2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 2: Let’s Eat

06.17.2014 | 8:05 pm

A Note from Fatty: This is Part 2 of my extended dance remix writeup of The Rockwell Relay. Part 1 is here

Let’s talk about food. Yes, I know — part 1of this report was all about bratwurst. But this time, I’m talking about the food that we planned to eat during the Rockwell Relay itself. How much we brought. What variety. The wisdom of our decisions. That kind of thing.

This, I think, should be very valuable and instructive information for anyone who has ever thought about racing a 12-stage relay road race using a Sprinter van as a base of operations.

How to Shop

For weeks before the race, I had been assembling a list of foods that we should bring for the relay, mostly based on what sounded good to me at the moment. For example, it would be mid-morning and I’d start feeling a little hungry, and I would think to myself:

“Hm. A bagel with strawberry cream cheese sounds good right about now….HEY WE SHOULD BRING BAGELS AND STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE TO THE RELAY.”

And then I’d add it to the list.

By the time we got to Wednesday — the day before we were slated to head to Moab — I had a good, long list. Basically, a list of everything that I like to eat.

Then we went to a grocery store, and I forgot all about my list. Instead, we just wandered up and down the aisles, pretty much pulling anything that looked good into the grocery cart.

Then we went to Costco and did the same thing, except we specifically went through their five-mile long “Gargantuan Bags of Gorp-Style Snacks” aisle.

So, by the time we left, I had all of the following, although this list is strictly what I can remember off the top of my head:

Stuff to Eat While Racing

  • Gu Roctane: 100 packets, divided among all flavors, but lots of Island Nectar for me, and lots of Cherry Lime for The Hammer
  • CarboRocket 333: Lemon and Grape flavors
  • Water: To be provided by Kenny and Heather

That’s a remarkably short list, isn’t it?

Stuff to Eat / Drink While Recovering / Getting Ready to Race / Whatever

In addition to the stuff we had for when we were riding our bikes, here’s the list of stuff we had for when we were just sitting around.

  • Red Bull: A whole case of it
  • Coke: Pretty much a whole case of it
  • Coke Zero: Just half a case
  • Bagels 
  • Whipped Cream Cheese
  • Gorp
  • Dried mangos
  • Dried fruit and nut mix
  • A whole box of Pay Day bars
  • 2 footlong Subway Sandwiches
  • 4 pizzas from Paradox Pizza
  • Nutella, to go on anything
  • An enormous bag of Swedish Fish
  • Gatorade, cuz sometimes I like Gatorade, that’s why
  • A gallon of iced coffee
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Honey Stinger Chews
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • A pan of Rice Krispie Treats
  • A pan of Golden Graham Treats
  • 6 Giant Poppy seed muffins
  • 6 Giant Blueberry muffins
  • A giant bag of salt-and-pepper pistachios
  • Salt and Vinegar potato chips
  • Jar of pickle juice
  • Oatmeal Squares cereal
  • Bananas
  • Ice cream bars
  • Doritos
  • Ice
  • Rice pudding: When nothing else sounds good because my stomach is all knotted up with anxiety or post-race nausea, rice pudding works for me. Here is a picture of me eating some at about one in the morning:

     IMG 9072
    KozyShack should put this photo in their advertising materials. 

This filled up three giant storage bins. And two large ice chests. Which, when compounded with all the clothes, bikes, helmets, lights, and other supplies we may or may not need for the race…added up to a lot.

When Kenny and Heather saw how much we had packed, and the fact that we wanted to fit it all into their Sprinter van, they were a little bit…concerned. 

We assured them that we would need and use it all. Ha.

“And what did you bring, food-wise?” I asked.

“Some Doritos, and some Red Vines,” Kenny replied, all nonchalance

“I’m worried we’ll go hungry,” I replied.

Spoiler alert: we did not go hungry.

More About Food

Somehow, we got all of our stuff into the van, and the doors still closed and everything. We put our race number sticker— Team Fatty-WBR, Team number 107 — on a place of honor on the back of the van.


But to be honest, with all the other stickers on there, I doubt anyone ever saw our race number there. The “Where’s Waldo” effect in action.

We got to the hotel, and even got a decent night’s sleep (Thanks, Ambien!). We weren’t scheduled to start until 9:00am the next morning, so we got to sleep in, get up lazily, and have breakfast at Denny’s.


