A Note from Fatty: A lot of you donate frequently and generously in the contests I have where I give away bikes. All too often, though, once the winner has gotten word they’ve won a bike, that’s the end of the story. Well, Yann — the winner of a custom-built Sycip bike in in one of last year’s contests — is going to correct that problem right here, right now.
On June 28 of last year, Fatty notified me by email that I had won a custom fitted Sycip bike for my fundraising efforts for the San Jose Livestrong challenge. I had raised $2300 at the time. I immediately called him to confirm I had gotten the email and to find out what the next steps were in terms of starting the process of getting the bike.
One big question was unanswered: “what should I get, a road bike or a cruiser?” The rest of the day at work was not very productive as I kept going back to the Sycip web site and looking at the different pictures of the bikes that had been built. I already had a nice 2004 Trek 5200 road bike that I truly enjoyed riding. Also, I kept thinking “what would I do with 2 road bikes?” But at the same time, I didn’t really see myself riding a cruiser bike.
I called my girlfriend to tell her the good news, she was thrilled for me and said I deserved it for all the fundraising I had done in support of our friend Lisa, her husband Lloyd and her dad. I was more determined than ever to raise more money for the cause.
The reason for joining team fatty
At the time, Lisa was undergoing chemo treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her dad was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Lloyd, who in a strange twist of fate, is an oncologist, was diagnosed with a disc problem (not cancer) that was causing him to experience numbness and tingling in his neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Lloyd is a good friend that I have ridden with numerous times. This meant no riding for him until he underwent surgery to fix the discs. He couldn’t undergo the surgery until Lisa was out of the woods with her chemo and her dad was better since he needed to help take care of them.
I’m an idiot
After a very sleepless night agonizing over what to choose, I decided to go for the road bike. I figured I would get more use out of it. I emailed Elden, Jeremy at Sycip and Dustin at Shimano notifying them of my decision. A week later I hadn’t heard from anyone, so I emailed them again.
To my embarrassment, Elden told me about Dustin’s fiancé passing away after battling cancer for a couple of years. Dustin contacted me as well letting me know that he was dealing with some personal stuff.
A month or so went by, I contacted Jeremy at Sycip to find out what was next. Unfortunately, he was buried deep in preparations for Interbike and wouldn’t have time to do anything until after the show. In October we arranged for me to come up to his shop for a fitting.
He showed me around the shop where there were numerous bikes in various states of build and assembly. There were also numerous types of completed bikes throughout the shop. Jeremy and I went through the process of measuring my old bike and transferring the measurements to a bike fitting machine. We tweaked some settings here and there to make the bike fit me perfectly.
At the end, one crucial decision had to be made: “what color to paint the frame?” while Jeremy took a phone call, I pondered the question and walked around the shop. Then I saw it, there on a stand, was a partially assembled, metallic-grey-with-orange-Sycip lettering, bike. As Jeremy got off the phone, I walked him back to the partially assembled bike and pointed it out: “I want that color combo, that looks really nice”. With that I thanked Jeremy for his time and I left the shop more excited than when I was when I got there.
I got home that afternoon and kept thinking about the color of the bike. I thought it needed something more. I did a mock up of the frame in Autodesk Inventor, a 3d mechanical design program I used to work on. I placed the Sycip logo on it. I thought the Fat Cyclist logo should also go on as well as Shimano and Livestrong logos. After playing around with the logo placements, I sent the mock ups to Jeremy, Elden and Dustin for approval. The frame was then sent to be powder coated at Spectrum Powderworks.
On a Friday in February, Dustin emailed to tell me the bike had been shipped and that I should expect the bike to arrive at my house the following Tuesday. I of course decided to work from home that day as I didn’t want to miss the UPS truck showing up and not being able to deliver the bike.
By late evening, it arrived. I pulled it out of the box with pure excitement. It was mostly put together, wrapped in bubble wrap. As I stripped off the bubble wrap, the frame color looked great, I inspected every part of it and admired the craftsmanship of the bike, the beautiful, barely-perceptible welds, the Sycip logo on the rear dropouts, the Fat Cyclist logo on the seat tube, the Livestrong logo on the top tube and the Shimano logo on the chain stay and fork. I almost missed the Fight Like Susan words on the inside of the fork. I was ecstatic, I had a beautiful new bike.
The first ride
The first ride was unfortunately not to be had till a few weeks later due to bad weather. I took it out on a short 20 mile loop by my house with a friend of mine who complimented me on the beautiful bike.
After a few more rides on it, I felt like I was climbing stronger and riding faster than before, even my riding friends were noticing. Below is part of an email I sent to Elden, Dustin and Jeremy thanking them.
“I have gotten lots of compliments from my riding friends on how beautiful the frame looks in the chosen color and with the logos. Of course they are super jealous of the full Dura-Ace group and carbon tubeless wheels. Btw, I swear I feel a difference in the acceleration with these wheels compared to my 1 year old Bontrager Race X Lite wheels on my 7 year old Trek 5200. I think I could out-sprint the best of the Tour de France sprinters now with these new wheels (just kidding). I’d probably have to lose 40 lbs to get 1/10 of their acceleration. “
To which Dustin replied: “the wheels are awesome and faster! “
Then Jeremy: “I think it’s the frame that makes you go faster. Not the wheels. “
Lastly Elden: “I think it’s the FatCyclist logo that makes you faster.”
Finally me: “It’s a combination of the three actually. Add the Fat Cyclist jersey and I can beat anyone. It’s my secret weapon“
Unfortunately, the bike only has about 500 miles on it now. We’ve had some bad weather around here. 82 of those were ridden in the rain for the 100 miles of Nowhere ride on June 4th.
That’s me on the left.
Finally, to all who donated to my Livestrong page, I thank you. And of course, thank you to Elden for putting the contest together, Dustin for donating the parts and bike and Jeremy for the beautifully crafted bike. I thoroughly enjoy riding this bike every single time.
Looking forward to l meeting you all in Davis for the Livestrong Challenge in July on my Sycip.
PS: My friend Lisa is now fully recovered. Her husband, Lloyd had his surgery around Christmas 2010. Unfortunately, Lisa’s dad passed away last year. My dad is currently undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Doctors expect a full recovery.