I'm back at it this week...already traveling for work getting buried with lots to do. Getting the training in too as we have some fun races coming up in the following weeks. It seems like a month ago that I was getting my ass rightfully handed to me at CrossVegas...all the while having the time of my life. It was, as I reported, sick. Completely off the hook.
But something occurred to me. I totally forgot to tell you that I met my ABSOLUTE all time hero: Thomas Frischknecht!
Hype is not Frischi. Style is omnipresent in everything he graces when he’s on two wheels. Especially when those wheels have knobbies…which is most of the time. It was such a bizarre scenario at CrossVegas but perfect in the same sense. Hoards of cameras, lights, microphones, BlackBerries and iPhones….all pointed at Lance. Massive hype. Hype before the race. Hype during the race. Hype after the race. And all the while that spectacle is going on, Frishi is present, smiling and keeping consistent with, again, the grace he exhibits. It’s his RETIREMENT race. His last race after an amazing career that saw him race every Worlds since they decided it was probably a good idea to have a championship for these fat tire klunkers back in 1990. A Mountain Bike Hall of Famer. Anyways, the race ends and I crawl off my machine and see my friends from Ritchey at the Scott/Ritchey tent and I get waved in and handed a beer nearly instantaneously. The scrum around Lance is going off a ways away and there is Frischi. Just chilling, smiling, with a frosty Corona.
I hung out a bit with my bros recounting the race and the overall spectacle, having beers late into the already late evening and just couldn’t take it anymore. I walked up to Thomas and just laid it out. Simply and succinctly:
“Thomas, it’s bizarre for me to say this but I have to. I never had any typical ‘heroes’ in sports as a kid. OK, maybe Bucky Dent but I digress. But following your career and having put you on a pedestal of ‘core’ dope free mountain bikers who grit and get it done year after year, you have been that hero for me. I can NOT believe I just raced in the same race with you and for that I am honored. I love you Thomas. Have my children.”
Thomas gushed. Again, grace personified. We talked a bit, clinked some beers and celebrated a great night.