In Search of a Little Humanity



I hit the ground at 53kph. With no more protection than a millimeter or two of neon green spandex plus some aerodynamic styrofoam atop my head, I didn’t stand a chance. My jersey has a some tears and my helmet received a few minor dings, but instead of a glancing skim across the asphalt, the crash was a shockingly brunt impact directly into my left shoulder. People talk about “learning how to crash” — that’s ridiculous. In the frenetic final few minutes of a bike race, when you’re moving at speeds over 30mph and then in the snap of your fingers three riders touch the barrier and come crashing down directly in front of you on, in reality all you do is wish for luck.

2013TDF-Stage1-0063

A cheetah’s body is like an elastic — over eons of natural evolution, its body bends, contorts, and stretches to comply with the demands of striking its prey and abruptly crashing to the ground at 60mph. Evolution in the human body, though, has not caught up with the speeds of our modern age. The airbags and crumple zones that provide emergency measures of a car are equivalent to broken bones and torn skin on the human body at these unnatural speeds. As beautifully pure and elegant as bicycle racing is, it can also be violently inhuman.

Rules are a critical part of the sport of cycling. We can agree that an absence of rules in a bike race quite simply results in one-hundred and fifty guys (or gals) effectively out for a group ride. By in large rules are inherent and obvious. They present the course and provide a definitive barrier so that all riders are on the same page, racing the same race. This being a professional sport with very high stakes, inevitably the boundaries are brushed up against which will result in one of two options — they excitingly push the sport forward or catastrophically tear it down.

My crash in the closing kilometers of stage one of the Tour de France resulted in a separated shoulder. The pain at the time was incredible, but paled in comparison to the thought of leaving my first ever Tour. With the race doctors’ reluctant but understanding approval, I gutted through two tough stages before we bid farewell to Corsica and were onto the team time trial in Nice. As I comfortably stretched my long American legs from my exit row window seat, I distinctly remember looking outside as Corsica disappeared into the distance thinking that things would be perfectly alright.

In practice, this diagnosis of torn and sprained ligaments in the acromioclavicular joint of my shoulder means I can’t yank aggressively on the bars, so standing to sprint is nauseatingly painful. But sit on the back of a team time trial train? Psshhh, I have Tour de France fitness ten years in the making! Separated shoulder or not, Ha, I can do that all day long.

Thirty-two minutes, twenty-four seconds of competition later (or roughly eight seconds longer according to some), I was cut from the Tour de France. This is the result of a rule — a line in the sand dictating that any rider finishing outside of 25% of the winning team’s time is withdrawn from the race. It’s a rule that I recognized, was fully aware of, and respected. I suppose it’s the ambiguity of my finishing time on a bike without a transponder and the discrepancy between my powermeter’s time and the time given to me by officials that provided me the most grief.

The following morning while mentally in tatters, I was hoping for a glimmer of humanity from the race jury. It’s the Tour de France! It’s the historic one-hundredth anniversary and my debut Tour! I absolutely wanted to be reinstated on the grounds of empathy found in a few slender seconds. It’s exactly the inhumanity and unnatural take on my situation that pushed me in the deepest rut.

But I’ve been propped back up. The sport of cycling is an adventure story spun by two wheels, and I quickly discovered the Tour de France is like a mythical epic, a league of its own, complete with incredible personality and emphatic emotion unlike anything I’ve witnessed before. In an ironic contrast, the lack of understanding offered to me by the race jury was compensated for by its exact opposite — that is, the tremendously compassion provided by family, friends, fans, and a myriad of supporters throughout the world is precisely the empathetic crutch I needed for support at this tough time.

In a sport that can be so cruelly inhuman, I was provided more humanity than I thought possible.

swasey proud



Comments

  1. Andrew Cook

    Ted, you are truly a champion in life as well as sport. Your profound insights on life, friendship, family and cycling together with your willingness to share with your readers puts you at the top of our podium. I must confess like many I was looking forward to your first “post Tour” post, and as always your writing style is bang on. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  2. Marquis

    Inspiration to all. Ride, ride, ride…

    Reply
  3. David C

    Ted. You Rock!! No matter what the outcome.

    Reply
  4. George Straz

    We’re proud as hell of you Ted. Get ‘em next year!

    Reply
  5. RichInMV

    Chapeau, Ted. Will we see you at the Vuelta?

    Reply
  6. Dan Connelly

    Perhaps you can’t comment on this, but I wonder why the team didn’t slow a bit during the 1st half to give you a chance to finish within the margin with a buffer. There’s no GC threats on the team, which is focused on Sagan’s green. Sure, there’s always a chance of getting someone in a break for a chance for a day in yellow, but worth losing your help when you’d had time to recover a bit? Hindsight is 20-20, but with it it’s clear the team made a tactical error in dropping you too early. Alternate, which has been proposed, is to leave a rider with you so you could have 2-man TTT’ed, but of course that risks losing two riders instead of one.

    Reply
  7. Ellie

    Yep. What they said.
    You’re a tough cookie Ted.

    Reply
  8. Roger

    Ted to say we are proud of you would not do it justice. Just riding with the damage you did to your shoulder (I know, I have had one shoulder surgery and am due for another due to similar damage) was heroic. That is one thing most sports fans know nothing about, no matter how many times Phil and Paul tell them about it, is how much of the sport is about suffering through things that would make almost any other athlete fall to their knees and wimper for a merciful end to their suffering. Cyclists just grit their teeth and continue on knowing that eventually it will end, and if they endure in the end they probably will not have glory, probably will not have a trophy, but they will have the incredible feeling of accomplishment of having completed something that would have brought lesser people to their knees. Ted King, I am not proud of you, I am in awe of you.

