Ok, not exactly hanging with, more like near. Today I ran across Mr. Armstrong on the road, and spun around to ride with him for a bit. In ancient Hawaii it was Kapu (forbidden) to stand in the King's shadow, and the punishment was death. Lance was on his TT bike and looked focused, and I did not want to be a nuisance or piss him off. So, after a brief chat, I dropped back a bit to ride along and see if I could keep up.
It turns out he was on an easy day (according to a later tweet). I surmised as much since I kept up for 15 miles until he turned off. I was at threshold, he was cruising.....seems about right. When I saw him coming and turned, I was so excited that I was riding at a 175 heart rate, and he was not catching up. I had to chill out for a bit and slow down.
Here is a pic I took after I dropped back. The guy on the left is a CTS coach that was with him. He also had a follow car, which is how I knew it was him coming.
I felt a definite buzz during and afterwards. Silly? Perhaps. But I feel like I had a nosebleed seat to the early days of a Tour victory. I was hoping he was going to offer me a stagiare contract based purely on my pro tan, but apparently it takes more than that.
People either love or hate Lance, it seems. For me, he is a hero. I choose to believe that he wins clean for the same reason children believe in Santa Claus....it makes my world a happier place. Since it seems that most of his competitors have been caught doping, it really does not matter whether he did or not.....it just adjusts the magnitude of his accomplishments a bit. Either way, he is the greatest Tour champion of all time.
Sure, he is no Eddy Merckx, but the Tour is a lot more important now than it was in Eddy's day. Lance knows that it is the only race that matters to his sponsors, and he makes sure he wins. How important is the Tour to Lance? Did you know that he won the World Championship in 1993? Former world champions are entitled to wear the signature rainbow stripes on their sleeves. All of them do....except for Lance. He dropped the rainbow stripes around 2003 in favor of a yellow band, for Livestrong and the maillot jaune.
Over the course of the trip, I saw Lance 4 times. The day after our little chat, I passed him going the other way on the Queen K. I sat up and gave him 8 fingers. He came up out of his time trial position to wave to me and give me a thumbs up....I thought that was pretty cool. 3 of the 4 times he was on the TT bike. Hmmm....I wonder where he thinks he is going to win the tour. I hope he does not neglect Kaloko Dr...he needs to keep up with Contador on the mountains before sticking it to him in the time trials.
On a geeky equipment note, I looked to me like he was wearing Bont shoes. Of course, they will have a swoosh on them if he wears them during races. I really like the design of the Bonts, but don't feel like parting with the cash for a third pair of road shoes just yet.