Guest Post from Nancy, Winner of the inGamba Cycling Trip

01.21.2014 | 7:08 am

A Note from Fatty: I asked Nancy S to write a little bit about her experience with winning the InGamba Cycling Trip to Italy in the Grand Slam for Zambia fundraiser last month. Nancy is an amazing person; I am happy beyond words that she won this prize. And I think you’re gonna feel the same way.

Fair warning: have a hanky handy.


In the same vein as BostonCarlos’s recent guest post, I’m very excited to talk about the Awesomesauce (AKChick’s term, I believe) thing that has entered my life because of the most recent WBR campaign here on I’m NancyJBS, formerly Nancy_in_MN. I changed my FatCyclist commenter handle for two reasons: because the old one was too hard to type and because I’d have to change it to Nancy_in_Italy for a week and then, sadly, switch it back to Nancy_in_MN.

That’s right, I’m going to Italy courtesy of InGamba tours and WBR! I’ve known this for almost two weeks and I still get goose bumps when I write about it or talk about it… which I will do any time someone is foolish enough to ask.

Being a fan and a Friend of Fatty wanna-be for the last 2 ½ years or so, I’ve come to feel awe for how Fatty brings great causes to our attention, how he attracts the most generous of prize donors and how he makes it fun to open my wallet. I had no idea how altruistic the bicycle industry was, on the whole, until I started seeing them in action in Fatty’s various campaigns. And I certainly didn’t think many of the pros were like that!

The named prize donors in this campaign, Ibis, Boom, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, SRAM and InGamba Tours knock my socks off with their commitment to making the world a better place through bicycles. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Then there’s that anonymous donor that matched every dollar donated in The Power of 5 campaign: Thank you, beautiful stranger! I like to think about this donor and how any one of us could be riding next to him or her and not even know it. It makes me want to look at every cyclist I meet in a different light and I LOVE that!

A bit about why I’m a FatCyclist fan:

Though I can’t reconstruct the whole thing, finding this site was densely connected with a very hard time in my life. In the weeks following my husband’s initial cancer diagnosis, I had a lot of lonely hours in the evening. Paul would be sleeping (he was SO sick from the nastiest of surgical complications) and I found myself web surfing for hours. After stumbling upon a local company, Twin Six, that sold a line of cycling apparel with the hilarious theme of Fat Cyclist, then thinking, “Hmmm, I’m kinda fat, maybe I should order a jersey”, then learning that the jerseys weren’t actually available, I clicked the link to Fatty’s site in exasperation.


It started with how funny the blog was, and then the writing grabbed me. One night, digging through the archives for entertainment, I began to see hints of “the Susan story”, as I came to think of it, and a magical thing happened for me: I found someone who wrote about the pain and fears I was feeling from a perspective that I understood, one that wasn’t all about the horrors of cancer and the role of a caregiver. It was so much richer with the stuff about bicycling, the spoofs and the good causes.

For a time I was obsessed with learning about Susan and Elden, as real people, doing the battle. It also mattered to me to know that Elden had come out the other end as a happy, quite possibly well adjusted guy that could enjoy life (and love!) like a normal person. I mined the archives for anything I could find.

Alone at my computer, I would cry and rejoice for them and, even more, for Paul and myself. Essentially, it was the only time and place I would/could allow myself to wallow in self-pity about what was happening to us. I also felt freedom to think about what my future might look like without Paul. Late night grief therapy? Yeah, I think that’s what it was. And so much more!

Fast forward 2½ years and we are done fighting Paul’s cancer. It’s been a beautiful and horrifying time filled with amazing people who walk into our lives at just the right time and tremendous, but patient, misery on Paul’s part. We are now in hospice care, gearing up for Paul to go to heaven and feel good at last. I say “we” because our hospice team really cares for the whole family.

And then the best thing happened to me!


Winning the InGamba trip is a dream come true. When fantasizing, like everyone else, about winning a prize in the contest, it was the InGamba trip that most grabbed my attention. Though the bikes were awesome, I didn’t need a new bike. I’m fortunate enough to already have a decent stable of bikes.

But that trip! I didn’t even dare click the links to learn more about it because I KNEW it was an unattainable dream prize for me. I knew I couldn’t go on the trip because of the dates. It’s simply too soon, given what’s going on at home right now.

So when Katie from WBR emailed me, I very nearly didn’t ask about the trip.

I’m so glad I did!

After doing the happy dance for a bit (not pretty!) I called her, explaining my present situation, and the rest is history!

