Last week, I wrote a fake news post — a piece written from Johan Bruyneel’s future tense point of view describing how he spent (um, will spend?) his two-month enforced vacation. I thought it was a (sorta kinda) funny post, and Johan did too.
A lot of people, though, decided it somehow was the perfect place to express their concerns about LiveStrong. A lot of these comments came from sincere people who just want to make sure their time and money are not wasted; that this time and money really go toward the fight against cancer.
So I contacted LiveStrong and asked a couple people there to take a look at the comments from that day, and to please send back a reply. Rae Bazzarre, Deputy Director, Communications and External Affairs, wrote back the following:
LIVESTRONG serves people and families fighting cancer and empowers communities to take action. We advocate for policy measures and funding to combat cancer on a local, state, national and global level. We provide free, one-on-one, confidential consultation to cancer patients for the host of challenges that accompany a diagnosis, including insurance questions, fertility issues, legal and career concerns and emotional support. We raise funds through our LIVESTRONG Challenge series and Team LIVESTRONG events which provide a community of empowerment for survivors. 100% of donations raised by Team LIVESTRONG participants directly support the foundation. As of January 2011, LIVESTRONG has invested more than $104 million in education and programs, $65 million in grants and awards and $33 million in advocacy and engagement.
LIVESTRONG was founded in 1997 by Lance Armstrong two years prior to his first Tour de France win, as he waited to learn whether his cancer treatment had been successful. To date, the single largest individual contributor to LIVESTRONG is Lance, who has donated more than $6.3 million to the foundation. Lance devotes significant personal time and resources to further the cause of the foundation without any compensation or expectation thereof. He headlines numerous LIVESTRONG events each year and makes appearances on our behalf, utilizes his social media audience to promote our mission, incorporates foundation causes into his professional cycling endeavors and has been instrumental in opening doors for us to establish partnerships that will sustain our activities for years to come. Lance’s efforts have provided our cause a level of global visibility we couldn’t hope to achieve without him.
The LIVESTRONG team is proud of its governance and transparent financial history. Our financial statements, Form 990s and audit reports are all available on our website, as required by law, and we welcome anyone, anywhere to learn more about our history and work at www.LIVESTRONG.org.
You’ll notice Rae didn’t get into the dollar-by-dollar, line item-level discussion that I initially expected (but which would have been a little bit redundant to this post from a year ago), and I think that this was probably the right thing to do, in this context.
Like with politics or religion, people who have given anything Lance-related more than a little thought seem to have pretty hardened opinions. They love him, or they hate him. Opposing arguments aren’t going to change opinions, but will instead very likely just escalate the heat of the exchange.
So why engage in the battle at all?
For myself, I’m just going to say that my experience with every single person I’ve dealt with at LiveStrong has been not just positive but extremely positive. These are smart, ethical people with a sense of purpose and a keen awareness that the money they spend is money someone else gave up. And they do good things, both on macro and micro levels.
For me, that’s more than sufficient reason to continue supporting them.
Mark is a good friend of mine who also happens to just hate Lance. I mean, just hates him, with an intensity of hate I can summon only for boiled okra.
But here’s the thing: Mark spends both time and money raising money for other cancer-fighting organizations.
And as far as I’m concerned, that’s awesome.
There’s enough bad stuff going on in the world that, frankly, all that really matters is that we each do something good. I don’t care if you’re helping out LiveStrong, or Komen, or Huntsman. Or if you’re working to fight MS. Or diabetes. Or autism. Or world hunger. Or any of any number of critical causes.
Just do something.
(Mark was, incidentally, also one of the people, who, in my recent Johan Bruyneel fake news piece, used my comment space to talk about his donation philosophy instead of saying “LOL!, Awesome post!!!” as he should have, but I’ll deal with him regarding that in person.)
Do Something With Me, If You Want
As I’ve mentioned before, I plan to continue supporting LiveStrong. If you’re so inclined, maybe you should join me. Team Fatty: Fighting Like Susan would love to have you as a member.
But even if you’re not wanting to work with LiveStrong, count on me still wanting your help. I’m going to be branching out a little bit this year. I’m still going to be focusing on cancer, but want to spend my energy in some new ways:
Huntsman Cancer Foundation: Huntsman does a lot of work researching for a cure, as well as treating those who do have cancer. When Susan needed her hip replaced, we went to Huntsman and were blown away by the quality and kindness we saw. This year, I’m going to do at least one fundraiser to help this organization.
