2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 7: Time

06.26.2014 | 1:40 pm

A Note from Fatty: This is part 7 of my 2014 Rockwell Relay report. If you need to catch up, you can go to the previous installment, or all the way to the beginning

When you’re racing the Rockwell Relay, time becomes very, very strange. Weird even. 

At one moment it’s early morning and you’re nervously awaiting the start of the race. Then the first teammate is racing and you’re cheering him on. Then — very quickly — your second teammate is out and you’re cheering her on. Then it’s your turn and you’re going with all your might. Then your fourth teammate is off and racing and you’re cheering her on.

And then it’s time to start that rotation again. 

By the time this happens, you have two completely contradictory impressions. First, that you’ve been doing this race for all your life — that it’s just one endless cycle.

Secondly — and for me, this is the stronger impression — it’s that you’ve only been out racing for a very short time. That it’s still morning. Hey, you’ve each only gone on one middling-length ride after all, and you each got your respective rides out of the way pretty darn quickly.

So how was it possible that the sun was going down as Kenny was riding his second time?

2014 06 13 20 50 36

And why — why? — did the wind have to kick back up, pushing hard against Kenny for the whole ride?

These are mysteries we will likely never answer. 

What we do know is that while Kenny rode, a beautiful full moon came up, so that it was never really completely dark. 

IMG 9068

So, as Kenny rode his leg and we found it impossible to get photos of him, we turned on each other:

IMG 9066

And then I got a shot of The Hammer and Heather, doing…some kind of dance or something. But the photo turned out different than I expected.


Wow, I think that was the chupacabra behind them. It’ too bad that’s such a dark, grainy, blurry shot.


Once you’re riding in the dark, time gets even more strange and distorted during the Rockwell Relay. I think this is because there just aren’t the visual cues you’re used to during the day time to help you get a sense of time passing.

It’s just dark. And you feel a little bit weird, a little bit uneasy, getting ready for your ride.

Photos get really difficult to take:

2014 06 13 23 57 57
The only way I know that’s Kenny is because I recognize the Orbea.

We’d stare off into the dark, waiting to see a headlamp. Then we’d cheer for Kenny — at least we assumed it was Kenny — as we saw the light go by. And then we’d repeat.

When we got to within ten miles of the exchange, we left him, feeling just a little bit reluctant. It’s not easy to leave a teammate riding in the eerie darkness like that.

The Hammer’s Turn

Since I had already done the work of getting The Hammer’s bike ready, it was easy to get her ready:

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Wow, those reflective belts really…reflect.

Then we stood around, waiting. Hoping that every light was Kenny’s. And soon enough, one was. 

Kenny pulled in, having — as Kenny does — completely demolished himself on the ride. Kenny always gives it everything he’s got. That’s why he’s Kenny.

In endurance running relay races (like Ragnar), someone you pass is known as “roadkill.”

The Hammer was heading out with a monster climb in front of her. 

Soon, that climb would be brimming with roadkill.

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


  1. Comment by pbrmeasap | 06.26.2014 | 1:58 pm

    Roadkill! I must have 1000 lives then. I’ve been passed a lot on climbs at 250lbs.

  2. Comment by Paul F. | 06.26.2014 | 2:02 pm

    Wow, a cliff hanger to explain an extended cliff hanger. Now I think you are just toying with us.

  3. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 06.26.2014 | 2:37 pm

    It’s because of the risk of encountering a Chupacabra that I don’t do races like this!

    (Either that or I’m too much of a wimp.)

    Yes, its definitely too much of a risk. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You guys are so brave, but also lucky to have any blood left.

  4. Comment by Sam | 06.26.2014 | 2:37 pm

    Next Wednesday, come on!

  5. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.26.2014 | 2:57 pm

    That picture is definitely not too grainy. In fact both the National Enquirer and The Post are probably trying to reach you right now. MattC will definitely validate your sighting.

    Can’t wait for next week…is it Jersey time?

  6. Comment by Jml54 | 06.26.2014 | 6:04 pm

    The gas prices behind the Hammer really caught my eye. They are 35 to 50 cents a gallon higher than here in Montana. Wow!

  7. Comment by Evan in CA | 06.26.2014 | 7:16 pm

    As an onlooker for when the Hammer ‘chicked’ our rider during this leg, thus making him roadkill, she was slaying it! It will definitely make it into my write-up.

  8. Comment by old guy who likes to ride | 06.26.2014 | 9:49 pm

    Orbea Orca = Like!

  9. Comment by Tina | 06.26.2014 | 9:51 pm

    Love the moon photo.

  10. Comment by Tom in Albany | 06.27.2014 | 5:50 am

    I will be camping with the family from Monday-Sunday. I’m hoping that I’m not missing something by doing so!!!

    Hope everyone has a GREAT 4th of July week!!!

  11. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 06.27.2014 | 8:04 am

    @Jml54, I’m coming to Montana for my next fill! The prices behind The Hammer’s smiling face are about comparable to what we see here on the East Coast.

    As usual, The Hammer smashes the opposition. Love her smile and energy. Great write ups, fatty – keep em’ coming – and with your seque into tomorrow’s post, you still have us on the edges of our seats and biting our virtual nails as we wait for next Wednesday’s installment.

  12. Comment by GregC | 06.27.2014 | 8:25 am

    Another great post Fatty- as usual you keep us hanging with a cliffhanger. Loving the Chupacabra picture and Lisa’s ever present smile too! as to the gas price discussion- I’ll add in that so Cal gas prices are about $.30 higher than your sign (and I know the gas station you were at is in the middle of no-where (figuratively anyway) and gas is much more costly there than in suburban locals). Just sayin- enjoy your relatively cheap gas. Another reason to ride your bike more!

  13. Comment by Anonymous | 06.27.2014 | 9:01 am

    Great post!! cant’ wait to read the next one. I have World Cup fever now and its cutting into my cycling time but so worth it (to me anyways) – I recently got a chance to check out one of these soccer balls – very cool as they don’t go flat and thought it would be a great thing to take over with you on your next trip with WBR – what could be better than a kid on new bike..a kid on a new bike with a new ball maybe. http://www.oneworldfutbol.com/

  14. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.27.2014 | 9:45 am

    @UptheGradeinSR just reread this, and your comment made me say “whaaaaatttt!”
    Too wimpy???? Didn’t you just do the ‘Terrible Two’ last weekend? gf-terrible-two-i.png

    I’m already penciling you in for Rockwell 2015

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.27.2014 | 10:48 am

    Wait! Is Fatty doing Red Bell? If so SteveB and Kukuli are two lucky people.

  16. Comment by Chris | 06.27.2014 | 4:04 pm

    Night riding is a very cool experience, chupacabra be damned. Doing a night ride under a full moon can be almost entrancing.

    Pretty cool to see y’all are still having fun, even after a long day. Looking forward to seeing how you look when the sun rises the next morning.

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