2016 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 13: Allies

07.27.2016 | 11:51 am

A Bonus Easy Way to Win Something for Free Note from Fatty: As part of my day job as the Social Media Manager at Altify, I get to do some pretty cool contests to build awareness of the company. Right now I’m doing a nice little weeklong push to grow our Twitter audience. So: If you happen to either be in sales — or if you have Twitter followers who might be in sales — you should Follow Altify and Retweet this Tweet today to get a chance at winning a set of super-sweet Bose QC35 Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones:

An Update on “You Choose Fatty’s LT100 Bike and Focus:” I’m really pleased at the responses (and by “responses” I of course mean “donations”) in the contest I started at the beginning of this week. It was a different take on my “donate for a chance at a prize” idea, and it’s been a lot of fun for everyone in our family to see not just the ongoing generosity of the Friends of Fatty (that part is predictable), but what you seem to want me to ride, and how you think The Hammer and Monster will finish, relative to each other. 

Here’s a quick update on where things stand.

First off, The Monster’s lead continues to build against The Hammer. Since yesterday’s update, in fact, votes saying she will finish less than an hour after The Hammer have risen from 64% to 69%:

Hammer v Monster

I’d like to point out that both The Monster and The Hammer like the way this chart currently stands. The Monster appreciates the votes of confidence coming her way, and The Hammer finds it extremely motivational for her to prove two-thirds of you wrong.

If you’d like to mix things up in “The Hammer Vs The Monster” contest, you can do so right here:

Is Hammer MORE or LESS than 1hr Faster than Monster?
How Many Votes Do You Want to Place?

Fatty’s Fate

As the chart below shows, it looks like it’s going to be my job to race for The Hammer (which you would think would alter the stats in the “Hammer Vs Monster” contest).


Thanks to an incredibly large donation, “Be the Hammer’s Domestique” seems to be in an unassailable, insurmountable position.

I should point out, however, that even if this four-figure donation hadn’t come in, the results would still be putting me in the “Domestique for The Hammer” position. Here’s what the chart would look like if I pull out the big donation:

Fatty without big donor

So, barring a four-figure opposing donation by a generous prankster who takes pleasure both in evening the odds and in telling me what to do, it looks like I’ll be riding for The Hammer this year. I’ll have more to say about that soon. 

Meanwhile, if you likes making a difference in the world by helping great causes like NICA, and you also like the idea of telling a beloved, award-winning cycling blogger what to do, this is your chance. 

What Should Fatty Focus on at Leadville?
How Many Votes Do You Want to Place?

OK, now on with today’s story (yes, we have crossed the $2500 threshold and I can therefore release this “hostage” episode).

2016 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 13: Alliances from Enemies

The race speeds up when the sun goes down. I don’t mean that literally of course. I just mean that there are fewer interactions with other teams. You don’t see as much of the landscape around you. Unless you’re the one racing, your sense of time gets all distorted and compressed; you feel like the miles go by incredibly quickly.

Or, I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. 

In any case, it seemed like Ben’s second leg of the race just flew by. Maybe that’s because he put in a top-10 performance of the whole thing:

Screenshot 2016 07 27 10 12 43

Yep, Ben is faster than I have ever been. The numbers show it. And he was considerably faster than his counterparts in our competition: he increased our lead over the Z5R teams by fifteen minutes, and over the BatB team by just over half an hour. 

Somehow, we had built not just a lead, but a huge lead — almost an hour over Z5R teams, almost 1.5 hours over BatB — over our competition by the time we got through seven of the twelve racing legs. They were far enough in our rear-view mirror that it no longer seemed important to be watching for them.


There was, on the other hand, a team we just seemed to keep bumping into, over and over: The “Salty Dogs, 50+” Mike Nosco Memorial team. 

Yeah, the team Ben and I had been confronted with forever ago, back in leg 3 of the race. And since we’re definitely going to be hearing about this team again, here’s how the team matchup looked:

Racer #

The Fatty Family

Mike Nosco Memorial











The Hammer


At the time, we had shrugged our shoulders; things happen during races. We figured we’d never see them again. 

But then Tod from their team had chased The Hammer for fifty miles in the fourth leg, so close to her — yet unable to catch her — that he must have thought she was a mirage.

And Tom and I had worked together for almost the entirety of the fifth leg.

And then Jack and Lindsey had worked together on the descent of the sixth leg, arriving together. 

Which meant Peter and Ben would be starting together again — and once again, wound up riding together for the entire leg. 

This time, however, when they finished, Peter walked up to Ben and me and shook both our hands, giving us a smile and a nod. We smiled back.

Everything was all good. 

Who’s In Front?

With Peter and Ben arriving together, that meant Tod and The Hammer would go out together for what I consider to be the worst leg of the race. It starts at a time when you would never be riding: around 3:00am. it’s a big climb followed by a plateau and a long descent in the cold and dark. 

This time, instead of chasing The Hammer, Tod would be working with her. 

And this turned out to be a really good thing. The two of them just flew together, putting this section of the race behind them in record time.

In the case of The Hammer, I mean that quite literally: she QOM’d the whole darn thing (by about fifteen minutes over the previous QOM, by the way). 

For those of you who are keeping track: the women on our team had now been out four times. And now own the QOM for all four of those legs.

Yeah, The Fatty Family was doing OK.

As they rode along, they talked a little. The Hammer asked, “So where is the Hyperthread group?”

“Behind us, I think.”

“And how about the other guy that came in with Ben?”

“They bungled their handoff, don’t know where their rider is. Probably asleep somewhere.”

“So who is ahead of us now?” The Hammer asked.

Tod considered for a moment. Then, “You know, I don’t think anyone is.”



