Lance Armstrong, so what's he really like? Did the 7 or 8 minutes I spent riding with him change my life? Actually yes it did. Lance has been an inspiration and hero for me and knowing that people can go their entire lives without meeting their hero how could it not be life-changing! Basically he was a really nice guy, quick to laugh, funny but what most impressed me is he was engaged in our conversation & sans sunglasses, seeing a person's eyes while talking makes a huge difference. (I actually let him get a word in ...I think?)
So how did all this come about? As many of you know my wife Rhonda and I started a cycling team Mojoriding in 2005. When you start riding "road bikes" you learn fast that the best rides are charity rides, that's how I became what I like to call an "accidental fundraiser". I am by no means the best fundraiser on the team, far from it but I suppose I had a hand in motivating, sometimes begging the Mojos to raise over $125,000 the past 3 years in the 24 Hours of Booty** to benefit Livestrong. So thanks to my good friend Spencer Lueders and in larger part my cycling team Mojoriding I got to ride with Lance in his beloved killer Austin hill country (emphasis on hill!) **24 Hours of Booty is an amazing event started by Spencer Lueders who rode 24 hours straight the inaugural year (more about Spencer and Booty here)
Rhonda and I were invited guests of Spencer and the 24 Hours of Booty team for the annual Ride for the Roses | Lance Armstrong Foundation events in Austin TX on October 24. I was the very lucky cyclist in a group of 30 well deserved cyclists|top fundraisers who got to meet, ride and talk with Lance one on one. With well over 17,000 Livestrong Challenge participants and countless cancer survivors nationwide and knowing that every one would give their granny gear to ride with Lance I consider myself very lucky indeed!
OK, so back to Lance. We met on a picture perfect Saturday afternoon at a winery in the Austin hill country, which is best described as stepping into your favorite western movie, desolately beautiful. Oh...sorry first let me step back and tell you about Friday night and The Salt Lick in Dripping Springs TX.
As part of the Yellow Jersey contingent we were feted like royalty -- so of course we should get the chance to see the King (or as Lance calls him the President) of Texas, the indomitable Willie Nelson. So get this, on Friday night we are shuttled out to The Salt Lick for an open air Texas style BBQ fest and then a private show with his excellency Willie! (I felt at any moment JR and Bobby were going to show up). Momma's might not be so bad to let your babies grow up to be cowboys after all...part II in next post