Thursday, December 04, 2008

Joining Team Fatty

Date: Dec. 3
Mileage: 38.5
December mileage: 84.3

As many of you out there in the world of blogs already know, Elden aka "Fat Cyclist" aka "Fatty" has organized a massive fundraising effort for the LIVESTRONG Challenge. In honor of his wife, Susan, and countless others who are fighting a battle with cancer, he is aiming to raise upwards of $1 million for cancer research and support. I spent a few days thinking about how I could get involved. I didn't think I was going to sign up for an event because I wasn't crazy about the date of the Seattle event, and the others were just so far away.

But then I got an e-mail from my friend in Utah, Chris, who announced he not only committed to raising $5,000(!), but also intends to ride the century in Seattle(!!). Chris is not your typical cyclist. I'm not even sure he'd call himself a cyclist. He's a therapist who sometimes works upwards of 70-80 hours a week. He loves to hike and camp but rarely has time for either, and admits that right now he's "in the worst shape of my life." Chris and I traveled through Alaska, along with Geoff and another friend, Jen, in 2003. Just a few days into the trip, Chris learned his mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He was nearly on his way back to Utah before his mom strongly encouraged him to continue with the dream trip he had been planning for months. I watched him wrestle with his guilt and grief, and try to comfort his mom from afar. He had a head of long, wavy hair and he shaved it all off in solidarity with her. His mom won her battle with breast cancer. Many do not. When I found out Chris was getting involved with Team Fatty, I felt inspired.

I signed up for the event that I'm still not sure I'll be able to attend. I'd love to go, not only to ride with Chris, but to finally once and for all meet Elden (I know. It's crazy. He lives less than 10 miles from the place where I grew up, but we've never met.) So right now, I'm in for 100 miles in Seattle. That was the easy part. Now the hard part - raising funds. Luckily for me, Elden contacted me with a wonderful idea.

He is holding a series of raffles to help inspire people to donate a few bucks. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, he'll be raffling an Olympus Stylus 1030 SW digital camera. You may recognize this camera because I rave about it all the time. It's my camera, only newer, and less abused, and with even more special features. It's shockproof to 6.6 feet, waterproof to 33 feet, crushproof to 220 pounds of pressure and freezeproof down to 14 degrees (I've used it while it was 25 below and can attest that it continues to work well below 14 degrees.) And you can have a chance to win this camera by visiting next Tuesday and Wednesday and contributing to the LIVESTRONG Challenge. If you win the camera, you to can take mountain bike ride shots like this:

(OK, you'll have to come to Juneau to take a mountain bike shot exactly like this.)

I'm going to throw in a few books for the raffle as well. But, in an effort to coax a few people to donate early, I'd like to offer signed copies of my book to the first five people who donate $25 or more to the LIVESTRONG Challenge through my personal page. I'm "AlaskaJill" on the Seattle team. (Click here to donate.) Every cent will go to this amazing cause, so it's a good way to get the book if you've been thinking you might like to read it.

Also, I wanted thank those who recently bought signed copies of my book through my new Paypal page. The Thanksgiving holiday put my printing back a few days, but I am expecting my order on Thursday or Friday, and will send out books shortly after. I ship priority, so you should have them by the following Wednesday or Thursday. I want to apologize for the short delay, but I have things rolling now and my turnover times should be much shorter from now on. (I can process Christmas orders until Dec. 15. After that, there are no guarentees.)

There's a couple of new reviews of the book. One from Mike Jacobsen. (a cyclist in Washington), and a "non-biker review" from my sister, Lisa (not biased at all.)

I also got a few nice e-mails from readers, including this one from Heidi Olson: "I've really enjoyed reading your book - your descriptions of each day on the trail made me feel like I was right there. I had to grab for a warm blanket several times and I'm sure that I consumed more peanut butter cups then you did through the entire book."

And from Karen Ness: "I really enjoyed the way you flashed back to previous years leading up to move to Alaska, alternating chapters with your Iditarod travels. That was a great way to tell the story. It broadens your base and allows the reader to learn more about where you came from and how you got to where you were on the trail. The way you expanded your story helps for anyone who has followed along on your blog. It is a new story even to old readers."

So what are you waiting for? Go donate! (And then come back Tuesday and donate again for a shot at an awesome camera.)


