Boggs Funduro: The FatCyclist Race Report, Part 1

05.6.2015 | 3:46 pm

Every once in a while, I take a few minutes to reflect on how incredibly good I am at certain things. For example, I am good at napping. I am excellent at listening to the radio. I am practically phenomenal at making eye contact and apparently paying attention while actually not paying any attention whatsoever.

Above all, however, I am good at choosing winners at random. Crazily good at it. Honestly, I’d say I’m one of the top ten random winner choosers in the world. I’m like the Martin Riggs of random drawings.

Last weekend’s trip to Northern California proved this, in an enormous way. Specifically, I showed astonishing brilliance in managing to randomly choose Jeff D as the winner in last September’s fundraising contest to benefit Forget-Me-Not Farm.

Jeff, as it turns out, is within a year of my age. He’s a strong cyclist, with no ego about it whatsoever. He’s incredibly smart, thoughtful, and interesting…again with no ego about it. He’s a great conversationalist, but doesn’t feel the need to fill every single moment with chatter. And he’s a great photographer.

All of these things would matter a lot to me personally, since Jeff and I would be together, more or less nonstop, for the next 72 hours or so.

During which time, we would do all of the following, all together:

  • Text each other, from three feet away, about the creepy bus driver
  • Pick up an RV and then live through the terror of me driving any largeish vehicle, ever, for the first time in my life. And then take it up and over three large mountain passes (and then back over those same passes two days later)
  • Eat at an 80’s-themed British pub
  • Hang out with llamas and goats
  • Plan race strategy with Levi Leipheimer
  • Go grocery shopping with Levi Leipheimer
  • Go grocery shopping again, but without Levi Leipheimer
  • Race our brains out
  • Clean my wounds
  • Hang out with numerous Friends of Fatty
  • Race our brains out some more
  • Agree that we would not use the bathroom in our RV for pooping unless absolutely necessary
  • Race our brains out a third time
  • Eat scrambled eggs and avocados
  • Discover a fatal flaw in our plan to return our RV

And, due to the fact that he is — as I’ve mentioned — a great photographer, the telling of all these parts of this race writeup will be well-pictured.

At some point during the weekend, I confessed to Jeff: “You have no idea how relieved I am that you won this contest. What if it had been a woman? Or someone who couldn’t go with the flow? Or someone half my age?”

My point was, out of the universe of potential contest winners, Jeff was pretty much the ideal person to win this one. 

As one of the best winner selectors in the world, I take full credit for all of this.

Now, let’s begin the story.

Thursday: The Day Before The Race

Jeff and I meet at SFO, arranging the where as soon as he lands. We hop aboard a shuttle to Santa Rosa, where we’ll be meeting our driver and chaperone for the day, Greg Fisher.

“Have you met Greg?” I ask Jeff.

“Just in email and on the phone,” Jeff replies. 

“Then you’d better watch him in Mementum,” I said. And Jeff did. Which probably, now that I think about it, prepared Jeff for Greg to be something completely different than what Greg actually is. (What Greg actually is: smart, hilarious, well-organized co-honcho of BikeMonkey)

Meanwhile, the bus driver enchanted all of us passengers with his Krusty the Klown impersonation, which is why I drove a knitting needle through both my eardrums.

Greg picked us up in a friend’s jeep, explaining that his Subaru was broken. I asked Greg if, like me, he found it impossible to hear the word ‘Subaru’ without getting the lyrics to Blondie’s “Rapture” stuck in his head.

Greg avowed that he did not have that problem, and so I helped him out by reciting the relevant portion of the song, and then — because I have two terabytes of eighties music stuck in my head — kept going. 

I’m very fun to be with.

Oh Look, They Have Themselves an RV

After a quick stop by the hotel, we headed over to the RV rental place, where Jeff and I posed by the RV we’d be calling home for the next couple days:

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Greg and Jeff inspected the interior:

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Everything looked good. There was, in fact, just one tiny problem. Someone was going to have to drive this thing. And — for a reason I to this day cannot grasp nor fathom — I was that person.

