The night started off so pleasantly. Really, it did. Somehow, I managed to get an invitation to the Festa del Fondo — a posh dinner and auction benefiting the really excellent causes Levi’s GranFondo is getting behind.
Oh, sure, I clowned around a little bit. For example, when I got the chance to inspect the Team RadioShack-edition Trek Madone frame that was going up for auction, I licked the top tube.
Also, I kept demanding larger portions of each course during the meal, and I suppose I may have been asking for unacceptable condiments (mayo, ketchup, fry sauce, Thousand-Island dressing) for my food.
And I wore the artfully-folded napkin as a hat.
But — by and large — I acted downright respectable. Apart from immediately posting what was supposed to be an off-the-record announcement, I mean.
Everything Goes Sideways
So, like everyone else, I wanted to get my picture taken with Levi. I figured it would be fine. I mean, he was smiling and being friendly with everyone. The perfect host.
Sure, I was a little nervous. After all, I’ve recently posted a recap of most of the Levi-related stuff I’ve put on this blog.
But — surely — he wouldn’t have seen that. Or if he had, he’d have realized I was just kidding around. Ha ha. Right?
So I went up and got a picture with Levi.
See? All smiles. (Interesting side note: Levi and I are exactly the same height, but I weigh 50% more.)
And then. And then. From nowhere. This:
Leipheimer just puts me in a headlock and starts wailing on me. Pops me in the ear. Then in the nose. Then he starts giving me a noogie.
Check the closeup:
I am freakin’ terrified, and he’s just laughing his head off. You can see how much pleasure he’s taking in — literally — busting my chops.
“Listen, Nelson (people who are angry and deadly serious always call each other by their last names),” Levi said. “You deserved that.”
“Yeah, I guess I did,” I blubbered.
Levi continued. “But that’s just a small sample of what’s coming your way if you don’t raise $10,000 with all the stuff I’m donating. My own personal bike, autographed, for pity’s sake. And so much autographed GranFondo gear my wrists are cramping.”
“Yeah, it’s great stuff,” I agreed. “It is. I’ll do another post. My readers are good for it. They’ll help out. Just…please…let me go.”
Leipheimer released me and I took the first full breath of air I’d had in five minutes. Sweet freedom.
“I’m watching you,” Leipheimer said.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “Everything’s cool.” Although, to tell the truth, I felt distinctly uncool. And also like I needed to change my pants.
Please, Help Me
So, Fat Cyclist readers, I’m begging you. Save me from Levi Leipheimer, the most ferocious cycling pro in America. You could win Levi’s personal Trek Top Fuel, tricked out and signed by Levi himself. Or you could win a custom-painted GranFondo helmet. Or any of a whole pile of cool GranFondo clothes.
And Levi’s said he’ll sign it all. Provided his hands aren’t too sore from mercilessly pounding my skull.
Please. I’m begging you.