Autumn is, objectively measured, the finest season for biking. The leaves are changing, with the leaves on some trees turning so extraordinarily red in such a short time that they catch you off guard when you see them. The days are no longer hot; you finish some rides having finished only one bottle of water.
And you are as fit and as light as you are going to be all year, reaping the rewards of the work you have done during the spring and summer — except now you can just enjoy that fitness, instead of having to drive toward some goal (a race, an event) that you have arbitrarily assigned importance to.
Autumn is also when the pounds start sneaking back on. And I mean “sneaking” in the most sinister, underhanded way possible.
Today, I shall explain why you gain weight beginning in the autumn, and what you can do to stop it, before it’s too late.
What Happens, And Why
When autumn begins, you’re as fit as you’re going to be that year. You’ve lost any winter weight you’re going to lose. You’ve gained any fitness you’re going to gain. And in general, you’re probably feeling pretty darned good about yourself.
Say, for example — and this is just a hypothetical example, because I don’t want to point any fingers — you spent a good part of the spring dropping from the 170’s into the 150’s, and building a good strong riding base. Then you spent the entire summer building upon that base with both riding intensity and endurance rides, so that by the time you did some of your biggest events, you were demonstrably the fittest you have ever been in your life.
You might find that that strength holds up pretty darned well even though you’re no longer training for anything. And by “no longer training for anything,” I mean “no longer really training at all.”
But you’re still able to ride strong. Almost as if by magic.
There’s a pretty good chance that this “Hey, I’m fit without having to even try anymore” philosophy will begin to extend into your eating habits. Like, you might continue to stick to the diet plan mostly, but perhaps you go out to eat a few times per week, instead of observing the previously-strict “one restaurant meal per week” rule.
And maybe you stop saying no to dessert.
And maybe you start putting cheese on top of your egg whites, because it makes the “egg whites and avocado” diet so much more delicious.
And so does a piece of toast under the egg, by the way.
And you’ve probably taken a couple of trips, and during those trips you haven’t had any kind of discipline about your diet at all.
And now it’s too dark to ride in the morning, and it gets dark earlier, too — so all your rides are shorter. And, oddly, slower.
And your scale is gathering dust. Not that you’re afraid of what it might say about your laxness, per se, but more that you’re feeling good, feeling strong, your clothes are only a little tighter than they were a month ago, and you’re just not really in the mood for bad news.
And (I promise, by the way, this will be the last paragraph I start with “and” for at least a little while) then the weather suddenly shifts and is ugly-cold. Not to mention snowy.
Yes, yes, I know. I live in a beautiful area, and the first snow fall is enchanting. But from the perspective of someone who already endured a late spring and a late summer and is now a little bit disgruntled at the prospect of an early winter?
My perspective is this: Yuck.
Oh yes. I was writing this in second person. I forgot. Sorry.
Perhaps you might find yourself unprepared for such a turn of events, weather-wise. You might discover you are unwilling to go out riding in such nasty conditions. Or running. Or doing anything at all.
For like, three days in a row.
But then — because you have signed up to do the Death Valley Trail Marathon in a couple months, you go out on a six-mile run. It hurts a little more than you remember six miles hurting, but you get through it OK.
And then, a couple days later, because your spouse is a little bit obsessive about training plans and properly preparing for races, you go out on a fifteen-mile run.
And it completely knocks you flat. I mean worse than flat. Like, since “flat” is two-dimensional, let’s say that “worse than flat” is one-dimensional. Which means, I suppose, that this fifteen mile run knocks you linear.
That was a long way to go for a pretty stupid joke. I apologize.
But the reality is that you didn’t even get to the turning point before you wanted to turn around. And you started needing to take little one-minute walking breaks every mile by the time you had run nine miles. And then the walking breaks started happening every half mile. And by the final mile, you had stopped running altogether, a fact your spouse would not realize for some time because she had gapped you by a mile and a half.
The next day, you weigh yourself. The news is not good. Specifically, you are back at 165 pounds.
