The Hammer’s LT100, Part I: End of a Long Week, Beginning of a Long Day

09.1.2015 | 8:28 am


A Note from Fatty: I’m excited to be running The Hammer’s race report, starting today. Start to end, single-spaced in a Word document (without any images), it’s eighteen pages long. 

It’s also definitely worth reading; The Hammer’s reports are really from the heart, and she’s clearly a lot more interested in the people and places around her when racing than I am.

All while, I should note, she’s tearing everyone’s legs off.


Looking for Other Installments in this Story? Here are links to all the parts published in this multi-part story:

Finally the alarm went off. It felt like I had been laying in bed for hours. I’m pretty sure I had, in fact.

We had gone to bed early—around nine. The Ambien probably gave me four hours of sleep, so that meant I had been laying there for about three hours. My mind was alert. I had been playing out the “what ifs” in my brain all night.

I don’t know why I was so anxious. I have done this race so many times, I know it like an old friend. I honestly think Elden’s anxiety hadn’t just worn him down; it had taken a toll on me.

This past week was not a week of rest and relaxation like I had wanted it to be. I had ridden hard the first part of the week, then continued to ride later into my rest week, decreasing the intensity, but not the amount of riding.

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The week had been fun for me: lots of group rides with old friends and new.

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I’m kind of a shy person, but when I start talking about biking, someone else entirely takes over.

Elden, meanwhile, had been busy…and stressed. Preparing and participating in the webinar, daily rides and clinics, WBR fundraising dinner, book readings and book signings was overwhelming—for not only Elden, but for me too.

WBRevening LV 14

By Thursday I was not only physically exhausted, but mentally drained as well. I tried to relax and lay down, but it never seemed like it was for long enough.

But now it was race morning. And I was so anxious I could hardly stand it. I ate and dressed and headed for the start line around 0545. I said goodbye to Elden, then parked myself in the red corral.

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It wasn’t full, not yet. I would guess there were fewer than fifty of us in the corral so far, and I was only about three rows from the front. I had left the house before I had even Lindsey or Ben (Elden’s niece and new nephew-in-law). They like to sleep in to the very last minute.

Lindsey and I had participated in the Cedar City 100K back in June. Thanks to  our fast times we had bumped ourselves into the red corral. I hoped Lindsey would show up soon and start alongside me. “It will probably be the only time I would see Lindsey the whole day,” I thought. She has proven to be quite the mountain bike racer this year.

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She has consistently been faster than I have been in every race that we have done this year (Oh, to be twenty years younger!). I am proud of her amazing fitness and hoped I could maybe stick to her back wheel on the paved descent at the start of the race.

Lindsey didn’t materialize, so I found a nice man to watch my bike while I used the restroom. When I return to the corral, I was amazed to find that the temperature was nice—not cold at all. I removed my two thrift store sweatshirts and disposed of them on the outside of the corral.

I left my super big gloves on, though, worn over my bike gloves. I had bought these big gloves in Boston in a Chinatown thrift store and wore them during the marathon while it dumped rain. It was the best $2.50 I have ever spent. I planned on disgarding the gloves along the way when my hands were warm. I thought for a second about who might have these gloves next, and how that person probably wouldn’t know these gloves had been worn at both the most famous marathon and mountain bike race, the same year!

Then I waited.

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The sun was rising; the sky was beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in it. Dave Wein’s son sang the national anthem. And he sang it perfectly. Chills went up my spine and I fought back the tears. It was a truly beautiful morning in a beautiful place! I was lucky to be here and lucky to be alive.

The Start

The gun went off and we were rolling. The wave of bikers rolled smoothly forward. I looked for my brother at the roadside as we rolled out of town. I didn’t see him, but I was still grateful that I have such a great brother who’s willing to stop his life and come out to Leadville and support me. Thanks Scott!

My thoughts were disrupted, when a biker rolled along side of me and yelled, “Catch my wheel and lets get moving!” It was my longtime friend, Dave Green. I tried to grab his wheel, but he was gone in a flash. I had thought I was moving fast, but Dave was in a different world. He would keep up his fast pace and finish in 8:40.

As we raced down the paved road, I was surprised at how little bike congestion was around me. There really was no jockeying for position; we were all moving nicely along, with ample space between riders. It wasn’t scary at all. I took a few deep breaths and tried to relax.

My race had finally begun.

As we came off the mountain and into the valley, the site was amazing. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but there was a cloud in the valley over the stream. We were descending into a moist, cool cloud. The temperature dropped, and it instantly got foggy.

