Fingerless Gloves Are Stupid

10.17.2013 | 1:39 pm

NewImageA “Hey, I was on TV” note from Fatty: Yesterday I was on a local mid-day TV show called “Browser 5.0,” where I was their “Blog of the Week” feature. Check it out here. Oh, and then leave a comment on their site telling them how handsome and telegenic I am.

And for those of you who are wondering why I seem to be growing my hair out, it’s because I’ve got a big ol’ cyst growing on the right side of my head, and I’m using hair to try to hide it. How’s that for over-sharing?

There comes a time in a man’s life when he realizes he can no longer tolerate the madness around him (it’s also possible that women come to similar realizations, but I am not a woman and have no wish to make any assumptions). A time when that man must stand up to the insanity that surrounds him. A time when that man needs to stop biting his tongue, no matter the consequences, and make his voice heard.

I have held my peace too long; I have permitted foolishness and thus tacitly endorsed it. 

No longer. Today I proclaim, once and for all, for all to know and bear witness:

Fingerless gloves are stupid.

And I am not saying this out of pique or due to some attempt to manufacture controversy. No. I am saying it because it is true, and because I have proof. Which I shall now present, in an airtight and incontrovertible method that brooks no dissent.

Grievance The First: Odd Tans

There is no denying that there is a certain fetishistic fashion appeal to fingerless gloves. Especially if they’re black leather. Like this:

IMG 7573

Sure, those are going to look great when you wear them to the next Duran Duran reunion concert. 

But here’s the thing: as a cyclist, there’s a pretty good chance eventually you’re going to want to wear those gloves outside. Quite possibly during daylight hours. Which means you’re going to be exposed to sun. Thanks to your fingerless gloves, you’re going to wind up with a tan that looks something like this:


Although with any luck your hand won’t look so old and wrinkly. And hairy. 

Grievance the Second: Reduced Safety

One of the really wonderful things about gloves is that they do two really good things for your riding:

  1. They form a grippy layer between your sweaty hands and the handlebars, making it so that you don’t slip.
  2. If you do fall, your gloves protect your palm and fingers.

Do I have to spell out the problem with fingerless gloves here? Do I? OK, I will. 

  1. Your gloves can only improve grip on the parts they cover.
  2. Your gloves can only protect the parts of your hands they cover. 

Grievance the Third: Removal of Fingerless Gloves

When you remove a regular, full-fingered glove, you simply pull at the fingertips and it comes off. Easy.

With fingerless gloves, of course, there are no fingertips to pull on, which means you have to pull starting at the base of the glove, hence turning the stupid thing inside out as you pull it off, resulting in something that looks like this:

IMG 7574

So. Let’s suppose that you are an avid fingerless glove wearer (and I know that some of you are). And let’s further suppose it takes an extra three seconds per glove each time you remove your gloves — it’s a well-documented fact that fingerless gloves take a horrendous amount of time to remove — and five seconds per glove to turn them back right-side out the next time you want to wear them.

How much time do you think that will cost you over the course of your life? Well, if you ride 300 days per year for 50 years, that works out to almost 67 hours

That’s right, almost sixty seven hours of your life you’ll spend doing nothing but turning gloves inside out and then right side out again.

Just think of all the things you could do with that 67 hours:

  • Get six really good nights’ sleep.
  • Make, eat, and then ride off the best cake in the world.
  • Watch the extended Lord of the Rings Trilogy and most of the special bonus features 
  • Ride your bike from Salt Lake City to Saint George, Utah. And Back.
What a waste of time wearing fingerless gloves is. What a tragedy to spend your time doing something so utterly pointless.

Grievance the Fourth: Silliness

Of course, the real problem with fingerless gloves is that they’re just silly. What is the real practical purpose of them?

It’s not coolness. Your fingertips aren’t exactly hotspots of heat dissipation, if you catch my meaning. And if you don’t catch my meaning (and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t), I’ll be more clear: Your hands aren’t going to be a lot — if any — cooler when you wear fingerless gloves than when you wear full-fingered gloves. Really.

It’s not weight savings. Your fingerless gloves don’t weigh any less than your full-fingered gloves. But even if they did, it would be truly weird of you to wear them for that reason.

