The Day I Met Levi Leipheimer

09.1.2011 | 8:24 am

Note: While Fatty is cycling away in France with Andy Freaking Hampsten, Paul Guyot – of the Arizona Guyots – is guest blogging for him.

Hello Fatty’s Best. Let’s start today with an update on the man himself. Apparently, it was raining heavily the day Fatty was to get dropped by, er, climb with Andy Freaking Hampsten up the legendary Alpe d”Huez. Knowing Fatty as we do, I cannot see rain – regardless of how much – keeping him off that climb. I am sure he will have truly epic stories for us when he returns. We all wish him and The CaBammer safe travels.

Now onto the topic at hand. As I mentioned in my first post I only began riding in 2010, and by year’s end was completely addicted. Stunned by the weight I’d lost, and thoroughly reinvigorated about life and changed for the better by the physical, mental, and emotional metamorphosis that cycling brought me. I had even started a blog to chronicle my journey.

And so, for 2011, I knew I had to up the ante – I wanted to push myself more, dig deeper, ride faster, better and longer. What better way to kick off the year than to seek out professional advice. I decided to talk with Levi Leipheimer – fairly successful pro racer, but more importantly, friend of Fatty, and founder of what is – from what I hear – quite possibly the single coolest Gran Fondo in the country.

I traveled to Team RadioShack’s top secret winter training facility and found Levi outside the wind tunnel having a smoke.

Okay, maybe he wasn’t having a smoke, I could be wrong. Regardless, security cameras managed to capture our meeting, and after months and months of discussions with Johan Bruyneel, Levi, and the people in charge of restraining orders in that part of the country, I was able to get my hands on the footage.

So here, for the first time in public, is my actual meeting with Levi Leipheimer last January.

Okay, some of you might have a question or two. Like…

How did I know where to find the top secret training facility? Or… do you really frocking expect us to believe that is actually… the outfit you wore to the meeting?

Or maybe you’re wondering just who the heck is Fizzhogg?

Don’t you know how to format a video link so it’s sized properly for the blog?

Perhaps a couple of the more jaded and cynical readers here might be wondering if that’s really even Levi Leipheimer? I assure you I can answer all these queries.

1) How did I know where to find him? I’m sorry, I can’t answer that. Well, I could tell you but then I’d have to have Jens Voigt kill you by riding so hard off the front of your group that you decide life is no longer worth living. And I love you too much for that. Plus, Fatty told me before he left – “Don’t kill any of my readers.”

2) Yes, that is the outfit I wore and please don’t make a big deal out of it. My U10 daughter is just learning to sew, and she made it for me – to remind me to get my calcium from broccoli and not milk.

3) Fizzhogg is me. That’s my Twitter name. @Fizzhogg. Feel free to follow me if you’re the type that likes watching paint dry. White paint. Navajo white. And be warned – I get a little nuts about soccer.

4) Um… no.

5) Is that actually Levi Leipheimer? I think only Levi himself can answer that.

There. I have answered any and all questions to your extreme satisfaction, I’m sure.

Right about now is when 98.75% of you are looking at your watches and thinking, “I wonder if there’s any chance Fatty can come back early? I do miss the intelligence and maturity he brought to his posts.” The other 1.25% is my family and they are so proud that I’ve finally made the big time!

In Other News

Thank you all for the kind comments about Jack. He was truly impressed. It was the perfect cap to his Tuesday. Apparently, he told his 3rd Grade class all about meeting and riding with Garmin-Cervelo and got… crickets.

Not a lot of knowledgeable cycling fans in that particular 3rd grade class, though Gabe – the boy who always wears the red hoodie and eats pencil shavings – showed the most awareness of the sport when he asked Jack, “So did you talk to Lance Armstrong?”

But Jack does not care. I think there’s something about being in love with a sport that not every one of his buddies are into that he digs. Oh, and Jack wanted me to mention to you all that he will be making his race debut this weekend at the Gateway Cup in St. Louis.

He will be riding in the Kids Races for 8/9 year olds. It is a straight sprint for a hundred yards or so. He wants to wear his Garmin-Cervelo kit, of course, but after looking at the photos of the kids races from years past, they are all “regular” kids – t-shirts, shorts and little 20″ mtn bikes. I’m worried if he rolls up to the start on his Trek Roadie in his Garminwear, kids will hate him, and other parents are going to think I’m some obsessed dad who is pushing their kid tens years ahead of schedule.

