This month I joined some 10,000+ cyclists for the Des Moines Register’s Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). This year’s 470 mile route travelled thru the middle of the state using some of the old Lincoln Hwy 30.
On Day 3, we finished on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa. As I pulled up to a stop light at Welch Ave and Lincoln Way, I noticed a sleek black Trek Madone with yellow pin striping and small yellow stars on the chain stays. As I raised my gaze, I saw shaved legs and a Livestrong Jersey. My mouth uttered “Nice bike, Mr. Armstrong”.
Lance turned, made a small smile and immediately rode left across the street onto the sidewalk. As my adrenaline kicked in, I followed him across the street. We dropped off the curb, cut across 4 lanes of traffic and proceeded east on Lincoln Way. The light at Beach Ave turned yellow as we approached, and we kicked it up to 26 mph to clear the red light. In the next block, Lance slowed a bit realizing, that he had true fan (or stalker) following him and said hello. As we turned south on Elwood Drive, I asked him if he minded me riding with him and he asked where I was headed. As I hadn’t figured out where camp was yet, I told him I was just out for a ride. We proceeded south, jumping on to the bike path when he said “let’s get out of traffic”. We rode and talked for several miles out to his hotel, said our goodbyes and I pulled a U-turn, heading back to town.
I really thought after last year and stalking Lance for 5 days on RAGBRAI, that I was over my addiction and hero worship, but sailing at 25 mph thru traffic with him, reminded me that I may never be over it. He is just another cyclist, and he sure loves to ride and I enjoy riding with him.