The Queen of Pain + The Hammer + Leadville 100 = Too Much Awesome for Words

07.31.2014 | 9:53 am

A Note from Fatty: Thanks to everyone for your ideas on how I can get my feet feeling better. I used / am using several of your ideas, and hope to get them feeling OK for Leadville as a short-term plan, and to get them all better for riding in general as a long-term plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.  

Another Note from Fatty: For the next little while — leading up to and through the 2014 Leadville 100 — I’m going to be talking about the Leadville 100. A lot. 

Obsessively, really.

You’ve got to understand. I’ve done this race every year since I was 31. 

So, today’s post was going to be about my bike — what I’ll be riding in the Leadville 100 this year, and why. But I’ve got something I just couldn’t wait to tell you today. So my bike decisions, build, rebuild, testing and other obsessing — a story I think I will title “How I started getting my calls screened out by Ibis, Gates Carbon Drive, my favorite bike shop, and SRAM, all by building one bike” will have to wait ’til Monday.

But here’s a sneak preview of how it ends:

IMG 1773

Yeah, that’s a grimace on my face. But it’s a good kind of grimace.


Meet the Queen of Pain

I’m a big fan of Rebecca Rusch — sometimes known as “The Queen of Pain.” I’ve been astonished at how fast she is on a bike. How nice and approachable and real she is in person. And how hard she works at promoting good causes — IMBA and World Bicycle Relief among them.

But until very recently, I didn’t really know much about her.

But I managed to get an early media copy of her autobiography, Rusch to Glory, and — well, it’s simply the best cycling pro’s autobiography I can remember reading

This in spite of the fact — no, because of the fact — that you don’t get to Rusch’s career as a pro cyclist until you’ve been to her careers as an adventure racer, business owner, rock climber, barista, and aerobics instructor. And more. And not in that order.

Rebecca Rusch — Reba to her friends — has had an astonishingly full and exciting life. And she’ll be launching her book in a select few places before it’s available at bookstores and online in October.

The first of those places is in Leadville, where next Thursday, August 7, from 6 – 9pm, she’ll be reading from the book and answering questions from the audience at the famous Tabor Opera House in Leadville.  

And I’ll be acting as moderator of the Q&A part (that’s why I got to read the book before it’s available).

If you can be there, you definitely should be there. Because beer purchases there will all go toward The Hammer’s WBR fundraising campaign. And you’ll get to keep this very cool Miir-made Rusch to Glory / WBR pint glass:


And, by the way, this book reading / signing / Q&A will be one of a lot of pre-race awesomeness with Reba. She’ll be conducting pre-race clinics on critical parts of the course, conducting a session on how to set up your bike and food for the race, and a lot more. Check out her schedule for more info.

Buy a Book Early, Change a Girl’s Life

As I mentioned, this book won’t be available to the general public until October. But if you can’t wait ’til then — and you’d like to help The Hammer in her WBR fundraising, make a donation for $50 to The Hammer’s WBR fundraising page and she’ll personally buy a copy of the book for you, get Rebecca to sign it, and mail it to you (US shipping only, please; The Hammer and I will be paying for all of this out-of-pocket). 

And if you want something special in the inscription, note that in your donation’s comment field. Easy.

But you’ve got to do that by Wednesday, August 6. Any later than that and we won’t be able to get you the signed book. (But we’ll still appreciate your donation.)

I Saved The Best Part for Last

OK, I’m excited about Reba’s new book. And I’m looking forward to moderating the Q&A at her reading for the book. And I’m stoked at the fact that Reba’s using that reading as an opportunity to raise money for good causes.

But all of that pales to the thing I’m most excited about. I hope you don’t mind if I go ahead and write it in all caps, bold, and bright red.


And by “with,” I mean “directly in front of.” See, Reba’s “finish line” this year has been getting her book out the door; training hasn’t been a priority. But she wants to line up and be at the Leadville 100 — the race she’s won four times. 

So she had an idea: what if she mentored, guided, and rode with someone else, to help that woman get her best Leadville time possible?

And what if that woman were The Hammer?

So yes. Reba is talking with The Hammer, giving her guidance and advice. Developing a strategy for racing smart and eliminating time where it can be eliminated.

Then on August 9, they’re going to line up together, they’re going to race together, and they’re going to cross the finish line together.

