What's Cool In Road Cycling

US Bicycling Hall of Fame: The PEZ Report

If you’re anywhere near Philly right now, there’s no missin’ the buildup to the Wachovia Pro Champs this weekend. Sunday night PEZ was invited to the Induction Ceremonies at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. We talked to Jonathan Vaughters, Alexi Grewal, and Ron Keifel…

The evening promised to be special and I wasn’t disappointed. While stopping for directions after getting lost, I ran into the keynote speaker of the event Jonathan Vaughters. He needed a ride to the event so Jonathan, my wife Rita and I then got lost again searching for the Redwood Inn just outside Somerville, NJ. It was definitely going to be an interesting evening.

The new inductees for the Hall of Fame this year were six-day track legend and original “Iron man” Reggie McNamara. This guy was the Man back in the early to mid 1900’s. He seemed to have been put back together more times than Humpy Dumpty or Evil Knievel. Having witnessed the Ghent Six Days (See Ghent 6 – Pez Style) I can appreciate the accomplishments and suffering of McNamara. Next, John Vande Velde – Three Time National Champion, Vandedrome owner, and father of Liberty Seguros rider Christian took the stage. Alexi Grewal – Gold Medalist in the 1984 Olympics gave his views on the world and accepted his award. Former 7-Eleven rider Ron Kiefel and his family made the trip from Wheat Ridge, Colorado for the event and seemed to have so much fun. His old teammate and mountain bike and road racing Legend John Tomac was also inducted and was also so full of excitement and enthusiasm. Next, the history of Bill Woodal, the first real “support” guru for modern day racing really demonstrated how he changed the way athletes need to be looked after.

The banquet facility was needed to accommodate all that came out to pay tribute to the event. The Hall of Fame organizers were great, accommodating my wife and I after we were “lost” from the list. There were several professional riders in attendance, junior prospects, and Threshold Sports founder David Chauner. Brian Walton of the new Carmichael franchise Cadence Cycling made the trip as well.

Then I talked with the very beautiful Sarah Uhl (that’s her fellas!), former Junior World Champion and now National Champion and riding for Quark. We actually go back a bit since she bought my old track bike when she was starting out. One broken collarbone was enough but I do miss that frame. (It does however give me the opportunity to talk to her from time to time.) Check out her accomplishments and you’ll want to talk to her to. She did say she wants to date a cyclist.

And now – the interviews!

After Jonathan Vaughters settled in I wanted to follow up on our previous car trip and ask him a few questions. Unfortunately my IPOD voice recorder by Belken DIED so I needed to rely on my back up scratch paper. Jonathon, being a journalist like me (really, I’m not even close to worthy…) said that happens to him and it’s ok if I misquote him.

Pez: Jonathan, do you know PezCycling News.com?
JV: Yes, I enjoy it.

Pez: How are you enjoying retirement? (Note: Jonathon looks great and my wife said he must still be riding to stay so fit.)
JV: I had to reinvent a career for myself. It is fun but challenging. Also enjoying my four year old although he has no interest in riding.

Pez: Pantani, Kelme, Cofidis – Do you think those taking drugs will stop and that the clean majority of riders will ever be free of the stigma they now live/work under?
JV: That’s the million-dollar question. Professional cycling has much to gain and also to lose. It is human nature and tempting to seek out an advantage. The good steps taken towards better testing is a positive. Better science is needed to force those cheating to stop.

Pez: What’s your best moment on U.S. soil and foreign soil racing?
JV: The Mt. Evans hill climb since it was my last serious race and I won it.
The best moment on foreign sold was the team time trial in the 2000 Tour De France. O’Grady, Julich, all those guys were great and we surprised everyone.

Pez: Whom do you see coming up?
JV: Floyd Landis and Craig Lewis if he can recover from his serious Tour of Georgia crash. He has the most talent of the new comers.

Pez: Can Lance win 6
JV: He can, it’s possible.

Pez: What is your role with the TIAA-CREFF team?
JV: I’m a public affairs consultant and helping them on rebranding their corporate image. The team fits in well and helps them achieve their goals. I do love when I can be the team director but that isn’t always possible.

Speed Round
PEZ: Training / Holiday
My wife Rita answered for him: Your too fit, HOLIDAY.

PEZ: SUV/Scooter
JV: Scooter

Pez: Pizza / Pasta
JV: Definitely Pasta

Alexi Grewal is most famous for the emotion and passion he put into cycling. He was sitting down outside prior to the event starting so I took the opportunity to throw some Pez questions at him.

Pez: Do you read PezCycling News.com?
AG: I know there is such a thing as the Internet.

Pez: What was your best moment on the bike?
AG: I had a great one last week. I don’t have a best moment on the bike. I have a lot of moments.

Pez: How about off the bike?
AG: I had a lot of moments off the bike but I wouldn’t characterize them as best. I tried everything but don’t know if there is a best. Some things are more fun than others.

Pez: Can Lance win six?
AG: There are a lot of ways to answer that question. Yes or no. Yes and how. No and why not. But, sounds like he’s showing his good form. He’s on target as is Tyler. Lance is one step ahead of everyone else and I expect and American One-Two at the Tour with Tyler.

Next, I put Alexi through a quick word game and asked if to choose one
Pez: Helmet or No Helmet
AG: Helmet

Pez: Steel or Carbon
AG: New Materials

Pez: Olympics or Tour De France
AG: Both

Pez: Sleeping in Sunday Mornings or Riding Sunday Mornings
AG: Riding but later in the day

Ron Kiefel was probably the happiest person in the room. He walked in with his family and immediately shined. I wanted to buy him and his family some drinks but his father (I believe) picked up the tab too quickly. But, I introduced myself and asked him a few….

Pez: Ron, do you check out PezCycling News.com?
RK: No, but I will now. (Ipod problem-something like that anywayflPez)

Pez: Who did you look up to when you started out?
RK: I didn’t have any idols. I simply loved cycling.

Pez: Which teammates do you still keep in touch with?
RK: Davis, Bob Roll, Jeff Pierce, Steida

Pez: Mountain bike or Road
RK: Road

Pez: Country or Rock
RK: Rock

Pez: Rocky 1 or Rocky 2 (I’m from Philly dammit and the Wachovia Championships are Sunday!)
RK: Rocky 1

Pez: Coffee or Espresso
RK: Espresso

Ron “Wookie” Kiefel and his beautiful wife Meegan host the Kiefel Cycling Hour
On AM 1150, KNRC, Saturdays’ from 7am-8am. Check out the show if you can. Ron was great to meet and talk with.

The US Bicycling Hall of Fame is open Tuesday – Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturdays 10-3. The collection is amazing and their passion for cycling is strong. Visit them at 145 West Main Street in Somerville, New Jersey or on the web at www.usbhof.com.

Thanks to the staff of the Hall of Fame, inductees, and all guests for making the night so awesome. Can’t wait to go back next year.

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