Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 11: The Finish Line

07.3.2013 | 8:36 am

A Note from Fatty About Today’s Story: This is the final part of an eleven-part race report. If you’re just jumping in now, you may want to start from the beginning. Here are links for parts onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine, and ten.

We were almost done. 

We had — since eight in the morning the previous day — raced 470 miles. Now it was 11am, already ninety degrees out, and we had a scant ten minute lead on our nearest competition. Heather now had a five-mile, 700-foot climb, followed by a rolling downhill to the finish line in St. George.


We were feeling confident.

See, Heather is one of those odd people who seems to get stronger and stronger, the longer she races. And she was back on home turf, riding toward roads she knows.

And — perhaps above all — she knew that once she finished, we could all go back to Heather and Kenny’s home and get a shower. And then sleep the afternoon away before the awards ceremony.

Never in the history of the world has their been such a good incentive to ride fast.

The Wind and the Gecko

Heather’s first leg of this race had been brutal. Between the heat and the mechanical issues and the wind — more than anything, the wind — Heather had to dig pretty deep to stay above 15mph…and that’s when she was going downhill.

And now the wind was back. But this time, it was at Heather’s back. And she was in a riding / racing groove. And her bike had ceased playing pranks on her.

And to cap it all off, about the time she summited the five-mile climb, the rider from Team Green Gecko 1 caught up with her, and — true to his word — made himself Heather’s domestique, taking long pulls and making incredibly fast time toward St. George.

Naturally, Heather took turns pulling as well, but — at roughly one-quarter the Green Gecko rider’s size — Heather didn’t give him much of a draft.

With the two of them riding together, it was incredibly easy for us to support both Heather and Team Green Gecko 1. Though to be honest, they didn’t require much, just zooming along.

At the rate they’d be going, this would be a sub-two-hour ride.

Big Finish

We made our last support stop in Veyo, foolishly neglecting to stop at the famous (yes it is actually famous) Veyo Pie Shop to score some pie. 

Yes, we were too tired for pie. Try to wrap your mind around that.

After that, it was a quick drive to St. George, where we parked the van at the finish line, got our bikes out, and started retracing the race route to where we figured we’d wait for Heather and the Green Gecko racer.

We didn’t have to wait long.

In fact, we didn’t have to wait at all

They had gone so fast that Heather and the Green Gecko racer were very nearly to the finish line when we caught up with them. We pulled a U-turn, let the Green Gecko guy go on ahead. It would be more important to his team to get a higher overall; we were just after the coed win.

Heather and the Gecko rider, together, had just put together an outrageously fast final leg: Heather’s time was 1:47 for this 39-mile ride. To put this in perspective, in 2011, she did this same leg in 2:30; in 2012 she did it in 2:24. 

And then we were across.


Twenty eight hours, forty one minutes. And no seconds. Our fastest racing of the Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George, by more than an hour (our previous best was in 2011, with 29:53:30).

Of course, there were team photos galore, but first we wanted to get a shot with the racer from Team Gecko, who had been with us for the last 1.5 stages of the race. 


It’s amazing, really, how every year there’s a team or two we wind up racing against, and becoming friends with. This year, definitely, it was Team Lifetime’s Beauty and the Beasts (who had a finishing time of 29:12:45):


And Team Green Gecko, all of whom eventually did make it to the finish line:


This had been the absolutely most intense, exciting, dramatic, and fun race experience of my life — as demonstrated by the fact that I’ve pretty much written a book about it.


We sat in the shade for a few minutes, relishing the feeling of laziness. Of not having to ride, or drive, or support, or anything


Then we agreed that we had been outside enough for one day (or is that two days?). We went back to Kenny and Heather’s house, showered, and crashed. Then woke up in time to head back to the park for the award ceremony:


We each got the awesome finishers’ rings, along with cool Rockwell watches, and The Hammer got a set of JayBird BlueBuds X — awesome Bluetooth headphones, which I am way overdue to write a review about.

