Crew Report for LoToJa 2015, Part 4: Standing on Tiptoe

09.18.2015 | 6:44 am

A Note from Fatty About the 100 Miles of Nowhere: I’ll be launching registration for the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere this Monday, September 21. Be sure to check this blog on Monday at 10:00am MDT, which is when I’ll be revealing details and opening registration.

By way of hint, this will be a fundraiser for Camp Kesem, with registration strictly limited to 500. I think you’ll love the awesome level of swag I’ll be revealing. I think you’ll also love that this year everyone will get the 100 Miles of Nowhere t-shirt (and a lot more), with the option to also get the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey (which I’m going to be selling at an extremely nice price):


I’m really excited for this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere; it’s going to be a really special one. Check back Monday for details on why.


A Note From Fatty About the Levi’s GranFondo Valley Fire Relief Effort: I’m a big fan of Levi’s GranFondo. I’m also a big fan of finding ways to make the world a better place. So it stands to reason that I’m a big fan of the way Levi’s GranFondo has pivoted its fundraising toward disaster relief efforts for victims of the Valley Fire. They’re directing 80% of their donations toward housing, food, clothing, and other immediate needs of the people and animals whose homes were taken from them in a literal flash. 

Whether you’re going to Levi’s or not, why not make a donation? I’m going to. 

Crew Report: Lotoja 2015: Standing on Tiptoe

I don’t know if I’ve ever spent so much time standing on my toes. 

Blake and I had made it to the second pit stop, lugging our balloons, ice chest, and box of food from our cleverly-distant parking space a few blocks away from where everyone else had parked, hence putting us in a good spot for a quick getaway once Lindsey and Lisa came through.

We stared, anxiously, down the road, looking for the right combination of jerseys and helmets that would tell us our riders were here.

The thing is, though, everyone else in the area was doing the same thing, looking down the road, craning their necks, some crowding into the street. 

Blake and I stood on our toes, watching down the road. It had been two hours since we had seen our racers last, and by Lisa’s prediction we still had twenty minutes ’til we’d see them again. They’d be 126 miles into the race. More than halfway, but with lots of riding (about 74 more miles) left to go.

But they had come through the first pit stop ten minutes earlier than projected. They were obviously doing this race fast.

“Do you think Lindsey will still be ahead of Lisa?” Blake asked. 

“It could go either way,” I said, and I meant it. Lindsey had been faster at the Cedar City Fire Road 100K, Lisa and Lindsey had essentially finished together at the Crusher in the Tushar, and Lisa had finished ahead of Lindsey in Leadville. 

So it could go either way, though I knew that The Hammer is a little bit unique in that she seems to get stronger and faster the longer a race is — a fact that helps make sense of Lindsey and The Hammer’s relative positions in the races they’ve done this year.

Some racers stopped their bikes perpindicular to traffic, clogging the road. Some crews would cluster around their rider, making it impossible for other crews to work. I tried not to get snotty about this. We were all just families helping family. Everyone doing the best they could.

When it was my turn, I’m sure I’d be completely unaware of whether I was blocking the road or obstructing another crew. 

Chill, Fatty. Chill.

First Racer, Second Racer

Blake and I kept standing on our toes, staring down the road. 

And then, there was a racer in a Fat Cyclist kit.

But even from far away, it was obvious this was a tall, thin man. Ben. He pulled up and Lynne and her family took care of him. Ben ate a pop-tart while his family swapped out his bottles.

IMG 0018

“A pop-tart, Ben?” I chided. Then I wondered to myself, “When did I become so hoity-toity about race food?”

Then Ben was gone.

Next, Ben’s dad, Cory, came through — happy, relaxed, having fun.

IMG 0025

Until, all of a sudden, he was howling in pain, tearing and swating at his jersey.

Evidently, a hornet had gotten in Cory’s jersey and was upset about not being able to find its way out.

Cory knows some interesting word combinations, which he demonstrated for us. (At the next pit stop, he would apologize for his language, which to me seems a lot more peculiar than using such language when being stung by a hornet.)

Third Racer

With Ben and Cory gone, we knew we’d be seeing Lindsey and The Hammer soon. We stayed on our toes, staring down the road. Looking for a Fat Cyclist jersey and a black helmet — Lindsey.

