First off, I want to reiterate (as in, copy and paste) my thank-you I wrote last night when we crossed the outrageous goal of raising $100,000 — in less than three days (I started Sunday at noon, we hit $100,000 on Tuesday at 8:10 PM).
A HUGE “thank you” goes out to Johan for putting together an outrageous challenge — one so insane I just couldn’t say no.
An even HUGER “thank you” goes out to Team Fatty — by which I mean anyone who donated — for proving, once again, how incredibly generous people can be.
Also, big thanks to Trek for providing the Madone, to Gary Fisher Bikes for providing the FattyFly, to Nick Howe for providing the cool bonus-prize jerseys, and to Trek Travel for providing the Tour de France trip.
This has been the nuttiest contest I’ve ever done, and all the more awesome because it totally fell from the sky.
And now I get to spend the weekend in Arizona, riding with Team RadioShack. And — even more exciting — I get to give away two incredible bikes and the trip of a lifetime.
Sometimes, it’s good to be Fatty.
I understand that sometime today, Johan Bruyneel is going to post a video “thank you” of his own to Team Fatty. When he does, I’ll either embed (if I can) it here, or link to it.
I have to say, I am really, really looking forward to meeting Johan. In addition his being an accomplished person, he’s clearly got a sense of humor and a big heart. And an enormous cleft in his chin.
On the other hand, I am also a little bit concerned.
You see, this morning when I woke up, there was a very disconcerting email message in my inbox. It was marked with the “triple high priority” designation — three exclamation points — which I had not even known exists.
After reading this email, I am no longer at all certain I should even go to Tucson. I just don’t know.
I hereby submit this email for your consideration.
From: Lance Armstrong ([redacted]@[redacted].[redacted])
Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009
SUBJECT: DO NOT COME TO TUCSON. PLEASE. I AM BEGGING YOU.
Dear Fat Cyclist,
As you receive this, I know you are excited to come to Tucson and ride with Team RadioShack. You have earned this right, and if there were any other option at all, I would not contact you with this request.
But I have no other choice.
You may wonder, Fatty, how this message is arriving to you from the future. Well, without giving away too much, it’s not as hard to send email to the past as you might think, and I did it by rigging a Pomegranate Raspberry Michelob Ultra to a USB cable (between you and me, the only thing it is actually good for), uploading the email in question to a memory stick, connecting that stick to one end of the USB cable, and then connecting the other end to the input port of any programmable RadioShack radio-controlled device (a car works best), and then propelling that device backward at maximum speed.
Also, nineteen inches of duct tape is involved. I’ll say no more.
Anyway, I — along with most of the rest of the team — have just returned from the hospital and am composing this message to you in the hopes you will do the honorable thing and, for the love of all that’s good in the world, STAY HOME.
I will explain.
Your weekend at the training camp started off well enough. You were clearly nervous when you met all of us, and you might have made a better (ie, less awkward) first impression if you had not tried to hug each and every single rider.
There was a bit of a scuffle when you got to Levi Leipheimer and Viatcheslav Ekimov, though. I guess neither of them have forgotten or forgiven the post you wrote a couple years ago where you made fun of Ekimov’s Mullet and gave Levi a new hairstyle (shown below, just to remind you).
As you went to give Levi a hug, Levi instead spun you around into a full Nelson, which seemed fitting. Eki then began punching you repeatedly in the stomach. This might have been a more successful plan if Eki had any mass at all in his arms, and if Levi weighed more than 84 pounds.
To Levi’s surprise, you dropped to a crouch, bringing him with you, and then sprung backward, flying nine feet through the air (your quads are impressive, by the way), and landing with your (considerable) full weight and momentum on Levi. Which — naturally — crushed him, leaving few if any bones unbroken.
Levi hopes to walk again about the time the Tour of California starts. Nice work, Fatty.
Dinner hardly went any better. Unaware of your super power, the chef did not lock the door to the kitchen. So, imagine our surprise when we arrived at the dining room and found an empty table. You had evidently arrived first, and had brought an appetite.
All that was left were some brussel sprouts (which remained uneaten, because nobody in the world likes brussel sprouts) and the team chef, who was cowering in the corner of his kitchen, weeping.
Two days later, he remains unable to speak, and screams in his sleep. What kind of monster are you, Fatty?
We should have paid attention, should have seen these events for what they were: harbingers of the horror to follow the next day.
We began the ride, and everyone on the team quickly realized you are a danger to yourself and all those around you. As you swiveled your head around this way and that — trying to get lots of good shots with your helmetcam I suppose — you were simultaneously reaching into your jersey for the next picture. Meanwhile you’d be going on and on about how much you’d like a ham sandwich right about now, and would anyone else like a sandwich, and would we all perhaps be interested in turning around and stopping for just a few minutes at the Quizno’s we just passed?
You, Fatty, are a chatterbox. A gluttonous, non-line-holding, erratic pedaling chatterbox.
But we expected that.
What we did not expect, Fatty, was when — while we were still riding — you pulled out an extra-fat Sharpie pen. I remember rolling my eyes, thinking, “Oh, great, he wants another autograph.” But I was wrong. You didn’t want an autograph, you wanted to make some on-the-fly edits to the new Team RadioShack jersey. “This will only take a sec,” you said, trying your best to modify the RadioShack logo to look like your Clydesdale logo. “And it will be a huge improvement.”
And that’s when all hell broke loose.
Having had enough, I surged forward, intending to drop you fast and hard. To my surprise, your reflexes were surprisingly quick, and you flung an arm out, hoping, I suppose, to grab my jersey or something.
Instead, you tossed your Sharpie, which — through some anti-miracle of physics — landed right between two spokes in my front wheel.
I flew like an angel. Briefly.
I landed in a crumpled heap just ahead of you, putting me in perfect postion for me to cushion your fall as you braked hard, got sideways, and high-sided right onto the top of me. Glad I could be of service, Fatty.
After that, the domino effect went into high gear.
Zubeldia crashed into the tangled mess that was us. Rubiera landed on the quickly-growing pile, and then Popovych endoed onto the top, earning him ten “king of the mountain” points.
Kloden skidded sharply and avoided us, but shot into a ravine. Leipheimer — riding despite being in a full body cast — followed his wheel and landed on Kloden, which did not injure Kloden at all.
From there, the pileup just grew and grew. Eventually, emergency vehicles were called, and — I believe this was a first — the Jaws of Life were employed to extricate us.
I am not certain, but I believe this is the first time an entire cycling team has been sidelined before the team jerseys were even finalized.
So again, Fatty, let me ask you. No, let me beg you. Please, stay home. For your sake. For the team’s sake. For my sake.
PS: Chris Horner also crashed at the same time, but it was apparently unrelated to this incident.
Of course, this is all ridiculous. None of this sounds anything at all like me. I’m sure everything will go perfect this weekend.
PS: I was interviewed on Bicycle Radio last night. If you want to listen to it, go to this page and listen to the 12-08-09 edition of “Escape the Peloton.” My interview begins about 43 minutes into the program.