Do Something Good, Win Levi Leipheimer’s Bike

10.5.2010 | 11:05 am

A Note for Impatient People from Fatty: If you’d like to skip my sales pitch (or have already read it) and want to get straight to the page where you donate for a chance to win the bike / helmet / schwag, click here.

As anyone who has ever met me knows, truth and integrity in journalism are two of the values to which I affix great…um…value. I believe that is why, over the years, this blog has gained an audience, both from cycling fans and professional athletes.

201010051000.jpg Take Levi Leipheimer, for example. Back in 2006 when I photoshopped a toupe onto him, he was totally OK with that. Because he knew that hard-hitting journalists (like myself) sometimes have to photoshop toupes onto people.

Or later that same year, when I wrote a “fake” news piece about how excited Levi was with Ivan Basso being brought into Team Discovery. Levi was fine with that, I’m sure.

Oh, and then there was the time I wrote the piece about Contador hypnotizing Levi to cluck like a chicken. And the piece where he caused problems for Astana because he didn’t (couldn’t) provide a hair sample upon demand.

And there’s the one where I gave him some very helpful advice on how to handle himself during a mountain bike race.

What I Know About Levi

So here’s the thing: I poke fun at a lot of cyclists. But no pro cyclist has ever actually written back — until Levi did. And furthermore, Levi invited me to his King Ridge GranFondo this weekend.

And since then, Levi’s taken the time to email me, personally offering to help out with any fundraising I would do to help out the causes he supports. Not just a single email, either. Levi’s replied — promptly — every time I’ve emailed him. In fact, he’s a lot more prompt with his email than I am.

In short, Levi is a grounded guy with a sense of humor, and he loves using his success to do good things.

So yeah, I’m a fan. And so I’m excited to join him at the GranFondo this weekend, and to give you a chance to win some extremely cool stuff.

So let’s talk about the cool stuff and how you can win it.

Grand Prize: Win Levi’s Trek Top Fuel — Autographed!

Here’s Levi, catching some air on his 15.5″ Trek Top Fuel — tricked out with SRAM XX components, RockShox XX Fork, and Bontrager Race X Lite wheels.


It would be wacky understatement to say that this is not a shabby bike. It is, in fact, the same kind of bike Levi used to win the Leadville 100 — in record time — a few weeks ago.

If new, this bike would retail for more than $5000. Since, however, it is Levi’s bike — which he will autograph for you — it’s a totally unique collector’s item.

Which means that the winner’s gonna have to decide whether to ride it or frame it. It’s your call.

First Prize: Win a Custom-Painted Giro Ionos Helmet

In addition to the bike, you could also win this:


No, not the guy making the scary face. You could win the GranFondo custom-painted Giro Ionos road helmet. It’s got (count ‘em) 21 vents and an in-mold composite sub-frame. It’s super light. It’s super cool. This is the same kind of helmet worn by Levi. And with graphics you won’t see anywhere else. A straight-up-plain version of the Ionos retails for more than $200. With the custom graphics, it is — once again — a collector’s item. Wear it, or put it under glass. Your call.


Second Prizes: Win Cool Schwag

In addition to the grand prize and the helmet, some lucky people will win one of the following:

  • 201010051047.jpg GranFondo musette bag, cotton, roughly 10×10, gray, printed with two colors, sponsor logo soup on the back, OSFA (one size fits all)
  • GranFondo socks from Capo, mesh upper, elastic arch band, reinforced heel and toe, Meryl SkinlifE® fabric, 6cm and 12cm cuff length, no logos, S-XL
  • GranFondo t-shirt, Tultex cotton, S-XL, printed for us by hand locally
  • GranFondo trainer jacket from Capo, brush finish polyester, 12cm ribbed collar to keep the chill out, welt zipper pockets, embroidered logos, S-XL
  • GranFondo cycling cap from Capo, 3-panel, 1000% cotton, OSFA
  • GranFondo jersey from Capo, super corsa cut, micro quattro polyester, full length hidden zipper, 3 back pockets, silicone gel waist gripper, 2XS – 6XL

And while I don’t have a guarantee that I can get all of this stuff autographed, I’m pretty persuasive in person.

Plus, I weigh about 80 pounds more than Levi and have a pretty good “crazed fan” stare I can use when necessary.

In other words, I believe I can get him to sign stuff.

[UPDATE: Levi has confirmed that he will sign all items, just so long as I promise to never photoshop him again. A fair trade.]

How You Can Win

You want to win the bike? You want to win the helmet? You want the schwag? Darn straight you do. And it’s easy to enter. Just go to my GranFondo fundraising page and donate there. For every $5 you donate, you get a row on my spreadsheet. That DOES NOT mean that if you want to donate $50, you’ve got to do ten $5.00 donations. I’m awesome at Excel and will be able to give you the correct number of chances automatically, based on how much you donate. So click here to donate now.

The contest ends Saturday, October 9, whenever Levi crosses the finish line at the GranFondo At that point I will choose winners at random from my spreadsheet, using to pick the lucky winners.

I’ll notify winners by email, so make sure that when you donate you use an email address you actually check!

