Saturday, April 28, 2007

episode 129: the whores on whore island

It's 1:00 Saturday afternoon. Seven good friends sit around a table at the Sante Fe Cafe in Newark, Delaware enjoying fine burritos, and cold drinks. For many of us, this is the second time in the last 24hrs that we have enjoyed the fine, and fairly price cuisine offered at the Sante Fe Cafe. We don't mind as the food is cheap, service is good and it tastes great.

Newark, is a College town, and today the Frat Rats seem to have the run of the center of the universe as the Greek Games are in full Bloom. Again, we don't really mind, as with the Greek games comes many blossoming breasts, tons of drunken debachery, and girls that strive to be the next Paris Hilton, or at least look like her. This creates a great opportunity for smack talk, and people watching from a group of older jaded townies. Where did all the hippies go?

One set of clearly inebriated sorority girls stumble pass our table. Rob (not that no talent ass clown from match box 20) asks her, "hey, hows it going? what sorority are you in? Frank Zappa Kappa?" She smiles, obviously happy to get attention from such a strapping lad as Rob, and says, "yeah!"

Our table erupts in laughter, and begins to chant, "FZK! FZK!" the drunken girl stumbles out of the cafe. A new chapter of Frank Zappa Kappa was opened that moment. Plenty of smack was talked before that, and plenty after. All in good fun, the girl smiled as she may not know who Frank Zappa was, but Rob is awfully cute, even if he hangs out with older creepy guys. Clearly, she was having a good day too. We kinda knew it was gonna be that type of ride when we hit the trail head, we were stopped by a man looking for , "wild whore that had gotten free." Clearly he was talking about his horse, but we all heard whore, and from there the rest of the day, there was nothing but wild whore jabs. that was pretty good. Even at lunch we thought we saw some wild whores loose in town, but it was only a horse. No worries.

The ride itself was nothing epic, nothing unusual, nothing more ordinary than a good group of friends, riding their bikes, talking smack and having a great time. And aside from FFAmy smashing her knee on one of the three rocks in Fairhill, it was a pretty uneventful day. It was a in fact an awesome day.

Conowingo dam, at the trail head of the Susquehanna State Park.

Sunday would see more of the same as Matt (run forest), Fitzy, Rob and I headed for the banks of the muddy Susquehanna, and rode the fine trail system of Susquehanna state park. The trails there offer a level of climbing, and rocks not normally in our diet, and a few water bars too. Another wonderful day of riding. I am starting to feel pretty good on the bike again. That is very encouraging.

Cierra, my niece doing a little climbing, okay it was more swinging than climbing but it was fun.

Matt (run forest) and his boy Hunter, do a little climbing too.

Buddy (the leg breaker) and Diane do a little unintentional twinsix coordinating at the rock gym Saturday night.

stay in school.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

episode 128: will ride hills for fish tacos

Hills from Hell, with fatmarc presented by Uncle Jan.
Someone asked me why all of a sudden this ride had new life. I replied, "whose scared to do a hill ride with a guy named fatmarc?" he nodded in agreement.

I can't believe I'm saying this, because generally I don't enjoy the road, but I really enjoy this ride. It's fast, it's dicey, it's damn fun. Basically it's like this, on any given night you have 15-20 folks show up, of those folks I know that 14-19 of them climb far better than I do, and each week, you just throw it all out there and see what happens. The best climbers in our area, and well you know, me. It's really fun.

Tonight's edition had a pretty nice cast of characters: E-town, Dan the man, Jeff C, Wes the Conqueror, Uncle Jan, CZ, UD Rob, UD Justin, Rob (ntntamfmb20), Postal Dave, and Dr, Destruco (Rob C) and Matt (run forest) met us along the way to inflict a little pain and then rolled out. (hope I didn't miss anyone in my oxygen deprived state)

I got dropped on the wall, and blew sky high in the neighborhood. I stole a sprint or two. It was fun. It hurt a lot. I'll be back next week.

Jeff is riding for a team out of new york: DKNY, yeah that DKNY: doesn't get any pimper than this kit:

There were a number of UD alumi on the ride, we were all lamenting that there was no team when we were there, but we were very happy to have these guys along:

After the ride I stopped over to see Fort James. That's a lie, I was there to see his new daughter, Fort Isabella. She is beautiful:
I got to hold her. I love to hold babies. She thought I smelled badly, because of course I did.

Dinner was fish tacos, and half priced nachos with Jan, Rob, Wes, and Monkey, who slipped out for a mtb ride earlier. It was very good.

stay in school.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

episode 127: i'll take a bakers dozen please.