“So right now a woman and a fifty-plus guy are beating all the men’s competitive teams in the race?”

“Yeah, it seems like it.”

They pushed on, every other team in the Rockwell Relay somewhere behind them. 

Tom Again

We shot ahead of The Hammer and Tod well before we needed to this time, not wanting to make the mistake I had made last time. 

No, not the “almost drive the van into the ditch mistake.” The “not ready to go” mistake.

Tom was, of course, getting ready to go the same time I was. But he’s a California guy and hadn’t really had an understanding of how high we’d be going on our final leg of the race and how cold it would get.

He stood there, shivering. 

“Hey Tom, I’ve got enough cold weather gear with me for everyone in Panguitch,” I said.

We were in Panguitch at the time, so this totally made sense in context.

“You want a long-sleeve jersey or a windbreaker or something?

“No, I’m going to be OK as soon as we start,” he said. “And it won’t be long ’til it’s light.”

Both were true, but it would get colder as we went up. And we would be going up, 3600 feet or so to an altitude of 8500 feet.

The Hammer and Tod rolled across the line together. (Later, The Hammer would tell me that Tod started to drop her on the descents, but held up, saying it would be better to stay together so they could work on the flats. Tod is awesome.)

So Happy

Tom and I rolled out into the dark. I was feeling good. I love this leg of the race: the way the scenery turns from sandstone to aspen. The way it turns from night into day. The way it wakes you up with incredible climbs, then makes you feel like you’re flying on the flats and descents.

It’s everything I love about riding and racing, and I’d be starting it in the front of the race with a strong, friendly rider who was a perfect ally to our team: a good match and not competing against us.

“Hey, happy fiftieth birthday,” Tom said.

It certainly looked like it was going to be. 

And that’s where we’ll pick up in the next installment of this story.


  1. Comment by MattC | 07.27.2016 | 12:17 pm

    Hey Fatty, a serious question (pertaining to yesterdays post…sorry) if you please…you mentioned you plan on doing 3 fundraisers this year…can you say at this point if one of them will be for WBR? (I’m only asking as I have very limited $, and they are the one charity I save for every year now that you’ve gotten me hooked on them). If not then I will add my $ to them now while it’s still matched (the month of July).

    OK..back to the RR comments. Thanks!

    Thanks for your question. The answer is yes. Specifically, here’s what I plan to do this year, fundraiser-wise:

    1. NICA Voting-Style Contest (happening now)
    2. 100 Miles of Nowhere for Camp Kesem (planning now, more info soon)
    3. Grand Slam for WBR (happens in December during fundraising-match period)

    - FC

  2. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 07.27.2016 | 12:31 pm

    And, while we’re all waiting for installment 67 of R^4, anyone who cares what I think about the Rules can see my treatment of 26-33 here.

    You’re doing nice work here, Jeff. But reading your post today, it occurs to me what really bothers me about these “rules.” Which is, many of them aren’t even rules. Like #9, for example — one of your favorites, and something with which I completely agree: You’re a badass if you’re out riding in bad weather. True. No argument, except…it’s not a rule. It’s an observation. Quite possibly an axiom. But it’s not a rule. A rule is something you can obey. There’s just nothing to obey here. How can I trust a self-appointed rulemaker if the rulemaker can’t be trusted to even bother to consistently create rules in a list called “The Rules?” How about THIS for a rule: “A list called ‘The Rules’ must be an ACTUAL LIST OF RULES.” See? That can be obeyed. And furthermore, it SHOULD be obeyed.

    In short, this is a haphazard list of rules, observations, assertions and pet peeves. I despise it. – FC

  3. Comment by Jim Tolar | 07.27.2016 | 12:35 pm

    First, does the end to this post sound ominous, or is it just me?
    Second, your mention of the 3600 feet of climbing in your upcoming leg finally gives me a comparison point to riding I have done. I rode the Courage Classic last weekend with a friend. This was my first introduction to riding at altitude and to climbing (I’ve pretty much only ever biked in Phoenix). Our two days of riding were each 43 miles with 3600+ feet of climbing. On day one, it was up and back over Vail Pass. I represented Friends of Fatty on day one (image included).

    And you wore the 100MoN jersey. Awesome! And congrats. – FC

  4. Comment by Corrine | 07.27.2016 | 1:53 pm

    Is it just me, or is it confusing keeping track of which team member goes with which team. It doesn’t really matter I guess since Team Fatty and the 50+ guys are out in front. Can’t wait to hear more. I say that every installment. And I mean it.
    And so glad that the 100 MoN is going to happen again. I’ve already been thinking about what I’m going to do this year. I’m back in shape and riding longer distances after my knee replacement surgery and now I have a reputation to uphold from last year since davidH gave me the honorary Noodle award.

    It’s not just you. I’ll update today’s post to reflect who is who in which team, ok? Thanks for the idea! – FC

  5. Comment by Jon | 07.27.2016 | 5:24 pm

    And here I thought the “Who’s in Front?” bit would turn into an Abbott and Costello act. I am impressed of the lack of drama and great rides on today’s edition.

  6. Comment by MattC | 07.27.2016 | 10:26 pm

    Great continuing RR report Fatty, and thanks so much for your fundraising plans…I’ll be ready in Dec for your Grand Slam! (I already donated a bike to Carlos’s page cuz I need to share the love…way to go Carlos!)

  7. Comment by Tom in Albany | 07.28.2016 | 7:52 am

    FC, I think it is time to come up with nicknames for the niece and nephew-in-law. After all, they’ve done all kinds of racing and riding with you!

  8. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 07.28.2016 | 12:34 pm

    Lindsey = Vanguard
    Ben = Counterweight


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