Stan Crane Memorial XC Race Report

05.29.2008 | 1:06 pm

Yesterday, in the spirit of full transparency, I announced my plan for how I would race that day. Nobody could say they were caught off-guard by underhanded tactics.

Sure, they could still say my tactics were underhanded, and I wouldn’t refute such a statement. But they couldn’t say they were caught off-guard by aforementioned underhanded tactics.

I shall now describe the race, and let you judge whether these tactics were successful.

Before I talk about the race, though, I think it’s important to point out that this race marked the rollout of the 2008 Fat Cyclist jersey. There were quite a few of us sporting the men’s pink jersey:


From this photo, it’s quite clear that:

  • I have ridiculously short, stumpy legs.
  • I am about to pass out from holding my stomach in.

And then after the race, I got a couple of photos of Dug and me, because it’s very important you see something unique about Dug’s jersey. Here’s us:


And here’s Dug’s back.


So, um, did anyone else get a jersey with an upside-down logo on the back? Because I am incredibly jealous. I offered to buy it back from Dug for $250.

He did not accept my offer.

[Note to Twin Six guys:  I think we should seriously consider an upside-down horse in the next iteration of the jersey. It could stand for "Fat Cyclist in Distress! Please send help immediately, preferably in the form of pie!"]

OK, On To the Race
In spite of my stated plan to cruise the race, when I got there, I could feel the pre-race antsiness creep up on me. I sensed that once riding, there wasn’t a lot I’d be able to do to hold back.

What surprised me, though, was how many people there were at the race in general — at least a couple hundred — and how many there were in my category (Men’s Sport 40+). It looked like there were maybe twenty of us.

Dug and I lined up side by side when it was our wave’s turn to go. Kanyon Kris got in front of us, thumping his chest and snorting in derision. "See my butt? Kanyon (as he prefers to be called) asked. "Well, get used to it, cuz that’s all you’re going to see during this race."

Man. Kanyon Kris loves his trash talk almost as much as he loves the letter "K."

The race director yelled "Go," and Dug and I quickly got shot out the back. Flat ground is the natural enemy of singlespeeds.

Gnome Assasins
Dug is able to hit a higher cadence than I can, evidently, because he quickly got in front of me. Then the course turned to curvy, rolling singletrack. No need to push myself; we were stacked deep in the middle of a line of twenty or so riders on close singletrack. The effort you expend on a pass in this situation is simply not worth it; you make up no time whatsoever.

So I sat in, following Dug’s line. And that is when Part I of my plan to defeat Dug went into full effect. Specifically, a garden gnome in my employ, dressed in full camouflage, sat waiting at a strategic location on the trail: the lowest point in a sandy, off-camber dip-turn. As Dug hit that low spot, the gnome used magick most fowle to cause dug to wash out his front tire.

Dug went down heavily on his right side, with what I like to call a "harumph" of despair.

"You OK?" I asked as I went by, chortling and not waiting for an answer.

I would not see Dug again for the rest of the race.

A short section of singletrack climbing revealed something I had not noticed before. It can be really difficult to race behind a geared bike when you’re on a singlespeed. This is because the solution to a short, steep pitch is so much different on a geared bike than on a single. On a geared bike, you drop down into a lower gear, keep your cadence where it was, and spin up to the top. On a singlespeed, that’s not an option. You’ve got to build momentum at the base of the climb and then power up.

If — and this is a big "if" you’ve got enough power to reach the top of the climb, you’re going to get there faster than the guy on the geared bike.

Which is my way of saying that I nearly rear-ended geared bikes more than a dozen times on this race.

Anyway, as the singletrack gave way to jeep road, I caught sight of Kanyon Kris. I’m not certain why, but it seemed like a good idea to pinch his butt as I passed him.

So I did.

"You goosed me!" he said, matter-of-factly.

Let’s be clear. There is a big difference between a pinch and a goose. I would never goose somebody. And yet, I did not dispute his claim, even though I knew it to be false. I am above such petty squabbles.

Not every course in the world is ideally suited for singlespeed bikes, but yesterday’s course is. I did not reflexively reach for a lower gear the entire race.

