How Lance Decided this Would Be His Last Tour de France

06.29.2010 | 10:42 am

The cycling world is all a-flutter with the latest news about Lance Armstrong, announced — as is all important news these days — via Twitter:


As a cycling fan, chances are you have already seen this tweet, or at least heard about it.

What you do not know (until now of course) is why Lance has decided — again — to retire (again).

The truth is, I helped him arrive at that decision.

A Fateful Phone Call

A couple nights ago, Lance called me. He does that a couple times per week. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?

Lance: Hey, Fatty. It’s Mellow Johnny.

Me: Hi Lance.

Lance: Hey, I want a nickname too. Call me “Mellow Johnny,” OK?

Me: OK. Did you know it’s 4:18AM here, Mellow Johnny?

Lance: Oh, sorry. I can never remember whether to add or subtract five hours.

Me: Don’t worry about it. You sound kind of down. What’s going on?

Lance: My goiter. Hurts like crazy, Fatty.

Me: You should have the team doctor look at that.

Lance: You think I’m going to let him see this? The whole team would know about it in about ten seconds.

Me: Probably true.

Lance: So I’ve been thinking. Maybe it’s time I hang up the ol’ helmet.

Me: OK.

Lance: But I mean for real this time. For keeps.

Me: OK.

Lance: But if I did that, I’d lose all the perks of the job. I’d never win another TdF.

Me: So keep racing.

Lance: But I think I’m just worn out.

Me: So stop. You’ve had a good, long career.

Lance: But what if I could have had a really good year next year, but I quit this year?

Me: You sound conflicted.

Lance: You don’t know the half of it.

Me: I’ll tell you what. Make yourself a PRO / CON sheet. Highlight the points that matter the most to you. I think that will help you clear up your mind on the matter.

Lance: OK, I’ll get right on that. Thanks, Fatty.

Me: Good night, Mellow Johnny.

PROs and CONs

Then, this morning, I got a priority overnight package from Europe. Curious, I opened it up, and found the following.

Page 1:

And page 2,:


If you ask me, this explains a lot.


LiveStrong Challenge Seattle 2010 Report

06.28.2010 | 10:36 am

A Note from Fatty: Steve Peterson (ClydeSteve) is the co-captain of Team Fatty Seattle. Should I ever grow up, I hope it’s to be like Steve. Here’s the video they showed of him at the LiveStrong Challenge Appreciation Dinner, where Team Fatty was recognized for both the Team Time Trial and Team Champion awards!

And now, here’s ClydeSteve’s report from the LiveStrong Challenge in Seattle a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday June 19. Rain. Actually, lots of it. There was so much rain that the Seattle Center dictated that the Team Fatty tent, to be located on the LiveStrong Team Lawn, would instead be on a paved back alley! I had great help setting up the Team Fatty get together, thanks to team mates Lesley Jacobs & her husband, Ken Yu, Steve Payne and Jeff Payne (no relation). All of these great teammates donated snacks, including a delicious decorated cake. Thanks also to my two wonderful children, Zach & Joanna, who came up to Seattle to shop and also helped me set up the tent and sat in the rain to guard the cake. What with the rain and all, only about 15 Fattys showed up to say “hi”, so I had an awful lot of cake to myself.

I wonder if that had any bearing on my feeling kind of slow Sunday?

The Appreciation Dinner

Satuday June 19th, in the evening. At the LiveStrong Appreciation dinner, Team Fatty was represented well with 4 full 10-person tables. I sat with an all-star cast of Fatties, including teammates Mike ‘Kamala’ Schechter, Tim Tiscornia and Adam Zivin and our guests.

They had the highlight of the evening early when the event staff played the pre-recorded video award acceptance speech for Team Fatty’s two awards (Team Champion and Team Time Trial).

In this marvelous presentation I made an inexplicable mistake. I dedicated the award to a fictitious person. Now everyone thinks this is hilarious except me. I intended to dedicate the award to Mary E. Moore, mother of teammate Mary C. Moore, also mother-in-law of teammate Russell Rogers. Russell and Mary lost their mother to cancer just last month. Fortunately for me, Russell informed me that Mary had a wonderful sense of humor and would have laughed at the mix up.