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Now, I realize that for many of you, this would not be a big deal. This RV was not the longest vehicle in the world. Not even close. And it was set up to be driven just like a regular (albeit very long and wide) car.

And yet, truly, I have never been so petrified. Just look at my face in that photo. It’s like I’ve aged twenty years in five minutes.

But it is my name on the insurance for the RV, which BikeMonkey (wisely) bought.


Next up, we went to The Bike Peddler — sister shop to the legendary NorCal BikeSport — where Jeff and I were set up with matching Marin Rift Zones

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Full suspension, plus dropper posts. We were ready for anything.

Forget Me Not Farm

The whole reason we were here, of course, was because we had been raising money for Forget Me Not Farm. The idea of this place is beautiful: take children and animals that have been abused, and help both by putting them together.

It works. And a big reason it continues to work is because Levi’s GranFondo (and people like the Friends of Fatty) put the money together to help it keep working.

Carol, the founder of Forget Me Not Farm, took us on a tour of the place, showing us a number of the animals the kids help take care of and the crops they raise.

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Jeff (right) with a llama (left)

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Probably I should know what these are

We were now at dinnertime, and would be meeting Levi at Riviera Ristorante to eat and strategize. Then we’d be going grocery shopping. Which…well, it would be weird.

And those two things together…well, they probably deserve their own post. 

So I think I will.

PS: Jeff is writing his own report of this weekend, and is further along than I am. Read his part 1 here, and his part 2 here.


  1. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.6.2015 | 4:33 pm


  2. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 05.6.2015 | 6:34 pm

    We need a post from someone behind you on the road. Had I known, I would have taken a video for the sake of mankind. re: blog

  3. Comment by AKChick | 05.6.2015 | 7:02 pm

    Read all three reports. :) I would have LOVED to have seen what you all bought that Levi didn’t approve. :) I tend to eat probably more like Levi though I’m not vegan (but my hubby is so I eat vegan a lot). I do love a good, thin, crispy chocolate chip cookie. I have exchanged my long ride cheeseburger with an insanely delicious veggie burger at Twister Creek in Talkeetna with sweet potato fries. Making myself hungry!

    Fatty – we need to really, seriously try to get you and Lisa up here for a ride and some sightseeing. I’m not much of an MTBer but we have some great trails up here. Don’t think we have much singletrack, but I think the views would make up for it. There are some fun road rides south and north too. Anyway, if you get serious, let me know. I have it on good authority from coworkers who travel up to our office from the lower 48, we have some of the best restaurants and breweries as well as excellent local coffee roasters. You could ride hard, but you’d probably gain weight from all the yumminess.

  4. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 05.6.2015 | 11:28 pm

    @akchick I think Fatty’s more a Fireweed 400 kind of guy.

  5. Comment by MattC | 05.7.2015 | 7:44 am

    “You have no idea how relieved I am that you won this contest. What if it had been a woman?”

    Oooh Fatty…I’m a guy, and I truly believe I you meant no diss here (obviously referring to “guys” living in an RV at close proximity, pooping and farting, etc), but I still cringed when I read that
    Great story tho…and thanks for the links to Jeff’s side of the story! I’m still chuckling at you driving an RV for the first time (been there, done that…you should try it in Los Angeles traffic some time for an even SCARIER look on your face).

  6. Comment by Geoffrey | 05.7.2015 | 8:34 am

    Will what? Will what? The ending left me hanging.

  7. Comment by Tom in Albany | 05.7.2015 | 9:01 am

    So, I’m not going to read Jeff’s account so I can be surprised by yours first. Jeff’s would be like a spoiler!

  8. Comment by AKChick | 05.7.2015 | 9:55 am

    @DavidH – but he’s such a MTBer? He could do the Fireweed and then do more relaxed MTB touring. And do a lot of eating and drinking. I need to have a contest to bring them up here. :) If only I were an award-winning cyclist with massive quads…

  9. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.7.2015 | 11:34 am

    Yes, I urged Fatty not to share my posts in advance of his.

    FYI, my Part I ends about where Fatty’s first post ends.

