Life after Postal
Robbie Ventura ended his career as a professional cyclist in dramatic fashion toward the end of 2004, crashing in the final turn of the USPRO Criterium Championships, held near his home town of Chicago. It was a race Ventura desperately wanted to add to his palmares, but as he tells Mark Zalewski, he is completely satisfied with his racing career and looking forward to new challenges including driving the Endeavour team car and coaching Floyd Landis.
Robbie Ventura has been a mainstay in the professional U.S. cycling scene for more than a decade - racing with all of the top teams, including Saturn, Navigators and for the last several years, US Postal. A former collegiate and minor-league hockey player, Ventura switched to cycling after an injury cut his hockey career short.
Now retired as a racer, Ventura is switching tracks to focus on his coaching business, Vision Quest, and his new role as directeur sportif of the Advantage Benefits/Endeavour Cycling Team of former Saturn head Tom Schuler. I kicked off by asking him what he'd been up to since announcing his retirement.
Robbie Ventura: You think things are going to get a little easier and simpler, but they end up getting more... it's just different, more time intensive. As a cyclist you train, go to sleep, do fun stuff, and hang out with your kids - kinda get yourself on a little bit of a schedule. But now I am out of a schedule which I don't like. I'm in the office, coaching athletes, being director-sportif-slash-manager of this new cycling team. I'm organizing training camps, doing some public speaking. There are just so many pieces and so much stuff it's just trying to get myself in a routine. Athletes like routine. It makes sense for an athlete ... - but I'm in this transition period now and I've lost my routine. Not to say it was bad, it's a little fun being scattered at times! I want to get something more regimented.
But what have I been doing? I've started this coaching business about four years ago and it's been growing. We're moving to a bigger facility in Lake Bluff, IL. It will be twice as big. We're opening up a second facility in Chicago [Bucktown] with a massive grand opening and we also have a satellite pod in Bloomington, IL. So we're starting to grow and it's been a fun process. I've hired some other coaches that are good people and great coaches. And this new venture with Tom [Schuler] and this new venture with Floyd. Taking on Floyd as an athlete is a lot of responsibility, and you want to get everything just right. There is a lot of communication there.