Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oracle Customers Get To Ride With Armstrong

Seven-time Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong led a group of totally stoked Oracle customers on a predawn bicycle ride through the streets of San Francisco last week, capturing his first maillot rouge--a long-sleeved, red Oracle jersey. Oracle Executive Vice President John Fowler welcomed the crowd and introduced Armstrong, who asked the riders, after their 5 a.m. assembly, "Who was up the latest last night? How many of you were out all night? I'm steering clear of you for sure."

After a course overview and safety lecture from Oracle Senior Director and cycling team captain Brian Dayton, customers mounted loaned bikes (Trek 7200 Comfort Hybrids) and Armstrong began the 7-mile ride, leading the peloton of 100 or so along the Embarcadero, complete with SFPD motorcycle escort. Blinking headlights and taillights illuminated the darkness as the riders rolled under the Bay Bridge to Levi Plaza, and returned south toward AT&T Park. After the stage, cyclists enjoyed breakfast and Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Rozwat introduced the Texas native, who agreed to pose for photographs and answer a few questions. Subjects ranged from surviving cancer, whether he'll race Ironman Triathlon (no comment), and the challenges he faced winning the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, a grueling hundred-mile race at elevations as high as 12,424 feet.

In response to a question concerning racing etiquette in the recent Tour, where winner Alberto Contador didn't stop to wait for Andy Schleck when his chain fell off, Armstrong described racing as quite political: "It's part chess, part NASCAR, part marathon, and part Tea Party."

Team Oracle Cycling (from left) Brian Dirking, Team Captain Brian Dayton, Radioshack's Lance Armstrong, Rich Schwerin, Mike Gagas, Roger Scott, Lawrence Leung.

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