2012 Rockwell Relay, Moab – St. George Race Report, Part 2

06.12.2012 | 5:12 pm

A Note from Fatty: NYCCarlos — one of the premier Friends of Fatty — is a finalist in the “Get the Sun Valley Remedy” contest, where he made a video and now needs a lot of people to watch it and tweet it and mention it on FaceBook and stuff. If he wins, he gets a mountain biking trip and a canoe-ful of gear.

I think we should help. So here’s whatcha gotta do:

  1. Go watch the video. And maybe leave a comment too. Can’t hurt, right? And besides, it’s entertaining.
  2. Retweet my Tweet about the video. All you have to do to do this — provided you’re on Twitter and stuff — is click here to go to the tweet I posted about Carlos’ video and retweet it. Social media at its finest here, folks.
  3. Visit Sun Valley’s Facebook page and leave a comment. Like, say, “I found Carlos’s video to be truly sublime.” But in your own words.

There. It’s that easy. Do Carlos this favor, because you know he’d sure as heck do it for you.

Another Note from Fatty: Part 1 of the ongoing story of this year’s Rockwell Relay can be found here.

After kenny and I finished our first legs of the race, it was time to start crewing for the women of Team Fatty. Both of us had concerns about this, due to the fact that the day was getting hot, and the headwinds just kept getting worse.

We didn’t care — seriously, we didn’t — about whether we would lose what was apparently a rapidly solidifying repeat of our Coed team division victory (when I came in from my first leg, no other Coed teams even seemed to be on the radar). We just didn’t want to watch our women suffer.

I tell you this, of course, so you’ll think I’m a wonderful, caring person.

However, I am evidently not so caring (nor wonderful) that I threw in the towel. Instead, I handed off the bracelet to The Hammer (she races third) and wished her good luck.

The Hammer Makes a Friend

Within a few miles, The Hammer could see another racer up ahead — the third racer from Team Life Time Fitness. “There’s my carrot!” The Hammer shouted.


And sure enough, she caught — and dropped — him on the next climb.

But then, impressively, this rider from Team LifeTime Fitness rode up and latched on. Then he rode forward and took a good long pull.

The Hammer gives a thumbs-up for drafting.

And suddenly, an alliance was born.

We learned from the rider’s crew — who we had plenty of time to get to know as we took turns supporting each other’s riders — that Ryan (the rider working with The Hammer) is a programmer at Adobe. That he’s been training since December, during which time he’s lost 60 pounds. And that putting a LifeTime Fitness team together for this race had been his idea.

Seriously, how could you not be a big fan of Ryan?

The Hammer and Ryan worked together for nearly the entire leg of this race, each making the other faster. Taking fair, consistent turns at pulling — Ryan suggested forty crank rotations per pull, according to The Hammer, which worked out great for both of them.

Though I suspect, based on looking at their photos, that The Hammer might have gotten slightly more draft benefit than Ryan did.

The Hammer’s leg of the race was a long one: 56.4 miles. And sometimes it gave the distinct impression that we were trapped in a Road Runner cartoon:

The Hammer is somewhere just beyond the horizon.

Even so, though, she smiled the whole way. Not ceding any places to any racers, working with the other rider to make good time on her leg of the course. Loving the ride, loving the view, loving having made a friend, loving the experience of this race.

We were all digging it.

Eventually, of course, it had to come to an end. The last five miles of this leg of the race are steeply uphill. Ryan simply could not hang with The Hammer, and she finished a few minutes ahead of him, passing the baton/slap bracelet off to Heather for her turn climbing in the heat and wind.

But The Hammer insisted the rest of us (Kenny and me) wait to take off ’til Ryan got to the Exchange point, where she cheered for him louder than anyone, then rushed up and gave him a huge hug, and we got this photo:


The leg these two worked together on show exactly why I love this race.

And then we were ready to pile back into the van. The Hammer looked pretty cooked (not to mention salt-encrusted):


She had a right to be. She had just raced more than a half-century, in the heat, against a hairy headwind, against a field entirely of men (as near as we could tell). And she had not only not given up a single place in the race, she had moved us up a notch.

I was incredibly proud of her.

Team Control4.com’s (formerly Team Lobotomy) Fascination With Heather Continues

Last year, The Hammer’s son — AKA “The IT Guy” — was on Team Lobotomy and rode his first leg with Heather, providing good and valuable services along the way.

This year, unfortunately, he wasn’t on the team.

So it seemed pretty shocking that Team Control4.com (no longer called Team Lobotomy) was right there, riding with Heather, for almost the whole leg this year, too. Just with a different rider (Troy) this time.

It wasn’t planned this way. In fact, we have it on good authority that Team Control4.com had made it a primary objective to beat us this year (which was OK with us, since they were an all-male team).

But still, within a couple miles of this windy, hot, climbing-centric lap, they were working together. And a good thing, too, because this leg is brutal enough without having to push through the wind on your own.

