About five years ago, I was having dinner with some people at a restaurant in Austin, Texas. It remember it being a fairly fancy place, dimly lit and quiet. About midway through the meal, I took a breather from my steak and took a look around the room. I had to do a double-take, but it turned out Lance Armstrong was sitting about 5 feet from me at the next table - and I hadn't even noticed. We happened to make eye contact for just a moment later in the evening, and I can still recall how steely and cutting his eyes were (no homo).
This encounter happened right about the time he was winning his 6th or 7th tour, and I was fairly star struck - and have followed his career closely ever since.
Fast forward to 2009, and Lance is back on the bike - taking a run at another Tour de France; following a 4 year retirement from cycling. A week into the tour, the 37 year old Texan is in third place - 8 seconds out of the lead, and a serious threat to win another Tour. Not many gave Lance much of a chance to truly be in the mix, but he's showing everyone that he's not just along for the ride.
The 'Versus' channel has live coverage of every stage each morning, starting around 7:30am EST, with replays throughout the day. It's especially nice that the coverage is in HD this year - with some great sweeping helicopter shots of the French and Spanish countryside. I'd encourage you all to take a break from those replays of Law and Order, and find Versus on your dial sometime in the next 2 weeks.
I'll say this for the Tour; it's definitely inspired me to get out on my bike more - I think I've logged about 30 miles this week. In true rube-like fashion - I'm also one of those people sporting a yellow Livestrong bracelet for the next month.
Here's a montage of some of Lance's greatest hits: