Stuff That’s Come In the Mail, Part I: A Postcard

02.9.2009 | 10:55 pm

I’ve gotten a lot of stuff in the mail lately. Bike-related stuff. And since my bike-riding antics are currently limited to spinning on the rollers while I watch an episode of some show or another each morning at 5:00, this seems like a good time for me to talk about what’s shown up in the mailbox.

In the next few days, I will talk about the following things, each of which has arrived in the mail: a book by Jill Homer, a book about the history of competition bicycles, a backpack, a video about the birth of mountain biking, a new flavor and packaging treatment for Shot Bloks, and an exercise video.

But first, I’m going to talk about the postcard I got last Saturday.

Here it is:


This is the confirmation postcard I look forward to getting every year — the postcard that tells me that once again my registration for the Leadville Trail 100 has been accepted.

I’ve started — and completed — this race 12 times, in 12 years. This will be number 13.

This year, though, I wasn’t sure I should enter. I mean, I simply do not know how I could leave Susan for even a single night, much less the three nights this race requires. And I mean that in two ways: first, there are things I help Susan with that nobody else has helped her with before, and that list is getting longer, not shorter.

But, obviously, I’ve signed up. Because this is one tradition I have a really difficult time imagining skipping, even for one year. As I registered, I told myself that August is a long ways away and I have time to get others to learn to help Susan, letting me take a few days off to do something I really love.

And that’s where the second way I have a hard time imagining leaving for a few days: Even if I figure out the logistics for helping Susan out while I’m gone for four days and three nights, I honestly can’t see myself leaving her for that long. I’m looking for a different word than “betrayal” to describe how it would feel — that’s too dramatic of a word for this — but I can’t think of one.

Maybe “selfish” comes close.

I understand that there was a huge influx of race entries for the Leadville 100 this year, partly due to the publicity that Lance Armstrong brings to it. I have no idea how many people didn’t get in, but I would guess the number goes into the hundreds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into the thousands.

Probably, at least a few of those people who didn’t get in will see this entry and pull out their hair, bothered by the unfairness of my new uncertainty about going to this race, when they would absolutely positively moved heaven and earth to do this race, had they only received a postcard like mine.

I would like to remind those people that my dilemma sucks much, much worse than theirs.

I suspect that I will, over the course of the next several months, piece together a way for me to go to this race, and do it in such a way that I can feel pretty comfortable in leaving Susan for a few days. Apart from being a hilarious and award-winning cycling comedian mastermind, my other real-life superpower is to figure out a way to make things possible.

Plus, I have a bunch of family members who know that this one race matters to me a lot, and they’ll pitch in. Especially now that they’ve seen me mope my way through this post.

However, I doubt that I will hang out in Leadville for quite so long before or after the race this year.


  1. Comment by UltraRob | 02.9.2009 | 11:13 pm

    My card came on Friday. From what I heard, a lot more people didn’t get in than got in.

    I can understand you being torn about Susan. Still I know how much cycling and a road trip energize me and I think it’s the same with you. You can only give so much without needing a bit or recharging.

  2. Comment by bobbieh | 02.9.2009 | 11:59 pm

    I wish I lived closer; I’d love to help the both of you out, and as a nurse, I could handle anything Susan might need ~
    Hugs to you both ~ I think you should go.

  3. Comment by jenjen | 02.10.2009 | 12:07 am

    Elden –

    I would love to help out. I could come and stay or do anything you might need. I really would like to.


  4. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.10.2009 | 12:20 am

    Not sticking around, huh? Well, understandable.

    How about getting me a signed 8×12 of you and Floyd for me to auction off for my LiveSTRONG fund before you leave? Never mind.

  5. Comment by Dan O | 02.10.2009 | 12:30 am


    After what you’ve been pulling off – if you have some other people to trust and help out – do the race. I’m sure all involved fully understand.

    Good luck.


