2009 LiveStrong Philly Report: Day 2

08.26.2009 | 11:56 am

I want to start today’s post by saying that I had nothing to do with how well-cared-for and organized Team Fatty was for this event. That is all thanks to Team Fatty-Philly’s fearless co-captain, Jen. She put hundreds of hours into making it easy and fun for us all to get together, get to the start line, and hang out.


So let me echo what I have heard many, many members of Team Fatty-Philly say: Jen, you are awesome. Thank you so much.

And now, here’s my report of the day.

The Ride to the Ride

Team Fatty-Philly met at a hotel near the venue, to make parking and getting to the start line a little bit easier. I wanted a chance to hang out with team members, so I came down a little bit early.

Which all went fine, until about three minutes before it was time to go. Then my “pre-race purge reflex” kicked in, which I do not want to detail too thoroughly. Suffice it to say that just before any major ride or race, my body instinctively knows that it ought to get rid of anything it doesn’t need to carry.

And in short, by the time I got back down from my room to the parking lot, everyone was waiting for me. They gave me an ovation, which — considering what I had been doing and the fact that I was currently holding up 100+ people — was probably not deserved.

So we rode the five miles together, following our very own pace car.


Even as we did this mellow-paced, low-to-no-effort ride, I thought to myself, “I am not going to want to have to tack this on to my ride at the end of the day.”

We got to the gate with plenty of time to spare, so we had time to just mill around and talk before we could take our rightful spot at the front of the line.

Fool that I am, I stood up on top of a boulder and began to give a speech. Sadly for me, I had nothing to say. So I mostly just said, over and over, “Thanks everyone for coming out. It means a lot to me.”

Which everyone already knew, but it’s what I was thinking.

Oh, and I also stuck my arms out and waved my hands for applause a lot. This was surprisingly effective.


Oh, check out my right leg; the knee is still pretty swollen. It wasn’t hurting badly, though. Just a little bit stiff whenever I walked on it.

The Starting Line


I have to say, I loved having the biggest team at the LiveStrong Challenge. And I loved that everyone knew who we are and were excited for us. And I really, really loved that we got to be the team at the start of the line, with 6000 people behind us.


(Click here for a large version of the above picture)

The start time was delayed a bit, which gave me a chance to get a photo with Ethan Zohn, the winner of Survivor Africa. He was doing a shorter run since he’s currently in chemo treatment, but he says next year we should count him in to be in Team Fatty.


Then I talked with a reporter from the local NBC affiliate. We talked for about five minutes, from which they used a sentence fragment. Yes, not even a full sentence, where I explained what “Fighting like Susan” means, just the part where I mention she passed away recently.

I’m not happy about that, but that’s the way it goes. You can find the segment here.

My Plan

As we were waiting for the start, I told the team my ride plan for the day. Go out fast for a little while, just to see if I can stay with the police escort for a while. Then I’d hang out at the first rest stop for a while and just cruise the rest of the day, riding and talking with anyone who would put up with me.

Then we counted down the seconds and off we went.


And something happened to me. Namely, I felt an incredible rush of adrenaline and a strong aversion to giving up Team Fatty’s lead position.

So, along with about five other Team Fatty riders, I rode out of my skull, off the front and pulling anyone who could follow. My knee was sore at first…and then, magically, it wasn’t.

Almost before I knew it, there was the first rest stop. The one I said I was going to stop at and hang out for a while.

But I hadn’t been counting on being not just near the front, but at the front.

I just couldn’t make myself get off that train.

So I kept going, riding with the fast guys, and feeling nigh indestructible. I passed the place where you have to decide whether to ride 70 or 100 miles. My leg felt great. I was at the front of the lead pack. Of course I was going 100 miles.

And then, about thirty miles in, I faded. Hard. It was remarkable, really, how fast I dropped back. There I was, actually taking my turn at pulling the group, then I dropped back, and suddenly I couldn’t hang anymore.

I looked back, seeing if there was another group I could glom onto.

There was nobody.

So I pulled over to the side of the road and had a snack until someone else from Team Fatty rode up, and we rode together to the next aid station.

So Beautiful

I should say that my expectations for the Philly ride and route couldn’t have been more wrong. Specifically, I had expected that the weather would be miserable, based on the fact that the weather for the two days prior had been rainy and miserable.

Instead, the day was warm — but not unbearably hot — with declining humidity and a nice afternoon breeze.

Also, I expected that the route would be through an urban jungle. Instead, it was through the countryside, alongside beautiful old farms and 17th-century cemeteries, and through countless tunnels of dense trees.



And, most importantly, I thought the ride would be relatively flat. But it was not. No sir, it was most definitely not flat. Hills never lasted long — a few hundred feet — but they were steep and frequent. And since my whole climbing technique revolves around finding a climbing groove, these hills punished me. Punished me hard.

