I got home in time to get T and M off to the Dr.'s appointment. Mimi showed up in time. Kids were up, dressed warmly, and outside. TIME TO ROLL, BABY!
We weren't even 5 miles from the house when I realized that I left my cycling shoes on the mat by the door. Yep. Had our helmets, though, so we were good to go. no time to turn back anyway.
Bryce promptly fell asleep, so I was solo. Great. Alone with my thoughts.
"would i actually get to SEE him?"
"will he sign my wife's LiveSTRONG shirt AND my kid's bike helmet?"
"will we actually MAKE IT THERE IN TIME? DRIVE DADDY, DRIIIIIIIIIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT!"
so I did. just as we were getting off the interstate, i got another tweet:
Ok. good. we're 5 minutes from the park, HE's at least 25 minutes drive time. Whew. As we rolled into town (a very small, typical VT town), cyclists were already weaving in and out of traffic. Great. We are SO out of our league. Why did I do all of this? Oh, right. For a chance to be in the company of greatness.
We parked rather easily (local knowledge is KEY!), hooked up the trailer, and headed over to meet with the masses. Here's what we saw, from the back left, where we hung out:
No, it isn't broken. My bike is just laying on the ground.
A big mob of what seemed to be about 300 strong. Ha. Strong. Get it? Sorry. Moving on.
A quick scan of the peeps showed a good mix. There were very expensive bikes and kits, and then some people who looked like they dusted off a Huffy from the 70's and brought it along. Good.
So then we looked some more, and saw this:
See that? Right there. She's wearing a brown shirt. Yep. KIDS. People brought kids, ON BIKES. Very, very enccouraging!! Gotta love it.
THEN IT HAPPENED. I SPOTTED HIM. IT HAD TO BE HIM. Who else would be sitting atop a black and yellow high end looking bike. I had to admit, though, it looked as though he let himself go since Leadville:
Even pony-tail hippie dude thought he looked funny. Seriously, dude. The WHOLE KIT? I hope he won it.
After about half an hour of nervously waiting (good thing I was wearing my anti-stink shirt), I got this tweet:
5 mins out! Everyone ready? #twitterride
suddenly it seemed like we were being overrun by the toy aisle at Wal-Mart. I've never been around that many people who were getting simultaneous tweets. Pretty cool. So heads started to turn up toward the direction that we expected him to come from. But we had no idea HOW he would come. I half expected him to arrive in a van, jump out, say a few things, and then take off.
I saw him ride in on a bike, not looking flashy, no entourage. Only his riding style tipped me off. Couldn't get the camera up quick enough before he was engulfed. I can't imagine this kind of lifestyle. He was very professional and calm. I woulda been swinging my heart-rate strap over my head, screaming like a banshee.
Bryce and I had a plan for me to hoist him onto my shoulders when he arrived, so we did. We headed to the center of the frenzy, trying not to block out too many others, but hell, I wanted to see him too! AND I wanted Bryce to be able to see him and experience the event.
Only by holding the camera way over my head was I able to get these shots.
the dude on the left edge is a reporter for our CBS affiliate
The crowd started to surge down the road, so Bryce and I booked it back to the trailer and i buckled him in, closed the cover, and turned around to get on my bike. By the time we did this, just about everyone was GONE. I mean GONE GONE.
I said, "hang on, B!" and we took off down the road. Well, that term is all relative, since I was lugging a trailer with 40 pounds in it. Yea.
SO....we lasted about 500 yards. The peleton was already nearly out of site, headed up a road that is a LONG, steeeeep climb. Even without the trailer I don't think i could make it.
Carefully, we turned around and headed back to the truck to begin the journey home. All in all, it was a great time. I am so very thankful to Tracey, Mimi, M, and Z for being so flexible!
On the way home, I got the final tweet of the event:
Thanks to the 100's of Vermonters (that's correct, right??) who came out for the #twitterride. What a beautiful part of the world!
For a link to the local news story (maybe they'll get around to posting video) click here.
Thanks for tuning in, I hope you enjoyed the show. Oh, and here's a parting shot, in the general direction of Lance during the interviews.
ok. i lied. one more:
even superstars need to reapply their lip balm