One Year

08.5.2010 | 10:30 am

Susan died a year ago today. I’ve been grappling with a few thoughts. None of them especially deep, but here’s what’s on my mind.

  • I think Susan would be happy with where I am. Susan and I had some very frank — but private — conversations during the times she was lucid. I think about these often, and am pretty frankly amazed at how some of the things she said she wanted have happened. My life is good now, the kids are doing well. Susan would be happy about that.
  • I’ve avoided letting Susan’s biggest worry happen. Several times, Susan told me that she was worried that I would let her death change me, turning me into an angry and bitter person. That’s the opposite of who I’ve always been, and she didn’t want me to, in effect, become someone else. She wanted me to stay who I am, and I have. I’m proud of that.
  • I don’t want this day to be a big day. It’s school break right now, and so the kids don’t even look at calendars (in fact, I’m pretty sure they studiously avoid looking at the calendar, so as not to have to think about the fact that later this month they’ll be back in school). The important thing about Susan wasn’t her death, it was the way she lived. So while I will talk with the kids today, I don’t think I’ll make it a big day. I think maybe Susan’s birthday is a better, more appropriate day to celebrate her life.


  1. Comment by Curt | 08.5.2010 | 10:36 am

    My thoughts are with you today!

  2. Comment by Flatoutjim | 08.5.2010 | 10:40 am

    Your insights and attitude amaze me. I would be so pissed off at the world. You are certinly giving us a clinic on how to deal with not so nice things in life.

    Have a good day Fatty, and keep on riding.

  3. Comment by MattC | 08.5.2010 | 10:43 am

    Hey Fatty…I was pondering this very issue a few days ago knowing this day was close…And I find it strange that, having never actually MET Susan, how devastated I was exactly one year ago today when we got the news.

    I can’t help but feel very happy for you, and where you’re right now, and how you have weathered the storm of her cancer (during and after). I think it’s a real testimony to your character that it DIDN’T change you, at least not in a negative way. I think it did change you some…and I like it that part of that change has engaged you (and then us) into the fight against cancer. I think she would be extremely proud of you and happy for your happiness. Just my 2 cents worth. FIGHT LIKE SUSAN!

  4. Comment by Den | 08.5.2010 | 10:43 am

    Well said.

    Keep on keeping on, you’re doing great.

  5. Comment by Minh Nguyen | 08.5.2010 | 10:47 am

    You’re a good man Fatty and I’m sure that Susan is up there smiling down at you right now!

  6. Comment by Weaky6 | 08.5.2010 | 10:53 am

    Wearing it on your sleeve is not easy, but you do it so gracefully. I don’t know you, but I can tell your a good father. peace.

  7. Comment by Katey | 08.5.2010 | 10:54 am

    You’re right about this not being the day that should define Susan’s life. I love that you don’t seem to have let her passing change you in a negative way, and I love all the positive that has come of it. You’re an inspiration, and I’m proud to know who you are.

    Fight like Susan!

  8. Comment by bikemike | 08.5.2010 | 10:57 am

    yep, i had to go and check outside, sure enough there was a big dust storm that came through here. going to get the dust out of my eyes now.

  9. Comment by T Foster | 08.5.2010 | 11:01 am

    What MattC said.

  10. Comment by Adventure Nell | 08.5.2010 | 11:04 am

    Wearing my WIN shirt today and think of those who are fighting for thier lives today. Hugs to you and yours

  11. Comment by cloud19th | 08.5.2010 | 11:05 am

    it’s nice to remember by heart, not by calendar. Lots of thoughts for your kids, that they remember and revel in how much Susan, you, and the Runner love and are proud of them. Life is beautiful.

  12. Comment by Jen | 08.5.2010 | 11:17 am

    Powerfully inspiring insight. Well stated. Wishing you and your family a wondeful and appropriatly reflective and productive day :)

  13. Comment by oheckler | 08.5.2010 | 11:19 am

    You and your blog have been a source of humor and inspiration to many people. I hope you and your family can find some peace today.

  14. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.5.2010 | 11:20 am

    Well said and well done.

  15. Comment by mateo | 08.5.2010 | 11:21 am

    You have great strength Fatty. Keep the faith, keep on keepin’ on.

  16. Comment by plum | 08.5.2010 | 11:23 am

    One year later, still here, still reading.

  17. Comment by class cycling | 08.5.2010 | 11:29 am

    Such a short post…but packed with so much insight and wisdom. Keep up the great riding and writing!

