Part Fourish of My Boggs Funduro Writeup, Including ACTUAL RACING

05.14.2015 | 12:37 pm

Today, I will write about what I had for breakfast on the morning of the Boggs Funduro eight-hour relay. I shall go into excruciating detail. I shall provide photographs. I shall provide lengthy asides that meander here and there, without even a tangential connection to the race at hand.

OK, OK. How about if I start talking about the race itself instead?

I thought you might say that.

How It Works

I’m not one to get too caught up in details, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to give a quick description of the Boggs Eight-Hour race format. To wit, your team tries to do as many laps before the eight hour cutoff as possible. 

A team can be one, two, or three people, with categories for pretty much every possible combination of age range, gender, skill level, bike type, and number of racers.

Jeff, Levi, and I would be racing in the “Pro, lucky random winner guy, and paunchy aging bike blogger” category.

We liked our chances of getting on the podium.

Levi would race first, I would go second, Jeff would go third. As many times as possible. And since this course is about eleven miles long with about 1650 feet of climbing, we figured we’d be able to do either eight or — if things went perfectly — nine laps. 

Levi’s First Lap

The first lap, it should be noted, is different than the other laps, in that it has a little bonus loop up a wide dirt road climb and then down singletrack, before beginning the regular lap. This loop, sensibly, is designed to thin out the crowd, which would otherwise be impossibly funneled into singletrack right from the beginning.

Carlos Perez, race director, stood atop a truck bed, heroically gazing into the future:

Thumb IMG 2290 1024 

Also, he told us about the race course and rules and stuff. 

Meanwhile, Levi meditated, putting on his game face and focusing on the race and how important it was to him.

Thumb IMG 2292 1024

Or, it’s possible that he just did his best to wake up.

Oh, and also he stared down a very small dog.

DSC03323 704 lo res levi and friend

Who won the staring contest? Pfff, like you even need to ask.

The race began, and Levi was off, giving me the instruction that he would be back “in about an hour.”

I went back to the RV and suited up, wearing — for the first time ever — my WBR kit. Naturally, I took a selfie:

Thumb IMG 2387 1024

I’m so good at selfies. 

I returned to the exchange point with about half an hour to spare. You know, just in case Levi turned out to be fast or something.

All By Myyy-seh-eh-ellffff

As it turns out, it wasn’t a half-bad idea for me to get to the exchange point nice and early. Levi finished his first lap (including the bonus loop at the beginning of the race) in almost exactly an hour (1:01:09, according to the official results). 

I watched closely, and as soon as Levi crossed the timing mat, I was off, racing as if it mattered.

Which, to be clear, it did. Racing always matters to me during the race. If I’m not out there to be my fastest, hardest-working, absolute best version of me, why did I bother to make the trip?

So — as usual — I went out at full tilt, one simple question dominating my thoughts:

Can I go harder?

And if the answer is yes, well…do.

All of that is normal. All of that is how I always race. But there was something very, very different about this race, during this lap, at this moment.

I was entirely and utterly alone on the course. 

Levi had gapped the entire field to such an extraordinary extent that not only was nobody in front of me, but when I looked over my shoulder, there was also nobody even remotely behind me. 

This course belonged to me, and to me alone.

But I knew this would change. Furthermore, I knew it would change sooner than later if I didn’t give this lap everything I had to give.

So I had an unusual objective: stay alone, for as long as possible. Which is an anti-social objective for a pretty social guy. 


And I did pretty well at staying alone. For the first 25 minutes, in fact, I managed to stay ahead of the entire field of racers.

This was awesome. Mostly. Except for one time, during a climb. There was a sign, pointing left. Except there was no left turn to make

So I kept going. For about twenty feet. “Did I somehow just miss a turn?” I thought, my second-guessing superpower taking control. “I bet I did. I bet there is a left turn, and I somehow just missed it.”

I slowed. I stopped. I turned around and rode back to the sign. Sure enough, the sign pointed left toward no road or trail.

“I wish there was someone around here,” I thought.  

Then a guy just blew by me: foooooosssh. I swear, a little swirl of dust and leaves followed in his wake and there was a noticeable doppler effect.

“So it begins,” I thought, expecting more very fast guys to come flying by me any moment.

But they did not. 

In fact, the next pass I was involved in was when I passed a person, about five minutes later.

And then I passed another and another.

I was confused. Who was I passing? How did these people get ahead of me while going so much slower than me?

It just didn’t make sense, which just goes to show how my brain doesn’t work at all when I’m racing. It wasn’t until after I passed ten or fifteen people that it finally occurred to me: thanks to Levi’s crazily fast first lap, we were already lapping people…before they finished their first lap.

And in fact, I passed Friend of Fatty Dave Houston, who was celebrating his 61st birthday by racing this event solo.

“Hi Dave!” I yelled, as he let me by. Then, five minutes later, I thought, “I cannot believe I neglected to sing Happy Birthday to him.”

I resolved to rectify that problem, should I see him again during the race.

