Seriously, This is The Last Installment: 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, Part 5

02.26.2013 | 9:56 am

A Note About Today’s Post from Fatty: This is Part 5 of my race report on the 2013 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race. You can read Part 1 herePart 2 here,  Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.

Five laps. Five. 

I had done five laps (including the pre-ride lap) at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. And I had one more to do. Which would set me up to about 96 miles, all told.

I should have been tired. But I wasn’t. I was excited. Because I was doing this race the way I like to race. Which is to say: whether I’m in contention for anything (we weren’t) doesn’t matter. Giving it everything matters to me.

I’ll talk more about this in a minute.

The Queen of Exhaustion

The Hammer and I walked back into camp and found Rebecca Rusch, once again getting ready to do a lap. 

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“Really tired,” she answered.

“I’ll bet,” I said. “The last time I saw you I thought you were saying that would be your last lap.”

“It turns out I have to do another one,” she said, not sounding all that happy about it.

“How many laps have you done?” I asked.

“I don’t even know anymore,” she answered. 

I could tell that Rebecca really just needed to rest and not be pestered by rabidly goofy fans. But I made her take a picture with us anyway:

IMG 6102


A few years ago, Brad Keyes — the inventor of CarboRocket and one of my best friends — moved to Chicago. I don’t see him anywhere near as often now as I would like to.

So it was awesome that he had come down to Arizona and set up a booth at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. I had seen him a few times during the race, but wanted to check in with him one last time before my final lap. So I changed into a fresh kit quickly and The Hammer and I went out to Brad’s tent, where we took this completely unstaged photograph:

Wow, Brad’s starting to get gray hair. How did he get so old? 

Brad also hooked me up with some of the new Lemonade CarboRocket 333 Half Evil Endurance Fuel. Best race-day drink ever. 

Last Dance

I got to the exchange tent at 11:30 — way too early. At 11:43, though — meaning he had done a 1:08 lap for his fifth lap — Stan came flying in. That guy is as fast as he is consistent.

I took off, and immediately noticed that for the first time during the race, the course was almost empty. Sure, I’d still catch and pass the occasional person, but clearly there were a lot of teams that had opted to not go out on a late last lap.

I started asking myself if I were being silly — pushing myself like I was in contention for the podium or out to set a new personal record, when clearly neither were in the cards.

So why was I going hard? 

I had a very good reason. Because a race is meaningful if you give it meaning. That’s circular, but it’s absolutely true. When I’m training, I’m almost always thinking about racing. Thinking about extending myself. Being faster than I ought to be. Going at my absolute limit.

So when I show up at races, if I didn’t honor that image I have of myself when training, I would be cheating myself, in a way. If I didn’t do what I had signed up to do, why take a day off work, get all my gear together, and drive all the way out here?

What I’m saying, in my own muddled way, is that I like every part of racing: the training, the planning, the excitement, and the effort of going above and beyond myself. 

And frankly, I worry that if I ever didn’t give my all at a race, I’d beat myself up endlessly about it for months to come.

I finished my last lap in 1:12. Not as fast as some of the laps I’d done, but feeling that incredible well-being you get from having left it all out on the course.

Team IMBA – Featuring the Fat Tire Five had taken seventh place out of 34 teams

And if I hadn’t gone out on that last lap? Well…we still would have taken seventh place. I hadn’t changed a thing, team standings-wise.

But I’m still really glad I did it.

It’s Awesome to Have a Cleaning Lady

The Hammer was at the finish line, and got this picture of me as I finished my last lap:

IMG 6105

We walked back to where the camp should be…but there was no camp. During my last lap, the rest of the team had headed home, looking to beat the rush.

And The Hammer had completely broken down our own camp and loaded the camp. As in, completely. All I had to do was change clothes (which The Hammer had thoughtfully set out for me), and we were out of there. 

Have I mentioned recently how awesome The Hammer is? Well, she is.

“Let’s get moving,” said The Hammer. “We should try to get as far as Vegas tonight.” 

PS: Remember, if you’re going to sign up for the Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George during this month, you’ll get a very cool combination FatCyclist / Rockwell Relay jersey. But you’re down to the last couple days. So go get yourself signed up right now. You’ll be glad you did. 


  1. Comment by TK | 02.26.2013 | 10:15 am

    Your team left while you were on your last lap? They couldn’t wait for an hour? LAME.

  2. Comment by ClydesDave | 02.26.2013 | 10:20 am

    Fatty – is it possible to buy one of the FatCyclist Rockwell jersey/bib kits? we had registered our two teams in Jan so weren’t able to register in Feb to take advantage of your amazing offer…but i’d love to get one. is it possible? please oh please?

  3. Comment by Chris Engle | 02.26.2013 | 10:33 am

    FATTY, Bravo to you for going balls out. I have friends that give me a hard time because I will not wait for them during a race or charity ride. The finishing line tent is the time to hang out, not the 150 miles on the road because you didn’t put the time in training to keep up.

  4. Comment by bikemike | 02.26.2013 | 10:47 am


  5. Comment by Brian in VA | 02.26.2013 | 11:14 am

    I’m not a racer (yet, I keep telling myself), I am actually a trainer. I ride to keep fit and I like pushing myself, and seeing how far I can when I didn’t think I could go farther. So I’m totally with you and why you want to do that, even when it doesn’t matter.

    I’m hoping that someday, probably after I retire from working, it will.

  6. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.26.2013 | 11:15 am

    Sad. I so wanted more stories about this event. But now I see we’re going to get a post of Fatty and The Hammer in Vegas, that should be good!

    Will you do this next year?