And at 1:35, the first of the two women pulled up. 

But she had a black-and-red helmet, not a black one. it wasn’t Lindsey. 

Somewhere between the Montpelier and Afton pit stops, The Hammer had caught up to Lindsey. So why weren’t they riding together now? I had no idea, and this wasn’t the time to ask. I’d hear the racer side of the story later.

Right now, Blake and I had a job to do.

IMG 9804

The Hammer told us she was having a great race. She was riding strong, was  with a good-sized group of women that were working well together, one of whom was also being crewed for in the picture below:

IMG 2822

And also, she wanted Coke. Not water, Coke. When would we ever learn?

The day had gotten hot, so I took the backbottle I’d filled with cold water and put in my back pocket (just in case The Hammer had wanted more water than would fit in her cages) and squirted it through her helmet and down her back. 

Then, as a show of solidarity and good will and stuff, I also hosed down her riding partner.

I probably should have asked first. You know, out of politeness or whatever.

The Hammer and Ellie pulled away, joining the rest of their group.

And Blake and I resumed standing on our toes, expecting Lindsey immediately.


Lindsey did not arrive immediately, if you define “immediately” as “this very instant.”

She also did not arrive immediately if you define “immediately” as “within five minutes or so.”

Still we stood on tiptoe, Blake’s 5’8” not much better at seeing past the crowd than my 5’7”.

Ten minutes went by. We became concerned.

Fifteen minutes went by. We became a little freaked out. Or at least I did. (Blake would argue that he did not become freaked out; I would argue that Blake is always freaked out.) While a good case could be made for Lisa being the person you’d expect to see out front this far into a very long race, I would not have expected Lindsey to be very far behind at all. These two women are about as close to each other in terms of speed and power as I’ve ever seen.

So what was going on?

And then Lindsey rolled in, and Blake and I began to bustle wth alacrity.

“What can we get you?” I asked, simultaneously service-minded and expeditious.

“Oh, I don’t care,” Lindsey replied.

That…was not a good answer. Which is to say, it is not the kind of answer you give when your race is going well.

But I — apparently — am not the kind of crew that takes verbal and body language clues. I — apparently, again — am the kind of crew who is 100% business.

In the absence of direction, I set Lindsey up the way I’d want myself set up. New bottles. Take some electrolytes with a slug of water. Gel wrappers out of the right jersey pocket, new gels in the left jersey pocket.

OK, fine, here’s your pop-tart too. For crying out loud.

And — since I suspected that heat and dehydration were playing their role in this — I emptied a bottle of water over her head. No, it wouldn’t keep her cool for long, but it would feel nice for a few minutes. And sometimes, a few minutes is all it takes to punch your physical, mental, and emotional reset button. For your race to reboot, so to speak.

Lindsey was on her way, and Blake and I ran to the truck. Or at least, we did the best approximation of a run that we could, considering all the stuff we were carrying.

The Hammer had a fifteen minute head start on us toward the next pit stop: Alpine. We needed to hurry, or we weren’t going to be ready in time.

Hey, even when I’m crewing, I’m racing.

And this seems like a good place to pick up (and likely conclude) in the next installment (which will be Tuesday since on Monday I’ll be launching the 100 Miles of Nowhere).


  1. Comment by Brian in VA | 09.18.2015 | 7:30 am

    Ugh, cliffhangers.

    I’m going to have to learn how to do these effectively, Fatty.

    Perhaps next week, when I’m volunteering at the UCI Worlds all week, I’ll try to do it. Tune in!

  2. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 09.18.2015 | 8:16 am

    Fatty, lecturing another cyclist about food choice is *totally* inappropriate.

    I mean, have you *ever* known another cyclist to lecture *you* about food. You know, maybe a top grand tour rider/Olympian? Perhaps in Santa Rosa? Certainly not minutes after being told by said other cyclist that no food lecturing would be forthcoming.

    See, that would *never* happen.

  3. Comment by Rocky | 09.18.2015 | 8:30 am

    Sorting through the fray of possible comments, I would say that you might want to reconsider the pop tart food choice. They are lucious, first of all, and it’s really the only time that is acceptable to eat them, since in about eight bites, you consume 400 calories. And they force you to drink. And they have a bajillion flavors. Literally.

