I’m incredibly pleased to announce that Team Fatty Austin is — once again — the winner of the Team Champion Award for the Austin LiveStrong Challenge.
What is the “Team Champion Award?” Well, it’s the award a team gets for raising more money than any other team. In our case, it’s because Team Fatty Austin has raised ~$180,000.
Which is a huge amount of money. And I could not be more proud of what Team Fatty Austin has done this year.
Further, consider this. Between the four LiveStrong Challenge events (Seattle, San Jose, Philly, and Austin) and Team Fatty NYC Marathon, we are within striking distance of raising half a million dollars for LiveStrong in 2010.
So, to everyone who has donated in any of my contests, and to everyone who has joined Team Fatty and helped raise money: thank you.
You have, over the course of the past two years, stayed with me and listened to me and worked with me and — over and over — have donated. To the tune of about 1.4 Million dollars.
That’s a staggering amount of money. It really is. Especially when you consider a dirty little secret about my blog: it’s honestly not all that big.
Sure, I puff out my chest and act like I have millions of readers, but I don’t have millions of readers. But that’s just a gimmick.
Which means that when hundreds of you join Team Fatty, and 985 of you donate on my personal LiveStrong Challenge pages, it’s no small percentage of you who have joined me in this fight.
So I want the videos I put together to reflect that.
I’ll have a high bar to meet: both ClydeSteve and PhillyJen have made incredibly good videos for the awards ceremonies at the Challenges they led. Luckily for me, I don’t mind stealing their good stuff.
Specifically, I’ve asked everyone in Team Fatty Austin to email me photos; they’ll be part of the Team Champion video. And I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to say on behalf of the team.
But here’s the thing: I’ve got two videos to make today.
Tell Me What to Say
In addition to the Team Champion Award, we’ve also won the Individual Messenger Award — the award given to the person who has had more people donate than anyone else.
That award goes to me, because close to a thousand of you have donated to one or another of my LiveStrong Challenge pages this year.
The thing is, I’m just the guy who asked for help. All of you are the ones who actually opened your wallets and did the heavy lifting.
So here’s what I’d like you to do to help me make this video really reflect the people who earned this award: leave a comment to today’s post saying why you’ve taken up the fight against cancer.
Keep your comment to one or two sentences — something really short and to the point.
I’ll use as many of the comments as I can, and will do my best to make the messages you have the central theme of this award.
Thanks very much for your help, and thanks for all you’ve done as Team Fatty keeps working in the fight against cancer.
A Note from Fatty: You might have first gotten to know Janeen “Noodle” McCrae on this blog when I featured her 100 Miles of Nowhere video last year. Well, this year, she rode across the United States — helping Team Fatty raise thousands of dollars for LiveStrong along the way.
Noodle is, in short, an inspiration.
So when Noodle sent me a brief ride report along with photographs, I definitely wanted to pass them along. Enjoy!
Just a quick note to let you know that I finished my ride across these great United States on Wednesday (Oct. 13) at around 4.30pm. Hoping you can let peeps know of this news so that I may thank them for their support, followings, and random-showing-up-and-the-side-of-the-road antics. I actually have a lot to say about this trip, but I am currently struggling to pull my thoughts together into any kind of sensical ramble. It will come, just not today.
Here are 3 spur-of-the-head thoughts:
1. America is big. A lot of it is empty. I would like to thank all the stupid song writers in the world (mostly from the 80s) who buried their dumb lyrics deep in my head so that these songs would appear randomly in the silence and torture me for HOURS in these locations. Thanks in particular to Billy “You’ve got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation” Joel, and Randy Newman for the Three Amigos theme (which I actually didn’t mind too much. I can really hold that note for a long time.)
2. America is beautiful. Even those empty parts. I would like to thank Mother Earth for shifting plates in her china cabinet to push mountains up in frighteningly wonderful messes, and flatten out the land in other parts like linen cloth on a table. There were days when landscape changed dramatically several times. Wow is a word that actually doesn’t sound corny and hollow when you see these things for the first time. People need to get out there and feast their eyes on this stuff, if they haven’t already.
3. America is not full of axe murderers. Go figure?! I experienced moments of great kindness, which has reaffirmed my faith in humanity. For every jerk who yelled “Why don’t you just go kill yerself” out a car window, there were 20 who offered a meal or asked if I needed anything. Cheer up america. You’re not as full of suck as you are lead to believe. I’d like to thank everyone who wasn’t a jerk.