Plus, if he should lose to a kid on a Wal-Mart singlespeed, that could be quite an ego blow. We’ll see. In the end I usually let him choose his path.

Speaking of Jack – I did not intend (nor want) my time here to turn into a “Look how cool MY kid is!” thing. That’s not what Fatty asked me to do. So I will back off any more posts about him unless I hear from you. Some of you remarked about Jack riding 20 miles. Well, we did not make the entire route Tuesday, but he has ridden several distances like that including this year’s TOUR DE DONUT.

I have a very amateurish video of his ride that day and could post it here, but only if enough of you are interested. If you are, let me know. Otherwise just don’t mention it and I will get the hint.

I have to go now. Apparently, Levi’s lawyers are on the phone.


  1. Comment by The Bike Nazi | 09.1.2011 | 8:36 am

    Wow, now I feel like my blog about all things biking is kinda insignificant… Ouch!

  2. Comment by AZ cyclist | 09.1.2011 | 9:03 am

    Wow dude, can you post a blog entry WITHOUT ‘name dropping’?

    Seriously, many of us ride and talk about riding simply because we love the sport. Sure, many of us know or have met pro cyclists. It’s not a big deal. GEEZ.

  3. Comment by Adam Miller | 09.1.2011 | 9:14 am

    More Jack! More Jack! More Jack!
    Your post and pictures of Jack put such a huge smile on my face. I’m thinking…..”How cool would it be to have such an educated conversation about CYCLING with my 8 year old son?!?!” Not baseball or football or basketball…but CYCLING. Love it.
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned there’s something cool about knowing something (in Jack’s case, a lot) about a sport the rest of your buddies aren’t familiar with. He may struggle to find people in his life that he can engage in cycling conversation with at such a deep level. I feel the same way about Liverpool football here in Colorado…..not a lot of Reds fans from what I see. But when he does find a few buddies like Gabe, he’ll be able to blow their mind (returning the favor from VDV) with his awesome knowledge.
    Keep us filled-in on Jack’s race results! And sign me up for the Team Jack fan club once it gets rolling.

    Adam Miller
    Louisville, CO

  4. Comment by BigShorty | 09.1.2011 | 9:24 am

    If Jack did the Tour de Donut in Staunton he is a straight 8 year old baller! 32 miles with those hills is nothing to sneeze at!

  5. Comment by Shawn Robinson | 09.1.2011 | 9:32 am

    I totally want to see the video of Jack in the TOUR DE DONUT.

    I live in Vancouver BC where the prevalent cycling culture (and the one in which I was raised) is heavily mountain bike influenced. My six year old son, however, has taken to trying to beat his current 10km loop time around the local seawall on a weekly basis and I must say his future is looking pretty roadie-ish.

    Here’s to the kids that know what they want even if no one else around them quite understands why…

  6. Comment by HeidiR | 09.1.2011 | 9:34 am

    “…me being a box turtle that just learned to ride this year.” LOL – I nearly spit coffee all over my computer. Thanks for the smile :)

  7. Comment by Dave T | 09.1.2011 | 9:34 am

    I’m not sure I believe in the authenticity of you video but you posts are truly fantastic. I would love to see the video of Jack’s TOUR DE DONUT and keep us updated on the progress of Jack’s cycling career.

  8. Comment by NYCCarlos | 09.1.2011 | 9:45 am

    I thought you said we could do what we want as long as we don’t break anything??? More jack posts if YOU want. More other posts if you don’t. I’m enjoying your tenure both ways!

  9. Comment by Julie | 09.1.2011 | 9:57 am

    Post the video!

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 09.1.2011 | 10:03 am

    No doubt Fatty is going to take back the ‘keys’ to this blog on his return. ‘though I suspect Paul has already changed the locks and Fatty is going to have to start a new site from scratch. I also suspect Paul is positioning Jack to take the Nelson twins to his senior prom, or the 5th grade ice cream social.

    Great post Paul. You’re going to have to organize a “tour” in St. Louis, Arizona, or Agoura Hills, so we can all bring our kids to get Jack’s autograph…and race him.

