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
- Whipped Cream Cheese
- 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
- Ice cream bars
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.