I was talking to Nick Frey at the Handmade Show on Friday. Nick is an Iowa boy who got on my radar screen when he was riding forHot Tubes. He went to Princeton and graduated while racing a full time racing schedule. He won the U23 TT in Pennsylvania and now rides for Jamis Pro Team. And he owns Boo Cycles which makes beautiful bamboo frames. Talk about an over achiever.
Anyway, I asked Nick something about Tour of Chile. He raced it at the end of January-Feb. (I was 3rd Overall in the Tour of Chile when I was on the National Team.) Anyway, we were talking about tactics and I told him a story about how I was in the lead group of 6 climbing to a mountain top finish, a couple km from the top, and was about to get shelled. So, I decided to attack the group as a last ditch effort. It was a crazy, not thought out idea. To my surprise, 2 of the guys got immediately dropped and the other 3 guys were so gassed that we all slowed down to a pace I could recover. I ended up 2nd on the stage when I probably should have finished 5th or 6th.
So, Nick proceeds to tell me about the stage finish on the 2nd to last day, that finished on a 40km climb. Jamis had a plan and let a break go up the road. Then, Nick and his team mate, Tyler Wren, bridged the gap. Tyler sat and Nick went to the front and buried himself for the next two hours (?) and delivered Tyler to the base of the climb with a 6:30 minute lead.
Here’s Tyler Wren, one of the best climbers in the US, fresh with that kind of lead. He was caught, 1 km from the finish, by Marco Arriagada, who according to Nick, was “breathing out of his nose”, ie. not stressed the least. Here’s the results from Stage 9 of the Tour of Chile with Tyler finishing 2nd, 29 seconds back.
He said that he’d never had anything “stolen from him” like that before in his life. And Nick is only the guy that killed himself for his team mate. I’m sure Tyler is more raw from the episode.
Nick said it was so obvious that the guy was supercharged. It isn’t something hard to spot if you’re a good rider. Actually, quite easy. I told him I had no desire to race in South America anymore after racing a stage race in Chihuahua, Mexico a few years ago. There are way too many guys cheating to make it close to fun.
Then today, here on Cyclingnews.com, they report that poor Marco was positive and that he’s going back to Chile to fight the injustice. What surprises me is that he was caught in the first place. Anabolics. I wouldn’t think they would be too hard to find. Maybe they weren’t looking too hard earlier?
Anyway, I could hear it in Nick’s voice how upset he was. And the phrase, “stolen from him” stuck in my mind. And it wasn’t even his personal result. It was his work. The work that he did killing himself to deliver his climber to the base of the climb. But, also the work his whole life to get to the point of being there. Riding in Iowa in the winter. Training while graduating Princeton. The list goes on.
I wish guys like Marco would just become the normal, criminal, robber/burglars. Because what Marco and the guys like him are stealing are not replaceable.
And here’s Nick’s response from an email this morning – It’s funny how my feelings have changed in the last few years. It was easy to rationalize it back when I was not confronted with it directly, but I feel like the last decade–since I began racing a bike–it’s gotten worse and more screwed up than ever. How could anyone be so stupid and selfish at this point? Don’t these guys love the sport like we do? If it was a matter of getting a job to make money, go fucking wrench on cars or sell life insurance.