Tales from the peloton, February 21, 2004
San Diego, California, February 4-9, 2004
Eddie B named "Father of modern American cycling" at Endurance Awards banquet
Greg Lemond's Fantasy Cycling Camp, created to help legendary cycling coach Eddie Borysewicz after he and his family lost their home in the Southern California bushfires in October last year, was a memorable five days for all who attended. Jeff Rose was one of the attendees, and relives the experience for Cyclingnews.
On Saturday night, February 7, at the Endurance Awards banquet held at San Diego's Sea World, legendary coach Eddie Borysewicz - known to all as Eddie B - was recognized for his pivotal role in American cycling. The award was presented to him by Greg Lemond, with Eddie joined on stage by 20 Olympians from the 1984 Olympic cycling team as well as athletes from his teams over the years. Alexi Grewal said: "Eddie had come into the cycling program like John Wayne, taking over a non-existent program and forming riders into a team who believed in themselves and believed that they could beat the rest of the world."
The dinner was just one of the highlights of the five-day Greg LeMond Fantasy Camp and reunion of the 1984 Olympic cycling team - all to help raise funds for Eddie B to help replace the home he lost during the Southern California bushfires. The camp was organized by Vic Copeland and Jeff Rose - who were supported by their wives Joyce and Jeannette - and a whole host of people from the San Diego area.
Athletes and Olympians who attended some or all of the camp included: John Beckman, Scott Berryman, Ken Carpenter, Greg Demgen, Tom Doughty, Brent Emery, Alexi Grewal, Dave Grylls, Steve Hegg, Ron Kiefel, Roy Knickman, Greg LeMond, Pat McDonough, Davis Phinney, Wayne Stetina, Rebecca Twigg, Nelson Vails, Danny Van Haute, Shaun Wallace and Mark Whitehead.
The camp started on Wednesday evening, introducing all the campers and athlete coaches. Thursday morning, Greg LeMond and John Beckman led a group ride that worked on climbing and pack riding techniques, with performance testing done in the afternoon. On Friday and Saturday, wind tunnel testing was performed at Allied Aerospace while others rode at the San Diego velodrome. The last rider in on Friday was none other than Lemond himself, who found that watching all day only made him want to try it himself. The evening also included a surprise dinner with Lemond and his wife Kathy for those attending the camp.
Sunday morning was the "Great Torry Pines Hill Climb", featuring a contest between Greg LeMond and Eddie B. Sunday evening was an Eddie B roast attended by camp members, family and a surprise visit by Gerard Bisceglia, head of the USCF, with stories by LeMond, Greg Demgen, Nelson Vails, Steve Hegg, John Beckman and others.
The camp was even more special for Eddie, because on Thursday at 9:00pm, his new home was installed after a 400 mile trip from Phoenix that day.
The camp was a great success on many levels. It will raise double the amount of the largest single contribution, and it also provided a chance for many of the athletes to talk to each other for the first time in years. As one athlete pointed out, "This camp had been a great opportunity to air some things out and rekindle old friendships."
The only question from many was: "When would we do it again?"
Comments from campers
Kenan Kirkendall, Oklahoma: "The camp was a smashing success - thank you so much for all the effort you put forth in planning and carrying out the details. The whole experience was super! I haven't seen my Dad so excited in years!"
Christopher Chapman, New Hampshire: "I'm still speechless, but I will respond once I recover from the jet lag!"
The last word goes to Alexi Grewal: "Although I know the camp was to benefit Eddie, but it was much more than that. Thank you for what was certainly closure for many or all of us there. I am certain that what I witnessed was not an end but a beginning. I am also sure that it was not the cycling instruction that impressed and benefited the campers so deeply, no, it was love - the love for each other and the totality of our experience in cycling with each other.
"Sometimes in history men and women are caught in a vortex of inspiration and give their hearts to that hope. Eddie B said it himself in his last words to the assembly: 'Thanks God.' And so history is made and lives are changed."