Then, strangely, Kenny won two more Rockwell Watches during the raffle, so now — including his watches from previous Rockwell Relay races — he has a Rockwell watch for every day of the week.


Kenny, Heather, The Hammer and I went to dinner somewhere; I don’t even remember where. We were all just barely coherent. But I do remember we talked about everything that had happened during the past couple days, and how we definitely would be back to race again next year.

“You know that someone, at some point, is going to completely kick our butts at this race, right?” The Hammer asked. 

Yeah, we all acknowledged. We knew. Especially with the big ol’ Braggy McLoudmouth stories I write about our race every year. That’s just the way it goes.

Which gave me an idea for a decal we could make to put on the team van.


We’ll be back next year. Kenny will be 50; I’ll be 48. Heather will be 45, and The Hammer will be 46. Team Fatty is starting to sound kinda like a Master’s Coed team, if you ask me.

But we do not intend to give up our dynasty without a fight.


  1. Comment by JKC | 07.3.2013 | 8:46 am

    Nice job, amazing final leg by Heather! A little competition definitely didn’t hurt this team!

  2. Comment by Daniel Weise | 07.3.2013 | 8:48 am

    Quite the epic race and an epic race report! Well done to all of Team Fatty! Can’t wait to hear about next year’s defense of the title. BTW, love the new decal idea!!!

  3. Comment by Brian in VA | 07.3.2013 | 8:53 am

    “Too tired for pie.” What are these strange words coming out of your fingers?????

    Congrats to Team Fatty on a great race, again, and to Heather for rocking that last section!

    An epic race report indeed. Well done!

    I love the new decal but I especially like the license plate!

  4. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 07.3.2013 | 9:12 am

    Excellent report, Fatty, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Eleven parts was not too long at all for such a significant event.

  5. Comment by tommy91 | 07.3.2013 | 9:32 am

    …now lets go ride!!

  6. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.3.2013 | 9:35 am

    WAAAAAAHHHHHH! Now what am I going to do?

    Oh! Look what I found: 20 pies for Summer from the New York Times

    Fatty, Queen Hammer, The Doctor and Mr. Toad. I just want to say congratulations and thank you for a riveting race and story. The fact that it’s ending(it is ending isn’t it?) is going to leave a big empty space in my morning schedule.(I hope you have something planned to fill that time Elden) You have certainly made this a race I would like to do, If there’s anAncients Division I might be able to rustle up some competitors (SteveB how old are you, and have you been to Utah?)

    Lastly Fatty (well lastly for now) thank you for ending this on a Wednesday. Trying to comment in free verse is just makes me want to howl.
    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
    dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

    You get the idea. Again GREAT JOB and STORY!!!!!!

  7. Comment by Christina | 07.3.2013 | 9:50 am


    Can you print this off and staple it together and I’ll pay $10 for it? It doesn’t even need to be to charity…you could spend it on hookers and blow for all I care.

    Well done! Racing and writing! Fantastic!

  8. Comment by Rumpled/Jim | 07.3.2013 | 9:50 am

    Great report, though it seems you got a little shortwinded towards the end. And you didn’t mention at all your placing! I hadn’t looked it up before and just now did.
    Coed winners and 13th overall! Just over 3 hours behind the winners.

  9. Comment by Rose | 07.3.2013 | 10:00 am

    Not enough drama and suspense at the end! Except for the part about the pie, I suppose.

    But, thank you for finishing the series before I left for my camping trip. Now I won’t have to search for cell service.

  10. Comment by mike | 07.3.2013 | 10:05 am

    Great report, Been waiting every morning for the next installment…guess now i have to go back to work!

  11. Comment by DavisJason | 07.3.2013 | 10:13 am

    Loved this series of race reports but “too tired for pie”? Still trying to wrap my head around that.

  12. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 07.3.2013 | 10:18 am

    Epic race and epic story ! I started reading this race report back home in Australia last week and read ths last piece on holidays in Thailand. Loved every installment !

