Humble PIEsano (Guest Post from David and Allison)

05.15.2014 | 10:06 am

A Note from Fatty: Suppose — just suppose — you were sitting around, minding your own business, when you got an email with an incredible offer. The opportunity, perhaps, of a lifetime.

You probably wouldn’t believe it was real. But what if it were?

Today’s guest post comes from two of the very friendliest, most-generous Friends of Fatty you could ever meet.

Read. And envy.


May 5, 9:34 a.m.

I was in a virtual meeting, multi-tasking away since no one had turned on their webcams. I had just finished a Facebook post and was checking my personal email when a new message from Katie Bolling of World Bicycle Relief caught my attention:

World Bicycle Relief invitation (out of the blue) for a ride in Italy.

Invitation….Ride….Italy? Even if this had come from a Nigerian Prince and was spelled “ride,” you’d have to open it!

I immediately clicked to read it, thus completely losing the small amount of focus I had been giving to what was being said on my conference call.

Dear Allison and David,

This email may catch you out of the blue but I hope you give it some strong consideration.

World Bicycle Relief is associated with a series of events called the Trois Etapes. We have one spot left on the WBR team for the Trois Etapes Giro ride that is coming up in June (June 6-9). Since we already paid for the spot, we thought the next best thing would be to give it to one of our VIP supporters who have helped great things happen for World Bicycle Relief, and naturally we thought of Fatty.

I’ll be honest and say that we offered the spot to either Lisa or Elden in gratitude for all that the Fat Cyclist has done for World Bicycle Relief over the years but they are unable to make it work due to job commitments and the close timing.

When I heard this “no” from Elden, I thought the next best thing would be to offer it to a Fatty supporter who has been very kind and generous towards World Bicycle Relief through all of his efforts and, naturally, you two were at the top of that list and hence my note to you. I would love to give this spot to one of you two. For one of you to have the opportunity to go ride the Trois Etapes Giro on the World Bicycle Relief team as a way to say a HUGE thank you to the entire Fat Cyclist community and to hopefully also give you the chance to share this experience in Fatty’s community in the hopes WBR can potentially field a full Fat Cyclist/WBR Trois Etapes team sometime in the next few years.

I want to be clear that we would love to give this to you. Your only expense would be getting to Venice, and back for the event.

There was more – but that’s the main of it. And yeah, WOW is right!

Later the important question occurred to us. If Fatty says “no,” should you immediately say “yes?” I’m guessing Fatty read the details first. 

[No, I didn’t ever get as far as the details. The timing just wasn’t possible for me, so I had to pass. - FC]


Now I do need to confess, all I really saw were:

  • World Bicycle Relief
  • Italy
  • Bike ride
  • Italy
  • 4 days
  • Fatcyclist community event
  • Italy
  • World Bicycle Relief
  • most expenses paid except airfare
  • Italy

You get the gist.

What an incredible opportunity! Especially for David, knowing him like I do. How could David not go? We are certainly financially comfortable, but something like this would be a pretty big stretch, and not one we would easily make with two kids headed for college.

So this was a dream come true for someone who absolutely loves to ride (David), has a real explorer’s and traveler’s heart (David), and is truly passionate about the work WBR does (David). And yes, I realize these also describe nearly every Fatcyclist reader (not to mention Elden and Lisa)!

Lastly, David had just celebrated another decade a few days earlier with only a small cake and no candles. [California drought, fire hazard. - David]

So at the time, this all seemed like a dream meant to be.

Scant minutes after reading Katie’s email invitation, I made a quick excuse on my conference call: “So sorry, I have to drop off – *mumble, mumble, family emergency* – I’ll follow back up with you all later today.”

Can you believe anyone employs me?

I phoned David at work. “Are you sitting down?” I asked. “I mean that literally. You need to be sitting for this!”

I read him the email….


May 5, 9:39 a.m.

It’s rarely a good sign when the phone rings in retail a ½ hour before opening, exceptions can occur.

“Are you sitting down?” she asked. “I mean that literally. You need to be sitting down for this!”

I put down my Diet Coke and my perfectly fresh jelly doughnut and said, “Yes.”

Several thoughts went through my head simultaneously. “Sure” came first. Next came “Exactly how much have we been giving?” (Note to self: check college accounts)

Yes, it would be a dream to ride in Italy. But the idea of being invited to join such a ride is humbling in the extreme (and I’m all about humble). I told Wife#1 a quavering “yes,” and proceeded to request the time off.