Actor Evan Handler started out the live & official events of the evening with an entertaining talk and a different perspective for cancer survivors. The ‘cancer survivor’ tag is one the Lance Armstrong foundation likes to use instead of cancer victim or somesuch, feeling it conveys more of a sense of engagement and fight. Evan prefers to think of himself as cured; someone who has beat the odds and beat cancer. After 25 years, I guess he gets to call it what he wants.

Lance Armstrong’s friend ‘College’ gave a great talk about what LiveStrong does in the very important areas of survivorship and patient advocacy and coordination of benefits. More importantly, my table won the door prize by being intelligent, tuned in and diligent. What was the prize, you ask? A Flip HD 8Gb digital video camera for each of the 10 people at the table. Tim Tiscornia gets the credit for suggesting the correct answer and looking thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical while doing so. The rest of the table gets credit for going along. We rocked! I suggest you get yourself to the Appreciation Dinner at your next LiveStrong Challenge to rake in the goodies.

The Ride

Sunday June 20th. LiveStrong Challenge ride. The day looked fair, and I could not wait to get to the starting line. In fact I was so anxious to get to the starting line that I left my duffle of dry clothes and wallet at my brother’s home. Then I got stopped by a very kind City of Seattle policeman who noticed I had failed to secure my seat belt. He also discovered my failure to carry my driver’s license. Since this made me a bit later than I had planned, I sent Zach & Joanna ahead of me from the 5th & Harrison parking garage for coffee. Leaving my sunglasses on the pickup bumper, I sped out of the garage and grabbed my coffee from Joanna racer style, on the fly. It was exhilarating.

I eventually found a spot toward the back of the 100-mile start section next to teammate Jeremy Everitt and then discovered to my horror that my eye protection had turned into truck keys. Truck keys that my fabulous kids intended to use driving around Seattle. I had the presence of mind to phone the kids and talk them in to key tossing distance so they could go back to the pickup and get the camera and get a picture of me finishing later that day. This would be a momentous occasion, because to date, no one beside Elizabeth Kreutz, the LiveStrong official event photographer has ever snapped a picture of me finishing a major bicycle event. It’s like I am a vampire to everyone else.

The start was fairly uneventful, really. Jeremy and I just followed the crowd on the actual route. It was a lot more exciting last year when we made our own route in the downtown Seattle area. I met up with Tim Tiscornia at the predetermined location just as we exited the I-90 Express Lane onto Mercer Island. We had a fabulous time riding together under gray skies until the gray skies took a big PNW dump on us.

After that it became increasingly apparent just who had fenders and who did not. If you had a grit-filled face, arms and legs, you were following one of the riders who chose to go fender free. I was surprised to find that I could still do 40 mph descents on wet pavement with no eye protection. I am generally a big sissy about needing to cover my eyes.

Tim did not bring a rain jacket, and inexplicably I felt the need to suffer with him by not pulling out my rain jacket until the 70/100-mile course split where he decided to go the short route. I was sorry to split up with Tim (the wimp), but really glad to finally put on my rain jacket.

Miles 36 through 66 were kind of a wet cold blur. I remember finally stopping at the mile 66 rest stop and sitting down thoroughly chilled and powering down about 5 gels/bars/ PB&Js/etc. I just could not get warm.

201006280747.jpgI met Matt ‘Ibis’ Kreger there and he was feeling a little less than energetic as well. Matt said: “I don’t know if I have 38 miles left in my legs.” I was too tired to do the math, but felt the same way. Fortunately, we only had 34 miles to go. A bit of fast riding on West Sammamish Way and we were warmed back up for the-wall-they-call-Village Park Drive. About 1.2 miles of steep, I passed a number of riders who had to get off and push or stop for a cramp out.

Last year I didn’t even notice any uphill after Village Park on the way down to Renton. This year the flats had hill on them. I’m not complaining, mind you. I was just out of shape. But the new artificial knee never made a complaint. Titanium is funny that way, so stoic and all. But I was really pooped when I got to the Renton rest stop. I was only 15 miles out but had mentally gotten to the point of just slogging.

