Why the GranDonut Race Matters

09.27.2012 | 7:24 am

In an hour or so, I need to get in a car and head to the airport; I’m on my way to Santa Rosa for Levi’s Gran Fondo. And, more importantly, for the first-ever GranDonut race, which you probably have never heard of, because I haven’t really been talking about it here on my blog, nor on Twitter.


Yeah, I know. I tend to latch onto things and not let go. But there are some very good reasons why. And I’d like to make my closing argument here, in the hopes that maybe you’ll donate to either Team Fatty or Team Levi. Or both.

The Causes

I’ve kind of been focusing a lot on the silly part of this race, mostly because this is indeed a very silly race. But here’s the thing: this ridiculous race is all about raising money for some amazingly good causes, some of which you’ll be really familiar with, some of which you won’t.

Forget Me Not Farrm: This farm is the Leipheimers’ pride and joy: a farm to help kids who are victims of abuse and neglect heal from trauma. The farm teaches these kids how to value and care for living beings, develop respect for all life forms, and create a compassionate way of behaving and relating to others that is the antithesis of their violent experience.

LiveStrong: I’ve seen this organization up close, both as a recipient of their help, and as a person who has helped them raise money for general cancer support and very specific programs like Camp Kesem. LiveStrong is making a difference for good to thousands and thousands of people who are fighting cancer. I’m incredibly proud to help them out, and am grateful to those of you who join me.

VeloStreet : VeloStreet works to improve cycling resources throughout California and in Sonoma County in particular.

The Prizes

But as you know, it goes against my nature to ask you to donate your money without giving you a shot at some pretty cool prizes.

The big one, of course, is a trip to the 2013 Levi’s Gran Fondo. That’s not a trivial prize, nosirree. Especially when you consider that you’ll get to bring someone along with you. Airfare, hotel, ride registration, the fancy-schmancy VIP dinner: the whole thing. Pretty darned sweet.

And there are other awesome prizes that will be given away, too: two complete gran fondo kits, two signed (by Levi) Gran fondo jerseys, two Gran Fondo helmets, and two Gran fondo Messenger bags.

Pretty sweet.

The Stakes

I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t think Levi has ever taken a good hard look at what he has to do if he loses this race.

Let’s recap, shall we?

If Team Levi (consisting of Levi Leipheimer, Patrick Dempsey, and Rebecca Rusch) loses, he must:

  • Wear a propeller beanie for the rest of the Gran Fondo, including during the ride.
  • During the live panel for The Levi Effect — which will be broadcast hither and yon for the whole world to see — say something along the lines of,You’ll have to excuse me, I’m a little winded. I just got my ass handed to me in a bike race with Fatty of the awesome fatcyclist.com blog.”
  • Consent to a live interview on the Fat Cyclist blog sometime during the year of 2013, discussing a topic of my choosing.

The item I’m really focusing on here is the first one: the propeller beanie. If Team Fatty wins, Levi has to wear a beanie for the rest of the Gran Fondo events.

Yesterday, in order to be prepared for this eventuality, I procured the following:


I am going to so enjoy having Levi walk around in that.

The Race Itself

Of course, the race itself is going to be pretty awesome. It’s evolved into a relay race, with the two teams being Team Fatty (Kristin Armstrong, Tom Danielson, me) and Team Levi (Levi Leipheimer, Patrick Dempsey, Rebecca Rusch).

The pre-race trash talking on Twitter has gotten pretty awesome, and includes photos of Levi, Tom, and Rebecca all training for the big race:




Of course, all of these people are going to learn a valuable lesson: don’t let a guy with the nickname “Fatty” rope you into a race that features eating as the most strategic component:


You see the difference between their faces and mine? They’re clearly goofing off, having a bit of a laugh.

I, on the other hand, am dead serious. I’ve got the eye of the tiger, baby.

Not to mention the stomach of the hippopotamus.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

By the way, these racers seem to have not noticed that the rules on the course length and type, not to mention the type of bike to be ridden are rather . . . vaguely expressed.

I wonder why?

Oh, I’m sure there’s no reason.

Just In Case You’re Going to Be There

The race itself will be at 2:00pm on the northwest corner of the Finley Center parking lot, in Santa Rosa, CA. It’s free to attend, so if you can show up, you should show up. And please cheer me on.

Note, however, that there will be a press conference at 1:00pm prior to the race. You should come to that, too, because there will be very important and serious questions both asked and answered there.

Follow Me This Weekend

Penultimately, allow me to recommend that you follow me on Twitter. See, I plan to be posting photos and short pithy statements all during the big event, starting today and going through the weekend.

Sure, a lot of that will eventually wind up here on the blog, but it’s kind of fun to see what’s going on as it happens.

