July 13, 2010 Leave a comment
Next up in our list of favorite entries from our Scattante Stories Giveaway is this little gem from Tim, where everything is not how it first appears (what can we say, we love hearing a good yarn):
The images are as vivid as the day it happened…I was astride my Scattante spinning the Dura Ace cranks at over a hundred RPM. The climb wasn’t new to me, but the feeling was. It was as if I was riding up one of those “Mystery Spot” tourist traps where water flows and balls roll up hill. I had never climbed or even seen anyone climb so effortlessly and quickly. But it was me and I was on a rocket to the top.
I saw him as I rounded the next curve; The athlete’s athlete. His physique looked like the muscle diagram posters I had studied on the gym walls. But I was rapidly gaining on him. The uber cyclist was moving with the same effortless flow that I felt, but he was riding a much more expensive steed, with parts that had not been in the stores yet.
Could it be? As I got closer I imagined passing him…Lance. To my amazement, I soon realized it was him, and I was about to blow his doors off!
I couldn’t do it. I paused on my pedals in mid stroke, slowing down to say, “Good morning!”
I surprised him so much that he swerved and almost rolled off the pavement.
“Woah,” Armstrong exclaimed. “I almost bought it.”
He gathered his wits and commented, “Great climb for such a flat state.”
“You bet,” I replied.
I then explained how the 1987 Pan Am games used this very climb for the road course. The fans here were asked not to push riders up the hill. They seemed to only be helping the American riders and the UCF officials thought that was unfair.
He chuckled and told me of how he planned this to be his last bike ride ever. I couldn’t understand why since I had watched him improve in the professional ranks and considered him to be the future of cycling in the USA.
Lance confessed that he had been pre-diagnosed with “Cancer of my boys,” as he put it. He was in Indianapolis seeking the best treatment possible.
His voice quivered when he spoke of the uncertainty he was facing. I pedaled alongside, all ears.
Soon we were near the top. I thought I would give a little challenge and started to hammer. I dropped him, probably because he didn’t expect it. I looked back and he was out of the saddle and hammering himself right behind me. I could hear him as he breathed down my jersey.
Finally the climb was over I turned ready to high-five the Texas star, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was left with my gloved hand hanging in thin air. I know he was right there, but suddenly vanished from the Hoosier Hill.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I laid my two-wheeler down and took a seat on a fallen log next to the road. I was suddenly out of breath myself as I struggled to make sense out of what just happened.
Drained physically and mentally, I collapsed on the leaves and pine needles. Laying there I kept replaying the scenario in my head. When did he leave, drop off or pass me? Or was he even actually there?
The next thing I know, my wife has her hand on my shoulder as she stirs me awake, “I thought you were going to ride your Scattante today, sleepyhead.”