O.K., some of you have been on Johnny Tri's blog and seen those awesome pictures of Lance signing my LIVESTRONG Challenge jersey. JT did a great job of detailing the whole event so I won't re-hash it. If you did not hear about it, hop on over to his blog and read on! Needless to say, I was pretty jazzed about the whole event. But, what JT did not mention is what I am going to do with this signed jersey. That is the story that is gonna make you all warm and fuzzy.
Here it is...
Last year I was signed up to ride the 100 mile route for the Austin, Texas LIVESTRONG Challenge ride. Only four weeks befor the ride I had to have knee surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus that I had f---ed up in a kickboxing class. I had done some fundraising and thought that I would ease back into some bike riding and just do the 10 mile route. It had only been a week or so before the ride that I was able to get on the bike and pedal slowly (with a lot of pain) while teaching my indoor cycling classes. I picked up my kid after school with the bikes loaded on the Honda Element and we drove west into the sunset to get to packet pick-up.
The free SHWAG was great and the two of us were loading our bags with water bottles, posters, magnets, buttons, bandanas and more. They had the Nike/LIVESTRONG gear on sale and since I was only a few days off from my birthday, I decided to buy myself this nice LIVESTRONG Challenge jersey for $90. I have a couple of cycling buddies up in Portland who were part of the 10//2 crew and I had seen the jersey and had been very envious. We get back to the Motel 6 and my kid tells me that he does not have a jersey to wear for the ride. I told him that I had packed him a jersey but he said it was not good enough since it was not a Ride for the Roses or LIVESTRONG jersey. Only a mother's love would drive me to say that he could wear my new LIVESTRONG jersey and I would wear the 2003 Ride for the Roses jersey that I had brought with me. He was under strict orders not to spill red Gatorade on it or get bike chain grease on it.
The next morning while we are waiting for the ride to begin and we hear Lance talk to the crowd, the kid anounces to me, "Mom, we have to do the 40 mile route. Lance is riding the 40 mile route!" O.K., so what about this 10 mile route that we had discussed, and what about mom's knee, and hey you only have a Giant BMX bike that is a single-speed...all of that did not mean crap to my kid. Lance was riding the 40 mile route so we were riding the 40 miler. He did a great job on the hills and he did not linger long at the rest stops because, "Lance might be at the next one mom. Let's get going."
I thought it was great that on the last 10 to 15 miles of the route, the guys who started barreling by us as they finished up their 70 and 100 mile rides began shouting out encouragements to my son. "Come on Buddy, you can do it!" "You're looking great Bud, Keep it up!" "You're almost there, keep pedaling!" There was only one hill that he had to get off of his bike for but 2/3 of the adults were pushing their bikes up this hill. He was so tired at the end and almost wanted to quit and walk the bike when I pointed out where the finish line was. He stuck it out and rode across the line looking like a WINNER.
He talks about Lance everyonce and a while, but he is pretty consumed with other things such as Ferarri automobiles, Ed Roth's Rat Fink drawings, and baseball. At the begining of the school year, the kids are asked to fill out a worksheet that lists their favorite food, best subject, and their hero. My kid put down...My hero is Lance Armstrong. WOW! I asked him about it and he said it was really cool what Lance was doing for people who had cancer like Grandma. My son was able to remember my mother's battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and her loss with that battle.
I knew what I had to do. I went back to the car and was glad it was a cool morning and I had not really sweat in the newly signed jersey. It is now awaiting a framing job along with the picture of Lance signing mom's back that JT took and it will be waiting under the tree on Chirstmas morning. I cannot wait to see the look on his face when he unwraps the jersey.
Alright, I still have more to blog about, but I have to get to track practice. More later...