I ate a Honey Stinger and took off, and an amazing thing happened. Right after teammate Lief Zimmerman passed me doing about 24 mph on his ‘bent, I got an unreal surge of energy. Honey, answered prayers of concerned loved ones, a competitive urge to catch up with Lief? Perhaps all three, but suddenly I was rarin’ to go! It is kind of the way it is with those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes they are down, going it alone with outrageous endurance, and sometimes things go pretty good, and someone on their team pulls them along. Anyway, I was eventually able to close on Lief, after he stopped at a public park to use the facilities, and was happy to have a hometown Seattle commuter guide me in through the steep streets of Seattle.

As we were nearing the Seattle Center, my phone started ringing. Zach reported that the camera and the pickup keys were locked in the pickup and they could not find a locksmith on Sunday. Yes! My string of no family or friend-taken finish line photos remains intact! Maybe I am a vampire.

Oh, I found out that fame has its advantages. An hour after I got in, Zach & Joanna had still not located a locksmith. I went out to the LiveStrong Village to see if one of the clothing vendors maybe just maybe had a garment on a wire hanger. I was stopped by an event worker, a foreman for the company that does the set up of equipment for all the LAF events. He had seen me on the video awards speech during the Appreciation Dinner! The guy went out of his way to find a coat hanger I could use to break in to my own car. I was amazed and humbled by his willingness to go out of his way to help.

PS: Congratulations to Yann Bertaud, the winner of the Shimano / Sycip custom bike contest! Yann’s raised a lot of money ($2290 so far) in the LiveStrong Challenge, and he’s been doing it for all the right reasons — in support of a friend who’s fighting cancer. Check Yann’s LiveStrong page out here. So I’m really excited that Yann’s the winner of the bike.

Yann hasn’t decided whether he wants a cruiser or a road bike yet — a fun choice to have to make!

Kokopelli 2010, Part II: Enforced Leisure

06.23.2010 | 11:20 am

Every time I’ve ever ridden the Kokopelli, there’s been some big central event that winds up being the standout memory for the whole trip. After the first day of riding, I wasn’t sure what that standout memory was going to be. The heat and thirst? My pride in the way Lisa powered through the first day, getting stronger as she went? Jumping into the Colorado after the ride? Relaxing and eating in the shade at our camp?

All good memories and stories. But none of them would wind up being the big standout. That would — surprisingly — come on day two of the ride.

Why “surprisingly?” Well, provided you ride the Kokopelli Trail the way we did — start from Moab, camp at Dewey Bridge, finish in Loma, CO — the second day’s riding is much easier than the first day’s. Where the first day feels like nothing but huge climbs — 9000 feet of climbing in 60 miles or so — the second day has only a few thousand feet of climbing, spread out over 80 miles.

So the second day should be the day where we just spin along, taking in the big desert views, putting lots of miles on our bikes.

As it turns out, things sometimes don’t go as you’d expect.

Good Start

We got started fairly early in the morning and began the day with some of the funnest trail on the Kokopelli; the section right after Dewey Bridge is rolling hard-baked desert doubletrack with occasional short, technical, ledgy climbs.

On a singlespeed, you have to go full-tilt into these kinds of moves; you won’t get to the top without considerable momentum at the bottom. So, as I attacked one of these moves, the move . . . counterattacked. Specifically, I took the left line and misjudged the flexibility (or lack thereof) of a scrub oak’s branch. I hit the branch with my left arm; the branch didn’t give, and I bounced to the right, madly pinwheeling my arms and kicking out of my pedals.

It was a decidedly ugly save, but I celebrated anyway. I remained on my feet, with nothing but a trivial cut on my arm.

Sadly, my new FattyFly SS — my beloved bike with the custom paint — took a little more damage than I did.


When this happens, you have the choice of getting upset, or not. A long time ago, I developed the philosophy of not. It’s a bicycle. A tool. A means to an end, not the end itself. It will get beat up as I use it the way I like to ride it.

So I only cried a little bit.

Fateful Moment

We crossed the pavement that led back to camp — our 90-minute ride on dirt could have also been an easy 10-minute downhill road ride, but what what fun would that be? — and started yet another section of desert singletrack. As Kenny and I rode side-by-side for a few minutes, I asked: “So, now that you’ve had it for a while, what do you think of the belt drive instead of a chain?”

“I like it, but I don’t love it,” said Kenny. While you don’t have to lube it, he went on, you do have to maintain it in other ways, and squeaking and popping were a problem for him.

By the way, that’s foreshadowing right there.