It’s not about phoneability. OK, it’s entirely possible that you actually do wear fingerless gloves so you can get to your phone and tweet and take pictures and update your Facebook page with your status (On my way to a Duran Duran concert!). Because a lot of people don’t realize that you can buy full-fingered gloves that work just fine with your phone screen. 

Behold the Specialized Ridge Wiretap

IMG 7579

Yep, those are the gloves I wear on pretty much every ride: both mountain and road. And because they’re very dapper and understated, and because black goes with pretty much everything, I am also wearing them right now while I am typing this post. 

It’s not about grab-ability: The Hammer — who, I am disappointed to announce, often wears fingerless gloves while riding — tells me that it’s a lot easier to grab food out of her Top Tube Bag when she’s got fingerless gloves on.

To which I respond, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t use a top tube bag, then, silly.”

Actually I’m totally lying. I would never even think such a thing much less say it and this is a very good use case for fingerless gloves and I love you dear. 

PS: For those of you who are saying to yourselves, “Well what about short-fingered gloves?” Stop it. Being neither one thing nor the other, they are even worse.


Why I Am SUPER EXCITED To Race Cyclocross This Year

10.16.2013 | 7:05 am

I have had an extraordinarily packed race season this year. I’ve raced the St. George Half Ironman. The Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George. The Crusher in the Tushars. The Leadville 100. The Salt to Saint (yeah, still not quite over that one). And that doesn’t even include events.

And of course, I’ve still got the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow coming up.

That is a lot of racing. Enough racing, perhaps to leave any other man all raced-out and ready to take it easy. To just ride for fun, at a nice mellow pace.

IMG 7586
Photo and very sexy shorts courtesy of Kitsbow

But the term “taking it easy” isn’t even in my vocabulary, although I quite clearly just used it in this very sentence.

No, I am absolutely, totally stoked to start the cyclocross racing season.  

Photo and shorts continue to be courtesy of Kitsbow

I am ready — nay, eager – to train. To put in the hard miles at threshold, so I’ll be ready to give it my all on the cyclocross course on weekend mornings. 

IMG 7417
None of the rest of these shots are courtesy of anyone. I took them myself. Except the ones of me, naturally.

Indeed, I think it’s safe to say that I am more focused on getting my body in to tip-top condition than I have ever been. I am putting in huge miles on my road bike. Head down, staring at my GPS, measuring my watts, trying to achieve personal bests on Strava.

Hey, I know what’s important.

IMG 7424

Why, just yesterday I found a nice empty park and spent two hours working on my fast dismounts and running re-mounts. 

I know it may be a little early to say this, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a breakout year for me on the cyclocross track.

IMG 7450

Oh, and my diet. You should see how motivated I am about staying on my diet right now. The cold weather and shorter days haven’t changed my appetite at all. There’s nothing like a nice crisp bowl of salad greens (and out-of-season vegetables) on a crisp October evening!

“I’ve gotta stay trim for these cyclocross races I’m so excited about,” I tell myself. 

IMG 7453

Oh, and The Hammer’s the same way. Our mileage hasn’t dropped at all in the past few weeks. We are training hard together, she and I. Getting lots of miles in, keeping our noses to the grindstone. 

IMG 7459

Because autumn is for cyclocross, baby. Autumn is for racing.

I’m so glad there’s no such thing as an off-season anymore.

PS: If you’re local and you have a TV, I’ll be on KSL for about three minutes between 12:30 and 1:00pm today, talking about my blog. 

If You Like Piña Coladas…and Crewing for 25 Hours

10.14.2013 | 10:51 am

Today is a lucky day for you. Such a lucky day. For today is the day I offer you an unbelievable opportunity. The kind of opportunity that changes your life. An opportunity the like of which does not come along every day. No it does not.

And if it seems like I’m overselling this just a bit, well, that’s just because it is such a fantastic opportunity that I have been losing sleep, every single night, over the fear that I will undersell this extraordinary opportunity, due to the fact that it is so amazingly wonderful and life-enriching and just generally extraordinary that I am, even now, trying to think of ways that I myself could avail myself of this opportunity, instead of giving it to myself.

