Monday, July 30, 2012



Enough cannot be said about the fun and pride that I had captaining the LIVESTRONG presence at the Seattle Century this year.  In every respect, the ride has grown for our local grassroots LIVESTRONG group - in terms of rider numbers, presence during the ride, and generosity of the event organizers - but especially so about the people: the upswell of support and kindness and community of riders and non-riders alike.  We are gaining momentum and team spirit - and will continue to work on building our group and LIVESTRONG presence in the Seattle area community. That's a promise.

That said, let's talk about the ride!

I must admit, I was a little tentative early in the morning: I had emailed all of the people from the past months about the ride, and hoped that they would all show up.  Some I had met before, others I had "met" virtually, and others were strangers who were planning to ride with us, as part of a group of friends.  Some were locals, and others drove or flew in to participate in this ride - from Oregon and Nevada.

And show up they did - in all, we had TWENTY people (yes, twenty - I had to count everyone on my fingers and toes) ride with us through the day.  While keeping together on the initial flats, and separating into smaller groups during the hill climbs and pacelines, we did regroup at the rest stops and especially at the finish line festival.

Items of note throughout the day:

1. The Start:

Only part of our gang, getting ready for the start!

Our motley crew of LIVESTRONG riders found each other in the registration crowd, before 7:00am at Magnuson Park in Seattle. It was great to meet old and new faces alike.  After fueling up, we warmed up on the first 20+ miles of relatively flat route - trading stories, getting to know one another, and trying to keep from running each other down while distracted in conversation.

2.  The LIVESTRONG Rest Stop

Nina, Ron, Patrick, Paul, Rob, Amanda, Stefan
and Anthony at the LIVESTRONG rest stop!

New this year, we worked with the Seattle Century organizers to have the first rest stop be 'sponsored' by LIVESTRONG: we provided volunteers (thank you, Nina and Kevin, as well as Claire and Michelle from Camp Kesem who were there at 6:15am!) as well as decorated the stop with our LIVESTRONG banner and handed out LIVESTRONG wristbands.  Many riders were delighted by our stop, let us know they were survivors, and shared their stories.

3.  Hills

After the initial flats, reality hit quickly (Novelty Hill) with the introduction of what Seattle rides are infamous for - hills!  Novelty Hill was the first, but definitely not the last of a series of epic climbs.  Each was a great challenge ... making the last smaller climbs feel 'epic' on our tired legs.

4.  Pie

Ron and Patrick enjoy ... PIE!

A close runner up behind LIVESTRONG as the reason I participate in the ride is the food.  While the ride is challenging, riding with a food coma is even more so.  The Seattle Century is known not only for being "all about Seattle", but "all about food": There is a sandwich stop within the first half of the ride.  There is a strawberry shortcake stop in the last quarter.  MOST importantly (according to me) is the PIE stop mid-ride - in the middle of a farmer's field - serving the freshest and best pie imaginable (according to me again). 

5.  Stefan and Paul

Rob (far left) and Bill (far right) enjoy a rest stop with
the father-son power duo of Paul and Stefan.

One of my highlights of the day was finally meeting - and riding with - two cyclists who joined us from Portland: Stefan and his 14-year-old son, Paul.  I am in awe of a father-son relationship that includes cycling to support a cause (rather than, say, sitting at home playing Wii or Playstation).  Both Stefan and Paul actively raised funds for LIVESTRONG through our grassroots webpage, and I was in awe of their email campaigns, relating that they were riding in honor of colleagues and teachers who were cancer survivors.  Great people.

Stefan is an accomplished rider, and this was Paul's first long ride.  We were all amazed by Paul's determination and tenacity on the ride - he basically kept up with us the whole way!  I can hardly wait to see how he rides next year (he may be pulling us most of the way, I just know it).

6.  Amanda

Patrick and Amanda at the start.  I think that's the only
photo we have of her that's not a blur ...