Katie, sweet, kind, and competent Katie, immediately called Joao at InGamba (in Italy!) and he offered to let me take the trip when I’m able. The next day I got an email from Joao offering to send me a complete InGamba cycling kit so I could feel some of the InGamba love in the interim.

See what I mean about bicycle people?

Paul and I have had a terrific time imagining me riding in Italy on a beautiful Pinarello, learning to love the Chianti region, meeting Joao and the gang, and eating/drinking so well it’s almost indecent.

Meanwhile, this win has gotten me out of a rut about cycling, it’s motivated me to fire up the pain cave and my Sufferfest videos and start thinking like a woman who intends to ride well in the near future. I am so blessed and very grateful!

Here’s my new bicycling motto:

Mangi per vivere, vivere di corsa, corsa da mangiare!

If the online translator I’m using did a good job, this means, “Eat to live, live to ride, ride to eat!” Now to learn how to pronounce it!


  1. Comment by Janneke | 01.21.2014 | 7:24 am

    Dang!! Foolishly I didn’t take the advice of having hankies at the ready!! Snif… Nancy! You are one strong lady. And you are quite right about that motto! That’s a good one. I wish you a wonderful trip in Italy once you’re ready for it and hope that Paul can make his journey to the other side with peace and love in his hart.

  2. Comment by Skippy | 01.21.2014 | 7:26 am

    Great story , good to see Sponsors flex to help !

  3. Comment by Deb Mc | 01.21.2014 | 7:44 am

    Nancy, I cannot think of a more deserving person to receive such a wonderful prize. Wishing you and Paul moments of joy as you travel through hospice care and what comes beyond.

  4. Comment by leroy | 01.21.2014 | 8:22 am

    That was beautiful. Just beautiful.

    And very helpful for me as I work through elderly parent health issues.

    Thank you Nancy. I hope you love every minute of Italy.

    Best wishes to you and Paul.

  5. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 01.21.2014 | 8:31 am

    Nancy, I am so glad that you won one of the prizes. (Carlos, not so much! I may knock him off the Ripley and take it from him….Ha Ha Ha! :) ) You deserve it.

    The people at Hospice are awesome. I know, I live with someone who works at a Hospice. I am glad that you and Paul found them.

  6. Comment by Ron | 01.21.2014 | 9:08 am

    Cheers to Joao at InGamba for being flexible and offering such a great prize. And I can’t help but feel that the best person possible won that prize. Congrats Nancy.

  7. Comment by MtlDan | 01.21.2014 | 9:13 am

    Nancy, much as I would love that trip, I’m glad you won it instead of me.

  8. Comment by MC | 01.21.2014 | 9:21 am

    Way to go Nancy! I have tears in my eyes as I type…must be dust in the air or something…You are an amazing person and I can’t even begin to express how sad I am to hear of your familys fight with the Evil C. I’ll be one of many waiting with baited-breath to hear about your trip. Sending you my prayers and best wishes…hope to meet you one day!

  9. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 01.21.2014 | 9:27 am

    @NancyJBS – So glad you won :) I hope the trip is just amazing. Wishing you and Paul the best with everything to come. I think I speak for many of the folks on here when I say – We’re here if you need us.

    @Doug(way upstate) – My bike will be too big for you… sorry ;)

  10. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 01.21.2014 | 9:35 am

    Congratulations Nancy!! The trip could not go to a more deserving person. Thanks so much for your story and for reminding me of what is really important in life.

  11. Comment by Dave T | 01.21.2014 | 9:57 am

    Nancy thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on winning such a wonderful trip, it could not have gone to a more deserving person. I’m glad that you and Paul are supported by such a wonderful hospice team in this most difficult time.

  12. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 01.21.2014 | 9:59 am

    @MC It must be the dust out in California because of no rain, because I’m getting it here too. Like everyone else knows, the very best person won this prize. Thank you InGamba for doing this for our friend.

    @BostonC “too big for you” I doubt that. Doug’s been to the top of Columbine, he’s the Big Man! Never underestimate what ego plays in sizing.

    @Nancy Thank you, just Thank you.

  13. Comment by IC3_Prez | 01.21.2014 | 10:31 am

    From someone who knows Nancy and has seen glimpses of the family’s struggle for the past few years, I am overjoyed that Nancy won. This well-written piece only gives a tiny window into what she has been going through and the strength, grace and humor with which she has gone through it all.

    Nancy, I know that you will have one of the greatest times of your life on this trip — but then, you live like every moment is just that; the best time of your life. Can’t wait to ride with you on the Dark 100 Miles to Nowhere.