I have to admit, I have been feeling sorry for myself lately. Frankly I had perhaps my best Feb and March training ever, I felt very good on the bike, and I salivated waiting to get started racing. Then I got sick, for 3 weeks. The flu, some cold, it just sucked. I wallowed in my own self pity, and I lamented rides missed, and just feeling shitty. And worst of all I infected Diane (chunky monkey). So now, she too who had the best Feb and March training ever, was feeling depressed. Our house was not a happy place. Sometimes you really need a kick in the nuts to snap you back to reality, and realization of how blessed we are.

That kick for me came for me Friday morning, at the Chester County Special Olympics swim meet, where I got to volunteer. I admit as Allison walked around the pool deck carrying the Special Olympic torch, I got goose bumps.

I worked as a timer, and fan as each race I get to meet another kid. In the assisted swim class, the swimmers got to choose either a noodle or a barbell to help the float/swim a little better. I quickly realized that the noodle allowed the kids to go faster. One girl, Markita, always used the barbell, but I told her, and all the kids in my lane to take the noodle. She did, and she had her best day ever, winning three events. Her coach came up to her after her last race and said, Markita, "I didn't know you were such a great swimmer, you had your best day ever!" Markita gave me a high five. One young man, finished his lap looked up at me and asked, "did I win?" I told him, "nope, you got second" he replied, "seconds great!" then followed with, "who won?" I pointed to the lane over from him, he smiled and said, "that's great!!" I helped him out of the pool and got a huge high five.

For me, fatmarc readers, this represents the purest competition, this was awesome. At the end of the day, this wasn't about winning at all costs, this was about sportsmanship, doing your best, respecting and caring about your teammates, and rivals. In a world of Lance Armstrongs, Pacman Jones and Barry Bonds, Special Olympics in my opinion is clearly the highest level of competition, and perhaps most accurately captures what is meant by the term "Olympic Spirit" That and remember the noodle always beats the bar bell. It's all about the noodle.

With that inspiration, I pretty much got over myself. I get it, now it's time to walk the walk, as I teamed with my awesome wife Diane (chunky monkey) and Kerry Combs ( Magneto) as the "and monkey makes three" team competing in the open 3 man class at the bakers dozen in Leesburgh, Virgina.

When I first signed up for the race, I set the goal of setting the fastest lap. Last week, while wallowing and listening to too much Morrisey, I said, it can never happen, I haven't been riding much less training, still as I lined up for the start of the race, the Special Olympic moto rung loudly in my head, " let me win, but if I can not let me be brave in my attempt" and as the starter gave his signal, I drilled it taking the hole shot and a quick lead. By the time we hit the single track, 5 guys had passed me, 3 NCVC fellas, Enduro Steve, and Arron Snyder. Through the single track, I picked off the NCVC guys one by one, and through the switch backs I could see the leaders ahead of me. I was totally pinned.

This would be a story book ending if I took the lap, but I didn't I took 3rd, but I gave my best. It was the 3rd fastest lap of the race, it was the fastest single speed lap, and as I started my second lap, I shouted to my campsite, "I think I just blew my wad!" perhaps not the best move to make in a 13 hour race. Now I had the fastest single speed lap, but this is in no way a disrespect to the other single speeders out there, there were some guys in the single speed solo class, that could eat my lunch, but still after the weeks I have had, I was stoked to say the least with that "hot" lap.

On the second lap, my buddy John W. (bikeline's todd) caught and passed me, I quickly covered his wheel, and glued myself to it for the next lap. A couple of times, John was suffering, as I was, and offered to let me pass, honestly I probably could have, but we were having fun, I was chatting him up a bit, he was setting a good rhythm, and after pinning the first lap, I just stayed glued to his wheel. This was also a show of respect, because I also knew that John is a hell of a rider, and staying with him, I'd be in good shape for another solid lap. Well, as the lap finishes, the course opens up, and flattens out. I'm covering John's wheel, as I watch him shift down two gears and punch it.

That bastard is trying to drop me at the end of the lap. I stand up and cover, we roll through the scores tent nose to tail. Back at the campsite, I spent the better part of the night busting his ass for that move. It was pretty funny. John is a hell of a rider, and along with Ninja Chris, won the duo class and the overall.

My teammates, Diane and Kerry where just awesome. Diane whose first day of feeling 100% was the race day, really cowboyed up and made the best of the situation. Although I was worried about her taking her first night ride since August 1998, she's a tough kid and she cruised right through. Kerry is one of the best teammates I have raced with. She is selfless and willing to take one for the team at any time. My concern was that she might waste too much energy trying to help everyone at the site. She's that cool. Kerry's years of endurance racing, 12 solo 24hrs races and countless teams, are an edge for her, and paid dividends for us. She was super consistent running all of her laps in 48 minutes. First lap, second lap, both laps on her double, night lap, it didn't matter, Kerry got 48 minutes. It was awesome.

