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Actually, it is about the Bike
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 4/23/2002
Actually, it is about the Bike
 

By Chuck Coyle
Team 7-UP

Normally I like to write about my daily life and the velo-happenings as I see them from inside the peloton but this week I would like to talk a bit a little bit about how it happened; actually, I want to tell about whom allowed it to happen. I suppose this is a little bit sentimental and will not make anyone a better climber or more savvy in the final 200 meter dash for the line but I believe that it is important for all of us to recognize and ‘give props’ the people who influenced us in such a way as to change our lives.

What makes a good role model? I guess it is better to ask who makes a good role model? It used to be your local priest; this is certainly not the case anymore. They are all in court for some abuse charge that took place in the 1970’s. Perhaps then it is someone like U2’s Bono who fights against apartheid in South Africa, I don’t think so……. he has yet to make me a better person. Maybe a superstar like Michael Jordan, then; no, not even the great #23 has been a huge inspiration in my life thus far.

Someone like Lance Armstrong certainly is a huge influence and is extremely inspirational. I purchased his book and have jumped onto his crowded bandwagon but he has yet to have a direct effect on me personally. When he is putting the wood to me on the Fillmore Street climb in the San Francisco GP I may start to have a different attitude about him affecting my life…

I suppose that my role models and the people who have had the biggest impact on me are not people who have to have their own press agents and spin-doctors. My role models are people like my mom who always tried to steer me in the right direction but did not take control of the wheel (even though I may have been blasting through the radar guns) or someone like my coach, Dirk Friel, who has not left my side since I was a slow, cat 4 "thunder cat" (that is how you refer to a ‘bigger’ racer in the pack).

My mom (aka Sue Williams) has always been on the strict side of the spectrum but let me do my own thing. She didn’t try to stop me from getting my first earring (although she was certain it was only a phase) and she didn’t even try and talk me out of pursuing my (and I am sure every young boy’s) dream of becoming a Philosopher or for that matter even wanting to be a bike racer. I am still waiting to put my degree in Philosophy to work but I figure that the lost art of philosophizing will come back into fashion just like I hope parachute pants will (which she also let me wear?).

The summer after I graduating college, I packed my bikes and hopes of a cycling career into (actually onto) my ’92 Chevy Cavalier RS and left New York for the bike mecca of the US, Boulder, CO. I told my ‘rents that I had saved up over $2k and that I had some great leads on work….. In actuality I had only just over $200 and I was going to need all of it for gas just to make it to the "republic" as it is known around here. My brother and two sisters actually pitched in and gave me $60 cold hard cash to be used for hotels along the way. They knew I was planning on sleeping in the car so they made me promise to use the money for hotels along the way and not for anything else.

I am probably not giving my mom enough credit - they say that parents are much more aware than their kids ever believe. Still, through this whole process of leaving the nest she gave her support and never cut me down for trying to make a go for it on my own.

After working assorted industry jobs around town and hitting the local mountain bike scene for a couple years I met a local pro cyclist for the now defunct Oil-Me Pro Cycling Team named Dirk Friel (son of famous cycling coach Joe Friel). His team needed a mechanic for the PruTour, which was a two-week tour of Britain sponsored by The Prudential. I was super excited because I loved cycling and had never had the opportunity (or the duckets) to travel in the US let alone to another country (Canada excluded but we all know from watching South Park that it doesn’t count as a real country anyway).

After working with the Oil-Me team for the PruTour and then for the US’s premier week of cycling culminating with the US Pro Championships in Philadelphia, PA I headed back to B-town (Boulder) to get back to life. After being home for about a week I received a call from Dirk who asked if I could help him out with a few repairs to his bike. We quickly reached an agreement that if I would help him with his bike he would coach me. It is important to remember that at this stage of the game I had just started racing on the road as a cat 4 and was weighing in at a solid 2 bills.

I have been working with Dirk and the fantastic coaches at www.trainingbible.com ever since. I can easily say that there is no way that I would be racing with a pro license if it were not for the help and constant support I received from Dirk. Not only did he give me workouts to do but he also rode with me on a weekly basis. How cool is that? Actually being able to ride and train with a real US Pro!! Add to that the fact that he never thought that it was an impossible dream for me to eventually be able to race full time.

So, now here I am doing what has been a dream of mine ever since I bought my first Bianchi Brava, which I had to save for an entire summer to get. Before moving to Boulder I had never even met a Pro racer (or even a cat 1 for that matter) let alone now being able to race and be competitive with them. If I were not for the support and love of my mom (I realize it is an old cliché but it certainly holds true for me) and the guidance and belief of my coach and good friend Dirk I would not be where I am toady.

No, my role models are not super famous or in the movies (sorry Angelina Jolie). But they are the people who have supported me along the way. Not only would I not be where I am and doing what I love but also I would not be who I am without them……

Who are your role models?

Thanks for reading!

Chuck


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