Sunday, July 05, 2009

Lance Armstrong - Spenco 500

Spenco 500 Home Movie

In case y’all thought the story about my video project keeping Maddog from going stir crazy during his injury/recovery was a lie or fairy tale I thought I should provide some proof. I have uploaded one home video to ‘You Tube’ for your enjoyment. It was a strange coincidence that when I decided to start the video project the first home movie or videotape I grabbed from my collection was the “Spenco 500”. I had even forgotten that I had filmed this event. I used this home movie to learn and practice how to use the video software I purchased to convert and edit tapes/film to DVD.

This home movie is very relevant now that the Tour de France has started and has an interesting story behind it that I will try to relate/share as briefly as possible.

Our son Chris attended high school in Dallas, TX at the same time as Lance Armstrong. Chris and Lance competed throughout high school in track and cross-country and in 5 and 10K road races in the Dallas area. They were both gifted athletes and became good friends and usually biked 50 to 75 miles every weekend with a group of friends. One day in 1986 Lance and Chris approached us with a group of 5 friends (all 15 years old) and asked if they could compete in the Spenco 500 – a grueling 24-hour/500 mile bike race through the Texas Hill country. The race started and ended in Waco, TX.

Since most of the parents were super jocks (in their own minds) who raced 10Ks and marathons and considered their kids to be even ‘better’ athletes we consented and agreed to support the team. My wife/sports manager and I drove the kids in our custom Ford van (shown in the video) so that they could relax and rest when not racing and other parents drove a van with the bikes.

When we showed up at the pre-race meeting in Waco there was a big surprise! The race officials took one look at the ‘kids’ and declared that they could not compete because they were too young! We reminded them that they had cashed the check/entry fee and had accepted and confirmed the kids’ registration that truly stated their age as 15 years old! After much heated negotiations where we informed race officials that one parent was a lawyer and would sue the race organization and request an immediate injunction to halt or delay the race they reluctantly conceded that the ‘children’ could participate. However they stated that they would accept no responsibility for their health or safety since the race was too challenging and grueling for such young ‘children’!

There were several ‘elite’ teams entered in the race including the US National Cycling Teams (men & women). A few members of the Women’s National team made the mistake of teasing the kids saying “you should not be in this race – you are not even old enough to shave”! This pissed the kids off and provided motivation to not only compete and finish – but they made it their goal to beat the Women’s US National Team!

The race started out well in the warm light of early evening. The kids were full of energy and motivated by all the negative comments and reaction to their participation. They averaged better than 30 miles/50 Km per hour during the initial daylight hours of the race. However as the race entered the hill country and light turned to dark and it became cold, rainy and miserable the enthusiasm started to fade. By midnight the riding shifts had shortened to 20 to 30 minutes and two team members wanted to quit and could/would not take their shifts. At that point Lance became the foundation and cheerleader for the remaining teammates and urged them on through the cold, miserable night. Often he would take every second shift to give his mates a longer rest. I watched in amazement each time he would bolt from the van in the miserable weather and bike furiously to catch up to the Women’s National team. All through the race – even through the miserable, cold night – the kids and the Women’s National team had played tic-tac-toe. Usually the women were in the lead but always within sight!

I was amazed with Lance’s athletic ability and stamina for a 15-year old kid. But what impressed me most was his drive and competitive spirit. He refused to give up or lose! I remember commenting to the Sports Manager “ this kid is truly unique – he has the ability to become an elite athlete”! (He didn’t let me down). Fortunately as the sun began to rise and the temps warmed up all five team members revived and became rejuvenated and motivated again. They were determined to finish – and beat the women!

As we approached the final 100 miles of the race Lance gathered the team together in our van and told them that if they could keep the women in sight until we were 25 miles from the finish he would take the final leg and guaranteed that they would beat the women!!!
Upon hearing their strategy I ordered Lance to skip his next few turns/legs and to rest for a few hours.

The team rallied and did their part. When we were 25 miles from the finish line the Women’s National Team was about 2 miles ahead. We let Lance loose. It was like letting a pit bull loose on a postman! He attacked like a possessed demon and averaged better than 30 miles/50Km per hour and passed the women 10 miles before the finish line- and never looked back as we beat the US Women’s National Team and placed 11th overall!!!

We were very proud of our kids and more importantly they were very proud of themselves and their accomplishment – as evident at the finish line in the video!

So now I share this ‘home movie’ with y’all. And you are lucky that y’all also get to share the story and memory that regular viewers on You Tube will never know about.



P.S. Pls feel free to pass this story and link on to friends.


Anonymous said...

love the video. THANKS :D

Dave said...


This is David Carder. Thanks so much for posting this and finding the video. I forgot it even existed. Over the years i had also forgotten some the details of this grand adventure. I posted them up on FBook.


I am going to enjoy reading more about your running exploits. I run 100-mile trail races. Check out my blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited to find this great site. I need to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new information in your site.
Also visit my site ; web design miami beach

Anonymous said...

This post is in fact a fastidious one it assists new web visitors, who are wishing for blogging.
My webpage ... social media

Anonymous said...

I am really impressed along with your writing talents and also with the format on your
weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it your self?
Either way stay up the excellent high quality writing,
it is uncommon to peer a nice blog like this one nowadays.

Feel free to visit my page Zulily coupon code

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I've been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!
Stop by my page click the next web site

Anonymous said...

This is a topic which is close to my heart... Take care!
Where are your contact details though?
Also visit my web-site ... Upper James Manor

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I've been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!
Feel free to surf my website ... massive systems propagate

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post.
Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

Here is my web-site :: iklan baris

Anonymous said...

This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained.
Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
..HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and
more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

Here is my page ::

Anonymous said...

Hello there I am so thrilled I found your blog page, I really found you by error, while
I was researching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I
am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a incredible post and a all round enjoyable
blog (I also love the theme/design), I don't have time to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

Here is my website ... 激安プラダ バッグ

Anonymous said...

Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your website by chance (stumbleupon).
I have bookmarked it for later!

Feel free to surf to my blog post ... 腕時計コピー

Anonymous said...

Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident, and I'm stunned why this twist of fate didn't came about earlier!
I bookmarked it.

Look at my webpage; ロレックスレプリカ

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I love your site!

my webpage :: anal teen