Life as a Domestique: 2013 Salt to Saint Race Report, Part V

09.27.2013 | 10:19 am

A Note from Fatty: This is Part V of the Salt to Saint Race Report. You can (and should) read previous installments first. You can find them here:

Technically, it’s possible to be geekier than The Hammer and I were being. For example, neither of us were wearing our time trial helmets. Nor were we wearing skin suits (though we did have them in our respective clothing bags, just in case).

That said, we were on Specialized Shivs — outfitted nearly identically with Shimano Dura Ace C50 wheels  and Shimano Di2 Ultegra drivetrains. The Hammer was riding no more than three inches behind me.

So yeah. We were kinda geeky.

And also: we were hauling ass.

Reunited with our crew (and all our stuff), as well as the switchover to our TT bikes just in time to begin a seventy-mile flat section, The Hammer and I were ready to put all the strangeness of the first couple hours of this race behind us and go.

The section going from the west side of Utah Lake to Nephi is maybe the flattest, straightest fifty miles of the Salt to Saint race.


We wanted to take advantage of it. With The Hammer in tow, I got nice and low on my aero bars, moved forward on my saddle, and inched my speed up to around 23mph. I was still in my “go all day” zone, but only because we were nice and low on our Shivs.

Jake and Jason, Part IV

The Hammer and I started reeling in all the people who had left us behind during our first couple of troubled hours of the race. We’d say “Hi” or “Good luck” as we went by, but we didn’t really care about whether we were faster than they were, or whether they were faster than us. They weren’t our competition.

Then we caught up with Jake and Jason, the two guys we’d briefly ridden with at three other points in the race.

“Back in the saddle again?” asked Jake.

“Hey, nice bikes,” said Jason.

“Hop on the train!” I yelled over my shoulder. It was time to repay their generosity of earlier in the race.

Three minutes (or so) later, I yelled back over my shoulder, “Are we all together?”

“They never latched on,” The Hammer yelled back.

“Oh. Ugh. Well, they’ll catch and pass us later, I guess,” I said. “But for now, you know what?”


“We are the lead solo riders in the 2013 Salt to Saint.”


There’s nothing like the blur of a front wheel and a white line perpetually sliding by to hypnotize you. I disappeared into my own thoughts, my mind quiet, my legs doing what I’ve trained them to do for the past twenty or so years. The Hammer rode close behind me, just like we had planned. It was my job to get her to the second half of the race feeling like she could do another 200 miles.

And I was loving my job.

I thought a little bit about how sometimes, when I watch big races like the Tour de France, I feel bad for the domestiques — the guys who have the job of protecting and taking care of their race leader. I think, “It must suck for them, to have the job of helping someone else win.”

But while riding the Salt to Saint, with my primary objective being to ensure that The Hammer be the first woman to ever solo that 423 race, I finally understood: being a domestique is wonderful. You’re taking care of someone you care about; you’re an integral and necessary part of the win. Being a domestique in a true team, I realized, is something to take an enormous amount of pride in.

We rolled along, enjoying the speed, the cool day, the mild-to-nonexistent wind. Scott and Kerry, The Hammer’s two brothers, had taken over crewing duties and were making sure we had everything we needed. Which, more often than not, was either a Red Bull or a Coke. The Hammer and I are officially addicted.

Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Everything was going perfectly.

And then tragedy struck.

OK, maybe calling this a “tragedy” is overstating my case, though only by a little. I’ll tell you what happened, and then you can decide how bad it was:

The song, “Tweeter and The Monkey Man” by The Traveling Wilburys got stuck in my head.

And it would remain there for the next twenty hours, with the occasional substitution of “The Wilbury Twist.”

Yes, I own both of the Traveling Wilbury albums. Yes, I like both of them. But I haven’t listened to either of them in at least two years. So what were they doing there, replaying over and over in my mind? Maybe they just happened to match my cadence or breathing or something.

May I Take Your Order?

We got to and through Elberta, then into Goshen Canyon — one of the most scenic parts of the early section of the race. We were headed toward Nephi, which was important because we’d have completed the first 100 miles of the race. A quarter done! That’s significant, and I planned to announce it with great fanfare. Which is to say, I intended to say, “Hey we just hit 100 miles!”

But that was still more than an hour away. Right now I just took a Coke from our crew.

The Hammer, on the other hand, had more complicated instructions.

“We want you to drive ahead now to the Wendy’s in Nephi,” she said. “We’ll meet you there. Have our road bikes off and ready to go with a full bottle in each of them.”

Scott and Kerry said they’d take care of it.

“But more importantly,” The Hammer said, “I want you to go to Wendy’s and get me a four-piece chicken nuggets and a small vanilla Frosty.”

