Before I get going with the prize-announcing, I’d like to take a second and say “Thanks” to some companies. Because the reality is, the economy’s tough right now that makes it easy to say “no” when people ask you to give.
But Shimano hasn’t said “no.” Shimano has said “yes,” and has provided an incredible amount of support and product as I try to find great incentives for all of you as you work to raise money in the fight against cancer.
And Intense Cycles hasn’t said “no,” either. They ponied up a frame for a top-of-the-line bike.
And Twin Six — an alternative cycling apparel company so good at seeming big and professional — hasn’t said “no” all year. They’ve been with me in more LiveStrong fundraisers than I can count, and they — pretty much every time — always give more than I ask them to.
These are all good companies, making good things, filled with good people. Thank them by supporting them, OK?
The Grand Prize Intense Spider 2 Winner
The winner of the Intense Spider 2, complete with his choice of the new 2011 Shimano XTR group, is Jim F:
Here’s what Jim had to say about himself when he learned he won this bike:
WOW, that’s awesome! My old mountain actually just started falling apart, this is perfect.
I am a 25 year old engineer working in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I started out riding mountain bikes on a local trail around a reservoir. Then I bought a used Giant OCR2 from craigslist to ride on the road. I think I will have to travel to some better trails to fully appreciate the Spider 2.
I donated in honor of my aunt who died from bone cancer a few years ago. It started out as breast cancer, then went onto remission for a year, then came back more aggressively as bone cancer. Thanks for all you do in the fight against cancer, I think it will/is making a difference.
Now, of course, the hard work begins for Jim. What color of frame should he go with: Raw, white, or green?
And should he set the bike up with the Race version of Shimano’s new XTR group, or Trail?
Kinda fun to have to make those decisions. I’m sure that Jim will appreciate any suggestions you care to give him.
First Prize: Twin Six Shopping Spree
My good friends at Twin Six were good enough to make this contest extra-spicy by donating two $250 shopping sprees, which will make it possible for the winners to genuinely ride in style.
The first winner of this spree is Tommy F, who used psychic powers to somehow be aware that a genuinely useful message — i.e., he had won a $250 shopping spree from Twin Six — had been routed to his junk mail folder.
Which brings up something I’ve really been struggling with: do you have any idea how difficult it is to craft a “Congratulations, you’ve won a prize” email that doesn’t contain enough language to send it to junk mail folders?
It’s not easy. And evidently, I’m not succeeding (at least in this case) anyway.
I had to dig your message out of the [Junk E-Mail] folder in my Outlook. What does it know anyway? That may turn out to be my favorite folder from now on.
I’m becoming a big fan of Twin Six and I have ordered my third Team Fatty jersey in the last preorder.
I had a blast in Philly with Team Fatty. I told Philly Jen that since you couldn’t make it, she had a lot of pressure on her to make sure I had a good time and she delivered.
Hoping I can get to Austin!
The second person to win was none other than Noodle, the person we’ve all come to know and love not just for her incredible 100 Miles of Nowhere video, but for the fact that she’s been riding her bike across America to raise money with Team Fatty for the fight against cancer.
Here’s what Noodle had to say about winning:
Your email came in at exactly the same time as one telling me I’d reached my LIVESTRONG fundraising goal for Team Fatty. Shopping sprees are great, but that is better. Now I have to set my goal higher since I still have one month left on the road on my ride across America and I’d hate to waste this momentum.
It’s been very tough so far, what with the recovering from the broken wrist shizzle and not riding my bike for 9 weeks and then jumping in straight at the Appalachians. They are no joke. Also, not sure if you saw but my bike is tweeting as it goes. All for Team Fatty. :) http://yesiamprecious.com
Hope you are well, and congrats on not crashing at Leadville this year.
A little aside here: this is the first time, in all the contests I’ve run, that somebody I’ve “met” before has won something. (I put “met” in quotes because I’ve actually never met Noodle in person or talked with her on the phone or anything; I’ve just seen her video, read her blog, and think she’s triple-awesome.)
Congrats, Tommy and Noodle!
Second Prize: LiveStrong Jersey Signed by Lance, Levi, Bob Roll…and Me
The second prize in this contest is a LiveStrong jersey that’s been signed by three cycling celebrities: Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Bob Roll.
Check it out:
The winner of this jersey is Jen W, and she had this to say:
I hate to be needy, but I neeed one more thing. No jersey full of cycling bigshots signatures would be complete without your signature.
Sorry you couldn’t make Philly. It was a great time.
