6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 5: Groundhog Day

05.1.2014 | 10:43 am

A Note from The Hammer About the WBR Gooseberry Yurt Fundraiser: A huge thanks to everyone who donated to WBR as part of The Hammer’s Weekend at the Gooseberry Yurt fundraiser. It raised more than $14,000! We’re now trying to figure out how to download all the donation info, after which we’ll choose and contact the winner. Stay tuned, and (if you donated) watch your email account! 

A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: This is part 5 of my 6 Hours in Frog Hollow writeup. If you haven’t read the earlier parts, you probably 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 4.

I had been out on the course for two laps, and I had two questions, which I consider a very strange coincidence. My questions were as follows:

  1. Since I was starting lap 3 ahead (only by a couple of seconds, but I am happy to take whatever I can get) of Mike from Boise, would I be able to put enough time into him during the climb to stay ahead of him during the descent?
  2. Was I going to be able to stay under the magical one-hour / lap average necessary for me to do a sixth lap? 

My answer to the first question was, “I’m sure going to try.” My answer to the second question was, “It doesn’t look good.” You see, I had finished the first lap in just under 59 minutes; I had finished the second lap in a few seconds less than an hour. It seemed unlikely that I would be able to hold my pace for another three laps. 

So now I was looking at — probably — having only three more laps to stay ahead of Mike. 

Was that a good thing? I suspected not. As an endurance guy with strength in climbing and weakness in descending, I figured I’d put more and more time into Mike with each climb, until — hopefully — my lead would be too great for him to catch me on the descent. 

Shortest Lap Recap Ever

Because some of you are my age and therefore have short-term memory issues, let me remind you what happened in my second lap of this race:

  1. I did the climb faster than Mike, finishing well ahead of him.
  2. I did 3/4 of the descent with Mike nowhere in sight.
  3. Mike caught and passed me just before the final section of singletrack.
  4. I caught up to Mike at the climb to the timing tent at the end of the lap and we went through together.

I remind you of this, because the exact same thing happened in the third lap. Right down to Mike giving me a pleasant greeting as he passed me (“I love this course!” or “That was a fun lap!”) and us finishing the lap together. 

Though — in the interest of full disclosure — the official timing for the race shows Mike as having done the third lap one second faster than I did.

But I think you get the point: Mike and I were about as close to perfect foils for each other as there could possibly be.

It made, frankly, for about the most awesome race experience I’ve ever had.

Lap 4: The One That Matters

At the start of every lap, I convince myself that it’s the most important lap of the race. For the fourth lap, I thought, “This is my big chance to finish ahead of Mike. If I can do that — so he doesn’t see me at all during this lap — I’ll have a psychological advantage over him on the fifth lap; he won’t know where I am and I’ll stop being such an obvious carrot to him.”

It did not quite work out that way. 

Well, actually it did work out that way, but kind of in reverse.

To wit, Mike caught me sooner in the descent than he had in the previous three laps, giving him enough time to fully and thoroughly drop me during the rest of the descent.

And in short, by the time I finished the fourth lap, I had no idea how long ago Mike had passed through the timing tent. Two minutes ago? Three? Five? I just didn’t know. 

Which meant that, unfortunately (for me, not Mike), I was going to have to go absolutely, positively all out to catch Mike on the climb, then hope I could hold on to him during the descent and — maybe — beat him in an uphill sprint to the finish line.

So when I passed our crew tent and Melisa asked me what I wanted, I just grabbed a piece of sandwich, one last bottle of Carborocket, and a Coke to go.

I had a racer to catch, in this fifth lap. The lap that would — for really and for truly — matter.

Which is where we’ll pick up in the next (and, I swear, final) installment of this race writeup.

PS: This final installment will come out this Monday (not tomorrow or during the weekend). Also, it’s pretty freaking dramatic. 


  1. Comment by Heidi | 05.1.2014 | 11:00 am

    $17,745 – that’s where the Hammer’s total currently stands. Awesome!

    Happily awaiting the freaking dramatic conclusion…

  2. Comment by NZ Ev | 05.1.2014 | 12:54 pm

    The drama!!!!

  3. Comment by Jeff | 05.1.2014 | 1:41 pm

    Damn it! I was thinking (for some unknown reason) that today was the last day of April. I’ll still donate, but I sure wanted a chance at that trip!

  4. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 05.1.2014 | 1:53 pm

    You have set the hook really well this time, and we anxiously await the final episode of this saga. Will he or won’t he … not sure I can make it through the weekend without knowing.

    Kudos to you Fatty for the great story telling.

    So, are you taking tomorrow off completely, or will we get to experience Free Verse Friday? Come on, throw us a bone to hold us until Monday.

  5. Comment by rich | 05.1.2014 | 3:04 pm

    ok, can’t wait to read the finale…this sounds like a really fun race…

  6. Comment by Tiffany R | 05.1.2014 | 3:23 pm

    I love reading your race reports! It’s going to be a long weekend waiting for the final installment!

  7. Comment by Corrine | 05.1.2014 | 5:31 pm

    Even though I know the rest of the story from looking at the results, I can’t wait to hear the final installment. Good thing I have a busy weekend planned otherwise it would be a long wait until Monday.

    You might know the results, but I bet you don’t know the story. – FC

  8. Comment by slo joe | 05.1.2014 | 6:50 pm

    I have not peeked at the results preferring to wait in agony and suspended in animation or somethinv like that.

    I will be racing against 32,000 other crazies this weekend just trying to get thru Bike NY in one piece. Thatvwill keep my mind off fatty’s finale.

    Kudos to the Hammer’s fund raising efforts. That IS a winner

  9. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.2.2014 | 12:39 am

    One of the best paced installment stories to date. You’re getting this down.

    Congrats to the Hammer, and we can’t wait for her next request for donations. We all know she’ll set the WBR Fundraising Records that no one will ever beat.

    And Fatty, have a great ride this weekend, we know the write up will be another Daisy

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.2.2014 | 8:26 am

    I meant “Doozy” and when did your picture get so big?

  11. Comment by MikeL | 05.2.2014 | 12:14 pm

    Let’s see. We have 5 parts for the first two laps. You are aiming for six laps. By some high level mathematical analysis that would suggest we should be seeing at least ten more installments. Do you really think you can wrap it up in one? Just asking.

  12. Comment by KevinM_Indiana(soon to be Virginia) | 05.2.2014 | 2:45 pm

    Surely you can make this race past Monday ….. Like a great novel you just don’t want it to end …..

  13. Comment by Dave | 05.3.2014 | 10:58 pm

    C’mon Mondy!!

    I love race stories. Mine are never any good.

  14. Comment by Mike K | 05.5.2014 | 7:14 am

    The only regret I have regarding the race is that I did not track you down immediately after the race to thank you for being a great competitor and introduce myself in full. Once I sat down in the camp chair in the shade and got my shoes off, I was pretty much worthless.

    Cheers from Boise!

  15. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 05.5.2014 | 10:57 am

    Hey Elden,

    It’s Monday buddy….. You promised!

    (Cause I know you just sit around and do nothing else besides ride and post :) )

  16. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 6: Surprise Ending | 05.5.2014 | 1:48 pm

    [...] « 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, Part 5: Groundhog Day [...]

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