And more importantly, my singlespeed drivetrain allowed me to feel smugly superior for big chunks of the ride.

I’m not sure how many times I saw people slow down drastically or even have to pull over in deference to their malfunctioning derailleurs (the course is sandy and has a deep water crossing at the beginning of each lap).

Simplicity doesn’t always equal elegance, but a good singlespeed sure feels elegant. Plus it makes people think you’re racing with a disadvantage when in fact at least most of the time a singlespeed can be every bit as fast as a geared bike.

Which is my long-winded way of saying that my WaltWorks Custom Stock is magically delicious.

The Dance
Yesterday’s race was mostly on singletrack. When you’re climbing, there’s hardly any point in passing. When you’re descending, though, it becomes crucial. You’ve got to let the person in front of you know that you need to get by. But you don’t want to be mean about it. And you want to let them know at such a time that it’s possible for them to let you by. And then, if they don’t let you by, you’ve got to have a followup request that is more insistent, but not strident.

Singletrack bike racing: it’s more about the art of negotiation than anything else.

Passed at the Last
Before the first lap was over, I noticed that I had arrived at whatever place I was going to be in for my class in the race — the tags of all the riders around me were different colors than mine.

Weirdly, I had no idea what my place was. Was I tenth? Fifteenth? I hadn’t marked my approximate position in the initial scrum, and by the time I had finished the first two big climbs on jeep roads, I no longer had any idea how many people had passed me or how many people I had passed.

As I finished the second lap, though, I did finally encounter one guy in my class. We were on a gravelly, flat stretch right before the finish line. He passed me, and by the time I noticed he had the same color tag as me, it was too late to do anything about it.

I say "it was too late to do anything about it" as if I had anything left to do anything with. I was cooked, and he flew by, finishing eight seconds ahead of me.

To my credit, however, I refrained from yelling, "I’m on a singlespeed!" as he went by.

I’m classy.

Mission Accomplished, for Brad, Tasha, and Me
Complete race results haven’t been posted, but I am happy to report that Brad won his Expert class — his first-ever Expert Class win, and he did it on a singlespeed. Check him out.


For those of you who are wondering, that duct-taped message Brad was wearing says "BEAT BOB" — Brad’s personal goal — and "WIN SUSAN."

Brad rules.

And while I don’t have a photo of it, Tasha — Brad’s wife — won her class too. She was also wearing a Fat Cyclist jersey, also with a duct-taped "WIN SUSAN" message across her chest.

Have I mentioned that Brad and Tasha have been bringing my family dinner each Sunday afternoon, too?

I have such great friends.

As for me, well, I took fifth in the Men’s 40+ Sport category. Not bad at all, especially when you consider there were at least a hundred or so of us in that category alone.

Or possibly 20. 

I’m not going to be racing much at all this season, but it’s good to know that if I lose a few pounds, I could still be a reasonable contender in the Sport category.

PS: I know you’re going to ask, so: Dug took tenth. His story’s here. And worth reading, I might add, were I so inclined.


  1. Comment by cheapie | 05.29.2008 | 1:18 pm

    next time….more pics of the chicks w/stuff on their chest and less pics of the dudes with the same. and does bob have donuts tattooed under his arms?

    and congrats. 5th prolly felt good. esp after having been concentrating on stuff other than cycling recently.

  2. Comment by Katie | 05.29.2008 | 1:18 pm

    WIN Susan!

  3. Comment by cheapie | 05.29.2008 | 1:19 pm

    crap. meant dug, not brad.

  4. Comment by cheapie | 05.29.2008 | 1:20 pm

    lol. i meant BRAD, NOT BOB!

  5. Comment by rexinsea | 05.29.2008 | 1:20 pm

    Nice race! I have a friend I train with that sometimes shows up and say something like, “I’m going to take it easy today.” Those days are guaranteed to turn into a hammer fest with me barely hanging on. Perhaps the lesson is to ease into a race without much expectation and the results might turn out well.

    New race stategy? Perhaps.
    WIN Susan!

  6. Comment by bikemike | 05.29.2008 | 1:21 pm

    was dug wearing a belt? what the…he could’ve come in fourth or higher without that belt restricting his gu..umm…diaphram. i’ve never,never, seen anyone wear a belt in a race or on a bike. wow! i’m behind the mountain bike fashion curve.