Getting Involved Locally: The hospital The Runner works at is hard at work debuting a new half-marathon this year, with all proceeds going to help those who have cancer but don’t have money for good treatment. Both The Runner and I are signed up to be on various committees and help however we can. And you can bet that I’ll be involving all of you, including those of you who live nowhere near Utah. I’ll explain more soon.
The Caretaker’s Companion: I learned a lot as I took care of Susan, especially during her last year. I expect that every other person who has ever taken care of another person with cancer has also learned a lot, and that those of us who have been through this fire could help those who are having to deal with it.
This year, I am going to work on a self-published book — The Best of Fatty — and use the money from it to start working on a website and eventually a book that will help caretakers share tips and insights we’ve gained as we helped our loved ones.
My dream is to — someday — make this my full time work, and it’s time for me to at least take the first step.
Whether you help me with my projects and cause, or you’re busy taking on your own projects and cause: thanks.
Kenny Jones is an incredibly strong cyclist, and a very good friend of mine. And yet, for some reason, I tease him more often — like, by an order of magnitude — than any other single person in the world. Except for maybe Lance.
Like when Kenny hit an oily patch on a fast road downhill and crashed hard. Instead of sympathy, I titled the post, “Kenny Uses His Head…As a Brake.“
Or there was the time when Kenny allowed himself to be the subject of a Photoshopping contest.
Or there was the post about how, one time, he looked for me everywhere in the world except for where he said he’d meet me.
And there was the post where I disclosed that Kenny is a tiny, tiny man, only half as tall as (an admittedly enormous) Jill Homer.
And in short, Kenny’s a good guy who has endured an awful lot by being my friend.
But now’s my chance to do something that’s actually nice for him. And I’d like you to help me out.
Help Kenny Gain Entry into the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo
Kenny’s the owner of a small business — Kenny’s Photo. Christmastime’s a very busy time for him, and the deadline for registering for the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo came and went while Kenny was hard at work.
Kenny’s bummed, cuz he really, really wants to do this race.
Luckily, the Epic Rides guys have created a bonus entry for a team, with a contest. Whoever gets the most “likes” for their comment on a particular note in the Epic Rides facebook page gets to register.
So here’s what you’ve got to do.
- Go to the Epic Rides page on Facebook. (You’ve got to be signed in to Facebook to get there.)
- Click the “Like” button for Epic Rides at the top of the page. It looks like this:
- Click here to go to the page where Kenny’s got his comment.
- Find Kenny’s comment and click the “Like” link.
- Yay! You’ve done your part to help Kenny go do a race!
Thanks for helping me reduce the bad karma I’ve incurred by teasing Kenny just a little bit mercilessly for the past several years.
It’s Bloggies Time. Nominate Some People I Like
Hey, as long as I’m asking you to go out and help me rig votes, could I get you to help me get some well-deserved attention to some of my favorite blogs? Cuz it’s Bloggies time, that’s why.
Unlike prior years, I’m not going to ask you to nominate me for anything, because you’ve already delivered the “Sports” category to me for the past three years, making me the Hall-of-Famer I am.
Instead, I’d like you to help nominate other blogs who have been real Friends of Fatty. So, here’s what you’ve got to do.
- Go to http://2011.bloggi.es/.
- Scroll down and nominate the following blogs in the following categories (and nominate anyone else for any other categories you want, but you need to do at least 3 nominations):
- Best Sports Weblog, Most Humorous Weblog: Bike Snob NYC (http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/)
- Best Photography of a Weblog, Best Writing of a Weblog: Jill Outside (http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/)
- Best-Kept Secret Weblog: Dug (http://suncrestdug.wordpress.com/)
- Best Parenting Weblog: Pistols and Popcorn (http://www.pistolsandpopcorn.com/)
- Best Food Weblog: The Pioneer Woman Cooks (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/)
- Do that weird Captcha thing at the bottom of the page.
- Select the checkbox saying you do in fact want to be on the panel of voters who choose the finalists.
- Enter your email address.
- Submit your nomination.
- Go to your email and click the link in it to verify your ballot.
Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.
January 6 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – The racers of Team QuickStep took the occasion of today’s team photo shoot to announce that they, jointly, are doing their utmost to try to find the bright side in having Innergetic, a latex foam mattress core manufacturer, as one of their sponsors.
According to Gert Steegmans, as he did his best “come-hither” pose on a piece of foam (see above), “I can think of any number of ways this situation could be more undignified and humiliating. For example, another of our sponsors could be a cooking oil manufacturer, and another could be a prominent leather clothing and fetishist accessories designer.”
