This past September I saw Ted Lambert looking a little flustered on the Interbike tradeshow floor. Ted is one of the main gents at Mellow Johnny’s and in the year of knowing Ted and the chaos of events and enjoyment with opening and running such a successful shop, I hadn’t ever seen even a drop of sweat on his brow. Which, since he lives in Austin, where it was over 100-degrees for 90 straight days this past year, is saying something. But Ted, like all of us, had just seen a Twitter message from @LanceArmstrong saying that he wanted to have a mountain bike race on his ranch outside of Austin. That didn’t mean that Lance was going to put it on really, instead Ted, Erin, Craig, Church, Katie and the entire crew of Mellow Johnny’s were put to task. But, they did have six or so weeks, not a problem for this seasoned team of event genius.
So, within a matter of days the race was official and open for registration. Within a matter of hours it was sold out. Racers from thirteen states descended upon the Juan Pelota ranch (yes, that is a Spanglish play for “one ball”). Dave Wiens, the recently defeated Leadville master returned to line up next to the man who took his prize just a few months ago. JHK and his nearly as fast and twice as beautiful bride, Heather Irmiger both won the professional races. Kids, age groupers, single speeders all came out and made the most of riding on the land one of their heroes built.
It was the first big mountain bike race I had been to in years. And, from what I know, it was the first official race that Lance had ever held at his ranch. Discovery Team camps have been there, but opening it up to 700 racers and the general public was something else. It reminded me of when I used to invite all the neighborhood kids over to my house for pick-up soccer and football games in our backyard. It’s just that Lance’s backyard is 500 acres with a delicious 8-mile single track loop going through it. I suppose that’s why he’s smiling like a kid at the start line.
Oh, and here are few photos of Lance’s bike and inspiration from his shop that you might not have seen elsewhere: