Posted by: fizzhogg | August 25, 2011

Just When You Think You’re All That…

Hey, remember all that blather I posted here about “I’m a sick climber, and I’m so awesome, and I rule and blah, blah, blahtty, blah, blah.” Remember that? Then you’ll love this story.

So this has been Epic August. My two rides over 50 miles, the rain, dog, climbing. Even others have joined in.

Steve contributed to Epic August with his Reston Century Spit In The Face of Mother Nature Death Ride.

Even Clive has had some Epic August rides with all the weather and single-speeding!

So when I decided yesterday that I would do a “light spin,” saving myself for another Epic August ride this weekend, I was feeling very cocky. I’ll cruise over to the old Missouri River levee trail – which I haven’t been to since returning from Cycling Mecca – and ride a quick 15 or 20 miles. Here’s where it gets good, dear readers…

I actually said this to myself — “I’ll ride 15 or 20 miles at a high pace, then shoot up Hog Hollow and River Valley just to get some climbing in.”

Remember Hog Hollow and River Valley from my 2010 posts? Hog Hollow was this scary climb that – pre Hal 9000 – I thought was maybe 6 or 7%, pitching up to 10% at its worst. Heh, heh, engineering and geography was never my strong suit. In the post-Hal 9000 era we now know Hog Hollow is .7 miles long, with an average gradient of 9%, pitching up to 15% at the very top.

Again, IT’S ALL IN THE HEAD, PEOPLE. If I had ever known Hog Hollow was that steep, I would have never attempted it. But I did. Way back in the day of the Unfat Machine and 216lbs of body weight. And I did it.

And River Valley – only 4/10 of a mile long, but an average of 13% with a peak of 16%. Again, I did it way back when I thought it was maybe a max of 12%.

Anyway, back to yesterday and my big fat ego… I literally told myself “I’ll shoot up Hog Hollow and River Valley” – just to, you know, add some climbing to my little spin day. Cuz, you know, I’m a sick climber. I’m a bad ass on the bike.

What I am is a big fat doofus.

Or is it dufus?

So I’m riding away at a brisk pace, averaging around 19 or so mph. There’s some wind out there for sure, but nothing too much for this bad ass, this guru of climbing…

I cruise over to Hog Hollow and I attack it like it was a speed bump. Cuz I’M SICK!

Well, I almost literally got sick. I hit Hog Hollow full of arrogance and attitude, and by the midway point I was dying. Like seriously suffering. Like, not the Rapha suffering of my Epic August rides, but just lousy, crappy, I want off this bike, suffering.

I tried to get out of the saddle and do my arrogant Contador dancing on the pedals thing, but again, my fat arse was dying. I hit that last 30 meters of 15% and thought I was on freaking Mount Washington.

When I crested the summit, I was gasping for breath. I rode in little doofus circles for a while trying to get my heart rate down enough just to be able to drink. Yeah, I’m sick, baby!

Did I go too hard at the beginning? Was it more hot and humid than I thought? Or am I still just a big fatass? Probably bits of all three are true.

I continued on my “light spin ride” recovering from the Hog Hollow debacle and I started to laugh at myself and my arrogance. Just when you think you’ve got it down, God throws something in your face to say, “Remember, Fatty, you’re still playing with the House’s money.”

I eventually made my way over to River Valley and decided I deserved punishment for my arrogance. I went up River Valley. Not as tough as Hog Hollow, but still enough to let me know that I still have more weight to lose, still have more work to do on this journey of mine.

Here’s the silliest part of the story. At the end of my ride, I had ridden 17.4 miles and climbed… wait for it… wait.

398 feet.

That’s right. Just days after my proclamations of searching for thousands of feet of climbing and labeling myself a sick climber, I was nearly done in by less than 400 feet of ascent.

Damn it feels good to be a dufus.

Eat Better.

Ride your bike.

There is no finish line.




Watch out for the road idiots


  1. You’re a badass doofus, but well on the money. I’m, stuck on 16 stone, that’s 224 lbs in american, and hills, well pimples in the land surface kill me. I know only too well that they will only get easier if I get my wait to fall, but I stiil eat too much and too often. Doah!!!! By the way I wish I could sustain 19 mph, you badass.

  2. Thanks for the shout out! I prefer “dufus” myself…

    I guess height can be a tricky thing. If you were to pile all those feet together (which you almost did on your two short climbs) it would be as tall as a 37 story building. That’s pretty tall in my book.

  3. I shouldn’t laugh…but there are times when “easy” rides kick my butt, too. You’ll see what I mean when I finish my next post… I am also a dufus, although I usually say I’m a dork instead.

    And 19 mph is speedy in my book!

  4. i’m not a sick climber, I just get “sick” when I climb!

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