    Perhaps T.S. Eliot said it best: ‎”Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

    Reply
  9. Gary Lyke

    You represent everything great about cycling. While sad you were the victim of a harshly enforced rule, to me you are an inspiration. NEXT YEAR!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Lori

    No matter if it is in cycling or writing, you have a knack of always keeping us wanting more. I look forward to what is next to come.

    Reply
  11. Scott V

    Ted, in hindsight, I think you will find that this was the best thing that happened to your career. There are people that wouldn’t have paid much attention to you and now they are rooting for you. If you are healed up and coming to Tour of Elk Grove, you will find this to be the case. I can’t wait to see you grow in the sport and say “I remember when…”

    Reply
  12. Adam

    About the “line drawn in the sand”. Seems it doesn’t really exist if you’re Mark Cavendish. Kind of ridiculous that Cav was allowed to finish 4+ minutes outside the time limit in 2011 and continue, while you were a mere 7 seconds back (which wasn’t even the case according to your onboard data). Seems like UCI only enforce the rules when it suits them. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/cavendish-loses-20-points-on-tour-de-france-queen-stage

    Reply
  13. Jim Giese

    Ted, Your story truly incredible and speaks volumes to tens of thousands of cyclists and other athletes across America. It in an incredible example of hard work, persistence, dedication and determination. I feel it is the most poignant and inspirational story to come out of the 2013 TdF. I bet many will say the same thing in 2 weeks. Thanks for inspiring so many people and reminding all of us of the great things we can achieve when we never give up!!

    Reply
  14. Ryan Mayette

    I met you several years ago at a party in Asheville, NC, I think you were riding for Bissil at the time. Anyways, I was very impressed with your willingness to tell me about the sport and your life. Since then I’ve followed your progression to the top tier of the sport with a huge grin on my face. You are the man Ted King!! Keep pounding maple syrup and ride hard!

    Reply
  15. Helene Barrette

    One word: #RESPECT

    Reply
  16. Becky B

    And just when I had dried all the tears… But these were tears of pride. Pride in the dignity and class you showed. And I am proud to say I know Ted King.

    Reply
  17. david penley

    Ted, You make us so proud to be able to cheer you on. Heal and be ready to kick some when you get back into the peloton.

    Reply
  18. Steve

    If there was a “like” button on your blog site, I would put one next to the first post, from Andrew Cook. One of the things that has me rooting for you more than anyone else in the peloton is that you recognize and appreciate that this ride you are on is an opportunity and an adventure that is time-limited. I felt that both when you treated us to your announcement that you had made Cannondale’s Tour team and when you gave interviews “the morning after” the TTT. Both were powered by passion for the sport, respect for the race, and an understanding that this is a time-limited adventure. At least that’s what I felt when the words could no longer come out of your mouth and tears began to flow. If every person on this planet could wake up each morning with the same passion and appreciation for their craft, we’d all be in a better place–individually and collectively. See you in October, at latest!

    Reply
  19. CyntjhCynthia

    Proud, so proud. I can’t imagine toughing it out with the pain that you experienced. Your story touched my heart. I will enjoy watching you in future races! Heal quickly.

    Reply
  20. Sami

    In words of Chris Phipps: http://app.strava.com/activities/64376744

    Reply
  21. Lee (yenrod)

    Is like to know How exactly is the shoulder now ? Are you watching the tour ? What sort of riding are you doing now ? All the best Ted ;)

    Reply
  22. Lee Hodsdon

    Chapeau Ted. Proud to say I shook your hand. In my opinion, your photo should be next to class, courage and strength in Mr. Websters tome. Really looking forward to October. Heal well and ride fast.

    Reply
  23. Lee Hodsdon

    By the way, the Swasey sign ROCKS!!! Ice cream at Lindys!

    Reply
  24. adavidvid

    I am very proud of you Ted I am sorry that you r out of it

    Reply
  25. Hoon

    Ted, you’re the reason I watch(ed) this TDF. You’re the reason kids in New England (possibly all of America) are stoked to ride their bikes a little farther each day. You’re the reason that dudes in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s put on spandex that would embarrass Superman (and their families) and ride a thin fragile, less than 25lb mechanical contraption made of over 100 pieces for long distances. You’re proof that our sport that we love and cherish has a living, breathing soul. Don’t let this tarnish all the awesome.

    Reply
  26. Julie @julesmpg

    still praying and incredibly proud to be a fan! Looking forward to your next tour and more adventures of FlatTed!

    Reply
  27. Stevie B

    I write this knowing that you will probably never read it, but whatever. Keep the chin up Ted. I would be lying to say i’ve followed you for years as only recently I have gotten into cycling. And through my love for Sagan I discovered you. I grew up in Nashua NH and never heard of you but I know of Triple H the wrestler, and even I can say you are tougher than him. I normally wouldn’t comment on a blog this public but I really enjoy reading your posts as does my girlfriend. You speak the truth as it is said. Push on Ted, keep that Dumptruck of awesomeness moving forward.

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      “Probably never be read”…? Friend, I read all the comments. They mean a lot to me. Thanks for this one.

