News of the Weird

I live in Draper, UT, at Suncrest, to be specific, which sits atop the ridge that divides Utah County from Salt Lake County. I have been riding in and around these two counties for close to two decades. It’s usually a pretty nice place to be, although I’ve seen some weird stuff in that time.  

Once, on Hog Hollow, Dennis Dierken and I came around a corner and startled a young couple who had parked their 4 wheeler, spread a blanket, and were doing their darndest to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the Earth.

Sometimes I’m the weird one. Tom Burch and I took my dog Maisey on Hog Hollow, which sports a beautiful natural spring, replete with an upper pool and a 20-foot, 45-degree natural water slide into another pool. We didn’t like the idea of riding in soaked bike shorts the several miles remaining to the car, so we hiked Maisey to the top of the slide, and all three of us slid down au natural. In full view of a local youth group, turns out. We didn’t see that coming.


Normally, American Fork Canyon Is Very Pleasant

But last Summer I most definitely wasn’t the weird one. I ride a lot from my house at Suncrest down to Alpine, and up American Fork Canyon to the summit, and back. It’s my favorite road ride, just over 40 miles, over 4,500 feet of climbing, and some of the nicest scenery this side of the Matterhorn. During the Summer, I try to do this ride once a week.

One day, late last Summer, I was very much enjoying this ride. The conditions were perfect, I was feeling strong, I was alone with my iPod. The AF Canyon descent has some very fast but tight switchbacks up high, and also lower down, some bigger switchbacks and some flat out sections where you can get over 50mph.

About halfway down I passed the Pine Hollow trailhead, rounded the wide switchback below it, and opened it up again. Just below Pine Hollow is a straightaway for just under a mile, then another wide long switchback before the road straightens out again in front of the Mutual Dell campground.

Most riders brake through the Mutual Dell switchback, because either they are cowards, or they just don’t realize that you don’t have to. In fact, you can accelerate all the way through this switchback. I hear a voice in my head every time: “Stay on target! Stay on TARGET!” I’m a product of the media.

Anyway. This day, I rounded the Pine Hollow switchback (which does, in fact, require a bit of braking), and then opened it up again, anticipating the X-Wing corner ahead. About halfway down the straight section I saw the most startling thing I’ve ever seen. Normally, I would say “second most startling,” out of respect for the idea that surely SOMETHING must rank higher. Not this day.


I Am Not Making This Up

Just before a stand of trees, from the scree-covered slope to my right that dropped off at a precipitous angle, up popped a very tall, very lean, but well-groomed man. He gained the edge of the road, straightened up, and began walking briskly directly at me (me, who was traveling at about 40mph at the time).

Now I understand that this is not that weird. What was weird was that he was wearing a very short, very tight, spaghetti strapped, brown linen dress, densely populated with ginormous fake (I assume) breasts. He had a neatly trimmed beard, short hair, very hairy legs, and was wearing high heels that had those goofy (or sexy, depending on your preference) lace up strap things that wind all the way up to the knee.

As I rode by, very nearly crashing directly into him, all I could manage was a nervously polite nod of my helmet. In turn, he smiled a smile as big as all outdoors, and walked right past me. I snuck a look back just before the switchback, and saw that he had continued walking up the road at the same brisk pace, clearly very comfortable walking in high heels.


Two for the Price of One

You would think that would be weird enough for one day. Hell, weird enough for the whole year. But no. After I rounded the switchback, wondering if I did, in fact, see a puddy tat, I again wound up the speed as I passed Mutual Dell, which is usually an irresistible 55mph area.

As I zoomed past the gate to Mutual Dell, I startled a gigantic, but clearly juvenile moose, who, in response to my presence, took off running (as only a moose can run, all skiwampus) alongside me. At about 30mph. For about half a mile.

I can hardly type this without getting a big goofy grin on my face. I was still totally freaked out by the sasquatch in the spaghetti strap dress, and here I was about to be killed by a freaky fast baby moose putting a hoof in my spokes. The moose eventually must have realized I was not his mother, and peeled off and stopped.

Wierdest 90 seconds of my life. What if life were that wierd all the time? I swear the two events are related in some way, I don’t know how. Moose suit? Hazing incident? Humans and moose (meese?) mating in the wild? I would normally suspect Elden or Rick Maddox, but this guy was tall.

I vaguely remember the rest of the ride home. I mean, how do you top that? I still had to descend the rest of AF Canyon, cross Alpine, and climb the 4 miles and 1500 feet to my house, but who cares? And you know what’s crazier? A guy in my neighborhood, when he heard about my story, came and found me, and told me he had seen that same guy in roughly the same spot, about a week earlier. This guy should have his own hunting season.

