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Waiting For Lance (Or, what I did on my Lunch Hour)(4 posts)

Waiting For Lance (Or, what I did on my Lunch Hour)Greg Taylor
Aug 3, 2001 12:21 PM
Well, I did something different this afternoon -- I walked over to the White House to see what I could see of Mr. Lance Armstrong, three time Tour winner and all around American hero. To cut to the chase, I don't think that I saw the dude, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

First off, I wasn't the only person who had this idea. There were about a dozen or so cycling nuts circling the White House all carrying stuff that we, in our delusional state, thought that we might get autographed by The Great One. My trinket is a picture of me and Lance taken at the 2000 Ride for the Roses -- a really cool picture. Others had caps, posters, jerseys, and even a baby. Yes, a baby. There was a woman there with a cute 4 month old named Lance...she claims that the name was her husband's idea.

A couple of things about the White House -- it has about eight different gates, and the uniformed police wisely treat anyone hanging around outside as, well, a potential threat. The police were mum on which gate Lance would be using to enter and exit. A little group collected over by the east side (near Treasury) and started to stake out those gates. In the past, celebrities have used those gates so chances seemed good that this is where Mr. "Its Not About The Bike" would make his entrance.

I decided that if I was going to get Lance's autograph, I would first have to get his attention. The best way, I figured, would be to wear my Lance Armstrong Foundation "Live to Ride" jersey -- he couldn't stiff a Peloton Project member, could he? Pulling my jersey over my dress shirt, I looked like a complete lunatic. A confident lunatic, but a lunatic nonetheless.

The shindig with the President was scheduled to blast off at 1:45. At about 1:35 or so the secret service cleared out the walkway, and a long black limo and a couple of vans pull up to the gate. Our little knot began to waive and cheer. The windows of the limo were blacked out, but behind the glass I could see folks waving back. Our quickly-expanding group is all excited, babies are being thrust at the car windows, and everyone is cheering! Great! But is it Lance?

Hell no, it ain't Lance.

It's a bunch of suits, who are probably baffled about the grand greeting that they just got. For all we know, we could have been cheering the trade representative from Lithuania.

Anyway, I met some good folks and had a good time, even if I didn't see Lance. A couple of us traded e-mail addresses and promised to get together and go ride. Which, after all, is what it is all about...
I remember, sometime in the mid-eighties, a summit amongbill
Aug 3, 2001 12:50 PM
Reagan, Arafat, and whoever was the Israeli PM. There was a TON of security everywhere in the vicinity of the WH, with motorcades and mounted police and stuff on Pennsylvania Ave. To avoid it, I went down, I think, H St. VROOM. Passing me as if I was standing still was the REAL Israeli motorcade -- just one black car and one or two motorcycles.
That's the way they do it, man. Israeli Prime Ministers and Lance Armstrongs make it look as if they are NOT Israeli Prime Ministers and Lance Armstrongs, preferably with someone or something else drawing your attention, making you think that they are. Grateful Dead musicians and Beatles do the same thing. The big black limo leaves with . . . nobody. The '73 BelAire, now that's the one you've got to watch.
Actually, I don't really think that the security for Armstrong was that elaborate. But your story made me think of it, anyway.
It's all kind of existential...mr_spin
Aug 3, 2001 2:32 PM
Wasn't the point of "Waiting for Godot" that not only was Godot not coming, but that maybe he didn't exist at all?

As a Peloton Project member, you should have already met him. I was there in 2000, but not this year. Anyway, when I got to him, I found that I couldn't really think of anything to say. Beforehand, I said to myself that I wouldn't ask him any question he's probably heard a thousand times before, like "What's it feel like to win the Tour?" And I excluded any question he wouldn't answer, like "Is Virenque really as big a jerk as everyone says?" In the end, all I could think of to say was "You're doing a great thing here..." or something to that effect.

After reading his book, I came up with the one question I want to ask him if I ever encounter him again: "Can you explain the part about throwing spaghetti against the wall to tell if it's done? Is it supposed to stick, or not stick?"
Yeah, yeah, yeah....Greg Taylor
Aug 3, 2001 5:29 PM
Totally Godot. The exitement would ebb and flow every time a darkened Suburban or van would drive up, or the sound of police motocycles came near. "He's coming!" "No, it's not him..." "Is he coming?" Yup. Godot.

Yeah, I did meet Lance in 2000, got a picture, nearly got killed by a traffic cone on the century ride, and had nothing "meaningful" to say to him. (Your spaghetti question, however, really cracks me up). Getting some crap signed was really secondary to the process, what I really wanted was to make that connection again, for whatever reason, even if just to wear a bike jersey and wave like an idiot. I dunno, if you had to opportunity to see Babe Ruth or A.J. Foyt twice, would you turn down the second opportunity?