Big Bad Bobby Earle.



Ok.  It’s been more than a minute since I’ve managed a post.  As usual, lots to say, and too many words to say it all..  or something.   I’m working on a post with the necessary medical updates, but it is coming rather slowly, and in the mean time, there is something more time sensitive that I need to share.  Many of you have written comments or emails reassuring me that I don’t NEED to write.  That I should only write if and when it is of benefit to me in some way.  Still others have written to say, “please please..  it doesn’t have to be a lot..  just anything you think of.  Put it up there!”

While I appreciate the sentiment of both, neither really hits its head on the nail of the issue at hand (so to speak).  At some point along the line, enough people started to follow this blog that I began to feel a certain debt of gratitude, and with it a duty to fulfill what for me had become an unspoken mission statement:   To faithfully report the progress of this brutal disease and to do so with as much honesty as I could muster.  To put it all out in the open without getting caught up in how embarrassing, graphic, or scary elements of it might be.

SO!  I’ve got an overdue post in the works that I’ve been having a pretty difficult time getting onto the page.  Occasionally, though, this blog serves a different master.  Occasionally, (for shame, Ezra!) I take advantage of the fact that the blog gets a rather surprising number of views to put something out there that I think deserves the attention.  In this case, that something is the ongoing story of my good friend Bobby Earle O’Brien and his 2014 Boston Marathon bid.

To Recap.  Bobby Earle (who some of you will remember from a rather extraordinary act of generosity a little over a year ago wherein he donated a NEW Industry 9 29er wheelset for the UTA, just in case the corporate sponsors didn’t come through in time) decided, despite swearing that the 2009 marathon would be his last, that he would run 2014 anyway.  WHY!?  I’ll let him explain.

Here’s where the comedy of errors begins, however.  During a workout in early February, Bobby sustained some sort of mysterious injury in his left Quad region, had to stop the workout prematurely and wound up in a walk in clinic where he was handed some crutches but not given any kind of conclusive diagnosis.  When he did finally get to see his orthopaedic surgeon (the man has had quite a number of surgeries) and the appropriate tests were done, the conclusion was a stress reaction..  Something that would have become a full blown stress fracture if he had continued to work out on that unlucky day.  The recovery was going to entail 4 weeks of rest.  The good news was that he had already done 2 of these weeks just waiting around for the diagnosis, the bad news, of course, was that this ultimately would mean one month of training taken out of what was less than a 3 month preparation to begin with!  The two weeks passed and he eased back into training only to break a toe a couple of weeks later.

Miraculously, though, on March 29th, Bobby was able to do the final long training run (22 miles) with the rest of the Dana Farber Challenge crew (this is mystifying to me).  And since then he has been enjoying taper time (A term that will mean something to runners out there perhaps).  Again best to let Bobby describe that AND the long training run himself.

Due to some of the medical issues that I’ve been having trouble getting on the page, I have been unable to cheer lead quite as I had intended as Bobby’s preparations went along, and now we’re finding ourselves just a week away from the marathon with a fair amount of fundraising left to do.  Bobby sailed past the Dana Farber Challenge fundraising goal, but his own goal was quite a bit more ambitious.  And since Bobby is running this thing in my honor, I feel some responsibility to help plug for the cause.  Please check out his blog for the marathon, and even more important at this late stage, check out his fundraising page!!

Thank you all for any help you’re able to give, and watch here for an update coming soon, explaining where things stand for me these days.

As always, thank you for following along, and big love to you all.


121 Replies to “Big Bad Bobby Earle.”

  1. Oh, Ezra, so glad to catch some news from you! It’s almost 6:30 pm here in Italy, I sit in my office thinking of you on the other side of the planet and suddenly your post pops up like this beautiful springtime this week in Florence. So glad to hear from you! Love you Ezra, send all my love to your beautiful wife too and please… Let us hear from you sooner, this time….

  2. We’ll be always waiting for you, no problem if you write or not, because you are always with us. But it is great having you here again!! Un abrazo y mis mejores deseos!

