How to Beat Tyler Farrar at Guitar Hero

I don’t know.

I don’t even know how to play Guitar Hero, or what it looks like, or why it’s so awesome. All I know is that last night, in front of a full house at Upper Echelon Fitness I made Tyler defend his addiction to the XBox and it was my favorite part of the interview. Why? Because Tyler Farrar is sweet and funny and down to earth and accessible and you can say, “Dude I heard you’re good at Guitar Hero.” and he will laugh and shift in his seat and offer up 3 different reasons why it’s good for his training (recovery!). And that makes him awesome.

We talked about his four Grand Tour wins this year, Garmin’s mega bad luck in the Tour, how he’s feeling about the addition of Thor Hushovd for 2011, how his father is doing these days, what it’s like to sprint with a broken wrist, the infamous head-butting incident, how he won his first bike race on a white Bianchi with downtube shifters, why Tour of Flanders is his favorite race and the fact that he is going to do a cyclocross race in January! (Ok, that part of the conversation may have actually been my favorite part.)

Here’s an awesome video from Matt Haughey with Tyler answering questions about riding with Thor (and Heinrich Haussler), switching to Cervelo bikes, and doping.

Tyler Farrar answers some questions from Matt Haughey on Vimeo.

It was fun.

Dave Roth, the Grand Poobah of my Portland Social Cycle Seen Heart, even came and took pictures. (All photos in this post are his unless otherwise noted)

We laughed and took questions from the incredibly rad crowd. We even watched some super cool racing clips projected onto the big wall.

Tyler signed autographs and gave away a Garmin 500. He posed for pictures with little kids while nailing a look that I like to call “Euro Cardi-Casual”. We even managed to have complementary outfits! Oh la la!

"Euro Cardi-Casual" | (This here photo is from the amazing and wonderful Matt Haughey.)

Totally complementary outfits. Oh la la!

Tina Brubaker showed up with the mud of Barton Park still dried on her neck and face wearing a plaid shirt and black beanie and looking about as tiny and adorable as possible. Then she walked up to the autograph table, got Tyler to sign a picture of himself and then proceeded to throw down one of her rider cards, take the pen out of his hand, and sign her own picture. “Here, you should probably have one of mine, too.”

Fucking hot shit, Man Breaker. Well played.

Finally, my buddies Matt and Traci asked Tyler to sign my beer – a Laurelwood Vinter Varmer. Tyler kindly added a “Gotcha!” voice bubble to the label art in reference to my squirrel-induced crash in Washington Park two weeks ago. Very funny guys.

Dinner Chat

After the event, we were lucky enough to have dinner with Tyler and his girlfriend Stephanie. For the record, Stephanie is adorable, sweet AND funny. Total slam dunk, Tyler. Nice work! Also, she has a boot addiction to rival my own, which basically makes us BFFs forever no matter what.

We talked about house renovations, the secret red-head society that I didn’t even know existed, really insane-sounding moto-pacing sprint workouts, home decorating (Stephanie ratted Tyler out for picking a glossy color called “Rose Petal” that apparently did not go over well on the fireplace wall at their place in Belgium) and the importance of having a well-stocked bar at home.

Other fun facts?

Farrar’s current favorite Belgian beer: Delirium Tremens. (Kid has good taste. It was named as “Best Beer in the World” in 1998 at the World Beer Championships. Stuart Kallen also gives it the number one spot in his The 50 Greatest Beers in the World.)

The Garmin-Transitions doctor advised all of the riders to hop up and down on one foot while brushing their teeth. Really! Apparently, doing this every day (10 hops on each foot) once in the morning and once at night (hence the association with the regimen of tooth brushing) is enough to increase bone density to make riders more resistant to injury when they hit the deck. Amazing.

Last but probably most important. His last name is pronounced like Farrah Fawcet’s first name. Phil Ligget says it wrong. All the time. Don’t listen to them.

Journalistic Cool

Last week, in preparation for this event, I vowed to maintain my journalistic cool (something which I’d not been super successful at the last time he was in town).

I think I did ok, don’t you?

15 Responses to “How to Beat Tyler Farrar at Guitar Hero”

  1. Pat Gerke says:

    They have Delirium Tremens on tap at the Green Dragon right now… just so you know :-)

  2. Matt Haughey says:

    Oh man, this is only a four or five hour drive to see him race cross on Jan 8th:

  3. Very cool, Swift, although we missed you at Barton. I’ll be rallying for Tyler, now.

  4. Linda says:

    Awesome, Heidi! Great interview & write-up.

  5. snarkypants says:

    Matt! I know! If I wasn’t planning to be racing down in California that weekend, I’d be tempted to drive up. It’s tempting to delay the trip south but that is going to be some COLDDDD riding up there in January.

  6. Great write-up, Heidi, and I would agree that you kept your journalistic cool. It’s hard not to go into super-fan mode around Tyler (I fall into it from time to time when I should be in PR Guy mode), yet it’s also very easy to get settled into a casual conversation. And you’re spot on about Stephanie. She’s a sweetheart, and as down to earth as Tyler. She’s offered to let my wife tag along during the Tour, but I doubt I’d ever get her back! Glad you had a great night and an awesome crowd! Keep it up, and hope our paths cross soon…

    – Jake from Garmin

  7. s says:

    It’s a rare occasion when Phil Ligget pronounces someone’s name right. Or actually matches the right name with the right rider, for that matter. I now watch all the races on EuroSport, I just couldn’t take it any longer. :)

  8. Heidi, I think you need to redo your avatar photo, it doesn’t show how pretty you are! Smile.

  9. snarkypants says:

    S: You’re right. Besides, Eurosport has Sean Kelly! Sooooo good.

  10. snarkypants says:

    Oh – and thank you, Robert! I’ll consider a swap. : )

  11. doug la placa says:

    awesome interview. tyler is a badass stallion. and my new favorite pro. awesome work heidi f. swift.

  12. Mark C says:

    Yes, I agree it was a very cool evening. We need someone to take over for Jens Voigt as “good guy of the peloton” after Jens (eventually) hangs it up, and I think Tyler is up to the job. I’ll be rooting even more this year for him to take Cavendish’s scalp. BTW, that’s my daughter Katie in the last photo, and she had a great time too (I think she liked the cookies the best).

  13. Eddie says:

    I love it when pro athletes are articulate and well spoken and not falling into the standard “filler” expressions used by the unwashed english speaking masses.

    He seems so natural and very at ease while talking. (especially since it was in a crowd situation) Sorry I missed it by a week. It would have been nice to see this in person.

    As usual, you look great! Nice bracelets….

  14. [...] An interview with Tyler Farrar (professional cyclist) from an event in Portland. [...]