Why You Should Donate

I know you’ve probably donated a thousand times this year. I know I keep asking for money. I am going to leave you and your wallet in peace, soon. Seriously. But these are great prizes, and the causes Levi supports are fantastic, including:

  • LiveStrong: You already know why I support LiveStrong, and I’m glad Levi is too.
  • Keep the Tour encourages Santa Rosa’s identity as a burgeoning cycling destination and promotes one of the US’s biggest cycling events while providing a vital bump to the local economy.
  • Forget Me Not helps at-risk kids and shelters abandoned animals, all at once.
  • The VeloStreet Community Initiatives are new this year and represent a concrete investment in local (and beyond) bike improvements to make Sonoma County a cycling destination and a great place to live and ride.

Thanks again for donating; whether you win or not, you’re doing a lot of good.


Winners Now, More Winners Soon

10.4.2010 | 10:02 am

A Note from Fatty: The Twin Six guys wanted me to let you know that due to a production delay, the 2011 Fat Cyclist gear will begin shipping October 11. You (and I) should be seeing it soon after that!

Everyone, meet Sandra of New York:


Also, meet Sandra’s bike, affectionately known to Sandra as “Billie.”


I’m afraid that Billie is about to become a little bit jealous, because Sandra — a Team Fatty member who has raised $2105 this year — is the winner of the latest Shimano / Orbea giveaway, and will shortly be riding this:


Yeah, Sandra’s had a pretty good day. And after reading a little bit about who she is and why she’s involved with the fight against cancer, I think you’ll be as glad as I am that she won this bike.

A Little More About Sandra

Sandra was good enough to send me a little bit of information about who she is and why she’s joined the fight against cancer. In her words:

201010040929.jpg I started the LIVESTRONG challenge fundraising because in 2009 one of my closest friends, Drew Olanoff, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Immediately he, instead of adopting a ‘woe is me’ attitude, found a way to put his misfortune to good use.

After getting diagnosed he started a twitter trend called #blamedrewscancer and a website that is partnered with LIVESTRONG where you can “blame cancer” for anything you want, whether its your bad hair day or your own cancer.

He also put his twitter name @drew on auction to the highest bidder and all $$ goes to LIVESTRONG. Who bought it? DREW CAREY!

So Drew Olanoff has been a HUGE source of inspiration to me long before this, but this made me redirect all my efforts for fundraising and charity into LIVESTRONG. We’re such good friends that he, our friend Rachel and I all got matching tattoos!

I did the 45 mile LIVESTRONG ride in 2009. It was hard because at the second rest stop about 21 miles in I got stung in the eye by a bee and the medic tent gave me Benadryl that made me nauseous the rest of the way.

There were so many times I wanted to flag down one of the vans to have me brought back to the finish line but every hard hill I climbed I said to myself “people with cancer don’t give up, neither should you,” and that powered me through. So even though it took something like a total of 6 hours to complete I still completed it because I felt it was important to throw my body in the ring for the cause.

A Note from Fatty: Drew was the MC at the awards dinner in Philly in 2009, so I got a chance to meet him. I — like a lot of people — was impressed with his creative energy and desire to find new ways to do good things.

Meet Jerry Pickering — The Winner of the Trip to Ride for the Roses

Sandra wasn’t the only winner in this contest, though. Remember, while the guys from Twin Six raised enough money for LiveStrong to get to the coveted “Yellow Jersey” level ($30,000!), they wanted to share the experience, and so they gave me the perks of their fundraising — a trip to Austin to join Team Fatty at the Ride for the Roses — to me to include as part of this latest fundraiser.

And I’m happy to announce that Jerry Pickering is the winner of that trip!

Here’s Jerry at the finish line at this year’s San Jose LiveStrong Challenge:


Here’s what Jerry has to say about why he’s involved in the fight against cancer:

I’m a software engineer (casualty of company lay off last week, ironically enough), and a Special Forces vet.

In the last year, I’ve had four very close friends and former Special Forces heroes diagnosed with Cancer.

Two have already passed away.

It is monumentally unfair after all they have done to secure our freedom and the freedom of others. It is very hard to watch my teammates suffer quietly, never surrendering. So I picked up the LiveSTRONG challenge in San Jose riding with Matthew Chapek and Team Fatty.

A Note from Fatty: I want to point out that I’m constantly amazed and impressed with the stories and reasons to fight cancer Team Fatty members have. Big thanks go out to Jerry for his service to his country, as well as his reasons for taking up the fight against cancer.

More Winners Coming Soon!

As you may know, I’m going to Santa Rosa this week to ride in Levi’s Gran Fondo. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned about Levi Leipheimer — the kind of person I’m learning he is, and the kinds of causes he supports.

And I’m also going to be firing up a contest where you can win some pretty awesome things. I won’t reveal what they are, but here are a few clues:

That video isn’t perhaps very informative, so here are some pictures.





PS: Apart from that first video, I’m not very good at giving difficult-to-decipher clues, am I?

I Am Ready To Help Contador Beat His Doping Rap

10.1.2010 | 10:04 am

A Note from Fatty: Today is the last day you can enter in the contest to win an Orbea Orca with Shimano Di2 components or a trip to Austin to ride with Team Fatty at the Ride for the Roses. Click here for details, or click here to enter now!