I am also — especially after reading Philly Jen’s incredible 2-part story (part 1 here, part 2 here) — really bummed I couldn’t make it to Philly for the LiveStrong Challenge. And to be honest, I felt kind of weird about signing a jersey that’s been signed by actual cycling champions, seeing as I am what is known, in technical cycling terms, as a “goofball.”
Ugh, I still don’t feel good about that.
Still, congratulations, Jen!
We Are Not Done Yet
With three LiveStrong Challenges and two dream bike giveaways behind us, you’d think that we’d be close to the end of the year, cancer-fighting wise.
Well, we’re not. In fact, the biggest event and the biggest bike giveaway are still ahead of us.
I’m not going to tell you what the next bike will be (yet), but I will tell you that you will be excited about it. I’ll go a step further and say that I’m excited about it, in spite of the fact that — as administrator of the contest — people would probably take a dim view of me if I won it.
And the Austin LiveStrong Challenge — AKA Ride for the Roses — is the biggest event of the year. It’s the one that started it all, and it is huge.
So you’ve got a couple reasons to join Team Fatty Austin right now: because you might win a bike — remember, all the money you raise in your own LiveStrong Challenge account gets counted toward each bike giveaway — and because you’ll be helping in the fight against cancer.
And I think that by now it’s pretty obvious (based on the Seattle, San Jose, and Philly accounts from the Team Fatty Co-Captains) that Team Fatty is a pretty great group of folks to spend a weekend with, so if you can make it to Austin, we can pretty much guarantee you a great time.
So, why don’t you join Team Fatty right this second? And help us as we continue our fight against cancer. It’s fun, it’s important, and — who knows? — maybe you’ll win a dream bike.
A “Yes, We Have a Winner!” Note from Fatty: A huge thanks to everyone who participated in the contest to win an Intense Spider 2 with 2011 Shimano XTR. In tomorrow’s post I’ll talk more about it, but meanwhile, here’s an interesting little fact: Together, the five Team Fatties — Seattle, San Jose, Philly, Austin and NYC — have raised nearly $400,000 in the fight against cancer this year.
That’s a huge amount of money, and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has either raised money or donate. Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.
And now, on with part 2 of Philly Jenn’s LiveStrong Challenge saga. Read it, love it.
Sunday, 5:45am. Where is my head?
For some mysterious reason, I seem to be standing upright at this unfamiliar hour. The midnight snack of chips and salsa that I consumed shortly before falling asleep does not seem to be moving in an entirely synchronous fashion with the rest of me. It’s going to be a great day!
I am not yet kitted up for the day’s ride, since the Sleeping In Gear thing only applies to running outfits — bike shorts don’t really make comfortable pajamas. (I’m sure that fans of bib shorts would contend that I could bag plenty of Zzzzzzzzz while comfortably cossetted in the confines of a giant set of lycra overalls, but you don’t see any of them counting sheep in chamois, do you?)
Which means that once all the Fatties have assembled in the parking lot behind the hotel for the team rollout nearly an hour later, I have no idea where my helmet is. We pass the time by taking photos and applying sunscreen just as the first sprinkle of raindrops starts to fall. Someone offers me a spare brain bucket to accessorize the empty space between my ears. We take a group photo (note my uncovered head).
And then Jenni emerges from the hotel with my bashful headgear in tow, and the Fatties are finally on the road to the Livestrong ride.
As the long ribbon of the dozens of Team Fatty riders winds into the starting line area, we receive a big shoutout from the announcer. We split into our respective starting areas for the various ride distances, and wait for a surprisingly brief period of time — this year, the opening of the ride runs like clockwork.
Lance Armstrong shares a few words with the assembled crowd, Jessy Kyle sings yet another great rendition of the national anthem, and we are off.
The First Leg: Prepare to launch
This year, with no single team granted a position at the very front of the starting group, I take advantage of the opportunity to relax in the back of the first wave of riders. Though little can compare to last year’s sensation of being overtaken by more a thousand riders in the first five minutes on the road, I somehow manage to dig deep into my suitcase of courage and keep moving.
Bridge work in the middle of the initial 6-mile straightaway on Morris Road takes us on a brief detour, but soon enough we find ourselves riding on the quieter, more secluded network of rolling country roads that characterizes the heart of the course.
And what would a winding rural byway be without roadkill? Seven or eight miles into the course, I see riders ahead swerving to avoid a large, dark mass on the ground. As I draw closer, I notice that the lump in the road seems awfully…industrial. In a flash, I realize what it is.
A seatpost-mounted double bottle cage, better known in BikeSnobNYC parlance as a set of “butt rockets.”
