Obsessing Over Leadville, Part 1: The Bike

08.6.2013 | 11:07 am

A Note from Fatty: Hey, this whole post is going to be about Leadville, so how about one more Leadville-related thing? If you’re going to be in Leadville for the Leadville 100 this Thursday, why don’t you come to this:


I’ll be there. The Hammer will be there. It’s a fantastic movie, and your donation will support the Leadville High School Mountain Biking Team. That’s awesome. So come see it with us.

You would think that, after having started the Leadville Trail 100 16 times (and completing it 15 times) that I would not be freaking out right this moment. That I would have this system down. That I would be having a normal day.

In that, you would be wrong. Because I am obsessing. I am fretting. I am having a remarkably difficult time thinking about anything but what begins this Saturday, at 6:30AM, and then continues for the next several hours.

Here’s what it’s like to be inside my head right now:

How ready am I? How’s my bike? What have I forgotten? Is it going to rain? Am I starting to get a cold? Do I have enough spare tubes? Am I going to start cramping partway through the race? What glasses should I wear? Why do I get so nervous before races? I wonder how fast I am in comparison to other singlespeeders this year. Should I start on the gels as I go up Columbine, or try to stay with real food? 

And it continues like this, nonstop. So I figure, rather than fight it, I’ll treat (ha) you to a few nuggets of what I’m doing to get ready for this race.

Oh, and at the bottom of this post, there’s a nice little surprise about what The Hammer is doing, too.

My Bike

I’ve written before about my Specialized Carbon 29er Singlespeed Stumpjumper (Which I call the “SSSS”). It’s the bike that I rode at the Leadville 100 last year. And it’s what I’m going to ride again this year.

But with some modifications. First, check out the whole thing, in all its glory:

IMG 7086

It’s the same frame, still with the Shimano XTR cranks and brakes. Still with the Time ATAC pedals. Still with the Banjo Brothers seat bag, which holds a tube, two CO2 canisters and an adapter, and a tire lever. Still with the Arundel Mandible bottle cages.

Instead of the 34 x 20 gearing I ran last year, I’ve switched to 34 x 19. One notch taller of a gear, in celebration of the fact that I feel like I’m lighter and stronger than last year. Mistake? Time will tell. 

But a few other things have changed. 

IMG 7090

First of all, check out those sexy ENVE TWENTY9 XC wheels, set up tubeless with Chris King hubs. Yum. I’m running them tubeless with Specialized Fast Trak S-Works 2.2 tires, both front and back. 21psi. Yep, just 21. You don’t need any more than that.

IMG 7092

I’ve also swapped out to an ENVE 740mm Sweep Bar and an ENVE 100mm Stem. The super-wide bar is awesome for extra leverage when I’m rowing my bike up a climb.

IMG 7091  Version 2

And last but certainly not least, I’ve moved from a rigid fork to a RockShox SID XX World Cup suspension fork with a PushLoc Remote. My wrists simply couldn’t take the pounding of the rigid fork on descents anymore, and with the PushLoc remote, I can still lock the suspension for efficient climbing. 

And in short, this is about as nice a bike as a singlespeeder could ever want. And much nicer than I actually deserve.

And I frequently just go outside to stare at it for a while. 

The Hammer’s Bike

But hey, what about The Hammer? What’s she riding? 

She’s riding this:

IMG 7082

Yep, The Hammer’s also riding a Specialized Carbon 29er Stumpjumper Singlespeed. At Leadville.

Allow me to repeat: The Hammer is racing Leadville on a singlespeed.

She’ll be rolling 34 x 22, with SRAM XX1 cranks, Stan’s ZTR Race Gold 29er wheels, a Bar Fly 2.0 GPS mount, and pretty much everything else the same as what I’m riding.

Except for the purple carnation she has mounted on the handlebar. I don’t have one of those (and I’m really hoping I won’t need a different flower after the race).

To be honest, I’d say about 68% of the Leadville-oriented obsessing I’m doing right now has to do with The Hammer’s race. Not many women singlespeed this event, so I’m proud, excited, and anxious to find out how she does.

PS: Tomorrow, I will continue with my Leadville obsessing, detailing my time objectives, splits, distances of key parts of the race, and the three sections of the course I always hope to just survive (they’re not the ones you’d expect).


  1. Comment by Rumpled/Jim | 08.6.2013 | 11:20 am

    No carbon wheels or lockout remote for the Hammer?
    Good luck to the both of you! And everyone else doing Leadville!

