Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ben Harper


Hope Rides Again

Lance Armstrong's first book was titled, "It's not about the Bike" without a doubt is an inspirational read and after spending an evening in his presence I would lobby for this next book to be titled "Bigger than the Bike".  Lance is a hero to all and without a doubt the greatest cyclist...ever, but after listening him talk about his mission to conquer cancer he's truely a class act. 
So last week I responded to a "tweet" from Lance on the ever growing in popularity website called  Lance had "blogged', "first 100 e-mails to respond get to ride with me this Saturday in Los Angeles.  A day later I was confirmed for the day of my life!
Only a few short months ago I met Mark Allen and Pauly Newby Frasier two Ironman legends.  Now I get a chance to meet Lance.  I might as well just buy a lottery ticke, huh?  (Well I did...and no cigar!)  
I received e-mails from a representative at Livestrong with details of where to meet and a few basic details of the ride.  We would ride 2 miles down Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.   I blogged to facebook on Saturday morning, "today I get to ride with Lance"  One of my smartass friends commented, "how's that work?  Does he coast while you pedal...or do they make him pedal with only one leg?"  I suppose you wish you would have thought of that to give me a hard time, right?
So I meet at the staging area and receive my free "Hope Rides Again" tee shirt that I was required to wear on the bike and a mystery black wristband that is supposed to get me into THE function.   You know me, always at the front of the starting line, I was front row, hoping to get to ride and maybe even talk with Lance.  Then there were about 800 other bikers behind me all probably thinking the same thing!
Lance come out and makes a brief speech launching his new "Stages" art exhibit where each day of the 21 stages of the Tour de France this year he will introduce a new artists work and how it relates to his message he is trying to get across about cancer awareness.  Shortly after we saddle up and all 6 lanes of Sunset Blvd are closed to traffic and a wall of cyclist travel freely all the way from Children's Hospital to the Montalban Theatre.
There was a staging area where we could valet park our bicycles and the mysterious black wristband got us in to the theatre.   We were welcomed with an open bar and Livestrong paraphernalia all over the theater including his bikes, shoes, clothing. etc.   There were 3 large screens with synchronized photos by Elizabeth Kreutz the captivating the audience.  We were greeted by none other than Ben Stiller who had an open monologue to introduce Lance.
Lance shared the stage with the president of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the president of Nike.  Later Shepherd Fairey the artist of the giant mural.   While everyone was on stage there was Q&A and much dialog to keep our attention sharing great stories of the "origin" of the Yellow wristband and what's to come next.
Finally there was a surprise guest appearance of Ben Harper and the Magnificent7 who rocked the house playing nearly 10 new songs to their upcoming album this spring!  
Lances message came across loud and clear that he wants to stomp out cancer.   Definitely a night I will never forget!  Please enjoy the links, photos, and blogs below!
Summary of Event:
My Photos from the event:
Someone elses blog and photos from the night
Someone's video from the ride last night
Professional Sports Photos, this photographer's pictures were featured in slide show at the event 
Professional Photos of the event - These are incredible!
Another great photo!
Shepard Fairey - artist who made giant wall mural of Lance in Hollywood (famous for Obama poster)
More Great photos from the event
Map of event
utube video from event