Crew Report for LoToJa 2015, Part 2: A Conversation With the Authorities

09.15.2015 | 8:45 am

A Note about Post Length from Fatty: Today and tomorrow’s installments have to be short because I’ve got an extraordinarily workweek in front of me. I had to decide between short reports today and tomorrow, or no report today and a longer one tomorrow. I went with short reports. I hope that’s cool.

A “Previously…” Note from Fatty: This is part 2 of my Crew Report for the 2015 Lotoja. Click here for Part 1.

The evening before Lotoja, Lynne — Ben’s mom, who has crewed Lotoja often enough that any right-thinking person would take her advice very seriously — had warned us. 

Warned us very clearly.

“You’ll be driving through a lot of small towns,” she had said. “And you’ll be in a hurry to get to the next aid station,” she had continued.

“But do not speed,” she had emphasized, with extra emphasis. “Because you will absolutely positively get pulled over and ticketed.”

“Drive slow, drive safe,” I echoed back. “Noted.”

Good Advice, Ignored

“I’m being pulled over,” I said to Blake (aka “The IT Guy,” but I’m sick of typing such a long name with so many capital letters so often). 

We were going through some small town — I don’t even know which one — near Bear Lake. And, true to Lynne’s warning, I was about to get a ticket.

But I really hadn’t been driving that fast. Ask The Hammer, she’ll tell you: my fast-driving days are behind me. If anything, I tend to drive a little slower than most people would prefer. Yeah, I’m apparently the guy who builds up a line of annoyed cars behind him.

But when the speed limit drops from 55 to 25, well, it’s not always that easy to instantly recalibrate your sense of what the right speed for driving is.

At least, that’s the claim I’m going to stick to right now.

“Well, at least I can get this over with as quickly as possible,” I thought to myself. And out loud, I said to Blake, “Open the glove compartment; you’ll see an envelope in there labeled ‘Insurance and Registration.’” Meanwhile, I got my driver’s license out.

Now I had everything I needed, and was ready for the conversation I knew was coming.

“How are you doing today?” The officer asked.

“I’m fine, how are you?”

“I’m good. You were driving a little fast,” he said.

“I’m sorry.”

“May I see your insurance, license, and registration?” 

They’re already in my hand, and I hand them to him. The officer seems a little startled. I’m guessing that usually people have to do a little digging to locate those three items (and in fact, it was after a long digging-for-insurance-and-registration expedition that I vowed to henceforth keep those two items in a clearly-labeled envelope).

He looks at them for a moment, and asks, “Are you here for the bike race?”

I cringe, thinking that if he knows I’m from way out of town, he might hit me with a bigger ticket, knowing I’m unlikely to contest it. Oh well. “Yes, we’re crewing for a couple racers.”

“Well,” he replies, “I’m going to let you off with a warning this time.”

I do my utmost to not let my head spin around. In my 49 years of life, this is the first time I have been pulled over and not given a ticket. The possibility that he’d just give me a warning simply had not occurred to me.

My impulse is to ask, “Why?”

My brain kicks in and suppresses the impulse. Thanking goodness for my impulse-suppressing brain, I instead say, “Thank you; I’ll be certain to be more cautious.”

As we pull back onto the road, I ask Blake, “Is there going to be any problem with our getting from checkpoint to checkpoint on time if I drive five miles under the speed limit for the rest of the day?”

“I’ll account for it,” Blake says. 

We made it the rest of the way to Montpelier in decent time, found a parking place, and still had about 1.5 hours ’til we expected to see The Hammer and Lindsey roll in together.

And it’s a good thing we had all that time, because when we opened the ice chest, we discovered we had a Level One Hazmat Disaster on our hands.

Which seems like a good place to pick up for the next installment in this story.


  1. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 09.15.2015 | 9:43 am

    Crewing cliffhanger….. Love this post and the perspective on the support side. Thanks

  2. Comment by wharton_crew | 09.15.2015 | 10:53 am

    I hope you didn’t open the ice chest and get a wave of *smell* to indicate the hazmat severity that awaited you. I speak from experience…

  3. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 09.15.2015 | 12:01 pm

    Thanks for posting this tidbit despite your busy workload – lunch would not be the same without a little Fatty intrigue and levity to read.

  4. Comment by Don | 09.15.2015 | 12:23 pm

    “The IT Guy”……You’re right, that’s brutal. ?

  5. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.15.2015 | 3:55 pm

    Off topic, except to those FoF’s who have been there.

    NorCal, and all FoF’s are encouraged to see if they can help after the Valley Fire has devastated so many.

    I hope our community can show it’s support to help:
    (click the link and we’ll see you there on the 23rd)

  6. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 09.16.2015 | 4:39 am

    Using satellite imagery I can see that the ice chest contained a dead raccoon. How it got there I look forward to hearing tomorrow.

  7. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 09.16.2015 | 7:30 am

    This is more than a biking educational blog it is a life learning blog. Evidently being friendly and helpful to an officer of the law is a much better way to avoid a ticket than what I attempted the last time I was pulled over, sarcastic questioning.
    Asking an officer “Who posed a bigger public safety risk, me not wearing a seat belt, or you flipping a U turn on a busy 4 lane road.” results in a ticket and a long lecture.

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.16.2015 | 12:00 pm

    @Bart You should have pulled the u-turn to his side of the road to avoid the sarcastic question. :-)


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