      Reply
  28. Mike Hensen

    Amazing poise, amazing riding, well done.
    The rule should have been bent IMO, and I agree with above poster about dropping off two rouleurs to get you to the line on time, no gc in your team.
    Another ? Why no official protest?
    You are an awesome source of inspiration, cycling and otherwise.
    Thanks

    Reply
  29. Lucas C

    Your love of maple syrup alone is grounds for mad respect.. Your efforts and desire to be an ambassador for the sport and your care for humanity makes you an inspiration. Thank you!

    Reply
  30. sarcasticHalli

    Hey Ted,
    So sorry the Tour did what the Tour does: it kicks you in the balls while moving along at 50 kph in the world’s craziest soap opera. I was so looking forward to seeing you make it to Paris, and I dearly hope you get another chance.

    Reply
  31. Erin

    Ted! I’ve been a fan since the Gran Fondo Hincapie last year…you went through the food line (I was serving) and you looked around and said “what a great event” to yourself. Huge smile. Nothing big but seems to be a good example of the way you appear to love life in general. That’s inspiring to me! To notice the little things and to see everything as a gift. I hope you continue to feel cheered and encouraged by others! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, and for being AWESOME!

    Reply
  32. Hugo

    I can only (and distantly) imagine the heart break from the early exit. I hope you heal well and quickly. You will be back. Next Year!

    Reply
  33. Kingofthegreenmountains

    Ted we were all pushing for ya here in VT. I remember it was only a couple of years ago that I first heard about the ” King” of NH and started following your journey through cycling. Tomorrow well be riding and I’m sure be carrying your enduring spirit with us through the mountains. Ride good my friend.

    Reply
  34. Bo London

    Ted,

    I’m proud of you. It shouldn’t be too much longer before your nose is sticking out of the front of a peloton again. Recover well, friend.

    Reply
  35. Eli

    I want your babies.

    Reply
  36. Eli

    That previous comment probably won’t be approved (or maybe you will? I can never tell with you…) so here’s for reals, bro:

    You’re the man. You’re the hero of amateur racers across NH, the north east, the east coast, the entire United States, and probably further than that. You are the face of clean cycling; of well -read, -spoken and -written athleticism; of the stuff that mothers dream their children are made of. I was just discussing with my teammate a few weeks ago how no matter what happens this year, you need a spot on everyone’s fantasy team. It didn’t matter if your sole purpose was to *ensure* that you got us no points for drafting you – the very fact that you, the cyclist we all try to be, the roadie we all want to become when we get older, had made it to the big leagues meant that you had our support. Entirely and wholeheartedly.

    You’ve contributed 3 points to my so far 1500, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re so incredible and I love what you’re doing for the sport, for the cycling community and for me. Please don’t stop. Ever.

    Eli

    Reply
  37. Route66

    Heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing so openly. Your writing is beautiful. Let your shoulder heal & you’ll be back in France, kickin’ pedal, in 2014!

    Reply
  38. Brady

    Ted, I met you while renting a bike in Girona. We talked cycling for awhile and you kindly answered all my questions about being in the pro peloton (which are probably the same questions you get asked by others who love to ride but just aren’t near as good as you guys).
    Since I’ve followed your blog and career. I was glad you made the Tour this year and hated to see you go down on the first stage. I watched the next 2 stages nervously hoping you’d survive. Your ride on the TTT was one of the gutsiest rides I’ve ever seen. Your determination and toughness exemplified why I love the sport of cycling. Finish the Tour or not, you should be proud of what you showed the cycling world.
    I can’t imagine the ups and downs you’ve experienced in the last week, but you’re fans are proud!

    Reply
  39. Jared Katz

    You’re a mensch. We’re lucky to have you representing the sport and the Tour was lucky to have you riding in it. The jury’s folly must indeed have been (and remain) painful. Heal well, all around.

    Reply
  40. barclay

    Man… you’re a whole helluva lot of class and heart Mr. Ted. Here’s one more stranger saying “Chapeau!”, and looking forward to watching you in the hundred and first tour.

    Reply
  41. Robert Battle

    I saw you in Chattanooga this year after the race (also last year in Greenville). You were talking to Timmy, I shouted at you to snap a photo and appreciate you taking a second to entertain a fan. I was sad to see you leave the tour as I was to not see you there at all last year along side Dugan. Hopefully we’ll see your return next year. Best wishes.

    Reply
  42. Allan U

    Best wishes from down-under. Heal quickly Ted.

    Reply
  43. Cannondalerider

    Ted, so glad to hear that you’ve “been propped back up”. Such a classy blog only a few days after such devastating circumstances. Inspirational! I love your writing. Thanks for always answering the question us weekend warriors always ask… “hmmm, I wonder what it’s like to be a pro-rider”. Your insight is very appreciated. Heal well. Can’t wait to see you back on your Cannondale.

    Reply
  44. Jaque Van Audenhove

    My new mantra: Let Ted Ride
    You are inspiring and we love you in Knoxville, TN.

    Reply
  45. Jimmy

    Ted, while I have never had the pleasure of meeting you in person, I thank you for being the amazing human you are. You are what is right in American cycling.