Which is nine pounds gained since your lowest weight of the season, 156 pounds. Which means you are, incidentally, on the cusp of moving up a jersey size. Or, if you were to be completely honest, maybe a pound or two past that cusp. You are post-cusp, jersey-size-wise.
Whatever would you do in this (surprisingly detailed and specific) hypothetical scenario?
How to Stop Gaining Weight
The truth is, it’s really easy to start coasting once you hit autumn, putting on a few pounds here and there. Building some weight-gaining momentum early, so that by the time you hit winter you’ve got a full head of steam.
So how do you reverse that trend, before it’s too late (OK, it’s actually never too late, but “before it’s too late” sound more dramatic than “before it’s . . . later”)?
Easy. Simply follow this time-tested set of easy steps:
- Always have a goal. One that’s not too far down the road, preferably. Like maybe my goal would be, “I do not want my quads to squish into my gut when I go riding with the Core Team in Moab a month from now, and I do not want to break down and cry when I do the Death Valley Trail Marathon with The Hammer two months from now.”
- Forget about those goals for a couple of weeks, or at least delude yourself into thinking that they’re far enough away that you don’t have to worry about them quite yet. After all, Fall Moab is still technically more than a month away, and it’s not like anyone else (except Kenny and Brad) is going to be in tip-top condition for the weekend, either. So I still have time to train.
- Eat what you want. Don’t intentionally pig out or anything. Just don’t say no to dessert. And if the meal you eat tastes good, feel free to have seconds. And it’s so much easier to go to sleep at night if you don’t have an empty stomach.
- Avoid the scale for a few weeks. There are lots of good reasons to not step on the scale. “I don’t want to put myself in a bad mood” is a good one. So is, “I’ll eat light today and weigh myself tomorrow so my starting weight isn’t so huge” is a good one also. And “I just don’t feel like it” is startlingly effective, perhaps because of its simplicity. You’ll find you can come up with other good reasons of your own. In fact, you probably already have.
- Do a ride (or run or other workout) that was difficult-but-do-able — for you a month or so ago. You’ll find it to be difficult. Perhaps very difficult indeed. Perhaps you’ll even find that it completely shatters your image of yourself as a fit individual.
- Finally get up the courage to weigh yourself. Emit audible gasp. Reach out a hand to steady yourself. Wonder at how it’s possible you’ve gained all that much (turn off the part of your brain that actually knows precisely how it was possible).
I believe you will find, suddenly, the resolve to renew your diet and exercise regimen. Completely, seriously, and fully.
This resolve should last nearly until lunchtime.
Update: Dustin finished it! I think we’ll all be very interested to hear his story (and believe me, I will do my utmost to make him write up his story for this blog), but for now, check out his stats:
Obviously, this was an incredibly hard effort for Dustin. I can’t even describe how proud I am of him.
But you know, maybe making a donation in the contest might be a pretty good way of showing. Right now, he’s only around $3K from his goal of $20K. It’d be awesome if he woke up to having completed not just one goal — finishing the Ironman — but to having completed two.
Click here to donate. Thank you!
A Note About Dustin, and A Note From Dustin
A few days ago, I posted about how Dustin Brady’s doing this weekend’s Kona Ironman to honor a promise he made to his fiance, Michelle, shortly before she died of breast cancer.
You can read the whole piece here (and if you haven’t, you should), but the short version is that he told her he would do this race. And since the Young Survival Coalition’s Tour de Pink was important to Michelle, he wants to raise $20,000 for them.
And considering how much Dustin has gone through — not to mention how much he has helped Team Fatty raise money for other fundraising projects — I really want to help him get to that $20,000 goal.
Right now, we’re at about $13,000. That’s not bad at all. About 2/3 of the way there.
Of course, the prizes you could win are pretty incredible. For example, you could win a Shimano Dura-Ace clincher wheelset, either 24mm, 35mm, or 50mm profile. Top of the line wheels.
Or you could win a GoPro HD Camera — an awesome way to get video footage of any ride, whether you’re on mountain or road (my friend Grizzly Adam, who is a total camera nut, owns and uses one of these for his on-bike footage).
