My Dream Date With Lance Armstrong

Several Very Helpful Fat Cyclist Readers (VHFCRs, as I like to think of you) recently forwarded me an interesting tidbit of information: Lance Armstrong intends to race the Leadville 100 next year. Says Armstrong at the opening of his eponymous fitness center in Austin, TX (and no, this is not Fake News):

“The other bit of a challenge I want to do is a bit crazy. It’s a mountain bike race in August held in Colorado called the Leadville 100. It’s about an 8 to 9 hour mountain bike race, mostly on single track that very few people do and even fewer finish.”

Upon reading this, I of course had a complex series of thoughts, including:

  1. “Oh boy! I’m going to meet Lance Armstrong!”
  2. “I’d better make sure I’m wearing a LiveStrong band in Leadville that week.”
  3. “I wonder if the race organizers will make him submit an application and wait for the lottery results, just like everyone else. Wouldn’t that be wild if he didn’t get in?”
  4. “If he really trained for it, I wonder what kind of time he’d finish with? Five hours?”
  5. “I wonder who told him it’s mostly single track? There’s no single track whatsoever in the Leadville 100. In fact, there’s hardly any double track. It’s almost all jeep roads.”

Then, suddenly, this pleasant train of thoughts was derailed by the following question:

“What if he’s read everything I’ve written about him?”

Ooh. That could be, um, problematic. Here is the conversation I imagine occurring, as Lance and I meet at the starting line.

Fatty (Fighting through the crowd): Mr. Armstrong! Mr. Armstrong! Would you mind signing my jersey?

Lance (Bored): Sure. What’s your name?

Fatty (Ecstatic): Most people just call me ‘Fatty.’

Lance (Raising one eyebrow): Really? I’m sorry to hear that.

Fatty: Oh, it’s meant affectionately, really. By most people, anyway. You see, I have this blog called Fat Cyclist. (Points at self, wearing the freshly-minted “Fat Cyclist” jersey I have — in this fantasy, anyway — designed and created).

Lance: So you’re proud of your weight problem?

Fatty: No, but it makes for good comedy.

Lance (Recognition dawning): “Hey. Wait a second. You’re the dork who’s always attacking me with fake news pieces on your stupid jokey blog, aren’t you?

Fatty (Worried): Um, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m a really big fan!

Lance: So you’re not the guy who wrote that fake press release about Phil Liggett getting fired because he let a full minute elapse without mentioning my name?

Fatty (Astounded): You mean you saw that piece?

Lance (Eyes glowing red): So you admit you are that guy. And yes, I saw it. Around 400 people forwarded it to me, usually with one of those stupid “I thought you’d get a chuckle out of this” messages, and a smiley face afterward, as if to say it was just a joke. Well, I’ll have you know that Phil wasn’t fired. We just gave him an appropriately stern warning and docked his pay.

Fatty (Sweating profusely): Heh heh. Well, um, ha ha. Well, you know, I was just kidding around. I didn’t really mean it.

Lance: Right. And that’s why you followed up with that “Lance Armstrong Drinking Game = Certain Death” story.

Fatty (Grasping at straws): Well, for what it’s worth, I actually fudged the math in your favor. I divided the 162 mentions of your name over the course of the full three hours of coverage, instead of subtracting out the commercials. If I’d have divided the 162 mentions by the 132 minutes of actual coverage time, it turns out that OLN actually mentioned your name every 48 seconds. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty darn often. And besides, it’s not like I never do anything but slam you. Remember that fake news conference I wrote saying you had decided to race the rest of the 2005 TdF with one hand tied behind your back?

Lance: Yeah, I remember it, but that’s not exactly so much singing my praises as dismissing the validity of my competition, is it?

Fatty (Scanning for likely escape routes): I was hoping you wouldn’t bring up that particular point.

Lance: I’ll bet. And I’ll bet you were hoping I wouldn’t bring up the thing you wrote about Sheryl and me breaking up. Or about me being a bored househusband who’s forced out of retirement because my family and neighbors are tired of seeing me around. Or your suggestions for what ought to happen in my movie.

Fatty (Dumbfounded): You knew about all of those?

Lance: I’m Lance Armstrong. I know everything.

Fatty (Hesitant): So, um, are you going to sign my jersey? Please?

Lance (Rolling eyes): Yes,  I’ll sign your jersey. But only because you’re wearing what looks like 100 “LiveStrong” bands. You shameless suckup.

Fatty: Gee! Thanks, mister! Can I ask you a couple of questions for my blog?

Lance: Do you promise to not make stuff up about me anymore?

Fatty: Absolutely.

Lance: OK, go ahead.

Fatty: Do you realize that every contender in this race today is hoping and praying that you’re just here to goof off, so they can finish ahead of you and tell their friends, children, and every other person they meet for the rest of their lives about the day they beat Lance Armstrong?

Lance: Yes. Tell your friend Kenny I wish him the best of luck.

Fatty: Thank you. I will. Next question: Was it your idea to rename this race the “Lanceville 100?”

Lance: No comment.

Fatty: OK, next question. Do you have the ability — as is widely rumored — to shoot laser beams out of your eyes, flattening the tires of competitors?

Lance: No comment.

Fatty: Sheesh. Care to comment on the speculation that you are able to increase  or decrease gravity in highly localized areas?

Lance: How’d you find out about th…I mean, no comment.

Fatty: OK, I see how it is. Last question, then. Do you really think it was necessary to bring Bob Roll and Al Trautwig along to commentate this race?

Lance: It’s in their contract.

Fatty: Sorry, I couldn’t hear you very clearly over the PA system. Al seems to be saying “Lance Armstrong” over and over. Is that how he warms up his voice?

Lance: No, that’s his whole job.

Fatty: Thanks very much for your time, Lance.

Lance: You’re welcome. Now go to the back of the pack. I’m through with you.

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