    Reply
  46. Hilary

    Ted, good luck with your shoulder. Do your rehab and you ‘ll be back stronger than ever. I am in a cycling group called Team Nietzsche .from Cincinnati. Our friend and founder passed away 3 yrs ago from cancer at age 55.His favorite quote is our moto from Frederick Nietzsche which says ” that which does no kill us will make us stronger!, ”
    So as one syrup lover to another I have to tell you my favorite “syrup story” . One day a few yrs, ago my best friend and daughter went into a new llbean store in Baltimore while attending a lacrosse tournament .As I was waiting in line to purchase some things I was holding a jug of real vermont maple syrup.Well ,the line was long and as I waited I began to spin the syrup by the little jug handle.As my luck would have it the little jug released from my grip and flew high into the air! Well time stood still ,everything went in slow motion ,an Im laughing so hard reliving this story I can hardly write. As you can imagine the syrup landed on the floor ,the top popped off and syrup squirted all over this mans legs in front of me . It was summer and luckily( or maybe not so) he had shorts on ,but as strange as the mind works in these silly incidences ,my first instinct was to lick it off this strange mans legs!!! As I didn’t ,i noticed he had hairy legs now “very sticky”,I offered my sincere apologies between bursts of laughter. To make matters worse the mans face was like a stone with no expression which made me laugh even harder.My teenage daughter wa mortified with her silly Mom antics and walked away like she din’t know me, as they announced ” clean up by the register! “

    Reply
  47. Trevor

    The comms are wankers.

    Reply
  48. Stian

    You’re awesome, Ted! Keep in training hard, I look forward to see you in many more big races to come. Much love from Norway.

    Reply
  49. Brit Sørensen

    What a beautiful piece of writing, Ted. Your situation affected me a lot. Cycling is cynical in MANY ways. Unfortunately, I’ve recently had to realize that it’s too cynical and inhuman for my own best when it comes to making a career. Seeing and hearing your reaction to all this, however, just reminded me why I’m so fascinated by the character of cyclists: their performance and endurance seems close to inhuman for most people. But at the end of the day, they are indeed human. Your words in this blog post will stay in my head all day. Thank you!! :-)

    Reply
  50. Karen Rakestraw

    Wow, to be able to write about and feel all the details in life as you do, you sure live life to its fullest, proud of you. I am happy to be one of the fans that feels more connected to cycling because you are in it. Thank you.

    Reply
  51. Stephanie

    Ted, You should be so very proud of yourself for being courageous, tenacious, & representing your family, community, team, & indeed, your country so graciously. I’m so proud of how you have carried yourself during this unfortunate, heartbreaking situation. So, head high, get healed up, back in the saddle because you have races to ride and, yes, the Tour de France 2014! We will see you at the startline next summer.

    Reply
  52. Sasha

    The TDF jury in this instance was wrong. Had it not been for decisions made by officials on day 1 (bus fiasco, changing the finish 2x), you would not be home right now, you’d be in the Tour. I couldn’t have said it any better than Jimmy though – you are a most amazing individual and everything that is right in American cycling. Heck, you are everything that is right in Pro cycling. We need more Ted Kings in the pro ranks! Plus, you have a killer sense of humor and have been known on occasion to tweet back to your fans (love you for that – please keep watch from us crazy Alaskans on Twitter). I have no doubt I’ll be watching you race in the 101st TDF next year. I can’t wait!

    Reply
  53. Fonk

    Inhuman is a very apt term for what the race jury decided in your case. There have been exceptions made before for much larger time cut misses, and your “excuse” was much more valid than most of those other cases. And what’s really upsetting, as you’ve said, is that it doesn’t appear you even missed the time cut if you look at your power data! But of course, I’m sure a guy with a stopwatch is much more accurate than a precision instrument like a power meter… Anyway, you’re handling it very well, and I hope we’ll see you back at the Tour next year. Be proud of the ride that you put in that day.

    Reply
  54. Varsity

    Supha!!! its what cyclists and all athletes live for. Through this there is triumph and the euphoria of a job well done. Hats off to you Ted, through this ordeal you kept honour, respect and sportsmanship. Things we try to pass on to our athletes and customers.
    CARPE DIEM see you at the races.
    PS Shoot us a mail, we want to send you a little cheer up package from our team, and your team mate PS.

    Reply
  55. Stef

    You are a class act, Ted. Hang in there. You’ll show them.

    Reply
  56. J.B.

    So, I ordered a couple of #IannotTedKing 2013 Tour De France T-shirts on June 30th, one for myself and one for a friend who is also a fan. The plan was to wear them with great enthusiasm while watching you toil your way through your first Tour. And so it would go … Like a Pats fan wearing a Tom Brady jersey. Now however, the story behind the shirt will be far more interesting and have much more meaning. You’ve done yourself, the sport and New England proud. It’s true, IamnotTedKing, and I’ll be more than proud to let it be known … Your T-shirt will be worn with great pride!

    Reply
  57. Rod Nadeau

    Your resilience has enriched my idea of humanity.

    Reply
  58. Will

    I was out camping in Alaska for four days, one of which was the day of the team time trial. As soon as my phone got service again, I checked the results to see where you were in the race and was shocked not to see your name even though I knew you had been injured in the first stage. I should’ve known then that it must have been due to a b.s. technicality such as this because you’re as tough as they come and there is no doubt that you’ll be back and stronger than ever for next year’s tour. Thanks for bringing your own humanity to the sport of cycling, you’re an inspiration and a class act.

    Reply
  59. truttaman

    Thanks for posting. Your overall resolve to not let bitterness destroy the fantastic experience of the Tour that most of us will never experience is very encouraging. In fact, many of us experience unforeseen events that lead to disappointments, sometimes massive and sometimes not. I for one am uplifted by the attitude you’ve chosen to adopt towards your “disappointment”. I am only a recreational rider, but have always followed the Tour. You’ve definitely provided a much needed bright spot for that blighted event!