  13. Comment by SteveB | 07.3.2013 | 10:21 am


    @davidh – If I raced it would be 55+, but I don’t race.
    Alternatively ‘not dead yet’.

  14. Comment by SteveB | 07.3.2013 | 10:25 am

    and @davidh – its on my bucket list.

  15. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.3.2013 | 10:55 am

    Great write up–all ten episodes–but I’m still a bit stuck on the fact that you skipped pie. Seriously?

  16. Comment by Katie | 07.3.2013 | 11:01 am

    I’m so sad to see this story come to an end. Thanks, Fatty, for the awesome race report.

    I, too, am shocked at the “too tired for pie” statement, but I can only imagine the level of exhaustion at play here.

  17. Comment by Jeff Bike | 07.3.2013 | 11:06 am

    “too tired for pie”? POOF! My mind is blown!

    Congratulations to all 4 of Team Fatty! Well done.

  18. Comment by rich | 07.3.2013 | 11:23 am

    I’m sad it’s over…..good thing tomorrow is a holiday otherwise I’d be forced to actually do work before I finished my morning coffee at the office.
    I might have to try to roust up a team for this one…I have several friends that I need to visit in UT.
    Great job everyone…you guys kicked azz!

  19. Comment by ericsevy | 07.3.2013 | 12:00 pm

    Great write up, great storytelling, great ride… And just in time for Rockwell 2014
    Loved it, hope the race fits into my schedule again next year

  20. Comment by MattC | 07.3.2013 | 12:01 pm

    ACK! “too tired for pie”…I just spit out my cookies and coffee!!! What madness is THIS??? Please tell me you are kidding…I can’t recall ever being too tired for pie. E.V.E.R.

    OK…back to my cookies and coffee (nilla wafers)…well, after I clean up my keyboard…

    GREAT writeup Fatty! But I’m w/ Davidh (and most everybody else)…what am I to do with my spare time now?? Guess I’ll have time after-all for some Yoda-Verse Friday thoughts….(today is kind’a like Friday, isn’t it?)

  21. Comment by Mellabella | 07.3.2013 | 1:02 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this race report!! Thanks

  22. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.3.2013 | 2:01 pm

    Just three things:
    1. Congrats!!!! What a great finish! This race seemed to just go great for you.
    2. Old??? Next year I will be 60. I remember how great it felt to be Kenny’s age.
    3. I think “too tired for pie” is going to be my new favorite hyperbole about exhaustion.

    No, 4 things:
    4. Happy Independence Day, Fatties – be thankful for the great blessings & freedom of your country if you are from the U.S.; be thankful for your own country if you are not; have some pie & beer this weekend no matter where you are from.

  23. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.3.2013 | 3:17 pm

    @ Clydesteve You’re just the kinda of person I’m looking for! No, to join the TEAM!

    Mark your calendar for 2014. Now to find a couple of other 60 year olds who have up to date Insurance policies and we’re all set.

    I’m open for name suggestions but how ’bout The Committable’s

    or PieSTRONG

  24. Comment by Shugg | 07.3.2013 | 3:51 pm

    Thanks Fatty. Great story. Your racing wasn’t bad either – the average speeds were mind boggling.

  25. Comment by Doug (way upstate NY) | 07.3.2013 | 6:43 pm

    So what happened to Team 91???????

  26. Comment by roan | 07.3.2013 | 7:37 pm

    Very nice reporting, cliffhangers and all. For some weird feeling the 4th of July seems like it came a day early. At least for the readers, who all sorta knew the finish. Maybe tomorrow with each star burst I’ll think of a leg of this race, truly an American classic. Now I can with a clear conscience go to the race website.
    BTW, Fatty…though the Mayan calendar ended in 2012, you can not stop your age i.e. 48 in 2012, 2013 & 2014 !