Later I looked at the Trois Etapes website and watched the Promotional video


Leaving David to recover from the shock, I emailed Katie and WBR back, thanking them profusely and letting them that know David was in! I added that we both hoped to participate together in the future if when there was a whole Team Fatty event.

(How awesome would a Team Fatty/WBR event like this be? Hard to imagine having much more fun than doing a multi-day ride in some fabulous location with a bunch of Fatty peeps.)

I also assured Katie and Jennifer Schofield (you’ll meet her later), that I would get going on all his logistics immediately.

At this point I still had not read the details. It was “ride in Italy” and I wasn’t doing it, David was.

What else could possibly matter?

David’s passport was current. Yay!

Then…I started shopping around for airfare. Yikes!

Then I discovered all the various rules and fees associated with bringing a bicycle. Double yikes!

And not just any bicycle, either. David is a tall guy and rides a 63cm frame. Those don’t even fit in most bike travel cases.

Oy, this was going to be a pain.

Still… once in a lifetime opportunity, a ride in Italy with World Bicycle Relief! We simply had to make this happen, whatever it took, and honestly, I was (and still am) just as excited for David as if I was going myself.

It was the next day that I finally visited theTrois Etapes website myself and even more horrifyingly, watched the video. I suppose the Troise Etapes logo itself should have been the first clue that this was a bit more than a “ride in Italy”.

Oh, I get it now. Those aren’t just squiggly lines in the logo…they represent  mountain passes, getting progressively harder

Ride? No. It’s a race. And kind of a real one at that. Yes I knew the ride would be in the Italian Dolomites, so all three days will be in the mountains, but this is a multi-day pro-am race in the Italian Dolomites.

[Do you have any idea how much it kills me to not be doing this? - FC]

The second clue I should have cottoned on to is that Trois Etapes means three stages. Rides don’t have stages; races have stages.


So in summary, Trois Etapes has multiple teams, each representing a different charitable organization, competing to win. The entire event is staged to allow the riders the closest experience they can get to what a professional race would be like.

Each team has seven amateur riders (imagine me doing finger quotes over the word amateur) and one professional rider. For the WBR Team, Songezo Jim from Team MTN Qhubeka is the pro that will be riding with them, which is awesome.

Let me add to that there will also apparently be race radios, team support cars and masseurs; the stages are timed, with various classification points and actual benefits for the winning team.

People, this is a race.

And if you don’t believe me, let me point you back to the beginning of this post. All the riders have to get a racing license.

Yes, David had to get an International Racing License.

*Cue laugh track*

Should you feel the need to have one of these bad boys for yourself, Molly at USA Cycling could not be more helpful. And should this particular time in your own life put you in the position of also being in the “Masters Category”, well hey, then it’s only $175 rather than $200.

Apparently AARP negotiated a discount.

Just remember that you will also have to get a note from your doctor that you are fit enough to participate. In fact, David will be meeting his primary care physician for the first time because of this event. 


It’s been one week

“Stunned” is an understatement.

Honored doesn’t begin to cover it.

And, after reading the information, watching the video, and checking the profile, the only words that come to mind are…”I’m screwed!” 

I Love to Ride, I tolerate climbing, I LOVE the Fat Cyclist Community, and I admire Elden and Lisa, and their family. Being invited to participate in such an event, on behalf of that community is a responsibility that weighs heavily on me. I’ll go, I’ll ride hard all day, but I’m bringing my light (it will definitely be a Lanterne Rouge).

We had the opportunity to meet with Katie and Jennifer from WBR last weekend at a local innaugural WBR event. Jennifer of WBR said, “you’ll be fine,” but she’s a smiling, young, idealistic thing, that hasn’t yet imagined the horrors of someone my age. 

Final Thoughts

I’m as old as Godzilla and I have an International Racing License (ironic), not sure even Elden has one of those [I don’t have any racing licenses at all - FC]. Though if they make me pee in a cup all bets are off!

I have a note from my Australian bike-riding Doctor that says I’m fit to ride (I shopped around).

WBR has my measurements for my team kit (3 sets), though I suspect they may be sewing ‘panels’ into them as I write this.

Yesterday I did 55 miles, 4500 ft climbing in 95 degree heat, so that’s a start. (When do I go? June third? Yikes!)

It will be an adventure. I would not be able to do it without the support of Wife#1, my children, Katie and Jennifer of WBR, and my friends in the Fat Cyclist Community.

Thank You!

PS: It’s been seven days since my last doughnut.


  1. Comment by Sylvia | 05.15.2014 | 10:20 am

    Too cool! It may be better this way- you won’t be able to overtrain. Have fun!

