Weekend of Awesome

07.13.2009 | 12:23 pm

My weekend was full of awesomeness, all centered around the LiveStrong Challenge. I am pretty sure, for example, that Matt Chapek’s — Team Fatty-San Jose Co-Captain — speech is the awesomest thing I saw this weekend. Watch it.

Matt’s speech makes me really, really glad that he was the one up there, and not me. Clearly, he was born for that.

Although to be honest, I’m not sure what was with all those bald head caps and muscle poses at the end of his presentation.

Oh, wait a second. Now I get it.

Group Photo

But you know what? I think there may be something even more awesome than that video (click to see the larger version):


That’s Team Fatty-San Jose, standing at the front of the starting line of the San Jose LiveStrong Challenge.

And why are they at the front of the line? Because they raised more money to fight cancer than any other team there.

Congratulations, Team Fatty!

Oh, and be sure to read Ryan’s race ride report from the event, if you want to know what it’s like to spend the day in a breakaway group.

Surprise Awesomeness

Those of you who pay attention to the Team Fatty LiveStrong ticker I keep on the right side of my blog may have noticed something unusual between Thursday afternoon and now.

Specifically, we went from $370,000 to $411,000.

$40,000+, over a weekend.

How did that happen?

Well, The Pioneer Woman happened, that’s what. Ree — a longtime Friend of Fatty — asked her readers to pitch in and help us in our fight with cancer.

And did they pitch in? Um, yeah. In just over three days, 1,551 Pioneer Woman readers donated, for a total of $28,632. Which puts Team Fatty-Philly within spitting distance of $100,000.

That’s not awesome. That’s beyond awesome. That’s awesometastariffic. Ree’s readers rock. (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them may prefer country.)

(Oh, and by the way, Team Fatty-Philly, since The Pioneer Woman and her readers have given us an incredible head start, I think it would be really cool if we could get past that $100,000 mark by tomorrow. Don’t you?)

So, one more time (and don’t forget to echo me in the comments): Ree and Pioneer Woman readers: thank you for helping us as we fight cancer.

PS: This whole Internet – blog thing is turning out to be a pretty darned good neighborhood, isn’t it?

PPS: Congratulations to Jessica of Virginia, who won the Nikon D80, lens kit and copy of Photoshop CS4 in Pioneer Woman’s giveaway. Here’s how Jessica says she plans to use her new camera and software:

I have a gorgeous little 8-month-old baby that is about the most photogenic thing ever, so I will no doubt be taking copious amounts of photos of her and me together — and then using the Photoshop to erase some of my baby weight in said photos (hehe). Also, my four cats and two dogs think they are the center of the universe and usually plop down in the perfect ray of sunshine to guarantee a pretty cat/dog picture!

Hey Jessica, don’t forget to buy a bike trailer for that baby, too. OK?


  1. Comment by Philly Jen | 07.13.2009 | 12:26 pm

    I’m a P-Dub (P.W. = Pioneer Woman) reader, and have been for many years.

    Thank you to all of Ree’s friends who pitched in!!!

  2. Comment by p.j. | 07.13.2009 | 12:36 pm

    I FINALLY made a donation this a.m., and it felt so good to do so. It’s so easy, people!
    As I mentioned the other day, I also found you via Pioneer Woman about 15 months ago.

    I am so glad so much was raised this weekend.
    I added “Susan Nelson” to the prayer for healing at my synagogue on Saturday, and rabbi repeated her name out loud. More good prayers for Susan.
    Take care, p.j.

  3. Comment by AthenaP | 07.13.2009 | 12:38 pm

    I’m happy to help, and was glad that Ree gave her readers the opportunity to be a part of your story. I hope you continue to exceed your goals, and I hope that the community continues to rally to support you!! Oh, and I hope I can get a Team Fatty t-shirt in my size soon (all I see is XL for women).


  4. Comment by Susie | 07.13.2009 | 12:38 pm

    fairly cool I must say!

  5. Comment by Jodi J. | 07.13.2009 | 1:06 pm

    I found your blog from pioneer woman’s site. I’m fairly new to this blogging business but I must say I love it. I have been thinking about you and your wife and family all weekend. I am an oncology nurse in Idaho Falls and see cancer on a daily basis. I applaud you in your efforts to battle cancer. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You are a superhero!

