You know how after you do something really awesome for the first time (I’m talking about bike-related stuff, so just put any other “first time” related train of thoughts you were having right out of mind), you immediately start thinking, “I’ve got to go do that again?”
And then, after a while, you start wondering about whether you’ve managed to exaggerate the awesomeness of that thing. Maybe, you think, it’s going to be one of those things where the next time you try it, the novelty will have worn off, leaving you to question whether there’s any point in trying it the third time.
Then you go back for the second time. And sometimes it doesn’t live up to your recollection from the first time. And that’s disappointing.
Every once in a while, though, when you go back and try something a second time, it’s every bit as awesome. Maybe even better in some ways, because this time you notice details you missed the first time.
That’s how an event becomes a tradition.
And that is, in a nutshell, my experience with the 2012 LiveStrong Davis Challenge.
Here are a few highlights.
First of all, you need to meet Ed P, the winner of an Ibis with top-end Shimano components, plus a trip out to Utah to get his bike custom-fitted for him by SLC Bicycles, then some riding with The Hammer and me.
Here’s what he had to say in his email upon finding out that he won:
This is awesome; I’m so pumped! I’ve been attempting to convince my wife it was time for a bike upgrade for over a year now. And, as I’m sure a lot of married mountain bikers (any biker for that matter) realizes, this is a difficult case to state. Especially when your wife believes your bike is “perfectly fine.”
I’m a big fan of your blog and think what you do, from raising money for LiveStrong to raising money to buy bikes for kids in Zambia, is great.
I must admit, there was a little selfishness in entering your contest, but I really didn’t think I’d win and knew the money being raised was for a great cause. I was just trying to help out any way I could.
You asked for a pic and I provided one. I probably should offer some explanation for the scars on my forehead and nose….I had Mohs surgery to remove Basal Cell Carcinoma from my nose in April, and plastic surgery to fix it up. Fortunately the doc said he got all of the cancer, but my advice to all is wear sunscreen!
I saw your recent Tweet about this type of skin cancer. The doc told me the same thing about this “being the best cancer you can get.” Best wishes to The Hammer on her treatment. [Note from Fatty: The Hammer is having a basal cell carcinoma removed today.]
I’m definitely a mountain biker, so I’m going with the Tranny or the Mojo (leaning toward the Tranny). But, I need to calm down and take a look at my options. I’m definitely looking forward to the trip to Utah. Once again, I’m going to have to re-read your past blogs and select where I want to go. This will be a tough decision, for sure.
Thanks again, not only for the great blog and contests, but for all that you do to make a difference!
Once Ed’s made up his mind, I’ll let you know what he’ll be riding, and where. And I’m sure a blog post or two or three will come out of this trip.
OK, now on to the events of the Davis LiveStrong Challenge itself.
There was a group of about 30 of us, which was about the same as last year. However, this year, David stepped things up about five notches by grilling bratwurst — using my recipe — on the patio.
And he did magnificently. I was happy to declare, in fact, that his brats were every bit as good as mine. And I proved my assertion by eating three. Which I felt entitled to do, because I’m sure at least one person in the group was a vegetarian and so probably didn’t eat any.
Here’s Greg Chapek. He’s happy about the bratwurst, too.
I’d go so far, in fact, as to say that he’s very happy indeed. Perhaps the reason he was so happy was that I had just revealed to him what I was thinking. Specifically, that the course was incredibly flat, and the weather was expected to be ideal — not especially windy, and not especially hot.
I was thinking, I told Greg — a very strong rider — that maybe a group of us should do our utmost to see if we could do our first sub-five-hour century.
Greg was intrigued (and also very very happy).
And of course, there was cake, provided generously by the true organizer of the whole Team Fatty in Davis experience, Angie G.
It may look like a Halloween cake, but it was actually incredibly delicious, and I’m proud to say that I ate two pieces.
I’m not as proud, however, to announce that I then ate another two pieces.
The Day Before
One of the things I love about the Davis event is that it’s mellow. You have time to relax. Plus, the packet pick-up spot is right by a terrific farmers’ market, which of course has expanded way beyond produce to pretty much anything you could want to eat.
The Hammer and I ate. A lot.
And right now I’m becoming uncomfortably aware that I have so far talked about nothing but eating for this entire post.
Oh well, you may as well get used to it.
We hung around, eating pastry and sandwiches and possibly even some produce.
Not to mention admiring the wide variety of t-shirts passersby had chosen to wear for the occasion:
Then the Hammer and I went on a little bike path tour of Davis, which has got to be the bike-friendliest town I have ever been in. Feel free to check out The Hammer’s Strava of the ride, which is interesting primarily in that it may be the only Strava upload she’s ever done that hasn’t netted her at least one QOM.
The Fundraising Award Dinner
The night before the big ride, LiveStrong always puts on a special dinner for its top fundraising teams and people.
And since Team Fatty has raised more than double the amount of the second-place team, that definitely included us.