I met Amanda back in March of this year, during the LIVESTRONG Assembly in Austin, Texas.  Being from the Northwest, and working for Nike-Livestrong, we naturally started chatting, and struck up a friendship. Amanda decided to join us ... and only two days before the Seattle Century, was informed that she would be competing in Ironman Kona in 2-1/2 months' time.

With that competition hanging over her head, Amanda related that she would need to turn up the heat, and would likely be pulling for most of the ride.  And pull she did!  It was like watching a blur ... 

7.  The Scenery

Snoqualmie Falls - beautiful, majestic ...

... speaking of beautiful and majestic:
Bill, Meredith, Patrick, Kenny and Ron at the falls!

The route for the Seattle Century was perfect, highlighting both the great urban trails and well as rural road routes around the Seattle Area. We passed through forests and small towns, alongside lakes, viewed mountains, saw abundant wildlife ... a ride where locals pinch themselves at their luck for living in such a beautiful and diverse area.  Challenging uphill climbs were matched by "woohoo!" downhill descents.  Loved it.

And did I mention we had a stop at Snoqualmie Falls?  Not a bad "bonus" for completing the 100-mile course!

8.  More Food

Enough cannot be said about the food stops.  Did I mention the pie?  A cyclist-architect colleague of mine, Bill, who was riding this ride for the first time, remarked at the first stop, "There's food like this at every stop?  I don't think that I could eat at every stop!" But eat he did, as well as everyone else ... with room to spare for the food-climax: the finish.

9.  The Finish

After the long ride, long hills, long stops for food (did I mention the pie?), floating bridges, amazing scenery and great downhills, we finally arrived mid-afternoon at the finish ... to be greeted with - you guessed it - more food!  It was the infamous grilled salmon feed and (open) beer garden, complemented with salads, rice dishes, grilled asparagus, cheesecake ... and the list goes on.

The organizers supplied us with a reserved LIVESTRONG section which we fully took advantage of, and we spent a few hours together, swapping stories, growing our friendships and finding how cancer had all touched our lives in one way or another.

10.  Old and New Friends

I am humbled by all of the people I met, and the support that we received as part of "Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle" this year at the Seattle Century.  During the ride, every rider in our group commented at how wonderful the other group members were, and that they would love to ride together again. What a HUGE compliment. 

Yes, I would love to ride and meet up with you all again, too - and invite like-minded friends to join and be part of our cycling and cancer-fighting LIVESTRONG community.  We have more rides, and other events in the cancer community - such as LIVESTRONG Day (end September/ beginning October), and the Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge (October).

To Kenny, Claire, Meredith, Patrick, Stefan, Paul, Ron, Rob, Nina, Kevin, Anthony & crew, R4C, Amanda, Bill and anyone I might have missed (my apologies) - thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and participation.

Let's keep this great group together - along with our other riders who could not make it - and I look forward to more adventures in the future.  You can always reach me at:


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


204 MILES IN ONE DAY - July 14, 2012!

The Seattle-to-Portland (STP) ride is a Northwestern Rite of Passage for cyclists.  This event hosts over 10,000 riders every year, and in recent years has broken records for earlier and earlier sell-outs of the event.  It's a classic ride:  Epic.  Well-supported.  Beautiful scenery. Unique.

And for most people, the 204 mile adventure is undertaken as a two-day ride.  People enjoy the ride, camp out midway-ish, take a rest and fuel up for the second day, and take on the second century ride (or less) the next day to arrive in Portland, refreshed and happy to finish.

We did that last year.  It was fun.

This year, we decided to take on this epic adventure in one day.  It was fun.  Ahem.

Seriously, though, it was a great ride, and a memorable one.  Awesome, actually. 

Our full-day adventure, as I saw it:

Mike and I were psyched and set to go - after our training rides (see previous posts), testing out a few different nutrition options (we ended up with the Perpetuem and Endurolytes, with Nuun and real food as much as we could), and self-maintenance on the bikes (to various degrees of success).

