An Explanatory Note Regarding Today’s Post: From time to time, I get notes from the future. For example, a couple years ago, I received several excerpts from Dr. Preston Prescott’s journal, which was (will be?) written in 7114. And about a year ago, I received a letter from near future, in which Lance Armstrong begged me to stay away from him.
Well, it’s happened again. Me getting a document from the future, I mean. Not Lance Armstrong begging me to stay away from him.
This time, the document comes in the form of a letter from Johan Bruyneel, who has recently been given a two-month suspension from his duties as Director of Team RadioShack, for a very serious and detrimental infraction of UCI rules. Specifically, on the final stage of last year’s TdF, he let Team RadioShack wear unsanctioned jerseys designed to raise awareness of the 28 million people fighting cancer worldwide.
Really, the nerve of the guy.
Regardless, I have received an email from Johan, dated April 1, 2011 (the day Johan’s suspension ends), detailing his activities during his two month suspension.
It is my pleasure to publish it for your perusal.
What I Did During My Winter Vacation
by Johan Bruyneel
I can’t remember the last time I had an enforced vacation of two months (and I’m still a little bit angry at the UCI for making it during February and March, the two least-vacation-friendly months of the year) but even before the first day of my suspension, I had resolved to not waste my suddenly open calendar. I wrote down a few high-level objectives:
- Exercise more
- Do some woodworking
- Catch up with old friends
- Get in touch with my inner child
- Grow a beard
Like most things in life, the reality of my vacation was a little bit different than what I had planned on, but I still think it’s worth detailing. These are my notes as the days went on
Two months of no responsibilities, no schedules to keep, no pro cyclist egos to massage and keep in check. I should send the UCI a thank you card. Really, though, I have a lot of email to catch up on, maybe I’ll start with that.
More than 35,000 unread messages. Wow.
OK, I just deleted all my unread messages. People who really need me will get back in touch.
I got a call from Lance today. We both talked about how weird it was for each of us to have nothing to do, right at the same time. “You should start another team during this two months, and I could announce my first act in my Comeback 3.0 will be joining that team,” he said.
I was fifteen minutes into my brainstorming of a team roster, potential sponsors, and Lance’s role in the team before Lance was able to break in, telling me he was just joking.
Eki called today. In fact, he called four times. This rider wants this, that rider wants that. This pro can’t stand rooming with that pro. This pro is injured, that pro is 2 Kg overweight.
For each of the problems, I just said, “I can’t help you, Eki. The UCI was really clear about my total non-involvement with the team for two months.”
Seriously, I should send the UCI a thank-you card.
Cleaned the kitchen today. I can’t believe I let the dishes pile up this long.
One of the things about being the director of a sports team is that I just don’t usually have time to watch any TV. I’ve heard about a bunch of shows, though, and think maybe I’ll look into a few while exercising.
Today I got the rollers out and downloaded Dexter, Season 1. I watched two episodes while riding the rollers.
And then I watched the rest of the season, just sitting on my weight bench, still in my bibs and jersey.
I’ll have to be more careful about watching so much TV in the future.
OK, so overnight I downloaded seasons 2 and 3 of Dexter, planning to watch them over the next few weeks while riding the rollers. But when I woke up this morning, I thought to myself, “Heck I’m on vacation; I think I’ll eat a bowl of cereal and watch an episode of Dexter before I get moving today.”
Now, 17 hours later, all I have to show for the day are two empty boxes of cereal and the near-certainty that I am the first person in the world to watch all three seasons of Dexter in a space of 48 hours.
I have a headache, too.
I started watching season 4 of Dexter today — on the rollers, this time — but the sight of a naked John Lithgow was simply too much to take. I finished my two hours on the rollers in solitude.
I called Lance today, and started — in a joking way, of course — talking about our new team again. He laughed along with me for a few minutes, and then said, “But seriously, I’m retired for real this time, Johan.”
“Of course!” I replied. Then I started work on that cabinet, but my heart wasn’t in it.
I called Eki today. Just to see what he was doing, you know. See how the team is doing, whether there was any good gossip in the biking world.
He asked me if I was enjoying my vacation. “Of course I am!” I said.
I had the craziest thought today. “I wonder if there’s a single bike-related company in the world who wouldn’t send me whatever I want for free.”
So far, I have called Trek, Specialized, Oakley, Giro, Pinarello, Lew Racing, Shimano, SRAM, and nineteen other companies. So far, nobody has said no.
I didn’t expect everything to be sent priority next-day air!
So far, I estimate I have received over $128,000 in product.
Today I have started a little eBay side business, specializing in new, top-quality bike frames and components. I expect it to be quite profitable.
I tried calling Lance today. He didn’t answer. Weird.
One of the racers on Team RadioShack is always talking about World of Warcraft. Before today I had never tried it out, and in fact had no idea what this guy was talking about. Just for fun, I downloaded and signed up today, just to see what it’s like.
Tried calling Lance again. Left a message. He hasn’t returned my call.
Has it really been three weeks since I’ve written? Huh. I’ve been pretty busy doing stuff. Mostly on the computer. Like email and stuff.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve done nothing but play World of Warcraft for the past three weeks.
Three minutes ago, I deleted my World of Warcraft account.
I need to get back to work. Desperately.
I called Eki today. He says he’s made “a few little changes” to the team and that he was interested in telling me all about them when I get back in a couple weeks.
What does “a few little changes” mean?
I couldn’t sleep last night. Kept tossing and turning, half-awake, with increasingly terrifying images of what “a little change” might be.
I have never been so glad to be the light of day.
Lance called today. I didn’t answer.
I did call Eki, though. But hung up before he could answer.
Two months is a long time.
Lance called three more times today. I have not been available.
Finally gave in and answered when Lance called today. Turns out he’s been on a four-week Minecraft jag. (I guess I would have known that if I followed his Twitter account).
He sounded a lot more receptive to the idea of getting the band back together than when we previously talked.
So I’m now considering the whole “Comeback 3.0″ thing, and whether having Facebook as the primary sponsor of a team is really all that great of an idea.
Shaved my beard today. Amazing how shaggy it got in just a couple months.
I’m keeping the goatee, though.
Built an entire wooden cabinet today.
My last official day of vacation. With this time behind me, I now see the wisdom in the UCI giving me a two month suspension, and am truly, humbly penitent. I will never, ever, ever commit the crime of having my team wear unauthorized jerseys in the final stage of the TdF.
At least, not until Dexter Season 5 comes out on DVD.