  1. rock on jill. long time reader here of both yours and fattys site (he gave me a new bike this summer). personally i think you might have a hinge loose.

    im in seattle and will be doing the seattle challenge as well. let me know if i can help you with anything down here- place to stay, pick up at airport, damn near anything. friend of fattys = friend of mine


  2. It's amazing to see how Fatty has been able to inspire so many people. He deserves to reach his goal!
    I'm going to do a 100 mile ride June 21'st regardless since I doubt I'll be able to make it to Seattle.
    I intend to get your book too, probably after the new year, been spending money like it's going out of style. :)
    Peace Jill-

    Jeff Crowe
    Duluth, MN

  3. Jill- I'm so glad you're doing this. I just donated in memory of my mother-in-law, Nancy Cahill who put up a very valiant 20+ year battle with the demon breast cancer. It finally took her life and we buried her on my daughter's second birthday. That daughter is now 14 years old and there is rarely a day that goes by that I don't think of my husband's mom and her bravery. I made my donation with the hope that someday we can wipe it out and no longer leave children to wonder what their grandmother was "really like."
    I just finished the book, by the way, and it is one of the best books I have ever read. With all the frightening things that happened in the past, I don't know how you made the decision to jump right back into the frying pan, but to those of us that benefit from the excitement of reading about your experiences, we're glad you did.
    Michelle Argersinger

  4. What a great cause! And I will return your email in a little while!

  5. Jill, can you respond to this comment and send me an email so we can talk about your book?

  6. Love that you have signed up for Fatty's team, Jill! I'll donate to both your and Eldon's pages. And, if staying in Vancouver is in anyway useful - please don't hesitate to ask. If bike shipping is expensive, you can borrow one of mine and I'd be happy to drive you down to Seattle if a flight to Vancouver is cheaper (which, seeing as Alaskan flies to Seattle and Juneau, it probably isn't).

    Just looked at the dates for Seattle...hoping it doesn't clash with 24 hours in Whitehorse as I hope to see you there, too.

  7. I'm happy that I was able to be the first to donate this morning. I have many relatives who have fought cancer including my Dad who has beat it three times. I look forward to getting and reading your book.

  8. Jill,
    Your book arrived yesterday, I have yet to start it. I am in the middle of reading John Wooden's Book, "They Call Me Coach" and I am one of those people that can't read a couple of books at the same time. It's a personality flaw, I know! One of my boys picked it up and has started reading, so now I will have to wait in line behind my kids.

  9. We are going to have a rockin good time riding with Fatty in Seattle :-)

  10. Jill; Good luck on your new adventure. Your plate seems to be pretty full right now. I love the pics. I also contributed on your page this morning, don't know if I made the first five. Will log onto Elden's site next week.

    take care.

  11. Jill, I'm so glad you decided to sign up. It will be fun to be in the same race, though I'm sure I'll only see you at the start and at the finish if you wait around for me to finally come crawling in. I'm glad I had some part to play in your decision as your book was a big part of my inspiration to sign up.


  12. Michelle,

    Thanks so much! Breast cancer really does touch so many lives. And new research really does save lives every day.

    As to my book, a lot of people who have read it have asked me that same question. "Um, that sounded really horrific. Why on Earth would you choose to go back out there?" I always fall back on the same old Bill Merchant (ITI race director) quote that I've used in this blog many times: "We go into the Alaska backcountry to finds cracks in ourselves. We go back a year later to see if we've done anything about them."


    I was really worried about the LIVESTRONG ride clashing with the 24 Hours of Light. That's the main reason I didn't sign up right away. But Icycle Sport still hasn't posted their dates for the 2009 race yet, and I didn't want to refuse to go on a maybe. And maybe they'll decide to hold the 24 Hours of Light a week after solstice, as they did this year. That would be awesome! The Seattle century would be a nice taper ride :-) You should come down! I can't wait to ride with everyone.

    Chris, thanks for the inspiration. I see you're the top fundraiser so far for the Seattle team, which is awesome. Looking forward to seeing you there.

  13. Jill - I think the 24 hours is going to be the week after because the Kluane-Chilkat road race is scheduled for June 20 and Icycle won't want to compete with that event. I'm hoping to be in the Yukon for the weekend of June 20 for the Mayo Midnight Marathon and then stay until the following weekend for the 24 hours. If I can't mange that time off, I'll absolutely consider Seattle.


Feedback is always appreciated!