Seattle LiveStrong Challenge: Tales and Photos [UPDATED]

06.22.2009 | 9:20 am

A Note From Fatty: I’ve added more photos and video since originally posting this morning. Even if you’ve looked through this before, it’s worth another look now.

Another Note From Fatty: This is the third in a series of four posts talking about last weekend’s Seattle LiveStrong Challenge event. Part One is here, and Part Two is here.

Yesterday, I put up some of the starting line photos. Today, I’ve got pictures and stories members of Team Fatty have mailed me.

Let’s start with a couple of my very favorite pictures of the whole event, sent in by Jonathan Schwarz:

Here are a couple Team Fatty riders coming around the “WIN Susan” corner, chalked in close to the finish line. Whoever thought to do that, thank you.

And another group of four coming around “WIN Susan” corner. I believe that’s Jeff LaRock, Matt Kreger (on the Ibis Silk Carbon he won on this blog last year), Jeremy Everitt and Jonathan Schwarz.

And the same group of four after the ride. I think we’ve got our new Team Fatty poster here!

Here’s David Lazar — a good friend, riding buddy, and mentor to me from when I was at Microsoft — with his family, along the route.

Matt Kreger took the time to take lots of photos along the route, giving you a sense of what the ride was like:





Several people noted the punishing bout of rain and hail that blasted folks during the ride. I didn’t understand how bad it was ’til I saw this video Matt Kreger sent in from the event:

And I got a terrific story from a Team Fatty rider who stayed at the front of the group, James L:

I’d heard that in previous Livestrong Challenge events, Lance rides with a few of his core team from Austin. They drive the pace hard. Of course everyone wants to see how long they can hang with Lance. Eventually most if not all crack under the pressure and Lance and his gang ride off with the police escort.

Since I’ve never seen this, I’m not sure if this is accurate.

In any case, I started in the back of the Fat Cyclist chute, content to just find a good group to ride with and meet a few people, have a good time, and beat the rain. Well even with a police officer on every corner, the bulk of the Fat Cyclist team took a wrong turn only one mile into the course. Suddenly, I was at the front of the ride, chatting with another guy from Tucson, following the police car.

We got onto the freeway (surreal experience right there) and a very fast group quickly formed. To me it seemed like an unsustainable pace but I thought oh well it might be fun to see how long I could hang. There were a few Fat Cyclists in the group, but not many.

By the time we got around Mercer Island, there were about 8 in the group, still flying, still following the police escort. We skipped the first two food stops and ascended Newport Hill. By this time we had dropped a few more, I was the only Fat Cyclist left, and a couple of guys were still drilling it. I was just trying to hang on, but slowly my body was remembering the sensations of racing from many years ago. By the top, there were just three of us, two racers plus myself.

The rest of the story is we rode every weekend warrior’s dream, the perfect training ride with a police escort! At every intersection, the police siren and lights came on. He corked the intersection for us and we rode through. There was also a follow motorcycle. They stopped at the rest stops and waited for us. We repaid by riding out of our minds to finish in just under five hours.

It turns out both my riding partners were cancer survivors. Quinn is 24, a bike racer from Portland, and had testicular cancer seven months ago and was very lucky to have caught it early. Kurt from Seattle had a similar story.

The message: check your nuts.

Congrats on a great ride, James. And that’s sound advice, especially for men.

Video of the Best Team Jersey Award

In yesterday’s post, I announced that the Team Fatty jersey had won the Seattle LiveStrong Best Jersey competition. Well, we’ve got video of Nick’s speech now:

Once again, congratulations to Twin Six on creating what we can now call an award-winning jersey!

More Than Just Hard Riding

There was more than just a big ride for Team Fatty, though. Before all the official events began, Team Fatty-Seattle got together for burgers at Dan Vogel’s place (thanks for letting us use your deck, Dan!):

Team Fatty-Seattle Co-Captain Steve Peterson (ClydeSteve) tries not to frighten the children.


Nick mans the tongs, sporting the Twin Six WWJR (What Would Jesus Ride?) T-shirt. Dom Fulford works the grill.