I started laughing. The idea of eating fast food in the middle of a race sounded completely ridiculous.

But about five minutes later — after Scott and Kerry had taken off ahead of us — I started thinking, Hm. That actually sounds really good.

“Honey?” I asked, “Can I have a bite or two of the Frosty?”

The Hammer rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I ordered knowing you’d want half.”

I tell you what. It’s nice to be known so well.

We continued on. Up the Goshen Canyon climb, and then across the rolling farmland. Making what felt like fantastic time to Nephi.

And we did, in fact, make fantastic time. In fact, we averaged 19.4mph for that 50+ mile segment.

We pulled up to the gas station / Wendy’s, knowing we had earned our first 10 minute break: a chance to use the bathroom, stretch our backs, and share some chicken nuggets and a frosty.

Then we got back on our road bikes, thinking we were ready for the next section of the race.

But there was no way we could have been ready for the disaster-after-disaster sequence of events that was about to begin.

And that’s where we’ll pick up on Monday.


  1. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.27.2013 | 10:29 am

    I am not sure I can wait for the whole weekend for the next installment.

    It was nice to read that you were able to get into a rhythm and make up some time, at least for this leg, and now you’ll have us wondering what peril awaits all weekend.

  2. Comment by Marty | 09.27.2013 | 10:37 am

    I agree with cyclingjimbo–I can’t wait a whole weekend. If you’re gonna insist on writing cliff hangers, you’re gonna have to post updates on the weekend, too. That, or I’m gonna make the 20-hour drive to Alpine and hear the tale in one installment. Heh Heh. Have a great weekend.

  3. Comment by Kelly | 09.27.2013 | 10:43 am

    How about a Saturday installment? That sounds good to me!

    I need a break. – FC

  4. Comment by Clydesdave | 09.27.2013 | 10:46 am

    I have to wait till Monday!!!? now my weekend is shot…thanks for the incredibly detailed play by play – I love it!

  5. Comment by GregC | 09.27.2013 | 10:49 am

    what no music, especially during an extremely long ride/ race? (but I’m going to have to try the red bull thing one of these days).

    Also your pretty brave sending your support crew 20 miles up the road, leaving yourselves unsupported (excpeically due to your recent rash of on-road tire mechanicls lately)- your rolling the dice!! This suspense is killing me!

    The Hammer rode with music. In the last year or so, I’ve kinda stopped. The reason: I seem to not like music as much as I like to. Also, I would like all kids to immediately get offa my lawn.

    As far as distance goes, all measurements are approximate. – FC

  6. Comment by bikemike | 09.27.2013 | 10:56 am

    Vince Gilligan could learn a thing or two from you.

    That’s about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my writing. Thanks. – FC

  7. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.27.2013 | 10:57 am

    Fatty – typo alert – I think you meant “put all the strangeness of the first couple hours of this race behind us and go

    But, then again you did say: “busy… first draft”, so missing words are ok with me.

    My wife thinks I nitpick too much.

    That’s a good catch. Fixed. Thanks! – FC

  8. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.27.2013 | 11:03 am

    Okay, yes I am a total sap. But still, this made me tear up a little (in the good way).

    But while riding the Salt to Saint, with my primary objective being to ensure that The Hammer be the first woman to ever solo that 423 race, I finally understood: being a domestique is wonderful. You’re taking care of someone you care about; you’re an integral and necessary part of the win. Being a domestique in a true team, I realized, is something to take an enormous amount of pride in.

    awwwwww! *sniff*

  9. Comment by NYCCarlos | 09.27.2013 | 11:05 am

    dudebro! a whole weekend with that kind of cliff hanger is not cool! I’ll have to make do knowing that my Fatty Kit shipped today!!!!!!

    Would I be making things worse if I were to tell you that things got messed up WAY beyond the shenanigans of the first couple of hours? So messed up, in fact, that The Hammer and I didn’t even know where each other were for a good long time?

    I would? Huh. Well, I guess my posts starting Monday should be pretty interesting reading, then. – FC

  10. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.27.2013 | 11:07 am

    You know, it occurs to me that I do not have enough detailed memorized information about any fast food establishment to be able to make a specific order without staring at the menu.

    I would not have known that “a 4-piece (much less a 5- or 6-piece) chicken nuggets” would be a menu item at Wendy’s. I would have recognized a “Frosty”, if prompted, but I could not have put it together with Wendy’s.

    Am I weird? At least I, like Fatty, also want all kids to stay offa my lawn. and horses.

  11. Comment by Corrine | 09.27.2013 | 11:22 am

    NOOOOOOO!!!!! Don’t make me wait until Monday!!! Good thing I have some distractions this weekend to keep me busy.

