Some Good Things

04.26.2007 | 10:57 am

So many of you have commented and emailed with support for Susan and me. Thank you for that. It never would have occurred to me that this blog would be such a rich source of good friends, but you all have been the best. Again, thank you. (On a related note, I just renewed the domain for three years. So yes, I’m sticking around.)

Tuesday, when this whole bombshell got dropped on us, I did my best to be the strong guy — take care of my wife, take care of business, take care of the kids, take notes at the doctor’s.

You can only do this for so long.

Luckily, I have some good friends. At 4pm Tuesday, Dug, Botched, and I hit the Draper singletrack, where I discovered — to a greater degree than I ever have before — one of the most important, wonderful things about being on a bike:

When you’re riding hard, that’s all you can do.

When you’re in the red zone, all you can think about is turning the cranks. When you’re riding down technical, exposed, twisty singletrack, that’s all you can pay attention to. Essentially, riding a bicycle can be fully absorbing – a vacation from everything.

It’s like therapy, but cheaper. And more effective. And less creepy.

OK, I guess it’s not really any cheaper.

Anyway, yesterday we found out that the tumor in Susan’s hip is nasty and big enough that her hip’s in danger of fracturing; she needed to get on radiation pronto, in the hopes that we can shrink the tumor before her hip breaks. Cuz if the hip breaks, they have to operate to fix it, which would delay chemo. So we spent the morning getting Susan ready for that before I headed off to work.

Holy crap. I can’t believe I’m in the situation where I’m actually writing paragraphs like that.

By the end of the day, I needed — and I think I’m being completely honest when I say “needed — to get out on a ride. Alone.

I called Susan and asked her how long she could give me. She said, “Take as long as you need.” Yes, she really said that.

So here’s what I needed: oblivion. And I know exactly how to get it: climbing on the road, and lots of it. I went to the bottom of Suncrest and rode up the 3.5 mile, 1500-foot climb, then dropped down the other side. Then I pulled a U-turn and reversed my course.

And then I did it again. Two hours and fifteen minutes, 29 miles, 6200 feet of climbing (and the same amount of descending. The upshot? Completely wiped-out legs and a reclamation of my ability to hold things together.

Today, Susan’s getting a port-a-cath, tattoos on her hip to make it easy to align the machine for radiation, and her first radiation treatment. I wish I could send her out for a ride.

PS: Kenny’s writing up the story of his team’s big win at the 24 Hours of Vail Lake. I’ll be publishing that soon.

PPS: Dug, Bob, Botched and Al have all agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Thanks, guys.

PPPS: I actually had a pretty funny idea of my own yesterday, so don’t be too surprised if I drop in with some (attempted) comedy sometime in the next couple days.

PPPPS: Today’s weight: 159.0


  1. Comment by seth | 04.26.2007 | 11:09 am

    mmmmmm….riding, one of the best therapies for any sort of maladie or situation

  2. Comment by Boz | 04.26.2007 | 11:13 am


  3. Comment by bikemike | 04.26.2007 | 11:35 am

    get as much “red zone” riding as possible. thanks to Dug, Bob, Botched and Al for picking up the slack, we look forward.

    again, we love you man. Godspeed Susan!

  4. Comment by wndnh2o | 04.26.2007 | 11:35 am

    you just keep turing those pedals, fatty…

  5. Comment by Mark W | 04.26.2007 | 11:39 am

    Good for you, man. Give it all you got!

  6. Comment by Jsun | 04.26.2007 | 12:00 pm

    Not the blog I was expecting to come back to after a short hiatus. Like you, I’ve been to the C place before and its a tough climb. I have no witty comment today. Keep on keepin on.

  7. Comment by winner27 | 04.26.2007 | 12:01 pm

    Your wife is the best Fatty. Thanks for keeping us posted so we can send some super-strength good vibes. Keep riding hard my friend.

  8. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 04.26.2007 | 12:06 pm

    I noticed you got to 4 PPPP s at the end of this post. At least that part of you is still working right. It’d be a shame if your PP started playing up with everything else that’s going on right now.

  9. Comment by Fritz | 04.26.2007 | 12:12 pm

    I’ve had and currently have friends with metastasized cancer and it’s a tough road. Hang in there for your wife and family, Fatty, but you already know to do that.

