Sub-Nine and It’s Mine

08.12.2011 | 9:39 am

I love coming to Leadville every year. Part of it’s the race, sure. A big part. A really big part.

But certainly, not the only part.

As much as — maybe even more than — the race is what comes before the race. I love walking around the town. I love going on the little day-before ride.

I love the fact that the Delaware Hotel manager, Linda, knows me by name.


Every year when I get here, she comes around from behind the counter and gives me a hug, then tells me that this year I am going to get that blasted sub-nine finish.

Extra Incentive

Unfortunately, I have another tradition at Leadville: to have high hopes for finishing fast, and then to finish…well…not so fast.

201108120852.jpgBut this year, I’ve got a new incentive. A powerful new incentive. As I was driving to Leadville yesterday, I got a call from the folks at Specialized.

“You interested in owning that S-Works Stumpjumper 29er?” Nic asked.

“Of course I am,” I replied. “What’s it going to take for me to keep it?”

“How about a sub-9?” Nic said.

At which point I had to pull over and put my head between my knees for a moment, so as to avoid swooning.

“Seriously?” I asked. “I get sub nine, and the Stumpy is mine?”

“Yep,” Nic said. “How’s that for a reason to ride fast?”

Well, OK. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason.

I believe I will turn myself inside out tomorrow.

201108120938.jpgNot All Change is Good

So, that particular break from tradition would definitely be a good thing. Not all changes, however, are quite as awesome.

And there do seem to be some decidedly non-awesome changes to the Leadville race this year.

Up ’til this year, we’ve always gotten a really nice tote bag or backpack as a swag bag. This year, the swag bag is a grocery bag.

Up ’til this year, we’ve always gotten a poster commemorating the race. This year, we have to pay $5.00 for that poster.

But you know, neither of those changes would amount to much if it weren’t for one really substantial change: This year, for the first time ever, finishers will not be given a personalized sweatshirt with their name and finishing time screened onto the sleeve.

And that change bums me out. For one thing, if I finish with a sub-9-hour time, I’d probably wear that sweatshirt everywhere, all the time.

More importantly, though, it’s a break from tradition.

In the end, of course, what matters is not posters and tote bags and sweatshirts. But when Life Time Fitness buys a race I care deeply about, then immediately brings changes like this, well, it doesn’t exactly make me want to buy a gym membership from them.

Follow My Race

If you would like to follow how I am doing, go to the Leadville Race Series website, and click on the Real-Time Race Tracking button. You can search on my race number (555) to see how I’m doing. And be sure to track The Hammer, too. Her race number is 933.

The race starts at 6:30am MT and my hoped-for splits are as follows:

  • Pipeline 1: 2:00
  • Twin Lakes 1: 2:45
  • Columbine Mine: 4:25
  • Twin Lakes 2: 5:00
  • Pipeline 2: 5:50
  • Finish Line: 8:45

So there. We’ll see how closely reality reflects the plan.


  1. Comment by Tyler G | 08.12.2011 | 9:48 am

    That kind of a change is a bummer, especially when you have to pay to enter, pay for lodging etc. Too bad they changed all of that stuff and went el-cheapo route when you are investing quite a large sum of money to enter the race. Good luck and at least you can win a bike for finishing sub nine…sweet reward, and good luck!

  2. Comment by Rob M | 08.12.2011 | 9:48 am

    What an offer. Those guys at Specialized are awesome.

    And so is that bike.

    Good luck to you and the runner.

  3. Comment by Andy | 08.12.2011 | 9:49 am

    That offer of Stumpy must be that final thing that assures your sub nine.

    Allez Fatty

  4. Comment by rmullen | 08.12.2011 | 9:51 am

    Ride like you stole that bike!

  5. Comment by Scott R | 08.12.2011 | 9:58 am

    Amazing offer from Specialized – have a great race, Fatty and friends (and family)!

  6. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.12.2011 | 10:03 am

    I am soooooo getting up at 8:30 tomorrow morning to track you and the runner!!!!!

    good luck, sub 6 here we go!!!!!!!

    only 3 slices of cantaloupe ;)

  7. Comment by Al | 08.12.2011 | 10:12 am

    Good Luck Fatty – I reckon this is your year….

    Good luck Lisa too!

  8. Comment by Rick | 08.12.2011 | 10:31 am

    Regardless of your time tomorrow, have a fun race!

  9. Comment by Brandon | 08.12.2011 | 10:34 am

    Good luck on the sub 9! Very very sad about the bags and sweatshirts. I am sure the entry fee didn’t go down any and you get less stuff for your entrance fee money. Interesting. Wonder why it was a “good” decision somewhere along the Lifetime plan to discontinue the sweatshirt tradition?

