Rebecca’s Private Idaho Ride Report, Part 2

09.4.2013 | 7:42 am

There are a lot of awesome things about being part of an race or ride (an argument can be made either way over which Rebecca’s Private Idaho is) before it gets huge. 

One of those things is the decidedly mellow vibe at the starting line in the center of town in Sun Valley, Idaho. There was no jockeying for a primo position in front. There were no call-ups. Just everyone gathering in, with Rebecca saying a few words.

RebeccasPrivateIdaho 4246

And then we were off. 

RebeccasPrivateIdaho 4294
Something’s wrong in this picture. Can you tell what it is? At this resolution, I’ll be you can’t. 

Unlike most events — including ones (the Rockwell Relay) where I was the main offender — the neutral start for the first  was actually neutral

Which meant that we got a chance to chat with other riders for the first six or seven miles, after which we’d hit the first KOM segment and the folks who wanted to show off their climbing chops would attack.

That first six-ish miles was maybe my favorite part of the ride.

I got a chance to talk for a couple minutes with Byron from BikeHugger. I talked with Vanessa Hauswald, who many of you will recognize from Singletrack High.

Then The Hammer and I came across Janeen, who most of you know as The Noodle. Janeen was wearing a FatCyclist kit, which matched the bright pink cyclocross bike she was riding.

And we caught up with Odessa Gunn, whom we would have happily ridden with for the whole rest of the day, because I don’t believe there is a single other person in the world who has more of the gift of gab. She told us the story of how she and another pro cyclist got into a hair-pulling on-bike fight in Idaho back in the day. She told us about her negotiation tactics when she recently found an old Scout she wanted to buy (she immediately began kissing it). She told us — as she easily rode alongside us — how she hadn’t been training. 

She commented, as we rode past Levi — who was peeing while riding at the edge of the road — “Well, that’s not rude.”

Wherein I Commence to Suffer

Then we hit the timing mat signifying the start of the first of two K/QOM segments in the ride, and conversation ceased. 

At least as far as I was concerned.

See, like a lot of Fondos, the RPI has some (two in this case) timed climbing segments. The man and woman with the fastest combined time on those segments would win a custom RPI cowboy hat.

And while I did not expect to win (I knew who I was up against), I was hoping to put in a good showing.

Unfortunately, when I went across the timing mat, I was pretty thoroughly boxed in. So I patiently waited for an opening to the left so I could start passing people. Meanwhile, the lead group disappeared up the road, with a second group pursuing them.

I finally got to a place where I could start passing people. And I did. A part of me wondered, “Is this bad tactics? Am I just being a volunteer domestique, giving a bunch of smarter people a free ride so they can swing around and fly past me two-thirds of the way up the climb?” 

“I’m no good at tactics anyway,” I answered myself. “If they can hang, they’re welcome to climb aboard the Fatty train.”

But nobody was hanging. And while I wasn’t catching the fastest group, I was definitely closing in on the second group, which was already fracturing.

I stood up, shifted two gears harder, accelerated, and opened my mouth as far as it goes. The more oxygen the better, you know.

And that’s when Levi rode by me, whistling a merry tune. La-de-da.

OK, I’m kidding about the whistling bit.

He looked over at me and cocked his head upward. Not a challenge. An invitation. I was welcome to grab his wheel as he went to bridge to the lead group.

RebeccasPrivateIdaho 4324
This photo was taken long after I was out of sight. However, you may be interested to note that the exact same thing is wrong in this photo as in the previous one.

“Go get ‘em, Levi,” I said. I know what I can do, and what I cannot. For example, I can drop most people on a climb. 

I cannot, on the other hand, hang with a breakaway group led by Levi Leipheimer and Burke Swindlehurst.

My objective was to sweep up the individual riders from the now-shattered second group. To be the first regular guy to the top of the KOM segment.

I did it. 4.1 miles. 1364 feet. In 26:03.

And I didn’t even barf at the top.

The Hammer and I Ride

There was an aid station at the top of the KOM segment, and I pulled over and filled my bottles, then smeared a glob of Nutella on a banana while I waited for The Hammer to arrive. Our plan was for us to ride together except for during the KOM segments, during which we’d each attack as hard as we could, then regroup.