But I will not do that, because it would be selfish of me to keep this for myself. And I am not selfish. No I am not.

Also, I’m pretty sure it would be impossible for me to do this myself, in the absence of some pretty sophisticated time-traveling or cloning technology. Both of which I possess, naturally, but neither of which I like to use (the time-traveling software is what I charitably call “in alpha state;” using the cloning machine causes an unacceptably large spike in my electricity bill).

Wow, I’m really rambling this morning, aren’t I? I guess that’s what happens when I’m not writing a multi-parter.

But I will be writing another multi-part series soon, about a big new adventure. 

And if you’re the right kind of person, with the right skills and the right availability, I need your help in making that adventure happen.

So please, allow me to tell you the what, who, why, and how to apply. And then you can let me know whether you’d like to be a part of it.


This November 2-3, I will be racing — in the solo singlespeed category — the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow

And so will The Hammer.

And so will Kenny.

That’s right, all three of us are racing in what I consider to be the single best 25-hour mountain bike race around. Beautiful course, awesome vibe, great gimmick (it’s 25 hours instead of 24 because the race happens over the time change every year).

Oh, and all three of us will be racing on singlespeeds. 

And none of us have any crew arranged. You see, The Hammer and I recently spent any and all brownie points we had accumulated with our friends and family; nobody we know is interested in crewing for us again.

And Heather can’t crew for Kenny; she’s on a team herself.

So, we could use a little (OK, a lot of) help. A little kindness from strangers. 

Which (if you’re very, very lucky) is where you come in.


We need someone to take care of us. Or really, we need multiple someones to take care of us, because while none of the three of us are particularly high maintenance, three low-maintenance racers is still a lot to maintain. So if I were going to put together qualifications for our crew, here’s what would go on the list.

  • Mechanical Genius: We need someone to take care of our bikes, along with our bike-related stuff. You’ll be in charge of making sure all three of our bikes stay in perfect riding condition, which — in rocky, sandy riding conditions — can be quite a bit of work. But hey, at least you won’t have to worry about derailleurs, right? Also, you’d be the person who gets our lights mounted on our bikes and helmets at the appropriate times, and ensures that we always have a charged battery at the ready.
  • Chef: OK, honestly we’re not expecting any chef-ing from our chef. We just want someone who understands what each of us prefers to eat (and that these preferences can shift pretty dramatically during the course of a long race) and can keep us fueled for 25 hours. 
  • Clothing and Morale Officer: As the day turns to night and then back again, we’re going to be layering and then de-layering. We’ll need someone who knows what we’re going to need to be wearing before we do, have it ready for us and — if necessary — help us into it. And also to make us feel good about ourselves as we’re riding, using a clever combination of cowbells and inspirational quotes (e.g., “Looking strong, Fatty!”).

Is this three people we need? Maybe, but it’s also entirely possible that the Mechanical Genius is also the Clothing and Morale Officer. Probably two people will be enough to take care of all three of us.

Ideally, the crew would live at least somewhat locally. As in, within driving distance. For one thing, I can’t afford to fly anyone out and back, nor can I afford to reimburse anyone for anything more than a reasonable amount of gasoline expenses (driving from South Carolina, for example, is not what I consider reasonable).

If you’ve got access to an RV you can bring, that suddenly moves you to the very top of the list of candidates. Although if you don’t have one, we’ll still work something out. The Hammer and I have a ginormous tent, for example, and Kenny’s Amazing Sprinter Van will be available at least sometimes.

Oh, and if you’re the kind of person who gets into arguments with people — yeah, I know it’s because you’re right and your way is better — please don’t apply. I don’t want to ride for 25 hours knowing that I’m going to be dealing with a tense atmosphere each time I roll through the crew area.