I had the bacon and avocado omelette, naturally. And half of The Hammer’s breakfast burrito, and most of her pancakes. Hey, I’m a nervous eater; don’t judge me.

We were, at long last, ready to race.


One of the reasons I like Kenny is that he is genuinely as laid-back as I wish I were. Kenny wasn’t what you’d call concerned about this race, nor about his equipment. To wit, he was borrowing my old Orbea Orca — which hasn’t been ridden since he borrowed it for this race last year. Which I guess was a good thing, since it meant he didn’t have to adjust the saddle or anything. We just put some lube on the chain and pumped up the tires.

I did, by the way, take care to charge the Di2 battery on the bike before bringing it to Moab. Yes, my spare road bike is an Orbea Orca with Di2 Dura-Ace. (As it turns out, while I don’t make any money to speak of from this blog, I do have a remarkably nice selection of bikes for my friends and me to use.)

Kenny put his pedals on my bike, turned Strava on on his iPhone, and…that concluded his preparation for the race. 

When you’re Kenny Jones, that’s enough.

The horn blasted and Kenny went out with the front group. 

2014 06 13 09 00 12 1

Yep, that’s right. Kenny was the first racer for Team Fatty this year. Did that little strategic switcharoo catch you off guard? Maybe knock you onto your heels?

No? Oh well, it didn’t exactly make anyone’s head spin at the race, either.

Anyway, Kenny’s the one at the far right of the screen, riding in FatCyclist.com kit, which he specially de-sleeved.

If you had Kenny’s guns, you’d do the same. You know you would.

Wind Begins

Kenny doesn’t do a ton of road riding these days. He lives in Southern Utah, with his house right on one of the best mountain bike trails you could ever imagine — and not far from lots of other incredible mountain bike trails.

And in short, the whole road bike thing doesn’t exactly grab him. 

You would not expect, therefore, that he would take off like a bat out of hell, hanging with one of the fastest groups around. Taking big ol’ fat pulls when it was his turn.

2014 06 13 11 25 25

And hunkering down into an increasingly nasty headwind. A headwind so evil, in fact, that it slowed the whole group down, forcing riders to stay together. Keeping breakaways from succeeding.

IMG 9030

This slowed Kenny down a little, but not a lot. Why? Because Kenny uses The Force when he rides, as is evidenced in this photo by the way he is using a gesture and his mind to make a bottle fly to his hand.

2014 06 13 10 45 27 1

It’s like he’s Old Ben Kenny-Obi. Same beard and everything.

Wind notwithstanding, Team Fatty-WBR was having a blast. We were excited to have the race begun. To be at the beginning of an annual adventure. To be on the side of the road, supporting each other, ringing cowbells, yelling encouragement at racers as we drove by, and then doing it all over again. For twenty-eight or twenty-nine or thirty hours, or however long it took. 

Just In Case We Haven’t Talked Enough About Food Yet

Others of our friends, meanwhile, weren’t having much fun. Cory and Lynette — at our urging — had signed up to do this race, and were doing it with another couple they knew.

We saw their van on the side of the road and pulled over to say hi and ask how the race was going so far for them. “Not so great,” Lynette answered. “Dean’s already thrown up a couple of times.”

“He’s thrown up? Ten miles into the race? Why would he be doing that?”

“We think it’s because he ate four of your bratwurst last night.”

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Moderation in all things. Even bratwurst.

Dramatic Strategy Revelation

As we got to within ten miles of the first exchange point, we made sure Kenny had plenty of water and Gu Roctane, then shot ahead, so we could have The Hammer suited up, fueled up, and her bike ready to go at the next exchange point.

Yep, that’s right. The Hammer was racing the second leg for Team Fatty, while her race leg has always heretofore been the third leg! Exclamation point!

Did your head just spin around 720 degrees in disbelief at that astonishing revelation?

No? Pffff. You people are hard to impress.

Well, here’s a picture of her anyway, facing up the road Kenny will soon be coming down.


She looks calm in this photo, but if someone had taken a picture of me (nobody wanted to), you’d notice that I didn’t look calm. I wasn’t feeling calm — because the wind was gusting so hard I just couldn’t imagine riding in it…and I didn’t like the idea of The Hammer riding if I also didn’t like the idea of me riding.