Plus, you can suggest things to me in something like real time, and I’m easily influenced by peer pressure.

One Last Plug

There. That’s my case. Go ahead and donate to either team — Team Fatty or Team Levi — but please donate.

But bear in mind that as the guy who both defined the race and wrote the (strategically vague) rules, I would be very astonished indeed if I lost.

I’m just saying.


  1. Comment by Christina | 09.27.2012 | 7:37 am

    Levi is obviously too weak to push his own donut into his face…that’s got to be someone else’s hand. These pro racers…can’t even eat a donut unassisted.

  2. Comment by Christina | 09.27.2012 | 7:41 am

    BUT, Tom is eating a full size donut WITH sprinkles and it’s obviously in his own hand. You’ve got this thing nailed.

  3. Comment by MarkinBoise | 09.27.2012 | 7:50 am

    Video? Will there be video? I hope so, good luck to everyone. What a great idea.

  4. Comment by Ed | 09.27.2012 | 7:53 am

    Makes me want to eat donut! Good luck, Team Fatty!!

  5. Comment by Gian | 09.27.2012 | 7:59 am

    I think Fatty is using a motorized bike. Or an e-bike, at the very least.

  6. Comment by Fatty | 09.27.2012 | 8:07 am

    My bike will not have extraneous power. Unless you consider donuts extraneous.

  7. Comment by ClydeinKS | 09.27.2012 | 8:15 am

    I foresee this propped beanie becoming a hit and inspiring a change to next year’s GranFondo kit, creating a very high visibility factor for motorists. This year’s kit and prize will soon be a highly sought after collector’s item, for reasons beyond the 1st year beat by Fatty!
    Good Luck to all participants and Fatty, make a true Clyde proud (no doubt in my mind you will, 2 or 3 dozen??)!

  8. Comment by NYCCarlos | 09.27.2012 | 8:25 am

    Fatty, how long is the bike portion of the race? How many seconds do you get taken off for each donut? Is Dempsey going to shave his legs? I need to know these final bits of information before I can commit my final donation.

  9. Comment by TK | 09.27.2012 | 8:49 am

    Tommy D’s pic is awesome. PLEASE get TwinSix to design something like that for a Fatcyclist t-shirt! A silhouette of a road on a road bike eating a donut with sprinkles would be epic. I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

  10. Comment by TK | 09.27.2012 | 8:50 am

    should have said “guy on a road bike eating a donut”

  11. Comment by Fat Cathy | 09.27.2012 | 9:13 am

    So, Fatty, what is your penalty in the unlikely event your team loses?

  12. Comment by dvgmacdonald | 09.27.2012 | 9:14 am

    I’m really hoping you brought the twins’ bikes and there’ll be some 12″ wheel bike action involved. Pink & purple sparkly paint & ribbons would be a nice addition to your race photos. I’m also hoping that the course is about 10 miles of technical singletrack, because that would be the best place to see all of you riding those bikes.

  13. Comment by Barefoot Rose | 09.27.2012 | 9:14 am

    Killer instinct, Fatty. Don’t just eat more donuts. Crush them like a day old donut left on the counter that you are STILL going to eat.

  14. Comment by Brandy | 09.27.2012 | 9:42 am

    Must go on next year’s Fatty kits; “stomach of the hippopotamus”

    I also notice there is no penalty for losing for either yours or Levi’s teammates. I say be sure to bring 3 propeller beanies.

    Go Fatty. WIN

  15. Comment by hannah | 09.27.2012 | 9:49 am

    Holy cow, Tommy D has his game face on in a BIG way. By the way, I fully second TK’s idea for a TwinSix t-shirt with that photo as inspiration.

    Go Team Fatty! I’m pretty sure you guys are going to crush.

  16. Comment by FatCarlos | 09.27.2012 | 9:58 am

    What? No donut shop corporate sponsor yet? Talk about missed opportunity.

    Which leads to my product idea…Honey Stinger gel filled donuts. I am a genius.

  17. Comment by Fatty | 09.27.2012 | 10:00 am

    Carlos: time bonus per donut is 1 minute. I will not comment on route distance at this time.

  18. Comment by Mark | 09.27.2012 | 10:07 am

    What’s the over/under on donuts eaten by Fatty? Be a good side bet..er fundraiser. I’d take the over on about 15?

  19. Comment by Mark | 09.27.2012 | 10:08 am

    What’s the over/under on donuts eaten by Fatty? Be a good side bet..er fundraiser/contest I’d take the over on about 15?