  10. Comment by Al Maviva | 04.26.2007 | 12:24 pm

    Unbelievable. Here I am thinking we finally had a way to blow you out of the water in the B7 Challenge, and along comes your lovely and selfless wife (you realize she’s a treasure, right?) and makes you go ride your butt off, probably just as you were about to duct tape a ten pound Sam’s Club bag of Oreos to your face, like some weird kind of chocoloate oxygen mask…

  11. Comment by dkirkavitch | 04.26.2007 | 12:33 pm

    Hey Fatty,
    What Al said. I’m thinking about you and your wonderful family. Now to go on some longer rides to keep up with you.(MMMM DOUGHNUTS).

  12. Comment by Argentius | 04.26.2007 | 12:51 pm

    “When you’re riding hard, that’s all you can do.”

    Though I’ve often felt this way in relieving the minor stresses of the work-and-bs-world, it’s at least some comfort that it works for the bigger things, too.

    Best hopes for your wife and family, FC. Hang in there, keep doing “all you can do.”


  13. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 04.26.2007 | 1:01 pm

    Team Fatty is around for another 3 years!!! This is good news. Climbing is excellent therapy. I use it all the time!

  14. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 04.26.2007 | 1:04 pm

    Thanks Al, I needed that.

  15. Comment by the weak link | 04.26.2007 | 1:24 pm

    Prayers sent.

  16. Comment by LMouse | 04.26.2007 | 1:32 pm

    The Weapon of Choice!

  17. Comment by flossy | 04.26.2007 | 2:03 pm

    Hills make you stronger!

  18. Comment by monkeywebb | 04.26.2007 | 2:09 pm

    Though I haven’t had to climb (metaphorical) hills like yours, I’ve used my bike for therapy plenty of times. I’m glad you’re still in the (metaphorical) saddle…

  19. Comment by KatieA | 04.26.2007 | 2:41 pm

    Heartily agree with Al – your wife is a treasure. Personally, I’d probably be curled up in a ball, insisting you stay and wallow with me, and forbidding you from riding. She’s a much stronger woman than I.

    Sounds like you’ve figured out the best way to relieve stress, anxiety and worry – bike + road. I WAS going to suggest we postpone / cancel the B7 due to your worries, but darn it, if your wife is going to be so lovely as to let you ride, and you’re going to do it, now I have to try harder!!!

  20. Comment by nathanv | 04.26.2007 | 4:00 pm

    hey i’ve told my 4 year old about your situation so he could add it to his prayers.
    now every night…. “how’s phatty and his mom?” (there are no wives in a 4 year old world)

    the f comes out like the daffy duck…makes me laugh and cry all at once.

    we’re all thinking of you.

  21. Comment by Lisa B | 04.26.2007 | 4:24 pm

    Susan is probably a bit happier to have you around than we are, but it’s easy to see that she appreciates you as much as we do. From my hospital bed to her’s, good luck.

  22. Comment by Barb Ogilvie | 04.26.2007 | 6:15 pm

    As one who lurks, reading your blogs and laughing (I am the wife side of the biking equation in our household), and also as a Radiation Therapist (one who gives the sorts of treatments your wife is getting) I have two things to say: 1) Take care of yourself in order to take care of Susan. She needs you as de-stressed as it is possible to be in this situation, so ride, ride, ride. 2) She’s in for a long HARD haul, but it’s there for a reason – she CAN get better. Hang tough.

  23. Comment by Wes Woolard | 04.26.2007 | 6:53 pm

    Susan is lucky to have you as you are lucky to have her. Fight the good fight and kick C’s ass!


  24. Comment by JLS | 04.26.2007 | 6:55 pm

    Elden and Susan – we are thinking of you out here in Boston. Stay strong. –James

  25. Comment by ian | 04.26.2007 | 7:02 pm

    (Never posted but) long time reader… thinking good thoughts for your family and appreciate your resiliency and openness.

    Respect and strength…

    San Rafael, CA

  26. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 04.26.2007 | 7:04 pm

    I too find a bike ride a good way to “hit the reset button”
    Turn your mind off for a while, and return to the frey (spell?) better both mentally and physically.
    It seems Susan knows this too.

    So far I’ve not had the mountains placed before me that you and Susan have now but moutains can be climbed and overcome.
    Hang tough.

