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Riding With Lance in Hollywood

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Riding With Lance in Hollywood

Old 03-17-09, 02:31 AM
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Riding With Lance in Hollywood

It was Lance, twittering me yet again, this time with an invitation to join him on a ride through Hollywood, which would take place early on the following Saturday evening, March 7. I made a quick reply and bingo, I was on the invited twitter guest list, along with 499 other cyclists. There were 100 of us from twitter, and the rest came from a variety of other lists - public officials, Children's Hospital, bike clubs, etc.

Lance would use the occasion to announce his new project, "Stages," a project featuring the work of 30 prominent artists, which will be exhibited around the world to raise awareness about the need to find cures for cancer.

As I rode to the start of the event, I met Scott Boyd. Scott has just gotten back into riding, and he was amazed at some of the changes that have occurred to bikes in the last several years. Like me, he heard about the ride from Lance's twitter. Like me, he had recently signed up for a twitter account. And like me, he chose to follow Lance's twitters. (For those who might also follow Lance's twitters, be prepared to receive messages from him throughout each and every day. Messages about taking his kids to school, who he met for dinner, how many miles he put in on his last ride, the color of his bathroom tile, etc.)

We signed in and stood by our bikes, along with the gathering crowd, just off Hollywood Blvd. When it was my turn to sign in, I was told my name wasn't on the list.

WHAT!?!

"Don't worry," someone said. "You can still ride, at the back of the invited riders. You just won't be up with Lance."

WHAT!?!

Luckily, I had my iPhone with me, and on my iPhone was an email from an event coordinator, confirming my reservation. Thus technology saved the day for me: after showing the email, I was allowed to sign in and, like everyone else, was given a yellow t-shirt and a box of yellow chalk.





About a half hour before the scheduled 6 p.m. start time, we moved out on Hollywood Blvd. Enormous lights hoisted high above on cranes illuminated the scene for the cameras filming the event. The sun dropped below the skyline, the moon rose behind us, and after some introductions made from a portable stage set up in the middle of the boulevard, Lance Armstrong appeared, the cheers of the assembled cyclists reverberating throughout the concrete canyon.





Shortly thereafter, we were off, 500 or so cyclists, all dressed in our yellow "Hope Rides Again" t-shirts.



The ride, all 2.2 miles of it, was one of the scariest - and enjoyable - I've even been on. It seemed five hundred bike riders were all edging forward to catch a glimpse of Lance, their hero, and I was no exception. As a result, the ever-crowding conditions were becoming ever more hazardous. No wonder the photo above looks so shaky.

At one point I was probably less than 30 yards from Armstrong - I could see him in profile, his yellow helmet surrounded on three sides by a phalanx of riders. In front of him, two trucks with photographers filming the event led the way. I probably could have bulled my way to within a few feet of Lance, but I could have also crashed in the attempt.

Everyone seemed to survive the ride in good spirits, and we made our way to a massive valet area, where we could check in our bikes. Inside the lobby of the Ricardo Montalban Theater, Lance's stolen TT bike was on display. There were two other bikes Lance will ride in upcoming races, too, each custom decorated by artists.

Inside the auditorium, as the seats began to fill, a three-screen projection showed photographs of Lance as he raced, trained, and played with his kids.



Before too long, actor Ben Stiller came out on stage to warm up the crowd. He clearly loves Lance, who followed Stiller on stage. It is safe to say that in that theater, Lance was at least a demi-god.





The CEO of Nike put in an appearance, as did Shepard Fairey, who designed the well-known Obama poster. He mega-mural size graphics of Lance graced an outside wall of the theater.



Lance talked about his chances in the Tour de France. He spoke articulately and eloquently about the need to work toward cures for cancer. And as he left the stage to cheers, he told the audience to wait a few minutes for a surprise. Soon enough, Ben Harper and his band came out to play about a half a dozen numbers before the evening came to an end.