  10. Comment by Kel | 08.12.2011 | 10:37 am

    Loved this post!! We will check in on your progress tomorrow and think of you as we do our bike ride here in the southern US! I truly hope you get a sub-9hr!!

  11. Comment by Micha | 08.12.2011 | 10:40 am

    Can you PLEASE give Specialized my number! Good luck tomorrow.

  12. Comment by VA Biker | 08.12.2011 | 10:50 am

    Best of luck to you tomorrow! (We know it’s mostly in the preparation, but there is a dash of luck thrown in there.)

    I see your entry today finishes directly adjacent to your reported weights from earlier in the year. Just out of curiousity, what’s the ol’ bathroom scale reporting (to the nearest tenth of a pound)?

    Feeling fit and strong, I hope!

  13. Comment by TomE | 08.12.2011 | 10:51 am

    Go get ‘em Fatty!!!

    Bummer about the sweatshirts. I did leadville once and got my sweatshirt…very proud to have that and it is a great memory of the race. Poor decision on Lifetime’s part.

  14. Comment by Mike@Squirrelhead | 08.12.2011 | 10:58 am

    This is your sub 9 year Fatty! You couldn’t ask for a more awesome award than that sweet Stumpy for rocking Leadville in under 9 hours. It is your destiny.

  15. Comment by Obstinate Roadie | 08.12.2011 | 11:02 am

    It’s nice work if you can get it. Good luck tomorrow.

  16. Comment by mark | 08.12.2011 | 11:06 am

    Remember when I mentioned how much the folks at Specialized hate Trek? You’ve been riding a Trek a long time. And failing to get sub 9 on Treks for a long time. Just sayin’.

    Now go make that race your bitch.

  17. Comment by Tes | 08.12.2011 | 11:13 am

    Good luck! Cantaloupe and a possibility of the bike… What more could you ask for? (Other than sub-9?)

  18. Comment by BamaJim | 08.12.2011 | 11:29 am

    Ride like the wind!

  19. Comment by Dan in Sac | 08.12.2011 | 11:32 am

    Daaaaang! Nice incentive. Now go dooooooooooo it!

    Have fun everyone….

  20. Comment by Jenn | 08.12.2011 | 11:40 am

    A) Specialized absolutely rocks. My next bike will be a Roubaix, and 2) You? Are going to kick this race’s a**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Comment by bikemike | 08.12.2011 | 11:49 am

    I have a plan for you if you’re getting close to the sub 9 and it doesn’t look like you’re quite going to make it. I won’t tell you here, but it involves ditching the bike in some trees or a dumpster just out of town. Throwing some dirt on your face or possibly sliding, face first, on a gravel road and then walking the last part back into town. Also, something about hooligans knocking you off the bike is involved.
    Let me know if you’re interested in the plan, i won’t tell anyone else about it.
    Course, you could just bloody well get the sub-9 and not worry anymore, Ishmael.

  22. Comment by Eric L | 08.12.2011 | 12:00 pm

    Good luck. Great photo of you and Lisa. Talk about two very happy looking people…

  23. Comment by Chris | 08.12.2011 | 12:04 pm

    Hey, my comment the other day I hoped you had a sub-9 and iy’s mine clause. Guess I was right. Good luck!

  24. Comment by yannb | 08.12.2011 | 12:40 pm

    Ahhhh, the power of being you. Hope you make the sub-9 time and you get that purely awesome bike from them. Good luck. Will be monitoring your progress.

  25. Comment by | 08.12.2011 | 12:49 pm

    Speacialized is an awesome company!

  26. Comment by MoN #4450 | 08.12.2011 | 12:51 pm

    how did IT Guy’s collarbone surgery go?

  27. Comment by Janey | 08.12.2011 | 1:05 pm

    I’ll be checking on you and Lisa throughout the day tomorrow. Good luck! Hope you’ll be returning to Utah the owner of that incredible bike!!

  28. Comment by azcyclechick | 08.12.2011 | 1:38 pm

    Goodluck Fatty! Ride it like you stole it! Sub-9, shmime….you’ve got this!

  29. Comment by Evelin B | 08.12.2011 | 1:39 pm

    Good luck!!! The sub nine is yours!!! Know you can do it!!!!

  30. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.12.2011 | 1:40 pm

    Good luck. Here’s your mantra;

    “Sub-nine and it’s mine, sub-nine and it’s mine, sub-nine and it’s mine…”

    Say it, believe it, do it, OWN IT!

