Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong will join US president George Bush on a mountain bike ride at Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas this coming weekend. Armstrong, who retired from cycling three weeks ago, told ABC's This Week, "It's a dream scenario for me. Now that President Bush doesn't run anymore, he rides his mountain bike fanatically. People wonder why he stays at the ranch so long, it might be the mountain bike trails."
Armstrong cautioned that it wasn't likely to be a relaxing ride. "I know people who have ridden with him," said Armstrong. "I can tell you he's one very competitive guy. Very competitive, there's no talking. A few minutes of warmup time, a little chitchat, then you go."
Despite having connections with Bush and his Democrat rival John Kerry, Armstrong maintains that he is not going into politics, reiterating that the stress and the time away from his family would be too much. That aside, he did offer this comment on the money spent on the US's involvement in Iraq. "As a survivor, I think we would be better spending money on an illness like cancer," he said.
George Bush gave up running a few years ago due to a knee injury, but the 59 year-old likes to keep fit. He also rode with a group of journalists last Saturday, and told USA Today's Sal Ruibal, "I love exercise. Prior to learning about mountain biking, I was a jogger. And then, like a lot of baby boomers, my knees gave out. I believe that mountain biking is going to be an outlet for a lot of people my age. I'm 59, and people are going to realize you get as much aerobic exercise - if not more - on the mountain bike without being hobbled."
Bush added that by exercising in this way, he was trying to encourage overweight and unfit Americans to do the same. The cost of treating the USA's "obesity epidemic" is huge. "What it takes is organization and discipline and setting priorities," said Bush. "And I think exercise ought to be one of the top priorities for Americans."