  7. Comment by mark | 05.29.2008 | 1:29 pm

    Nice work, FC and gnome most fowle. Congrats on the win, Brad.

  8. Comment by dug | 05.29.2008 | 1:46 pm

    bikemike, it isn’t just a belt, it’s a magick belt. but i couldn’t afford the magick belt most fowle, so bummer.

  9. Comment by chtrich | 05.29.2008 | 1:57 pm

    nice cruising.

  10. Comment by TeeBone | 05.29.2008 | 2:06 pm

    My goodness, that Dug’s an odd fellow!

  11. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.29.2008 | 2:10 pm

    Good report, but evidently your body was shunting all oxygen to your muscles and not your brain (I wish my body would have done that), so I must offer a few corrections:

    My chest thumping was this: “I expect you both (Elden and Dug) to pass me 1.3 milliseconds from the start”. I’m so cocky.

    OK, my goose comment was lame. Evidently my brain was exhibiting some oxygen depletion after all. What I should have said after the pinch: “What’s my body fat percentage?” Much snappier. Everyone please paste over the goose comment with the one above. Thank you.

    Dug has a wonderful sense of humor. His bike is adorned with a white wicker basket with a teddy bear. I was amused by this at the start of the race, but when he passed me on the long climb the whimsical decorations became cruel taunts. My self-confidence dropped plenty-six kilo-egos. Thanks dug.

    But seriously, congrats Elden on a 5th place well won.

  12. Comment by Rocky | 05.29.2008 | 2:16 pm

    dug needs a kilt to complete his “outfits,” and to more glamorously show off his hotty legs. And grandpa socks.

    Though I don’t know Mr. KK, I would think that a “thank you” might have been the appropriate response for the pinch.

  13. Comment by regina | 05.29.2008 | 2:19 pm

    PIE!!! amen brother! anything that will stimulate more pie is good. on the ride I am doing in a couple of weeks, the Tour De Nebraska, there will be pie stops. The ladies in whatever otherwise unknown middle of nowhere town in the middle of nebraska will all get together and make dozens of pies, and then we will stop for a break there and make a donation to their ladies auxilliary, and eat crazy delicious homemade pie. oh yea and nice race report, I was lost in thinking of pie for a moment.

  14. Comment by joel | 05.29.2008 | 2:21 pm

    1) nice to see another biker with (if possible) stumpier legs than me

    2) now I’m going to have to take another look at my new jersey to see if I have a fancy “limited edition” model as well.

  15. Comment by fatty | 05.29.2008 | 2:21 pm

    regina – suddenly, i really want to do the tour de nebraska.

  16. Comment by judi | 05.29.2008 | 2:23 pm

    Well you did well! 5th? That is great! Even if you did have to hold your stomach in for the pix you look great.

    We got our Fat Cyclist jerseys and we love them so much. I already emailed T6 and told them thanks for supporting you – the jerseys fit perfect and we have them in time to ride in the Breast Cancer ride on Sunday. We will be thinking of you and Susan lots.


  17. Comment by 29er | 05.29.2008 | 2:34 pm

    Nice finish Elden and nice to meet you and Dug at the race. In the future please keep your hands off KK’s butt. It’s mine!

  18. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.29.2008 | 2:57 pm

    Kenny, where were you? Did Aliens abduct Kenny?

    Brad, too bad your win has to have an “*” beside it since I wasn’t there to contend with you.

    dug, despite the odds of you getting the upside-down fat cyclist jersey, it was somehow inevitable.

    Elden, gee, if you’d have really been racing, you could have won.

  19. Comment by NW | 05.29.2008 | 3:44 pm

    I too have stumpy legs!

  20. Comment by Lori | 05.29.2008 | 3:51 pm

    Great report – sounds like a fantastic race!

  21. Comment by Bob | 05.29.2008 | 3:55 pm

    Excellent. Wish I were there.

  22. Comment by KT | 05.29.2008 | 4:04 pm

    Is Brad sitting on a unicycle in the top picture?

    And did he do the race in JEANS? :) Brave fellow.

