Posted by: fizzhogg | November 6, 2010

Post #51

It’s funny. As I neared the 2,000 mile mark for this year, I imagined what I’d do when I hit it. How I would celebrate. When I had only nine miles left, I thought how great it would be to get the family out on a ride, and for everyone to be there when I hit 2K. I’d have my wife take photos and we’d all cheer and go nuts.

But then I abandoned that idea. I decided I wanted to do it on my own – out on a long ride somewhere. I would watch Hal 9000 as he got closer and closer to the number, and when I hit it, I would stop and take photos of where I was and photos of the Unfat Machine, and self-portrait photos. Maybe even one of me riding – just as I cross 2,000 miles.

I decided today would be the day. I would travel to Illinois, specifically, Madison County and their BEST IN THE COUNTRY dedicated bike trails. Over a hundred miles of connected trails traveling through all sorts of beautiful countryside.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had to be in this part of Illinois (an hour from my house) for some youth soccer business. But despite the fact that the temperature was a balmy 41 degrees when I left the house, I had all my compression gear, my wool socks (by the way, wool cycling socks ROCK), my winter GU hat, my North Face gloves, and my long-sleeve Fat Cyclist jersey from Twin Six. I was set.

I took off on my soon-to-be epic ride, and then something happened.

I forgot.

I forgot about watching Hal 9000 click off the miles. I had my speed and elapsed time showing, like always. I forgot about taking photos and marking the location and all that other stuff.

I just rode. My mind was consumed with thoughts and images from a movie I saw last night. RACE ACROSS THE SKY 2010.

Here is the trailer for the film, though, in my opinion, the trailer is lousy. It is cut and scored as if it were a whole other type of film than what Race Across The Sky 2010 really is. And the movie is much, much better than the trailer. If Hova had not raced in it this year, I would have zero interest in seeing the film based on the trailer. But I did. And it was very good. Anyway, here’s the trailer:

The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is perhaps the most difficult single day bike race of any kind in the country. Hova has done it twice, and this year did it well enough and fast enough that he was awarded one of the much-coveted (and rather rare) Giant Gold Buckles.

Watching the film, I was moved to tears several times. Very much the way I’ve been moved to tears over the years watching the annual Hawaii Ironman triathlon. Not by the pro athletes doing what they do – which is amazing – but by the other people. The non-athletes, who decided for whatever reasons to change their lives, to push themselves, to do more than they ever thought possible.

I watched these Leadville riders, most of whom were not even close to being fit and/or talented enough to tackle this ridiculously difficult race. But they were there. Trying. Digging deep. Never giving up.

I walked out of that theater inspired. Inspired about cycling, inspired about El Tour de Tucson, inspired about my 2Kin2K10 Unfat Project. And that’s what was on my mind as I rolled through the Illinois countryside today. When I finally remembered about my 2,000 mile goal, I stopped and check Hal, and found this:

Apparently, 4.1 miles earlier, I had crossed the 2,000 miles mark. I glanced around. Look down at Hal again, and a tiny half-laugh escaped my mouth. I took this picture, then got back on the Unfat Machine and continued my ride.

No fanfare, no celebration, no erecting a monument at the location… just a brief acknowledgment to myself and I was on my way. And you know what? That is EXACTLY how it should have gone down. The mark coming and going like a thief in the night. Why?

Because – and it sucks Madison Avenue has turned this into a horrid cliche, but – because THERE IS NO FINISH LINE.

This year and this project was never about riding 2,000 miles, or completing El Tour de Tucson. It was about a fat guy deciding not to be fat anymore. It was about changing my life.

There is no finish line.

I don’t know if I will complete El Tour in two weeks. But all the anxiety and fear I was feeling about it yesterday is gone. Be it the movie or today’s ride, or a metaphysical combo platter of those and other matters, I’m sitting here now looking at El Tour as another day on the Unfat Machine. Now, I’m by no means being Pollyanna or flippant about it. I know it’s going to be the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my fat, lazy life.

But it’s time for me to do that. This is my Ironman. This is my Leadville. And after it’s over, I will get back on the UM and go for another ride. And another.

For all of you out there who decided to get off the couch, to stop drinking, to stop eating garbage, to run, to ride, whatever, remember – there is no finish line.




You’re very good. You are, you are.


  1. Way to go. Way. To. Go.


  2. Sweet. You figured it out. Right on. Ride on.

  3. Great post. Excellent job. He would have been so proud of you. Hope to see you around El Tour.

  4. Just read your whole Blog. Fabulous stuff, so much of what you said about yourself I see in me. Addict? Me? Absolutely, only beer and curries for me.

    Love riding my bike? Too true! Although in all fairness it probably isn’t very easy on the eye for other people.

    Congrats on your achievement. What’s next? 🙂

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