On one of them, I saw the devil. I rode by him, putting out a fist for a fist bump, and he acted like he was going to give me one … and then pulled away at the last moment, cackling evilly.

It was one of the most awesome moments of the whole ride.

Later, at the finish line, I got a photo with him.


You can see that in this photo I haven’t quite forgiven him, yet.

The People

What was really great about this ride — this whole event — was the people. Team Fatty was just incredible. I don’t know how many times I heard “Go Team Fatty” yelled out from the side of the road.

Or how many signs.


Others were incredible too. I’m sure that people who have done this kind of event a lot get used to it, but to me the whole unity of purpose combined with the celebration of having done something good really made the whole day feel important and special.

I rode a good chunk of the day alongside Chris Carmichael, who attends many of these LiveStrong Challenge rides. I think that having the honcho of CTS and a blogger called Fatty might have caused a tear in the fabric of time and space, but he was still a good guy to ride and talk with.

As the 100-mile course merged back with the 70 and 45 mile courses, I started coming across more Team Fatty members. As they passed me or I passed them, the greeting was always the same: “TEAM FATTY!”

I never ever ever got tired of that.

And then my 100 miles was up. I don’t believe I have ever felt so good at the end of a century, nor has a century ever flown by so quickly.

And for the first time ever, I wished for more.

The Finish

After the ride, I hung around the finish line, wanting to thank and congratulate Team Fatty members who finished after me. It was all I could do to not give them all a big hug, I was so excited to see so many of us finishing the ride, having accomplished so much.

And I got lots and lots and lots of photos with Team Fatty riders, all of them looking pretty much like this:


After a while, though, my effort started to catch up to me, plus I was still in an increasingly icky-feeling pair of bike shorts. I bolted back to the hotel, got something to eat, changed into clean clothes, and got back to the finish line.

I’m sure I missed seeing quite a few Team Fatty members cross the finish line, but I kinda had to, or I’d have fallen over. And probably gotten a weird fungus on my butt.

Wrapping up, LiveStrong Philly was an incredible celebration of having done something good — raising a lot of money to fight cancer.

Count me in for 2010.

PS: Jason Crane has a great list of other people’s photos and stories from the event. I’ve gone and read every one of them. Check out his list here. (And thanks, Jason!)

PPS: Almost all of the photos you see in this post come from Kevin, who spent his whole day photographing Team Fatty, from the start line to the road to the aid stations to the finish line. Thanks, Kevin! (Check out all his photos from the day here)

PPPS: Thanks to everyone at the LAF, not just for the day-to-day work they do in the fight against cancer, but for putting on a really uplifting event. Special thanks go to Colleen and AnneMarie, who helped me in too many ways to even start mentioning, because they’d get all bigheaded and demand raises and stuff.


  1. Pingback by RocBike.com | The RocBike Review » Team Fatty Philly: Other people’s words and images | 08.26.2009 | 12:04 pm

    [...] “2009 Livestrong Philly Report Day 2″ [...]

  2. Comment by Ken | 08.26.2009 | 12:13 pm

    Man- It’s killing me that I couldn’t be there.

    /starts looking at calendar for Austin…

  3. Comment by Frank | 08.26.2009 | 12:15 pm

    It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope I will be able to keep up with you in Philly 2010 :) Go Team Fatty!!!
    Fight like Susan!

  4. Comment by Jason Crane | RocBike.com | 08.26.2009 | 12:19 pm


    That’s all I’ve got. But it was a hearty huzzah.

    Oh, and the audio piece will be coming soon. I’ve got all the audio ready and am finishing the script.

    So again I say: Huzzah!


    Jason from RocBike.com

  5. Comment by NoTrail | 08.26.2009 | 12:22 pm

    I’m so lokoing forward to the Austin ride. It’s only too bad I didn’t have the funds to do all 4 this year.

    Fatty, are you joining your team in Austin?

    Absolutely. – FC

  6. Comment by dug | 08.26.2009 | 12:27 pm

    i want a raise too.

  7. Comment by mc | 08.26.2009 | 12:29 pm

    Well *that* explains it. I dropped off the massive quick start out of the gate knowing that I could stop at the first aid station and catch up with all of Team Fatty (and you of course)..only to find out no one stopped! Given this was my first century in a few years, I knew how important it was to ride at my pace and not try to catch up or I’d end up one as one of the poor smucks on the side of the road with cramps. SO, there I was a lone Team Fatty member riding my own private century. Was passed by many early on but my due diligence paid off as I passed many of those same folks who exploded out of the gate. Great job to Jen for organizing and planning. You are right, tough course, not sure I want to come back for next year.

