Thursday, August 6, 2009

For Susan

Susan Nelson, the wife of Elden Nelson -- a.k.a., the Fat Cyclist -- passed away last night. Regular readers here will recall that she has been fighting cancer for years. Last night cancer won.

I'm not good at sitting around and feeling bad. Maybe it's because I'm a guy, if you believe that whole Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and Your Mother-in-Law is Like Uranus. Tragedies are there to be avoided ... or at least fixed so they don't happen again. When bad stuff happens, you analyze it, do a root-cause analysis, and move on. If it's something that there really is no fix for, make a joke about it ... and then move on.

But I'm not ready to say that there's nothing we can do about this, and right now I hurt too much to make jokes. Well, except for that Uranus thing.

Maybe Susan is gone, but cancer is still here. My friends and fellow randonneurs Bill Glass and Peter Lee beat it. Wilson Fly -- without whose store most of us would not be able to ride very far on the Natchez Trace -- is going to beat it.

Here are some things we can do:
  1. Donate some money at Fatty's LiveStrong Challenge page. If you do it soon, you'll be entered in a prize to one a really sweet Orbea Orca with eletronic Dura-Ace. You will not be able to help being the first one over Gosey Hill on this bike.
  2. Cancer is expensive, and Mr. Fly doesn't have insurance. I'm going to try to get some of the Nashville bike shops to put a jar out for him. If you're in a bike shop and see the jar, put some money in it.
  3. Ride your bike. Feel the wind in your hair ... well, your helmet ... and the sunshine on your face (don't forget the sunscreen!). Work hard, climbing a hill faster than you ever have and hanging with the lead pack further than you did last time. Sweat. And make sure that you appreciate every freaking second of it, because you are alive and healthy and free. Live your life with every carbon fiber of your hydrocarbon being.

    Live hard for Susan.

1 comment:

  1. That last part of your blog post, that was perfect. I wandered over here from Fatty's blog, which I've followed for years. And I was also diagnosed with cancer last year, so it all kind of hits home. But my point, relevant to the point in your blog - I do triathlons, and one of my favorite things in the world to do is ride my bike. Just go on long-ass rides out on country roads - as you note, the wind, the sun, the tranquility, just feeling alive and happy and free. I've always loved that, and still do. And I'm always amazed at fellow tri people I know who look at that stuff as a chore, a task, as mere training, without appreciating the beauty around them. That to me is sadder than having cancer. Seriously.

    Anyway, I babble. Sorry. Nice post though.....