While I waited, Rebecca pulled up, climbed off her bike, ran over and gave me a big hug. “It’s working!” she cried. 

It took me a minute to figure out what she meant. Then I got it.

She meant her ride — the whole event — was working. And she was right. Looking around, I could see it. Lots of smiles, lots of riders high-fiving Rebecca as they summited, with Rebecca cheering them on. 

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I don’t think I saw Rebecca without a big ol’ smile the whole day.

Rebecca had put a ton of effort — a ton of herself – into this event, and she was clearly ecstatic to see that people were enjoying themselves. To see that her dream was coming true.

Her enthusiasm caught on. You couldn’t help but smile and enjoy this day with such a happy, excited host.

The Hammer rode up — one of the first women to do so with a time of 31:08 (you won’t find her time on Strava; The Hammer’s taking a Stravacation) — and we headed out.

Into a washboard wonderland.

For the next several miles, we descended, sometimes going a little left, sometimes a little right, looking for a line that wasn’t quite as washboarded as the rest. 

Every minute or two, we’d ride by someone on the side of the road, repairing their — usually cross –tubes. Or walking: the folly of going tubular CX on this course now plenty evident.

Smugly, I looked at the big fat 2.2 tires The Hammer were using, with our suspension forks absorbing the washboards — at least sorta kinda anyway. 

“On paper this might be a dream course for CX bikes,” I thought, “But I’m really glad to be on a mountain bike.”

“Oh,” I appended to myself, “I’m extra-double-plus super glad I’m not on the Buffalo right now.”

We cruised along, sometimes taking turns pulling each other (we were riding against a moderate headwind), but more often just riding side-by-side, talking. We weren’t looking for a fast overall time. We were just looking for a nice, long supported ride in a new an interesting place.

Which is where we’ll pick up in tomorrow’s post.


  1. Comment by CWalter | 09.4.2013 | 8:04 am

    So… Levi has no race number? Is that the problem??

    Great write-up, as usual!

  2. Comment by CWalter | 09.4.2013 | 8:05 am

    Darn, just spotted it wrapped around his head-tube. Guess I’m wrong…

    Still a great read though!

    It’s there all right, but you know how thin modern timing chips are? They don’t take well to being folded or bent too severely…. – FC

  3. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.4.2013 | 9:02 am

    So, if Levi was No. 2 and Rebecca was No. 3, who earned the No. 1 tag?

    I mean, to have a higher number than Levi or Rebecca, he/she must have been someone really special, right?

  4. Comment by TK | 09.4.2013 | 9:09 am

    Either that is one really steep hill or Levi is stuck in the small chain ring.

  5. Comment by Christina | 09.4.2013 | 9:31 am

    People all over the world
    Join bikes
    Start a Fat Train
    Fatty Train

  6. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.4.2013 | 9:36 am

    @Christina! How could you?! Now I have that song stuck in my head! Argh…!

    I’m still rueing the loss of the buffalo bike post. It could’ve been a contender.

  7. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.4.2013 | 9:59 am

    Fatty. I can’t tell from the first picture, but are you missing your gloves already?

  8. Comment by Christina | 09.4.2013 | 10:00 am

    Sorry. It was what popped into my head. :)

    I have to admit, I was hooked on the Blue Train of the USPS back in the day, but that memory seems tainted now. I figured I’d replace it with a great song!

  9. Comment by owen | 09.4.2013 | 10:05 am

    wind shift and smoke rolling back in? disc brakes on
    cross bikes is wrong in some peoples eyes – not mine.

  10. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 09.4.2013 | 10:06 am

    I’m glad that Rebecca was having a good time…She deserves it…especially after her Leadville week.

  11. Comment by MarkinBoise | 09.4.2013 | 10:12 am

    Ok, next year I will pencil this ride in. Had to work this year, sure looks like a fun ride.

  12. Comment by MarkinBoise | 09.4.2013 | 10:12 am

    Ok, next year I will pencil this ride in. Had to work this year, sure looks like a fun ride.

  13. Comment by Micha O | 09.4.2013 | 10:14 am

    I like the 1984 reference!