  8. Comment by geraldatwork | 08.26.2009 | 12:29 pm

    Really wish I could have been there. Maybe next year.

  9. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.26.2009 | 12:33 pm

    Oh, yays — People of the Interwebs, my armpit definitely feels the love right now. Thanks.

    Now, if you loved the “Fight Like Susan” ribbons on our bibs, take a good look at Rider #2553 above, our own Lizzylou. The pink banners were her idea, and she’s the one who bought a kajillion spools of ribbon, brought Sharpies and a whole sewing kit of stuff, and drove 90 minutes each way on Friday to sit around crafting with me for hours to make every last Fatty visible on the course. Is she not awesome?

    Love you, all my Fatties! You are amazing!


  10. Comment by Lana | 08.26.2009 | 12:35 pm

    Since there is no way I am gonna be able to afford Austin this year (although I am gonna sign up as a virtual member), do you know when they will be opening up registration for 2010? I have a ton of fundraising ideas that I can’t wait to get started on…


  11. Comment by cribley | 08.26.2009 | 12:36 pm

    Look at those quads!

  12. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 08.26.2009 | 12:40 pm

    I just finalized my plans- I’m going to Austin! This was just too amazing an experience to leave it in all in (P)hilladelphia.

    Fatty, I believe we’ll have to start calling you Phatty, check out those legs and biceps!!

  13. Comment by hillbilly | 08.26.2009 | 12:47 pm

    I had an awesome awesome time….and it was great seeing you at the finish line…oh, and couldn’t agree more with ride report, beautiful, hilly, and I was ready for more.

  14. Comment by Andrea | 08.26.2009 | 12:48 pm

    You look very official up there on that rock Fatty!

    LIVESTRONG is an emotional experience one that is hard to explain. It’s being around cancer survivors, the families of those that passed away, all the stories, all the teams, all the individuals that make up the experience. You never have to explain to a soul why you are there or why you hate cancer.

    It was an honor to get to say hello and shake your hand on Sunday.


  15. Comment by AngieG | 08.26.2009 | 12:50 pm

    I felt the same way during the Livestrong San Jose. The overwhelming power of the moment still brings tears to my eyes. Its like for this brief moment in time you feel like you could accomplish absolutely ANYTHING!!
    There’s no pain, no anger, no negativitly at all. Only pure joy and strength.
    All of the individual drops in the bucket have congealed into a Tsunami. A Fight Like Susan Tsunami so powerful cancer doesn’t stand a chance.
    Thank you for unselfishly sharing everything with us and helping us see how powerful each of us can be. I can proudly say my life has and will be better for knowing you.
    I will look forward to seeing you in Austin.

  16. Comment by Joel P. | 08.26.2009 | 12:57 pm

    Congrats, kudos, ataboy or atagirl to every one from Team Fatty who participated in Philly. You make us cancer haters proud.
    Woulda’, Coulda’, Shoulda’. Woulda’ liked to have been a Team Fatty member in Philly, didn’t think I coulda’, I only learned about the team 3 weeks or so before the event, afterwards decided I shoulda’, been kicking myself hard all week. You can bet I will be there next year riding for Team Fatty. Must now pre-order 2010 Team Fatty jersey in preparation.

    Joel P

    PS. Fatty, I know what you mean about the people making this type of event. I am a multi-year participant in The Ride for Roswell for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo,NY and the atmosphere is amazing. Between the organizers, volunteers, riders, spectators, Police and Fire, the support, the thanks, the encouragement and as you said the unity of purpose is inspiring. It almost makes the ride effortless and you also almost don’t want it to end. Almost.

    PPS. Since I didn’t make it to Philly. A belated GO TEAM FATTY and thanks for what you do.

  17. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 08.26.2009 | 1:00 pm

    That’s a great picture of LizzyLou. Wish I could have been there.

  18. Comment by Nick | 08.26.2009 | 1:03 pm

    “I knew how important it was to ride at my pace and not try to catch up or I’d end up one as one of the poor smucks on the side of the road with cramps.”

    Hey, I resembled that remark! :D I knew that since it was my first century one of the hard parts would be pacing myself at the beginning. But, being in (the back of) the lead group for the first ~15 miles just felt so cool that I couldn’t resist. I ended up being one of the poor schmucks who had to get off the bike because of cramps on the Landis Store climb, but I don’t think I’d have done things much differently if I could.

    The camaraderie of Team Fatty and the event as a whole were awesome and I’m really looking forward to next year.

    After College’s speech on Saturday, I got to thinking: Elden, you and Susan just might be the best thing that’s happened to the LAF since Lance Armstrong.

  19. Comment by josh | 08.26.2009 | 1:17 pm

    great post, wish i could have been there.

