My 2010 Leadville Plan

08.3.2010 | 8:23 am

A Kidney Transplant-Related Note from Fatty: Many of you helped me raise money to help out my sister and her son as they went through an incredibly difficult kidney failure. I think you’ll all be excited to know, then, that last Thursday, my sister Kellene successfully donated a kidney to her son, Dallas. Since then, Dallas has been recovering at a remarkable rate, with signs that he and his new kidney are going to be get along just fine. Kellene’s out of the hospital now and in a lot of pain, but she’s tough. She’ll be home and riding again soon.

Once again, thanks to everyone who helped!

On August 14 — just eleven days from now — I’ll start the Leadville 100 for the fourteenth time. And, provided I have a good day, I’ll finish — for the thirteenth time (remember, I didn’t finish last year) — a while after that.

This is my plan for what happens between when I start, and when I finish.

My Overarching Race Day Philosophy

Every year, I seem to have a certain goal for the Leadville 100: Sometimes it’s been to finish it in under ten hours. A few times it’s been to finish it in under eleven. When I’m really fit, it’s to finish it in under nine hours.

Of course, that’s never happened.

This year, however, I’m not bringing a time objective to the race. I think that’s because something’s changed. Maybe it’s because I’m mellowing with age. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time I’m riding for fun instead of to vent pent-up anger and frustration. Maybe it’s just because I’m looking at the data and facing the facts.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m getting a weird thing called “perspective.”

At the beginning of spring and throughout summer, I asked myself a question: what kind of memories do I want to have when the snow starts falling (hard to even consider when it’s 100 degrees outside, but it’s never more than a few months away)?

Memories of training hard? Or memories of having fun on my bike?

Some years, those would have been the exact same thing — there have been years when pushing myself to the absolute limit gave me intense joy and pride.

But not this year.

This year, how I’ve defined “fun” on my bike has been to go out riding with my wife. We’ve ridden a ton together, and I’ve had a blast. I haven’t done a single interval, and I don’t care. It’s been my favorite riding season ever.

As a result, I’m in good riding shape, but don’t have the eye of the tiger (nor the thrill of the fight). I’ll finish the Leadville 100, probably in about ten hours (though to be honest with myself, I’d like to keep it under ten hours). I’m going to race it hard, but if I find myself riding alongside someone who doesn’t mind talking for a few minutes, that will be just fine.

And I will do my best to have fun.

What I Will Ride

I briefly considered riding a geared bike at Leadville this year, but once my FattyFly frame arrived, that pretty much ended the debate.

And now that I’ve got it all tricked out with Shimano and PRO components, the debate is really ended. Check it out, all nice and dirty from yesterday’s ride (click image for a larger version):

My Photo_20.jpg

PRO XCR stem and PRO XCR seatpost, along with XTR cranks and brakes make this about as nice a bike as can be imagined. Factor in the Bontrager XXX Carbon wheels, the Niner carbon fork, and the Salsa Pro Moto bar, and I’ve got a bike that weighs well under eighteen pounds.

Sure, I’ll get beat to death on the downhills, but the climbs should be nice.

Oh, and for those of you who were going to ask: 34 x 20.

What I Will Eat and Drink

I usually obsess over what I will eat at Leadville. This year, for some reason, I’m not obsessing over it at all. Maybe that’s because I have stopped looking for a magic bullet. Here’s what I’ve been carrying with me on long rides lately, which will be the same thing I have at the aid stations in Leadville:

  • CarboRocket
  • PRO BARs: I’m a huge fan of Art’s Original Blend. A bar that doesn’t look and taste like it was extruded from a gross vat of goo, then left to harden for ten years before packaging it? Genius!
  • Clif Shot Bloks: Tropical Punch and Mountain Berry are the best.
  • Campbell’s Chicken and Stars soup: Sodium-tastic.
  • Water: Sometimes, nothing tastes better.
  • Several mayo packets. Just in case.

Pretty easy, and I haven’t had an upset stomach with this mix of food the whole year.

