And so, ON with the story!
The BIG weekend (that I have been waiting for since LAST July) is over and done. In the history books. Finito (not that I know how to spell Finito, and neither does spell-check it appears). It was a HUGE success by any measure. The weather was GREAT! Not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, no rain, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even a dust devil. Just a fabulous weekend for a ginormous brew-ha-ha with thousands of people and bikes, in an amazingly bike-friendly city.
But the weather nor the town isn't the story here. Team Fatty is. To put it simply, we ROCKED! The overall fundraising for the event was down a bit this year. I believe Davis brought in just over ONE MILLION dollars in 2011. This year it was down to just over $900,000 as of Sunday morning as we gathered for the ride.
But consider this: Team Fatty raised over 10% of that total! Yes, we were over $90,000 as a team. No WONDER they take such good care of us! And to be fair, Fatty raised well over $50,000 of that. Which is pretty darn impressive. A guy with a blog. Isn't that something? He is constantly amazed and astounded at what this has become.
As to the weekend events, Greg and I drove up Friday morning (he drove north a bit over 2 hours to my place, then WE drove the 5 hours to Davis, which is right up near Sacramento). We get there in time to check into the hotel (what I call "Team Fatty Central", as a lot of our team stays there every year). Angie, our adopted sist'a (aka Rocket-Girl) calls and will arrive late as usual (claiming traffic once-AGAIN.... alert: lame excuse!) The Hall of fame shin-dig is supposed to go down at 6pm. She has again reserved the entire Cycling Hall of Fame just for Team Fatty. As in: we OWN the place! (OK, here's where I cut you some slack Sist'a for being late AGAIN).
So....She suggests that Greg and get over to the HoF to help David who is already there and setting up to cook Brats for us lucky Fatties. So we walk quite briskly over to the HoF from the hotel (prob a 10 minute speed-walk), and haven't been there very long at all when Sist'a calls back yet AGAIN that she is somehow at the hotel...the traffic magically parted like the red-sea and her trip is over. So we briskly retreat back to the hotel and help unload bikes (she had stopped by Santa Rosa and picked up the loaner bikes for Fatty and the Hammer on the way down). Then we jump in Angie's Big Red Diesel Truck and time-warp over to a safeway. It's quite a thrilling ride to be in the BRDT when Sist'a is running late. Curbs are not an issue. Traffic clears from her path in fear. Greg and I hang on and nervously crack jokes as the big diesel engine roars.
We get the necessary supplies for our HoF evening (all of this is Angie's treat btw...she is MOST generous!) and time-warp back to the Hof. Greg and I are still in an adrenaline rush from surviving a NASCAR-truck event and we quickly unload the supplies. Most of the team is there as it's well after 6 by now. But we are heroes cuz we have the beer and wine AND cake (again, ALL Angie!). Yes, cake. Team Fatty thrives on stuff like that (duh!).
You see, I had purposely dropped off the back of the Fast Fatties as I had a hunch there was danger lurking ahead. My spider senses were a-tingling and I had to act. So I let them all go while I sorted out just what it was that had my hair standing on end. It was around mile 62 that my hunch was proven right. Using my keen vision I spied a band (herd, flock?) of WILD BOARS just off to the side of the road, lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting riders. Our Fast Fatties must have slipped by before they were organized, but now they were a very unruly looking bunch, and obviously a HUGE danger to the other riders!
Knowing that I had teammates coming up from behind, I bravely slowed down, pretending to be near cramping. The ruse worked, as the boars LEAPED at the opportunity for a tasty snack. I made a great show of repeatedly pretending to be in distress, and the boars were literally nipping at my heels. The course suddenly turned left, but I knew that I needed to lure them away from my friends, so I continued on straight on Meridian Rd, all the while continuing to heroicly ride slow enough to keep the boars focused on me so they wouldn't turn back. I continued this life and death game of wounded-bird for the next 4 miles, where I finally encountered the freeway.
Sensing an opportunity, I blitzed over the overpass in an awesome burst of speed and power. At the bottom of the overpass the lane turned sharply left as it was about to merge with the freeway. It as there that I LEAPED off my bike into the bushes with surprising agility, and moments later the frenzied pack of hungry wild-boars flew past, so intent on their prey that they didn't see that big truck in the right lane. They were all immediately turned into shredded pork by the 18 wheeler.
Knowing that my team was now safe, I turned around and rode the 4 lonely miles back to the course. All alone, I dropped my head and soldiered on into the crosswinds, having lost about a half-hour of precious time in my heroic struggle with nature.
Not long after I was back on course a group of Fatties flew by, having no idea I had just saved their lives. I quickly jumped into their paceline, but moments later I thought I saw another boar peeking out of the brush, so I again pretended to be cramping up and pulled out of the paceline. I stopped by the side of the road, putting on a nice show like I had a cramped hamstring, all the while intently scanning the area ready to burst into flight. Alas, no boars came out, seems like a false alarm.
Alone again but quite proud of my protective instincts, I continued on towards Davis. Just a mile or 2 ahead the Fatty group that I had just left was stopped waiting for another rider. I calmly slipped back into the group and made small talk as we waited, staying alert for any further wild-boar danger. A few minutes later the rider arrived and we departed once again.
We had a nice paceline giong, however we were now in the portion of the route where the shorter rides all have converged in the closing miles with the 100 mile route. We flew along, each taking pulls as we dazzled the lesser riders with our high-speed prowess and technique. At the final SAG stop over half of the group stopped for a quick break, while the rest of us flew on, knowing we only had ten more miles to victory. Sensing there was no further danger to the team I felt free to fly with the others. We were down to four now, but our pace slowly increased in anticipation of the tasty pie's awaiting us back at the Team Fatty tent.
We entered the outskirts of Davis, blazed around the few remaining turns, and suddenly we were there. The FINISH line. As we shot across the line there was a cacophony of ringing bells and adoring fans. The announcer humbly shouted something about how awesome we all looked as we flashed by his podium, but it was all a blur to me, almost dream-like. Ahhh yes, another GREAT day in the saddle, another GREAT day for Team Fatty.
It was now time for PIE!
And that is how I choose to remember those last 40 miles.
He is the BRINGER OF BRATS, and the PROVIDER OF PIE.
He is also my hero!
After showering up, our small band of Fatties met for a final dinner on the town.
Christine probably doesn't know it, but she has been sort of adopted by our little wacky group. She seems very quiet and reserved, but is really fun to be around. She and Angie rode together most of the ride, further entwining her into our little mob of fun. And Rob (his comment name is Zeeter) is an absolute HOOT to be with! AND btw, he's just completed (or soon to complete) his US Citizenship, as he's originally from South Wales.
And I'm pretty sure you know all about Fatty and Lisa.
That they don't run and hide from us is pretty encouraging!