When I went to Washington a few months ago, the American Airways in-flight magazine had a one page fitness article on Lance Armstrong. The sidebar had a bit on "Top Cycling Spots" and I was overjoyed to see that he mentions Santa Cruz as an "absolutely great place for mountain biking" and "frankly, for my money, you can't go wrong."
I had heard rumors of Lance's visit to our town so I contacted a friend at Giro to get the story. A couple of years ago, Lance visited San Francisco to meet with some corporate partners. He paid a visit to Santa Cruz and brought along his mountain bike. He was doing a for an autograph and meet and greet session with Giro employees - who were a major sponsor of Lance. Then he snuck off for a ride with the Senior VP of Marketing at Giro and a couple of other people. According to my source, the pace was brisk on the climbs and Lance was flying on the descents as well.
Lance Armstrong is one of the only nationally recognized cyclists in mainstream America. Having him mention Santa Cruz as a "Top Cycling Spot" for mountain biking is a huge PR win. This little statement from a world renowned cycling champion in a throw away magazine is pure gold.