Starting cycling young in Michigan during the 90's meant that the "Guy" you looked up to most was non other then Michigan native, 7-11, Motorola, and USPS road racer Frankie Andreu. I remember how awesome it was to see Frankie race the local spring series occasionally, then a few weeks later see him racing the classics followed by the Tour in the summer. He was so kind and would always say hello.
Here I am standing next to him. I believe this was around '98. So I must have been 16. I know you and I would guess 13, but it's just the way I've always been. I probably just got beat up in the B race and was getting ready for the junior training course. Wow what would it be like to be that fast!
Years would past and who would have thunk, but I made it all the way into the A races. Not only was I in the A races, but I had even finished in the top 10 once or twice. Then came the first race in the spring of '02. I remember my dad I talking before the race about just going out there and being aggressive no matter what. Just ride hard, get off the front, rah, rah. Like it's easy, but that was the idea.
Well as luck would have it I found myself off the front with the strongest master of the time Nick fairly quickly. Soon enough who makes an appearance, Dave Koesal, and non other then Frankie Andreu. I couldn't believe who I was in the break with.
On the front with Frankie sitting 3rd wheel. It was all going swimmingly and we had a huge gap that would not come back, but the sprint for myself was anything but smooth. I just so happen came out of my pedal and took Frankie off course, but lucky he made it safely around and I didn't go down.
It would be another 3 years before I turned pro on Advantage Benefits Endeavour. Now my 6th year, 11 years after meeting him, and 9 years since racing against him, I find myself on the same team as him, as he is our team director. I am very excited to have him on our team and look forward to all the things he can teach and show me. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge and I am really thinking this is a huge step for our program. Chad Thompson is putting together one serious program. Watch for the Kenda Pro Cycling Team p/b Gear Grinder this year.