And if you would indulge me this one personal note. I would like to thank you. I could have jumped on my bike and ridden across the USA and that would’ve been that and life would have gone on and whatever whatever so long and goodnight. But Team Fatty and raising money for LIVESTRONG became a key component of this trip for me. To the point where I sucked in some friends at Breakfast NY who made Precious (my bike) a brain and donated that brain and a website to help me raise money – refusing my lame attempts to pay for any of that stuff every time I half-heartedly offered.
Although my fundraising goal wasn’t huge, we reached the initial goal and so I upped the ante. Sure, I will fall short of that ambitious $21,310 goal, but I feel that the awareness my lovely tweeting bike raised for LIVESTRONG has served its own function.
For every email or tweet that I’ve gotten about how I’ve inspired some person to get on their bike or donate to the fight, I think about how it’s really just a knock-on effect from you. Your story was the initial hot coal under my seat to get off my arse and do something.
From you, to me, to … the next in line. I wonder who will inspire us next in this fight?
Ride on, Team Fatty!
Janeen “Noodle” McCrae
Each year, as the leaves begin to fall, my weight begins to climb. I have many good reasons for this annual phenomenon, all of which share the common theme of blaming something besides my exercising less, while eating more.
This year, however, things will be different. This year I have noticed the warning signs early. In early September, for example, I noticed that I was tending to wear my bigger jerseys, just because they fit a little more comfortably. In mid-September I noticed that I consistently had good reasons to go on rides that have less climbing. In late September, I noticed that my knees squoosh into my gut when I pedal.
Subtle hints to be sure, but I am a very observant person.
Armed with knowledge of what had happened and what would — if left unchecked — continue to happen, I have created a plan to nip this problem in the bud. Specifically, I have created a weight loss plan to carry me through the rest of this year.
But this is no ordinary weight loss plan. No. This is a plan that takes into account the realities of life. It is a practical plan. One that I can — and will — follow.
Week of October 4
This was the week immediately preceeding Levi’s GranFondo. A hectic week, and I really didn’t have much time to get to the grocery store to buy lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Plus, I knew that I’d be going to Santa Rosa on Thursday and that it would be practically impossible for me to eat well during the next few days.
Still, I’d be going on a long, demanding road bike ride on Saturday, and that would be a great starting point for me to begin the next week. I would establish and hold to good eating habits and get on track to having lost the ten pounds I’d like to have off by the time I go to NYC for the NYC Marathon.
Net Weight Change: + 2 pounds
Week of October 11
Of course, following the GranFondo, I was completely ravenous for about three days, and who could blame me? I was replenishing my depleted energy stores. Not to mention rehydrating.
Sure, there are probably better ways to rehydrate than drinking a gallon of chocolate milk per day, but after all, there’s lots of research that shows chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink. So I wasn’t being a glutton; I was recovering.
By the time I got to Wednesday (today), I felt pretty much recovered. There’s just one little problem, though: the kids have the next two days off of school, so today we’re loading up the family into the minivan (yes I own a minivan, shaddup) and heading to Southern CA for a vacation to Magic Mountain.
And honestly, can anyone really expect me to successfully diet while at an amusement park? No. It’s impossible. I may as well loosen my figurative belt (figurative because I never actually wear belts)and just enjoy myself. I’ll start dieting Monday. And I’m going to be hardcore about it.
Net Weight Change: + 2 pounds
Week of October 18
I’ll get home just in time to get caught up on work for a few days, then I’m off to Austin for the LiveStrong Challenge / Ride for the Roses. I’ve been there before and know that while we’re all ostensibly gathered to ride and celebrate the good work we’ve done fundraising, it’s actually a three-day food fest.
Besides, I’ll be hanging out with Team Fatty, and that’s no time to diet; that’s a time to celebrate! Plus, one more week isn’t going to make any real difference in the grand scheme of things.
Net Weight Change: + 2.5 pounds
Week of October 25
From Austin, I’ll be flying to Chicago for work for four days. It’ll be an intense four days of work, broken up only by lunch being brought in (I love sandwiches and potato salad!), and then late-night dinners together with coworkers. I’ll need to be at the top of my mental game that week, and I can’t think clearly when I’m hungry (and don’t even get me started on how grouchy I can get).
