Fight Skin Cancer: Support Miles for Melanoma

08.17.2009 | 4:42 pm

A Note from Fatty: I recently met Ryan Littlefield, owner of Contender Bicycles, arguably the top Pro shop in the U.S. He told me some really interesting — and frightening — facts about cyclists and the amount of sun we absorb. To help raise awareness and funds for skin cancer research, Contender Bicycles is working with the Tour of Utah, top pros, and the U of Utah this week.

It’s a worthy and important cause: as cyclists, we — especially those of us who don’t like sunscreen on the top of our heads because it runs into our eyes — are at risk for skin cancer. And I have a personal stake in this: my sister Kellene — one of my incredible sisters who have been taking care of my family for the past several months — is a skin cancer survivor.

Please read the below release and take a few minutes to donate a few dollars toward this cause. If you ride in the sun, this directly impacts you.

Miles for Melanoma

On August 22, Contender Bicycles and members of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Utah will be participating in the Tour of Utah’s 1,000 Warriors bicycle race to raise awareness about skin cancer and melanoma, in particular. The cyclists will all be riding in support of Miles for Melanoma and have set a goal to raise $10,000 for the skin cancer research funding program at the University of Utah.

Their efforts go beyond this race. There will be a booth at the prologue of the Tour of Utah were they will be passing out sunscreen samples and promoting sun protection awareness. Also throughout the Tour of Utah, Jeff Louder and Dave Zabriskie will be wearing portable UV monitors on their helmets. This data will be gathered and used for a study at the University of Utah. A similar study looked at UV exposure in professional cyclists during the Tour de Suisse. The personal exposure levels determined during 8 stages were 30X higher than recommended levels. In fact, these UV doses were the highest personal levels reported to date among any sport.

It is estimated that half of all new cancers are skin cancer. This year alone in the United States, more than 1 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed and approximately one person dies from Melanoma every hour.

Please join Contender Bicycles and the Department of Dermatology at the University of Utah in their collective goal to raise $10,000 for this very important cause.

If you are interested in supporting this event, you can easily make a contribution. An online contribution can be made by following the steps below where you can either pay by check or with a credit card. All contributions are tax deductible and will be invested in skin cancer research at the University of Utah.

Simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Click here, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link that says GIVE TO MELANOMA RESEARCH (on bottom right).
  2. Select “I want to make a Gift,” then fill in the amount you want to donate.
  3. In the box marked “Special Instructions and Comments,” write “Miles for Melanoma” and list the name of your athlete.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish your contribution.

To track the progress and see who is leading the fundraising effort, click here.


Congratulations, Frank!

08.17.2009 | 7:56 am

200908170726.jpgThe most recent fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation exceeded my expectations in a huge way. When we started the contest for this beautiful bike — an Orbea Orca with the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group and PRO components — I assumed we’d raise at least triple the amount the bike would retail for, but hoped we’d actually raise $50,000.

Instead, we raised more than $136,922. This is just phenomenal.

And then came my favorite part: giving the bike away. Out of nearly 30,000 chances, selected #10,639 — which belonged to Team Fatty Philly Member Frank W, of New Jersey.

Frank will be riding in the Philadelphia LiveStrong Challenge this weekend. In fact, he was at the Team Fatty Philly training ride when my email notification arrived.

So, for the first time ever, I’ll get to meet one of the big contest winners! (I doubt the bike will have been shipped and built by then, so Frank will still be riding his old bike.)

Here’s what Frank had to say when he won the bike:

200908170753.jpgI almost fell off my chair when I read your email this morning. I must have read it 10 times and still can’t believe it! Thanks so much.

What can I say; I love cycling! From my childhood rides in Germany, to my frequent trips around the Jersey shore, I couldn’t imagine being without my ride. Being a graphics designer, I’m basically chained to a desk all day long and cycling is a great way to relieve some stress afterwards.

As most of you can relate, cancer has affected me in several ways. The disease claimed the life of my aunt and tried the same with my dad; but he kicked its butt!

I discovered Fatty’s blog about two years ago and he inspired me to get involved and to fight back. I look forward to the 100 mile ride in Philly next weekend.

And I will keep on fighting to beat cancer.

I love that someone who’s engaged in the fight against cancer and loves cycling won this bike, and I’m excited to hear about how much Frank loves his new dream bike.

Congratulations, Frank!

Crashed Out

08.15.2009 | 6:04 pm

This really was unlucky 13 — my 13th Leadville 100 — for me. I can no longer say I’ve never DNF’d out of a race.

And right now, I have to admit I’m taking turns pitying myself and considering the fact that I’m lucky to be alive, much less only mildly injured.

Here’s what happened.


I started the race feeling fine — healthy, excited, ready to race.

And then the climbs started and I felt really fantastic. I passed people by the dozens, quickly and without special effort. I got to the top of the first big climb — St. Kevins — in what felt like very good time.