    Ride On!

    Reply
  60. Bill V

    Very well said. Very well done.

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  61. Ian McCray

    Middlebury is proud of you Ted. I think most of us see this as a rigid, short-sighted decision made by the powers that be but the outpouring of well-wishes and sympathy that you are receiving is no surprise. All of us weekenders really appreciate the window into the sometimes enigmatic and insular world of professional cycling that you provide. It is really a treat. I think that we also appreciate the fact that we can still see a bit of ourselves in you. Not in the speed or sustained power output of course, but the sheer love of the adventure of being on 2 wheels that you have held on to and freely share. Right on, write on, and ride on Ted King!

    Reply
  62. Gary Fogelman

    Ted just reading the responses above and the many people on Twitter that rooted for you, we all know that an injustice was done.
    Although I was pretty certain to wake up and read that you would be starting, I was in a strange way relieved that your suffering of pain would end by not riding.

    Reply
  63. Meg

    Loved being able to yell TEeeeddddd! on Twitter, if only for a few days. Thanks for the gutsy TT. You rock, even though you prefer New England whoopie pies to Amish ones.

    Reply
  64. Kelly

    Ted, Praying for a quick recovery. I can’t wait to see you back out there riding!

    Reply
  65. Nate Katz

    I wish I could prop Eli’s comment (the second, though the first brought a chuckle, as well).

    Ted,
    The bittersweet irony of this blog’s title is not lost upon me. If it is said that the flaws we find in others are a reflection of our own shortcomings, then too must the reciprocal be true; the Humanity most deeply revealed through this ordeal has been your own.

    My kids, ages 7 and 5, love cheering their local hero, King Ted! (as they say, and always with (!)exclamation). Your participation in the Tour was to be an illustration of how hard work, perseverance, and patience can transform dreams and goals into reality. While you displayed those traits — in spades — it is now well-apparent that you are not the only role model in the King family. The love and respect that you so clearly have for your parents is truly humbling.

    May you all rejoice on the Champs Elysees in the years to come.

    Reply
  66. Leslea

    HiTed! I have never responded to a blog before – had also never hash tagged anything in my 6 yrs on twitter until the infamous #LetTedRide – so know that your fans truly are coming out to support you. :) Thanks for continuing to share your story which I think is about so much more than just cycling. I have some former colleagues in the media world and will definitely pass along your story – and the amazing story of Krempels which resonates with me due to my own family. Thanks again for the inspiration and the integrity shown during all this. Makes me proud to have you as one of our few American riders and love the sport even more. In fact, maybe this will even inspire me to have another absolute crazy first and make the trek from DC to NH for the Krempels ride (although fairly new to cycling and admittedly (sadly) still a terrified of the chaos of massive group rides)! Regardless, look forward to seeing you back in the action soonest.

    Reply
  67. Big Vix

    Handling adversity (especially seemingly unfair adversity) with grace will be a part of your cycling legacy. Thanks for being an inspiration to so many.
    Podium next year!

    Reply
  68. Annie

    Wow… This proves once again that your destiny is much greater than 100 TdFs! Although I’m so sorry for the physical and emotional pain these unfortunate events have caused you, through your bravery ,dignity and all around humanity you have shown the world what true sportsmanship is all about and done more than anyone in recent history to shine a bright and noble light on the world of cycling! You’re an inspiration for all ages – cyclists or not! Hope to see you soon and as always, you can count on my support for your Krempels King of the Road Challenge!

    Reply
  69. Daddy3x

    Thanks for posting your thoughts. It’s hard to open yourself up to all of us out here! What an inspiration…I will draw on your story as I grind my way through my own races this summer. Getting hard to turn the cranks at the top of the powerline climb in Leadville? Keep turning…at least I don’t have a dislocated shoulder!

    Keep cranking Ted. Awesome effort, and really appreciate your posts.

    Reply
  70. Mike

    When I was recounting to my wife the aftermath of your accident, I realized I had started to get choked up, like it had happened to one of my own kids. Maybe I was into your journey a little too much…
    I hope you’re starting to feel better and we’re definitely looking forward to further updates from you. We’re all like that little kid on the side of the road, waiting for you to come flying by and say…3,2,1 Go!

    TK2014TDF

    Reply
  71. Steve E

    The madness and frenzy that surrounds the green jersey has, and always will, take out many a competitor in the Tour de France. Unfortunately, many in competition to wear yellow, white, and even the polka dots will suffer from the color green. It often comes to mean stop, or at least pause, as much as it means go. Yet when the hill stages drop those that can be fastest for the shortest period of time off the back, Tour officials can go outside of the rules and allow them to continue. How bad would it look when so many stage winners and their closest competition, along with potential green jersey winners, would have to be cut from the tour. You have fallen victim to the green madness, and victim to the rules, but hopefully you will come back stronger as a result next year.

