G’night Everybody: 2013 Salt to Saint Race Report, Part XI

10.9.2013 | 8:44 am

A Note from Fatty about today’s entry: This is part 11 of my Salt to Saint race report. To read earlier installments, try the below links:

We had been going downhill for an hour, and now we had a thousand or so feet of climbing. People were passing us. Constantly.

“Just remember,” I said, “that none of these people have been riding as long as we have. They have all had six or more hours of rest since the last time they rode. And in an hour or two, they’re done.

“Plus,” The Hammer replied, “They’re still more or less in the same place as we are, this far into the race. We aren’t doing too bad.”

She was right. The Hammer had predicted that we’d do this race in 28 hours. So far, in spite of everything that had gone wrong, we were right on schedule. 

“I am beginning to believe that we are going to finish this thing,” I said.

“But I wish all these people who are passing us knew that we’re riding this thing solo,” The Hammer said.

I did too. So I started thinking about it. And then I came up with an ingenious plan, requiring nothing but a sharpie.

“We could have just written “SOLO” on our calves,” I said. Like this:

No, these are not my legs.

“And then,” I said, “As the night drags on and we’re feeling really bad, we could just add a letter.” Like this:

So low

“And finally, after we’ve been riding all night and we’re just crawling along…like we are right now…we can add one final letter.” Like this:

So slow

And then I took a moment to marvel at my ingenuity. 

So now you know what kinds of things I think about when I’ve been up and riding for a day and a night. Isn’t the inside of my head an interesting place? 

It isn’t?

Try, Try Again

A big drop brought us to the Kanab transition, which was important for a few important reasons:

  1. We were now well into our final hundred miles. “Only” eighty or so miles to go.
  2. Daylight wasn’t far off. Within the next hour or so it would be light. Which was incredibly exciting for us.
  3. Kenny and Heather would be taking over crewing duties from Blake and Zac.

In my head, I was really glad to see Kenny and Heather. I really was. As I greeted them, though, the part of me that listens to what I’m saying and how I’m saying it observed, “They just traveled to Kanab, Utah to drive behind you and get you food and otherwise babysit you for the next several hours, and you sound completely disinterested. Like a zombie.”

So I said, again, how glad I was they were here and how much I appreciated them.

And then I think I said it again. At which point The Hammer observed, “You’re happy they’re here. I think they got it.”

I confess. Lucidity was a scarce resource.

Luckily for Kenny, Heather, and The Hammer, I didn’t try to — once again — convince them that despite my appearance and slurred, mumbling voice I was happy to see them. Because I had Other Business to attend to.

By which I mean, I needed to poop.

By the time I came out of the outhouse in the parking lot, everyone was ready to go.

I, however, had not had any luck. “Oh well,” I thought. “Next time.”

Except just as I threw a leg over my bike — I’d be riding the Shiv for the next sixty miles or so — I decided I needed to try again. 

“Sorry everyone,” I said, and headed back to the outhouse. 

A while later I re-emerged, my perspective on the day and the ride much, much improved.

It’s the little things in life that matter.

Deedle Deedle Dumpling

I found The Hammer sitting in the crew car, in the driver’s seat. Her head resting against the steering wheel. Quite possibly asleep.

I roused her with the question, “Did I, sometime during the past twenty-four hours, accidentally eat a cork?”

(OK, from here on out I’m done with the poop talk. Honest.)

The Hammer got her helmet and gloves on, got on her bike, and we got going on the next leg, with Kenny and Heather following close behind.

“I can’t clip in,” The Hammer said. 

“With either foot?”

“No, just my left foot.”

And that, right there, is the curse of the Speedplay road pedal: ridiculously finicky spring-loaded cleats. One little piece of gravel can lodge in and make it impossible to clip in.

The Hammer kept working at it, though and — sometime shortly after we crossed the Arizona state line — she clipped in.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the next transition area, she had forgotten about the difficulty getting her shoe clipped in, was unable to clip out, and fell over on her side, pinned under her bike.

Ordinarily, I would have been right there, helping her out of the pedal and making sure The Hammer was OK. I’d have been the ultimate solicitous husband.

This time, though, I just stood there, thinking to myself, “Why would she do that? What a stupid joke.”

