Big Jay’s Fat Ass 2023

It looks like Fat Ass will be my only ultracycling race of 2023. The race has a new 33 mile course that goes south through hilly Centerville, and starts on Spring Lake road to avoid riding on the busy freeways. I rode 226 miles in 12 hours, taking first in 50-59, riding solo all day after getting ‘deered.’

After a fast start, the lead group included a racer from Bloomington who’d eventually win at over 250 miles as youngest-ever (21), and Neil Fortner. We were breezing through loop 1 when a deer jumped out in front of Kelley Wegeng, and I jumped into the ditch to avoid her avoiding the deer. Somehow I maintained control in the deep and grassy ditch and came to a halt as the deer passed in front of me. The group checked that I was OK and rode on (it is a race). Unfortunately it took me 10 minutes to fix the drivetrain, which had sucked in roots, soil, and grasses from the ditch. Fortunately the sag wagon came along and Jay’s friend had a pocket knife to help dislodge the last of the obstruction.

Back on the route I joined a more leisurely group with Valerie Litznerski, Nikki Linne and Ryan Linne – he had come all the way from St. Louis to ride!  I went as hard as I felt I could go all day at the front, and by the end of loop 2, I was alone.

The rest of the day I did solo loops at my aerobic threshold, wishing I had brought my headphones along. It got sunny and 85 °F, but my sunscreen, and good hydration/nutrition kept me going at a steady pace, losing < 1 kg the whole day, fully accounted for by the 122 beats/minute heart rate and 35 MJ energy expenditure, 70% due to fat burn. I tried something new: Boost or Ensure liquid meal replacements are based on the same underlying idea as baby food pouches, a liquid food balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fats, unlike gels or sportsdrinks. I had a 1000 kJ Boost the moment I came in from a loop, loaded 1 (morning) or 2 (afternoon) fresh water bottles, used the restroom, and was generally on my way in 2 minutes. Thanks to Sean Walker for putting ice in my used bottles while I was out on the course, so fresh ones were always on hand. A 400 kJ babyfood every other loop and two salt pills and two portions of ibuprofen at 8 and 1 PM complemented the intake. I had no digestive issues in the heat at aerobic pace (31 km/h or 19 mph without the stops) and ended up averaging 30 km/h overall including the deer and breaks.

Having been dropped from the lead group just over half a loop into the race, I was not able to catch all the stragglers that had been dropped later, although I was homing in on them. With a caffeine pill in the last loop I sped up quite a bit for the last partial loop of 28 miles and ended up with about the same distance (226 miles) as Neil. I almost got ‘deered’ again as another one jumped across the road right in front (3 meters) of me giving a final adrenaline boost on the way back to race headquarters.