Imagine you hadn’t been on a bike in 18 years. Difficult, we know. But could you ride 300-odd miles in 48 hours? How about if you had Lance Armstrong help get you into shape first, and there were $1.2 million on the table?
That’s the amount at stake over a bike ride between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in a wager struck this week between two celebrity poker players, Bill Perkins and Dan Bilzerian, reports PokerNews.
Perkins challenged Bilzerian via Twitter on Tuesday to ride from his home in Los Angeles to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign in no more than 48 hours, with the ride starting no later than 31 March.
According to a tweet from Bilzerian, the distance is 278 miles, but he added that he hadn’t ridden a bike in 18 years.
Both men can afford the $600,000 each is laying on the table.
Perkins runs his own hedge fund and has also made $2.5 million in winnings on the poker circuit, while Bilzerian, whose father engineered a series of coporate takeovers, is said to be worth $100 million and, going by his Twitter feed, lives the playboy lifestyle to the max.
Perkins issued the challenge after Bilzerian himself had bet another poker player, Sam Abernethy, the more modest amount of $10,000 that she couldn’t do the same ride inside 72 hours.
Stand-up comedian Joe Rogan messaged Bilzerian to tell him: “Hey brother, Lance Armstrong says he wants to help you get ready for this bike wager you’ve got going on. Want me to give you his number?”
Some of his 1.33 million followers on Twitter were rather cynical about the assistance Armstrong, banned from sport for life in 2012 for doping and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories, might provide.
One, Brentan, wrote: “Just need EPO, human growth, test, insulin, clenbuterol and a few blood transfusions and you will do fine.”
Another, William, said: “F*ck Lance Armstrong's number, get the number of his pharmacist.”
Perkins has also thrown down the gauntlet to Armstrong to ride between the two cities in 15 hours for a wager of $200,000, with some suggesting the money could go to charity.
Los Angeles to Las Vegas may be around the distance from Land’s End to somewhere to the west of Birmingham, but the terrain makes it an entirely different proposition.
The most direct route, avoiding Interstate 15, would require steady climbing early on in the ride until the 3,777 feet Cajon Pass 62 miles in, after which comes the Mojave Desert and an even higher pass, at 4,280 feet, 235 miles in at Cima.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.