How I Will Ride

Up at 10K+ feet, it’s not easy to remember stuff. Hence, I have condensed my riding strategy into easy-to-recollect bullet points, as follows:

  • I will fight the urge to pass a bunch of people during the St. Kevins climb. Every pass on that climb costs three times as much energy as a similar pass anywhere else on the course.
  • I will not look at my bike computer more than once every fifteen minutes. At least during the first half of the race. During the final ten miles of the race, I reserve the right to look at it every five seconds.
  • I will be friendly and yell encouragement. But I will try to keep that urge under control, so as not to frighten other racers. And bystanders, for that matter.
  • I will not mention that I am riding a singlespeed to anyone who does not mention it first. However, I reserve the right to grimace and strain as I pedal, in the hopes that people will take notice and look at my drivetrain.

As always, I appreciate any guidance you would care to lend me. After all, I’ve only done this race thirteen times; I’m still kind of new at it.


  1. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.3.2010 | 8:28 am

    Advice: No flying this time, okay?

    Yay, Kellene and Dallas!

  2. Comment by DavidV | 08.3.2010 | 8:31 am

    Carborocket is key to a good race. What size frame is the Fattyfly?

  3. Comment by Daniel C. | 08.3.2010 | 8:38 am

    I’m getting ready to do my first Century Ride. Tell me about the mayo packets as backup.

  4. Comment by KK | 08.3.2010 | 8:58 am

    Is that the low-fat mayo or the good stuff? Good luck — hope to see you not-so-banged-up at the Philly Challenge.

  5. Comment by ricky | 08.3.2010 | 8:58 am

    don’t ride your bike off a cliff this year. this single piece of advice, if executed properly, will increase your chances of a strong finish by 95%. you’re on your own for the other 5%.

  6. Comment by OldManUtah | 08.3.2010 | 9:03 am

    Good Luck Fatty! Like everyone else is saying “No flying this year!!” or “Keep the rubber side down.”

  7. Comment by Brandy | 08.3.2010 | 9:05 am

    I am veru happy to hear about your sister & nephew, continued good thoughts headed their way.

    I do not understand the use of mayo packets. Why? And kinda ewwww.

    Good luck, ride safe & Have fun!!! Say hi to Levi.

  8. Comment by PW Dave | 08.3.2010 | 9:30 am

    Best of luck for a good finish.

  9. Comment by dug | 08.3.2010 | 9:36 am

    “all nice and dirty from yesterday’s ride”

    seriously? you call that nice and dirty? you wouldn’t know nice and dirty if it dumped a bucket of slime over your head. kind of like at the kid’s choice awards.

    kind of.

    where was i? oh, right–your bike is NOT nice and dirty, it’s just nice. you need to work on the dirty.

    he he.

  10. Comment by Geo | 08.3.2010 | 9:49 am

    If you have the bike to under 18 pounds then you have plenty of weight allowance to put in one of those hidden electric motors people were hinting that Cancellara was using. That should allow you pass all you want on the climbs with no extra effort.

    And skip the mayo packs and go straight for the 8 pound tub of mayo at Sam’s Club or Costco. That will guarantee you stomachache handing you an excuse if you finish in 10:02.

  11. Comment by Robert | 08.3.2010 | 10:09 am

    Good Luck @ Leadville. Hope to meet you in Philly at the LiveStrong Challenge. Haven’t seen any info on a Team Fatty get together. Hopefully something will be coming out soon.

  12. Comment by MattC | 08.3.2010 | 10:18 am

    GREAT NEWS about Kellene n Dallas! Thanks for updating us Fatty!

    Good luck in Leadville…maybe you will find your new ‘have fun’ strategy is the one you’ve been seeking all along, and it just might net you a good time to boot! A 34×20….hmmmm…that’s my middle ring, and somewhere around the middle of my cassette (mentally comparing your single gear w/ where that falls on my FS).

    You SS’ers are one tough bunch of hombres, that’s for sure. It doesn’t matter how light the bike is, I just can’t fathom only having one gear. Just what part of a trail is this gear perfect for, anyway? (I see it as a ‘one size fits none’ type of thing). I seem to only use the middle gears as a pass-thru on the way to either end of the cassette…I guess if your terrain is rollling stuff…certainly not going to push that gear on a long hard grade for very long. My knees hurt just thinking about it.

    Anyway, be safe and have a blast!

  13. Comment by Flyin' Ute | 08.3.2010 | 10:27 am

    I think you should go for a sub 9 hour Leadville. You are strong and fast. You can do it.