  31. Comment by ludo | 08.12.2011 | 1:59 pm

    Elden, Calmness and be smooth. Make sure all your energy is devoted to going forward. Pedal circles and keep your eyes up, always look to the highest point and you will get there sooner. Press over every rise in the trail. Do not think about the bike, only the ride. Have a great day and smile all the way. Jim

  32. Comment by Tyler G | 08.12.2011 | 2:10 pm

    I bet the Trek guys are looking for a sub nine with an epic bike failer at the end so you still get your sub nine and realize it was you not the bike!

  33. Comment by Slowstdy | 08.12.2011 | 2:44 pm

    Best of luck to both of you, I have a funny feeling that sub 9 is going down tomorrow. Specialized are a great company. Hey, how many times a day do you change your tee shirt?

  34. Comment by GrizzlyAdam | 08.12.2011 | 2:52 pm

    Life Time Fitness, meet Specialized. You could learn a thing or two from them.

    Fatty, this time tomorrow that Stumpjumper will be all yours.

  35. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.12.2011 | 3:02 pm

    Ride til you puke, but don’t stop to puke – It’ll wash off your new Stumpy.


  36. Comment by Leslie | 08.12.2011 | 4:14 pm

    You can do it!

  37. Comment by Dave T | 08.12.2011 | 4:28 pm

    Good luck tomorrow Fatty and Lisa have a great ride.

  38. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 08.12.2011 | 4:32 pm

    Go Fatty! You can do it! Remember you’ll go faster if you remember to just have fun out there. Stress will slow you down. You can do the sub-9!

  39. Comment by Jarral | 08.12.2011 | 5:03 pm

    I’d give you one of my old leadville sweatshirts w/ your time/name in sharpie or? on it if you do it….

  40. Comment by Boz | 08.12.2011 | 5:31 pm

    8:45 it is then. Do it!

  41. Comment by Tank | 08.12.2011 | 5:49 pm

    Stay positive. Stay focused. Have fun. Win!

  42. Comment by BigShorty | 08.12.2011 | 6:16 pm


    1. YOU are light and fast.
    2. STUMPY is light, fast and world class
    3. You know the course
    4. You have planned your work, now go work the plan.
    5. You have TEAM FATTY representing across the globe, all who are backing the
    sub-9 fully.
    6. Make it happen, just like you know you will do.

    Have an awesome ride!

  43. Comment by BigShorty | 08.12.2011 | 6:17 pm

    Oh yeah, forgot, a 7X TdF winner told you the hardtail 29 was the way to go!

  44. Comment by rabidrunner | 08.12.2011 | 6:31 pm

    I’m a bit disappointed that the “Sub 9 and It’s Mine” title was referring to the bike and not that delicious hat that Linda is wearing. (Fer reals, I want that hat.)

    Heads should also roll over Lifetime’s decision to remove the perks. Maybe I’ll ditch my membership on principle. (I’m known to do stuff like that–just for principle. And when you’re messing with my peeps, well, I bring my PRINCIPLES out in capital letters.)

  45. Comment by Ed | 08.12.2011 | 9:01 pm

    Tear it up, Fatty ! Good luck on your sub 9 ride!!

  46. Comment by Lonster | 08.12.2011 | 10:32 pm

    Ride it like you own it! Sub 9 is going to happen.

  47. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.12.2011 | 10:46 pm

    Fatty, you deserve a sub-9, and I’m convinced you could have done it on your rigid.
    I’m not the ‘Specialized’ afficianado some are, I guess I just see them a little late to the party. When their check clears for Grand Slam for Africa, or for LIVESTRONG, or the Huntsman Center, maybe I’ll soften a little.
    Good Luck to both you and Lisa, I’ll have a little chuckle if she beats you…on a Trek/GF.

  48. Comment by zeeeter | 08.13.2011 | 7:24 am

    For anyone who wants to track times –

    Fatty -

    The Hammer –

  49. Comment by zeeeter | 08.13.2011 | 7:25 am

    For anyone who wants to track times – (goshdarned html tags!)

    Fatty -

    The Hammer –

  50. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 8:03 am

    Fatty looking good on the powerline!!

  51. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 8:15 am

    And the Hammer :)

  52. Comment by josh | 08.13.2011 | 8:25 am

    1:55:55 first split… he’s ahead of schedule.

  53. Comment by Steven | 08.13.2011 | 9:31 am

    Real-Time Race Tracking appears to have siezed-up. Got to see your first split though so you were on track! Hope you are holding the pace!