  3. My God you Look Great! It is SO Wonderful to SEE YOUR FACE! And to Hear From You and Yes—I have Been Following Bobby and a Million Thanks to Bobby!!! We Love you Ezra–Hang Tight My Friend-Just today I have contacted Vanderbilt trying hard to find a clinical trial for my Stage 4 LC Fiance–He’s hang Tight as Well–Dave is weak from the radiation–but he is still going as are you!!! Big Love!!! Love to Hil and Putney–Renee’

  4. Ezra —I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now –because your energy, love of life and spirit are wonderful to read. Thank you for this post because now I can say thank you with a donation –which I just made. Blessed be.

  5. Ahhh, now I feel like a big jerk for being one of the people who was like “Hey! Please please, doesn’t have to be long, just post often!”

    I love reading the blog and I find it (and you, Ezra!) inspirational. But I never want to make my being a reader make YOU feel like writing is a duty or as if you are in debt to or owe your readers anything. If anything, we owe you!

    Totally non-related PS: I just watched the Bike Maker and I expected you to have an accent, but you sound like a Canadian (i.e. just like me!) except you don’t say “eh”. Funny how I “thought” you sounded differently than you do! The documentary is great but doesn’t show off your Steroid Eyebrows like your blog and photos do, though 🙂

  6. Ez!!!!! Thank you for the post. We all heave a collective sigh when we see updates. Sending you some Positive Energy***

    (Go Bobby!)

  7. Bobby sent a very nice thank you message. Classy. Here’s the him having a great and safe time on Monday and the heart and legs to not break on heartbreak hill.

  8. Good Morning Ezra, today is Marathon Monday and I’m thinking of you especially as it’s go time for Bobby Earle… I’m cheering like crazy already. Have a wonderful day, hugs to you, Hill, and Putney. xo ♥ Love Robin

  9. Just wanna say Hi.

    and let you know that I check in every day and hoping always for the best.


  10. Big love back to you Ezra. Your name and one of your bikes featured in a presentation TransAlt put on up here in Burlington back in March. Then I spent the rest of the conference thinking about you. Over the last couple of years since I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve been inspired to take on more and more (mostly bike) advocacy stuff up here. When it gets tough, and I want to hang it up I just think about everything you’ve been able to accomplish. I’m humbled and resolved.

    Big love again.


  11. I know it takes too much for you to post, but I’ve been touched by your journey. Posts or not – I check in and think of you.

  12. Looking at (a photo of) Putney looking at the coast of Nova Scotia and thinking of you today. <3 Although the coast may look rocky and raw, may you also see its strength and beauty.

  13. Finally chiming in after following your story for awhile, Ezra.
    Keep the vibe going, man. All the best to you .

  14. Hi Ezra!

    Thinking about you bro!

    Been a veggie for 19 years…your food vids made me try lamb again..inspiring stuff.
    Darnnnnnnnn…it tastes sooo good.
    My karma is destroyed though 😉

    My kindest regards to you, the missus and the doggie

    Sark (slowboy)

  15. Hi Ezra, just dropping by wanting to say hi to you Hil and Putney! I hope you are feeling well and working on some project. Watching some movie….Just hanging out with Hil and Putney—You are such an interesting guy. I miss your cooking blogs. My cooking skills are are so far from yours it is pathetic…(-: I haven’t really tried much in a while. With Dave’s illness I have not really wanted to cook. Maybe–I will go now and fix a spinach salad and bake a pork chop. That is major for me. Much Love to the 3 of you my Friend.

  16. Ezra, I think of you often, but you’re really on my mind tonight. Someone asked me about one of your pictures that I have on my wall. I found myself answering, “My friend Ezra…” even though we’ve never met. I felt kind of stupid for a second but then realized that you’ve shared so much of your life with me (and so many others) that it FEELS like you’re my friend. You inspire, you touch and you warm the hearts of so many. Wishing you love and peace from the mountains of Colorado.

  17. Hi Ezra,
    Thinking of you while spring finally decides to come to North Dakota and I want to drag my bike outside and play. Hope the sun is shining on you. <3

  18. Hey Ezra,

    thinking of you and just checking how you are doing!
    Wishing you lots of strength and hope your enjoying the warmer temps!

