It's true. There he was sitting up on a podium surrounded by $45 dollar Dora the Explorer tricycles. This is a guy that won SEVEN tours, has FIVE kids, and only ONE....well you know. I almost didn't even go out there, I mean it was all the way in the east end. Like, 5km away. In the end I figured that if he can ride 1 million kms for my enjoyment, I can ride 5 to hear what the man has to say. I respect his riding and influence immensely. I respect his LiveStrong foundation and the efforts he has taken to bring more recognition and research to a disease that has affected nearly all of us in some way, shape, or form. I know a lot of people that claim doper and cheater and all that jazz, but personally I choose to look forwards to a different era of professional cycling, rather than look back at what might have been.
The session was a quick promo trip for a new line of LiveStrong exercise equipment, something that was thankfully not really talked about while I was there (admittedly I arrived fashionably late, but fully caffeinated). What I saw was a well polished Q&A with pre-approved questions and some candid, off the cuff, genuinely funny answers from a man that clearly knows how to handle himself in front of a modest crowd of aged cyclists, middle aged moms, and mildly fascinated Canadian Tire employees. He is clearly a charming and affable person in front of a crowd, drawing everyone in with his mundane humanity, a stark contrast to his herculean athletic career. Lance is also clearly a business machine, whisked away by security in a Chevy Tahoe to his next public appearance. No time for an autograph session, just a few scribbles for some lucky onlookers and then gone.
[caption id="attachment_1562" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The Back of Lance's Head."]
In the end I never really got a good picture of him, just a fleeting shot of the back of his head. A view that many professional cyclists were no doubt sick of seeing over the course of his storied career.