25 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part VIII: The Big Finish is Not the Finish

11.20.2013 | 9:12 am

Once I found that The Hammer had upped her goal from merely destroying the women’s Solo SS record at Frog Hollow to being the outright fastest Solo woman — gears or not — at Frog Hollow, I wanted to get some intel on where she stood on objective, and I asked Zach and Brooks to go to the timing tent and find out.

So when we came into the pit at the next lap, I asked, “Where does The Hammer stand?” 

“We’re not sure,” Brooks said. “The timing computer isn’t showing women solo racers correctly right now. They’re working on it.” 

“What about Kenny?” I asked. “How’s he doing?”

“Jamon is a lap ahead of him. It looks like Jamon’s going to do 19 laps; Kenny will wind up with 18, and that’s going to for sure be good enough for second.” 

“And how about me?” I asked. “Do you have any idea where I stand?” 

“You’re doing good,” Zach said. Which is nice pit crew chief language for, “You’re not in the hunt.” 

Which I knew already, and was — to my own actual amazement — completely OK with.

I Have a Conversation With Ulterior Motives

This is going to come as a bit of a shock to you, but I am not above sneakiness. No indeed. 

Allow me to demonstrate.

Toward the end of our fourteenth lap, on a technical singletrack section I always led The Hammer on, we caught up with a woman solo rider (solo riders had bright ribbons tied to their saddles to identify them). 

“Hey there,” I called out. 

“You want by?” she replied.

“Nope, I’m great right here for now,” I said. “Congrats on doing this race solo.” 

“Thanks,” she said. “Right now I’m barely staying on my bike.” 

“Yeah, I’ll bet. Doing this race solo must be really hard,” I said in my very best “sympathetic and admiring” voice. “So, how many laps will this be for you?” 

“Twelve. I’m in third place right now.” 

“Way to go,” I said. “Is Bec still in first place? How many laps has she done?” 

“Yeah, she’s about half a lap ahead of me.”

Which was exactly what I needed to know. 

“Have a good race,” I said, which is code for “OK, I’m ready to come on by now.” 

“Oh, and by the way,” I finished as I went by, “The woman right behind you now is my wife. She’s finishing her fourteenth lap right now. On a singlespeed.” 

A few minutes later, I recounted the story to The Hammer and asked, “Was I a jerk right then? Getting competitive info from her without explaining why I cared? And then bragging about you as I came around?” 

The Hammer assured me I was not, in fact, being a jerk.

But really, what else could she say?

The Final Lap

The final lap — our seventeenth — of the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow was harder than all the previous laps, combined.

“Why?” you ask?

“Well, that’s a fantastic question,” I answer. And I have a theory. When your head knows that you only have to go around one more time, it can finally stop fooling your body. It can finally stop saying, “Hey there, butt, you’re OK. Really, you are.” It can stop saying, “Wrists, I know you’re pretty battered, but your pain has plateaued and you’re not getting any worse.” 

It can stop saying, “Shut up, legs.” 

I also have an alternate theory that I was just really tired and the seventeenth lap was therefore really hard, and if I had had to do an eighteenth lap, it would have been even harder.

I have a third theory that the final shred of all my hopes and dreams were crushed when, as The Hammer and I were headed out, Brooks told me, “The Hammer has first place all sealed up, both for single and geared women solo riders. But,” And here he paused sympathetically, “third place for solo SS men is about half an hour ahead of you.” 

“I’m sorry, Fatty,” The Hammer said. “You could have had third if you hadn’t waited and rode with me.” 

“This was way better,” I said. And I meant it. I had started this race burned out and without motivation. If I had ridden the whole thing alone, I would have been miserable. Instead, I had had a terrific day. Wonderful weather, incredible course, inspiring hardcore racing wife to keep me company.

But there was no getting around it: the final lap was hell. For both The Hammer and me. “I might walk up some of the climbs,” The Hammer told me. 

“Me too,” I replied, completely honestly. So when we managed to do all the climbs without getting off our bikes, it felt like victory.

When we got to the rocky downhill section, I nearly cried from the pain in my wrists and I couldn’t feel my right hand at all.

No, that’s not quite right; I could feel my right hand, because it hurt. What I couldn’t feel was whether I was holding onto the handlebar or whether my fingers were actually on the brake lever.

