Hard to know what words to use to describe such an amazing time! We convene at Lance Armstrong’s Austin bike shop, Mellow Johnny’s. I learn the name is derived from “maillot jaune” – which means “yellow jersey” in French. Ah, but of course – and there are indeed some of Lance ‘s yellow jerseys framed up on the wall.
We head out and we are 18 people – very cool. Despite the fact I have been to Austin dozens of times in the past, I am now vividly reminded of how hilly it is around here. So we climb up some of these hills and stop at the top to wait for the group to reconvene (hmm, and possibly catch our breath?). Then here comes Steph – left, right, left, right – cresting the hill and then he just – keeps – going! He doesn’t stop like the rest of us.
Uh oh, I’ve got a flat. Obviously I’m clueless. Katy the filmmaker to the rescue with the cutest little air pump. Tim Dolan wants to help and takes over pumping the tire back up. Next rest break, the captain of the moving caravan, Linc, changes the tube and gets the tire ready in about 30 seconds flat. Also hearing about his adventures around the world, what can’t this guy do?! The early clouds have long since given way to constant sunshine. It is feeling hot. By late afternoon Steph says his bike reads 102 degrees.
Not sure there’s been a ’19th hole’ quite like this. The RV and trailer are parked right in front of the Austin Hilton. Yeah, that makes quite a statement! Put up some orange cones, pull out the beer cooler and we’ve got the mother of all tailgates going on the street curb. Steph’s quickly got a beer in hand and we all (not the kids) follow suit. Later, great BBQ at Stubbs (thank you George & Craig). Back to the hotel, Linc is still holding court in front of the hotel with some locals. But of course, who could resist the SC trailer, Linc and a cooler of beer?
Time to go. The Parking Spot bus arrives (kudos to them, they were great). I am now all by myself in this bus with a bunch of spots on it. I am reflecting on everything, trying not to cry but I’ve got the biggest smile on my face. It was a privilege to be here.
Go Steph Go!