Respecting Sacrifice

05.13.2007 | 8:46 pm

Hi, I’m back. Thanks to Bob, Dug, Al Maviva, and BotchedExperiment for covering for me for the past couple weeks. Also, thanks to Mark, who sent in a great story I’ll be running a little later this week.

Today’s entry is kind of serious. I doubt that surprises any of you anymore, though I honestly don’t intend for this blog to become nothing more than my daily therapy session.

Initial Reaction
When we found out that Susan’s cancer has metastasized, I just assumed that my bike season was over. I didn’t even ask. I figured I’d be needed at home.

Then, something slowly dawned on me: I’m still getting out on my bike. Not quite as often, and not for quite as long, but I’m definitely getting out. And Susan’s still helping me eat right. I’m not exactly losing weight, but I’m not putting it on, either.

About a week ago, Susan asked a question that surprised me: She wondered aloud whether she’d be feeling well enough to crew for me at the Leadville 100.


Yeah, she still assumed I’d be racing Leadville — whether I went was never in question, in her mind. She knows it’s important to me.

So yes, obviously, if she feels like going, absolutely she should plan on crewing for me. I dare say that would in fact be the most awesome thing in the whole world, ever.

New Intensity
So here’s the thing. My wife, in spite of being in a lot of pain and being really tired all the time, is going out of her way to make sure I can be ready for the Leadville 100.

How big a loser am I if I don’t make the very most of that time she’s giving me? (Answer: Really big loser)

Further, how much incentive do I have to lose the weight and build the power I need to finish this race in under nine hours? (Answer: A lot of incentive)

So, when I ride, I’m riding hard. And, starting today, I’m recommitting on the diet — I am going to get to 148lbs, so I can climb the way I need to for this race.

And here’s a little secret: I’m actually pretty fast right now. Maybe the fastest I’ve ever been, in fact (Note to self: send big “thank you” card to Coach Lofgran, and tell him I want to get back on the program). Last week, for example, I nearly hung with Kenny when climbing Upper Frank — a brutally steep one-mile MTB climb. And last Saturday I managed to drop Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) on a climb. I haven’t been able to even keep him in sight until recently.

So this weekend, my Mom’s coming to town so I can go race the Kokopelli Trail Race — 142 miles on the MTB, self-supported, one day. This race has always scared me before. It still does. But not as much.


  1. Comment by sans auto | 05.13.2007 | 9:15 pm

    Wow, it sounds like you have the second coolest wife ever (behind mine, of course).

    OK, truth be known, I haven’t commented since you announced that your wife’s breast cancer has returned because I haven’t known what to say. I turned into a lurker on a site where I never lurk. My wife and I pray for you and Susan daily. I want to do something for you, but don’t know what. Really I don’t know you that well, but if you ever need a babysitter, dinner, help with the dishes, someone to ride with, help from someone your wife wouldn’t suspect to help surprise her with something or whatever, let me know.

    I find it difficult when my wife is sick for a day or two, I couldn’t even imagine looking ahead at months of having a sick wife. It’s one of my greatest fears. You’ve got lots of support, all you have to do is ask.

    Keep with the riding, you’ll be down to 148 in no time. It’s also great therapy.

  2. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.14.2007 | 1:29 am

    Wow. Are you sure Superlage wasn’t cramping again? The last time I saw you, you were looking svelt, but 148 still seems. . . pre-pubescent.

    Right now everywhere I have been applying sunscreen has a nice rash. Itches like crazy. That’s why it’s 3:00 am and I’m commenting. How sunburned am I going to get riding the Kokopelli Trail Race if I can’t use sunscreen? And how is it that I’m suddenly allergic to the sunscreen I’ve been using all spring?

  3. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 05.14.2007 | 2:42 am

    Sue you are a champion.

  4. Comment by DOM | 05.14.2007 | 2:48 am

    Wow, (note: that’s 3 for 3, everyone should start the reply this way) FC, I’ve never had such mixed feelings about one of your posts. Good for you, bad for us B7 challengers. Actually, good for you is an embarrassing understatement, but I don’t know how to say it better. Inspiring, sweet, the way it should be, you get the point.

  5. Comment by Lins - Australia | 05.14.2007 | 3:03 am

    Good luck for the Kokapelli. And to Botched too. It’s one of those races which I’m glad is on the other side of the world from me. That way I don’t feel like a chicken for not entering. Actually, not quite true. I ride by myself everyday except for sometimes one day on the weekend with my husband. So, when I race I like to know that other people are close by. Preferably behind me.

