Alexi Grewal – Interesting Dude

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Did you guys see this article at Velonews.com about Alexi making a comeback next season. He retired in 1993. And has lived a rough life most of those years since. He got into religion and got his Olympic Gold Medal stolen/lost.

I haven’t seen Alexi much over the years. I think the last time I saw him was at Michael Aisner’s Coor’s Classic DVD reunion.

Alexi and I go way back. I think the first time I met Alexi was at Superweek back in 1977. I met him for sure at a Junior National Training camp, that following spring, in 1978, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The start of the Eddie B. era. He was riding for Monte of Italy from Aspen Colorado. He was eccentric then for sure. I’ve raced with Alexi all over the World. And he has never changed.

I have a million Alexi stories. A million and one.

A good one is from 1986. Greg Lemond chose me to race the Professional World Road Championships, after the Coor’s Classic. I was stoked. I had been at altitude for a couple months and the Worlds were in Colorado Springs. Anyway, the way it worked was that Eric Heiden was going to be named to the team, because of his fame. I was going to be first alternate. Eric had already went back to California and started medical school at Stanford, so I was going to ride. Alexi, by chance, was the 2nd alternate.

A couple days before the race, someone calls and tells me that Jack Simes, czar of USPRO, had bumped me and put Jock Boyer on the team. I rode over to the hotel that Jack was staying at to ask him about the rumor. I had never much talked to Jack. He was coming back from a run and I saw him in the lobby. I asked him about getting bumped and he goes off on me. Telling me that Jock Boyer was the reason that the Worlds were in the United States and deserved to ride the race and I had done nothing for the sport and deserved nothing…blah, blah, blah. I didn’t have much to say, for once.

Anyway, I was pissed, obviously. My team director from Levis, Michael Fatka got into the mix at that point and protested something to someone. The day before the World road race, Boyer was still riding. I went out with Tim Hinz, Levis team mate, and went for an all day ride on gravel into the mountains. A couple hours in, we got caught in a crazy hail/snow storm and spent over an hour in a culvert, freezing, while our bikes were getting buried by frozen mush. When it stopped, we limped into Cripple Creek and drank a gallon of coffee each and froze riding the 2 1/2 hours back, downhill, to Colorado Springs. We were destroyed. Late that afternoon, Michael came back and said that it was all fixed and I was back in. Boyer wasn’t on the initial team and he had been added way too late, so I was going to be able to ride.

There was no way that I could race 163 miles, with a gazillion feet of climbing the next morning. I was done. So, I called Alexi, who was living in Boulder and asked him if he wanted to take my slot. He said absolutely and that he’d been training exclusively for the event, which I thought was pretty weird. Anyway, as I called Jack Simes to tell him how it was going to go, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction, even though I was the one that got screwed.

I called Jack and told him I wasn’t going to ride, but Alexi was. Jack calmly replied that Alexi wasn’t going to ride because he and Alexi had an “agreement”. Jack tells me that Alexi was positive for a failed drug test in Crested Butte, a couple weeks before the Coor’s Race, and that Jack wasn’t going to sanction him, to allow him to race in Europe. I immediately called Alexi back in Boulder to ask him if that was correct. He said something like, “the results from the test weren’t back, but most likely it wasn’t going to be good.” And that he did have an agreement with USPRO. I said, “shit Alexi, why didn’t you tell me that before I called Sims.” He said that he thought maybe it would work out for him and he didn’t have anything to loose by letting me call Sims on his behalf. I was dumbfounded. But, Alexi is Alexi. And Boyer raced Worlds.

I am going to enjoy keeping up on the comeback of Alexi Grewal. Super entertaining for sure. I hope he gets the old guy team together for the resurrected Coors Class/Quizno Race. I’d be all in with that.

I love guys like Alexi that keep the sport and my life interesting.

Winning the Olympic Road race in 1984 over Steve Bauer.

An old photo from Nevada City. Alexi is on the right, behind Dale Stetina. You can only see my shoulder. I am next to Andy Hampsten (team mate), who is next to Alexi. Chris Carmichael is on my left.

21 thoughts on “Alexi Grewal – Interesting Dude

  1. Jim

    A great story. I was in Colorado Springs in 86 and what I remember most was how the weather changed from about 90* for the TTT to about 55* and rainy for the Pro race. It was the fastest 6 1/2 hours of my life. A great time.

     
  2. Neil Kopitsky

    Were you there for the Garden of the Gods Circuit Race the week of the World Championships? Grewal obliterated the field and finished alone . . . ripping his 7-11 Jersey apart as a “Victory” salute. I can’t recall exactly the statement he was making, but he wasn’t happy with U.S. Pro, obviously.
    Enigmatic character for sure . . . but what a ride he pulled of in L.A.!

     
  3. David Henderson

    Definitely interesting. I don’t quite understand the hiking boots other than being conspicuous.

    I’m sorta in agreement with Brad on this one. A seventeen year retirement and coming back at age 50, and expecting to be competitive with the pros?

    I do wish him luck. He is entertaining. I’ll say that.

