Posted by: fizzhogg | January 5, 2012

2011 – a Rolling Hills ride

2011 was the second year of the 2Kin2K10 UNFAT PROJECT, and whereas 2010 was akin to a long steady climb with a beautiful view at the summit, 2011 was like one of those brutal roads of rolling hills that after a while can really demoralize you.

Ups and downs I think non-cyclists call this.

There were some amazing highs in 2011: Discovering Cycling Mecca; Joining the Conejo Valley Cyclists club; climbing Rock Store; taking ownership of Unfat II The Goat; making new cycling friends; raising money for Livestrong; my son meeting the Garmin-Cervelo team; riding in the Livestrong Challenge Austin and finishing it despite battling food poisoning; completing several things on my OHTTDI2KD list; and the highest of highs – riding the Tour de Donut and El Tour de Tucson with my son.

But there were also some very low lows: losing my mother-in-law to cancer; being away from my family for so long; my father-in-law’s current war with cancer; and on the cycling front – finishing the year with so few miles in November/December after such a strong start; falling back into horrible eating habits; ending the year weighing MORE than I started.

That’s right. I put ON weight this year. And I did it all in the last 6 weeks of 2011. I feel like it was akin to… giving up.

I quit.

I went against everything I preach here. I stopped trying.

I got off the bike.

My next post will cover in greater detail my weight issues and 2012 plans. And believe me, I do have plans. But for now, I want to be positive and drink in what it is about this sport/hobby/past time/obsession that we all love and share.


These are not in any order other than the way they’ve popped into my head as I thought about it… and I would love to hear from you – why you love cycling, or hate it, or whatever.

I love being outside. I love the too hot and too cold days as much as the perfect weather days. Okay, not as much. But I still love them. Feeling the sun on warm days, feeling your lungs sucking in that crisp, cool air on cold days. I love it all. There are many wondrous things we can do indoors (let’s not get naughty here), but being outside is simply better.

I love that cycling is just like writing. What? Yes, it’s true. Cycling is this solitary endeavor; just you out there on the bike alone (this is not a tandem blog), with nobody to help you, to stop you, to encourage or discourage you. But it is also the greatest communal activity I have ever experienced. There is NOTHING better on certain days than riding with a group. Being with fellow cyclists is so much fun. Being around anyone – stranger or friend – who shares a passion with you? You can’t beat that.

Riding together, swapping stories, talking about why Shimano is so much better than SRAM, talking about work, family, Lance, the pro tour, the continental tour, local bike shops, climbs, food, drink, cars, motorists, cops, robbers, women, men, or the very best part – being there to push each other.

To pull someone up a hill, or have them pull you when your tank is empty. To encourage you that you can push harder, you can go farther, or to try and discourage you! To challenge you, to talk trash, to try and drop you and vice-versa, I simply love riding with others just as much as I love riding alone. Neither is better. They are both amazing.

But wait, how is all that like writing? Well, because writing is also a completely solitary endeavor. Just you and the keyboard or legal pad. No one to push you but yourself. No one to help you create worlds or characters or stories. No one to tell you what you can and cannot write… except network executives, but that’s for another blog.

But writing can also be this great communal activity. In television writing there is nothing better than sitting around with the other writers coming up with stories, or walking down to someone else’s office when you’re stuck in the middle of a third act that doesn’t work and borrowing a cup of writing.

Talking writing is one of my great loves. And being with other writers is just like riding in a peloton. People doing what you are doing, sharing that same passion, there’s nothing better.

Writing and cycling – total solitary endeavors that are some of the best group activities, too.

I love the challenge. I love pushing myself beyond my own expectations. I love pushing myself beyond what I’ve ever done before. I have talked here ad nauseam about Ken Chlouber of Leadville and his quote that I now try to live my life by:

You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.

It is true. If you haven’t experienced this yet, it is because you have NOT pushed yourself hard enough. Because it is gospel. It is more true than taxes or death. And it has changed me not only as a cyclist, but as a person. I have taken that quote and used it in other aspects of my life and guess what?