We spent most of the day battling between 9-11 place, so I was very pleased to find that we ended up in 8th place out of 29 teams, with 17 laps. As the only team with one dude and two chicks, and having some odd preparation coming into the event, we were all smiles come the morning after. But believe me, plans are being made for a full on assault at the podium next year.

We had a really good group of folks to camp with, the aforementioned John (bikeline's todd), Ninja Chris, FFAmy, Wheelie Ted, Carolyn, Baby, Jess, Mike (formerly FatMIKE), Rolf, and Andrew. The NCVC crew, lead by Loretta, Rob, Fernando and company was next to us, along with my twinsix step-teammate (daddy always like you better) Jason.

All and all the day was pretty spectacular and I feel good about the effort.

oh, and I used my "white hand of Saron" cross gloves combined with my rigid bike for my first 4 laps, and that ended like this:

Reba how I love the, as a different set of gloves saved my race, coupled with Reba's gentle touch. Riding this course one handed wasn't such the option. Some pictures were taken from Greg's link of pictures from the event on No pictures were harmed in the creation of this blog.

Good luck and stay in school.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

espisode 126 : panic at the post office

so on 4/17 at about 7:30 I head to the post office to mail my Maryland income taxes.

I arrive at the post office at 8:05. My parcel already has postage, and really I just want to get it post marked 4/17, and thus not be late. I walk into the post office and head for the consumer area. I pull on the door and it has been locked. I looked up at the postal worker on the other side of the glass door.

I shout to him, " hey, can I get this mailed?"

He responds, " NO!"

I inquire, " man I just need to get this post marked today."

he responds, " we are closed."

I continue to engage him, "okay, no problem man, if I drop this in the box out here when will it be post marked? the 17th right?"

A crowd has started to gather around me.

One man wearing his own home made flash dance sweatshirt yells, " yeah, what gives?"

The postal worker continues, "no it will be posted 18th, we are closed."

The crowd sighs and then gets a little rowdy someone behind me yells , " come on man, are you kidding me?"

Flash Dance Sweatshirt man yells, " the paper said the post office was open to midnight!!"

The crowd, growing ever restless snarls, "YEAH!!!"

The postal worker continues his line, "we are closed"

The crowd is starting to get really rowdy as one man pushes on the locked glass doors. Basically there are 20 of us all with taxes in hand, all about 5 minutes after closing, and all dreading that we can't get our taxes turned in on time. I step away from the glass doors, as my fatmarc sense goes off, and I have to be honest I'm fearing for the worst, I think a riot is about to break out.

the someone in the crowd yells out, " this is bullshit" and "the paper said midnight, you were open until midnight last year..."

The postal worker continues, "only Quigley street is opened until midnight, if you want your stuff posted marked today, you'll have to go there..."

Another blurt from the crowd , " are you kidding me !?," and "you effer" and it was getting ugly quickly...

Just then the manager, who had been hearing the ever raucous crowd grow ever more restless, turned the corner and opened the door.

he said, "listen folks, if you have your stuff posted, I can take it, and I'll make sure it gets post marked today."

A collective sigh of relief came over the crowd as the kind manager collected taxes from those of us who had postage, and waited for the others that scrambled at the machines to get postage. I handed over my return and walked out the door.

Flash dance sweatshirt guy followed me out and asked me, "can you believe that?" I commented, "tough days for these guys for sure, tax time must be a nightmare, I understand" Flash Dance sweatshirt guy looked at me puzzled and followed up with, "effing government workers..."

I figured it was best to part company at this time. I jumped in the toaster and headed for home.

Tonight we had a nice group show up for the "hills with fatmarc ride, presented by Uncle Mike from America (Jan)". The group was large and I hope I didn't miss anyone : Dan the man, E-town, Lamont (son of fred sanford), Rob (Dr. Destructo), Matty D, Rob (ntntacfmb20), Tom (papa smurf), John H, E-town, dan from Udel, Spot Paul, Lisa Lisa, Jan, Jay-z (rockafellow), and yours truly.