    I’m not sure if he has paid his dues like the current active cycling legends such as Steve Tilford, Ned Overend, Thurlow Rogers, and Kent Bostick.

     
  4. CurbDestroyer

    I think about Alexi often. After becoming a cat-2 one of the first races I did was the Copper Mountain Crit. Alexi was riding for team Crest. The field was stacked (as it should be for a cat1/2 in Denver, CO at that time), and I was holding on for dear life just to stay in the field. I was thinking, what have I gotten into, and who or what at the front of this train. (It wasn’t Alexi like I’m sure many of you are anticipating). Alexi wasn’t at the front, because he was off the front solo . . . he eventually lapped the field . . . solo!

    Maybe it was the altitude, I mean I’d been in some fast races before, but after that experience I was of the opinion he must be an inter dimensional being.

    All I can say he was an outstanding-extraordinary racer. He was extra-ordinary, and he stood out from the extra-ordinary men.

    For whatever reasons it seems to me that Alexi should have benefited more from his talents/potential than he did. I met and talked to Alexi a couple times and he was always a really nice guy to me.

    yea “Interesting Dude” to say the least.

     
  5. alexi

    Hi Steve,

    True story? Called me? Simes let off the Hook with a fine. 2,500 dollars. I sent it in, never spoke to you or him. I did not ride the worlds as payback for spitting on a TV camera at the TDF.

    But you know nothing of the context of that story just as you knew nothing of the context of the story you just posted.

    Alexi

    Alexi

     
  6. Rod Lake

    Wow, he just proved your point. You just can’t get better proof than that! Hilarious. Oh how I hope he comes back. Cycling could use some comic relief.

     
  7. tilford97 Post author

    Alexi – Glad to you hear from you. Long time. I’m pretty sure of the facts I stated in the post above.

    I have no idea why you weren’t intially on the Worlds Team. You were 2nd alternate? You did race the Munsingwear Race with Ned and Fignon right?

    Did you pay USPRO for the failed drug test or for spitting?

    The only part of the above post that you might have knowledge of is the phone call I made to you. The rest didn’t have anything to do with you. I guess maybe you just forgot that I called you.

    And I know that I called Jack Sims and told him that you were going to race and he told me you had a positive drug test and you weren’t. How else could I have gotten that information.

    Glad to see you’re as feisty as ever. That will probably serve you well in this “comeback”.

    I’m sure I’ll see you at a race soon. Are you still looking for a frame? Steve

     
  8. Mike T.

    You said “got his Olympic Gold Medal stolen/lost” – maybe its rightful owner, Steve Bauer, took it?

     
  9. Bill Humphreys

    Yeah there was lots of confusion going on behind the scenes at the World’s in 1986. Jack Simes asked me to come out and be the unofficial soigneur for the team which I did, but I stayed away from all the back room stuff and just enjoyed the moment.
    These are interesting but not surprising stories, Steve. I am glad you are all “Open” to him coming back and your jesture of offering him a frame is a great one if sincere, which I think it is.

    Steve, take a look at my website, http://www.bikeguy.biz and see if you still have any old jerseys from back in “That Day” so I can include you in this amazing book and chapter. The Jersey Project. ciao, BikeGuy

     
  10. Scott

    I’d just like to say – It’s Jack Simes. Not Sime, Sims or any other thing … Jack Simes III, I believe.

     
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  12. tilford97 Post author

    Scott-I’ve corrected Jack Simes spelling. Sorry Jack if you read this. I’d also like to say that I don’t hold any grudges toward Jack. I didn’t know him at the time and he obviously didn’t know me. It was just how it was gonna be.

    I know Jack way better now and he’s a great guy. He’s done a ton for the sport of cycling. He promotes indoors roller races on antique rollers throughout the winter in bars. (I’m sure he’s making a killing doing that. I’d love to race one!) You can view some photos at –

    http://www.cyclingcaptured.com/2010-Cycling/Roller-Racing/02202010/11307908_EJCHi#793623697_cSknF

     
  13. tilford97 Post author

    Oh-Alexi and I have been communicating privately now. I think he was having a bad hair day, which we all do. I’ll write some about it later.

    This wasn’t mean to be a public topic, just a story about me not getting to ride the Professional World Road Championships when they were in the United States. Alexi was just a part of that story. An interesting part for sure, but just a part.

    Like I said before, I wish him the best with his comeback to the sport. But, he’s always been a part of it, so it’s just a comeback to racing.

    I bet he thinks it got a whole lot faster. Which is true.

     
  14. kppixtures

    Steve & Alexi
    Followed you both and others for many years, have photos from Coors and Neveda City. LeMond and Eric chasing each other asses up and down NC streets. Alexi call me, this is a doc and you know it. Cuba is awesome.

     
  15. Jeff

    Wow. That thread was awesome. Get “Crazy-Man” some bike stuff made after 2000. Just kidding. A.G.’s gotta get some shoes and a bike though.

     
  16. Alex V

    I was at the worlds that year. The Garden of the Gods. WOW….I had a bunch of nice zoom lens photos that I took there, including the shirt/finish episode, but alas, as some many other things, they are “in the wind”…. “The bicycle, she is a cruel mistress”…..

     

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