Here they are together, as Heather gets ready to drop off a bottle:


And here’s Heather, getting a bottle hand-up from Kenny:


And here’s Heather, taking a drink:


In fact, now that I look through my photos, I’m not sure there are any pictures I have of Heather in this leg where she isn’t getting a drink. The day was that hot.

The thing is, though, in spite of heat, wind, and derailleur problems that kept making her chain drop, Heather never stopped smiling. Big happy grin the whole leg.

And she rode incredibly strong.

The cool thing is, in the same way that we got to really know the LifeTime Fitness guys in the previous leg, we got to know Troy’s wife, who was crewing for Team Control4.com, on this leg (and, as it would turn out, on pretty much every leg — we were neck and neck with Team Control4.com for the whole race). Here she is, cheering Heather and Troy on:


I saw her and her red truck just about as often (maybe more often) than my own team during this race. And the awesome thing is, she cheered Team Fatty on just as (or maybe “almost as”) enthusiastically as she did her own team.

When you’re doing something wacky like this race, the competition between teams kind of fades into the background; you start thinking more about how much you have in common with anyone who has chosen to spend their weekend out in the Utah desert, riding, racing and crewing nonstop, for around thirty hours.

Which explains why, when she got toward the end of her leg and noticed Troy was fading, Heather waited up for him.

“We’ve ridden this whole leg together,” she said. “Let’s finish it together!”

Maybe not the awesome-est race tactics in the whole world, but in an event like The Rockwell Relay, racing is only a small part of the experience, and — honestly — probably not the most important part.

And besides, we were now a full rotation through the race and had not seen or heard of another Coed team anywhere in sight.

Our Coed Team victory — and a reasonable claim of a dynasty — looked pretty much like it was in the bag.


  1. Comment by yannb | 06.12.2012 | 5:32 pm

    As usual, nice write up Fatty. I may have to try and talk some friends into doing this next year. Sounds like fun despite the headwind.

  2. Comment by Angie G | 06.12.2012 | 5:33 pm

    FC- you, Hammer, Heather and Kenny rock!!!!!

    As for the Davis update! We do have the Hall for Friday evening. I will provide Fatty with the details tomorrow. Just know it will involve Brats, Beer and Cake!!!! No Fatty party is truly a party without cake!

    If your coming, cost will be $20 per person and I will need a head count to ensure we have enough food and beer. Please email me at angie@bikemonkey.com

  3. Comment by Angie G | 06.12.2012 | 5:36 pm

    Oops email is angie@bikemonkey.net.

  4. Comment by Al | 06.12.2012 | 5:41 pm

    Awesome stuff Fatty. I totally agree with yannb. This just makes me want to train and be there next time…

  5. Comment by Roggen | 06.12.2012 | 6:15 pm

    I have to say that riding with the hammer made my first leg at Rockwell Awesome! I had been training for a few months to draft and work with a team so when I found that the Hammer was willing and able it made the trip that much better. Next year I should be able to keep pace for all 3 of the legs, but my short time at base training has just gotten me started.

    I have been a fan of fatty since finding his blog early on in my cycling and weight loss journey. And getting to ride with his better half for 50 some odd miles was a real treat. It seems we tend to ride in similar areas of the Wasatch Front, so I hope to be able to ride with this dynamic duo again!

    Keep up the good work and motivation!


  6. Comment by Justin | 06.12.2012 | 6:39 pm

    I had a great time at the race. Our team came into leg three right after team Fatty, and I could see The Hammer off in the distance for the first 5 miles or so and I was busting my butt to try and get up so I could work with her, but then my team told me she caught the Lifefitness guy and then I knew there was no hope for me to catch them. That was a long, lonely leg in that headwind.

  7. Comment by roan | 06.12.2012 | 7:52 pm

    LUV this post. “There’s my carrot”. That attitude sets a great mood for a good spirited team. What do you guys do to recover a little on your idle legs ? Sure I know you are crewing & driving too. But is there any slack time for the next rider ? What diet ? What are the fine points ?

  8. Comment by Fuzz Martin | 06.12.2012 | 8:27 pm

    Great post, Fatty. Usually when I say, “there’s my carrot,” the carrot is actually a pizza.

  9. Comment by NYCCarlos | 06.12.2012 | 9:30 pm

    What a write up! great job riding, ladies!

    I really appreciate any views you all can give me… and the comments and re-tweets, and likes are even better! The Fatty Family is amazing! Keep it up! Can’t wait to see ya’ll in Davis!

  10. Comment by Jim Tolar | 06.12.2012 | 10:32 pm

    Damnit FatMan, you either have to start writing crappier individual parts or start posting the entire race report in one post. It’s *killing* me when the part ends and I can’t read the next post.


    p.s. thanks for posting them.

  11. Comment by TroyH | 06.12.2012 | 10:58 pm

    I have to say a couple things.

    Yes we wanted to beat Team Fatty after losing to them last year (or should I say getting hammered) by an hour and a half. We also wanted to beat as many teams as possible like the LOTOJA 1-6 teams we had friends on.

    Team Fatty shouldn’t be allowed in coed unless another team shows up with some CAT1 women riders. Your team is too strong all around, 10th place last year out of 39 teams, is that really coed? C’mon!

