Tales from the Peloton, September 7, 2005
Friends, family, Sheryl Crow heave collective sigh of relief
Austin, TX, (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - Less than six weeks after winning what was presumably the final race of his career, Lance Armstrong today announced in a hastily-called media conference that, as widely rumored, he is coming out of retirement.
Said the rumpled, unshaven seven-time Tour de France champion, "Uh, I guess I'll be racing the Tour de France next year." Then, after pausing for a few seconds while exchanging glances with Sheryl Crow, Armstrong continued, "I'll also be racing the Giro d'Italia." Another five silent seconds elapsed, after which Armstrong finished, "And the Vuelta a Espana."
Armstrong concluded the media conference abruptly by saying, "No questions. I have to go ride my bike now."
Crow gives the Go-Ahead
Rock star Sheryl Crow, fiance to Armstrong, explained his decision. "He's racing again because I was going to completely lose my mind if he didn't get out of the house and do something. I swear, if he isn't at Home Depot buying new power tools or downstairs playing Halo - I haven't yet told him Halo 2 has come out - he's catching up on seven years' worth of television. Yesterday, he watched the entire second season of 24. You know how long that took? All day and all night."
Crow took a deep breath and continued, "Back when he was preparing for the Tour, Lance and I used to talk about how great it would be when he was retired and he'd have time to do nothing but relax. I had no idea he meant that so literally."
At this moment, Crow stopped and took three deep breaths before continuing, "So, yeah, he's going to start racing again."
Neighbours enthused for Armstrong comeback
Armstrong's next-door neighbour, James Scott, reports being pleased with Armstrong's decision to re-enter the peloton. "A few weeks ago I was washing my car and Lance comes over, wearing pyjama bottoms and and 'I won the Tour de France 7 times and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' shirt."
"We start talking about the Tour," said Scott, "and he's helping me wash my car. Nice guy, really. And then I realise he's rubbing down my car with one of his yellow jerseys . I told him he should be protecting them for posterity and he says, 'Oh, I've got a million of 'em. You want it?' And of course I said 'yes.' I mean, who wouldn't want one of Armstrong's jerseys?"
"That was nine jerseys ago," continued Scott. "Now anytime I go outside to water the lawn, trim the hedge, whatever, he's out there with an excuse to talk about glory days and try to unload one of those jerseys. I've started avoiding him, if you want the truth."
"I'm ready to get back into the routine," said the record-holding Tour winner when reached for comment. "At first, it's fun to be a full-time dad, but after a couple days you find yourself trying to remember which of the twins always wants to wear purple and which wants to wear pink, and how you're going to get Luke back home from soccer practice when it's the girls' naptime, and there are still dishes in the sink from two days ago."
"And have you ever been forced to watch "Dora the Explorer?" asked Armstrong, his face growing animated. "Now, there's a time trial for you. And they want to watch the same episode like three times per day. I swear, if I hear that 'I'm the Map' song one more time..."
"There've been times when I'm making three different kinds of soup for lunch," continued Armstrong. Grace likes chicken and stars (with the chicken bits taken out), Isabelle wants cream of chicken, and Luke wants cream of tomato, unless he changes his mind after I've made it and decides he wants Spaghettio's. That's when I think, 'OK, who's the domestique now?' So no, I'm not too upset about having to get back on the bike."
Asked about his plan to race all three grand tours in 2006, Armstrong said, "Can I win all three? I have no idea. That's not even the point. I'm just doing what I'm told."
And when will Armstrong retire permanently? "I dunno," says Armstrong. "When will the twins be in school full time?"
Read more of Elden Nelson's cycling satire, ill-formed opinions, and bad advice at the 'Fat Cyclist' blog