  14. Comment by Bill | 08.3.2010 | 10:30 am


    Great news on your nephew and sister!!!

    Keep the rubber on the ground and all will be well.

  15. Comment by xtine | 08.3.2010 | 10:31 am

    I had the same thoughts as Dug on your “dirty” bike – you obviously don’t know what dirty is…

    Glad both your sister and nephew are improving!

  16. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.3.2010 | 10:43 am

    You aptly expressed the joy of riding just for fun. That’s what I’ve been doing the last 2-3 years and it’s been fun. No burnout, no performance targets, much less pain, not as fast, but lots more enjoyment.

  17. Comment by Cece Evola | 08.3.2010 | 10:45 am

    Glad your sissy and nephew are doing well. Will keep the positive thoughts flowing their way! Good luck in Leadville. I fully understand your joy/fun on the bike vs the pushing and the amping up to compete. Sometimes I forget why I ride…beside to fight cancer…but it is because I LOVE TO RIDE! It just plain old makes me happy!

  18. Comment by Jim | 08.3.2010 | 11:09 am

    Mayo packets – the poor man’s GU.

    The *very* poor man’s GU.

  19. Comment by Guacamole Gringo | 08.3.2010 | 11:34 am

    I see no mention of The Best Jersey Pocket Food Ever. What gives?

  20. Comment by nobleviola | 08.3.2010 | 11:45 am

    Is the mayo for chamois use?

  21. Comment by bikemike | 08.3.2010 | 11:45 am

    where does leadville fall in the hierarchy pyramid?
    don’t forget the pickle juice.

  22. Comment by Patty | 08.3.2010 | 11:53 am

    Two weeks ago today I donated a kidney to my brother so I feel your sisters pain! I was told four weeks before I could ride again and right now, that feels about right, even though I want to start earlier. Glad to hear everything went well, my brother is doing great too!

  23. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.3.2010 | 11:58 am

    So happy to hear that Kellene and Dallas are doing well!! That’s wonderful news!

    I’m fascinated by the soup part of the fuel strategy – is in a can or powdered? Inquiring minds need to know.

    Have a great race! Sounds like your head is in a good place. I just did my first half IM and it was all about finishing and not getting hurt.

  24. Comment by AngieG | 08.3.2010 | 12:05 pm

    Good Luck FC!!!! Stay upright and on the road this year. Although last years crash was spectacular, don’t push your luck.

    Is The Runner riding too?

    Tears of joy for Kellene and Dallas. :-)I love a happy ending.

  25. Comment by Stephanie | 08.3.2010 | 12:36 pm

    Thank you for updating us on your sis and nephew! This is wonderful news!

    Good luck in Leadville, Fatty! Also to the Runner. I’m assuming she is riding too :)

  26. Comment by Anne | 08.3.2010 | 1:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing the good news about Dallas and your sister.

  27. Comment by Di | 08.3.2010 | 1:43 pm

    Are you sure that SuperFly is going to hold up? ;-) Good luck.

  28. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 08.3.2010 | 2:06 pm

    It’s great to hear that Kellene and Dallas are doing so well. I second the advice to not ride off a cliff again.

  29. Comment by j.boomer | 08.3.2010 | 2:19 pm

    I don’t understand the attraction of the fixie. If one gear is good, aren’t a lot of gears better? Maybe a subject for “Fatty Explains?”

  30. Comment by Ronaldo | 08.3.2010 | 2:36 pm

    That’s a very fancy disposable bike Fatty. Good luck with the race.

  31. Comment by Celeste | 08.3.2010 | 3:51 pm

    Set your computer so that it does not show your speed or distance, even if you look at it.

  32. Comment by Bisso | 08.3.2010 | 4:45 pm

    Good call Celeste. Set it for:

    1.calories burned (so you know when to eat and how much pizza you can have afterwards) as well as to calculate the number of admiring glances recorded on your magnificent quads.

    that should be all the encouragement one should need.

    Allez Fatty.

  33. Comment by Bisso | 08.3.2010 | 4:47 pm

    good call celeste

    i would set it to record:

    1. calories burned (so you know when to eat and how much pizza you can eat afterwards); and
    2. a measure of admiring glances toward your magnificent quads

    that should get you through the day.