Moisture was collecting on my sunglasses. I was having a hard time seeing as I left the pavement and started down the dirt road. It was hard to see ruts and rocks, but I kept up the pace and powered over them. Occasionally I would tip my head down and see over my glasses—I was surprised how much better I could see. There was no way I would be able to take my glasses off tho, I was too busy holding on and pedaling my heart out. [Note from Fatty: I had this problem, too. Once I figured out the mist was collecting on the outside lens, this stopped being a problem]

As we pedaled through the cloud and headed for the start of the St Kevin’s climb, one rider—who evidently thought  the race would be decided at this place and time—came shooting up the right side of the road. His front wheel hit a rock and ricocheted him up and back into the middle of the road…taking everyone in his path out in domino-like action.

I was on the far left at the moment and barely missed the carnage. For a while, there was no one behind me.

I had barely escaped the first wreck of the day.


  1. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.1.2015 | 9:59 am

    Thanks for adding your take on the race, Lisa; I always enjoy your perspective on the same races Fatty has written up for us.

    I can see Lisa has been studying your style, Fatty, and will be looking forward to more nail biters in her installments.

  2. Comment by Corrine | 09.1.2015 | 10:00 am

    Yay! I love your reports, Lisa. Can’t wait to hear more.

  3. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 09.1.2015 | 10:58 am

    It’s easy to fall into the “trap” that when you do a race or group ride, that you’ll get to see the race/ride in its entirety. That’s true with respect each point on the course at one point in time, but what’s easy to forget is that you are NOT seeing each point on the course at all other times.

    That’s what’s so great about reading the reports from others who were out on the same course but other times (in my case, usually times earlier in the day!).

    Great write-up, Lisa, but can you reach 8 parts and beat Fatty’s submission!?

  4. Comment by Tom in Albany | 09.1.2015 | 11:00 am

    Elden has taught you well – killer cliff-hanger…

  5. Comment by Brian in VA | 09.1.2015 | 11:42 am

    Love The Hammer’s reports!

  6. Comment by Liz M. | 09.1.2015 | 11:45 am

    Yay, Hammer! Looking forward to the continued report. Thanks for taking the time.

  7. Comment by MattC | 09.1.2015 | 11:53 am

    Wow…sounds like Stage 1 of the TDF! (carnage in the peloton!) Maybe it was just the camera/time of day, but your new FC kits look distinctly BLAZE-Red/Orange in that shot w/ the majestic pose w/ davidh…And Lindsey looks like she’s preparing to DESTROY in that corral pic! (I’d surely be quite-afraid of her on the bike! You are BOTH quite a powerhouse on wheels!)

    Great story Lisa, keep it coming Fatty!

    The color oddness is my fault; in the original shot our faces are kind of silhouetted. Now you can see our faces, but some of the other colors are a little supersaturated. I am not a Photoshop genius. – FC

  8. Comment by fattodd | 09.1.2015 | 1:20 pm

    Great start to the story, Lisa! Looking forward to rest of the tale. The last bit of the guy thinking the race was going to be decided at the beginning reminds me of Ironman Florida in 2009. During T1 you have to go through a wet slick concrete section through a hotel to get to the changing tent. Some lady was screaming for people to get out of her way through this dangerous area. She went out wide and ran hard into a fire extinguisher box. I remember somebody telling her as we went by, “You know, if you can see me, you aren’t going to Kona.” Ahh, good times.

    That would be an awesome thing to have printed on a jersey. – FC

  9. Comment by Sarah | 09.1.2015 | 1:43 pm

    Love it, Lisa! Great story so far. I love hearing different perspectives on the same day–I wish everyone would share their story! I’ll be tuning in all week for more :-) Meanwhile, hope you crush your event this weekend!

  10. Comment by wharton_crew | 09.1.2015 | 2:25 pm

    Lisa, great details so far! I love the fact that you can comment on the surrounding scene (singing, clouds, moisture, temperature, AND how you felt about it all). All we get from Fatty is how badly he wants to catch the guy in front of him.


  11. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.1.2015 | 3:11 pm

    ‘Cold Fury’ weds ‘Warm Heart’…you get The Nelson’s.

  12. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 09.1.2015 | 4:48 pm

    David H, who is “Warm Fury” meets “Cold Heart?”

  13. Comment by leroy | 09.1.2015 | 4:48 pm

    wharton_crew — My dog says you’re being a little harsh on FC. He also provides details on food and bathroom issues.

    But The Hammer’s descending through fog description is very cool.

    (I agree “If you can read this, you’re not going to Kona” would be a great jersey. Sleeveless, but club fit of course.)


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