I’ll get home on late night Thursday, and then it’s trick-or-treating with the kids on Saturday. I know myself well enough that I realize that if I start dieting on Friday and make myself all hungry right before Halloween where there’s candy everywhere, I’ll just pig out worse on Halloween and will — paradoxically, I guess — gain more weight because I dieted than if I hadn’t dieted at all.
So I’ll wait ’til the next week to start dieting.
Net Weight Change: + 3 pounds
Week of November 1
A quick few days at home, and then The Runner and I fly to NYC for the NYC Marathon. At this point, starving myself is counterproductive. I need to carbo-load for the race.
Seriously, I’ll start dieting right after this marathon.
Net Weight Change: +1.5 pounds
Week of November 8
I really do diet this week. And I’m good about it five days out of seven.
Net Weight Change: -2.8 pounds
Week of November 15
My success of the previous week goes to my head and I gather a false confidence: it’s not so hard to lose weight after all! I begin to back off on my clearly-over-regimented diet.
Then, on November 17, I get LASIK surgery, and my exercise plan falls apart. I lie in bed for a couple of days, milking my minor eye irritation for all its worth. And I eat my body weight in cheese-fries.
Net Weight Change: +2.8 pounds
Weeks of November 22 – December 31
You know what? The holidays are here. Trying to lose weight during this time of year is like pushing water uphill.
But starting January 2, I am going to lose weight. Seriously. No matter what.
Net Weight Change: +5.6 pounds
Total Net Weight Change: 16.6 pounds
I have high confidence that I can make this plan happen. In fact, I’ve already got a good start on it.
Here’s something you may never have considered: wearing a helmetcam for eight hours can get downright heavy on one’s head.
And in fact, I had never considered this fact, either. Until last Saturday, where I rode Levi’s GranFondo, wearing a helmetcam the whole way.
By the end of the ride, though, said helmetcam had weighed heavily enough on my head that it left a very serious bruise and what is quite possibly an abrasion on my forehead. Here, I’ll show you:
I circled it for you (which is to say, the circle is not on my forehead in real life), so you can find it more easily.
I say all of this by way of pointing out that wearing a helmetcam turns a 100-mile bike ride — in perfect weather, with friendly people, on a beautiful course, with unbelievable aid stations, and with terrific company — very very hard work.
But I’m willing to do it. Not for myself, mind you, but for you. Because I love you.
So, here’s my Levi’s GranFondo 2010 ride video.
PS: Congratulations to all the winners in the giveaway I did around Levi’s GranFondo. All winners have been notified by email, and all — except the person who actually won the Trek Top Fuel — have replied.
All I can say is, if I were named William and I lived in Arizona, I’d be checking my inbox (and maybe my spam folder) for an email with the subject line “You, FatCyclist.com, and Levi’s GranFondo.”
You know how when you have a cold, your brain slows down to the speed of molasses (that’s not fast)? And things that normally wouldn’t annoy you, do? And you just want to lay down and sleep, and then watch some TV? And then maybe sleep some more?
Yeah, that’s how I am right now.
Right around mile 65 or so of Levi’s GranFondo last Saturday, I started feeling a scratchiness in the back of my throat. By the time I was back in the hotel and showered, my eyes were watery and itchhy.
And now I sound like Darth Vader when I breathe.
My point is that right now I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the awesomeness of the Levi’s GranFondo weekend, and I do want to do it justice. So I’d like to ask for your patience for a day. Tomorrow (or Wednesday at the latest if this cold is worse than I think it is) I’ll have a story and a video — yes, I wore the helmetcam for the whole ride.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of pictures from the trip:
This is me leaning against a redwood tree in Armstrong Forest. This is the first time I’d ever seen redwoods in person. I was awestruck at their enormity, not to mention beauty. So, as you can expect, I was quite embarrassed when — after having this photo taken — I accidentally pushed this tree over. I am quite strong.
The Gran La Fonda Handbuilt Bicycle Show — the evening before the ride — was a blast, from seeing beautiful steel handbuilt bikes to gawking at the gargantuan pedal-powered monstrosities to meeting and chatting with the author of Red Kite Prayer.
It was also at the Handbuilt Bicycle Show that Sean of Soulcraft gave me this, my favorite new bumper sticker. Obviously, I will apply it to Kenny’s truck as soon as humanly possible.
I’ve always been of the opinion that every natural setting has its own beauty, but there’s something extraordinary about riding along the coast. The weather was perfect, the course was breathtakingly beautiful, and the support was unbelievably good.
This was — honestly — one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had on a road bike.
Details soon. I’m going back to bed now.
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