    Reply
  72. Patty-O

    Love reading your blog. Can’t tell how many times I’ve watched “200 on 100″, after living in the area for years. You are total class, brilliantly insightful, delightfully open, and brutally honest about the life of the modern day cyclist. In a world filled with first class athletic jerks, how fortunate we are that you share your gift with us. If they gave a yellow jersey for good guys, you would keep it indefinitely, and we would defend you for every stage. Thanks

    Reply
  73. Betsy Elliman

    Teddy – So proud of you. Can’t wait to ride in the Krempels again this year.
    xox
    Betsy

    Reply
  74. daddyo

    i find your struggle to compete in the face of such overwhelming adversity inspirational. we all struggle at times sometimes succeeding sometimes failing. it the will to continue on in the face of overwhelming odds that raises the effort from an act of futility to one of greatness. i am glad your effort has been recognized for what is was by so many. you have done for cycling what Aaron Copeland did for laborers in “Fanfare for the Common Man”. you have elevated all who struggle.

    Reply
  75. moustikdu80

    j’espère que vous parlez un peu français
    Cher Ted je suis déçu de ce qui vous est arrivé c’est honteux
    quand je vois des choses pareils j’ai honte du tour de france
    n’abandonnez pas et revenez encore plus fort l’an prochain pour montrer à ASO combien ils ont
    eu tord de vous infliger cette sanction injuste.
    Courage Ted

    Amitié de France

    Moustik

    Reply
  76. Gina Gardner

    Like others have said, you are inspiring in so many ways. We’re all so proud of you & wish your first Tour had been a better experience. I continue to believe, though, that some amazing things are going to happen as a result of all this. Doors are going to open. God just works like that. So hang in there. On a side note, I bought my TdF t-shirt from you & I can’t wait to wear it! Thanks, Ted! You’re my new hero.

    Reply
  77. Bruno Sousa

    Ted, I´ve been following your blog for two or three years now. In that period, I went from getting killed after a small 1km hill to finishing L’Etape du Tour last Sunday. I can confidently say that you were a true source of inspiration during my whole preparation – love the bike, love the work, have fun. You embody those values, and that’s why so many people are touched by what you say. I’m not sure you’re aware of the reach of what you write here, but let’s just say that everyone in my cycling team – in Rio de Janeiro, for chrissake – was enraged with what happened. I spent a couple of days in Lucca because of your praise of the city. And I’ve developed a taste for pancakes and maple syrup, which is not common in Brazil :)
    So I know it’s your job and sometimes our dreams don’t come out the exact way we planned them, but take a step back and see the big picture for all of us: you inspire people to be better, and that’s the best thing a person can aspire too.
    Keep it up, thanks for everything, and please know that you have a guide for the mountains in Rio if you’re ever around – a lot of KOMs you can grab here :)
    Abraço!

    Reply
  78. Sue Chase

    Your friends at Krempels Center are all thinking of you Ted!!!!!

    Reply
  79. JJJaJJj

    There are many good reasons to go for a bike ride, you are one of them. Thank you Ted.

    Reply
  80. Steve Wathke

    What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. I have a feeling the next go round will be different. Great job anyway!
    Steve Wathke

    Reply
  81. Keith

    It is the responsibility of you team to keep you in the tour. Not a loosening of the rules.
    All your team had to do was keep you around for half the team time trial and you were safe. They were not going to win the TTT anyway
    But if they were worried about everyone being DQ’d then they did the right thing by sacrificing you.
    This is the way it is.
    The Tour is the ultimate and toughest race and some lessons are also the hardest.
    You are not the only one to hit the pavement.
    It is unfortunate but true.

    You will be back and you will finish.
    Get well and see you in Spain.
    Keith

    Reply
  82. Ian P

    Ted – much has been said by more articulate people than me. Suffice to say that your public reaction to the capricious judgement meted out to you was both a credit to you & an example to others. I’m proud to tell people I know you a little & if they’re curious, point them to your site. If & when you next bounce through Singapore, the pancakes & maple syrup are on me!

    Reply
  83. Uzzy

    Ted it was an honor to work with u at papa wheelies I wish I got the chance to ride with u back then. But all told I’m proud of what you have done and what your going to do later in your cycling future. And hell yeah you got a huge cycling future, so heal up and keep looking up. Maybe after you retire ill get a chance to ride with you but until then kick some more ass!-uzzy

    Reply
  84. Corbin Kohn

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
    Teddy Roosevelt.

    Reply
  85. john l snyder

    Dealt a brutally unfair hand, you responded with class and dignity, proving that one need not finish first to be a winner.

    Reply
  86. Missile Mick

    Ted, thanks for inspiring me man! You are one tough dude. My heart sank when I saw what went down last week. When I saw your interview on TV where you got choked up, I wanted to reach through the TV and give you a big hug. The world needs more people like you.

    You are going to emerge from this situation even tougher than you were before and by before I mean Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator tough. “Get to the Choppa!”

    Seriously though, take this time to heal, recover, and be with your family and loved ones. You are a special human being and I can only aspire to live the way you do. Can’t wait to see you next year at the Tour! Thanks for doing what you do and being such a cool human being.

    Reply
  87. Ken Dhans

    Ted, I know the pain of a separated shoulder, amazing that you were able to continue at all! This shows great courage, dedication to the team, and respect for the race. Too bad the race disrespected you with their decision. Your life and effort is inspiring to many cyclist. More importantly your dedication to your family and your Fathers condition. Krempels King of the Road Challenge would be wonderful to attend, can’t make it though. Perhaps this could be replicated in other cities on the same day, all riding in support of your Father and the center that is assisting in his recovery. Just a thought! Focus on your recovery and returning to the team. Yes it’s the biggest race of your career, to date, but you started and rode in the 100th TdF, that can never be taken from you! Chapeau

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      Ken, thanks for your message. We have a “virtual rider” program where you can ride the KKotRC wherever you are around the globe! Ride your own 5, 10, 30, heck 100 miles! You’re up for the same awesome prizes (…a Cannondale EVO!) and you’re part of the adventure and community.