(NOW you tell me. If I had known that those things actually came equipped with a launch button, I would have made them a part of my daily bike commute eons ago.)
Almost directly ahead of me, another rider barrels into the same concrete lip that doubtless sent the unfortunate double-bottle cage into eject mode. In what will become a recurring motif for the day, a Livestrong water bottle pops out of his frame-mounted cage and begins rolling forlornly across the road.
The rider who just lost his bottle abruptly brakes, and then starts rolling his bike directly backwards into the wave of oncoming riders. Without looking.
For once, I am grateful that I spent so much time playing Frogger back in the day.
I manage to pass through Bottle Rocket Canyon unscathed, and spend time riding with fellow Fatties Aaron, Lindsay, Drew, Jennie, and Ryan all the way through to the first Power Stop, where the rain begins sprinkling more forcefully.
I desperately need food. I’ve left the hotel without eating breakfast, trying to let my stomach settle and secure in the knowledge that the Livestrong Power Stops are all fully stocked with bars, gels, fresh fruit, energy drinks, and all manner of calorically dense edibles. While slowly starting to fuel up, I have the chance to chat with more Fatties. Standing with Ryan (from Hawaii), Philip (from Vancouver), and Jeff (who biked the 700+ miles from Louisville to take part in Livestrong Philly), I’m amazed by just how far Fatties will go to fight cancer.
The Second Leg: Stepping it up
I ride out with Ryan and we catch up with Jennie, who is rocking a pair of Converse sneakers and riding on platform pedals. The course starts to get a bit hillier, and the rain starts coming down more steadily. Ryan finds his hill legs and starts feeling more at ease on the course.
We begin seeing riders going past us in the opposite direction on the course, speedy people who have decided to turn around early in an attempt to beat the rain.
When we are about fifteen miles into the course, we see a large motorcycle on the opposite side of the road up ahead, followed by an enormous SUV. Behind the megamobile is a set of four riders, one of whom is sporting some World Champion stripes on his jersey. We wave as they zip by, and I start doing the math in my head:
(100-15) miles / 1.45 hours = WAY better breakfast than me
As we pull into the second Power Stop at Green Lane Park, the skies open up and we take shelter under the food tents. Joining us are Fatties Oscar and Nancy, and one of the historical re-enactors who make this stop a treat every year. The colonial-era celebrants come complete with fifes, drums, and historically correct costumes that make cyclists everywhere privately give thanks for the invention of synthetic fabrics.
The downpour gives “Ned Hector,” who goes by Noah in the 21st century, a chance to share his story with us. His wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while she was carrying their child, and she passed away a month-and-a-half after giving birth. “But I have a beautiful 17-year-old daughter now,” he says, adding that the Livestrong ride is one the the events that is closest to his heart and one he cherishes supporting every year.
After hearing that, how can we not get out and ride a little harder, no matter how wet we might get?
The Third Leg: Going pear-shaped
We’ve given up on dodging the rain at this point, and we are getting thoroughly soaked. I remind myself that “triathlon” comes from the Greek for “peforming three different sports while sopping wet.” Besides, Clydesteve and the Seattle Fatties (where they serve up plenty of hail for Livestrong as a matter of course) will never let me live it down if I let a little precipitation put a damper on my plans.
When attempting to ride out of the way of a pileup and that sends another Livestrong bottle skittering towards me, I have to unclip and dismount when my line uphill is blocked by an oncoming car. This is the first of many cyclocross moments in the day; on the rain-slicked roads, I am happy indeed to be wearing rubber-soled shoes with recessed cleats.
Ryan and I continue along the 70/100-mile route, while Jennie takes the turnoff for the 45-mile route. Ryan and I go from having plenty of company to being almost alone once we decide to press forward for the longer route. “At least we’ll be able to say we rode further than the guy behind the SUV today,” I chirp.
The miles past Green Lane Park blur into one another. Ryan and I take turns waiting for one another along the way. There is dismounting. There is walking uphill. There is cramping. There is electrolyte ingestion. There is some relief.
The Ballad of the True Clyde
During one of our walking intervals, we cross paths with a big, strapping guy in his 20’s who has a photo of this little girl taped to his bib:
For this fellow, a true Clydesdale packing 240-some pounds of pure muscle, the hill ascents are particularly unkind. He and Ryan and I ride together for a bit, then walk some more. Working to keep his momentum going, Ryan decides to continue ahead and I say that I’ll catch up with him at the next rest station.
I stick with the True Clyde as the cramping in his quadriceps gets more vicious. A triathlete and runner, he can’t believe how much his leg is seizing up on the bike, which it never does when he runs. I tell him it’s the exact same story for me. We keep moving forward. The climbs do not relent. We take it one step at a time.
