Race Report: Six Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 1

04.22.2014 | 1:05 pm

A Note from Fatty: Thank you to everyone who has left encouraging messages and helpful feedback about doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere. It’s been just what I need; we’re definitely going to do it. I’m going to put together the necessary logistics (keeping it simple, though) and will have more to announce soon.


I am a liar. You can go ahead and think about that previous statement for a moment and decide whether you want to believe it or not, but I promise you: I am a liar.

Here, for example, is a lie: I signed up for the Six Hours in Frog Hollow just for the fun of it.

The truth is, I signed up because I wanted to beat people. To feel, once again, how extraordinarily awesome it is to be the fast guy

I — secretly, of course, and buried under twelve tons of self deprecation — wanted to show that I am not slowing down. That when I said that last year was the fastest I’d ever be and that I’d never be that fast again, that I was only joking.

And in short, I wanted to prove that I have not aged, and also that physics (I’m about eight pounds heavier than I was this time last year) do not apply to me.

Is that so much to ask?

About The Race

The Six Hours in Frog Hollow, for most people, doesn’t last for six hours. Indeed, the amount of time a person or team spends racing is almost guaranteed to not be six hours. 

Also, you’re unlikely to spend any time whatsoever (leave alone six whole hours) in the hollow of a frog.

Which means, I guess, that the race name is almost purely ironic.

So here’s how it works.

You — either as an individual or a team — start doing the thirteenish-mile course at 9:00am, and you do as many laps as you can. 

Once you cross the start/finish checkpoint after 2:00pm — five hours (not six) into the race — your race is done. So if you come through at 1:59 you can go out for another lap. If you come through at 2:01, you can’t.

Got it?

Oh, and here’s what the elevation profile looks like:


Ride uphill for about five miles, then mostly downhill for about eight. Rinse and repeat, as fast and often as possible.

The Race Begins

The thing is, for a racer like me, the course takes very close to an hour. So while I had great hopes that I’d finish five laps in under five hours — thus putting me in position to do a sixth lap and probably get on the podium — I really didn’t know whether I’d be able to do it.

The morning of the race arrived. I was racing in the Men’s Solo Singlespeed category. The Hammer was racing in the Women’s Solo category (she’s putting the singlespeed aside this year). And  in honor of Easter, she had decorated her helmet (and worn socks that say “Cute Chick” on them):

NewImage What do you mean it looks like I’m sucking my gut in? 

Starting together, The Hammer and I broke into a run at the Le Mans-style start

Quickly, The Hammer developed a lead. Which expanded considerably by the time she got to her bike, jumped on, and took off.

I grabbed my own bike and gave chase. 

And then my chasing gave way to marveling, because I was not gaining any ground on The Hammer. 

And hey waitasecond, what am I doing behind my wife during a race at all?

I stood and attacked. Which made me tired, but otherwise had no effect.

So I backed off to the pace that felt right to me and resolved myself to my new reality: I have a wife who is at least my equal on the mountain bike.

Meet the Cast of Characters

A mile or so of dirt-road climbing gives way to singletrack and fairly limited options for passing for the next mile or so. 

So I watched The Hammer disappear in front of me, while I pedaled in a slightly slower group, knowing that there were too many people there for me to bother trying to pass all of them. I’d have three miles of steepish dirt road climbing to do my passing soon enough.

I looked a little ways up ahead and saw two guys on singlespeeds. One on a reddish bike that I didn’t really recognize, and one on a nice-looking steel Spot. That guy on the Spot, I would later find out, was Mike, from Boise, Idaho. I’ll explain later how I learned his name and where he’s from.

And why we wound up getting our picture together — like we’re best friends, instead of guys who were racing against each other — at the award ceremony after the race:

I love getting ahead of myself in these stories, dropping hints and stuff.

For now, I decided to mellow out and not worry about passing anyone for now. I’d attack the singlespeeds hard as soon as the road turned steep and up. Make a statement with my climbing, and then hopefully be gone before anyone had a chance to make a counterpoint, as it were.

My Big Move

And sure enough, once the big climb of the loop came, I stood up and did what I’m good at: rocking a singlespeed side to side while dripping sweat and snot off my nose onto my front wheel. 

I caught the guy on the reddish-orange singlespeed. “Hey,” I said. Which, considering that blood was spurting out of my ears and eyes, was pretty darned friendly and outgoing of me.

Then I caught The Hammer. Yes, I am crowing about catching and passing my wife. “I love you, Beautiful,” I said as I caught her.

I want to be very clear on how sweet I was as I passed. Why? Because this will figure in to the story later on, that’s why.

And then I caught up with Mike. Knowing that I was only barely faster than he was on the climb, I wanted my pass to leave him unable to respond. So without announcing myself, I just settled in behind him, catching my breath. Gathering my strength.

Then, just before a steep grunt of a climb, I stood up and gave it everything I had. Attacked hard. 

And it worked. I had dropped him. He didn’t try to stay on my wheel.

I didn’t know what place I was in, but I knew it was better than it had been a minute ago.

