I am one of President George W. Bush's gardeners. Mr. George likes to talk to me.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Oversized Helmet

The U.S. Postal Team takes great care in providing its riders with the finest equipment available. Helmets, jerseys, and bicycles are scientifically tested in wind tunnels and extreme conditions. Unfortunately, only nine sets of equipment were sent to Paris for the Tour de France. When race directors announced a new rule allowing an optional tenth rider for each team, I was rushed from Washington D.C. to Paris on a Boing 747, but I don't have adequate equipment. My bicycle, which was obtained from a local Belgian baker, has only 3 gears. We removed the bell and the tassles to reduce weight and cut down wind resistance, but the bike still feels slow.

The bigger problem is the helmet. It was one of the early prototypes that tested well in the wind tunnel. Unfortunately, the helmet weighs 12 kilos, which is about 30 pounds. If any of you saw the team time trial yesterday, you may have noticed that nine U.S. Postal riders, including Mr. Lance, were riding in a tight formation, with the lead rider dropping to the back after each "pull," and then working his way back up to the top of the line. Meanwhile, I was trailing the team by about 100 meters, trying desperately to catch up while my head lolled from side to side under the brick helmet, causing me to swerve wildly on the wet cobblestones. I wasn't able to help the team. Mr. Johan has promised to get me lighter equipment before the Pyrenee mountains. Just in case, I'm checking the bike stores here for light, blue equipment.

Thanks for reading.


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