It works there just as well as it does on the bike, when you’re suffering up that last climb of the day and your body is screaming that it has nothing left, and yet you crank a little bit harder and find a little bit extra and you do something you did not believe you could do… on or off the bike.

I love that I am just like Mark Cavendish and Levi Leipheimer. Um… huh? Yes. Here’s is another truly amazing thing about cycling. We are all the same. Let’s take the Leadville Trail 100 as an example.

Leadville is arguably the toughest single day bike race in the country. And people like you and me attempt it each year, just like Levi and Lance and other pros do. And despite the fact that Levi might finish five or six hours ahead of us, we both suffered the same.

What? Yes. The riders finishing six hours behind Levi suffered just as much as Levi and the other leaders did. Here’s why — in order for Levi to his very best out there he had to give 100%. He had to push himself to his absolute limit and beyond. Don’t think so? A quick Google search will show you Levi’s post-race press conference where he says exactly that.

And regardless of who you are or what shape you’re in, when you push yourself to that point… it all feels the same. Levi was hurting just as badly after six hours of riding as was the rider who finished in 13 hours. The only difference is Levi’s recovery is probably a bit quicker. Same with Cavendish. Listen to him after winning the Worlds or after finishing a grueling mountain stage in the TDF. It’s the same with any rider – pro or amateur – who pushes him/herself to that point.

We all suffer the same. We can sit down after a long ride and talk with a rider who finished hours ahead of us and share things in common.

We all suffer, and we all fall in love with the suffering.

2011 was a disappointment for me on several levels. But I am going to be positive and learn from my mistakes. I am going to use the negativity to fuel my going forward.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2012 and beyond.





Fair winds and following seas, Willy


  1. You speek well oh young Jedi. You have learned much. The truth is, and only truth remains after the suffering.
    Go wheels down in 2k12 it will help what is holding you back. It has helped me with my loss’ (Poppa Don in 2010 and Mother in 2011).
    I too am almost as heavy as my peak but this to will change. Keep encouaging us for it will encourage you also.

  2. What a great, phenomenal, inspiring post.

    What I love about riding?

    That I can channel so much aggression into those pedals and get healthier because of it.

    I love digging into the pain bit by bit, having my hand on the throttle all the while, and then surprising myself with how much I could take.

    I love that riders look cool. They just friggen do.

  3. Great post! I can identify with everything you wrote. I need to think of that Ken Chlouber quote more often, it is simple yet emotionally powerful – a perfect mantra.

  4. I’m right there with you. I’ve had too many months of sluggishness erase too many fitness gains. I won’t get my bike until February, but I’m adding mileage to my walks/hikes until then.

    Your comments about solitary but communal activities really resonated. My work is like that too, as are my big hobbies – hiking, scuba diving, baking. The idea of losing yourself in your favorite activity while still having a shared experience is truly spectacular.

  5. Just like miserable weather now and then makes us appreciate and want to take full advantage of sunny days, setbacks now and then in our lives make us appreciate and want to take full advantage of going full steam ahead once we come out the other side. Once the dust settles, these setbacks actually increase our motivation and determination to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and get back on that horse (or in this case, that bike), and to do so with a vengeance. And the good news is, unlike two years ago when you were totally new to cycling and had no idea what you’d been missing, you’re getting back into it now after your six-week hiatus having already experienced the incredible high, mentally and physically, one gets from cycling on a regular basis. You’ll be back to where you were, BETTER than where you were, in no time.

  6. A very happy and healthy 2012 to you as well! In the great story arc that is your life, those final six weeks in 2011 will be only a blip. Looking forward to reading your next chapters in 2012!

  7. Happy New Year to you and yours feller. I always enjoy reading your far too infrequent posts (a hint of selfishness from me there) and am looking forward to reading about the huge success that 2012 will undoubtedly be for you!

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