  19. Dear Ezra, I think of you always. I’m so sad. I can’t find any words. Now you are in peace and will not suffer any more. Prayers to you and your family. I will remember you forever.. Big Love to you. Rest in peace Ezra. ♥ xoxo

  20. Tanya, I just found out that he passed away last night.. Bobby Earle posted the news on FB. I know we have all been hoping for an update, but not this sad news. 🙁

  21. I’m one of apparently many who came across Ezra’s blog and became addicted to it because of his terrific writing, amazing creative talents, and most of all, his wonderful spirit. My deepest sympathy go out to Hillary, Putney, and the rest of his family and many friends. Big Love, indeed.

  22. Thanks for clarifying, Robin; I’m not on Facebook.

    How sad. I’m grieving, as I am sure many of us are.

  23. RIP Ezra. I’m sure thousands of tears are being shed around the world. You are no longer suffering. That is what gives my heart peace. To Hill and Putney – the prayers will never stop coming your way. Much, MUCH love.

  24. Tanya, I hesitated to write but did not know what else to do. I followed Bobby on his Marathon Run for Ezra and went to the city to watch for him and cheer. I was stunned with the news. I never met Ezra in person but always felt I knew him. He shared so much with us, just wanted to send my love. Beyond sad…

  25. Oh, Robin, don’t apologize. It just didn’t make sense at first without the background about Bobby Earle’s facebook. It’s completely appropriate to want to share a memorial post (imho). You are not alone in feeling the way you do, I am sure.

  26. Never met Ezra, but followed him for the last three years. All his courage, his creativity, his art and his special philantropy left and leave me deeply impressed. Now his gone to another place and a part of my daily encouraging routine is vanished. I will never forget you, Fast Boy. RIP, Ezra.

  27. To Ezra,
    thank you for being you a truly inspiring person to share your life love’s and Heroic Battle with us all you are truly a saint.

    When i have bad days i have looked to your blog and your smile and my days have had sunshine in my heart, Your battle was truly inspiring to us all you fought it with such grace and not a day will go by where somebody in the world will not only say your name but when they do they will shed a tear and a smile rest easy now and Shred them clouds above us !!

    To Hill and Putney nothing i can say will take away the pain tears and grief that you are going through but may i say this he was an amazing man i never met him or you but i have followed the good times and the bad times from here in the UK and i awoke today to the sad news that Ezra had gone,gone but never forgotten tonight we will light a candle and remember him today i rode my bike in the local woods shouting his name and smiling.
    All i can say is he will always be with you and with us in our hearts and thoughts.

    Sleep well Ezra you have no more pain.

    Much Love
    Dave and Gaynor

  28. Rest in peace, friend. Truly enjoyed your sharing your life with us strangers on the internet, but mostly for your honest insistence on living life on your terms. I don’t use the term inspiration loosely, but there’s no better word. My condolences to your wonderful family, I cannot fathom the loss.

    I hope to honor your memory in the way I can only think that you might want – with a bike ride on this beautiful day.

  29. You will be missed my friend. I have followed you since the beginning. I strongly felt that the time had come around your last post……I dreaded it but now, here it is and my heart breaks for Hill and all your loved ones.

    One of the brightest lights has left us…….the world will be a sadder place for it!

    RIP Ezra…U really were one of a kind!!!

  30. Hill & Putney–My condolences to you and much love. May the warm heart and wise words of Ezra guide you for the rest of your time on this Earth. This is so sad and for lack of a better word—just suck. I am afraid I will be going through the same. RIP Fast Boy Never Forgotten—Sad Girl Out~

  31. Rest in peace fast boy. At least you are not in pain now but a lot of people will miss you dearly.

  32. I am not on FB..but if what is written is …

    Dear Hill,

    My sincerest condolences with the loss of Ezra.
    Although i never met him, i feel i lost a friend and an example.

    Bye were an example.
    May you rest in peace


  33. I have been checking every day in hopes of hearing things were somehow better.

    RIP, may you be riding in the sky forever.

  34. Got on my bike yesterday and rode all over the place with Ezra on my mind, with my #56 pill bottle in my back pocket. May G-D remember the soul of our Ezra! His talent and words move to immortality…and to Hill and Putney, I just have no words. I am only consoled knowing that his pain is now finally at last managed, and our pain, having lost this beautiful man, will be comforted knowing he doesn’t hurt any more. BIG LOVE! Another sad girl OUT!

