3 Good Things

06.17.2008 | 8:33 am

A few really good things have happened in the past few days. I’ve been sitting at my keyboard for five minutes (the absolute maximum amount of time I ever spend thinking about what I’m going to say here) trying to find a common thread between them.

But there isn’t a common thread. So I’m just going to throw them out there.

Is This Some Kind of Bike-Friendly Alternate Universe?
Suppose you’ve been on your road bike for about an hour, climbing. And climbing. And climbing. Riding up American Fork Canyon.

Finally, you reach the summit. You’ve earned the descent. And in the case of American Fork Canyon, it’s quite a descent you’ve earned. Because, as I have learned, American Fork Canyon has been specially designed to be exactly curvy and steep enough to be thrilling, yet open and straight enough to require only infrequent braking.

And once you get past Pine Hollow, no more braking is required for the rest of the ride. You’ve got a what I consider to be the ultimate working downhill in front of you. [Note: a "working downhill" is a downhill that is gradual enough that you can still pedal.]

This is really my favorite road descent in the world. It’s perfect.

Anyway, almost as soon as you begin the descent, you find yourself behind a slow truck, pulling a trailer. You groan in frustration, because this road is narrow and curvy enough that passing opportunities are rare. Your joyful flight has been converted into a slow and loud session of downhill brake-riding.

Except…it hasn’t.

The guy in the truck notices you in the rear-view mirror, and — perhaps because he rides? — immediately pulls over so you can get by.

You zoom by and wave. Your faith in humanity is bolstered.

Two minutes later, however, it gets worse. You’ve caught up behind another truck, and this one is already behind a minivan. Your shoulders droop, because you know that it’s practically impossible to pass two vehicles like this.

Except…it isn’t.

Magically, the minivan and truck pull over to the side of the road together, as if they’ve agreed that on a day like this, a road cyclist clearly cannot be denied.

And then you catch a motorcycle. It occurs to you that on this road, in this direction, nothing is as fast as a road bike.

The motorcycle edges over to the right side of the road, the rider nodding as you ride by.

And then the road’s clear the rest of the way down.

With a tailwind.

Next Steps for Susan
Susan’s done with radiation now, which, according to our old oncologist, was pretty much the end of the road for her, treatment-wise.

So yesterday, Susan and I spent a long, emotionally draining day at a new oncologist, one who will take our calls and keep looking for ways for us to fight.

The upshot is that for the rest of the week Susan’s going to be taking tests, and then next week the oncologist will recommend a course of action for fighting this cancer.

We don’t know what that course of action will be yet, but we do have a firm assurance that there will be a course of action.

We don’t expect things to be easy. But I much prefer a difficult course of action to no course of action at all.

Sometimes a hard day can also be a good day, relatively speaking.

More Raffle Goodness
Just in case you haven’t noticed, Ibis Cycles and I have partnered to raffle off an incredible dream bike: The Ibis Silk SL. You can read the details in my Friday post, but take a gander at what you’ll be riding:


I’ve gotta say, though, that I’m becoming increasingly partial to the British Racing Green frame color:


The color choice is up to you.

There’s something you might’ve missed, however. If you haven’t gone back and read the changes I made to the post on Friday afternoon, you won’t have caught the exciting update: The Silk SL will be outfitted with the Dura-Ace group, and Dura-Ace SL wheels.


I tell you what: If I ever meet Mr. Shimano, I am going to give him a hug.

Same goes for Chuck Ibis.

And you know what? That bike isn’t the only thing we’re giving away in this Triathalon-related raffle this Saturday. You’re also automatically entered to win:

  • A Gary Fisher Rig. It’s a size Large, lovingly used, 2007 model. Donated privately and anonymously by a really good guy. I rode a Rig most of all last season, and I loved it.
  • Several Boomerangs. Yeah, I’m totally serious. A Fat Cyclist reader owns a boomerang company. A few of the boomerangs have even had “WIN Susan” airbrushed on to them. I may keep one of these for myself.
  • Twin Six Hotness. My good friends at Twin Six are donating several jerseys, t-thirts, bottles, and other awesomeness.
  • Gary Fisher Apparel. In spite of the fact that I have not yet performed any of the tasks he has assigned me, Travis Ott is sending over several t-shirts and jerseys to be given away.
  • Used copies of The Flying Dutchman and Breaking Away. Yeah, I saved the best for last. Ha.

So, if you haven’t yet signed up for the raffle, you’d better get moving. You can’t win unless you enter. Although Dug’s been trying to convince me otherwise.

And even if you don’t win, you’re still donating to a great cause.

Click here for details and to donate.