Feeling fast and invincible, I started the 4-mile paved downhill. Like most of the people around me, I was going what felt like 30-35mph.

I was flying, and feeling great.


And then I was suddenly at the outside edge of the apex of a right-sweeping bend. On a wet road. at top speed.

And I was pointed off the embankment.

I grabbed two handsful of brake, but it didn’t do me much — if any — good. I flew off the embankment, and had one very clear thought as I launched into the air:

“This is how I die.”

The next moments were chaos and pain. Crashing, tumbling, and sliding. And then to a stop.

Here is the view from the road of what I crashed down. Rocky is standing approximately where my bike and I came to a rest.


That’s about 40 feet.

The reason I have this photo is because my sister Kellene and Bro-in-Law Rocky went back later to see if they could find my new Oakley Jawbones. Amazingly, they did:


Considering Rocky and Kellene had nothing to locate my glasses by but my addle-brained description of where I went down and a skid mark going off the road, I’m incredibly impressed (and grateful) they found those glasses.

But now, back to my tale of misery.

Lying in the Rain

I came to a stop on my back, with the most immediately intense pain coming from my right hip — though my right knee won the prize for bloodiest injury. I was both amazed to be conscious, and certain that I had better stay still, since I must have broken most everything.

I started yelling, not wanting to be left down there alone, because I didn’t think I could get back up to the road on my own.

Kevin, a guy in a Racers Cycle Service jersey, immediately stopped, yelled at me to not move, and worked his way down to me.

Over the next twenty minutes, Kevin wrestled my bike back to the road, gave me his vest to help me stop shaking so violently, and yell at other racers to go get a medic for me.

Meanwhile, it started to rain. Good and hard.

After a while, the pain in my hip receded enough that I thought I could try sitting up. That worked out OK, so I went ahead and tried to stand up.

at That didn’t work out so well. Immediately dizzy, I sat back down.

Five minutes later, I tried it again. This time, it worked. I was able to put my weight on my right leg. That was a huge relief — maybe I wasn’t as badly busted as I originally thought. I went ahead and climbed back to the road.

Finally, I was able to persuade Kevin to continue on and do his race — hopefully, even with the half hour (Or more? Hard to say, since I had no watch with me) he had spent with me he was still able to have a good race.

And then I stood in the rain for twenty minutes or so, soaked, freezing and shivering. And inspecting myself to see where else I was hurting besides my hip and knee. Here is the list I came up with:

  • My hands were cut and bleeding in multiple places
  • My left arm hurt
  • My lip was cut
  • My neck hurt
  • The small of my back hurt. A lot.

The Medical Tent

John, a race volunteer, came and picked me up in his truck, and loaned me his down jacket. I have never been so grateful for warmth, ever. He then gave me a ride back, telling me that once we got into cell phone range, I should call my crew.

But I don’t have anyone’s number memorized. Just my home phone. So I called home, told my sister Lori to give me Kellene’s number, and then got ahold of Kellene and told her I was enroute to the medical tent.

And then, at the medical tent, I surprised everyone. They had not expected customers so early. They got me a cot together, sat me down, and poked and prodded me. No guarantees, I was told, but it seems like I didn’t have any breaks. And I didn’t need stitches.

Yes, somehow I did a high speed crash down an embankment loaded with boulders and trees, and walked away.

So, really, I shouldn’t complain. I should be glad to be OK. And I am.

But look at my face (and hand) as I started making my way back to the hotel.


That’s the face of a guy who had a pretty bad day.

My Friends, Family, and I Are All Very Sophisticated

08.14.2009 | 4:59 pm

I just got back from a fun, casual ride along Lake Turquoise. What a great trail. Someday I want to come back here just to spend a few days riding.

But what’s really important is that Kellene and I did one of her jumping poses. And even more important than that is that unbeknownst to us, Kenny joined the pose, too.


I believe this may be my favorite photo, ever.

About the Orbea Contest

The Shimano / Orbea contest is now over. I’ve got all the data and am — when I can get a couple minutes, collating it and getting it ready to do the drawing. It’s not a minor task; there’s a lot of data from a lot of sources, and I’m busy getting ready for the race here.

In other words, just because you haven’t gotten notified you’re a winner yet, doesn’t mean you’re not a winner. I will get the winner chosen by Monday when I get home and can double-check all the data.

Meanwhile, consider this: thanks to your donations, Team Fatty is now the first team to ever cross the $600,000 threshold. And we did it on Susan’s and my 21st wedding anniversary. That means a lot to me. Thanks.


08.14.2009 | 8:31 am

GeoTagged, [N39.24875, E106.29456]

As witnessed by my wrist bracelet, I am now checked in. If you’re in the area tomorrow, do me a favor and clang your cowbell when #247 goes by.

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