    The Hammer’s wheels are lighter than mine, and our forks — including lockout remote — are identical. – FC

  2. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 08.6.2013 | 11:28 am

    Good luck to you both!!! I know you will have a fantastic time!!!

  3. Comment by Kit Cischke | 08.6.2013 | 11:32 am

    I hate to add to your worrying, but you’re going to run S-Works tires for a 100-miler? That thought terrifies me (and I loves me some Specialized tires).

    So hey, thanks for the jinx. – FC

  4. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 08.6.2013 | 11:42 am

    Oh, to be “lighter and stronger”. But those days are past, like ‘younger’ too.

    Now where did I leave my ‘triple’?

  5. Comment by John in Seattle | 08.6.2013 | 11:52 am

    so, call me a newb, but what is the advantage to lower tire pressure? I know on roadies the higher the tire pressure, the lower the rolling resistance the faster the ride… barring puncture concerns, what is the bennifit to lower PSI tires? thanks for the info! super awesome bike Fatty!

  6. Comment by MtlDan | 08.6.2013 | 12:01 pm

    I was getting cramps all spring, then after I read your post about pickle juice I started eating a pickle with every meal (including breakfast) to see if I could prevent them. It seems to work.

  7. Comment by rikard | 08.6.2013 | 12:28 pm

    Better grip and comfort. And fyi, higher pressure does not equal lower rolling resistance on roads. On track, yes but on road you lose more energy by lifting the bike than letting the road indent the tire due to lower pressure.

  8. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 08.6.2013 | 12:32 pm

    Fatty if you are freaking out then I should be absolutely about ready to pass…..ou….t…

  9. Comment by John in Seattle | 08.6.2013 | 12:40 pm

    @rikard… “Lifting the bike”?

    sorry, I dont understand. you can directmessage me on twitter @johnjuge to keep Fatty’s comment section on point. :) thanks!

  10. Comment by Mendrick | 08.6.2013 | 12:45 pm

    Curious… What made The Hammer want to try it single speed? I think her time is going to be amazing. Tough chicky!

  11. Comment by Pari | 08.6.2013 | 1:07 pm

    Why oh why do you love Singlespeed so much? Did you ever write about that on your blog? For me (non-SS user) it seems too much of a compromise…yes, you are different than most that way, and I can understand that it can be a great training choice, but to give up gears for the race is kinda radical…anyway, best of luck on Saturday!

  12. Comment by Corrine | 08.6.2013 | 1:11 pm

    Glad to see you fast guys obsess almost as much as us slow guys. I just want to be able to finish Leadville in under 12 hours. Will my stomach revolt as it normally does in endurance events? Can I make it down Powerline intact? Will I make the cut offs? Will it be too cold? Will it be too hot? Will it rain? Can I deal with the elevation? Everybody around me looks faster and fitter than me!! Oh well, it will be what it will be and I can’t wait for Saturday and 12 hours of suffering. Hope to meet you and The Hammer in Leadville.

  13. Comment by Tiffany R | 08.6.2013 | 1:21 pm

    I cannot wait to read the race reports!

  14. Comment by John | 08.6.2013 | 1:35 pm

    Curious on the 21 psi… whenever I go below ~25 psi it starts getting squishy rounding tight corners on me. I run Racing Ralfs on Stans 29r rims and I weigh 145. You ever blow a tubless tire off a rim before?

  15. Comment by Shawn | 08.6.2013 | 1:46 pm

    Go Get em! love those wide bars…pays off huge on the SS. Stick with your plan and don’t worry about your set-up…it looks simple, fast…perfect.

  16. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 08.6.2013 | 1:51 pm

    I think after Saturday The Hammer may have a new theme song:
    (just substitute bicycle racing for marksmanship)

  17. Comment by DNF | 08.6.2013 | 2:18 pm

    Nice bikes!

    I am curious: what sizes for what heights?? (if it’s not too personal, of course.)

    I am asking this question because I am 5′8″ and I want to buy a 29er but I am not sure what size it should be. Some say 15′, some say 17′…

    Many thanks.

    We’re both 5′7″ and riding the 17″ version of the bike. And if you look at the pics it’s not like no seatpost is sticking out. If you’re 5′8″ I’d say you should go w/ the 17″. – FC

  18. Comment by ScottR | 08.6.2013 | 2:21 pm

    Nice wheel ‘adult content’ there – you need a NSFW warning on posts like this :-)

  19. Comment by Carl | 08.6.2013 | 2:26 pm

    What I don’t get, if you are the lightest and strongest you’ve ever been and at your PFE, why not ride a geared bike and set a PR that will be your legacy!?