We ate — one last turkey and swiss sandwich for me, after which I swore I would never eat turkey deli meat, swiss cheese, or bread ever again. Oddly, I held no grudge against the mayonnaise.

And then we were on the road again.

But this time, The Hammer could not clip in. No matter what. Just couldn’t.

So she rode that way — not clipped in on her left foot — for about 14 miles. After which she remembered: she had actually brought a second pair of road shoes. 

Like I said, lucidity was a scarce commodity.

The Hammer changed into a spare shoe — just the one, leaving her with a Specialized shoe on the right and a Shimano shoe on her left foot.

“Ebony, and Ivorreeeeeeee,” I sang, briefly breaking into “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” which — twenty four hours into this ride — was still on auto repeat in my brain.

I will never again be able to listen to that song without thinking of this race.

Shutting Down

Morning came, and our spirits soared. Partly this was because — even if you haven’t slept, the returning sun somehow rejuvenates you. But mostly it was because we knew that morning meant that we’d be finishing the race soon. And then we could lie down and take a nap before coming back for the awards ceremony.

“Do you have any idea whether the other solo riders passed us sometime during the night?” I asked The Hammer.

“No, there’s no way to tell,” she replied. “We’ve been stopping for around ten minutes every hour for the past eight hours or so, though. I’d be surprised if they haven’t caught and passed us at some point during the night.”

I agreed, and I didn’t care. We were doing this to complete, not compete.

“I’m really proud of you,” I told The Hammer. “You’re going to do this. You’re going to be the first woman to ever finish this course solo. And you’re doing it right on the pace you had predicted. I think we’re going to finish right around noon.”

“Yeah, or maybe a little later,” The Hammer responded. “But we’ll finish in under 29 hours, which is within an hour of my prediction. That’s pretty good.”

We went through the Cedar Point transition, which meant a big eighteen-mile descent. 

Free miles! 

This late in the race, it almost seemed like cheating, to suddenly be flying, low in the aero bars, just coasting.

I stared at the line.

My heart rate dropped.

I found it incredibly difficult to keep my eyes open.

I kept drifting onto the rumble strips, which would briefly make me jerk to alertness. But it wouldn’t last long, and I’d start fading.

And then, finally, ripping along downhill at thirty miles per hour, it happened.

I fell asleep.


  1. Comment by MattC | 10.9.2013 | 8:52 am

    OMG! How do you get out of this gut-wrenching dilemma? Falling asleeep ON the bike…not for the faint-hearted!

  2. Comment by Scottchy | 10.9.2013 | 8:58 am

    OH NO!

    I’ve been almost that tired on a bike before, even had a nap in a field on the way home from finishing work at some ungodly hour.

    You have my sympathy for the tiredness and my respect for doing the race. Really enjoying reading the reports.

  3. Comment by J | 10.9.2013 | 9:01 am

    I bet sleeping on a downhill feels really nice for a split second or two. Waking up on the pavement would be the best alarm clock, but with more pain.

  4. Comment by Steven Nichols | 10.9.2013 | 9:02 am

    What a cruel ending. We know you survived but how well?

  5. Comment by Heidi | 10.9.2013 | 9:02 am

    Oh, geez. The cliff-hanger of ALL cliff-hangers… Will you choose to be the Mummy for Halloween this year? Very handy for covering bangs and bruises.

    Spoiler: I live. – FC

  6. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 10.9.2013 | 9:02 am

    I’m frightened! This feels like we’re getting near the end!

  7. Comment by Dave | 10.9.2013 | 9:05 am

    You have had some incredible race reports before, but this one is the best one I’ve read. I can’t wait to hear what wakes you up!

  8. Comment by T | 10.9.2013 | 9:06 am

    this cliffhanger scares me (even though I know you live and I know you’re fine) because when I had my bad crash last year? I was riding tired. didn’t fall asleep (I don’t think), but yeah. scary, scary stuff.

  9. Comment by Barefoot Rose | 10.9.2013 | 9:08 am

    OH MY COW! I think you are going to get the Blogger award for best continuous cliff hangers!

  10. Comment by Joe | 10.9.2013 | 9:09 am

    I’ll be able to sleep tonight because I know you’ll live and were in good enough shape to ride the next weekend. If not for that, well, I’m just grateful you didn’t leave us with those words on a Thursday post!