  6. Comment by Tiny Tim | 02.10.2009 | 3:17 am

    So, will the “Singlefly” be the weapon of choice? DO the race, because if anyone deserves some time off it’s you, you’ve certainly earned it. Plus you’ve got awesome family and friends, I’m pretty sure they’d gladly pitch in.


  7. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.10.2009 | 5:31 am

    My card came in today too. It said, “Race Refusal. Stay AWAY”……….

    Oh well……


  8. Comment by Janneke | 02.10.2009 | 6:11 am

    Hi Elden,I’ve been reading your blog on and off for almost six month now. If I were Susan, I’d want, no, force you to go an do this race. Just as a way to say thank you for all the things you do for me, and ’cause I’d know you wouldn’t be leaving if you weren’t 10000% sure I’d be in good care. But hey, that’s only me speaking, from the other side of the globe…

    Win Susan,

    Janneke, the Netherlands

  9. Comment by buckythedonkey | 02.10.2009 | 6:41 am

    It sounds like you have the perfect other real-life superpower.


  10. Comment by mikeonhisbike | 02.10.2009 | 6:52 am

    You’ve got tons of time to figure this one out. I think you’ll make it happen. Are you doing the SS this year?


  11. Comment by PatCollins | 02.10.2009 | 7:18 am

    Got mine in the mail today…it was one of those moments when you are super excited followed immediately by the thought “what did I just get myself into” Oh well, time to start planning logistics from KY to get up there for a couple weeks before the race.

  12. Comment by leroy | 02.10.2009 | 7:28 am

    Well, this is odd.

    I got my postcard yesterday too.

    But mine seems to be for a pie eating contest in Ohio.

    Good thing I’ve got time to adjust my training.

    As for your dilemma, here’s a suggestion: ask Susan what she would like you to do. You know the answer.

  13. Comment by Krissi | 02.10.2009 | 7:33 am

    Your situation is an impossible one. It would be easy for me to say take time out for yourself. However, we all know that, that is easier said then done. Best of wishes and blessings to your family. I am new to the cycling world and just recently found your blog I have really enjoyed it. Also, I am doing my first ride in June the Little Red, I plan on doing the 100 route. While I am in decent shape I am overweight I have told all my friends about your blog and my intention to wear one of your fat shirts. I have to love the irony.

  14. Comment by Michelle | 02.10.2009 | 7:51 am

    My mom has been sick too, and dealing with an anxiety disorder. I’m her main caretaker and I really want to go camping this summer but the ‘guilt’, the feeling of selfishness really weighs on me constantly. BUT! I think that Susan would want you to go…and you still have some time to really get things planned down to a gnat’s a$$ :) My mom is pushing me to go camping and biking too.
    I’ll keep you, Susan and the children in my prayers.

  15. Comment by devin mccune | 02.10.2009 | 8:36 am

    I tried to get into Leadville and didn’t, but wish you more happiness and fun there then I could have ever had. You are going through a lot more then any of us and taking a few days for yourself to suffer through Leadville is good for you, good for Susan and good for your kids.

  16. Comment by David | 02.10.2009 | 9:06 am

    I got in at leadville as well. Number 1 for me. Two other buddies and I from North Carolina are going to give this Leadville thing a whirl.

  17. Comment by biking dude | 02.10.2009 | 9:16 am

    You desrve to be chosen. How many people can say they have done it and finish it 12 years in a row. I would be torn too. I’m sure evrything will be much better come August. keep praying.

  18. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.10.2009 | 9:23 am

    I thought eating your weight in Mayo was your super power.

  19. Comment by bikemike | 02.10.2009 | 9:38 am

    pish-posh Elden, you and the core boys are the reason people show up for leadville…lance is just grabbing the scraps from your wake.

  20. Comment by Aaron | 02.10.2009 | 10:44 am

    Congratulations on getting in. I have not received my card yet, and am doubting I got in this year. I’ll blame it on Lance. Breckenridge 100, here I come! You should go. You have several months to get your ducks in a row with Susan. Just remember, “You are more than you think you are”.

  21. Comment by Sam | 02.10.2009 | 12:34 pm

    Damn you. I haven’t gotten mine. I guess that means I didn’t get in.


