I haven't blogged in a while. I know. I've been too busy to think in more than a few tweets at a time. But every now and then something spills over.
I got a special email today. It meant a lot, and I just wanted to share it. I've edited a few things out, but this is 99% of it. I don't think it requires any additional commentary from me.
"I haven't really taken time to digest all of these doping confessions that have come out over the last few months. Mostly because I am too busy and to disconnected from personally being competitive in elite races now. It feels like a different life. The Crawford thing stung. I mean, we all "knew" all of this long ago. The person that mailed the epo for Crawford told me a list of names in 2002 and 2003 that included all the names listed in the Velonews article plus some others. Who knows.
And Crawford and Tyler are still making money in cycling off of their connections and affiliation with doping. That is what stings. The other thing that stings is that a lot of us never got the chance to compete in a clean sport. I mean, look at my career overlap with the dates and what was out there. My experience in Europe and what the doctor told me to do is a whole different story. But here in America, trying to eke out a living at the bottom and retroactively seeing, or 100% knowing how many spots were taken by dopers, is now hard to swallow.
I guess when I read the Crawford thing this morning it made me want to reach out to you and make you aware that you are riding for our generation, or at least as a spokesman for our generation. The generation that never had it stacked fair from day one. A lot of us got tired of treading water at the bottom knowing the system was flawed. Now, the system is better (I hope) and it is super cool that "one of us" is there to ride in this new system. These kids racing now will never know what it was like (and that is good).
More later--but just keep in mind when you are feeling beat up that there is more at play and more reason for you to keep going than your own will and desire. You speak and ride for more than yourself.
Thanks for going training today."
We haven't even announced that our 2012 'Cross Camp registration is open, and it's already half filled! Info here:
Camp is limited to 30 spots this year, so don't wait!
New for 2012, we're gonna try and keep you updated on the results for our national Cycle-Smart Grassroots Team. We've got over 60 riders across the country getting it done in multiple classes. We figured you should know more about it.
Jason Pratt from our Oklahoma team reports that "It was a Cycle Smart clinic at our first Oklahoma race of the year," with Jason taking the win and FIVE CSGRT riders in the top 10:
1 - Jason Pratt
4 - Steven Cate
5 - Steve Smith
6- Greg Saxon
8- Jared Christie
My old manager Chris Duroy, and former teammate, Steve Cate, both from Sharper Image/Mathis Brothers, are on our Oklahoma team, and it's a real treat for me to have those guys racing in a Cycle-Smart kit after all these years. Winning is nice. Friendship is even better.
Neil Bezdek has a new blog entry up on Bicycling.com today about how being a bike racer affects how you drive a car. In it, he writes:
“Hold on a second,” you might say. “Isn’t racing about pushing the pace?” Actually it’s not. A bike race is never a contest of who can pedal the hardest—that’s called a time trial. It is a competition of who can pedal the least, of who can capitalize on the ebb and flow of the peloton, then hit the throttle at the right moment."
Maybe this sounds like common sense to you. Maybe it sounds like a revelation. But I can tell you that some cyclists go their entire career without grasping clever concepts like this. They're the things I learned from people like Paul Curley, from Mark and Frank McCormack. Things I learned growing up racing bikes with shrewd, sharp New Englanders. They called us "East Coast crit riders" back then. We just called it smart bike racing.
This year is the 3rd season I'll be Neil's team captain on Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStop, and my 5th year guiding this team of young riders from neo-pro to hopefully bigger success down the road. This year, as the team goes from a year of amateur status back to the pro ranks, we re-signed every single rider from last season. All 8 guys are returning, along with 3 new signings. That's a huge statement; an indicator that last year we hired the right guys, and those guys took the steps they needed to be ready to step it up with us this year. For me, and Neil's blog today really hit it home, this is the best graduating class I've ever had as a professor of bike racing. Along with Jon Hamblen's help, Neil, Ben Zawacki, Luke Keough, Jerome Townsend, Travis Livermon, and Thomas Brown all did me the courtesy of accepting me as their teacher, valued my knowledge and experience, listened hard, and implemented what they heard. To see Ben Zawacki turn all his random attacking from before we signed him into 6 wins last year, most of them solo moves made in the last lap, made me laugh out loud with satisfaction regularly. To see former pro mountain biker and tall skinny guy Travis Livermon go from dirt dork to almost winning field sprints in fast, technical circuit races, or taking huge turns at the front in the last 5 laps for his sprinters made me beam. Every guy on last year's team showed some kind of breakthrough like that last season that maybe only we noticed. You might have had to be watching closely to see the progress.
But I noticed. And I'm proud. Thank you, guys, for taking this seriously, and still laughing together along the way.