  6. Comment by Jamieson | 07.13.2009 | 1:14 pm

    Blog linking is incredibly powerful.

    Great results for the team – and hard to imagine that it is just 5 weeks away.

  7. Comment by Judy | 07.13.2009 | 1:35 pm

    It was so great meeting y’all this weekend! I had a great time and you’re so supportive!

    My ride report is here:


  8. Comment by Amy | 07.13.2009 | 2:02 pm

    Awesome! And Matt…you’ve done Team Fatty *and* the IA proud :)

  9. Comment by Shelley (@PeckishCyclist) | 07.13.2009 | 3:01 pm

    What a great and enormously moving experience at LiveStrong-San Jose. My Fatty team-mates are somehow even more impressive in person.

    Matt and Team Fatty, thanks for such a strong showing.
    Nick, Alicia, and Terry, thanks for letting me join your paceline and helping me survive the wind!
    Elden and Susan, thanks for this opportunity to help fight cancer. (Glad you caught the bald wig reference–folks will be calling me “Bozo” for years…)
    WIN Susan!

  10. Comment by Michael in TN | 07.13.2009 | 3:08 pm

    Thank you to Pioneer Woman and all of her generous readers!
    I love reading all the reports from the events, its certainly getting me pumped for Philly!

  11. Comment by Cyclechic | 07.13.2009 | 3:22 pm

    Livestrong was amazing, fantastic, fun and Inspirational! It was great meeting all of you and thank you, Elden, for making this happen. Win Susan!

  12. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.13.2009 | 3:25 pm

    I have to say that Team Fatty people are just the nicest folks! Bert and I met a bunch at the picnic on Saturday before the ride and we felt right at home. Matt – you rocked as team co-captain. THANK YOU!

    Happy to say we finished ALL 100 miles. Not nearly at Ryan’s pace, but we did complete the ride.

    The overall vibe during the ride was one of love and hope…the volunteers were GREAT! They kept thanking us for riding. Then we thanked them back. It was one big love fest.

  13. Comment by Jo | 07.13.2009 | 4:00 pm

    Loved the picture of team fatty at the starting line- it gave me goosebumps! I think Pioneer Woman is awesome too. Thanks for introducing me to her great site way back when.

  14. Comment by Nick | 07.13.2009 | 4:19 pm

    That’s really awesome (all of it). Pioneer Woman, as a member of Team Fatty Philly, I can’t thank you enough for helping us out.

  15. Comment by erin | 07.13.2009 | 4:20 pm

    i have to agree with kathleen–we drove to san jose from san diego and met up with everyone at the picnic on saturday. and team fatty people are definitely some of the nicest folks ever. a great big thank you to matt for all his work getting us together.
    we ran the 5k in our homemade team fatty shirts and i was amazed at how many people from the sidewalks shouted “win!” or “go team fatty!” as we ran by. it made those 3.1 miles of running a lot less miserable. and i think it speaks to the strength this team and this group of people has–not just at the san jose event, but in the larger fight against cancer.
    the whole thing was an amazing experience. next year, i hope to be back (on a bike this time).

  16. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 07.13.2009 | 4:30 pm

    Congratulations to Team Fatty San Jose. Matt you did an incredible job keeping us all motivated and informed especially in the last few weeks. I am very sorry I could not attend the ride in the end, hopefully next year. Good Luck to keep fighting Team Philly and Team Austin.

    And PW and her readers are awesome too.

  17. Pingback by RocBike.com | The RocBike Review » LIVESTRONG fundraising update! | 07.13.2009 | 4:31 pm

    [...] As you may know by now, I’m riding in the LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride in Philadelphia on August 23, along with fellow Team RocBike member Bob Anderson. I’m riding as part of Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting For Susan, about which more here. [...]

  18. Comment by Laura | 07.13.2009 | 4:37 pm

    I had a great time in San Jose – it was really cool meeting so many of Fatty’s friends, and Matt, you did an awesome job as co-captain. The 50 was enough for me(this year, at least). I nearly cried coming through the finish line, thinking about not only my own cancer story, but Susan’s, and Debbie’s, and Pam, and Karen, and Dawn, and Cole, and way too many others -

    Thanks to all of you for being in this fight.