    My Part II ends toward the end of the day Fri (the day of the Hill Climb).

    And my final Part III (with it’s URL that shouldn’t be too hard to find) covers the 8-Hour Relay on Sat and the Super D on Sun.

  10. Comment by Corrine | 05.7.2015 | 1:09 pm

    Great write up, Jeff. It sounds like you guys had a great weekend. Can’t wait to hear more from Fatty about his take on the weekend.
    @AKChick, I’m pretty much planning on doing the Fireweed 200 again. Will you be down there doing any of it? And yes, Fatty and the Hammer should come up with the kids sometime and do some riding in Alaska!

  11. Comment by AKChick | 05.7.2015 | 6:48 pm

    @Corrine Not sure about the Fireweed. I’ll have to see what the dates are and go from there. I’d do the 100 if I did anything.

  12. Comment by esuvidha rtu results | 05.7.2015 | 9:29 pm

    Great did, will going to read part 1 & 2.

  13. Pingback by Boggs: Part 1, Getting There is Half Fun | A Year of Living...humm...dangerous? | 05.8.2015 | 9:58 am

    [...] from California and its time to write up my adventures. Two of my blogging colleagues (Jeff and Fatty) have been busily writing up their adventures. I could tell you that I taught them everything they [...]

  14. Comment by Anon_chick | 05.8.2015 | 6:22 pm

    Hi Fatty,

    I love your blog and have been reading it since the time when it was mostly about Susan. For the first time ever I was a little put off by a statement in your blog – specifically “You have no idea how relieved I am that you won this contest. What if it had been a woman…”. I am sure you intended no prejudice, but it doesn’t read that way. Sorry.

  15. Comment by rgpv results portal | 05.8.2015 | 11:39 pm

    Great Eating & managed day plan.
    luv you fatty.

  16. Comment by Libby | 05.10.2015 | 11:03 pm

    Fatty, I unders the “woman” part, But then if it were, then The Hammer could come too!

    Yep, that was the contingency plan. But that would have required that The Hammer wouldn’t have been able to do the St. George Half Ironman that weekend, and she really wanted to. – FC

  17. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.14.2015 | 7:50 am

    Fatty and I discussed the gender issue with respect to contest winning, travel, living in tight quarters, and being in remote areas. What he excluded from his “What if it had been a woman? Or someone who couldn’t go with the flow? Or someone half my age?” remark was the following:

    - A woman won one of the previous contest trips. Instead of cycling, they hiked. And it worked out great. That particular trip had a lot of flexibility, though, and Boggs really didn’t. If you weren’t interested in MTB racing, you would have had significant chunks of dead time or at least time away from the group.

    - There’s safety, but there’s also the perception of safety. With these trips, there’s a pretty high likelihood of the two people being essentially complete strangers. Sure, readers kinda sorta know Fatty through the blog, but that’s only kinda sorta. And Fatty wouldn’t know the other person at all. Who knows, either party could secretly be an axe murderer. And at Boggs, there was a LOT of real estate to dump a body. Not that I was scouting it for that.

    - Next, there’s potential relationship stress. I have no idea if that manifests itself in the case of Fatty and The Hammer, but one or both halves of a couple could certainly be forgiven for not liking a situation in which one member of the couple is paired off with a member of the opposite sex (or for that matter, a member of the same sex, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    - Boggs required a lot of “go with the flow.” While the RV was in great condition and worked well, it wasn’t the Four Seasons. And the food was pretty basic (even the secret food). A more particular person than me (disclosure: I’m VERY particular about many things and not remotely particular about many others) might not have gone with the flow as well.

    - Finally, as to the “half my age” remark, it’s crystal clear to me that Fatty didn’t want to be the slow man on the totem pole! (So I humored him and occupied that position.)

  18. Pingback by Boggs: Epilogue | A Year of Living...humm...dangerous? | 05.18.2015 | 6:48 am

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  19. Pingback by Wilmington Whiteface 100K: Pre-race Press Conference | A Year of Living...humm...dangerous? | 06.3.2015 | 5:43 am

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