2016 Six Hours In Frog Hollow, Part 1: Near-Death Experiences and a Poop Story

04.21.2016 | 9:26 am

If you want a good race report about 6 Hours in Frog Hollow, you ought to read the one I wrote a couple years ago, back in 2014 (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). 

That was a good race report. With lots of action and excitement.

This race report, on the other hand, has distressing stories about  invisible barriers, resignation to inevitable (yet still tragically disappointing) realities, and a heartrending philosophical question that is far from hypothetical.

And with that incredible teaser, let’s get started with this year’s race report of the Six Hours in Frog Hollow.

With a poop story (of course).

And a near-death experience.

The Near-Death Experience

Of all the factors in the Six Hours in Frog Hollow race, I saw myself as the least interesting and important. Here is a small sample of the myriad more interesting things about this day:

  1. The Swimmer would be participating in her second  bike race. Like her first, it would be at least fifty miles and five hours long. This would be the race where we decided her great result at True Grit was a fluke.
  2. The Hammer would be racing single speed, racing against Heidi Volpe, a very strong racer from California.
  3. The wind. Oh, the wind. It was predicted to gust to forty miles per hour. The direction it was blowing didn’t really matter; since we were riding in a loop, it would be a headwind, crosswind, and tailwind at some point.

I was excited about items one and two. I was resolved to just cope with item three the best I could. 

But it was item three that just about killed me. Before the race even began.

Like many people do, I often improvise a “dressing room” out of my front and rear car doors, giving me at least three sides of privacy as I change into bibs and a jersey.

This went off without a hitch; I have years of practice (the trick is to already be wearing socks and point your toes as you put your feet through the legs). In under fifteen seconds I went from wearing jeans to being completely naked to wearing bibshorts.

I’m a public nudity ninja.

I then put my jersey on at a more leisurely pace, zipped it up, and then bent down to put my shoes on and lace them up.

And that’s when I was nearly killed. Or at least sent to the hospital with stitches.

Because that’s when an incredible gust of wind slammed the front door shut. 

The edge of the truck door missed my skull by…oh, let’s say half an inch.

The Hammer gasped, then screamed. 

I continued tying my shoes.

The Poop Story

You would not be out of line to wonder whether I intentionally seek out pre-race outhouse poop stories.

I swear to you: I do not seek them out. I would be so much happier to not have to begin my race reports with pre-race poop stories.

And yet, for whatever reason, they seem to factor into my race reports. 

Here, for visual purposes, is the very outhouse in which my poop story occurs:

IMG 0273 

I am happy to report that the tipping over of this outhouse is not part of the story I am about to tell. 

Nor is this one:

IMG 0277

Rather, these are all just to give you a sense of exactly how big a part the wind will come to play in upcoming installments of this race report.

For this part of the story, let’s just say that I went in to a portapotty and took care of my business.

And then discovered there was no toilet paper. None. Just two empty cardboard tubes.

Mocking me.

I reached for my phone, knowing that my truck has a roll of toilet paper stored in a storage compartment. 

But I didn’t have my phone; I was suited up to ride and my phone was stored in the same compartment as the toilet paper.

Ironically, I suppose.

So I looked around and assessed my options. 

There were my FatCyclist logo socks. I didn’t really want to lose them.

There was my Ironman beanie. I didn’t really want to lose that.

And there were two toilet paper wrappers lying on the floor. You know, that really hard, stiff, waxy stuff they package toilet paper in, as if to convey, “Hey, this is not the part you should be wiping your butt with.”

Unless, of course, your need is urgent. 

Which mine was.

The Beginning

With my near-death and near-gross experiences behind me, I finished getting my bike ready, set it down on the dirt road, and got to the starting line with one minute to spare.

I found The Hammer, The Swimmer, and Rabid Runner together — all three in FatCyclist kit, making them both easy to find and devastatingly attractive.

Of course they’re all devastatingly attractive regardless of whether they’re wearing FatCyclist kit. I mean devastatingly attractive-er.

Cimarron started the race at nine o’clock in the morning exactly (I love on-time starts!) and we all began the fifty-yard-ish run to our bikes.

The Hammer, Rabid, and the Swimmer all distanced me immediately. I was in last…and the race hadn’t even begun yet.

By the time I got to my bike, The Hammer and Rabid were gone…but The Swimmer was chasing her Garmin 500 around in the dirt. Evidently it had popped off her mount when she tried to press Start.

Normally I would have picked it up and handed it to her.

But this wasn’t normal. This was racing. And to be honest, I was just a smidgen nervous about her catching and beating me. (Yeah, she’s fast.)

So I yelled “Good luck!” and rode away from her. Saved from being last by a weakly-mounted GPS.

Now I just had to catch my wife. Hopefully.

I know, I know: story of my life.

And we’ll pick up with that story in the next installment of this race report.


  1. Comment by Corrine | 04.21.2016 | 9:34 am

    I love race reports. Another great start. Can’t wait to hear more!