  20. Comment by rob w | 09.27.2012 | 10:18 am

    so I noticed that Paul G. donated $100 to Team FAtty and only $99 to team Team Levi. playing favorites?? Lol

  21. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 09.27.2012 | 10:19 am

    @NYCarlos Patrick is having a “shave my legs” charity auction coming soon. apparently he is quite popular since the bidding is crashing servers around the state.

    We look forward to seeing you Friday, I’ll bring some Diet and Regular Coke for Hydration.

    Note to AngieG: next year have the VIP’s start in the back so we can alll have a chance to ride with them….for a second or two.

  22. Comment by JRay | 09.27.2012 | 10:37 am

    “I’ve got the eye of the tiger, baby.
    Not to mention the stomach of the hippopotamus.”
    The folks here in the office are wondering about the gales of laughter emanating from my cubicle….. Speaking as a fellow, ahem, hippobelly; Fatty, you’ve got this in the bag…

  23. Comment by ClydesDave | 09.27.2012 | 11:08 am

    This will also be video taped and shown at a later date, i’m sure, right? GO TEAM FATTY!

  24. Comment by ClydeinKS | 09.27.2012 | 11:45 am

    Looking forward to the video posted later. Trying to guess what music you’ll play behind Levi riding in the beanie. Picturing(hearing) “la la la la lemon” as he pedals along…

  25. Comment by Kim M | 09.27.2012 | 11:53 am

    So, I guess the “D” in Tommy D stands for Doughnut…Go Team Fatty!

  26. Comment by jon (a clyde from Chi-town) | 09.27.2012 | 1:56 pm

    Sorry if I missed it, raised or cake? Glazed? These are details that us donut connoisseurs have a right to know!!!

    Also, why hasn’t Universal Sports added this to their upcoming events guide? Clueless…

    Go Fatty! (at least you have two models on your team, you and Armstrong)

  27. Comment by Corrine | 09.27.2012 | 7:26 pm

    I will eat donuts in solidarity with you guys! I hedged my bets but put more money on you, Fatty, just so you know I’m rooting for you.

  28. Comment by Jenni | 09.27.2012 | 8:57 pm

    Psh, they’re amateurs. Team Fatty all the way.

  29. Comment by AKChick55 | 09.27.2012 | 11:42 pm

    Almost forgot to place my bet! :) Done! I hope someone can videotape some of this. I can’t wait to see the Tweets!

    Also, big HAPPY face. TwinSix gear arrived today. It’s epically awesome on a grand scale. Can’t wait to wear it! Though we have a major dusting of snow on the mountains and our temps are barely at 50 so it won’t be until we are in Hawaii!

  30. Comment by Nic Grillo | 09.28.2012 | 6:37 am

    Donated. Good luck Elden! Going to try and make it up there in time for the race, but it’s a long haul from LA!

  31. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 09.28.2012 | 9:23 am

    @nic grillo

    We’ll put you in charge of Team Solidarity. Maybe a remote post from a FoF outpot down outh….or next year’s sponsor.


  32. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 09.28.2012 | 9:25 am

    I’m loing my “sss’s” as I type. Must be crumb in the keyboard.

    …outpost down south…

  33. Comment by George | 09.28.2012 | 10:42 am

    My bet is on Team Fatty. Although, I did get a stock tip to put some of my retirement account in a certain bakery goods.

  34. Comment by Jill | 09.28.2012 | 10:46 am

    Wow! Go team Fatty! How can you lose with such fine team members including yourself ,which goes without saying ,and Kristin ( I’ve just seen her in action at the Olympics) !
    Can I get there from London on time?!!

  35. Comment by ClydeinKS | 09.28.2012 | 12:03 pm

    making donation to the winning team (of course!) after downing some donuts today – now if I could get on my bike!
    School is in session Fatty!

  36. Comment by Shawn brockway | 09.28.2012 | 6:08 pm

    Is it true that Joey Chestnut is Fatty’s new training partner?

  37. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 09.28.2012 | 6:39 pm

    Fabulous and very exciting race today!!!
    Press coverage was intense(never underestimate the power of a Fatty)

    Will post a picture when I get back from cub scout meeting.

  38. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 09.28.2012 | 6:55 pm

    NEW PHONE BOOKS ARRIVED!!!! I’ll be tickled PINK for the Gran Fondo.

    Huh??? Now I have a craving for Neopolitan Ice Cream

  39. Comment by Susie H | 09.28.2012 | 11:40 pm

    so. much. fun today. :)

  40. Comment by spinecho | 09.29.2012 | 12:25 pm

    You gave me the best laugh in a long time when I saw the chosen ride in one of the pics on twitter — totally did not expect it. Best ever. Thank you!!!!! Can we still donate?

  41. Comment by cece | 09.29.2012 | 3:05 pm

    Can’t wait to see how the race went. Go Fatty Go!


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.