  27. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.26.2007 | 7:55 pm

    You were in the red zone? I never got out of zone 1!

  28. Comment by Nancy | 04.26.2007 | 8:47 pm

    My prayers are with you, your wife and your family.

    Cancer is scary, don’t forget to reach out to your extended family for help.

  29. Comment by buckythedonkey | 04.26.2007 | 11:11 pm

    Good luck Susan!

  30. Comment by Weean | 04.26.2007 | 11:26 pm

    Your abilities to find both the positives and the humour (even if as an American you can only find the humor) are amazing. That’s just one of the reasons we love you (in a very manly, non-sexual way).

  31. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 04.26.2007 | 11:59 pm

    So hopefully Mrs FC’s tattoos are something cool to enjoy for years to come. My Mum had to have similar done 5 years ago on her back. She’s Late 70’s and rather than a cross or dot she had a hibiscus flower and a small motorbike. My Dad and she were bikers from way back and she still loves the garden. Enjoy’s showing off her tattoos too.
    Team FC feel the love.

  32. Comment by Rob | 04.27.2007 | 4:00 am

    Damn, that is some serious climbing. Strenuous exercise does provide that mind clearing benefit, and good luck to you and your wife.

  33. Comment by barry1021 | 04.27.2007 | 4:16 am


    Yes I am talking to you, listen up. You are probably feeling a little smug right now, that you have a good foothold. That you might succeed. You will not. Here’s why.
    It’s not just that you have entered a person and a home of incredible strength, and courage and love.
    Or that the best of modern science is ready to fight you.
    Although those two alone are likely sufficient to defeat you.
    Here’s the kicker. You have another enemy. They are in Utah, but also California, and Minnesota, and Florida, and every other state. They are in Canada, but also Australia, and Turkey, and all over Europe and Asia and South America too. It’s an army, and they have a mission, and that mission is to help destroy you. Not with guns or medicine, but with love, with laughter and with prayer. Think about it, at every moment of every day somewhere, there will be one, or ten, or 100 of your enemies fighting against you. 24\7, 365 days per year. We will not stop. You have no chance. You might as well just quit now. Leave. We will not falter, we will never quit until you are dead. Sometimes it is better to give up a fight when the odds are stacked against you. This is such a fight. We will not mock you, call you weak if you leave. But if you do not, we will kill you dead, this we promise. You have been warned.


  34. Comment by turnonthejets | 04.27.2007 | 4:28 am

    b21 that’s beautiful! I’m crying here and I’ve never met any of you. I found myslef falling asleep last night thinking about your wife Fatty and sending good energy her way. I had the same thoughts as b21 but you put it down so eloquently. Can I get a big HELL YA! from Fatty’s Army! Positive Vibes still coming from Newfoundland.

  35. Comment by ibisss | 04.27.2007 | 5:02 am

    Fatty’s Army–the next jersey idea? In solidarity for FC’s wife…. Kind of like the Kiss Army, except you don’t drop out of school. I can see the jersey–black body, with white sleeves, just like one of those rock t-shirts, for members of Fatty’s Army to wear to show their care.
    Take care–Your family has one long journey ahead of itself, whatever the outcome.
    M Burdge

  36. Comment by Highwaymunky | 04.27.2007 | 5:26 am

    Keep it going mate, Having a quick blast as and when you can is the most therapeutic thing i have ever found to do to sort my head out. Will keep praying for you all dude.

  37. Comment by Den | 04.27.2007 | 5:33 am

    Your wife indeed is a blessing. So are you… still praying and thinking good thoughts for the team!

  38. Comment by Brewinman | 04.27.2007 | 5:39 am

    b21-amazing prose.

    ibisss-sign me up for one o’ those jerseys!

    Fatty, Mrs. Fatty, and kids-Just know you are always in our thoughts and prayers here in (not so flat) Nebraska…

  39. Comment by Al (female) | 04.27.2007 | 6:05 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years now and feel like you’re some sort of (hilarious) extended family member of mine even though I’ve only recently started posting.
    This summer I’ll be riding with a group of people from Austin to Anchorage raising money for cancer research. With you and your wife’s permission I would love to dedicate one of my ride days to your wife. Let me know.
    I wish your family the best right now. Stay strong!

