A Note from Fatty About How You Can Win a Really Cool Camera:Jill Homer ofUp In Alaskafame is a great athlete, a talented writer, and a gifted photographer. And she’s amember of Team Fatty. Huzzah! Well,Olympushas been good enough to help Team Fatty raise money for the LAF by donating an updated version of the camera Jill uses on her adventures — theStylus 1030 SW, which is shockproof to 6.6ft, waterproof to 33 ft, crushproof to 220lbs of pressure and freezeproof down to 14 degrees. Basically, it’s a cyclist’s dream camera. And you can win it bydonating to the LiveStrong Challenge on Jill’s Fundraising page. Every $5.00 you donatetoday, tomorrow or Wednesdaygets you a raffle ticket toward this camera (as well as a 1GB xD card and carrying case). You might also win an autographed copy of Jill’s new book, Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime.Click here to donate.
Team Fatty 1-Week Report
So, Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan has been around for one glorious week. What can we say we’ve accomplished during that time? Some pretty cool stuff, actually:
Team Fatty accounts for 25% of all 2009 LiveStrong donations made so far.
Team Fatty is the #1 team in Seattle, Austin, and Philly. We’re #2 in San Jose — by less than $100. Serious kudos to Team Lanterne Rouge in San Jose, by the way. A team of one person that’s raised more than $6000 deserves some props.
Team Fatty currently has 282 people divided between the four events. Frankly, I’m trying to decide whether this is a really great start, or whether it means that my goal of 1000 people on my team was just not realistic. What do you think?
Together, we have raised about$21,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in one week. That is extremely cool, and gives me great hope that — whether we have 1000 or 500 people on our team — we can still hit that $1,000,000 goal.
Those of you who have registered to be a member of Team Fatty in the 2009 LiveStrong Challenge (in Austin, San Jose, Seattle, or Philadelphia) probably already know that for every $5.00 you collect on your fundraising page, you get a virtual raffle ticket (I’m excluding myself from all these raffles, by the way) to win this bike:
Yes, the Soulville. Seriously, that is just a cool bike. Take another long look at it, would you?
What surprises me is the fact that quite a few people have signed up for Team Fatty but haven’t raised any money yet. If I were you, I’d find a friend, family member or complete stranger to donate something (or donate something on your own page, for that matter.)
Because, believe me, you want this bike. But you can’t win it if you don’t have any money in your donation page.
And the deadline for the raffle for this bike is Friday night.
How to Win the Wheels of Your Dreams
How would you like to have a nice $2000 wheelset? Well, that’s the next big prize you can win: anyShimano Dura-Ace Wheelset. Like the Soulville, you’re automatically entered in a raffle to win these ultra-top-end road wheels with every $5.00 you raise on your own LiveStrong challenge page.
But what if you don’t plan to do the LiveStrong challenge yourself, but you’d still like to help out, and wouldn’t mind winning an incredibly nice wheelset while you’re at it?
And Now For A Motivational Speech From a Couple of Guys Who Live In A Van Down By the River
Okay, I know I’m hammering pretty hard, pretty often about this LiveStrong stuff. The thing is, it means a lot to me. I love telling Susan that nearly 300 people have signed up to be part of a team bearing her name, and that we’ve already raised $20,000. And that we’re trying to raise a million.
I love telling her that great companies like Shimano and Masi and Olympus (and many, many more, which I’ll be unveiling soon) are helping us.
I love being able to tell Susan that while her cancer sucks for us, her story is inspiring hundreds — maybe thousands — of people (including me) to start doing something about this stupid, evil disease.
I love telling Susan that she has a lot of friends honoring her, while they honor and fight for their own family and friends.
And — after seeing this video of Medium Brad (who we earned more than $20,000 for last year) and Mike Roadie (who we earned more than $37,000 for last year) — I like thinking about what it’s going to look like when Team Fatty gets up on the stage next year.
I think they’re going to need a bigger stage.
Enjoy the video. Be sure to stick around for both speakers — Mike wears a Fat Cyclist t-shirt up onto the stage and presents Lance with a Fat Cyclist jersey. Not to be missed.
This is like getting a photo of Elvis wearing my jersey.
PS: I think I’m going to start growing that exact mustache.
PPS: Some people have been wondering how I got this photo. Well, Gary Fisher sent it to Travis Ott, and Travis sent it to me. By the way, in just a few weeks, you’re all going to find out that both misters Ott and Fisher are even cooler than you think. I’ll say no more. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
As I mentioned yesterday, I went riding with a large group last weekend. The plan was that we would ride up Clark’s, then around Suncrest, and then down a recently-constructed downhill-specific trail.