  14. Comment by leroy | 09.4.2013 | 10:20 am

    My dog informs me that helmet straps over sunglasses are not wrong; they are “fashion forward.”

    But my dog also informs me he makes hairy legs look good.

    I’m so confused.

  15. Comment by Rolf | 09.4.2013 | 10:20 am

    Same thought as cyclingjimbo, who has #1? Also, Levi is sadly riding sponsor-less. Seems he has been penalized more than any other pro rider from the LA debacle.

  16. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.4.2013 | 10:26 am

    I can’t take it any more, misery loves company.

    In case the embedding does not work – here is the direct link!

  17. Comment by andy@wdw | 09.4.2013 | 10:46 am

    As far as what’s wrong with the pictures, I’m going to guess the fact that neither Fatty nor any mountain bikes are in them.

  18. Comment by Tom in Albany | 09.4.2013 | 11:03 am

    Mr. Fat C. Your watt output was only two lower than Levi’s! If you lost another 20 lbs, you could hand with him!!!

    I think that what is missing is pics of Fatty. I think I do see Mtn Bikes in the second.

    I also don’t see ANY Buffalo bikes…

  19. Comment by Matt | 09.4.2013 | 12:44 pm

    Fatty was #57, so he’s not #1. I don’t think there was a #1…is that the problme?

  20. Comment by Tim W | 09.4.2013 | 3:36 pm

    I think the #1 plate was for Rebeccas friend that she recently lost.

  21. Comment by UpTheGrade SR CA | 09.4.2013 | 4:41 pm

    Looking at the two pictures I observe:

    There are two riders common to both, Levi and Yellow-shirt but it’s hard to make Yellow out.
    There is smog in the air in both, is that wrong?
    Levi may not have shaved his legs and is therefore breaking the rules (
    All I see are CX bikes, not a Buffalo in sight, therefore all are wusses, and that’s just wrong
    Is Levi looking down at the start because he broke a cable and is stuck in his small ring?

  22. Comment by DNF | 09.4.2013 | 5:23 pm

    The thing that’s wrong in the two photos is that Mr Leipheimer is hiding the S*********d logo on his head tube with his plate number.

    (Which is not necessarily wrong in itself…)

  23. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.4.2013 | 5:31 pm

    @UpTheGrade SR Ca @Tom in Albany @MattC

    Next year a Team Fatty Buffalo Brigade, ’cause real Fatties ride Buffalos! That’s how we roll!
    Start breaking in your Brooks Saddle now, Or check out these beauties:


    @KattieBoling@FC Next year a WBR challenge fundraiser?
    Dollar goal and Fatty rides the bike (it’s worked before)
    Buy a bike for Africa, ride a bike in Idaho(I’d be in for that, and for some friends)

  24. Comment by Nic Grillo | 09.4.2013 | 5:37 pm

    Hate to break it to you Fatty, but you are not a regular guy. You happen to be a “beloved celebrity ultra-megastar hall-of-fame, social media, and lifetime-achievement award-winning cycling comedy blogging sensation.”

  25. Comment by beth | 09.4.2013 | 6:04 pm

    In the second photo, the person behind Levi has two different shoes on. But its hard to tell if that’s true in the first one because of positioning!

  26. Comment by UpTheGrade SR CA | 09.4.2013 | 6:06 pm

    @Davidh-marin,ca Those saddles are beautiful indeed, but its a bit ironic that they cost more than an entire Buffalo Bicycle. I think I’d just ride one unmodified just to show how good the bikes are as designed. Not that my non-bike riding spouse would approve of a bike ride trip to idaho in the first place.

    Which reminds me, I’ve ben meaning to ask Fatty and his blogosphere, what are good excuses I can use on the wifey, who is an unsympathetic non-cylist, for why I need to go on long rides almost every weekend, not to mention regularly during the week?

  27. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.4.2013 | 6:08 pm


    White Shoes after Labor Day?

    I think they were ok on that one…but not next week.

