It is Friday.
After flying from Los Angeles to Vegas on Tuesday and Vegas to Austin on
Wednesday, Armstrong will head back to the airport. He is due in Ojai, Calif.,
for a sponsors' dinner for the Discovery Channel cycling team. "I need to
be more retired," he says. In truth, he does not seem worn out. He seems
energized and engaged--liberated, at long last, to take on his life's work.
Before driving to
the airport, he conducts a brief tour of the house next door, which he
sometimes calls the Money Pit: the home that he and his children will soon
occupy. The high point of the tour, for Armstrong, is the bedroom of his son,
Luke. Its walls are adorned with dinosaurs: a pterodactyl, a triceratops, a
T-Rex whose dull eyes and obvious voracity recall Armstrong's former cycling
rival Alexander Vinokourov. "My son," he says, "has the coolest
room of any six-year-old in the world."
The spacious house
is luxurious in an unostentatious way. In the front yard, serving as a
counterweight to the mansion's spanking brand-newness, is a massive oak, a tree
that appears to have been on that spot for at least a century. Appearances, in
this case, are deceiving. "That tree right there?" Armstrong says.
"Used to be over there." He points to a lot 200 yards away. Arborists
jacked it up with hydraulic lifts, slid a flatbed under it and rolled it over
to its new home.
believe that was an option," says a visitor, and Armstrong responds in a
tone suggesting the visitor has not been paying attention: "C'mon, man.
Everything's an option."
Read more about Lance Armstrong and see a photo gallery from his cycling career