city. It’s 30 minutes by car with no traffic issues. I wanted to ride Riverfront Trail. That link your eyes just cruised across is an 8-minute youtube video about the construction of the trail.

The Riverfront Trail is an out-and-back, about 12 miles each way. Mostly flat, with a couple of good, but very short climbs. 25.5 miles total this day. And the views were… I’ll let them speak for themselves:

Eat better.

Keep riding.

Lose the gut.

Watch out for the road idiots

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