I encourage him to take one of the extra energy bars I crammed into my jersey pocket at the last Power Stop.
Wet, tired, and hungry, when he bites into the bar he proclaims, “This tastes like one of God’s own apples.”
He asks how much farther we have until we reach the next Power Stop. I tell him I don’t know for sure, but that the stops are no more than 12-13 miles apart on the course, and we’re well over 11 miles out from the last stop. We press on; calling a SAG wagon is out of the question.
We approach the split for the 70/100 mile course at Dairy Lane, where by now the century course has been closed for hours. For the first time in what feels like forever, we see the colorful t-shirts of Livestrong volunteers. Knowing that he is safe and in good hands, I leave the True Clyde with the Livestrong folks at the turn and press onward.
Pedaling up Denial
I begin riding ahead, trying to speed up and reach the elusive third Power Stop. The miles start to rack up, with no other riders in sight. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…hunh?
With a left turn onto Forgedale Road, I am reunited with the quick and strong century riders who made it through the cutoff point before the longest course was closed early by rain. First I see one or two riding solo, then some riding in small groups and clusters.
The pavement is a bit rough, so I take my time going downhill in order to avoid cooking the descent. The longer I go downhill, the rougher the road feels. Gee, this pavement is bumpy! Fortunately, my brakes are completely solid.
My rear tire, however is not. It finally starts to shimmy ever so slightly, snapping me out of my denial. I slow, I stop, I turn, I pinch. Yeah, my rear tube is completely deflated and I’ve been riding on my rim. Ouch. Welcome to Team Flatty.
I open up my seatbag and get ready to do battle with my wheel, only to discover that I have levers, a tube, and a chuck for a CO2 cartridge — but no cartridge. My cartridges were confiscated at the airport when I flew down with only carry-on luggage for Livestrong Austin last year, and I completely forgot to replace them when I got home.
A passing rider generously gives me a spare cartridge (thanks!), and I return to gazing in despair at my rear wheel.
Then the cavalry arrives.
Fatties to the Rescue (the sequel)
In the blink of an eye, I am suddenly surrounded by Fatties: Tommy, Joel, and Doug (From Way Upstate NY) ride up, and a police officer pulls up behind me on his motorcycle to shield me from oncoming traffic. Fatties Jacqueline and Mike make sure we’re okay as they zoom past on their tandem. Tommy and Joel reassure passing riders that we’re all fine, and that I was just being pulled over for speeding.
Doug is my hero. In addition to being the Team Fatty grillmaster, he totally saves my bacon — efficiently swapping in a new tube AND defending the honor of my gently maligned cromoly frame by noting that he too is riding steel today. He even whips out a portable pump and inflates the new tube by hand. He makes a tough job — wrestling with Kevlar-laced tires and deep-V rims while perched at the edge of a guardrail on a turning descent — look easy and go quickly. That’s probably why his Clark Kent gig is being a professor of rocket science. Doug, you utterly rock. Thank you so much.
Back wheel restored, I roll with Tommy, Joel, and Doug until they deposit me at the next Power Stop at the Barto Firehouse…where Ryan is still waiting for me, nearly 17 miles and who knows how long after we left the previous stop at Green Lane Park.
By now, I am completely ravenous. I snarf down pasta salad, gorp, and several freshly picked local nectarines. I ask the bike mechanic at the stop to fill my rear tire back up to full pressure.
And then I brace myself to make do with the facilities.
The Room of Requirement
People who know me will tell you that I can be somewhat squeamish about the portaloo situation at rides and races. So imagine my reaction when I am face-to-face with this:
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present The Leaning Tower of Pee.
Even with my recessed-cleat, rubber-soled shoes, I am ricocheting around from the moment I step into the stalls. It’s like being in one of those carnival funhouses with the tilting floors…but pants-free! Or living in a barter economy, where it’s almost impossible to find purchase. Still, there’s plenty of TP (hmmm, wonder why), I cannot help but laugh aloud uncontrollably, and all’s well than ends (yet avoids upending) well.
The Final Leg: Life is sweet
By the time Ryan and I leave Barto, it’s well past 1pm, and we’re going to have to make better time if we don’t want to be pulled from the course. Ryan stays ahead of me most of the way forward. When I catch up with him at the next Power Stop, he tells me to go ahead and not worry about him catching up.
The rain begins falling in sheets and waves as I put my head down and ride, worried that I will be escorted off the course again like last year for being too pokey to cross the finish line by 4pm. It’s raining so hard that cautious, respectful drivers are giving every cyclist, even lone riders like me, wide and merciful berth.