Team Fatty (and family and friends) enjoying a sunny day in Seattle. I’m pretty sure it was raining in Utah at the time.

Pre-race ride huddle to discuss team strategy: “Let’s take a wrong turn to confuse everyone else right out of the gate.”

Tomorrow: Team Co-Captain ClydeSteve’s Account

I’m going to do one more day of recapping this awesome event. Tomorrow will focus on the Award ceremony. By then I should have video, and ClydeSteve has promised to send his story of the day.

Once again, congratulations and thank you to all of Team Fatty-Seattle!


  1. Comment by Nick | 06.22.2009 | 9:51 am

    Spatula man is Dom Fulford who stepped up on the day and grilled and grilled.

    Thanks to Dan Vogel for hosting us.

    Updated. Thanks! – FC

  2. Comment by Kent Peterson | 06.22.2009 | 9:52 am

    I posted some pics here:

    A ride report is in the works.

    At least four people talked about how you would ride with and then away from groups on your SS. Mountain Turtle, indeed! – FC

  3. Comment by Kamala | 06.22.2009 | 10:07 am

    Absolutely awesome day yesterday. You catch video of Team Fatty starting here: I’m the guy at the top right doing strange things with his feet (getting the heel loop of my sneaker unstuck from my pedal so I don’t take down the whole team at the start).

    All the Team Fatty support out on the ride was amazing, especially being one of the only really fat people on the team. Lots of compliments and encouragement from other team members as I trucked slow and steady on my mountain bike. Not to bag on them too much, but the Microsofties seemed tight and sullen all day. Team Fatty was having a day-long party and it was great to be a part of it.

    Yesterday was my longest ride ever at 71+. Less than six months ago riding 8 miles on a flat MUP in Seattle toasted me. Yesterday, I finished strong and am ecstatic to say I didn’t walk one step. Not one freaken hill. Not Montreaux, not that last climb up from Lake Washington. And I feel great today, not really sore or stiff. Definitely could go out and throw down a pretty good ride this afternoon. Probably could have done the 100 if they gave 9-10 hrs for it rather than 8.5, but I’m on it for next year.

    Being on this outstanding team has been transformative for me getting in shape and committing to my physical fitness goals. I still owe my sponsors 100 miles though, which I’m going to give them at STP in 3 weeks. Hope to see Team Fatty on the way to Portland!

    Big congrats on your progress. Sounds like you had an incredible day. Do you know what your name means in Finnish? – FC

  4. Comment by Amy | 06.22.2009 | 10:27 am

    And of course I somehow represented Team Fatty in the Fremont Solstice Parade- I was headed back from picking up my registration at the Seattle Center and arrived in Fremont to realize it was Solstice weekend – how could I have forgotten about that. So in order to get home – I joined the parade of Naked Body Painted Cyclists wearing my Team Fatty Jersey – had I planned ahead of time I could have worn a painted on jersey – so I’m looking at Flickr to see if I’m in any of the photos – one of my friends saw me and told me to take it all off. Susan could use the laugh of seeing this for sure – search Fremont Solstice 2009 on Flicker

  5. Comment by Jeremy Everitt | 06.22.2009 | 10:50 am

    James L – From a moto marshall, Doug Vavrick, on Facebook

    Is this you? It’s a great shot of the climb. Oh, yeah, the devil lies. That was NOT the top.

  6. Comment by Mike Roadie | 06.22.2009 | 10:53 am

    Absolutely amazing!
    What a great weekend….Team FC is the best thing I have ever been involved with! It really makes me proud!
    I am sure we will be notorious by the time Austin comes around…..that’s a lot to live up to!


  7. Comment by Kt | 06.22.2009 | 11:28 am

    Man! Team Fatty Seattle, you guys rock. I wish I could have been there, but breathing is a challenge this week with super sinus attack and bronchial yuk. I was with you mentally, though.

    Amazing stuff. Simply amazing.

  8. Comment by Charisa | 06.22.2009 | 11:50 am

    Love the part that one guy wrote about all the police escort stuff – awesome! Great pics too.

  9. Comment by Erin | 06.22.2009 | 12:15 pm

    Team Fatty Cyclist, eh? How much money does one man need to raise to get a little respect?