  19. Comment by Ellen | 07.13.2009 | 4:48 pm

    Go team fatty and go Susan! Thank you for all that you have done and all that you do.

    Fan of Ree’s and now of fan of Fatty and Susan~

  20. Comment by Claire | 07.13.2009 | 5:29 pm

    Team San Jose did an awsome job, Matt’s speech was fabulous he is clearly a speech pro.

    P-Dub readers are amazing too, I am a fan of you both and have been for awhile :)

  21. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.13.2009 | 5:43 pm

    Monster-size kudos to Team Fatty – San Jose & the friendly and generous PW readers!

    Go Team Fatty Philly & Austin

    WIN Susan!

    Matt – the bald wigs & pose were a stroke of genius! Great job.

  22. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 07.13.2009 | 6:08 pm

    Hi, Shelley,
    It was great riding with you in San Jose. What a fantastic way to make new friends. We rode with two non-fatty cyclists, Chad and David, and I hope we made them want to be a part of this community. WIN SUSAN!

  23. Comment by MattC, SJ Co-Capt. | 07.13.2009 | 6:12 pm

    Hey everybody. Back home now, WHAT a weekend! Meeting the team at the picnic, then the Award dinner (to those who didn’t get to go, I’m SO VERY SORRY that we couldn’t take the entire team!) and then the EVENT! The LAF people make US feel like heroes, or better yet, RockStars! (oh wait…I think it was the Team Fatty jersey that did that, cuz EVERYBODY knew who we were!) And I can’t take credit for the Baldy wig idea..it was all Angie…she was a GREAT help throughout this for me..THANKS! And for everybody who helped out at the Picnic, THANK YOU! It turned out better than I could have hoped for!

    I have to admit that I was pretty nervous going up on stage after the dynamic stories by Rene AND then the Keynote Speaker Carly Fiorina (She was the CEO of Hewlet Packard a while back and is currently fighting breast cancer). But having the TEAM onstage with me helped a LOT (safety in numbers I guess). To Fatty and Susan, I can only say that this has been one of the GREAT honors of my life to assist you in this fight. You’ve somehow lit a fire in me Fatty (Dang it..turn OFF that blasted superpower!) and I guess I can only say that I have decided that I’m NOT done yet. I talked to Sara Appolito (the SJ mentor and my LiveStrong contact) and told her that I wanted to join Team Austin, because I KNOW that I can do better. I will contact the entire team by email tomorrow, trying to coerce any that will follow. I know that my brother Greg has been persuaded to go with me (hmm..maybe SOME of Fattys superpowers have worn off on me?) And Besides doing even MORE for the LAF in our FIGHT FOR SUSAN (as if that isn’t enough)…consider that LANCE will be there most likely. I’d really like to shake his hand someday. AND ride on his wheel for the 32 seconds or so that I can hold it. And if THAT still isn’t enough, I’m still hoping (as is the ENTIRE team I’m SURE!) that FATTY will also be able to join us. Meeting TWO heroes in one fell-swoop. It just couldn’t get any better than that. So Austin, count me in. Ride on Team Fatty, and WIN SUSAN!

  24. Comment by Joel | 07.13.2009 | 7:47 pm

    Starting at the front of the pack was a blast (as were all of the “wow, Team Fatty is fired up” comments from the announcers, and I had to eplain the jersey to quite a few people so there may be more people looking you up soon. And HUGE thanks to Matt for being a great co-captain.

  25. Comment by Valerie Crowell | 07.13.2009 | 8:33 pm

    It was a complete honor to be a part of Team Fatty. Super cool to see the police cars and our team ridin’ it like they stole it with the lights flashing. (I was lost in the dust after the third or fourth block) They looked great in the break away.

    Awesomeness describes the people I met this weekend who all joined up to Team Fatty Fight for Susan. Only one thing left to say.

    Win Susan.