Up and Over

I feel like I need to emphasize, perhaps with bold, italics, all-caps, and underscore: THIS IS A REALLY GREAT COURSE. Seriously, it is. (I don’t use this combination of emphasis tactics lightly.) It’s more singletrack than not, it’s forested and beautiful. The light stipples through the trees, and whatnot.

And, very importantly, no climb lasts for very long without giving you at least a few seconds of recovery:

Screenshot 2015 05 14 12 04 35

You see that? Even the really big climb, from mile 6.3 – 8.5, has lots of little breaks in it. 

At first, in each climb I’d lock out the fork and rear suspension of my bike, but I was swapping so often I tired of it. By the time I was 2/3 of the way through my lap I decided I’d just do all my riding seated for the rest of the race. 

The course finishes with a big, fun, curvy, singletrack descent, opening out into the transition area.

I saw it and opened up, wanting to finish strong, proud of the fact that only one person had passed me during my lap.

Then I it a rise right before the arch and timing mat. Without seeing it, without expecting it.

And in short, I flipped, ass over teakettle, right in front of everyone. 

I stood up, not yet feeling any pain, looking at my bike to see if it’s got any obvious damage. It does not, but everything that was in my jersey pockets is laying scattered on the ground. Yard sale. 

I grab my phone and other stuff and run my bike the ten feet to the mat. Jeff takes off. It’s his turn.

I’ve done a pretty respectable 1:00:54, finish line crash and all. At which point, it’s time to take a selfie.

Thumb IMG 2372 1024

Don’t you love the way Dave Thompson is laughing in the background? That dude is cold. 

In addition to the elbow, I scraped up my left knee pretty well.

Thumb IMG 2373 1024

Embarrassment at my crash notwithstanding, I was proud of my effort.

Now I had two hours — more or less — ’til it was my turn to do it again.

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


  1. Comment by JKC | 05.14.2015 | 1:23 pm

    New white jersey always leads to a wreck. Nice that it was witnessed by many.

  2. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 05.14.2015 | 1:49 pm

    I Dig the WBR kits.

  3. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 05.14.2015 | 1:55 pm

    The odds of crashing are directly proportional to the number of people watching.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a piece of genuine wisdom. And quite possibly an axiom. – FC

  4. Comment by amy thompson | 05.14.2015 | 1:56 pm

    Love the picture with Dave in the background. He’s not really cold, he just has a twisted sense of humor.

  5. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.14.2015 | 2:27 pm

    Elden, if you think Dave is ‘cold’ be thankful Rob wasn’t there to critique. Though he’d do it with a smile.

    You are so right. – FC

  6. Comment by Corrine | 05.14.2015 | 2:30 pm

    Is the picture of your elbow really a “selfie”? If so, I can’t figure out how you are holding the camera/IPhone. Great story and sounds like a great course. But now I have “All by myself. . .” going round in my head. Ugh!

    I owe you a double apology. First, you’re right. That’s no selfie. I must’ve got someone to take that shot. Second, I really really really apologize for the earworm. – FC

  7. Comment by Papuass | 05.14.2015 | 3:14 pm

    Really love how last two pictures are combined to form a diptych.

    Wow, they really do! I wish I could claim to have done that on purpose. – FC

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.14.2015 | 3:33 pm

    Just wanted to clarify a point. I’m no ‘Fatty’ (well, I am but that’s beside the point).

    One of my goals was to ‘help’ Team Thompson and Levis Fatty Fundo I thought the best way was to be out there and let Fatty pass me instilling a sense of speed that would propel them to the podium. Elden passed me on the single track near the end of his lap (yes that means it did take me 2hrs for my first lap).

    I did not realize that my role as ‘rabbit’ would cause him to assume the mantle of ‘Rocket’ and therefore be the source of his low earth orbit reentry at the finish line. For this I apologize.

  9. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.14.2015 | 3:42 pm

    I’m confused. In those last two pictures, you can’t even see his diptych.

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.14.2015 | 3:45 pm

    BTW Elden My offer stands for you and Lisa in 2016
    Boggs Funduro

    Bike Monkey’s premier 3-day endurance mountain bike weekend in Cobb, CA, with tons of camping and revelry for everyone.

    May 7th, 2016

  11. Comment by Scott R | 05.14.2015 | 4:48 pm

    Thanks to Jeff Dieffenbach, Fatty’s blog officially goes blue!


  12. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 05.14.2015 | 7:05 pm

    Elden missed the first crash at the finish line (or he would have known about the bumpty). After Elden took off the first group came into the start finish line. One of the guys endo’d over the finish line “bump”. Later that night, Greg (Bike Monkey super hero) described the crash as “The hand of god coming down picking the rider up and ramming the riders face into the dirt.” An accurate description. Luckily he wasn’t seriously hurt. But as well know……

    “It’s always fun until someone gets hurt, then if hilarious.”

  13. Comment by Dave T | 05.14.2015 | 11:54 pm

    I’m pretty sure Fatty said something funny just before taking that picture. I’m not that cold. I’m glad my yard sale happened while alone in much softer dirt.

  14. Comment by Scott S | 05.15.2015 | 11:55 am

    That dog is lucky Levi didn’t put it in a headlock.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.