  11. Comment by AUChefDave | 10.9.2013 | 9:11 am

    DUDE!!! That’s not a cliffhanger, that’s like the dream you have where you are falling off a cliff and can see the bottom rushing up at you. All the while you are screaming at yourself to WAKE-UP! Man, Fatty now I’ll have that angst again, at least until tomorrow.

  12. Comment by Clancy | 10.9.2013 | 9:18 am


  13. Comment by Chilly Willy | 10.9.2013 | 9:22 am


  14. Comment by roan | 10.9.2013 | 9:26 am

    Really need to know if you had a flash dream and if so was it as AUChefDave predicts ?
    Cliffhanging moves into the Void.

  15. Comment by Scott | 10.9.2013 | 9:27 am

    Great now I have that song in my head!

  16. Comment by bikemike | 10.9.2013 | 9:33 am

    I fell asleep. Therein which i decided to never ride my bike again but would eat mayonaise.

  17. Comment by NoTrail | 10.9.2013 | 9:41 am

    As always, looking forward to the next installment.

  18. Comment by MattC | 10.9.2013 | 9:46 am

    HEY! I just got a “YouPhoria” add for Nordstrom shoes (which just happen to be attaached to a nice pair of legs, w/ a leather skirt)…there are surely worse adds to be hit with…such as tucks medicated pads, gas-x, pepto bismol, etc…I’m just sayin.

  19. Comment by Paul W | 10.9.2013 | 9:46 am

    “and then I woke up in the shower, and discovered it had all been a bad dream”?

  20. Comment by Alex M Lewis | 10.9.2013 | 10:02 am

    Awesome Cliffhanger.
    If not for your blog I’d be sleeping at work.
    You & the Hammer are an inspiration.

  21. Comment by Papa Bear | 10.9.2013 | 10:03 am

    I actually fell asleep while riding at 4:30 in the morning. the sudden loss of balance jerked me awake, and the resultant jump nearly dumped me, but I managed to pull out of it. I was, however, AWAKE for the rest of my ride!

    Can’t wait to hear the next bit Fatty!

  22. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 10.9.2013 | 10:20 am

    Mayonnaise makes everything better, except perhaps a crash.

    I can’t believe that even afer 10 installments now you still have us on the edges of our seats, eagerly awaiting the next installment. Here it is over two weeks after the event, and even though we already know the outcome we come back for more.

    More! More!

    And then on to the GranFondo, and guest reports from FoFs who were at the Fondo, and whatever comes next. You may never catch up with the backlog of blogs topics you have available to you – kind of bad for you, but really great for us.

  23. Comment by Kukui | 10.9.2013 | 10:22 am

    OH NO!!!!

  24. Comment by leroy | 10.9.2013 | 10:23 am

    You may have an interesting mind, but my dog assures me I have a beautiful mind.

    Wide open, empty space — very scenic.

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually fallen asleep on a bike, but I have spaced out a few times with startling consequences.

    It’s a strange thing when your mind wanders, gets lost, and won’t ask for directions.

  25. Comment by Justin | 10.9.2013 | 10:30 am


  26. Comment by Papa Bear | 10.9.2013 | 10:33 am


    Your dog tells me that you fall asleep on the bike all the time. He says he steers for you so you don’t wreck.

    Good boy.

  27. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 10.9.2013 | 10:38 am


    My cat tells me (look out Leroy) that this is all foreshadowing and plot twists. At the beginning of he year Fatty alluded to what ‘the future’ held in store. In this installment he sets us up for that great reveal:


  28. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 10.9.2013 | 10:38 am

    I can confirm the spoiler alert. Fatty lived. :)

  29. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 10.9.2013 | 10:41 am

    Maybe this is by a ghost writer. ;-)

  30. Comment by Jacob | 10.9.2013 | 11:17 am


    For those of you assuming that he didn’t die, how do we know that this isn’t really just The Hammer or someone else writing this in Fatty’s memory? Have any of you actually seen Fatty since the race? And for those of you who answer yes, how do we know that you’re not just in on the scam?

