I Am Beginning to Have Doubts About What I Previously Considered a Brilliant Race Strategy

09.2.2010 | 10:07 am

201009021008.jpg Some strategies must be carefully crafted and executed, over a period of weeks — nay, months — if they are to be successfully executed. No cutting corners. No details ignored. No contingencies left unconsidered (which is to say, I have considered all contingencies).

Such is the case with my planning for this weekend’s Park City Point 2 Point race.

I’m excited to share my plan with you in great detail, because I think that whether you’re doing this race or another endurance mountain bike race in the future, my carefully-crafted plan should provide valuable guidance.

“But enough preamble!” I imagine those of you who use words like “preamble” saying. For the rest of you, I imagine you saying things like, “Get on with it, OK?”

I shall get on with it. Now.

My Plan, Revealed

Here, in short, is my plan:

I have no plan.

At first blush, I can see why you may think this is a not-very-good (i.e., bad) idea — to not have a plan for what is, after all, a 75ish mile race, with 14 thousandish feet of climbing, pretty much all on singletrack.

But I have my reasons. Here they are:

  1. I have been busy. You may find this hard to believe, but I sometimes find it time-consuming to manage being a new husband, raising a largish pack of children, working a full-time job, training on the bike, doing cancer fundraisers, and writing hilarious things like what you are reading right now. If I had prioritized knowing a lot about this race, I’d know a lot about this race right now. Instead, I have prioritized pretty much everything else.
  2. By the time I signed up, it was too late for me to get in better shape anyways. Until a few weeks ago — just before Leadville — I hadn’t planned to do the P2P anyway. This is mostly because I forgot to register until after registration was full. Which isn’t, perhaps, the noblest nor most compelling of reasons to not sign up for a race, but there you have it. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found out that someone who had registered but couldn’t make it to the event, could transfer his registration. And suddenly, on a whim, I was registered for what is widely known as a brutally challenging race. Without any time to get any more prepared for it than I already am.
  3. Nothing ever goes as I plan it, so why have a plan at all? I have always been an obsessive race planner. And then, when the race occurs, nothing ever happens the way I imagine it. This time, I have no idea what the race will be like (except that it will be long, climby, and singletracky). So while I can still count on a race day that is completely different than what I would expect, I at least won’t have spent several weeks fruitlessly imagining a race day that is nothing like what will actually happen. Very pragmatic of me, don’t you agree?

Things I Do Know

Of course, it’s not entirely accurate to say I know nothing at all about this race I’ll be doing in a couple of days. There are in fact a number of things I do know.

First and foremost, I know that I will be wearing my CarboRocket jersey. And not just because my good friend Brad — the owner / proprietor of CarboRocket — is sponsoring the event and is going to be in town racing.

Okay, that may actually be the reason. At least partially. But I think you’ll agree that it’s a good reason. Besides, Brad’s worn my jersey at a lot of races, I think it’s about time that I return the favor.

So, I know what I’m wearing. But that’s not all I know. I also know how many miles (78, I think) and how much climbing (14Kish) there is. I learned both of those things yesterday, when I was IM’ing with Dug, who is also doing the race, and who has prepared 8% more than I have.

I also know that The Runner will be crewing for me. Which is really nice of her.

Finally, I know my actual race strategy, which is the following:

  1. Ride really hard. As if I were racing.
  2. Walk when I can’t ride. As opposed to standing still, I guess.

Things I Do Not Know

My list of things I do not know is more extensive, and quite possibly problematic.

  • I do not know the elevation profile. In my head though, it just goes up for 14,000 feet, and then goes down for 14,000 feet. That’s a pretty easy profile to keep in my head, so I’m going with it.
  • I do not know whether I should ride using a camelbak or water bottles. I prefer riding with bottles, especially when riding my singlespeed (which I will be riding for this race). However, since this is a lot of singletrack and a lot of climbing, it could be really hard to find time to grab and drink from a bottle.
  • I do not know the course. I understand it’s in Park City. Hence the name of the race. I haven’t pre-ridden any of it though. At least I don’t think I have.
  • I do not know what time the race starts, or where or when any mandatory meetings are, or when I should pick up my racer packet, or where Lisa is supposed to meet me when she crews for me. I should probably find these things out pretty soon.
  • I don’t know whether I’ve got a good gear selected. I used a 34 x 20 gear at Leadville, and that worked out great for me. And in fact, I’ve used a 34 x 20 on my Superfly SS since I’ve had it, and I’ve been happy with it. But I’ve got a twinge of doubt about riding a course this hard with a gear ratio this tall. But I’m not going to change it.
  • I don’t know whether it’s a good idea for me to not have a suspension fork. I understand there will be an occasional bump on the course. I hope that’s just an unfounded rumor, though!
  • I don’t know whether me doing this race at all is such a good idea. I don’t believe additional explanation of this point is necessary.