    Congratulations and God bless.


  14. Comment by Sara | 01.21.2014 | 10:43 am

    Congratulations! This is the prize that I would have chosen, but I’m really happy to hear it’s going to someone who will possibly enjoy it even more than I would. :) Best wishes with everything.

  15. Comment by Brian in VA | 01.21.2014 | 11:00 am

    Having a bit of a struggle writing something right now; eyes are a bit messy.

    Congrats Nancy, on winning the trip. You certainly will have a great time! I love your new bicycling motto. Somehow, I expect to see it on a FC jersey in the future.

    I hope Paul goes in peace knowing that this group will help look out for you.

  16. Comment by Christina | 01.21.2014 | 11:21 am

    OH! This is wonderful and sad, but wonderful. Seeing that you won makes not winning okay.

    Best wishes in the coming future. You’re surrounded by people who have been in the battle and at this point in the battle. Know of our thoughts and prayers.

  17. Comment by SteveB | 01.21.2014 | 11:32 am

    of happiness and sadness
    is overwhelming

  18. Comment by Hautacam | 01.21.2014 | 12:17 pm

    Wow. So glad I didn’t win. No, seriously. This is SO much better. Fate lined this one up juuust right.

    Forza, Nancy! Bonne chance, Paul! Our thoughts and prayers are with you from out west.

  19. Comment by Anonymous | 01.21.2014 | 12:24 pm

    Congrats, Nancy on winning the trip. May you and Paul both find peace over the next several weeks.

  20. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.21.2014 | 12:39 pm

    see, this is why this blog site needs a ‘LIKE!’ button! I have been to Italy three times – twice on business, always, always a pleasure. I love Italy. And, I could even read your Italiano sign-off!

    You will have a great time Nancy! Congrats! molto grande ciclismo

    (psst – corsa actually means ‘race’)

  21. Comment by sr | 01.21.2014 | 1:20 pm

    congratulations on winning the trip. and- wishes for strength and peace to you and Paul.

  22. Comment by Mary H | 01.21.2014 | 1:26 pm

    I’m not a cyclist.. but a friend of Nancy’s. And I second what Tim (IC3 Prez-1/21/14- 10:31am)said above. Her written story here just gives a small speck of what Nancy and Paul have been through. I’m super excited that she can go. I know Paul will be right there with her the whole way! She will love this trip and it will be JUST what she needs! I’m super excited she won it! She totally deserves it!

    Love you, Nancy!

  23. Comment by Gumby | 01.21.2014 | 1:56 pm

    Mangi torta per vivere, vivere di corsa, corsa da mangiare la torta

    “Eat pie to live, live to ride, ride to eat pie!”

    Congrats nancy!

  24. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 01.21.2014 | 3:15 pm

    Congratulations Nancy! I, like all the folks you see above, am overjoyed that you won this great trip, and that Joao has been so supportive.

    I cannot imagine going what you and Paul are experiencing, and your grace and perseverance as a care giver is heartwarming. Your story fills us with grief, love, and joy all at the same time. God bless you and Paul.

    You will absolutely love Tuscany, and I can’t think of a better person to win this trip. It was second on my “what if I win list” and it will be such a joy for you when you are ready.

    I love your quote – very fitting for us Fatties, and very difficult to keep in balance, as we learned from yesterday’s post.

  25. Comment by aussie kev | 01.21.2014 | 3:40 pm

    Allez Paul


  26. Comment by Kukui | 01.21.2014 | 6:21 pm

    Yay, Nancy! Allez, Paul!

  27. Comment by gogogo | 01.21.2014 | 6:34 pm

    nancy, you are the best person to win this trip!
    in the mean time , love, joy, grace and strength to you and paul.

  28. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 01.21.2014 | 7:06 pm

    It couldn’t have happened to a better person. I can’t stop smiling for you, Nancy. Sending you and Paul lots of love and peace.

  29. Comment by Carl | 01.21.2014 | 8:48 pm

    Congratulations Nancy… as all our fellow Fatties have already said, I wish you and Paul all the best.

  30. Comment by Corrine | 01.21.2014 | 11:39 pm

    Nancy,I am so glad you won this trip. You definitely deserve it. Thank you for sharing your story. My th

  31. Comment by Corrine | 01.21.2014 | 11:40 pm

    Yikes. Don’t know what I did there. I meant to say my thoughts are with you at this difficult time. I hope to meet you sometime at some Fatty event.