  26. Comment by MattC, SJ Co-Capt. | 07.13.2009 | 9:04 pm

    OH..one more thought (not to be a whiner or anything)…but remember WAY BACK WHEN, when we had the ‘discussion’ about black jerseys, heat and such? I don’t recall you ever actually doing the experiment with the twins Fatty. However I will give you MY “perception”. On Metcalf hill (an ever-so-lovely 11% grade for 1.8 miles starting at mile 69) the temps were in the HIGH 90s (being kind here I believe), with NO wind whatsoever. Sure…fight the wind almost the entire ride and THEN it goes away? Well…I’ll just say it felt like I was now part of TEAM LAVA. But I also have to say that the hill was so painful that I don’t really think the color of my (AWESOME) Fatty jersey made one tiny diff. I’ve never climbed a hill with a cadence of TWO before. The jersey was just the scapegoat for MY lack of conditioning and a wickey climb too far into the ride for mere mortals. Some kid on a Bianchi (bib #20) flew up the hill like it was a flat. Punk. (a REALLY REALLY FIT punk). Just kidding, whoever you are # 20…you are a GOD! OK..back to my video editing and such. The Fatty jerseys will ROCK in Philly AND Austin (Liquid rock I mean…as in Lava). Just kidding Fatty..seriously, the jerseys are the best ones EVER!

  27. Comment by MattC | 07.13.2009 | 9:07 pm

    Uh…that’s “wicked” climb..must be heat-stroke or something.

  28. Comment by Sylvia | 07.13.2009 | 10:45 pm

    Did the announcer *really* say “Remember Elden said it’s a ride not a race” just before she blew the horn? That had me in stitches until people started blowing past me.

  29. Comment by Mike Roadie | 07.14.2009 | 4:46 am

    I am LOVING Pioneer Woman!!!!!



  30. Comment by Bridget | 07.14.2009 | 7:39 am

    I have been checking your site for some time…another one who had linked from Ree’s.

    Your family is bravery personified. When I watched the video you and Susan made, I couldn’t help but to feel honored to be in the “presence” of such courage.

    I don’t know what it is like to have my husband be ill. I do know, though, that cancer is lousy. Our oldest daughter was just barely five when she died of a brain tumor. What cancer fighters face is incredible.

    We have been keeping you in our prayers and will continue to do so. I made a small contribution this morning. I wish I were made of money so my donation would match how much I truly want to eradicate cancer.

    Every dollar helps. I am glad to be among the many honroing Susan.


  31. Comment by Pamela | 07.14.2009 | 9:30 am

    Truly wish I could help out even a little bit. All I do is pray for you all as you continue through this difficult trial. We lost my aunt(my mom’s oldest sister ) to her 15year battle with breast cancer and it’s spreading to other areas just a couple years ago. My battle here is for my husband, not cancer but a rare liver disease that will require a complete transplant-and so we live on medical disability awaiting the time the time he gets on the transplant list. Your story is truly an encouragement to many – thanks for sharing and not hiding behind a door.

  32. Comment by Fremont Mike | 07.14.2009 | 9:59 am

    I had a great time this last weekend with Team Fatty. The picnic was a fantastic way to meet the team! Thanks to Angie for making the hamburgers. I hope everyone’s burger was cooked enough. Matt was a great co-captain and a pleasure to ride with, especially working together those last 30 miles. I feel blessed to have been able to attend the awards dinner. It really gave me a new perspective and made me want to do more. God bless Eldon and Susan and all of Team Fatty. It feels great to have made a difference!!!

    I would really love to hear about other team members experiences on the ride.
    Feel free to contact me at
    mikesjones at yahoo dot com

    Mike (another fat cyclist) Jones

  33. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.14.2009 | 11:15 am

    Fremont Mike – thank YOU for BBQing up those wonderful burgers. YUM! They were so good. And your guacamole was the best. Go Team! WIN Susan!!

  34. Comment by City Girl in the Country | 07.14.2009 | 11:52 am

    Congrat Jessica! From one of Ree’s readers who is a die hard rock and roll fan…just had to make that point…and congrats on the awesome amounts raised!

  35. Comment by Lily | 07.14.2009 | 12:48 pm

    this is a wonderful blogging community. Pioneer Woman & the Fat cyclist-you guys rock!

  36. Comment by Kt | 07.14.2009 | 12:50 pm

    Woo hoo, Team Fatty- SJ!!! Awesome. Great video, I loved the bald-heads and posing at the end!

    I also enjoy reading PW, and am glad to see that both Fatty and Ree are using their superpowers for good. Wow.