    Yes, dug should totally ride in a kilt. And grampa socks pulled up to his knees. It would rock.

    Congrats on having fun and taking it easy. :)

  23. Comment by UtRacerDad | 05.29.2008 | 4:15 pm

    This was quite the race, for a wednesday night we had over 340 racers, I know this cause I walked every single tag over to the leader board so it could be pinned up. it was absolutely amazing that we had that number of racers for a wed. night.

  24. Comment by MTB W | 05.29.2008 | 5:04 pm

    Umm, Fatty, did you know you have those infamous sunburn spots on your forehead again (from helmet vents) in the second pic? And, you can breath again – we already know the Fat is back in Fat Cyclist. Sorry to josh you but you seem in good spirits (which is great).

    Dug, sweet ride! The basket and teddy bear really fit the ensemble.

  25. Comment by Philly Jen | 05.29.2008 | 5:20 pm

    Win, Susan!

    CarboRocket makes you go fast — and makes your pit hair weave into crop circles under your arms.

    Srsly, those podium tats are krazy. Looks like they blinded the guy in third place.

    I’m just here for the pie.

  26. Comment by aussie kev | 05.29.2008 | 5:49 pm

    fatty rocks


  27. Comment by Robb | 05.29.2008 | 6:05 pm

    Win Susan!

    nice job Elden, good times AND you beat the pants of that Dug guy ;)

  28. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.29.2008 | 6:09 pm

    Well done!! As a mostly non-believer, I’d have to say your strategy worked to a “T”…….I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’

    Congrats on your 5th…..were you the first place Singlespeed in your class???

    5th Elden….Win Susan!!!

    We’re off to Tahoe for the ride around the lake!!

  29. Comment by Catri | 05.29.2008 | 6:10 pm

    Stumpy legs… funny stuff!

    Nothing better than a good goose, though!

  30. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.29.2008 | 6:34 pm

    Nice race. Good to see you and your stomach placing so well. I assume he took 4th in the Beginning Beer Belly class. One comment made me laugh:

    If — and this is a big “if” you’ve got enough power to reach the top of the climb, you’re going to get there faster than the guy on the geared bike.

    Yeah, it’s weird doing technical single track around people on geared bikes. Downhills are the same. Uphills – even as a Clyde I either rocket past them, or I’m walking. If I’m walking, they are going no faster than I am (and often slower) as they spin up in the granny gear.

    The difference of course is that if you do have the power to shoot up the hill on the single, not only do you get there fast, but your stomach is suddenly on the outside of your body, much like a starfish when it prepares to eat breakfast. I usually find hill tops present a good opportunity to wrap my stomach around some Shot Blocks, shove my stomach back down my throat, drink some water, hoot and holler at the geared guys I just passed, and let the burning pain catch up to me.

  31. Comment by anji | 05.29.2008 | 7:14 pm

    You really do have the greatest friends… you and Susan are so blessed :D

  32. Comment by Heatherann | 05.29.2008 | 7:36 pm


  33. Comment by Don | 05.29.2008 | 7:52 pm

    I just want a pink jersey… fer duh luf of gahd.
    Congrats on the 5/20(0)!

  34. Comment by Jewel | 05.29.2008 | 9:22 pm

    I bought one of your jerseys for my son-in-law, he loves it. My daughter said he’s worn it everyday, twice a day. He wears it when he rides to work and then when he rides home.

    I think of you and Susan often.

  35. Comment by Chris | 05.29.2008 | 9:41 pm

    I don’t believe my FC jersey has the upside-down-ness, though the twinsix jerseys are:
    1) very comfy
    2) slightly small sized (or so I thought since an XL is a bit tight on my still winter-built body)
    3) twinsix could consider a slogan on the upside down horsey like this one:

    always one of my favorite…

    Thanks for the jersey, and good luck!

  36. Comment by Chris | 05.29.2008 | 9:41 pm

    ugh.. img url didn’t come through:

  37. Comment by Adam | 05.29.2008 | 10:01 pm

    Isn’t that a gorilla in Dug’s basket?

  38. Comment by Arlyn | 05.29.2008 | 10:16 pm

    Congrats on fifth – Go Fatty! Win Susan!