      You just can’t have the beer garden unless you show up.

      http://kingchallenge.org/virtual-rider/

      This message is for EVERYONE reading. There’s been some amazing outpouring of support here and throughout the Internet. Signing up for the KKotRC, either in person or the Virtual Rider, would be great!

      Reply
  88. Erin

    “So see you at the KingChallenge.org this October 19th?!” I would seriously love to come but I’m about to move from SC to Denver! I can donate from afar. If you’re riding in the pro cycling challenge, I’ll cheer you on!

    Reply
  89. Trac

    I sure do miss watching you ride in the Tour. I am so sorry you are out of it, but impressed with the poise and grace you have dealt with it. I am really hoping you make it back to the Tour next years. I haven’t enjoyed following a specific rider in years until you came along. I hope you are healing quickly.

    Reply
  90. Rich Matthes

    Chapeau Ted. You’re an inspiration.

    Reply
  91. Caleb Fowler

    I never met you Ted King. I’ve heard about you for the last thirteen years or so. Teddy this and Teddy that! You see, I worked with and for your Dad at the hospital and then at the surgery center. It was hard to get to know your Dad back then. Quiet man, didn’t ever really know what he was thinking.
    My wife and I had a miscarriage back a number of years ago when I worked for him at the surgery center. It was general knowledge about our unfortunate circumstance. Every one kind of looked at me with sympathy, some of the nurses voicing their sympathies.
    I was by the scrub sink while your father was scrubbing for a case. Your dad said something to the affect, “Cal, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife and you having the miscarriage. I know it’s a tough thing for you to go through. I just wanted you to know that “.
    Ted, I’m so glad that God put your father in my path in life. This wasn’t the only time that your dad spoke to me with words that no one else would and with words that affected me more than he probably knew.
    With your recent experience I’ve seen the qualities of you Mother and Father.
    I wish the best for you and your life. Your example, like your Dad’s, has touched many a life. I admire your strength, the strength of your Father and Mother as well.

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      Caleb, that story tears at my heartstrings in far more ways than one. Thanks for sharing it with me. Yup, for sure Dad was a stoic. He chose his words wisely and you remembered what he said. Startlingly obvious in your testament of him. Wish you the best.

      Reply
  92. TimB

    Hi Ted,

    I always enjoy your blog posts and strava traces – they add a lot to my understanding and enjoyment of the sport.

    I was really looking forward to seeing you tow the peloton through the part of France where I live, but this year it wasn’t to be.

    All the best for your recovery and I hope you bounce back even stronger.

    Reply
  93. Kathy Raybin

    “The mark of a successful person is that he gets up one more time than he falls down”. I am remembering that old wisdom as I think of your fall and subsequent get-up-and-go, Teddy! Keep on riding the High Road, and keep on rising! Kathy

    Reply
  94. Bruce

    Ted: Heard your story on VPR, and just want to add to the well-wishes. The longer I live, the more I see that Keeping On is not just part of the deal, it’s the whole deal. Injury and injustice are the entry fee of participation–in *everything.* Those of us who don’t have your abilities care about your story because we have the same need for tenacity you do. Keep on, we’re all watching, and God bless.

    Reply
  95. Katie Bolling

    Dear Ted,
    I simply wanted to let you know that everyone at World Bicycle Relief has been thinking of you and sharing in your disapointment. Through your voice for the people we serve in Africa, we’ve been fortunate to have a small glimpse into your humanity and we’ve been very proud to have you as a supporter. Given your experience over the last week and the strong character and class you’ve displayed, we’re now all the more proud. In a time like this, I hope you find a small amount of encouragement that deep goodness exists because of people like you. To the power of bicycles…and to the power of humanity that enables us to do our work.

    Reply
  96. Jim NH

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to say ‘hey look, one of us made it into the big show’ and ‘ he’s a good guy too’.

    Reply
  97. Peter

    Like

    Reply
  98. Cathy C

    Seacoast NH Strong! You make us proud!

    Reply
  99. Mike

    Was that you the other day in New Gloucester, by Pineland? Last thing I thought I’d see on my way to meet a buddy. Black Kia soul, I yelled “Mr King”, you smiled. If that wasn’t you SNAKE I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. I ride at Aggie with the Exeter boys.

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      Ayuh! That was me. First ride back yesterday was a quick’n’ just to spin the legs again. Today was much more proper.

      Reply
  100. Mike

    Keep up the good work. Lots of old guys cheering for you.

    Reply
  101. Peej

    There’s nothing better than a class act with amazing work ethic and a huge brain (and heart) to accompany all of that. There aren’t many people out there a person can know all this about without ever having met them. It’s pretty obvious about you. Though you deserve much better than the outcome which resulted from, in my opinion, a really mindless/heartless/ridiculous decision (and I can’t name a single human who would disagree here), I have no doubt that future good stuff is going to overshadow this down the road. Because karma rules.

    Reply
  102. Mark

    Ted,

    Although my wife and I leave for France Friday morning to follow the remainder of le Tour, I am disappointed you will not be the recipient of our cheers. To share your emotions in the midst of le Tour de France circus must have been as difficult as racing with the pain of a separated shoulder. YOU among others have brought humanity to le Tour. Godspeed!