Or you could win some very nice Shimano Dura-Ace carbon pedals. Or an autographed HTC jersey. Or one of everything from the FCancerUp store.
Or maybe — just maybe — you’ll be the grand prize winner and get a $10,000 dream bike: a 2012 Giant TCR Advanced SL With Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. Check out the white frame option:
Read here for all the details on this bike, but for right now let’s just say: this frame + build is amazing.
So, if you’d like a shot at these prizes and would like to help Dustin get to his goal of $20,000, click here to donate. For every $5.00 you donate at my Tour de Pink fundraising page, you get a chance at winning each of these prizes.
A Note from Dustin
If I were Dustin, right now I wouldn’t be able to think or eat or sleep or do anything. I’d be too freaked out about the fact that I was about to do the Kona Ironman, for crying out loud.
But Dustin — a much calmer, saner individual than I am — wanted to send an email thanking everyone for what you’ve done so far:
I just really want to thank all of Team Fatty! For helping with fundraising and leaving comments that I love reading. The notes of encouragement and those who share stories of meeting Michelle make me smile.
I may be a little overweight (I have lost 20lbs in this effort … and that is what Michelle wanted most … me healthier), I may be a type 1 diabetic, and I for sure am undertrained for this event.
But what I do have — more than anything — is all the motivation I will need. From thinking of that picture of Michelle at the finish line and thinking of your comments and stories … I will get to the finish line even though just about all of you will have gone to bed by then.
Thank you for the support, and most importantly, thanks for being awesome!
Pretty cool of him, if you ask me.
Follow Dustin at the Ironman
The race starts Saturday, October 8, at 7:00am (HAST) / 10:00am (PT) / 1:00pm (ET). Dustin’s race number at the Ironman is #1556.
You can track Dustin by clicking here.
I think Dustin’s going to suffer. But I also think he’s going to be proud of what he’s accomplished.
As he should be.
It was 3am. I was lying in bed. Not sleeping, just lying there. I had two reasons for not being able to sleep:
- The next morning, we were going to ride the Col du Galibier. First up the North side, then down the South side. Then up the Telegraphe, then back down, then back up the South side of the Galibier, and then — finally — coast down to the hotel. A big day of riding and climbing for our final day on the tour. I was just too excited to sleep.
- There was a very loud group of Belgians partying all through the night outside, just below our window.
The Belgians were there for a big event: a charity ride, where thousands (literally) of people would climb the Col du Galibier, the same day we would be.
The good news — as far as we were concerned — was that the road would be closed to cars because of this event. The bad news was that thousands of bikes are almost certainly more of an obstacle than a few cars. Oh, and no cars meant that our trusty follow van wouldn’t be there for us. We’d have to carry everything we needed for the day, like normal folks.
The Belgians went to bed around 5am (really), so I got a good solid two hours-worth of sleep. So I woke grouchy and foggy. I knew it wouldn’t last, though. I knew from experience that riding gives me (temporary) relief from sleep deprivation, not to mention from cold symptoms.
But the sky was looking dark. Like it could rain.
The Hammer and I rolled up armwarmers and rain jackets and stuffed them into our jersey pockets. Surely, that would be enough.
A few miles of climbing from our hotel in La Grave brought us to the Galibier. Carlos — a heart surgeon from NY who goes on a couple tours with Andy Hampsten every year — rode with us. He asked The Hammer if she calls me “Fatty.”
“No,” replied The Hammer. “I used to, but now I call him Elden.”
Carlos looked at me. “You should have everyone call you ‘Fatty,’” he told me. “Who would want to be called ‘Elden‘?”
I admitted I had never thought about it that way before.
Summiting the Galibier (The First Time)
The Galibier is a daunting climb, because you can see all too well where you’re going. The road just grinds up and up and up.
Fortunately, as you climb, you can also look down and see what you’ve accomplished, so far:
We weren’t trying to set any records that day — I’d had enough of that for one trip — and so we took time to get pictures.
Thanks to Carlos, we were even able to get some with The Hammer and me together.