    Is it sad to say i noticed that you wore the specialized shoes instead of your new sidi’s

    “fight like susan”

    The Sidi vs. Specialized shoe thing is for mountain bike shoes. I do not own a pair of road Sidis. – FC

  20. Comment by Rob L | 08.26.2009 | 1:19 pm

    Excellent I hope to make philly next year as part of Team Fatty.

  21. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 08.26.2009 | 1:26 pm

    I get choked up just reading this! I think I’d fall over on my bike if I was there because I was sobbing. What an amazing accomplishment! WIN team fatty!

    PS I’m glad you didn’t get a wierd fungus on your butt!

  22. Comment by KK | 08.26.2009 | 1:49 pm

    I agree that the people made the day special — so many fellow riders called out some variation of “Great job, Team Fatty” and the residents who sat out on their lawns with signs and balloons would yell “Here comes a Fatty – Go Fatty.”

    I’m in for 2010. I might be in for Austin 2009, too. It was that good.

  23. Comment by Doug | 08.26.2009 | 1:51 pm

    Nice front reflector – seems to me that drag caused your droppage? Err, the during the ride drop, not the pre-ride performance.

    Nice work Philly!

    It was a rental bike, though the rental worked just fine. – FC

  24. Comment by Tom | 08.26.2009 | 2:18 pm

    Awesome! Sitting here in Atlanta(ish) trying to figure out how to make it to Austin.

  25. Comment by curtis | 08.26.2009 | 2:20 pm

    Fatty – glad you had fun in Philly. My wife who is from there will be happy to hear that. I was one of the “fast guys” riding with you up near the front from miles 15-30 or so. I didn’t get a 2009 Team Fatty Jersey so you may not have noticed but I’ve already corrected that for 2010 (thanks T6). I was wondering what happened to you around mile 30. My “uh-oh, I don’t have it anymore” experience was a little farther up the road waiting for me. But, I recovered and I too thought I was feeling much better than I should have been from mile 80-95. I think there was someone special with us that day that pushed us along when the going got tough. Susan was helping you and I like to think that my brother-in-law Craig Nelson was there helping me.

    See ya in 2010. I hear Lance tells them to make the course harder every year, so I guess I better start training now. :-)


  26. Comment by db | 08.26.2009 | 2:22 pm

    You guys are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  27. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.26.2009 | 2:34 pm

    Fantastically excellent! Cheers to Elden and Team Philly!

  28. Comment by BikecopVT | 08.26.2009 | 2:44 pm

    (P)hilly was an amazing ride made special by the hard work of many people. Elden don’t sell yourself short. It may not have seemed like much to you but just being there meant so much to so many. I am so in for 2010. The question is only which city or cities?

    Fight Like Susan!

  29. Comment by kentucky joe | 08.26.2009 | 2:48 pm

    as someone who couldn’t make it to Philly despite good intentions, it looks like I missed a great event…there’s always next year.

  30. Comment by Rob M. | 08.26.2009 | 2:58 pm

    I met Fatty and Jen on Saturday.

    For those of you who haven’t yet met Philly Jen, it truly is your loss. Her energy doesn’t seem to have limits and her enthusiasm is contagious. Great job, Jen, for all the work for Team Fatty, Philly.

    Fatty, is soft spoken, reflective, and gracious.

    On Sunday, he caught up to me (I rode a much shorter route) about five miles from the finish. He slowed up so I could ride with him and we talked for a while. Clearly, I was holding him up and I was at my red line. He didn’t seem to mind. Riding with him was so special and I am grateful he didn’t just fly by. Because he could have.

    I offer my highest complement to Fatty and Jen that they were like best friends.

    I agree with KK’s comments above. The people were awesome. The team, other teams, the volunteers, and the people along the route. So many people were yelling encouragement to us Fattys.

    One example to share: There was a family of three outside their home on one of the remote, lengthy hill climbs. They were offering cups of free cold water to all the riders. The father was actually standing in the center of the road and passing cups to any riders who didn’t want to stop on the climb. His daughter was giving water to those of us who did stop. The mother was constantly filling plastic cups for the endless line of cyclists. Riders would thank them for the water and, without fail, they would respond: “No. Thank you for what you’re doing.”

  31. Comment by bobbieh | 08.26.2009 | 3:19 pm

    From Nick ~ “After College’s speech on Saturday, I got to thinking: Elden, you and Susan just might be the best thing that’s happened to the LAF since Lance Armstrong.”

    I have to agree with that!!!

    And I know why you did so well, Fatty ~ Susan was right there with you, sharing her spirit and strength and grace. Of that I have no doubt!

    YAY Team Fatty!!!

  32. Comment by Coco aka HM | 08.26.2009 | 3:25 pm

    Look at those guns!!! Are those things legal in Utah?

