Talks About Himself
“Allow myself to introduce myself.”
Some of you may know me as I have written for the DP in the past. Some of you
may also know me from the movie The Hard Road about the 2001 NetZero Team
(although I am not as funny looking as the guy who played me in that movie), but
for those who don’t, my name is Ryan Barrett. I am going to give you a brief
introduction to me as I am going to start writing more stuff for the DP.
I live in Provo, Utah, with my wife Kelly and 6 month old baby girl Haley. I run
a non-profit injury prevention program for children, and do some coaching on the
side. I used to live in Long Beach, California, where I raced sorta pro with NetZero and
Schroeder Iron and that is how I got involved with the Daily Peloton. I say
"sorta pro" because I was never banking off the sport or anything and always had a
job outside of racing. I quit racing sorta pro because Kelly and I wanted a
house, kids, and all that good family stuff, and it just wasn’t adding up.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to have a family and what-not and be a pro
bike racer, it just wasn’t working for me. I figured out that I was probably
good enough to make some sort of living riding bikes, but would have to be on
the road constantly to do so. The reality for a lot of domestic pros is that
they rely on prize money for living expenses.
Anyway, before Long Beach, I lived in Indianapolis where I went to school at
Marian College, which is where Kelly and I met. We were both on cycling
scholarships at the time. Before that, I lived my whole life in Richmond, Virginia. So
that’s sort of a little bit about me.
In this column, I am going to tell stories of life with my new team Healthy
Choice/Goble Knee Clinic. Yeah, I am still racing. When I quit racing pro, I
tried to quit racing altogether, but it just didn’t work. I guess I suck at
quitting ‘cause I actually tried more than once, and I don’t think I’ve ever
made it more than 2 weeks off the bike. The guys on Healthy Choice/ Goble Knee
Clinic have really motivated me to train again and generally just helped me get
my mojo for bike racing back after a few hard years. We’ll be traveling around
here and there, and doing a lot of regional races here in Utah, and I’m sure
there will be some good stories to tell.
I am also going to tell some stories from back in the day when I was riding
with pro teams. I was writing stuff then, but it always came out a little softer
than I wanted because I was worried about maintaining my spot on the team, or
finding a new one. Now that I have no such worries, I can tell the stories I
really wanted to tell. Don’t expect some crazy expose on drug use or anything,
‘cause I never really saw much that way; just some funny stories of stuff that
happened out on the road, in the van, or even at home!
Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy reading the stories half as much as I like
Some pics about me from back in the day just so you know who is writing this
stuff. I am working on getting a camera, so look for up-to-date pics in future
Ryan at the 2003 McLane Pacific Cycling Classic. Photo by Jaime
Ryan at Laguna Beach. Photo by Jaime Nichols.
The Day Sweet Pete* Rode Through a Motorcycle
In 2002, I had my one and only opportunity to ride the USPro Championships in
Philadelphia. Our Schroeder Iron team was there with the goal of getting Jamie
Paolinetti to the final. Unfortunately for us, he had some kind of breathing
issue and we were left leading out Hilton Clarke to the bottom of the wall.
Wait, wait, wait. Don’t fall asleep. I am not rehashing some boring story
about a bike race. I guess I am, but this isn’t about the race so much as a
particular event during the race. About half way through the race our team is on
the front heading into Manayunk. For those who don’t know about Philadelphia,
this is like the lead-out for a sprint, only you are heading for the narrow
chicane that leads to the base of the main obstacle of the course, the aptly
titled “wall.” As close as I can remember it was Pete Knudsen on the front,
followed by Jason Bausch, Jake Erker, me, Mike Tillman, and Ken Toman.
We haul ass into the left turn that leads to Manayunk, and as we come out of
the turn, there is a motorcycle official coming straight at us. There is
absolutely no reaction time and I am certain that Pete (if not the rest of us)
is dead. Apparently, the official was with the women’s race, run on the same
course at the same time, and tried to shortcut by going backwards on the course,
not knowing that we were heading straight for him. In any case, what happened
next qualifies as a miracle. I swear Pete rode through the motorcycle. That is
the only explanation. Pete being Pete, he didn’t even pause and we kept right on
motoring into Manayunk.
There was a big bike race that day. Someone won. It was the longest race I’ve
ever done, and I ate a “real” Philly cheesesteak after, but for me the big event
of the day will always be Sweet Pete riding through a motorcycle.
* Maybe you are curious about the nickname “Sweet Pete.” Maybe not. In
any case, it is the most fitting nickname I know. Pete is probably the nicest
bike racer I have ever met. I can’t remember him saying anything bad about
anybody. He just quit, so unless you already know him or he comes back, (which
wouldn’t surprise me as he’s only like 25) you will have to trust me. I figure
there was some kind of divine intervention that saved Pete, so nice guys may not
win, but (at least some times) they are saved from a horrible bloody death.
I think Pete is thinking, "I could've taken the motorcycle."
Photo by Jaime Nichols.