The cycling world is buzzing with the news that Alberto Contador — three-time winner of the Tour de France, for those of you who don’t really follow pro cycling — tested positive for clenbuterol during the Tour de France last July.

Here are the basic facts, as I understand them:

  • Clenbuterol is an asthsma medication, and also works as a stimulant, and has the side benefit of making you lose weight. Both WADA and UCI have it listed as a banned substance for pro cyclists.
  • The sample Contador tested positive with had a tiny amount of Clenbuterol in it: 50 picograms (trillionths of a gram). To get a sense of how much that is, I googled “picture a trillion” and found a page that is very helpful: it helps you visualize a trillion by showing what a trillion dollars would look like if you stacked $100 bills on pallettes. Here’s the (ahem) money shot (to get perspective of how big this would be, note that the tiny figure in the bottom left is a man):
    So fifty trillionths would be if you took one of those $100 bills from that ginormous array of pallettes of stacks of $100 bills, and made change for $50. In other words, a 50 picogram concentration of clenbuterol is an unimaginably small amount and wouldn’t — on its own merits — do Contador any good.
  • The only reason Contador tested positive was because the lab his samples (both his main and backup sample tested positive) is outrageously high-tech and was able to detect levels with incredible sensitivity.
  • Contador does not dispute that Clenbuterol was in his system. Instead, he claims that the way the Clenbuterol got into his system was by eating some meat that was brought in from Spain. Since — evidently — Clenbuterol is (illegally in the US, not so sure about Spain) used to make cows have more muscle mass.

Contador has given a press conference, where he strenuously denied any wrongdoing. The most awesome thing about this press conference, if you ask me, is the following photograph and caption from VeloNews :


Yes, that’s right. “Contador left the conference in a news conference.” Kudos to the crack team of journalists at VeloNews for that informative and interesting photograph and caption.

And also, is there any possible way they could have made Contador look any more like a Very Sinister James Bond Villain?

Here, let me try:


OK, I suppose it is possible.

Sorry, I’m having a hard time getting to my main point, which is this: I know exactly how to help Contador get to the bottom of this Clenbuterol-tainted-beef (or, as I’d like everyone to start referring to it, “Beefgate”) problem.

Furthermore, I’m going to make my services available to help him. Because that’s the kind of personI am.

The Simple Solution

In order for Contador to convince UCI, WADA, and the public that he really truly was a victim of an unfortunate dinner entree selection, he simply needs to show how the effect can be replicated. This can be done by following these simple steps:

  1. Get a cow. A really top-quality one, preferably, for reasons that will come clear in a moment.
  2. Inject the cow (or use an inhaler, if that’s the way it’s done, and I hope it is because that’s a hilarious image) with the amount of Clenbuterol that one might normally inject the cow with in order to achieve the desired results of better, leaner meat. Or maybe they use
  3. Wait the normal period of time for the Clenbuterol to do its thing.
  4. Slaughter and butcher the cow.
  5. Find someone who currently does not test positive for Clenbuterol and is willing to eat as much steak as necessary to prove a point. I — as a person who has never used asthsma medication, cannot afford to buy performance enhancing drugs, and looooves steak — will be happy to volunteer. Maybe I can get a bunch of friends to volunteer too, and we’ll fire up the grill and turn this experiment into an awesome scientific barbecue.
  6. Feed me the steak. Oh, you’d better give me plenty, just to make sure I’m good and contaminated.
  7. Test me to see if I’m all Clenbutorolized. If I’m not, you’d better give me another steak. Hey, I’m happy to help.

Of course, it’s totally possible that the first time we conduct this experiment, I may not get the cut with the Clenbuterol in it. For that reason, we’d better go ahead and get a whole bunch of cows and load them up with varying amounts of Clenbuterol.

And then, on a regular basis, you can send me different cuts, with differing amounts of Clenbuterol. Send plenty, though, because — as I believe I have mentioned — I loooove steak.

Eventually, I’m bound to pop a positive result. Alberto’s name will be cleared, and I’ll have eaten a lot of delicious beef. And with any luck, all that Clenbuterol will clear up my sinuses and help me lose some weight, too. Totally win-win.

I’m here and ready to help you get past Beefgate, Alberto. Because I’m that kind of guy.

And because I loooove steak.

PS: Yesterday, when The Runner got home from work, she said, “Guess who I saw in the hospital today with a broken leg.” I guessed Kenny first, because his bones are like balsa wood, but more brittle. Then I guessed Sunderlage, because that’s the kind of Summer he’s had. Then I guessed Mark, because he has terrible bike handling skills. Then I guessed Dug, because I kind of hoped it would be Dug.

Finally, The Runner gave up. “No,” she said, “It’s KanyonKris’s wife Jolene. She broke her leg while riding, at the top of Tibble.

For those of you (most of you, except locals) who haven’t met Jolene, she — like KanyonKris — is an incredibly nice person and a lover of bicycles. I was sad to hear of her nasty injury. Be sure to take a minute to read about her fall (here and here) and maybe drop off a note of encouragement at KanyonKris’s blog.

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