  6. Comment by Uncadan8 | 05.14.2007 | 3:32 am

    Did you change your soap, Botched? Or maybe just started using…just saying…

  7. Comment by Lowrydr | 05.14.2007 | 4:50 am

    That woman is worth her weight in diamonds. No, maybe carbon fiber bicycle stuff. Or maybe just about anything she wants. You’ve got yourself a real keeper there FC. Susan is in our thoughts and prayers. Maybe when you get home today you should rub her feet just for good measure.

  8. Comment by Kathy | 05.14.2007 | 4:56 am

    Botched, most sunscreens have several chemicals in them to block all the different spectrums of light. Try a chemical free sunscreen like Vanicream SPF 30 or Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 30. They contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are not absorbed by the skin. Or, there’s a new powder sunscreen you might try,×768/flash/index.html. I haven’t tried it, but I heard about it from a dermatologist. I do use the Neutrogena and it works fine. (Not a doctor, but just wrote an article about protecting your skin.) If you’ve got a poison ivy problem (I’m highly alergic) try Zanfel. It’s expensive, but works like a charm!

  9. Comment by Kathy | 05.14.2007 | 5:00 am

    Sorry, that link doesn’t seem to be working. Try and click on products to find their sunscreens. Hope that works!

  10. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.14.2007 | 5:10 am

    Fatty, what a good relationship you must have. I’ve noticed in my own life that a relationship only works where each person gives the other some space, so that the relationship is comprised of quality time together (and bad times together) as well as some time apart. You can only give of yourself, if you have something to give; preserving a portion of your ‘own’ life allows you to give parts of it to the other person, yet you can remain yourself. It’s wonderful that Susan gives you that space, and I hope you return the gift to her at times.

  11. Comment by Mom | 05.14.2007 | 5:53 am

    I no longer find it strange to go to a website to see how my son is doing. (Of course he is the best of sons – with him I feel like Mother’s day is every day.) And I have been so thankful for all of you who are his and her friends. My husband & I go beyond believing in miracles; we count on them. Especially in this case.
    So many have asked about what to do to help – I always want to DO when there is a problem. I have wondered if there is an attorney out there who could/would help set up a non-profit, 501 C 3 for Fatty related to his cycling and Susan’s cancer. I know that is no easy task, but has some real possibility to offer help.

  12. Comment by Lars | 05.14.2007 | 6:22 am

    When my father fought his fight against cancer a recurring theme was the feeling of regret that his illness negatively impacted those he loved. (even if often the opposite was true) Despite the extra effort it took, it helped him to be able to still “give back” to those that were helping him. So, if it makes Susan feel good to see you ride your bike, go with it.

  13. Comment by kenny | 05.14.2007 | 7:06 am

    It’s so true. I was just getting off my bike and about to sit down on my throne at the big rock carin located at the top of the frank climb. I usually have a few minutes to get my breathing under control and act like I’ve been waiting for a little over a decade. You were right there. I was shocked. You are stronger than the year you did a 9:15(your fastest leadville finish). We rode together alot that year.

  14. Comment by Boz | 05.14.2007 | 7:53 am

    I’m glad my bride is only on crutches for 15 weeks. Still, I can kinda understand why it’s hard to get away to ride, when you feel you should be at her side helping. Mine kicks me out and sez ride, your starting to get on my nerves. Yah, I’m good at that. I found out many years ago when I was badly hurt in an accident at work and hospitalized for several weeks, that sometimes a person just wants some quiet, alone time. To much attention can be smothering, though well meant by loved ones. Time alone from all concerned is good for perspecive and one’s mental health.

  15. Comment by mark | 05.14.2007 | 7:57 am

    Fatty and Botched–

    I had no idea that the Kokopelli race was this weekend nor that you would be riding. It just so happens that I will be arriving in Moab on Saturday morning. I’ll be buying milkshakes at the Moab Diner for any Kokopelli riders who read this blog. If you give me an estimate of when you think you’ll finish, we’ll try to be at Slickrock with a well-stocked cooler to meet you as you roll in. Send a PM or email to let me know how I can provide post-race support.

  16. Comment by bikemike | 05.14.2007 | 8:36 am

    God bless both of you man. both of you are lucky to have each other.
    that’s the way it’s supposed to be. heck, that’s the way the world is supposed to be. are you listening world?

    Fatty’s Mom, it sounds like your little acorn (nut) didn’t fall far from the tree.

    lots of love you guys. and to think the lowly (awesome) bike brought us all together.