  18. Comment by skippy | 08.5.2010 | 11:29 am

    I put “Amy Gillett RIP” on my bike for last year’s anniversary, it has remained there ! Very few 5 years on register the fact let alone remember the date.
    At the TDF this year a Sunday on the climb i had to walk as the racers were due any time, i asked the Aussies to turn their flags upside down to mark her anniversary, most did and even some americans followed suit!
    Losing a partner is a life changing experience for all and each has their way of coping with the grief. We all have heard of Dying partners expressing the desire that the remaining partner start a new life and it is a sign of their love that they give/express this release.
    Susan has inspired so many people by her fight and i recognised the slogan in yellow on the TDF route and it prompted me to look for the date.
    Each night the RSL in Oz has a saying repeated daily that begins “They shall not grow old,etc”.
    We all know that this applies to special people in our lives or those that touch the lives of all our friends and acquaintances.
    Life goes on and although the fire diminishes the glow remains.

  19. Comment by Marc P Jones | 08.5.2010 | 11:40 am

    This is roughly my two year anniversary reading. In that time, I have been through prostate cancer, loss of my dad, loss of wife’s grandfather, one college graduation, who is now married, and a host of other “life changes”. Often your words and thoughts, and the perspective that is shared, often contrary to what I want to feel, has been a blessing. You are truly Bloggist Supremo! (new word) and thanks for including us in your life. Remember Susan often, and with a smile.

  20. Comment by Dan | 08.5.2010 | 11:42 am

    Touching entry. Short and powerful.

  21. Comment by Dan N | 08.5.2010 | 11:50 am

    Stay strong buddy. Keep up the good work. She’s looking at you with a smile right now.

  22. Comment by JB | 08.5.2010 | 11:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I admire how you have found meaning and joy while honoring Susan. May you find peace on this difficult day.

  23. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.5.2010 | 11:51 am

    Wow, Susan was more concerned about you and her children than herself right to the end. Susan is amazing – glad you shared her with us, even though the circumstances were awful.

    And I’m ticked I didn’t ride this morning. I’m an idiot.

  24. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 08.5.2010 | 11:51 am

    Wow, it has been quite the year. Susan would definitely be proud of you and her children. I will be attending a celebration of life gathering for a close loved one who passed in June from cancer and will keep your words close as I struggle with my own anger and sadness.
    Peace to you and yours.

  25. Comment by Aaron | 08.5.2010 | 11:53 am

    Artfully put.

  26. Comment by Patrick S | 08.5.2010 | 11:56 am


    I’ve only been following your blog for several months now and find your wit and honesty very refreshing. I always look forward to the next blog post in my mail.

    I have read some of the early blogs about Susan. I have not read all of them. While I did not know about you back then, I agree that Susan would be proud of you now.

    Today’s blog was touching. I really liked the last point about celebrating a life and not putting so much focus on the day of their death.

    Keep on riding. Keep on fighting. Keep on making a difference in this world.

  27. Comment by Chris | 08.5.2010 | 11:57 am

    Generous of you to share your tender thoughts. I hope you feel nothing but support and peace in doing so. Encouraging thoughts and prayers from our house to yours.

  28. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.5.2010 | 12:29 pm

    well said, man

  29. Comment by judi | 08.5.2010 | 12:32 pm

    RIP susan!! XXXXOOOOO!!

  30. Comment by atomicmiles | 08.5.2010 | 12:34 pm

    Very well said. Ride on

  31. Comment by Alison Wonderland | 08.5.2010 | 12:36 pm

    In the last week or so in my spare time I’ve been reading through your archives backwards. It’s been interesting to see this last year for you backwards (as an aside let me tell you that you need to work on your follow through) and I just got to your post about Susan’s death today. Since I don’t have much experience with the “before” you (I haven’t gotten that far yet) I can’t really say whether you’ve changed, but I can say that you have not gotten bitter and that you (on the blog at least) seem to be really happy. You did have a dark month or two there but even that was, I think, not too dark.

    Short story long, I’m glad you’re well and I’m glad you’re happy and I think Susan’s happy for you.

  32. Comment by Anne | 08.5.2010 | 12:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing such private thoughts. I think you have changed, how could you have not?!

    My thoughts are with you today.

  33. Comment by Kathy McElhaney | 08.5.2010 | 12:41 pm

    At times it is hard to believe that it has been a year (or a decade), at others it seems like only yesterday.

    Your kids are doing well because you didn’t become an angry, bitter person.

  34. Comment by James | 08.5.2010 | 12:42 pm

    “The important thing about Susan wasn’t her death, it was the way she lived.”

    A lesson for us all, right there.

    Keep on living the way you live, keep on loving the way you love, and keep on fighting the good fight.

    Just like Susan did, and just like she’d want you to do.

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  35. Comment by Karen | 08.5.2010 | 12:43 pm

    You really set a fine example to follow, your children are lucky to have a father like you. My thoughts are with you, thank you for sharing your thoughts and touching so many people.