  54. Comment by Centurion | 08.13.2011 | 10:00 am

    GO FATTY, GO!!!

  55. Comment by lancitog | 08.13.2011 | 10:05 am

    Best of luck. I will be following you all day. Rooting for you! We know you can do it.

  56. Comment by Liz | 08.13.2011 | 10:06 am

    Still ahead of pace. Go, Fatty!

  57. Comment by Brian | 08.13.2011 | 10:07 am

    Guess Fatty’s finishing time contest next year???

  58. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 10:12 am

    4 minutes ahead of schedule :)

  59. Comment by Stephanie | 08.13.2011 | 10:29 am

    go fatty go!!!!! Way ahead of your goal splits!

  60. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.13.2011 | 10:34 am

    Let’s hope there’s not a ‘Daisy Stop’. Serious time could be lost there.

  61. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.13.2011 | 10:39 am

    13 minutes ahead at Columbine Mine! Looks like he can stop for pie!

  62. Comment by andy | 08.13.2011 | 10:40 am

    Good turn round time Fatty, keep it going!

  63. Comment by Connie | 08.13.2011 | 10:42 am

    Wow- almost 13 minutes early at Columbine.

  64. Comment by Jeremy | 08.13.2011 | 11:10 am

    4:12:53 to Columbine! Wow! Allez!

  65. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 08.13.2011 | 11:28 am

    Don’t forget, Fatty’s got a 15 minute buffer built into his splits, which have him at 8:45 at the finish. Go Fatty!

  66. Comment by Michelle | 08.13.2011 | 11:33 am

    Chapeau! Could we see an 8:30?? Go Fatty!!

  67. Comment by Dan | 08.13.2011 | 11:42 am

    So far, so good! 10 under at Twin Lakes 2. Keep it up!

  68. Comment by Brad | 08.13.2011 | 12:14 pm

    Go Fatty! You’re on track at Pipeline Inbound!

  69. Comment by mair | 08.13.2011 | 12:19 pm

    … what’s going on with The Hammer?

  70. Comment by nick | 08.13.2011 | 12:34 pm

    Go fatty go! You are flying today. Keep it up and knock that 8:30 out of the park.

  71. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 12:35 pm

    Nicest guy on a bike (or walking)

    Fatty lookin good & smiling on powerline inbound!

  72. Comment by Ashley | 08.13.2011 | 12:43 pm

    Why’s it say DNF? Or is that normal?

  73. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 12:49 pm

    Probably just cuz not done yet. Can’t really dnf between the last aid station & the finish and have anyone know yet! He’s still movin strong.

  74. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 08.13.2011 | 12:52 pm

    2 minutes under at Pipeline 2, plus the 15 minute cushion. FYI, a spot check of a handful of numbers shows DNF for all of them.

  75. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 12:53 pm

    17 minutes under 9hr pace….go fatty

  76. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 12:54 pm

    does anybody know who won?

  77. Comment by Connie | 08.13.2011 | 12:54 pm

    The DNF freaked me out a little this morning, but like @Jeff, a spot check show those on course as DNF. I also stumbled across a few that didn’t check in this morning.

  78. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 08.13.2011 | 12:58 pm

    From a Leadville FB post: “Todd Wells wins 6:23:38, Lakata crosses second in 6:27:55″

  79. Comment by ecco | 08.13.2011 | 1:17 pm

    Go, Fatty, Go! Go, Hammer, Go! Good luck!

  80. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 1:20 pm


    1st- Wells
    2nd- Lakata
    3rd- Grant

  81. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 1:39 pm

    And a Hammer sighting on powerline inbound – also smiling & looking good!

  82. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.13.2011 | 1:39 pm

    If I read it right, The Hammer is only seven minutes behind at Twin Lakes 2(it says ‘outbound’, but that makes no sense) Will Fatty be gallant and wait to cross together? He has that ‘cushion’ after all.

  83. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.13.2011 | 1:42 pm

    Has anyone seen The Hammer not smiling? She smiles when her kid has a broken collarbone. Go Fatty! Go Hammer

  84. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 1:47 pm

    the Hammer is doing really well :)

  85. Comment by Dustin | 08.13.2011 | 2:31 pm

    I am hoping what I am seeing is the Real Time Tracker “Did Not Find” their results versus the other acronym… Hope y’all are doing ok.

  86. Comment by Mojo | 08.13.2011 | 2:40 pm

    Final Time: 08:18:19

  87. Comment by Hawkens | 08.13.2011 | 2:42 pm

    Well Done! and Congrats!

