Dave Zabriskie Interview
Dave Z talks about his Yield to Life Foundation, leaving CSC for
Slipstream/Chipotle, Racing in the USA his first victory and more...
By: Brian C. Grenier
Zabriskie 2006 Tour of California.
Photo c. Mark Adkison Phd.
This morning I woke up with the honest intention of delivering a fantastic
interview with US Pro Time Trial Champion Dave Zabriskie. I was going to deliver
said interview with a focus on Dave’s success, the hope he has for the 08 season
and his new foundation, Yield to Life. However this morning I woke up to an e
mail that brought to light a sobering statistic that effects those of us who
mount two wheeled human powered machines.
What this e-mail shockingly stated was the incredible fact that through the
months of Sept-October - 9 cyclists had been killed in cyclist/auto collisions.
With only 4 states reporting, I would surmise that the rate is a little higher
nation wide but this number is what has been reported. What makes this number
graphically sobering is this death rate is higher than the currently reported
combat deaths in military operations for the same period.
These tragic and senseless deaths of cyclists were not brought about by
opposing combatant forces but by citizens of the same citizenry disregarding the
lives and lawful rights of another. These cyclists were mothers, fathers,
sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. The tragic and senseless loss trickles
down deeper than it would appear on the surface affecting not only families but
also communities, friends and acquaintances. This is an unacceptable loss
considering the instigating circumstance was to make the light, pass to make
time, show off or just try and spook the rider to satisfy base level egotistical
In the spirit of fairness one of these tragic deaths truly seems to be an
accident caused by driver inattention, a cell phone no less, the other 8 are
blatant violations of simple traffic laws, generally accepted curtsey and a
display of an incredible level of selfishness and ignorance.
“People have to be made aware and realize that
there is a life attached to that bike that they are passing or toying with”.
Dave Zabriskie is no stranger to the
daily jousting that goes on at a frightening rate between cyclists and
automobiles everywhere. In 2003 Dave was struck by a car, the injuries he
sustained caused him to miss a bunch of races and it took him over 6 months to
recover enough to get back to his job as a professional cyclist. Dave being
Dave, wasn’t about to take this laying down or maybe at the time it was laying
around, however the Idea of a foundation/organization that built awareness of
the life attached to the bike came to mind and Yield to Life was conceived.
Yield to Life, a non-profit organization is designed to build cycling
awareness campaigns, educational programs and road and sign improvements;
founded by Zabriskie this year, it is dedicated to the protection of cyclists
and the promotion of safe cycling. Zabriskie has been hit by cars no less than
three times while training on his bike in his home town of Salt Lake City, Utah!
2005 Tour de France Dave Zabriskie in yellow. Photo c. Karen
Dave thanks for taking the time to talk with us here
at the Daily Peloton, what’s been going on lately?
Dave Z: Well for starters I am taking a
break from cycling and getting recuperated for next years season, it looks like
it is going to be a big one! We also just finished up doing the charity events
Bikes for Kids Utah and the 1st annual Yield to Life Time Trial up Traverse
Ridge here in Salt Lake I had to give up a jersey to you didn’t I?
Dave Zabriskie and Brian Grenier as Brian gets his jersey at the Yield to Life
Time Trial. Photo c. Brian C. Grenier
Right you are! Now that the Yield to Life
organization is set up what are the goals for it and what are your plans for
Dave Z: What we are trying to do is build
driver awareness to the simple fact that there is a life attached to the bike.
Every year countless cyclists are killed or injured by drivers in automobiles
(Dave was unaware of the above #s when this was done) some of these collisions
are caused by shear negligence by both parties. Our aim is to build awareness
through education campaigns and through the local communities and their various
Right now for expansion we are getting a web site up in the next couple of
weeks that will have information on cycling etiquette, laws of the road and
simple preventive measures to help eliminate the spiraling deaths. I think as
more people go GREEN you will start to see more bicycles on the road and there
needs to be an organization in place to help ward off some of the negative
interaction that takes place on the roads today!
We also have some other things in the works, simple things that will create a
steady reminder that there is a life attached to the bike. One of the other
things we are looking at is through advocacy we can popularize riding bikes
verses cars. This will save immensely on the carbon foot print of many people
and will also help keep the earth alive. I see it this way; the earth supports
life so we need to be good stewards and keep the earth alive that gives another
meaning to the Phrase Yield to Life! I think the project is moving in the right
direction and I am excited about it!
The US Champs ITT Podium
1.David Zabriskie (Team CSC) 39:34
2. Danny Pate (Team Slipstream) 0:01
3. Tim Duggan (Team Slipstream) 0:08
Photo © www.benrossphotography.com
Looking forward to the 2008 season you have some big
changes coming up, would you like to talk about some of them?
Dave Z: Yes I changed teams from CSC to
Slipstream Chipotle It is kind of a risk on my part with the team not being a
Pro Tour team but I think with the strength we are going to have we should get
any wild card slot we go for.
I also like Slipstream because of their strong anti doping stance. Jonathan
Vaughters has implemented an strong in house testing policy this year. This
policy is based on longitudinal blood testing. In essence this is a procedure
that establishes normal ranges for each of the cyclists on the team for their
blood and urine profiles. This helps the management keep track of the riders
through the year and help management to identify riders that exceed the
established parameters before the rider causes the team and its sponsors
On the flip side of that is that it would help in the defense of an athlete
if a Lab came back with an initial finding or a positive that just didn’t match
the established profiles. Right now the riders do not have a legitimate base
line profile to point to.
