Monday, March 9, 2009

I Like Your Tool

So, many of you know about Lance Armstrong and have even maybe read his wonderful book It's Not About the Bike My Journey Back to Life. Hayley, Shannon and I regularly stalk him as much as we can. So when Shannon asked if I wanted to ride my bike with Lance this past Saturday night, I said "Hell, ya!" It seems Nike and Lance are launching their Global Art Exhibition "Stages" to benefit Livestrong and they just couldn't do it without the three of us and about 1,000 other rabid fans. Shannon has the best connections and I should thank her more :)

So our adventure begins and I am calling it:

It IS About the Bike: Our Journey Back to Von's

So when you throw Hayley into any adventure, there is bound to be a book deal. So after I blog this, I guess I need to find an agent for us and call Oprah.

OK Hayley has a tandem plan that involves a tandem bike (of course), some buffs, some tulle and some fabulousness otherwise known as being Hayley's friend means life is fabulous. She wraps some yellow tulle around the front spokes of the tandem. The yellow is a Lance thing :) Puts some pink buffs on our helmets. Then the three of us try to figure out how to load the two bikes in one, or potentially two, trucks. Mechanical placement of mechanical things is not one of our strongest skills. But we do figure out the tandem will fit in Hayley's Envoy with the tail closed, against ol' husband of Hayley's prediction. We go for one bike in each truck and head on out to LA. Sunset Blvd to be more specific.

Shannon has a little road rage along the way and I worry Hayley will have trouble keeping up, but it turns out she is furious with the same assholes and she predicts our every move and nimbly stays behind us. Our next challenge is parking somewhere near the start of the race without getting the trucks either towed, peed on, or both. We bank our hope on Von's and park there. They say they only want Vons customers and we drop in and buy a little somethin' somethin', not knowing that later on Von's will be crucial to the incredible journey known as Three Women in LA for Some Stalking and a Free T-Shirt.

We check in and get said free t-shirt. Go back and subtly unload 200 pounds of tandem and mountain bikes. Hayley has the brilliant idea, perhaps premonition, that maybe we should practice riding the tandem before joining the peloton. It seems she recently had the nightmare that involved each of us taking turns trying to ride the tandem alone on the back seat.

We hop on. Well, I hop on, Hayley is suspended on the front seat. Which. Is. Set. Up. For. Her. BIL. Who. Is. 6 feet. 7 inches. Tall !!!!!!! I am a little taller, I try it. NOPE. Need tools. No tools. Need someone with tools. No one with right tools. Need wrench. Run to car, after calling husbands who are doubtful trucks have wrenches, they are correct: no wrenches in trucks. VONS? Maybe we think. Run in with our buff helmets, check aisle 9 as directed. Light bulbs, extension cords, no wrenches. Another stock boy passes by and asks us if we need anything. We say "Yes, wrench." He says "Wrench?" We say "Yes!" He says "Follow me to aisle 15 and I will show you." We jog behind him to aisle 15 (condiments) and he proudly shows us the ranch. As in ranch dressing. We don't have time to properly laugh too hard and pee our pants, but we thank him anyway and run out to the parking lot. What to do? Hmmmm... Hayley with her wrench vision sees an AutoZone across the street and up a block. We run over. Select wrench. Buy wrench and run all the way back to the start of the race. As we both frantically try to loosen up the nut and push the seat down, another cyclist walks by and says "I like your tulle." Or maybe she meant tool. We will never know since the cosmos of this universe decided to converge tool and tulle for us at that very moment. Seat is adjusted down and I can reach my feet to the ground just in time to take off from the holding area. No practice. OMG didn't tighten the seat and it is spinning all over as I am trying to steer this bike. Tell Hayley we are going to have to go SLOW and she says "No problem" although I am sure she is biting her tongue trying to to laugh at my unstable ass. Thankfully the peloton stops again and we can secure my seat. I am not sure if I should tell Hayley that I also notice our front tire is flat. Decide to keep it to myself.

And we are off! Riding with 1,000 other people, and dear Shannon for two miles down Sunset Blvd. Strangely, we figure out that the three of us have had, on average, probably at least 3x as much plastic surgery as any of these other women and we are in Hollywood. The wind in our faces, as we ride right down the middle of Sunset Blvd. Strange and normal people talk to us, everyone is ecstatic, joyful, and we are definitely free of cancer for that 20 minutes. We make it and Hayley did notice the flat tires. There were actually two. It made for quite the work out. We get our bikes valeted. We go into the Montalban Theater and enjoy some snackies and some photo stories. Ben Stiller comes out to talk to us and then Lance and the Presidents of Nike and Livestrong. They also bring out Shephard Fairey (the famous artist that did that bold Obama and this huge mural of our boy) then there is music.
It was great! Shannon even noticed that someone was playing beer bottle bowling in the back of the theater and she laughed at every strike.

We had been looking forward to riding our bikes back to the Von's late at night, not, with the roads now open to junkies and cars. We go out at about 10:00 and ask the valets what we should do since we didn't see any taxis. "Take the subway, it is right there on Vine and Sunset." So we walk our bikes over to the corner and see no subway. Looking at the 4 foot wide sidewalk, it seems to be our best bet. We figure we will ride as long as we can, and maybe walk the rest.

And we are off! The flat tandem is challenging. We go through intersections, up and down ramps, dodge a few bums, newspaper stands, zoned out people, stoned out people, huffing and puffing. Shannon almost was speechless at our beauty with the wind whipping our buffs ever so gently as we glided along. OK that is not what happened. She was speechless because it defied the laws of physics, and really intelligence, to be riding this fast, in the dark, through so many obstacles on a bike that needs about 20 yards to come to a complete stop. We raced for our lives, huffing and puffing (at least I was) and we made it back. My legs tasted like chicken. We signed the wrench and plan on selling it on ebay after we reach fame and fortune. We then loaded up the bikes and moved on out. The next day we all had a yellow carpet hangover. But it was well worth it. Thank you Lance. Don't be such a stranger. We don't bite ;) And we have wrench.

And dear Lance, we would be happy to sport some of your new Livestrong Sneaks. They are sporty cool!


Missy said...

Wow! It's never dull, is it!

Susan said...

Great story, Margerie! Let me know if you guys need an editor for your book.

SweetDreams said...

I'll start the bidding at $100!! VERY fun!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.