  22. Comment by smack | 02.10.2009 | 1:01 pm

    Sometimes you need to do something for yourself so you can be your best for the ones you love. If, in the long run, it gives you strength, courage and clarity then do it. Then you in turn will have more of that available to give to others.

    You know, kind of like replenishing the gas tank :-)

  23. Comment by Marleymom | 02.10.2009 | 1:22 pm

    August is a long way off. I know that you will follow your heart and with a heart as caring and strong as yours, you will know what to do when the time comes. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of others.

  24. Comment by Jaime O. | 02.10.2009 | 1:39 pm

    You only have to have read this blog exactly twice to know that Susan would be mad at you for staying home. She loves you, man, and she wants you to do things you love. Unless that means blowing up the garage. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t find that so hilarious.

  25. Comment by Kathleen | 02.10.2009 | 1:44 pm

    Your peeps speaketh the truth…sally forth and conquer that race yet again. (not sure why I’m writing like Lord of the Rings…sorry bout that.)

  26. Comment by Don | 02.10.2009 | 2:18 pm

    Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and let people help you. Susan will understand, and you have already proven in countless posts that she may just be THE most understanding and kind person on Earth, and it will give you time to recharge mentally, allowing you to be more focused when you return. I’m not just saying either you know I;m right, I think?! Seriously, though. It’s hard to put aside what you feel obligated to do to have some time for yourself, and I’m guessing like last year Susan will talk you into it!
    Have fun, and eat some sand for me while you’re out there.

  27. Comment by Rob M | 02.10.2009 | 2:27 pm

    Go while you can. Have a great time and send a picture of the postcard to Kerkove. Looks like he is still waiting (see blog).

  28. Comment by Heidi Swift | 02.10.2009 | 2:36 pm

    Not only is Jaime O. extremely funny, he’s also smart. She’d want you to do it.
    But then there’s Marleymom and she seems pretty smart, too – you’ll know what’s write.
    Trust your intuition and go with your gut. And good luck, whatever you decide!

    I am still in the throes of debating whether or not to send registration for the Creampuff 100 in, having never done an endurance MTB race before.

  29. Comment by kellene | 02.10.2009 | 2:56 pm

    This is exactly why you have 4 sisters and no brothers..we are here and are willing to come hang out with the fam! So get going!
    It is always a good thing to have something to look forward to. Helps you get through the hard times. We can make it work so plan on it!

  30. Comment by bikemike | 02.10.2009 | 3:17 pm

    kellene just made me cry…thanks.

  31. Comment by sdcadbiker | 02.10.2009 | 3:35 pm


    I’m one of those who didn’t get in this time; after completing the ride last year I was looking forward to trying for a better time in 2009.
    I’m jealous, but I wish you nothing but the best in the race, should you feel able to go. And if you can’t go, I still wish you nothing but the best.
    I look forward to another stellar ride report; I can’t remember if I found your blog while researching Leadville or the other way around, but “Fattie” and “Leadville” are indelibly linked in my mind. And I still think that a rigid 29er is a dumb ride for Leadville! But good luck anyway, coz I know you’ll be riding that new Superfly!


  32. Comment by Big Boned | 02.10.2009 | 3:40 pm

    Wonder what “part II” will bring…

  33. Comment by donbiker | 02.10.2009 | 4:14 pm

    As one who has been through the caretaker role 3 times, I say go. You have limits though they are very high. Give yourself a present.

  34. Comment by regina | 02.10.2009 | 4:17 pm

    if you need to pull family from the pitt crew let me know, I can hand you soup with stars and I live in nebraska which is right there, you know in a gigantic geographic way, but trust me it is like right beside it.

  35. Comment by Rick S. | 02.10.2009 | 4:38 pm

    Any idea what the different color lables are on the card? I’ve seen pink and yellow.

  36. Comment by Arlyn | 02.10.2009 | 5:40 pm

    Here’s an idea – Have your friends over at Leadville raffle off an entry. All proceeds go to Livestrong.