  33. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.26.2009 | 3:47 pm

    “…but to me the whole unity of purpose combined with the celebration of having done something good really made the whole day feel important and special.”

    That beautifully sums up my San Jose Livestrong experience!

    Sounds like you were in the zone for much of the ride…a wonderful place to be.

  34. Comment by Jamieson | 08.26.2009 | 3:52 pm

    FYI – TwinSix has the t-shirts back on pre-order – http://www.twinsix.com/gear/the-stuff/fat-cyclist/fatcyclist-win-t
    The Win T’s are now PRE-ORDER ONLY. If you were fortunate enough to have ordered this before Wednesday, it will ship out in the next few days. Any orders placed Wednesday through the end of the pre-order will ship out in early November. If you do not pre-order this t-shirt before September 1, there will not be any to purchase later.

  35. Comment by Powerful Pete | 08.26.2009 | 4:17 pm

    Awesome. Simply awesome. And thanks for the posts about this.

    Oh, and Fatty, there is such a thing as too much information. You know, the voiding stuff…


  36. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 08.26.2009 | 4:35 pm

    Unreal, I wish I could have been there too.

    Go Team Fatty, Fight like Susan !

  37. Comment by Haven (used to be Kt) | 08.26.2009 | 4:50 pm

    It sounds like it was an incredible experience. I rode here in Portland while you were riding there in Philly, so I was a virtual Team Fatty member. So even if I wasn’t there in Philly, I was with you in spirit.

    Although, you guys had Philly Jen, and she’s got enough spirit for several hundred people. Way to go, Philly J, you rock, seriously.

    Go Team Fatty!! Austin won’t know what hit it!! :)

    Fight like Susan!

  38. Comment by Mike | 08.26.2009 | 5:08 pm

    Awesome ride!!! The picture of everyone at the start is my new desktop background on my work laptop! :)

  39. Comment by Lizzylou | 08.26.2009 | 5:21 pm

    OMG!!! My picture is on Fatty’s blog!!! Somebody bring me oxygen! I’m going to swoon in geeky fan-girl fashion.

    Thank you for the nice comments Philly Jen, I really appreciate it. (And it was only 11 spools of pink ribbon). Incidentally, I was at the craft store today and out of curiosity, I checked, they are still out of pink ribbon!

  40. Comment by cdags | 08.26.2009 | 5:25 pm

    This was my fourth Livestrong Challenge Philly and easily 10x better than the rest thanks to Team Fatty. The Fatty love came at us all from every direction on every part of the ride.

    The climb up to Landis Store had certainly never seen me smile before but I grinned like a chimp climbing that bad boy this time around.

    Thanks to Jen, Fatty, Liz, Lana and the rest of the bunch. I can’t wait until Livestrong 2010. Hopefully I’ll be considerably less fat by then but I’ll always be a Fatty!

  41. Comment by Spruce Hill | 08.26.2009 | 5:46 pm

    Wow! looks like you all had a great ride! And you got to meet Ethan Cool!

  42. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.26.2009 | 6:32 pm

    Elden – Told Ya!

    ..that the LSC’s are awesome, and the LSC – Philly would be extra-awesome with Philly Jen! Great write-up, and great job, Team Fatty, Philly.

    Y’all ought to come join us in Austin. BTW, if you raise enough $$ they will fly you down and put you up in the LSC hotel – See? You CAN afford it!

  43. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.26.2009 | 6:36 pm

    I have a question about the first photo.

    Is Jen holding a Drum Majors’ baton that got cropped? Did her whistle fall out of her pursed lips?

  44. Comment by Lana | 08.26.2009 | 6:45 pm


    That is gonna be my goal for next year – I figure I did pretty good with only 3 months of fundraising this year, for next year I am gonna start in December… maybe 10 months will triple how much I raise (hmmm 24,000 cans is a LOT of cans) + some cool raffles I hope… but if you can do it, you give me hope that I can do it too!


  45. Comment by SpikeBlue | 08.26.2009 | 7:55 pm

    Thank-you Elden for putting together such a great team. It is always fun riding events like the LiveStrong event, but it is even more fun when you have a unified team. I don’t know how many times someone gave me encouragement (cause I really needed it – that course kicked my a**) and I never got tired of yelling “Go Fatty, Fatty, Fatty!” and meaning it in a positive way!

    The pink ribbons were great idea, too, since my riding partner didn’t have a jersey. Thanks for taking the time to put those together Lizzylou. I had several people ask about the jerseys and about the fat cyclist team. Hopefully, we will have a few more converts for next year. And someone grilling bratwurst at the end…

    Great job Team Fatty! See you in 2010.