Twenty miles out of Barto, I’m hungry again and starting to fade a bit. I reach into my back pocket, pull out a nectarine, and take a bite.
It tastes like God’s own nectar.
By the time I reach the final stop just ten miles from the finish, too drenched in the downpour to pause for anything more than downing an electrolyte tablet, I have acquired my own personal SAG vehicle. The support cars are gradually coming in off the course, and they’re tailing the few Livestrong riders that remain on the road.
The rain lets up as I return to Morris Road and the home stretch back to the finish line. I don’t know it at the time, but Ryan suffers a mechanical less than five miles from the finish, and is swept up by a SAG vehicle that declines to tweak his bike and release him in front of the finish line. He’s already plotting how he and his bike will take their revenge on the Livestrong course — and at least for today, Ryan still rode farther than that guy behind the SUV.
I reach Montgomery County Community College at 3:58pm. As I turn into the parking lot, I suddenly hear a big cheer: Maggi, Chris D, Jay, RayRay, and Kelli are all still gathered in the parking lot.
The volunteers, who by now have been waiting for several minutes between arrivals, actually shower me with rose petals. The Livestrong announcers have been at it nonstop since the crack of dawn. They give one more shout-out to Team Fatty.
I’m the last Fatty through the chute.
This story is only one of thousands out there during Livestrong Philly 2010. I was fortunate to be able to share stories with so many other wonderful people, and hope you’ll have the chance to do the same. Thanks to all the 2010 Philly Fatties for being such an amazing team.
Allez, Fatties, allez!
A Note from Fatty: Today’s post — a report on the 2010 Philadelphia LiveStrong Challenge — is brought to you by Philly Jenn, Co-Captain for Team Fatty Philly. A huge thanks goes out to Philly Jenn for organizing this team, and to all of Team Fatty for raising so much money and using your time and energy in the fight against cancer. Thank you.
This year, Livestrong Philly became a three-day event, with the Livestrong Village opening up on Friday for packet pickup, the 5K/10K Walk/Run taking place on Saturday, and the cycling taking place on Sunday. From an official organizing standpoint, these changes were intended to enable participants to take part in both running and biking events, and also to help ease the traffic and hotel congestion that had plagued the Philadelphia event during the past several years.
At a micro level, what it actually meant was that the Philly Fatties had the chance to spend 50% more time scooping my butt out of the dunk tank of life.
Fortunately for me, when you need a helping hand, you can count on the Fatties — generously, resourcefully, and happily — to come to the rescue.
Friday: The Prologue Day
Witness the efforts of Maggi, Philly Fatty Extraordinaire. First, she was kind enough to come to my house and pick up me (the carless city dweller), my bike, and a big pile of random stuff early Friday afternoon. Then she laughingly elaborated on some of the more vibrant hues in the rainbow of colorful language as we sat snarled in traffic for over an hour, with good cheer and great gusto. And finally, after we walked into the first Starbucks that appeared immediately after exiting the freeway and I discovered to my horror that I had somehow left my cellphone and wallet back at my house, she calmly picked up the tab for the first bite of food I had eaten all day, loaned me her cellphone, and whisked my going-into-meltdown hiney first to registration packet pickup, and then off to the team hotel.
When we arrived there, we were greeted by Ryan, the Fatty who had brought himself (and his bike!) all the way from Hawaii to be a part of Livestrong Philly.
Maggi and I explained my discombobulated state, and the still-pressing need to prep for the following day’s Team Fatty Feed. Ryan uttered the magic words, “I can get us into Costco,” and we were off — me on a commuter train back to the city to salvage my electro-magnetic identity, Maggi and Ryan to Costco to round up provisions for dozens of hungry Fatties.
By the time I managed to get in and back out of Philadelphia, mass quantities of food had been purchased and stored, night had fallen, and everyone was ravenous: Maggi and Ryan, plus fellow Fatties Tommy (Ryan’s roommate, of http://www.24hoursforlivestrong.com fame, fresh off the drive up from Georgia) and Jennie (she of the mighty Pikachu-mobile).
They picked me up from the train station and we rolled into Ray’s, a nearby 24-hour diner-and-malt shop. Between us, I think we put away three milkshakes, over a dozen eggs, and something like a small farmhouse worth of other edibles. Though I could have sworn a tractor was required to haul me away by then, Maggi whisked all five of us back to the hotel in her magically capacious Honda Fit and dropped us off before making her way home.
