Sunday, October 31, 2010


Well, before I can even start sharing about my weekend I have to say a HUGE thank you to all who donated to LIVESTRONG so I could participate in this amazing event!

OK, so I thought I was prepared for what this weekend was going to be like but, dude, was I wrong. First, it took us forever to get to Austin! It may have been because I was so excited! But, we finally got to our hotel and I was headed to the Livestrong Village to pick up my packet! Thankfully, it was just a couple of blocks from our hotel so we were super close!

Supporting one of my sponsors, Buchanan Bicycles, in Austin

I was excited because I had raised almost $800.00 before I got there. Then, I received some additional donations before we left and I was going to make my goal of $1,000.00!!!! I was very proud of myself! We walked into the Village and I couldn't believe was like a dream! So many of my favorite things all under one roof...LIVESTRONG trailer, Oakley trailer, Mellow Johnny's, SRAM, Trek, Radioshack, a Nissan Leaf and the list just keeps going! Bicycle stuff  and sponsors were everywhere I think I must have been in cyclist heaven!!

I sure hope I win this bike!

My mom and I went to pick-up our packets and we met the nicest people. They asked how I raised so much money and we told them! In case, you haven't read my earlier blogs let me catch you up! I held a fundraiser on my 13th birthday instead of having a birthday party. It was really hot that day, about 106 degrees, but I didn't care I just wanted to help those with cancer. Anyway, I was shocked when I got my swag bag, a TEAM LIVESTRONG Nike backpack (it will carry my cycling shoes, helmet, ipod, kit, etc. I LOVE IT!) and a TEAM LIVESTRONG cap! I didn't know you got different items depending on how much you raised in donations! It was a nice surprise! After we turned in the rest of my donations we were able to just check things out.

 While we were visiting the booths we saw the most touching part of the Village. It was the Wall of Honor. People were putting the names of their loved ones or those they were riding for or, in many cases, names of Survivors on the Wall! We filled out one for each of the people we were riding for and hung them! It was pretty amazing! My mom and I rode for 10 different people either in Memory of or in Honor of! I felt honored to hang their names on this powerful wall!

So, Saturday was the day we were going to Mellow Johnny's and find where we were supposed to be on Sunday. Mom did not want us to be late for the ride because we got lost. Personally, I didn't really care about driving to Dripping Springs a day early but I'd do anything so we could go to Mellow Johnny's! I became very agreeable...LOL! 


Ok, I'm not sure I can do it justice because it was so overwheleming but if you're into bikes, cycling history, cycling clothes and, again, the list goes on this is the place to be! Mellow Johnny's was Party Central! They had a DJ in the parking lot, and the music was loud and rockin' also, free hamburgers and lots of samples of  energy bars. The place was packed and the SRAM car was right outside!

I can honestly say that I loved it there but my favorite part was downstairs! This is where a $100,000 worth of Lance Armstrong's bikes are on display! Man, I want his TT bike soooooo bad!!! They were all really awesome! I just sat there and dreamed!

Here I am! Mom caught me dreaming of a new bike!

Upstairs they have showers and locker rooms so you can ride your bike to work and not go to the office all sweaty! How about that??? They also have all seven Yellow Jersey's signed by Lance wouldn't it be cool to wear one of those???  Well, it was finally time to leave but as we were pulling out of the lot my mom saw a Surburan and had a feeling Lance was in there. We drove around a long time looking for another parking spot but no luck! We found out later that it really was Lance, Levi Leipheimer and Patrick Dempsey (from Grey's Anatomy)! We were bummed but we weren't really there to see them! We were there for a bigger reason! CANCER BITES!

Finally, it was Sunday and we were ready to ride! We got up very early and headed to Dripping Springs. There was soooooo much traffic I was really glad my mom made us get up way before the sun came up! We were getting our bikes ready when my mom went to air up her back tire and her Presta valve just fell out! So, we were changing a rear tire in the dark! Woo Hoo! Again, I'm sure glad we were early!

Found this hiding by the Tractor Supply store in Dripping Springs

We finally made it to the start area and heard Lance speak! It was very inspiring! I started looking around at all the Survivors and all the bibs people were wearing. It was pretty emotional! I knew my Poppy would be very proud of me! I was riding for so many people but Poppy was my original inspiration! He passed away from prostate cancer in November 2007. I just sat there thinking it had almost been 3 years since I lost my Poppy and now I was doing my part to help make a difference! I love you Poppy! It was finally time to ride!

Mom and me waiting to ride!

And...WE'RE OFF!!!!

When you leave it is many people...over 3100 cyclists! There are cheerleaders, high kick drill team and all the spectators cheering for you! I was ready to ride real fast but there were so many people it took awhile to go faster than 4-5 miles per hour. So, I was glad when I could start really riding! Ok, the deal I made with my mom was that I would not leave her! We were going to stay together no matter what! Well, I did pretty good! I stayed with her until everyone had to get off their bikes and carry them across the water on the road! Well, just passed this point was a VERY steep hill...looked to be about a 10% gradient! A lot of people just couldn't ride it and most were walking their bikes! I felt strong and my mom gave me permission to go climb! I smoked that wasn't really that hard I'm not sure why people didn't just ride it! Anyway, I never saw my mom again! OOPS! My blog says it all "I live for speed!"

So, I rode the last half of the ride by myself and when I crossed the finish line I felt AMAZING! I also heard the announcer say, "Let's hear it for Luke Neafus of Edmond, OK! He's a 13 year old that raised over a $1000! Great job Luke!" I just hung out waiting for my mom to come in! My Grams never saw me come across the finish line only heard my name announced! I finally found my mom and Grams! Grams had made us a really cool sign!

Alright, do you remember when I said I met some really nice people when we went to get our packets at the Village? Well, I went to the bathroom and who do you think saw me??? One of those really nice people...and he wanted to talk to my mom! He came over and asked her about my donations and if I had gotten a jersey. She explained that I had not raised enough for a jersey but it was my goal for next year. This very nice man said he really felt I deserved a jersey and wanted to buy me one! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? My mom, Grams and I were all shocked! He and my mom talked some more and the next thing I knew he and I were headed to the LIVESTRONG trailer. He bought me this really AWESOME LIVESTRONG jersey! I felt so thankful and lucky!  Thank you Larry! I will never forget your generosity!

I look AWESOME in my new LIVESTRONG jersey!!!
  Well, we finished off the day by going to various booths, eating a great lunch and talking to some truly incredible people! It was the GREATEST DAY and to top it off I got on the cover of Bicycling Magazine riding with Lance! LOL!

Lance we look cool but I am getting ready to pass you

I am so excited about next year! Oh YEA, I am going back next year! And, I plan to raise a minimum of $2,500 because I am going to start much earlier! Hey, Lance save a ride for me!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I'm currently working on my post about this amazing weekend! Please come back soon and see loads of pictures and hear about my incredible experience in Austin!