  11. Comment by Sara | 09.1.2011 | 10:32 am

    Dude! I can’t believe you had the audacity to talk to Levi!!! I hear he has some anger management issues! Glad to see that you escaped alive. (actually I couldn’t view the video because I’m at work, but I assume you lived to tell the tale since you just told the tale…)

    (also, hoping that link will work in the comments)

  12. Comment by Micha | 09.1.2011 | 10:37 am

    Lets see the videos! Jack rocks.

  13. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.1.2011 | 10:41 am

    Poor Levi… first Jack disowns him as a favorite and now this… the indignity of it all. Good thing his Gran Fondo is around the corner to keep him busy, maybe he won’t see that you captured the encounter on film.

    Who doesn’t like Jens Voight by the way? Sheesh. That’s like saying: I like sex. Everyone likes it and wants more.

    I say write what you want as the guest blogger. You write well mister, so have at it. I do think you need to sharpen your text to video skills however. The final product was a bit uneven, and I am still trying to figute out what he was saying near the end repeatedly?

    Everyone’s a freaking critic aka armchair quarterback aka wife. :-)

    So seriously, what did happen to those Fatty replies in some of the comments to the prior blog? Or were those fake Fatty replies that needed to be removed?

  14. Comment by Kel | 09.1.2011 | 10:47 am

    I loved this line –
    he told his 3rd Grade class all about meeting and riding with Garmin-Cervelo and got… crickets.

    I would enjoy knowing how your son worked up to 20 miles. Quite impressive! And please do let us know how he fares this weekend.

  15. Comment by Tes | 09.1.2011 | 11:18 am

    Excellent video!

  16. Comment by Dillon Bikes | 09.1.2011 | 11:55 am

    Great Post! I look forward to watching the video of Jack’s ride.

  17. Comment by Ryan Surface | 09.1.2011 | 12:39 pm

    That video was LOL funny and I think I even snorted a few times. The “Go ride your Huffy..” and “Box Turtle” lies are comedy gold. Thanks for the Laugh. And yes bring on the 8 year-old cycling stories. i would love to hear more about the young Padawan. Loved Levi’s skin suit by the way.

  18. Comment by Jfala | 09.1.2011 | 1:08 pm

    I also have an 8 year old son that has become interested/obsessed with cycling. He wants to get rid of his BMX bike and become a roadie. More Jack please, he reminds me of my own son.

  19. Comment by AKChick | 09.1.2011 | 1:14 pm

    I love your posts and I loved reading about Jack! I loved the interaction you had with Garmin Cervelo. What a superb bunch of guys. I am extremely jealous of your son. :) And that MS bike event. Ours is coming up next week and we won’t have a famous pro team to help pull us up the hills. Boo hoo. This may be sexist, but some of those Garmin guys are CUTE! I digress! You are hysterically funny and tongue-in-cheek like Fatty so I hadn’t realized he was gone (just kidding Elden! kinda…). I will be happy/sad when he returns and strongly encourage you to continue blogging about your cycling adventures and those of Jack. I see nothing wrong with young kids cycling any distance as long as they are having fun. Better that than sitting in front of a TV getting fat eating junk food and getting no parent interaction. Loved the video – it was great!

  20. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 09.1.2011 | 1:36 pm

    I read in Velo News that Team Radio Shack has moved their entire wind tunnel building to a more top secret location.

    It could be just a coincidence.

  21. Comment by Tracy | 09.1.2011 | 1:39 pm

    Loving your posts. Definitely more Jack — getting my 9-year-old nephew inspired! (And maybe a reminder about/link to your fundraising efforts.)

  22. Comment by Mary | 09.1.2011 | 1:43 pm

    Bring on the boy…as a mom of a boy Jack’s age, I love reading about him. Our kids are the future of this sport.

  23. Comment by Ginger | 09.1.2011 | 2:50 pm

    Funny how kids turn out exactly like they want to be instead of what we want! My 12 year old is a rocket scientist building electronics and explosive devices in the backyard — not something I exactly pushed him into.

    Keep up ALL the stories!

  24. Comment by TomE | 09.1.2011 | 2:59 pm

    More Jack! More Jack! Love the innocence of the world seen through an 8 year old!!!

  25. Comment by Chad | 09.1.2011 | 3:21 pm

    Funny stuff man. If you want to post about Jack, go for it.