  1. Comment by Art | 06.17.2008 | 8:49 am

    I talked to God this morning as the sun was rising over Mosquito Pass, and Leadville…..told him to get with it and help you and Susan out, since you’ve helped so many people, touched them in profound ways, to lead a better life…..ride with tenacity, strive to survive…..ya gotta love those drivers who yielded to a very deserving person on a bike…..HAGD

  2. Comment by Katie | 06.17.2008 | 8:49 am

    I work at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and many, if not most, of our patients are those who have been told at other hospitals “there is no fight left.” Never stop fighting. Know that we are out here, thinking of your family every day.

    WIN Susan

  3. Comment by Wes | 06.17.2008 | 8:50 am

    Done. I have never given under the assumption that I would ever get anything back, yet I know that I have been blessed ten fold for every iota of anything I have shared.

    Win Susan!!!

  4. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.17.2008 | 9:00 am

    You had better get crackin’ on those Gary Fischer tasks…

    Keep up the fight, you two. There simply isn’t any other choice. You can’t win if you don’t play the game.

  5. Comment by KanyonKris | 06.17.2008 | 9:17 am

    I’m still stuck on item #1. Alternate universe for sure. Do you know the odds of coming across 4 conscientious, courteous, non-clueless Utah drivers – in a row!!!! I pulled out my calculator and came up with the rough figure of 1 in 3,632,845.

  6. Comment by Mark | 06.17.2008 | 9:32 am

    I’ve been a road cyclist for 4 years now and still haven’t had a perfect day in the saddle like you described in your first post. That you had one, though, gives me hope. Then again, my typical riding day is pretty peaceful, so I really have little to complain about.

    Great post!

    WIN Susan!

  7. Comment by Arlyn | 06.17.2008 | 9:39 am

    re: Bike-friendly alternate universe,
    Very similar experience cycling in the Eastern Sierra mountains last weekend. It was very strange to see cars pulling over to let me pass on the descents. Also, they’d wave to me or give me a thumbs up instead of the finger (which I tend to interpret as me being #1…)

  8. Comment by Don | 06.17.2008 | 9:40 am

    My neighbor was told, about 15 years ago, that there was no hope. Nothing the hospital could do. She is still here with us today. I’m just saying. Fight like hell Susan!
    As far as the parallel universe. Must’ve been that or a dream?! Did you wake up after of were you awake when it happened? Just asking. Fight like hell Susan!
    Finally: Donated! May I say I agree, the Brit Green is hot. OH! did I mention, FIGHT LIKE HELL SUSAN!!
    Love and Prayers!!

  9. Comment by Lori | 06.17.2008 | 9:45 am

    Been away for a couple of days and am just now catching up – that is one sweet bike!!

    WIN Susan!!

  10. Comment by atomicmiles | 06.17.2008 | 9:59 am

    I want to stop and thank the drivers who are kind enough to slow and let you pass on a descent–They are few and far between.

    On a side note, I can’t wait to order & purchase a jersey. I would love to wear a fat cyclist jersey in Lotoja–I’m sure there are many others who would like to do this also.

    Keep Fighting, Keep Believing.

  11. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 06.17.2008 | 10:06 am

    Blessed Blessed day in the saddle Mr. Fatty. You know for a great hero, there is no charge for awesomeness, and none for attractiveness either.

    Minus the crap-sandwich weather here in Seattle my last 8 days have been pretty sweet – I’ve ridden every bike I own: The Hardtail(tried to ride to Lake Margaret but ended up on the wrong ridge) The SS – from Duvall to my 7 years old’s softball game up on Snoqualmie ridge via the SVT – The FS in a joyous romp around Tokul – The old 5200 on a light spin with a buddy and The eponymous Surly commuting home around the top of the lake yesterday. Good Times.


  12. Comment by bikemike | 06.17.2008 | 10:11 am

    looked up the word inspiration in the dictionary and it described the Nelson family. amazing. the college basketball coach Jim Valvano said it best “don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.
    we’re all inspired by your family.

  13. Comment by chtrich | 06.17.2008 | 10:20 am

    So Fatty, how many folks are showing up for the Triathalon so far?
    Looking forward to the fun.

    Keep Fighting and enjoying the good times!

  14. Comment by LidsB2 | 06.17.2008 | 10:26 am

    Although the odds of being the lucky winner of the Silk SL are not exactly in my favor, I feel like a kid counting down the days to Christmas. In fact, it’s just like Christmas! You give a gift, and you might just receive one too. And there are no lumps of coal! It just doesn’t get any better.

    Win Susan!

