A bike ride with Lance Armstrong

2 October 13, 2010
So a friend (and investor) called this afternoon and asked if I wanted to join him and go for a ride with Lance Armstrong. I thought he was shitting me but I checked the Lance's twitter feed and sure enough, he was planning a spontaneous group ride this afternoon in Waterbury, Vermont. I'm not one for big chaotic group rides but I thought to myself, what the hell, why not? It's been 8 weeks or so since the road bike has seen any action so I pumped up the tires and scrambled around for my bike shorts, etc. Pretty soon I was down in Waterbury and the crowds were building... amazing what draw this guy has. Lance + Twitter = influence (2.6 million followers). Word spread that he was going to be 30 mins late... arghh. Just when I was about to bail, Lance appears out of nowhere on his bike and the cameras come out and he's surrounded by cheering fans eager to get a peek. You can just feel the magnetism this guy has... kinda sucks you in. Minutes later I hear him asking "Is this Route 100?" and then "Let's go for a ride!". Then he's off, hundreds of bikers in tow. My friend and I hop on the tail-end and make our way up front pretty quick and ride along Lance for a few minutes... "You Vermonters are fit", he says. "Sometimes I lose people on the first bridge." Damn straight! Vermonters are fit. 12-15 miles in, we come to a junction and Lance pulls over to meet his handlers and a shiny black van (not a common sight in Vermont). He seems pretty chipper and offers a parting "Keep on riding." Right on. Of course I've got a Stellar Shave Cream sample in my jersey and I spot my chance for the hand-off. An eager teenager sneaks in ahead of me as Lance starts making his way for the van and asks for a photo. Fair enough. Then an older guy. OK. I'm losing time... I gotta go for it. Anything for the Great Bear! "Lance, Lance" I say, trying to get his attention as he approaches the van. He turns and I have his focus for a split-second. "100% natural shave cream. Give it a try."... He takes it and looks at the label for a second or two (longer than I expected). "I will. Thanks." Then he's gone. Feeling somewhat relieved (half like an opportunistic entrepreneur doing the hustle, half like a whore who'll do anything to get the word out there), I peel off and join my buddy who's looking on, grinning. Then we start riding north with a dozen guys on Route 100B. Pretty soon it turns into a hammer fest (Lance on the mind). 15-20 miles later, I'm glad to arrive back in Waterbury. The beer at the Alchemist tastes as good as ever.

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