You follow?

But the wind died down and Kenny — in 3:22, an extraordinarily fast time considering the brutal wind — rolled in.

The Hammer rolled out, and the wind picked up again.

At which point I began deeply, fervently wishing I had some less deeply-sectioned rims on her bike.

But I didn’t. The Hammer was going to have to ride as best as she could with the bike that she had.

Which is where we’ll pick up in the next post.


  1. Comment by Kevin | 06.17.2014 | 8:51 pm

    Hi Eldon,
    Your “food” list is not real food. It’s awful food like products destroyed by companies that resell it as food to the unaware. Coke!, Payday bars! Are you kidding??!! What type of example is this to cyclists that actually want to live without diabetes, obesity, and heart problems. How about some natural “real” food? Meat, vegetables, sweet potatoes, fruit, water, coconut water??
    You know, things without an ingredients list. C’mon, you can do it!

    Hi Kevin,
    Like my friend Kent, I am…

    - FC

  2. Comment by Libby | 06.17.2014 | 10:29 pm

    Headwinds. Living in the foothills of the Rockies we always have wind…and not just the bratwurst induced kind either. I say that if I have a headwind going someplace, I’ll have a headwind coming back even if I take the same route.

    My husband rode the MS Bike Tour this past weekend and as one rider said as we stood in the drizzle, “couldn’t we have two beautiful days in a row for once?” Saturday was just cool & sunny enough that it was extremely pleasant to ride the 85kms. But Sunday was a completely diffent weather system. Cold headwind, drizzle until it rained 3 1/2 hours into the 85kms then it poured. Hubs said that just as an experiment he stopped pedalling on a 2-3% grade descent and the headwind actually STOPPED him from moving, the bike stood still! It was one of those rides you just get through.

    I look forward to reading the rest of the food/bike ride.

  3. Comment by MikeL | 06.17.2014 | 10:36 pm

    @Kevin: Use Fatty as an anti-example then for your own sake but do not feel obliged to share your self-righteous attitude with the rest of us. If it works for him it is cool. You are the second respondent I have come across in a recent blog that is taking the author to task for not being a proper role model. It is not their job and I am getting tired of folks like you who feel they have to call out people for being normal human beings and not meeting your expectations.
    Fatty: My apologies for the response and there will be no offense taken if you deem this to harsh and wish to remove it.

  4. Comment by SteveB | 06.18.2014 | 1:29 am

    lol @wordaiblahblahblah – epic troll failure.
    Fatty and all, y’all are beasts. 11 more installments?

  5. Comment by 6pkcharlie | 06.18.2014 | 6:17 am

    Man I’m super jealous of this ride. I wish we had stuff like this in Cincinnati, or I wish I knew how to organize a ride like this.

  6. Comment by AUChefDave | 06.18.2014 | 6:18 am

    Thanks MikeL. Mayor Bloomberg never rode a bike more than ten feet! What works on a long ride works, don’t mess with it.

  7. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 06.18.2014 | 8:52 am

    I don’t do wind well. My lightweight wife even worse – she literally got blown off the road on a ride up Mt. St. Helens a few years ago. You guys that deal with that all the time are animals, IMHO. Waiting for the next ten shoes to drop…

  8. Comment by Corrine | 06.18.2014 | 8:53 am

    All this talk of food is making me hungry.

  9. Comment by Jim Tolar | 06.18.2014 | 8:56 am

    All is right with the world. We are smack in the middle of an epic multi-part race story.

    Happy Birthday FatMan!


  10. Comment by Christina | 06.18.2014 | 9:38 am

    Crap! She doesn’t fall over, does she? I don’t want bad things to happen to The Hammer.

    I rode my first ever mountain bike race yesterday. I can climb climb climb and then I can’t descend. When I got nervous, I’d think of all your awesome stories. When that didn’t work, I walked. I also perfected the art of saying, “No, I’m okay!” from the side of the trail.

  11. Comment by Hammer/Lisa | 06.18.2014 | 9:48 am


  12. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 06.18.2014 | 9:51 am

    Lunch time. Pass a Gu and a coke!