After this training, introspection and sheer foolhardiness, we departed the University of Washington parking lot at 4:45am (yes, I wrote that correctly - after a 3:00am wakeup) with the first wave of one-day riders.  There is an initial scramble as large groups of bikers take to the early morning streets half-excited, half-asleep and mostly nervous of the day ahead.  I remember seeing people have flats within a few blocks, and quietly thanking my bike for not doing so, this early in the morning.  After a few miles, everyone seemed to get their footing.

4:45am start.  Shouldn't we be asleep?

We were lucky enough to paceline for a good part of the day, swinging from one group to the next (if too slow or fast), and taking turns up front.  The morning was cloudy and cool, with patches of mist that kept us cool (and cold at rest stops where we lingered more than a few minutes!).  My sunglasses stayed on my helmet all morning - and Mike kept his arm warmers on, too ...

The long and winding road ... amazing what songs you sing to yourself ...

We hit the midpoint - Centralia (102 miles in) - and took a good break for lunch (it was only 10:30am, but after waking up at 3:00am that morning, it felt like a late lunch!)  We felt good, and kept on going after fueling up on chocolate milk, turkey sandwiches and bananas.

Centralia - halfway there!

By mile 137, we pedaled by Castle Rock, our overnight stop in 2011.  Anything past this point was a one-day personal best for us, and we were encouraged.

And then the rolling hills hit. And the clouds vanished.  And suddenly the temperatures rose into the 80s.  Great if you're at the beach, but not so much if you've been on the bike all day.  (Plus if you're from the Northwest, this is akin to a heat wave.)

Feeling the burn ... lots of miles left!

By the time mile 142 (rest stop) hit, we were close to bonking (aka "hitting the wall").  Time to take a good rest, and eat some food! I learned later that it was this stop where most people bonk - so I felt a little better about myself after that.  After 20 minutes, we were off, and feeling much better.

Mile 175 rest stop (St. Helen's) was welcome (they had misters that you could walk through to cool down!  I squealed like a little boy running through these things several times ...).  A special bonus was that a very good friend and previous LIVESTRONG mentor colleague - John Ohnstad - showed up to ride/escort us the final 29-30 miles to the finish (John claims a 29.87 mile ride).

Patrick and 'Big John' ... great to see him.
John - or "Big John" as most people (and my daughter) respectfully call him - is a tall, muscular and very fit cyclist, and a gentle giant.  To put things into perspective, he rides a bike with a 65cm frame and 200mm cranks to suit his frame (by comparison, our 54-56cm frames are puny).  He has power.  And most importantly, he has a significant wind shadow to draft behind.  This was our secret weapon to the end!

Finished! Patrick and Mike with their "One Day Rider" badges of honor!
Grimey, happy, 1-day rider.

We enjoyed his escort and encouragement through the last miles, and his guidance through Portland.  For the last few 'victory miles', we biked ahead of him through the neighborhoods, and finally celebrated in Portland in Holladay Park at 6:30pm. 

204 miles complete!

Were we sore?  Yes.  Some areas more obvious than others.

Were we grimy?  Yes.

Did the shower and hotel room bed that night feel especially welcome?  Oh, absolutely.

The best part for Mike? 

After accomplishing such a long ride, the reward came at the finish line, when his girlfriend Joey called out and greeted him.  They were so happy to see each other, and you could see how proud she was of him.

Final mileage and ride dedications.

The best part for me?

As a footnote to this epic adventure, and to bring us back to earth - I would like to point out the photo above of my bike at the end.  While the trip computer shows over 206 miles(!), most importantly - and personally - are the dedications I have on my top tube: one for my Dad, who passed away due to cancer in 1993, and most recently for my Aunt (Tante) Angelika who passed away the Monday before the ride due to cancer.

"Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle" rides to raise awareness of LIVESTRONG and its programs and support for cancer survivorship.  We also ride for very personal cancer-related reasons.  To my Dad and Tante Angelika, you provided me with the inspiration, courage and strength to attack and conquer this ride.

If you are inspired by our efforts, you can join our group (on the bike or off), and also support my fundraising here: - thank you! 