    And if there are Fatties out there who want to get together in Arizona in February 2014 let’s get started now. We ROCK Davis, it’s time to ROLL Pueblo. I’m talking to you Doug(way upstate….) and Paul Guyot has family in the area so he’s a shoo in, and Angie,MattC, Nic, Yann, and Dr. Laura. We’re going to need a bigger tent.

  7. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 02.26.2013 | 11:36 am

    AWESOME writeup Fatty! I just LOVE your race/adventure multi-part posts!

    @davidh…I’ve ALWAYS wanted to take part in a 24hour mtb race…never done that…YET. I’m game if you are…sounds like a blast to me! Lets pencil this in for next year…would be sweet to have a team of us…(byoc…bring your own comb!) I think we could do this on the cheap (which is good, cuz my dogs seem to get all my spare $). Already have a good light…would prob need to add a helmet light also…but can get those cheap (, look up “magicshine”…LOTS of lumens for under $100).

    Never had to add a comb to my bike took-bag before…but also I don’t ride thru cacti very often (ie: never). Giant Yucca’s now and then..(which are deadly in their own right)…but no cacti.

    Seriously david…I’d LOVE to do this!

  8. Comment by Mary from NC | 02.26.2013 | 11:43 am

    I have heard of husbands saying and doing anything to get out of cleaning but another lap on a beautiful course in awesome weather in AZ takes the cake

  9. Comment by Laurie | 02.26.2013 | 11:58 am

    Great Job. Although, while I have to give kudos to your wife, I am hugely disappointed in the rest of your IMBA team. Considering who they are and what they represent, the idea that they didn’t even wait for you to finish your lap for a team after photo and just out of general respect for you as a team member really is pathetic.
    IMBA just dropped a little in my estimation if that’s who they have working for them.

    They had really good reasons for getting going. Give ‘em a pass. – FC

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.26.2013 | 12:22 pm

    @MattC You’re ON! Now to work on Wife#1! Cheap is Good: having 7 pets at home, and two horses staying with “friends” I understand your needs. Add two kids to the mix and Cheap is Definitely Good!

    Lights: I think we could make a true Team Fatty effort of this. Those who cannot come could ship their light(s) to us for the race, thereby becoming a virtual team member. We take responsibility and return lights after the race. Plenty of time to work details at Davis(hope you can come up).

    Combs are another matter. Being follically challenged, I’m going to have to find out where to buy a comb.

    Come on Fatties let’s get ready to challenge the Great One next year!!!!

  11. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 02.26.2013 | 1:00 pm

    davidh…camping is certainly w/in my realm of reasonable expense…(Sadly, I can’t even think about doing the Rockwell Relay this year…though it would be AWESOME!) Having to find (rent) an RV or something like that, and the distance/fuel/food and also just the duration put it out of my reach this year…however I’ll have my bro GregC’s report to find out how it went and actual cost…maybe next year for the RR?

  12. Comment by rich | 02.26.2013 | 1:12 pm

    Great job and great write up Fatty.
    I have to agree on the lame early bailout for your team, but also understand everyone has their own schedules to keep.
    (I think a post race team shot would have been worth staying for though)

  13. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 02.26.2013 | 1:32 pm

    I agree with TK.

    Enjoyed the multi-part race report very much!

  14. Comment by Bisso | 02.26.2013 | 3:36 pm

    Come on, one more post on how you got to Vegas, treated yourself to a flash dinner and promptly fell asleep before the appetisers arrived.

    Good work you guys. Definitely props on completing that last lap. Allez fatty

  15. Comment by Jason | 02.26.2013 | 4:56 pm

    So what place would you likely have finished with an extra lap due to the 1:20 dead time from people oversleeping? You know you had to figure that out just to see…

    Fourth or possibly third. – FC

  16. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 02.26.2013 | 7:50 pm

    You are a fortunate man to have The Hammer. Good reporting Fatty.

  17. Comment by Nic Grillo | 02.26.2013 | 11:01 pm

    @davidh – this entire writeup had me riveted. I need to find a way to talk the wife into a hall pass for a weekend in Arizona!

  18. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.27.2013 | 2:39 am

    @Nic we’ve got a year, I know you can do it! 530 mi from PV to Tucson. I can pick up MattC or his bike(s) on the way down. Bring your wife. Tell her you’re going to the desert, feign ignorance when we bypass the turnoff to Palm Springs.

  19. Comment by Stone Crusher | 02.27.2013 | 10:05 am

    i like your team and i hope you well be win :))
    by Stone Crusher Plant

  20. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 02.27.2013 | 11:58 am

    @dave…you are attempting to make my life complicated. It has already been decreed that since this if the year of Doug at Leadville next year is not about Doug. BUT I could be tempted to make up a part of a FoF team in an event next year. :)

  21. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.27.2013 | 12:11 pm

    @Doug…. I fully understand the ‘tradeoff’ equation. So….. since this is the Year of Doug I am penciling you in as part of the Salt to Saint team, as well as Levis Grandfondo. If you’re going to make a year of it you might as well go all in.

  22. Comment by wishiwasmerckx | 02.27.2013 | 12:25 pm

    “We should try to get as far as Vegas tonight.”

    These, sir, are words to live your life by.

  23. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 02.27.2013 | 2:19 pm

    @Dave, the problem here will be the definition of when the “year” started. You and my wife may have a differing definition of that. A trip like that though would be seriously fun.

  24. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 02.27.2013 | 4:18 pm

    All for one and one for … where is everyone?
    Time for a new team Fatty.

  25. Comment by robanjo | 02.28.2013 | 2:58 pm

    My wife is a blessing to me and obviously the Hammer does the same for you. Thanks, rob


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