A Super-Duper-Extra-Special Note from Fatty: A while back, I posted an entry saying that someone I know was considering doing a race he had secretly signed up for, but just didn’t know if he should.
At his (yes, a male) request, I was careful about not revealing who this person was, because I’ve talked about him before.
Yes, it’s Rocky, the Karmic Black Hole.
Here’s his story of racing the Leadville 100, in two parts. The first part is what he wrote before the race; the second part is what he wrote afterward.
Tomorrow I’ll post my own story; I’m still working on it.
Part I: Pre-Race Ruminations
Fatty spins a good tale. Fatty embellishes some, too.
You may have noticed.
But then, if you don’t know Fatty personally, you may not know that he embellishes. I am a brother-in-law (strike one), a friend (if you see how Fatty and his maladjusted friends carry on, you realize that this is strike two), and I have known him in all of his life phases (see his August 2 blog entry) in one form or another for nearly 30 years—that’s a lot to overcome—which makes me a bit of an embellishment target. Strike three. I provide plenty of ammo for Fatty’s embellishment indulgences all by myself, but then a strike four is moot as I’m already out with the first three.
So in an attempt to avoid becoming embellishment material for the insatiable blog, I did the stealth Leadville thing this year. No one knew about it—not even the spousal unit, and that by design. I have found that if those around me know, there are the incessant questions about feeling ready, about training, about being afraid. I opted out of the questioning, and it was working out so well. It was the perfect plan.
Or at least it was the perfect plan until Fatty, knowing that I have a lovely Gary Fisher Paragon 29er sitting in my garage with nothing to do on August 12, contacted me about using it. His friend Nick needed a bike for Leadville, and so with our 30 years of history, and the brother-in-law thing firmly in place, Fatty figured I wouldn’t mind loaning my bike to Nick.
Now I had a dilemma: I either had to tell Fatty I was going to Leadville, or that Nick could not use my otherwise idle bike, proving to him once and for all that I am a total jerk. I chose the first, and though I trust Fatty, I also know where I fall on his list of friend loyalties. A brother-in-law that is also a friend is always trumped by anyone that is a friend with no asterisks. I am certain that those that I did not want to know about my Leadville escapade now would have full disclosure.
The truth is, I am not great at endurance stuff. I accept that fact, and I choose to endure my shame solitarily. Had Fatty’s pal not needed a bike, I would have pulled this off without anyone knowing about it.
Unless, of course, it goes really well.
It won’t. This I know.
When Fatty called about the bike, I was inclined to let Nick have it. It would have been the perfect excuse. “A more skilled rider needed a mount to complete a race—I took the higher road and enabled him to succeed.” What nobler way to bow out of a ride I don’t really care for, anyways. I have not trained for the Leadville at all. Really. Unless copious amounts of ice cream, fast food, large blocks of cheese and summer sausage, and soda pop are a part of some secret training regimen that Joe Friel/Chris Carmichael missed out on. If that is the case, then I have trained.
I told Fatty I had to get back to him about the bike in a couple of days. That allowed me time to go on a long mountain bike ride I used to use as a training ride when I actually attempted to train. It was 40 miles and it is made up of technically tougher terrain with climbing comparable to that of Leadville (just not the elevation) in over 100-degree heat. I have not ridden anywhere near 40 miles all year, so I thought that I might just spontaneously combust on such a ride. Trouble is, the ride is really remote—it’s a do or die.
I didn’t die.
I was still convinced that I wasn’t going to ride in Leadville though. However, when I apprised Fatty of my conundrum, he offered the following wisdom that pushed me over the edge.
Here’s what I’m thinking: come do part of the race. You paid for it, why not come do part of it? Like, just do the first 60 miles of it and call it good. That will give you good experience for next year.
And if by some chance you’re still feeling good at 60 miles, ride to the next aid station, and call it good there. And then if you’re good, finish it. In other words, start planning on finishing at 60 miles, and evaluate as you go.
Since you live close and you’ve spent the money, you may as well, right?
This is a direct cut and paste from Fatty’s actual email. I have submitted copies of them to my attorney in case there is litigation necessary upon my demise. The moment that I made the decision to ride in Leadville, the bad things started happening. Literally. Fatty, et al branded me “The Karmic Black Hole” about a year ago. This is how it works for a guy with such a label:
- Incurable virus—the doc says there is nothing to do but wait
- Testosterone/EPO injection—the doc says no way—“Crap.”
- Strep—resulting from the incurable virus hanging around for days
- Antibiotics—resulting from the strep, which resulted from the incurable virus
- No riding for the last week, due to incurable virus
- Weight loss—seven lbs. in seven days, due to incurable virus and its sundry and unmentionable symptoms and side effects
- Rash—in unmentionable but critical location(s) due to antibiotics
- Sunny outlook for a Leadville completion
Part II: Post-Race Post Mortem
Okay, now the race is over. Now comes the post-race perspective. Here’s what I think.
- Fatty should be an odds-maker—he said “60 miles.” That’s where I landed.
- I’m too stupid to have bailed before climbing the eight miles to the highest point of the race.
- Fatty’s friend Nick (he gutted out an 11:55 finish and went home in a lovely rust-colored sweatshirt replete with his name and time, and with a shiny new belt buckle, too) is a “right good fellow” (Nick’s from Sydney—insert accent here for the full effect). He can use my bike anytime.
- Fatty’s Utah friends are all really nice people with crazy fast legs. What do they feed those people?
- I understand my body’s limitations better than I ever have. I know why it is limited, too.
- My math skills where finishing under 12 hours at Leadville are concerned, are advanced (hence the bail at mile 60).
- I am SO MUCH SSSLOWWWERRR than I was the last time I rode in Leadville—even on the descents, but especially where it really counts—Leadville is a climber’s affair. For example: The last time I was in Leadville, I broke my handlebar after completing 86 miles. Yes, I was pissed. No, a stick as a replacement would not have helped—the aluminum wasn’t strong enough—do you really think that a ¾ inch piece of dry wood would have been? No, I could not have run the rest of the race. Yes, I am still pissed and a smidge bitter. Can you tell I have answered all the dumb questions one might have come up with—like 1,000 times? I digress. When my handlebar broke in 1999, I was at 7:36 in the race. I had completed the hardest part of the day. All of the really hard climbing was over. I had about two hours of work left to do—one long steady pavement climb and the Boulevard—three miles of moderate incline dirt into town. On Saturday last, I was at 7:30 at mile 60. SSSllloowwww.
- Putting a ton of mental pressure on myself (or anyone else doing the same) takes away a lot of energy that could otherwise be used as fuel for the ride. I did not do so, and had fun.
- I extracted all that my aging body was able to offer on that day. It has been through a lot since I last raced in Leadville (none of which includes intensive training—I haven’t been on a ride longer than 50 miles since then), and I wasn’t altogether unhappy with the result, given the input.
- I enjoyed myself in Leadville. My wife crewed for me for the first time ever, my two youngest daughters were there to support me, and got to see me for the true weenie that I am (and they still like me), and I made a few new friends along the way—lots of Fatty’s friends from Utah, people from Omaha, Minneapolis, Sydney, the Netherlands, Kansas, New York and even a guy from right here in lovely Grand Junction.
- Yes, I am ofer. In baseball terminology, that means that I am zero hits for three attempts: 0 for 3 (o-fer-three). Yes, ofer sucks.
- Yes. I will do it again.