  40. Comment by XCTiger | 04.27.2007 | 6:41 am

    I’ve long believed that the brain is the happiest when it’s knocking the snot out of the body. There are definitely times when we all neeeeeed to ride. The luckiest of us have loved ones who understand and support that fact.

    A while back my family spent almost 2 years riding the cancer roller coaster with my Father. I can only imagine what you’re experiencing now. Please know that you are all in our prayers and thoughts. Even the most serious MD’s know that treatments work best when augmented with Love and support. A little humor doesn’t hurt either.

  41. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.27.2007 | 11:20 am

    Again, Eldon, my prayers are with you, your wife & your family. I am glad, for your wifes’ sake that she is wise enough to understand that you need the release of a good hard ride to be your strongest for her. Do not forget to rely on God liberally.

    My brother with cancer – His was metastacised (sic?) as well. He lost a neck muscle, and most of his neck-area lymph nodes – Who needs em?! Not a strong cancer survivor, anyway. Make sure that the medical care your wife is getting is radically opposed to the cancer coming out of this thing on top. My brother found a team willing to employ a very severe and unusual therapy for his particular type of cancer – it was one of those strains where the previous best answer was: “Sorry… We don’t have anything to help you… better get your life in order.” He did not accept that, and instead found a group willing to go out on a limb. Life is worth it.

    LiveStrong! Listen, (I do not think my brother would object), from now on my constantly worn LiveStrong radiation yellow bracelet will be a prayer reminder for me to pray not only for my brother, but also for Mrs. Fatty.


  42. Comment by Token Skinny Guy | 04.27.2007 | 1:07 pm

    So sorry to hear about your wife FC. I totally agree about the ride thing, though. 2-3 weeks ago a very close family member of mine was diagnosed (again, for, like the 4th time) with scarily similar cancer. She’s done the whole surgery trip already, which didn’t work out, and is now awaiting chemo. The very best thing for me was going for a leg busting ride every now and again. Hang tough.

  43. Comment by specq | 04.27.2007 | 4:07 pm

    Your site has brightened my days in ways I’m not eloquent enough to enumerate.

    I’ve been looking forward to the story of your eventual triumph at Leadville and that elusive sub-9 hour ride as much as if I was going to do it myself.

    But now I find I’m looking forward even more to the story of your wife’s triumph over this disease.

  44. Comment by spin echo | 04.27.2007 | 5:35 pm

    there is something about pushing yourself into the red zone that it cathartic

    keep it up fatty

    and, again, my hope and prayers for your wife

  45. Comment by Not So Skinny Cathy | 04.27.2007 | 8:39 pm

    Mrs. FC is amazing. Eldon, you seem like an ok guy and all, but your wife rocks. Please tell her I said so.

    BTW, good job on the additional weight loss. Soon you will weigh less than me and I will have to duct tape my mouth shut for a week.

  46. Comment by Co | 04.28.2007 | 7:35 pm

    In response to Weean: I don’t see why we have to love Fatty in a manly, non-sexual way. As a Fat Female with a 0%-body-fat husband, I kind of like the idea of a man who has to watch what he eats. Makes me want to open a bottle of champagne and enjoy it with 5 lbs of Chevre. Not exactly non-sexual (for those who live for chevre), and definitely not manly. (PS Fatty – I’ve also ridden the C-trail and you have my prayers.)

  47. Comment by MAJ Mike | 04.30.2007 | 7:29 am

    You should recieve shortly a good dose of biking/yardwork/bricklaying karma from here in Virginia. My stiff back and legs are yours for this fight.

    I know good ol’ Dave would say the same thing.

  48. Comment by peregrinatio | 04.30.2007 | 10:38 am

    holding you both in the light on each ride

  49. Comment by rexinsea | 04.30.2007 | 12:16 pm

    All the best to the whole Fatty family. Stay true to yourself and to you wife. I will continue to send prayer/good karma/warm thougths your way.

    Glad you are staying at it and thanks for the openess. Take care.

  50. Comment by Andrewn | 05.1.2007 | 2:50 pm

    Hey Fatty – just heard the news and wanted to check in to tell you Janet and I are thinking about both of you. The strength that both of you are showing through this ordeal is inspiring and I really admire the fact that you’re able to keep your sense of humor about it. The fact that Susan can encourage you to get on your bike is completely over the top – that takes a lot of strength. Keep it up and hang in there – Andrew


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