Invites and Unvites. The secret life of a celebrity blogger.

Although I generally think of myself as an optimistic person, I realize that the way I see the world says otherwise. Consider the time that I saw a woman fall at a train station in Austria, and I hesitated to help her at first because I feared that it was a scam—some kind of a set-up—and that perhaps I would be robbed as a result of helping her. If you've been to Austria, you probably realize that their train stations are pretty safe, and you probably also realize that when a lady falls on her face...she probably just fell on her face and would appreciate your help. But as all avid readers of this blog know, I was born in Colombia, a place where mothers have been known to throw their infant children at you so you'll catch them, as someone else steals your wallet. It's for this reason that I stared at the lady who had fallen face-first in Austria, while I looked around to make sure this wasn't some sort of a scam, and that her cries for help were not merely a clever ruse to try to get me to help her while someone stole my valuable luggage (which I had bought at Wal-Mart). Does this make me a horrible human being? Perhaps, but I tell you merely as a way of explaining my general distrust of the world around me. Now that you understand how I perceive my surroundings, I think you'll better understand what I'm about to tell you.

The life of a blogging celebrity
You all probably assume that my life as a celebrity is filled with glamorous writing assignments that take me all over the world. You probably also assume that I fly first class everywhere, and that I even have an assistant whose lone job is to keep me dry while constantly holding a Rapha umbrella above my head, regardless of whether it's raining or not. If this is what you think my life is like, you're right.

Aside from these comforts, I should also tell you that I am constantly drowning in a sea of free high-end bicycles and wheels, as well as nicely discounted ferrules. So if you think that my uncanny talent for penning (or is it "keyboarding"?) both comical and insightful prose on the subject of cycling has granted me a life that everyone dreams'd be right. Although, to be perfectly honest, I have to admit that the ferrules in the sea of cycling stuff in which I drown on a daily basis were not discounted at all. I actually paid full price for those, but I got carried away with bravado while describing my life. I'm sorry about that. Ferrules aside, however, my high ranking in the world of cycling blogs, has afforded me great comforts, chief among them being invited to high-profile events. Consider the weekend not long ago when Nashbar, Pricepoint and Performance all asked me to partake in their weekend sales events. So while some of you may have a bit of pull in the world of cycling, until you show me proof of having received the cycling savings trifecta (as I did), I think we'll move on under the assumption that I'm better and more important than you.

As further proof of my importance, I now present the following evidence: Earlier this year, I was invited the opening of the Rapha Cycling Club in New York City. As I explained in this post, the reasons why I didn't attend the event were many...but the fact that I don't live in New York City certainly had something to do with it. Also involved in my decision making, was the fact that I simply didn't have the necessary attire to attend such a fancy event. I have used advanced computer technology to simulate how badly I would have stuck out at such an event.

In case you're wondering, I'm the umbrella-less guy who (unlike the others), appears in full color, and is wearing the Cycling Inquisition jersey.

Still, as I did in an earlier post, I thank the people from Rapha for thinking of me. As a kid who spent numerous childhood afternoons and weekends staring at a blank wall with nothing to do, the idea of anyone inviting me anywhere is simply intoxicating. I say this because the few times that I was invited anywhere as kid, it usually turned into a disaster. For example:

Consider the birthday party that I was invited to when I was eleven. At the time, all parties for my age group were soccer/football parties. This meant that we'd show up, eat ice cream, and then play four hours of soccer. With that in mind, I showed to this one party in full soccer gear, cleats and all. I walked into my friend's house, only to realize that this was the first ever boy/girl party in my class. The boys were dressed up, some even wearing ties. The girls were wearing dresses, and they were all dancing to slow music. And then there was me...the kid in full soccer/football kit, and knock-off Adidas cleats, clippity-clopping all over the place. In the end, I wound up playing with Hot-Wheels cars with my friend's younger brother, who was three years old...all while my classmates got to dance with girls.

Similarly, there was the time that a friend and classmate invited me and a few other kids for a day of fun at his parents summer house, which was still under construction. I was nine then, and I still remember how roughly thirty seconds after arriving to the house (it was a two hour drive there), I slipped and fell face-first into a pile of cow feces that was roughly the size of a Buick Skylark. Since the house was under construction (and had no running water yet) I tried my best to have fun while my upper body was covered in bovine diarrhea. To be fair, the two moist towelettes that my friend's mom offered helped a bit, but using them in hopes of bettering the situation was a bit like trying to put out a fire at a nuclear reactor with your spit.

But let's get back to the invitations I've received within the context of the cycling world. Aside from the Rapha Cycling Club, and the ever-elusive cycling savings trifecta, at least one other high-profile gathering recently thought it would be worth having me in their midst. I'm referring to Levi Leipheimer's Gran Fondo, a large event that helps raise money for reporters who have been mangled by Levi's dog Bandit.

Bandit attacks a reporter at the Tour Of California.
Photo by Kathleen King

"Gran Fondo" (which is Italian for "Gathering of the Trek Madones" or the "Million Trek Madone Owner's March"), will be occurring this coming Friday in California, and I'm sure that all those who attend will have a fantastic time. It would be fun to have been there, if only to support Mr Leipheimer, a fellow adult whose stature (like mine) is that of the average American sixth grader. Having said that, I noticed that I received the invitation (for which I'm thankful) late last week, and the event is this Friday. It's at this point—and because of the untrustworthy Colombian upbringing that I explained earlier in this post—that I must ask:

Are these invitations arriving late on purpose, and are they to events happening really far away only to ensure that I don't show up? Are these invites, or unvites?

Perhaps this is my self-centered, narcissistic nature rearing its ugly and misshapen head. Actually, I'm sure it is. Surely the people who run such events as the Levi Leipheimer Gathering of the Trek Madones/Million Trek Madone Owner's March weren't thinking about me when they put together this massive event so far away, and then invited me to it really late. Surely the kind people at Rapha weren't thinking of me when they decided to put a Cycle Club in a city where I don't live. I know that, and I still hope to get more invitations to fancy events like these...just so I can fail to attend, and then complain about it in this forum strictly on the basis that the location and timing didn't suit my busy schedule (hey, all those free bikes aren't going to ride themselves).

Still, just as I thought that the world was conspiring against me when I was a kid and wore soccer cleats to a dance party, I still believe that the odds are somehow always stacked against me at every turn. As such, the untrustworthy part of me that didn't want to help the elderly lady at the train station in Austria, and the unlucky part of me that played Hot Wheels cars with an infant during a party, and the part of me that was fully coated in cow feces wonders. And wonders. And wonders some more.