It was a terrific evening, one that was so nicely designed, in part, to cater to Lance's fans, it was all free for the asking, and now I can say, "I've ridden with Lance."
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Last edited by icyclist; 03-17-09 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 03-17-09, 05:03 AM
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Sounds like a great time. Cool pictures too.
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Old 03-17-09, 06:27 AM
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ben's hair is the biz.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:13 AM
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2.2 miles?
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Old 03-17-09, 07:15 AM
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Nice write up. Sounds like fun, except for the riding with 500 sketchy people part.

I'm surprised Lance got on a bike in the middle of all that. Seems kinda dangerous for someone who rides their bike for a living.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:23 AM
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Lance was hardly "in the middle of all that", from the pics I've seen.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:37 AM
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ben's hair is the biz.


Is Lance getting gray too? I'm following!!
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Old 03-17-09, 08:00 AM
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Cool. Lance's tweets crack me up. Here is this guy that people think is some superhuman, yet he does all the same things everyone does, gets stuck in airports, picks up the kids at school, etc.

The best part is reading how often the doping police show up to test him.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:42 AM
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So many of those riders had NO IDEA how to ride in a crowd. I had several people, who could not hold a line, almost swerve into me. Then in the front people were packing so tightly together just to catch a glance of Lance. My friends were the two guys on the tall bikes and they were freaking out about how close together people riding and not really holding their line.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by IbikezLA
So many of those riders had NO IDEA how to ride in a crowd. I had several people, who could not hold a line, almost swerve into me. Then in the front people were packing so tightly together just to catch a glance of Lance. My friends were the two guys on the tall bikes and they were freaking out about how close together people riding and not really holding their line.
They obviously need to read the "We're going to yell at you" thread.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:05 AM
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now i understand why the ride was only 2.2 miles
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Old 03-17-09, 10:08 AM
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That bike looks really small for you..........


Originally Posted by icyclist


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Old 03-17-09, 10:16 AM
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Cool write up. You have skills.

I'm a Lance fan. Started riding back in 04/05 when he was the man. Read his books, think he rides like no other. I am however getting a bit tired of his 'raising awareness for cancer gig." I mean, who isn't aware of cancer. We all have friends/family who are dead, dying, recovering, from cancer right now. He just seems to be on some big ego trip these days. I'm excited to see him ride this year drugs or not, but I don't know, something seems odd...
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Old 03-17-09, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by trojanman
That bike looks really small for you..........
That's Scott - he can ride circles around anyone on that bike, so no trash talkin'.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:41 AM
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I'm really not sure what that means. Why would one want to ride in circles, except on a track? Would that bike be good for anything but riding in circles?
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Old 03-17-09, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by azdroptop
I am however getting a bit tired of his 'raising awareness for cancer gig." I mean, who isn't aware of cancer. We all have friends/family who are dead, dying, recovering, from cancer right now. He just seems to be on some big ego trip these days. I'm excited to see him ride this year drugs or not, but I don't know, something seems odd...
"Raising awareness" means that more of us (worldwide) put more pressure on our politicians to put more money into research, which hopefully results in cures and better treatments happening sooner.

I see this phenomenon as Lance trying to lead the pelaton of the whole human race toward a specific goal. A pretty ballsy undertaking, but I (for one) hope he succeeds.
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Old 03-17-09, 12:30 PM
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Well, that sure put to rest any suggestion that his return to racing is driven by self-aggrandisment.
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Old 03-17-09, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung
2.2 miles?
It's as far as they could go without epo.
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Old 03-17-09, 02:29 PM
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Hope rides again..... As if there was no hope when Lance quit last time?
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Old 03-17-09, 02:31 PM
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That is a great write up. Thanks very much for sharing and taking some pictures. It sounds like it was really fun, even with the amount of people that participated.
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Old 03-18-09, 10:04 AM
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El Diablo still has best Lance ride story here.
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Old 03-18-09, 10:18 AM
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Ben Harper's awesome.
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