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!


Seattle LiveStrong Challenge II: Jersey Contest, Pics From the Starting Line

06.21.2009 | 4:29 pm

I’m really, really, really happy to report that Team Fatty has won the Seattle LiveStrong Best Jersey award!

For those of you who don’t know (or don’t remember) what the Team Fatty jersey looks like, here’s a reminder.


And back:

Huge congratulations and thanks go out to Twin Six for both their awesome jersey design and tireless work toward fundraising for Team Fatty’s LiveStrong Challenge.

Since neither Twin Six nor I are in Seattle for the LiveStrong Challenge today, I asked my friend Nick to accept the award. Here’s the speech I prepared for him to give:

Team Fatty’s proud to be wearing the winning jersey in the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge. You should know that behind this jersey is a very small company in Minnesota called Twin Six. And by “very small company,” I mean two guys: Ryan Carlson and Brent Gale.

Twin Six hasn’t just been making great jerseys, though. They’ve been tireless in their efforts to raise money in the LiveStrong challenge. They had a day where 50% of their gross sales went to the LAF. That raised nearly $30,000 for the LAF in one day. They were instrumental in the success of Team Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere event, raising $20,000. And sales from the Team Fatty jersey have raised more than $15,000 for the LiveStrong Challenge.

Twin Six is a tiny company, but they’re great guys doing huge things. They’re very proud to be a part of Team Fatty, and we’re proud to have them with us.

Here’s Nick (thanks to Sarah, Nick’s wife, for taking this photo) accepting the award and giving the speech:


Once again, Brent and Ryan: Thanks and congratulations!

Pics from the Starting Line

I expect that a lot of Team Fatty-Seattle is still resting up after all that’s gone on in the past couple days, after which I’ll be excited to read your stories and see your pics. Please send them in.

Meanwhile, my good friends Jeff and Matt have sent a few photos in from the starting line.

Lining up at the front, thanks to Team Fatty being the top fundraiser at the event. From left: Nick Abbott, Bob Bringhurst, and Dom Fulford. Right behind Bob’s left shoulder is Kent Peterson, who set me up with the best fenders a Seattle commuter could ever wish for. Others, identify yourselves!


Game face.

Team Fatty, ready to roll.

Matt (left) has been my manager at two different companies and remains a great friend. Jeff (right) has been my friend since we were freshmen at college, 25 years ago. It means a lot to me to have them riding with Team Fatty.

AnneMarie, with the LAF, sent me this great photo of the team about ready to go.

And here’s Team Fatty, rolling off the line. I’m pretty sure that’s my friends Nick on the left and Bob on the right.

More Tomorrow

I’ve got video, more pics, and stories from the event still in the pipeline (I’m not being coy; I haven’t seen them yet myself).

And if you participated in the ride, describe it in the comments section here. And note that it’s possible to include photos as part of your comment, provided you’ve got the photo online somewhere. Make sure, though, that your photos are no wider than 450 pixels wide, OK?

PS: If you haven’t already read the first post on Team Fatty at the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge, click here to get caught up.

Event of the Weekend: Team Fatty at the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge

06.20.2009 | 8:01 pm

This afternoon was the pre-ride BBQ for Team Fatty-Seattle, and tonight (Saturday) is the Recognition Dinner for the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge.

I’ll be getting photos and video from folks soon, but for now, let me just say that from the email and text messages I’ve been getting, the BBQ was terrific.

As for the Recognition Dinner, well, Team Fatty Seattle will kind of own the night. There are four awards, of which we have won three:

  • Individual Champion: The person who raised the most money for the Seattle event is Team Fatty Co-Captain Steve Peterson, who comments on this blog as ClydeSteve. $41,000.00. That is just remarkable. You know what this means? It means that Steve raised more money than the entire second-place team. Yes, that’s right. Steve raised more money than the entire Microsoft team. I think my head just exploded.
  • Team Champion: Team Fatty-Seattle has raised $144,000. I am just astounded at how hard everyone on Team Fatty-Seattle has worked, and how much we have raised toward fighting cancer.
  • Team Messenger: Team Fatty-Seattle has close to 100 members who have raised at least $100. I’m not sure of our exact figure, but it’s more people than any other team.

I can hardly wait to see the video of Steve picking those awards up.

The only award I don’t think we won is the Individual Messenger award, which I think will go to Jimmy Fowkes. Frankly, I believe that if there’ve ever been people who deserve recognition, they’re Jimmy and his sister Molly. Go take a look at Jimmy’s donation page and see what I mean.

Since I won’t be able to be there to accept either of the Team Awards, the LiveStrong people were nice enough to ask me to make a video they could show at the dinner tonight. Here it is:

You have no idea how tired my arm got holding that camcorder at arm’s length as I filmed myself for that thing.

