My Final Thoughts on the 2009 Leadville 100

08.18.2009 | 11:18 am

Now that the dust has settled on the 2009 Leadville 100, I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, as well as some additional interesting photos. I present them now for your consideration.

Cause of Crash Comes to Light

In my description of my crash, I didn’t give anywhere near enough credit to John, the race volunteer who came and got me. In addition to picking me up, hauling my bike to the medic tent, letting me burn through about half his yearly minute allotment on his phone, letting me wear his coat, and staying with me even after I was in the medic tent, John — at my request, because even through the pain and shock I knew I’d want a photo of this for my blog — took a picture of where I crashed, and then emailed it to me:


The skid mark in the wet gravel on the shoulder gives you a pretty good idea of the last thing I saw before I started ragdolling down the hill: trees and rocks.

What is even cooler about John, though — and I didn’t expect this of him — is that he later went back to take some more pictures and to look for my glasses.

This, folks, is the view back to the road from where I landed:


This really helps explain why I’m so black and blue all over right now, but for the longest time I couldn’t help but wonder: why did I crash? It just didn’t make any sense. I’ve made it down that road just fine literally a dozen times.

And then I got this photo in the mail from someone who just happened to be going by — and coincidentally photographing — the site of my crash a mere instant before I wrecked (click for larger view):


Now it all makes sense. Louis Baker was at it again! I knew this wreck couldn’t be due to my own clumsiness.

Oh, Louis, why do you hate me so? Why?

How My Equipment Fared

Many people expressed concern over my well-being when I crashed. Others, however, expressed concern over my bike’s well-being. Which means my crash was a useful device for separating the hardcore cyclists from the rest of us.

Basically, I do not yet know how my bike fared. Apart from a torn-up saddle and torn-up grips, the bike looks fine. But I’m having Racer take a good hard look at the frame, and will get back to you.

I can tell you about how some of my other stuff did, though.

  • Gloves: My beloved Specialized BG Ridge Gloves took the fall without taking a lot of damage — just a few tiny rips in the back of the gloves. The fact that I have only superficial cuts (albeit lots of them) on the backs of my hands tells me they did as good a job of protecting my hands as a mesh backing can.
  • Bib shorts: My current favorite pair of bibs is a pair of Descente Stratas. In fact, I’m a big fan of Descente shorts in general — maybe enough to write them a love letter at some point. These bibs now have several small rips in them, each of which corresponds to a bruise and cut on my body.
  • Camelbak Podium Bottle: The only kind of bottle I use anymore are the Camelbak Podium bottles. These things are so great. But apparently, they’re not designed for high-speed crashes:


Yep, the bottle actually tore nearly completely apart at the lid. How about that?

Lance-Meets-Fatty Update

Despite multiple attempts, Lance has still never successfully managed to meet me. He keeps calling and calling, and frankly the email just doesn’t stop. I keep agreeing to meet him, and then I totally bail, usually with some kind of lame excuse. Kind of mean of me, really.

However, I’m extra-super-happy to announce that my brother-in-law Rocky, after rescuing my Oakley Jawbones last Saturday, actually rode with Lance as he finished the St. Kevins climb.



I understand Rocky was giving Lance some tips on how to ride Leadville one-handed. Wearing jeans. On a forty pound bike.

Regrets and Thanks

Only the day after the race did I find out what laid in store for me if I had managed to stay on my bike. Namely, other riders told me about the huge outpouring of support they got when people saw their Fat Cyclist jerseys. And there were signs. And cowbells galore.

I suspect that if I had ridden the whole race, I’d have been so choked up the whole time that I would have finished with a terrible time.

To those of you who took the effort to come out and support me, only to have me crash out before I could even get to the first aid station, thank you. My clumsiness doesn’t negate your awesomeness.

And to my friends and family (both the family who came to support me and the family who stayed behind to take care of my kids): double thanks. You made my Leadville weekend feel downright normal and fun, which is exactly what I needed.