A Note from Fatty About The Upcoming Spreecast: It’s canceled. So, um, never mind.
A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: This is part 4 of my 2013 Salt to Saint race report. Here’s where you can find previous installments:
The Hammer and I started the descent down the south side of Suncrest together. We weren’t going aggressively; this wasn’t the ride for that. Still, I gapped her. Whether it’s the ENVE deep-rim wheels or just my very aero belly, If the two of us are going down the same hill and neither of us is braking or pedaling, I will leave The Hammer behind.
Once I got to the bottom of the steep part, I looked over my shoulder.
She wasn’t there.
I coasted another fifteen seconds or so and looked over my shoulder.
Still not there.
I got concerned. Ordinarily she would be visible by now. Was she on the side of the road with another flat? And if so, what would I do? I had already gone through both the tubes I had brought.
I looked over my shoulder and smiled. There she was.
I feathered the brakes ’til The Hammer had nearly caught me, then spun up to match her pace as she pulled alongside me.
As a good husband, I had no intention of asking what had happened. To do that is to imply that she had taken too long, had gone too slow. So my plan was to say nothing and just ride together. If there was something remarkable to say, she’d say it.
Seriously, folks, that right there is a hard-earned piece of wisdom you can use in riding with your friends and family. Feel free to thank me for it now.
“I got stung by a bee up there!” The Hammer yelled.
She pointed at one of her legs — I can’t remember which one, because I’m not that good of a husband — on the inside, just above the knee.
“I already got the stinger out,” she said.
“How’s it feel?”
“Like I just got stung by a bee.”
“Do we need to stop at the aid station or a grocery store (we’d be passing one in just a minute) and get anything?” I asked.
“No, let’s keep going.”
Yep, that’s right. The Hammer got stung by a bee…and let it cost her a grand total of twenty seconds of race time.
That’s The Hammer for you, ladies and gentlemen.
Jake and Jason, Part III
With me asking, “Does that sting hurt?” like, every twenty seconds, and The Hammer replying, “Yes, but I’m fine, let’s keep going” every time, we approached the second transition area, where we had originally planned to hop off our road bikes and on to our Specialized Shivs, for the mostly-flat ride around Utah Lake, up Goshen Canyon, and into Nephi, where we’d get back on to our road bikes for a while.
As we neared the transition, we started looking for anything we recognized. A big white truck, for example. Or an army-green Honda Ridgeline. Or Nigel. Or Jilene.
Or none of the above.
They hadn’t caught up with us. As far as we knew, they could still be stranded in a parking lot in Salt Lake City.
“They know where we’re headed,” The Hammer said. “They’ll catch us when they catch us. Do you need anything right now anyway?”
“Nope, my pockets are still full of whatever Jilene stuffed into them at the beginning of the race,” I said. Which, right there, was an admission that I was already sewing a tiny little seed of my own long-distance destruction: I had been out riding for about two hours and had not eaten a thing (nor had I had anything to drink).
“Well, let’s coast for a minute and eat something, then we’ll pick up the pace again.”
I pulled out something wrapped in foil, unwrapped it, and took a bite: a homemade pizza roll The Hammer had made from a recipe in Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes.
That thing was delicious. So I pulled out another foil-wrapped package from my jersey pocket, unwrapped it, and ate that.
Blueberry turnover. Better than a Hostess (may it rest in peace) pie. Really.
“Baby, you have put a smorgasbord of awesome food in my jersey,” I said. “Eating during this race is going to be fantastic.”
About then, Jake and Jason — two of the guys who were also doing the Salt to Saint solo — rode up beside us.
“Why aren’t you about ten miles ahead of us?” asked The Hammer. It was not an unreasonable question, since when we had last seen them, they were riding away as we were stopping to change the first of two tubes.
“Oh, we just had a little lunch, got a little massage,” Jason (or Jake) replied.
And we fell into a paceline, going at the nice easy pace you’ll only find when four people know they will still be on their bikes the same time the next morning.
I would like to note that I picked out the primo spot for myself: right behind the 6′4″ Jake. Which reminds me: on behalf of all the short (5′7″) guys in the world, I’d like to thank all the big guys in the world who let us draft. You have no idea exactly how awesome that is, nor how little work we do when we are behind you. Seriously, I just stopped pedaling and coasted for a while.
“Hey, I’m happy to pull sometime,” I called out.
“Every little bit helps,” Jake replied.
The Cavalry Rides Over The Hilltop
The four of us rode along, talking, enjoying what was turning out to be a really fantastic day for riding — a mild headwind, temperatures in the “just right” range.
And then we saw it.
Coming toward us in my Ridgeline (Blake’s white truck was being towed to a mechanic) was Jilene, Nigel, Zac and Blake.
The Hammer and I cheered. Everyone in my truck cheered. Then they swung around, and told us they’d go forward a mile or so to get out our other bikes and stuff.
“I told you everything would work out all right,” I told The Hammer, though in reality I’m pretty sure she was the one who had told me that.
Support from a Unicorn
A mile or two later, we saw the Ridgeline, pulled over on the side of the road, with our Shivs ready to go.
But that’s not what caught our attention. This was:
This photo is a re-creation, since nobody thought to get a picture of it during the actual race.
Jilene had brought — among cowbells, hawaiian leis, and funny hats — a unicorn mask to wear as she was supporting us.
I was suddenly very bummed that we had missed most of what would have been hours of hilarious crewing antics. At the same time, though, I was glad that The Hammer and I have such great friends and family: people who are willing to support us as we do ridiculous races, and who we were able to confidently rely on to handle any problems that come their way.
All while being silly enough to wear a unicorn mask in broad daylight.
I pulled over, swapped onto my Shiv, asked Blake to please take care of getting new tubes and CO2 cans into the seat packs, and looked over at The Hammer. “You ready to go?”
“Yeah,” she said. “And I think it’s time for us to pick up the pace.”