  2. Comment by Rob W | 05.15.2014 | 10:35 am

    David and Allison, congratulations! Lucky !! I hope you have the time of your life.

    Fatty, I know you have done the 100 Miles of No Where and the Tour de Donut……..have you ever considered starting a fundraising event/race in Utah? Tour de Utah Valley?

  3. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.15.2014 | 10:36 am

    Seeing this now in ‘print’ raises the reality factor by 10. I’m so……

  4. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 05.15.2014 | 10:40 am

    Congratulations David! Have a fantastic time!! Just remember you love riding and this is the opportunity of a lifetime!! Just ride and come back with lots of stories to share!, I am so happy for you!! I can’t wait to hear about it.

  5. Comment by Wife#1 | 05.15.2014 | 10:50 am

    “Do you have any idea how much it kills me to not be doing this? – FC”

    Meanwhile David is thinking…
    “Do you have any idea how much it will kill me to do this?” LOL!

    We’ll share a photo of the racing license just as soon as it arrives in the mail! Such a hoot. We thought David should go in seach of some Spanish beef on the last day so he can end it all with a ban. :-)

    I tried to convince him that an epic fail would actually make for a much better story afterward but he’s not buying it.

    In all seriousness though, we really are beyond humbled and so grateful for this opportunity. And I really do hope we can do something like this with a bunch of Fatties in the future.

    Someone asked me if had considered going, and that was an easy answer “no”. First, I have not been riding in months. But probably more of an influence is the fact that I am back on my medical weight loss program to finish it all up over the summer – which means I am not eating any actual food right now (just meal replacement shakes) and can’t imbibe anything that is not zero calories. I’m not going to Italy for the first time without being able to drink (lots of) red wine!!!

    David can do this for all of us, report back, and then we’ll work out the kinks for a Team Fatty/WBR version. I’m thinking pie instead of race radios, for example. It is a fundraiser after all, we need to think strategically about all the expenses. :-)

    Thank you again WBR!

  6. Comment by sr | 05.15.2014 | 11:18 am

    have fun, good luck, and nice postscript.

  7. Comment by PNP | 05.15.2014 | 11:27 am

    Wow. There’s just no other word. And here I was jealous when I thought your big news reveal was that you’d won the trip to the yurt. That would have been amazing, too, but wow…..

    I’m seethingly jealous. Not that I could ever do a ride that like but a girl can dream….

    Enjoy! We’re all going to want to hear every detail!

    Need a soigneur? :-)

  8. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 05.15.2014 | 12:13 pm

    That’s so very cool.

    @Davidh, Wow, think at all about the pressure you will be under to represent THE Fat Cyclist in this event, as well as all of his Friends of Fatty. We expect you to not show up, to not just finish, but to podium.

    (Yeah I will remind you of your obligations, repeatedly :D )

  9. Comment by rich | 05.15.2014 | 12:19 pm

    This is SO awesome! David you’ll be fine. As I, and my other “slightly past our prime” group regularly say when making a stupid decision….”what could possibly go wrong?”

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.15.2014 | 12:26 pm

    @Doug away in the manger…

    I realize all my words are going to come back and bite me in the butt. Sadly it’s sufficiently sized to take them all.

    As for riding, I’m just waiting for it to warm up.

  11. Comment by leroy | 05.15.2014 | 12:52 pm

    Well this explains my dog rooting through the closet looking for the brandy keg he won in a card game with a Saint Bernard.

    I warned him that if he volunteers to ride support, he’d better explain what he means by “have my own tools.”

    Congratulations David!

  12. Comment by Heidi | 05.15.2014 | 1:09 pm


  13. Comment by Corrine | 05.15.2014 | 1:13 pm

    OMG!!!!OMG!!!! How awesome, David and how scary. But you will do fine!!!! You know how to ride a bike. I am SOOOOOO excited for you. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Try to have some fun and quit worrying. How fast can those other guys be?!

    And Wife#1, Allison, I LOVE your post!!! You need to do more fill in posts for Fatty. We want all the details, good and bad on this trip. And pictures!

  14. Comment by Dave T | 05.15.2014 | 1:14 pm

    Congratulations David you wanted to do something big this year, this looks pretty big. I’ve seen your recent strava activity I’m sure you will be fine. If you want a change of pace for training come join me in the south bay for some rides. And I second what Doug said.

  15. Comment by KevinM_Indiana(soon to be Virginia) | 05.15.2014 | 1:44 pm

    What an opportunity …. Congratulations!!!

    I can not imagine the “butterflies” you will be experiencing ….