  32. Comment by AKChick | 01.22.2014 | 2:07 am

    So glad I wasn’t at work when I read this. :) Waterworks are me! Yep, “Awesomesauce” is most definitely one of my fav words to describes something extra, extra awesome.

    I’ve enjoyed reading Nancy’s comments for some time. I actually stumbled upon her Instagram site. The woman has mad photography skills! She also has a blog and she is very talented in the writing department as well. Icing on the cake? She had a fat tire bike!!! Thank you Fatty for bringing me together with so many cycling soul mates!

    I also found Paul’s Caringbridge site where I read some of what has been happening. I wi say that very sad that I won’t get tower Paul on this earth because he seems like quite a guy. I hate cancer that is stealing the lives of all these wonderful people. It reallyade a me mad and it’s not fair. F you cancer!!!

    I emailed Nancy a long rambling note and she emailed back. I hope that she, Wife Ho Ho Ho and I can get together for a ride one of these days. A Napa or Sonoma wine trip ladies? :)

    I can’t think of a someone who deserves this trip more and am so glad InGamba was flexible. I can’t wait to read and see photos of the trip!!

    Thanks again to Fatty, Katie and all the prize donors!!!! I’d type them all out but I’m doing this on my phone and the Lifeproof case makes typing hard. It’s taken me three Ted as long.

    So what event are we doing as a team this year? Anything?

  33. Comment by Slo Joe | 01.22.2014 | 6:02 am

    Me too got something in my eye. As someone above said, the right person won this for sure. Nancy, I hope that you find joy in Italy and peace the rest of your life. Cherish the memories.

    AKChick, could you post a link to Nancy’s instagram site if it is public please and thank you?

  34. Comment by Kel | 01.22.2014 | 9:08 am

    So glad you won! I look forward to a future post about your trip. Blessings to you and your husband.

  35. Comment by Heidi | 01.22.2014 | 10:09 am

    Nancy, I love, love the tattoo pic. The two of you have been fortunate to find such love in this lifetime. May both your journeys be gentle and wondrous!

  36. Comment by MC | 01.22.2014 | 11:54 am

    Oh, and btw, that’s a MOST EXCELLENT motto Nancy!! Tho for me (being langueticly challenged) I’ll settle for “Eatay otay ivelay, ivelay otay ideray, ideray otay eatay”. Pig Latin IS a real language, isn’t it?

  37. Comment by ClydeinKS | 01.22.2014 | 12:37 pm

    Nancy thank you for sharing and providing a glimpse of your journey and I am so glad you have won this prize and able to go on and hopefully share another journey.
    Paul, know that we are surrounding you and embracing you in love through your journey. Allez!!

  38. Comment by Uncle Rico | 01.22.2014 | 12:40 pm

    In Italian, in gamba means “cool” or “far out” if you are a hippy. This is definitely cool.

  39. Comment by Katie | 01.22.2014 | 1:18 pm

    Nancy, I’m so darn happy for you! While my eyes are swelling with tears (and at work @AKChick), my heart is swellling with deep joy and pride that I could play a very small part in this. All thanks to Joao (and inGamba) for coming on board to my favorite contest EVER and for being so flexible on the dates and to Fatty for giving us all a chance to give and be a community. Nancy, thanks for sharing this and I’ll be eating some donuts (post-ride) and thinking of your motto!

  40. Comment by TominAlbany | 01.22.2014 | 2:28 pm

    I’m glad you won. I’m glad INGamba was flexible.


  41. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.22.2014 | 3:19 pm

    Love to you and yours, Nancy! *hugs*

    Fatty, thanks for being awesome and making this happen.

  42. Comment by Ellecina | 01.22.2014 | 7:17 pm

    Dear Nancy,
    You know that ‘in gamba’ is also something we say to people, to with them to take care? Like when you say goodbye to somebody, sometimes you say ‘in gamba’, meaning you wish this person well, and with he/she can take good care of him/herself. So I wish you can enjoy your trip to my beautiful country, Toscana is a wonderful, wonderful place.
    So, in gamba!
    My best wishes to you
    Ellecina (a longtime lurker, Italian but actually in China, sorry Fatty if I seldom comment…)
    PS never overestimate online translators! :)
    I think the best way of rendering your motto in Italian is: Mangia per vivere, vivi per correre, corri per mangiare (whereas the verb correre can be also replaced with the verb pedalare)

  43. Comment by BamaJim | 01.22.2014 | 7:40 pm

    A perfect winner! Praying for your family.