  17. Comment by kenny | 05.14.2007 | 8:37 am

    My goal is 15 hours. The race starts Sat 12:01am, so that would put me in about 3 pm. If you could set up massage table under a big cabana and a large pool with the water temperature about 65, that would would be great. thanx

  18. Comment by Brian C | 05.14.2007 | 9:05 am

    think how good its gonna feel when your skinny ass crosses that finish line in less than 9 hours, and your wife is waiting for you there. holy HELL. that makes me all teary eyed.

  19. Comment by mark | 05.14.2007 | 9:07 am


    Not sure if I can source a pool and massage table, but I’ll do what I can to make things comfortable.

  20. Comment by jill | 05.14.2007 | 9:34 am

    Wow … you really are doing the Kokopelli.

    Have a great ride. You’ll definitely knock that thing out of the park. There’s nothing left to fear.

  21. Comment by LanterneRouge | 05.14.2007 | 9:36 am

    What else did you want from mark, kenny? Hookers and happy endings?

  22. Comment by Mark W | 05.14.2007 | 9:53 am

    Good for you fatty. Train hard and smart. At 148 and without losing power you will climb like nobody’s business. As for myself, I have been training about 4 months, lost about 10 pounds and can really feel the difference.
    Go fatty go!

  23. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 05.14.2007 | 10:18 am

    I am so glad you’re still doing the leadville. I used to think I was the greatest wife in the world. I stand corrected…and humbled.

    Call Bob and he’ll keep you on track. If you’re serious about your sub 9h time you’ll have to talk at least once a week (he loves his job, so its no bother at all)so that he can keep your training within your needs.

    Hey and maybe you’re renewed effort towards your goal can help Susan have the work towards the goal to support you.

    Warning, shameless plug:
    If anyone is still interested in coaching we only have a couple of slots left so go to the website and send in an interest form. You don’t have to live in UT, we coach althletes all over the globe.

  24. Comment by Rick S. | 05.14.2007 | 11:11 am

    After the ride on Sat, I was hanging out at Dug’s house with my wife and kids having a lovely BBQ. I was telling my wife how the ride went and that Elden dropped both us us without any problem. Dug said, “oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that Elden was planning on going hard today”… I’m now getting nervous about Leadville. If Elden gets down to 148, watch out Kenny and Brad.
    As for the KTR, I am losing sleep over this one. I really want to be a part of an epic ride like this (and support Elden by going) but the suffering will be bad….really bad.

  25. Comment by MAJ Mike | 05.14.2007 | 2:23 pm

    Damn it, fatty! Quit bogarting the karma we’re all sending that way! Leave some for the lady of the house!

    Sounds like she rocks, man. Bodes well for all things.

  26. Comment by Jose | 05.14.2007 | 4:43 pm

    Can I go? Can I go?

  27. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.14.2007 | 4:54 pm

    Mark, I plan on making it in about 18 hours, so that’s 6:00 pm. It would be great if you could bring a spare soul, because if I finish, I will likely have sold mine to the devil somewhere around Fisher Valley.

  28. Comment by Phil | 05.14.2007 | 7:34 pm

    Awesome man, you are very lucky to have the best pit crew at Leadville. The year that Armstrong wusses out is the year you get that sub nine time. You, Susan and the rest of the Fat Cyclist family are in our prayers. Let us know anything we can do to help.

  29. Comment by cheapie | 05.15.2007 | 5:16 am

    is a dude allowed to weight 148 and be happy about it? that’s kind of approaching girly-man isn’t it? hmmm….

    i keed! i keed!

  30. Comment by Liz | 05.15.2007 | 8:54 am

    You have such a positive perspective on this most difficult situation! You’re a very fortunate person to have such a supportive wife, and you seem to have your priorities in check. Best of luck to you in your diet and training, and best wishes to your wife and her health, as well.

  31. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.15.2007 | 9:03 am

    Fatty, you’d better make the most of that new-found speed because, when Susan gets better, I just know you’re going to hit the mashed potato.

  32. Comment by regina | 05.15.2007 | 11:02 am

    jovial post, therapy session, whatever it takes big guy, we are here for you. Sans said it for me too, I just wish I could help in any small way, never hesitate to let me know.

  33. Comment by Pioneer Woman | 05.15.2007 | 7:29 pm

    Fatty, you and Susan have been heavy on my heart for the past few days, and I wanted to send you all the well wishes, prayers, and good thoughts this ranch wife can muster. She’s a good woman—to think, she didn’t even entertain the thought that you wouldn’t race in the Leadville 100. Whew.

    You have a lot of readers and friends and support, but I just wanted to say I’m pullin’ for you both.


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