  35. I’m just another stranger touched by this lovely man. I am very sorry to hear about your loss.

    I was so inspired by Ezra in so many ways. His words (and his blunt accounts of his strife) helped be understand what my Mum was going through, and he made her laugh, oh yes (for that I remain forever grateful)! All that was so unexpected, because I found Ezra Cauldwell via a small photo of a beautiful bicycle. I couldn’t possibly buy it, so I learned how to braze and file, and ended up with a pale imitation of it. A small part of Ezra is ridden through a south-west London suburb called Putney most days, and I will fondly remember this man-who-I-never-met every day I swing my leg over it.

    Much love and gratitude, Charlie

  36. I knew this day would come, but I was still very saddened to read that it has. So so sorry to Ezra’s family. Love to Hillary and all of Ezra’s family and friends. It’s amazing how one guy could acquire so many friends that he never even met. We love you Ezra, and will miss you terribly.

  37. My dear friend Ezra:
    I am in shock, really, I have been waiting everyday to hear about you… And now I can’t believe this, because you are the light and the inspiration for all around the word. My condolences for your family, I am crying because an amazing man has leaved us. You will be always with us in our memories. Rest in peace.

  38. so so sad……((( healing hugs to Beautiful Hill & Putney))).
    My heart goes out to you……
    RIP EZRA…….may i possess 1/2 the strength, determination & LUV of life when facing an obstacle such as what life dealt you… are a true inspiration for others to look to instead of crumbling under it all……thank you for showing me what life is really about…. you will always be in my heart…..much <3 , M

  39. Much love to you, Ezra. May you rest in peace. You are a light and will be very missed. I hope the knowledge that you touched so many lives can bring comfort to those you leave behind. Hillary, you have my deepest condolences.

  40. My most sincere condolences to Hill and his mom and all his family and his dear friends and all the people who loved Ezra and of course, to Putney.

  41. It was one helluva dance, Ezra. So glad I got to witness some of what you made of the music life played for you… I don’t know about teaching cancer to cry, but you certainly taught me how to care a little more and what it looks like when adversity is faced with grace and humor (and style) …

    My heart breaks for you, Hill. The photo Ezra took of you in the ambulance with you looking to the left, out of the frame, told me so much about how difficult things had gotten. I can only imagine the following weeks were only more so. I wish you the very best and you have my deepest condolences.

  42. Another stranger who has been profoundly affected by your energy, spirit and fearless, unselfish honesty. I will miss your (written) voice, and can’t imagine the grief of those close to you, who have also been so courageous through the journey. Love and best wishes to all. My heart aches but the example you’ve set will stay with me.

  43. Big love from another one of the countless people Ezra never knew but whose hearts he touched so deeply. Thank you for fearless truth and absolute beauty. We’ll never forget you.

  44. There’s not a day that goes by that you aren’t in my heart, Ezra. Thank you for your extraordinary life and ability to share. We will miss you and remember you.


    j, r, s, & z

  45. I am thinking tonight about how there are so many people alive who just don’t really live- but Ezra lived so beautifully, fully, courageously, creatively, with dignity, grace, humor, inspiration and above all so much openness and outright love-sharing it with so many along the way- Heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.

  46. Thank you. You, your wife, your dog, your family–I know so many are missing you but I feel more grateful than anything else. Big love to all who love you.

  47. You were one in a million, Ezra. I hope you’re riding your bike somewhere in the sunshine….pain free and happy. Sincerest condolences to Hill and Putney.

  48. I was so hoping for a different outcome. A miracle. Something. He was simply an amazing person with an inspiring love for life. My love goes out to Ezra’s family and friends.

  49. Tears and sympathy from a stranger walking a faraway trail. Ezra spoke for anyone ever caught between cancer and the medical machinery arrayed against it, whether as a patient, a caregiver, or a helpless witness.

    Pretty much all of us.

    Thanks Ezra.

  50. Oh dear Ezra, you’re everywhere- in hearts around the world. Thank you for sharing so much with us.

    I have profound empathy for you, Hillary, and your entire family. Thank you for all that you have done for Ezra. You are all in my thoughts. I hope you can draw strength knowing that those whose lives were touched by Ezra stand behind you.