How’s that for a kind of awesome way for The Hammer to complete her tenth Leadville Trail 100, qualifying her for her own 1000-Mile Buckle?

IMG 9359
My 1000-mile buckle, shown for reference, and because I like to show it off whenever I can. 6” wide by 4.5” tall, in case you’re wondering.

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to see how that turns out. But I suspect it’ll make a pretty darned good blog entry.


  1. Comment by Jenni | 07.31.2014 | 10:04 am

    That. Is Amazing. Absolutely cannot wait to hear how this goes. Please have cameras on both of them, front and back!

  2. Comment by wharton_crew | 07.31.2014 | 10:10 am

    I recommend full audio recording of both ladies as The Hammer laughs while Rebecca shouts ‘wait up!’ repeatedly.

  3. Comment by owen | 07.31.2014 | 10:11 am

    awesome! staying together might be the hardest part for the first 20+ miles of the race with the crowds but I am sure they’ll be up in the 1st corral out of most of the masses. Can’t wait for your bike details as I am already wondering the width of bars you chose 710’s 700 or ??

  4. Comment by Corrine | 07.31.2014 | 10:25 am

    So amazing! I wish I was going again to Leadville to be a part of all of this awesomeness. BTW, which FoF are doing the Leadville this year so we can cheer you on from afar. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  5. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 07.31.2014 | 11:07 am

    Very very cool. Lot’s of strong woman in that group. I’ve been lucky to ride with Reba at the Willmington qualifier a couple of times. She’s very cool and totally into saying hi and sharing advice. If you ever get a chance to ride with her… do it!

  6. Comment by Sam | 07.31.2014 | 11:11 am

    Impressive on all accounts. It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to absorb as much as I want to, as this will be my fist LT100. Amazing that the Hammer is going to Ride with her!

  7. Comment by Justin L. | 07.31.2014 | 11:22 am

    That is well, FRIGGIN AWESOME. Very cool of Reba, and i am very excited for the Hammer. I guess the Hammer will be waiting for you at the finish line? Should make a great story from your leadville story to the Hammers version. The LT100 is my bucket list, but with 3 kids really hard to get the travel money to make it there. One day, for now i will live through your story of it. Can’t wait, single speed belt drive, that should be interesting.

  8. Comment by pbrmeasap | 07.31.2014 | 11:23 am

    Do you have a ten gallon hat to go along with your belt buckle?

  9. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 07.31.2014 | 11:33 am

    What a class thing for Rebecca to do. I hope to meet many of those I have read about in Leadville. I will be the tall balding guy volunteering at the race so that I can hopefully ride next year.

  10. Comment by ScottR | 07.31.2014 | 11:41 am

    This is pretty much too much awesome for one post.

    I might my son might need his first autographed book.

  11. Comment by Warren G | 07.31.2014 | 11:43 am

    Fat ur funny but the hammer is simply awsome well u know what danget u both are amazing for all the giving u both do. The hammer deserves to have someone help her too and Rebecca is incredible for doing it!
    Btw I tried to sign up to be a fundraiser for wbr but that portion of the site has been freezing. I’ve donated in the past to the hamma’s( said in an Arnold shcwarzeneggerian accent) campaign ( whoo hoo 19.6k down .4k to go), but was wondering how long of a run on sentence i can make. Whoops, I mean is it possible to create my own campaign and link it so it goes into the hammers campaign? Kinda like a pyramid scheme ( only this one is alruistic)type of thing? Or should I just have friends and family donate to mine, or hers?, run on sentence.
    P.s. I’ll try to report the Wbr problem to wbr website.

  12. Comment by Steven Nichols | 07.31.2014 | 11:45 am

    Way cool.

    Donation made. PS, I would have happily paid even more if I got that wicked awesome pint glass.


  13. Comment by Heidi | 07.31.2014 | 11:52 am

    I swear, the two of you must sprinkle magic on your cereal every morning!

  14. Comment by MattC | 07.31.2014 | 12:21 pm

    WOW. Just WOW. Wish I could get up there. Wish I could ride my mtb for 10+ hours too…neither is very likely tho. You ROCK Hammer! (and you too Fatty!)