    Come on, Team Fatty Austin and Philly!!! Let’s DO this thing!!

  37. Comment by Angie G | 07.14.2009 | 1:02 pm

    Fatty- We had such a blast representing Team Fatty in San Jose. I had an amazing time for my first century ride. I hung with the “boys” (Matt, Greg, Paul, Andy, etc) up through Saratoga then they dropped me like a bomb from a plane. You guys ROCK!! All the other riders were so nice. As Matt said we kept hearing “way to go Team Fatty” or getting asked quesitons about our team. He is right, I felt kind of like a celebrity.
    Everyone on our team were Great!! I felt like I’d known everyone for years. Kathleen is definitely worthy of those Sidi shoes. She hung with Bert and flew through Saratoga. Congrats I didn’t see her after that but am very confident she flew up Metcalf.And Kathleen, you were so worried.
    For me the hardest part of the ride was the last 50 miles. First we had 19 miles of 25mph head wind we hit at the 50 mile mark when we turned and headed north back toward San Jose. Holy Cow! I latched on to this poor guy like a tick and we ended up taking turns pulling each other. But the look on his face when he first realized I had attached myself to his back wheel was priceless. Then to escape the head wind you had to haul yourself 1.8 miles up Metcalf. I must call foul at putting this climb at mile 69. Totally not fair. However I eventually made it to the top. After that climb I must say the quads were a little peaved and basically screamed at every rise in elevation, even if it was just and overpass.
    Matt did an absolutely wonderful job as Co-Captain. I too will be signing up for Austin and hopefully adding some additional teammate to Fatty Austin from Nor Cal.
    Fatty and Susan, Thank You so much for being so strong and such an inspiration. This was a life changing experience. I am so proud of our team and the new friends I have made. See you in Austin!

  38. Comment by JamesInPhoenix | 07.14.2009 | 1:54 pm

    Welp Fatty it was a good time… except maybe that “hill” aka cliff face they call Metcalf… Yeah maybe I’m a whip but I really, really whished my cylcross bike had another gear on that climb… yeah I guess I’m a whip. All in all it was a fun ride and I’m really thankful for your willingness to open yourself and your life up like you have and invite us all in so that we can share this burden/adventure/experience with you. My 5 year old Ryan was so jazzed by the whole event that he is bound and determined to do it next year. I’m not kidding the whole ride back to Phoenix he was talking about his training schedule and needing to get a faster bike. You’ve lit a fire in him and it’s AWESOME! So I’ll need a team fatty jersey in size XXXS please…

  39. Comment by Janice | 07.14.2009 | 2:12 pm

    Although I didn’t give a lot, I was happy to be a part of this wonderful fundraising event.

    Thanks to Ree for introducing me to Team Fatty – God Speed!

  40. Comment by Jessica | 07.14.2009 | 2:50 pm

    Thank you so much for the win!! :) I can’t think of a better cause to donate money too, and I’m pulling for Susan.

    And I’ll probably have to get a bike before the bike trailer…and a soft seat since my last bike hurt my butt so bad I sold it. :(

  41. Comment by El Gato | 07.14.2009 | 3:54 pm

    The SJ event was a spectacular success! Thanks to Matt for pulling the team together.

    I did the 65 miler, because really, nobody should ever have to ride from Gilroy to MetCRAMP hill against that Devil Headwind.

    One the way back to town I hooked up with another Team Fatty member from the bay area, and a San Jose Bike Club speedster for a redline pace back home. Excellent ride with the Big Black Clydesdale Fatty Train.

    Thanks Matt for the lead.
    Thanks Fatty for the opportunity to play.

    WIN Susan!

  42. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.14.2009 | 5:46 pm

    I just posted some more photos. They’re a little “Kathleen centric” but for what it’s worth…


  43. Comment by Lori Scheel | 07.14.2009 | 6:21 pm

    I had the priviledge of being at the LAF top fundraiser dinner and watched Team Fatty take home the team prize. They stole the show. I laughed so hard at their skin heads and muscle pose that I almost peed my pants. What a great group of cyclists and cancer haters. Ride on!

  44. Pingback by Pink Bunny Ears»Blog Archive » Ooh with a figure that belonged on a magazine | 07.14.2009 | 6:29 pm

    [...] Fatty himself [...]


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