  36. Comment by cdags | 08.5.2010 | 12:50 pm

    You’re one heck of an inspirational optimist, Elden, and you’re always perfect when putting pen to paper.

    Many prayers are coming your way.

  37. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.5.2010 | 1:01 pm

    Love the idea of celebrating her birthday!

  38. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 08.5.2010 | 1:08 pm

    Keep the pedals turning!

  39. Comment by k_deck | 08.5.2010 | 1:12 pm

    What bikemike said – must be the dust storm has reached DC too.

  40. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 08.5.2010 | 1:14 pm

    Fatty, thank you for sharing your thoughts today. My sympathies are with you for your loss, but my joy is with you for where you are now. I agree that you have not become an angry, bitter person. You have found happiness with The Runner, your kids and all your biking. You are still doing wonderful things to fight cancer. Susan’s memory and spirit are still very much alive. Her life – and your life now – truly are good.

  41. Comment by randy | 08.5.2010 | 1:19 pm

    I watched my Mom die of cancer when she was 52, and consequently watched my Dad wrestle with the very same issues you describe. I think in some way, he has revisited these points every year on the day of her death for the last 23 years, and that’s okay. He, like you, has gone forward in life with the most optimistic of attitudes, and constantly draws inspiration from the way my Mom lived, and that’s the important part. You both are outstanding examples of how to face adversity in life. Thank you.

  42. Comment by etucker | 08.5.2010 | 1:19 pm

    WIN Susan! She will always be part of Team Fatty, as are all of our other personal honored teammates.

  43. Comment by HomeMadeBiscuitEater | 08.5.2010 | 1:22 pm

    Tonight when I ride, I will wear my Fat Cyclist jersey in honor of Susan’s life. Her fight, your blog & fundraising efforts, as well as those of Team Fatty have touched so many lives and connected so many people in the fight against cancer.
    Continue to Fight like Susan!

  44. Comment by cece evola | 08.5.2010 | 1:33 pm

    As a matter of fact, I have been thinking of Susan the last few days. I just started reading your blog last year about 3 weeks before her passing and have been reading ever since! Crying and laughing, laughing a nd crying…

    Marking anniversaries is hard. You and Susan have done so much for the cancer community! That is to be celebrated and to have touched so many lives and motivated so many people is remarkable. I am proud to be a small part in it.

    This am as I rode, I saw high above the city of Albuquerque such a beautiful sky…perhaps a Susan Sky…it was bright hot pink…..and lilac..a very unsual sky!

  45. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 08.5.2010 | 1:34 pm

    Fatty, your blog is a master class in how to live with grace and humor. Thanks.

  46. Comment by Andrew | 08.5.2010 | 1:38 pm

    Hang in there, Fatty. You’re doing great.

  47. Comment by AnneJuliet | 08.5.2010 | 1:48 pm

    very well said.

  48. Comment by KC | 08.5.2010 | 1:49 pm

    you inspire me to try harder.

  49. Comment by Charisa | 08.5.2010 | 1:52 pm

    Fatty I think she’d be quite happy with how you have managed everything in the past year. And she would be happy you have made such a positive difference in the world for sure!

  50. Comment by Barbara | 08.5.2010 | 1:54 pm

    Susan’s birthday is the day you’ve all celebrated together with Susan for 20+ years. That’s the day to continue to celebrate her life and the beautiful family you created. I realized this year that I missed the 7th anniversary of my mother’s death (thought of it before and after, but somehow not on the day), but my sister and I will always celebrate her birthday. Just as we continue to celebrate our father’s and our brother’s birthdays. It’s a lot of cake to have to eat with 3 fewer actual people to share it, but we seem to be up to the task.

    Thanks for all the smiles, laugh-out-louds and tears these last few years, Fatty! I’m so glad you are happy and the kids are thriving.

  51. Comment by Mike B | 08.5.2010 | 1:59 pm

    Fatty, Peace to you and the family. Keep the faith.

  52. Comment by Redbird74 | 08.5.2010 | 2:07 pm

    Thinking of you and your family today, Fatty. Now back in Canada, not a day goes by when I don’t look around and feel so blessed to be where I am surrounded by my loved ones. Trying hard to forge the kind of relationships in my life that you and Susan shared. Looking forward to seeing you in Philly!



  53. Comment by bahama mama | 08.5.2010 | 2:43 pm

    The anniversary of my mom’s passing I consider to be her new birthday. She’s free of any pain and worries. I truly believe she’s my guardian angel. I’ve had incredible peace and strength at some awful times since she’s passed and I give her all the credit for that. I’m sure Susan is guarding you and the kids just as well.

    Peace and love to your family.

  54. Comment by a chris | 08.5.2010 | 2:49 pm

    The birthday sounds like the absolutely right idea.

