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 FatCyclist.com. 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!