I really don’t even know why I’m writing this section, because it’s totally self-evident why you’d want to be a part of this incredibly wonderful experience, and I’m fully expecting to get a complete flood of applications. Still, here are a few things — both good and bad — you can expect as part of being in the Team Fatty crew for 25 Hours in Frog Hollow:

  • Watch The Hammer in Action: The Hammer is having a banner year. She’s the reigning Leadville 100 women’s singlespeed champ and record holder, as well as the reigning Salt to Saint women’s solo champ and record holder. The fact is, it’s now pretty rare for her to not finish on the podium in whatever she does. Many people would pay good money to watch her race.  
  • Watch an Epic Battle: It used to be a given that Kenny would thrash me anytime he and I raced. That’s no longer the case. Nobody will have a better sense of how either of us is doing as this head-to-head slugfest unfolds than you.
  • See Kenny in Various States of Dress and Undress: There’s no escaping the fact that Kenny is an unusually handsome man, and he’s going to be changing clothes sometimes. You will have to decide for yourself how compelling of a reason this is for you to apply as you balance that fact against the reality that I, too, will be changing clothes sometimes.
  • See Fatty Go Completely and Cheerfully Incoherent: It’s a well-known fact that when I race, I quickly lose all powers of higher reasoning and speech, while I simultaneously become happier and happier. It’s a near-certainty that as the day progresses, I’ll become an amiable, incoherent idiot. Seriously, you will be utterly convinced that I am filling my bottles with something a touch more potent than CarboRocket.
  • Have a Front-Row Seat to the Entire Race: We have a spot reserved on Solo Row, which means that you’ll not only see us going by every lap, you’ll see all the racers going by every lap. Having a spot on the course is a pretty exciting place to be.
  • We Won’t Pay for Much, if Anything: As I have mentioned, this is not a paid position. I just want to be clear on that.
  • If the Weather Sucks, We Aren’t Racing: We’re excited for this race. We are, really. But if it’s snowing or raining or there’s a plague of locusts or something, we’re just going to call it a day. The good news is, you will not be required to crew for us through plagues of locusts.

How to Apply

So, if you want to be a part of this — and I’m sure you do — send me an email. Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Address it to
  • Make the subject “Crewing Application”. Make it exactly that (but, you know, without the quotes and punctuation and stuff). If you make it something clever designed to stand out from the crowd, it will almost certainly instead get entirely overlooked.
  • Tell me what part of crewing you’re good at, where you’d be traveling from, and so forth. 

And of course, if I don’t pick you, it doesn’t mean you’re not awesome.

In fact, it probably means you’re just a little bit too awesome, and I’m afraid of you.

Surprise Finish: 20123 Salt to Saint Race Report, Part XII

10.10.2013 | 11:09 am

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

I was asleep, on my bike, flying downhill, with my hands on my aero bars, for two seconds. Maybe not even that long. Maybe only one second. Half a second. Long enough, though, for my head to fall down toward the bars, startling me back awake.

I realized what had just happened — that I could have easily crashed in that moment. Or drifted into oncoming traffic. Or veered into the guardrail and flipped over, down the steep mountainside.

I could have died in a number of ways.

A massive rush of adrenaline hit me as I started to understand my near miss, completely solving my drowsiness problem.

Good Change

We were getting close. Down to the last thirty miles or so, in fact. We now knew the road we were riding on: it was much the same one we had been on earlier this year when we did the Half Ironman on these same bikes — our Shivs.

But we weren’t getting much of an aero advantage from these bikes anymore. Our backs and necks were just too tired, too sore, too stiff for riding in an aero position.

“Let’s switch to the road bikes,” I said.

And we were so glad we did. Having been on our Shivs for most of the past 400 miles (it’d be interesting to know what the exact mileage breakdown is, but we didn’t keep track), I had just about forgotten how much more comfortable and forgiving a regular ol’ road bike is. 

The Hammer confirmed what I was thinking, saying, “Oh, this feels so good.”

Discussion on the Home Stretch

Even before the race began, we knew that the Salt to Saint Ends hard — with a longish climb, then a short-but-steep climb, and then with one last long climb.

We climbed slowly. We had no intense efforts left in us. 

As we climbed, I started thinking. An idea occurred to me. A really good one. I just needed to present it properly.

“Do you think Russell, Jason, or Jake have passed us?” I asked. Then I followed up with my real question. “Or is there a chance we’re somehow the lead solo riders?”

“I don’t even care,” The Hammer said. That wasn’t a snub, it was just honest exhaustion. 

