“Spring 1981, Cleveland, Ohio – when I became a roadie.”
“When I was in 9th grade, a buddy invited me to go with him to something called ‘Bike America,’ a cycling expo at the downtown convention center scheduled for the following weekend. Not sure why he asked me, but I said I’d go with him. The morning of the expo, I woke up early for some reason, and decided to get into the spirit of the day and go for a bike ride. I got on my yellow 10- speed Raleigh Record and rode about 10 miles, after which I was consumed with pride and amazement at my athletic prowess over completing this grueling feat before breakfast.
“That day, at Bike America, I became hooked and obsessed with cycling. Bikes everywhere, immersed in roadie culture, I was fascinated. I witnessed the first – and only – Cleveland Criterium race – won by Steve Bauer – and got to meet Bauer and his fellow Canadian racer, Gordon Singleton.
“Immediately thereafter, I tricked out my Raleigh like a race bike the best I could: I installed toe clips and straps, downtube shifters, bottle cages, lowered the bars, raised the saddle. Over the ensuing few weeks, my buddy and I devised a ‘training route’ through the suburbs and exurbs east of Cleveland, and throughout that spring and summer rode that bike daily. That route seriously tested the limits of our fitness, though I think it was all of 17 miles in length. Also, that summer, we followed Jonathan Boyer and his travails as the first American to ride the Tour de France.
“I still have a scar on my right knee from a wound sustained by the big chainring on the Raleigh when the bike fell over on me while I tried to figure out how to adjust a brake cable. It was the first of many scars that have made up a catalog of memorable cycling mishaps.
“My enthusiasm – and fitness – has waxed and waned over the years, I’ve gotten into and out of mountain biking, and back onto the road. Bike America Expo in Cleveland started it all. And I still love riding that Ohio training route.”
December Weight: 151 lbs.
Race Weight: Whatever Ken Lundgren can get me down to.
Birthdate: March 30, 1966.
Childhood Heroes: “The Beatles, Johnny Bench.”
Hobbies and Interests: “Playing, listening to, and downloading music.”
Favorite Movies: “Apocalypse Now, Repo Man, anything by John Cassavettes.”
Musical Tastes: “Lots of space – ambient – or all the space filled in – metal. Nostalgic stuff – classic rock, good ’80s music.”
Favorite TV Shows: “House, Mad Men. In general, though, I hate the TV. If not for my wife, I’d get rid of it. She loves TV.”
Favorite Meal: “Really good sushi, filet mignon.”
Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Quaker oatmeal, familia muesli.”
Favorite Pre-Race Meal: “Almond butter and banana sandwich – also my favorite post-race meal.”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Haagen Dazs Vanilla drizzled with really good olive oil and some sea salt. No joke…you should try this. Or authentic nocciola gelato.”
Childhood Dream: “To be a famous rock drummer.”
First Car: “1973 Plymouth Fury. Inherited it from my grandfather. I had no job, so I’d take up a collection from my pals for gas – usually we’d scrape together a couple bucks in change – but the car really guzzled, so we always ran out. I ended up pushing that car around town more than driving it.”
First Job: “Busboy/dishwasher. Hated it, but I had to do something to put gas in that car.”
Favorite Vacation Spot: “Moab, Utah. Florida Keys. Portland, Oregon. Anywhere I’m a stranger. I like vacationing alone. It’s an incredible feeling of freedom to be thousands of miles away from anyone who knows you.”
Pre-Race Feeling: “Harried. Must complete the rituals.”
Early Racing Memory: “Being really annoyed at the start line for mountain bike races because my fellow racers were talking too much. I later realized it was because they were nervous. Too much talk at the start line/during races still annoys me. STFU!”
Funny Racing Memory: “Hearing one of my mountain biking buddies exclaim post-race, proudly, “I only had to stop to puke once!”
Greatest Racing Moment: “Getting into a 10-man break that stayed away for 30 miles, then outsprinting my rival to take 2nd at Johnny Cake, April ’09.”
Most Painful Moment In Life: “Watching my mom cry when our cat got hit by a car… That sucked.”
Worst Injury from Racing: “Just scrapes and a little road rash. Nothing serious – knock on wood!”
Closest Racing Friends: “My Kingpin teammates.”
Funniest Racers: “Teammate Brian Gatens. David Zabriskie.”
Favorite Race: “To ride: Tour of the Battenkill. To watch: Ronde van Vlaanderen, or any Grand Tour stage with a mountaintop finish.”
Embarrassing Racing Memory: “Attacking and going way off the front at a CRCA club race, turning myself inside out building up a nice gap on the field, thinking I had the solo victory in the bag, but…I’d lost count of the laps. One more to go! At least they rang the bell before I did a victory salute. I still got 4th in the field sprint, though.”
Toughest Competitors: “Teammate Brian Gatens. Peter Van Petegem.”
Favorite Athletes to Watch: “Derek Jeter, guts and grace. Peter Van Petegem, probably sleeps on the cobblestones.”
Qualities You Most Admire in People: “Generosity, strength.”
What You Love Most About Riding Your Bicycle: “I love being on a long ride alone, in a rhythm, ticking the miles over like a machine. It becomes a rhythmic meditation, and it is there I feel all the stress, bad energy, and yucky toxins in my body are being blown out with each pedal stroke, breath, and drop of sweat.”