I want to spend more time with my best friend, Lance Weir.
Lance is from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He was named after Lance Alwoth---one of the greatest all-around athletes that our country has ever known. Lance Alworth was nicknamed Bambi—because of his incredible abilities to bound effortlessly over this most bountiful land.
Lance Weir grew up immersed in the culture of sports---both as a participant and spectator. He loved all that it gave him—a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and being part of something special, with grander horizons that he could ever imagine on his own.
Like Lance Alworth, Lance Weir went to college in Arkansas, and kept chasing his dreams, using all the elements that sports taught him---discipline, sacrifice, focus, determination, persistence and perseverance. From college, Lance Weir became a U.S. Marine—where he was also a champion—an expert marksman with a wide variety of weapons.
But then one day, Lance got hurt. And things have never been the same since.
It was 22 years ago that Lance broke his spine. He has been sitting in a chair as a quadriplegic ever since.
I met Lance 13 years ago. And my life has never been the same since either.
Lori and I first met Lance when he came to San Diego to connect with his first service dog, Satine.
When I was down, with my spine, and was at the bottom, and was going to kill myself, Lance would come over and sit by my bed. He would ask me what I did to stay so positive.
When we found the right equipment and people through the CAF, we were able to help Lance get a new bike—a special one-of-a-kind bike that would allow Lance to get out with the guys, to be on a team, to feel the wind, the sun and the sweat, to be free, to be independent, and to be on his bike.
Lance’s bike requires a lot to get him, and it, going. It needs a pilot in front and often warriors on the wings to push from behind when things get really hard, on the climb.
Andy Boyd, Chase’s dad, stepped right up and immediately said, “I’ll take care of this.” Andy Boyd has already given up everything in his life for his son, Chase. Andy would do anything for Chase to be able to ride a bike like Lance can.
Andy spearheads Lance’s bike team, the way that Maurice Lucas always did for us.
I have been riding my bike my whole life—or so I thought. It wasn’t until I started riding with Lance that I began to understand what riding a bike is really all about.
On one of the CAF MDC rides from San Francisco to San Diego, Lance was having a big day on his bike. The whole team was out there, following Andy and Lance’s lead and command.
We were pulling into Santa Barbara after a long, hard, hot, 120-mile day, down the coast of California.
I caught up, and slid into the wing-formation to try to help push a little bit.
I went down, big time. I broke my leg, broke a few ribs and smashed my elbow.
From the ground, I rolled over and looked up. Lance and Andy and the rest of the team just kept on going, never looking back.
I was never so happy, and proud, in my entire life.
Satine, has now passed on. Her ashes are buried in our back yard at the base of the Buddha Fig tree planted in her honor. The tree's heart shaped leaves are a direct reflection of the magnitude of Satine’s love for life—and Lance.
Lance has a new service dog now—Auggie. Every time that we stop on our bike rides, to change pilots and get fresh legs up front on the Lancer-cycle, Auggie jumps right into the chair, and signals that he’s ready to go.
We’ve built a new bike for Lance now, better and faster. And he is doing things today that no one with his level of disability has ever even tried.
Lance Weir just finished the Silver State 508, which puts him in the same league as Lewis and Clark, and John Wesley Powell.
The last few years I've taken to calling Lance Weir the ultra endurance athlete of millennium—and I'm starting to think that that is now a significant understatement.
We’re just getting started here. And I’ve got a lot of work to do
Thank you Lance, for showing us what life is all about and what we all might be able to do one day with our own.
We love you Lance—-more than words can tell.
Enjoy the ride. And roll on forever.