  15. Comment by Heatherann | 06.17.2008 | 11:17 am

    I love that that many people pulled over for you. Way to go drivers. I try to watch out for bikers but I’ve found that I usually notice them after I’ve slowed them a bit. I’ll try to keep a keener eye from now on.
    I’m so glad to hear that options aren’t over for Susan. My prayers are still with you both.

  16. Comment by KT | 06.17.2008 | 11:33 am

    “Never give up, never surrender!”

    Go, Susan! WIN!!

  17. Comment by tim | 06.17.2008 | 11:35 am

    i’m fingers crossed for that copy of BREAKING AWAY, but the IBIS will do as a consolation!


  18. Comment by clambertsmith | 06.17.2008 | 12:43 pm

    What a great post – you really have a way of bringing about hope and inspiration for others through your words. I’ve never laid eyes on you or Susan but I think about Susan each time I talk to God. I totally agree with MAJ Mike – you can’t win if you don’t play. Hang in there and Win Susan!

  19. Comment by Giel | 06.17.2008 | 1:00 pm

    Just donated $50. Normally, I never donate to anything (long story, but I have my reasons), but you’ve managed to convince me. Good job, Fatty!

    Fight like hell, Susan! I wish the people I’ve lost had been fighting as hard as you do. Win!

  20. Comment by Marla | 06.17.2008 | 1:24 pm

    Sounds like a beautiful ride in every way. Glad to hear there’s a course of action for Susan.

    Win Susan!

  21. Comment by Mike Roadie | 06.17.2008 | 1:46 pm

    God bless everyone of you who stops here to join in.


  22. Comment by Formely Bent022 | 06.17.2008 | 1:48 pm

    Awesome post. I was planning on going up this weekend, but plans have changed and I can not. I have decided to donate the amount of money I had estimated for my gas cost for the road trip. I say donate because even though it is a raffle I do not win raffles…ever! Besides if I bring home one more amazing bike my friends, not to mention my husband, would stop talking to me. Oh but it would be so cool to have that bike.

    Win Susan and family!

  23. Comment by Wild Dingo | 06.17.2008 | 2:10 pm

    Awesome Fatty, Just made my donation. I love my steel Ibis Spanky that I’ve had since 2001. And the Silk SL is so sexy. Ibis generosity rules! And so does this fund raiser. You and your peeps rock.

  24. Comment by cyclostu | 06.17.2008 | 2:17 pm

    My father-in-law had metastatic merkel cell carcinoma and 2 doctors refused to treat him due to several other health problems that he has. Basically, they said you can either eait to die or the chemo might kill you before then. One doctor took a chance and he is now in remission.

    I’m still praying for the Nelson family. Luke 1:37 – “For nothing is impossible with God.” WIN Susan! And to quote others, “Fight like hell!!” (of course it’s not like you haven’t been fighting like hell up until this point)

  25. Comment by Rocky | 06.17.2008 | 2:23 pm

    It’s true. Good things DO come in threes! That is such good news about the ongoing treatments.

  26. Comment by cyclostu | 06.17.2008 | 2:24 pm

    I am also partial to the British racing green. I find that I’m partial to most things British – except their cuisine maybe. Eeewww.

    I was just up in Dahlonega, GA where the Tour de Georgia rolls through and the riding was just awesome. Beautiful climbs and crazy fun descents. I currently trying to scheme, beg, borrower, and/or steal my way back up there. Much more prettier than the flatlands of FL. *sigh*

  27. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.17.2008 | 3:24 pm

    Have you got all the appropriate licences to be giving away boomerangs? I’ve had a couple of locals banging on my door asking what my fat friend in Utah is up to.

    As for the link between these 3 things. Man, even I got the tie in. The ride was blatant metaphor of your life. It was all looking great, then there’s a hiccup, then the problem clears, another bigger hiccup, then you’re past it and it’s plain sailing from there.

    You’ve found a new oncologist, so I figure you’re alongside the second truck. Metaphorically speaking. Neither of you give up until you have the camper in your mirrors.

  28. Comment by Aunt B | 06.17.2008 | 4:23 pm

    Mike in Oz, rocks big time!

    To be wonderfully redundant….Fight Like Hell, Susan.

  29. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.17.2008 | 4:41 pm

    I’ll take one in green. The bike, not cancer treatments or brats.

  30. Comment by Kathy | 06.17.2008 | 5:50 pm

    Glad you found a new oncologist with a treatment plan in the works. As we all know, the underdog can win. Just like in “Breaking Away.” I hope you have that movie memorized, or it would be a shame to give it away. It was worth the price of the DVD just to see Dennis Quaid’s chiseled abs. (Refund? REFUND?)