There were several cows — all white — alongside the road. Some of them would run beside you. Most of them would moo at you, too.
“Fatty, I think that cow just told you to get moooooving,” Carlos said. Which started a whole string of moo-related jokes. Which all seemed totally hilarious at the time.
Laughing and joking the whole way up, I hardly noticed that we had just climbed around 4000 feet in under twelve miles.
We were there. At the top of the Galibier.
As were about five hundred other people.
We got a shot of us with Andy Hampsten:
Was it a coincidence that Andy wore his “Galibier” jersey when he climbed the Col du Galibier? Only Andy knows for sure.
And I got this shot:
I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world with a picture of him or herself being put in a headlock by a grand tour winner at the top of the Col du Galibier. Can anyone prove me wrong?
It was kind of fun to stand back and watch people on the summit. I saw several people suddenly recognize Andy and point him out. It was the cycling equivalent of going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and seeing Mic Jagger hanging out there. Or something like that.
We began the descent down the South side of the Galibier, which meant we were going the opposite direction of most of the thousands of people still climbing. All the way down, I looked at peoples’ faces. Some were having a great time; some were suffering bad. But everyone was doing what it took to get to the top.
I love that about cycling.
We got to a cafe, where we bought all kinds of pastries. And paninis. And quiche.
And, for The Hammer and myself, a couple of Cokes.
For whatever reason, there was nothing quite as wonderful as Coke during this trip.
I don’t know if it was that we were hungry, or just that we were tired of 12-course meals, but this was my favorite meal of the trip thus far. If I ever go to France again, I am going to do all of my eating out of roadside cafes.
As we ate, the clouds got darker. The wind picked up.
“I don’t think we should do the Telegraphe,” said Andy.
On one hand, I was a little bit disappointed. On the other hand, it’s not like we didn’t have plenty of riding ahead of us. In point of fact, we now were going to climb the South side of the Galibier.
The Galibier Climb (the Second Time)
We started climbing again, this time with The Hammer, Carlos, Andy and I all riding together.
Then I made a mistake.
I told Andy, “You should really be writing a book. Have you thought of writing one?”
“Actually, I have,” said Andy. And he started telling me about it. From time to time, I’d throw in a little piece of input.
But you know how when you get absorbed in a conversation, you can totally lose track of what you’re doing? That’s what happened with Andy. As he got interested in telling me about his book idea, he started riding faster and faster.
Still talking easily, still breathing calmly. But definitely going faster.
Before long, Carlos and The Hammer dropped off the back. I was hanging on.
Andy was riding easily, thinking and talking about how he’d organize the chapters in his book.
I’d say maybe two or three words between gasping breaths. Andy spoke in full paragraphs.
And the climb just went on and on.
Finally, we got to the top. I figured, based on how I felt, that we must have been ten to fifteen minutes ahead of The Hammer and Carlos.
They rode up about one minute later.
At which point, I got my favorite shot of the trip.
At the moment I took this shot, it began to rain. One drop.
Then ten at once.
Then it was a downpour.
We put on what we had brought with us and began the trip down. At which point, I began to wish we weren’t descending in this downpour; that just made us all the colder.
I followed The Hammer the whole way down. I am not ashamed to say it: she is a better road descender than I.
Half an hour later, we were soaked, freezing, but back to our hotel.
La Grave is beautiful even when it’s raining.
This gave us a daily total of 43.5 miles, with 7200 feet of climbing.
I love the elevation profile:
That was the end of our last ride. Sure, we finished with soaking bike shoes, but we spent the whole week riding with dry shoes. That’s not bad at all.
It rained the next day as we made our way back to Lyon. Torrentially. And the bus broke down. And it rained all through the night and into the next morning.
And our train — the Rhonexpress, which had broken down on our way from the airport to Lyon — broke down on the way from Lyon to the airport.
It didn’t matter. We were giddy from what we had experienced.