  51. I am filled with gratitude for Ezra’s life and how he shared his many passions with all of us. I am so sorry for your loss, Hill, and offer you my sincere condolences.

  52. Such a brief, brilliant light, touching so many by the example of his life and how he chose to share his dying days with a loving following. You have left a beautiful legacy in your enthusiasm for life, in your art and in your family. God Bless Hillary, Putney, family and friends the world over.

  53. words fall short. love and prayers for all of you. writing with tears in my eyes and heart, so sad. i feel such gratitude for ezra’s mark on this world. the loss is immeasurable, but so is ezra’s beautiful legacy of love, creativity, courage, generosity…

  54. May big love hold you up, Hilary, when you have times you can’t hold yourself. All of my love and prayer for you, Ezra, your family and friends.

  55. Ezra…my heart is heavy. You were such an amazing and inspirational individual who will be eternal missed. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to dance with you. My condolences to Hill and Putney and your wider family. RIP beautiful!

  56. Another stranger who has found a lot reading your words, Ezra. I’ll miss you so. I’ll never forget your pride, your courage, your beauty. Sit tibi terra levis…

  57. Ezra showed us all how to live, even when dying. What an amazing and inspirational man. Having myself been through three different kinds of cancer, the most serious last year, Ezra has taught me how to live. How fortunate we all are, especially his wife family and friends. I’m so sad Ezra has left us and I will miss his incredible mind.

  58. Farewell and rest in peace Ezra. I hope you are riding a fine bike wherever you are. Thanks for sharing your journey while in this world. May the wind be at your back.

  59. I never got to meet you in person, but today when I heard you had passed on I cried. You will always live on in my heart and I will think of you often. You taught all of us so much and you shared your life with us, thank you for that. We will all miss you so much a bright light has gone out in this world but there is a bright light in the sky in return. All my love to Hill, Putney and the rest of your family at this time. Rest In Peace sweet Ezra we will never forget you.

  60. Ezra
    When I think about the impact you have had all all of these people– many who, like me, don’t know even you in real life– its astounding. I will miss reading your good humor, the grace with which you played your hard cards you had been dealt, alll of the photographs, writing about bike adventures, bikes…. Good vibes to Hillary, Putney and the rest of your family…..


  61. Ezra, Thank you for reaching out to the world and sharing your stories and your life. Your creativity has inspired me. Your love of life was a gift and a great reminder to me of the preciousness of it all. Thank you.

  62. My condolences on your loss, Hill. I have followed Ezra’s blog from the time you guys were still dating. I have always thought you guys were amazing. You followed your passions and lived life as it is meant to be. It was always inspiring to come here and read Ezra’s writings. I’ve never written here before but I just wanted you to know that half way around the world there are people praying for the both of you. Take care and be strong.

  63. You were an inspiration Ezra. Thanks for taking us on your journey and making us the better for it. Deepest sympathy to Hillary, Putney, and your family. You will ride on in our hearts.

  64. Hillary, like so many others touched by Ezra’s inspired life, I was deeply saddened to hear of his death and your loss. My wife and I extend our sympathy to you and your family and wish you the very best in your life. I am very grateful you allowed us into your life and will always remember Ezra, you and Putney as the essence of what is important and joyous about life.

  65. I knew Fast Boy as a flickr friend years ago, before the cancer, as his striking, every day pictures of his wife, life, cooking, food, friends, and bikes drew me in. I’ve followed his journey through the years, always rooting for him and checking in to see what’s Ezra up to now? I was moved by his honesty, openness, courage, and tenacity. Ezra was a guy who knew how to live and was a daily inspiration. Even through dark, terrible moments he was experiencing, he showed us a way to look at things from an open, introspective, sometimes humorous perspective and it made me feel stronger and comforted that we might all find a way of grace when faced with life’s most difficult challenges. And so many ideas! It seems wrong that someone with so much to do and give could be taken away, but life isn’t fair. Ezra showed that even though he knew that, he wasn’t going to let it make him bitter. I know I’m not alone in this sorrow of saying goodbye to a friend I’ve never met, so I send wishes and light to you all on your journey. To Hil, putney, friends, and family may his presence continue to shine in your lives. And to Ezra, AKA Fast Boy, I hope it’s a beautiful ride.

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