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Interview: 'Fast Freddie' Rodriguez
 
By Luke Allingham
Date: 11/30/2011
Interview: 'Fast Freddie' Rodriguez
 

Interview: 'Fast Freddie' Rodriguez
Catching up with Freddie Rodriguez, racing in 2012, and his other hot projects... Live Chat with Freddie coming this
Sunday, December 4th - Updated: 7:00 AM Pacific Time USA

Chat With Fast Freddie - Sunday
Fred will be in the Daily Peloton Chat Room. to visit chat with the Daily Peloton readers on Sunday, December 4th.
Join us in the chat room, simply log in with your name, no pass word needed.  Freddie has confirmed he will be in the chat room at 7:45 AM  Pacific Time and stay for about an hour - Please adjust for your local time. 

Chat Time UPDATE:  Freddie had to change the time, He will be in the chat room at 7 AM  USA Pacific Time I hope you can make it.
VrT

Three time USA pro road Champion Freddie Rodriguez  signed with Saturn in 1996 at 23; after three seasons with Saturn he had 12 victories earning the nick name of "Fast Freddie" as a fast finisher in a field sprint.

His success was rewarded with a contract with super team Mapei-Quick Step team. For the next eight years he would race at the highest pro level in a succession of top Italian and Belgian pro teams in Europe: Domo-Farm Frites, Vini Caldirola, Acqua & Sapone, Davitamon-Lotto and Predictor-Lotto.  Freddie mixed it up  with the best in Europe where he continued to add to his palmares in races around the world and Europe i n one day races and  riding all three grand tours including stage wins in the tours of Luxembourg, Langkawi and Switzerland.

Luckily Fast Freddie would return to the USA to race for the Philly races and tours, claiming four stages of the Tour de Georgia between 2003-07. Rodriguez delighted his fans with his Stage 9 victory in  the 2004 Giro d'Italia, beating Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

A very close second at the 2002 Milan - Sanremo to rival Mario Cipollini... and  few weeks later a second in Ghent-Wevelgem showed Freddie was more than just a fast finisher, he had the legs for the classics.

Returning to the USA Fred rode with the troubled Rock Racing team through 2009 when the team collapsed. He returned to action with team Specialized Racing and later joined team Exergy putting in a more than credible performance at the Philadelphia International Championship where he finished 12th against top European and American competition.

Luke Allingham: How did you get started in the sport of cycling?

Freddie Rodriguez: My Dad was a professional cyclist, well as professional as you could get while racing in Colombia during the 1950s. He was racing the Tour of Colombia and stuff like that, so it was always in the family and he immigrated to the U.S in the 1960s, and then I was born in the 70s. It was always his passion to get his kids into cycling, he actually tried to get me into cycling when I was seven, but I was a little too young get interested in it and enjoy it. So when I was 11 we had a bike shop and there was a left over bike and he gave it to me and at that age I took to it. I liked going fast and riding by myself, so that's when I got started.


2007 Tour de Greorgia: Fast Freddie waits for the start of stage 2.
Photo © www.benrossphotography.com

(My Dad) He was a climber and he and I would go to Mount. Baldy. We would park at the bottom of the mountain and basically start at the base and try to climb all the way to the top. It was always a treat to reach the top of the mountain and then we would get to ride back down and get to go fast.

That's when I got started. I start doing a lot of races in the 1980s and especially after the 1984 Olympics, you saw a lot on young kids racing their bikes. You knew that you could go to a race a race every weekend and know that there would be anywhere from 40 to 50 kids racing. So it was pretty exciting to be around at that time, where we were all doing the same thing. It was something that I did every weekend, and that led to enjoying cycling and getting more & more competitive. I then made the National Team and kept enjoying it.


Freddy Rodriguez in theStars and Stripes of National Champion \2004 Podium
Photo © 2011 Jaime Nichols

LA: Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy doing off the bike? Or any hobbies you do to relax?

FR: Uhmm...I used to have more hobbies when I was younger, I now have three kids. So now I spend a lot of time with my kids. When I was racing in Europe, I was really into coffee, it has always been a big part of my life. I actually started my own coffee company for a while and it was based around creating new flavors and it was always something I enjoy. I would travel around Europe, going to different regions and visiting different coffee shops and try out their different coffee. It's amazing, because different cultures use coffee in different ways, like in Italy, people are more into espressos. In France they have their latte's.

Architecture, I've always been really into architecture. I built my own house, it was very modern, so I've spent a long time doing that. Design - everything from moving to furniture and how it's designed, that has always been my passion.

LA: You rode with team Exergy for 2011, overall how do you think your season went?