  13. Comment by Dave T | 06.18.2014 | 9:52 am

    The one thing that I missed on this ride was coffee. The ice coffee sounds brilliant, although I could have used hot coffee on my decent down Bolder Mountain. I don’t think I have ever been so cold on a bike. I love Kenny’s 0.0 sticker.

  14. Comment by Jeff Bike | 06.18.2014 | 9:58 am

    @Kevin: Race food is different from real food.
    The only role model that Fatty needs to be is a ROLL model.

    Was Hammers wind a crosswind?
    When it’s not a headwind it’s always a crosswind or nonexistent, right.

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.18.2014 | 11:02 am

    @Lisa/Hammer We all know you love him almost as much as the rest of us. But for this crowd, terms of endearment can sometimes prompt very uncomfortable images:

    Happy Birthday, Big Man(?)

  16. Comment by Heidi | 06.18.2014 | 12:07 pm

    I love, love this write-up, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the installments. To the non-role model:

    *mi mi mi…*


  17. Comment by Rose | 06.18.2014 | 12:13 pm

    Please stop talking about food/racing/headwinds and talk more about Kenny’s guns. Gawd, I could stare at those ALL.DAY.LONG.

  18. Comment by Heidi | 06.18.2014 | 12:18 pm

    P.S Nice write-up about the Hammer’s fundraising efforts on the WBR site: http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/our-story/news/blog/530-lisa-nelson

    This is an AWESOME writeup…but it does have a spoiler about this race, so don’t check it out quite yet if you don’t want to know what our final placing is. – FC

  19. Comment by Doug (way upstate NY) | 06.18.2014 | 12:37 pm

    I pressed the link button…couldn’t help myself.

  20. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 06.18.2014 | 12:41 pm

    Kevin – eat what you want to eat and leave the proselytizing to guys in white shirts, ties and black name tags. Is your kind of food better, don’t care. I come here for bike stories and a sense of community. If I want self righteous food comments I am sure I could find some organic vegan blog that extolls the virtues of real food laced with aphid droppings.
    As for the bike stories I love reading the race reports.

  21. Comment by Kristina | 06.18.2014 | 12:42 pm

    The Hammer told on you! Although really, you’ve probably mentioned your birthday at some point, but I’m not so good at details like that. Anyway…

    Happy Birthday, Fatty!!
    Celebrate with some delicious non-food ;) and maybe a bike ride!

  22. Comment by Chinese Spammer | 06.18.2014 | 1:18 pm

    Me content writing is for birthday you. Available for many hits. Happy.

  23. Comment by ClydeinKS | 06.18.2014 | 1:23 pm

    Happy Birthday Fatty!! Pie tonight? AFTER the ride of course :)

  24. Comment by Davidh-Venice,Italy | 06.18.2014 | 6:02 pm

    @Lisa. Not as disturbing as the original effort, but it will suffice. Please keep your pet names for Elden at home since many readers(well basically me) will just take it too far.

  25. Comment by Davidh-Venice,Italy | 06.18.2014 | 6:04 pm

    Can I not find a picture that is not protected?

  26. Comment by Kate | 06.18.2014 | 6:27 pm

    Gah. Granted, I didn’t actually realize this race had taken place until I saw the first installment, but now I must. know. now how it plays out! I know (well, I know from reading the comments) that it’s your birthday and all, but my story withdrawal jitters are starting to interfere with my daily living.

    You’re a heck of a storyteller.

  27. Comment by Troy Oldham | 06.18.2014 | 7:40 pm

    Happy Birthday Fatty! BTW – you ARE a role model in many ways. don’t be distracted by the critics….they are never held in much esteem after all!

  28. Comment by leroy | 06.18.2014 | 7:58 pm

    Shucks, half the fun of riding is being able to eat stuff you’d otherwise have to avoid.

    Kevin would be appalled by my dog’s culinary proclivities.

    In addition to Cheetos, he eats, shoots, and leaves.

    At least I think he said shoots.

    Happy birthday FC!

  29. Comment by Kevin | 06.18.2014 | 8:19 pm

    @Bart the Clydesdale, Jeff Bike, AUChefDave, and MikeL: I thought the comment section just said “Comments” and then “Submit Comment”. I didn’t realize it said “Submit only positive comments that don’t raise questions”. I’m sorry my comments on Fatty’s food choices offended any of you. I thought I had a right to comment on my thoughts on the post. I promise I won’t do that again. By all means, continue to follow this “race food” regimen. I’m sure it will help all of you, including Eldon, ride fast and live a long healthy life.