    I jest. A little. But no completely.

  10. Comment by Andy | 06.22.2009 | 12:29 pm

    Thanks, Team Fatty! My ride report here….

  11. Comment by buckythedonkey | 06.22.2009 | 1:42 pm

    James L: I love it! Nice one.


  12. Comment by daemonv | 06.22.2009 | 2:24 pm

    Thanks for the picture of David Lazar’s family. When I rode past I was out of it, and probably 50 yards down the road before I reconstructed enough of the sign to recognize it was a Fat Cyclist shout-out. Glad to have a chance to read it.

    What a great experience. Normally an FC jersey gets positive approval, but this time even more so because of the attention devoted to Team Fatty.

    And the BBQ was a blast with nice teammates all around.

    Dan Vogel

  13. Comment by william | 06.22.2009 | 2:39 pm

    Good work everyone. Fatty, I just watched your video, somehow you seem much more grown up than I expected

  14. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 06.22.2009 | 3:01 pm

    You Seattle folks are setting the bar pretty high what with your pre-BBQ and lovely street chalk signage…us San Jose folks have much planning to do.

    Great Ride Team Seattle!

  15. Comment by ChefJT | 06.22.2009 | 3:06 pm

    As far as Lance on the road, I rode the Philly event two years ago and was on the road as he blew by me going in the opposite direction (already on the way back). He was alone on the road, but when I yelled “HOLY S—!” I did see a huge grin com across his face. Absolutely the highlight of my ride that day.

    Congratulations to the Seattle team on a great job. You guys set the bar high for the rest of us!!

    WIN Susan!

  16. Comment by matt (ming) | 06.22.2009 | 3:11 pm

    the amount of impact you have had on this is AMAZING fatty. your video a few days ago talked about raising your sights and your focus, and it is spectacular what you and your family have been able to accomplish.

    if anyone wants pictures from the event give me a shout (also my facebook email)

  17. Comment by rexinsea | 06.22.2009 | 3:20 pm

    Hi Fatty and Team Fatty – Seattle:
    It was an honor to be part of this experience. Thank you Fatty for such a great idea. While I actually knew nobody there (other than some tag names in fatcyclist blog responses;) I was proud to be part of such an excellent (and well dressed) team. The Lance Armstrong Foundation seems to be VERY aware of all the good you are doing it this fight against cancer.

    The ride itself was very organized, well marked and a good an challenging course. I’ve never made better time through downtown Seattle or around Mercer Island nor have I ever ridden with motorcycle escorts until today. Many roads were closed to other traffic and intersections controlled. In fact, I’m not sure I stopped for a light until mile 35 or so and I don’t think I stopped for many more until I hit downtown Seattle in the last few miles. I found myself imaging that this was what it is like to be in a grand tour (just a much slower one than the real grand tours.)

    I hooked up with some pretty fast cyclists all the way through May Valley Road (the turn off between the 70 mile route and 100 mile route) and we were rolling much faster than I expected to. Because it was Father’s day, I decided to do the 70 mile challenge to get home a little earlier. Most all the other stronger riders continued on to do the full 100 mile course. So, I had the strange experiences (for me) of being one of the first 5 -8 people to show up at the Power Stops for 70 mile riders. That was kind of fun for me. The volunteers at the stops all seemed genuinely happy to be there and provide whatever support we needed. They consistently thanked ME for riding when I should have been thanking them for supporting. Thanking the riders was a consistent theme to the day. The Power Stops were well stocked with water, Gatorade, power gels, peanut butter sandwiches, bike repair and even massage tables?!?! I got lucky and missed the hail storm it appears the 100 mile riders suffered through. That looked awful on the video. At mile 41ish (70ish for the 100 mile ride) we had a 850 foot climb in about 1.5 miles. I found myself looking down several times to make sure I really didn’t have any gears left… Inside my head: “Really? No more gears? There must be another one, perhaps if I look down I’ll see one more…#$%@, really no more gears.” So it was a stand and push the pedals hard the whole way. I knew I was about to make it when I saw the devil himself (well, a guy in a devil suit) and realized he wasn’t a hallucination. Whoever that guy was, thanks for the encouragement. It got me up and over the last few hundred yards.