Others (pictured below) agreed.
“More than anything else,” said Tom Boonen, “I’m seriously weirded out that Gert (affectionately known to those of us on the team as “Gert”) snuggled up so close behind me. I mean, look at the distance I put between me and the guy in front of me, then check out the way Gert is totally spooning me. Believe me, it’s got me reconsidering my request for seating / sleeping arrangements on the bus.”
“But, yeah,” continued Boonen, “things could definitely be worse. They could have designed jammies with the same look as our cycling kits and made us wear those. Or they could have made us wear sleeping caps, or crowded us into the same bed.”
“Ordinarily, I’d be upset if everything but my left ear and part of my forehead got cropped out of a picture,” chimed in an unidentified (and unidentifiable) teammate. “This time, though, I’m totally cool with it.”
“Still,” concluded Boonen, “Couldn’t we have been sponsored by an Italian auto maker? Or maybe a video game console manufacturer?”
At this point, Gert spoke up. “You guys have no idea how much worse this photo shoot could have been. You should have been here in 2006. “
A Serious Note from Fatty: Yesterday, a few of you commented regarding a conversation about LiveStrong going on in a CyclingNews forum right now. As you all hopefully know, what matters to me is the same thing that matters to a lot of you: doing some good in the fight against cancer.
Based on what I know about LiveStrong — the people I’ve met there, the help they’ve given my family, and the help they’ve given others I know — I’m not concerned about what feel like inaccurate accusations. But I’ve asked the LiveStrong folks to reply with some specific answers. I’ll post those answers as soon as I get them.
An Informational Note from Fatty: A quick update here on all the prizes I’m currently wrangling. The winner of the trip to Italy has been contacted and has replied; I’ll be posting a little about her (yes, a female) soon. The winners of the weight loss challenge who are getting something from me have all been contacted by email. Winners who are getting something from Performance will be getting email directly from Performance soon. The winner of the snowshoes has been contacted and has replied. The winners of the CarboRocket will be contacted directly by Brad soon. So, in short, it’s possible that you’ve won something but haven’t found out about it yet. This has been a monster logistical challenge for me, so thanks for your patience!
I’m not as pleased as you might expect to announce that in a much shorter amount of time than it took to lose it, I have gained back almost all the weight I lost during the “Let’s Lose 10 Pounds by Christmas” challenge.
Sure, about four pounds of that loss was just water loss and I gained all of that back within five minutes of getting off the trainer, but still.
My problem, see, is motivation. With temperatures in the low single digits, it’s hard to imagine myself wearing shorts and a short sleeve jersey ever again.
It’s very easy, on the other hand, to eat yet another chocolate truffle. In fact, so far I have not discovered my practical truffle-consumption limit. But I do know it’s high.
Really, really high.
What I need is something to motivate me. A good reason to lose the weight. A carrot.
Luckily, I have just such a motivation. It’s sitting in my garage. In a box.
My motivation is a
Gary Fisher Trek Superfly 100. This is a bike I’ve wanted since I tested one out at the 2010 Gary Fisher Ride Camp. I think this could very well be the bike I can finish the Leadville 100 in under nine hours on. This may be the bike I can do well in the local races on.
This may be the bike that cures me of the rigid SS disease with which I have been afflicted for the past few years.
And now I own one. [Full disclosure: I purchased this bike at a discount directly from the company.] Got it a few weeks ago. I’m so excited to take this bike to Moab or to Gooseberry Mesa I feel I may burst.
But, as I might have mentioned, the bike remains in a box.
When I bought the bike (which I have given the nickname “Motivation”), I told The Runner, “This bike is my ‘Fatty is not fat’ bike. This is the bike I will not ride until I am down to 158 pounds. In fact, I won’t even build this bike until I’m down to racing weight.”
Currently, I am 13.4 pounds away from building that bike. And that has to be 13.4 honest pounds, not “this is really bad for your kidneys” pounds.
A couple of times, upon catching me as I put my hand into a bag of chips, or into the bag of truffles, or as I put my hand into the fridge, The Runner has asked, “Don’t you ever want to ride that new bike?”
It’s a question with power. Enough power, in fact, to (at least sometimes) put down a handful of chips. And to ask — beg — The Runner to please take the remaining Christmas candy (even the truffles) and nuts to the hospital and put them out in a community bowl.
At 1.5 pounds per week (a reasonable rate), I’ll be building and riding my new bike by the middle of March.
Until then, I’ll just keep looking at that box, and dreaming about what’s inside.
And I will update you on my progress.
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.
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