    And they are cheap. Two thousand calories to a box (five packages at 400 calories per) at $4.95.

    And did I mention that they are lucious?


  4. Comment by Arizona Guy | 09.18.2015 | 8:44 am

    I have to give props to Pop-Tarts also. With kids in the house, they are always on the shelf so on occasion I will grab a pack if I am rushed. While I have them in my mental pantry filed next to doughnuts as far as nutritional value – the surprising thing is they actually have a kind of rib-stickiness that will keep me going until lunch. 20 minute after I eat a doughnut, I NEED another doughnut, but ‘Tarts make a pretty effective meal on the go.

  5. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 09.18.2015 | 9:43 am

    I have seen the future …

  6. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 09.18.2015 | 9:43 am

    Okay, so I tried to include an image. It’s here.

  7. Comment by Bike Chick | 09.18.2015 | 10:43 am

    After having made my way in your blog till 2009, I feel like such a jerk. I want to apologize for my previous comment on your blog organization. So snarky and so inappropriate. I am so sorry for your loss.

  8. Comment by old guy who likes to ride | 09.18.2015 | 12:03 pm

    note to support teams: add a small step ladder to see over crowds, or recruit a tall person.

  9. Comment by sr | 09.18.2015 | 12:23 pm

    Man, I enjoy reading your installment race reports (AND I SO WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT).

  10. Comment by walter | 09.18.2015 | 12:36 pm

    Wow – a Fatty post on a Friday!! It is going to be a good day!

    Pop Tarts are the next “thing” for endurance racing – I am so sure of it, I will stock my pantry with them, with all bajillion of their flavors. And, if not, well, I will be (more) overweight but still happy albeit with crumbs falling off my face.

  11. Comment by MattC | 09.18.2015 | 2:06 pm

    GREAT Report Fatty! Love hearing how YOU do as crew instead of crewed-for!

    And a quick shout-out to the “right-coast” FOF’s! I’m here in Boston for another day (howdy Carlos!)..we fly tomorrow (Sat) afternoon to Munich for Oktoberfest. I’d love to come back here and ride someday…what a fun city to explore!

  12. Comment by Skye | 09.18.2015 | 2:16 pm

    Nicely done, @JeffD!

  13. Comment by leroy | 09.18.2015 | 4:31 pm

    Hope I don’t miss the registration for the 100 MoN.

    At 10:00 AM MDT on Monday, I will be enjoying root canal.

    I’d ask my dog to register for us, but he insists he’s coming with me for moral support.

    Well of course I’m not falling for it.

    I know he’s not going to miss an opportunity to trot out his impression of Laurence Olivier’s dentist character from “Marathon Man,” asking “Is it safe?”

    On the bright side, he assures me I’ll have the appropriate jowls for a Marlon Brando/Godfather impression.

    He’ll work with me on the diction.

  14. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.21.2015 | 2:04 am

    @Leroys Dog

    We got you covered. What shirt size?


    Dogs of @davidh-marin-ca

    Pro tip for embedding images in comments: If your embedded image URL doesn’t end in an image suffix like JPG or PNG or GIF, it’s not an image and won’t be embedded. – FC

  15. Comment by Tom in Albany | 09.21.2015 | 6:32 am

    Great story but.. 100MON!!!! Woohoo!!!

  16. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.21.2015 | 8:40 am

    @FC I knew that. I just failed to pay attention.
    Or, to wake Wife#1 to help (that would not have ended well.)

  17. Comment by Christina | 09.21.2015 | 10:04 am

    I’m hitting refresh with a fervor I’ve never before encountered.

  18. Comment by Johnny White | 09.21.2015 | 10:35 am

    How a hornet got into a tight cycling jersey, we’ll never know. Looking forward to the next installment in the series, and hopefully a comparison of the effects of the different flavors of Pop-Tarts.

    (P.S. The 100MON jersey looks pretty rad!)

  19. Comment by Bike Chick | 09.23.2015 | 11:37 am

    How did it go from here?

  20. Comment by Deanna | 10.9.2015 | 1:02 pm

    But we assure you it’s not contrived.


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