2013 Rockwell Relay, Part 10: The Penultimate Stage

07.2.2013 | 8:18 am

A “Join Me Later Today” Note from Fatty: Today at 1:00pm MT I’m going to be doing a live interview with Kathryn Bertine, who’s working on a documentary called Half The Road, exploring the world of women’s professional cycling, focusing on both the love of sport and the pressing issues of inequality that modern-day female riders face in a male-dominated sport. 

WhereOn SpreeCast, or right here on FatCyclist.com
Date: Today (Tuesday), July 2
Time: 3:00pm ET / 2:00pm CT / 1:00pm MT / 12:00pm PT

A Note from Fatty About Today’s Story: If you’re just jumping into this race report, you may want to catch up by reading parts onetwothreefourfivesixseven, eight, and nine before reading this one.

Have you ever had one of those rides where every single thing goes wrong? Where the wind is constantly in your face, no matter which way you turn? Where you get a flat and change the tube, only to get another flat? Where you just don’t have any power whatsoever and you just…cannot…wait…to…get…off…the…bike?

Of course you have. I have to. Everyone has

But consider this: because of the great cosmic balancing effect of the universe, for every intensely terrible ride you have, there is someone out there who is having just as intense of a ride, but it’s intensely awesome

And that is the kind of ride The Hammer had on her final — Team Fatty’s penultimate — leg of the Rockwell Relay. 

Allow me to show you a photograph  of The Hammer as she rode:


My, she seems to be having a good time, doesn’t she? Even though she’s doing her third ride in 24 hours and hasn’t slept in all that time and just recently had a very upset stomach and it’s 92 degrees outside.

Let’s take a look at another photo:


Yep, still having a good time.

I think a closeup of her face kind of tells the whole story, really:

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The Hammer wasn’t just smiling for the camera. She was simply having a remarkable ride. She tells me that she felt like she had all the power in the world in her legs. That she felt like she was getting a push, the whole way. 

Which sounds about right, considering she rode 42.1 miles in 1:54, with 1474 feet of climbing, at an average of 22mph. And got a boatload of QOMs, in case you’re wondering.

All of this on her own.

“Wait, what?” I hear you ask. And then you continue, “Didn’t you say at the end of yesterday’s installment that The Hammer and the rider from Team Green Gecko 1 had started together?”

“Yes. Yes, I did say that,” I reply. “But The Hammer rode him off her wheel. In spite of how good The Hammer smelled, he just couldn’t hang with her.”

“Oh well,” you say. “I guess that’s the last we’ll hear of Team Green Gecko in this story, right?”

“No,” I reply, mysteriously. “Not even close.”

In fact, we’re about to talk about them some more right now.

Another Favor

While The Hammer had in fact dropped the rider from Team Green Gecko 1, they weren’t far behind her. Just a few minutes. Which meant that we would see their rider and his support vehicle every time we did our racer-support-leapfrog dance.

Which means that when Team Green Gecko 1’s (note to all future Rockwell Relay teams: please stop giving yourselves such long, awkward team names) RV had a massive blowout, we were the first car to pass them.

The driver waved us down and we pulled over — a little anxious that The Hammer was getting pretty far ahead of us pretty quickly, and it was time for us to jump ahead and get Heather ready for her last stage. Since we didn’t know how far behind us Team 91 was — they could be catching us any moment! — we didn’t want to have any delay between when The Hammer finished her leg and when Heather started hers.

I ran back to Team Green Gecko 1’s RV.

“How can we help?” I asked. “Your RV’s tire looks really bad.”

“Forget about the RV,” the driver said. “We just need to get our last racer to the last exchange point,” their driver said. “So we can finish the race. Can you give him a ride?”

“Yeah, we can do that,” I said, hoping that Kenny’s van had enough room for another bike and rider. “But let’s hurry; our rider — and yours — is due at the exchange point really soon.”

Race Against The Clock

We loaded Team Green Gecko 1’s last racer into the van — there was plenty of room — and Kenny stepped on the gas; we needed to get to the final exchange point in time for Heather to use the restroom while Kenny and I got her bike out.

We caught up with the racer from Green Gecko, who was unaware of the blowout in his support vehicle and was wondering what had happened to his support. We told him what was up, loaded him up with fresh cold water, and shot ahead.

By the time we caught up with The Hammer, she had about five miles ’til she’d be getting to the exchange point. We swapped out a bottle as quick as we could, The Hammer yelled “Go go go!” and we took off.

As we drove to the exchange point, we told the guy from Team Green Gecko that we’d do our best to support him along with Heather, but if the gap got too big between them, obviously we’d have to stick with Heather.

“I tell you what,” he said. “It looks like we’re only a couple minutes behind you right now. I’ll do my best to catch Heather, and then I’ll try to pull her the rest of the way in.”