Here I am, pretending to listen intently to someone about something. You can tell I’m intent because my arms are folded.
This photo is also notable because I believe it is the first time in about five years that I am wearing a button-up shirt, like the big kids wear.
Since we won three out of four awards (Team Fundraising Award, Individual Fundraising Award, Individual Messenger Award), I was supposed to get up and give a five-minute speech.
So I got up and talked for about fifteen minutes, rambling about any old thing that came into my head. Basically, it was like people got to see what this blog is like, except live and unedited, and with — unbelievably enough — even more typos.
Eventually I stopped talking and everyone got to go to back to their hotels and get to bed. But then we had to come back early, because — as the top fundraising team — we needed to report to the starting line half an hour early to get our team photo at the starting line.
There was an event photographer taking those pictures for us, and I’m sure we’ll eventually see them, but for now, a few that we took ourselves will have to do.
This one’s my favorite. We had time to scrawl in chalk, nice and huge, the team motto:
It’s probably worth clicking on to see the larger version, because then you’ll get a better view of my magnificent quads, not to mention the strained look on my face as I’m sucking my gut in.
Once all the pictures were taken, the
race ride began.
Before long, a good-sized group of Team Fatty coalesced into a paceline, stamping out 23mph miles one after the other. Jeremy. Greg. Matt. Mike. David. The Hammer. Me. And others.
The course was flat. The weather was beautiful: a mild wind that made southbound riding a little hard, but not bad (if you were in a paceline). We flew.
Occasionally, a rider would have to drop off. Matt, David, and Mike early on. Jeremy toward the very end. And occasionally, we would pick up a rider or two.
Elsewhere on the course, other groups from Team Fatty were picking up riders, too. Yesterday morning, I got an awesome email from Phil who got picked up by what I like to call The Big Orange Train:
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for the wheel yesterday. I will try and be brief here; I have only been riding for two months, I am a stocky model with a bad knee. I lost contact with my team on on after the Steiger hill climb. I was alone, battling the Vacaville winds and using a lot of energy. This is when team fatcyclist came up to my left and the leader asked “how ya doing?”, My reply “old and getting tired!” in turn he said “Grab a wheel”. I joined the tail end of the pace line and we were off!! We caught my team mates in short order and they jumped into the line as well. I never counted how many of us were in the line, but it grew and grew as we passed other riders.
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to your team, the pull as well as all you doe for the LiveSTRONG foundation!
Have an awesome day!!
Our average dropped and it looked like we weren’t going to get that sub-five century after all. We were going to miss it by just a few minutes.
And then — right around mile 75 — we saw the “20 Miles to Go” sign.
So the course wasn’t going to be 100 miles. Which meant we still had a chance to finish in under five hours.
We stepped up the pace.
Greg — who had been pulling way more often than anyone else for the first 80 miles of the ride — was starting to tire. I was feeling great, though, thanks to the fact that I had been sucked along for most of the ride, doing hardly any work.
So for the final 15 miles, I pulled. Yep, for pretty much the whole thing. And I felt great doing it. We flew, passing groups that had passed us earlier.
Thoughts of imminent pie consumed me.
Then I saw Andrew — the fastest guy on Team Fatty. He had finished half an hour ago, and had turned around to come finish with more of us. Then, after he did that, I believe he went out a third time and finished with another group.
I would be that awesome if I had the legs for it. I swear.
In any case, we did it. The Hammer, Greg C, and I crossed the finish line in about 4:56. A sub-five.
Except, of course, it wasn’t 100 miles. But still, I think we can make a claim to being, at the very least, half-fast.
Meanwhile, David — yes, the very same David who had awesomely done the brats for the Friday shindig — had arranged for pie to be waiting for us under the Team Fatty tent.
Lots and lots and lots of pie.
I may have had four pieces; I may have had five. I confess that my recollection of the events of the day become foggy and confused after the fourth, because I seem to remember a cyclist with a horse’s head mingling among us.
With such a nice day, a tent, lots of shade trees, and a nice breeze, there was no reason to not just hang around and relax for hour upon hour, talking at length with anyone from Team Fatty (and quite a few people who weren’t) who was willing to put up with me.
The Importance of Celebrating
The LiveStrong Challenge at Davis was a perfect weekend for me. A wonderful town, great friends, perfect weather, a fast ride, and an important cause.
It was, simply, incredibly fun. It wasn’t a serious, sad weekend. The seriousness had all happened before, when we had taken the step to fight cancer and raise money for a cause we believed in. Now we — and everyone there — had a chance to relax, have fun, and celebrate our success before taking a deep breath and diving back in.
I’m incredibly proud of what Team Fatty did for LiveStrong here. And I love the tradition we’ve gotten started here.
The tradition is set: we’ll be back next year: same place, same events. Same silliness, same serious reason.
If I were you, I’d start making plans to be a part of Team Fatty and joining us.