Gone Fishin'

HEY!

I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!

8.06.2009

Fight Like Susan

Last night, clearing out my Google Reader feed, I saw a post on the Fatcyclist.com feed titled "Don't Say She Lost."  Before I could open the post to read the text, I knew what it meant.  Elden Nelson's (the creator and author of fatcyclist.com) wife Susan had passed away after a long battle with cancer.  I was still thinking about it on my morning ride today as I headed up the big hill on that ride, a hill that almost always sends me sweeping my rear derailer up the cassette in search of the 34-tooth bailout gear that lives next to the spokes.  
Let me back up for a minute.  Flash to a little over four years ago. I was nearing the end of my second semester in Law School, wrestling mightily with the idea that I had gotten myself into something that simply was not for me.  I was living alone in an apartment in a rural Vermont town, isolated from my fiancee, and poking around the Web looking for something, anything to connect to.  In my apartment sat my antiquated Trek 930, little used in the last decade or so, but with about 12 years worth of grime and junk on it.  In a few hours of stolen free time and with help from all over the Web, I tore it down, cleaned it up and got it running like clockwork again.  The first ride on a bike I had successfully brought back to "like new" condition was sweeter than anything.
In the course of my Web browsing for tips and such, I came across Fat Cyclist.  As a bit of a Clydesdale myself, Elden's posts about riding, food, friends, and the universal experiences all cyclists share resonated with me.  His sharp wit, undying enthusiasm and eloquent writing all kept me coming back. 
For all of the fun, though, things started to get pretty serious around the time I started reading the blog.  Elden's wife Susan was fighting cancer, and the news Elden reported as they navigated the health care maze depicted a situation that would have left many people incapacitated.  Through it all, Elden's positive attitude and the way he has turned this challenge into as good a thing as it could be has been inspiring. It has inspired me to look at my own life and write most of its tests off to introspective whining.  I find myself faced with an obstacle and then thinking, what would Elden and Susan do?  How would they deal with this?    
What Elden has done though his blog is fight cancer by raising money for the LiveStrong Foundation.  He's raised awareness about cancer among his friends and cycling brethren on the web, and he's been more successful at it than anyone I can think of. 
Cancer touches all of us at some point. Susan fought one hell of a fight against this disease, and Elden fought hard along with her.  Anybody who knows him already knows the answer to the question "what can I do?"  The answer is to get out there and raise money for cancer research. Elden's got a Livestrong page with a $90,000 fundraising goal. You can donate to it here
If you go to that site, you'll probably notice a picture of an amazingly sweet road bike, an Orbea Orca with fly-by-wire Shimano Di2 components.  Give in any increment of $5, and you get a chance to win that bike. 
A common slogan on Fatcyclist.com for some time has been "Win Susan," and today's post title is "Don't Say She Lost." Elden explains:
"Susan's part in the battle is over, but she didn't lose. She led the charge. She showed the rest of us how to fight: with determination, focus, creativity, and outrageous endurance.
Now it's up to the rest of us to Fight Like Susan.
Thinking on everything I've read on Fatcyclist.com over the years, and the positive influence it has had on my life, I chugged up the big hill on my ride this morning thinking "Fight Like Susan" over and over again, a mantra of sorts.  As I crested the hill I looked over my right heel and realized:  I wasn't in the bailout gear, or even the one down from it, and I felt strong.