No word on if he was wearing the same outfit, or if the moose was still in the neighborhood.


  1. Robert

    I love those moments of double weirdness. Something similar happened when I was a lifeguard at a lake. Day after day there was very little action — the occasionally horseplay that caused me to put down my bottle of sun block and blow a whistle. And then one day a drunk guy decided to teach his daughter to swim using the dunking method, so the other lifeguard jumped out of his chair to fight this guy, and then some kid started yelling that he was drowning, so my friend dove in for a rescue, and then someone trying to save that kid started drowning and grabbed onto the lifeguard, so I dove in, and then a moose wearing a spaghetti dress came bolting into the lake. Odd moment. Tell me — did you shake your head and give a double-take?

  2. Yokota Fritz

    I imagine that sort of thing isn’t exactly common in Utah. I guess I’m
    a little surprised you didn’t see this in the Seattle area. I’ve seen
    "fruitful and multiply" in the SF Bay Area a couple of times, but it
    wasn’t always possible for the partners to biologically multiply. I’ve
    seen your Bearded Woman in high heels in Colorado a couple of times.

  3. Unknown

    Something more weird happening in AF canyon? Bob. . . care to elaborate?
    P.S. I think the guy you saw was probably my wife’s father. I’m not kidding. I know, it’s OK.

  4. Unknown

    From this point forward, I will no longer change a flat tire in AF canyone while riding alone.  I’d rather buy a new rim than have an encounter with the Bearded Woman who has a pet moose.
    Best bike story I’ve heard to date.
    Rick S.

  5. BIg Mike In Oz

    My weirdest double-weird event was part fact, part hallucination. 
    I rode 215km (130mi) to watch some friends race.  To get there on time I left home at 2:30am in the middle of winter.  Riding through farmland at the top of a 15km (9mi) climb in the dark I had an animal run parallel to me in the grass for over a kilometer.  It was the scariest thing in my life.
    3 hours later, and only 20km (12mi) from my destination I was climbing another killer range, suffering dehydration and a bonk of the magnitude that only an ill-prepared 19 year old can acheive.  I then started to hear the same small animal running alongside me in the grass.  Except this time, he was running upright on his hind legs and talking to me.  And what he said can not be repeated in a PG forum.

  6. Jsun

    Where is the real fat cyclist blogger,  you are not him,  I want the other guy back,  where is he,  you should not be blogging on his site, you are not him, go away, what have you done with him,   you are a very bad person, apologize for what you have done and let the fatman through

  7. Unknown

    Niiiiicccceee!  (Insert grin and head nodding here)
    Good stories Dug.  Perhaps Fatty will let you guest bolg once in a while when he gets back after the move.
    -Liss, NYC
    PS: shouldn’t you post your weight in lieu of fatty while he is gone?

  8. Unknown

    Now I know why you all like mountain biking so much. I never get good stories riding the rural roads of Indiana. Sure, I’ll see the occasional deer, hawk or farm tractor. But no freaky fast baby moose here.

  9. Ariane

    Sorry dug… I think that was me in those heels. I was on my way to the electrolisis clinic. It’s not nice for you to talk about my facial hair issues in public.

  10. Robin

    During a ride about a year ago I had an almost identical experience.  But in my case, it was the moose wearing the spaghetti strap dress and high heels.  I just thought it was a dehydration hallucination.

  11. Teresa

    I would take my chances with the baby moose…unless momma moose is nearby in which case you’d better ride faster than she runs.

  12. Unknown

    that’s a good catch jane, but you’ll notice i spelled (spelt? i like spelt better) weird wierdly only in the title. know why? cuz i wrote the article in word, but wrote the title in the spaces editor, which isn’t quite as adept at helping schleps like me.
    which is wierd.

  13. brendan

    Nice story dug.I was riding home late at night in the middle of Melbourne winter, so the temperature was around freezing, and as I turned into my street, I found there were 3 blokes jogging down the middle of the road in the other direction.  Nothing weird, except that they were dressed in running shoes and beanies.  Only.  I passed by them and said "good evening" – and they replied in kind.  At least they had manners, if not clothes.I can also recommend riding next to Emus.  They don’t make you laugh with their silly running style – in fact, their running style is quite spooky as their body doesn’t move at all.  There are these massive legs pounding away through the grass and over rocks and sand etc, but the body stays perfectly still with just a gentle wave of the long feathers in the breeze.  Very strange at 35kmh.

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