Looking at the wind Heather was facing for her ride into St. George, we couldn’t help but be amazed at the awesomeness of Team Green Gecko 1. Sure, we had saved their bacon a couple times now, but they sure had a great way of paying us back.

We got to the exchange point, Heather took care of her stuff while we took care of Heather’s bike, and then rolled over to the canopy tent where the exchange official would be noting the time of the exchange…right as The Hammer rode up

We could not have cut the exchange any closer.

The Beginning of the End

Heather was off like a shot, knowing that we were ahead of Team 91, but not by how much. 

After Heather left, the rest of us took our time loading, wanting to see exactly what the gap we had on Team 91 was — how much time they had put on us during the last leg.

While we waited, the Hammer gave the racer from Team Green Gecko who had just finished his leg (you know, the guy who likes the way she smells) $20 to get himself some food while he waited for his team to show up (the exchange point happened to be located in the parking lot of a convenience store).

Only later did we realize we probably should have offered him a ride to the finish line with us; our brains weren’t exactly working at full power.

Ten minutes later, Team 91 rolled in and made the exchange. My mind reeled as I did the math: racing against the guy who had put seventeen minutes into her during their first leg, The Hammer had just added a minute to our advantage. 

So yeah. You could say she had a good final stage.

And now it was up to Heather.


  1. Comment by SR | 07.2.2013 | 8:30 am

    I like your Hammer-Action photos!

  2. Comment by Fat Cathy | 07.2.2013 | 8:39 am

    Way to go Hammer! You are my cycling hero too.

  3. Comment by rjb | 07.2.2013 | 8:43 am

    Hmm, the photos of the Hammer don’t smell any different than any other photos. I’m confused.

  4. Comment by barton | 07.2.2013 | 8:53 am

    you all have been up for nearly 24 hours of racing (meaning up for probably almost 20 hours total) at this point, I think you can be excused for not thinking about taking the rider from TGG all the way to the finish…

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  5. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.2.2013 | 9:02 am

    I did not realize this was a UCI event. Were race radios banned?

    As for the The Hammer I’m convinced she just ’smiles’ all the time. That’s what happens when you’re the Queen of Everything!

    Lastly as a penultimate stage (wait a minute that means this story is going to end…way too soon!) shouldn’t it be longer?

  6. Comment by Brian in VA | 07.2.2013 | 9:20 am

    I get the distinct impression that the Hammer is always smiling and I really love that about her. What a wonderful joy, it must be Fatty, to have married so far up!

    (Not that you aren’t happy but you’re a guy, like me, and there are times when we’re not happy. Let’s face, we both out-kicked the coverage. I think all happily married men are.)

    I also love how the teams help each other out there on this race. What a great vibe I’m getting!

  7. Comment by Kukui | 07.2.2013 | 9:54 am


  8. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 07.2.2013 | 10:17 am

    The Hammer ROCKS!!!

    I am really enjoying these installments, and now cannot wait for the nexxt one.

  9. Comment by roan | 07.2.2013 | 10:29 am

    Hey ! The Hammer I just luv the smell of $20s. I would luv a ride of 42.1 miles in 1:54 but sad to say “Not in my days”. Well maybe if I can find a downhill that long.

  10. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 07.2.2013 | 10:52 am

    Rats…I just commented back on the Stage 9 post…(and then had to get back to work) and just saw you’ve already posted the next report…so I’ll copy/paste it here:

    Fatty…I just have one question for you (well, make that two, but they are both in the same line of thought): HOW do you (and Hammer, and Kenny, and Heather) get SO amazingly strong so quickly (after having an actual winter mostly off the bike)? What kind of training/riding are you doing that we aren’t hearing about? After seeing you in action in Davis, and reading about all your times in this series, I’m just flabbergasted at how strong you’ve all become.

  11. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.2.2013 | 11:33 am

    @MattC Despite his protests to the contrary I suspect PED’s
    (performance enhancing doughnuts)

  12. Comment by Gumby | 07.2.2013 | 11:46 am

    It’s the pie.

  13. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.2.2013 | 11:50 am

    Lisa, if you always have that look on your face, it’s going to get locked on permanently. At least that’s what my grandma told me.

  14. Comment by Rice | 07.2.2013 | 12:23 pm

    The suspense is killing me!!! This is just like when they published Dickens novels as serials, only with more bikes and less paupers.

  15. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 07.2.2013 | 12:31 pm

    This is awesome! I’m actually sad that there is only one leg left. I’m looking forward to reading these reports every time!

  16. Comment by MattC | 07.2.2013 | 12:35 pm

    @Davidh…if it were simply pie or donuts, then right tnow I’d be kicking EVERYBODY’S butt’s at the TDF, (while simultaneously making Jensie look lke a young pup)…they’d all be saying “who was that masked man?” as all they’d see of me was a blur when I passed them (headed to the next donut-feed-station).

    And just a side note: ALL donuts/pie are performance enhancing, however research (mine) has shown that maple bars are the most beneficial. Also considered cheating are Snickers, 3 Musketters, Payday’s, and $100,000 bars.