  46. Comment by Redbird74 | 08.26.2009 | 7:55 pm

    It was so incredible to meet everyone this weekend. I came to the event with no riding partner in tow. Fortunately, Team Fatty is so freaking awesome that there were over 100 partners on the course. Every time a Fatty came by or I came up on them, there was automatically someone to chat with for a bit and tie in with.

    That course was plenty hard. I got shot out the back right out of the gates and was also in no mans land for about 10 miles going it alone. Thanks to everyone who rode with me, really made the day fantastic. Clint, Clay, Chad, Todd, Nick, Lana, Dana, Mike and everyone else I met and rode with whose name I can’t remember (I met a lot of people and I’m BAD at names), thank you!

    I don’t know if anyone else saw the kid in the sweet full Rock Racing kit (I know you saw him, Lana!), but one of the highlights of my day was seeing him at about mile 6 or 7, 10 yards into someone’s front lawn after going straight through a hard left at the bottom of a hill. He was OK as he was on his feet and picking up his bottles and everything else that he yard-saled. Okay, that was mean-spirited, but it did make me smile a little.

    The real highlights of the day were how happy everyone was for Team Fatty, the devil yelling “Fight Like Susan” and giving me a high five on both hills, and taking a picture with Elden at the finish line. Class act. My wife and mother-in-law are so proud to have been a part of the team as well and we’re recruiting new members for next year’s challenge. T-shirts and kit are pre-ordered. Looking forward to seeing you again next year, Elden.

  47. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.26.2009 | 8:08 pm

    Clydesteve, there was a glitch in the software that controls my animatronic warrior robot face — hence the momentary lack of consistency in my expression.

    It took a small army of code monkeys, not to mention a lot of bananas and some peanuts, but eventually I wound up with a smile back on my face.

    High command suggests consistent administration of chocolate products in order to avert similar system malfunctions in future.

  48. Comment by MerlinRob | 08.26.2009 | 8:19 pm

    I have ridden tons of centuries and charity rides and none were half as amazing as Philly. When someone here asks how the ride was my response is consistently awesome or too cool for words (“thanks Elden for articulating what I felt in your first post about Philly”).

    Elden, I am not sure what you mean about fading. When you blew by me with Chris Carmichael at ~40 miles, I had to jump hard to get back on your wheel and stay there. Somehow riding with the two of you made me find that extra gear for the next ten miles or so. I was sorry to see lose you a bit after the Landis store. But it was great to see you at the finish and introduce you to my family.

    The people all along the road were simply amazing. My encounter with the devil on the climb to the Landis Store went like this:

    Devil: “The top is just around the next bend”
    Me: “If you are lying, I am going to come back down here and slap you silly.”
    Devil: “Now why would you trust Satan” and then a big push in the backside to help me up the hill.

    I know I got wings in the closing miles when I passed a family on the side of the road cheering and realized that one of the young girls sitting in a chair had the bad head of a chemo patient. It really put an exclamation point on why I was there.

    All these moments, and others, will live on forever as part of a very special weekend. I would love to make Austin this year but don’t think it will happen. Next year I will do at least one or the other (and hope to do both.

    Thanks to all the members of Team Fatty for your friendship, your support and your love.

    A special thanks to Philly Jen for all the organizational work to make Team Fatty Philly truly spectacular.

    An extremely special thanks to Elden and Susan for their courage and grace in sharing their story and starting something truly world-changing.

    And last, but not least, a shout out to Dylan Trakas of Livestrong (a former student of mine here at Sewanee) for all his work in making the event the success that it was.



  49. Comment by PhilaUte | 08.26.2009 | 8:26 pm

    “…lots and lots of photos with Team Fatty riders, all of them looking pretty much like this:”

    Really? But did the rest of them smell as bad as I did by the end of the ride?

    Elden, perhaps your greatest demonstration of gratitude and enthusiasm was your willingness to put your arm around so many stinky people, one at a time, and smile…like you really enjoyed it.

    Many thanks to you, PhillyJen, and everyone else who made the event so meaningful. It was a great experience, and I am already looking forward to next year.

  50. Comment by Max | 08.26.2009 | 9:07 pm

    Fatty.. I just can’t tear my eyes away from those quads!! :D

    Congrats on what sounds like a great ride. :)

  51. Comment by Sarah Goodyear | 08.26.2009 | 9:09 pm

    What an honor it was to ride as part of Team Fatty last Sunday.

    Elden, when I saw you at the finish line you asked me how my day was and I think I said it had been really hard. Wrong answer.

    Sure, I was riding way undertrained, on three hours of sleep, coming off a two-hour predawn drive from Brooklyn, having not eaten well at all the day before.

    So what.

    The support I felt from other Team Fatty members, almost none of whom I had the time to meet, from other riders, and from the people along the side of the road made it one of the most incredible rides I’ve ever taken.

