Friday, October 30, 2009
Lance was tweeting that he was stuck in traffic coming into New York last night.
So when Tassana Landy called me for a ride, I told her we would run into Lance.
It takes a sixth sense to do that and I guess we got it: coming up to the intersection at Alpine, who should turn right in front of us but the Johnny's jersey with the star, and Mr. Armstrong in it.
He was riding with an unidentified Toga Team wearing rider "Bike Snob," who kept Lance all to himself most of the ride to Piermont.
Photo: thanks to Bill Rigler who took this shot.
I wasn't complaining, I got the best draft in the world all the way there. I told him and and he said, "what are you trying to say my ass is fat?"
"No your ass is perfect," I said. "It's smaller than mine!"
Pic of Armstrong that Bill took this summer at the individual time trial in Annecy. With permission.
Unfortunately Lance did not stick around in Piermont, and there was no way I could keep with him on the hills. Tassana, who climbs like a chamois stuck with him and even got introduced before turning around and picking me up down the hill (so nice!)
Armstrong's Toga escort took him up the secret Lamont Doherty way, which I would have done, and I think that's great!
Two other riders, Bill Rigler and Charlie Collins, came into Bunberry's about 10 minutes after the turnaround, and they too had ridden with Lance about seven miles from the George Washington Bridge along River Road to Alpine.
They came into Piermont with huge smiles on their faces (pictured left) and told BBB they had stayed with Lance on River Road until they reached the last hill towards the police station: "I think Bill killed it for us when he asked Lance if we could take a photo with us," said Charlie laughing. Armstrong racheted up the MPH to 12 or 14 on the hill (where doing 9 mph is considered fast), dropping them both.
Rigler who is a self-professed Lance fanatic has been to the Tour de France twice and saw Armstrong race in the time trial in Annecy. He spoke to Armstrong about his performance that day: Armstrong said it was one of the toughest race days of his life.
BBB also interviewed Armstrong after that race as he came out of doping control. Appearing uncharacteristically gaunt and tired and responding to my question, "Lance, what happened to you today?" he said, "I guess I just ran out of gas." That same day though was a victory as he announced he would be forming a partnership with Radio Shack, liberating him from the disappointing experience he was having with the Astana Team and Contador in the Tour. He also, needless to say, moved into second place with his performance.
Pic: Lance after individual time trial, Annecy, 2009. BBB copyright.
Rigler started riding four years ago, and this year met his 10,000 mile mark. "Look at this picture I took of him at the time trial," he said showing Armstrong in his yellow and blue racing uniform (see above.)
All around us a number of cyclists were buzzing about the Lance sighting--and not many had seen him. He came and went like a stealth vehicle. Too bad, he would have made a lot of cyclists who came later to Bunberry's verrrry happy if he would have stayed for a coffee and a bun.
Today Armstrong is to be auctioning off a few of his bikes at Sotheby's, and tomorrow will be doing a 9 am run in Central Park, but he will not be staying for the NYC Marathon: he will be heading back to Texas tomorrow night to spend Halloween with his kids.
Lance later wrote on his Twitter page that the Bike Snob needs to do more training! And still, the Facebook pages are buzzing. One dear friend called me a "bum". Yes, I would have to agree, said BBB, smiling.