  27. Comment by Heidi | 07.3.2013 | 7:43 pm

    And they lived happily ever after… Oh, I just love good endings to stories!

  28. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.3.2013 | 9:44 pm

    @David-marin,ca I might just be willing to go for that! I will be at Levis Gran Fondo this fall – you?

  29. Comment by AKChick55 | 07.3.2013 | 9:45 pm

    Boo! I hate it when the installment race reports end. :( So sad. So excited for you four. What an amazing experience. I wish I could afford to enter and purchase airfare to enter. Maybe someday…of course, I’d need to find three other crazy people to ride with who are as slow as me. :)

    Happy Independence Day everyone!

  30. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.3.2013 | 9:46 pm

    I like PieStrong, BTW, or ChocolateChipCookieStrong

  31. Comment by KevinM_IND | 07.4.2013 | 11:21 am

    Great story as always Fatty ….. Congrats to all!

  32. Comment by Wife#1 | 07.4.2013 | 11:37 am

    LOVE the decal idea for the back of the van. What a great story this has been, you cliff hanging maniac. I have noted that your enthusiam for the event is infectious and I see my husband is now hooked on trying to put together Rockwell Relay team for next year. If they do this, TwinSix will need to make them the t-shirts I want for myself: “I may be old but at I’m slow”.

    Pssst… I like the team name PieStrong also.

    That said, I’ll be at home with the kids and multitude of pets. I think we’re going to try to do RAGBRAI as a family next year, so I’ll save myself for that. Hopefully with LiveSTRONG if we can pull it off.

    Hey did Tour de Donut already happen and I missed the report? Or is this an off year?

  33. Comment by Wife#1 | 07.4.2013 | 11:39 am

    sigh… Fatty I would PAY toward your blog each month if you would enable comment self-editing! And think how many fewer comments you’d have from David. :-)

    T-shirt I want from TwinSix should read” “I may be old but at least I’m slow”.

    As you were. HAPPY 4TH FATTIES!

  34. Comment by Diane | 07.4.2013 | 4:04 pm

    @ Davidh & Clydesteve

    So, apparently I’m not old enough for Team PieSTRONG, and I’m probably not fast enough either, but after reading the amazing epic of Fatty’s 2013 Rockwell Relay, I have not stopped thinking about what a life-changing experience this race would be.

    If you find team PieSTRONG in need of a member, while I’m not near 60, I do have up to date insurance.

  35. Comment by Diane | 07.4.2013 | 4:57 pm

    Happy 4th of July!

    Thanks Elden for the great race report and congrats Team Fatty on the awesome race.

  36. Comment by Debi | 07.4.2013 | 5:55 pm

    You folks ought to enter RAAM as a team!

  37. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 07.4.2013 | 8:24 pm

    @Diane As a modern woman you are aware it’s still ok to Lie about your age.
    So what if you’re lying about being older, Elden tries to convince all of us he’s FAT! Hah!

  38. Comment by Jenni | 07.5.2013 | 8:07 am

    Too tired for pie?!

    Who ARE you people?! I can’t even look at you right now.

    The new decal is UH-MAZ-ING. You have to do it.

  39. Comment by KenKoz | 07.8.2013 | 4:37 am

    @Davidh – Not 60 yet, but closing in (57 next year). Would love to attempt the Relay next year. Of course, I’d have to start training immediately :)

  40. Comment by Tom in Albany | 07.9.2013 | 10:50 am

    Wow!!! I finished the read when I returned from my camping trip. Fatty, I take back all of my whining about the race report’s length. It was worth every bit! So happy for Team Fatty and their successful defense and ThreePeat! (Sorry Phil Jackson – in case you really do have a copyright on that expression.)

    Also, and most hugely, chapeau to your team for taking on an ‘extra rider’ leading up to the last leg and to the excellent teamwork between you all.

    If I were Kenny, I’m not sure I’d have agreed to pull someone up a big mountain and expect to get it back on the downside. 60 mph!?! Wow!!!


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