When I saw Lance Armstrong “tweet” that he was flying down to San Diego from Santa Rosa today, I thought I’d give it a go.
My wife Therese and I are fans. We’ve ridden in the Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas. We donate to Livestrong. We love cycling.
Lance coming to San Diego on a rainy, windy Saturday gave me a longshot chance to meet him and get his signature for two personal keepsakes:
- The February 2009 Outside magazine featuring him on the cover
- A 2004 Ride for the Roses jersey
If you’re mellow and keep a respectful distance, I figured I might just have a chance. It would be for my wife. It would go up on the wall in our house as a daily reminder about the preciousness of life.
Liz Kreutz, Lance’s photographer who has a beautiful portfolio of work here, lent me a hand on the Outside magazine cover effort. As Lance worked his BlackBerry in the backseat of a rented Chevy Suburban before his wind tunnel testing, she asked him on my behalf, handing him the Sharpie and magazine.
All of sudden, there it was. The cover signed to “TB”, my pet nickname for Therese. Liz was smiling. I was stunned.
Later, after taking an afternoon break and chatting up the Cervelo technicians assembling bikes for testing in the same wind tunnel facility this coming week, I gave it one more go. Lance was finished with his work for the day. His bikes were being packed up by the crew, including two Belgiun Astana soigneurs with great rapport. People suddenly got quiet and serious.
This time, I would ask personally. You only live once.
As Lance bounded toward the caravan, including Johan Bruyneel, Steve Hed, Liz and Trek folks, I showed him the Ride for the Roses jersey and asked if he might be able to take a moment and sign it for Therese.
Lance didn’t hesitate. Every second counts.
You might wonder how a grown man becomes a fanboy. Silly, right? Wrong. It’s simple. I’m a cycling nut. I’m an enthusiast of the human species.
But I’m also the husband of a cancer survivor, a person of incredible courage and heart who has taught me much about how to Livestrong.
Thank you, Therese, from the bottom of my heart. I’m so happy you’ve been able to move with a clean bill of health beyond the difficulties you had to experience in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
And Lance, I know you may never read this, but I have to let you know that you made her day. I just want to say to you, and to Liz, many, many thanks.