  31. Comment by Tom in Albany | 10.9.2013 | 11:23 am

    Dear Fatty, I saw a picture of you taken by Padraig at Levi’s Gran Fondo. I KNOW you live and you don’t look any different than normal. (Only you can decide if that’s good or bad…)

    One of two things happens. You crash or you don’t. How Hammer or support awaken you is the interesting part here. Can’t wait!

  32. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 10.9.2013 | 11:26 am

    Several of us can confirm Fatty’s presence at Levis Gran Fondo last weekend. But, given the way MoN Hamme was looking at him with faraway eyes… maybe it was Stanley Tucci

  33. Comment by ClydeinKS | 10.9.2013 | 11:27 am

    What a cliff hanger and hope this doesn’t mean you awoke hanging from a cliff! Very relieved though and for some reason this line caused an audible disruption, some turned heads, and a little choke on the lunch:

    Spoiler: I live. – FC

    a little obvious but pleased to know this series is not being relayed through a ouija board :) How long would that take to write!

  34. Comment by Jeff Bike | 10.9.2013 | 11:27 am

    Is this the beginning of the great Fatty conspiracy?

  35. Comment by MattC | 10.9.2013 | 12:33 pm

    I’ve seen the movie “Dave”…where-in the President is filled in w/ a look-alike…so based on that, this would totally work (Stanley Tucci filling in for Fatty). I’d think maybe even his kids wouldn’t know…(Dad..how come you’re making such good sandwiches all of a sudden?)

  36. Comment by MattC | 10.9.2013 | 12:39 pm

    @ClydeinKS, I can totally see that Ouija board conversation w/ newly departated Fatty happening:


    hey hey HEY! This is a PG rated blog! BE NICE or I swear I’ll put this board back in the closet (says Stanley Tucci)!

  37. Comment by MattC | 10.9.2013 | 12:41 pm

    Apparently I can’t spell ‘departed’ either.

    OOPS…I’m WAY over the 3 comment limit (but was that just for Davidh or everybody?) And it WAS more of a guideline than a rule, right?

  38. Comment by Diane | 10.9.2013 | 1:21 pm

    @Davidh – are you sure Fatty’s doppelgänger is Stanley Tucci… Or is it Hank Azaria with a shaved head?

  39. Comment by Sara | 10.9.2013 | 3:08 pm

    I was at the Gran Fondo this past weekend and did NOT, I repeat, NOT see Fatty. (I was hugely disappointed, but it just adds to his incredible mystique in my mind.) I DID, however, stand right next to Levi at one of the rest stops, but I was so tired and so enthralled at the sight of M&M’s (something you cannot have at rest stops in Texas because they would be a massive, gloppy, chocolatey mess… glorious as that may sound…) that I almost completely missed him!
    P.S. It was nice to meet you Davidh-marin,ca! I was the “Sara” that was with the guy with the long, pointy (grey) goatee. :)

  40. Comment by rob W | 10.9.2013 | 3:16 pm

    I also didnt get to meet Fatty in Santa Rosa; but I met Davidh.

    Davidh-marin, ca is becoming a celebrity because of this blog!

  41. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 10.9.2013 | 3:29 pm

    @ Diane

    I think you’re onto something! Maybe Elden Nelson IS Hank Azaria when he let’s his hair grow out:


  42. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 10.9.2013 | 3:30 pm

    looks like i missed something


  43. Comment by anonymous hah! | 10.9.2013 | 3:33 pm


  44. Comment by Christina | 10.9.2013 | 4:16 pm

    I just sucked in a lot of air and said, “Oh no!” just like everyone else.

    Also, did you miss the part in The Feed Zone where he talks about if a rider took in all the calories he needed in solid food, he’d need to poop for five hours (or something)? I feel like the epilogue to this story is going to include one more poop story after all those sandwiches.

    The legs cracked me up!

  45. Comment by Skye | 10.9.2013 | 5:18 pm

    I don’t remember what I though your previous best, hangiest cliff hanger was, but I think you just topped it with a new better even more hangier cliff hanger!

  46. Comment by Al Pastor | 10.9.2013 | 6:10 pm

    I’ve fallen asleep while driving a car. Waking up in the iceplant is no fun. But it’s way better than waking up by crashing a bike.