    But thank you for sharing these thoughts today. They seem…well, absolutely right. Thank you for letting us share a little bit in what is no small triumph for you, the kids, and Susan.

  55. Comment by Yukon19 | 08.5.2010 | 2:50 pm

    She Lived! Another great post, congrats, you made a sappy guy cry again.


  56. Comment by Meg | 08.5.2010 | 3:04 pm

    Been a follower of the blog for about three months now and have had quite a bit of time to get up to date with previous posts. Your love and dedication to Susan and to the fight against cancer is not only inspirational but you remind us that even though we may not be in control of the crappy life altering experiences that we get handed we ARE in control of how we respond to them. Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself I read your blog. It makes me laugh and it reminds me that no matter what happens we always have a choice to make a positive difference in the world.

    You deserve every bit of happiness that you’re experiencing!!!

  57. Comment by K | 08.5.2010 | 3:11 pm

    Elden – Re your last point – I have had a similar experience. After my dad died, we made note of the anniversary of his death and I always called my mom. But for his birthday we celebrated – usually with a dinner filled with the food he loved. Wishing you and your family a day filled with good memories!

  58. Comment by GrannyGear | 08.5.2010 | 3:25 pm

    You married over your head. Twice!
    Nicely done today.

  59. Comment by Heidi | 08.5.2010 | 3:32 pm


    Love to your family.

  60. Comment by Beth B | 08.5.2010 | 3:38 pm

    And this is exactly why we love you.

  61. Comment by MattC | 08.5.2010 | 3:39 pm

    @ GrannyGear…one small ovservation in life is that MOST guys marry over their heads (ESPECIALLY me!) Seems for whatever reason that it’s not very hard for us to do. (which reminds me of the Happy Day’s episode where Fonzie tells his criteria for a woman: “no mustache”)

  62. Comment by Mike in Melbourne | 08.5.2010 | 3:42 pm

    A guy I work with is flying interstate today to attend a memorial service tomorrow for a good friend who died earlier this year. Tomorrow is his birthday and they are going to scatter his ashes on Sydney Harbour to celebrate his life.

    All the best to you and your family Elden. I know you’ll be having a tough day.

  63. Comment by MOCougFan | 08.5.2010 | 3:51 pm

    Don’t want to sound stupid here. Especially since your a couple years older than me. But I am impressed by how your handling this. I would have completely fallen apart. You did not. Proud of you brother.

  64. Comment by Dan | 08.5.2010 | 3:57 pm

    So much emotion, such honest and true feelings. Fatty I feel blessed just having read about Susan and her life. Thank you for sharing her and part of your soul with us.

    We will keep fighting and we will win!

  65. Comment by Lisa | 08.5.2010 | 4:02 pm

    Good for you, Fatty. Continued happiness in the years to come, to all of you. One’s death should never be a mark of one’s life–make her birthday a permanent, wonderful celebration. Wouldn’t we all want that?

  66. Comment by Preben | 08.5.2010 | 4:20 pm

    Great words Fatty, Thoughts are with you in Australia

  67. Comment by Triflefat | 08.5.2010 | 4:41 pm


    My view is that over the past few years you’ve provided us with a masterclass in what it is to be a good, ordinary human being. Today’s is the latest instalment.


  68. Comment by Tyler | 08.5.2010 | 4:48 pm

    I was so sad this time last year, and while nothing can ease the pain I’m sure you felt — and still feel — at Susan’s passing, I am happy for you. You and your family are doing well, and that is all you can ask for.

    What a perfect way to honor Susan. This is just another WIN for the Nelsons.

  69. Comment by ade | 08.5.2010 | 4:56 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter…

    It feels like an incredible confluence of events, reading this post – I’ve just walked in the door after an epic night ride off-road and it’s nine minutes until my birthday (UK time). If I were to choose, I’d much rather my life were celebrated on my birthday than the anniversary of my passing – I’m always smiling on the 6th August (except when I turned 29, but that’s a different story), so why not remember me on a day when I was habitually happy, rather than a day of sorrow?

    Fatty, I can’t thank you enough for the perspective you bring to life. Your life story is one of humour and pathos (thankfully, in that order), and reminds us all that we should feel lucky for every opportunity we have on a daily basis.

    As another commenter sagely quoted Marvin Gaye, ‘keep on keeping on’.

  70. Comment by Michael | 08.5.2010 | 5:05 pm

    Hi Mate,

    Our Prayers are with you. Your Site, Your Mission and your achievements to date would make her proud.

    As a great man, Lance Armstrong, once said, “Live Strong”.

  71. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 08.5.2010 | 5:24 pm

    Blessings to you and your family on this day.

