Austin Finds Creative Ways to Recognize Its Local Hero
Perched in the middle of a flock of locally famous fellow flamingos in front of an Austin nursery, Flance, now spray-painted yellow, is hunkered down over the handlebars of his human-size bike, as low and aerodynamic as his plastic self can get.
Flance, named by Pat Swanson, the owner of Pots and Plants, was only one of the dozens of tributes in Austin to Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong grew up in Plano, a suburb of Dallas. But Austin is Armstrong’s home.
It is where his cancer survivor support group, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is based; and it is home to his former wife Kristin Armstrong and their children Luke, 4, and the twins, Grace and Isabelle, 2.
Hundreds of fans of Armstrong, who is known simply as Lance throughout Austin, crowded into the downtown Fox and Hound pub for the official L.A.F. Tour de Lance viewing party. They displayed Lance memorabilia, and local radio disc jockeys led the crowd in a champagne toast. “Go Lance” was spelled out in crepe paper in a stairway.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the tributes to Armstrong was a pastry at the upscale Hudson’s on the Bend restaurant, where the illusion of a bicycle was created with lemon mousse, cookies for wheels and a chocolate seat and handlebar, all gliding along a road made of chocolate.
“I think that showing local support for a local hero is good business,” Michelle Milford, a foundation spokeswoman, said from Paris. “Lance is a hometown hero.”