Before crashing out for the night, I put in a pair of extended-wear contact lenses and donned my running clothes. Puzzled, Ryan asked why I had just gotten dressed before going to sleep. I explained that I was even more incoherent early in the morning than the sorry spectacle he had already witnessed that day, so it was easier to just wake up, throw on my running shoes (with their non-tying, elastic laces), and go. I insisted that sleeping in race-day clothes was a reasonable, even somewhat commonplace practice. After polling dozens of people on Twitter and finding that they were all just as surprised as he was, Ryan gently broke the news to me later in the weekend — I am a freak.
But at least the next morning I would be a freak with 20/20 visibility and socks on both my feet.
Saturday AM: Beginning A Day On The Run
Longtime readers of this site will know that the Fatty-In-Chief can knock out a marathon with about six weeks of training. The rest of us mere mortals have to work our way up to running greater distances over longer periods of time, and I needed to log a little over 14 miles of running on Saturday as part of the training plan for my first-ever marathon (Marines Corps! Ooo-rah!) at the end of October. I was hoping to run from the hotel to the starting area of the Livestrong 5K/10K, find the Fatties in the staging area, run the 10K, then run back to the hotel. Given the slow pace at which I was covering ground, this would mean I was MIA for much of the morning.
Which is where super Fatty Penina (who is actually quite petite), stepped in and took charge. Penina’s family, despite having absolutely zero fundraising requirements as walk/run participants, had collectively brought in a huge chunk of change for Team Fatty. On Saturday, Penina was armed with Fatty logo stickers for all everyone to wear, her daughters held up signs to help Fatties gather, and they were able to round up a big brace of Fatties for a group photo before the start — all while Penina was preparing to run her first-ever 10K. Hats off to the Scullion clan for Fattifying the Livestrong Walk/Run!
I made it to the staging area just in time to hear Jessy Kyle, a three-time Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, sing a stunning a cappella rendition of the national anthem.
Once they released us through the chute and we were on the gently winding course, I spotted Jennie and ran with her until we reached the point where the 5K and 10K courses split. The 10K course took us past some pleasantly landscaped and well-manicured neighborhoods, and even past some horse farms. When I saw the horses ambling around in their paddock, I imagined that we were having a dialogue about forward locomotion.
Me: I aspire to run like you, so gracefully and effortlessly. What is your secret?
Horses: O, little Clydesdale, it helps if your thighs do not touch.
For much of later part of the course, I ran with Julius, a friend of Maggi’s who was also participating in his first official 10K event. Julius told me about how he had recently taken up running, and how his training schedule was leading next to a half-marathon, then culminating in the Philly Marathon later this fall. We chatted about how our watch readouts compared to the mileage markers on the course, how eagerly we were looking forward to cooler weather, and just how much fun it was to be a newbie runner. Regular, mundane, everyday running stuff.
We didn’t know it then, but Julius’s life was about to take the kind of sudden turn that so many Livestrong participants know all too well. Maggi learned later in the weekend that Julius’s father had been hospitalized and would require emergency heart surgery; before the surgery could be performed, Julius’s father passed away early Monday afternoon. Maggi writes that Julius and his family are stunned and devastated. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Saturday PM: Fatties, Fatties, Everywhere
After finishing the 10K, toodle-ing back to the hotel (toodle = the gear between jogging and running), and starting to feel the effects of being mildly underfueled, I was looking forward to lunch. Shortly before noon, Fatties started gathering around the grill area at the back of the team hotel. Through the magic of Fatmosis (a bunch of Fatties transporting a bunch of stuff), we soon had the makings of a full-on feed: Chips, dips, cookies, cheese, burgers, hot dogs, salad, sodapop. Christine made an emergency run down the street to help us fill in gaps in our shopping list (salad minus dressing equals “Not so much,”) and the hotel’s gas grill was manned by Doug, who kept everyone (vegetarians included!) in protein for the duration of the afternoon.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the arrival of RayRay the Baker with this year’s cake from Cramer’s Bakery. It’s hard to imagine that last year’s cake could be equaled, but feast your eyes on this:
And here’s Ray, showing what he hath done:
And packed in every slice was the wonderful, double-decker chocolately goodness that we have come to know and love.
Jenni brought handmade hula hoops (JenniHoops!) in Team Fatty colors for us to take out on a whirl.
When it was all over, we had made serious inroads into the cake, but the salad was virtually untouched. Draw your own conclusions.