  17. Comment by Christina | 07.2.2013 | 12:37 pm

    But Heather doesn’t NEED anyone to pull her in. She’s going to be awesome on her own.

    I’m a little sad to see this coming to an end. It’s like seeing the last piece of pie in the tin.

  18. Comment by MattC | 07.2.2013 | 12:40 pm

    And @Clydesteve, whoops…too late…that smile on Hammer’s face is already stuck there for life. Can’t ever recall seeing her without it these last few years (@ Davis). Just can’t picture you being mad Lisa…how on earth do you be angry while still smiling? You kids must be SO confused…

  19. Comment by MattC | 07.2.2013 | 12:46 pm

    ooh…and in the interests of full disclosure (I have NO stake in the business), Krispy Kreme’s have been banned by WADA….however it’s only a 12 hour ban. Sorry Matt…you can’t race today (as I am climbing the walls from the sugar rush).

    Sheesh..I’m gonna have strict comment-limits placed on me like Davidh if I’m not careful! But I already have a plan in that event: I’d just use my alias (KrispyKremeGuy…NOBODY would figure that out!)

  20. Comment by Heidi | 07.2.2013 | 1:28 pm

    I love reading how the teams pitch in to help each other out! Very cool.

  21. Comment by Lisa | 07.2.2013 | 2:09 pm

    I have to say…this epic saga has been very entertaining to read, but the comments today have made me laugh out loud…nicely done fatty followers.

  22. Comment by JL | 07.2.2013 | 2:36 pm

    This story is taking waaay too long to tell. I’m out.

  23. Comment by JL | 07.2.2013 | 2:36 pm

    No, not really…

  24. Comment by Corrine | 07.2.2013 | 2:37 pm

    Love the story. I want the final installment! Lisa, you are my biking hero. You are so strong and always so happy!

  25. Comment by DavisJason | 07.2.2013 | 2:45 pm

    Awesome riding & writing. Loving the race reports.

  26. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.2.2013 | 2:54 pm

    HEY DAVIS FATTIES!!!! and everyone else. Check out the photo stream photo from Livestrong Davis. http://www.flickr.com/photos/livestrongarmy/9118365841/in/photostream/lightbox/

    I hope next year we can all come together and remember the good fight.

  27. Comment by eclecticdeb | 07.2.2013 | 3:18 pm

    HA !!! PEDs (performance enhancing donuts) — CLASSIC.

    *snort* Yes, I really snorted, my coworkers were appalled.

  28. Comment by Wife#1 | 07.2.2013 | 4:08 pm

    @Rice… but more bikes always means MORE paupers! :-)

    “Please sir, can you spare a Stumpjumper or Ripley? My children have only road bikes.”

  29. Comment by Wife#1 | 07.2.2013 | 4:10 pm

    Oh oh – side note. I got the NICEST call ever today from the Livestrong team from Davis thanking us for our participation. What a class act those folks are, and talk about grace under fire! So happy to support the good work they do for so many fighting cancer!

  30. Comment by UpTheGrade SR,CA | 07.2.2013 | 4:42 pm

    When is The Hammer, Queen of the Mountains, going to turn Pro?
    I road 40 miles and 1500 ft at lunchtime today. (Yeah, I know, long lunch – don’t tell the boss). The temp was around 75°F with very light wind, and amazingly, almost all the lights were green. In other words, perfect conditions!
    I tried to match/beat the Hammer’s avg mph(OK maybe I’m a little competitive). I was NOT smiling at any point, mostly due to the gasping for air! I am no slouch on the bike and pushed hard the whole way – my avg speed 21.85 mph! Showed me how strong the Hammer truely is.
    Perhaps I needed some PEP – “Performance Enhancing Pizza”

  31. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.2.2013 | 10:04 pm

    “So now it’s up to the Heather”

    In light of this cliffhanger and Heather’s outstanding previous legs it seems time to christen her new title….The Doctor</b and her avatar:


  32. Comment by Bart | 07.4.2013 | 2:18 pm

    The Hammer is racing with her fingers on the breaks! Fatty, you are slowing her down with the van.

  33. Comment by Kevin (Green Gecko) | 07.6.2013 | 12:00 pm

    Thanks for not leaving our rider stranded! We appreciated the help! On a side note, the RV that blew a tire was not ours, and it didn’t have the right equipment on board to change the tire (Won’t make that mistake again). Within 15 minutes of Fatty leaving us a random guy pulled over and just happened to have everything we needed to change the tire. It’s not just your normal lug wrench. We tried to pay him for helping and he said something like, “It will be a sad world when a fellow stranger can’t help another just to help them out. I’m not taking your money”. I don’t believe it was chance he was there at that time. I believe we were very blessed to have that guy at that time be there to help out as well as Fatty. It made me want to be a better person.


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