    Allez Fatty.

  34. Comment by Bisso | 08.3.2010 | 4:48 pm

    sorry about that double post. something went pear shaped

  35. Comment by Paul Guyot | 08.3.2010 | 5:09 pm

    Aw, so much for Fatty starring on CSI-Miami, or MAD MEN, or Burn Notice…

    But hey, I’d trade a sub-9 geared-ride for riding with your wife anytime.

    Uh, I mean you riding with your wife. I don’t want to ride with your wife. Not that she isn’t great to ride with, I mean, not that I’ve ridden with her. I mean, I would, but you know, um, uh, so, yeah. Enjoy the ride!

  36. Comment by Paul Guyot | 08.3.2010 | 5:12 pm

    Oh, um, and, uh… so you’re not riding with your wife. Got it. Okay. I’m just gonna slip out the back here… thanks for coming. Drive safe. Tip your waitresses.

  37. Comment by Sansauto | 08.3.2010 | 6:24 pm

    I knew a lady who had donated a kidney to her son. She wore a shirt that said, “I love you with all my kidney”. That was my all time favorite shirt

  38. Comment by Bee | 08.3.2010 | 6:43 pm

    Yay Kellene! I hope she recovers soon and has a wonderful time riding her Madone!

  39. Comment by kate C | 08.3.2010 | 7:17 pm

    Good luck!! We just got back from a Leadville family vacation! Love it out there! (Also watched “Race Across the Sky” for the first time while out there!)

    Make sure you eat some of my uncle’s High Mountain Pies pizza sometime on your trip! Sweet Basil BBQ (from an old version of the menu) is amazing!

    (Glad your family is doing well!!)

  40. Comment by evil3 | 08.3.2010 | 9:04 pm

    You have your form of attack wrong, as you can charge up the climb, and then just take an easy on the way down by not taking big risks. And like was said in one post don’t fly off of the path and you will be just fine.

    On a side note I still think you are crazy to ride 100 miles on a single speed bike that is fully ridged.

  41. Comment by AK_Chick | 08.3.2010 | 9:42 pm

    Woot for Kellene & Dallas! That is such awesome news! Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Wishing both of them a speedy recovery!

    Good luck in Leadville! Not that you need luck… I think you are certifiably insane for riding a single gear. When I go mtbiking, I use ALL gears (except the big chainring). Usually the easier ones. :) Sounds like Lance is racing again this year so you need to show him how it’s done. ;-) If you flash him your magnificent quads, I think he’ll be in such shock and awe that he won’t be able to pedal for at least a minute or two giving you the edge. Of course, there’s always that Wienr guy to contend with… (Can’t remember his name, but that’s is Twitter handle).

    And no crashing! :)

  42. Comment by classyhick | 08.3.2010 | 10:28 pm

    Wait, Mayo? Just in case you need a fresh coat of chamois creme? In case you happen upon a tastefully assembled but slightly dry sandwich on the trail? You can’t leave it at “Just in case”

    Sidenote- I’ve been taping extra gel packets to my top tube for long rides, would you recommend expanding into other condiments?

    Make it EPIC Fatty!!

  43. Comment by Erik | 08.3.2010 | 10:29 pm

    Once again I will be hosting a booth for LIVESTRONG in Leadville. If any Fatty’s are in the area, stop by, or email me for deets: epearso AT msn DOT com

    And Fatty, I don’t want to have to come see you in the medical tent again this year.

  44. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 08.3.2010 | 11:55 pm

    Glad to hear the good news about Dallas and your Sis. Woo Hoo!!!!

    Good Luck Fatty, ride like the wind!!!!

  45. Comment by Nattedmag | 08.4.2010 | 1:36 am

    So glad to hear Kellene & Dallas are doing well – all the best for a continued speedy recovery for them both.

    As for the Leadville – please try to stay on the road & away from dangerous steep drops – good luck.

    You only get one life so just get out there & ENJOY!!!

  46. Comment by Patrick | 08.4.2010 | 2:36 am

    See if recently retired Lance Armstrong can pace you?

