The Worst Thursday, Part 1

06.6.2018 | 1:42 pm

A Note From Fatty: If you have ever carbo-loaded before a race, you should listen to the latest episode of The Leadville Podcast…even if you aren’t racing Leadville. If you have ever bonked during a race, you should listen to the latest episode of The Leadville Podcast…even if you aren’t racing Leadville. If you have ever wondered how much to eat every hour during a race, regardless of your size, you should listen to the latest episode of The Leadville Podcast…even if you aren’t racing Leadville. It’s the best show I’ve ever put together, by a lot.

Download on Apple Podcasts Stitcher

The Phone Call
I should begin this story with a disclaimer: everything works out OK in the end. I didn’t expect it to. Lisa didn’t either. The cops didn’t, the search and rescue people didn’t. But it did.

I’m not telling you this as a storytelling trick or to lure you into the story. I’m telling you this because, frankly, I don’t want you thinking I’d be writing this story at all if things had turned out the way I expected them to.

This happened three Thursdays ago. Everything here is true.

It’s Thursday, 4:30pm, and I’m at work. Lisa is out with her 86yo father — Dee — and his 89yo brother, Keith. These are two tough old birds, and a walk around the block doesn’t scratch their itch. They want to go up a 4mi steep singletrack trail.

Keith’s on the left here, Dee’s on the right.

Along with these two, Lisa had brought her niece, Kylie.

They made the trek to the top of the mountain without trouble. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Then they turned around and started back.

A few minutes later, Lisa called me. “My father’s gone! he’s completely gone. He’s not on the trail, he’s not around the trail, he’s nowhere!”

When i say this, you have to understand: it took me several tries to understand her because she was screaming. Crying. Completely distressed. In the eight years we’ve been married, I’ve never heard her sound even remotely like this. Not once.

“I’ll call you back from the car,” I said. “I’m on my way there.”

Getting Clarification
I was on the freeway between Lehi and Provo, where the trailhead was. I called Lisa back. She told me that she had already called 911 and police were on their way.  ”Explain to me what happened,” I said.

“The four of us got to the top of the mountain together,” Lisa explained. “We had just turned around and were headed back down the trail when my dad needed to pee. The rest of us continued on for a minute, because Keith a little slower than my dad.”

“When he didn’t catch up to us after a minute or so,” Lisa continued, “I sent Kylie back to look for him. He wasn’t where we left him, so she continued to the end of the trail at the summit, and he wasn’t there either! He was just gone.”

“It doesn’t make sense,” I said, for the first time of probably hundreds of times that day. But each time I said it, there was a little part of me that said, “But it kind of does make sense.”

See, back last October, Dee had a stroke. It’s affected his eyesight, his memory, and his ability to think. So I could imagine too well that he’d had another stroke, had fallen, had walked off without any sense of what was going on, had fallen down the steep face of the mountain.

Anyway, when Kylie didn’t see Dee, she ran back to Lisa.

At which point lost it. Well and truly lost it.

She ran off trail, screaming her father’s name, running everywhere, yelling, yelling. Not looking where she was going, not caring.

Until, a mile or so later, she realized that now she was lost too.

Which is where I’ll pick up next time.


  1. Comment by Caspar | 06.6.2018 | 2:20 pm

    I hereby order you to post installment 2, 3 and any further installments in the next 30 minutes. It is now 10:20 PM here in France and there is no way I can sleep before knowing the rest of the story……

  2. Comment by Jacob | 06.6.2018 | 4:05 pm

    Nice to see that your cliffhanger skills are intact. Bravo – I’ve missed your stories.

  3. Comment by Jim Tolar | 06.6.2018 | 4:25 pm

    Your cliffhanger skills are being abused here. Immediately cease cliff hanging and publish the rest. I mean it.

    p.s. welcome back, FatMan

  4. Comment by Corrine | 06.6.2018 | 7:45 pm

    Than you for letting us know everything turns out okay. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight! And can you please finish the story tomorrow. I’m starting on a little bike race Friday and won’t have time to check your blog for a month. Don’t keep me in suspense that long. That would be so mean!

  5. Comment by joliver3 | 06.6.2018 | 8:11 pm

    Good to have you back, Fatty! I’ve missed these multi-part ride reports with a cliffhanger at the end of each installment (OK, this one isn’t really a ride report, but you know what I mean).

  6. Comment by KenKoz | 06.7.2018 | 4:42 am

    When I said in a previous comment that I looked forward to more cliffhanger stories, I didn’t know you were going to take it so literally.

  7. Comment by Boston Carlos | 06.7.2018 | 7:40 am

    it’s the next day, and you’re an early riser. WHERE IS PART 2?!

  8. Comment by Rob Franklin | 06.7.2018 | 7:48 am

    I said on twitter that I missed the storytelling and cliffhangers.

    I take it back. I forgot what it was like refreshing nonstop for a day or more. Fatty, out of concern for our well-being, maybe it’s time for another hiatus.

    Just make sure you finish this story first. Soon.


  9. Comment by Spandex King | 06.7.2018 | 9:05 am

    My guess? He went back up the mountain.

    That’s a good guess, but not correct. – FC


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