  72. Comment by RJD | 08.5.2010 | 5:38 pm

    Thank you for putting yourself out there, I am continually touched.

  73. Comment by Susie | 08.5.2010 | 5:48 pm

    Susan was an inspiration to us all, as you and your family continue to be…remaining true to her desires for you and yours continues to bless us.

  74. Comment by HeidiR | 08.5.2010 | 5:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Susan would be proud to know that you have continued the fight, and I know she would be glad that you have found happiness again. Sometimes it’s through laughter, sometimes it’s through tears, but you never fail to touch my heart.

  75. Comment by BamaJim | 08.5.2010 | 6:44 pm

    Grace and peace to you

  76. Comment by a fan | 08.5.2010 | 7:20 pm

    Lots of love for the fatty family today.

  77. Comment by ChefJT | 08.5.2010 | 8:03 pm

    Only thing we can say:


  78. Comment by Hooples3 | 08.5.2010 | 8:06 pm

    I couldn’t help but put my win t on today. But your right… susans birthday is a day for celebration. Thank you for being you

  79. Comment by Chris from Aus | 08.5.2010 | 8:14 pm

    Thanks Fatty, short but so very deep. I agree entirely with you a Birthday is so much a happier memory and can bring up so many good thoughts. I commend you once again for openly putting your thoughts and feeling out there for others to read and ponder!

  80. Comment by TurnTheDamnCranks! | 08.5.2010 | 8:25 pm

    Amen. My mom died of cancer just over a year ago, and although we noted the anniversary of her death, it was on her birthday that we celebrated her life. May Susan’s memory be a blessing.

  81. Comment by Michael | 08.5.2010 | 8:27 pm

    +1 to celebrating Susan’s birthday: great idea.

  82. Comment by DoubleUc | 08.5.2010 | 8:29 pm

    i dont know you…and you dont know me either.
    thank you for the ray of light you give us all.
    it makes me smile,
    it makes me cry,
    and it warms my heart.
    most of all it gives me hope that i will find my way home on the dark days.
    I am certain that Susan knows what you have done, not only for yourself but what you have done for so many others!

  83. Comment by Bee | 08.5.2010 | 8:29 pm

    Bikemike mentioned a dust storm.. it’s here in rainy CT, too. Awesome reason for a duststorm. Classy post. I wish you many years of peace.

  84. Comment by Dan | 08.5.2010 | 8:56 pm


    Thank you for sharing.

  85. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 08.5.2010 | 9:17 pm

    Nailed it!

  86. Comment by Lindsey | 08.5.2010 | 9:28 pm

    It doesn’t seem like it’s been a year already.

    I can honestly say I wouldn’t be able to handle this all as well as you have. To have to deal with this all for yourself and your children, as well as having so many people look up to you and watch your next step cannot have been easy.

    You’re a good dude.

  87. Comment by Jouni | 08.5.2010 | 9:31 pm

    This might seem inappropriate, but it comes from the right intentions…

    To quote Frank the Tank from Old School “…keep on truckin’”…

  88. Comment by sbarner | 08.5.2010 | 9:57 pm

    My sister, Susan, won her battle against breast cancer seven years ago. She beat it by never letting it take over, living life every day. Her last accomplishment, completed only a month before she died, was to organize my parents’ 50th anniversary party, just a month before she passed away.

    I never payed much attention to the anniversary of her death, I just tried to ignore it, but the first year I cried a little almost every day. Her birthday was a different thing, though. The pain has softened, but her spirit seems to remain and I often think about what her take on some action or event would be. There’s still a strong tug on the heart on her birthday, and pretty much any time I think of her, but I find that the day brings me a smile, thinking of her and how she lived her life.

    Susan was 46. Her life was a gift to us all. Her death was an example I can only hope to follow when it comes my time. Learn from the sadness, and let it change you for the better. Enjoy the memories.

  89. Comment by Nic Grillo | 08.5.2010 | 9:59 pm

    You’ve got a great handle on things. Thanks for sharing.

  90. Comment by NoTrail | 08.5.2010 | 10:36 pm

    You are such an inspiration to so many. Thanks for sharing your inner thoughts, for leading by example, and for never losing sight of your goals. Susan would indeed be proud.

  91. Comment by Sara | 08.5.2010 | 10:53 pm

    Wow, Fatty, did you know this post created a worldwide dust storm? Just leaving Cali now. Thoughts are with you as always. Thanks for sharing your life with us all in blogland and for inspiring as well.

  92. Comment by The Former 550+ Cyclist | 08.5.2010 | 11:44 pm

    Hey Fatty, first off mine and everyone elses thoughts are with you today, You are such an inspiration to so many, the attitude and the way you handle yourself are just amazing.

    Fight like Susan!