  15. Comment by CycleMedic26 | 07.31.2014 | 12:29 pm

    Fairly new to Fatty’s blog, (the last two months I’ve spent reading posts since 2005). I’m somewhere in the 2012 archives at this point. It’s awesome what Fatty and The Hammer are doing for WBR, I couldn’t swing the $50 today, but donated what I could. You guys keep up the great work and I wish you both well at Leadville!

  16. Comment by JimD in IL | 07.31.2014 | 1:48 pm

    That is SO cool that my chance to ride the Sub5 Ride for Parkinson’s with Christian Vande Velde pales by comparison…

    I am very (jealously) happy for the Hammer to have that opportunity and greatly looking forward to the report and the fundraising tally!

  17. Comment by Ed Perrey | 07.31.2014 | 3:38 pm


    I’ve bee reading about Rebecca’s upcoming book and am planning on being at the book reading. It will be made even better since you’ll be moderating.

    Good luck the the Hammer!

    Take care.


    Awesome, stoked to see you there! – FC

  18. Comment by Susie H | 07.31.2014 | 3:44 pm

    That is very exciting news! Will make following the Leadville 100 even more fun…well, that along with Dave T. I reckon we’ll all be following his progress as well! ;-)

  19. Comment by Chad | 07.31.2014 | 8:45 pm

    I’ll be heading to Leadville next week to take a shot at it for the first time. I’m ill prepped, and just going for the experience. Whatever result, finish or not, I’ll enjoy it.
    I’ll be the fatty from Texas.

    One question, and excuse me if I missed it, when will I be able to get a kit?
    I’ve never been able to catch them in time.

    Maybe I’ll see you in Leadville, I’ll be the one that doesn’t look like he belongs, lost, and a tad panicked.

    Send me an email, Chad, and I’ll send you my phone # so we can meet up in LT100. – FC

  20. Comment by AKChick | 07.31.2014 | 9:56 pm

    That is just SO incredibly cool. I’m not sure who to be jealous of – Rebecca or the Hammer! :) What I wouldn’t give to ride with either one or both – wow! I can’t be jealous though because I can’t think of a more deserving person than The Hammer. She is just all kinds of awesome. :)

    When I saw the book (Rebecca and Selene tweeted about it), I knew I wanted a copy. Now the chance to get a signed copy and support The Hammer – I’m in. I get paid tomorrow. Woo hoo and thank you and thank Rebecca!

    On a side note, Selene Yeager aka FitChick was just up in Anchorage for the most bizarre world championships I’ve ever heard of – the Single Speed World Championships. As far as I can tell it involves a lot of drinking, costumes, more drinking, stacking bikes into a huge pile, drinking and saying the “F” word a lot. I think they did do some riding. Not sure how she did or if she was able to find the course. :)

  21. Comment by Al Pastor | 07.31.2014 | 10:10 pm

    I can’t imagine doing one leadville, much less 10. The altitude would kill me – i can’t hardly walk uphill above 10k ft, much less turn cranks.

  22. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 08.1.2014 | 8:50 am

    Totally awesome!

    Being stuck here on the East Coast as I am for the time being, I will not be able to attend the Leadville reading and Q&A in person, but I would love to have a set of those cool pint glasses. So, here’s a question for you: how much of a donation to The Hammer’s WBR fund would be enough to have Rebecca’s book and a set of 4 of the very cool pint glasses shipped out to me? Would a couple of bikes be sufficient?

  23. Comment by Corrine | 08.1.2014 | 8:51 am

    Just donated. Can’t wait to get my book and read it. Rebecca is so inspiring. Chad, have a great time at Leadville. It is very intimidating and a bit overwhelming coming into town and seeing so many fit bikers all together. I remember feeling like I didn’t belong there but I did manage to finish the race. It is such an experience to be there and be a part of the race. Have fun and don’t suffer too much!

  24. Comment by esteefatty | 08.1.2014 | 9:14 am

    Can’t ride but doing what I can to donate two bikes to WBR. I know I am going to love reading Rebecca’s book. Thanks!

  25. Comment by rich | 08.1.2014 | 10:20 am

    this is the awesome! donation sent!

  26. Comment by Hamer | 08.1.2014 | 12:05 pm

    All I really want to know is whether you cleaned that mini “puke hill” above Hog’s Hollow (shown in pic) with your belt drive single speed and whether you were worried about the belt breaking while you were bearing down.


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