    I didn’t expect Heather to wait for me when my leg cramped up (I had a very similar experience on my 1st leg as FC did on his, the heat was harsh). That was very nice of her, she is awesome. I slowed when her chain dropped and was glad to see her so quickly catch up but she didn’t owe me a dang thing. This is a race after all.

    For anything later in the race I just have to quote FC from part 1 ‘But I tend to ride a little bit out of my head when I’m racing’. I’m a bit on the competitive side. I don’t always think clearly when it comes down to winning or losing.

    This race rocks because most of the teams are NOT CAT1-3 racers. When I go to those kind of races there is so much attitude it really takes the fun down a few notches. This race is so much more fun. With 63 teams there was more contact than last year and I was even more fun.


    Well put, Troy. Riding with — and competing against — your team was a great part of the event. We’ll see you there again next year. – FC

  12. Comment by TroyH | 06.12.2012 | 11:01 pm

    Oh, position #4 is so much easier than the #1 I did last year. Those poor suckers in #1 had it so tough with head wind the entire time. Killer.


  13. Comment by AKChick55 | 06.12.2012 | 11:18 pm

    @NYCCarlos Tweeted and Facebooked and liked your video. :) Good luck!

    Love this post. The part with The Hammer waiting for Ryan and Heather finishing with Troy brought tears to my eyes. They are so awesome. I love their beautiful hearts. :)

    Emailed Angie to RSVP for Friday and see what assistance I can provide. Chocolate cake? :)

    Will be nice to see sun and warmer weather. Our summer so far has SUCKED. At least in Southcentral Alaska.

  14. Comment by Tommysmo | 06.13.2012 | 5:21 am

    …until it wasn’t…

    That’s the only line I’m guessing Fatty’s got for us!

  15. Comment by DOM | 06.13.2012 | 7:02 am

    I thought you were going to write about the womens’ legs! :-)

    I’ll let the photos do the talking in that regard. – FC

  16. Comment by Brian in VA | 06.13.2012 | 7:05 am

    Up to this point, I’ve had no interest in racing. Reading the last two days has made me wish for this kind of event in the Richmond area. Hmmm….maybe I can start one!

    Well done to all of you!

  17. Comment by Kenny | 06.13.2012 | 9:12 am

    I think that the reason I am so proud of our women riders, aka biking chicks, is that they are not cat 1 or even road racers at all. They took everything mother nature could throw at them… 100+ heat and super strong headwinds and came out smiling. Heather and I had such a fun time doing this race. It will always be on our calendar of events.

    I totally agree, Kenny. Lisa and Heather were incredibly tenacious and strong through this whole race. And I forgot to mention in the post how hot Heather’s first race leg was: 104 degrees at one point! – FC

  18. Comment by The Hammer | 06.13.2012 | 9:34 am

    @TroyH-I can’t stop laughing. Are you implying that Heather and I are not women and shouldn’t be allowed in the Coed division? I’m gonna take it as a compliment, but I am a woman and NOT a Cat 1(or 2 or 3 or 4etc) rider. I ride a lot and I ride hard with my husband and have fun doing it. It is pretty damn amazing that Heather and I held our own in the midst of some pretty horrible weather conditions. We are strong, fast riders and women to boot. We did have a blast riding along side Teamcontrol4.com for the majority of the race. Your beautiful wife Brooke was an excellent cheerleader. And we-Team Fatty-look forward to beating you to the line next year. :)Even if we are a “COED Team”

  19. Comment by Fat Cathy | 06.13.2012 | 9:42 am

    To The Hammer and Heather: You two are awesome. Just in case you didn’t know that already.

  20. Comment by TroyH | 06.13.2012 | 9:46 am

    Pure compliment to both of you (and your whole team). Not only excellent riders but great friendly competitors. I love friendly but tough competition, nothing better for racing.

  21. Comment by roan | 06.13.2012 | 10:14 am

    Fatty, just a random thought here (as most of my thoughts are). With those 100+ temps and the van maybe a cool down shower for the rider immediately after a leg. Would require the outside shower set up (for hot & cold) and a water tank. OR maybe just a gallon or two of cool water over the head of the rider to help cool the core to help avoid a melt down later.

  22. Comment by eclecticdeb | 06.13.2012 | 10:19 am

    I can’t wait for Part III. Inspiring, somehow you capture the suffering exactly right — yes it’s horrible, but we come back to it again and again. I’ve been off my bike for about 5 months due to a nasty back injury…I think this is the week to get back on.

  23. Comment by NFL Logo | 06.13.2012 | 11:34 am

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment
    (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for beginner blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    Sure, here’s a tip. Write interesting things to get traffic; don’t spam peoples’ comment sections. – FC

  24. Comment by Jeremy | 06.16.2012 | 12:30 pm

    And there is why I really find myself enjoying coed teams, in general. The ladies often take a different approach to competition, which makes everything better for everyone. You know the deal: Be competitive, not a jerk.


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