It’s now been almost exactly a month since we finished this trip; it’s been fun for me to re-live it by writing the stories down. Earlier today, I asked The Hammer, “Can you believe we got to go on that tour? Any one of those rides would have been worth the trip. Stacking that many incredible rides together, well…wow. That was the vacation of a lifetime.”
And it really was.
PS: In case you’re curious, our total mileage for the tour was 420 miles, with 45,344 feet of climbing. That’s a lot.
A “Go Big” Note from Fatty: In yesterday’s post, I asked you to help me help my friend Dustin keep a promise, by donating to my fundraising page for the Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink. Click here for more details on that. Or just click here to donate.
Today, I’ve got an awesome additional way you can help me help Dustin get to his $20,000 goal. And this time, you’ll get some great gear out of the deal.
It’s what I’m calling the “Go Big” event at Twin Six. Specifically: today only, Twin Six will donate 50% of its gross for all size XL and larger (both mens and womens) t-shirts, jerseys, and shorts to the Team Fatty fundraising page for the Tour de Pink.
Yep, Twin Six is putting both the “Team” and “Fatty” in “Team Fatty:” half of what they take in, they donate. For size XL and bigger.
So, if you’re size XL or bigger — or you know someone who is — today’s the day to go shopping. You’re going to get awesome stuff, and half your money will go to an outstanding cause.
Allow me to make a few recommendations for items I consider worth taking a good hard look at:
- The Argyle (Yellow): It’s on sale for $46, which means if you buy an XL or XXL, you’re getting a great deal and making a $23 donation. Nice.
- The Masher (Womens): On sale, $46, and available in XL. A steal of a deal with a side benefit of making a great donation.
- Cars R Coffins: I love this jersey. $75 means you’re paying normal price, and you’re also making a sizeable donation: $37.50. Wow. XL available. Or how about a Cars R Coffins t-shirt? $12 of your $24 goes to the Young Survival Coalition. Sweet! Available in XL and XXL.
- Greaser Tech T: I love the Twin Six Tech-T’s, but they’re usually a little pricey. But this one’s on sale for $26, making it a great deal on a shirt that’s awesome for MTBing or running or nacho-eating. And $13 gets donated. XXL and XXXL available.
- CX T-shirt. Already on sale for $16, this beautiful t-shirt’s a no-brainer if you wear an XL or XXL. And the fact that $8 of your $16 goes toward fighting cancer makes it even less than a no-brainer. An anti-brainer, if you will.
I guarantee you, I’ll be buying a few things myself.
A “Hey, That Bottle’s Not So Ugly Anymore, Is It” Note from Fatty: Last week, I wrote a post describing how I was unhappy with the look of this year’s FatCyclist.com bottles. Well, since then the fact that these are the best bottles I have ever owned (brilliant valve, easy lock, easy-to squeeze bottle) has kind of warmed me up to them, and I have no intention of returning or giving away any of the ten I got for myself.
That said, these are not exactly what they should be, and so here is what you should do if you bought one or more of these bottles:
- If you just don’t want it: Send an email to email@example.com and they’ll work with you to return the bottle and get a full refund.
- If you’re OK with keeping it but would like a little something special from Twin Six to put them back on the top of your favorite companies ever: Use the coupon code teamfatty when purchasing any full-price item (or multiple full-price items) at TwinSix between now and the end of the year. You’ll get 30% off on that purchase. You can buy multiple full-price things and get all of them at 30% off, but you only get to use this code once, so use it wisely.
I’m pretty sure that between these two options, we’ve got everyone covered.
Disaster On the Way to La Berarde
The day started with an interesting lesson. Before we began our 2000-foot descent to The Bourg, from which we’d be climbing 4500 feet up to La Berarde, Andy Hampsten did a little seminar several of us had been asking about.
He talked about how to descend faster.
It was all useful info, but Andy predicated it with, “Don’t try anything I’m talking about today. Practice on the roads you know best; the one’s you’re most comfortable on.”
We begin the ride down the mountain road from La Grave. I am in no hurry, and plan to be in no hurry the entire day; I am saving myself for the following day — our final day of the tour — when we’ll be climbing the Col du Galibier. Both sides of it.