And neither of us sat much during this last lap. Our butts hurt too badly.

There was one fun little moment, though. There’s a spot where you have to go up and over a series of tricky ledges. It’s a rideable move—when you’re not tired. But as the day went on, I had noticed more and more people walking this section.

But I always rode it…because I had discovered a line I think hardly anyone had seen. An easy-peasy way up, if you just knew about it.

So as I approached it, on this final lap, I said to The Hammer, “You’ve been going up this way, right?” and rode up my secret line.

The Hammer rode up behind me, then said, “I cannot believe you waited until now to show me that line.” 

A fair point.

Big Finish

The final stretch of the Frog Hollow loop is an easy, fast, downhill mile, followed by a mild climb up to the timing tent. And on the final lap of the race, I could not have been more grateful for such an easy finish. 

TT FatCyclist 121
Trisha took all the pictures in today’s post. Be sure to check out her photo site, crookedpinkie.com.

“We did it,” The Hammer said. And we had. Seventeen laps in 25:48. 

Zach gave me a wet towel to clean up and cool down with:

TT FatCyclist 118

The Hammer just wanted to lie down:

IMG 5490

Meanwhile, Kenny was already dressed and was relaxing with a beer:

TT FatCyclist 105

Yeah, Kenny looks kind of tired, too.

Now all that was left was the the award ceremony, and then heading home. Neither of which would go as expected.

And that’s where we’ll pick up (and finish off, I promise) tomorrow.


  1. Comment by PHB in Tennessee | 11.20.2013 | 9:21 am

    You somehow came in third?

  2. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.20.2013 | 10:04 am

    Great story! Checking the bullet points you did good. But did I miss this one:

    Pride in cleaning something, and then pride in cleaning something well. And later not being able to get it at all

    Time to go back and re-read.

    You’re right — I didn’t wind up including that. I actually wrote a section in one of the posts about that thought, but wasn’t happy with it, so deleted it. I guess that’s the hazard of publishing a bullet list of things you intend to write about: when you find you don’t want to write about some of those things after all…that bullet list is still there. – FC

  3. Comment by UpTheGrade SR, CA | 11.20.2013 | 10:36 am

    Great story FC, and congratulations to all involved from the indomitable Hammer, to the incomparable pit crew, and of course the indefatigable Kenny. That’s all my in- words used up, but you are totally an in-person too Fatty. Now rest those wrists, it sounds like an ergo injury and that can be serious.

  4. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 11.20.2013 | 11:01 am

    You have sealed it for me. This race was so EASY compared to your last 24 hour effort on a road bike…. ;)

  5. Comment by Drew | 11.20.2013 | 11:03 am

    I love these reports.

  6. Comment by Zach and Fred | 11.20.2013 | 11:14 am

    Just want to throw in my two cents having seen it from a pit side. It was an incredible effort for Kenny, fatty, and the hammer to consistently ride when no one else wanted to and eat when food sounded disgusting. All three of them were as cool as cats every lap even when the hammer came in with the “I think I just tore the tip of my finger off” comment. It was an absolute pleasure meeting and crewing for the best damn solo singlespeed team at frog hollow. Thanks Fatty.

  7. Comment by MattC | 11.20.2013 | 11:23 am

    Funny how a good writeup makes me think I should do a solo 24 (25?) hr race…and then I wake up from that daydream and say (again) to myself “that would be VERY stupid of you”. Fun to read about though…hopefully my brain never signs a check for something like this that my body would have to cash…there would surely be in-fighting beyond belief. And I’m afraid the brain (both neurons) would lose that battle in a big way when the body revolts in complete agreement that brain should be banished.

    Way to go both of you…always enjoy reading about other peoples suffering!

  8. Comment by MattC | 11.20.2013 | 11:28 am

    Oh…and Zach, Brooks, Trisha (and don’t forget Fred): you are all elevated to HERO status! Volunteering an entire weekend of your time to crew for people you haven’t even met is a pretty cool thing. Going all out giving them the presidential treatement is way above and beyond. If I’m ever in your area, it would be an honor to crew for YOU (using all your stuff of course, being as I have none of it…well, I do have a bike repair-stand..but that’s it). Well done! This story would have been far less awesome without you!