  16. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 05.15.2014 | 2:27 pm

    How cool is this! What an opportunity!

    Congratulations David! What goes around comes around, and it’s your turn to be on the coming around end. Enjoy.

    At this point it isn’t about the race – it is all about being in Italy and part of the WBR team. In Italy!

    Have a great trip. We want pictures, lots of pictures!

  17. Comment by yannb | 05.15.2014 | 2:28 pm

    Congrats David and Allison, you guys definitely deserve this. I have to admit I am jealous, sounds like a great experience. Dave, let me know if you want to go ride together.

  18. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 05.15.2014 | 2:34 pm

    @Dave T and @davidh-marin,ca – I remember a really nice loop down in Fremont-Milpitas that will give your legs a great workout – Niles Canyon – Calaveras Reservoir loop – ridden in either direction, it is both beautiful and challenging.

  19. Comment by Katie Bolling | 05.15.2014 | 2:47 pm

    Dear All of Team Fatty,
    When we had a spot on the Trois Etapes team, as I stated above in the email, of course WBR thought of Fatty. And, I didn’t just think of him…I thought of the thousands of you who have supported World Bicycle Relief through all of Fatty’s contests. Your spirit and your energy are a big part of why I love my job. I’m always blown away by the stories of our recipients in Africa but, in all honestly, I’m equally blown away by the spirit of our supporters…the passion for our cause and their ability to support someone in a community that they will most likely never meet. When Fatty passed on the trip, I didn’t go scouring through our databases to find a Fatty person who has given the most. Instead, I followed my heart because that’s what generosity, compassion and sharing are all about. I remembered all of the fun comments from David and Allison on the blog over the years and feeling like I knew them a little bit. I recognized their passion for Fatty, for cycling and their support for our WBR contests and you know what happened from there. You are all such an awesome community and I truly feel so blessed to be a part of it. I also really think David (and Allison) will do a great job bringing his experience to everyone so Team Fatty can share it together. Here’s to another wild Fatty adventure…

    PS. Here’s a shot from meeting David and Allison this past weekend in Mill Valley along with Rob and Dave Thompson. Oh, and that’s Ted King, too!


  20. Comment by Jeff Bike | 05.15.2014 | 4:31 pm

    I am so jealous I’m sick! I’m so happy for David I’m sick! Or it was the fast food for lunch.

    Congratulations David we all are really happy for you.

  21. Comment by DavidV | 05.15.2014 | 4:50 pm

    I’ve never heard of this ride, but it looks awesome!! Definitely a ride I’d like to do at some point, and for a great cause!

  22. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.15.2014 | 5:56 pm

    davidh – I have a bike case that can handle a 63cm frame. or you would be welcome to borrow mine, if we can figure a way to get it from Oregon to northern Cal. Fatty can give you my email or phone number, unless he has purged them.

  23. Comment by Al Pastor | 05.15.2014 | 6:16 pm

    That is so awesome.

    Yep it has been very hot.

  24. Comment by Nic Grillo | 05.15.2014 | 10:40 pm

    Congrats! You will kill it! Go get ‘em David!

  25. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 05.16.2014 | 6:49 am

    @Davidh – come on out to Potsdam and train with me some. It has finally warmed up here. :)

    It’s going to be an epic summer. There will be Team Fatty members in A LOT of very cool, epic races this year. Looking forward to some race reports from DaveT (Leadville), Davidh (Trios), ME (ORAMM, if survived). Who else is going big this summer?

  26. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 05.16.2014 | 8:18 am

    @DavidH, congratulations on the special honor of standing in for Fatty.

    May I suggest a few phrases for your trip to help you fit in:
    “Ciao ciclisti” – friendly greeting when first meeting team
    “Accelerare il passo” – get the team fired up
    “Venendo attraverso” – when you make your passing move
    “provare più difficile la prossima volta” – commiserate with your team at the end
    Also, I’d be delighted to do a training ride with you up mount Tam if you want to get some climbing in before you go.

  27. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 05.16.2014 | 8:23 am

    Ok, David, I better admit that I know no Italian and those phrases are from Google Translate:

    In English:
    “Hello cyclists”
    “Pick up the pace”
    “Coming through”
    “Try harder next time”
    Sure to endear you to your new teammates.

  28. Comment by Wife#1 | 05.16.2014 | 8:51 am

    @UpTheGrade those are SO much better than the phrase he has been practicing!