    Reply
  103. Ken McGuinness

    Because of Strava I got connected to you earlier this year. One of your long rides took you past my sister’s home in Lee and we had obviously crossed virtual paths. It was then I thought I would look you up and follow a local- I am a Wildcat at heart! A Bona by graduation! It has been a thrill to watch your workouts (thanks) and to talk about your exploits in the TOC, helping Peter, amongst my friends. I voted with my heart that you would make the Tour and so it came to pass- YES!. I started racing late in life ( now an official too), but my son and I bonded over cycling decades ago, so I am so in tune with today’s cycling environment that following you is even more exciting. I cherish your writing and whit. I enjoy your quiet strength. I was amazed that the “jury” could not find in their heart to make a few seconds disappear for the sake of the sport. You were gallant. You are a trooper and very humble to boot. This year you made great strides. You are an inspiration to all. That is your gift to all of us, and for that I thank you. Lee next weekend and then Tour of the Catskills next!

    Reply
  104. Nnyrbb

    Ted, you are a teacher. By allowing us to know about your life trough your writing (entertaining, informative and heartfelt), we are able to learn what it’s like to work hard for your passion – to suffer the pains and savor the victories. It’s clear that what you’ve learned from your dad and your family have made you the pro you are today.

    I’ve followed your career from the Cervelo days, and was so looking forward to seeing you in this TDF. In part, bc I’ve been telling other cycling fans to keep an eye out for you, dragging the peloton around France, and bc i was there for the first time myself. I hoped to get you to add a 2nd signature to my IamnotTedKing shirt commemorating this first for both of us.

    You were robbed last year when you had clearly earned a Tour spot, and robbed again this year by injury and questionable time-keeping. Yet your attitude stays positive and you let us in on that. (Tho I wouldn’t fault you one bit for wallowing for a spell.)

    Thanks for continuing to teach us about humility, goals, and positivity.

    Hope to see you at Tour of Utah again this year. Heal fast Teddy!

    Reply
  105. Cormy

    ted you are a tru brahj

    Reply
  106. Josh Spivey

    Ted,

    My wife and kids are forced to watch hours of cycling footage every day this time of year. Normally, they just ignore it. It’s hard for them to enjoy the intricacies of a Grand Tour. But when I explained what happened to you, that this was your first Tour, that you had been working your whole life for the chance, they were really moved and sad. I’ve been following you for a couple of years now, and I was nearly in tears myself watching your interview on NBCSports; talking about your dad’s stroke and the difficulties he has traveling. I could really feel your disappointment at not being able to let them see you race in the “big show”. I really hope to see you get another shot next year. I’ll be rooting for you until then. Best of luck.

    Reply
  107. Dr. Joshua Siegel

    That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Way to hold your head high and not complain about the unfairness of the world, which everyone recognizes and which you certainly would be justified in feeling. You are a remarkable athlete and more importantly an example for us all. Thank you for your strength and the incredible example of sportsmanship!

    Reply
  108. Kat L

    Ted, I hope to see you next year in TdF. Though seeing you eliminated hurt as I was glad to see you there finally, best to get better and strong so you can race again.

    Reply
  109. Scott T

    Ted –

    Please know that you have friends and fans from across the world who are pulling for you to quickly recover and get back into racing as soon as possible. Your daily blog and thoughts on cycling and life are wonderful to read. For many of us they are a unique insight into the life and extraordinary dedication of an elite professional athlete. It’s a very special that you provide this access to your fans. Many of us also appreciate your charitable work (e.g., the 200 Not 100 ride) and what you do to promote the sport of cycling that so many of us love and share.

    Scrolling through the many pages of well wishing emails is a testament to who you are as both a person and a professional. Those sentiments say more about you and your impact on people than anything else.

    I and the rest of your fans hope to see you back in the pro peloton soon and in next year’s Tour.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    Reply
  110. Walter

    Ted — I can’t really say it any better than has been said in the prior comments, but suffice it to say that you are a tremendous inspiration to a huge number of us, and we were all heartbroken the day of the TTT. Hopefully, you’ve recovered from your separated shoulder, and are ready to bring more dumptrucks full of awesome wherever you go. I just signed up for the Krempels Challenge, and hope to have the opportunity to see you in person then!

    Reply
  111. Bobby E

    Ted, this is my first time posting to your blog, however it is cetainly not the first time I have read your writings. I have to tell you that your interview and emotions after your departure from the TDF were as genuine and heartfelt of any interview with any professional athlete I have ever seen!!! I have been battleling an illness that has caused me to not be able to perform on my bike as I once did and would like to. Because of that, I had all but givin up on the sport I so truly love. However after seeing your interview and reading your words and the heartfelt genuine responses you give, watching you be as real as a person can be, has given me the strengh and courage to face the challenges I must now face to recapture that passion for my bike once again I had the honor and privilage to meet you last year and enjoy dinner with friends and another young professional just beginning his journey into that mythical and sometimes ruthless profession of professional cycling. Riding with you from the hotel through the quiet streets of my wonderful small town to the start of the ride was pretty awesome (yes i did use that word….) however, I did not realize at that time that it set off a chain of events that will no doubt change my life forever. You should know that you have put pride, honor and most importantly character back into not only American Cycling but cycling across this globe. KUDDOS my friend!! God speed in your recovery and thank you!!

    Reply

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