  26. Comment by Jeff Bike | 09.1.2011 | 3:33 pm

    As one box turtle to another, keep up the good work!
    Jack is cool!
    Please tell us about your first year, what challenges did you face and what lessons did you learn? What kind of equipment do you ride? How has your taste or choices changed since you started to ride? How much do you ride? A short ride daily or a big ride weekly or monthly? How fast is an average ride? How long is a short ride? What do you call a long ride? What style of riding do you do and what do you prefer? MtBike? Roadie? Long flat runs? Big climes? Solo or Group? Organized ride or just a buddy or two? Is riding a social occasion or an introspective self consuming focused endeavor? Your thoughts on traffic, road conditions, community support, the regulatory and political scene as related to riding, littering and anything else vaguely related to bicycles.

  27. Comment by Dan in Sac | 09.1.2011 | 3:40 pm

    Love the post. I say write whatever you feel like sharing. Go with the gut instincts.

  28. Comment by Scott R | 09.1.2011 | 4:19 pm

    Happy to read more about Jack’s adventures. If they are all as entertaining as the Garmin ride, it sounds like a fantastic plan.

    I hope to do the St. Louis-area Tour de Donut some year down the road.

  29. Comment by Lulea | 09.1.2011 | 4:23 pm

    Post the link of Jack please.

  30. Comment by Lulea | 09.1.2011 | 4:23 pm

    Oops meant video

  31. Comment by SueM | 09.1.2011 | 5:13 pm

    absolutely more about Jack! I think it’s wonderful that he has a passion at such a young age.

  32. Comment by rokrider | 09.1.2011 | 6:23 pm

    If Fatty left you the keys to his rolodex, maybe you should get in touch with the guys at Twin Six and see if they might be willing to whip up a “Box Turtle” design on a jersey. I think it could be the next big thing.

  33. Comment by skippy | 09.2.2011 | 12:25 am

    Hey AZ cyclist , you wouldn’t be the 18yo featured in ” Woman’s Talk ” item ?
    Getting to meet some ” Cycling stars” can be hard work so even getting a video going is an achievement .
    Not being a parent i am happy to see the pleasure that a youngster brings to the family . Can well remember some of the cycle adventures with my father in the 1950’s . Those days you would be lucky to own a camera and certainly would not take it cycling .
    Any news of the fundraising efforts ?

  34. Comment by zeeeter | 09.2.2011 | 9:46 am

    Just in case you aren’t following Fatty on Twitter (if not why not (@fatcyclist)

    Ouch! involving on of the guides on Fatty’s French adventures.

    fatcyclist fatcyclist
    Bruce got a compound fracture to his leg. He’s lucky; his bike flipped over the barrier and fell ~50 feet before hitting the ground.
    24 minutes ago
    fatcyclist fatcyclist
    More info on crash: guide: Bruce Hildebrandt (!!!). He did a sudden downhill stop around blind corner, went down very hard.
    26 minutes ago
    fatcyclist fatcyclist
    My bike touring group is full of Dr’s & surgeons, but a guide crashed hard today & we all looked to the EMT in the group. Hug a local EMT.
    29 minutes ago

  35. Comment by Kathy | 09.2.2011 | 1:59 pm

    Brilliantly funny posts! I’m a new reader to this blog and I’m hooked thanks to Jack’s adventure with Garmin. Like Jeff, I would also like to hear more about your first year of cyling. Fatty is going to have a lot to live up to when he returns! Keep up the great writing! :)

  36. Comment by Nancy S | 09.2.2011 | 5:56 pm

    I can’t even believe how happy it made me to watch Jack’s TdD ride. The kid is an animal! And I love how dad makes it all come together. Great video editing, awesome music, kewl family!

  37. Comment by Nancy S | 09.2.2011 | 6:06 pm

    OK! I just posted on the Twin Six FB page, the suggestion of rokrider that they design a Box Turtle jersey. Let’s put the pressure on!

  38. Comment by Jenni | 09.3.2011 | 8:54 am

    Loving the guest posts, could do without the blog advertising and cross promotion, keep up the Jack stories!!

  39. Comment by Elizabeth | 09.3.2011 | 8:26 pm

    Everything you touch turns to gold: it’s all great, we just want more! Name dropping, bragging about cutie Jack–give me, give me, give me! Thanks for these hilarious and inspiring posts. I’ve never even commented for Fatty before; you’ve brought me out of hiding. :)


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