  9. Comment by Jeff Bike | 11.20.2013 | 11:45 am

    I’m impressed beyond words.

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.20.2013 | 11:45 am

    @MattC, @Doug Bohl Please join me in 2014 in the “Chasing Fatty” tour where we ride Rockwell, 25hrs, RAWROD, Old Pueblo, Breck Epic, LevisGF, and Leadvillew. I omitted Salt to Saint ’cause that would be just too much.

    I do intend to do one or two, or…. of these next year. Age place I hope because there are fewer and fewer my age so dumb.

  11. Comment by Eric L | 11.20.2013 | 11:56 am

    …what Jeff Bike said…

    …me too!

  12. Comment by wharton_crew | 11.20.2013 | 12:09 pm

    I think I’m most impressed with how your rode those technical sections (ledges, roots, climbs with secret lines, etc.) in the DARK! Even with awesome headlights, I think that would be very daunting, to say the least.

    Well done guys!

  13. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.20.2013 | 12:38 pm

    Well MattC you’re off the hook. Just found out that Old Pueblo registration closed on the 18th,(yesterday) Also realized I left Rebecca’s Private Idaho off the list above.

  14. Comment by Da Truth | 11.20.2013 | 1:14 pm

    Yeah, that was a jerk move.

  15. Comment by Jacob | 11.20.2013 | 1:27 pm

    That’s the difference between you and Jens Voight. Jensie makes sure his bike tells his legs to shut up in case he forgets.

  16. Comment by MicroTim | 11.20.2013 | 2:04 pm

    Wait.. Wasn’t there someone giving themselves stitches in the middle of the story?

  17. Comment by Christina | 11.20.2013 | 2:23 pm

    Does she really call you “Fatty”?

    No, not really. – FC

  18. Comment by AKChick | 11.20.2013 | 3:12 pm

    But I don’t want it to end. :( (yes, I’m quite serious).

    Congratulations to everyone and thank you to the bestest race crew for taking care of you, the Hammer and Kenny. :)

    Now time to rest up before you start riding your brand new fat tire bike. :)

  19. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.20.2013 | 3:27 pm

    @UpTheGrade SR, Ca – Wait! Fatty injured his ego??? I don’t think so…. oh… never mind.

  20. Comment by MattC | 11.20.2013 | 4:06 pm

    Oh…and also, I agree w/ “Da Truth”…was a jerk move for sure. You destroyed that woman as you passed her w/ that info on Hammer. Ignorance is bliss…especially when you are in the pain cave from hell (not that I’ve been in THAT particular cave…just guessing…I know I personally wouldn’t have wanted anyone to ‘blurt out’ that info to me out on the course).

  21. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 11.20.2013 | 5:07 pm

    @davidh, Brec Epic is on my list…just not next year. Did you submit for the Leadville lottery yet? It’s open now…

  22. Comment by roan | 11.20.2013 | 6:22 pm

    Yep, I agree with MattC & Da Truth. I can can see in my crystal ball, Fatty at Leadville next year on a ss pushing to place. On the downhill a geared rider passes and says, “You are in 5th place, suck it up.” But you are actually in 2nd behind Kenny.
    My hat is off to y’all anyway and to the best ever crew.


    1. I’m riding a geared bike at Leadville next year. It’s quite possibly a secret geared bike.
    2. Kenny has sworn Leadville off forever.

    So it’s possible your crystal ball needs polishing. – FC

  23. Comment by Jp | 11.20.2013 | 10:17 pm

    Your wrist problem is beginning to sound like Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery is in your future.

  24. Comment by Kenny | 11.21.2013 | 9:10 am

    Another huge shout out to Zack, Trisha and Brooks. They are just good people.

  25. Comment by FatChickonaBike | 11.21.2013 | 11:26 am

    Fatty there sounds like a story here. Tell?
    2. Kenny has sworn Leadville off forever.

    @roan, Fatty was “just the facts” – he didn’t tell her what place she was in much less lie about it, she told him, and he told her honestly how many laps Lisa had. You are describing lying to someone to discourage them, which (jerk or not) FC didn’t do so it’s not a good analogy.

  26. Comment by Tom | 11.27.2013 | 3:39 pm

    As I read back through your “thankful” posts I realized that the pain in your wrists is from the Mary Bar exacting her revenge. It may be time to switch back.


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