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.)