  31. Comment by RockLobster | 06.17.2008 | 9:03 pm

    I was having a similarly great ride on Sunday (minus the considerate drivers) when my ride got even better…across the road I saw a guy in a pink Fat Cyclist jersey cruise by. I yelled “Win Susan” but I don’t think he heard me. So, to the guy that was riding in the community of WOOD RANCH in SIMI VALLEY, CA on Sunday morning…way to represent!

  32. Comment by Emily | 06.17.2008 | 10:27 pm

    The perfect ride is all in your state of mind. Glad to hear your state of mind was such that you had a perfect ride.
    stay strong

  33. Comment by trijoshh | 06.18.2008 | 7:54 am

    I’m new to the whole blog scene, but thanks to yours I’m hooked. Your determination is an inspiration to all of us. Keep Fighting

  34. Comment by chtrich | 06.18.2008 | 8:06 am

    Off topic, but it’s time to get the party started.
    Happy Birthday Fatty!!!!

  35. Comment by Lori | 06.18.2008 | 9:07 am

    Happy Birthday!!

  36. Comment by Rocky | 06.18.2008 | 10:09 am

    Happy Birthday Fatty-boy! What’s the damage this year? Like 47, or something, right?

  37. Comment by usimpto | 06.18.2008 | 10:12 am

    Done! And I gotta have that red frame!

    Is it really your birthday, Fatty? Happy Birthday!

  38. Comment by Brandy | 06.18.2008 | 11:02 am

    happy birthday

  39. Comment by Caren | 06.18.2008 | 11:09 am


    Wish we were going to be able to be there for the Triathalon, but we’ll just have to make due riding here in New Mexico…no water slide :-( no brats :-( but we’ll have the best burrito and think of you!

    ps. I’ve heard it’s NOT ABOUT THE BIKE!

  40. Comment by Aunt Mary | 06.18.2008 | 11:28 am

    Happy Birthday Elden and to Susan, WIN, FIGHT. Our prayers are with your family.
    Aunt Mary and Family

  41. Comment by NW | 06.18.2008 | 1:08 pm

    Happy Birthday, Fatty!

    Win Susan!

  42. Comment by Bob | 06.18.2008 | 1:36 pm

    Happy birthday, Fatty!

  43. Comment by Mocougfan | 06.18.2008 | 2:23 pm

    Happy BD Fatty (dont break anything)

  44. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.18.2008 | 2:24 pm

    A big HB, Fatty. Can’t be ther for the TRI, though I really wish I could. I spend my summer’s gas $$ on raffle tickets.

  45. Comment by Denise | 06.18.2008 | 2:32 pm

    Happy Birthday Fatty!!! I am elated to know you have found a new oncologist willing to plan new strategies for winning Susan’s battle. That is absolutely the best news I have heard in I don’t know how long! Most often my finances prevent me from being able to donate to anything but by the grace of God I had something to spare this month. It may not be much but I figure if “everyone” who was able to at least give “not much” and did so, well, this fund would be off the charts. WIN SUSAN!!!

    And to Mike in OZ- LOVE YOUR VIEW!

  46. Comment by Yukirin boy | 06.18.2008 | 3:42 pm

    Happy birthday Elden,
    Great post too.


  47. Comment by Lifesgreat | 06.18.2008 | 5:58 pm

    Happy Birthday Fatty!

    Win Susan!

  48. Comment by justrun | 06.18.2008 | 8:24 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    Great post– glad to hear all of it! :)

  49. Comment by Bluenoser | 06.19.2008 | 5:05 am

    Happy Birthday Fatty.

    Win Susan!


  50. Comment by brenda in Ca | 06.19.2008 | 8:13 am

    OK I had to de-lurk and comment! I usually read your blog but I typically don’t comment and GASP I don’t bike…..well ok I have a measly beach cruiser that I ride on a bike path and I am afraid to ride with cars! (Can I say that here? :o)

    Now to my point–I do have one! Well ok 3 of them

    1. WIN SUSAN
    2. I donated and pray I don’t win the bike! LOL
    3. When I am in Colorado and Utah this summer–I know
    those narrow twisty roads well! I Never thought
    to yield to a road bike! Hey~~if I was
    biking I would be hiding behind a big rock till
    the cars passed! BUT :o) I will make it a
    point on the descent to pull over and let them
    enjoy the ride!


  51. Comment by brenda in Ca | 06.19.2008 | 8:21 am

    oh and one more question? Can I wear a pink Fat cyclist jersey on a beach cruiser in flip flops going two miles an hour? If so I am gonna have to buy one when the new ones come out! So guys if you see a redhead on purple bike wearing a Fat cyclist jersey doing two miles and hour and hiding from cars~~try not to laugh! Ok you can laugh but try and wait till I can’t hear you!

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