  47. Comment by The Former 550+ Cyclist | 08.4.2010 | 2:49 am

    Good Luck Fatty, try and keep on the trail this year, we all enjoying flying man, but there is a time and a place :D

    Joking aside I really do wish you well


  48. Comment by Vicky | 08.4.2010 | 6:25 am

    Mayo? And here I’ve been using mustard! Really – for muscle cramping, mustard works great.

  49. Comment by Leon | 08.4.2010 | 6:34 am

    Awesome, Fatty.
    I hope all goes well for you on the day.

    Someday when I’m old and rich, I’ll go out the the USofA and attempt this race :-)
    For now, I’m doing the Trans Baviaans, coincidentally on the same day, which is a 230km (that’s 144 miles) and 2540m (8382 ft) accumulated vertical ascent…
    It’s a 24hour race, but our team of 4 is hoping to do it in less than 14 hours, including stops.
    So we will suffer together, as our race only starts at 10:00 in the morning. They wanna make sure all the teams get to ride in the dark :-)

    your own auction website

  50. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 08.4.2010 | 8:14 am

    That’s a lot of carbon. How many diamonds do you reckon it’s the equivalent of?

  51. Comment by Bobbyd | 08.4.2010 | 8:57 am

    Best of luck to you!

  52. Comment by Doug (WAY upstate NY) | 08.4.2010 | 10:08 am

    Have fun.

    Counting down the days to the suffer fest in Philly.

    See you there (in one piece)

  53. Comment by linfin | 08.4.2010 | 11:28 am

    I hope I didn’t miss the explanation in another comment, but I would also like to know what the mayo is for exactly. And good luck!

  54. Comment by Adam | 08.4.2010 | 11:39 am

    Best of Luck – Definitely give our new flavors a try. PBnJ is a definite crowd pleaser.


  55. Comment by Adam | 08.4.2010 | 2:31 pm

    Though it’s been asked, I, too, am curious. Why mayo?

    Have a good ride!

  56. Comment by Peter | 08.4.2010 | 7:42 pm

    Y’know, you could slice another pound off the weight if you get rid of that unnecessary equipment: seat & seatpost. You never sit during a climb on a SS, since you’re always standing and pumping the handles. And during the descents, you’re standing to absorb the hits. Just get rid of them and show off them magnificent quads! Of course, you would need to find somewhere else to carry your patch kit…

    Good luck Fatty! Good luck to the rest of the Alpine-area crew too! Sub-9’s for all of you!

    And a speedy recovery to your sis & nephew.

  57. Comment by Dan | 08.4.2010 | 10:11 pm

    Great news about Kellene and your nephew!!

    Hope to see you a week from Saturday. Look us on the grinch green tandem. I’ll have last year’s white Fatty jersey on!

    Oh, and stay ON the pavement this time… Sub-9 or Sub-10 – HAVE FUN!!!!

  58. Comment by axel in texas | 08.5.2010 | 9:17 am

    is there a market for Mayo shotbloc’s?
    a Mayo-bar?
    Mayo gu?
    or DZ-mayonuts?

  59. Comment by Tom Stephens | 08.5.2010 | 10:03 am

    Good Luck. I know exactly what you mean. I had the same revelation this year in my 3rd 1/2 ironman. I didn’t care about time, I just wanted to do it, and the best thing was that my wife and I crossed the finished line together. So, she beat me by about 20 minutes… but it was the best race of my life.

  60. Comment by Heidi | 08.5.2010 | 3:30 pm

    Echoing Philly Jen:

    Yay Kellene and Dallas!!!

  61. Comment by Zed | 08.5.2010 | 6:45 pm

    Okay, I’m just going to say it, so don’t hate my guts for it. Here goes … I THINK YOU’D BE FASTER RIDING GEARED!

    Whew—I’m glad I got that off my chest.

    All right, that said, you don’t care about your time this go around anyway, so forget that I even wrote that and ride singlespeed. Man, I’m such a stick in the mud.

  62. Comment by Ruttgen | 08.7.2010 | 4:29 pm

    hardtail AND single speed….wow.

    good luck.

    maybe in 2011 I can make Leadville my goal.

  63. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 2010 Leadville 100 Race Report, Part 1 | 08.16.2010 | 8:28 am

    [...] have previously made it clear that I did not have any particular expectations for this year’s Leadville Trail 100 mountain [...]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.