    But what really made it special is that even when I was bonking, truly wondering if I was going to be able to finish the 70 miles, I kept telling myself that I had to fight like Susan. And that idea made it seem like anything was possible.

    Thanks for being there at the finish line, Elden. But more than that, thanks for being at the start — at the start of this wonderful thing called Team Fatty. You have created something so beautiful out of this terribly ugly disease. Susan did, too.

    I’m humbled to ride with Team Fatty.

    Fight like Susan.

  52. Comment by whitp | 08.26.2009 | 9:12 pm

    Those LiveStrong events are amazing and inspiring and NOT your typical century. They always throw in some punishing section that makes you want to cry!:) Glad you had such an amazing trip! take care of that knee! We are in for Team Fatty 2010!!
    Fight Like Susan!

  53. Comment by bo | 08.26.2009 | 9:25 pm

    Glad you had a good weekend to cheer you up, fatty. Looking forward to seeing you down in the TX Hill Country. We don’t have mountains, but there are a couple dirt mounds out here…

  54. Comment by MattC | 08.26.2009 | 9:54 pm

    HEY! The Devil made the trip to Philly! (seriously…he’s the SAME devil we had in SJ!) He was great fun on the route…I saw him in at least 3 different places during the day, and finally hanging out at the village posing for pictures with us.

    Andrea, Angie, Kathleen have all mentioned it…being there was the most awesome feeling! Now all you Philly Fatty Folk know what we mean! It’s addicting! So…keep fundraising and show up in Austin! It’s that easy! I mean, a plane flight, rental car and a hotel and you are there for a few days…small world, BIG event, GREAT Team-Mates! How can it get better than that! And I suspect Austin will be the Grand-daddy of them all (being Lances home turf, and him actually BEING there!) A MILLION DOLLARS! Fatty mentioned it…the new goal. Is it possible? Look what we’ve done so far. I think yes. It IS possible. Rock on Team Fatty!

    And I finally got to watch the video tonight…Elden, you (and Jen too!) did GREAT!!! Funny how you mention not remembering much about your dinner. I was SO nervous…Saber-Tooth-Butterflies were churning away. While everybody else was eating, laughing, and enjoying the experience, and I could barely choke down my dinner….still don’t even remember what it was (but I do recall that the Cycles Gladiator wine was nice!) Having thirty members of Team Fatty with me up there onstage helped immensely, and is surely what got me thru it! The entire weekend was just SO amazing! And now we have only one. I am SO looking forward to it! Just a month and a half away! The biggest Fatty gathering EVER! The Tsumami from Susans ripple. Here we come Austin! See you there!

  55. Comment by Russell | 08.26.2009 | 11:59 pm

    El Diablo was at the Seattle LSC as well! He is a really cool guy. I wish I could have joined you in Philly! I look forward to next year’s events.

  56. Comment by buckythedonkey | 08.27.2009 | 4:27 am

    I love this photo: http://tinyurl.com/r6bw3s

    Allez Team Fatty!

  57. Comment by Mary from NC | 08.27.2009 | 6:59 am

    Dear Fatty and Philly Fatty Team Members
    Thanks for an amazing weekend. Many of you have written about how you were able to connect with each other; I got to reconnect with my husband’s family- seeing nephews I haven’t seen for 3 years and sharing a great ride with my sister-in-law. I would agree with what everyone has said, the ride itself was challenging and I trained a lot in the mtns of NC for this ride. Not one hill popped you up over the next, lots of tight curves after a downhill stopped me from gaining speed. As I rode, I thought to myself- this is what fighting cancer is all about. Never easy, sometimes a surprise around the corner, strangers offering encouragement in unexpected ways.
    On the course I spent some time with other Fatty members, riders for other teams and by myself. It was nice to have some time to reflect, thinking about my Dad who died of cancer a few years ago. And, thinking about ways how to carry the enthusiasm, passion and commitment forward so that someday, somewhere someone’s battle with cancer ends in a positive way.

  58. Comment by Andy Reed | 08.27.2009 | 8:01 am


    Great ride, although there is almost universal agreement that the climbing on the century loop was in reality almost double what was posted by LIVESTRONG.

    You went out pretty fast, I was a the back of that lead group until a dropped chain forced me to fall off a bit. I got to the first rest stop (with the colonial soldiers) in about an hour- I think you were just in front of me. I didn’t officially meet up with you until rest stop number two, where we actually got to talk for a few minutes and were in agreement that singlespeed was superior to geared bikes.

    The climbs were fun- since I usually ride SS, I usually like to hammer the climbs in a big gear. “Fight Like Susan” worked quite well as repetitive climbing mantra.