I got to the summit of the climb, turned right onto the fast downhill singletrack, and rode my brains out, happy to know I had seen the last of Mike. I also figured — less happily, but also a little bit relieved — that I had seen the last of The Hammer ’til the end of the race.

In both cases, I was severely wrong.

Which is where we’ll pick up in the next installment of this story.


  1. Comment by daddyo | 04.22.2014 | 1:15 pm

    dropping hints is called “foreshadowing”. say it eight times or until it feels right.

  2. Comment by pbrmeasap | 04.22.2014 | 1:18 pm

    Poe like story telling.

  3. Comment by Jim Tolar | 04.22.2014 | 1:21 pm

    It’s really nice to read a multi-part race report again. Thanks, FatMan.


    Thanks! Good to have one to write. – FC

  4. Comment by LidsB2 | 04.22.2014 | 1:31 pm

    So…approximately how many installments will there be in this story? Part of me wants it to be many. But the other part (the gluttonous part) wants it all now. I’m so conflicted…

    I never know how many there will be. I thought I’d at least get through the first lap with this installment…then I only got through the big climb. – FC

  5. Comment by Tom in Albany | 04.22.2014 | 1:39 pm

    Keep us on a drip, Fatty. I need to know you’re going to have something for me to read each weekday for the next couple of weeks or so. Works getting hectic and I like finding your race reports when I need to disengage for 5 minutes or so.


  6. Comment by eclecticdeb | 04.22.2014 | 1:56 pm

    Did not know how much I missed these type of stories until you posted. @Tom — “drip” is right, but kinda like Chinese water torture. In a good way. Oh good grief, I’ll stop now.

  7. Comment by KevinM_Indiana(soon to be Virginia) | 04.22.2014 | 2:28 pm

    Love the multi-installment write-ups …. oh the anticipation is sometimes just too much …. well done Fatty!

  8. Comment by Christina | 04.22.2014 | 2:53 pm

    As an actual fat person who owns that same jersey, I will assure you that sucking in is unnecessary. It has magical slimming properties.

    It will also make your rack look great, but you probably don’t want that.


  9. Comment by Dave T | 04.22.2014 | 3:41 pm

    Love the description of rocking back and forth dripping all over your front wheel for me it’s usually all over my garmin. If it’s not to personal, what pray tell is that red thing hanging out of your shorts on your right leg?

    That’s a Honey Stinger gel (mostly) tucked into my shorts. Super easy to get at them this way. – FC

  10. Comment by Jojo | 04.22.2014 | 3:45 pm

    Is this going to be a six-part installment, for you know, “six hours” of racing?

  11. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 04.22.2014 | 3:52 pm

    Fatty, you are fast by anyone’s standards, which makes the Hammer outstandingly fast. She could give the pros a run for their money. Isn’t it nice that she still lets you pass her to preserve your fragile ego.

    I love these multipart stories and can’t wait for the next installment.

  12. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 04.22.2014 | 5:04 pm

    DaveT will soon have his own race report to add but 8hrs, just to show everything is BIGGER in California.

    Thanks for the multi installment story. Looking forward to the last installment on Halloween (just before 25hrs of Frog Hollow starts).

    As for the jersey and the gut…. a woman gave a ’shout out’ that she ‘Loves Fat Cyclist’ at the recent Tierra Bella 100k, and that the jersey on me was untruthful.(Hah!) I explained the jersey was somewhat Magical that in fact it was larger on the inside!

  13. Comment by Corrine | 04.22.2014 | 6:47 pm

    I forgot how much I LOVE race reports. Can’t wait to hear more.

  14. Comment by Ellen | 04.22.2014 | 7:40 pm

    Loyal reader, infrequent commenter, I *love* race reports. Carry on!

  15. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 04.23.2014 | 7:18 am


  16. Comment by DC Commuter | 04.23.2014 | 10:10 am

    I don’t have enough self discipline to refrain from looking up the race results. Or from eating too much. But at least I’m courteous enough to avoid spoiling the suspense for everyone else in a comment. Write on, fat one!

  17. Comment by The Cyclist | 04.23.2014 | 3:07 pm

    Hunny Stinger!!!!? I thought you were on a diet. ;)

  18. Comment by Skye | 04.23.2014 | 3:16 pm

    Yay, a race report! I’m excited already even though you already dropped some sneaky hints about the final outcome.

  19. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 6 Hours in Frog Hollow Race Report, Part 2: A Beautiful Lie | 04.23.2014 | 7:34 pm

    [...] « Race Report: Six Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 1 [...]

  20. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 3: Patterns Emerge | 04.24.2014 | 9:40 pm

    [...] Note from Fatty: Before reading this installment of this story, you should probably read Part 1 and Part [...]

  21. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 5: Groundhog Day | 05.1.2014 | 10:43 am

    [...] should. You know, for context or in case there’s a quiz at the end or something. Here are links: part 1, part 2, part 3, part [...]

  22. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 6: Surprise Ending | 05.5.2014 | 10:56 am

    [...] you somehow wound up here before reading the first five parts, you might want to read them first: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part [...]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.