So when we catch up with a garbage truck also going down the mountain road, I ask The Hammer if it’s OK for us to just slow down; there’s no way we’re going to get around that truck on this road, and I’d rather cruise down this beautiful mountain without the sight and smell of a garbage truck right there.
We ride downhill nice and easy, turning on our lights when we go through tunnels.
Then, coming out of a tunnel and around a corner, we see it: a bunch of cyclists crowded around another cyclist, who is laying on the ground.
Even before we get close enough to tell who it is, we can tell from the Cinghiale jersey that It’s someone from our group.
We quickly dismount and walk over. It’s one of the guides.
Then I see his leg. And I realize that I can see into it. All the way to bone.
“I think I’m OK,” said the guide. “I don’t think anything’s broken. I think I can move.”
“No!” say several of us, at the same time. Carlos, a heart surgeon, explains further, “Trust me on this. Your leg’s broken.” He doesn’t tell the guide what all of the rest of us can see: that it’s a textbook compound fracture.
And I’m suddenly really glad that, among our tour group, we have an EMT — Shawn — and a doctor. (It would have also been awesome to have the trip winner, Laura, with us, because she’s an orthopedic surgeon; she had gone ahead with an earlier group, though.) They get the guide covered and comfortable as possible.
I keep thinking how good it is that there are people around who know what they’re doing, because I certainly don’t.
Then we stand around and wait for the ambulance.
Meanwhile, the guide seems pretty amazingly lucid and happy, though we have to keep telling him that no, it is not okay for him to try to get up.
And a good thing, too, because once at the hospital, he’d find that he had a broken tibula and fibula, a broken clavicle, and a broken hip. Which is to say, for the next little while, he’ll have the unhindered use of one of his limbs.
We try to piece together what happened. Nobody really knows exactly, but it seems that as the guide came around a bend, he saw traffic ahead was stopped. He grabbed his brakes and went down, probably bouncing or slamming against those concrete barrier blocks you see in the picture above.
It seems weird and wrong to call anything about this kind of accident “lucky,” but there was definitely at least some good luck in how he crashed. Because he at least crashed and slid, staying on the road.
His bike, on the other hand, must’ve taken one good bounce, because it was not on the road anymore.
Nope, it had gone over that concrete barrier and continued on its own:
I know, at first that photo just looks like a shot of trees and bushes down below. But if you’ll look a little closer, you’ll see the bike, which had free-fallen for at least 50 feet. Probably closer to 60.
A couple of people went and recovered the bike. The titanium frame looked surprisingly good (I wouldn’t swear to its rideability, though). The fork, on the other hand, was a different matter:
Did that happen on initial impact, or after the fall? No way to know, really.
It seems like it takes forever for the ambulance to arrive. Eventually, though, it does.
With the morning’s disaster over with, we’re confronted with a question: what do we do now? Continue with the ride as planned, or call it a day?
Some people want to keep riding, some want to head back to the hotel.
In a low voice, I tell The Hammer I don’t understand why the question is even being asked. Of course we should keep riding, I say. It’s not like our odds of getting hurt go up because someone else got hurt today. And it’s not like our going back to the hotel is going to help the guide get better any more quickly.
The Hammer tells me not to be stupid. Yes, I’m pretty sure she said — and I’m using the quote marks here because I’m quoting her — “Don’t be stupid.” And then she explains that not everybody reacts to trauma the same as I do. And my way of dealing with stuff isn’t the only right way to deal with stuff.
On to La Berarde
In the end, some of us continue on the ride, some of us don’t. Shawn, Laura , Carlos and I head up in a group.
And I’m so glad we did, because I’m pretty sure it’s the most beautiful ride of the trip so far. The climb is steep and loaded with switchbacks, and the river is an astonishing turquoise color:
There are dozens of small-but-beautiful waterfalls on the opposite side of the canyon from us (you can see them if you click the image below for the larger version):
And we come across a church with what has to be the most incredible view in the world.