    Hi Kevin,

    Of course it’s fine to post your opinion, so long as it fits within my “living room” guidelines (i.e., it’s not something I’d kick you out of my house for if said while sitting in my living room). And your opinion obviously fits within those guidelines, because it’s still there (i.e., I haven’t replaced it with lyrics to a disco hit from the 70’s.) So you’re fine to comment here, and I hope you’ll continue to do so.

    Naturally, other people have the same privilege. And just as if you were to come to my birthday party in person and start telling people how they shouldn’t be eating that cake or drinking those root beer floats because they’re not kale and green smoothies, you’re going to get a lot of pushback from a lot of people, and the strength of that pushback is going to vary by person.

    The one thing you shouldn’t have expected is for everyone to jump to your side and offer complete agreement with you. After all, you’re in my house with my friends. A lot of them have been through a lot with me, and many of them think and act like me. We have similar habits and tendencies; that’s part of why we’re friends. So if you want to convince anyone, you’re going to need to start being a friend and work to convince, not come in as a stranger and scold.

    Which leads to my second point: context and tone. You can say pretty much anything at any time; tone dictates whether it’s going to grate on people. In this case, the context was a lighthearted and self-deprecating story. Your comment — in the unfortunate absence of nuance that might have been provided by nonverbal cues — comes off as condescending and scolding. It’s dissonant to the story tone. You could have made practically any point in that tone in this context and set folks’ teeth on edge.

    In a more serious discussion of race nutrition, this same point, worded perhaps a little more diplomatically, could and would have opened an interesting avenue of conversation. Instead of feeling defensive right now, you could be participating in the conversation, sharing experiences, and maybe even teaching.

    Good luck,

    PS: My name is spelled “Elden,” and in this context I prefer to just go by “Fatty.”

  30. Comment by Brian in VA | 06.18.2014 | 8:23 pm

    Happy Birthday Elden! Have a great day!

  31. Comment by leroy | 06.18.2014 | 9:25 pm

    Oh honestly Kevin.

    “A long life is good enough, but a good life is long enough.”

    I got that from a fortune cookie.

    “Enjoy every sandwich.”

    I got that from Warren Zevon.

    You should stick around. My dog told me there’s going to be birthday cake and ice cream.

  32. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 06.18.2014 | 11:07 pm

    Happy Birthday FC

    I am now snacking after reading about all the lovely food :-)
    I’ve found on long hard rides that a flask of slightly diluted honey works great for me, and avoids the hassle and mess of opening packets of Gu and getting them all over my gloves and hands (I get very clumsy after 100 miles). I also have not built up an aversion to honey as I have with almost everything else I’ve tried.
    Got the gel flask for $5 at Performance Bike. I mix in 10% water to make the honey runny enough and add a tsp of salt.

  33. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.19.2014 | 7:44 am

    FC So nice of you to give Kevin a well thought response without being harsh. I’m pretty sure he’d enjoy a root beer float with you…and maybe some pie.

    And your name. C’mon, who can forget your name. Especially when you’re wearing your glasses.

  34. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.19.2014 | 7:45 am

    Clearly Elden is now ‘blocking’ my pictures.

    I don’t know why that image doesn’t show. I can go to the image URL and see it. That said, I’m glad nobody else can. That is DISTURBING. – FC

  35. Comment by Wife#1 | 06.19.2014 | 8:57 pm

    @Davidh… pretty sure it’s just you doing something wrong, hon. :-)

    Loving this report so far, though along with other FoFs, it’s making me VERY hungry.

    FC – you are very diplomatic. So very much nicer than I am. So I’ll follow your lead and leave off with the scathing retort that sprung to my lips (though it was a really good one, I have to say).

  36. Comment by Jase | 06.21.2014 | 8:14 pm

    I must admit reading that list of food made me really shocked and if Killjoy Kevin hadn’t left a comment full of nutritional advice, I may have become the fallguy. The only un-processed food choice on that list is bananas!
    Still, I don’t come here for food advice, do I, and if it takes crackers and doritos to make a good eight-part series come to life then so be it. It isn’t paleo cyclist.com after all!

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