    After the big climb we made our way back down to Lake Washington and rejoined the 45 mile riders. I did pass several Fat Cyclist jerseys and tried to say some words of encouragement along the way. Again, another great reason to be part of a great team. It was fun to call out “Go Team Fatty” to all the Fat Cyclist teammates. The climb up from Lake Washington two Yessler Avenue was a truly hard climb. I suspect I would have suffered quite a bit on it if it was at mile 90+ (rather than mile 65+) And the ride back through downtown was, alas, not escorted. I did get a Team Fat Cyclist call out as I crossed the finish line. Must have been the good looking jersey.

    All up – a great event to be a part of. I encourage all the other cities to get excited about their coming rides. If you are a team member that might not ride/run, I encourage you to try to get to an event. It really was inspiring to BE there with all the other participants.

    Thanks to all in Seattle and good luck to San Jose, Philly and Austin!

  18. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 06.22.2009 | 6:35 pm

    Great time yesterday, big ride and a lot of fun. Was proud of Team Fatty. Both my parents, Survivors, were in town to cheer me on and greet me at the finish. Many, many happy tears were shed.



  19. Comment by Kamala | 06.22.2009 | 10:07 pm

    So what do I need to do to find out what my name means in Finnish? I already know I’m the Ugandan Giant and have quite a way around the bedroom in Siddartha!

  20. Comment by Jeff | 06.22.2009 | 10:24 pm

    Kamala: “terrible” and various synonyms. Sorry.|en&q=kamala&hl=en

    I told the devil to ‘get thee hence’ but, alas, Biblical humor did not go over well. So, instead, a nice hand slap sent us on our way.

    I, too, was amazed at the friendliness of all of the volunteers. It was a great ride and very well supported.

  21. Comment by fatty | 06.22.2009 | 11:24 pm

    Kamala: remember, it could be worse. You could, for example, be nicknamed “Fatty.”

  22. Pingback by » My First Century, The LIVESTRONG Challenge | 06.23.2009 | 12:37 am

    [...] Team Fatty report [...]

  23. Comment by Leon | 06.23.2009 | 12:48 am

    Kamala: dire, dreadful, awful, ghastly, horrid

    Te , ajaksi esikuva , olla haukkumanimi “Läskinen”. Epäkelpo vaihtoehto.

    Voitto Susan!

  24. Comment by Kris | 06.23.2009 | 10:18 am

    Here’s a photo collage I made for Susan:

    From Kris, a fellow breast cancer survivor and proud Team Fatty member. Bring it on, cancer.


  25. Comment by Judy | 06.23.2009 | 10:28 am

    Wow! That looks awesome!

    First posting to FC. I followed some links here from the Livestrong community. I’m a sporadic bike commuter, who, in a moment of insanity, signed up for the San Jose 50 mile. I could really use some advice/handholding/talking down from the ledge at this point. I’ve been working hard on training runs (luckily, I’m in SJ, so I can practice on the course itself), but I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never biked this far, or in an event. Help!

  26. Comment by rob mcgarty | 06.23.2009 | 12:12 pm

    Livestrong put on a world class event and Team Fatty represented!

    Awesome ride, people and fun. Perfect way to spend father’s day.

    My only regret is not getting a Team Fatty jersey in time, but the Livestrong jersey I earned for fundraising was a close second.

    It’s hard to believe that I carried a camera and iphone all day and ended up with this few photos, but here they are:


  27. Comment by LoPhat | 06.23.2009 | 12:51 pm

    Here’s my account of the day, with pictures…

  28. Comment by Doug Vavrick | 06.24.2009 | 2:19 pm

    I was the motorcyclist who escorted James L and the other two leaders around the 100 mile course. Here he is climbing up Village Park Dr. SW, easily the nastiest climb on the course. Luckily he has the devil to cheer him on!

    I have a few other photos from the event on my website:

    It was a great event to moto-marshal, and my team and I are looking forward to helping out with next year’s event!

    Doug Vavrick
    Seattle Livestrong Challenge Moto-Marhsal Volunteer Coordinator


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