I just can’t get over how these little villages are built right against cliffs like this:
4500 feet of climbing later, we make it to the town of La Berarde, where the van is waiting for us, with a picnic in place. A good thing too, because by the time we got there, I was a whole new kind of hungry. Here’s The Hammer, drinking an Orangina and eating the only pastry I did not eat:
In fact, I got so into the groove of eating that I didn’t stop until well after I should have.
You know what doesn’t feel great? Knowing you’re going to have to get back on your bike when you’re overstuffed, that’s what.
We descend back to the Bourg, then start our almost-daily climb of 2000 feet back to La Grave. “I feel like Wonder Woman,” says The Hammer, right about at the moment I am about to ask her to maybe slow down a little. She is riding so incredibly strong.
Somehow, by the time we get to La Grave, I am hungry again. Our daily total? 64 miles and 6473 feet of climbing. About normal for this trip.
The Hammer and I stop at a roadside cafe and get ice cream and a Coke.
As we sat there, I remember asking myself, “Could I possibly be happier than I am at this moment?”
And I don’t think I could have been.
Dustin Brady and I are good friends. We’ve got a lot in common. In fact, a little too much in common.
There’s the good stuff: We both love bikes — I write about them all the time, and he works for Shimano.
There’s the all-too-common stuff: we both are engaged in a pretty much permanent battle to lose weight and keep it off.
And there’s the awful stuff: I lost my wife to breast cancer. Not much later, Dustin lost his fiance, Michelle, to breast cancer.
And now he and I work together, whenever we can, to fight cancer. Most often, this has been by his arranging for incredible bike-related prizes for LiveStrong Challenge contests, in honor of Susan’s memory.
This time, though, I’d like you to get behind me and put the full force of Team Fatty into helping Dustin honor Michelle.
And, by the way, by doing so you’ll possibly win one of a number of prizes that are just head-spinningly incredible.
Right now, Dustin is in Hawaii. This Saturday, he’s going to be doing the Kona Ironman — his first Ironman attempt — in tribute to Michelle. Here’s why, in his own words:
My fiancé Michelle was sweet and sassy.
I knew she had weeks to live about a month before she did (Doctor told me to let her ask and go at her own pace). Well, during that month I kept asking myself, what am I going to do with myself?
Well, I had taken Michelle to Kona in 2008 & 2009. In 2009 about 11pm at night as we watched the inspirational finishers she turned to me and said, “You should do this someday” … I replied … “Yeah I would like to try, I’ll put it on the bucket list.”
I remember right where I was when I made the decision I was going to try and get into Kona (This is where we grew our appreciation and respect for the sport) and do the race in her memory. I was driving home to take a shower before going back to the hospital … it was right where the 73 merges into the 405 heading south through Mission Viejo. I was never going to tell her … I was simply going to do it and get healthy again like Michelle wanted.
So jump forward two weeks … Michelle finally asked the doctor the tough questions. She went through the initial emotional BS but then instantly started worrying about her loved ones. What was Tiffany going to do, she wanted to give her our scooter. What about her Mom?
And then in typical Michelle fashion as I was stepping out of the room to get something to eat … she point-blank asks me, “What are you going to do when I’m gone … you need life skills!!”
I replied, “Life Skills?!?” with a smile on my face (always try to show your loved one things are going to be ok).
Then I continued … I’ll tell you what I’m going to do … I’m going to do an Ironman for you … and for me.”
She looks at me, and starts to tear up. This is the last thing I wanted! I went to her to hug her and tell her I love her.
But as I approached the bed and leaned in for a hug, she stuck her hand out to stop me, then rotated her hand to shake my hand, and says “YOU PROMSE!?!?”
I shook it right then and there! The rest is history. Now I’m trying to live each day like she did … with a smile on my face and trying my best to seize each and every day to the fullest.
So when I do Kona, I will be doing three things.
- I want to raise $20K for the Young Survivors Coalition in her name
- I will carry her ashes with me in a small sealed container the entire distance
- I will wear a special kit promoting something she started. At the end of the landing page it sums up why … I want people battling cancer to know they are not alone. My website is www.fcancerup.com (a little aggressive but it’s what most people think!)