Mark — a frequent commenter here, who I always think fondly of as the guy who had food and ice cream waiting for me when I finished the Kokopelli Trail Race a couple years ago — is about to move into town, and we talked a little bit about the house he had just made an offer on.
The house is up on Suncrest, which is where Dug, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name), and many others from the riding group are from. Not surprisingly — considering it’s sitting at the top of an excellent mountain biking park as well as a good, challenging road climb (good on the South side, challenging on the North) — Suncrest is turning out to be the neighborhood of choice for bike lovers.
Still, Mark seemed a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Property values currently suck and seem to be getting suckier. The economy — some of you may be surprised to hear this — is not in excellent shape. Buying a house right now is mildly terrifying.
But then we got to the top of the climb and did the descent, which Rick has since named Crack Cocaine. Because you’re hooked after one hit.
And here’s the thing: Rick is right. After doing that descent once, it’s the trail I can’t stop thinking about. It’s so different from everything else I ride. Tabletops. A ladder. Big drops. Gaps. Banked ravines. I really got a sense of how much I still have to learn about mountain biking, and what I could learn from this trail.
Also, I got confirmation on something that I’ve been noticing lately: I’m no longer a bad descender. I’m going to go into the reasons why in another post, but the proof was right there: I was catching groups on the downhill, and then easily staying with them.
When we reached the bottom, Dug and I each described how fantastic we thought the trail was:
“That didn’t suck,” said Dug.
“No, at least not very much,” was my reply.
See, we’re using clever rhetorical devices to understate and therefore underscore the excitement and enthusiasm we all felt about this new trail.
Then I turned to Mark, and asked him what I thought of what is, in fact, his new backyard ride.
“As far as I’m concerned, my property value just went up $50,000,” Mark replied.
A Note from Fatty:Team Fatty now has 277 registered team members, and has raised $11,801.00. That is, quite frankly, awesomelicious. If you haven’t joined yet, readMonday’s postfor information on how you can. Or, if you’d prefer just to enter the raffle to winany Dura-Ace Wheelset you want, just head on over to my donation page and make a donation. Every $5.00 you contribute on my LiveStrong Challenge page earns you a raffle ticket toward the drawing for the wheels. The Drawing’s Friday, December 12.
I haven’t been on my bike much, lately. And by “much,” I of course mean “hardly at all.” And by “hardly at all,” I actually mean “twice this month.”
Of course, this is partially due to the fact that I spend a lot of time taking care of Susan. But I have other reasons, too. Good reasons. Convincing reasons. Reasons so excellent-sounding that you will want to use them yourself the next time you find yourself with no will to ride. In fact, my reasons are so good that they are very nearly true.
I will detail these reasons at a later date, and will license their use for a reasonable fee.
Right now, though, I don’t want to talk about the fact that I have not been riding much (at all). I want to talk about what has happened on the couple of times I have been riding recently.
Oh, and also I want to take a little walk down memory lane. Let’s start with the memory lane.
How I Decided I Wanted to Be a Fast Guy
As Dug has mentioned on this blog recently, he was the person most responsible for getting me into mountain biking. He was, so to speak, my shepherd.
In those days, though, Dug was a different kind of shepherd. At the time, he was into racing, and so would — along with his fast friends — regularly drop me, making me the guy everyone had to wait for at the top of the climb. And the bottom of the descent. And at major junctions.
And so I had to put up with the reality of riding up to the group at these regroup points and seeing them in various stages of relaxation: some straddling their bikes, some sitting on their top tubes, some laying on the ground, feigning sleep.
At least, I hope they were feigning. I never asked.
As I rode up during one of these regroups, Dug once derisively said (and I remember this clearly, because it scarred me for life), “Did you have a flat back there or something?”
At that moment I decided that I would become a faster rider than Dug.
And I did, too. It took about three years, but I’m really, really good at holding a grudge. Oh, and also by then Dug had stopped caring about racing. Coincidentally.
So anyway, that’s how I decided to become a fast guy: spite.
It occurs to me that I need to come up with a better “origin” story for myself. Something noble, with a really cool training montage. And maybe a car chase.
It Doesn’t Take Long to Become the Slow Guy
It took about three years for me to go from being the slowest guy in the group to being one of the fastest (I never got even close to being as fast as Brad and Kenny, but I never expected to, either).
