The day that Lance came to the shop… (Part 2)
…Eventually a few more folks from the magazine arrived as well as my wife Holly (there was no way she was going to miss this). And shortly after 2 o’clock Lance entered the building. He arrived with even more Outside people as well one of his personal friends or perhaps his “handler” (I couldn’t tell). Lance was friendly and introduced himself and shook hands with me and all of the crew. At this point we got out of the way and let him and Outside Magazine get to work. As requested, I had brought an old shop tee shirt and work pants that Lance changed into. Someone from the Outside crew also spotted an old cycling cap that had been given to me when I first opened the shop. It had been hanging on the wall along with some other cycling memorabilia and was pulled down and placed on Lance’s head.
As they went about preparing to shoot the flat tire video, Lance made it known that he was no expert in the field, joking that he hadn’t had to change a flat since he was a kid, and he seemed quite nervous that he might struggle with the task. Depending on the tire/rim combo, some tires can be nearly impossible to remove while others will practically fall off the rim once the inner tube is deflated. The Outside people had selected a 1980’s road bike to be Lance’s “prop” and before Lance arrived I removed that tire to see how difficult it would be. The tires were not original but they had clearly been on the bike for a decade or more and might present a challenge. I was able to pull the tire off and back on without too much trouble (granted I’ve done this enough times to make it look easy… most of the time) but I thought it might present just enough of a challenge for Lance as to make it entertaining.
The Outside crew proceeded to film Lance changing the flat a couple of times while explaining the process. There was a fair amount of joking around during all of this and Lance seemed to be having fun with it. Although the tire changing itself did force Lance to at one point make the same face expression as he so often made during his attacks in the mountains of the tours (you might have to watch the Outside video in slow-mo to catch it but it’s there) and he claims he even broke a sweat doing the job. Once the flat fixing was finished, Lance sat down for a Q and A. Lance was asked some tough questions which he seemed to answer honestly. One thing that I was not expecting or prepared for was that when the Q and A was finishing up, Lance looked at me and said “what about you? You must have some questions for me?” Caught completely off guard, I drew a blank and shrugged my shoulders (of course later I thought of all sorts of questions that I would have liked to ask… coulda, woulda, shoulda… oh well).
Next we set out to make the teaser video that we would release to create some mystery and buzz. Holly captured it all with her phone so here it is:
Given my extensive acting experience (not), I was a nervous and maybe even a little bit star struck but we got it done. I won’t quit my day job just yet.
We finished up by taking some pictures and getting Lance to sign the old tee shirt that he had worn. We tried to get him out on a bike ride but he declined, his meager excuse being that he was too out of shape (yeah right), I guess he had other plans. Before leaving he shook hands with all of us from the shop and expressed his appreciation for letting him and Outside take over our space for an afternoon. And with that, he was off and the Outside crew packed up their gear.
When the dust had settled, I was relieved and satisfied that it had all gone smoothly enough. We did conduct a bit of business from the sidewalk in front of the shop during filming but no one was too put out and the film crew was happy not to be interrupted during the shoots. My impression of Lance is that he’s certainly been knocked down a few notches but he seems fairly at peace with his current situation. Fwiw, I’d like to see his lifetime ban from competition get lifted if for no better reason than because it would be entertaining to see him compete again in some sporting venue. The way I see it, Lance is a competitor at heart and his current suspension is unprecedented and undeserving given his contributions and lasting popularity. Yes, I’ve been reading the tweets and FB posts and the supporters are outnumbering the haters by a good chunk.
Once it was all said and done, we still had to keep it a secret, which we did for the most part until Outside was ready for us to post the teaser… and the rest is history. It was tons of fun and a great story to re-tell. Who knows, was this our 15 minute of bike shop fame? I’d like to think that we have more in store.
Thanks for reading! –Mike