  44. Comment by NancyJBS | 01.22.2014 | 8:07 pm

    Our hearts are filled with joy as we read these encouraging comments. Honestly, it’s a bit addicting to pop into the comments area and see what wonderful things have been said. Just to be clear, we already know that we are richly blessed. But this InGamba trip is a delicious whipped topping on the pie we eat every day of our lives.

    Sorry! Had to bring pie into the comment. I think it’s mandatory.

    Now Paul has suddenly become enamored of Fatty’s blog and he is trolling the depths as I once did. Yeah, he’ll be one of those lurkers…

    @Slo_Joe (and anyone else who wonders): if you click on my name at the top of this comment, it will link you to my long idle, and somewhat pitiful, blog. From there you can find links to our Caring Bridge site and my Instagram account. I will not mention the fact that our cat has an Instagram account that is far more successful. That would be embarrassing on so many levels. I will not mention it.

    Thank you, @Ellecina for your help with the Italian:
    Mangia per vivere, vivi per correre, corri per mangiare
    And what if we FoFs want to say “Eat pie to live, live to ride, ride to eat pie!”????

    @Katie What can I even say? You are the icing on the donut! And will you tell Joao that I love him? Not in a creepy way, of course.

    Feeling the love, anxious for a FoF ride/experience one of these days, kindred spirits with @AKChick and @Wife#Whatever, I am

    One Lucky Gal!

  45. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 01.22.2014 | 8:57 pm

    You are beyond lucky

    You are loved

    You are not alone

  46. Comment by esteefatty | 01.23.2014 | 9:34 am

    Thank you Nancy for writing this post and sharing your story.

  47. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 01.23.2014 | 11:14 am

    I hope everyone takes a moment to grab a slice of life today!


  48. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 01.23.2014 | 11:20 am



  49. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 01.23.2014 | 11:59 am

    @SloJo if you haven’t found it yet here’s a link to Nancy’s Instagram:

    Can’t figure out if that’s a ’spit bowl’ or ’snack bowl on the bike?

  50. Comment by MC | 01.23.2014 | 1:23 pm

    Oh MANNNN! Not a slice of pie in sight for me today…I didn’t know!!!! They (The American Pie Council) need to do a better job getting the word out! For all I know it could have been National Rutabegar day!

  51. Comment by AKChick | 01.24.2014 | 12:58 am

    @SloJo, glad @DavidH hooked you up. @NancyJBS has some great photos including of her fat bike!

    I hope we can get together for a ride!

  52. Comment by Anonymous | 01.24.2014 | 4:40 am

    @AKChick @DavidH @NancyJBS (so that’s what @ does)

    Thanks for the help. Heading over for some photog enjoyment, which I used to do for a living but my “artsy photog” son called it: “Machine Gun Photography” (Did sport events and youth leagues) :o)

    ride long and prosper…

  53. Comment by slo joe | 01.24.2014 | 4:42 am

    Ooops…posted as anonymous hitting the send button too quick.

  54. Comment by NancyJBS | 01.24.2014 | 7:10 am

    @slo joe

    We knew it was you! I look forward to seeing what your machine gun work looks like. Kids!

  55. Comment by Slo Joe | 01.24.2014 | 12:15 pm

    @NancyJPB OMG…your comment gave me one of those flashbacks (sorry folks for going off thread) and I said to myself: “Self….possible?”

    Sure nuff….

    My old part time business website still exists proving one of the axioms of the internet: You are ALWAYS out there: So embarassing!!!

  56. Comment by Jerry Pringle | 01.25.2014 | 11:00 am

    Congrats! So happy, so excited, so glad that you are going on the trip! I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving.

  57. Comment by Paula Norbom | 01.27.2014 | 6:11 pm

    This is simply AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Couldn’t have happened to a better person. We absolutely love you and wish you a fabulous trip!!

  58. Comment by Miriano | 01.30.2014 | 10:43 pm

    Congratulations!!! And, the right spelling would be “Mangia per vivere, vivi per correre, corri per mangiare!” (guess what, I “am” Italian!…)

  59. Comment by Tim B | 02.1.2014 | 5:59 pm


    Don’t go to Italy! You will not have fun! The scenery is NOT spectacular, the food tastes rotten, the wine is not as good as Boonesfarm, and there are too many people! HA HA HA HA HA… Actually, I/we want to hear more about all the great places you will visit. It will be awesome! We might be able to give you a few pointers. Like how to hold a wine glass, how to hold a fork, how to view beautiful Duomo’s, etc., etc., etc. Feel free to contact us for advice…except our advice isn’t free…HA HA!

    Tim and Pat


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