    Thank you! – FC

  2. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.21.2016 | 9:36 am

    Apologies if I haven’t been paying appropriate attention, but should I know who Rabid Runner is? Or are we just building some mystery?

    I’m glad your portapotty stayed upright.

    No, not building a mystery; I’ll introduce her more thoroughly soon. I’ve mentioned her running blog here before, but the short version is she and The Hammer are good friends, Rabid has recently transitioned from running to riding, and her aerobic base from running has made it possible for her to ramp up FAST. She’s going to be one of the gang at Leadville this year. – FC

  3. Comment by Tom in Albany | 04.21.2016 | 9:39 am

    Yayyy!!! Race report!!!!

    Ya know, I feel exactly the same way. I have so much fun writing these. – FC

  4. Comment by ALAN | 04.21.2016 | 9:45 am

    After racing tri’s for 6-7 or seven seasons I finally learned to always bring my own roll of TP, every time. It is however, pretty comical to watch people in line (15 pp’s) knowing that the TP is out in every one of them. My personal roll just became liquid gold as the announcement was just made that transition has closed!!!

    Now that the “no TP” problem has happened to me twice at races, I’ll never let it happen again. I’m taking your guidance as gospel from this point forward. – FC

  5. Comment by centurion | 04.21.2016 | 10:18 am

    Dude, before you talk about nudity, specially your nudity, post some kind of warning. Some people read this at lunch time.

    I apologize for the horrifying image I no doubt seared into your brain. – FC

  6. Comment by Chris | 04.21.2016 | 11:42 am

    Fatty, you are ON your game today. I started chuckling at the title, and never stopped. Can’t wait for Part The Second.

  7. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 04.21.2016 | 12:27 pm

    Entertaining post about fairly common occurrences, which is one reason I read your blog! I can relate, and always get a laugh.

    I’d like to hear the poop story of the people in those horizontal portapotties. Or maybe not.

    Anticipating the next posts….

  8. Comment by PNP | 04.21.2016 | 1:22 pm

    I love your race reports! It’s been too long since we’ve had one. I’m just glad that your head wasn’t in the way of that car door. The TP problem pales in comparison.

  9. Comment by john | 04.21.2016 | 2:06 pm


    new year
    new season
    new multi-part-cliff-hanger stories

  10. Comment by Michelle | 04.21.2016 | 2:44 pm

    You had a near-death experience but a totally gross one as well. There was nothing “near” to grossness about your poop story. It was just flat out gross. Glad you were able to be creative and get to the starting line.

  11. Comment by wharton_crew | 04.21.2016 | 3:03 pm

    Ok, so let me get this straight – you picked up a piece of paper off the FLOOR of a PORTA-POTTY and put it on your bunghole??

    I will be sure to attend your funeral in a few days from bacterial infection.

    I will be sure to attend the Swimmer’s funeral tomorrow, because she undoubtedly DIED of embarrassment when her friends read this post.

  12. Comment by Joel | 04.21.2016 | 3:31 pm

    Said wind blew neighbors car door into my car. Say hello to lovely new door ding. Drats.

  13. Comment by Skye | 04.21.2016 | 4:25 pm

    Oh, but I do love a good cliff hanger!

  14. Comment by bob in denver | 04.21.2016 | 4:32 pm

    If you cut out the massive protein gut bomb of eggs before every race you wouldn’t have to start every story with a run for the portapotty (or a log to hide behind then use your gloves).

    Just sayin.

  15. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.21.2016 | 4:51 pm

    What wharton_crew said. +1.

    I think we were all subconsciously disturbed by the floor issue. Now it’s front of mind.

  16. Comment by Eric | 04.21.2016 | 5:44 pm

    Yay new race report!

    (but also would love updates on the book)

  17. Comment by Brian in VA | 04.22.2016 | 9:03 am

    A FC race report without a good poop story, or at least some kind of poop story, is like a day without toilet tissue.

    I do love your race reports, Elden!

  18. Comment by walter | 04.22.2016 | 10:50 am

    Love your race reports.

    Near death experience – Whoooo!

    Actual gross experience – Eeeewwwww!


  19. Comment by leroy | 04.22.2016 | 10:54 am

    Dear Mr. FC –

    My dog insists I inquire if this was a no drop ride.

    I wouldn’t have asked, but he insisted.


  20. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.22.2016 | 12:06 pm

    I understand that the race itself was drop, but that the pre-start was supposed to be no drop. Apparently, all of the racers (and all of the porta-potties) didn’t get that message.

  21. Comment by Slo Joe | 04.24.2016 | 4:36 pm

    LQQKn forward to another epic race report….or not. :=)

    Ride Long and Prosper…..which you usually do.

  22. Comment by dpd356 | 04.25.2016 | 2:16 pm

    lovin the race report! And after reading this last week, did I recall the PP-TP incident at my son’s ultimate frisbee tournament this weekend? No I did not. Until it was too late. that waxy cardboard just does not cut the mustard. Or anything else.


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