    About mile 70 or so, I passed a woman in a Fatty jersey who was doing the 45 mile loop- she said you had passed her a few minutes ahead of me. After that, one of my goals was to try and catch you. So after that, it was hammer time for 30 more miles, although I did take one more rest stop. I ended up finishing a few seconds behind you. Ride time for me was like 5:20ish, which wasn’t bad on a hilly course and riding a 1986 Raleigh 12 speed.

    What a day! I’m already committed to next year. Allez Fatty! Allez!

  59. Comment by Shawn | 08.27.2009 | 8:02 am

    Glad you enjoyed biking kinda-sorta in my back yard! Gotta love those rolling hills! :) Now I’m sorry I skipped out this year. Will try for 2010!

    Thanks Fatty!

  60. Comment by 100poundsago | 08.27.2009 | 8:12 am

    The Devil giving the “Devil Fingers”…..very cliche.

  61. Comment by Andy Reed | 08.27.2009 | 8:15 am

    I think my comment to the Devil on the Oysterdale road climb was “Sell you my soul for a beer.” He laughed.

  62. Comment by cece | 08.27.2009 | 8:38 am

    I have only been reading this blog for a bit over a week now and have hardly had a dry eye yet! Just finished a century for the Leukemia Society and am ready for something new. I have found it! As an actual fat cyclist and a female, It has been hard on my vanity to consider putting a Team Fatty jersey on the bod…but yesterday on my ride it came to me….I can add “Raising money and cycling my fat ass off so that one more person does not need to die from cancer!” Lots of cancer deaths in my family. I am joining Team Fatty! Check out my blog if you want.

  63. Comment by g00z | 08.27.2009 | 6:50 pm

    I made it into a picture on fatty’s blog!!!! (4th from the left in the roll out pic)

    Late to comment party here, but this was the best ride ever!!! It was sooo awesome meeting everyone and riding in such a strong team. There were fatties everywhere!!! I too went out with fatty and fatties in the lead group, it was very cool. I loved being a peloton right behind the police escort. I could only hang on for the first 18 miles, then i got dropped like a bad habit when the climbs started in earnest. But it was worth it.

    Elden, so cool of you to greet each and every fatty finisher, you surprised me when i rolled in, all i could manage was “hi!?!”

    What a perfect day, wish i could do Austin. Will be doing Philly again for sure.


  64. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.27.2009 | 11:30 pm

    I thought the Devil looked like someone I had seen before. He is the same guy who was the Devil at the Seattle Livestrong Challenge!

    Really – ask Pammap.

  65. Comment by chefjt | 08.28.2009 | 2:46 pm

    words don’t describe the whirlwind Tasmanian devil we all know and love as PhillyJen. Her energy was boundless. I rode with her and Pat until the first rest stop, then I lost her. I came across Pat a few more times during the ride, but I honestly can’t count how many times I heard some form of “Allez Fatty” over the 70 mile loop. Being part of something so significant was the highlight of my summer…and I get summers off, so that’s saying something! Already ordered my 2010 gear, I’m in!!

    PS. Now I know why I couldn’t get into the stall of the lobby men’s room at the hotel! Jen can we find a hotel with larger public bathrooms next year (LOL).

  66. Comment by Wine Dog | 08.30.2009 | 9:08 am

    I think you’ll find that the Philly experience/feeling will stay with you and everyone who participated for a long time. It’s still very emotional for me and it’s been a couple of months now. There’s something to be said for knowing that you did all that you could to fight back this horrible disease. I hope that you can make all the rides next year, I know your San Jose Chapter would love to see you. We blew up our legs chasing the police escorts in San Jose, all except Ryan.:) I’m ready to ride next year!

    Now I don’t know what the Devil was doing in Philly but in San Jose he was at the top of Metcalf Road pouring ice water over the riders. Here he was the #1 fundraiser too. And number 1 in my book at the top of that hill.

    Until then, we will Fight Like Susan.

  67. Pingback by Share Time: September 2009 Edition | Silent Eagle | 09.1.2009 | 10:17 pm

    [...] Out A rough end to a tough bike race, just a week or so after “Susan’s Win”. 3. 2009 LiveStrong Philly Report: Day 2 This Utah cyclist bikes almost literally in my backyard, soon after his crash in Leadville for the [...]

  68. Comment by Gary Stewart | 09.11.2009 | 11:02 am

    Some photos from the top of Oysterdale here:


  69. Comment by Colleen | 06.14.2010 | 9:11 am

    I have been following you for a bit but this is my first post. My brother and I will be riding Philly this summer for the first time. I have been active with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the past several years but was looking for a new event. Are you still accepting teammates?? Also, any advice for first time Philly riders??

    keep doing what you are doing, it is amazing!!!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.