Big Plans

08.3.2006 | 6:06 pm

I am so excited, I can hardly think. Why? Because a week from today, I’ll be heading off to Leadville, to race my tenth consecutive Leadville 100.

Think of your very favorite annual tradition, but not the way you think of it now. Think of the way you felt about it when you were a kid.

That’s how I feel about the Leadville 100 race. It’s not just a race, it’s a tradition, full of mystery and drama. No, it’s more than that: it’s an important annual ritual.

Ritual of the Food
“What should I eat? What should I drink?” Over on the Leadville discussion boards, this is one of the most frequent recurring questions. The answer is simple: eat what you’ve been eating. Drink what you’ve been drinking. This answer is true for every endurance race, but every year I see people break the rule and try something new and improved for the race.

Almost invariably, these people regret their choice.

I used to have such a complex array of foods and drinks that I needed to print up a list for my crew: what to have available at each aid station. Spiz (yes, Spiz), sandwiches, gels, multiple kinds of energy drinks, you name it.

This year, my list is much shorter: at each aid station, I will have my mom (part of my Leadville tradition is to alternate having my mom and dad crew for me; this year it’s mom’s turn) refill my Camelbak with lukewarm water, while I slug down a container of Chicken and Stars soup. I will then replenish my supply of Clif Shot Bloks and go.

Water. Soup. Shot Bloks. That’s all I need. Why? I can’t chew solid food while I’m endurance racing at 10,000-12,600 feet; my mouth needs to stay open for breathing.

Oh, and I’ll probably have a Clif bar or two and some gels handy, because I am a rebel.

Ritual of the Clothes
I love standing around in the pre-dawn as we wait for the starting gun (a shotgun) to go off. This gives me a chance to inspect what everyone’s riding and what everyone’s wearing. You see people dressed like they’re about to do the Iditabike: tights, earwarmers, heavy jackets over long-sleeved jerseys. And you see people who look like they’re on the bike leg of a triathlon: sleeveless jersey, short shorts. You may even see someone in a skinsuit (that aero advantage really matters, you know).

As for me, I wear the shorts and short-sleeved jersey I’ve been wearing while training the whole year, and some armwarmers I’ll get rid of at mile 40. Dance with the girl what brung ya.

Ritual of the Bike
What kind of bike should you ride for a 100 mile race? The same bike you’ve been riding the whole year, that’s what. But what about tires? Same thing.

And yet, each year I see someone who’s outfitted their bike with aero bars. Each year I see someone who’s using the race as the maiden voyage of a brand new bike.

And to tell the truth, I’m making some modifications to my own bike this year. But that deserves an entry of its own. I will call this entry “Weapon of Choice.”

Ritual of the Plan
Are you going out hard, or easy? Are you paying attention to splits, or just seeing how your legs feel? I’ve tried it practically every way. I honestly don’t know the right answer. I think everyone gets the time they deserve.

As for myself, I already have nine “Finisher” buckles, so I’m not worried about whether I can complete the race. This year—in spite of some serious doubt as to whether I have it in me—I’m going to do what I can to finish this race in under nine hours.

Things I Haven’t Talked About Lately
Some of you may remember I said I would give away my Bianchi Pista if I didn’t lose 20 pounds and get to 155 by Leadville. I think most of you suspected that since I wasn’t talking about my weight, I wasn’t losing any.

Today, I weigh 157. If I were you, I wouldn’t count on getting a Pista from me.

More than that, though, at 157 pounds, I am climbing well again. In fact—and I hope I am not jinxing myself—I sometimes feel like I am faster than I have ever been before. Today, for example, I did my 20 mile commute (which includes a four-mile, 1500-foot climb) in 1:05. Including stoplights. And yesterday, when riding my favorite climbing trail, Tibble Fork, I found myself in second, third, and fourth gear, where I’ve never been in anything but granny before.

Maybe this means I’m fast this year. Maybe it means I have a shot at finishing under nine hours.

Maybe it means I’m deluding myself.

On August 12, I guess I’ll find out.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 08.3.2006 | 6:21 pm

    157? Geez that raisin juice diet really worked. Last year, didn’t your personal trainer give you some really good advice on tapering?
    I’m incredibly jealous of your recent fitness and I feel bad about myself for being jelous. Damn you Fat Cyclist. Everyone liked you better when you were fat and slow.
    P.S. Do you pay attention to how often you eat a clifblock shot and establish a schedule, or do you just eat one whenever you think about it?

  2. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.3.2006 | 8:02 pm

    still tring to figure out what’s up. Fatty, Delete Me.