Later in the day, several Fatties drove in a caravan from the team hotel to the Fundraising Appreciation Dinner. Amid the hubbub of a cocktail hour and buffet dinner, one of the big highlights of my evening was having the chance to finally meet Marc Mandeville, who helmed M-Power to this year’s Team Champion Award, as well as meeting several warm, charming members of his family. Marc, a husband and father of three adorable young children who teaches here in the area at Episcopal Academy, was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer two-and-a-half years ago. He’s been fighting back on all cylinders, and managed to lead his team to victory this year even while he was undergoing a fresh round of treatment this spring and summer. M-Power was Team Fatty’s chief rival this season in Philadelphia, but only in the most positive sense: we brought out the best in each other. Marc exemplifies everything great about the Livestrong Challenge, and I look forward to him and his team spurring us on for seasons to come.
After dinner, the evening was emceed by John “College” Korioth, one of Lance Armstrong’s oldest friends. NFL linebacker and Travel Channel host Dhani Jones spoke with the crowd about how his life changed when his lifelong friend, Kunta Littlejohn, was diagnosed with cancer. Dhani started wearing bow ties to show his support during his friend Kunta’s cancer battle — and not only continued to wear them after Kunta was given a clear bill of health, but even founded his own neckwear line, Five Star Ties. The line includes a special golden bow tie, whose proceeds go to benefit Livestrong. You can see how dapper it looks on Kunta, Carlos (yes, THAT Carlos!), and Dhani:
There was also a Q&A session with Heidi Adams, Livestrong’s Director of Grassroots Engagement, and Lance Armstrong. Amid all the more serious topics they discussed, Lance did manage to share a brief anecdote about what it was like to be friends with College.
While the two of them were out golfing, Lance send a shot into the rough, and couldn’t seem to locate where it had landed. Exasperated, Lance turned to College and said, “Did you take my ball?”
“No,” College deadpanned. “Cancer took your ball.”
The evening closed with the screening of Team Fatty’s video for winning the Team Time Trial Award, the last of the four videos to be shown. See how many Fatties you can spot:
Then it was back to the hotel and waiting to show the video on DVD to the rest of the team. Curiously, only a couple of people showed up at Carlos’s hotel room, which we attributed to everyone’s desire for a full night’s sleep before a long day’s ride. Only when I quickly scanned my email the next morning did I discover that I had sent out an open invitation to the entire team to come see the video…with no viewing time listed. Doh!
Fatties are many wonderful things, but they are not psychic.
Otherwise, they would have known for certain what Sunday’s weather would bring…
– To Be Continued –
PS: If you haven’t entered the contest for the Intense Spider 2, outfitted with the brand-new Shimano XTR group of your choice (grand prize) — not to mention one of two $250 Twin Six shopping sprees (first prize) or a LiveStrong jersey autographed by Lance, Levi, and Bob Roll (second prize), you should go enter now. Find details on the grand prize here, and details on the other prizes here. Or you can just hop on over to my LiveStrong Challenge page and donate now.
The Runner and I were in Park City last weekend. Mostly, our objective was to give the kids a fun last weekend before school, as well as to broil my frontside.
Thanks, however, to the happy coincidence that all of our kids are late sleepers and The Runner and I are early risers, there was a beautiful little window in the morning where we were able to (on morning one) go for a nice three-hour mountain bike ride or (on morning two) on a ten mile trail run.
On each of these outings, we came across lots of other people — cyclists, runners, hikers — and each and every one of them were nice.
Well, each and every one of them . . . except one.
As we get into late August, trails start to show a little wear. They’re looser than at the beginning of the season, and any section with a meaningful grade is going to have at least a little dust on it.
Not enough to be a problem when riding, but probably enough to mean you need a few extra feet to stop.
The above is relevant to my story. Trust me.
So The Runner and I were on the Mid-Mountain trail, and after about 1500 feet of climbing, were enjoying rolling along the top. Along the way, each time we encountered a rider, an exchange like this would take place:
“How’s it going?”
“Awesome. Perfect riding day.”
“Yeah, for sure. Have a good ride.”
“Same to you.”
If the trail were wide enough (not common), this exchange (yes, this exact exchange, every single time) would happen without anyone stopping. Usually, though, whoever was going downhill would pull over to the side, letting the climber go by.
But then, one time, as we were descending around a corner, we came across a woman, climbing.
The Runner — who was in front of me — got over to the side and stopped. I got over to the side but — due to the (cleverly aforementioned) dirt on the trail, had not come to a complete stop by the time the woman climbed by.
Let me be clear: I was in the process of stopping, I had moved over to the side, and she had ample room to get by.
The woman said (as she rode by, unimpeded and without having to change her line in any way whatsoever), in a disgusted voice, “You’re supposed to stop and move over to the side to make room for people climbing.”