The suck meter was turned down to about an 8 tonight, as I didn't take any hills or sprints, and I didn't push the pace, but I used the sage advise the Blair gave me many years ago. "fatmarc" he said, " you don't climb so well, so I suggest you go hard early before the climb, get a head start on it and then when you get caught and dropped, you still be in the middle of the pack, or if you try and hang on, when you get dropped you be stuck out by yourself." Have to say I climbed the world famous landenberg wall better than I ever have in my life tonight. That hill is a bitch. Up hopkins I got used like a $2 dollar whore, and pretty much blew the rest of the ride home. Oh, well I finished with the group tonight, which was very encouraging. Looking forward to Jan's ride report...


Sunday, April 15, 2007

episode 125 : Perry Rubay

Friday night started with a furious group of us at la tol teca, because as FFAmy put it, "they don't mind if you get obnoxious there." For the record we did get quite obnoxious. It has been a long time since I had done any drinking, and I was pretty grumpy. Nothing cures grumpy like tequila. I forgot how good it felt to get my swerve on. That was nice. this is Jen's burrito:

Saturday saw a small group of us, (Wes the conqueror, Alan the cleaner, Jan aka Uncle Mike from America, Kurtee and I) hit up the trails at Elk Neck. As maestro I played spider fighter, confirming that despite cooler temperatures, the creatures of Elk Neck would soon close the trails for another season. This was Wes's first trip to elk neck. He is now one of the converted, can I get a witness from the congregation?

The group of us hiking up one of the steepy, steeps:

Kurtee and Alan the cleaner enjoy the beautiful look out. Who would guess in less than 12 hrs a horrible nor'easter would roll in:

Saturday night a large group of us hit the PRG2 in coatesville. Lots of new problems on the bouldering wall. I feel badly because the new Delaware Rock Gym just opened, but there's so many new problems at PRG2, which is my home gym, (is it weird I've been climbing 2 months and have a home gym?) I kinda feel compelled to work these until
I'm a little more familiar with them, and you know able to finish a couple of them.

My hands were hurting all night, and I admit despite having a really fun time, I climbed pretty poorly. But on the bright side, I have gotten very good at falling off the wall. There were so many from the cycling crew here Saturday night, Genia coined it a "cycling invasion" Never has the climbing gym seen so many dudes with shaved legs, bird chests, and atrophied arms.
Following our our climbing, we all headed down the road to the four dog tavern. I had an excellent salad, but my sandwich, a BLT with Salmon, was awful. First there was hardly any B, L or T, and the Salmon was really fishy tasting. Of course all of this was forgiven with a delightful dessert call the dog bone. It was an odd tasty pastry of sorts, complimented with 2 scoops of woodside ice cream. Delicious.
Since I've been sick, my best training move is rest, so as the nor'easter rolled in and destroyed any chances of riding today, a ton of us (Monkey, Dan the Man, Dennisbike, Lisa Lisa, Spot Paul, E-town, Meghan, Tom (papa smurf), Wes (t. Conqueror), Fitzy, Kurtee, Jan and I think I didn't miss anyone) enjoyed Belgium waffles, coffee, and donuts as we all cheered Old Stewy on to victory at Paris Roubaix. Admittedly, not a single one of us had picked him, but when he broke away with 25K to go, not a single one was routing against him.

all in all a very cool day. I have to admit, since I've been sick or getting over being sick for so long now I can't remember when I put together a solid week of training. This was another week of 6.5 hours, and the intensity I did was too soon, and I just crumbled anyway. I don't even feel like much of a bike racer at all right now. Usually I pride myself in working my ass off, and when I'm suffering, mentally I say to myself, "dude out work, think about how hard you work."

I wonder what I'll think of next weekend? "Boy you've been riding that couch hard. Those remote control intervals have you in great shape." Saturday after elk neck, there was a fairhill ride out of my place, and I just didn't have the heart to go on it, I wanted to, but just felt like I'd bury myself too much and delay getting healthy. On one hand I feel like I don't want to do anything to screw up my mtb season, but I feel like, by not doing anything, which is really hard for me, I'm screwing up my mtb season. So much for coming into season stronger than ever. I am so gonna get my ass kicked in the next couple of weeks.
I think I need more tequila.


Friday, April 13, 2007

episode 124: oxygen debt

My return to Tuesday Night Titans

"hello, thanks for calling the clog factory this is fatmarc speaking, how can I help you?

" hey, dude, it's Buddy. how you doing?"

"Me, I'm feeling better, still coughing a lot, but getting better, you?"

"I'm still pretty tired from the weekend. Matt and I were talking, and figured Todd is going to be flying tonight,
we might just let him go, you know ride a kinder, mellower pace, what do you think ?"

"Hmmm. well, I'm kinda interested to see what's in the tank, I might not have an option, but really my goal was to
hang in for an hour or so, and roll off on my own a bit. I can go mellow, no worries."

