Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Star-Struck Moment: Spotting 'Fatty' & 'The Hammer'

** Before I get into my quick post, I just wanted to share that the second half of Josie's interview with me is up on Life on Two Wheels, so if you have interest, you can check out the rest of what I shared with her here. If you missed the first part, you can find that here, too. **

I am a spaz.

This shouldn't be news to any who know me, but man, sometimes I feel like a Grade A freak when I see someone in person who's even a remotely well-known individual. It's happened with the few "famous" people I've seen in real, everyday life, and it also happens when there's a happenstance encounter with someone whose blog I read regularly. I see them and think, "Holy cow! I know that person," which of course I don't... at least not really know them like we know people that we have as part of our lives. Still, these are moments in which some part of me wants to rush up to the person and say hello and carry on about something I've read about him/her, or just to say hello. My internal functions behave this way, but on the outside it is not what happens at all. In fact, just the opposite generally takes place. I freeze up and end up leaving the person alone - usually because it feels strange to bother someone who has no idea who I am or (sometimes) why I'm even approaching at all.

It's the same reaction that happened this past weekend in Leadville when there was a quick passing by of a blogger we read regularly in our house.

But, first let me go back for a moment. Over this past weekend, Sam raced in the LT100 MTB (and did pretty well, I think - especially considering he did no high altitude training [I realize we live at a higher altitude than many people, but it's still not the high altitude of Leadville], hasn't been doing much mountain biking this year, and had only 3 weeks to prepare for the ride... but that will all come in a later post when he shares the experience of his inaugural Leadville Trail 100). The race itself was a whole chaotic, wonderful, and epic event. The people were amazing out on the trails (those participating in the race, the volunteers, crews, and so on), and I can't say I have ever been involved in anything quite like it. Even if Sam never does the race again, I'm glad that we were both able to experience it at least once (though I must admit, his part was far more painful than my piece).
Sam was beat up but still moving forward at approximately mile 73
After the race on Saturday, the ceremony was held Sunday morning in a large gymnasium that has the fairly potent smell of chlorine. I didn't mind it myself, but it was definitely something that reminded me of water aerobics at the local rec center or the swimming pool at the YMCA I'd swim in during the summers of my youth. During the ceremony, the winners of each category are brought up on stage, photos are taken, awards given out and so on. People talk, thanks are given, and cool stuff is given away to a few.

But, none of this has anything to do really with why I am such a spaz. Well, at least not entirely.

You see, I knew that Fatty and The Hammer of Fat Cyclist would be at the race. Both Sam and I read Fatty's blog regularly and were aware that they would be headed out to race Leadville again. Throughout the race, I don't think I saw either of them even once -- at least I was not aware of seeing them -- (Sam spotted them on the trail, but again, I'll let him tell his own tale later) but I knew that I'd be able to see them in person during the ceremony that took place the day following the race. At least I figured that would be the case. As the announcer read out names of the ten-time LT100 finishers, the Hammer's name was called. It was a bit surreal to see someone in person that I've seen photos of online many times.

I am genuinely aware of the fact that these are just people - like me and you and every other of us here on planet Earth, but there is something surreal about seeing someone in person that I feel as though I know something about (even if I don't really know much or only a small snippet of their life/lives).

As the ceremony drew to a close, the announcer began calling out every name of those who finished the LT100 in the allotted 12 hour time limit. Before he began this list, he asked people to remain in their seats until he called their name (as they were attempting to have some sort of order in giving out the award, a belt buckle, to finishers). As I looked up, I spotted Fatty and the Hammer already in line. In my typical teasing manner, I couldn't help but say to Sam, "Um, I don't think he's called their names yet," as I smiled and laughed, not really concerned about who was in line and who wasn't. After all, I was still trying to figure out the best way to get a photo of the two of them.

Of course, I also hadn't brought the camera with me into the ceremony, so the only means of documentation would have to be the camera on the phone. As I saw them from across the room, I attempted to get a shot. The results were obviously not spectacular.
The red arrow indicates where the pair were standing as I attempted to sneak a photo
As they moved closer to where we were seated, I thought about how much of a loser I really am. I mean, I know these are normal, nice people. I've read about many others who have approached and asked for a photo, so I know they are highly unlikely to say no; however, I just couldn't get up the nerve to do it. Instead, I stayed put, shooting photos as they walked by talking to others. Thank goodness the likelihood of either of them ever knowing that I was taking these photos (or seeing them) is slim to none!
I suppose a sane human being probably would've just walked up and talked to them, but I felt somehow that I would be intruding on their space and time together.
I apologize to the Hammer, should she ever see this photo. You are a lovely woman, who I have great respect and admiration for, but I got so few shots and this was one that was not the most flattering.
As they passed by us, I knew my opportunity was slipping away and I decided in that moment to just let it go without a fight.
There were plenty of other cycling heroes to be found among the group. From Rebecca Rusch to Dave Wiens, it was kind of like an awesome-cyclist geek-fest for me. I couldn't help but wonder why I seemed so fixated on snapping a photo of this pair in particular.

Ultimately, I realized really all I would've had to do is walk up to them. I know how Fatty loves to feel tall and having either Sam or myself next to him, I know that would've achieved the goal. Unfortunately, that thought didn't occur to me until it was too late. Oh well. Perhaps the next time I won't be such a chicken.
The Queen of Pain - I didn't even realize I'd taken a photo of her during the race until later. As a side note, I can't believe she's freakin' smiling! She'd just gone up (and come back down) Columbine, which is an insane climb.
When I got home and went through the race photos I'd taken, I realized I actually got a pretty decent shot of the Queen of Pain (aka Rebecca Rusch) and just missed getting (what I'm nearly positive is) a photo of the Hammer in action.
Just missed a (better) photo of the Hammer
I suppose the lesson to be learned here is simply to ask, rather than letting the moment pass by. While I was trying to be (at least a little bit) respectful of the duo, I know it likely wouldn't have been a huge deal to ask for a quick shot of them... and next time, I'll make sure I have the actual camera in hand for such happenings.


  1. Great one! I didn't even know you got the QOP photo from the ride! We will have to talk to the Fat Cyclist Duo next time.

    1. You totally should have bear hugged him!

      Fatty is really approachable. I tackled him and nearly broke ribs at the expo last year and he talked to me and took a selfie as if I were the blogging celebrity.

      My wife kept muttering that I was going to get arrested. I didn't care. He is a cool guy.


Word verification is on, but I've turned off the moderation portion in an attempt to make it easier for you to know that your comment has indeed made it through. We'll see how this goes, but I'm hopeful that this will help out and I'll try my best to weed through and remove spammers comments. Additionally, I recommend copying comments before hitting publish as the "blogger comment eater" seems to continue his snacking.