David Zabriskie (CSC) en route to his second US Pro TT title .
Photo © Kurt Jambretz/Action
The team and management is throwing a big shindig in
Boulder CO in November to announce the new team is that right?
Dave Z: That is exactly correct. We are
going to have our official 2008 Team Launch on 14 November at the Boulder
Theater in of course Boulder Co. (Details below.) The people that get the VIP
tickets will be allowed in at 6pm with general admission at 7pm. This is going
to be a great evening out! The event will include a screening of the pilot for
our team's reality TV show, which will potentially air this year, a short film
highlighting the history of Slipstream's rise to the top of American cycling,
and a film showcasing the tumultuous career of new Slipstream star, David
The main attraction of the evening will be the introduction of the 2008 team,
including an open forum Q & A with the riders. The event will culminate with a
live auction, which will include special contributions from David Millar, David
Zabriskie, and the Davis Phinney Foundation, an organization designed to
accelerate Parkinson's research through collaborative funding, and to explore
the positive effects of exercise on Parkinson's patients. All proceeds will
benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation. Out can check it out at; Get tickets now
or at the team web site.
Looking at what I am guessing is going to be the
team roster the team looks pretty strong would you agree?
Dave Z: Yes I would the team is going to
have an incredible amount of horse power in the stable. There is a lot of
experience and a lot of young riders on the team who are eager to learn which
makes it interesting. Plus the newness and freshness of a new team brings a new
perspective so I have to say we look strong and I am excited about the 08
Just for general knowledge was it your choice to
leave CSC it has never been specifically addressed?
Dave Z: Yes it was my choice CSC is a
great organization but I felt this is where I wanted to be.
What role do you see yourself playing on the new
Dave Z: That really depends on what the
team needs me to do. I think if I am feeling good then could go for the GC in
some of the races and then in others provide a support role. I am a team player
so looking at it I will do what is needed. There are a lot of young guys on the
team and if they have any questions I am a pretty open guy.
Coming back to this past year you took the US Pro
Time Trial Championship in fine form how did you modify your training and diet
when you came back from Europe?
Dave Z: Honestly training wise, I didn’t
change too much just a little more focused on the power ranges I would need for
the time trial. When I got back from Europe I started training under Massimo
Testa who had moved here to Salt Lake and I followed his program Believe it or
not I really focused on eating and tried to gain back some weight not sure if I
accomplished that goal but it helped to bring my power up!
What differences do you see between European cycling
and American cycling?
Dave Z: I think American cycling is quite
strong and the Europeans get a little surprised when they come over here to
race. Some of them think they are coming over for a vacation race and they have
their eyes open. I mean look at the Tour of California that race has become one
of the hardest and hotly contested races of the whole year!
Dave in his USA ITT Champion's jersey climbs Traverse Canyon at the Yield for
Life Time Trial Challenge.
Photo c. Chip Smith
Dave when we were in Salt Lake at the dinner for
Bikes for Kids you mentioned that you had one race that has forever stuck in
your mind, can you talk about that?
Dave Z: The race was part of Super Week
and I was racing in the junior nationals there in Wisconsin. I had won a race in
the morning and I decided to stick around and do some of the races in Super Week
in the Cat 3 class.
The race I did in the afternoon was at White Fish Bay and the field was about
100 riders big guys and I felt highly intimidated. So I started in the back of
the field but as we got going I started to move forward little by little until I
could see the front of the race. At that point I started to launch an attack and
was successful to break away from the field and there was only 5 laps to go so I
really pushed myself and dug deep killing my self and won the race! That was the
first race where I threw my hands up in victory and that was a great feeling I
had won in a field that I thought there was no way in hell I was going to hang,
it was exhilarating! I will never forget that race!
Thanks Dave for a great interview we wish you a fantastic 2008 season and
thanks for the jersey!
- Yield to Life Time Trial Challenge
A Little Chat
with Dave Zabriskie
Defined in a Nanosecond
with CSC/Riis Cycling
The Z Factor
Slipstream 2008 team presentation
Get tickets NOW!
Mark your calendars for November 14th, 2007. We will be hosting an evening at
the famous Boulder Theater with the entire 2008 team. All proceeds from the
event will be donated to the Davis Phinney Foundation.
The main event will be an open Q &A with Master of Ceremonies Dave Towle and
the 2008 team. Following the Q & A, Slipstream will be showing three short films including a pilot for a
potential reality TV show featuring Slipstream-Chipotle!
We will also open the floor to all bidders with a live auction featuring many
fantastic limited edition items to bid on!
*A 2008 Team edition Felt F1 Bicycle to be ordered to your specifications
*A Zipp 808 wheelset
*An evening with team physiologist Allen Lim
*A day with Slipstream rider Lucas Euser
*Dinner with Jonathan Vaughters and David Millar at Boulder's finest restaurant,
Frasca, including special menu prepared by Chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson
paired with a selection of wines from Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey
*A fully customized saddle from team sponsor, Fizik
*Ionos, Advantage TT helmets, New Havic eyewear among other top gear from Giro
*Apparel package from new clothing sponsor Pearl Izumi
*A gourmet burrito card good for a year of free burritos from Chipotle
For a $500+ donation, VIP's will receive many perks including an exclusive happy
hour with wine and hors d'ouevres, VIP access to our 2008 fan-club, a special
wine list and front row table seating for the event.
VIP tickets are available now.