FR: It went well, I mean I started my season racing with Specialize and their development team, they have a great team. It just happened to work out with them and it was my first group of people that could test my new apparel. I was able to start racing again and I got to get back to racing and eventually get back to a pro level. Turned out that I was a sea otter and Exergy treated me really well. I looked at the way they were racing and I looked at the way they were set up and what they were putting into races...I liked how they were set up. So when I decided to make a comeback, I called them & they were in the same situation. Exergy was looking for someone to help advance their program and it just happened to be the perfect timing. It works for both of us to get back to the top level of cycling.

I started racing with them In Philadelphia, where I took twelfth, I cramped up in the final 600 meters. But it was a good start. We raced in a lot of the American races. We did the Miami Beach, which we won, and then we ended up with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. It was really cool for me & the team, we were determined to do really well there. All the top teams in the World were there and I think we felt worthy enough. We put in a good effort to be there and I think it was a big part in our team. It should that we were doing things in the write direction.

So yeah it went really well.


2007 Tour de Georgia Stage 6: Freddy Rodriguez nips J.J.Haedo at the line
Photo C. 2011 Ben Ross

LA: Do you have any advice to get out to amateur cyclists who want to become professional some time in their life?

FR: Yeah, I have I a lot of advice. I started my owned foundation, Fast Freddie Foundation, which has a lot to do with my career in cycling and everything it's done for me and also the lacks of our sport that are needed to support young riders. For me there are are a lot of different lessons you can learn from cycling and cycling is a very tough sport, a sport that takes a lot of time and dedication.

LA: Your going to be starting you own clothing line soon, can you tell us a bit about it?

FR: There is a lot to talk about, but the company name is ProoFF Inc. We are making hand make cycling apparel in the Bay Area for the working class pro. We are making custom products to Inline retail. Retail and online. By having our development local, we can customize perfect our product quicker than the competition. We are using some of the best digital fabric sublimation tools in the market that allows us to get some amazing art work. Also creates more durable product to last longer.


2007 Tour of California Stage 2: Fast Freddy Rodriguez being led by Predictor-Lotto team mate Chris Horner on the final circuit.

LA: You aren't the only pro who is still racing at the age of 38, how do you and other riders your age stage motivated while racing?

FR: A lot of factors. Biggest one I'd say is, I still enjoy the sport. I also keep finding new reason to keep fighting for the next win. Taking the year or more off from racing has also helped me refocus my mental energy.

LA: Looking towards the future, do you have an idea of when you want to retire or do you not have any plans for that yet?

FR: At this point I've committed at least two more years of racing. I don't want to think about retirement yet. It's probably around the corner, but no rush. I'm enjoying racing and also helping develop our Team Exergy.

I think the number one reason for getting off the bike is the mental part. Maybe it's good to say, riders should get a break somewhere in their careers to extend the life of it. But probably the main thing is enjoying the passion of riding a bike. As when you hear Chris Horner interview, you can say he enjoys what he does.

LA: Out of your three USA Road Championships victories, which one is your favorite? Why?

FR: I have to say 2002 when I won both the title and the race. The beauty of the Philly race was that you had two battles* in one race, two wins both were not easy. The first year I let the non Americans win, because I was afraid I'd loose the title, the second year, I knew I wanted both.

* The Philly race in the past was an open race with top Euro pros racing against the USA elite and pro riders. While a European pro could win the race only an American could win the USA national championship and stars and stripes.

LA: Do you have any comments on your near win at the 2002 Milan-San Remo, where you took a second place?

FR: It was a bitter sweet day. To get on the World Cup Podium was amazing, but being so close was hard. It was one of my first pro races without my 54 chain ring. The team thought that after 300 kilometers  it would be hard to push it in the sprint. My only regret is that when I went past him I spun out. I could have made more speed.

Follow Freddie on his websiteTwitter & Facebook
Team Exergy

prooff is for cyclists, by cyclists
Founded by Freddie Rodriguez and a rabid group of cyclists and outdoor industry professionals, prooff, inc. is dedicated to creating the most durable cycling gear in the industry.
http://prooffcycling.com/

Fast Freddie Gran Fondo
The Fast Freddie Gran Fondo will benefit the Fast Freddie Foundation, dedicated to getting youth on bikes for a healthier generation.  You can sign up for an email notification of location and time for the FF Gran Fono on the site or give Freddie some feedback on choosing the location here.
Fast Freddy Gran Fondo

Freddie Rodriguez Teams:
1996 -1998 Saturn (USA)
1999 - 200 Mapei-Quick Step (Italy)
2001 - 2002  Domo-Farm Frites (Belgium)
2003 Vini Caldirola-Saunier Duval (Italy)
2004 Acqua & Sapone (Italy)
2005 - 2006 Davitamon-Lotto (Belgium)
2007 Predictor-Lotto (Belgium)
2008 -2009 Rock Racing (USA)
2011 Team Exergy (USA)

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