  12. Comment by Kukui | 09.27.2013 | 11:26 am

    Oh no! Now there’s cliffhangers within the cliffhanger comments!

    Would I be making things worse if I were to tell you that things got messed up WAY beyond the shenanigans of the first couple of hours?

    Fatty, your adoring fans are loving this! =)

    I also love the new perspective of the domestiques.

  13. Comment by Joe | 09.27.2013 | 11:26 am

    “Would I be making things worse if I were to tell you that things got messed up WAY beyond the shenanigans of the first couple of hours? So messed up, in fact, that The Hammer and I didn’t even know where each other were for a good long time?”

    Ooooh. I had checked in with the live tracking a couple of times while you were riding and just assumed something was wrong with one of your tracking devices since I knew you were planning on riding together. Great read so far, can’t wait for next week’s installments!

  14. Comment by Kristina | 09.27.2013 | 11:28 am

    “Didn’t know where each other WERE”


    How is that even possible? And how could you post that kind of comment response and then expect us to wait an entire 72 hours for explanation? HOW?!

  15. Comment by Northern Neighbor | 09.27.2013 | 11:35 am

    This is like reading a comic strip, which I do with breakfast each morning. You have to read for at least a week to find out what happens!

    Keep it up! You and the Hammer are an inspiration!

  16. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.27.2013 | 11:43 am

    @Cyclingjimbo @Marty Kids these days! They want everything now!

    If not for Fatty we’d read the story and get on with our lives. This way we have the whole weekend to speculate on “what next”


    and Fatty. Keep the kids on the lawn. otherwise the place would look deserted.

  17. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.27.2013 | 11:44 am


    I must admit, for MickyD’s, Jack in the Box, In n Out, Burger King, and Wendy’s, I could give frighteningly specific orders off the top of my head not just for myself, but for the whole darn family. And yes, that really is NOT a good thing. Sigh. Fast food has not been part of my life for the last year, but like muscle memory from youth sports, they are seared for eternity into your being.

  18. Comment by Diane | 09.27.2013 | 11:57 am

    @Wife#1 – Ah, but the In-n-Out Burger technically can be made healthy enough, and still remains tasty, protein style!

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had any fast food other than the occassional protein style In-n-Out, we’re talking 10+ years, and somewhere back there my brain still remembers how amazing McNuggets and fries with hot mustard sauce were…

    I wonder if I ever ate them again, would I be disappointed…

  19. Comment by owen | 09.27.2013 | 12:04 pm

    I read your comment about being separated from the Hammer at some point in this race – are cell phones/texting etc outlawed in this race? My wife and I ran our first marathon together and got separated, for a while, in a port a potty mishap.

  20. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.27.2013 | 12:10 pm

    @Comment by Kelly | 09.27.2013 | 10:43 am

    How about a Saturday installment? That sounds good to me!

    I need a break. – FC

    Fatty needs to ride!

  21. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 09.27.2013 | 12:12 pm

    Great story – it obviously gets better! I guess I’ll have to ride my bike this weekend to get my fix. It’s fun watching your progression from “fat cyclist” to “competitor”, and even more so for The Hammer; her progression has been amazing. I cringe, however, when I read about your nutrition choices. (OK, I hope I sound more like Allen Lim than your mother here…) I’m sure that’s not all you eat, and I know you know this, but if you want to maintain that curve you mention ( ditching the fast food would be good. Just sayin’, from a 62 year old “competitor” who’s trying like hell to stay on that curve.

  22. Comment by J | 09.27.2013 | 12:29 pm

    Mmmmm Frosty!

  23. Comment by TucsonDave | 09.27.2013 | 12:35 pm

    My hat (or helmet) is off to you and the Hammer for just accomplishing this epic ride. My longest so far is 110 miles; the Tour de Tucson.
    I want to sincerely thank you for this blog. I know that it must take a lot of your time to tell your story so well.
    Love you man!

  24. Comment by Kate | 09.27.2013 | 1:04 pm

    Your line about the satisfaction and joy of being a domestique for The Hammer made me smile big. You guys are lucky to have each other. Definitely the best kind of team.

  25. Comment by blair | 09.27.2013 | 1:07 pm

    as i recall…wendy’s chili is surprisingly good and surprisingly healthy/ier-than-you’d-think…

    frosty’s still a glycemic nightmare, but on a 400-mile ride, cain’t be no worries about your waist

  26. Comment by JRay | 09.27.2013 | 1:43 pm

    Monday?? MONDAY????
    Okay, if I gotta, I guess I can’t blame you. My fingers would get tired too… And, well, you need time to go outside and play. You have me hooked.
    Besides the wimpy little ole Big Dam Bridge 100 will have my butt kicked and too tired to read this weekend anyway…

  27. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.27.2013 | 2:01 pm

    Hey – for my 3rd (and final) comment to this post… If there are any Fatty peeps in states OTHER than AK, CA, WA, MN, WI, KS, UT, VA, NY, FL, TX that would be up for participating in Rune’s travel journal project (see David’s original post here, please let me know as soon as you can. David has now started his work week but you can email me at mybandwidth @ We send it tonight to Sasha in AK to start the journey, but it would be great to get another 5-10 states if possible.