I was stunned. Speechless, momentarily. Flummoxed.
And then, when I had regained the ability to speak at all, it was only enough to make a weak reply.
“I was trying to.”
And that was the end of the exchange. She went on uphill, and we went on downhill. Every single other person we came across — cyclists, runners, hikers — did the “hey, how’s it going, have a good ride” exchange with us.
But I kept going over that moment with the snotty rider. And I kept getting madder and madder.
So, after half an hour, I told the Runner, “That woman got under my skin. I’m still pissed.”
“Me too,” said The Runner. And we agreed: we had moved over as soon as we had seen her, and had stopped as quickly as we could. The woman had been able to continue her climb completely unhindered.
She had simply been rude. And smug. Snotty, if you will.
Had we been in a big city, that kind of pissy in-your-face self-empowerment wouldn’t have bugged us. It would have been expected, even.
But this was on singletrack. And we were all mountain biking. And when I’m out mountain biking, I expect everyone to be cool. And that expectation is so very nearly universally met, when it isn’t, I’m thrown for a loop.
How To Be Nice
So, for the one-in-one-thousand people who don’t intuitively grasp this, I’d like to now spell out what I believe has heretofore been the unspoken cardinal rule of mountain biking:
This rule, I believe, encompasses and supersedes all other rules of mountain biking. So yeah, descenders yield to climbers, because that’s the nice thing to do (because it’s easier to restart going downhill).
But climbers, be understanding if the descender can’t defy physics and stop on a dime.
When racing, if you’re going to pass someone, sure, say “On your left.” But how about saying, first: “How’s it going?”
Because that would be nice.
Don’t litter. Because that would not be nice.
Don’t poach trails. It’s not nice to steal.
If you see someone who needs help, help. That’s the nice thing to do.
And, basically, leave any corporate boardroom, big-city, in-your-face behaviors at home. You’re on a bike now. In the mountains. On a trail.
So just be nice.
PS: As an example of “How to be Nice,” check out the email I got from Liz C yesterday afternoon:
I did the Livestrong Challenge in Philly this past weekend…was supposed to do the century but got diverted to the 70m mile course. However, about mile 30, right on a steep climb I got a flat tire. About that time the skies opened up with pouring, pounding rain. As I was taking out my new tube and getting the wheel off my bike I was in complete misery. I’m not the fastest tire changer and knew I’d be there awhile, in the rain and losing time. I figured there was no way anyone was going to stop to help me in the middle of a climb while it was pouring rain.
How wrong I was!
Carlos from Team Fatty sacrificed his time and momentum on the climb to stop and help me! He not only made the change go faster, he also used his CO2 pump to ensure we inflated the tire with speed.
I’ve lost four uncles, an aunt, a cousin, and a grandfather to cancer. My own father is currently in the hospital after surgery, and is fighting Multiple Myeloma – so I set out yesterday to raise money and awareness for this great cause. But on the course I was not only buoyed by my mission of cancer awareness, but reminded of the brotherhood/sisterhood of not leaving a cyclist down on the road and the kindness of strangers in the most miserable of conditions.
I’ll probably never see Carlos again, but he’s definitely a great ambassador of your team. Thanks again for all you do!
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
I have a well-tanned head
Yes, I apply sunscreen before I ride
And yet, a certain amount of sun
Gets through my helmet
And my head has become tanned
As if it were a hide
(A tanned one, that is)
As have my arms
And as have my legs
(except my pasty white shins)
But it is a rare day
That I go outside without the protection
Of a shirt
(But, alas, not unheard of)
And thus it was
That I found myself
At the edge of a pool
After a long morning’s ride
In Park City
My wife at my side
(and my children in the pool)
The day was warm
The breeze was cool
The day was in short perfect for lounging outside
(Oh, the treachery of Mother Nature!)
I lay in the sun
Not quite sitting
Not quite prone
As The Runner read aloud
From the book we have been enjoying together
(We were in the final few chapters)
Did I fall asleep? No!
But also I did not turn over
And I did not apply sunscreen
(For clearly I am a fool)
Why should I apply sunscreen, I thought
The book is almost over
And we will not be here long
(Oh, I am such a fool)
And thus did I sit
As the book got to the exciting conclusion
And I did not think about the passing of time
(Have I mentioned that I am a fool?)
And now, it is a day later
And I am much wiser
And I cannot wear a bike jersey without discomfort
(Nor any other shirt-like item, for that matter)
And I swear I shall never lay
Chest to the sky
For two hours
(never ever, no matter what)
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