The Kids Will Be Alright



I’m here at my fifth and final USA Pro Challenge. (Whoa.) I’m honored to be one of only two people — my buddy Chris Jones the other — to have competed in every edition of the race. I should point out that it’s my final as a racer, that is, since I love this sport, I love the state of Colorado, I love the fans, family, and supporters, and I know I’ll be back in some capacity, I just won’t have a number on my back.

At any rate, despite being busy 25/7 with the bike racing itself, we’re still provided a few moments to absorb our surroundings. Colorado is a spectacular place to host a bike race, so here are some astute observations I’ve made from the 2015 edition of the USA Pro Challenge.

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1. People are rolling out the red carpet for me and I’m eternally grateful and exceedingly flattered. Throughout the week I’ve received some pretty amazing gifts. Baked goods are delicious, the wine is divine, pictures and posters and coffee are all great, however I think the portrait made out of maple cookie crumbs takes the cake… as it were. Thanks Kaiko!

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2. The wildfires that are absolutely torching the northwestern US generate a nostalgic, homey, ’round-the-campfire smell. Kiel and I chatted about it yesterday as we ventured into the front range mountains.

3. That ’round the campfire smell is not worth the nostalgia. It’s ironic to see morning weather reports on television throughout Colorado that recommend not doing anything that requires physical exertion while outdoors due to the air conditions. Meanwhile we’re hyperventilating as we effectively breathing through a straw typically above 10,000 feet in a smoke enveloped atmosphere. (Cough cough…)

4. Family surprising you at a race is always great.

5. UnTapped Maple Waffles are hands down the most delicious thing that has ever been in my race jersey pocket.

6. I am of course partial to Vermont maple syrup, but I can attest that Michigan makes a viable alternative. (I’m often asked what’s the best “brand” of maple syrup. Slopeside Syrup is the absolute tops, but second place is whatever has an ingredient list that reads: 100% maple syrup. #fromatree)

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7. While not a new observation, American hotels are massive. Similarly the TVs are enormous. However, after flipping through the channels 17,000 times this week, I can report that there’s virtually nothing good on TV with the exception of Ridiculousness. I hope Rob Dyrdek invites me on the show as a special guest, pro cycling celeb retiree.

8. Racing at altitude with a fever is not cool. Not. Cool. Whatsoever.

9. Eating watermelon with a spoon is my new favorite method by which to consume watermelon. Pro tip: this is only worth it when you have wedges of watermelon, like so, and not just slices. Slices = finger food. Wedges = spoon food.

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10. These kids will be alright. As I slowly meander out to pasture, it’s amazing to see the talent circulating throughout the modern professional peloton. The very young team put together here at Cannondale-Garmin is a testament to that. We saw it in Utah with Joe Dombrowski taking home yellow after a hard fought week. Meanwhile here in Colorado Nate Brown is riding like a man possessed, Kristoffer Skjerping is an incredible talent for the future, Italian Davide Formolo is the most entertaining person on the team with which to have a conversation — and his abilities on a bike dwarf his comprehension of English (Davide, my friends, is Italian). And the ever-smiling German, Ruben Zepuntke spews out watts that would make a 50 horsepower gas powered generator jealous. Moreover, each of these guys are 24 years old or younger.

This team and American cycling in general is on meteoric rise and I’m proud to have been part of this sport at this period ushering in a new face and new phase of cycling.

Over and out y’all. Thanks for the ride.



Comments

  1. Becky

    Following your adventures on two wheels has been an adventure as well. See you again soon.

    Reply
  2. Julie

    Love reading about your week. Glad to hear you’ve had the red carpet treatment. Black lung is never good…hope that fever is gone.

    Reply
  3. Olygold

    Sadly I think “like a man possessed” is trade marked by Paul Sherman (you’ll need to buy him a beer), a stage doesn’t go by where that isn’t brought up. You haven’t heard it because you’re always in the fray. Paul should get a focus group together to brainstorm new superlatives for next year!

    Reply
  4. David Penley

    Thanks for the updates so us mere mortals can feel what you go through.

    Looking forward to getting the untapped waffles at a certain store in Maine that is open 24/7/365, I have been a big fan and promoter of the untapped to customers and fellow employees.

    Hope you get better and get strong for the Canadian Races.

    Reply
  5. Karen Rakestraw

    Your eloquent quirky humor has made me a reader and a fan for years. Your solid effort and leadership on the bike has won my respect. I will greatly miss seeing you at the races. Plus, you introduced me to the wonderful lifestyle of maple syrup. Thank you and best of luck to you.

    Reply
  6. Todd Beck

    Ted,

    You are a total class Act! Your last comment rings true because people such as yourself have been an excellent role model to them! People are human, and they are going to make bad choices, mistakes, etc.. At the end of the day, each one of us who loves cycling has a responsibility to be an ambassador to the sport. You are one of the finest examples. Thanks for all of the memories! My advice (for what it is worth) is not to move too far away from something that has given you so much.

    Reply
  7. Jason

    Thanks for the rode also. It has been great watching you over the years. Thanks for pushing cycling in America.

    Reply
  8. Lee Hodsdon

    Hi Ted,

    To paraphrase, “What a long great trip it has been”. Congratulations from an expat from the ‘wood.
    All the best,
    Lee and Carol Hodsdon

    Reply

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