Here’s a great pic Jonathan S sent from the event:


At least to me, that “WIN SUSAN” card is the boldest, most visible one there. I like that.

Here’s my friend Jeff, evidently in serious need of what they’ve got at the anti-chafing zone:


More Soon

We’re also entered in the Best Jersey contest; the results of that will be announced tomorrow this (Sunday) afternoon. Fingers crossed!

I’ll update with video, photos, and riders’ impressions as I get them.

And if you were at the Seattle LiveStrong event and have pics and / or a story to tell, send them my way!

Thanks Times 405

06.19.2009 | 5:10 am

Here’s what my Email inbox looks like right now:


That’s because 405 of you donated $5 to my LiveStrong Challenge account yesterday. Well, actually, a few of you have a hard time following directions (and I mean that in a really grateful way) and donated more than the $5 I asked for. Which means that all told, yesterday you donated $3040 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation on my behalf.

Thank you. Multiplied by 405, of course.

It’s 5:00 AM here; I’m up early because my birthday party / personal LiveStrong Challenge ride starts in one hour: some friends and I are going to ride The Gauntlet Supreme. So I will do the prize drawing and send email to winners later today. After I’m back, have showered, and taken a three-hour nap.

Seattle LiveStrong Challenge Coverage Coming Soon

I am not able to attend the Seattle LiveStrong Challenge, but — since Team Fatty-Seattle has made an incredibly impressive showing: $141,328! — the LAF asked me to send them a video for them to show at the Awards ceremony tomorrow night. I’ll post that video here for you to see here then, too.

And as I get videos, photographs, and reports of Team Fatty’s goings-on, I’ll update as frequently as needed.

All of you: thank you for reading, for your generosity, and for your support.

Now I’m going to go get ready for a big ol’ ride. I understand there will be cake at the end.

PS: Today Team Fatty crossed the 1/3 million mark!

It’s My Birthday. It’s Not Too Late to Buy Me a Present.

06.18.2009 | 7:57 am

Hey, I’m 43 as of today. I would like to offer that number, in addition to the following anecdote, as evidence that I am now well- and fullly-middle-aged.

Earlier this week, Susan asked me what I want for my birthday. This is not an easy question to answer for me, because generally when I want something, I don’t wait around to see if someone will buy it for me. I just go and get it.

So I thought for a few minutes. And then it hit me. There really is something I want. Something I don’t have.

“I want spoons,” I told Susan.

“Spoons?” she replied, not unreasonably, because it is not an answer she should be expected to expect.

“Spoons,” I affirmed. “Our family uses spoons a lot. We always run out of regular spoons before the day is over, and then everyone starts having to use improvisational spoons to eat with: big salad-serving spoons, wooden mixing spoons, butter knives. It is not easy to eat Jell-o with a butter knife.”

“Really? You want spoons for your birthday?”

“Yes. Spoons.”

And judging from the heft of the Amazon box that came in the mail yesterday, I’d say I’m about to have my Very Exciting Birthday Wish fulfilled.

What You Can Get Me200906180735.jpg

Earlier this week, I gave a very positive review of the Arriva Shuffle headset. Well, Ben of Arriva emailed me and said that by way of thanks, he’d like to donate 5 of their headsets — any size, style, or color — for me to use to help raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

I’d like to combine that generous donation with the fact that it’s my birthday to ask you to do something for me — to buy me a present, essentially.

I want you to go to my San Jose LiveStrong Challenge page and donate $5.00.

No more, no less. Just $5.00.

And I want you to do it now. Because my birthday only lasts one day. Which is lucky for my Mom, I suppose.

Tonight at midnight, I will select five people at random to win the Arriva headset of their choice. I’ll notify you by email, and will list your names (first name, last initial) in my post tomorrow just in case my email goes in your spam folder.

Why This Would Be An Awesome Birthday Present For You To Give Me

There are several reasons I really, really want you to make a $5 donation to the LAF through my San Jose LiveStrong Challenge page today. Here are some of them.

  1. You might win a set of headphones you’ll really like.
  2. You’ll be telling me in a meaningful way that you like what I’m doing with this blog, and that your thoughts are with Susan. It would be a really great present for me if, at the end of the day I could tell Susan, “Hey, a thousand people said ‘happy birthday’ to me by joining us in the fight against cancer.”
  3. You’ll help Team Fatty-San Jose win in the second LiveStrong Challenge. I love the idea of Team Fatty winning the awards for most members and most funds raised in all four cities.
  4. Every time I get a donation, I get an email, which makes my phone — which I always keep in my front pocket — vibrate.
  5. I’m pretty sure I have plenty of spoons now, so this is a better present.

And now, I’m off to go make myself a cake. And then make a giant cake shake out of it.

Hey, it’s my birthday. I’ll eat my cake however I want.

(Now, go donate that $5.00.)

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