  3. Comment by Robert | 08.3.2006 | 8:12 pm

    Any way we can monitor your progress during the race via satellite? Is your mom handy with an internet cell phone?

  4. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.3.2006 | 8:15 pm

    test again

  5. Comment by Unknown | 08.3.2006 | 8:31 pm

    So I guess you are not "ms./mr. hypothetical".  Way to cleverly put that one to rest–chit-chatting about a flirt with the nine hour mark and what not.  
    So is the climbing difference the new bike?  The fixie work early in the year?  Your voodoo-like transfer of weight from your waistline to mine?  New experiments with ephedrine stacks?  Or just a few testosterone injections? 

  6. Comment by craig | 08.3.2006 | 8:49 pm

    I have a sneaking suspicion you will do just fine Elden.  just fine indeed.  Just make sure and tell your mother not to handle the Shot Bloks with bare hands.  They can have harmful effects on the female sex. 

  7. Comment by Unknown | 08.3.2006 | 9:36 pm

    Fatty–Great news on the fitness.  I had an inkling that you were going to make weight for this thing.  I think it would be cool to have a feed of a srm readings from your bike, like they do for the pro races.  You should give powertap a ring and see if they will lend you one to "review" for them! 
    Good luck this weekend.  Stay healthy and upright.

  8. Comment by david | 08.3.2006 | 10:16 pm

    Congrats on the weight, have fun in the mountains, and go hard.


  9. Comment by UltraRob | 08.3.2006 | 10:22 pm

    After doing Leadville 4 years in a row, I crewed last year instead since I wanted to focus on the Durango 100.  This year I’m crewing again since I didn’t know what shape I’d be in after RAAM.  Leadville has the best atmosphere of any 100 miler I’ve done but the course isn’t the best.  I still figure I’ll be back one of these years.  I’ll keep my eye out for you and cheer you on.

  10. Comment by Jon Paul | 08.3.2006 | 10:23 pm

    Congrats on making the weight! I found your site through Eric G at MSFT and have really enjoyed it. I recently re-restarted cycling and your writing has helped inspire me to do more on my bikes. I’m did my first charity ride last Sunday (25mi at midnight) and will be doing 40 this Sunday.

    I picked up some Shot Bloks. I’m trusting you that they’re not disgusting! My goal is a century by the end of the year. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. Comment by fatcat1111 | 08.3.2006 | 10:25 pm

    So let’s hear about your secret weapon? Riding the Pista in the Leadville this year? :)

  12. Comment by Tyler | 08.4.2006 | 7:05 am

    I shall admit : I was one of those that believed the "whole no weigh ins = no weight loss" thing.  Congratulations on your progress!
    I wish I knew whether those pounds made a difference for me.  I dropped 20 pounds within my first 6 months of training, but I wasn’t really TRYING, and I was, you know, in my first six months of training, so I was going to make big gains in speed regardless of anything else.  My weight’s been basically static ever since.
    To save my lazy ass some research — what’s up with Leadville?  Is it a century ride where they give times?  Is it a USCF/ACA/NORBA/etc-sanctioned, categorized race?  I presume it’s MTB, since 9 hours is a slow ass time for a road century regardless of hills.
    – Argentius

  13. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 08.4.2006 | 1:25 pm

    I climbed my arch-nemesis hill last weekend.  Twice.  And on the second visit on Sunday, I never touched the granny.  And shaved 2 minutes off my best 2006 time.  I’m still over 10 minutes off my all-time best, but if I keep shaving off 2 minutes every 4 months I think I’ll remain happy.

  14. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.4.2006 | 3:34 pm

    Hey, you never revealed your ‘Fat Cyclist’ log, but I just noticed it at the bottom of the ‘Win a Cervelo Soloist’ add. Is that the official fatty logo? I like it. I have never put a bumper sticker on any of my vehicles, but I would definitely put one (or two) on if you had some made. Also, I’m considering a tatoo. Just can’t decide whether it should go on private place or on the back of my neck so you can see it when we ride.
    P.S. Seriously, how ’bout a limited run of jerseys? How many people here (besides me) are geeky enough to pitch in to get some fat cyclist jerseys made?
    P.P.S. I wish I could see dug’s face when he reads this post. . .

  15. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.4.2006 | 4:15 pm

    "LOGO" not "log" (botched again. dammit). I don’t want you to reveal the fat cyclist "log". Not at all. Please don’t.

  16. Comment by GLENN | 08.5.2006 | 10:52 pm

    How exactly can you be "Fat Cyclist" when there is not even a 2 in front of your weight?


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