Interview: Fast Freddie – Hours Before the TDF
I caught up with Fast Freddie on Friday, just before the start of the Tour de France. The last time he raced this event was in 2003 when he was with Vini-Caldirola. This year, he’s riding with Davitamon-Lotto, and needless to say he’s looking forward to being on the start line again.
– Reported by Christine Vardaros
After an early season start at the Tour of Qatar, and then a Spring wrecked by a bad stomach virus, Fred is lining up in France as part of the team to deliver Robbie McEwen into the Green Jersey. As we post this story – he’s just finished his Stage 1 TT run setting a time of 23:00:25 – good for 35th so far.
Onto The Tour
PEZ: With Robbie McEwen on your team’s roster, will you have a free hand at going for some wins?
FF: The main goal for my team is to get Robbie to win stages, but we are also hoping to give me a chance at one.
PEZ: What is a typical Tour day like?
FF: It’s an all day event. From when we wake up until we hit the sack, we are active doing something and everything. Wake up eat, ride, eat, massage, eat, eat and sleep.
PEZ: What do you eat for breakfast before a typical tour stage?
FF: I usually have a couple eggs, some cereal, lots of rolls of bread with jelly, cream cheese. Of course, always Fast Freddie Coffee to get the morning started. I don’t think I know of a cyclist that doesn’t start the morning without a good cup of coffee.
PEZ: What and how much will you eat throughout the day on a typical Tour stage?
FF: I think the best way to put it is that we are trying to eat something whenever we get a chance – mostly because it’s hard to consume enough calories during the meal with out stuffing ourselves. One problem is that French food doesn’t always make for the best recovery food. For instance, today (Friday, July 1) the meat didn’t look too edible so we had to ask for chicken and the chicken didn’t look that great, so we ended up eating the meat, but we could have passed on it.
PEZ: What is your race schedule like post-Tour? Will it be hectic?
FF: Yes, I have a busy season to finish off.
PEZ: Any goals in particular for the rest of the 2005 season?
FF: Yes, I am hoping to have a great ride at the World Championships in Madrid.
PEZ: What about any goals for the remainder of your cycling career?
FF: I still have not been able to race more than one season in the Classics and that is the strongest part of my talents. I want to be able to show what I can really do there.
PEZ: How much longer do you plan or hope to race?
FF: I am hoping for at least the next Olympics, but I don’t have a date set on retirement. As long as I feel competitive and I’m achieving my goal, I will continue.
PEZ: Any plans for your post-racing life yet?
I have a feeling I’d love to be a part of my sport, but more on the business side. I see a hole in the connection between European top level cycling and the US. Right now, people with good business backgrounds, who understand the sport and have some language skills are needed to fill the void between the U.S. and European cycling. It is all in Lance and his team’s hands at the moment and it could use some diversification.
But the US business side of the sport needs to see a benefit in the sport and not just Lance and his team. But at the same time our sport needs to grow and become more global to allow for that to happen – which it is. And that is the main intention with the Pro Tour. The UCI is taking an American league approach to sport business. This should make it a better playing field in both sport and business.
The Fast Freddie Foundation
PEZ: What other activities are you involved in?
FF: I’ve been putting a lot of time into the Fast Freddie Foundation and getting involved with the youth.
PEZ: Tell me a little about the FF Foundation. At this point FF Foundation is just trying to support cycling youth. The two groups that FFF is working with are Team Swift (www.teamswift.org), a great junior cycling development program in Santa Rosa (California.) FFF also supports The NorCal Mountain Bike High School league (www.norcalmtb.org), which is a growing league of high schools competing against each other. One of the great programs that FFF has created for NorCal is a Fast Freddie Scholarship for the league, where the kids will be awarded funds to use toward their college education while being able to continue there love of cycling.
PEZ: How can your readers support the FF foundation?
FF: Right now the best way is in helping me support these youth groups and keep informed as the FFF grows through my website: fredrodriguez.com.
PEZ: Do any proceeds from your coffee sales go to the
FF: Right now the Fast Freddie coffee is being used to help raise funds for both Team Swift and Norcal Mountain Bike High School League by the coffee company giving the coffee to the groups to sell. The kids go out and use it to raise money for themselves. So if you come across one of these kids selling Fast Freddie coffee, help them out, because all profits go to them.
PEZ: Where can people buy your coffee? Any plans to distribute it through supermarkets or bike shops?
FF: At this moment the best places to buy my coffee is at my website: fredrodriguez.com. You can also try specialized.com and velogear.com. Some bike shops do carry it.
What really Excites Fred
PEZ: Tell me something about you that your fans would be surprised or excited to learn.
FF: I think the biggest excitement in my life is that it is about to change with the birth of my first child.
PEZ: Congratulations, that’s wonderful news! What is your wife’s name and when is she due?
FF: My wife is Annie, and she is due right after the Tour. So, we have a big prize at the end of this Tour. I am really looking forward to this moment and I think it will give me a lot of motivation during the tour.
PEZ: Is she staying home in the US?
FF: Yes, she is in Emeryville (California.)
PEZ: What are you going to do if your wife is delivering the baby during the Tour?
FF: I really don’t know what I will do if that happens. I have to see how I would react, but I am not planning on that.
PEZ: Do you spend much time back home in California?
FF: I would say I spend about 3 months a year in the (San Francisco) Bay Area. The season keeps me in Europe most of the year, but I get to go home in the fall, which makes it perfect to take advantage of our late summers.
PEZ: Do you have any other nicknames – hopefully incriminating – hehehe – other than Fast Freddie that you’d like to share with your PezCycling fans?
FF: No. You can say I have been known as Fast Freddie as long as I can remember. Oh yeah – I just remembered one. One of my mechanics calls me Millimeter, because I am always adjusting my position – but I move it a millimeter at a time.
PEZ: Best of luck tomorrow…and for the next three weeks…and with the birth of the future cycling superstar!
FF: Thanks a lot!
Read The PEZ test of Fast Freddie’s Turbo Blend Coffee.
Visit Fast Freddie’s website at: www.fredrodriguez.com .
About Christine: “Peanut” enjoys baking, eating, rooftop hopping, ledge running, and fixed gear riding. Her ideal guy is muscular yet thin and trim and has eyes that sparkle. She is a sucker for vegan chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate, Kasteelbier, and good port. She is a professional cyclist for Velo Bella and has a cycling column, “Training Wheels” in the Sunday edition of the Marin Independent Journal. Visit her website ChristineVardaros.com.