Lisa and I rode ahead for a little while. After losing sight of Kenny and Heather, we stopped and got something to eat while we waited.

In a few minutes, Heather rode up to us. Alone.

“Kenny’s belt just broke,” she said. “He has another one, but it’s probably not the right size. He’s trying to make it work, but if he’s not here soon, he’ll have to go back to camp for a different belt.”

“Don’t worry,” I replied. “I’ll use The Secret to bring him here.

And sure enough, Kenny appeared, about ten minutes later. But he wasn’t on his bike.

Which goes to show, I guess, that I needed to be more specific when using The Secret.

But Kenny had used his time running over to us to come up with a plan. A really good plan.

Kenny’s Plan

You should pay attention to this part, because the plan’s a really good one, as I believe I have mentioned.

“I’m going back to camp to get a new belt for my bike,” Kenny said. “I’ll fix my bike, then drive Elden’s truck over toward Westwater. You guys go on ahead and I’ll meet you there, we can fill up with water from the truck, and we can keep going from there.

Kenny then elaborated, “I’ll drive to the railroad trestle right before the ranger station — since that’s where the trail meets the road — and then get on my bike and ride on the Kokopelli back toward you. But if you get to the trestle before me, continue on to the Ranger Station so you won’t have to wait to get water.”

Here, I’ll draw a helpful map, for those of you who like hand-drawn maps:


So, Lisa and I were to look for Kenny at Meeting Place #1 (or just be intercepted by him along the trail), and if we beat him there, take the 3/4-mile-long road (or, for those of you who prefer metric, that’s 2640 cubits) to Meeting Place #2 and wait there. Kenny would check Meeting Place #2 before coming back to Meeting Place #1 and riding up the trail.

We all agreed this was an excellent plan.

Heather volunteered to go along with Kenny; Lisa and I took off.

My Math Skills Are Defeated By My Exaggeration Skills

My two sons are both extremely gifted in math and sciences. I am very proud of them. I, on the other hand, am gifted at the opposite end of the spectrum: I am good at making things up and exaggerating.

So it shouldn’t really come as too big of a surprise when, after making good time on the trail, Lisa and I rolled up to the “Meeting Place #1″ and she said, “Oh, I thought you said that was supposed to be 40 miles away from camp. It’s only been 33.”

“I may have rounded up,” I replied.

In any case, Kenny and Heather had not yet arrived. So we continued on to “Meeting Place #2,” where we filled up our Camelbaks and bottles (each of us carrying extra water this day, not wanting to relive the stress from the previous day of not knowing whether you have enough).

Kenny had not shown up yet. Not that we had really expected him to. It could take a while to make that repair, and we didn’t know how long it would get back to camp anyway. Plus there was the drive.

So we took off our shoes and walked down the boat ramp, standing in the Colorado River. 61 degrees (12.89 Reaumur, for you fans of the metric system). Heaven.

No Kenny yet, so we sat at a picnic table and had lunch.

A Quick Aside About Eating

You would think that as a cyclist with years of experience on long rides, I would be very smart about food to eat during big ol’ epic rides.

I have just discovered that I have been a fool.

While I have always loaded my pack with things like energy bars and energy gels and energy inhalants (OK, I haven’t actually heard of energy inhalants, but the idea is interesting), Lisa brings things like turkey and swiss sandwiches. And salt and vinegar potato chips. And Swedish Fish. And Mountain Dew.

Her food is better than mine. And so I’m very happy to report that it was her job to put food together for us for the day, which means that when we sat down to eat at the picnic table, it was not too different from actually having a picnic.

Though I’m a little disappointed she didn’t pack potato salad or a watermelon.

Enforced Leisure

We finished eating. An hour had elapsed since we arrived.

“I’m ready for Kenny to show up,” Lisa announced. But we had no phone signal — which we knew was also the case back at our Dewey Bridge camp — and so there was no way to find out where he was.

Stubbornly, Kenny continued to not show up.

We laid down on the picnic table and took a nap.

Kenny did not show up.

Two hours had now gone by, and began to speculate on what could have gone wrong. We considered the following possibilities:

  • Kenny had needed to drive into Moab to get a part for his bike.
  • Kenny had discovered that The Bikemobile is a fantastic vehicle, and had stolen it.
  • Kenny had been in a car wreck
  • Heather had poisoned Kenny

We gave each of these the serious consideration they were due, then tried to figure out what — in the absence of any information at all about where they were and what had happened — we should do.