Oh, what am I worrying for? I’m sure everything will be just fine.

Right? Right?


  1. Comment by Mike Russell | 09.2.2010 | 10:16 am

    Come on Fatty. You are a baller — you did IM St. George and it was much longer and required a more sustained effort. You will rock this one.

  2. Comment by Doug (WAY upstate NY) | 09.2.2010 | 10:16 am

    It is shorter then Leadville and there is more downhill. So no problem ;)

  3. Comment by Daisy @ 3pinkdrinks | 09.2.2010 | 10:27 am

    Fatty, You SO got this. C’mon, doode. Camelbak is the way to go. Suspension forks are overrated. and Park City is a fab-u-lous place to ride. I can practically guarantee you’ll have a good time, regardless of the race strategy or outcome. The after-party at the Canyons will be worth the ride alone.

    Good luck! See you Saturday!

  4. Comment by L | 09.2.2010 | 10:41 am

    So this is a timely topic for me. I’ve just entered a hundred mile mtb race on a whim too, the Tahoe Sierra 100, and have no plan. I’m not that nervous about the race, after all I have ridden 100 miles before (on the road, once), however this is my first time attempting 100 miles on the dirt so I have no clue about support crews and such. Luckily for my lack of planning support crews aren’t allowed, however drop bags are. My problem is I have no idea what should go in a drop bag, Fatty (or Friends of Fatty) in your wisdom, experience and girth could you help me out with some advice? I tried looking through the archives of your blog and so far all I’ve got packed is a lot of mayonnaise.

  5. Comment by Steve | 09.2.2010 | 10:46 am

    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. Comment by mateo | 09.2.2010 | 10:52 am

    As Miles said to Joel in “Risky Business”: “Every now and then say, “What the f**k.” “What the f**k” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.”
    So there you go, a strategey for P2P.

  7. Comment by Brandon | 09.2.2010 | 11:00 am

    See you at the start line.

  8. Comment by runner | 09.2.2010 | 11:12 am

    Im crewing???
    Thought i was going shopping!

  9. Comment by Jim | 09.2.2010 | 11:33 am

    Fatty, if it’s really making you nervous, I’m sure there’s time to beg a celebrity entry into the Shenendoah Mountain 100, which goes down Sunday. There probably isn’t quite as much climbing and I hear it’s quite easy, other than the incessant, hour long climbs up twisty, rocky, rooty east coast singletrack, and incessant, 45 minute long descents down twisty, rocky, rooty east coast singletrack. Flights are cheap and with no hotels within 30 miles of the start, you will be guaranteed a good time camping before the start. I’m sure you’d do fine plus there’s no risk of embarassing yourself in front of the home crowd. Not that I’m urging you to do it but just letting you know that there are good bailout options out there that you could take advantage of…

  10. Comment by dug | 09.2.2010 | 11:34 am

    but mateo, when pressed by joel, miles did confess that all his talk was just bull$#$#. so there’s that.

    lisa, you’ll be fine. the shopping is right next to the aid stations. just have elden call you as he comes into each stop, and tell him you’ll be right there, as soon as you finish your latte.

    pretty sure that’s kim’s plan too.

  11. Comment by Greg | 09.2.2010 | 11:36 am

    I think your blog should be called amishweightweeniecyclist.com. Get some gears and shocks buddy, your time and body will thank you. It seems you embrace all technology except when it comes to bikes.

    And I’ll see the Runner at the Outlets (probably Pearl Izumi) since it seems she thinks she is going shopping and not crewing.