  93. Comment by Jenn | 08.5.2010 | 11:44 pm

    This post, and subsequent comments, bring to mind Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day”, about enjoying a day, and life’s simple treasures. You’re a study in it’s lyrics, Fatty. Best to you and yours. Thank you.

  94. Comment by Nattedmag | 08.6.2010 | 4:15 am

    I agree with numerous other comments about the huge dust storm – worldwide indeed – it even reached the good old UK.

    You are just a huge inspiration to me & I feel humbled & priveledged to be able read your wise words.


  95. Comment by Patrick | 08.6.2010 | 4:33 am

    Keep smiling Fatty, you are a legend mate. I’d love to ride bikes with you one day.

  96. Comment by Jenni | 08.6.2010 | 6:07 am

    I heard someone refer to the date of a loved one’s passing as their “angel day” and I’m sure that would apply to Susan.

    Much love to you all. You’re a good man Fatty.

  97. Comment by Wes | 08.6.2010 | 7:39 am

    way to stay focused Fatty. life will continue to be challenging. let’s laugh in it’s face…

  98. Comment by Theresa | 08.6.2010 | 7:47 am

    (Big exhale)…now I have to go to a meeting with my mascara running. I was feeling a little down about some personal stuff I am dealing with, but I feel like I have regained my perspective. Thank you.

  99. Comment by Richard | 08.6.2010 | 7:58 am

    Mate, you are an inspiration.

    It’s a long way from Perth, Australia, but one day I’d like to shake your hand and buy you a beer.

    They shall not grow old,
    as we who remain grow old.
    Age shall not weary them,
    nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun
    and in the morning,
    we shall remember them.
    Lest we forget.

  100. Comment by Mandy | 08.6.2010 | 8:35 am

    Fatty, you are so freaking awesome, I don’t have the words.

    Your post made me think about my sister-in-law Becky who we lost a year ago April to breast cancer – we all decided that, well, yeah, that day in April is a day we will not forget…but the day we celebrate her life is her birthday…we still don’t do much besides remember how awesome she was (I do that every day anyway), and remind ourselves of her orders to “Live life, don’t waste time crying over me. Get out and do something.”

  101. Comment by Donna | 08.6.2010 | 9:00 am

    Fatty, Susan is still here, with you, in part, through those beautiful children you created together. You will see Susan in them and in their kids forever.
    Continue to Fight Like Susan…
    damn duststorm just hit Toronto, Canada…..

  102. Comment by Brandy | 08.6.2010 | 9:18 am

    As always…you have impressed me once again with your post.


  103. Comment by Bridget in Minnesota | 08.6.2010 | 9:28 am

    I always pray for peace and I believe you have found it.

  104. Comment by Brewinman | 08.6.2010 | 9:43 am

    Way to keep turnin’ those cranks, brother.

    Fight Like Susan!

  105. Comment by Kyle (aka slowcyclist) | 08.6.2010 | 10:01 am

    Though I only know you through your blog, you seem to have the right attitude and are right about remembering her birthday. Though you won’t be able to completely forget this day, it is all the other days you need to remember. Your an inspiration. Thanks Fatty.

  106. Comment by skippy | 08.6.2010 | 10:03 am

    richard 7.58 8/08/10

    thanks for posting the “Lest we Forget”!

    email me

  107. Comment by Jumpinjason | 08.6.2010 | 10:35 am

    Fatty – your post yesterday really gave me strength emotionally. You are a good man. It is obvious that you HAVE become a changed man – but for the better (not that you were not so great before). Thanks for your example of working to become better and better.

  108. Comment by Emmy | 08.6.2010 | 11:35 am

    Dear Fatty,

    Thanks so much for sharing your worst and best of times. Though I never knew Susan (or you for that matter) I would imagine she’d be happy of you and the love you give.

  109. Comment by Yitzhak (Isaac) Ben-Moshe | 08.6.2010 | 11:41 am

    Duststorm just hit Austin. Elden, the traditional Jewish thing to say on such an occasion is “May her memory be for a blessing.”. I see that it already is.
    I hope I get to meet you at this year’s LiveStrong in Austin.

  110. Comment by Carl | 08.6.2010 | 12:30 pm

    It seems like yesterday that we were all at LIVESTRONG Philly together last year after Susan’s passing. Susan has changed a lot of people without ever meeting them – what a legacy…

  111. Comment by Janneke | 08.6.2010 | 12:43 pm

    Darned duststorm has arrived in the Netherlands as well… Go on livin’ strong and fighting like Susan. Fatty, you and your – extended – family rock!!

  112. Comment by G | 08.6.2010 | 1:26 pm

    You are an inspiring character. My thoughts are you with you and your family. Additionally, I second your thought to celebrate Susan’s birthday; it sounds like a proper way to honor the memory of her zest for living.