"Okay, so we'll play it by ear, but I think I'm gonna be mellow..."

I hung up the phone and said to myself. This is going to be a hard ride. Anytime Buddy says he's looking for an easier ride, someone is going to get their legs ripped off. I just hope that it's not gonna be me.

Sure enough, Todd (el presidente), Matt (run forest), Buddy the leg breaker, Rob (ntntacfmb20), E-town, and a couple of fellas I didn't get to met, rolled out of the Pike Creek Church parking lot and charged towards the judge morris section. Buddy,
looking for a kinder gentler ride was all over Todd, not giving any quarter, and not asking for any.

My goal for the night was pretty clearly to hang on for an hour. I struggled, I suffered, I had a couple of coughing fits, but my ego, my ego wouldn't allow me to drop off. It felt like we left with a large group, but pretty quickly the selection was made. After cruising back to the church
for the 6:00 pick where Slick Rick and Biddle (ty domi of cross) jumped in.

Todd attacked up to the bird sanctuary, my eyes just rolled back in my head. I thought I saw this guy:

so of course I had to stop and give him a hug. It turns out it was all an hallucination, and I never did stop. Up front Todd, Buddy and now E-town continued to
drive the pace, I fought to stay on the E-town's wheel, I was suffering pretty badly. I asked myself, "did Saturday hurt this much?"

I found more success hovering about 5 feet off of the group. Matty and Rob hovered a few feet off my back wheel. I hopped I wasn't jamming them up.

At the bottom of shock and awe, Todd did a little group up. I glanced at my watch :59 minutes. I made it. Todd looked to head out to the other side of white clay, and I advised I was going there but needed to back off, thankfully I think Todd wanted to back it down a bit too. Matt and Buddy, who started a little earlier headed for home. E-town skipped out at the far end of white clay, and up to corner catch. After his effort tonight, that kid better never try to use the "poor mountain bike skills line again" he was flying, and I was proud of his efforts.

Rob, Todd and I finished a nice loop, at a little more humane pace. All in All a good ride.

Hills from Heck with Fatmarc, or How hard can climbing with a fat guy be?

Perhaps bitter from my last experience on the hills from hell ride, you know where it turned into a "I have the biggest cock" contest before we hit the hills, I decided to have my own hill ride. That's right, play by my rules or I'm taking my bases and going home. I am such a sonofabitch.
With Jens (formerly known as Jan) help, we launched the "hills with fatmarc" ride which drew some pretty tough characters and climbers. Our group was E-town, Jens (formerly known as Jan) , Rob (ntntamfmb20), John H, Lamont (son of fred sanford) , JAY-Z and I.

Up the first couple of climbs it was pretty clear I was out classed. The cold air had me hacking like a guy with a 2 pack a day habit. In the woods I can hide behind my skills to some point, on the hills from hell loop there is no hiding. Either you got it our you don't, and I didn't. Four climbs into a 10 climb ride, it was clear, I was the lead ass of the day.

At the base of the world famous Landenberg wall, I slipped off the back, as the temperature dropped and I was being pelted by hail. I asked myself, "cough, cough, what the hell are you doing here?" So I headed up the white clay trail on my road bike, all the way back to Newark. I passed a couple of mountain bikers along the way, they did a double take as I sped past them on my road bike. I rode past a Marine ROTC group who was out running and they called me "Lance Armstrong Mother Fucker", I responded with "semper fi soldier, semper fi".

I might have felt pretty hard core rocking my road bike down the double track trail, and passing the world famous parking area where many of my friends were conceived in the early 70's. You know except for the fact that I punked out of the ride tonight. Two easy days, that should be good, and hopefully a mellow weekend with some good miles.

I can't wait to get that last 20% back that I'm missing. Or I hope to God that I'm missing. Or at least be able to breathe again. The Baker's dozen is looming large. I hope I can stop coughing by that race. If not I'm just going start eating this roast beef sandwich from the whip everyday. It was a tasty treat for sure.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

episode 123: how soon is now?

I am the son and the heir...
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar...

I am the son and heir of nothing in particular...

You shut your mouth how can you say...

I go about things the wrong way

I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does

There's a club if you'd like to go you could meet somebody who really loves you

so you go, and you stand on your own and you leave on your own

you go home, and you cry and you want to die.
Sorry Dan the man, Jan and John, no shots from the weekend. Thanks to K-man for the shots that I got. No secret message here, just listing to the smiths while looking at pictures. Congrats to Gwen and Ted Logic who welcomed Boden to the world Sunday morning.
good luck and stay in school.