    Good luck though. Can’t wait to read the report. Just be sure to report in one long post instead of Part I and then Part II and then Part III, etc.

  12. Comment by hb | 09.2.2010 | 11:57 am

    No Fatty goodbye for Laurent Fignon? The guy was a legend, and went far too soon.

  13. Comment by Erik | 09.2.2010 | 12:22 pm

    You finished Leadville what, 14 times?

    Quitcherbitchin’ and ride.

  14. Comment by roadrash | 09.2.2010 | 12:50 pm

    Good omen – A Fat Cyclist jersey prominently displayed on the P2P website!

  15. Comment by Heber Chad | 09.2.2010 | 1:01 pm


    I’m supporting the race at the food stop up at Stein Eriksen. I’ll make sure to cheer you on extra hard! If I only had my new Fatty Hoodie or Tech T to wear…Hmmm, getting anxious for the new gear!

  16. Comment by Heber Chad | 09.2.2010 | 1:15 pm

    Oh yea…I’ll do what I can to have Cantaloupe for you

  17. Comment by Larry Nicolette | 09.2.2010 | 1:15 pm

    @L – lots of almond butter and Nutella sandwiches, tums,bananas, and Carbo Rocket

  18. Comment by Zach | 09.2.2010 | 1:19 pm

    My dearest Fatty,
    I probably shouldn’t comment on this race and let you ride in ignorance but just be prepared to suffer and I mean suffer. I heard many people at last years race compare it to leadville and well there was a unanimous…yep that sucked. But its fun too right? anytime you can ride is a great time. I too am looking forward to your report of the race as I am considering leadville next year and other endurance Mtb races. Good luck and if you get cold feet I’d love to use your spot. Enjoy the “bumps”. Lets see a sub 7 hour.

  19. Comment by Caspar | 09.2.2010 | 2:03 pm

    “I at least won’t have spent several weeks fruitlessly imagining a race day that is nothing like what will actually happen”
    Don’t forget that you equally don’t have to spend weeks after the race wondering and whining wy the race did not go according to your race plan!

  20. Comment by axel in texas | 09.2.2010 | 2:33 pm

    I see a glaring problem in your race strategy:
    ride really hard ??
    why would you do that in a 78 mile race. Save that for the last 10 miles…

  21. Comment by Scott | 09.2.2010 | 5:24 pm


    The TS100 is a beast. It’s not actually 100 miles, it’s only about 93, but has a ridiculous amount of climbing, 13k ft I think. About 30 miles of it was singletrack last year, they’re supposed to be bumping it up to 40 this year. I’ll be doing it again this year because it’s an awesome, awesome race. Look for me at the start line, I’ll be wearing a full USC kit.

    As far as drop bag: you pick it up at about mile 65. There’s really not much use to it other than to throw lights in there if you plan on taking longer than 12 hours (it’ll get dark about 7), maybe a vest or jacket or something if you plan on being longer than 13 (gets cold).

    The support at the race is amazing, though. They will have aid stations every 13 +/-5 miles. At these aid stations they will have a good selection of food (fruit, trail mix, crackers, etc.), drinks (cytomax and hammer, water), chamois butter, and mechanics (chain lube, repair stands). It’s a really, really well done race.

    Good luck, hope to see you there!

  22. Comment by Ian | 09.2.2010 | 7:31 pm

    are you worrying about things you can’t (or won’t) change?

  23. Comment by Dorothy | 09.2.2010 | 8:36 pm

    Don’t forget to stop by Jans and Cole’s for their big end of season sidewalk sales! Great stuff… get there early.

    Fatty… you’ll be fine. Just alot less of those annoying flat sections like in Leadville.

  24. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.2.2010 | 10:08 pm


  25. Comment by AK_Chick | 09.2.2010 | 10:32 pm

    Fatty, you’re super human, of that I have no doubt. You are going to ROCK that ride. I can’t wait to hear about it. I also think you are crazy. No sane person would do 14K of elevation gain on a bike without gears! Heck, I wouldn’t do half that on a mtb! :)

    Runner, I’m with you! Let’s go shopping (cept, I’ll have to do mine long distance since I’m not in Utah).