  28. Comment by Christina | 09.27.2013 | 2:19 pm

    I always have enjoyed George Hincapie as a rider and my non-racing fan friends didn’t understand why I’d pick a non-star. It’s so much work to get someone to the top and so admirable.

    I like that I can feel the story.

  29. Comment by SteveB | 09.27.2013 | 2:44 pm

    I’ve always been most impressed by the guy that pulls the whole TDF peloton for 50 or 100 or whatever miles just to protect his team leader… Who did the most work that day? No contest.
    Go Domestiques Go!

  30. Comment by MikeL | 09.27.2013 | 2:47 pm

    @Wife#1: I could throw in some stories from Wyoming if interested.

    In the interest of science I put the bike on the trainer (it is raining today) and linked to Tweeter and the Monkey Man. It was easy to get a good cadence going with the music. I think it was the drum. Beats a steady diet of Iron Maiden.

  31. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.27.2013 | 3:23 pm

    @MikeL – yes please! Can you email me your mailing address to

    PS – I am addicted to CJ Box novels. Love me some Joe Pickett Wyoming Game Warden stories!

  32. Comment by old guy who likes to ride | 09.27.2013 | 3:51 pm

    Have a great weekend everybody,I guess I’m checking out until Monday.
    Please ride safely.

  33. Comment by Heidi | 09.27.2013 | 5:01 pm

    @Wife#1 – just sent an email. I’m in Montana.

  34. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 09.27.2013 | 5:40 pm

    Fatty, I like how you tortured Carlos. Nice play sir, nice play.

  35. Comment by leroy | 09.27.2013 | 9:22 pm


    You don’t like music? That’s odd.

    My dog claims the way I play sounds like I don’t like music either.

    But shucks I like music just fine.

    Honestly, I don’t get half the stuff he says.

  36. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.28.2013 | 12:37 am

    I’m willing to try and be a domestic


    I’m sure Fatty does it better…like everything else.

  37. Comment by Sunny | 09.28.2013 | 10:22 am

    End of the Line by Traveling Wilbury’s a great swim, bike , run song….very snappy! I like it best.

  38. Comment by Marsupial MattC | 09.28.2013 | 5:11 pm

    @Davidh…you SCARE me!

  39. Comment by AKChick | 09.28.2013 | 5:57 pm

    Dearest Fatty: I for one am not going to complain about not getting an installment until Monday. :) Rest your fingers up for next week. I’m so happy to read the posts. They make my day and, yes, I’m very excited for the next installment, but I like savoring them. I don’t know how you do it (FT job, FT training, wife, kids, etc, etc). I’m thankful for whatever you can write. Thank you.

    Also, SQUEEEEEE I can’t wait to get the journal. I already have ideas on what I want to do. :) This is such a clever idea. Love the teacher that thought of it.

    Finally, Leroy… I almost always LOL when I read about you and your dog’s latest exploits. So much so that I make sure to never be eating or drinking lest I choke if you have a comment. I wish you’d start a Leroy’s Dog blog.

  40. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.29.2013 | 12:36 am

    I don’t know how those TdF guys do it! By the end of the day I was beat!


  41. Comment by Libby | 09.29.2013 | 11:38 am

    Dave, you rock (somewhat) at being a domestique.

    THAT was the FLATest stretch? The elevation diagram looked like the Niagara region of Ontario! I know that personally b/c I rode most of the hilly part of the Gran Fondo NIagara Falls two weeks ago. Even Calgary isn’t that hilly (we’re in the foothills of the Rockies).

    Guess I’ll go to church instead of waiting for the next installment.

  42. Comment by Noodle | 10.7.2013 | 5:00 pm

    The thing that made me happiest in this entry is learning that you have BOTH Traveling Wilburys albums. I have stated this many times to anyone who’ll listen – they were the greatest supergroup of all time. Just think, if you were to make that group today, and I mean from today’s rock gods, who would be in it? Jack White… um… who else?

    )When you asked me if I’d read this on Saturday, I should’ve answered no. I was thinking of the previous event. I’m way behind! This is my kinda ride!)

    I agree; I am a big fan of all of these artists individually. Together they were unbelievable. – FC


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