Should we get on our bikes and ride to the freeway, where we might be able to make calls or check voicemail? No, if we did that, Kenny might show up at Meeting Place #2 while we were gone, compounding the problem.

Should we go to Meeting Place #1? No, there’d be no point to that — Kenny knew to come to this place, which — after all — had trees and picnic tables and drinkable water and a river to cool ourselves off in whenever we wanted.

How did anyone ever connect up with anyone else before cel phones existed?

The thing is, apart from growing concern about Kenny and Heather, we were actually having a really nice afternoon. As two usually-antsy people who are normally incapable of just sitting around, there was literally nothing for us to do, so we relaxed. We opened the Kindle app on Lisa’s iPhone and read aloud several chapters of A Race Like No Other, a book that talks about the NYC Marathon.

And in short, we basically had an enjoyable, lazy afternoon. Exactly the opposite of what we had expected from the day, but awesome in its own way.

Grand Reunion

By the time three hours had elapsed, we had become worried. I persuaded Lisa that we needed to start making calls and figure out what’s going on before it got dark.

We decided we’d ride our bikes out toward the I70 freeway, where I was pretty sure we’d get reception.

Then, just as we were putting on our helmets and strapping on our Camelbaks, Kenny drove up. Looking visibly relieved to find us.

The Second-Hand Part of the Story

When Kenny and Heather left us to go repair Kenny’s bike, Kenny rigged a tow-rope made of his busted belt and an inner tube, and Kenny and Heather took turns pulling each other on the road back to camp.


They got to the camp in good time, fixed Kenny’s bike, and drove out to the trestle (Meeting Spot #1).

“There’s no way they could have gotten here yet,” said Kenny (except, of course, we had).

“No,” agreed Heather. “They’d have had to ride 30 singletrack miles in less than two hours.”

Unfortunately, Heather was working from my “40 miles from Dewey Bridge to Westwater” assertion, instead of the actual distance: 33 miles or so. My superpower — exaggeration — was biting me in the butt.

“Then there’s no point in us checking the Ranger Station (Meeting Place #2) to see if they’ve arrived, is there?” said Kenny.


And so they got on their bikes and rode up the Kokopelli Trail, on what they thought was an intercept course with us, but was actually in the opposite direction.

After riding for two hours — almost all the way to Cisco (about 5 miles from where Kenny broke his belt in the first place) — they agreed Lisa and I could not have been that slow and turned around. At which point they discovered how much faster that trail was in the opposite direction.


Even then, they didn’t think Lisa and I would be at the Ranger Station. Kenny only came and checked it as a “cross your T’s” type measure.

We all agreed, once we were together again, that it was too late, too hot, and too windy (and I had become too lazy) to try to finish the ride, so we headed back to camp.

As we drove to Dewey Bridge, Kenny looked at me. Questioningly. Beseechingly, even.

I knew what he was asking. And I had my response ready.

“Damn straight this is going in the blog.”

Kokopelli 2010, Part I

06.22.2010 | 11:08 am

I realized, pretty early into riding the Kokopelli Trail last weekend, that I have become the geezer with a story for every occasion. Pretty much every mile or so, I’d tell whoever was around me — Kenny, Lisa, or Heather — about something else that had happened at that spot another time I had been on this trail.

And it’s not like it had to be a great story, either. I am not making the following, which I recounted to Lisa, up:

“It was about here one year that I looked down and saw a big adjustable wrench. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Huh, that might be useful,’ but I didn’t pick it up. Then, about five hours later Dug had a big ol’ mechanical that would have been easily fixed if only we’d had a big adjustable wrench.”

At some point, everyone stopped acknowledging that I had just told (yet another) “I remember when . . . ” story.

Fatty exists, therefore he talks. Not much you can do about it.

After finishing one of my “I remember when” stories, I pointed out, “The Kokopelli’s just a big ride. Big enough that something’s going to happen. Every ride on the Kokopelli’s going to result in a story.”

And it did.

