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Saul Raisin Returns to Racing
By Staff
Date: 9/1/2007
Saul Raisin Returns to Racing

Saul Raisin Returns
Never giving up is the drama of cycling, the under dog making good, the coal miners boy winning the race, the come from no where victory thatís cycling and no sport in the world requires more from its athletes than cycling!

Brian C. Grenier

Being the cycling connoisseur that I am, I remember hearing about Saulís crash last year through an RSS feed into my Blackberry and like all other things that I have no reference point to, I clicked by it.

I didn't know of the events that were taking place half way around the world! They were life threatening, and life altering, however I had been desensitized by the 3 word RSS feed heading "Saul Raisin Crashes." Unknown to me was the drama being played out, some where in France laying in an ICU was a young American rider that had crashed on a patch of gravel and later that very day his life would be hanging in the balance! Just three words on my Black Berry nothing more!

I didnít see or feel the panic of his family as they franticly made their way through Atlanta, Georgia's Hartsfield airport to run down the international concourse to make their flight taking only their passports and some cash. I couldnít feel the trepidation and the agony as they crawled out of their skin on the 8-10 hour flight unable to sleep as the hours left on their sonís life were ticking away!

My God the hopelessness that only a parent can feel, as they slowly flew east.

You see I was at Dairy Queen, we all crash get the ride in the disco truck and get on our bikes in a few days, that's cycling! What I didn't know was this; Saul Raisin was not expected to make it through the night!

That was the lead-in to the very first interview I had with Saul Raisin. For that first interview I had called Saul on his cell phone while he was some where near the boarder of FL and GA the reception was spotty but through the hour that we were connected we struggled through questions and answers to put that very first interview together. The very first thing I noticed about the guy was that even though he was struggling with some speech and memory issues he was genuine and that made me want to talk to him more.

Two months later we met at his inaugural Charity ride ďRaisin HopeĒ we chatted a few times that day and I got to meet his parents as well as his girlfriend, now fiancťe Aleeza Zabriskie, yes the sister of Dave Zabriskie the Master of the time trial! The man that I talked to that second time was much stronger than the one I had talked to a few months prior. Saul had poise and was speaking quite well, a marked improvement!

This is also the event where I met Dave Shields who was in the process of writing a book on Saul. Saulís story was a made for print tale of overcoming and making good in a wholesome way, the story needed to be told and after reading a couple of his books Dave was just the guy to impart the right dose of emotion and suspense into the tale of Saul Raisins comeback. Check out his work and passion at

When the charity ride started I was set up on the stadium grass to take some pictures as Saul lead the field out. When I saw Saul clip into his LOOK bike it was like everything about him changed, gone was the insecure young man and here was a professional rider plying his trade, I took a couple of pictures but none I took or found captured that transformation it was truly that amazing!

After the ride Saul, Aleeza and his parents were around greeting and talking to everyone present. I got the opportunity to talk to each of them not as a reporter but just as another rider. We talked about riding, family, helmets and Saulís passionógetting back into the Pro Peloton! Depending on who you talked to the time line was different, Saul would have it done in a few months, his parents I think had other ideas, reality would be some where in between. Saul and I chatted briefly over the phone that night but his commitment level was taking off and it was a short conversation, the last we would have to date.

Over the ensuing months I would get bits and pieces from Saul through cycling publications or off his web site. His wattage was up for sure, he was getting stronger, he was off to France for testing, he was in Utah for training. He was interviewed for the Tour de France, he was here he was there, finally settling into the decision to live in France full time. Not knowing, but of course surmising, I am sure those months were full of ups and downs, schedules and deadlines, good days and bad. Through it all he never gave upónever!

Some times when we read about some one never giving up it sounds great it gives us inspiration, a nice warm fuzzy feeling deep down, however we rarely relate it to ourselves and our life, this is where the story starts to get layers my friends.

21 days ago I was in a near fatal cycling crash, nothing fancy just your typical high speed decent interrupted by a large black bear in the hills of CO. I have spent the past 3 weeks drooling on myself and watching the ceiling fan in the living room. I am getting better now every day! Dave Shields even said today I type pretty good for a one hander, see thatís an up, it is in the plus column, its progress! I now can honestly relate to never giving up its not a vague concept any more!

Never giving up is the hallmark of cycling, some days are bad days, but in cycling you just keep going. Some days you get hurt, but in cycling you just keep going. Some days you canít keep up, but in cycling you just keep going. Watch a cycling race no matter the level and you will see what I mean about never giving up, it is the nature of the sport and it is burned into our souls. Never giving up is the drama of cycling, the under dog making good, the coal miners boy winning the race, the come from no where victory thatís cycling and no sport in the world requires more from its athletes than cycling!

Before I got off the phone with Dave Shields tonight I asked him if he could sum up Saul Raisin in one sentence, He said: ďHe never gives up in a genuine, sappy way he is true to him self and just keeps going after what he wants. He wants to inspire other people any way he can to never give up and I can tell you he is wed to this ideal 100% it is his whole motivation!

Today Saul Raisin will roll out and sign the book for his entry into the US PRO TIME TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP, it is his return to the Pro Peloton he did it just like he said he would. His struggle back to the ranks of the professional level of cycling has inspired thousands and with his book he will inspire thousands!

The victory today wonít be in the time he posts but in the fact that he crosses the finish line, beating fate and fulfilling his self ordained destiny! Good Luck Saul !

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