    Good Luck Elden. You’re gonna do great!

    PS Camelback gets my vote. Pain in the @$$ to wear, but nothing beats uber easy access to water.

  26. Comment by Steve | 09.3.2010 | 12:16 am

    If I did not know you were already crazy, I would say that you have definitely confirmed my suspicions.

    By the way, Fatty, if you do make it to registration on time, have a great ride!

  27. Comment by cece | 09.3.2010 | 3:49 am

    By now, I think we all know that you will ROCK this race. Just don’t fall and go hurt yourself!

  28. Comment by luggage | 09.3.2010 | 5:13 am

    Just think of it this way. Leadville was your last big training ride and now you’ve just had a really good “taper”.

    Also, you may want to consult Philly Jen about race prep. It sounds like she’s got some really good ideas for saving time on race morning.

  29. Comment by Carl | 09.3.2010 | 7:47 am

    I’m sure this will turn out to be another fantastic performance by our man Fatty!

  30. Comment by L | 09.3.2010 | 9:25 am

    Thanks for the drop bag / TS100 advice all. Only 93 miles, what was I worried about?

  31. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 09.3.2010 | 9:44 am

    Go Fatty Go. You’ve got it in the bag.
    Runner……go shopping, Fatty won’t mind.

  32. Comment by GJ Jackie | 09.3.2010 | 2:14 pm

    Totally agree with Greg at 11:36 am. Especially when you, Fatty, have a tendency to eat dirt on the downhills. Embrace new technology — you need a gravity dropper seatpost and you’ll probably never endo again.

  33. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 09.3.2010 | 6:04 pm

    Sometimes those race strategies (or non-strategy as the case may be) are the best – listen to your body and have a ball!

  34. Comment by Norman | 09.3.2010 | 11:51 pm

    I believe it was Stan Ridgeway, who I will quote…

    ” Just drive, she said…”

  35. Comment by skippy | 09.5.2010 | 2:59 am

    Glad you have to admit to walking sometimes! Yesterday on the Saturday Vuelta Espana i had to walk the last climb several points but then 42 on 25 is not the best ratio for 22% grades. Had you seen the race on TV you would have seen Davide Moncoutie sprint up the hill overtaking all the 5 1/2 min the escape had at 9km mark! Igor Anton is the new Leader after his efforts on the day.
    5 min access to internet only allows prioritising and so “fatty`s blog is top of list, now on tto the rest of the tasks for the remaining 30secs !

  36. Comment by Tom | 09.5.2010 | 8:37 am

    Some friends just referred me to your site. It is great.

  37. Comment by Doug Gage | 09.5.2010 | 5:06 pm

    What happened to the conversion to metric for us Canadian readers? you know like 1 metric Canadian Beer is equal to 3.465 American beers?

  38. Comment by Paul | 09.6.2010 | 5:18 am

    Buckle down and go for it. It’s going to hurt but you know you’ll enjoy it in the end. I like to know the courses but it makes it all the more interesting if you don’t. Good Luck

  39. Comment by Jonathan | 09.6.2010 | 7:36 am

    ilove ur blog

  40. Comment by Jonathan | 09.6.2010 | 7:37 am

    check out my blog at http;//smallcyclist.blogspot.com

  41. Comment by Zed | 09.6.2010 | 10:45 am

    All right, so I can’t find your results ANYWHERE … most notably not on the results page.

    SO?!! How did you do?

  42. Comment by Houston gal | 09.6.2010 | 3:16 pm

    I know why we don’t see your results, because the transfer is still under the other guys name…so who were you? Or at least what number?

  43. Comment by born4felt | 09.6.2010 | 9:05 pm

    He’s here, finishing 18th in the SS division at 10:29. Go Fatty!


  44. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Park City Point 2 Point Race Report, Part I | 09.7.2010 | 11:56 am

    [...] for example, the following small things I did when I finally decided I should make at least some kind of preparation for the Park City Point 2 Point [...]

  45. Pingback by Park City Point 2 Point Race Report, Part I | Cheap kids bikes | 09.8.2010 | 2:23 pm

    [...] for example, the following small things I did when I finally decided I should make at least some kind of preparation for the Park City Point 2 Point [...]


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