Day 1: Hot and Climby

Kenny, Heather, Lisa and I started early in the day — about 7:30 AM — from the Slickrock trailhead in Moab, Utah. Our plan was to ride the 62 (or so) miles and 9000 feet of climbing to Dewey Bridge the first day, where we’d stashed my truck full of camping gear.

We were comfortable as we rode up Sand Flats road, which must be the worst-named road in America, being not even remotely flat. It’s a long grind and a big climb.


It was already warm by the time we got to the singletrack / doubletrack section that connects Sand Flats road to the La Sal loop.


As we rode — the temperatures dropping as we went higher and higher — we saw a couple dozen runners heading in the opposite direction. Wearing race bibs. I asked and found that they were on the last leg of a multi-day stage race run of the Kokopelli: Desert RATS.

So we became their rolling cheering section, telling each of them one of the following:

  • Looking good
  • Looking strong
  • Keep it up
  • You’re doing awesome
  • You’re doing great
  • Beware of the badger around the next bend

OK, I didn’t really tell anyone to beware of the badger, but I would have if it had occurred to me.

The climb up to the La Sal mountain loop road leads to a big (paved) descent, followed by a big (paved) climb.

It was then we all wished we’d started earlier. Like at about 6:00 or 6:30 AM. It was hot. Like 95 degrees Fahrenheit (or for those of you who prefer metric, 554.67 rankine).

Right at the bottom of the climb, I stopped and dunked my jersey in a roadside stream, then put the jersey back on.

The coolness wasn’t just wonderful. It was exquisite. Indeed, I assert that this may have been the most intelligent thing I have ever done in my life.

We got to the top of North Beaver Mesa, where we ate lunch and refilled our Camelbaks and bottles, using the same canal the cows do to get their water.


Hey, the cattle looked healthy; I’m sure the water was very clean.

We dropped into Fisher Valley, and then started up toward 7-Mile Pass, which begins with a killer hike-a-bike section.


That’s when the day stopped being merely hot and became hot. The sun was right overhead, we were pushing our bikes, there was no breeze at all, and you could — at least it seemed to me — feel the heat radiating from the rocks.

We were all hot. Tired. And slowing down.

And that’s when Lisa let me know she was worried. “I don’t think I’ve got enough water,” she said.

Out in the middle of nowhere, in the hottest part of the day, where there’s no chance of finding a stream, on a ride where you don’t know how much further you’ve got to go, that’s about the scariest feeling there can be. Those of you who have run out of water on a hot day with a long ride still in front of you know what I mean.

So I tried to ease her concerns by recounting the story of the time Rocky and I had done this ride and he had actually run out of water and become delirious and unable to ride.

To my surprise, this did not help.

So I tried another strategy. “Actually, I packed extra water for you without telling you, just in case the day got hot.”

Yes, I know. I am a wonderful person.

However, I should probably point out that the “not telling” part was because I knew she wouldn’t have let me carry water for her if she knew what I was up to; I was taking the chicken way out.

But let’s just focus on the “wonderful person” part, OK?

Best Camp in the World

Once you climb 7 Mile Mesa, the hardest part of the Kokopelli Trail is behind you. It’s more downhill than up, and before long you can see the Colorado River and its lush green banks standing out in contrast to the desert around it.

It’s beautiful.

We dropped into the Dewey Bridge area, where we had stashed my truck. The nearby campground was mostly vacant, leaving us to pick the best campsite in the area — one with a giant tree providing shade.

First, though, we all took off our shoes and jumped into the Colorado River. The shock of the cold was amazing, and wonderful. The current was so strong though, that if you submerged yourself, you’d come up about 20 feet downstream.

Lisa and I — wanting to rinse the sweat and multiple layers of sunscreen and bug spray off — found a way around that problem. We took turns planting ourselves and then holding on to the other’s foot, allowing us as much time as we wanted underwater.

After that, we toweled off, set up camp in the (glorious) shade, and made a spaghetti dinner.

Tomorrow we’d have more miles (80 instead of 60) but lots less climbing ahead of us.

Oh, and the temperatures were suppose to get warmer.

Update on Kellene’s Family

06.18.2010 | 6:49 am

A Note from Fatty: Thanks to everyone who helped raise money in the fight against cancer for a chance to win a SyCip bike outfitted with Shimano and PRO components! I am now collating all the fundraising reports and will select a winner and notify her / him this morning.