    I heard there was a record number of applicants this year which means a record number of people not getting in which means a record number of raffle tickets sold :) Make the tickets $50 each.

    Email me when you make it happen and I’ll buy 10! (not kidding…)

  37. Comment by justrun | 02.10.2009 | 6:36 pm

    I hope it works for you to go! And, I get to crew for someone this year, so I’ll be cheering you on!

  38. Comment by Noose and Goose | 02.10.2009 | 8:32 pm

    It is not selfish – it is living your life as you always would and I can’t imagine Susan wanting it any different. Did ya ever thing she REALLY might need a break from you? I can’t imagine that she really would – but don’t feel guilty. You have done so much for Livestrong (and a friend of ours).

  39. Comment by Jennifer | 02.10.2009 | 9:31 pm

    There are many of us medical-folks who read your blog. Put out the call. We can help. (and sometimes people are more comfortable having some needs met by “strangers.” we can do that. ask Susan what she’d prefer.)

  40. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 02.10.2009 | 11:04 pm

    Whoa Brilliant idea Arlyn. Surely if the limit is say 1000 they can raffle off the 1001 spot for charity. While it is more work for you FC because you are the man with Leadville contacts it could be real money spinner. Is it a possibility?

  41. Comment by narkeymarkey | 02.11.2009 | 6:33 am

    hey there fatty, gosh you really are a fantstic hubby to susan and father to your lovely children.

    whilst i haven’t been in exactly your situation i would advise you to go participate. perhaps susan would feel guilty if you stayed on her behalf? if i were you i would try to imagine how i’d feel if the roles were reversed – you’d want susan to go, right?

    have a chat with susan, see how she feels too – if she wants you to stay, then stay around, if she’s comfortable with you going, then make sure everything is in place, let folk help, and go race for susan :)

  42. Comment by Al Maviva | 02.11.2009 | 8:41 am

    >>>Botched Experiment Said:
    >>>I thought eating your weight in Mayo was your super power.

    Hmmm… a Mormon guy who can eat his weight in mayo. Imagine that. Milan Kundera could write a book about Elden called “Unbearable Whiteness of Being.”

    /Dennis Miller Random Insight Generator

  43. Comment by matt (ming) | 02.11.2009 | 12:27 pm

    lucky number 13!

    i would totally lick that frame too.

    i hope you get to do leadville. that race is on my list of things to do in my life.

  44. Comment by barry1021 | 02.11.2009 | 2:16 pm

    Hello fatman, I haven’t posted in quite a long time, just caught up on my reading and decided to post after a long layoff.
    1. Somehow I think you will go. I think in some way it is important that you do. It is probably as spiritual a thing that you do on your bike.
    2. When the stars align and you can write funny, you are still on top of your game. The Merckx post for example. You still make me jealous of how well you do it. Your readers/posters have upped their game too. Remarkable. Truly.
    3. I returned from AZ and my Twin Six Woolistic jersey was here. I mean come on, how hot is that? Having been laid off and with a full beard now, I put my Twin Six Fatman kit on and I never make it to the bike. I just admire myself in the mirror for hours. Who can blame me, really?
    4. So i am unemployed and if I still am when Leadville comes up, let me know what I can do to help. Seriously.



  45. Comment by Penny | 02.11.2009 | 5:39 pm

    You’re no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

    Go. Enjoy.

    A little guilt is okay. Just don’t overdo it.

  46. Comment by Katie | 02.16.2009 | 10:15 am

    I’ve followed your blog in the past and was reminded of it again recently by PW.

    I think it is absolutely fantastic that you continue to mountain bike and enter races despite being Susan’s main caregiver. I mean this completely sincerely. Since you allow yourself some time to recharge, you are able to be a great caregiver. Most women (particularly me) could stand to learn this lesson. Most of us give and give and sacrifice until we are burnt out and nearly worthless. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still, the way you do it inspires me. I truly mean this honestly; I can see that it might come across sarcastic.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.