Fight Cancer, Help a Friend Keep a Promise, Win a Dream Bike
Of course, Dustin’s on his own as far as finishing the Kona IronMan goes, though I cannot imagine more amazingly powerful motivation than he has. (And I will post his number and info on following his progress on the race as soon as it’s available.)
But I think we can help Dustin with that first objective.
And since Dustin’s made some out-of-this-world prizes available, I believe we might just be able to eclipse that goal by a good little margin.
I’ve signed Team Fatty up as a member of Weiser’s Army in a cause that Michelle deeply believed in: The Young Survival Coalition, which offers resources, connections and outreach to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.
And here are the things we’re going to give away.
The Grand Prize: Your Choice of a 2012 Giant TCR Advanced SL With Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
This is a pro-level road bike — in fact, the bike and components Team Rabobank rides:
You get to pick the frame, either with the integrated seat mast, in black or white, or with an adjustable seat post. For myself, I think it’d be pretty darned hard to beat having the integrated seatmast in white:
That is going to be the foundation of a seriously clean-looking, amazingly advanced bike, especially once you put on a full Dura-Ace Di2 group on it. You know the one — incredibly fast, accurate, electronic shifting.
On a personal note, I’ve been loving Di2 on my own bike for more than two years. During which time I’ve had to get it fixed or taken in for maintenance exactly zero times. And I charge the battery about once every two or three months.
It’s seriously more reliable than manual shifting. Not to mention faster. And you can do shifts you could not normally do (like a quick shift on the front derailleur during a very steep climb).
You also get your choice of a Dura-Ace clincher wheelset, either 24mm, 35mm, or 50mm profile.
And hey, how about some carbon Dura-Ace pedals:
And you’ll cap it all off with a PRO Vibe Carbon Bar and Stem.
How much would this bike cost if you were to go out and buy it yourself? Oh, I dunno — how about around $10,000.00.
If you are not already a serious road cyclist, this bike is going to turn you into one. You just won’t be able to help yourself.
More Awesome Prizes
Of course, only one person can win this dream road bike. But there are going to be some pretty excellent other prizes given away too:
- A Dura-Ace clincher wheelset, either 24mm, 35mm, or 50mm profile. Whichever you like. And since we looked at the 24mm wheels last time, let’s take a quick look at the 50mm wheels here:
- A GoPro HD Camera, with a bike mount, so you can get glorious high def video of your riding adventures.
- A set of Shimano Dura-Ace Carbon Pedals
- An HTC jersey, autographed (but you’ll have to wait and see by whom!)
- One of everything FCancerUp store.
That is a big ol’ serious batch of prizes. For a good cause, and for a good friend. So please, donate.
How It Works
Entering the contest is really easy. For every $5.00 you donate at my Tour de Pink fundraising page, you get a chance at winning each of these prizes. So, here’s how it works, in nice easy steps:
- Go to Team Fatty’s Tour de Pink fundraising page.
- Donate any amount, in $5.00 increments.
- For every $5.00 you donate, you get a row on my magical spreadsheet of prizes.
- I choose winning rows at random, using random.org to choose winners.
- You must donate by Wednesday, October 12, to win.
- I will contact winners by phone and / or email.
Pretty simple. And the fact is, Young Survival Coalition is about as straight-line to the type of cancer that both Susan and Michelle fought. Charity Navigator gives them four stars.
So your money will be well-spent, on an incredibly relevant cancer.
Speaking for both Dustin and myself, thank you very much for taking the time to make a donation.
PS: I need someone to be the official Team Fatty rider for the Tour de Pink. It’s a three-day ride, and it looks incredible, and I wish I could go. But I can’t. So I need someone to go and do the ride, being the official Team Fatty rider.
And what I’d really like would be if it’s someone who has lived with breast cancer, either as a survivor or as a caretaker.
If you’d like to be the person who rides for Team Fatty — and you’re willing to come back and tell the story, with words and photos, either leave a comment or send me an email with a little bit about your story.
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