    Posso essere vecchio, ma almeno io sono lento

  29. Comment by Wife#1 | 05.16.2014 | 8:56 am

    @Clydesteve… so how has that case held up for you? It looks like mixed reviews, but at $250 – if it lasted 6-8 trips it’s probably worth it. So you have a 63cm and it pops right in? Our LBS has a case David can rent, but they would have to pack it with the fork dismantled to make it fit. Not the worst thing in the world but not nearly as easy as if it just fit like it should. I know David wants to go back East to do a century with his nephew in the fall, so may be it’s a good investment. Thank you so much for the offer to borrow yours. I suspect with oversize freight charges these days, that it would be just as expensive to transport it here and back as it would to buy a new one. Otherwise, that would be awesome!

  30. Comment by Steven Nichols | 05.16.2014 | 9:46 am

    I was jealous until I watched the video. If it was 1700 meters of climbing in France, I can only imagine what the Dolomites will have in store. (Eeek, the easy day has 2300 meters of climbing, that hurts to think about!)

    Congrats and GOOD LUCK!….. (Yoou’ll need it… LOL)

  31. Comment by SteveB | 05.16.2014 | 10:02 am

    I’d volunteer to go as your domestique, but my knee is hurting… You’re a much stronger climber than you think – go kill em!

  32. Comment by SteveB | 05.16.2014 | 10:04 am

    Posso essere vecchio, ma almeno io sono lento

    I may be old, but at least I’m slow… We need that on
    a T-shirt.

  33. Comment by Brian in VA | 05.16.2014 | 10:40 am

    Absolutely awesome! Congrats David!

    I, too, accept climbs but really don’t like them. I think this is such a great ride, though, that you’ll likely find yourself flying up them as if you had wings. At least for the first few meters.

    Can’t wait to read the race report on this one. Safe journey, great riding, and represent all of us Friends of Fatty!

  34. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.16.2014 | 10:44 am

    @Steve Nichols

    Isn’t meter just Italian for foot? What could go wrong?

  35. Comment by ClydeinKS | 05.16.2014 | 1:20 pm

    Holy freaking AWESOMENESS!! What an opportunity and excellent choice @Katie!! Thrilled for you @davidh and looking forward to reports! Represent us as we know you will!
    Surely FC socks could be paired with that WBR Kit!

  36. Comment by GregC | 05.16.2014 | 1:49 pm

    this is way cool- I’m so jealous!

    In keeping with the tradition Fatty has established, we will expect a detailed ride report. If you follow the Fattys example, this should work out to about 17 episodes. Do you think you can come up with enough cliff-hangers to keep this going?

    If you want to travel to so cal to train in big mountains with long climbs, I’d love to ride with you.

  37. Comment by Ellecina | 05.16.2014 | 4:12 pm

    Welcome to Italy, David! I am from Dolomiti area, I am sure you will love our places. We’re having a pretty cold spring right now, so hopefully the weather is going to improve in June. Pity I’ll be still stuck in China by then, I would have loved coming to the race!
    I’ll share the news with my cycling friends back home!
    Greetings from the Far East

  38. Comment by Wife#1 | 05.16.2014 | 4:23 pm

    Ooooh look what arrived today! What’s up with “excludes BMX” though? LMAO!

  39. Comment by Wife#1 | 05.17.2014 | 11:05 am

    @GregC… if FC thinks we are trying to take over his blog with 2 posts, 17 probably won’t fly!

    Pity though, I could do a whole post just on trying to book the last couple of days in Venice. I was using the suggestion of BostonCarlos to find a room through airbnb.

    I discovered there were some very tempting offers indeed from the locals hosts, so clearly I had to set some parameters around my search.

    For example despite the reasonable fee and fabulous location, I decided this location was out:

    “We are three girls working and studying. during the day usually we are out, depending on our commitments of the day. For sure we like sharing time with our guests!”

    Or this one below, that sounded perfect, until I combined her strategic use of uppercase letters with the accompanying host photo…

    “Lovely SINGLE room queen size bed with private en suite bathroom w/bathtub and shower in elegant historical building in the arts neighborhood of Dorsoduro. Close to Accademia, markets, cafés, restaurants, Garden view. Wi-Fi. 2nd floor walk-up.”

    Suffice to say. David will be staying with Maurilio the last few nights in Venice after the ride:


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  41. Comment by KevinM | 05.19.2014 | 9:51 am

    David, Congratulations!!! You and your family have been such great supporters of the FC/WBR family. Dont forget to get your rest inbetween your training rides. Good Luck and enjoy the experience. Can’t wait to read your report on this.

  42. Comment by Susie H | 05.19.2014 | 5:37 pm

    very, very exciting news! and a wonderful opportunity…can’t wait to read the reports!

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