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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.