  47. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.9.2013 | 6:18 pm

    I was at the GranFondo, and briefly rode with Lisa, and, after a short wait, passed by Fatty. Lisa confirmed that 103.5 miles did not seem so tough compared to 425, and Fatty was in one piece, no scabs or roar rash showing.

    I think this thing will work itself out. Just like Fatty in the porta-potty.

  48. Comment by Gabi | 10.9.2013 | 6:51 pm

    Quite possibly the best/worst cliff hanger yet.

  49. Comment by Diane | 10.9.2013 | 7:14 pm


    Yeah, I meant Hank Azaria as himself, not so much Hank Azaria as Gargamel.

  50. Comment by anonymous hah! | 10.9.2013 | 7:22 pm

    But Gargamel LOOKS so Fatty!

  51. Comment by AKChick | 10.9.2013 | 8:53 pm

    @Leroy Best.Comment.Ever.

    @PapaBear Second.Best.Comment.Ever.

    @DavidH – I think you are tied with @Leroy for best comment (the cannibal one. Nice work while you are now the one-armed man.

    @Diane Snort! Hank Azaria is priceless! All I could think of was his character in Along Came Polly and then pictured Fatty in a speedo delivering these lines (Fatty aka Claude):

    Claude: It’s like zee story of zee heeppo.
    Reuben Feffer: I’m not familiar with that story.
    Claude: Zee heeppopotamoose, he is not born saying, “Cool beans. I am a heeppo.” No way, Joesay. So he try to paint zee stripe on him to be like zee zebra, but he fool no one. Then he try to put zee spot on zee skin to be like the leopard, but everyboody know he is a heeppo. So, at certain point, he look himself in zee mirror and he just say, “Hey. I am a heeppopotamoose and zere is nothing I can do about it.” As soon as he accepts zis, he live life happy. Happy as a heeppo. You understand zis, Luban?
    Reuben Feffer: [long pause] I’m gonna kill you!

    I can personally attest that @DavidH is one of the bestest people in the entire universe and deserves to be famous. He also has the bestest wife in the whole world – my TV/pro cyclist/sense of humor/swearing soulmate (I think we were separated at birth) Wife#.667 (Is that the right number? Is it less now?)

    Also, still anxiously awaiting the journal…

  52. Comment by AKChick | 10.9.2013 | 8:57 pm

    Shoot! I forgot to thank Fatty aka Stanley aka Hank for yet another awesome post (and poop was mentioned and no gloves or any other cycling attire was sacrificed). Love the cliffhanger! Sad that this report is coming to an end but happy that you have the Gran Fondo to write about! Also, I may just have a teeny little girl crush on The Hammer. She’s my cycling idol (Sorry Queen of Pain – I still absolutely adore you too).

  53. Comment by Diane | 10.9.2013 | 9:46 pm

    @AKChick – LMAO at the Along Came Poly quote!!
    And yes, Hank is priceless…
    So is Fatty.

  54. Comment by Diane | 10.9.2013 | 9:47 pm

    Er, Along Came Polly

  55. Comment by Sylva | 10.9.2013 | 10:48 pm

    Oh No!

  56. Comment by Daddy style | 10.10.2013 | 7:18 am

    I love riding into the sun rise, invigorating and as you say the end is usually near.

    Fallen asleep standing over my bike, on the side of the trail but…. on a road bike, downhill, 30mph. Hope all survive to tell the tail.

  57. Comment by ERIN | 10.10.2013 | 8:28 am

    Oh Dear! That last line just made me laugh. So sorry.
    I really enjoy reading your posts even though I am not a cyclist at all. They are just so well written. Thanks for the bright start to me day.

  58. Comment by slo joe | 10.10.2013 | 9:20 am

    C’mon awready. It’s past noon on Thirstday or is this another way to keep us on the edge? Eh?

  59. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 10.10.2013 | 9:26 am

    I have a photograph from @UptheGrade taken at the GranFondo with Fatty. It doesn’t look like Stanley or Hank in the picture, so i am assuming that Fatty survives this next adventure and that there is no ghost or zombee writing involved here.

    Anxiously awaiting installment XII!

  60. Comment by Steven Nichols | 10.10.2013 | 10:12 am

    Hey!, where is my update. 24 hours is the limit for a cliff hangers… ;-)

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