“Still,” I said, “We have to consider there’s a possibility that we are the lead solo riders. What if,” I continued, now getting to my real idea, “you weren’t simply the first woman to finish this race solo this year — as well as the first woman ever — but were the first solo racer overall?”

“No,” The Hammer said. “You should go first. That way you win overall, and I’m still first woman.”

I knew she’d say that, so had my response ready. “You’ve got to do it. Doing this ride solo was your idea; my job has been to be domestique. And the domestique doesn’t finish ahead of the leader.”

“Besides,” I said, “You finishing first makes a better story in the blog.”

Yeah, that’s right. I used the blog card.

“Fine,” she said. 

And thus, for the first time ever, I triumphed in an argument with The Hammer. 


As we began the last climb — up REd Hills Parkway — I looked at my Garmin 510. It was 11:50am. We had been out for 27:50. Twenty seven hours and fifty minutes.

“I cannot believe how close you came to predicting our finishing time,” I said. “We’re going to finish within half an hour of your prediction, even with everything that’s gone wrong. That’s amazing.”

“I think we’ll finish at 12:15,” The Hammer said. 

We were climbing so slowly. Tired out. I was trying to get a sense of whether I felt elation or excitement. Nope. Just tired. Just ready to go to bed and take a nap.”

No, wait. There it was. Pride. I was proud of what we had done. My wife and I had ridden for twenty eight hours. 423 miles. Together (most of the time). How many couples can say that?

My introspection was broken by the Hammer saying, “Oh please oh please oh please give us a left turn.”

I didn’t understand. Sure, we were approaching a traffic signal, but I had just assumed we’d be going straight through and continuing our climb up and over Red Hills Parkway. We weren’t even halfway up it.

But there it was: a course marking, showing us to turn left. 

“I don’t get it,” I said.

The Hammer, who knows St. George better than I do, told me, “We’re done climbing. This drops us right into downtown, a couple blocks from the finish line.”

“We’re there,” she said.

And she was right. A quick curvy descent (and if you’re not careful, a very treacherous one: another team’s racer blew the curve, flipped over the barrier and landed twenty feet below, breaking all kinds of bones), put us on Diagonal Street. Kenny and Heather pulled alongside of us, gave us a final cheer, and then shot ahead to meet us at the finish line.

We turned one final time toward a park, and there it was. 

I feathered my brakes, slowing so The Hammer would cross first, and then rolled in behind her.

We had done it.

Our final times were 27:59:29 (for The Hammer) and 27:59:42 (for me)

We had beaten The Hammer’s predicted finish time…by just about half a minute.


Zac and Blake were at the finish line, as were — of course — Kenny and Heather.

fatty, the hammer, and the crew

We were incredibly fortunate to have such patient family and friends take care of us.

We quickly found out that we were, in fact, the first solo finishers, making The Hammer the overall solo winner, and me the first man. Russell Mason would finish just under five hours later. Jake and Jason — the great guys we rode with at the beginning of the race — would not finish the race. I would love to know all three of their stories.

The race organizers interviewed The Hammer and me on-camera for a few minutes. Asked what I considered to be the most challenging aspect of the race, I answered, “Recurring hiccups.”

I am pretty sure they did not expect that answer.

We went to Heather and Kenny’s house, took the most welcome shower in the history of showers, then collapsed and slept on what I had always thought of as an OK bed…until that point. Now I knew that bed is magical.

We got up a couple hours later and went to the awards ceremony, held in the same park we had finished in. Our prizes? A decal we could put on our cars saying we had soloed the Salt to Saint, along with a set of new road tires for our bikes. And — you must believe I am not making this up — a case of Red Bull.

Which, I would like to add, remains unopened.

PS: For those of you who would like to see what a really long ride looks like on Strava, here you go.

PPS: I am actually writing and posting this while on a plane because I feel like I owe it to you to finish this story before disappearing. That said, I will be busy with some top-secret stuff as soon as I land, and won’t be posting tomorrow.

PPPS: I expect that some of you have questions. Ask in the comments and I’ll try to get to them tonight (Thursday) or on the flight home tomorrow (Friday).

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.

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