  39. Comment by Born4Lycra | 05.29.2008 | 10:48 pm

    So the plan worked. You always need a plan. Dug read your blog good work and congrats on your role in producing a very attractive young lady. Looks like a great evening was had by all. If only we could enjoy the sight of those pink jerseys down under.

  40. Comment by Swedoz | 05.30.2008 | 2:51 am

    Nice one. Always good when the sneaky plan comes off.

  41. Comment by StrongBad | 05.30.2008 | 6:35 am

    Fatty … Are you sure that having the logo upside down on Dug’s jersey wasn’t another one of your underhanded tactics? I took it as a foreshadowing of how Dug was going to end up!

    Thanks for showing me the true meaning of taking it easy on race day :)

  42. Comment by Ka_Jun | 05.30.2008 | 6:56 am

    5th? Not too shabby, considering you were cruising.

  43. Comment by Willie Nelson | 05.30.2008 | 7:43 am

    Good thing there was no Laurence Bollschweiler around to mess up your placing in this race. From what I hear, his sandbagging days are long gone. I heard he rides a recumbent now.

  44. Comment by Travis | 05.30.2008 | 8:23 am


    Whats a goose goose?

  45. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 05.30.2008 | 8:27 am

    I’m so jealous that lots of people have gotten their jerseys already – even Jill up in Juneau (read her post today – really great!). Stupid customs agents. They’re probably amazed the jerseys’ awesomeness and won’t let them through to Canada. :(

  46. Comment by justrun | 05.30.2008 | 9:19 am

    Nice plan, nice results, nice report. But I am especially glad to see the great support you’re getting. The pinks look great.

  47. Comment by TWIN SIX | 05.30.2008 | 9:29 am

    upside down…brilliant.

  48. Comment by Wild Dingo | 05.30.2008 | 9:46 am

    Nicely done! Now just think if you’d have worn a blonde wig, some falsies, lipstick and a skirt. You’d have easily won! Love Dug’s shorts, basket and mojo. He’s obviously a style guy.

    I wore my women’s twin six Fat Cyclist jersey yesterday and let me say: sooooo comfy. there’s NO uncomfortable, binding elastic on the waist! it falls perfectly and flatteringly at my hips. I’ve never had a jersey with no elastic. I love it! And plenty of deep pocket space. It’s my new favorite jersey.

  49. Comment by elden's superfly | 05.30.2008 | 10:07 am

    if you had used me instead of that slow single speed you could have WON. But no one is listening to me anyway as I am sitting around in this dark garage…

  50. Comment by Dave | 05.30.2008 | 12:19 pm

    My jersey just appeared today (I live in the UK), really cool even with the logo the right way up. I look forward to wearing it tomorrow for my first attempt at track cycling.

  51. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.30.2008 | 12:56 pm

    Elden, I have found that wearing an underarmour sleeveless beneath your tight jersey will help to flatten man boobs, and even the dreaded NEs. just sayin’

    sneakin’ up on $11,000 in donations for my June 29th LiveSTRONG ride!

  52. Comment by Tim D | 05.30.2008 | 1:14 pm

    Dave, we’ll have to organize a UK FC ride. I am up near Preston & MTB in the Lakes mostly, but also get to Bristol a lot so can do evening rides either at Ashton Court/Lea Woods or Cwm Carn. My new FC jerseys havent arrived yet.

  53. Comment by Macr | 05.30.2008 | 2:20 pm

    Well done on getting fifth. I did my first SS race on the weekend and had the same issues with geared bikes on the climbs. One of them was a mate of mine and pulled over to let me past. After the race, he was saying that it was demoralising to watch me ride past and not be able to do anything to keep up. I ended up coming 9th out of 31 entrants in my grade.

  54. Comment by Brandy | 05.30.2008 | 3:07 pm

    yummmm pie!

  55. Comment by Miles Archer | 06.1.2008 | 2:56 pm

    Told you that you couldn’t just cruise it. ;-)

    Good job, dude!

  56. Comment by vincenzo | 06.2.2008 | 1:03 pm

    I want one with the upside down logo! :-)


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.