    Because I like riding my SS. – FC

  20. Comment by rich | 08.6.2013 | 2:55 pm

    Fatty, if it’s any help, I’ve been running the Specialized Fast Trak 2.2 as my rear tire tubeless on the SS for over a year now and LOVE IT.
    And I’m uh…”considerably” heavier than you are…

  21. Comment by Matt | 08.6.2013 | 5:09 pm

    I’m not sure ill be able to read tomorrow’s post. I’m already freaking out about all the variables and uncontrolables and now you’re going to add new ones I haven’t even thought up! But, your mileage markers have always been a huge help, especially 3.3 miles from the gate to the peak of powerline.

  22. Comment by TJinCT | 08.6.2013 | 5:12 pm

    Preriding Columbine the other day for the 1st time, and (normally) a devoted singlespeeder (riding gears in my 1st attempt here) I got to wondering what gear Fatty is using. Thanks for sharing such critical secret info…maybe next year ill give it a try.Best of luck to you and the Hammer!

  23. Comment by Carl | 08.6.2013 | 6:34 pm

    “And I frequently just go outside to stare at it for a while”… love that. Only us bike geeks could understand.

  24. Comment by DNF | 08.6.2013 | 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the answer to my question, Mr Fatcyclist.

    Great Leadville to you and your wife!

  25. Comment by Austin McInerny | 08.6.2013 | 8:24 pm

    Thanks for plugging Singletrack High! I look forward to seeing you and the Hammer Thursday evening! Cheers and rest up as you are going to rock the race! Austin

  26. Comment by VA Biker | 08.6.2013 | 9:06 pm

    Hi Elden, I’ve been meaning to ask for a while: Why no more hyperlinked, zoomable photos? Is it just my browser (Google Chrome)? Reminded when I tried to click on Lisa’s bike to get a better look.

    Regardless, best of luck to you both!

    It’s not your browser; it’s because I’ve switched to MarsEdit, which is a fantastic editor for blogging in all respects…except this one. My old editor — Ecto — did the linked larger photos automatically. MarsEdit doesn’t have the capability. I gotta figure it out though; for pictures like this I agree that it would be really nice to be able to get a close-up look. – FC

  27. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 08.6.2013 | 10:05 pm


    I believe Fatty is working on his Legacy. Refer to his comments from 2012:

    I looked and saw that, out of the 34 singlespeeders, I had placed . . . first.

    I checked again. Yes, it certainly looked like I had just won the singlespeed division at the Leadville 100.

    As for Lisa (cue music) Sub9 Hammer Time parachute pants optional.

  28. Comment by Aaron | 08.6.2013 | 10:54 pm

    Hmmm….the Quad-S!! Sounds sexy.

  29. Comment by Jeremy | 08.7.2013 | 12:49 am

    Good luck, both of you. Lisa is definitely strong enough to wield that single speed and dominate.

  30. Comment by Vanessa | 08.7.2013 | 1:57 am

    The bike looks great fatty, I am more of a road rider myself but I would like to try this type of biking out.

  31. Comment by Nancy_in_MN | 08.7.2013 | 8:33 am

    I just want to know which leg will carry the Honey Stinger gels tucked in the shorts and which one will carry the Action Wipes. Actually, I want to know many other things, but perhaps another time…

    Super excited for your rides and reports!

    And I’ve no doubt that you are both superbly prepared both physically and mechanically.

  32. Comment by Nancy_in_MN | 08.7.2013 | 8:38 am

    Make that “You are EACH superbly prepared both physically and mechanically.”

    Sometimes things just don’t sound right when you read them aloud – duh!

  33. Comment by owen | 08.7.2013 | 8:54 am

    let me guess the 3 areas you are most stressed about for the race – the start for obvious reasons and the outbound and inbound paved flat road sections of the course that are a single speeders worst nightmare – can’t really draft and can’t make up time. You know you will crush the climbs that most worry about and with that fork the descents will be cake (or pie if you prefer). Did it SS last year – much slower than you. Good luck to you both!!

  34. Comment by Derek | 08.9.2013 | 11:36 am

    Your bikes are way too clean…

  35. Comment by J | 08.9.2013 | 8:46 pm

    Been rocking that RF ring for a while. It’s a lovely made ring that works great!


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