    Thank you.

  113. Comment by BobE | 08.6.2010 | 2:33 pm

    Elden, I stopped for a photo at the top of Alpine Loop this morning. Last year this brought a tear to my eye the first few times I saw it. Today, a smile. I’m sure Susan is smiling too.
    Ride strong tomorrow.

  114. Comment by L'Hippo | 08.6.2010 | 2:34 pm

    100% agree

  115. Comment by Haven (KT) | 08.6.2010 | 2:35 pm

    Nice, Elden. I’m sure she’s smiling at you and your family from the Otherlands.

    Fight like Susan, indeed! The Nelsons are an inspiration to a lot of people.

  116. Comment by Leslie | 08.6.2010 | 3:17 pm

    So much love there.

  117. Comment by K.S. | 08.6.2010 | 3:31 pm

    I thinking of Susan, too.

  118. Comment by Serene | 08.6.2010 | 4:55 pm

    Thank you for affirming life today. I hope you continue doing that for the rest of yours, and that it gets happier and richer and fuller.

  119. Comment by Dave K | 08.6.2010 | 5:11 pm

    Hey Fatty,

    I lost my Mom 12 years ago. Not the same thing, exactly, but I’d say you should acknowledge the sad day (don’t try denying it or hiding from it) but celebrate Susan’s birthday. After all, her birth was a gift to you and your kids, and to many others I’m sure.

  120. Comment by John | 08.6.2010 | 5:21 pm

    My thoughts are with you today!

  121. Comment by Mark | 08.6.2010 | 5:43 pm

    Today we buried Susan, a good friend and fellow cyclist who was hit and killed while riding on July 29 here in Iowa. I would like to think she had the same qualities as your Susan. My thoughts are with you and your family today.

  122. Comment by Erin | 08.6.2010 | 6:01 pm

    Dear not-so-Fatty Elden Nelson,

    I have read this blog entry several times over the last day. I am 39 and my mother died 20 years ago, last month, of kidney cancer. I have always paused to think of her on the anniversary of her death, but you are right–that’s not “the day” that is special or noteworthy to me. It has always been HER birthday, and MINE. Remember always (and I’m sure you will) that on your kids’ birthdays they are fundamentally and perpetually connected to their mother. I found (find) my birthday especially hard. I am happy for you that you (and Susan) had the sense to make peace (if peace can really be made out of such tragedy) of this whole curve ball life has hurled your way. Continued happiness for you, the Runner, and your brood.
    Erin G.

  123. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 08.6.2010 | 9:27 pm

    Eldon, you got heart, you got soul, is why this is the 123rd comment.

  124. Comment by Dave | 08.6.2010 | 9:53 pm

    I’m writing this with a huge lump in my throat. I’ve been a loyal reader for many years. I was here, but with you through all your ups and downs. Your ability to deal with all that has been thrown in your path is inspirational. You’re an amazing person.

  125. Comment by Adam | 08.6.2010 | 10:25 pm

    A year ago, I read your post about Susan passing aloud to my wife with tears in both of our eyes. In the comments of that post there was a quote of Jill Homer that struck me as a good description of Susan’s fight, “physical fitness is fleeting, stregth is forever.” I wear that quote on my road i.d. I remember reflecting on my own relationships that I have with my friends and family and vowed to make the most of those precious moments. Fatty, you have educated all of us on how to be a good person, and how to deal with true adversity. Thank you.

  126. Comment by AK_Chick | 08.6.2010 | 11:42 pm

    Duststorm reached rainy Alaska…my eyes are really watering and my nose is rather runny.

    Your blog is so incredibly amazing. I love the serious posts, and the not so serious posts. I started reading your blog three months before Susan made that final journey. I was immensely sad when she died. It was because of your blog that I signed up for Livestrong Austin. I figured I’d need a lot of time to train. :) I’m very excited to be a part of Team Fatty and hope I can surprise myself with fundraising.

    I love the thought of remembering someone on their birthday. Such a wonderful idea.

    LOVE the “WIN” photo posted by one of the commenters. So cool.

    I have to think Susan would be so proud of you and your kids. You have dealt with the ups and downs with such grace. You are setting not only a good example for your children, but for your readers as well. Thank you for sharing.



    Team Fatty!

  127. Comment by RP in SLC | 08.6.2010 | 11:43 pm

    You’re a good man, Elden Nelson. Susan left behind an inspiring legacy, and you’re well on your way to doing the same. Keep your smile on my friend.

  128. Comment by AK_Chick | 08.6.2010 | 11:48 pm

    Forgot I wanted to include a quote that Lance Armstrong tweeted awhile back that I loved. I think it applies to not only you, but Susan and your children as well.