  28. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.4.2013 | 6:18 pm

    @UptheGrade SR Ca

    Yes I agree the saddles are not inexpensive, and beauty is too tame a word for how to describe them. They do cost as much as a Buffalo (bike) so if I show up with one, I promise KatieB a matching donation will be included.

    Now for your wife:
    Riding is a healthy activity, good for my heart, and will help me live a long time
    if that is unsuccessful try:
    Do you know how many people are killed on bicycles?

    One of these should work. Let’s just hope it’s the one you were BOTH thinking.

    Idaho 2014, post your schedule, we’ll do a rendition…I know people.

  29. Comment by The Gorilla In The Room | 09.4.2013 | 6:34 pm

    The only thing I can see common to those two photos is Levi and someone in a yellow jersey…and suspiciously long black socks. Now, where have I seen someone of that description riding behind Levi Leipheimer before…?

    Surely not. ;)

  30. Comment by Carl | 09.4.2013 | 8:51 pm

    Stravacation… there are medicines out there to help the Hammer get over this issue. We need her back!

  31. Comment by Noodle | 09.4.2013 | 10:38 pm

    The common thing in both pictures is that I have been dropped. Great to see both you guys! Very hopeful this event will catch on and ‘get swolled’, as the body builders say.

  32. Comment by AKChick | 09.4.2013 | 11:04 pm

    YAY! Leroy’s dog is back! I missed you! That is one smart dog.

  33. Comment by AKChick | 09.4.2013 | 11:47 pm

    Also, I LOVE my CX bike (no disc brakes though – big sad face). It is SO much fun to ride and has helped me develop a strong liking to steep hills since it climbs so well. I use it pretty much as a road bike. However, I have done one off-road ride on the Big Island to the Green Sand beach. With skinny tires (I run 700×28)and no suspension, it was a mighty uncomfortable ride and a tad bit scary (narrow handlebars, clipped in, more forward position), but it was a lot of fun. I never fell, so that was an accomplishment given how bumpy, uneven, rocky and at times the ride was. Given the choice, I would take my Gary Fisher Tassajara Hardtail OR even better, my 9:Zero:7 fat tire bike. Now that would have been a FUN and cushy ride!

  34. Comment by Rebecca | 09.5.2013 | 9:47 am

    Nice climbing Fatty. Anyone riding Trail Creek sub 30 minutes is no slouch. I did smile all day because of al of the other smiles that were happening. Despite a bit of smoke, washboards and flats, people genuinely seemed to be having a good time and that’s all I wanted.

    Regarding number plate #1, yes that was reserved for a good friend of mine who should have been on that start line with us. I rode with her number plate on the back side of mine so I could see it while I rode.

  35. Comment by DaveT | 09.5.2013 | 11:23 am

    Once again fatty every time you discribe one of these events I find myself added them to my bucket list. Hope to make next years. I agree with Rebecca you are on fire this year.

  36. Comment by Levi | 09.5.2013 | 11:36 am

    Yes, I put my number plate on wrong. I tried attaching it to the bars but my cables are too far back because I ride a long stem and the number was facing downward. I’ll have to get the engineers in Morgan Hill to come up with something. Unless someone here has a better idea? All that matters is that I beat Fatty up the hill so I don’t have to wear some ridiculous hat or eat a thousand donuts. I shiver at the thought of what he would have made me do had I l

  37. Comment by Levi | 09.5.2013 | 11:37 am

    Lost to him!!

  38. Comment by owen | 09.5.2013 | 12:05 pm

    I think a front basket with number plate attached to it is the only solution Levi. Plus you can fill it with donuts for Fatty. Looks like a great ride!

  39. Comment by Rebecca's Mom | 09.5.2013 | 12:17 pm

    Great race write-up, as always. Makes me feel as if I were there…not that I could ever dream of biking that many miles in the mountains. Thanks for bringing the event alive for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed Bec’s inaugural event.

  40. Comment by Christina | 09.5.2013 | 1:37 pm

    I’m kinda blown away that the blog comments, in addition to our usual band of merrymakers, includes Rebecca, Levi AND Rebecca’s mom! How cool is that?

  41. Comment by Jarral | 09.5.2013 | 2:26 pm

    Looks like a great day! What caused the flats? A few bumps?


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