Meanwhile, you know what’s really, really great? We have raised $185,117 so far this year in the fight against cancer.

Team Fatty, you are amazing. Thank you for all the work you have done, and continue to do.

Remember back in February when we cleaned out my garage in order to help my sister Kellene’s son Dallas get a new kidney?

Well, I think it’s time I give you an update on what’s going on now and what will be going on soon.

(And relax, this is a happy post with lots of good news.)

July 29: A Big Day

Pretty much everyone in my family wanted to get tested to see if they could be a good match for donating a kidney to Dallas. When the results came back, though, it turns out that Kellene herself is the best match.

So the surgery happens on July 29, in NYC.

And which means that Dallas will now have had a kidney from each of his parents. Which seems fitting, and which I find really touching for some reason.

So How’s Dallas Doing?

Once Dallas got past all of the awfulness of the kidney failure itself and got on dialysis, his life returned to normal. Not that spending hours every day hooked up to a machine that acts as a kidney substitute is what you or I would call “normal,” but the fact is, he’s adapted and is not letting this slow him down. He went back to work and the rest of his life.

In fact, he took up crit racing.

Yeah, really. Check out his ride:

Dallas cervelo.jpg

He texted me this pic with the caption “My first geared and brake-installed road bike ever!”

I sent him a Fat Cyclist jersey (had to be one of my used ones; I do not have a secret stash of new ones hidden away), and he promised to send me a photo of him riding across the Brooklyn Bridge.

But things aren’t exactly easy for Dallas. All the work the doctors did on him last February pretty much totaled his immune system, and Dallas has come down with — and is currently still fighting — a nasty case of Shingles, which is “a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chicken pox.

Dallas’ case of Shingles was bad enough that he had to go to the hospital again for a while, though he’s back out now. And looking forward to getting back on his bike, which warms my heart.

And How About Kellene?

Kellene is prepping for her surgery by . . . doing the Ride the Rockies multi-day road event. In fact, she’s doing it right now with a group of friends registered as Team Fatty. Check them out at the beginning of day 1 (Kellene’s on the far left):


And at the summit of Molas Pass:


And yesterday, at mile 300:


Kellene’s been sending out nightly text message blasts during the event, too. From the first day:

So a hail storm just about froze us to death, but all is sunny and well now. First hundred completed. Time for a Diet Coke. A great day.

And from the second day:

A wonderful 70 mile ride in the sunshine. Long and rolling. Tomorrow is the beast. Red Mountain pass at 12,000 feet plus two others. We should be mostly dead. People love our Fatty jerseys.

And her report from part way through that day?

Kill me. Just climbed two passes over 11,000 feet each. The Madone loved it and I suffered! Wind is not my friend One more to go! First a Diet Coke is in order.

And then yesterday:

A beautiful day. 87 miles. Tomorrow will be another battle: uphill and over Wolf Creek. My but and neck are done!

Kellene’s reports make me either want to do this event really badly soon, or never. I’m still not sure which.

How Not to Give Up

Lara is one of the women riding with Kellene. On a training ride a week before the event, though, she took a fall. A bad one:


She got a concussion and was otherwise seriously banged up, but apparently one of her big concerns was that she had shredded her Team Fatty jersey.

Well, as it turns out, I did in fact happen to have one women’s jersey in her size. New even. So I guess I did have a secret jersey stash after all.

And Lara’s out there. Doing the ride.

I’m not sure what it is about Team Fatty that makes all of you so bullheaded.

But I like it.

PS: Team Fatty-Seattle, go out there and kick butt at the LiveStrong Challenge this weekend. I wish I was there!

PPS: Today’s my birthday. I’m 44. Allow me to nostalgically impress you:

  • I remember before there was color TV
  • I remember when there were 3 TV stations, and changing between them with a dial. (I also remember being confused what the UHF / VHF switch was for.)
  • I remember when rotary phones were the norm
  • I remember before microwave ovens
  • I remember before VCRs
  • I remember before car phones (it was a while before they became small enough to be carried around by hand)
  • I remember before the Internet
  • I remember before personal computers
  • I remember music stores stocking vinyl, 8-track, and cassette of every album.
  • I remember getting a Schwinn Stingray, brand new, for my birthday

« Previous Entries     Next Page »