If there was a Schroon Lake dictionary -- and you looked up the words "fun" and "life", we are almost certain there'd be a picture of the late Lance Gregson, sitting atop a bike, with a big smile on his face.
"Lance's mission in life was to have fun," his wife Anne told me. And for Lance, that meant riding his bike, whenever he could, spreading and sharing his love for cycling with others and raising money for worthy charities on bike rides.
So when Lance died at age 44 in 2007, in a tragic accident after he fell while at work repairing stucco on a chimney, Anne, his family and friends wanted to memorialize his legacy with a bike ride.
"Two of the things Lance most loved were bike riding and pot lucks," Anne said. And that's what the Lance Gregson 1 Eye Classic is all about.
This Sunday marks the fourth year of the event, which kicks off at the top of the Town Park above the Beach at 8.30 am. (Click here for details about the various rides). At the end of the day everyone gathers for a pot luck picnic and concert by Lance’s talented musician brothers.
We wondered where Lance's love affair with bikes and Anne all started, and how the ride got its name. Here is how Anne remembers it:
Lance grew up in Schroon riding bikes everywhere, it was how you got around here in Schroon. His love for riding continued throughout his life. He had hard core riding buddies but would also love to act as a guide for other cyclists not as experienced. He would ride at their pace and offer encouragement.
Anne met Lance when she first arrived as an art teacher at Schroon Lake Central School. They were introduced to each other by Lance’s Uncle. They were married four months later in 1990, after Lance returned from a trip to Calfornia to hear a lecture by Dan Millman, the force behind the Path of the Peaceful Warrior movement.
Lance said to Anne marry me and I’ll get your health insurance and you’ll get my land. He asked if she wanted an engagement ring and she replied that she didn’t need a ring, but a washing machine, so she got an engagement washing machine. Among his many passions was bike riding. He had a bike for each season. When he started building bikes with his buddies, he would agonize over which parts and materials to use. He raised thousands of dollars for cancer research and cystic fibrosis. He had this way of getting to do these incredible rides while doing so much good for others.
The ride is called the 1 eye Classic because Lance only had one eye, the result of a chain saw accident when Lance was a kid. Later in life Lance would use the phrase, “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye” when things weren’t going smoothly.