namely, fit for a dog

that about sums it up

with 14 comments

So get a load of this:


Hmm…a hanger?  What’s so special about that?

I “raced” LOTOJA this past weekend and after suffering much, much, MUCH longer than I had planned, this hanger  awaited me at the finish line.  You see this year instead of race medals or bottles of Ibuprofen, the LOTOJA race committee opted to go with a recycled bicycle parts hanger as the medal.

Nice, huh?

Do you remember the scene from A Christmas Story when Ralphie’s dad gets the shipment that “must be Italian”?

More importantly do you remember Ralphie’s mom’s reaction to the contents?  It’s classic.

Well, when all the finishers lined up to receive their hanger, each had essentially the same response as Ralphie’s mom’s:

“What is it?”

“It’s a hanger.”

“But, what IS it?”

Ah well, after the tragedy that was my second attempt at LOTOJA it was fitting that in addition to my deflated ego I also brought home…a hanger.

Continuing with the Christmas Story theme I imagine when I show friends and relatives the hardware I picked up from the race the conversation will go something like this:

Friend or Relative: “Hey Eric what is that?”

Me: “Don’t bother me now. Can’t you see that I’m busy?”

Friend or Relative: “Yeah, but what IS that?”

Me: “Well, it’s a major award.”

Friend or Relative: “A major award? Shucks I wouldn’t a knowed that, it looks like a hanger.”

Me: “It IS a hanger, you nincompoop, but it’s a major AWARD. I WON IT.”

Friend or Relative: “Damn hell, you say you WON it?”

Me: “Yeah. Leg power, you see.  Leg power.”

Dear LOTOJA finisher award picker: Maybe a stockinged leg lamp from Italy would a good idea for a finisher medal next year.  I’m just saying.

I don’t mean to be a sourpuss and normally I don’t care what the finisher medal looks like.  I mean it is after all, just a finisher medal…it’s not like I podiumed.  But, I wasn’t the only one a bit perplexed by the goods.  This was my favorite question from a another flummoxed finisher who picked up his hanger just before me:

“Does it come with a jacket or something?”

At any rate, the hanger perfectly sums up my latest attempt at LOTOJA.  Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong:

  • For the second start in a row I dropped a perfectly good train to go pee about 10 miles before Preston (you’d think I would have learned from the first time)
  • For the second start in a row I blew myself up trying to catch back onto that train
  • I mucked with my front derailleur the day before the race and wouldn’t you know it – I screwed it up royally trying to fix it.  Rather than drive the extra 5 miles to Revolution I drove it down the hill to Canyon.  I really like to buy my bikes from Canyon (they usually give me great deals), but I have yet to have one of their mechanics actually make my bike any better than it was before I brought it in.  Consequently, I couldn’t shift down into my small ring on the way up Strawberry. Ugh.
  • When the support wagon pulled up I asked if they had any lube (to quiet my uber squeaky pulleys).  The nice old lady said “sure I’ll get you some”.  She handed me a patch kit.  “No, no –  I said do you have any lube.”  She came back and handed me ANOTHER patch kit – this one just had different packaging.  I politely said thanks and went on my squeaky pulley way.
  • I just can’t seem to figure out that blasted climb up Strawberry.  Each year I feel like I am packing a gnu on my back up that thing.  It may be the thrashing I give my legs trying to hook back on to trains before Preston, but I don’t know.  I hate that climb.
  • I missed my support crew at two aid stations.  Not one, but TWO.  Give them a little credit – the traffic was terrible.  I had already used my emergency CarboRocket at the top of Strawberry so this was a huge blow.  I tried to choke down aid station Gatorade instead.  Consequently, I had a massive gut ache between Afton and Alpine.
  • What sucked worse than not having any CR, was missing the chance to see theWife’s smiling face at the aid stations.  Even though I was a horses ass in Montpelier she still makes me feel so much better when I see her at an aid station. (thanks for the support Cic)
  • The feet, oh the FEET!  I don’t know what was going on, but from the bottom of Salt to the finish my feet hurt like the dickens. I rode the last 80 miles with all of my buckles and velcro undone.
  • After letting Rob J and Erik R pull for the bulk of the last 20 miles (Rob J pulled for a ridiculous amount of time from Afton on in – thanks Rob) I sprinted for the “win” at the finish.  I know…nice move jackass.  I wouldn’t have done it.  In fact I told myself at the 4K, 3K, 2K, and 1K marks to let one of those guys have it for doing all of the work – then two idiots who hadn’t pulled a second from Afton came from behind and jumped for the line.  I wasn’t about to let them take the “win”.  I beat them both by a couple bike lengths.