    “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Mahatma Gandhi

  129. Comment by mhm | 08.7.2010 | 7:15 am

    A few words with a powerful message…keep riding and writing…I look forward to reading.

  130. Comment by Janey | 08.7.2010 | 8:53 am

    I feel so incredibly blessed to have been allowed to share in Susan’s legacy. Its an honor to be one of your readers. Thank you.

  131. Comment by Lara | 08.7.2010 | 9:42 am

    You’re awesome, Fatty. Thought about you all on the 5th. Keep on truckin…Susan must be so happy to see the joy you are experiencing.

  132. Comment by Driver | 08.7.2010 | 10:29 am


    There you have it in a nutshell. Keep your chin up!

  133. Comment by Driver | 08.7.2010 | 10:29 am

    “The important thing about Susan wasn’t her death, it was the way she lived.”

    There you have it in a nutshell. Keep your chin up!

  134. Comment by Doug Gage | 08.7.2010 | 4:04 pm

    Fight like Susan! You know what what? I think she actually won due they way she lived.

  135. Comment by Doug Gage | 08.7.2010 | 4:05 pm

    and still lives!

  136. Comment by Bob Barrows | 08.8.2010 | 5:57 am

    Fatty, I have been wanting to connect with you for sometime. I used to race, a lot, I lost my 15 year old daughter 2.5 years ago to cancer. Yesterday I did my first race in 2 years, got my ass kicked but it was good to get out there.
    I do mark the day Bailee died as it was a huge transition day in our lives, and it is important to me to purposefully take the time to feel her life and its significance to mine. We all have our own ways of dealing. Live life to it’s fullest, way to go.

  137. Comment by Rob | 08.8.2010 | 8:49 am

    Dude you rock!!!

  138. Comment by Kirk | 08.8.2010 | 12:37 pm

    Susan lost A battle, she did not lose her war. Yes, she lost her battle for her life. But she won so much more. Her husband whom she loved is still a great guy, and awesome father (inferred!). Her kids have a memory of a great woman and mother they will keep forever hearts. And finally Susan has inspired THOUSANDS across the world.
    The fact is that at some point we will all join Susan in Heaven, I just hope that when I do, my friends and family keep up the fight like Susan’s.


  139. Comment by Russell | 08.8.2010 | 1:24 pm

    Thanks for all that you do. It inspires me to be a better person.

  140. Comment by Jeremy | 08.8.2010 | 5:04 pm


    Many blessings are well-deserved for your family. Susan was one of three taken by cancer over 3 days last year I felt connected to. Team Fatty and Susan have motivated me to do more in the LIVESTRONG Challenge than I thought I could, so those blessings have been passed to me.

    Thank you and Susan for everything.


  141. Comment by shelia | 08.8.2010 | 6:34 pm

    I lost my mom to lung cancer 3 years ago,,she was 46 at the time. My mom urged my dad in her final days to pick up and go on,,as he was still a young man. My dad has since remarried,,and I’m truly happy for him. When you said that you would speak with your kids,,that warmed my heart. I know that nothing helps heal your heart more than to just be able to speak of your loved ones. Since my dad remarried his new wife doesn’t like us to speak of mom ever. I hate that, it hurts. If your able to talk about silly memories or have a question about them,, its like it keeps a part of them alive. Im glad that you found happines,,, but Im very glad that you still keep her memeory alive for your kids.

  142. Comment by buckythedonkey | 08.9.2010 | 4:51 pm


  143. Comment by George Not Hincapie | 08.9.2010 | 8:21 pm

    SoulMates transcend life.

  144. Comment by CHAS | 08.9.2010 | 9:27 pm

    You are a winner. Thanks for the blog.

  145. Comment by jessica | 08.15.2010 | 5:07 pm

    My grandmother died of uterine cancer at age 43. She lost her battle after 5 short months. I never met her. Before she passed, she told my mom that she cannot get in the way of my grandfather marrying again since she knew some widowers that seemed so lonely after their wives had passed away. She didn’t want my grandfather to be like them. To drive her point home Grandma told my mom that if she and her sisters interfered, she would come back and haunt them.

    I am happy for you, Fatty.

  146. Comment by Justin | 08.16.2010 | 8:36 am

    I found your site through and engadget post and have to say I’m glad I did. I donated to the the ride already, tried to buy a jersey but out of stock, and then came upon your post. I don’t know you or Susan, but admire you in being able to carry on. I can imagine if the same where to happen to me and I only hope I’d have your strength. You are awesome in every sense of the word.

  147. Comment by Christian | 08.17.2010 | 1:58 pm

    Your doing brilliantly, inspiration and all that. Best Wishes from Essex, United Kingdom… if your ever over here feel free to come for a ride. I have a few spare bikes!


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