  88. Comment by CaliLori | 08.13.2011 | 2:44 pm

    Grats Fatty! Go Go Hammer!

  89. Comment by Clancy | 08.13.2011 | 2:46 pm

    CRUSHED it!!! Awesome!! Congrats on the new bike! And buckle. :-)

  90. Comment by cece | 08.13.2011 | 2:47 pm

    Well, It’s Yours Fatty! What a great ride. I was watching periodically throughout the day…and even postponed an outing and a work out so I could be in front of my computer to see your finish time! Way to go! I am sure this means a lot to you…27 minutes under your projected time! Conrats!

  91. Comment by Chris | 08.13.2011 | 2:47 pm

    WOW!!! Guess the new goal is sub-8

  92. Comment by Trixine | 08.13.2011 | 2:48 pm

    Excellent! It was fun to follow your race online. Congratulations.

  93. Comment by Andy | 08.13.2011 | 2:49 pm

    Congrats Fatty!

  94. Comment by Stephen | 08.13.2011 | 2:50 pm


    Now you have to wonder, could you have been less than 40:40 slower on a singlespeed?

  95. Comment by Merle | 08.13.2011 | 2:53 pm

    Congratulations Fatty!

  96. Comment by Anonymous | 08.13.2011 | 2:55 pm

    Woah… I’d say you managed that sub 9! And with barely 41 minutes to spare!

  97. Comment by Slowstdy | 08.13.2011 | 2:56 pm

    Whoo Hoo, congratulations to you both, (you and the bike) still trying to find the hammers time..

  98. Comment by Craig Aasen | 08.13.2011 | 3:01 pm

    awesome ride! that is one impressive time!

  99. Comment by XrayTed | 08.13.2011 | 3:02 pm

    Well done, Fatty! Quite a nice trophy to go along with another buckle!

  100. Comment by Dave Hansen | 08.13.2011 | 3:03 pm

    You smoked it!!! way to finish out strong on the last segment – very impressive!

  101. Comment by Steve | 08.13.2011 | 3:06 pm

    So, I guess you have been sandbagging all these years until a company like Specialized put a sweet ride like the Stumpy S-Works 29er on the line. Dude, you smoked it! Congrats!

  102. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 08.13.2011 | 3:06 pm

    Congratulations Fatty!!! See you could have stopped for pie…or The Hammer.

  103. Comment by Evelin B | 08.13.2011 | 3:15 pm

    Congrats on an awesome ride!!!!!

  104. Comment by Dan | 08.13.2011 | 3:17 pm

    Awesome ride Fatty! Incredible achievement!

  105. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 08.13.2011 | 3:17 pm

    Yea Fatty!!! Great job, and Stumpy is coming your way. Woo Hoo. Congrats Fatty.

  106. Comment by Hans | 08.13.2011 | 3:19 pm

    Great ride man, its all about the bike or what?

  107. Comment by Al | 08.13.2011 | 3:20 pm

    FAN-FATTY-TASTIC!!! Brilliant Elden! What a ride. Incredible achievement.

  108. Comment by Connie | 08.13.2011 | 3:23 pm

    Wow! Got distracted and missed the finish! Congrats!!

  109. Comment by Bragi Freyr | 08.13.2011 | 3:27 pm

    Total PWNAGE! Congratulations Fatty. You managed to make a total stranger in Iceland enthusiastic about your race. That is a feat in it self I would say. Enjoy your buckle and the “new” bike.

  110. Comment by TomE | 08.13.2011 | 3:42 pm

    That “new” bike has one BIG motor Fatty!!!! Congrats!!!

  111. Comment by Jesse | 08.13.2011 | 4:01 pm

    Looks like the Hammer is killing it at the finish!! Great time there too!!

  112. Comment by este | 08.13.2011 | 4:08 pm

    Lisa’s in at 09:39:16 Fatty Awesomeness squared!

  113. Comment by Karen | 08.13.2011 | 5:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, you rocked that trail today. Congratulations!! You must be so darn stoked. Nice job! Can’t wait to hear all about it. Starting writing now!!

  114. Comment by MellowJonny | 08.13.2011 | 7:01 pm

    Nice race fatty!!!!!!

  115. Comment by Roger | 08.13.2011 | 7:19 pm

    Awesome ride Fatty and the Hammer!! Great day to be a FatFan!!!!

  116. Comment by Jim | 08.14.2011 | 12:30 am

    will this be like Garmin-Cervelo at TdF?
    I have visions of a cardboard IT Guy up on the podium with Fatty & The Hammer


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