So all in all, it was not a fun day at LOTOJA.  On Saturday I was sure I wasn’t doing it again.  Today…a little less sure.

Some of the positives I took from the day included:

  • Feeling really strong up Geneva and Salt.  Didn’t get passed and in turn passed a bunch of people.
  • Felt strong on the sprint to the finish.  Although the two yahoos I beat to the line may have been slouches for all I know.  Their race etiquette certainly was slouch-like. It did feel good to blast down the lane just inside the barriers to beat them.

It was really good to be there with friends and kudos to Sam, Rick, Mark, Erik, Jamie, Whitney, JJ, Steve, Brad R, Dave R plus a slew of other friends who went out and made it happen.  An especially BIG kudos goes out to J Dub who rode that thing into the dark on a recently broken hand.

Maybe next year.

Then again, maybe not.


Written by eber

September 15, 2009 at 6:18 am

14 Responses

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  1. OK, I think that hanger is lame too. Congrats for finishing though.


    September 15, 2009 at 6:50 am

  2. great write up; and nice work gutting it out—-you are half man, half beast and 100% badass.


    September 15, 2009 at 6:52 am

  3. Hanger = lamest award ever. Medals are fine. Belt buckles are way cool. But hangers? Please.

    Oh, and as for Canyon in Draper, well, I hope you learned your lesson.

    Enjoyed the writeup. Way to finish strong and show those wheelsuckers who’s boss.


    September 15, 2009 at 8:09 am

  4. Are you sure that hanger will hold a jacket? It looks fra-jee-lay. How can you go wrong referencing A Christmas Story? (Warning: do NOT watch the sequel “It Runs In The Family” – it is awful beyond belief.)

    At the Sherwood Hills ICup race a few years back they gave out white hankys / dew rags / (no one was quite sure what they were) with the race course map printed on it – that was pretty lame. Socks have been good to break up the T-shirt monotony. But a hanger, yeah, what were they thinking?

    Well done to battle through the difficulties to finish.


    September 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

  5. The hanger? Yeah a little odd. I do like that it is made from bike parts, rim, spokes, and valve stem. I think they should steal the belt buckle idea from Leadville. Heck it does finish in Wyoming after all.


    September 15, 2009 at 8:51 am

  6. “hurt like the dickens”

    what the hell is a dickens?


    September 15, 2009 at 9:04 am

  7. dug – you know. a chick is to chickens as a [ahem] is to dickens. kidding – i believe it is a euphemism for the red horned wonder down under.


    September 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

  8. Dude- that hanger is awesome. I think that deserves a place on the tree in your office!


    September 15, 2009 at 11:28 am

  9. Perfect use of the Christmas Story. Just. Perfect.

    Grizzly Adam

    September 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm

  10. I felt the same way about the hanger. Are they trying to let me know that I am getting too old and fat and I need to “Hang it up”?

    Dave S

    September 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

  11. The hanger is so you have something to hang all your other finishers medals on. Display it proudly. I know I will. Right in my bathroom.

    Jonnie J

    September 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm

  12. Nice job man – you were strong for the few minutes I saw you in Afton!


    September 16, 2009 at 10:06 pm

  13. A hanger? That is lame. I get the recycled bike parts but a hanger, really?


    October 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm

  14. […] riding with friends in Fruita. Prior to that I had completed the Leadville 100 in August and LOTOJA in September and was feeling pretty svelte (if I do say so […]

    22 « theZeph

    April 11, 2010 at 8:26 am

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