Over the past few years I have had the chance to go to some of the Lance Armstrong Foundation fund raising rides.
This weekend the Livestrong Challenge was in Portland and was the first of 4 rides this year. Fortunately (for me) Lance was vacationing in SB last week and I thought if he was going to the ride from here maybe I could hitch a ride. So Saturday I got to fly on "Lance Air" up to Portland. A super cool 9 seat jet met us at Oxnard Airport. We flew at 600 mph and landed in the small
airport near the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton. We were met by "Higgins" who took us over to the Nike Campus where an awards dinner for the top fund raisers of the event. Lance and the LAF do an amazing job of raising cancer awareness and helping with survivorship issues. Check out www.livestrong.org and www.livestrong.com These rides raise about $9 million a year.
After the dinner "Higgins" chauffeured us down to a posh downtown hotel. Outside autograph seekers were waiting for hours to get a Lance autograph. Lance stops and signs a few and I go into the lobby where the staff of the hotel was trying to be over helpful. Fast-forward to 6am and we depart for the ride. Yes the autograph seekers were still outside the hotel. We figure they are selling the autographs to collectible dealers or they put them on EBay.
After hitting 100 degrees on Saturday, the ride weather turns out to be perfect. We do start with a large group of all kinds of riders who are trying to ride up front next to Lance. 1200 riders participated in the ride and 1800 in the run. Things settle down after a while and we do the 70 mile ride. Lance as always pulls most of the way at a super nice tempo and we do 70 in 3:12. Not too much time to hang out, Lance has a few meetings and a final presentation. Just before we leave Lance invited Jimmy (who is a 15 year old brain cancer survivor and Portland's top fundraiser) into the SUV. Jimmy had told Lance that he was a big Kid Rock fan. Lance and Kid Rock were in Iraq last December entertaining the troops and became friends. So Lance calls up Kid Rock and lets Jimmy chat with him. It was all very cool.
So soon enough Higgins takes us back to the airport and before you know it we are back on the runway, the pilot takes our bags and bikes and were are on our way in no time.
Coming into Oxnard we fly over Lake Cachuma, Jamison Lake, Lake Casitas. You could see a lot of cool mountain bike trails on top of the ridge toward Ojai.
All in all a hectic 24 hours of jet setting, riding and hanging out with some Fancy Friends!
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