It seems singularly unfair, then, that it took me only two months to become — once again — the slow guy.
“Oh, Fatty,” I hear you saying. “You’re exaggerating; you haven’t really become the slow guy in just a couple months. Have you?”
Yes, I have. And I don’t mean that I am one of the slow guys. I mean that I am verifiably, literally, the slowest guy in the group. And I don’t mean that I’m just riding at the back of the pack. No. I mean that I am off the back, and out of sight. The slow group tries to ride extra slow to let me stay with them, but they can’t go that slow.
In truth, people marvel that — so slow is my speed — I am able to remain upright.
Ruminations of the Slow Guy
Here is the example that is seared in my mind. I was riding with a large group — about fifteen of us — at Draper’s magnificent Corner Canyon last weekend. The plan was for us to ride up Clarks, then down the brand-spanking-new downhill-specific trail that had just been completed.
(I’ll have more to say about that new trail in a future post. For now, let me just say this: awesome.)
As we began the climb, a couple of people were behind me. And by “behind me,” I mean right behind me, and fighting the impulse to yell “onyerleff!” and ride by. So I did the right thing: I pulled over, mumbling something about needing to adjust my derailleur and catching up in a few minutes.
And then I was alone.
As I slowly (oh so slowly) rode up Clarks — turning the granny gear on a climb I have done countless times on my singlespeed — I contemplated the fact that I am, indisputably, the slow guy in the group again. I asked myself deep, meaningful questions about being slow. Obligingly, I also answered these questions. Here’s how the interview went.
Q:How do I know I am slow? A: Well, my perceived exertion is just as great — maybe greater — than ever. I don’t feel like I am moving a lot slower. And yet, people I have always been faster than are now way ahead of me, and they aren’t working hard. So — unless everyone is pulling an elaborate hoax on me by having trained incredibly hard and taking EPO for the past couple months without telling me, which would be a pretty darned good joke — then I am definitely slow.
Q:Is it bad to be slow? A: No, of course it isn’t. The only speed that is bad on a bicycle is the speed at which you are not enjoying yourself. If you enjoy riding your bicycle slow, then it’s good to be slow.
Q:Do I enjoy being slow? A: No. Decidedly not.
Q:How is it possible I got so slow so fast? A: We’ll go into that later.
Q:OK. But it hardly seems fair that it takes so much work for so long to get fast, and it takes no work whatsoever for a remarkably short period of time to get slow. A: Tell me about it.
The Dreaded Regroup
As (ever so eventually) I approached the top of Clarks, I had to consider the probability that everyone would be waiting for me there. They would be in various states of repose: some snacking, some chatting, some napping.
No doubt they would expect me to explain myself when I reached them.
I considered several things I could say:
“It’s opposite day! I win.”
“When I write about this in my blog, I’m going to leave this part out, OK? I’ve got $5.00 for everyone who promises not to leave a correcting comment.”
“I’d have gotten here sooner, but I had to swap out my bottom bracket about halfway up the trail. Oh, and I discovered a hiker in shock with a broken leg; it was a compound fracture. It took a few minutes for me to set the leg correctly and form a good hard cast using nothing but the materials around me.”
“I hate all of you.” Sometimes the best offense is to be really offensive.
In the end, though, I chose none of these. Instead, when I rolled up to the group I said, “Man, I am so fast!“
Stunned by my audacity and confounded by the contradiction of my assertion to their direct observations, they said nothing.
You know what’s not fun? Coming down with the flu when you need to be taking care of your family, that’s what’s not fun.
But it’s where I am.
So, just a quick post right now, because I wanted to let you all know how we’re doing so far on the LiveStrong Challenge.
A Great Start on Registrations: Between yesterday and now, 234 of us have signed up for Team Fatty. I’m really pleased with this. That’s nearly a quarter of how many people we need on the team altogether, just in the first day. That said, this also means we still need 766 of you to join up and help. So, if you haven’t signed up yet, please do. You don’t have to plan to attend the event; you just have to be willing to chip in some time to help us fight cancer.
A Great Start on Fundraising: So far, we’ve raised $9,077 together, in just a day and a half. You know what this means? It means we’re currently the top fundraising team in all four cities, so far. In fact, here’s an interesting little piece of trivia: Team Fatty has so far raised more money than all other teams combined. Of course, one day’s results don’t mean a ton in the grand scheme of things, but we’re definitely on the right track.
Thanks, everyone, for your work and contributions.