A Note from Fatty About the Contest Winners: Congratulations to the big winners of the contest from last week!
- Roger L, the winner of the custom-painted “FattyFly,” is yet another bike winner from New Jersey . I do not know why New Jersey-ites keep winning bikes. Maybe they are more likely as a populace to donate, and so the probability of their winning is higher? This photo is of Roger, evidently about to clear the water crossing. Roger says, however, “what you don’t see is me trying to dab a second after this photo is taken. Instead, my clipless pedals won’t let me out and I end up going for a swim. Those photos mysteriously vanished from the camera — the camera must have gotten wet. My trusty Gary Fisher Sugar let me down, maybe 29″ wheels would have been the trick.” Roger’s now faced with a conundrum: get the orange version of the FattyFly, or the pink? If it were my bike and I were choosing the colors, I’d go with the orange, but that’s just me. Feel free to help Roger out by weighing in on this very difficult choice in the comments. I’m sure he’ll take your advice under advisement.
- David H, the winner of the Team RadioShack-autographed Trek Madone , is from Missouri. David’s bike is already on the way to him; he’ll have it in a few days. I have lost track of how many times people have said to me, “He sure as heck better not be planning to ride that thing.” Because, yeah, it’s definitely a collector’s item. David reports that “I’m a cyclocross fanatic and am a huge Richard Sachs and Jonathon Page fan.” And further, that he has “been riding and racing for 10 years and am the fastest 42 year old that lives on my street.”
- Andrea S, the winner of the trip to see the Tour de France, is also from Missouri – but she doesn’t yet know she has won! You see, Andrea did not provide a phone number when she donated, and the email address she entered does not work. So, if you’re named Andrea S, and you donated, and you’re from Missouri, email me and prove to me you are the right Andrea by telling me your full name and address. And give me a phone number I can call, for pity’s sake. Update: Andrea has now checked in, and I have her contact info. Congratulations, Andrea!
Again, thanks to everyone who donated — with more than 3700 people donating reasonably small amounts of money — an average of around $35 — we were able to raise a huge — $135,000 — amount of money in a ridiculously short period of time. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of my readers, who are evidently the most generous people in the world.
And now, onto the story.
Riding With The Shack, Part I – The Night Before the Ride
I could tell this was not going to be an ordinary trip before we even made it to baggage claim. (I say “we,” because as a beloved and increasingly famous and important cycling blog megastar, I deemed it necessary to bring along an assistant. The Runner would be acting in that capacity, though she was quite clear that her real reason for coming along was to accomplish one of her life objectives: to lick one of Lance Armstrong’s calves.)
You see, there was a guy — Glenn, of Capital Sports Entertainment — waiting there for us. And a cameraman (Daniel). They had a sign and everything.
(All photos from today’s post taken by Glenn Kasin, who is a great photographer as well as logistics guy and babysitter of award-winning superstar megabloggers)
We drove to the resort, talking the whole way. I of course had two very big questions on my mind:
- What is the big surprise Johan has in mind for me?
- What kind of ride was in store for me tomorrow?
They gave me no satisfaction — not even a hint — on the first question. For the second question, they did give me a hint: “Do you like lemons?”
A few years ago, that would not have been a very good hint. But that was then. Nowadays, it’s plenty. I got out my phone, went to the browser app, and did a search on “tucson lemon.” Within seconds, I knew that it’s actually Mount Lemmon (two “m’s”), which is both beautiful, and a monster of a climb.
We arrived at the parking lot, and while we were pulling out luggage, the second thing happened that made me realize this was going to be no ordinary trip: Johan Bruyneel — Director of Team RadioShack — walked up, shook my hand…and then gave me a big hug.
We talked for about ten minutes — him completely calm, me a stuttering swooning goofball.
I had just met Johan Bruyneel. Seriously. Furthermore, he told me that I hadn’t needed to bring a bike with me after all. They had decided to give me a bike to ride. “You mean loan, right?” I asked.
“No, this is for you to keep,” said Johan, offhandedly.
At which point I began to stutter, but I choose not to replicate that here.
“Seriously? Another one? This must be the big surprise you were talking about, right?”
“No, you’ll learn what that is tomorrow,” said Johan. He was enjoying this.
And so was I.
I checked into my room — an extremely nice room, I should say; substantially nicer than a Motel 6, for example — and headed downstairs, where Johan waved me over to join him at his table.
Dinner was buffet style: pasta with marinara sauce, chicken, potatoes, salad. Exactly what you’d expect. We started eating before most of the team had arrived — dinner was buffet style.
Viatcheslav Ekimov — “Eki” — was sitting a couple tables away. “Do you know who Eki is?” asked Johan.
“Eki, this is Fatty,” Johan called out.
“Hey, Fatty,” waved Eki.
“How’s it going, Eki?” I shouted back, not really knowing what else to say at that moment.
I got down to serious journalism, then, and asked Johan, “So, do any of your riders get fat during the winter?”
“Oh yes,” said Johan. “That’s one of the reasons we have these training camps, so the riders can see each other and put pressure on the ones who have gained weight.”
“Really?” I asked. “These skinny guys?”
“Some of them put on several kilos during the winter,” replied Johan. “In fact…” He began to point, and then thought better of it.
Somehow, I find it comforting that pro cyclists put on winter flub, too.
And then Lance came in. He waved and yelled, “Hey Fatty!”
As usual, I demonstrated my total suaveness, and said, “Thanks for being here.”
“Well, thanks for having me,” replied Lance, clearly curious as to exactly what kind of drugs I was on.
Yes, that is The Runner sitting beside me in that photo. Caught off-guard by his unexpected appearance, she did not at that moment ask Lance if she could lick one of his calves.
Around then, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner came in too, sat down, and began eating.
It took a while, but I screwed up my courage and went over to talk to them.
It turns out that I really hadn’t needed to worry, because right as I got there, Levi looked up and said, “I am so sick of pasta marinara and potatoes.”
“Yeah,” replied Chris, “But the giant cookies they have here never get old.”
You don’t get quotes like that reading VeloNews, folks.
By the way, Brad, you owe me $50 for wearing your shirt (Brad outbid Bike Snob NYC by $5.00)
After dinner, as I was heading back to my room, Lance hopped (not literally) into the elevator I was taking up. “You know we’re riding Mount Lemmon tomorrow, right?” he asked.
“Someone mentioned that, yes,” I replied. “Is that good or bad?”
“It’s a 25-mile climb,” said Lance. “And 6,000 feet of gain.” The elevator was at his floor now. Lance looked over as he got off.
“Good luck tomorrow, Fatty,” he said.