Patrick Chatfield
Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

P.S.  And now, we look forward to the Seattle Century on July 28th, 2012!  Our last local "Hurrah!" ride before traveling to Austin to ride there in October.  I hope you can join us - check out:

Monday, July 2, 2012


STP Training Day.  Wow - that was an adventure!

A little rain never hurt anyone - right ...!?
Last Saturday, two of our group (Mike and I) decided it was a good idea to go for a nice, long ride around Seattle in preparation of the upcoming STP (Seattle to Portland) ride mid-July.  After all, we signed up for the 204-mile odyssey this year with the SINGLE DAY option in mind. 

204 miles in one day? Are we nuts?  Has sanity left the building?

The answer is a resounding "Yes"!

The day started relatively warm (low 60's) and with high humidity.  We don't really get a lot of muggy days, but this was one of them.  A 50% chance of rain was forecast - which for Seattle meant that rain was inevitable - you'd just be rained on for 50% of the time.  It was relatively dry outside when we started around 8:30 am, and we happily started our trek, with rain jackets tucked neatly in the back pockets of our jerseys. The idea was to ride a relatively easy ride - twice around Lake Washington / Lake Sammamish - to simply get some 'saddle time' in (that's the part of you that really tends to 'wear' on long distance rides - I won't go into heavy detail here) and get our bodies used to pedaling for a good part of the day.

To make a long story short, we had a great, most-of-the-day cycling adventure, but what an adventure it was!  Here's how the day went, in a nutshell:
  1. Miles ridden: 120;
  2. Rain: 50% of the time, as promised;
  3. Mid-way lunch stop: 1.  (Thanks to my wife for meeting us - kids included - with PB&J sandwiches, bananas, and water!  Oh - and extra tires, see next point);
  4. Flat tires: 4, between the two of us. (Mike: 2 front flats.  Patrick: 2 back flats.  Remember to bring extra tubes and air cartridges!);
  5. Bloody knuckles (see flat tires): 1.  (I will blame this on a relatively new back tire, slippery conditions, and overall poor form on my part. I must admit, though, that in the rain a good skinned knuckle really looks like a gusher);
  6. Tinkerbell bandaids: 1. (Thanks to my 3-1/2 year old daughter during the lunch stop);
  7. Broken spokes: 1. (At mile 95, middle of a good stretch of cycling, Mike yelled out "your rear wheel is WOBBLING!"  And so it was. Holy crap. Taking off a fender, loosening off the brake, I was able to limp to the nearest bike store, hoping to get my wheel fixed.  Mike rode steadfast behind me, watching to see if my wheel would self-destruct in the meantime ...);
  8. In-ride stop at bike shop to fix broken spoke: 1. (While assessing the damage of the broken spoke - and simultaneously Mike's flat tire - I called a few local bike shops to see who could help. The dudes at Gerk's - said, "We're closing in 25 minutes.  If you can get in here before then, we'll see what spare parts we have, and what we can do." With 10 minutes to spare, they spent 40 minutes on my bike - well past closing time - and VERY luckily happened to have one spoke - rear wheel, drive side, Mavic black bladed spoke - to replace the snapped one and had my wheel trued and on my way in no time.  Even checked my rear hub and cleaned it out. And EVEN had a spare rear 'loaner' wheel ready to go, if they didn't have the part.  I love personal service - can't recommend these guys enough ...)

The broken spoke ... amazing how one small part can derail you ...

At the end, Mike and I were tired, slightly daunted, but all-in-all I think we had a "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" kind of day.  The riding was good, the views and routes stellar, and the 'saddle time' well spent ... and we now have a good bike cleaning ahead of us.

Looking ahead, though ... just 12 days until the STP ride!  Wish us luck between now and then with the remainder of our training rides, and more so on the ride itself!  If you'd like to ride with us this week (likely Wednesday and Friday, limited rides), during the ride (pacelines!) or after the ride, please let me know -

Oh, and yes, of course:  Please join us at the 2012 Seattle Century ride at the end of the month.  More information, including a $10 registration discount code, can be found here: - the more the merrier, and the more support we can muster for LIVESTRONG the better!


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader